Friday, May 22, 2015

Rejoice with those who Rejoice

I saw this sweet little boy 4 weeks ago when our surgeon, Todd Dekryger, called me in to his clinic room. As soon as we looked at him we new that he most likely had Burkitt Lymphoma--a type of cancer that is endemic to Africa for reasons that aren't fully understood. The cancer is named after Dr. Denis Parsons Burkitt who was a medical missionary in Kampala, Uganda and first described the tumors extensively as a problem throughout the country.
He had been brought it by his older brother who explained that this mass had appeared over the course of a month, but they had visited fettish healers prior to coming to the Hospital of Hope.

He was admitted to the hospital the next day for a biopsy and some blood work. Thanks to the wonderful Pathology Department at St. Joseph's Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI we were able to send off the biopsy to be diagnosed at no charge.  But since the biopsy has to be hand-carried back to the states by a visitor leaving HOH, chemotherapy treatment is started despite not being 100% sure of the diagnosis. At the beginning of treatment we have a very serious discussion with the family. The child must stay for about a week the first time, then return once a week for four weeks to continue treatment. After one month, treatments are spread out to every 3 weeks, including a 2 day hospital stay each time. The course of treatment can be exhausting and is very expensive. Because there is always a chance that the family won't return after a few weeks, I explain to them that if they are faithful to their appointments, the hospital will share the cost of their treatment. But if they stop coming early, the family will be responsible for the entire cost. I realize this might sound very harsh to some, but it can be very difficult to come by these medications, and if a patient stops mid-treatment, all has been wasted and can't be used for a future patient.

Thankfully, the tumor began to respond to treatment in a matter of DAYS and the family could witness the healing of their son and brother before their eyes. He has been faithful to his last 3 visits and today when he arrived, he was completely transformed to his old self! (So much so that I had no idea who he was when a nurse notified me he was here for treatment!)

This cutie is actually only 1 of 5 children going through chemotherapy treatment here at HOH. These treatments can only be successful when we are able to support families (in-part) and when the hospital is able to purchase needed chemotherapy drugs. If you are interested in directly helping with either patient care, or the purchase of needed medications, thankfully there are two accounts set up through ABWE exactly for these reasons!

The Lord is doing mighty things here in Mango, and this is just one of many. Although each week we often experience the searing pain of loss, we are also blessed to experience the sweet joy of healing!
We could not continue this work without your faithful prayers and support, and we thank the Lord for YOU daily!
Pediatric Patient Care Fund: 0763833-001
Chemotherapy Fund: 0763833-002

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