Kidney cancer caregiver: 4 places to re-charge at MD Anderson

My dad has been a patient at MD Anderson
since July 2015, receiving treatment for stage IV
renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. Our family has taken turns
accompaying him to many doctor appointments, scans and a few
in-patient hospital stays. Along the way, we’ve discovered some
special places at MD Anderson – a place to
decompress, a place to be with nature, a place to socialize and even a
place off the beaten path.

As my dad approaches his third year of treatment, I find myself
visiting these places often and even discovering new ones. Caregiving is a special gift that has to be
nourished, and MD Anderson offers many
wonderful places to re-charge.

Below are a few that I recommend.

Observation Deck

Location: Main Building, Floor 24, near Elevator F
Daily, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

When Dad has scans scheduled, instead of waiting in the general
waiting area, I grab a cup of coffee at one of the cafes and head over to the Observation Deck. Being a native Houstonian, I
still find myself appreciating the vast expanse of Houston and the
magnitude of the size of the Texas Medical Center from 24 floors in
the sky. The space is generally very quiet and allows time for my
brain refresh itself after the hustle and bustle of getting to and
from appointments.

The Learning Center

Locations: Main Building, Floor 4, near Elevator A; Mays Clinic,
Floor 2, near The Tree Sculpture; Jesse H. Jones Rotary House, Floor 1

My sister has two young girls. The oldest is 6 years old, and we
worried about how much and what to tell her about Dad. My sister was
able to find an age-appropriate book to read with her daughter about
Dad’s cancer. The Learning Center allowed us to leave some of
our fear at the door by replacing the fear with information. And the
staff was great at recommending the right book.

myCancerConnection Hospitality Center

Locations: Main Building, Floor 2; Mays Clinic, Floor 2, near
Elevator T
Hours: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday-Friday

On days when I need a boost of energy or just a warm smile, I head
over to the myCancerConnection Hospitality Center. The volunteers are always
gracious and offer a smile that lights up the room. Coffee is
available, and if you feel your sweet tooth aching, there are usually
cookies. This is where I also find out about many of the events
happening around MD Anderson.

Off the beaten path: Holistic Garden

Location: UT School of Public Health, Michael & Susan Dell
Center for Healthy Living Holistic Garden
Hours: 9 a.m. – 3
p.m., Monday-Friday

When Dad and I walk across the skybridge from the Main building to
Mays Clinic, we often wonder about the vegetable garden down below.
Earlier this year, while Dad was receiving treatment and required a
two-day in-patient hospital stay, I decided to stray off the beaten
path and discovered the Holistic Garden at the UT School of Public
Health. It is quite a gem and a great place to learn about the
benefits of gardening.

Caregiving is a silent gift that doesn’t come up often in discussion
during appointments. However, as a caregiver, I’ve found it’s
important to take care of yourself so you can provide support as it’s
needed. Sometimes that means it’s OK to not wait in the waiting area.
Sometimes it’s OK to take a walk and discover something new at MD Anderson. And it’s even OK to veer off the
beaten path.

Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by
calling 1-877-632-6789