The Awesome Encounter

Photo by Debeorah Jamieson

This is page where I am able to showcase the doctors and nurses who came into my world, my environment, got in front of the camera, and allowed me to get close to them. For the most part I am still in their care, but I have become more than their patient, we’ve become friends. My wife and I are forever grateful for their dedication to the fight against cancer.

Mission Hope Principles

Dr. Dichmann and his Medical Assistant Graciela Ambrosio are the head of my team.

Dr. Robert Dichmann MD
Hematology & Oncology

Dr. Dichmann, I would have to say is my hero.  I was in a most uncertain place in my life when he looked at my condition and spoke to me, in spite of my charts and began an immediate course of action toward my recovery. He has had my interest at heart and has been bedside at every event of my recuperation.   On my visits with him we not only talk about my health, we talk about golf which is both of our passions.

Dr. Dichmann is a God send. I am grateful for all that he has done.


Graciela Ambrosio MA

Graciela, one of the most important parts of the team. Back in September 2017 my condition began to take a turn for the worse. I knew what was happening but I didn’t have my wits about on what to do.  When Graciela saw me her response was immediate. She alerted Dr Dichmann about my situation, who in turn made a phone call to my neurologist.  The next day I was in surgery having six vertebrae fused.  A couple of days after surgery she came back to check on me. You can’t help but to like her, and I like her a lot.

Zachary Feathers Photo by Ray Norte

Zachary Feathers is the nurse that inspired this project.

Nurses have to be certified to administer chemo. Revlimid was chosen as my first line of defense. I am not able to recall who the first nurse was to administer my first pill, but I remember the next day this young good-looking kid came in to hand me my second pill.  I don’t know why I was concerned about him handling this simple task, but I was, and he saw it on my face.  Zac, said to me, “Mr Brown, my grandfather had this disease, and it was for that reason that I got into nursing, so I will take good care of you”.  His words endeared me to him from that moment on.

Zac is a traveling nurse, and I knew that I had to act fast before he left our area, so while still in the hospital on my back, and still a month before I would be discharged, I contacted a Cal Poly Art & Design Photography concentration student to set up a photo session with him. Ray Norte, a senior and one of the most talented in his class, was experimenting with wet collodion, an alternative photographic process.  This image of Zachary is the result of Ray’s experimenting, and was the catalyst of my project. Zach, I will never forget your care. 

Dr. Nicandro Castaneda 

Dr. Nicandro Castaneda  He was there when I needed encouragement.  I had just got the word that the cancer had permanently damaged my neck. It was the first time that I had an overwhelming sense of confusion.  I had been bedridden for at least a month, and I needed to figure out how to get up and walk.  I had a deadline before I was to be returned to Marian Extended Care.  Whether I was walking or not I would be returned. My goal was to be on my feet, and Dr. Castaneda gave me what I needed to meet my goal. Dr. Castaneda helped me see that this goal was not going to be met with bounding leaps, but with persistent steps. When I was transferred to Marian Extended Care I was able to roam about the cabin.