Amazing Grace is Home
When we first learned that Grace’s abdomen was beginning to fill up again with tumors, we began a multi-month search for the best possible options for her. The prices we were given by hospitals in the US were staggering, and we had difficulty getting firm answers on her care. And then right when we started wondering if a second operation would even be possible, we connected with Dr. Wim Ceelen in Belgium, and everything fell into place, including the most amazing outpouring of love and donations from our supporters to get her safely to Ghent. Our community once again made the impossible, possible.
Grace traveled to Belgium with her mom and a translator to help them navigate the unfamiliar country and hospital system. Naturally, they were all very anxious about the procedure despite their excitement about the opportunity for Grace to find healing and relief.
After an 18-hour surgery, Dr. Ceelen reported that they were able to fully remove all visible tumors within her abdomen, and then they performed a HIPEC, or Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy procedure in which chemotherapy drugs are heated and then circulated within a patients abdomen. This procedure hopefully eradicated any remaining non-visible cancerous tumors.
During her hospital stay in Belgium, Grace charmed everyone including Nurse Marie. Marie brought Grace a stuffed flamingo and a bunny for Easter, which she really enjoyed!
Grace did find it challenging to find food that she liked as the cuisine is so different from what is available in Uganda, but the staff and her translators worked hard to find her appetizing meals so she could stay strong.
At last, Grace was able to leave the hospital. She and her mom and translator were able to take small walks about Ghent and enjoyed the parks and trees in full bloom.
Last weekend was very difficult for all of them. They were expecting to return home on Saturday, just in time to spend Easter with their families. However, things did not go as planned, and they had to spend two unexpected days in Brussels as the next available flight was Monday morning. Fortunately, they found a beautiful historic church in which to attend Easter mass which was a very special and memorable experience.
The priest greeted them warmly and made these Ugandan visitors feel very welcome on Easter Sunday!
At last, Grace, her mom, and their translator were able to depart Belgium yesterday.
They landed in Rwanda and drove over the border to return home to their village on the lake in Uganda.
We cannot fully express our gratitude to everyone who made Grace’s surgery and travel to Belgium possible. You have given her a whole new chance at a long and healthy future!