18 May Finding hope amid uncertainty
Patrick Regan knows what it’s like to face medical uncertainty.
The founder of Kintsugi Hope developed a degenerative knee condition that required major limb reconstruction surgery. The procedure involved breaking both of his legs in two places and screwing a large external frame into his legs. The frame is incrementally adjusted, gradually straightening his legs.
The uncertainty around his treatment and his future left him with anxiety.
“We all crave certainty. Everyone around the world, we want to know what’s going on. That’s the way we’re built,” Patrick said recently at the Spring Harvest festival, where he led a seminar on mental health. “To beat anxiety, you need to accept uncertainty. But it’s really hard when you just don’t know what to expect.”
Anyone who needs a major operation faces a great deal of uncertainty, but it’s amplified for patients who don’t have access to the type of medical care that’s available in the United Kingdom.
In the UK, people have access to 29 times more surgical specialists than are available to patients in Cameroon. To meet this need in Cameroon, Mercy Ships is providing free surgeries and medical care to patients who otherwise would be left with uncertainty over their futures. It’s vital work that has changed the odds for more than 2.5 million people since 1978.
“If you can’t get surgery you need, you realise it affects your emotional health, mental health and your physical health,” Patrick said. “It also affects your relationships with your family, and it affects the people around you.”
For Patrick, relying on his community was key to overcoming the anxiety related to his treatment and recovery.
“I just had to allow myself to be in that place and allow people to support me,” he said. “And without my friends, my family and the community around me, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
At Spring Harvest, Patrick applauded Mercy Ships for the organisation’s work in expanding access to the medical care that many people take for granted.
“You can’t live without hope,” Patrick said. “That’s what Mercy Ships does. It offers hope.”