Cancer's a funny thing. It eats away at you from the inside and slowly drains your strength.
Cancer treatment's an even funnier thing. It devours you from the inside and instantly swallows your strength.
How did we figure that one out?
Jess was in the middle of a course of chemotherapy when I arrived in Maine. After 5 days of pumping poison into her system to slow down the growth of her tumors, she was exhausted. Her blood counts were frighteningly low and it wasn't long before she picked up a secondary infection. We've had two 5-day hospitalizations in 2 weeks now, both due to complications secondary to the cancer and its treatment. I was relieved when her doctor said that he wanted her to take some time off from chemo to let her body recuperate a bit because he was afraid the treatment would kill her long before cancer could.
I've never done this before. When people have cancer in Haiti, they simply die. There are only 2 or 3 hospitals that can treat cancer and they are many hours from Gonaives. It's amazing to me that in developed countries we can prolong life this way, but it's sad that the cost must be so high.
Pray for strength. Pray for relief from pain. Pray for peace.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Each Haiti year tends to have one particular person as its "theme", a patient or a child who especially captures my heart and seems to direct the course of my year. The 2012-2013 year had two: Lovena and Rudenchly.
Lovena is living at Dorothy's right now. Her grandmother was afraid that someone would try to steal her again or that her own husband, Lovena's grandfather, would try to sell her. So for Lovena's safety, we moved her back to Dorothy's and she is very happy there. I got to visit her briefly in September before I returned to Maine.
Rudenchly is at home with his mom and siblings. He is walking around like a champ, talking in broken sentences, and showing off. When I came to his house, he immediately grabbed my finger and starting walking me around, exactly the way I used to make him hold my hand and walk around the clinic when he was learning to walk on his burned foot. Any doubt that he remembered me - gone.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
For years, I have compared living as a white person in Haiti to being a celebrity in the US. People stare at me when I walk down the street, they clamor for my attention and get giddy if I simply smile or wave at them. People I've never met before know my name and strangers try to convince my friends to get them an introduction with "Miss Keziah." And I imagine that celebrities wonder just like I do: are you my friend because you like me for who I am or because you like what I can get for you? At least we don't have the paparazzi...oh wait, I have definitely been photographed by strangers on over a dozen occasions!
Last week, my friend Grace and my ex-roommate Chris got married in Gonaives, Haiti. If ever something would convince me that we are indeed the Haiti version of celebrities, it was this wedding.
Everywhere I went, the wedding was all anyone could talk about. Patients outside clinic, neighbors near my house, families in Jubilee, other missionary groups...If it had been Brad and Angelina, I swear, there wouldn't have been more gossip!
What is Grace going to wear? Who are Grace's bridesmaids? Where are you having the ceremony? Is anyone going to get drunk? What food are you making? Who is the best dancer at the reception?
If Gonaives had tabloids, we would have been on the front page of every single one!