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A letter from Karla Koll in Guatemala

March 22, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Grace and peace to you as we travel through these days of Lent.

The doctors at the Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) have said that I can return to Guatemala. I'll be getting on a plane on Tuesday, March 20. My husband, Javier, is back in Guatemala, so he will be there to meet me.

During the biopsy of my right breast on March 9 the surgeon removed what turned out to be a small non-invasive cancer. The margins were clear, so the only treatment I will need on that side will be radiation.

I have been able to work with a wonderful occupational therapist here as part of UNC's Comprehensive Cancer Support Center. My left arm has returned to normal size, so I'll only need to wear a compression sleeve when I am exercising. There are no signs of lymphedema and I have regained full range of motion.

I have a treatment plan in hand that was developed by the team here. I will be starting chemotherapy in Quetzaltenango as soon as possible. The sooner I can start, the sooner it will be done.

Following chemotherapy I will need six weeks of radiation. This treatment is not available in Quetzaltenango. For many reasons, I am planning to come back to Chapel Hill for radiation. Already I've begun to talk with people here about what I might be able to do in different churches around the area to encourage their involvement in mission.

I want to let everyone know that the prognosis in my case is highly favorable. The medical oncologist here said to me that this year will be a nightmare, but then I will wake up and go on with my life. I will be glad to share more medical details with those who are interested.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Guatemala and catching up with professors and students at CEDEPCA. I know everyone at CEDEPCA has been very busy this month with visiting groups and ongoing classes. My hope is to continue working at least half time from home as I undergo chemotherapy.

I am very grateful for the support I have received in so many different ways from folks here in Chapel Hill and beyond. I know that I will need a lot more support in the months to come. If you would like ideas about how to support me, my family, and CEDEPCA during this time, please write to me.

As always, I am most grateful to be a part of God's mission in this world that God loves so much. I pray that we continue to dream together with God about persons made whole and the creation healed.

Blessings,

Karla

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 6

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