Sunday, May 25, 2014

My adventures having surgery

Yes... exciting stuff :) So a few weeks ago I had that same thing happen to me that was happening back in November when I had to go to the E.R. at St. Lukes... sudden intense back pain, vomiting, etc.... gross.  I also had a lot of blood in my urine (sorry, gross, I know, but true).  The whole intense back pain, throwing up deal was fortunately just a one-time deal, but I continued to have soreness in my back, off-and-on pain in my left abdomen, and the blood.  So, I contacted our Mission Pres.'s wife and requested an appointment with doctor to find out what was wrong with me.  Things didn't work out and so my appointment that was going to be for last Monday got pushed back to today.  Last Wednesday, my companion and I went out to work in the morning and I only lasted one appointment when the pain in my back hurt too bad and we returned home.  I rested all day long and texted Sister Revillo again, this time telling her I needed to be seen asap.  She scheduled an appointment for me for the following day at the glorious St. Lukes.  Sister Strebel volunteered to go with me and so the next day we headed out for the city.

The ride was a very expensive one but fortunately I was blessed to not be in so much pain that day.  We took about a 45 minute jeepney ride to Antipolo and then a hour and a half long taxi to the wrong St. Lukes in Quezon City instead of the St. Lukes in Global City.  I swear we told the taxi driver "Global City" like five times but he must have gotten confused by our American accents or something...?  So than it took us like another hour to get to the right hospital and total cost us 500 pesos to get there... ouch!  After that, we learned a much cheaper way to go home that only cost us about 240 pesos.... so much better. :)  
So we get there and Sister Strebel found herself in heaven... or at least in air-conditioning, practically the same thing. :)  We met with my doctor, Dr. Abraham.  He was very kind and probably the best person for the job.  He graduated from both Irvine in California and some big school in Texas so it was fun to talk about the U.S. for a bit.  He wasn't very pleased as he reviewed the notes from the ultrasound from the last time I was in the hospital back in Nov., which said I had no problems whatsoever with my left kidney.  He told me they would be doing a blood test, a urine test, and then I would have a CT scan later that afternoon.  

The scan went well and after that we went home. The ride was a long, crowded one back--- had a huge headache afterwards.  Woke up the next morning determined to have it be a normal day... I made it through getting ready for the day, then sat down to do my personal study and was in so much pain it was like... um, no.  So I spent all of Thursday at home.  The hospital texted me to ask if I could come in the next morning.  I texted back and asked if it was an emergency and they said yes, it was an emergency case and I would need to have a procedure done.  I asked for more info and they said the doctor would explain it to me the next morning.  So, I received a very sweet priesthood blessing from my district leader that night and then we left for St. Lukes again the following morning.  
Sister Strebel came with me again because we had investigators being baptized that day.  One investigator for Sister Sikotilani and I and two for Sister Strebel and Sister McCarthy.  I felt bad about missing the baptisms, but it was an emergency.  I know Sister Strebel felt bad about missing them too... but I also know she was looking forward to the possibility of getting to take a shower in hot water for the first time in almost a year. ;)  
When we met with Dr. Abraham, he explained that I had three kidney stones in my left kidney.  One of them was very large and is the one that was probably causing problems back last fall.  This stone was lodged between my kidney and ureter and was causing the bleeding as it would rub back and forth against the tissue.  He explained that they were going to blast it into tiny pieces during the surgery.  I then had to fast for eight hours before my surgery.  I felt so blessed... my mission president, President Revillo, came literally minutes before my surgery to give me another priesthood blessing.  He was so concerned and I just felt so much peace and comfort after the blessing.  
They then took me into the operating room where there were a gazillion nurses and knocked me out with drugs.  They also completely numbed me from my waist down so I couldn't feel a thing and the lower half of me was paralyzed.  I woke up to the doctor telling me that it was a success, definitely a good thing to hear :)  I then had to wait for a few hours before going back up to my room until I could feel my legs again.  Around midnight, I was finally able to return my room where Sister Strebel was beaming after just having her first hot shower in forever. :)  Seriously... I'm so glad I was able to be with her through all of this.  She was the perfect hospital buddy for me... she kept me distracted the whole time
Now I'm at the Missionary Recovery Center which is hooked onto the MTC here in Manila, right across the street from the temple, which I"m looking at right now. :)  It's been an adventure, but I feel so blessed that everything worked out and can definitely see Heavenly Father's hand in everything. :)  Our mission has a conference with Elder Christensen, a member of the Seventy, tomorrow so I will just be picked up for that and then will return home tomorrow night.  I'm hoping for a quick, smooth recovery... just gotta remember to pump myself up with water. 
Hopefully this next week will be a little less exciting.... :)
Love you all!!  Have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Dickison         

Monday, May 19, 2014

Living the life!

Magandang hapon sa lahat!!

Man... as I'm going through all of my pictures to send home I'm realizing we had a pretty busy/fun last week.  I'm going to go through the events from the most recent to the oldest because that's how the pictures went.  So earlier we had our zone activity.  One of the couple missionaries serving here drove us to the activity so we enjoyed some nice air-con in their car. :)  Not all of the elders in our zone attended but most did.  We went to a beautiful place which reminded me of home... hiking in the mountains.  :)  We did not however go hiking; instead we went off of the side of the road and had a big marshmallow fight.  It was absolutely disgusting and so much fun!  I loved watching the couple missionaries spitting marshmallows out of straws at people.  I got hit pretty good a couple of times... at some point three of the elders decided to gang up on me and I had spit-covered mallows all over my face. :) 
Last night we held a Missionary Fireside in our Branch.  The Branch Presidency did a presentation and then we Sister Missionaries with the help of the ward missionaries did a role play.  We acted out how not to act/fellowship during church and then acted out the right way as well.  It went surprisingly well for not having very much preparation go into it.  We also had a pretty darn good turn out from our branch, hallelujah. 
Last Thursday night, we had an awesome lesson with a less-active family.  There was this activity we had learned the day before in our Zone Conference that we decided to test out on this family.  The goal of the activity is to get referrals by encouraging members to share the gospel with their friends, but it ended up being an amazing object lesson in inviting less-actives to come to church.  The Spirit was ssoooo strong and everyone was crying by the end... except for me of course... I still don't cry. (ha!)
 Last Thursday morning we did a service project at the home of a recent convert of ours.  We mixed concrete and put a floor in his house.  It was a fun service project even though it was so hot. 
Last Wednesday we had our combined Zone Conference with two other zones.  I was able to talk to the sisters who are now serving in my first area in Pateros and get caught up about some of the people in that area.  The Zone Conference was my favorite one I've had thus far.  All of the workshops and speakers were excellent and I loved the testimony of the Elder who is going home after this transfer. 
Phew.... such a busy week!!  I'm loving my life here in the Philippines!  The people are so friendly and I feel like each transfer it's easier to adjust to a new area and you become closer the ward/branch members faster.  It's been fun to get to know some of the couple missionaries better.  We caught a ride with another couple both to and from the Zone Conference.  They're hilarious!  Glad to know it's not just us YSA missionaries who have some sass.  :) 
I love you all!  Hope you have an awesome week and may God bless you!
Love, Sister Dickison
P.S.... since I'm planning on going home a transfer early to be home in time for school, I hit my "6-month's-left-mark" like, today or tomorrow.... Ahhhh!!!  It's going too fast!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Skype :)

Hello everyone!!!

Just had a wonderful time skyping with my family for Mother's Day!!  Wohoo!!  It was so great to see everyone... even if I apparently sound like I'm better at speaking in Tagalog than in English now.... and I speak English with a Filipino accent :P  Oh well... :)  
This week was kind of weird, but good.  I was sick last Thursday with more U.T.I. issues.... I've decided that soda is completely not allowed for me anymore and I'm really trying to pump my body with water.... it's so stinking hot here I'm dying.  Anyways... I'm also on meds so yeah... it will be fine.
We had a baptism last Saturday!  Sister M!  She was so prepared!  She bore a beautiful, teary testimony after her baptism. :)  She had just gone with the other youth to District Conference last week, which is like Youth Conference.  She is such a cutie and I'm so happy for her :)  
Learning my new area is pretty slow going... between the baptismal interview, the baptism, me being sick, my companion being sick, and the wedding reception of a branch member last week.... yeah, I'm excited to work more this week and get to know the people in our area better.  :)  
Our branch is awesome!  Everyone was so nice and friendly yesterday at church!  I'm so happy to be in this area with these people.  They are so easy to love and really, really appreciate the difference the gospel makes in their lives.  
This week we'll pretty busy... we have zone training tomorrow and then zone conference on Wed.  :)
Love you all!  God bless you!!
Love, Sister Dickison