Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some bad news...

Well, this kinda sucks.

About two weeks ago I felt some pain in my lower abdomen and groin so I went to the doctor. He scheduled some tests which I got done the next Friday.

Last Tuesday, the results came in and he said I might have a TUMOR in that area. (WHAT??!)
He said I would have to delay/cancel my exchange depending on how serious it was. He ordered more tests to help find this out.

It's the worst possible timing, about two weeks before my planned departure and I find out the most random and terrible news! Plus, I got it the DAY AFTER I went to my Rotary Club to give a speech about how excited and proud I was to be going to Thailand and how eager I was to go. :(
I contacted my Rotary district about this and they're going to try to help me as much as they can so that I can still go to Thailand. That's good news...

I went to a specialist last Friday and he ordered some more in depth tests. Some blood work, a surgery that he'll be performing, and a CT scan. This will go a couple weeks past my original departure date so that means I have to delay my trip for sure :(

The surgery is essentially removing what they think is the tumor to determine if it actually is a tumor. If it is a tumor, they'll determine whether it is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). I've thought of the scenarios that each could provide and I've come up with 3 scenarios that would put me at leaving for Thailand within weeks.

Best case scenario: It's not a tumor, it's something much more manageable/easier to work with
Number 2 scenario:It is a tumor but it's benign
Number 3 scenario:It is a tumor and cancerous - but contained

Any of those scenarios presents me with the opportunity to leave for Thailand very soon. Hopefully it's not a different scenario...that would suck and I would have no idea my potential for still going to Thailand.

At this point, I really hope it's the best case scenario and that I'll be posting from Thailand very soon. :)

For now, I'll keep this updated. I'm going in for surgery next Wednesday and that will be the first step into determining my situation.

All the best!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Little Background on Chanthaburi

I think I should post a little bit about where I'm going to be living for a year. It looks to be an exciting place to live!

Chanthaburi (Thai - จันทบุรี) is one of the many provinces in Thailand. It is in the eastern part of Thailand, bordering Cambodia and the shore to the Gulf of Thailand. It is about 330 km east of Thailand's capital - Bangkok.

The name Chanthaburi comes from two words in Sanskrit translated literally to City of the Moon (awesome!!). It was once occupied by French colonists beginning in 1893 but that only lasted until 1905. Nonetheless, there did bring some architectural influence into some areas of the province. Chanthaburi is also home to many Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants.

Chanthaburi's southern part is on the shore of the Gulf of Thailand but there are some mountainous areas in the hinterlands.

Chanthaburi is famous for its abundance of gemstones (specifically rubies and sapphires) and tropical fruits. There are big markets for both (and my 1st host family owns a gem business!).
Chanthaburi is also known for its scenic waterfalls and rich forests - not to mention some of the beautiful beaches.

Within Chanthaburi, there are 10 big districts, I will be living in the 1st district - Muang Chantaburi which basically means Chantaburi City. That's right, I'm going to be living in Chantaburi, Chanthaburi...

I'll be going to Benchamarachuthit School (say that 5 times fast). I've talked to a couple of people who go to that school and they've said I'll love it but they've never told me why. *shrug* I found their website (yeah, they have one) and it's all in Thai so I can't really read it just yet.

I fly out August 3rd so I'll probably post a couple times more before I leave but once I get there, there will be a lot more interesting things to talk about :)