Study Abroad Blog

Been Busy, Here’s Why

Posted on May 25th, 2007 by Matt Brattin

When I finished up the “So You Want A Student Visa” post I had just completed one of the most stressful obstacles standing between me and my timely voyage to Barcelona. Once I submitted my application at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco, Blanca and I officially began our short, final vacation before we plan to leave our present jobs for good. We spent the rest of our day voyaging around South San Francisco trying to find our hotel and the nearest BART station so we could minimize our struggle heading back into town later that evening.

We had been invited to have dinner with two ESADE alumni and the wonderful admissions woman who interviewed me (who is also my future landlord), so I was quite excited. We all met up at the Grand Hyatt and walked to a charming Italian restaurant and opted to eat inside, as it was raining quite nicely. The conversation flowed, as did the red wine, and we had a wonderful time hearing the alumni catch up with one another, as I imagine someday I will hopefully do with members of my cohort.

After our four-hour dinner came to an end we bid each other adieu and parted ways. Blanca and I made it back to our hotel just past midnight and did our best to get to sleep quickly, as we had an 8:30 flight to catch the next morning! We were heading to Minneapolis to visit my cousin and his fiancé, as we will unfortunately have to miss the wedding. Considering my cousin was a groomsman at my wedding, I felt it the least I could do to at least pay them a visit before we head off across the Atlantic.

Now where was I? Oh yes, trying to sleep. So, after a little less than five hours of sleep the alarms awoke us from our deep slumber and nearly provoked my heart to retire from duty. After composing myself, I showered and packed and we caught the earliest bus to the airport. Our flight was uneventful, just how I like them, and we landed in Minneapolis around 2pm their time. My cousin picked us up and we made our way to his place and had little time to settle down before we had to head off to watch the Red Sox beat the home team Twins in a low scoring game. I slept well that night…wish I could say the same about Blanca, I think she consumed a tainted jumbo dog at the game.

The next two days were great, despite the weather (darn rain followed us all the way from San Francisco) and we had a good time at the horse races, among other things, and just catching up with my cousin. Monday came too quickly and it was time to head back to the airport and make our way back home.

After another uneventful flight, we were back at SFO and spent a good hour waiting for the complimentary hotel bus that supposedly comes every 20 minutes. We finally made it back to the hotel, picked up the car, and got back on the road on our way back to Fresno. The ride was going smoothly, until I got a phone call from my mother.

About a week prior to this trip my mother was informed by a doctor that they spotted a small growth on her right lung that they wanted to investigate. They noted she is not a typical candidate for lung cancer, as she has never smoked (although my grandmother passed away from lung cancer after smoking for about 50 years), nonetheless, they still wanted to investigate. She had a biopsy the day we arrived in San Francisco and my mom was calling with the results the day we were heading home: The growth was cancerous.

The only good news during the phone call was that the growth was deemed a “low grade cancer,” and was present on only the middle lobe of her right lung. The doctor was confident he could remove this lobe and she should be good to go in no time, so the surgery was scheduled for Friday, May 18th in San Luis Obispo. By the way, this particular doctor was chosen by my mother because he is the same doctor who removed one of my grandmother’s lungs during the initial phases of her bout with cancer.

We all made the late-night voyage to the coast on Thursday the 17th and slept little the night before the surgery. The morning came and soon enough my mom was under the knife and all we could do was wait. About three hours later the doctor came in and informed us all that he “couldn’t have been happier with the way the surgery went.” We all released a sigh of relief in unison, however it would be another week before they got the results of the pathology report back to determine whether or not the growth had been malignant or benign, which would also determine the level of concern for ongoing forms of treatment.

As of Tuesday evening on the 22nd I am oh so happy to announce all of the non-malignant cancer had been removed and the doctor sees no need for further treatments at this time. My mom will have some regular follow-ups scheduled simply for monitoring purposes, however this is very manageable and we are all extremely thankful everything turned out so well, so quickly. I’m heading back to San Luis to see my mom again tomorrow, and she should be allowed to head back to Fresno later next week.

So, there you have it, I’m now back to work and on the home stretch before it is time to get packing for Spain. We have no new news about Blanca’s application with the INS other than we were told that it is still in Nebraska for whatever reason. In lieu of her status, we are backing up our estimated date of departure to sometime in August and hopefully this additional time will be just what we need to get her documents, or at least most of them, squared away as painlessly as possible.

As I prepare to purchase my tickets and more news comes I will be sure to post, but in the meantime I really don’t have a whole lot else to report at the moment. I am happy to see some people posting comments and will continue to encourage that sort of activity!

“Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.” – Anonymous

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