Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Saimon is from the Jimi Valley, a remote place that our hospital serves, but not easily accessible to us. For 3 months he had become weaker and weaker in his legs to the point where he couldn't walk. He finally came to see us. The differential for leg weakness/paralysis in PNG is trauma, tuberculosis, and burkitt's lymphoma as the top 3. We ruled out trauma, but were still left with 2 choices. We got xrays to look for any evidence of TB elsewhere in the body, but didn't find any, so we still were left with TB or Burkitt's. Burkitt's in PNG and Africa, typically presents as a facial tumor that is rapidly growing, but it can also present with abdominal masses (which is the more common presentation in the US), or as a tumor which encroaches on his spinal cord, like we might have here. So we did the only thing we could, we started treatment for both, and waited. After about a week, he started to walk again. I didn't believe him when he told me he could walk, until I had him get up and walk, and sure enough he was doing it. I was praising God. He has a long road ahead of him with continued treatment, but we are praying he will continue to regain his strength and keep walking.