Here is Agnes’ story in mini-chapters:
Oct. 1: Our Ugandan care team talked with our U.S. Board. Together, we decided that our team leader, Doreen, would take Agnes to Mulago Hospital, a government hospital in Kampala, about 7 hours from her village. We all began to pray. Agnes, Doreen, and another mom who needed medical care made the long trip from her village to Bundibugyo, up the mountain to Fort Portal, and down the long road to Kampala.
Oct. 4: After being told that the surgery would cost $200-300, her caregivers referred her to Nsambya Hospital, a private Catholic hospital, for x-rays and scans. Everyone felt good about that, but we were aware that her treatment at Nsambya would be much more expensive. Our main concern, of course, was that Agnes would receive the best possible surgery and care.
Oct. 6: The surgery was scheduled for the following day. Unavoidably (and somewhat predictably), her surgery was delayed until Oct. 10. She continued to struggle with the pain, the discomfort, and her fear of the unknown. Could her five-year nightmare be coming to an end? Was her social humiliation almost over? Would she be able to breathe and eat normally without pain?
Oct. 10: Agnes was rolled into the theatre (we call it the operating room) at 8:40 am. The operation took longer than expected. Eleven long hours later, Doreen was notified that Agnes was out of surgery and given the wonderful news: The procedure was a success! Her little boy, Prosper, had never seen his mommy without the goiter, but he did tonight. She started down the road to recovery.
Oct. 13: A couple of days in the recovery room worked wonders. Agnes was still a bit sore, quite tired, and wore a bandage on her throat. But her goiter was gone. Doreen snapped a photo with her phone and sent it ten time zones away. We looked at Agnes and replied to Doreen, “Give her a hug from us! Tell her that a lot of friends in the U.S. love her and have been praying for her.”
Within seconds, we received a second photo of a very thankful, extremely happy young woman smiling and waving. “Thanks to all in the U.S. for the love you have shown me,” Agnes responded. “I am full of much happiness and I ask God to bless you for your kind and loving heart. I have endless thanks!”
Oct. 16: A new season has begun. Accompanied by her friend and supporter Doreen, Agnes made the long bus ride back to her village in western Uganda. Her years of suffering from a goiter are over. She is back home with her family and friends. Our care team stays in touch with her often and reports that her recovery is going well.