Hi! I'm Michael, and though this parrot friend of mine is not real, before too long I'll have another one that actually is alive and, I hope, talking. I just learned that I get to make a wish; a wish that will come true for me. My wish, as I'm sure you guessed, is to have my own parrot friend. You're probably wondering why one of my wishes would come true, That's what I'm about to tell you. 

Just last week I was playing tag with my friends at school, and I tripped. Pretty quickly this huge black bruise appeared on my leg...really weird, even for a 10-year-old. Of course I needed to go to the doctor, and I soon learned that I have something called leukemia, a kind of cancer. Before I knew it, I was off to the hospital (where I am right now), and had to start taking strong medicines through a special IV called a broviac; a tiny tube in my chest that actually doesn't even hurt. I don't like it anyway, though (it takes a while to get used to things attached to you that you never heard of before), so I decided not to get my picture taken with it. The good news is that I found out that kids who have problems like leukemia get to "make a wish", a wish will be granted, so that is just what I plan to do.

I am awesome at gymnastics, and once I don't need the broviac any more, I'll be doing amazing flips again. At first I told my nurse that I will not EVER be playing tag again, because, after all, look what happened to me when I tripped. I just didn't understand that playing tag had nothing to do with leukemia, the tripping just helped it get noticed more quickly than it otherwise might have.

I live with my parents when I'm not in the hospital, and with my 6-year-old brother Mark and my 11-year-old sister, Samantha ("Sam"). Mark is very difficult to control, really a pain in the butt, but I've got to say that I am the only he listens to. I teach him how to play video games, and he likes that.

I have some good friends at school: Jessie, Chris and Toad (I don't know his real name). Chris is going to come see me in the hospital, and if he wants to know about leukemia, I will be able to tell him a little bit about it. I read a poem that helped me understand, so you might want to read the leukemia poem, too.

School this year is pretty good. My teacher is nice, much better that the one I had last year who told me I was from outer space, can you believe that? My favorite subject is gym...OK, spelling, too, but I don't like math very much. My favorite number is 9, and as you can see, my favorite color is baby blue. 

I hope when I go back to school the kids will be nice to me. I know that the medicine I'm taking will make my hair fall out for awhile, and I know that it will come back again, but that worries me some. My system for handling the fall-out is to cut my hair real short pretty soon so it won't be such a big difference when it actually comes out.

I figured out a few more tricks, too:

  • Since I am not an experienced pill taker, I had to come up with some way to learn how to swallow 'em. I discovered that if you coat pills with pudding, they slide down your throat easily, isn't that a great idea? 
  • Sometimes my stomach feels very strange from the medicines. Luckily there is special medicine to help with that, but I get pretty tired from it all. So I cut out two shapes from construction paper, one red and the other green. When I hold up the red one, well, it means that I don't want to talk right now, and when I hold up the green one, it means I'm ready for you! 
You might think that the hospital is this big scary place. Actually there are fun things to do, too. Like carpentry. I got to make this cool drum (that I can keep), and maybe I'll be able to make a flute, too, (I'm not sure about that one). 

I'd better go. If you'd like to get in touch with me, just write a note to Joan and she'll send it to my address. I don't have a computer at home, and at school, I rarely get to use one during computer time because there are five people in my group instead of four, and there are not enough computers for each of us. Oh well. Hope that you liked visiting my page. My monkey and I wish you the best day, ever! Michael


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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004