Oct 30, 2007

MRI Oct 31 and BUSH!

First off… I have another follow-up MRI on Wed, Oct 31 at 4:15pm ET. Please pray that the cancer/tumor is still gone and that it never comes back. I’ll give you the results in a few days after I hear back from my Radiation/Oncologist.

Speaking of Rad/Onc, I was in the shoppette PX in the main hospital today after Aquatic Therapy and I saw one of the residents that helped treat me during my radiation at Bethesda, Dr. Smart. It was so good to see her again. She was so happy to see the progress I have made since she first met me back in May 2006. She remembers a guy with a bad limp and a cane. We walked and talked back to her office, which I pass almost every day, but I have never seen her even though she’s been here since January! I guess they don’t get out much – she said they don’t.

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks since I got back from leave. Let’s see… this week I met my new case manager. I was handed off to a temp case manager for a few weeks after my old one left. It turns out that my former case manager didn’t do as much as she could have done for me. I met with my temp case manager a few weeks ago and she had a lot of questions regarding why things in my case had not been initiated. Anyway, I’ll explain more later, but my temp took care of me and now I’m moving to a new one. He has ideas of his own. I know it sounds confusing, but I’ll sort it out here in a few days.

I’ve had five photo assignments since I got back and have been staying busy with that. Some weeks are busier than others. This week has been slow. I’ll eventually post pics of my work.

GCC Softball 2007 Week 1Before I went on leave I took pictures of our church’s softball team in action. We have two teams – one is good, one not so good. I've gotten lots of compliments on them. I'm really trying to learn different types of shooting. Sports is one of my favorites, but it is challenging and can get you dirty since you have to lay on the ground and stuff sometimes to get good shots. U usually end up shooting about 300 pics but only a few turn out to be usable. These are the best from this day. A lot of the pictures were also blurry, but I think blowing dirt and sand fro the infield was messing with the autofocus. Live and learn!


GCC Softball 2007Then when I got back, Amanda took pictures of me when I finally got the clearance to play after my finger fracture was healed! It sure was fun to play a competitive game again. Running at full speed was weird and it was hard to slow down. And we lost big time, but it was fun. I had two at bats and had two singles. I did score once from first and was left at first at the end of an inning. I played second base and was two for two at making outs at second base. It was quite fun! Click the picture to see more. Thanks to Amanda for the pictures.

Last week, 20 injured soldiers were invited to visit the White House. The President was in CA dealing with the wildfires, and the First Lady was in the Middle East, so we didn’t expect to see them there. The staff at the White House was so very kind to us. They allowed our bus drive into the south lawn and right up to the south entrance where the President comes and goes. After we got off the bus, the First Dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley were scampering about. They were both cute and very friendly. We got the typical tour that most people get: The great room, the blue, green and red rooms, the dining room and the library and sitting rooms. The Secret Service tour guides took their time and allowed us to move gingerly from room to room. They invited us to sit in the furniture and touch the fabrics. We had soldiers in wheelchairs so we couldn’t move at lightning speed anyway. They let us ask all the questions we wanted and then they took us back down into the receiving room while we waited for our bus to return. There was a room off to the left that held many examples of each President’s choices for china over the years – it was very interesting. I didn’t bring my camera since I was tired and didn’t want to lug it around. Boy, I wish I had by the end of the day…

We milled around the room for quite a while and they handed each of us gift bags containing some souvenirs. I made small talk with one of the guides and then another agent announced that we may have been wondering why they were delaying us. At this point I thought we were just waiting for the bus. He continued to say that there was someone here that wanted to meet us all. I couldn’t figure out who it was. He continued to tell us that former President Bush wanted to greet us. At that point we were all a bit frazzled. What?!? Now? The room fell silent and we looked toward the door. I was at the far end of the room and was certain to be left out as I’m sure he couldn’t stay long and would have to move on. We could see him out under the awning shaking hands and talking to every staff member he met. He finally came into the room and said hello to everyone and immediately turned to the first soldier and asked his name, hometown, injury, how he was feeling, and then another question if he felt so inclined. He also allowed the person to take a picture with him. He also greeted every family member that was there. He did this again and again to every single person in the room along the carpet. He moved from his left to his right and back to his left, but he made it a point to meet with each and every one of us, including me. He was taller than I had imagined. He gave me a firm handshake and asked me the same questions. I was a bit distracted by a photographer that had appeared to my left who shot off several pictures in rapid succession. The President asked me what my injury was and I told him I had a brain tumor. I remember that he froze for a second and looked me right in the eye. Then he asked how I was doing. I explained to him all the circumstances that I have battled through and he smiled and shook my hand again and asked if we could take a picture. The person I asked to take a picture of us was out of sight, so I struggled to find someone else while I stood there with my arm around him and his around mine. The White House photographer said he would get me a copy, but I know how they work. A print would be sent to me in the future. I wanted digital gratification! I found someone to take the picture and then I thanked him for his time.

Presidential MeetingWe were all quite awestruck and impressed that he wanted to meet every single one of us. When I got back to my room, I had an email from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that said Former President Bush had the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Urging Texans to Vote for a new Cancer-Fighting Measure two days before. I wish I knew that – I would have liked to thank him personally for doing that. Read the full press release here: LAF Presidential Meeting.

And, I wish I had brought my camera. I’m still waiting for the pic of us to me emailed to me, if ever. I’ll post it as soon as I get it. Well, that’s it for this installment. Remember my MRI Wednesday!
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