Thursday, 15 September 2011

Fatoumata/ Elizabethi (Type 1 diabetic)

Fatoumata was the first of our Type 1 diabetics. She had been living away from her mother and had gotten so sick that all she did was cry out for her mom. The family sent her to her mom basically to die. Thankfully, her mother brought her to us and we were able to diagnose her diabetes and start her on insulin. What a difference there is from her near comatose-wasted state when she arrived...


to the fun-loving girl that she became. Fatoumata and her mother enjoyed the time they had together in the hospital.

Her mother lives far away and Brett asked that Fatoumata stay in Koutiala so that we can give her good care. She is now living with a lady who sells food outside the door. She graciously agreed to take care of Fatoumata. While at the hospital, Fatoumata heard about Jesus and decided to follow Him. She, on her own, insisted on changing her name to Elizabethi and wanted everyone to call her that.


Trying to teach an uneducated and illiterate girl how to treat her diabetes is a hard task. Simple concepts that we would take for granted would take me days to teach her. But she has learned how to give her medicine and record her urine dips. We are also working on teaching her how to read.

Here she is with another diabetic. I asked her to talk to him because he was not reading his urine strips correctly. Neat that she can now help others.

I just had to laugh at her insulin bag that she carries with her wherever she goes. She has syringes, several bottles of insulin, her comb and other hair supplies. I mean, it makes sense. Controlling diabetes is important, sure, but we cannot forget the importance of pretty hair. :)

Jara (Type 1 Diabetic)

Jara came in a few weeks after Elizabethi. We still don't know why her belly was so big on arrival but it was huge.


On several occasions her family left her at the hospital for weeks at a time without telling any of the staff. We'd realize that they weren't around and ask where her family was. She would tell us that her father had asked another patient's mother to watch over her. One time, it was the lady outside the hospital who sells food who was "in charge" of her. We soon decided that this would not be a family that could help her as she treated her diabetes.

Thanks to our wonderful and generous house guy, she has a new home. Jeremie agreed to take her in without any question or mention of money (we are helping him though with the added expense). Here she is going to her new home after months in the hospital.

With two of Jeremie's kids and his mother.


Barthelemy, the boy on the right, is in charge of her care. He makes sure she gets her medicine and takes the correct amount of insulin. He is also helping her to learn to read.

I know it seems crazy to take a child from her family but Jara truly seems happy here. Jeremie's daughter was thrilled to have a sister.

Yohana (type 1 diabetic)

Meet Yohana, our third type 1 diabetic. He came in the day after I had sent our other two diabetics home. He is a twelve year old boy who has finished 6th grade. Brett was about to send him home but his father kept following him around the hospital. Thankfully, Brett decided to check a urine and it was grossly positive for glucose. He has been in the hospital for about a month now.

Receiving his first shot of insulin.

His father, Daniel, is a missionary pastor in a village outside of Koutiala. He receives only $15 every TWO months as his income. Obviously, he cannot afford insulin so we will be helping with this.

Yohana after weeks of treatment. He has learned everything very quickly and will be going home soon.

Mamadou (Hodgkin's Lymphoma)

Mamadou was back this week for cycle 2 of 5 for his lymphoma. You can hardly see anything now on his neck. Aside from the nausea with the chemo he is doing well.

Kristen is a nurse who has joined our team. She is currently in language study but has been coming out to the hospital on treatment days because she worked as a pediatric oncology nurse in the States and will soon help me with the treatments on a regular basis (and one day she will most likely take over the program). So thankful for her!


Mamadou's cycle is two days of various meds, then one dose of Vincristine a week later. The second day of his treatment Kristen wasn't there because she was studying. It was one of those interesting moments for me. As I said before, Mamadou has had nausea with his chemo. He threw up once as we were putting in the IV. Then as I was giving the meds he began to throw up again. So there I was, one hand pushing in chemo meds and the other holding his bowl, sitting quietly as if nothing were abnormal about this situation. Only a short while ago I would have been in tizzy. Trying to give chemo was scary enough then having to juggle that and throw up would have been way too much. I wasn't comfortable with IVs a year ago. I hate throw up. Give me blood and pus and I'm fine but not the throw up. In nursing school when one of my patients started to vomit I threw him a basin and ran out of the room. I attribute my ability to handle vomit more to my kids than any hospital patients but regardless I am thankful I no longer have to run away. Now I can sit with a vomiting child and give chemo. Isn't that what everyone wants to accomplish in life? Seriously, though, I am thankful for the Lord's healing hand in their lives and for all the ways He is growing and teaching me.

Monthly IV meds for leukemia patients

Our leukemia patients, Kadia and Francois, came back this week for their monthly dose of IV Vincristine. It is so fun to see them. I love these kids.

Their hair is coming back in and it is so soft!

Francois with his buddy Jason, a pediatrician at the hospital

Yohana (diabetic), Francois and Balla

Who can forget Amosi? The kid is so funny and so full of energy. He is trying to eat the smarties Alan left for the kids with the wrapper on.

Me and my sweet girl. She hasn't wanted to dance with me (as we liked to do each morning on rounds before) this time but I love her just the same.


Francois has gone home as his blood counts looked good. Kadia, however, had really low platelets so she is staying in the hospital at least until the beginning of next week. I'm not complaining she is having to stick around. :) Maybe then we can dance.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mami (incurable osteosarcoma)

The other day Mami felt good enough to take a walk around the pediatric building. It was good to see her get around.

Mami and her mom.


This is blurry but I love it because this shows their personalities more. They are sweet people.

Me and Mami.


Today was actually a very special day with her. I have told her and her family many times that though I can offer no more hope at this point that I know the One who can give hope in this hopeless situation. Carol and I have told her that if it weren't for Jesus, we would not be in Mali. The physical suffering here is great. If I thought all I could do was use my skills and knowledge to help, I'd be overwhelmed. I wouldn't stay- if I even came at all. I am here, though, because I believe in a God who is bigger, more powerful, and more loving than me. He is why I am here. We have prayed with her many times, that she would know His love and feel His comfort. Today Mami prayed to become a Christian. What a blessing to have been a part of it. I pray she will truly know His peace and love during this time.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Comfort care for Mami (incurable osteosarcoma)

I know it's not great to be in the hospital, but I think in some ways Mami is enjoying it. We brought in a nice chair for her as well as a tv and dvd player to keep her occupied. She loves it. You can't talk to her if the tv is on. She is getting round the clock pain meds which is helping a lot. She hadn't slept on her back in months but with her pain medication she is finally sleeping well. She is even laughing and smiling again. The DVDs that we have for her are the Jesus film in Bambara. Mary Magdalene in French and the animated Joseph film in French. Please pray that she will be comforted and find eternal peace during her time with us.


Mami and her mother enjoying watching a dvd. (notice the difference in the size of her legs. One is atrophied while the other continues to enlarge due to the pelvic mass blocking blood and lymph return to the body.)

Mamadou (hodgkin's lymphoma)

Mamadou came back Monday for his dose of Vincristine. I was amazed to see the difference in the size of his mass after only two days of chemo.

This is at diagnosis.


Only a few days later. Amazing the difference!


He has three weeks off and then will come again for another round of chemo.