He is ABLE

Elizabeth is a 60 year old woman who is devoted to Jesus with her whole heart. She noticed a lump on the right side of her neck 4 years ago and it continued to grow and grow. Her family brought her to the ship on Thursday and was seen by our general surgeon Dr. Bruce. She was diagnosed with a large thyroid mass that would be risky to remove. The mass has invaded her neck and forced her trachea (wind pipe) to the side causing a problem when trying to secure an airway for surgery.

As Elizabeth walked down the hallway this mass is all you can see. It looks like she has tennis balls stuck underneath the skin of her neck. Her husband, son and daughter was with her and they are an obviously close family. When they talk they look the other in the eyes and smile.

Just looking at Elizabeth even an untrained eye could see that doing this surgery could be life threatening but life changing if she survived. Dr. Bruce had "The Talk" with Elizabeth and her family. He told them that she might die because of the surgery and would definitely die if she did not have the surgery. He told them that if the surgery was successful that it would not because of his best efforts but because of Dr. Jesus' healing power. Her husband responded to the grim news by saying " I want her to have the surgery. I believe HE IS ABLE and He alone can heal her. If she does not live then she will go home to Jesus." Dr. Bruce agreed to do the surgery.

Elizabeth went into surgery on Friday afternoon and there was a buzz around the ship. The nurses were all anxious to see how Elizabeth would come out. Dr. Bruce and Dr. Bob along with Dr. Nigel and anasthesia team performed a cut down to intubate her through her neck, they then debulked the tumor, tried furiously to stop the bleeding of this vascular (bloody) mass, then they placed a permanent tracheostomy so she can breathe on her own.  She received 4 units of blood from crew members (our blood bank) and was transferred to the ICU. Her blood pressure dropped and her hemaglobin (blood count) was 5 (her normal is 9-11) so she was given 3 more units and was on a ventalator to assist her in breathing.

I received report in the ICU on Saturday morning and was busy from the start. She began to bleed out of her surgical incision but was controlled quickly. At the begining of the shift she was drowsy but later she perked up and was breathing fine on her own. I took her off the ventilator and later she even had some ensure to drink.

Elizabeth is full of gratitude and love. She reaches up to give give me hugs and she holds my hand when I near.  My favorite moment was when i showed her a mirror for the first time. She smiled her one tooth grin and lifted her hands up to praise the Lord. The translator said she was saying "Thanks God".

Saturday afternoon her husband, son, and daughter came to visit. The looks their faces were priceless. Her husband was so ecxtatic that he turned around in circles and said "Thanks God". I gave him an update and he said " I knew that God was going to take way this problem. It has giving her a hard time, but I knew my God was able to take this away. He is able, He is able."

This morning I went down stairs to see Elizabeth and she was sitting up in a chair with her feet propped up like the queen of the ward. All I could think was, God you did it again, another miracle, another life saved, another family touched, You are able.