I have been working steadily. It is hard to know where to start. I spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the operating theater and Tuesday, Thursday in clinic. I definitely need to remain flexible as things change moment by moment here. Wednesday was a big day in theater. We had a large Carotid Body Tumor which is a benign mass that originates from the largest artery in the neck that runs up to the brain. These tumors are found at high altitudes so they are not uncommon here. What was unusual is the large size of this mass. It ran from the lower neck up to the base of skull. There was much preparation for this case. The patient was at risk for stroke and multiple nerve injuries. I consulted another visiting surgeon for his help during the case. We prayed a lot with the patient but eventually felt resection was her best option. Our first objective was to make sure she did not have a stroke as we were going to have to tie off the main artery supply to the tumor and the brain. While the patient was still awake we began surgery and identified the carotid artery. We clamped this for 5-10 minutes and made sure she had no signs of stroke. She did well so we placed her under anesthesia and proceeded with surgery. Below is a video of the mass for those interested. No it is not the heart in the neck, that is a pulsating mass!
God was amazingly faithful and we were able to resect the entire mass. She is recovering well. Swallowing is often an issue after these surgeries but she is swallowing well. The day after surgery the first thing the patient wanted to do when we rounded on her was pray to thank God for what he did.
There have been many other stories to tell. 2 patients arrived in casualty this week with airway blockage from tumors. These were advanced tumors and both patients needed to be taken immediately to the operating room for urgent tracheostomy. Fortunately I brought some tracheostomy tubes as supplies are very low. Both patients survived and are in the hospital recovering.
Clinic has been very busy. We have put a limit on the number of daily patients to try to prevent congestion. But even with this limit we are working well into the night. My favorite clinic story of the week was a 56 year old male with tremendously enlarged neck masses on each side. Examination revealed a tumor behind the nose. I reviewed the findings with patient and his son. I explained the seriousness of this as this was unresectable disease. He did not know the Lord and after discussion and prayer he gave his life to the Lord. We were able to give him a bible in his tribal language and he left clinic with gratefulness and knowledge that he would live forever in the Kingdom of God. Although I desire for each of my patients to be healed in body as spiritual healing is so much greater. We celebrated that day as the kingdom of heaven enlarged!
Thank you for your faithful prayers. We remain healthy and protected. COVID continues to spread amongst the staff. 3 staff members in the Dental area have now tested positive. Praise God we are well.
Chase and Jimmy Miller