So I have been very very bad about writing lately. I’ve decided I’m turning over a new leaf starting today. I’m officially committing to writing at least once a week even if nothing profound is happening in our lives here in Ecuador. I’ve been here long enough that everything seems so normal to me but I need to remember that it IS profoundly different here than the US even if I’ve grown accustomed to it.
The last several months I have not been feeling well which is maybe another reason why I haven’t written. Basically in a nut shell I was “diagnosed” with cancer on my tongue. I will go into more detail about the medical process here in Ecuador at a later date because it is quite different from the states. But the short end of it is that I’ve had a spot on my tongue for about a year or so. Prior to moving to Ecuador, I had my last dental cleaning in the states and the dentist didn’t seem to think it was serious but said we should watch it. Well soon after that I moved to South America and pretty much put it out of my mind. So several months ago it started bothering me quite a bit and I overall didn’t feel well so I saw a specialist in oncology and he said that upon visual examination he was sure it was cancer but we needed to do a biopsy to confirm. The biopsy came back as non malignant! The tumor still needs to be removed and surgery has been scheduled. There are several pre op checks that need to be done and one is a chest X ray. The chest X ray revealed two unusual spots on my lungs that the doctor said needs to be examined further and so I was scheduled yesterday for a CAT Scan. This was done at Solca which is apparently the regional cancer hospital in Manabí which is one of the provinces here in Ecuador. Solca is a very well-respected hospital here. Thankfully Crucita where we live is only about 20 miles away. So the many visits I’ve had to Solca have been much easier to get to than other people who are traveling a much greater distance.
Anyway, during the CAT Scan, they injected me with some type of solution that made my body extremely warm and I thought I had wet my pants. 😦 Very strange sensation. He did tell me that it would be “caliente” meaning warm, but didn’t warn me about the wetting my pants part. I was a bit worried….but later I read on the internet that is considered a normal sensation. Very strange indeed. We didn’t have an interpreter this time, but I was able to understand him to tell me to drink a lot of water over the next three days. Also, he said to stay away from “queso, yogurt, leche, y huevos” basically dairy and eggs. The rest of the day I felt terrible and had a headache which I never have. So whatever chemical was dripped inside my veins must have been potent. Ugh! I’m not a proponent of many of the medical procedures using chemicals (including chemotherapy) so this is difficult for me.
Regardless, the scan was done and my doctor will get back to me with results in a week or so. So we wait.
In the waiting room of radiology I saw a man, maybe a boy, who looks young maybe in his early 20’s. I’ve seen him before and my heart always goes out to him. He’s a handsome guy but obviously has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy as he is bald and has no eyebrows. His skin is a yellowish color and he is very thin. Almost every time I go to Solca I see him waiting in one of the long lines to be seen. He is usually in a wheelchair and he is always alone No family with him. I pray for his body to be healed and that he will know Jesus.
After the appointment, we took a taxi to Super Aki (where the locals shop) and picked up a few groceries and then walked across the bridge to the bus terminal where we took the bus back to Crucita. It’s good to get on the bus at the terminal as it fills up fast and by the time we leave Porto Viejo, usually there are people standing, crowded in the aisles. When someone needs to get off the bus, they squeeze their way to the front and everyone pushes up against everyone else. All the while, there is fun exciting Latino music blaring in the background.
After arriving home, I laid down to try to lick the headache. In the mean time Dave left with our friend Lenner (who I teach English) and tried to work on obtaining gift certificates from the restaurants and businesses for the silent auction coming up next month. The proceeds of the auction will go to the school in Crucita to help with repairs to the bathroom, or repair of a retaining wall or a library (depending on the funds that are raised). Explaining to a local business why they should offer a free anything for a gringo to bid on at an auction is not an easy task at all. So far most are offering a dessert or a drink for free. I told Dave that regardless, this is a lot for them and we should be thankful for any amount that they donate.
While Dave was gone, I heard a thud on my exterior bedroom wall. The dogs who usually follow be around like a shadow had mysteriously disappeared but they were quiet so I wasn’t too alarmed. Awhile later I decided to get up to feed and water my plants and as I was heading out the front door to water I saw Audrey sitting proudly next to a dead bird! The site of any dead animal is not one I can handle (along with live mice) so I decided I would leave it for Dave to take care of when he got back. But in the mean time, Audrey had laid claim to the bird. She wasn’t doing anything except laying next to it but somehow this must have had a profound symbolic meaning in animal terms because she wasn’t about to move. Lilly was at the bottom of the porch steps and tried coming up into the house, but Audrey let out a deep low growl from the depths of her throat to warn Lilly to stay away from “her bird”. I got Audrey away so Lilly could pass but after I turned my back a fight ensued and it was noisy enough to get the attention of Sandie our neighbor. She popped her head over the fence and asked what was going on. I explained I wasn’t about to touch the bird until Dave got home, so she promptly came over and removed the bird for me WITH HER BARE HANDS. This was rather disgusting but I was thankful none the less. The prize was gone now. At least Audrey had about 15 minutes of bliss.