The Haitian Donkey Considers Another Huge Surgery

Hi All:

In the last letter, the Donkey explained that his bowels are blocked, nothing comes through and the normal intestinal juices, about 1.5 quarts daily, go in the reverse direction and are vomited daily.  This has shown no signs of letting up but I am relatively stable otherwise.  I originally had called Dr. Bartlett to see if he thought radiation might help shrink the tumors, both he and Dr. De Cook thought this might, but radiation specialists by and large have been reluctant to try this, including those in our area.  When the obstruction showed up, I called him again and sent him the latest CD of my CT scan.  He reviewed it and thought he might be able to help me get some relief with a 4th exploration.  As he has been there 3 times before, he knows the difficulties likely he will encounter but thought it was worth a shot.

I obtained cardiac clearance a couple days ago and will go on Wednesday, the 7th, to see his partner in Pittsburgh at a new hospital (to us), Allegheny General Hospital, the consortium he has switched to and is the head of the entire cancer department, I think there are 7 or so hospitals involved.  As this location is too close to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, his partner will be the official surgeon but he will be one of the 4 on the team and assures me things will be no different than before.  If she feels the large hole in my abdomen through which now just tumor protrudes is closeable, etc, we are scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on the 13th for preop testing, blood typing and crossmatching, etc on the 14th and surgery on the 15th.  

Since it does not appear that Allegheny General will relax it’s rules and allow switching to a new caregiver after a week or so, my nurse brother, Will, will take that role, as he is retired and his family can keep his farm going in his absence.  Needless to say, he is a great answer to prayer for wisdom as we carefully seek the Lord’s will concerning this major step in my care.  The Covid rules still only allow him to see me from either 9-12 am or 5-8 pm daily and the family house he will stay in is the same as the one we had before, across from UPMC. They only have 3 houses scattered throughout the city and none near Allegheny General.  Due to Covid, the shuttle is not running but they will arrange Uber to get back and forth.   

Needless to say, this is a major decision for the Donkey, but the obstruction doesn’t seem to let up, the protruding tumor continues to enlarge and make care difficult and smelly, so this seems a reasonable, though risky, solution.  We would greatly appreciate prayer for God’s guidance through the remainder of this pre procedure evaluation and the surgery itself and recovery, if that is the way He chooses to lead us.  

The Haiti Team filled and sent a 40 foot container on Friday, October 2 with building and medical supplies and it is on it’s way with equipment for the teams coming later in the year.  I am very thankful that we were able to obtain a fair number of general surgical and orthopedic tools from an organization in Pittsburgh that hopefully will keep the surgical department going for years to come.  The tools are especially useful as so much of surgery is being done laparoscopically and thus the open tools are much less available.  Continue to pray that we will get more funding for the solar project as this would ensure reliable, 24/7 electricity (maybe with a couple hour generator boost daily for Xrays and the washing machine) in the midst of the continual political upheaval and uncertainty.  Rumors have it that the government has mandated an almost 50% increase in minimum wage, understandable with the runaway inflation, but where do they expect the funds to come from?  We may have to increase charges for services some, but that is only a limited solution as the patients don’t have increased funds. 

We would appreciate prayer for His wisdom for the Donkey’s surgical situation and the hospital construction, maintenance and financial organization.  Thanks to all you who so faithfully support us in these endeavors for our Lord at Centre de Sante Lumiere.

In His Service,

Dan, Duane, James, Jenn, Rachel and Bill