After saying goodbye to our Bolivian partners and our blogger, Caitlyn, I'm grateful to summarize our last day in this way. On early Sunday, Janet, Jennifer, Yvette and I each woke up in our own beds after a grueling fourteen-hour journey home to Chicago. I felt like this was my first moment to exhale in a week!

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In just five days, my dedicated gyne missioners, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Doctora Paty's talented young team at the Sacaba Clinic, were able to evaluate nineteen women pre-selected by Dr. Paty over the previous month. We were stunned to realize that many of these women traveled up to four hours from distant communities, where they heard about our visit through their local churches, community radio announcements, and even state television reports. An operation was not the best treatment option for everyone, but twelve were cleared for surgeries and other complex procedures to which they would otherwise likely have no access. Surgeries included mid-urethral slings to treat incontinence, endometrial ablations for heavy bleeding, and hysterectomies to address severe uterine prolapse in older patients. Many of the women also benefited from additional pelvic reconstruction procedures provided by Dr. Janet, who just happens to be one of the Chicago region's experts in that field.

Now that is a full week's work!

Written by Jodi Grahl, Director of Gynecology, General Surgery and Pacemaker Programs

I could not be more grateful to Janet, Jennifer, Yvette, and Caitlyn (who stayed behind in Cochabamba to continue her research on the Bolivian healthcare system), and to Dr. Paty Lopez, Dr. Paty Arebalo, Dr. Pilar Lara, and all the other physicians and support staff at Clinica Arebalo. In addition, our mission would have been impossible without the indispensable PuenteSol team, in particular Marizol and Paty who never left our sides, and Carlos, Maria Ines, Jose, Veronica and Julio, who took care of all the behind-the-scenes planning and support tasks.

Once again, I am so grateful to be a part of Solidarity Bridge!

I am also thankful to all who read our humble blog posts. Please let us know what you most enjoy reading about our trips, our partners, and our programs. We love your feedback!

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