I am writing to thank the MD Anderson Cancer Center on behalf of my husband and myself. We traveled a thousand miles for my husband to be treated here. Why? MD Anderson is regarded as the top cancer hospital in this country, established as a national comprehensive cancer center in 1971. It offered us the largest center for treating the kind of cancer my husband had.
Our experience here has been nothing short of wonderful. Our physician and his team spent a great deal of time with us, explaining treatment and answering questions as if my husband were their only patient. The hospital was equally impressive and during our short stay, our surgeon or one of his team of surgeons visited 5 times a day. Our nurse also was able to devote much time to my husband’s care as she is only assigned a few patients at a time, unlike at most hospitals. My husband stay lasted only 4 days as compared to the usual 10 to 14 days that he would have experienced at our local hospital. And for a surgery that carries a high risk of complications, my husband has had none to date. We attribute much of this to the advanced and comprehensive care he received at MD Anderson.
The MD Anderson campus at the University of Texas is HUGE. My photos do not begin to show the extensive buildings and centers and offer only an impression of what it is like here.
On September 13, we awoke at 4 a.m. and made our way over a skybridge from our hotel to the hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center. There, my husband underwent a 9 hour surgery, done robotically by wonderfully skilled surgeon, to remove his cancerous bladder and reconstruct a new one.
As I sat in the waiting room, with family and many other families present for their loved ones, time warped again. Everything in our lives stood still as we awaited the conclusion of surgery and the doctor’s report. Finally, my husband was out of surgery and in the recovery room. His surgeon told us the surgery went fast and well. And because my husband’s cancer was superficial and noninvasive (at surgery), the surgery offered a cure and a long life.
As I write this, my husband is recovering well and we remain in the Houston area for follow-up doctor visits. Less than two weeks after surgery, he feels energetic and is walking over a mile a day. Time still runs slowly as we wind through the healing process and patiently wait to go home.
Michael is a homeless man who hangs out near the train stops on Fannin Street. I spent some time talking to him, and learned that in his past, he took a photography course. He spoke articulately about technical aspects of photography and cameras. He no longer has teeth and did not want to be photographed with an open smile. I wondered about his past, what his life might have been and where it is going.
Finished but chaos and frustration at the ticket booth
While my husband recuperated at MD Anderson hospital, I walked around the nearby streets and train stops. This woman seriously enjoyed her cigarette while the ladies behind her grew frustrated over the Metro ticket machine. The exhale starts with Photo #1, goes big in Photo #2 and completes in #3.
Last week, I photographed people who happened to be at the intersection of State Street and the Capital Square. Here are a couple of my favorites. I’m not sure how often I will be posting from Houston but wanted to get these photographs and the last ones from Lake Superior posted before leaving home.
This photo was taken the morning after a day and night of heavy rain and wind. My husband told me the boat rocked and listed all night long (despite the fact that we were tethered to the dock at the marina.) I had slept through the night, hearing nothing, and missed the whole spectacle.
The featured image shows the marina headwall from the beach at Siskiwit Bay. The orange ladder and blue bench atop the marina wall caught my eye. The waves had a purplish cast, perhaps from the sediment disrupted from the lake bottom in the storm.
Earlier in the week, we motored to the sea caves and returned just as the sun was setting, the “blue hour.” The lake was so calm and still it magnified the reflection of the sunset. I took the photo above of Barker’s Point from the bow of our boat. At the time it was hard to imagine this same body of water turning into the mighty waves the happened a day later.
We keep San Francisco, our Island Packet sailboat in the marina at Cornucopia Wisconsin. Cornucopia lies on the South Shore of Lake Superior and is the northern-most town in Wisconsin. About a 100 people live there, I think. I first traveled through Corny when I was a child vacationing with my family. Returning there now takes me back to a simpler place and time where I spend my days doing fun stuff like swimming in Siskiwit Bay and making endless trip to Ehlers General Store for sandwiches and cookies and sodas. We love the village and the marina, and especially enjoy hanging out with our friends Dave and Mary Beth, the owners of the marina.
This year, we left our boat and Corny more than a month earlier than usual for Howard to head to Texas for treatment. Staying on our boat that last week was bittersweet for as much as we enjoyed being on the water, we knew that our stay was short and we would not be returning for another year.