Now please don't take this as over dramatic, but they are some of my
thoughts from 5:30 in the morning. As usual, I started my morning
reading the news to see what's happening in the world I love. It turns
out that the author of the Wild Things died. I never read the books as a
kid, but he was on Stephen Colbert a few months back, and hillarious.
Then I ran across this article about certain cancers caused by
infections. What interested me the most are the facts that they shared
comparing the percentage of the cancers. And posibility of getting a
disease-created cancer are significantly higher in developing countries.
My first though was along the lines of "wow, that really sucks for
them" then I though "wait... Us!"
As a college student, when you leave the country to do a year of service
there are very few long-term consequences that go through your mind.
Maybe you won't like some things, but you can put up with it for a year.
And it's exciting learning a new culture and living with less. Not to
mention it's a very important step in a life where you recognize the
need in others. But it just hit me, I am now someone who lives in a
developing country. Not to say I'm not privaledged in many amazing ways.
I'm reminded of that every time my embassy emails me safety warnings or
my dad asks if I need him to come get me.
But when one is excited about a new adventure one doesn't think as much
about the risks. Yes, we all know that it's more dangerous. And everyone
here knows to be careful after dark, don't go places alone, don't
travel with shopping bags to late at night, stay away from bad parts of
town, lock your doors while driving, etc. Not to mention logistical
problems such as not having access to the level of healthcare you're
used to, and even if you go home to visit, not having insurance in your
own country. But something that may not cross your mind is something
like this cancer thing. Because of the conditions I have chosen to live
in, I may be more likely to get cancer. Yes, like I warned you, I'm
probably being over-dramatic. But the point remains, someone who serves
in foreign countries opens themselves up to much more than just "being
away from home." I have the greatest respect for missionaries who were
willing to sacrifice it all to go to the mission field, in much worse
times than now, and risk it all for something they believed in. I've
read many stories of missionary families who suffered with their health
but continued supporting their purpose.
This is not in any way to scare my parents, I think as parents they
already realize all the terrible things that could happen to their child
when he/she leaves the country. But it increases my appreciation for
them to swallow their fears and support my decisions. I know that can't
be easy for parents who love their children so much.
Now, why have all these random thoughts hit me so hard you may ask? (Or
at the very least wonder why it's important enough to talk about.) I'm
struggling with some health issues recently, and really it's something
that's been building for the last 10 months. Nothing too serious really,
but it's frustrating because so far no one knows exactly what it is so
we're struggling to treat it. Many symptoms but I won't bore you will
all the detail. But this week especially I'm feeling pretty drunk.
Dizzy, light-headed, off-balance, with nausea, and my eyes are having a
hard time focusing. So far, the possible answer could be very simple,
some vitamin or mineral that I'm lacking in my diet. Eating in Peru is
very different than eating in the US. Don't get me wrong it's wonderful
food, but it comes with different sanitation, different preparation, and
provides different nutrients. And as a vegetarian here, my diet has
changed a lot, I don't have any access to foods I'm used to, and is also
very different from other Peruvians who eat meat.
Well, long story short, I go back to the doctor today who will have
results of my blood work and other tests. Hopefully it will hold some
answers. I know it's probably something simple like "take these vitamins
every day and you'll be fine" but I'll be honest, I'm still a little
scared. It's not easy being sick and so far away from home. And horrible
feeling like I am melting away and I don't know how to stop it. It's
probably at heart some control issue of being frustrated that I can't
control my own body. But point is, I'm scared. And honestly, it really
didn't hit me that my health could be part of my sacrifice to serve in
another country. So if you can, please send some prayers or love or
whatever you believe in. If nothing else, I know I need to get some of
that inner peace back right now. Being worried has never been proven to