Friday, February 11, 2011

Days 5-6 from Dr. Chris

Well, I have gotten a slow start this morning... kinda feelin' cruddy. Looks like I've caught a nasty little Guatemalan cold and spent most of the night up coughing and sneezing and trying to breathe... ugh. :-( So this mornings note may be a little short, but here goes...

We lose Matt today as he has to head back to the States for work... will be sad to see him go as he has been a GREAT help. Yesterday was slow... 1 surgery and 1 patient in clinic... and really wasn't a Gyn patient- she came in with abdominal distention... normal girl parts on exam but LOTS of ascites... US done with some input from Dr. Hoak looked like a GI tumor... ugly and she probably doesn't have a lot of time left. Cancer is such an ugly disease, but especially out here when they are SOOO advanced by the time you get them. Dr. Hoak (the full time American General Surgeon who also does a little of every surgical subspecialty from Plastics to Neurosurg) said that when he asks why they wait so long, they usually say, "well, I thought it would go away.." Anyway, she could use prayer... they did a paracentesis for some symptom relief but there really isn't much more here. Surgery went great at very least.

So today we go and round on our patient and then head to Aselsi, another local mission to help out with their free clinic... hoping I can remember my Gen Med stuff... :-) Tomorrow we will d/c our last lady and get a day to play tourist and head to Pananjel (sp?) which supposedly is a gorgeous little town on a lake. And then FINALLY home on Saturday... I will be ready... pretty tired and this cold is taking it out of me...

Continue to pray for the successful recovery of our patients and the patients we will interact with today. Pray for the health of our team... Brandi is feeling a little better but Victoria and Kent have had some GI stuff and I have this cold... we are all pretty exhausted. Thanks so much for the support... it means the world... God bless!


(And thanks again to Dr. Chris Deluca for letting me "steal" her blog posts from facebook and repost them here! --heidi)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Days 3-4 From Dr. Chris Deluca

"Days 3-4"

Good morning to all! Well we are going into our 4th day here and a little tired, but for the most part doing well... starting to get used to the loud noises at night that our Guatemalan friends seem to love so much... *lol*

Yesterday went well, but a little slower than I would have liked. Our Guatemalan anesthesiologist (who is fantastic and wrote my post-op orders by the way... awesome!) showed up on Guatemalan time at 9:30 rather than 8 (actually not bad because I believe last time I was here there was one day it was around noon) so we didn't get started as quickly as I would like in the OR, BUT the cases we did went WONDERFULLY! Kent did my first case with me that was a decently extensive vaginal hysterectomy with repairs like he had been in the OR for years... someone needs to get that boy out of Emergency Medicine and into a surgical subspecialty quick! Got out of that just before lunch. During my cases my other 2 remaining med students had been in clinic getting histories and doing basic exams on patient so between cases, we squeezed in 2-3 patients for exams/plans. Not a lot of surgical candidates, mostly benign stuff... the only one we tried really hard to convince was a sweet old lady with pretty decent prolapse and CIN II on biopsy a year or so ago, that Heidi had attempted a pessary fitting on previously... we got a better pessary for her that she promptly declined, and then when we counselled her on surgery, she stated she wanted a few months to think about it... we did (I think, I hope) convince her to repeat her cervical screening and come back in May. Our second case was by far the most impressive case of prolapse I have ever seen... this poor sweet lady had apparently been dealing with it for about 15 years too... took about 3 hours, but I am happy to say, I think we got a GREAT result... Victoria also did a great job with the assist and a very tough case was made very reasonable as a result. I learned that gasas are lap sponges and that piencas campos are towel clips, however I still haven't figured out what sponge stick is after about a half dozen tries... *lol* Alma, our Guatemalan scrub tech does pretty well with "este, por favor" thankfully! We got out around 5 though from clinic which is pretty early and had an AMAZING dinner and a little ice cream for dessert... the little things in life. :-)

So for today, as always, pray for opportunities to share with and love on the ladies we will see today. Pray for more opportunities (and the RIGHT opportunites) to serve today as clinic was pretty slow yesterday. Pray for the lovely lady we are operating on this morning and the ones we did yesterday as well. Pray that each of us here would be CHALLENGED by this trip and come away knowing something new about the God we serve. THANKS for the prayer! It means SOOOOO much! God bless all!


From Dr. Chris...

Thank you, Dr. Christina Deluca, for giving me permission to "steal" your blog from facebook for reposting here! You are such a blessing.

"Guatemala Day 2-3":

Good morning everyone! So up this morning preparing for what I expect to be a busy day... the operating room gets going this morning in about an hour and we'll be doing consultas most of the day today so I am mentally preparing for the crazyness with prayer and Scripture and physically preparing with large amounts of Pepsi Lite. :-)

Yesterday was actually pretty reasonable... we did 13 consultas, scheduled 3 very sweet ladies for surgery today, and were back in the apt by 7pm. We started off our day on a pretty sobering note with a patient with advanced cervical cancer... if you feel led please pray for her and her family as they knew their diagnosis and were very much hoping for a cure that our science cannot offer. She does know Christ so praise God for that, but it will be long road for them all and they will need people agreeing on their behalf. We also got a chance to see the second half of the SuperBowl with some other American missionaries here which was a nice break, although the "responsible" physician of the group (oops) may have left the keys to our apt IN our apt... allowing us to see the hoodlum skills of our group when we had to break in to my bedroom window and squeeze Brandi through when we got home... *lol*

Also got to enjoy a wonderful church service over at the "gringo church" as Matt calls it... God always has a good message in time for me and led me yesterday to Philippians 2:1-8 which reads, " If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like‑minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!" I find myself way too often writing myself as the central character in whatever story I am in... as if His plan revolves around myself, my growth, MY glory... the pastor spoke about all of our need for a life of significance, the desire for a glory that nothing in this world can provide... sometimes my desire to serve on missions becomes just that... its only about me! It is one of the ways I try to prove that my life is somehow worthwhile and of value! But the truth is, the only reason I have value is because I am a beloved of God! It is only through Christ's death and resurrection and my subsequent ability to come back to that intended relationship with my Creator that I truly can find any real fulfillment and self worth! So this morning, I am personally praying for God to help me see past ME help me to "in humility consider others better than myself". Thought I would share...

Looking for a busy and challenging day... if you are walking with us in prayer, continue to pray for our patients and their physical and spiritual well-being. Continue to pray for Brandi's health as she is still feeling pretty rough. Pray for our surgical team today and the women we will be operating on. And anything else that the good Lord leads you to pray about... we LOVE and NEED the prayer support for this trip to be successful! Want to give a quick shot out to Ashley Schwering who is SIXTEEN today!!! Everyone in Greenville give her lots of love for me today! Happy birthday Ash! God bless all!


Monday, February 07, 2011

February 2011 Trip

It's really weird to be here in Guatemala without Heidi (Dr. Bell) but here we are. She's back in North Carolina working very hard to grow a "baby in her tummy" (Isaac's description).

Here in Guatemala, we are Dr. Kris DeLuca, med students Victoria, Kent, and Brandi, and your humble correspondent.

We flew in on Saturday, uneventfully (yay) and drove up the mountain to Chichicastenango, where we found our accomodations with no trouble at all. We were exhausted, so sleep came pretty easy.

Sunday morning was Gringo Church, Market, and then 15 patients. The first was a real downer - one that Heidi had seen before. She is a 30 year old woman with Stage IV cervical cancer that has spread to her uterus and abdomen. She can no longer pee, so we tried to insert a catheter, but it turns out that her bladder is empty - her kidneys have either shut down or been obstructed from all the swelling - she looks like a balloon... She's a mother of four (the youngest is 2) and will very likely not see Christmas. As you might expect, she was not terribly encouraged by our report that there's nothing we can really do for her except give her some pain meds. She is in a good church and we prayed with her and her family.

The rest of the day was a little more encouraging for us, though. We scheduled three "vag-a-thons" (vaginal hysterectomy with anterior and posterior repair) and an endometrial biopsy. We were also able to reassure a few very scared women that there is nothing wrong with them, despite the diagnoses of some local doctors.

We were even able to get out of clinic in time to catch the second half of the Super Bowl with a bunch of local missionaries.

Today, Dr. Kris and company did two vag-a-thons and saw another eight or so patients. Matt took the opportunity to run up to Quiche and check on the facial plastics team that is there now. While in Quiche, he got to see our good friend Malachi Courtney, who will probably come down to help out tomorrow.

We're all done for the day now and headed out to grab a bite to eat. I'll have to post pictures when I get back to the US since I'm on a borrowed computer, or you can check our Dr. DeLuca's facebook page for some pictures now...

Hasta manana!