Home Faith and Family MD Anderson, Thanks for Saving My Life

MD Anderson, Thanks for Saving My Life

I don’t know where to begin telling you about my cancer journey. What I do know, is that I need more time than this short article. But, for now, let’s focus on my latest Cancer check-up at MD Anderson last Monday.  

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Imminent Dread. Thats what I used to feel washing over me up to months in advance of my check-up scans. But recently this tune has changed. I no longer feel the weight and fear that I used to. Do I get anxious a week out from my appointment? Of course! But it is quickly replaced with the feeling of overwhelming joy.  

I am tearing up writing this and thinking about all of the people at MD Anderson that had their hand in helping save my life. When I was receiving treatment in Houston I recall an employee named David who would stand at the entrance of the main building, car after car, bus after bus. David would assist cancer patients getting out of their transport and helping wheel them to their first appointment. As you can imagine MD Anderson is huge, so this would take David around 10 minutes per patient. When I wasn’t in good shape David would meet me at the entrance with a wheel chair and take me to my appointments. David is the kindest soul and would always tell me that I was going to beat this cancer no problem. He would always put a smile on my face and make what I was about to endure a little more bearable.  

The second person that stands out is sweet Bear. Bear works on the pediatric stem cell transplant floor and is full of love. When I was going through in-patient care for 40 days on the transplant floor Bear was looking out for me. He was tasked with constantly checking my vitals and making sure I was tolerating the treatment. When you are receiving chemo 24-7 in the hospital and have so many people coming in and out of your room, sleep is hard to come by. He would make sure to sneak in and do what he needed to without waking me. Also, Bear’s hugs are the best! He was a comforting presence for me when I was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been. 3

It would be impossible to write about MD Anderson without mentioning my beautiful princess PA Melinda. Melinda is my girl. We are on the same wavelength and Melinda continually tries her best to take my fears away as quickly as she can. “Scanxiety” is the worst feeling but Melinda helps me through it and calms my fears. She is always a phone call away when I need her. Post-transplant life can be extremely difficult and I am a nut case when it comes to symptoms I feel. Every time I see Melinda she is so impressed that I actually waited the full 6 months and didn’t call her in a panic saying “I’m dying, the cancer is back, and I need to move my scan up ASAP.” Melinda is who talks me off a ledge when I am writing my tomb stone because of a lingering migraine (or a common cold). If you don’t have a Melinda in your life you need one. Trust me.  

Lastly, my hero, Dr. Samer Srour. Dr. Srour is my stem cell transplant doctor and the doctor who has kept a close eye on me in my post-transport life. He was a genius in dealing with my case of aggressive stage 3 lymphoma. He made the decision to give me a more aggressive german regimen for my high-dose chemotherapy in hopes of curing me. I remember going into his clinic before my transplant date was set waiting to hear his plan. He said I was going to hate him after what he was about to put me through. But I remembering him following that with “It’s ok if you hate me as long as you get to have a future.”  

In reality, I absolutely adore him. He always kept me hopeful and handled my case with the utmost care. By the Grace of God and some helping hands at MD, I am three years post-transplant and cancer free. When I go to MD for my checkup I hope and pray I will get to see Samer turn that door handle and walk through releasing a sigh of relief. He works so hard all day and when he sees me we get to relax and reminisce on my journey. How lucky am I? It’s honestly hard to believe I am able to be typing these words. I am a Cancer Survivor? I was in a very dark place for a very long time and I am beyond blessed to be able to tell these stories. I am so grateful that when my doctor opens the door to my room he can great me with a warm smile and a hug. Because he knows I’m living and creating an amazing life for myself!

I am forever grateful to MD Anderson and all of the people that impacted my cancer journey. Thank you MD for saving my life, I owe you one.