Thursday, May 5, 2011

UPDATE to Up, Up and Away!

A quick update right before I head out the door--My corporate angel flight got cancelled last minute which at first made me think my plans with Kelly for the weekend were doomed.  Then I searched and found one last ticket on a US Air flight from LAX to Richmond which took me into Richmond at the same time and day as originally planned and for only $445 round trip after taxes.  The blessing of all of that was a dear friend popped by and dropped me an envelope...a gift of $200 to put toward that airfare!  Amazing.

Then I was kind of scrambling to find hotel in Bethesda during the Mon-Fri time I'd be there...close enough to get shuttle service and not need a car.  However, so many things were booked and most hotels were $250/night and up!  This morning though, I called the International Guest House and talked to the inn keeper. It's run by a church group, is a bed and breakfast and is only $40/night.  Imagine my delight when he said he had just one room for me and would actually be moving me into another room mid-week b/c they're kind of booked.  It's truly amazing.  They have international guests and group breakfasts, and at 9pm they sit around this great old home and have tea and cookies and conversation.  I'm so looking forward to the experience!  I've read great reviews of this place and it's only 4 miles from the White House and on the bus route that can take me to NIH in 30 min.

So that's all for now - going to L.A. right now to enjoy Cinco de Mayo with my friends the Dahls.  And head out to the airport early early to see James McMillan, Mike's best friend from high school, who lives in Charlotte, NC where I'm flying into...he's flying in on the same airline at the same time from elsewhere and we'll meet for coffee at the gate before flying out again 40 minute later!  Then off to Richmond to stay with Kelly for the weekend and her Dad in Centerville (my old home town) on Sunday night...Sunday Kelly and I are going to visit our old stomping grounds :)

Love to all!  Krista

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Up, Up and Away on a Corporate Jet to the East Coast!

Hoping for a sweet ride like this one!
I was researching treatment options for chronic Graft-vs-Host disease which followed my bone marrow transplant and ran across a study being conducted at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD.  It's a historical study, but because GVHD affects all areas of the body inside and out, there is a team of specialists in every field who I will meet with over four days and receive all kinds of tests...CT scan, MRI, echocardiogram, pulmonary, dermatology, biopsies, oral, gynecological, etc.  They meet together as a team when we're finished and decide the best treatment options for me, write a report and send it to me at home for my doctors.  

It's a great opportunity to get everything looked at in one shot and get the cutting edge options that are available to try.  The great news is that the flight out there is free for me as it will be on a corporate angel flight which is a network of Fortune 500 companies who've donated their extra seats when they happen to be flying from your area to where you want to go if you're a patient going to an NIH-sponsored treatment center.  I think NIH counts!  :)  

I couldn't plan the trip because it is just what comes up in the system right before you are supposed to go.  I can't tell them what day I want to go or pick the city of choice.  But, the great thing is God is in control and cares about these details for me.  As it turns out, I will be flying out of Long Beach this Friday, the 6th.  It seems earlier than I'd plan because my appointments don't start until Tuesday, the 10th.  However, it happens to be flying into Richmond, VA, home of my best friend from high school, Kelly Koch Jones.  That right there is Providence, my friends!  We're going to have a wonderful weekend together before I go up to Bethesda on Monday.

I don't have a return flight home yet, but that will surely come up just right and just in time.  I am all for adventure and this whole trip sure fits the bill!  I'm going to relish in it for a week even though I'm going to miss my family terribly.   I was hoping to bring Mike and the boys since I have a seat for a companion to go with me, but the corporate jet rules are no children under 21 unless they're a patient.  And with all their grandparents gone on their own vacations, and therefore no childcare, Mike is staying home with them.  That's alright...we'll go again in the future when they're older and we can do it as a family and see more, but free would have been nice too!

As it turns out I'll be staying in a hotel near NIH so I don't have to rent a car (hopefully).  NIH reimburses up to $50 a night for hotel and $8/day in food.  That's will feed the rats of NIMH, but not me and only rats would stay in a $50/night hotel!  The only hotels in that area that are available are $200 a night so please pray for provision for this as we are not in the green yet. 

I'll take photos of the trip and try to update you on what it was like to be Queen for the day...riding VIP on a corporate jet -- don't I feel like all THAT!?  Can you tell I am a little excited? 

This is my theme song for the trip: Oh Virginia by Blessid Union of Souls - so great!

I'll be meditating on this verse as I fly from the west to the east coast even though I know that the Psalmist is referring to a much wider span!  High in the air, I will feel His love envelope me as I imagine how small I am compared to God and His love as I'm whisked across the sky...may you be caught up by Him wherever you are!

Psalm 103:11-12
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
   as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.