December 31, 2010
This week has been quite the whirlwind and it wasn’t until today that I realized I should probably update this blog. I left you all hanging at the beginning of the week with my post about my medical deferral and probably not going to Thailand. I should have been a little more quick to follow up with how this week went!
I submitted all my appeal paperwork on Monday morning and about an hour later received a call from my PC nurse telling me that I was back in the game and definitely would be going to Thailand! That was completely unexpected. I guess what happens with the appeal process is that they put your paperwork in front of a physician and if the physician agrees with the appeal then you’re good to go – they just overturn the deferral. Only if they don’t agree do you actually have to go through the appeals board. I guess the physician liked the info I sent and he decided I could go!
So, all the stress of the last two weeks is behind me and I now know my fate.
However, I now have the stress of leaving one week from today! It’s crazy to try and pack up an entire life in less than two weeks … hence being a little slow no posting this news.
Anyway, I hope you all have an amazing New Years and a wonderful year ahead!
December 24, 2010
I know there are a few of you out there who followed my blog during my application process. I haven’t posted on here in awhile because I have been busily preparing for my service in Thailand, but given the events of the last two weeks I felt I should post on the wall of applicants going through the process. I want you guys to have as much information about the potential issues during the application process as possible. I found a lot of help on these blogs and want to return the favor.
The last few weeks have been extremely difficult. I received my invitation back in October and have been preparing every since. Unfortunately, a medical issue came up that lead to a deferral and now my invite for January is on hold. I am supposed to be leaving for service on January 7th, but won’t know until next Wednesday/Thursday (8 days before departure) whether I’m actually going to be going. Talk about a roller coaster. I see everyone posting on here that they are anxiously awaiting an invite, or frustrated that they haven’t heard anything yet … and then extremely thrilled when the invite comes through … I know, I went through the same emotions. It’s almost like that invite is the finishline – the guarantee that PC is going to be a part of your very near future. Unfortunately, for some people, myself included, that invite doesn’t end up being the finishline and you have a series of additional hurdles to overcome.
Anyway, here is a brief recap of what has been going on for those that might end up going through something similar (fingers crossed you don’t have to). There are a details on my medical issues (since I know a lot of women go through the same thing) so if you don’t want as much detail, you can read my updated blog with a more general approach to the issues … you can find that at http://kyinthailand.wordpress.com
1st week in December - busily preparing for Thailand!
December 5th - Routine doctor visit to keep up-to-date on my 6 month appointments for my HPV and medical accommodation. I didn’t have to go in as my doctor cleared me for 15 months (a necessary requirement to get cleared for PC), but I was deferred from my October departure and thought I may as well go in and make sure things are good. If I didn’t go in, I would technically be going 21 months before my next appointment and I just wasn’t ready to go that long after having gone every six months for the last two years. I assumed everything would be fine seeings as though I’ve received the same results for the last two years – all ASCUS cells with CIN1 abnormalities … very low grade issues. Well, I was wrong. My reports came back with HSIL (high grade). I was referred to a specialist.
December 10th - Colposcopy and biopsy appointment. I had to have another colposcopy and biopsy to see if the CIN1 cells had progressed. It was almost guaranteed that they had, since the pap results had progressed, but we wanted to see for sure what I was dealing with. I hate these procedures. I hope I never have to have another one in my life.
December 15th - Results. Looks like I have CIN2 and some CIN3 abnormalities … not good. Not good at all. My doctor recommended a LEEP procedure to remove all the abnormal cells. A fairly simple procedure that she said would have me back up and running in no time so I could leave in January! Sounds great, right? No … according to Peace Corps, any medical procedure is an automatic 6 month deferral. Bummer. I spoke with my doctor about my options. She said that I didn’t need to get it right away but that I should have the procedure within six months just to be safe. So, technically I could still go to Thailand and just have the procedure there, right? Wrong again. If I had the procedure there, that would mean requesting a doctor’s visit outside of the normal visits, which woul mean I would have to tell them about my doctor’s visits at home. If I told them prior to departure, it would be another deferral because I am currently in need of medical treatment. If I told them there, it would be a discharge from service for non-disclosure of information … so basically, I didn’t really have much of a choice. I decided to have the procedure here in the states and go through the appeal process to hopefully still be able to serve.
December 20th - Procedure. Without going into details, it went very well. Recovery was a breeze. I’m my normal self already and am more than capable of serving … its just a matter of convincing PC of that.
December 24th (today) – I’m hoping for the first part of my Christmas miracle. I’m awaiting a call about my pathology results. I’m hoping for the words “clear margins”. Clear margins basically means that of the section of cells they removed, there was a layer of normal cells around the outsides. This would mean that they are confident they removed all the abnormal cells, which means a 90-95% chance that my issues are over and that I won’t have abnormal results again. This is what I need to put in front of Peace Corps for any chance of an appeal. If I can convince them that I’m healthy now and can perform all duties as a volunteer (have a great letter from my doctor) and also show them that there is little chance of any issue returning (the pathology report) then I very well could be cleared. However, if the results come back with unclear margins, that means that there were abnormal cells at the very edges of the part they removed, which means they could have left some abnormal cells behind. This means a higher risk (though still fairly low) of the abnormal cells returning … and less chance PC will accept my appeal.
December 29th - Wednesday … appeal day. The appeals board meets on Wednesdays. I will have all my forms faxed to them by Monday afternoon in preparation. I hope to hear by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning as to whether my appeal was accepted.
January 7th - Hopefully the day I will still be leaving for staging and then be off on my way to Thailand.
So much going on … so many emotions. I just want to end by saying to never give up hope. I’m a few weeks away from departure and still dealing with these issues, but I’m fighting to the end. Believe me, I didn’t always want to. Last week I was ready to throw in the towel … but it was my fellow Thailand volunteers (who I’ve met through Facebook) who have given me the strength to keep fighting for this last chance. Stay motivated. Stay hopeful.
I’ll keep you guys updated on how things go.
November 30, 2010
Just a quick update to let you all know that I’ve been updating my other blog. As I stated before, it’s in the “Thailand” link rather than the “Applicant” link because that’s where I’m headed and that’s where PCJ decided to place it!
The link is http://kyinthailand.wordpress.com …
November 5, 2010
So, I realized today that my new blog “Kylene Takes on Thailand” has been categorized under the Thailand feed on PCJ. I’m not technically in Thailand yet, but that’s where they chose to put me … soo, if you are a reader of my blog and were wondering where I had gone off to, that would be the place … I know that makes it more difficult, but if you want to keep up with me, that’s where you are going to have to look (or just bookmark me or become a follower!).
I will try to put a post on here from time to time when I have a new post available on that blog, but that seems a bit tedious … so, just an FYI, I haven’t disappeared, I’m just being held in a new location :)
New Blog URL: http://kyinthailand.wordpress.com
Hope all is well with everyone!
October 21, 2010
Alright, so I posted awhile back that I would update my website when I had the new one created … it is somewhat finished and ready for visitors. The link is below. I have also linked it through PCJ but I don’t think it’s showing up yet … I’ll be updated on the new one from now on.
October 5, 2010
The wait is officially over and I’m going to Thailand!
Every moment of this application process is well worth it now that I finally know where I am going and what I am doing. All the ups and downs are over and I now know what I’m going to be doing with the next 27 months of my life!
I know the last few posts I have debated whether or not I really wanted to serve. I have a ton of great stuff going for me right now and I didn’t know whether I wanted to give that up … but the fact of the matter is, as soon as that invitation was in my hands, there was no decision … there was only Peace Corps. I’m going, and that’s that.
I’m terrified, and sad, and don’t want to leave all this behind … but at the same time, I’m ecstatic and thrilled and I’ve never been more excited! My mom said to me yesterday that she is proud of me and I didn’t think much of it because it seems that’s what everyone says when you say you’re going off to join Peace Corps. Then she continued and said something along the lines of “I’m proud of you for taking this leap. It isn’t about service or what you’re doing there, of course I’m proud of you for that too, but it’s for having the courage to pursue this. So many people have these dreams but just stay content in their lives. You’re making it happen. I’m proud of you.”
You know what Mom, I’m proud of me too :)
Anyway, here are the details for all of you that are wondering :)
Program: Teacher Collaboration and Community Outreach (TCCO)
Job Title: Teacher Collaborator and Community Facilitator
Orientation Date: January 8, 2011
Pre-service Training: January 10, 2011 – March 22, 2011
Dates of Service: March 23, 2011 – March 22, 2011
Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog. I will be switching to a new blog now that I know where I’m going to be serving. I will be setting that up soon and will post a link here to let you all know how to follow me :)
October 4, 2010
So my invitation has not arrived yet (I’m crossing my fingers for today but most likely it’ll be tomorrow or Wednesday) but I did receive a call from placement today.
After finding out on Friday that I was getting an invite I emailed my PO and asked for more details, but I also put a call in to the general Education Placement desk just in case. My PO emailed me back and said I’d have to wait for any information until the invite was received. I was a bit disappointed because I know many people who receive invites find out in their final interview the region or departure time or something …
But, a person from the Education desk called me today and was able to give me the following information:
Region: Eastern Europe/Asia
Now, since Eastern Europe has never been mentioned to me during this entire process, but Asia was one of the regions I was being considered for, I’m going to stick with that assumption – that it’s Asia.
And with a departure in January, that means it would have to be THAILAND (if previous/current departures are correct).
I would say that I’m not letting myself get too excited without receiving the invitation … but, that would be a lie.
I’m so freakin’ excited!!!!!
When I first started this process and thought of the places I would like to go, Thailand was absolutely on the list. Granted my list was a mile long, but still … I think it would be a phenomenal experience. I also have a friend who just got back from a ten day trip to Thailand and said it was incredible. I don’t doubt it.
So, I’m waiting for the invite, but if deductive reasoning proves correct, it looks like I’m going to be a very happy camper :)
I still haven’t made my final decision whether to serve or not – but things are definitely leaning that direction!