I first want to give you a brief update as to the health status of the Haitian Donkey. As you know, I had been undergoing experimental immunotherapy as no one really knows what to do with me and my cancer. The cost of the medicine, since my insurance does not cover experimental treatments, is $160,000 per year, so we opted for a cousin that is trying to get a piece of the market and thus a bunch of red tape but not much expense. There are a number of conflicting opinions as to whether or not it was helping me slow down the relentless growth of the cancer, but by the study guidelines, it was growing too rapidly and I was dropped out of the study last Monday. My oncologist promises to look for another study, as other options are limited, I also am still waiting for Dr. Bartlett to read the latest CT scan and give me his opinion of what comes next. Because of my short bowel syndrome, it has to be an IV study as I would not qualify for anything oral.
I must admit that I have more energy and feel good off the medicine, but then, no one disagrees that it is, at best, a controlled poison? So, along with Duane, Ruth, Tabitha and Zella, we departed early on Saturday morning for the homeland of the Donkey. By God’s grace, other than some significant turbulence, the trip went well, including the customs inspection. There were a number of reminders of the violence that erupted last Wednesday, again some political uprisings, along the way, as the less than great roads were disrupted further with the tire burnings every so far on the road. Allegedly this planned rioting was to commemorate the death of some other(s?) in previous rioting, unfortunately, some more were killed in this episode. They also took out a bridge about an hour from the hospital, allegedly to force the government to construct a bigger, better one? I remember all the politicians vying for office back in Michigan bemoaning the state of our roads and the need to plow a bunch of money into fixing them up properly and I smile when I wonder what they would think of what our vehicles have to endure.
We have settled in well, as we arrived in the early evening, I was able to sleep 12 hours pretty much uninterrupted (except for the obligatory potty breaks that have been part of life for the last 3 years) and feel very perky. We have a pretty full schedule set up, if everyone shows up, of course, for the week. The Haitian Goude has sunk lower again, a real problem as much of the food supply and other essential goods comes in from the US and thus life is more difficult for the Haitian Donkey’s friends and coworkers here in Haiti. Duane will start on the incinerator project in the morning, apparently the government inspectors are coming this week (good timing as he can hopefully convince them their plans wouldn’t work anywhere nearly as well as the ones he is using). Glad Tabitha is here to help me in the OR, etc. They also have made sure that I am not hurting for food, yikes.
Am finishing on Monday as we did get the internet hooked up and can communicate again. The OR was busy, as expected, but went well overall. Have seen some interesting stuff, some of which is not fit for printing for a variety of reasons. One poor young girl of 10 years of age has one leg at least 4 inches shorter than the other, I think she might have had a congenital dislocated hip that was never attended to and sits up by her waist, not sure there is a lot we can do now, but will see what the xrays show. She certainly adapts well and is most delightful to treat so far. Several other young children have other congenital deformities, including one with a cleft lip and palate (I do lips but cannot do a palate as don’t have the obturators to keep the little one from destroying my repair with their tongue). Another had cerebral palsy and has very spastic legs, to the point that she cannot walk. So, have been working on trying to get our Physical Therapy department set up, still running into roadblocks as no one wants to challenge the previous person.
Will send this while the internet is working and express our appreciation for your prayers, encouragement and other support for the work here at Centre de Sante Lumiere in Cayes. We are thankful that the last earthquake didn’t do any damage to the southern part of the island this time, though people still have the last one well imprinted in their minds.
In His Service,
Bill, Duane, Ruth, Tabitha and Zella