Monday, January 22, 2007


Dear Mom and Dad,
Got your email this morning. Or rather, I got pre-dawn call from Larissa letting me know I had email from you this morning. You know how that goes: Wrong numbers come from drunk people between the hours of 12AM and 3:00AM; calls with News give the chickens competition before they have a chance to hit their morning stride!

Tried to call you, but even though my calling card isn't of the Cracker Jack variety, multiple attempts brought multiple results, with none of them being a real person. Just weird tones and then dead air or automated messages in Thai-nglish. (Kup Kuun Kaa, this number is currently unavailable. blablabla. Kun Kaaa... . ). The click and the buzz are pretty universal.

I just wanted to let you know that I'm keeping you in my prayers today, and that I hope you guys have a speedy and safe trip home. Please keep me in the loop as much as possible, though I suspect that things will be pretty hectic on your end for a while. I love you guys… (Email to my parents)

Leukemia. The word has always conjured in my mind images of sick cats and kids or adults who died long before it was their natural time. Only now, it’s being associated with my dad. My sister, who lives in a time zone 3 hours ahead of me, received the news first and passed it on to me before I could hit the ground running for another workweek.

My dad had gotten ill in late December and had been experiencing a great deal of pain in his back. When I talked to him on the phone in early January, I could tell immediately that the constant pain had already had a profound impact on him. His voice was strained, and it just wasn’t… him! However, once some more powerful drugs were able to manage this somewhat, he had proceeded to fly to Thailand for a 2-month trip he had been planning for over a year. Initial indicators were that he’d pinched a nerve and that it appeared to be resolving.

One week into the vacation, in which he’d managed to put in half-days of sight seeing in Bangkok, my parents took the all day train from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai. It was hard on him, and in his words, he was ganged up on by my mom and the Fords and made to go to the hospital. The medical staff were able to zero in on the diagnosis of Leukemia pretty rapidly, and word arrived this morning.

The plan is to stabilize him and arrange transportation home for treatment as soon as possible. I’m numb, but being thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to do but try to go about my business as usual.

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