Aurelia has been the 1st and 2nd grade teacher at the Pillar of Fire mission school since 2012. After completing a 1-year teacher training in 2013, she came back to the school dedicated to make Pillar of Fire the best school in River Cess County! Aurelia came to the clinic this past October with off and on abdominal pain that had been plaguing her for months. We discovered she had a cervical mass. With the help of our friends at Last Mile Health, we transported Aurelia to Monrovia to meet with a surgeon and get a hysterectomy. Unfortunately the mass was too large to operate on. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Cervical Cancer.
Aurelia was admitted to Hope for Women Hospital where she started receiving chemotherapy treatments, in hopes that the tumor would shrink and a hysterectomy could be completed. After 4 months of starting and stopping chemotherapy, 8 blood transfusions, and 3 hospital admissions Aurelia has come to the end of road for her cancer treatment. The cancer has spread. This past Wednesday we met with Aurelia and her family to discuss her prognosis and introduce the concept of Palliative Care.
Preventative medicine is a foreign concept in Liberia. There are no routine breast cancer screenings, no routine pap smears, most women here have never had a vaginal exam. Only 2 hospitals in Monrovia are known for doing prostate checks, and those are not done until a person is symptomatic of already having prostate problems. So by the time any cancer is diagnosed here, it is typically in the advanced stages leaving little opportunity for anything to be done medically.
Aurelia has lost weight, has swollen legs and is unable to walk. We’ve purchased her a wheelchair so she might be able to get out of the house. We can’t say how long she has left. She’s in God’s hands, and there’s no better place to be.
Please continue to pray with us for Aurelia and her family.
On Saturday, March 12th, our friend and teacher, Aurelia Johnson, passed away. She had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cervical Cancer this past fall. In spite of chemotherapy, the cancer spread. A few weeks before her death, we were able to spend some with her and her family. She said she would miss everyone, her children, her friends, but she was not scared to die. She knew she was going to see her Savior.