photograph by Kuni Takahashi of the Chicago Tribune. Click on the picture to see it full sized.
The woman in the bed in the picture is 28 year old Mariana de la Torre, a Moline resident for two years, until her recent return to her native Mexico. You can still tell, if you use your imagination at little, how pretty and vivacious she was before the cancer and the radiation and the chemotherapy took her hair and her strength.
A little over a month ago one of the oncology nurses at Trinty Hospital in Rock Island told my wife, who was there as a friend and translator for Mariana, that she did not understand why the doctor was treating her so aggressively. "There is nothing more to be done. Why doesn't he just discharge her?" But Mariana had told the doctor that she wanted to go home to Mexico to see her children and family. The doctor ordered one more round of chemo to get her well enough to travel. That got her just strong enough that she could fly home, although she needed someone to go with her to handle the ostomy bags and tubes and ambulances were needed to take her to and from the airplane. The above picture was taken a few weeks ago in Mexico at the hospital Mariana was taken to by ambulance from the airport. The three children are Mariana's. They had not seen each other since December 2006, when she left them with an aunt and crossed the border illegally and came to the Quad Cities looking to earn money that she could send back to Mexico to support her children. She had just left an abusive husband and had no way of earning enough money by herself in Mexico.
The day after this picture was taken the Mexican hospital asked Mariana where she wanted to die and then released her in her brother's care. There was nothing more they could do for her.
There is an article in today's Chicago Tribune about Mariana's situation.