Newsy Update

So much to update you about…

For those of you unsure whether you want to dive into this post, I’ve added subheadings, so you can skip the parts you find uninteresting, and added links to photos and videos at the bottom.

If you’re still ready to click away, I won’t stop you… I love you anyway… ;-)

House Sold

First off, our home sold on May 13th. YAY! Since then, Rich has been living in an Airbnb in South Minneapolis, doing some contract work and online investing. He plans to return with me to Cuenca in July.

Digital Nomad Life

Word by Word, my copy writing business has picked up a few more clients. For a couple of these clients, I’ll be facilitating and marketing two separate online domestic abuse courses this fall. It is time to bring awareness, education, and practical help to a global audience.

Domestic abuse author and teacher, Jody Cowdin, as well as the founder of two domestic abuse nonprofits, Diane Stores, are both ready to get the word out, and help bring God’s mercy and healing to anyone on the planet.

God’s saying “Go,” so we’re stepping out in faith.

Appreciate your prayers for this effort, peeps. Thanks!

Another Year Older

I had another birthday, they keep happening!

This  year’s birthday started days early with a friend donning his chef hat and hosting a few of us for a five-course meal. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven…

Then you all started flooding me with emails, Facebook posts, texts, and phone calls. Thanks for the love, friends, every well wish reminded me what an amazing person you are and what a gift God has brought me in you! More often than you know, you left me in tears…

AndesThe day of was spent with a few friends on a hiking tour in the Andes. The weather was fantastic, the views spectacular, and the company even better. Lots of fun and moments I’ll always remember. I even made a new friend. Pics

The moon rose full that night, a perfect end to a perfect day…

Trip to the States

Since I could now leave Ecuador without visa issues (as I have my residency visa now), we made plans for me to come back to the States from mid-June to mid-July to attend a wedding Emily (our daughter) is in, celebrate the 4th at Grandma’s, and celebrate Mom’s birthday, as well as catch up with clients, friends, and family. On the way to Minnesota, we made plans for me to meet up with Rich and Emily in San Francisco to visit our son, Charlie, at UC Berkeley.

Whoa! What’s This?

A week or two before I flew out, I noticed something amiss in my lower abdomen. Looking four to five months pregnant and having been with Rich four to five months earlier, I visited a farmacia (pharmacy) far away from my apartment (for fear of what the neighbors might say), found the shelf with pregnancy tests on it and tried to read them. Since my Spanish is still sucking air, I grabbed the mid-priced one and hoped for the best.

The thought of being pregnant at 51 years old was a daunting… no, terrifying!

The test showed no signs of baby in the bin. Whew.

I grabbed a laxative, thinking maybe digestion was the issue. All came out well….

I didn’t have Ecuadorian insurance or an Ecuadorian doctor, but had a doctor recommendation from a friend. So, I emailed the doctor Monday, wondering if he’d ever see it. He responded within an hour or two, offering an appointment for the next day, Tuesday, at noon.

Doctor’s Visit and Testing

The doctor’s office was on the second floor above a farmacia (pharmacy), near where many expats live (playfully dubbed “Gringolandia”).

I arrived 10 minutes early and sat outside the closed door to his office, thinking he was out. At noon, I gave a gentle knock, in case he was there. He popped his head out the door, lowered his surgical mask, and said in a New York accent that he’d be with me shortly. A few minutes later an elderly expat couple exited his office with big smiles.

Dr Guillen is a tall, good looking Ecuadorian man in his 30’s or early 40’s. His demeanor reminded me of a humanities professor: academic and approachable, friendly and professional.  He invited me into his office, which looked more business-like than clinical. No receptionist greeted me, no nurse attended me. No one else was there, as far as I could tell.

His large, busy desk anchored the middle of the space, with windows to the street behind it. Against the right wall were cabinets and a scale, the kind you move the weights across a bar until it balances. I think a sink was over there too. To the left was a screen that shielded from view some area, maybe a testing area. There must have been a bathroom, although I was too distracted to notice. I took a seat at a chair in front of his desk, as he took a seat behind his desk.

He cut to the chase, and asked questions about my symptoms. He never took my medical history, temp, blood pressure, or even asked me to step on that scale (which I almost kissed him for). He listened, and then he said, “I got you,” which I interpreted to mean that he knew what was wrong.

As I lay down on the examining table behind me, he washed his hands. With no oversized paper napkins in sight, I unzipped my pants and lifted my shirt and gave him full privileges to my abdomen.

A special movie moment flashed through my mind as he felt around, asking if this hurt, or that hurt. No alien popped out, though, and nothing hurt.

He paused and looked puzzled, then said I needed an ultrasound.

I zipped up and hopped down, while he wrote on a prescription pad where I needed to go for the ultrasound and the name of ultrasound doctor. He instructed me to come back later that day at 4:15p, with the ultrasound results.

I asked what I owed him. He said that his fee was $20 for this visit and the follow up visit at 4:15p. I grabbed a 20, and placed it on his desk with a heartfelt verbal thank you.

As he escorted me to the door, we exchanged niceties. He was on his way to pick up his 8 and 10-year-old children from school, and he mentioned that his wife is from Minnesota.

I grabbed a taxi to the medical facility he sent me to, walked up to the window and made a 3:30pm appointment.

At 3:30pm, they collected the $38 ultrasound fee and had me lay down on an examining table next to an ultrasound machine.

The doctor came in, and asked me to unzip my pants and lift my shirt. He gooped up the instrument and, in five minutes, took several images.

Then he handed me some paper towels from a dispenser, and, as he was leaving the room, he said he’d be writing up the report and it would be ready for me soon.

I wiped my belly as best I could, zipped up and exited to the waiting room and then down the hall to the nearest bathroom, where I continued to clean up. A few minutes later, my results were at the desk in a white envelope.

Back in Dr Guillen’s office, I sat down in front of his desk while he hung the scan images on a viewer behind me, by the door. I turned sideways to watch from the corner of my eye. He looked at the images, and then he read the report. He read, read, and read, and then the room changed as the silence grew heavy. My heart and jaw had already hit the ground when he said “you have tumors in your uterus, big ones. Some are 5” in diameter.”

Then he said that these types of tumors tend toward cancer and that I should get to a surgeon ASAP. He gave me the images and written results, the name of a surgeon to consult, and said there was nothing more he could do for me.

Somehow I made it back to my apartment. A chatty taxi driver may have saved me from complete melt down that afternoon.

Going Forward

I shared the news with Rich, my husband/medical whiz, and together we discerned, with some online searching, that these tumors are probably not cancerous.

We decided to go ahead to seek a second opinion and treatment in Minnesota, when I’m home, after the long weekend in San Francisco (which was a blast! Pics/posts below).

And that’s where Rich and I are now, driving from San Francisco to Minnesota, for a second opinion and treatment options. Appointment is 2:30pm Wednesday (tomorrow).

I’m in God’s Hands, and content to let Him have His way with me and my health…

Videos and photos of these and other happenings:

Corpus Christi Celebration:

A special post for my beautiful daughter, on her 24th birthday:

Cuenca mannequins

Trip to San Francisco (if you cannot see several links to pics below, just visit my Facebook page and scroll down: