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Volume 18, Number 1
January 9, 2012
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opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor

Amanda
by Andrea Mast

As I sit in the waiting room of the New York Beth Israel Hospital, all I can think about is how strong my sister Amanda is. I recall the many times I have sat in the waiting room, in a hotel, or in the comfort of my home while I await news about her surgery. I think of the changes it will bring to her face once she heals. Being only thirteen, she has had eleven surgeries --- the first one when she was merely three years old.

My sister was born with hemangioma, an abnormal buildup of capillaries under the skin and the internal organs. The day she was born, everything seemed fine, then a few days later, purple and blue marks started appearing on her face and she started having trouble breathing. The local doctors in Antofagasta, Chile, prescribed cortizone to help her breathe better. This was to no avail, and no one seemed to know how to relieve my sister's distress. At night, she herself would incline her head all the way back to open her airway to help her breathe, since she had trouble breathing because the hemangioma was starting to grow inside of her throat and slowly close her airway. Thankfully, friends of my parents recommended a doctor in New York City who specialized in the removal of hemangioma.

My parents knew something had to be done. If not, the consequences would be horrific. We travelled together to New York to embark on a journey that would we hoped would change Amanda's life for the better. The process of surgery is not easy for most, especially not a three year old. It requires not eating for a long time before the operation, being moved about a sterile building with strangers trying to comfort you and tell you everything will be fine, and it requires injections that will make you suddenly drift away into sleep. However, my sister was strong through it all and managed better at age three than I would now at sixteen. The healing process after the operations is tough and requires a lot of care to make sure nothing happens to the affected area. She emerges from surgery bewildered, lost, and in pain. I often think 'Why did this have to affect her? Why does she have to have hemangioma?"

All of her life, Amanda has been getting looks from strangers who can see that she's different. But to me she has always been, and will always be, my beautiful sister. Sadly, however, many get a thrill by pointing and laughing at the little girl with red marks on her face. I ignored that she had red marks all over her face and could not speak properly because of the medicine she was taking. No matter what comments people made, or the stares she got, she has always held her head high and simply enjoyed life, without caring what other people thought of her appearance. I admire this about her. It makes her the strong person she is today. Regardless of the results of a surgery, she is always willing to try again in a couple of years. As a family we are thankful to the doctor who was able to remove most of the hemangioma from her face. This has lessened the stares and comments of strangers, who have no clue about what she has been through. Situations like Amanda's should teach us to be more sensitive towards others who may not look like us.

What my sister has had to go through is not easy. I have seen how it has changed the way she views life, making her a stronger and better person. One of the moments that made me realize how strong my sister Amanda is was after her fifth surgery. When she was released from the hospital, I was the one crying. I could only imagine the pain she was going through, judging by the stitches and bruises all over her face. Amanda, on the other hand, was ready to go out and enjoy New York City a few hours after the surgery. It is during moments like these that I learn valuable lessons from my sister. By simply being the strong, determined person she is, she has taught me that we must move on, accept the changes in life and, most of all, accept the way we are, who we are, and learn to love people who are different irrespective of how they may look.


Andrea Mast is a junior at Balboa Academy.







    

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor


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