Sorry for the lack of updates....we've been so incredibly busy day and night. Nate, Chad and Brian arrived yesterday morning and have already done tons of filming for their documentary about cervical cancer in Guatemala. As with everyone else on the team, they are so compassionate and committed to improving the lives of the women here. We're very excited about the impact their documentary might have for advancing this cause in Guatemala.
Yesterday morning. Lauren and I were able to do some minor surgeries in the hospital in Poptun. I have been trying for years to work within the local health care system so this was a huge step and is a testimony to the great work that Ismael and Orfe have done to gain the trust of the people here.
Everything went so well with the patients and our "film crew" was able to interview the health care director for this region of the Peten as well as the director of the hospital. They are very interested in us bringing surgical teams down here! I know that there are many doctors and of course, our very favorite nurse anesthetist (Melinda) who have wanted to give of their talents for quite some time. The patients were very cute....the first asked if I could just go ahead and take out her uterus! When I told her that wasn't what she needed, she started bargaining with me and wanted to know how much it would cost!! Lauren proved to be a fabulous surgical assistant - she never ceases to amaze me with her talents...
We have continued to find so many problems with this disease. The women cannot believe that they will actually receive the results the same day. Puja and Lauren seem to be able to whiz through paps and yet somehow know when a woman needs to really talk about some tragic event in her life. Mani and Chetti work away at that microscope so they can get results out as soon as possible. Today, it had to be over 90 degrees in that clinic but everyone worked away and the bus load of women were delighted as they left! Randy runs around making sure that everyone has everything they need.
Life here is so different. When we got back to the hotel tonight, I ran out to buy us some popsicles. As I walked down the street, 3 women on the island called out that they were coming to the clinic in the morning for their first pap! They said they'd get there at 6AM so they could get back to the island to work in their stores.
At times we get discouraged and at times, we certainly get tired. But it seems that there is always someone there to pick you up when you need it. We try to remind each other always that this is God's work, not ours. Yesterday, we read 2 Corinthians, Chapter 9 which gave us the inspiration we needed at just the right moment.
"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Chirst, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, beacuse of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift."
Everyone on this team has revealed God's goodness in so many ways!
To give you a flavor of what it's like doing gynecology here.....look at this woman's thyroid goiter. She came in for a pap and told us this tumor has been growing for many years and no one can tell her what it is. So later in the day, I called Dr. John Brunner in Toledo and he gave me some great advice. We didn't get a hold of her until we were ready to leave our hotel a couple of days later so she came over in a "tuk-tuk"!! We brought her up to our hotel room and after I did a fine needle aspiration, our cytotechs got the slides prepared to make sure we had the cells we needed!!! Not sure that would happen at home! After it was done, I asked her if she had any questions. She just asked if we could give her a dollar for the "tuk-tuk" ride home!