Friday, April 25, 2014

Some Radiation, Some Chemo, and the assurance that God's got her!

It's the end of a day.  I am sitting in the living room of a guesthouse.  There are a couple of individuals still up... there is the occasional turn of a page as one lady sits on a cushion reading a book and the tapping away as a man nearby brings thoughts to the keyboard.  I can hear the creaking of old floor boards and the faint sound of cars driving by.  It's calm and it's peaceful.  And I am thankful.  It's still sorta crazy to think that I am in Nairobi.  It's a beautiful city... with hints of my home in Uganda and hints of the home I left back in the States.  Today, as we drove to the hospital, we passed a Chase Bank and a Bank of Africa.  I see signs for LG products and watch at the surprisingly fast pace of individuals walking around.  It is clear that many of them are on a mission... that their pace is consistent with an agenda.  Reminds me of my days in Chicago.  And there are equal reminders of life here... which is good.... considering I am here.  There are young men selling random items on the street, glass bottles of soda, and a warmth of individuals that is inspiring.   

Thumbs Up! 
We have spent a decent amount of time at the Kenya Cancer Center which is affiliated with the MP Shah Hospital this week.  It took me a little while to call it that.  For the first several days, I kept referring to it as PF Chang's... It's not... but it is clearly a nice place.  And it's been a blessing.  It's also stirred a little of my heart...and truth be told more than a little.  Yesterday, as I stood with A. Ketty in the hallway of the radiotherapy area.  My heart did a little pause as I looked up and saw signs noting that there were two rooms for radiation treatment.  I hadn't realized that this one facility had two radiation machines.  I saw and I technically didn't have to ask... but I did.  The tech confirmed that there were, in fact, two machines.  TWO.  That's Bili in Luganda.  Deux in French.  And Dos in Spanish.  You might be wondering why this made me pause.  I paused because the one and only radiation machine in Uganda is not working.  The pause was the flesh against the faith.  The rawness of the reality.  The reality of the many who are not receiving treatment right now and the reality of God's graciousness in paving the way for Ketty to come here.  And the equally important reality that God is good and He is sovereign.  His goodness does not change because there is or there is not a working machine in Uganda.  Does it pull at my emotions?  Yes.  Does it make me pray for the many needing treatment?  Yes.  Am I choosing to rest in His goodness?  Yes, with His help I am.  He IS good.  And so I smile a smile that doesn't want to leave my face as I stand beside my sister Ketty.  He's got her.  However that looks, He's got her.  And for right now, His having her includes radiation and chemotherapy... and a keen awareness of HIS presence.  And that calls for a thumbs up... or a Holla Holla! A. Ketty was a little timid with the Holla Holla expression.  By the time we leave Nairobi... I'll have her raising both hands up in Holla Holla fashion! ( c :   It's a little of my Chicago spirit bleeding through to my family here.... And so A. Ketty got on that machine yesterday afternoon. 
And a slightly timid "Holla Holll" 
And as I left her with the attendant, I found myself smiling and not being able to stop.  A. Ketty was receiving treatment!   She was on the machine! I started texting everyone....and as I did the smile only grew.  I saw people looking at me... and I didn't care.  A. Ketty was receiving treatment! I am still smiling about it even now as I type.  Just as I know many all over are.  

And the agenda for today was chemo.  And so we went in early and after a short while, we were welcomed to the chemotherapy suite.  And within a short while, her chemo journey began.  She was given pre medications, fluids, and ultimately her first round of chemo.  She did great!   She was on a drip for a little over 6 hours.  Her nurse was Irene and it was clear that she absolutely loved what she did.  She was warm, engaging, and encouraging.  It was amazing! Once it was all finished, A. Ketty walked herself to her second round of radiation... and walked herself out.  I just woke her up a short while ago for some medications.  She is resting well and will God-willing sleep through the night.  In the meantime, I thank God that He's got her.  He's got Ketty Okoth safely in the palm of His hands. And He has good for her.  

Zephaniah 3:17 
"The Lord your God is in your midst a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; he will exult over you with loud singing." 

Thank you to all for your sweet presence on this journey.  I know I say it most times when I write a blog post...but I am truly thankful.  You all are a gift to me.  

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