Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Greetings From The Land of Ribs

Hey Y'all!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Belated Easter from Memphis.

I arrived here on Easter morning, in the middle of thunderstorms and torrential rain. It was quite fitting, as I was very sad to be away from our family, especially on the holiday. It was a great day for some ugly crying.

I am here for a pediatric oncology rotation (which was not possible to reschedule) and it is quite busy. The kids I have met in clinic are incredibly cute and fun and heartbreaking, all at once. Both Nick's situation and this experience here are reminders of how ruthlessly undiscriminating this disease is. It truly is beyond understanding, on so many different levels.

What is amazing about St. Jude's is that children come from all over the world to be treated here. (I met a family from Panama yesterday!) A shuttle picks up the child and family at the airport, and brings them to the campus where lodging and meals are provided. They stay for as long as necessary, and regardless of insurance status, the family never receives a bill.

They say that it's not so safe to go running where I am staying in Memphis (next to the jail and 20+ bail bond outfits), so I've decided to channel some of Nick's best advice when exploring a new place--
do it on a bike.

Please meet Elvis:

I will only have her for a few weeks, because the nice guy at the bike shop has agreed to buy her back from me before I go. This is way cheaper than renting, so I am totally psyched.

I spoke with Nick today on the tellie, and he sounded tired, but good. He continues to struggle with the dizziness and is completely wiped out energywise from the chemo. But, he still made sure that I had a helmet and that I was wearing it when riding Elvis.

Nick used to work for a company called Bicycle Adventures as a tour guide and fix-it guy. His knowledge of the many bicycle trails and routes in various states is amazing. When I moved to Philly almost 3 years ago, Nick bought me two books that had detailed maps of the bike trails all around the city and another for the greater Pennsylvania countryside (which is beautiful, btw).

Nick toured through Europe on his bike several years ago and wrote a little novella in his journal about his travels. We re-read portions of it when I was home, and it was great. It's written in a way that makes you feel like you're right there on the trail, with detailed descriptions of smells and weather and people...

Perhaps we should put some of the entries on the blog.

Tomorrow is Nick's last day of round 2! He is very happy about this. Next Wednesday, he will have another CT scan to see what all of this chemo is doing, so we are hoping for a good report.

We have contacted Michael Broffman in California, the Chinese Medicine specialist that was recommended by our friend David Craven. (Thank you, David!) We are looking forward to hearing what he suggests for Nick's diet and any other herbal remedies that might be worth trying in conjunction with the chemotherapy. You just never know what might work....

Miss you all back home!


1 comment:

  1. Michal,

    Glad to hear you are enjoying Memphis! I'm very close to you! Tried sending you an e-mail last week about Nick. Check and see if you got it?

    Take care,
    Jason Whitman