ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

An Allentown City Council woman says she's happy to be home after a trip to South America took a nightmarish turn.

"A month and a few days laying in a hospital bed, it was horrible," shared Cynthia Mota.

For her, a quick trip to Venezuela almost turned deadly.

"I got really sick to the point that I had to have five blood transfusions."

The Allentown City Council woman traveled to the country to be with her brother while he had surgery. But then she came down with a serious case of shingles and suffered complications. While she was in and out of surgeries, what was going on outside of the hospital only added to the nightmare.

"It was pure chaos," described Mota. "A lot of burning of hospitals, not having milk, not having toilet paper, not having rice."

There's been political unrest in Venezuela since President Hugo Chavez died and the country is in turmoil.

Mota just got back to the United States, and she isn't letting her illness get in the way of the upcoming primary election.

"I know I only have five days but I'm going to start knocking on doors," said Mota. "I'm not walking perfectly but it's okay, I still have strength and I have my heart in my campaign."

The Democrat has served on council since she was appointed in 2012. She comes from the Dominican Republic and became the council's first nonwhite woman. Mota says she plans to campaign hard leading up to the big day Tuesday.

"I'm just glad I'm back home," she smiled. "I love America, and I love Allentown, there's no place like home."