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Sunny Afternoon in the Cloudforest - May 26, 2016

Sunny Afternoon in the Cloudforest – May 26, 2016

Thank you, everyone, for your concern not only for those affected by the earthquake, but also for my friend Julie, who is fighting cancer.   I am watching over their property here in Ecuador’s cloud forest until it sells.

I hope to visit Jama soon, which will be heart wrenching yet necessary to move forward.  It will help to see the damage, visit with loved ones who continue to endure the stress, find out what people need most – and how to help – plus learn what hotels, restaurants might be open.  One friend shared details about the community of Jama:

“You will not recognize Jama. Almost every building is marked as being necessary to be torn down. Doctors Without Borders have donated what looked like hundreds of tents in Matal. However still many people live under makeshift plastic.”

She mentioned other groups/businesses that are helping, but I will wait to share those details after learning more and having photos to pair with the stories.  There are surely many beautiful untold stories worthy of  a larger audience.

Idyllic Jama - from 2012

Idyllic Jama – from 2012

The soundtrack in my head this week is Jack Johnson’s song, “The News.”   He sings, “Why don’t the newscasters cry when they sing about people who die.   The least they can be decent enough to put  just a tear in their eye…”

Linda from The Task at Hand provided a slice of humor between her words of concern last week.   In her comment about last week’s strong earthquakes, she added, “What amazes me is that I hadn’t heard one word about this on the “news.” Everything here was related to the loss of the Egyptair plane, or the interminable, ghastly, insufferable presidential campaign. (Hmmmm… I think my opinions are showing. Remember when we used to worry if our slips were showing?)”

When I read her comment, the Egyptair story was old news, and wasn’t included on any current headline in my computer’s browser.

Switching channels, I have an update from Julie, who is presently undergoing stem-cell work for her cancer in Nebraska.  Since many people have asked about her health I asked her for details to share via this post.  Here is her explanation:

The process is as follows:

“Introductory stuff for 2 days … although I know the hospital well. They will also draw blood.
Day 3 they start giving me injections of growth hormone to stimulate my bone marrow to make stem cells.
Day 4 they put a new giant catheter (under sedation)
Days 4-7 I get GH injections
If all is going well they then start a sort of dialysis procedure where they take out lots of blood, filter out the stem cells and then put the rest of the blood back in. This goes on for several days.

Next is the chemo therapy. They give me drugs IV for several days. These are large doses and kill all my immune cells. After a 2 to 3 day wait, they put the stem cells back in. They go where they are supposed to and then I recover enough to go home.

The whole thing takes 6 weeks-ish

The catheter and collection of stem cells will not be pleasant but not too bad. That high a dose of chemo will also kill the lining of the mouth and gut. Thus no appetite, diarrhea, mouth sores, stomach ulcers are the painful side effects. Those and complete exhaustion.”

How I wish I could transport Julie back to the cloud forest during her recovery time.  One cannot find a more-lovely late-afternoon view than the one on their property.  The photo below was taken yesterday afternoon while I was feeding the fish.    The fish have earned their own story, which I hope to share soon.

2nd View - from the Cloudforest...

2nd View – from the Cloudforest…

Until next time online,