From Healthy Living on HuffingtonPost.com
November 27, 2013 - 4:33pm

I am home. After one hundred and eleven days in New York City for medical treatment, I am home. Aura and I had no problem deciding to leave home. We had done the research. New York City was clearly our best option for my stem cell transplant. It even felt exciting. A chance to live in New York City. I've never wanted to move there. An extended stay, on the other hand, felt right. So what is it like to live in New York City after an allogeneic stem cell transplant? If you ignore the first-rate medical care, it is quite possibly the dumbest place you could find yourself. The best place for a mutiny of immunity. After transplant, one is supposed to avoid crowds due to a less than infant-esque immune system. When I was discharged I met more people on my way from Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to the Hope Lodge than I did in my first eighteen years of life in Montana. Hope Lodge neighbors Penn Station, one of city's busiest and homeliest transportation hubs, and Times Square, God's obverse to the Garden of Eden. My new home for three months of healing was basically the equivalent of a Holiday Inn inspired, immune system bomb shelter with visiting hours. Inside our beige bunker we tried to make a home, but the industrial strength smells of cleaning products, pungent odors of my pharmaceutical creams and ointments, and the nightly hum of generators from the rehabilitation of Madison Square Garden, continually impeded our homemaking. Our room featured a sporadically functioning television, an obligatory floral painting, a plastic-y pelvis cracking armchair, a desk, a closet, a bathroom, an errant air conditioner, and -- our biggest frenemy -- a king-size bed. This wonder bed would serve "octamerously" as the bedroom, living room, den, office, clothesline, closet, and, on illegal occasion (food and drink were not allowed outside of the community kitchen), as a breakfast nook/dining room. Our backs paid the price for the misuse of this monstrosity, but at least we could turn over and rest them on it. To wander into our floor's community kitchen was to find that other cancer riddled saps had been convinced to summer with us in this beige bunker, each with their assigned caretaker -- a wife, a mother, a sibling or a friend. As we nervously observed each other's deformities, silently submitting our guesses as to which cancer was to blame and, in some cases, guessing which person had the cancer, we microwaved our frozen entrees, dined on partially melted plastic tablecloths, and occasionally got to know each other, for better or worse. We dutifully exchanged stories of cancer doom and gloom, sprinkling in the occasional bloom. Where else would we begin? "I see your eyeball is missing, soooo... Why are yooouuu here?" We were drawn towards each other's stories until we were suddenly and dramatically repelled, left to return to isolation in our bunkers in search of solace and shitty cable. The bloom was so often dampened by the doom. To wander from the lodge, one must merge blindly and bravely into the merciless commuter crawl of 32nd street. To the building side of these corporate hoards: the smokers, the homeless, the aimless, the tour-less and the scaffolding; and to the street side, New York City's least heralded tourist attraction -- heaping, stinking piles of garbage just begging for an alleyway. These sideshows accidentally forming something of a pedestrian expressway with unofficial rules for changing lanes, limited on and off ramps, a toll system (monitored by the homeless), cell phone usage zones and an oasis every block anchored by a Starbucks and/or a Duane Reade Pharmacy. I couldn't find a blade of grass, but I could see three H&M stores from my front door. This was our temporary home, and for a while it seemed like we might not have the stamina to make it through Sloan Kettering's required minimum stay of one hundred days after transplant. Our actual home was as far away as my ambition, and the road to restored health was littered with treatment, taxis and tourists. No matter where I wanted to go, this road always passed by H&M and ended on the Upper East Side at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. No rest stops. Construction as far as the eye could see. It is in these moments, when you rear end New York City's cold shoulder, that you remember you were warned as often as you were enticed. Growing up, my mom, my grandma or my aunts -- or my mom, my grandma AND my aunts -- had this "country craft" saying on their walls: "

Share this article »  

Continue reading this article »



More Nutrition News & Articles »

Nutrition Description

Nutrition is the selection and preparation of foods, and their ingestion to be assimilated by the body.


Keep Your  Keep Your Mind Sharp  Sleep Research  Judd  Anderson Cancer Center  Sloan-Kettering  Multitasking  Christakis  Daylight Saving Time  The American Academy  CBT  Ronald McDonald  Kids Which Leads  Komen  Salmonella Heidelberg  Portman  Memories  Preheat  Approaches  Tia Ghose  Surprising Ways  Kinesiology  Reaching  Promote  Reframe  IUDs  Michele Simon  Turmeric  Inhale  EFT  Thich Nhat Hanh  Nhat Hanh  Toni Clarke  MERS  Bahar Gholipouror  Reduce Your Risk  Observe  Mount Sinai School  Lynne  Krishna  Most Bizarre Medical  Caesar  Muscles  Weird  Ranch  New York Academy  Smokers  The Food  Mary Clare Jalonick  Letting  Dying  Big Fat Pregnancy Myths  Raising Happy Kids  Incredible  dailyRx  Walck  Psychology Today  Social Psychological  P90X  Sandberg  Wii  Pounds  Kelly McGonigal  His Holiness  Cleanse  Grateful  Jung  Emory University School  SPF  Lumosity  Genes  Brainy Baby Abilities  Global Health  Pancreatic  Sadhguru  Stretching  NBC Today  Psychologists  Homo  Goleman  National Kidney Foundation  Health Study  Would I  Honoring  Fredda  Social Research  Tube  BFF  Infant  Your Child  Los Angeles-based  T-shirt  GlaxoSmithKline  National Sleep Foundation  The American Journal  Grey  You Want  Joshua  Joanna  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School 

Nutrition Blogroll

aicr   Alzinfo.org   Bighealthtree   Buildhealthykids   Channel4   Counselheal   Ctvnews   Diabetes.org   Diet-blog   Dietbrandreviews   Dietsinreview   DINNERTIME.com   Ethicurean.com   Google Health   Health24   Healthnews.ediets   Integrativenutrition   Kathrynelliott   Life.nationalpost   Livescience   Lookgoodfeelgreatalways   luckyvitamin   Mikeroussell   My.dietpower   Newsdesk.gmu.edu   Newsroom.heart   Newswise   Nutrition-news   Nutrition.about   Nutritionresearchcenter   Onmedica   Pinchmysalt   Prevent-disease   Realfoodforlife   Thecelebrityworkout   Thejournal   Thestar   Truthdive.com   Weightymatters