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Thanksgiving 2013 and MD Anderson
November 29, 2013

YYesterday was Thanksgiving day.  It is my favorite holiday more than Christmas or Easter. I should not say that since I am Catholic.  But that’s the point of Thanksgiving, it transcends one’s religion or belief.

I have many things to be thankful for, especially after I was diagnose with cancer in March 2008.  This year was bad for me, and I have come a long way from having a bad prognosis January of this year.  I didn’t think I would make it to celebrate thanksgiving.

But I am here.  The turkey was good…burp!  My sister and her family arrive from Toronto and I was once again surrounding by family.  This year I even have my mother with me, which is always special.

I went back to Thanksgiving 2012 (see The Bald Truth posting) to remind me of what I went through.  Last year, I was bald and my wife cut her hair short to become bald as well.  Thanksgiving 2011 (see Happy Thanksgiving – Round 2 was the beginning of my new treatment and it was toxic for me.  It was then that my cancer went to my lungs from my liver: another relapse.  Thanksgiving 2010 (see My Thanksgiving posting) was a fulfilling year for running but I also had a liver resection that year.  Thanksgiving 2009 (see Happy Thanksgiving posting) was when I found out when my cancer came back after a year.  That was a hard news to take.  Lastly, Thanksgiving 2008 (see November 2008 posting here) was my first Thanksgiving with cancer.  Back then I did not know what lies ahead but I am still thankful.

Now, I still don’t know what lies ahead nor anybody else.  What is important is my time (or our time) is here and now.  Happy thanksgiving.

MD Anderson – Houston, TX

They say everything in Texas is big.  That’s an understatement.  MD Anderson is huge and is located in downtown Houston in a campus along with other hospitals, like  Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor Clinic, and St. Luke’s Womens.

MD Anderson itself has several buildings within the campus.  The only thing I can compare it to is Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, which is also big.  But one thing is common among all the hospitals I have been to, are the patients.  Big or small hospitals, patients need help.  As I sit there in awe of my surrounding, I still have the same anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen.

At MD Anderson, they specialize in cancer research and I see many patients of different ages and in different stages of their cancer.  It is normal to see some patients walking around as they drag their chemo infusion pumps along with them.  I have never seen so many cancer patients in one hospital.  It is a different world when you enter MD Anderson; different from Mayo, Northwestern or Swedish.

What I like about MD Anderson is their staff.  I think they fully understand the needs of cancer patients; how precarious their life is.  They get it.  And they are consistent in really helping you out; from the moment I called for an unscheduled appointment up to the way they welcomed me at the hospital.  They know how to take care of cancer patients.

My doctor is Dr. G, a Mayo-trained medical oncologist and educated in Dublin, Ireland.  He is a pleasant man and methodical in asking about my medical history.  He is also very generous with his time and would diligently try to understand my needs.  At the end of almost two-hour consult, he gave me all the options available to me.  There was surgery and experimental trials, which gave me hope.

Hope is a precious commodity when fighting cancer because there is no cure for it.  I am not short of hope or prayers, I just wish the cure comes in time for me to benefit from all the research.  As my wife would say, it will come but in God’s time.

Cheers.

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