Service Week 41 [Hail María]

NIH results are in and the timer is about up. How I felt calling PC to separate:


How I felt when PC responded with “we have good news”:


One-sentence summary: PC informed me that with my condition it was “highly likely” I would be medically separated by my timer (tomorrow); emotionally processing stages of denial, bargaining, and messy stubborn anger; making logistical arrangements to return back home while plotting ways to prove PC wrong; my fourth NIH appointment showed favorable progress on the disease, but not great on the super infection; but finally the sweet relief I was no longer in limbo and the decision was made for me… I would go home.

And then Peace Corps gave me an extension.

Right Now: Emotional-flu zombie in my own pajamas, in my own bed.

IMG_4303It has been a long and semi-shitty week. I really miss being distracted by a pretend awesome fake boyfriend on Tinder. But honestly, I much prefer hugs from old friends that are so strong they make me cry.

Instead of dragging (any more of) you through the mine-and-mud fields, I shall re-cap Week 41 in moments of Trail Magic:

  1. Physical health: ✅ My pet Mike has reduced margins of 1mm. This means the giant gaping wound suck-hole in my arm is getting smaller and the chemo-cousin medication appears to be working. Adios, Mike.
  2. Super infection: The submerged canyons of firm liquid infection running throughout my arm have dissipated. They have me on a new antibiotic this week that, and I quote my NIH doctor, “has a black box label on it that it may explode your tendons so don’t go train for a marathon this week or do CrossFit.” Copy that.
  3. NIH: From Week Five of my hotel cloister, I started casually networking for jobs in DC and at NIH. (Hey, better than Tinder dates, amiright?) I learned more about the clinical center and how it operates, the numbers, and this medical metropolis we have funded by tax payers. I spoke with very cool people about their jobs and the benefits of being an NIH study patient.
  4. Peace Corps Volunteers: Site Mate A hooked me up with connections in DC; Site Mate B is currently getting me my personal passport and Driver’s License from Oxapampa; voice notes, texts, and postcards from fellow Peru PCVs checking-in on my status; two recently-returned-to-Peru volunteers sharing information about the re-instatement process (what happens if you miss the 45-day timer to return); and being able to guide a friend and her family on what to expect for her very own medical evacuation next week. It takes a weird village.
  5. A PC Peru Staff Member: Someone on staff has been keeping in touch and reached out when I heard I would be separated. They listened to my grief, helped me look at the situation from another context, made me feel valued, and gave me a few moments of peace. (Though they deny it, I suspect they had something to do with the Hail Mary pass of an extension no one saw coming.)
  6. Lander, Wyoming: A last-minute pick-up at the airport in Casper; my house-sitters welcoming me home with flowers, half-and-half, and slippers; showing up at a couple of front doors unannounced for hugs from new babies and dogs; and seeing how wonderfully happy and adjusted Cabot is with Willy & Tina and his new home.

IMG_4317Next steps?

I have ten days at home in Lander. NIH flies me back for an appointment on 4/1. Peace Corps DC makes a decision by 4/5. Then I will either be on a plane back to Lima or back to Wyoming, or screw it all, how about New Zealand.

I don’t know which one I am rooting for.

Vamos a ver.


Parting Shot


Mailing Address



5 Replies to “Service Week 41 [Hail María]”

  1. I’m amazed you have the energy to research working for the NIH. (They’d be lucky to have you.) There’s a part-time poetry publisher PM job (SF, not CCP) I could hook you up with if you’d like to life in the Bay Area . . . So happy you got to see your Cabot. A hug from me.


  2. Ten days of rest at home sounds good! I hope you get your wish to return to Peru. Sorry it’s come to this but take care of You! Glad you got to see Cabot. 😘 Rest & Recoup. Hugs.


  3. May your homey days in bed make you strong and refreshed. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through such limbo and spend so much time getting poked, prodded, and medicated. But, as always, you find ways to shamelessly share life’s silver linings, and we love you for it…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: