Friday, November 27, 2009

"Hyster Sisters"

Another remarkable story from the mission with Project HANDS comes from two sisters who arrived together, both to have hysterectomies.  Partner for Surgery came across Silveria and María Concepción Gonzales in their cervical cancer screening in Salamá, Baja Verapaz.  Both were recommended to have hysterectomies due to ovarian cysts and the substantial amount of pain they were having.  Without knowing that these two were sisters, the surgical team coincidentally scheduled their operations on the same day.  It wasn't until they were already side-by-side in the recovery ward that their relationship was discovered and they were affectionately dubbed the "hyster sisters."

After speaking with María, age 29, about her situation at home and how this operation is going to help her, I was awed by what this woman has been through, apart from the 12 hour trip to the clinic.  She started working at age 12, helping in other people's homes and sewing in a factory.  At age 18 she got married and the following year had her first child.  She now has three kids, ages 6, 8 and 10.  Her husband has since left Guatemala to find work in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant.  He sends money back to her when he can, but there is little work for him at the moment in housing construction.  María talks to him every day, and expects him to come back within a couple of years.  Her husband sent money for her to pay a caretaker to take care of her kids and mind the house while María is recovering.  Upon returning to her villiage in Baja Verapaz, she is looking forward to a relaxing recovery and being able to work pain free.

Silveria came accompanied by her husband who showed immense concern for his wife during and post-operation.  He suffered for the pain his wife was having prior to the operation, so much so that he wanted to sell everything they owned in order to pay for an operation in Guatemala, which they told me would cost Q14,000 (about $1,700).  The couple has 5 kids at home from ages 3 to 13, who are being cared for by her brother.

Both María and Silveria were amazed by how well they were treated by the team of foreign doctors and nurses.  As María put it, "They see us as equals," which is apparently more than they have seen in their past experiences.  "They neglect us when they see the 'cortes'," the traditional skirts that indigenous Guatemalan women wear.  To them, the traditional dress means no money, and they often cannot receive treatment.  María and Silveria feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity and were eager to find out how they can help with our mission.  They are determined to return to their villages and show the others how their life has improved because of the operation they have had.  Hopefully this will help to alleviate the fear that other patients have had concerning surgery and assist us in reconfirming more patients that need operations.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us your thoughts