Written by Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mommy
It’s been a long 5 years but relationships are growing and changing at Levine Children’s Hospital. I’ve gone from admiration and love, to fear and anxiety and then back again with these doctors. The walls and people that once crippled me upon entering after Isabella’s death have become a second home to me. I know I can joke a lot about how a large donation commitment can buy you a hospital friendship, but it’s become much more than that. I feel like I have become so much stronger around them. Just a few years ago, I could barely stand without my knees buckling when I knew Dr. Kaplan was going to be at an ISF event. Then, this past July – I find myself in the oncology clinic helping give gifts to the kids for our Christmas in July event. I feel him coming down the hall before I even see him, just like it used to be – and my heart still stops for a minute. We exchange pleasantries and hugs – like you do with an old boyfriend who you run into at a Starbucks years later. It’s uncomfortable because there was history… but it’s becoming more comfortable because there IS history. Not sure if I can ever feel totally comfortable around him – but I’m trying really hard.
Luckily, my new contact at Levine isn’t my old boyfriend Dr. Kaplan 🙂 As I sat in the “Green Room” of the NBC Charlotte news studio this week for over an hour with Dr. Javier Osterheld (one of Isabella’s past oncologists), I found myself comfortable and enjoying the company. We were together to talk on air about the MIBG treatment room ISF is funding at Levine’s. We talked about all things cancer, the hospital, family, beer and other things that might be tad inappropriate. I found myself laughing and enjoying the company of a man who I wasn’t the biggest fan of several years ago. Cancer can make you love and hate people all in the same week. He is easier for me because we don’t have the 5 year history that I had with Kaplan. He wasn’t there in the beginning or the end.
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