Friday, November 26, 2010

Back to earth

The last two weeks in El Salvador were beautiful. We spent the weekend at Lake Coatepeque with a few friends. The lake is gorgeous and we had perfect weather. It was a nice way to spend the last weekend in El Salavdor for a while.

I returned to Tennessee this week to be the "caregiver" for my mom as she undergoes a stem cell transplant (used to be called a bone marrow transplant) to hopefully cure her MDS. She'll start chemotherapy on Dec. 9th to prepare her for a transplant on the 17th. It's amazing that somoeone out there is giving up their day to donate their stem cells to help out someone they don't even know - my mom. If you haven't already done so, you should join the marrow registry so that you could improve make someone else's day. Anyway, she'll have to be in Nashville for 100 days after the transplant.

We have a lot of reasons to be optimistic... she has a "10/10" match with a non-related donor, she's been in good health, and she doesn't have leukemia. However, the statistics are pretty grim, and even people who are "cured" still may have to live with chronic "graft versus host disease," a disease caused by the donor's T-cells ordering the other white blood cells to attack the host's organs. This is treated with immuno-suppressants, so there's a good chance of having to be on these drugs for years.

I hope to keep posting on here, but it won't be about El Salvador for a while. However, this is what many other foreign service officers and EFMs deal with every year, and I am so grateful to be able to return so easily and do what is needed for my family. I can't imagine trying to do this from farther-flung places on the earth. I am also grateful to work with people who are understaning and accomodating. I have much to be thankful for this year.

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