The knife that carved through Gue Gue's abdomen wasn't exactly meant for pulling out her inflamed appendix. But it was the only one available in the sweltering jungle clinic, a bumpy ride over mountainous terrain from her guerrilla training camp.

There was no option for general anesthesia to put her under, so Gue Gue was conscious for the operation. The former tour guide, a stylish 26-year-old who listed her interests on Facebook as "Traveling, Adaptive Hiking, Dance, Writing, Gymnastics, Fashion Photography, Listening to Music, and Reading," tried to keep her mind focused on all the work she had yet to do and not the surgery. "They were cutting the muscle like we are chopping pork," said a friend who was there.

Gue Gue had no regrets, she said later, except about the jagged red mark left behind. "I really don't want any scars!" she said, laughing. "After the revolution, I'll go and remove my scar with a laser."