Abancay, Peru, also known as “the Valley of Eternal Spring,” is home to 37 year-old Salomé Hurtado, her husband, and their two children. In this fertile valley, Salomé works as an at-home gardener, selling her fruits and vegetables at the market on the weekends. Her husband is a laborer in the province of Aymaraes, 3 hours from Abancay and returns home to be with their family on weekends.
At times, it can be a lonely, repetitive existence, but Salomé loves her family and looks forward to having a son.
That is, until Salomé began having stomach pains. When the discomfort intensified, she went to the local hospital. In June of 2018, local doctors diagnosed her with a uterine myoma, a tumor composed partly of muscle tissue.
"When I found out that I had a myoma, I tried to continue my life and work, but over time it brought me problems... I had two miscarriages and the pain during my menstrual cycle was very intense.”
As the myoma grew, Salomé became anemic due to the frequency of her menstrual cycle.
“The worst part was that we didn’t have money for surgery," says Salomé.
For 11 months Salomé lived with this condition…growing weaker and more hopeless. Even if they saved enough money for surgery, the doctor recommended a hysterectomy, crushing her hopes of having one more child.
“I went to different gynecology specialists and they gave me a very expensive treatment of pills. Since I had no money, I had to take out a loan from the bank for my treatment. Each month I was bleeding more frequently and one morning I was bleeding so much that I was taken to the hospital. Since I didn’t have insurance, I couldn’t get the surgery. They told me that the only solution was to have a hysterectomy because the myoma was so large. I cried a lot because I would have to lose my uterus and could no longer have children.”
The clock was ticking and the family wasn’t getting any closer to relief for Salomé…
"My family knew about my problem because they saw me crying a lot,” she shared.
Luckily, Esperança has been active in the region of Abancay since 2016, partnering with CADEP to send surgical teams to the Regional Hospital Guillermo Díaz de la Vega de Abancay. Esperança Board member and volunteer surgical team lead, Dr. Feuerstein, was gearing up for his second mission to Peru, and the team on the ground began spreading the word about his arrival.
One morning, Salomé’s sister-in-law was listening to the radio and told Salomé about Esperança’s sponsored advertisement for a gynecology surgical mission offering free evaluations at this local hospital.
“Without thinking and trusting God completely, I went to see if they could help me. The doctors examined me and they helped me to get the necessary tests for my surgery.”
At last, after 11 months of pain and distress, Dr. Feuerstein’s team was able to intervene and give Salomé and her family some relief. The surgery went without complication, and the best part..? Salomé’s uterus was kept intact, and her dream of having a son was still alive.
“I’m very grateful for Esperança and to all those who took part in my operation during the mission. I told the doctors that if they come back next year I would cook them a delicious dish of cuy (guinea pig)," Salomé smiles.