Day 3: Personal Stories (Premalignant Cervical Cancer)

Day 3: Personal Stories (Premalignant Cervical Cancer)

The names and other identifying information about these patients have been altered to protect their privacy.

Adelia is a beautiful Mayan woman who hesitates to smile because she is missing her two front teeth. When she arrived today in her orange blouse, her young daughter refused to leave her side as she entered the CCC See and Treat clinic, but she sent her 3 sons outside to play.

Adelia is married to a local cardamom farmer, Manuel Jesus Tut. She enjoys cleaning the two rooms she rents, ironing, and bathing her children. She heard from the woman she rents the two rooms from, (coincidentally a nurse at Coban Hospital) that there was going to be a Woman’s Clinic at the main hospital today. Therefore, she loaded her four children into the bus for the hour drive. She was so happy that she tested negative that, although shy and introverted, she decided to come out of her shell and use her language skills as our CCC Q’eqchi interpreter to help other women who could not understand Spanish.

One woman for whom Adelia translated Spanish to Q’eqchi was Gloria, accompanied by her three-year-old daughter Isabela. Gloria is a single mother whose husband died of unknown causes when Isabela was just a few months old. Gloria learned about the CCC clinic from women in
main Mercado where she and her sister, Celia Maria Choc, sell local handicrafts.

Gloria tested negative with the vinegar test but her sister Celia was not so lucky. Celia was screened with vinegar (VIA) and was found to have premalignant cervical cancer.

As it turned out, Celia had been to a doctor for a pelvic exam one year ago. She remembered that she had the vinegar test and was told it was positive and she must go to Guatemala City (5 hours away) for treatment with cryotherapy. That was just too expensive, Adelia translated to us.
Fortunately she was able to come with her sister Gloria today to the Morris Hazan Cure CervicalCancer center and be treated successfully with cryotherapy. She was tearful with joy that the problem was solved and she was saved from the precancerous lesion progressing to invasive cancer. She promises to come back to the clinic in a year to make sure she’s still healthy.