Thursday, September 11, 2008


Buldung came to us about 2 weeks ago. An ER nurse asked me to see a patient, and initially all I saw was a lump of a kid underneath a towel in the ER. I removed the towel and was, initially, quite surprised at what I saw. Buldung, about 3 yo, has a very large tumor which has distorted his face. His family told me, he has had this for about 5 months. He was treated at a nearby hospital where they did surgery to try and remove the tumor, but it came right back. They said he was having trouble breathing as the tumor extends into his mouth pushing his palate down, and also in his nose. He also was in quite a bit of pain, and wasn't sleeping. I wasn't really sure what kind of tumor he had, they did a biopsy when he had surgery, but with how things go here, it can be 6 months before we get anything back on the biopsy. At the time of admission, I knew we could treat Burkitts lymphoma to the point of curing it, and despite the possibility of it being numerous other kinds of tumors, I felt like it was his best shot if it was Burkitts. Waiting on the results of the biopsy wasn't really an option, since he could easily die before we know what he has. I talked to his family about not knowing what kind of cancer he really has, and not being sure if this poison medicine (chemo) will really help him, and that the medicine in itself could kill him. His family was looking for anything to help, and were okay with me trying the chemo. I did consult our experience oncologist (Bill), who agreed that it was our best option. Initially, when I looked at him, I saw his tumor, and had a hard time seeing the rest of him. In a few days, that all changed. He was sitting, talking, eating, playing, shaking hands, smiling, laughing, and I soon fell for this sweet kid. I know longer saw the tumor, but saw Buldung, the kid. One day when I was done praying for him, I opened my eyes to find him with his eyes closed, a huge smile on his face, and his hands covering his tumor. He looked so cute. I know his mom doesn't see his tumor, but just loves him because he is her son. One day, I had to give him Ketamine, an anesthetic, so I could do an LP and give him chemo in his CSF. He was crying after I gave him his shot, and his mom just held him and wrapped her arms around him trying to comfort him. When I saw that, I thought of God's love for us. We, too, all have our own large tumors - sins, that to some are quite offensive, are all people can see, and cause people to want to run away. However, God loves us despite our tumors. As a result of that love, Jesus died for our tumors, and God no longer sees our large tumors, but sees each of us as His son/daughter and loves us just as we are. Please be praying for Buldung. His tumor seems to be shrinking, his pain is down, and he is sleeping better - all of which are good things. He recently got a fever and we are treating him for an infection with his low wbc. Each day will be a battle. I pray that he and his mom, Tres, will know God's love all the more through this, whether the tumor resolves or not. *I just found out that his name is Buldung, not Bulung. They don't always know how to spell the names, they just say them and leave it up to someone else to spell. So his chart initially had Bulung, but it really has a d in it. He, his family, and the nurses had a good laugh as I tried to pronounce his name correctly today (9/18)