It's Bethan here. Quick recap: I was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome when I was 4 years old - I turned 25 in December, 2016. I never went more than a few weeks without relapsing as soon as I dropped to 30mg of Pred, and this went on for a few years. I am lucky to say that I have been in long-term remission for many years now and I'm living life to the full. So I encourage all those who are currently diagnosed with NS and all those fantastic people who are supporting loved ones with NS to stay strong, stay positive, and to never give up hope.
It has been an extremely long time since we have posted so I have no idea how many of you will see this.
Here is a quick overview of what I have been doing the last couple of years.
In July 2015, I graduated with a 1st class honours degree from Brunel University London in Social Anthropology. I took a year out afterward and ended up in Ecuador again where I volunteered as the Operations Coordinator for the Arajuno Road Project (ARP) organisation for about 7 months. In February 2016, my (now) Ecuadorian fiance, Elder, (who I met back in 2012) got his first passport and we applied for a visa for him to visit my family here in the U.K - his visa got denied. It was the most stressful time I've had in a while - I was physically ill from start to finish and suffered from my first migraine thanks to the whole thing. We applied again and over 200 pages of documents later, his visa application got accepted!
So in April last year, we took the (long) bus journey from Ecuador to Colombia where we spent a relaxing 2 weeks together on the Colombian coast before we then ventured home to England for what would be a crazy busy 6 months exploring the U.K! In July, whilst we spent a beautiful sunny long weekend at St. Ives in Cornwall, Elder got down on one knee and proposed to me (in Spanish). Of course, I said yes, and despite not having any firm plans yet, we hope to get married next year - which country we will tie the knot it is yet to be determined!
Anyway, he has been back in Ecuador since the end of last October and I have been frantically working part-time and studying a full-time Master's degree in Social Anthropology. Lectures now finished and for the next part of my degree, I am to do another bout of research - I'll be heading to Guatemala next month for the summer and collaborating with an NGO called Primeros Pasos under their Nutrition Program. Can't wait! All going well, in September I will be submitting a 15,000 word dissertation on my research. Quite honestly, that seems impossible right now! But I WILL DO IT.
Of course, I can never simply travel to one destination and back again. My plan is to stop off in Utah on the way and visit a great friend of mine who I met back in Ecuador in 2012 and who I haven't seen in almost 3 years where we met up in Tanzania when she came to volunteer with The Small Things. And how could I travel all the way to Central America and not journey a bit further south to see Elder and his family in Ecuador? So fingers crossed, I'll make a visit for a couple of weeks to Ecuador for Elder and I's 5 year anniversary and partake in the community anniversary fiesta on 10th August. Then it will be home. Write. Write. Write. Write. Until I finish my dissertation and submit it on 15th September.
My brain hurts already.
I'll try and post soon with an update from Guatemala!