Please volunteer to accompany me for radiation if you live in New York!

Yesterday was a full day – too full to be honest. That is mostly my own doing.

The day started with seeing my General Practitioner, Dr. David Kim. Last time I had seen him was in December 2014 and a LOT has happened since then from the health perspective. While I didn’t spend much time with him, getting to him, waiting for him, seeing him… took well over an hour – and I wound up being late for my lunch plans with Hoda Hallab and Saad Houry. I met them back in the 80s when they were based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa in the UNICEF Regional Office. I co-facilitated workshops with Saad who was then the Regional Planning Officer for West and Central Africa and the last one I recall was in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Hoda, Saad’s wife and I have co-facilitated several retreats for UNICEF, 1 in Nepal and 3 in Rwanda. And we have cooperated on a few initiatives, including UN Cares where Hoda coordinated the New York workshops and on updating materials for UNICEF’s programme planning workshops. When she was NY-based, we often had lunch at a local Lebanese restaurant and when I visited Lebanon for a UNICEF workshop, we met socially and even visited her hometown in the north, Tripoli. She has always been there for me, recommending me for various jobs. I love Hoda! Saad went on to become the Deputy Director for Programmes for UNICEF before retiring 2 years after me. He is an icon in UNICEF!

I then ran for my acupuncture appointment with Viktor, this time at Exhale Spa on Central Park South. This was our third appointment and when he placed the needles, I could feel the energy flowing in a very powerful way. According to Viktor, this is my body reacting to multiple treatments in a good way.

And from there, I went to my final doctor’s appointment of the day with Dr. Jamie Koufman who focuses on the aero digestive tract. I have been seeing her for a year and a half now and while she had helped me to clear up a persistent dry cough, it has returned and I wanted to see what could be done. I am back on an acid-free diet for 2 weeks and she will consult my NYU team about some low doses of medication for that. Less than a day later, I am already coughing only minimally.

By the time I got home, it was after 4 PM and I was ready for a meditative nap!

In the meantime, my dear friend, Susan Letteney created a Doodle poll for people to volunteer to accompany me to radiation therapy. The times noted are the times of the actual appointment at NYU. So please plan to come to my apartment say 45 minutes ahead of time. The radiation session should be about 15 minutes plus preparation, so we should be able to leave the hospital around an hour after the scheduled time. All in all, please count on 2 hours – say 45 minutes before and then 1½ hours after the time listed. Also, if you are not sure that I have your current email, either send me an email with your current/ preferred email or text me with the email. That way, I can contact you at least the day before and maybe even a few days before.

Click here to sign up. Feel free to sign for multiple times, but even one time will be appreciated.

(By the way, I just got a call from Dr. Silverman’s office that they may need to adjust a few of the times, but I still want to push ahead with getting the sign-up times out there. I will contact you if the time you sign up for changes.)

Yesterday evening, I spent almost 2 hours on the phone going over each page of the draft blog and I hope the adjustments will be made today and tomorrow ready for a Thursday launch. I will send out a launch notice and you will stop getting these (annoying) almost daily updates, but will still be able to stay on top of what is happening if you want to.

I finished reading the book that Noah sent me: You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh. Hahn takes Buddhist teachings and makes them relatable to people who live in this chaotic, 21st century world who are looking for ways to be present in the moment. He uses a metaphor that struck me: flowers use compost to grow healthy and strong. So why not use our own compost (our baggage, our junk, our past experiences, our pain and regrets) to build something really beautiful in our own lives? All of those experiences are what makes us unique and builds our compassion, allowing us to move forward and learn. Experiencing pain and suffering is fertilizer for growth. Hahn talks about using our pain to show compassion to others, to be there for people we love. To be able to say “I am here for you.”

Finally, Antonio is in Spain for work. He left Friday and will return Thursday evening. We (obviously) talk daily and I miss him a lot, but it is also good to have a few days of a break from him being around all of the time. Come home safely, mi amor!

All for now!

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13 thoughts on “Please volunteer to accompany me for radiation if you live in New York!

  1. I wish I was in NYC now and could volunteer! But I will see you in August and will check with you regularly and if you need anything while I am in NYC I am happy to serve!!

    Sending you lots of love,
    Andrea xx

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  2. This has been a test...

    Hello, Dear Alain!

    I know that you are probably inundated with e-mails, phone calls, text messages, and contacts from galaxies far, far away. I will just add a short, heartfelt, and very loving one.

    I'm glad you have are in the process of weathering a frightening storm that none of us should have to go through. You, my dear, are doing wonderfully.

    But (never begin with "But," as I used to tell my writing students. On the other hand, one needs to know the rules intimately in order to know how to break them, n'est- ce pas?) with all the love we are sending you, not to mention all the care, breakfast in bed, flowers at the drop of a hat, that little bell by your bedside, frequent chauffeur-driven excursions to Fire Island, all expenses paid, despite the fact that you own the place, and, Oh, how I COULD go on! it's no WONDER that you're doing so beautifully! Sheesh!

    Anyway, Dearest Alan, one of the finest, admirable, sweetest people I know...wait a minute. I think I wrote that in another e-mail. Oh, Man, (as Kathy Koziol used to say, I guess I'll have to come up with another saying,) please continue to heal and take care.

    May the Force Be With You!
    Live Long and Prosper! (Said by a nice Jewish boy from Boston!

    Love,
    Susan

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  3. Hi Alan,
    I rubbed the Buddas tummy today for good luck for you! We're in Danang today. Be home the 21 & looking forward to being with you at sessions. Besos, Lyn, Glenn & Em

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  4. I like the reflection about compost as a source of creation for beautiful things. SO TRUE!!!!!☆
    Arnie

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  5. flowers use compost to grow healthy and strong. So why not use our own compost (our baggage, our junk, our past experiences, our pain and regrets) to build something really beautiful in our own lives? All of those experiences are what makes us unique and builds our compassion, allowing us to move forward and learn. Experiencing pain and suffering is fertilizer for growth. Hahn talks about using our pain to show compassion to others, to be there for people we love. To be able to say "I am here for you."

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  6. I went by St. Dominic's church in SF on a walk today and decided to look in, since I've passed it a number of times before. Quite impressive in a neo-cathedral way.

    I lit a candle for you along the lines of this probably apocryphal anecdote:

    A friend was visiting in the home of Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr, the famous atom scientist.

    As they were talking, the friend kept glancing at a horseshoe hanging over the door. Finally, unable to contain his curiosity any longer, he demanded:

    “Niels, it can’t possibly be that you, a brilliant scientist, believe that foolish horseshoe superstition! ? !”

    “Of course not,” replied the scientist. “But I understand it’s lucky whether you believe in it or not.”

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  7. I hope today's a good day for you.

    I hope you know I would be signing up to be with you for your appointments if I was a little closer to NYC.

    Shalom,
    Morrie

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  8. When that f*cking dilithium crystal gets sent to this planet, I could beam myself there... any day, any time. you know I'd do it. I love you so much!

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  9. Sitting here on a covered screen porch in Austin while a Texas thunderstorm blows sweet cool breezes. Visiting friends after living in Oregon for a year. I am reading your blog from beginning to this post. At times reading parts aloud to my friend and David. I feel honored to have been able to experience this journey with you through your words. I am remembering grad school at UT and how young we were and how amazing I thought you were then! I am here, where ever here is for me, for you. I will light a candle every day, I will send love over the airwaves and I know you will be alright.

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  10. Alan, how was the first session? do you feel anything when they are doing it? hope it went well.

    I have not signed to go with you because you have already so many volunteers. However, if you ever need someone
    because one of them could not keep the appointment at the last moment, you can always call on me. I'll be there
    with you.

    Trust Antonio is back, which is why I am not calling you tonight. Love to both of you.

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  11. This has been a test...

    Hello, Dear Alain!

    I know that you are probably inundated with e-mails, phone calls, text messages, and contacts from galaxies far, far away. I will just add a short, heartfelt, and very loving one.

    I'm glad you have are in the process of weathering a frightening storm that none of us should have to go through. You, my dear, are doing wonderfully.

    But (never begin with "But," as I used to tell my writing students. On the other hand, one needs to know the rules intimately in order to know how to break them, n'est- ce pas?) with all the love we are sending you, not to mention all the care, breakfast in bed, flowers at the drop of a hat, that little bell by your bedside, frequent chauffeur-driven excursions to Fire Island, all expenses paid, despite the fact that you own the place, and, Oh, how I COULD go on! it's no WONDER that you're doing so beautifully! Sheesh!

    Anyway, Dearest Alan, one of the finest, admirable, sweetest people I know...wait a minute. I think I wrote that in another e-mail. Oh, Man, (as Kathy Koziol used to say, I guess I'll have to come up with another saying,) please continue to heal and take care.

    May the Force Be With You!
    Live Long and Prosper! (Said by a nice Jewish boy from Boston!)

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  12. Dear Alan (and friends)!
    It was a schock when I've learnt about Alain's situation but felt always positive that You (he) would overcome the challenge as You (he) always did in every tasksYou ( he) did (at UNICEF and UNAIDS...).
    Querido Alan, continuação de melhoras and keep it always up and cheerful. God bless!
    Con amistad e mucho cariño.
    G

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  13. Dearest dearest Alan,

    Just learned about the chemo and radiation last night through your brain blog.

    If anyone's brain has been prepared over many years to bounce back, it is yours.

    Sending love and continued good wishes for recovery and resilience.

    My sister-in-law went through breast cancer and wrote a book about it. Through the whole thing she stayed more active than most people do - her own way of staying engaged with purpose and physicality and life itself. Like you.

    And, rest, dammit. When your body tells you it's time. Rest.

    Much love

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