I am just back from my trip to Washington DC. It was wonderful. I arrived on Friday night and walked several miles in DC on Saturday. I walked to the National Mall and to the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum, the most visited museum in the world. I took a tour highlighting the Apollo space missions and watched an IMAX presentation about the Hubble telescope…I love seeing pictures from the Hubble on-line. Saturday evening I went to meet the family of a patient with appendix cancer I helped four years ago, she is still cancer free and doing great, we talked until almost midnight, I think she will always be a friend!

On Sunday I attended a church service at the National Community Church, then had lunch with Dr. Esquivel at Union Station, it was a great lunch…I admired him before but do even more so now. I am on the board of his new organization, the American Society for Peritoneal Surface Malignancies, so it was a working lunch.

I spent Monday in the PEW headquarters and met so many great people: breast cancer and lymphoma survivors, a 16 year HIV survivor, and a terrific ER physician who is a heart transplant recipient. I also met an ethnobotanist ( Paul Alan Cox) I truly admired; I ordered his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rain Forest. All were people, like myself, who had benefited from drugs derived from nature (except the ethnobotanist, who has helped develop drugs from natural sources). I had some time left over on Monday so did a bus tour of DC…mostly because I love hearing about DC trivia. For example, Washington has an exact replica of the Liberty Bell, but twice the size…in Washington it is called the Freedom Bell. So interesting, the original liberty bell is engraved with the word “Pennsylvania”, but it is misspelled (one n and not two)…so to make it an exact replica, the word is also misspelled on the Freedom Bell. There’s lots of fun DC trivia.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was on Capitol Hill to help promote the Global Conservation Act, which will help our nation coordinate efforts worldwide to preserve nature and nature’s pharmacy. I met with a representative who worked as a police officer for 33 years before entering politics, and who wrote a book about his capture of a serial killer, Chasing the Devil. All of the proceeds from the book go to helping kids born to crack and heroin addicted mothers; I ordered the book the day I met him. I learned of politicians who are truly caring and who truly want to make a difference. Many support efforts to conserve nature. It changed my view of politics and politicians. There are many good people on Capitol Hill who serve us well.

Thursday I had a “free day”, and after walking almost 10 miles to sight-see during the week, I decided to just curl up with a book in my hotel room, though I did visit Lafayette Park. Then I spent the rest of the day traveling…to Reagan airport, then to O’Hare, then the bus ride to Indiana, then the 45 minute drive home from the bus stop. Amazing that it’s only a two hour flight to DC, but the travel in the end takes the better part of a day (plane was late, of course).

So though I love DC and loved my experience there, I’m glad to be home! But I have lots of good memories and learned so much…and met several people I hope to stay in touch with!