Less than one month ago we collectively shouted, “HALLELUJAH!” in response to the healing Ketty Okoth received from esophageal cancer. She, her family and the entire New Hope Uganda community, as well as those of you who have stood with us in prayer have enjoyed and celebrated her victory! Indeed, she beat the odds against that onslaught becoming a member of a group of survivors comprising less than 20% of esophageal cancer patients.
Aunt Ketty overlooking downtown Nairobi before returning to Uganda in July.
Today I write to ask you to again stand with us in prayer and faith. Last week Ketty began experiencing some weakness in her left hand and arm. These symptoms progressed with left shoulder and neck pain followed by weakness in her left leg and an “electrifying” feeling throughout her body. A headache plagued her in increasing measure so on Thursday she was accompanied by her husband and Aunt Gertrude Bakimi to the International Hospital Kampala (IHK). She was admitted that evening after completing blood work and a CT of the head. Results were obtained and reviewed on Friday resulting in what appeared to be swelling and a tumor in the right side of the brain. The final diagnosis made on Saturday between oncologist and neurosurgeon is multiple tumors on both sides of the brain invading both cerebrum and cerebellum. These tumors seem to be of the same type as the esophageal cancer. The surgeon declared them inoperable, and both doctors agreed to refer her back to Nairobi for radiation treatments.
Ketty and Kimberly White, one of our staff nurses, will fly tonight (November 18th) to Nairobi. Their first appointment is tomorrow, Wednesday the 19th at 2:30 p.m with the same oncologist who coordinated her radiation and chemotherapy treatments earlier this year. It is hopeful that radiation to the tumors will sterilize them.
Please be praying for us as this again means Ketty will be separated from her husband and children for an undetermined time. Plans are in the making for both Uncle Okoth and their oldest daughter, Millie, to join her in Nairobi after the initial week or so. But first, Uncle Okoth must complete the process of securing a passport and Millie must finish with her final term exams.
Once Ketty has been evaluated and a treatment plan formulated, we will know more details of this next phase in a journey we thought had come to a close.
We also want to publicly thank the other nurses who work in our clinic who sacrificially postponed some of their leave time to allow Kimberly to be with Ketty for the first week or so in Nairobi. The entire clinic staff have demonstrated a unified effort to care for not only Aunt Ketty these past six months, but gave an extraordinary amount of time to the care for Wizeye Joseph this year. With his passing less than a month ago (he passed on Tuesday, October 22nd and Aunt Ketty was declared cancer free on October 24th–it was an emotional week!) our staff has been working under more demand and stress than usual.
Your prayers are coveted for:
The Okoth family as they desire their wife and mother healed; the children who are in the midst of their final exams and are not wanting to say good-bye to mommy again
Wisdom, strength and stamina for the doctors, nurses, and those of New Hope Uganda making decisions regarding her care and treatment
Necessary facilities for an optimal treatment course
Sufficient and adequate guest house accommodation in Nairobi for the unknown duration of Ketty’s stay
Safe travel for all who will be with her in Nairobi
Complete sterilization of the tumors by the radiation treatments
Thank you for your prayers! Ketty was overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer support and personal messages she received throughout the earlier course of this disease. Please continue your encouragement, prayers, personal messages and words from scripture as all of these tremendously aid her in her faith, peace, joy and healing.
In the words of Ketty’s sending oncologist, we’ll “trust God for another miracle,” and give periodic updates when we have more to share.
- Mary Britton