Follow the Yellow Brick Road

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greenblocls.jpgOr, in Our Case, Follow the Green-Blocked Carpet

By Lyndie Charnock

Mike Charnock of Houston was treated for high blood pressure and enlarged lymph nodes before doctors found the real cause. On July 26, 2010, at age 35, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, which had spread to his brain.

With brain surgery under his belt and a strong treatment plan, Mike is defying the odds every day. His wife, Lyndie, shares her experiences as a caregiver to encourage others that complete faith and a good attitude may help them do the same.

When you arrive at MD Anderson, you realize that you're not in Kansas anymore. MD Anderson employs 18,000-plus people. That is an entire city. Actually, larger than some cities.  

The times I've been here with Mike, there has been a lot of hustle and bustle. It seems we go from appointment to appointment.   

The day after Mike's surgery, he had visitors throughout the day and night. On the second night of his stay, as some friends were leaving, I began walking them toward the entrance that led to their parking garage.

The land of Oz
On our way, I saw that everything had shut down for the night. The hallways all looked the same, so we decided to stop and ask a security guard how to get out.  

When we asked if we were headed the right way, he simply said, "Follow the green carpet with the dark green blocks. Those paths always lead to somewhere specific that patients can access."  

Wow, how smart is that? Simply, "Follow the green-blocked carpet" and you are sure to find your way.

I had never really looked at MD Anderson as anything but a huge network of hospital buildings and hallways that heal. It may sound funny, but now I think of it as The Great Oz!  

You know the place. Where the scarecrow went to get a brain. Where the tin man went to get a heart. Where the cowardly lion found courage and where Dorothy learned how to get home, back to Kansas.

We don't have red slippers. Instead of tapping our heels three times, we just continue to believe and pray. We trust and know that if we give it all to God, soon enough we will be "back in Kansas" -- back to our normal.

Exploring the blocks

That same night after Mike went to bed, I decided to take a tour using the green-blocked carpet to see what I could find. I made it down to the main entrance and sat in the lobby.

It was so quiet. There were no valets wheeling people to their cars. There were no doctors speeding through the halls with their white coats and rushing to their next appointments and surgeries. There were no visitors coming through with flowers and balloons, asking for room locations to rush a bouquet to offer a patient a smile.

It was complete quiet.

Walking around that night, I had a lot of time to think. I remember thinking about how thankful I am that Mike and I live only 15 minutes from MD Anderson. I know that even though our lives have already changed, they will continue to change as we move forward.

Mike is still receiving treatments and I pray that he will react as well to this as he did to his surgery. I still can't believe he was home within 48 hours of brain surgery. I realize everything may not be that easy, so our days at MD Anderson are not over anytime soon.

We look forward to the day when he finishes treatment and we will get to go home to our own house and our own bed. But what a blessing it has been to have all of this in our backyard.

1 Comment

53 people like this post on Facebook/mdanderson and many of them left comments including the author Lyndie Charnock

Cathryn A.
Every time we go to Md.Anderson my son and I are so amazed of all the buildings, there we go about twice a month for 23 years, and its so amazing, my son said that Md.Anderson has it's on city.

Chul L.
When I first went to MD Anderson, I thought the whole complex could pass as a resort if only without cancer, the gardens, parks, the hotel...

Sherri S.
It is its own city but the people and staff are very nice and helpful. Even plies where made to feel at home in Texas...Sorry cant spell that plies = Oklahomans

Lyndie Charnock
thank you AGAIN for sharing our journey -- MD Anderson IS Amazing and though VERY overwhelming at first, there is ALWAYS someone to help and guide --- as the old song goes "GOD BLESSED Texas with His OWN Hand - He Brought Down Angels From The Promised Land" and we now know MD Anderson is where they reside...

Kaye H.
They made my cancer history in 2005. I had thyroid cancer, and after several sugeries here and me realizing that I knew more than my local doctor, I made the journey that changed my life. Its an amazing place with amazing people!! So easy to navigate and the hotel discounts were helpful too. Would recommend MDAnderson to anyone with out reservation. Thank You MD Anderson for doing what you do and making such a difference in the lives of those with this dreaded disease. A Oklahoma Fan!!!!

Cathryn A.
Since i have been there for so long when i go for my self are we go for my son, i try to help out the people that need it, it helps my son and I not to think of why we are there,

Martina R.
Wow! I never realized MD Anderson in Houston, TX is that huge. I am a patient at the Orlando, FL location. We also have awesome doctors and a dedicated personnel. They are a one great family we are so lucky to have!

Cheryl W.
We are going back this coming week to see my Doc.again for a follow up visit..This place is AWESOME.The people are also very AWESOME.I have recommended M.D.Anderson to friends and family and will continue to do so..I can't say enough about the entire facility...

Bill B.
Wonderfully put Lyndie! I've been being treated for multiple myeloma at MDACC since May '08, so I have "experience". So like Cathryn and her son, I try to provide help to newer patients and their families. You can tell who they! Having another patient help you always had a different feeling, and for me, usually lead to additional questions or conversations, and even friendships! My mother was at MDACC in the mid 60's, spending almost 3 years in the hospital over a 4 year period from '63-'67. My how things have changed, and grown since then. Like Lyndie and her husband, we live near MDA, and are so lucky to have MDACC so close. God Bless MDACC and all of their staff, volunteers and doctors! They truly are Angels!

Cheryl J.
We have traveled from the Rio Grande Valley to MDA for treatment of my husband's esophageal cancer since Oct of last year. From the moment we stepped in the door I knew we had come to the right place. It truly is amazing! Thanks Lyndie for your story. It brought tears to my eyes.

Lyndie Charnock
Love this Bill! Thank you for your kind words --- it is an amazing place and we have met several people there and have developed friendships -- it is a friendship that though Cancer is involved, it is a bond that will never be broken -- GOD Bless!

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