Saturday, January 22, 2011

Trying to make a difference

To the 26 wk unborn baby inside mom’s belly, every medicine I give and decision I make regarding his mom affects him.  In order for his life to continue, she needs to continue to live. 

At 26 wks, he is way too small to enter our world here in PNG   Our neonatal ICU is really nothing more than a warm nursery that happens to have an incubator.  We lack a ventilator, and the tubes and gadgets aff are routinely working and beeping in other NICUs.  He needs to continue to grow inside his mom for about 4 and preferably 6 more weeks, before he should come out. 

Unfortunately, he may not have 4-6 wks.  His life is at risk because his mom is dying.  For 3+ months a mass has been growing in her breast, and has now spread to her liver, lungs and lymph nodes.  She has metastatic breast cancer and unless God heals her, she is soon going to die.  The extent of her cancer prevents us from being able to surgically remove it, and thus our options are limited.  Prayer and comfort care is really all we have to offer her, but what about him?

God knows all of us, even when we are inside our moms, Ps 139 tells us He knit us together.  He knows this little baby and the life that he will or won’t live.  As a doctor, I am not the giver and taker of life, but God has given me gifts in the field of medicine which allow me to help people when they are sick. So for a time, I get to try and make a difference in the life of this little baby.  If I can drain the fluid in her lung and help her breathe better, maybe his heart won’t beat as fast and he will do better.   If I can treat her pain and bring her comfort, maybe he will be comforted also.  If I am able to shrink mom’s tumor with chemotherapy, maybe he will get the chance at life that he needs. 

So I try, doing what I can with the resources I have, to help her and in the process to help him, trying to give him the extra weeks he needs before he enters this world.  Knowing that he likely won’t know his mom very long on this earth, but being comforted that he can know her in heaven, as she now knows Jesus.   Please pray for this little baby and his mom.