I had a good two days at MD Anderson last Thursday and Friday. We arrived from Oklahoma City on time and besides a tasty lunch at one of our favorites, Hungry's, we went on the the Rotary House which is the hotel connected to the hospital. Since this was Spring Break the hospital was not as full as usual but also a little shorthanded for them. I was able to get my X-Rays on time since that is where my cancer would come back. After over 20 CT and PET scans, X-Rays are a piece of cake. Then the lovely thing about the hotel is that they have their own blood work area so you don't have to do it at the clinic. The good news for both is that my X-Ray was clear and my blood work showed that my thyroid which caught the radiation in the head and neck was normal so no drugs needed. Hey, I am not one who likes pills.
My normal dermatologist in cancer prevention was on an emergency so they switched me to a Doctor in Skin cancer at the main hospital for a head to toe check. He did freeze two spots on my face that had been biopsied last year and this was for prevention and my cancer was not of the skin but one can't be too careful. What is sad is I saw a boy no older than five which you don't normally see in the main hospital with a patch over one eye and some skin marks and that is hard to take.Like many there he was not an American so you do see people from all over the world but excuse me, a five year old having cancer is just not fair. As I said previously in posts about this if I would have died of cancer in my sixties it would have been a full life I had the privilege of having and I hope that he will be OK.
It was more enjoyable to talk to survivors back like me for check ups even 20 years later and you know they are survivors before you talk to them because they are the ones smiling and grateful for their good fortune. It was good to share our successes together and engaging in conversation there is easy as we share our experiences. What is also remarkable is looking in the different departments at the names of the Doctors on the wall, you get a sense of the international talent and my skin Doctor was from the middle east. Again, not only are we a nation of immigrants but we also attract the best and the brightest so we should still be a welcoming country. I did get to visit Hermann Park and walk my old walk and even though the old rose garden is gone it still brought back powerful emotions but so many people were out that day on this Spring break week and so many happy children does your heart good.
So that is it for this year and I will be going back for next year. I will always feel like one of the lucky ones who still gets to walk the earth, enjoy my friends and family, and do work that benefits others. Every morning I wake up and kiss my lovely wife, we share our gratitude. So many people I saw in those two days were struggling with their treatment and just to give them a smile or a kind word, as well as being a living example of surviving makes for a priceless experience. I guess it is true that that which does not kill us makes us stronger. May you all feel blessed with gratitude.