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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Getting a Mammogram in Guatemala

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Because of our traveling lifestyle, and because we have no U.S. based health insurance, we take advantage of the local medical facilities whenever we need care. It was time again for my mammogram, pap smear and blood work, and I found myself in Panajachel, Guatemala.

Fortunately for me, there was a clinic, Pana Med, just a 5Quetzales ($0.60USD) tuk tuk ride from our hotel. When I arrived at the clinic, I went upstairs to the receptionist there and made an appointment for that same afternoon at 4pm.

 

Tropical downpour!

As fate would have it, on my way to the clinic, I got caught in one of the tropical storms so common during rainy season here in Guatemala. I was drenched in a matter of minutes! Streets became rivers quickly and the wind was blowing the rain sideways. Umbrellas were useless.

By this time, mud was all over my feet and shoes, and my hair was just dripping. I was going to make a great first impression on my gynecologist, Dra. Juarez.

I eventually found a tuk tuk, hopped in and had him take me to my destination. We navigated large moving patches of water and grated drains had become geysers. I was a bit concerned that the tuk tuk would be overcome with the force of the water in the street, but the driver found the clinic with no issues and dropped me off.

Inside Pana Med

Going upstairs to the second floor, I waited for the doctor to call me in. I brought copies of my previous mammogram and sonogram with me, so I was prepared.

In a matter of minutes, the receptionist escorted me in to Dra. Juarez’ office and she took down all my pertinent information. Then the doctor asked that I change into one of the hospital gowns so that she could examine me.

Pana Med is on the 2nd floor

A pap smear was taken, a complete physical exam of my breasts was done and then, since I had my clothes off, she did a quick sonogram on my uterus and ovaries. Then I put my clothes back on and returned to the doctor’s desk.

Dra. Juarez, who spoke perfect English, said she would send my specimen to Xela, a town about 90 minutes away for them to do the testing and that the results would be done in a week. She gave me a prescription for a mammogram and a sonogram of my breasts to be done at Imessa clinic in Solola, a town about a 10 minute bus ride up the mountain from Panajachel.

The Adventurer's Guide to Guatemala

Imessa

The next day I took a 3Quetzales bus ride up to Solola, then hopped into a taxi. The 5Quetzales taxi ride took me directly to Imessa Clinic, where I registered at the reception desk for my procedures. I paid ahead of time for these services, 200Quetzales ($25USD) each for the mammogram and for the sonogram. Unfortunately, it was quite busy that day so I had to wait about an hour for my name to be called. 

The mammogram was done first, and then I went out into the waiting room for my name to be called once again for the sonogram. Within 20 minutes I was called into another room where a technician performed the sonogram and wrote up her opinion of the films.

All told, within a couple of hours, I had my films with me and I called the taxi driver to pick me up and take me to the bus stop, where I took a bus back down the mountain to where I lived in Panajachel.

Returning to Pana Med

The following week my pap smear results were sent by email to Dra. Juarez and I met with her again in the afternoon. For this appointment, she told me to prepare myself for a complete sonogram of my female anatomy as well as my bladder, by drinking lots of water before I arrived. I had done so, and the sonogram was performed. Then I relieved my bladder and another sonogram was done of my bladder without the liquid inside. This was the first time I had ever had a sonogram of my bladder. Dra. Juarez basically said, “Since you are here I may as well check this out too.”

When she was finished with this sonogram, I dressed and then sat in a chair at her desk and had a consultation about all of my results. Fortunately for me, everything was good, and I had nothing to worry about.

La Asuncion Laboratoria Clinico Biotolico

Blood tests are next

Dra. Juarez suggested that I have a blood panel workup done since it had been a year since my last one, and she wrote me a prescription for this. She checked off what needed to be done and instructed me to go to a lab here in Panajachel which she trusted, just a stone’s throw from the Maya Day Market. Of course, I was to fast the night before.

The next day I took another 5Quetzales tuk tuk ride to the La Asuncion Laboratoria Clinico Biotolico and made an appointment at my convenience, 2 days later.

 

I arrived on the appointed morning when the lab opened at 7:30 a.m. and I paid my 200Quetzales for this blood work service. Within minutes of when I arrived, my blood was taken. The technician told me I was to have my glucose checked pre and post eating, so after I had my breakfast that morning, I was to return 2 hours later to have another vial of blood taken. And I did just that.

I was able to pick up the results of my blood work the following afternoon, with a printout sheet letting me know how my blood stood up to normal levels.

The costs for all procedures are as listed below for Akaisha’s Mammogram, Sonogram, and blood work:

150Q ($18.75USD) for consult

125Q ($15.63USD) for pap smear

400Q ($50USD) for mammogram & sonogram (200 each)

150Q ($18.75USD) for consultation and sonogram of uterus, ovaries and bladder

200Q ($25USD) for blood work: Complete blood work panel, Glucose pre and post, Creatin, Total cholesterol, HDL and LDL

Transportation 50Q ($6.25USD)

Total:  1,075 Quetzales ($135USD)

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Dr. Juarez, Gynecologist, Pana Med Clinicas de Especialidades, Calle Principal Barrio Norte Kilometro 118, Frente a Qunta las Penas 2nd Nivel, Panajachel, Solola, Tele: 4224. 2648.

Imessa, 15 Calle 4-10, Zona 1, Barrio el Carmen, Solola, Tele: 7762. 5413, Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. to Noon, Email: info@imessa.com, Website: www.imessa.com

La Asuncion Laboratoria Clinico Biotolico, On the road to Godinez by the Maya Day Market, Licda. Kenia Maria Caballeros Barragan, Calle Principal, Callejon Maria Cruz local 6C, Telefax: 502. 7762. 6268, Website: www.laasuncion.com.gt Email: info@laasuncion.com.gt, SOLOLA: 7a Avenida 11-52 Zona 2, Tele: 502. 7762. 4869 Telefax: 502. 7762. 3303

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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