I am sure you remember a special girl from our school whom we are particularly caring about: Monika. Those of you who do not know her can read a summary of her story here or read my first blog entry about her situation here. She has had a terrible accident with a kerosene stove in May 2014 which left her with severe burns on her face, chest, arms and hands.
When she returned to school in December, we got to know what happened and saw how these burns had limited her physical activity: she could not close her eyelids, move her neck, lift her right arm or open her mouth completely. We knew immediately that we needed to help and now, after two surgeries, she can turn her head freely again, raise her arm and close both eyes nearly completely again.
Her situation has improved so much with the help of modern medicine – and in a few days we are about to take the next step: Monika’s third and last big surgery is ahead of us.
I have been with Monika and her mother to the hospital yesterday to have her pre-surgery examinations. This will be the last big surgery for working on the functionality of her body. This time, the doctors will operate her mouth, which right now only opens about two fingers wide due to the burnt skin contracting and scarring so much, making it impossible to stretch wider. Additionally, they will once more work on her right eye, as it does not close completely yet, even after her previous surgery. They will make release cuts and grafts around the lips so that she can open her mouth properly and one more time at her right eye for it to close properly.
Due to the mouth surgery, the doctor said they would need to stop the movement of her mouth completely for some days and she would need to be fed by a tube. That's how she will probably have to stay in the hospital for longer this time, for up to ten days. Afterwards, just like before, she will have to stay close-by the hospital so that she can regularly go there for changes of the dressing.
Of course, Monika is nervous once more about her surgery. This time, it seems especially much because she won’t be able to use her mouth for several days. At the same time however, she is looking forward to being able to eat properly again!
We, too, try to encourage her by showing her the positive side: this will be the last of her big surgeries with such a long stay at the hospital! After that, the doctors will work on the skin in her face, trying to make it smooth and bringing back some of its original colour.
For now, however, we are focusing on the task ahead and are positive that it will all go well. I will keep you updated here – and as usual, we are always happy about your support for our work! Thank you for all your good wishes and help from around the world!