The path towards progress seems to be in the cumulation of many small, insignificant acts all working towards a larger end. The medical work amongst the refugees these past months seems to be no exception!
We’ve had countless hospital runs, doctors visits, and face-to-face assessments with sick refugees this month. Each week we gave out dozens of medicines to the sick (like the box full of medicine at the top of this post) to try and help them fight infections and diseases. Most eventually get better, but with some of the long term cases it can seem like they are never going to truly be well again.
It can seem that with any one case in particular, progress is very slow, both in trying to help them definitively heal and with entering into their life to share with them the love of Christ! This past month, though, it does seem we’ve had some real progress in certain cases after months of small, almost forgettable efforts.
However, we’ve also had some sorrows as one of the terminal patients, the young lady with stage 4 cancer, finally lost her fight with cancer and passed away. She had been receiving palliative care at a relative’s home this past month. She developed difficulties breathing and was admitted to the hospital where she died a few hours later. We are thankful for the opportunities we had to serve her and her family and be a light to them. Pray for her family as they have now lost a mother and a sister within half a year, both to cancer.
We are thankful for many of you reading this who helped with her care over the years. It was not easy. The regular chemo treatments were expensive and demanding. But when she came to us, everyone had abandoned her. Her husband had left her, her extended family would not loan her any more money for treatment, and the government had no ability to provide assistance. She was alone, and in her most desperate hour she saw the love of Christ through the many Christians sacrificially giving to help her.
Those Who Are Healing
Like I mentioned above, we have had some progress this past month on a few long-term cases! We finally have a solid diagnosis and care plan for the man with aplastic anemia. The medicine he needs ended up only being about $100 a month instead of the $1,000 as we had feared, so it seems likely we will be able to continue helping him recover. However, if the medicine alone does not resolve his case, he will likely need blood transfusions for the rest this life unless we are able to find a medical group willing to help him get the bone marrow transplant that will cure his disease.
We are happy to report that the middle-aged father with enormous, painful veins in both his legs finally had his surgery to remove them. This was almost 6 months or more in the making! We are thankful for the opportunity we had to stay in the hospital with him for most of the day of the surgery. They see that the Christians here really do care for them. He is recovering well at home. We’ve already been to see him to change his bandages (he has about 7-8 different sites that need changing). Pray for continued, smooth recovery and further opportunities to visit him and share with his family. They are very thankful for the help!
Those Who Are Still Sick
We had a very jarring medical case show up this past week. A little baby with a huge infection on her cheek from a condition called Leishmaniasis. This is spread by the bite of sand flies, and is common in Iraq and Syria. It seems the baby has had it for some months after being bit by a sand fly in Syria before the family fled out of the country. We are trying some medications to help the child, but this condition can take months to heal and can prove fatal too, so please pray!
Continue praying for the teenaged girl with severe Thalessemia. We were able to take her in for the genetic test required by the UN for their eventual relocation outside the Middle East, where we hope she can find definitive treatment. We had a major problem earlier this month when the NGO we were coordinating with ran out of her specialized medicine and said they couldn’t get it anymore, ever, into this country! Thankfully the Lord provided, and after several weeks of searching we found a pharmacy able to special order an alternative medicine that does the same thing for her. She still needs regular blood transfusions each month, which is a burden for her, but it is buying her time for now!
The wife of the man with aplastic anemia also needs prayer. We took her in for an EKG and heart echo with consultation. The doctor reported that her heart is only functioning at 35%. We will take her back to the doctor for labs and a chest X-ray. He is concerned she may have a life-threatening condition.
Continue praying for one of the quadruplets who needs hernia surgery. We have found it very difficult to move forward with his surgery. This surgery is vital because his intestines may become pinched in the hernia, possibly leading to death if left untreated. The family no longer has a way to be contacted except taking a trip to their house, which is far away, and hopefully finding them there. The father is often gone for days at a time looking for work in other cities. We are unable to schedule the surgery without proper ID. Unfortunately, the family owes the local municipality money for their birth certificates before they can have the IDs of the babies released. We want to help this cost as well, but are finding it difficult to reach the father to coordinate plans for the surgery. Please pray the hinderances would be resolved soon. They already had one of the quads die months ago. We pray that a second one would not follow.
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