the trip to florida has not been anything like i expected–and instead of fulfilling my mission of meeting all the facebook friends i know in florida, i spent the week with my father justin. my father is undergoing a new cancer treatment called provenge. it is the first time this treatment has been made available in tallahassee. justin’s wife barbara was on a business trip and not available to go with him for the first phase–when the technician extracts blood over the course of three hours, harvesting white blood cells to be shipped to a laboratory in georgia.
justin’s white blood cells, the fighter leukocytes, will be enhanced in the lab and are being shipped back to tallahassee to be injected back into his body.
later this morning, justin and i will go to the clinic to complete the provenge treatment. the lab wants him to have a chaperone and in general it’s always a good idea to have an advocate, a helper, someone to make sure you get home safely. justin’s wife is back from her business trip but she is a professor at florida state university, in charge of a department of three hundred people, and must take a conference call. otherwise, she would be there for justin.
one of the treats, and it really is a treat, of the florida trip is getting to know my father better. he and my mother put me up for adoption when i was three years old and i didn’t meet them until i was twenty five. it is always interesting to spend time with either of them.
but a treat i missed was finally meeting facebook friend jennifer brand clair with whom i have been corresponding. she and i were going to bake a cake together in her home in tampa. she bakes cakes for all occasions and could bake one for you too! but this is what she baked for me–
this cake is a book that i will write about my year and a half of meeting facebook friends. on the left hand page are two computers–mine and jennifer’s–joined by facebook. on the right hand page is a plane traveling to florida, where i will meet her. not this trip, maybe, but next one!
it’s a beautiful story and i have had a beautiful time in florida and i must look at it this way–i have one delicious reason to come back! thank you jennifer!
i came to florida with my usual mission: meet facebook friends face to face. learn from them. enjoy their avocations, their joys, their fears, and their lives. and take friendship out from behind the laptop or the cellphone updates and into reality.
but i got a little sidetracked.
my father justin is receiving provenge treatment for cancer. experimental? yes. expensive? try ninety thousand a pop. weird? yeah, they take all your blood out and ship your white blood cells to a lab to be enhanced and reconfigured and then they put those white blood cells back in your body and say “cancer begone!”
i arrived in tallahassee and was a bit surprised. my father’s wife was heading out on a business trip and asked me to take him to his first appointment the next day. this required a cancellation of friendship appointments for monday and tuesday but i still figured i could do wednesday.
white blood cells (leukocytes) are the ruthless knights of our bloodstream. they fight diseases–cancer, strep throat, ebola. without them, we are without defense. tomorrow (friday) my father’s white blood cells–with new shields and swords–will be reintroduced to his body.
my father was feeling poorly and i cancelled the rest of the week’s travels through orlando, spring hill, tampa–but two facebook friends stopped by tallahassee to take me to lunch. bill taylor, who lives in the city, and ron winegar who drove in from panama city. the distraction was a great gift!
tomorrow i will take justin to his appointment to get back those white blood cells back into his system and then. . . alas, i’ll try to make it out of the state of florida!