So I mentioned this last week, but I WENT TO OMG (said in a teasing tone) in NY over the weekend. It was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. OMG is a conference that brings YAs with cancer and their caregivers together to discuss common issues, learn, advocate, and network. I met some great YAs and got great information that helped explain some of what I’ve been through and where I’m at in my survivorship.
I flew up to NY on Friday and Nate picked me up at the airport. First, JFK sucks. It’s big, crowded, and the terminals don’t connect, so if your terminal is lame, like mine was, there isn’t shit to do. But getting picked up wasn’t a problem. Nate had a Zip car and met me. We then took a tour of NY by taking the Triboro Bridge into Harlem and driving most of Manhattan. We stopped off at Columbia, so I could see the main quad. It was a surprisingly open campus considering that it’s in the middle of Harlem. Well sort of. We got to his apartment in Soho after about 2 hours of city driving. We probably only covered 15 miles total, but it was cool seeing the city and hearing some of histories about NY and getting some history of the city. We then hung out for a bit and went to dinner at Lonbardi’s Pizza. It claims to be the first pizza place in America. I think it’s simply an advertising ploy to attract customers. Yea the place is old, but I don’t think it’s the first. The pizza, however, was the best I’ve ever had. I think the fresh basil made all the difference. After dinner we went to a bar called Professor Tom’s, which is a safe place for Boston fans. We had a few beers and watched the Red Sox lose to the Blue Jays. They made a 7th inning comeback, but ended up 1 run short. We then went to home, I think. I don’t remember, not because I had too much to drink, but because I was so tired. We went home and I went to bed.
On Saturday I got up and went to the conference. It was held on 18th St. I took the subway from Nate’s place to the conference. There were about 400 people there. Nearly everyone was between 18 and mid 30s. They served us breakfast then the conference began at 10. There were some brief opening remarks, and the key note speaker was Dr. Jonathan Lapook, who is the medical correspondent for the CBS nightly news. He was relatively candid in how little he knew about YA cancer prior to agreeing to come speak. After his remarks we had the breakout sessions. I went to a session on families and parenting, survivorship, and patient navigation. By far the most helpful were the survivorship and navigation sessions. There were short breaks between each session and we had a break for lunch. During the breaks I was able to meet some great folks. When the sessions were done, there was a games session to help introduce more people to each other. Then closing remarks and we left for dinner. There was a booze cruise for everyone, but I chose not to attend. I wanted to spend more time with Nate, and he wanted to go to an Italian place called Frank. We went to Frank and it was excellent. It was tiny though. The bar area was about 20 feet wide and the restaurant wasn’t much bigger. The food was great though. We met one of Nate’s friends there. After that we went to a couple of bars, and were home by 12. I felt sort of bad not being able to go out hard. Everyone was really understanding and accommodating.
My flight was at 3 on Sunday, but to build in enough time to get to the airport and make it through security I wouldn’t have been able to stay for more than an hour at the conference’s Sunday session. I skipped it and spent the morning with Nate. We went to Kat’s Deli, which is where part of When Harry met Sally was filmed. I’ve had some good deli sandwiches in my life, but this one was amazing. They do all their own meats in house. I had a sandwich which is called the Ranger special. It was corned beef, brisket, and pastrami with slaw on rye. We then made our way to the airport.
The flight out was a disaster. The weather was awful on Saturday. Cold and rainy with violent thunderstorms that night, so I guess a bunch of flights had been cancelled. It took over an hour to get through security because the TSA only had one security lane open. I understand that you have to work with the staffing you have, but this was completely unacceptable. On top of that you have to pretty much strip naked to get though security. They were blaming the long line on people not being ready to go through the screening, but that’s a load of BS. People only have so many hands to carry all the shit they have you take off to get screened. They we’re understaffed and moving slow. So long story short, I missed my flight. I was able to get a stand by seat on a flight that left at 7 but you’d think I had asked the ticket agent to fly me to the moon. So I got back about 9.
This is my last full week at work, so I’ve been wrapping everything up and getting ready to go back out. More on that in another post.