SURGE: The Zone's Teen Literary Magazine


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Spring 2014

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SURGE Spring 2014 THE ZONE’S TEEN LITERARY The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital MAGAZINE


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SURGE contents 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 19 20 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 33 The Zone’s Teen Literary Magazine of The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital Spring 2014 Volume 4 Issue 1 SURGE STAFF Thomas Dooley Editor-in-Chief Diane Rode Guest Teen Editor’s Note Executive Editor Editor-in-Chief’s Note The Paper is Like My Pandora’s Box by Victoria Rodriguez Angie Koeneker Art by Caroline Holden Contributing Editor Art by Joleen Leon The Riverfront by Nancy Morales Russell Mindich Open Hand by Justice Ayala/ Art by Paola Velasco Founding Editor My World by Khytiana Sanchez/ Art by Yurrany Alberto In Space by Anastasia Marie Cruz Sarah Yazdian Angelo’s Story by Angelo Sepulveda Art by Andre Schopp Art Editor I Made it Through by Ontario Solomon Art by Ontario Solomon Therzia Nappoleon Perfectly Imperfect by Samantha Cruz Guest Teen Editor Art by Kevin Sierra Art by Katherine Lamb h Art by Therzia Nappoleon Guilt by Therzia Nappoleon Thanks to Russell Mindich Interview with Sharon Edwards, MD by Sabrina Getrajdman and family and the staff of the Art by Lauren Devine Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of Gloomy Days by Lauren Devine The Mount Sinai Kravis Living... by Natalie Rivera / Art by Natalie Rivera Children’s Hospital. A Gentle Moment by Gabriela Landgraf-Neuhaus To view this issue online: Journey to the End by Esha Khan Art by Stephanie Grossman Essay by Juli Lopez-Castillo/ Art by Cindy Aponte The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department King Ry by Amed Macalou 1 Gustave L. Levy Place My Father’s Sketchbook by Joleen Leon Box 1153 Art by Joleen Leon New York , NY 10029 212-241-6797 1 | SURGE Cover art by Juli Lopez-Castillo


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Hey guys! Therzia here. This magazine looks great and y’all are awesome. Every person does have their own experience and I was honored to read your stories. Special shout-out to Juli Lopez-Castillo for the cover. It looks really cool. Reading these stories has made me look back on my own experience and how I came to the hospital. I was just a fourteen-year-old girl with not a care in the world and now I’m really changed. I do appreciate things a lot more, like everyday things, just to live. I learned to appreciate family more and put aside silly differences. I enjoy reading, shopping, and going to the movies. I laugh and crack jokes with my younger sisters and brother. I also enjoy arts and crafts. Since being in the hospital, I’ve really learned to express myself creatively with different projects. For those that are new to this, or the people that have been here before, it’s never going to be easy. Stay strong. And always remember to keep your head up high because there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have a poem inside this issue and I hope y’all like it. Thanks again, Therzia Nappoleon Guest Teen Editor Painting by Joleen Leon SURGE | 2


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Dear Readers: Welcome to SURGE, a magazine whose mission is to bring together teenage writers and artists from within Mount Sinai and its outside community. We hope that these stories, essays, articles, poems, and art connect you to the expressive spirit of our teens. If you are a teenager and would like to submit your original creative writing or artwork, please send your work to: Thanks for reading, Thomas Thomas Dooley, Editor-in-Chief The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy Department 3 | SURGE


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THE PAPER IS LIKE MY PANDORA’S BOX I use my pen as the lock Sometimes my poems can be dark That’s when my heart begins to rot Darkness, anger and pain begin to start But it’s what I feel in my heart I know in the end there’s something to gain I don’t know what to do with this awful pain So I use my pen for Pandora’s box Hopefully in the end it would only stop So I’ll say this again before my head begins to pop. In the end my paper is like Pandora’s box Victoria Rodriguez Bronx, NY Artwork by Caroline Holden SURGE | 4


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5 | SURGE Illustration by Joleen Leon


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THE RIVERFRONT I don’t feel nothing at the riverfront all I do is see my happy thoughts my memories and everything that used to be good to me there’s nothing that can stop water it flows where it wants it has its boundaries it can be warm, it can be cold, raining, snowing, water is animals’ homes it’s just a free feeling being out there my dad used to take me a lot to the water he always knew I was afraid of it SURGE | 6 he knew that’s where he could get me— to the riverfront he used to talk to me when he felt down even when its cold, I go to the waterfront the water says, Everything is going to be OK, you can handle what is coming to you Just take me with you, I say to the water, I say to my dad. Nancy Morales New York, NY


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Open Hand My meaning of life before was to be stupid and not care about anything. Not even life. This meaning changed however due to one event. My grandma’s death. In August 2009, I was home with my family when the nursing home called to say that grandma passed. We took it hard, mostly me. After that day, I started thinking. I realized that my grandma never had much fun during her life when I was around. She spent most of her life with many health problems. She was still in a bed and lost her legs, so she was stuck. After knowing this, I realized one thing. Do everything you can before you lose that ability. So my meaning of life is to be a open hand. What I mean by an “open hand” is I want to help others enjoy their life as well as my own. Before my grandma passed, I hurt a lot of people and owed them deeply. We all do that once in our life. That also helped shape my meaning of life. My meaning of life is to have no major problems, treat everyone as family and help make everyone’s life the way they want it to be. I do that by hiding my problems and secrets from them to prevent any worry towards me. I also try and get everyone to smile and laugh at least once by doing random things like dancing or funny movements. I try my best and when people try to reward me for helping them out, I reject the reward and accept their smiles and joyous personality for the day. The only bad thing about it is that I can get a little carried away which creates trust problems. I try and fix the problem but it sometimes does not work, so I try and stick to making them smile and happy. 7 | SURGE Illustration by Paola Velasco


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People always wonder just who I am truly, but I look at them and tell them this: “I am just your average guy”. Life is not about what you do to yourself or to others. It’s how you accept others and what you did to change their life as well as your own. Life is nothing but a story that changes on the choices you make and how others react to you. Your choices in addition to people’s choices to accept you as a friend or foe can affect your life style and others’ behavior towards you. We were all placed here for our own reasons. No one can make or stop the choices you make. Others can only change the outcome of some choices via your behavior, rejection or acceptance towards them. So always watch for who can change a certain part of your story. Value life like you are going to lose it the next day because you don’t know who can protect you and who can remove you. Justice Ayala Jamaica, NY SURGE | 8


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MY WORLD I’ve felt like Arizona: smooth desert, rusty, the loneliness, when I was smaller and my mom left. I’ve felt like California: now, when I got hurt and people were surprised and worries, I got a lot of attention, this is how a person will miss you, like Marilyn Monroe. I’ve felt like Oklahoma: scared of my health, the tornados, if you’re alone and something bad happens it’s hard to call for attention, the tornado goes round and round and is confusing. I’ve felt like New York: being with friends and family, like for July 4th, for holidays, the crowds, the care, happiness, and sadness when you walk around the poor, the violence, people helping others, opening the door, I want to be happy, like a parade. 9 | SURGE Khytiana Sanchez Corona, NY


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IN SPACE The sun and the moon collide: a red, a blue, and a gray smoke and a fire that’s orange, red and green. There’s a star left, it’s bright and big and more stars are lining up together to make a bigger star. My dad pops up there on Mars. He’s ruling it. He takes care of people, the random people who live there on Mars. They want for him to be a good king. He would help anyone who’s down on their feet and doesn’t have a place to go. He makes them feel special. With my dad, I feel like a princess. Anastasia Marie Cruz New York, NY Illustration by Yuranny Alberto SURGE | 10


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ANGELO’S STORY I came to this country for a better future; there were more opportunities for me. My mom, my uncle, and I were the ones left in the Dominican Republic so we came to New York to be united with our family. I was seven years old. At first, it was challenging. I was new and I didn’t know the language and everything looked the same. One time, I got confused and went to the wrong building. A month after I came, the Twin Towers were destroyed. It was chaos at school, everybody was screaming in the hallways, screaming with their heads down. Every channel talked about how the state was declared under attack. The summer of that same year, everything started with my health issues. My mom noticed that my eyes were jaundiced and they were more yellow than my cousins’. After a few days, she took me to my pediatrician. Then my pediatrician referred me to a liver specialist. They did a series of tests to determine whether I had a hepatic disease. That’s when they found my bile ducts were clogged and they diagnosed me with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). At first I was okay, as I got older, I got to understand and now I’m more knowledgeable of my situation. They kept me on treatment for years. From seven through thirteen I took medication so that my liver wouldn’t totally collapse and would keep functioning. It got to a point where I was getting admitted to the hospital more and I was getting more jaundiced and skinnier. That’s when they decided I needed a liver transplant. I was thirteen. It was my little sister’s first year and we were getting her ready and the hospital called to say they had a bed and I needed to come immediately for the transplant. The liver arrived around eleven at night and I was in the OR by 11 | SURGE


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midnight. My mom was crying. I was in the wheelchair and I looked at her and told her not to worry, that I am a strong person and I have a lot of faith in the doctors. I don’t remember anything, but my mom said that when I was coming out of the OR I was leaking so they has to take me back in and open me up again and suture me to fix the leak. I was in the ICU for a couple of days. The medication they gave me was so strong and I was able to hear everything around me but only open my eyes a little. I also had a lot of tubing in my nose, my neck, my mouth, a catheter in my penis, drainage in my side. They took me to a room and after about two weeks, I started to walk again. I went home and the doctors gave me instructions to not get any sun and I should be lying down. I felt anxious at home. It was the summer and I would watch my family outside through a window in my living room. In the beginning it was a little difficult because my stomach was stretched and when I would sit up, it was painful. I would get upset that I wouldn’t get to do things right away. After a long time taking prednisone, I developed diabetes, so now I have to get treated for diabetes and the liver. I feel pretty good, I work out. A few years back, they said the disease was coming back but they could still treat it, so now it’s just trying to take care of myself and manage my diabetes. You should always have faith and believe in something because in the end God is the one who knows. Hope for the best and do your best to be good. Angelo Sepulveda New York, NY SURGE | 12 Painting by Andre Schopp


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I MADE IT THROUGH I learned things I never knew Things have changed Some old and some new Still in all I must be cautious in what I do As new doors open And old ones close I will continue to think About the path I chose A long journey A quest for the future Letting old wounds close And hold with sutures I need a tutor I need a guide Only truths and never lies When I find life’s compass Will it point me in the right direction In the end, will it remain a question 13 | SURGE Ontario Solomon New York, NY


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Illustration by Ontario Solomon SURGE | 14



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