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Xuān's Recovery: A visit to Can Tho

After a two-hour drive into the countryside around Can Tho, we reached the home of Xuān and her parents. Beside a rice paddy and a field of lotus flowers, they live in a brightly painted, tidy traditional house – one main room at the front of the house which opens onto the outside, closed over at night with a wire gate.

Through a translator, we were able to talk to Xuān and her mother about their lives. Xuān is 13 years old. She has always excelled at school, and she especially loves math. She cheerfully told us all about her hobbies, which include playing badminton with her friends and taking care of the colourful potted flowers that filled their front yard. Talking with Xuān, it was hard to imagine how sick she had been just six months previously.

Xuān’s mother told us how last year, without warning, Xuān suddenly became very unwell. From initially only feeling dizzy, she started having extreme headaches and vomiting. Thankfully, her parents acted quickly. They took her to the local children’s hospital and then were quickly referred to the SIS hospital in Can Tho. After the doctors examined Xuān, a scan showed that she had an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) – a congenital malformation causing tangled blood vessels. At any moment, these vessels could have caused a bleed in her brain and, ultimately, a stroke. Xuān was immediately rushed in for surgerical treatment. She remained in hospital for four weeks of physical therapy and returned to the hospital often to receive medication for headaches, but quickly made a full recovery.

Despite being well-employed – her mother is a primary school teacher, and her father is a policeman – the cost of Xuān’s surgery was beyond the family’s means. It was only made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Xuān told us that she now feels very good, and that she feels she can do everything she wants to. Her mother showed us the wall of certificates awarded to her daughter – one framed certificate awarding her the highest achievement in her year group this year. Xuān told us that, when she is older, she would like to be a doctor. 

Huynh Hō Xuān Anh (given name Xuān)

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