Friday, August 23, 2013

In Case I Wasn't Sure, I'm a Grown Up

Yesterday was the final day of work for the high school interns. 8 weeks is over. Whoosh, it went by so fast. Raslyn, my intern, Raslyn, attended the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS)and is now headed to UCLA.  The bureau I work in actually had three interns. The other two, Jesse and Makaylah, attend CAMS, a super advanced high school that sits on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills, a state university.  All three are smart, engaging, funny and very cool.  My favorite part of each of the past 8 weeks was when the three interns, me and the other two mentors got together to chat. Each week one of us did a presentation about whatever we wanted and then we'd just sit and talk. 

Yesterday was our last weekly meeting.  Jesse was recently appointed by Jerry Brown, the governor of California, as the student representative on the California Board of Education.  Makaylah during her 8 week internship led the creation of a non-profit which aims to promote sustainability.  Raslyn already has plans to go to medical school and has volunteered at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.  Three hugely impressive kids, if you can call them kids. Jesse yesterday in our meeting shared speech giving tips. He's been doing Toastmasters since he was 9.  He told us to always start with a metaphor and always include a quote. He also said before you give a speech, have an inner dialogue where you tell yourself you know more about what you are to talk about than any one in the audience.  Good tips. Jesse reminds me of my nephew Dillon for a whole bunch of reasons.  Dillon is absolutely one of my favorite people.  Dillon and Jesse are both quite proud of how they fast they are.

Yesterday there was a luncheon for all 20 of the port's interns, their families, mentors and port management.  I knew about the luncheon beforehand, but I actually didn't realize that the kids families would be there. I sat at a table with Raslyn and her family. I told her dad, with pride, how great Raslyn is and how I learned a lot from her. And I meant it. Makaylah gave a presentation and did great. I watched with pride as she spoke. Rose, her mentor, might have had a tear in her eye. Rose and I joked that we felt like proud parents watching our three interns get their certificates. It was really a great moment. I can only imagine how much pride a parent must feel when one of their kids has a momentous achievement.

As I have said before, I fought against participating in the mentor program.  I saw it as waste of my time. But it truly turned out to be a great experience, that likely left a lasting impact on me.  The young adults got me motivated, broadened my interests, and without them knowing it, were mentors to me. After lunch, Rose and I both said how we already missed them.  

Meanwhile the scene changed today, Friday. An off day from work.  I started the day at the gym.  Good. I followed that with two hours at the bank. We have insurance checks for the water damage, but the insurance company makes the checks to me and my mortgage holder, Citimortgage. Citi has a policy about not endorsing insurance checks that exceed a certain dollar amount. Some of the insurance money is due to dry out work contractor. After faxes, phone calls, working with the local banker and a Citi rep on the phone two hours went by, I was able to get one check endorsed but the other we still have to work out. Truly frustrating.

I got to the bank at 9 AM and left at nearly 11:30.  I then had a noon appointment at a dermatologist.  I've had a few odd dry patches on my face and neck and needed a dermatologist to look at them.  I do have myeloma after all, and one of the things that hangs over myeloma patients is the chance of getting secondary cancers as a result of the drugs and steroids we take.  I don't think skin cancer is one of those possible future cancers, but I needed the patches looked at nonetheless.  Turns out they were pre-cancerous spots. Pre-cancerous is what the over-caffeinated dermatologist first told us.  He later said that they were cancer, but they were removed and he said I was cured. We caught them very early so nothing to worry about. I'm not sure what they were, pre-cancerous or cancer. Either way, he numbed them and scraped them off.  It all took maybe 10 minutes.  I'm fine now, but I have 3 scrapes on my face and 1 on my neck.  And because of my immune system, I've got to put a prescription topical cream on them to ensure I don't get any sort of have infection. 

After the dermatologist, Lesle and I went to lunch. I did a mental recap of the day and the week. I told myself that when you start having things scraped off your face you are truly getting old.  I've now crossed the line.  I thought about meetings at work, the home repair work, my pride over the interns moving on, the face scraping.  I continue to stay on top of the myeloma. My approach to myeloma is laser like. I'm focused on keeping it under control.   Everything I thought about was stuff that adults are faced with all the time.  For so long, I avoided adult issues. Life was pretty simple.  Simple, until May 2, 2011 hit.  That changed my life.  I've been forced to deal with adversity. I think I am doing a pretty good job. But, damn, I am absolutely grown up now.

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Berenson Oncology Success Rate

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