Written by Stephanie Cizek, MD, PGY3 at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco OB/GYN Residency Program on a Global Health rotation with Bay Area Surgical Mission in Daet, Philippines.
Mary has fibroids. Common, benign tumors on the uterus, which for her have grown disproportionately large, causing abdominal pain and heavy bleeding with her periods. She has lost so much blood that she is chronically anemic, and her fibroids have grown so large on her tiny frame that she appears 20 weeks pregnant. She has had surgery for this problem before — 15 years ago, a group of surgeons on a surgical mission trip landed near Mary’s hometown in the Philippines for a week to provide free surgery. She has a large 15cm scar across her abdomen, but the surgery