Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homeward Bound!!!

It's 5:30 am and all my bags are packed, and I'm ready to go. Connie and I are happy to be going home to Malawi. The modern world is really quite hectic.

We had a good appointment with Dr Chait yesterday. He gave us the final instructions on which stitches come out when. I showed him that he had missed the cyst that I had hoped he would take out and he said: Oh my we must do that right now, if anyone hears of this they will think I am a complete idiot. Will you stay so I can take care of it. It will only take ten minutes.

Connie had wanted to see the first operation which they would not allow, so this was her chance to see this one. Dr/Professor Chait had me lie down on his operating cot and then told me to bite down on this thing that looked like a plastic bullet. He called it a bullet too. We were back in the wild west or so it seemed when he stuck the first needle in my face to numb it. I wanted to scream but just cried instead and reached for Connie's hand so I could squeeze it to death as he proceeded to poke me again and again. Once it was good and numb he started his incision and then took out the cyst. It was a bit of a battle to get it all out and in the end the Dr won, but he was surprised at how large and hard the thing was. I could feel most of the stitches going in, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the injections so I decide it was the lesser of two evils. Connie made it through the whole procedure without fainting and I managed to keep my whits about me as well. I guess his bullet treatment worked. The the patients on the other side of the door didn't know he had done a thing, although I wanted to shout it from the roof top. I cannot tell you how grateful I was that he had knocked me out for the first procedure. I really liked Dr Chait. He is a man of great humor and Connie and I had a wonderful time joking around with him. He wants to follow up on me via the Internet. I will send him pictures as the days go by so he can keep an eye on his work. What a wonderful thing these computers are. I think he did a beautiful job. He is a Jewish surgeon which was a plus. The only other Surgeon I ever go to is Jewish as well and he makes all things new. His name? Jesus!!

I'm praising the Lord this morning for His unfailing love and faithfulness. He is all we need in time of joy and trouble. What a wonderful savior,husband and friend. Truly the Lord has carried me through. My love to all. I love your comments so keep leaving them. Thanks Kendal, Cheryl, Shari and Michele.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home From the Hospital

Yes it is true. I am home and feeling fine from the neck down. My head feels like my hair has been pulled much too tight and ear as though someone has pulled it off and sewn it back on. Everywhere there is stitches it's as thou I'm bursting from the seems. I think thats more of a feeling than a reality.

The ladies/nurses were very nice and helpful. I woke up at 4am and they brought me coffee as I asked. Then I asked for toast and got that as well along with hot chocolate. I tried to watch tv but other than an evangelist preaching at 4am there wasn't much to see. Finally I fell back to sleep and woke up to Connie setting her bag on the floor next to the bed.

The Doctor came in about 7 and said he thought it all looked pretty good. I didn't have the heart to tell him he hadn't cut out the cyst I wanted him to get on my left cheek. He said he had taken out two other bumps, who knows what they were. I wanted to mark the right spot the day of the surgery but we couldn't find a pen to mark it. Anyway at least he didn't remove my nose or a chunk of my lip. We'll just pray that the scar goes away. There is always so much to be thankful for.

Connie and I tried to go to Nelson Mandella Mall today which we saw, but I wasn't much fun cuz I wanted to come home and go to bed. It was my idea to go to the Mall and it was fun. We even found Cinnabon and got some rolls to bring home. Not long after we started walking around I started to feel a bit dizzy so we came home. We are here now in our locked up house where we are staying. I'll post some pictures as soon as I get back to Malawi.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to you too!

Hello, all of Michelle's friends and family!

Michelle is "in hospital", as they say here in South Africa, and resting comfortably. She and I left for the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and she was treated to a lovely hospital gown and a pair of very exciting underpants! Can I use that word on a missionary's blog??? Anyway, she was rolled out of her room at 10, but she said she wasn't rolled into surgery until about an hour later. She came back to the room at noon with stitches on her left cheek, behind her right ear, and a gauze patch over her right eye where they did the graft and removed the cancer, not in that order. She groggily climbed into bed and a few minutes later uttered her first words, "How long did you have to wait?" Sweetie, thinking of MY wait on HER birthday after HER surgery! Anyway, she was able to eat lunch an hour or so later. She had a good dinner and after getting a bit more medicine for pain, was doing well when I left her about 6:30 this evening. She prayed with me for my trip home alone in Joburg which I greatly appreciated. (One very heavy chain on the outside street gate, another locked gate into the yard, another one into the entrance way, then one into the house and then dash to turn off the alarm where there is another gate in the middle of the house and one on each of the room doors so that if the bad guys get in through a bedroom window, they won't have easy access to the rest of the house! Things are different (in a creepy sort of way in regards to security) here in Johannesburg!

So, Michelle should be discharged tomorrow after breakfast. I know she is so grateful for all of your prayers. God is faithful and good.

In this Rock,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Birthday and Pass the scalpel.

To day is my Birthday and the day of my Surgery. I will have Connie write an entry in this blog after all this is over today. I covet you prayers. God Bless you. Michelle

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Navigating through JO Burg

Good evening. Connie and I have been trying to navigate this very complex city. We are both(buggared) that is South African for tired. This city is full of robots which means full of traffic lights. It seems to lack street signs however so every one tells you how to go by telling you how many robots and stops you need to go by. There are also alot of y's in the road, so we feel like every other y we have managed to not be on the proper side of. We went out shopping again today and it took 5 or six maybe more stops to ask for directions before we got it right. We do know how to get from East gate to home now, but we won't be going to east gate again.

After talking to the doctors I realized that the bill will be closer to 3500 or 4000 dollars. However that will include my stay in the hospital and the plane ticket as well. I am trusting God for his provision at the time. He is able. Thank you Jesus for providing for all my needs.

I am a bit nervous but, trust that my life is in the Lord's hands. Vanity will get me no where at this time. It's amazing how attached we get to this house me live in called our bodies. We are called to take care of them because they are the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells, but when He decides to remodel them we must trust He has a purpose and plan in all of this. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to share Christ with Dr. Chait.

I'm also very thank you to the Lord for my friends the Dehnerts. Connie has been a lot of fun to be with and has kept me positive as well. Her husband Kelly is home with his 3 kids and my dog, what a willing soul. Pray for this family as they are separated from one another in order to walk with me during this time. What a blessing they are. Good nite and may God bless you. Michelle

Friday, October 19, 2007

Taking JO Burg by Storm or Something?

Yesterday Connie and I rented a car. We decided that Connie would be the only driver in that It was likely that I would not be able to drive after surgery. Connie's neighbor's mother(Marjorie) met us at the Airport and brought us home. We are staying with her.

This morning we woke up early to go see the doctor. Marjorie used to work with this Doctor 30 some years ago, so she had a picture of him at her wedding, which we took to show the doctor-Larance Chait. My neighbor in Malawi, Kush asked a good friend of his Mr Barney Herwitz to recommend a plastic surgeon and that's how I got Dr. Chaits name. Anyway he was very fun and friendly. He said"your a missionary? Then why did God do this to you? I said, if God hadn't allowed this, than I wouldn't have met you. What does one say to that?

So here's the game plan. He will operate first thing Monday morning. His plan is to take the cancer out and make sure that he got it all. In order not to make it impossible for me to close my eye, he will be taking a skin graft from behind my ear and placing it over the spot. Then he will put something he said will look like a small pumpkin on the skin graft and when the pumpkin falls off the skin graft should be well taken. He plans on putting me under for the operation and keeping me in the hospital for one night after the job is done. He doesn't want me to be uncomfortable so he said it would be best if I spent the night in the hospital. I will have Connie take pictures so we can post them later for you who are into seeing how it looks.

Connie and I decided to try and make the rest of the weekend fun, as Monday is my Birthday and that's the day I go in for surgery. Today we went shopping for all the missionaries on campus. They all gave Connie a list of things to pick up for them while we are here. I picked up a few essential things as well, but the Bank didn't know I was coming down here so they cut me off.

Driving home from the Mall it was dark and raining. The people have warned us that this is a very dangerous city, so we tried not to stop to long anywhere, especially at stop signs. We made several U turns because we were lost and the street signs are tough to see. I kept telling Connie to "Keep moving" it's hard to hit a moving target. We made it home and we are proud of ourselves. Marjorie locks every door in the house to keep the thief's out or localized if they should break into a room in the house. She's quite a kick. Connie is writing down famous quotes from our trip, so I will share them with you. We have done alot of laughing thus far.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On my way.

In about one hour I will be leaving the house for JO Berg. The appointment is set for me to see the Doctor on Friday Morning and then have the surgery on Monday morning. That will give my friend Connie and I some time to have a little fun and relax a bit before I "go under the knife" as they say. It has been a tough two weeks and I feel as though the Lord is blessing me with a rest.

The nurse at the Clinic in JO Berg gave me an estimate of the cost of this whole procedure and it will be a little over 2000 dollars US. That is if they don't insist I go into the hospital.

Thank you for your prayers. I will keep you posted and take some pictures along the way.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

A need for Grace.

I had written the below posts several times over the past three days and lost it several times. I'm sorry for the mistakes but I'm thrilled that the post was made today. thank you for your grace.

First Days in Malawi

Day 1:
I arrived in Malawi at 9:45 am local time just 60 hour after leaving Washington. There were two people at the Airport to meet me. Dr Paul Chinchen- the Director of the college and Toni Moffet, the present Clinic Administrator. They brought me back to the college and then took me to my new home.

I stepped out of the car and was bitten by on of three dogs who had come to greet me. They looked like I was food to them and not anything short of that. The bite was the size of a silver dollar but turned Ugly black.

I was excited to take a shower and try to rest for a moment. So once Toni left, I grabbed a bar of soap and jumped in the shower. They had told me there was hot water, so I was looking forward to my hot shower. The water was stone cold, so I fiddled with the nobs encluding one nob which was to the far right of the normal shower fixtures. I thought it mignt be a hot water valve, but it didn't seem to make much if any differance. Cold, Cold, Cold. Oh well this is Africa and I'm lucky the water is running at all. I turned off the water and went to dry off. It sounded like there was a water fall in the house. strange, I thought but then decide to go investigate. Walking out into the hall I saw a gushing water fall coming from the ceiling tiles. The floor in the call was flooded and the water was moving out into the living room very quickly. I was horified. I ran back to the shower and turned that strange extra knob I had thought was for hot water and the water was shut off. I then asked the next door neighbors house help if he had a mop and he came back with a small mop with about three strands. This of course was no match for the lake that was now in my hall way and livingroom. I decide to use the only towel I had and a trash can to mop up the mess. Once my Landlord"s wife was home I talked to her about the problem and she said she would send a crew in the morning. Night fell and I took some sleeping pills to rest. They worked.

Day 2:

The 5 member repair team came to help with the plumbing problem. They worked 8 hours, crawling up and down the stairs and in the end declared the hot water tank fixed. It was about 5pm so I checked their work and it was not done. The water was stone cold. I needed a shower however, so I jumped back in the shower and when I got out I once again found the flood in the hall and living room. I think we have a problem, I thought.

Day 3: A two man crew returns to solve the water problem. By this time I was a bit tired of hanging out at my house, but this crew only took 2 hours and the water seemed warm so I was happy. My Landlord Family are Indians from India. They are very kind and loving. They had me over for at least one meal each of the three days.

Day 4:
I jumped into the shower and turned on the hot water, knowing it would take a while for it to get warm enought to enjoy. Once it got hot I reached for the cold water. Suddeningly there was a strong electrical current running through my body. I hadn't had my coffee quite yet, but I was now wide awake. Quickly I decided to jump out of the water and run away. I put on my clothes and opened the locked doors to run out of the house and tell the Landlord. On the other side of the outer pattio gate were the three dogs barking and grawling like ferousious lions ready to tear me from limb to limb. I stood there and yelled:" HELP HELP HELP" This was Drama at it's best. Apparently the house help had gotten a shock at about the same time in the Landlords house, so they came a running to my rescue. I decided showers aren't all they are cracked up to be and went to work with dirty hair and smelling like one of the locals. Oh MY I don't think they noticed, but I was longing for an out of body experience.

Day 5
I had been to the clinic and had decided to check out my E-mail. There were several notes from my mom in which she complained about not hearing from me and also saying that she had not told anyone about my problem. She didn't know about the ones I have just told you about so I was wondering what on earth she could be referring too.

After scanning down the mail entry page, I notice a note from my Doctor, called Biopsy results. As I read his note I Knew what my mom was referring too. I have a basil Cell Carcinoma on my face just right of my right eye brow. Great, when it rains it pours. But what can one expect when they are doing what God has called them to do. I will not cower or be afraid, for the Lord my God is with me.

Day 6-10 They have fixed the water heater and stopped the electrical current in the shower. We are makeing calls to South Africa to see if we can make an appointment for surgery. Please pray that we will be able to find a doctor and make any appointment quickly. A missionary friend well be flying down with me to help me through this process. God is providing. A lady here on Campus has family in South Africa and they will host us while we are down there. I will need to rent a car. I do not have heath insurance so you can be praying that the Lord will undertake for me in this as well.

There are two doctors and an EMT coming in to help out in the clinic this week. Our main doctor's wife is having a baby. They have lost three children so pray that every thing goes well with the Birth of this child. We also need to begin out team building at the Clinic. Pray for UNITY. There is talk in the country that the "whites should be asked to leave. The president will be making a statement about this soon, so pray that the people will hear and that God will do a miracle in this land. We need revival. The ABC campus is also in need of Revival. I want to pray, pray, pray. Drop me a line if you will. I have to go to people's house to get the internet access, so I'm not exactly in an eazy place to get to communication.