Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters: I have not been feeling well for about 2-3 months now and at first they thought it was my gallbladder was infected, but it never settled down in a month of antibiotics and pain. My primary care doc sent me to a surgeon thinking it was still my gallbladder and needed to come out. He ordered a CT scan and then referred me to an Internist. I went to see the specialist on Thursday in Harare and after reviewing my Cat-Scan and a thorough physical exam he has concluded I have Lymphoma (Cancer of the Lymph system). He told me that in Zimbabwe there is no use doing any more investigations because most of the pathologists have left the country and the oncologists are not comfortable treating Lymphoma. She he suggested I go to a specialist in SA or US.
I have chosen to go to S.A. to get worked up, have an exploratory lap to take the lymph nodes near my liver out for histology and so they can visualize my spleen. The enlarged lymph nodes near my liver what was causing my pain originally so they thought I had gallbladder problems. My spleen is very enlarged. He felt that it was very urgent for me to be seen ASAP and intervened to get me an appointment with the doctor in Johannesburg who he knows and trusts and has worked with before. He has referred me to a lady doctor, Dr. Gunther and I am flying to S.A. on Sunday May 6th and will be checked into a private hospital in Johannesburg on May 8th (Tues) to begin the workup with the doctor. Karen Pennington, my fellow missionary friend from Masvingo, will be flying down with me and Ben, her husband will drive down Monday to join us. They will stay until I am discharged. Depending on what they find and what they recommend for treatment then I will decide about going for treatment to the US or have the treatment done in S.A. Depends on how I am feeling, how long the treatment is, etc. If there is going to be several weeks of chemo I might as well be home and not paying to stay in a hotel in S.A.
Right now I am not feeling that bad. I am not sleeping well due to pain on and off at night. Also our dirt road is so bad now so every time I go to or from Harare it seems I don’t feel well for some days after. It is now taking us 2+ hours to Karoi it is so bad and no one seems to be working on it. I get tired after working all day and trying to organized food for visitors and meals have been exhausting because I haven’t felt much like eating. My only visitor leaves on May 1 and then 2 arrive on May 10th.
  Major and Cheryl have volunteered to keep the visitors entertained and working hard and my cook can do the meals I will plan out before I go. Cheryl Kellert, our new doctor here wanted to go with me but we have an urologist, Dr. Palleschi from Santa Rosa arriving on May 10th for 8 days and so I want her to stay and take care of him as we have been lining up patients for him to see. When he leaves on the 18th if I am still in S.A. then Major and her will drive down to be with me. Until then Karen has “volunteered” to be with me.
Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts. Will keep you informed as things progress. I am bringing a big suitcase to S.A. so I can go shopping sometime-ha! I have this week to get things in order before I leave and there is a big wedding of one of our nurses and ministers on Saturday before I go. We are all helping to put it on. Love, Kathy

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good News for Dr. Kellert and us!

We received good news yesterday that Dr. Kellert was given a 2 year work permit to work here with us! We have been waiting for 6 months since she arrived for this. She has completed here three months at Chinhoyi Provincial hospital and has been cleared to work by the Medical council. We have been busy putting her to work. I wonder if they would have approved if they saw this as her passport photo—taken on her recent birthday April 4th!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Counting the Easter egg haul!
Easter egg hunt
Easter Brunch
Sunrise Easter Sunday
Sunrise service Easter sunday
Blowing out the candles!
Dr. Cheryl Kellert--Birthday Girl!
Major opening the container

Easter is always a 4 day holiday here in Zimbabwe. So Friday-Monday over Easter is holiday
time. That means we work like our usual Saturday—go to the hospital by 8 or 9 a.m. do rounds, write discharges, do any procedures and see patients who don’t know it is a holiday and forget Out-patient department is closed, and hopefully get home by 1 p.m. and not go
back in the afternoon.
Friday we got to the hospital at 8 a.m. as a team was going out for ART outreach clinic and we got them ready to go. Seth went as the driver and helper. Then I saw some patients who “forgot’ it was a holiday and did discharges. Then I went with Major to open the container which arrived the day before. We opened to find so many wonderful and needed things. We only got a couple of barrels and some other things out and by 1p.m. I was home to get lunch ready. My cook and
maid are off the holiday and so we are on our own for meals and clean-up. Seth and Cheryl are eating with me.
After lunch we got ready for a surprise birthday party for Cheryl. Her birthday was on the 4th of April—but that was the day she returned from Chinhoyi and we had no time to celebrate. So we cooked lasagna and invited the doctors and Mereki family to celebrate. We have a tradition here of wearing the birthday hat, glasses, sash and blue gloves!

I gave her my birthday scrub top to put on too. We had a great celebration and at 7 p.m. we
were joined by others for our prayer time and a movie afterwards.

Saturday morning we went to the hospital and had planned to do a hysterectomy. Saw a few patients and then went to theater. I put the spinal in and we started the surgery thinking we would remove the uterus because of fibroids and got in and found out there was a mass all over her bladder—so we took a sample and closed her up and will see what the biopsy shows and then treat from there. Looks like a malignancy. We were home by noon in order to get lunch ready.
Major had left about 10 a.m. to go to a church meeting at Chivakenenyama about 1 hour towards Karoi from here. He preached and stayed for lunch and then came back to another church meeting at Jinga (about 40 minutes from here) to preach that night and Sunday morning. He
brought the tent to spend the night but only got about 2 hours of sleep. Everyone was singing and dancing and preaching all night until sunrise when church began. He said there was over 300 people there!
Saturday night we had the 2 doctors over for a movie. We started with my generator and then ZESA came back. It had been on straight from 9 p.m. Wed until 6 p.m. Saturday night.
We just started the movie and ZESA came back—wow! So turned off the generator and enjoyed the rest of the movie. I started making some food for Easter brunch and went to bed at 10 p.m.
Sunday morning our church was at 6 a.m. We met outside on benches and faced the hill
the sun rises over. Today it was a bit cloudy and a cool 69 degrees so I had a jacket on! We had a good service that ended with 2 baptisms and home at 8 a.m. to prepare brunch for 9 people at noon.
Got everything ready and started to put the last things in the oven to cook and got called for a C/Section at the hospital. So Seth, Cheryl and Dr. Kajese and I went off to do that. We postponed brunch until 1 p.m. and the Mereki family came over to join us! We had so much food and everyone ate so much no one wanted dinner tonight!

We went for church at the hospital at 5 p.m. and came home to relax and catch up on email and ZESA went out at 7:00 p.m.! Oh well we are all very tired so gives us an excuse to go off to bed early.
Tomorrow is Easter Monday so we are unsure what excitement awaits us! One thing that happened on Wednesday is that our phone service just started working again out of the blue! It had been dead for 2+ months and they got a generator going up near the tower and so now we have 24 hour service! It has been working straight through since Wednesday. Major was shocked when I called him in Harare Wednesday—he thought I must have driven to town! No more phone shop on the rock! My number from USA is: 011-263-772416270—we are 9 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight time