Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It’s Not Called Dun-Rite Cleaners for Nothing

So yesterday I was passing through the neighborhood I used to live in about seven years ago…it’s not far from where I live now...about fifteen minutes away-I was on my way to some other place, but I had a few things with me that needed to be dropped off at a Cleaners. One usually stays totally local with these things, but that’s more habit than anything else; I don’t love the Cleaners I go to now, I just use it because it’s within a couple of blocks of where I live. So back to my story…I saw the Cleaners I used to go to when I lived here…seemed like a “no brainer” (no pun intended), I would just drop my things here. I parked the car, went inside, and was greeted by the same woman who had always been there, and she said, “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in a long time.” I said, “You have a terrific memory! I moved, I haven’t been to this Cleaners in about seven years, but I was driving through the neighborhood and decided to drop these things off”. She asked how my daughters were, and I told her one was 21 and the other 14…she couldn’t believe it. She let me know my things would be ready on Thursday. She then told me what made me think that not only had Dun-Rite Cleaners named themselves appropriately for their expertise in dry cleaning, but in how they handle their customers as well…she said “It was great to see you, you look the same!” I like this place, made me wonder about what other things I might have at home that need dry cleaning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Day We'll Always Remember

These days I almost never watch TV, don’t know why…not enough time, not much I want to see, my eyesight makes it so that it’s harder to see…but for some strange reason on this Saturday morning (forgetting that it was September 11th), I turned on the TV at 9A, only to see that it was the beginning of the September 11th Memorial…the reading of all those names, I turned on the TV just before they rang the bell to signify the crashing of the second plane into the World Trade Center at 9:03A, the plane that made us all know that it was no accident that the first plane had crashed, and that that day would never be like any other day. I remember that on that day I was sitting on an American Airlines flight that was supposed to take off at 8:45A to Los Angeles, when it was delayed for take off because the two gentlemen seated in front of me needed to get off immediately, and because no one can leave a plane without claiming their baggage, the plane was delayed. I later found out that those two gentlemen where reporters and that they had already heard about the crashing of the first plane into the Trade Center…so we sat. While we sat, the flight attendants on the plane I was on, started to receive upsettling phone calls from their friends about people that they knew, who had been on the plane that had already crashed. I decided to call my husband (he worked across the street from the Trade Center), and even though I was pretty sure he hadn’t left for work yet, I was thinking he probably shouldn’t. When I reached him, he turned on the TV, and for the first time he saw what was happening…that was about 8:55A. I sat on that plane waiting to take off...and then the Captain of the plane made an announcement informing us all about what was going on in the world, that an American Airlines plane had crashed into one of the Trade Towers just around the time we were supposed to have taken off, and that another one had just crashed into the Second Tower, all flight transportation had been canceled and that they were releasing us from the plane. As I walked through JFK, I heard through the hysteria in the airport about the third plane crashing, and I began thinking I might have to raid the vending machines because I would have to spend the night at JFK Airport, at the same time I was wondering if this could perhaps be the World’s Last Day. I made my way through the crowds, went outside and found a Transportation Cop and asked if there was any transportation out to Long Island. He said that there usually was a bus every half hour, but he hadn’t seen any in a couple of hours, and then he said “But wait, you’re in luck, their it is, that’s it, it will take you to Roosevelt Field Mall”. I jumped onto that bus, there were three other people on it; we drove very slowly through the crowds, street traffic, and panic. It took us over two hours to get to the Mall, when it would usually take a half hour. I was on the cell phone with my sister (which also was amazing because service was not easy to get), when she told me the first Trade Center had collapsed. My husband was able to pick me up at the Mall; he did not go into work that day...you were lucky if you didn't have to go anywhere that day. I got home around 1P; I got to see my family on that day. I lived to see another day. I’ll never forget that day. We should never forget that day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time Flies

This August 30th was the 20th Anniversary of the first time I had brain surgery. In 1990 I was the mother of a one-year old baby girl. Jon and I moved four times the year before that, because our apartment had been destroyed by the Con Ed Department Steam Pipe Explosion-a true New York City story. We had decided a lucky 15 minutes beforehand to take a walk with our then 4 month old baby girl, and because of our miraculous timing, we had been left unharmed…had the timing been different, that story could have been different…our next door neighbor was killed in her apartment. One morning after happily and finally being moved into the last apartment, I woke up and whacked myself in the eye with a phone…who does that? Guess I couldn’t wait to pick up the call. Phones in those days had a great deal more heft to them than they do now and I really felt that heft…I genuinely saw stars, and the next day I saw double. I called my eye doctor and described my problem, made an appointment, and barely made my way to his office. When I arrived, he did his Eye Doctor thing-he looked in my eyes, had me cover one eye, then another, gave me drops, then looked again. At the end of that visit I was prepared for the diagnosis, and he told me “There’s nothing wrong with you”. I said “How can that be-I can’t see? Is that an ophthalmological point of view or a neurological point of view?” He said “It’s an ophthalmological point of view.”…and off I barely went as I made my way home to begin my long research project to find out what was wrong with me. Little did I know on that day that that whack in the eye with the phone actually would serve as an alarm bell about a tumor in my brain that otherwise I might have gone years without noticing, but the swelling is what caused me to have tests that I wouldn’t have needed until perhaps it was too late to do anything. Little did I know on that day, that twenty years later that the project I was embarking on, would be such a long one, that the lessons would be so numerous. Little did I know on that day that many years later after two brain surgeries, many MRI’s, and many opinions I would discover that what I had was a very rare kind of cancerous brain tumor. What a long, strange trip it’s been. My oldest daughter is now 21…we just dropped her off at college to complete her Senior year, our youngest daughter is 14 and just started her first year of High School-we’ve moved several other times, most recently this year. This year in particular has been a difficult one, but it’s my hope to be able to pick up this blog where I left off last year, and to pass on the lessons that I’ve learned over the last 20 years. The education that I’ve received is not one that I would have chosen, nor would it be a school that I would have attended…but I did, and the information I’ve learned is worth others knowing. Beyond that, I just received confirmation from NYS, that BRAIN MATTERS INC. is now my official non-profit corporation…this took longer than I thought, and it’s still my hope to walk from my house to Massachusetts General Hospital next Fall to raise funds and awareness for brain tumors. I thought it would be this Fall, but between the stress of this year’s other events and some post radiation effects that slowed me down, coincidentally the paperwork timing and my personal timing worked out; even if I was physically ready to walk, paperwork-wise I wouldn’t of had everything in place. My reason for walking to Mass General is not only because that was where I went for Proton Radiation two summers ago, but because as someone who has seen many doctors and been to many hospitals, it was one of the best and most positive experiences I’ve had within these many years, and I’d like to give back what I can to them as I start on this next chapter in my life. As of my last visit this June, my tumor has not grown…that’s great news! The concept of being able to think more full heartedly about the next chapter in my life is not one that someone whose been where I’ve been takes for granted. I’m back, we’ve moved into our new house…I'm looking forward to the future. My hope is that by my sharing what I've learned during these last 20 years, that it may make it just a bit easier for someone who is about to face similar circumstances...even just a bit, and for me personally, maybe it feels like there's a reason for this School I've been made to attend. May The Force Be With Us All!