Grace had a very large tumor growing in her abdomen. Other surgeons had attempted to remove it several times. Each requiring hours of careful surgery. But each time it had come back. This new doctor had helped to get the tissue reviewed at a specialty hospital in the US to see if any new information could be gained about the tumor. They confirmed what was already known.
*not her real name.
So I phoned a friend. One of the world’s experts on this type of tumor in children. He didn’t have a suggestion but referred me to another colleague. She too was unsure what to do but suggested another colleague. I happened to have met this last surgeon before and emailed her. She replied right away. She knew what the problem was. She had seen it before. It was very rare. But she could help.
Traveling to this specialist (one of a few in the world who have done what this child needed) would be very expensive. Could we possibly do this at Tenwek??? The surgeon later confessed that when she received my email asking her to come, she felt God tell her to go. So she said “yes”. The organization who contacted me offered to pay for the costs. A list of needed resources was generated and I began to see what we could pull together. I managed about 80%. She said it was enough. Could we possibly fit this into a two day window when the surgeon would have some vacation days?
At the end of June, Grace arrived at Tenwek. We met for the first time. She looked bright eyed and hopeful. But this operation would be very risky and had never been done before in sub-Saharan Africa. There was a chance she could die. We had a lengthy conversation. They seemed to understand. I then asked if they had seen our hospital sign - “We treat, Jesus heals”. Their eyes lit up and the interpreter said “Yes!” They were very excited. They believed the same thing and were trusting in God to care for Grace whether thru healing or not. It was amazing to see. We prayed together and they went off to do a long list of tests to prepare for surgery.
The next morning we began. Grace came to the operating room at 9am. The following day at 7am Grace was wheeled out to the recovery room - 22 hours later.
*photos with permission