In 2018, we were living in the Philippines. Jax couldn’t wait to see the world, so he came out six weeks earlier than he was due. We thought his hemangioma was just a rash, but it continued to grow until it covered half of his upper chest, swelled non-stop for three months, and eventually ulcerated.
Our pediatrician was not particularly worried, but we sought out two pediatric dermatologists to find options for treatment. We had our apprehensions in medicating him, but after weighing things, our family decided to put Jax on propranolol. What a miracle drug!
After the hemangioma stopped growing, it did not fully involute. When we arrived in the United States in 2020, we sought out Dr. Linda and the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation (VBF). VBF networked us to a specialist in New York City in December 2020. On close examination, we were informed his lump would have grown as he grew, so we opted to remove it. After surgery, Jax looked like he just had a mastectomy, including a pump to take out excess liquid. Postoperative care is important and, to our surprise, our two-year-old was always cooperative when we needed to check his hemangioma, put on some ointment, and manage his pump. Like any toddler, he can be defiant, but he was fully onboard with his treatment plan and had no issues drinking his medicines. He stayed calm and lifted his arms whenever it was time to examine it at home or at the doctor’s clinic. The sight of blood does not faze him. It’s as if he already fully understood the situation.
He continues to amaze us every day. We are forever grateful to VBF and the work that they do.