The following story is an article written by a member of the global bleeding disorders community to the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH). In this article, Noel Peregrino from the Philippines shares his story.
I’m Noel Peregrino, from the Philippines. I’m 34 years old, and I have moderate hemophilia A. When I was 7 years old, I had a tooth extracted, and there was excessive bleeding during the procedure. I had to be hospitalized, and transfused with whole blood in order for the bleeding to stop. Soon after this, I was diagnosed with hemophilia.
Most of my bleeds are in the muscle areas of my legs and arms. Treatment consisted of fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate. Despite the challenges of having a bleeding disorder, I was able to finish college and begin a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. However, due to repeated bleeding in my right calf muscle, my walking ability was affected. The condition worsened until I had to start using a wheelchair.
I consulted with many doctors about my condition, and Jeannie Ong, MD, a hematologist, referred me to Gilbert Cauilan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Davao City in the Philippines. Cauilan told me about an ankle surgery procedure that would allow me to regain my mobility. He also told me that I would be given free medicine for the procedure, thanks to the Humanitarian Aid Program of the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH).
The procedure was an ankle fusion surgery to plantigrade my right foot and allow me to walk normally. The surgery was successfully performed in August, 2017, and it has made a big difference in my quality of life. Before having the procedure done, I felt depressed and hopeless. I thought I would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Now, my perspective has changed, and I look forward to being a productive member of society.
I would like to thank the medical team for helping me, especially Jeannie Ong, MD and Gilbert Cauilan, MD, who took great care of me. I’m also very thankful to the Hemophilia Association of Davao (HAND), and the WFH, for giving me free anti-hemophilic factor VIII medicine—without which my surgery wouldn’t have been possible. No words I can describe how happy I am. The surgery has really been life-changing for me. Thank you!