Friday, November 21, 2014
“Sometimes life knocks you on your butt… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.” ― Steve Maraboli
Yesterday was not a very good day for me. John, Shaban, and I went to Musoma so John could do some internet work and I could cash a check at the bank and visit the Coptic Hospital. The bank, for the first time in nine years in over 150 wire transfers, has lost our monthly wire transfer. I was told they were updating their computer system in Dar Es Salaam and mine was just one of many, but we needed that money. I have an automatic wire transfer that sends all of our Social Security and retirement money here, so we can run the mission, buy food, maintain the school, feed the orphans, etc. We only have enough money on hand for about four days, so we are appropriately anxious. There is only about a hundred dollars left in our account in the U.S. and only about $200 in the one here, so we up that creek that rhymes with Brit without a paddle if they can’t find our money. I know of no other way to get money here safely, so it’s a problem. Then, at the Coptic Hospital, the doctors determined that the dime-shaped lesion on my jaw is indeed malignant and must come off. Unfortunately, they have no surgeons and this is at least a $1,000 operation which we cannot pay for at the moment. I had to ask what most Tanzanians have to ask when given a diagnosis like this, “What happens if we do nothing?” The operation is expensive because of the delicacy involved and the difficulty I will have talking, eating, and sleeping (the strap of my CPAP mask would cut directly across the site) as I recovered. We will just have to wait and see. Unless it is melanoma, skin cancers are seldom if ever fatal. I have had several surgeries for malignant basil cell carcinoma which I think this is. I have had acid remove the upper layers of skin on my face and arms more than once. I had two months of daily radiation treatments for skin cancer on the top of my head. I lost the top half of my right ear to this cancer. At the time, I had no income and no insurance, but the doctor who was a friend of Dr. Tim Yawn (a parishioner) did it for free. He wanted to reconstruct the ear, but I told him I didn’t need it and couldn't afford it. I could just tell people I was in a fight with Mike Tyson or got into it with a lion, but he insisted he would do it for nothing and rebuilt the ear from pieces of me taken from places only my wife has seen. He did such a good job, I sometimes forget which ear it was. Shaban thinks a local doctor can do the surgery on my jaw and may be able to talk him into a lower payment, but we shall see. It’s going to be very painful either way as they have no real anesthesia here and only a kind of aspirin for the pain afterwards. I hate to ask for prayers for computer techs, but we need the bank to find our money, so please pray that they do. Well, that’s all the happy news from Lake Woebegone for today. Outside of a little pain in my jaw, I’m okay. We had four pastors stranded in Arusha, but John paid the $200 for their bus fares out of his pocket today, so they will be coming home from seminary on time. I’m not really worried as God has always taken care of us, but it would be nice to have a little reassurance from time to time. I need to feel God pat me on the shoulder and say, “There, there.” I think sometimes, we all do.