A thing or two about Erica...

Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, September 14, 2006

Things we LOVE
Jack Ass #2 the movie - opening September 22 nationwide

Things we HATE
Ovarian Cancer

Most of you know that we spent quite a bit of time in New York last summer for a trial in federal court to try and get Chris' original images back from Corbis, and that to this day, we still don't have a decision from the judge... In the process, we became very close with our lawyers - two wonderful people, Ed Greenberg and Erica Galinski.

Some of you may know that last March, Erica was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. it's now six months later and Erica is not doing well. As Ed put it in a recent email, there is unfortunately no cause for any optimism. Erica is 30 years old.

I am just sick about this, and have struggled with what "to do" about it as I am an "okay, we have a situation here, what can I do about it? Initially, I made Erica a photo quilt.

I contacted her favorite photographer and illustrator clients and asked them to send me photos they knew she loved, and then I printed the photos out on fabric paper, transferred them onto a quilt that was laid out like a sheet of paged up chrome slides. Even though she loved it, I am sure she thought I was nuts for making her a quilt as we headed into the heat of summer.

What I knew then, that she didn't, but now does, all too well, I'm afraid, was that she'd be spending time receiving chemotherapy, which, initially, would make her body temperature rise, but then, she'd feel as cold as ice once the chemo started working. And I knew that she'd be spending long stretches in the hospital, where, if it's a good hospital, it would be very very cold. At the time, I just couldn't think of what else to do!

For the last few months, we've been away from home... I was in Florida working at the Ringling Museum, and Chris was on assignment in various places, and now we're on this trip. While in Florida, I had terrible cell phone reception and was unable to call Erica to check in on her. So, I started sending her postcards. Then I had Chris do the same, and on this trip, we make sure we get a post card wherever we stop. We're not as good at mailing them, I must admit, but I think we're finally caught up. When we were in the Gulf Coast, postcards were seemingly not in stock. I thought it odd until we stopped at a place in Florida and found a ton of postcards from Biloxi, Long Beach, Waveland, etc... No wonder you can't find postcards in the actual places... if I had to find Biloxi or Long Beach based on the picture on the postcard, I'd be lost. there is just NO WAY these places ever looked like the photos on the postcards... but I digress. Texas has lots of campy and cheesy postcards, I'm happy to report. And apparently, the amount of words you can put on the back of a postcard is equal to the amount of words Erica can read or have read to her.

They never tell you how much chemotherapy and radiation affects your brain, vision, sense of smell and taste, but I remember.

I remember when my grandmother was dying of ovarian cancer. I remember how much she hated the idea of people she didn't see normally coming to visit her after they heard she was sick. She felt like a freak at the circus.

"Come see the old lady with cancer! Look at the hats and wigs she wears to cover her radiation-induced baldness! Witness the white gloves she wears so as to minimize the risk of random bacteria her system can't fight!

As a result, I've not wanted to intrude on Erica and have relied on the occasional emails from Erica and reports from Ed as to her progress. And, to be honest, I just didn't know what to say! Erica is one of those people that you rely on when *you* have a problem. She's a life preserver for so many many of her clients, and I imagine, her friends and family. Erica is a researcher at heart. She likes the challenge of figuring things out, and we really connected on that level. She was amazing at analyzing data and finding connections and disconnects. Anytime she asked for my opinion, I was flattered, because she is the master!

I remember telling Chris, years ago, that Erica was the only person I'd ever met who, if she said she couldn't find something on the internet, I wouldn't even bother trying. If you know me, you know what a huge compliment that is because I can find *anything* on the internet ;-) One of my favorite examples of Erica being better on the internet than me is her nonchalantly telling me one day that she buys all her magazine subscriptions on ebay - netting her HUGE savings... Magazine subscriptions? On ebay? Why didn't *I* think of that???

The day we met Ed and Erica, back in 2002, I recognized immediately what a great gig they had going. Much like Chris and me, Ed is the "on stage" guy. He's the one that does most of the talking in court. And if you don't look closely, you don't see that Erica makes it all possible.

Ed and Erica's esteemed opponent in our case was a blustery misogynistic blow hard by the name of Doug Fairhurst. He would often refer to Erica as a paralegal, which pissed off Erica, and rightly so! But it made me laugh because Dougie was fishing! He couldn't figure out what Erica's role in the trial was - all he saw was that Ed did the talking and Erica passed Ed a lot of notes on sticky post-its. That's how they work, and I love the system... Erica, in essence, channels through Ed, and the system works seamlessly - it's magic to watch. Even Ed will tell you, Erica is the brains of the operation. And Ed relies upon her to assess clients, witnesses, juries, and judges. During our first meeting, I was impressed with the way Ed deferred to Erica's opinion on multiple things; saying, "I thought the guy was sincere, but let Erica tell you what she thought because she's better at this than me." And then, of course, he'd interrupt her as she attempted to tell you her opinion ;-) It takes two to tango, and these two have perfected the art of dancing, in my humble opinion!

You might think that Ed and Erica are a couple, but they're not. Ed's wife, Barbara, whom I bonded with instantly upon meeting her, is this amazingly intuitive woman who, as I understand it, has been at Erica's side since this ordeal began. I can't imagine anyone I'd rather have by my side at such a critical moment in life. I often refer to Erica as Ed's "at work wife" even though Barbara also works at the firm.

I'm sure Ed would think I have no faith in him when I say that I just can't see how Ed can be Ed without Erica. Just as I have Chris on the "crack pipe" in that I do all the behind scenes stuff (like sleeving and IDing his film, handling his billing and stock requests, etc), Erica handles the details so that Ed can be the Ed Greenberg we all know and love. Well, okay, there are probably some out there who don't love Ed like we do, but... well, those people don't count ;-) Erica is one of those people you count on to be there when you need her if for no other reason than you can't imagine her not being there! I hate the idea of Erica not being there, and most days I don't think about it, I just think about her and how frustrating it must be for her right now, in unimaginable pain, with no way to think herself out of her current dilemma. I'm confident she's dealing with it better than I would, though...

Coming soon: Chris' latest portraits from "One of Us"
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