Monday, October 1, 2018


Saturday afternoon I received the call: “man stabbed in the upper arm with an arterial injury”. On the way to the hospital my mind ran through the possible scenarios. One look at the injured man confirmed my fears. He had an injury to his right brachial artery, the single vessel that feeds his dominant arm and hand. If it had been a smaller blood vessel, one with an alternative path to maintain blood flow to the hand, I would have simply tied off the injured segment. But this singular artery required a careful vascular repair in order to maintain the life giving flow of blood to his hand.  Two and a half hours later, I removed the final clamp and watched the vein graft, bridging the gap between the two ends of the injured artery, swell with pulsating blood. Relieved, I felt his radial pulse and watched his fingers turn pink again. 
Earlier this month, I attended a retreat for physicians serving internationally, such as myself, in the World Medical Mission post-resident program. We talked about many of the struggles we face working in hospitals that are short on supplies, short of manpower, but never short of patients needing help. The focus of our devotions was “Keeping Our Center”. When everything becomes chaotic and I feel like I’m spinning in circles, how do I find my center again? In essence, what is my lifeline? I realized that I often center my life around my identity as a surgeon, my identity as a missionary, or my identity as daughter/sister/friend. Although those are important parts of who I am as a person, and they can buoy me up emotionally for a little while, in the end, those identities are not the source of life that sustains me. My true center, my true lifeline is my identity as a child of God. In a wonderfully mysterious way, the shedding of Jesus’ blood washed me clean and provided a bridge so that I can connect with God and receive his life-giving spirit straight from the source. If I cut off that lifeline, I, like my patient’s hand without blood flow, am at risk of suffocating and dying spiritually. There is no alternative route. Praise God that when I am able to to spiritually reconnect to my lifeline, just like my patient on Saturday, I feel a new pulse and see signs of life returning


  1. This is wonderful, Sheryl! On multiple levels :)

  2. Praise the Lord for this wonderful testimony Sheryl!!! God is showing you in so many ways how He is with you every step of the way as you continue to do His work in the mission field. I appreciate when you see His divine presence and will even during surgery. You are indeed connected to His awesome power and love and grace. Prayers your way and keep blessing and praising Him. Doc Gene