Tania is a hard-working woman with a ready smile. Widowed at a young age, Tania, who is also vision-impaired, has taken on the task of supporting her daughters as they pursue college degrees. She holds a demanding, low-wage job at her local parish, where she is responsible for programming events and ceremonies.

But the most immediate burden holding Tania back was her severe urinary incontinence. “Only God knows the pain I feel when I walk to work,” said Tania, who treks eight kilometers each day between her home and the parish office. The road is dusty, and coughing and sneezing in particular caused her to suffer the most from her embarrassing condition.

In July 2013, Tania learned of the Gynecologic Surgery Mission Trip taking place at the Maternal and Children's Hospital in Tiquipaya, Bolivia. The mission team included Dr. Janet Tomezsko, a well-known specialist in pelvic reconstruction surgery from Chicago. Dr. Tomezsko was in Tiquipaya specifically to train the program's Bolivian partner surgeons in the mid-urethral sling procedure to treat urinary incontinence.



Tania’s bladder sling implant was performed without incident. Two of her daughters -both medical students- were at the hospital to support their mother, and were greatly inspired by Dr. Tomezsko's explanation of the procedure when she met with them after the surgery. Tania returned home under her daughters’ care, and was back at work within a few days. She no longer lives in constant fear of embarrassment as she makes her way to and from the parish and carries out her other daily tasks. Instead, Tania can now hold her head high, confident and free from discomfort as she continues to support her family.