Just Call Me the Bionic Woman

Thanks for the input.  Your advice confirmed the way I was leaning, to go ahead and take the malaria meds.  My doctor was insistent, and so was Hubs! 

But you would not believe how much medication is coursing through my veins right now.  I had seven–count ’em, SEVEN–vaccinations last week in preparation for the trip.  I’m just as inoculated as I can be–downright bionic!  Typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, hepatitis…you name it.  Now who wants to bet I come down with a good old-fashioned cold?

And you know what?  Those vaccinations hurt, and my arms only just now feel normal–but I am so thankful to be this protected.  I can’t help but think how many lives might be changed if those same vaccinations or malaria meds could be shared with some of those African children.

31 thoughts on “Just Call Me the Bionic Woman

  1. Molly says:

    From one living in a 3rd world country where we need to get those vacs, too…I’m glad you decided to get them. Better to have a possible side effect than a serious illness. Just as I was going to comment on your last post I received an e-mail update from some missionary friends. Their 5 year old nephew in Ivory Coast is fighting for his life with what is possibly cerebral malaria…they have not been able to diagnose it yet, but are treating it as such. He is unable to respond, having seizures and doesn’t recognize his parents…how heartbreaking for them. His name is David Messer. Please pray for him as you think of it. Praying for you as you prepare for this exciting opportunity God is giving you!

  2. pam says:

    So, so proud of you! Praying for absolutely no side effects for you or for the common cold to sneak its icky head in the way either.
    Sending a hug and letting you know my Libbyline sure wishes she could stow away in your luggage.

  3. Danielle says:

    Hubby was deployed to Africa last year and had to take all kinds of meds EACH time they went. He was so sick from being very unlike himself to headaches to sweats to vomiting to all kindsof stomach issues. But all that beats dying! He said he jsut felt so blessed that he was able to have to medicine unlike thousands of Africans. I hope you have a safe and WOnderful trip!

  4. chewymom says:

    Just be aware that if you start to have hallucinations or really, really bizarre dreams, it could very well be the malaria meds. When my DH and I were planning to go to Africa (it never happened) we were counseled to NOT take the malaria meds because supposedly there is something they can give you AFTER the fact. Don’t quote me on that, though….

  5. Melissa says:

    I feel your pain. When I went on my first mission trip to Romania, I had to get a lot of vaccinations. I got most that were recommended, even if they weren’t required. Better safe than sorry.
    The only thing I have heard about Malaria meds is that they can make you sick to your stomach. However, I think that, given the other option, that is a risk you might want to be willing to take!

  6. Bailey's Leaf says:

    Two years ago, friends adopted their 4 year old son from an orphanage in Ethiopia. His dad died in a military battle. His mom? She died from malaria. A $10.00 prescription could have saved her, but there was no money. Our friend’s son was there with his mother when she passed away. So yes, I know of an example of where those meds that you took would make a great impact on even a small family in Africa.

  7. Debbie says:

    Yes, I think you better take the meds. I was in Africa last year and took the appropriate meds, all the shots (6 or 7 I think). I too had bizzare dreams and sleep interuption, but could never decide if it was the meds or overstimulation from seeing all the sights, animals, people, landscape, etc. Take the meds, it will be fine. I am praying God will guide your footsteps in this journey.

  8. Dana says:

    I think it was definitely a good decision to take the meds….and you are right, too bad the people of Africa couldn’t get the same things you had!!

  9. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    So glad you took the meds!! Honestly – I think those scare me almost as much as going to Africa! But there is NO WAY I would get on the plane without them!
    Way to go girl for doing this! I would be TERRIFIED. I am like you – I thoroughly enjoy my comfort zone (complete with purified, safe water!) So I am so impressed with you!

  10. Happy Momma says:

    My fil would like me to remind you to rest as much as you can and drink plenty of fluids before you leave and immediately upon your arrival. I know you aren’t a fan of flying but your body is going to be BEAT UP from the travels alone, then factor in dietary changes, climate changes, emotions, etc., and your hiney will be whipped.

  11. mamacita says:

    My hubby is going to South America soon on a mission trip. He just got his Hepatitis vaccine today, malaria meds, and typhoid pills. They told him the malaria medicine might make him nauseous, but that would probably be it. So glad you are now protected. Also, I recently read that Bill Gates and his wife donated something like $250 million to eradicate malaria – it’s a start… 🙂

  12. Kim says:

    We spent a year in Uganda and, based on the recommendations of other missionaries, we did NOT take quinine but instead took doxycycline as an anti-malarial. Doxycycline is a mild antibiotic (also used for longterm acne problems) and doesn’t have all the potential side effects. My daughter and I never got malaria during our year there. My husband, who was out in the bush more, did get it twice but both times it was very mild, with him feeling sick less than 24 hours each time.

  13. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    I’m glad you’re taking the meds, Shannon. My husband did some tsunami relief work in Indonesia in 2005. He took malarone — and got malaria anyway. While the malarone likely weakened the severity of his case, he was still as sick as I’ve ever seen him. (And this is a man who has been known to set his own broken bones rather than bother a doctor.) It’s a horrible illness. I’m glad you’re doing what you can. As you rightly said, so many that share our planet don’t even have the choice.

  14. Ashley says:

    I know how you feel! My parents went overseas as missionaries when I was in 2nd grade. I remember getting out of school to get lots and lots of shots! I would get them in my thigh (because I was so young), and I remember not being able to run afterwards. 😦 My parents got shots in their arms and I was always sad because I couldn’t hug them!!

  15. kel says:

    Just to save you some time in the future… you should know that there is a period of time (not sure how long) that you cannot give blood after having taken some of those meds… especially the malaria pills. My memory is hazy here. I just know that a little while after having taken them and going on a trip, I tried to give blood. I wasted at least a half hour waiting for my turn and doing the “are you safe” interview. It finally came up, and they weren’t sure what to do with me. They finally confirmed that I couldn’t give blood afterall. Just wanted to give you a heads up… maybe wait a year or so after your trip, and then be sure to ask ahead of time.
    BTW – You CAN get insecticide treated bednets when you get there and give those to families who meet who need them. Those WILL save a lot of lives. Better than nothing!

  16. LeeAnn says:

    I commented yesterday, but wanted to add that on my first trip to Tanzania I didn’t get a single mosquito bite so on my 2nd trip I didn’t think I needed the meds… Thankfully my husband basically said that if I did not fill the (very expensive) prescription- I was NOT getting on the plane! I was so glad that he prevailed when, on the very first day in country, I was covered with bites! So kudos to your hubby as well!
    Also- just a heads up… I have come home with a head cold on each of three trips. I can’t help but love on those kids when I’m there so I ususally end up picking up a stuffy nose or cough. Make sure you pack your favorite cold remedy AND TAKE IT IN YOUR CARRY ON ON THE PLANE… Nyquil is my personal favorite, it doubles as a sleep aide if needed on the flight as well…

  17. Melessa says:

    I lurk more than I comment, but I am so relieved you decided to take the meds that I had to post it here. (I’m silly.) So, I’m glad you decided to take the meds. There, I said it. I’ll go back to lurking now.

  18. Jen in Jakarta says:

    Dear Shannon
    Please don’t rely completely on the vaccinations.
    I live in a 3rd world country and have had all the vaccinations yet have still managed to contract typhoid fever as well as some other yucky things.
    We have become very good at taking precautions and eating less risky foods.
    My favourite thing is antiseptic wipes and gel, (cutlery, straws, cans, plates, door handles etc) everything is wiped before use.
    Unless I have actually cleaned it myself (in bottled water) I do not let the family eat fruit/salad that has a high water content.
    I think it is a wonderful thing that you and the group are doing, my thoughts and prayers will be with you, the group and all the people that you visit.

  19. Rachel says:

    I’m the missionary kid remember? Please take your antimalarial! I’ve had malaria several times overseas and it is sooo not fun at all. Besides you won’t be there long enough to worry about anything long term. It’s so not worth it to miss a few side effects and suffer the real thing! You will have an awesome time!

  20. Ericka says:

    Shannon, I think you are VERY smart to take those meds. I sent a note to my Kenya friend and BOTH of them sent a note back that they couldn’t even remember any side effects.
    When do you take off again??

  21. Debbie says:

    Good for you!! I haven’t ever had a problem with the malaria meds (having had to take them when we were in Africa and India). Just remember, now that you have had the shots for things like Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B etc. you NEVER have to take them again. You will find Africa the most AMAZING place. Just remember that hand sanitizer is your best friend.

  22. Sarah @ To Motherhood and Beyond says:

    I’m so glad you are going to take the malaria meds. I went to a seminary that was a major launching pad for missionaries and I hear stories of folks who got malaria b/c they wanted to save money and not take the meds. Just don’t forget to continue taking your meds well after you get home. You can still get malaria after you get home if you stop taking the meds.
    But, you probably already know that by now. 😉 Just my two cents.

  23. GranMarty says:

    I think I am correct in saying that the number one killer of children worldwide is malaria, and children under two are most at risk of dying. Children who survive malaria are often weakened and succumb to other diseases that would not ordinarily be deadly. A very important and inexpensive protection for children – even whole families – especially in under developed or rural areas is a chemically treated sleeping net. The chemical is non-toxic, derived from chrysanthemums and lasts about two years before re-treatment is necessary. I suspect that Compassion may have such a program too.

  24. Jean Stockdale says:

    I think you are wise to take the meds. Take them with food and we found if we took them at bedtime with a granola bar or something like that, we did not have any stomach problems. We have taken them 5x and never had any trouble. It is so exciting you are getting to go. I will be praying for you and our sister Boo! Blessings.

  25. Lisa says:

    Take the meds. The dreams are a great side effect sometimes, though some scared me awake. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and lived with malaria for 2 years. Even taking the meds I still had 2 bad attacks. It’s like bad flu. Good luck!

  26. Paulette says:

    All I can say is one is stupid NOT to take the malaria medication! My adopted parents are missionaries to Uganda and I am making the 3 week mission trip in June with them to Uganda. My adopted dad came back in the summer and had contracted malaria. He was in bad shape and in intensive care for a week, it was very hard to control and took several months for him to be able to function afterwards. They have the Malaria meds for a reason, it is dangerous and don’t risk it please…. I read on that you are taking it, and am glad!
    I have a great love for Uganda and cannot wait to go as well. My home is full of soviniers from Uganda, you will be hooked!

  27. Jewelz says:

    My ex husband died this past June, approximately 8 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the plasmodium falciparum strand of malaria (the worst of the four strands). It is more of a problem in the North West of Africa, however he was not taking any anti-maleria meds. The biggest problem though was that the hospital that he was taken to in Mauritania did not have a kidney dialysis machine. He could have been saved with a combination of drugs and dialysis 9the organs start to shut down as the blood thickens with the increasing number of protezoas. Prevention IS far better than cure I say.
    Blessings to you from Down Under

  28. Jewelz says:

    My ex husband died this past June, approximately 8 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the plasmodium falciparum strand of malaria (the worst of the four strands). It is more of a problem in the North West of Africa, however he was not taking any anti-maleria meds. The biggest problem though was that the hospital that he was taken to in Mauritania did not have a kidney dialysis machine. He could have been saved with a combination of drugs and dialysis the organs start to shut down as the blood thickens with the increasing number of protezoas. Prevention IS far better than cure I say.
    Blessings to you from Down Under

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