¨Ich wollte tot sein, dachte das sei besser als mit dem Hohn und dem Spott zu leben.¨
Rojan J. Pajarin ist ein gutaussehender Mann, Ehemann, Vater von zwei kleinen Kindern, Marathonläufer, ein hart arbeitender Mann der Spaltpatienten und deren Familien Mut macht, weiterzumachen und nicht aufzugeben.
Ich traf Rojan in Manila, als ich 10 Spaltpatienten von Bohol nach Manila zur Operation brachte. Rojan arbeitet für NCFP, die ihn vor vielen Jahren operiert haben. Vom ersten Augenblick an war ich beeindruckt von Rojan´s starker Persönlichkeit.
Rojan, der selbst mit einer Gaumen und Lippenspalte geboren wurde, musste miterleben wie grausam MEnschen sein können….grausam ohne Grund.
In eine einfache Fischerfamilie geboren, hatte Rojan schon immer den Drang mehr erreichen zu wollen. Er arbeitet 40 Stunden in der Woche für NCFP und am Abend sowie am Wochenende fährt er als Fahrradtaxi durch Manila um seine Familie zu unterstützen. Dazwischen trainiert er für einen sehr guten Zweck:
Rojan läuft Marathon um darauf aufmerksam zu machen, dass zu einer ganzheitlichen Spaltoperation so viel mehr gehört als nur eine Operation. Wir werden in nächster Zeit noch sehr viel mehr von diesem ehrgeizigen Mann hören.
Ich bin sehr stolz und geehrt, dass Rucksack Coach mit auf Rojan´s Laufshirt ist.
Hier ist ein Teil seiner Geschichte:
CLEFT CARE: A CONTINUOUS HEALING by Rojan J. Pajarin
I want to share what I have been through in receiving complete cleft care from Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines Inc. (NCFPI). I cannot forget the first time I met the NCFPI team in my province at Daet, Camarines Norte. That day was like rising from the dead. I had many setbacks and disappointments in the past due to my cleft condition that I even wanted to die.
I had my first operation in a cleft mission in Albay when I was five years old. I was diagnosed with an incomplete cleft on my lip’s left side and with a complete cleft on my palate, both of which were repaired. I had my second operation in NCFPI through Dr. Xenia A. Velmonte on October 2, 2007 to redo my cleft palate surgery because I still had a fistula after my first surgery. Despite the success of this surgery, I still had difficulty with speech. Our speech pathologist said I had velopharyngeal insuffiency, so I had another surgery last May 8, 2008 to fix that. On April 22, 2009, Dr. Bernard Tansipek with Dr. Glenda de Villa, Dr. Xenia Velmonte and Dr. Sam Noordhoff worked together for a surgery to revise my lip and nose.
I experienced much pain as I went through all these surgeries. In my last surgery, the original plan then was to do it with local anesthesia as an out-patient, yet eventually, it had to be done inside the operating room. The last thing I remembered seeing was the operating room lights. I also remember hearing the voices of the nurses and doctors… I lost my consciousness but I was sure that the surgery will be successful. I had no relatives with me in the hospital then, but the NCFPI doctors were there, and I trusted and believed in them. NCFPI doctors are molded by the best schools, trainings, advisers and experiences, and through them, I felt joy in God’s blessings despite my unpleasant experiences.
Cleft is not as bad compared to other inborn illnesses and may not even really be a disability if it will be treated early. In my case, the medical intervention was too late. I say this because I have seen similar cases of cleft conditions like mine in my 7 years of working at NCFPI and I can say that they were treated successfully. Why is it that my first surgeries were not successful? I do not know what really happened. What I know today is that cleft treatment needs regular follow-up consultations after surgery.
I now understand the difference between a one-shot cleft mission compared with a center-based cleft care treatment. In most missions, the doctors come and then leave after they have finished all their patients’ surgeries. No follow up consultations can be done. That approach is not bad as long as the operation is successful, but in my case, there was still a small fistula or hole in my palate area. My parents did not know what to do with this problem, where to go, or who to ask. We found that going to hospitals was not the answer because the doctors there just told us that the one who should remedy it is the doctor who operated on me. Perhaps if we had the money, my parents could have had me operated on in a hospital where I could go for regular consultations. I grew up with that small hole and it caused me great suffering. But now that I have known NCFPI, even if it is quite late in my life, I am thankful that I found the remedy to my problem. In a center like NCFPI, a cleft patient can go there as long as they need to and they can get the best care possible even as soon as he is born.
After my surgeries, I attended speech therapy sessions with the NCFPI speech pathologist Sir Paolo Sison III. He taught me the techniques of proper speaking after an assessment of my speech problems. I am also blessed that our volunteer dentists took care of my teeth, especially Dr. Rachel Anne Santos. I am also very thankful to our orthodontists, headed by Dr. Janet Pandan, who patiently work on my misaligned teeth. She continues to help cleft patients with their teeth until they get the correct “bite” or occlusion. I am also proud of our surgeons, and many of my friends with craniofacial conditions at NCFPI underwent successful jaw alignment surgery or orthognathic surgery to improve their facial appearance.
The face of a person with a cleft truly requires much work from many people and not just the surgeon. The parents, especially the mothers, have to support their children with cleft in their totality, especially emotionally. I realized that cleft treatments may have an end but people with cleft also have to continue striving and healing themselves. I realized too that the greatest solution for a person with cleft is self-acceptance, and this is the starting point to set oneself free, to move on beyond your own perceived limitations and fears towards a happier life.
Rojan mit seinen NCFP Kollegen und der kleinen Eule von Rucksack Coach. Sie ermöglichten den Spaltpatienten einen besonderen Tag in Manila.
Titelbild Copyright By Ann-Kathrin Lange