6th Time Around

6th-time-around

Alex is returning home this afternoon. She just had her 6th endoscopic procedure at Cedars Sinai hospital. Alex has endured a lot in the past six months.

It all began last fall when she switched her Primary Doctor. One of the things he ordered was a routine blood test, something the other Doctor failed to do. The new Doctor was concerned with the test results indicating a possibility of Pancreatic Cancer. Alex called her Brother-in-Law Bill, a noted Professor of Immunology and Chair, Emeritus, of the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCLA. Bill advised us to go to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and see Dr. Lo, Chair of the Department of Gastroenterology. He’s one of the premier specialists in the world.

We were impressed with Dr. Lo’s knowledge and his compassionate bedside manner. Dr. Lo scheduled an exploratory endoscopic procedure to have a look. The day arrives and I send Alex into the OR. After a few anxious hours, Dr. Lo comes out into the waiting room to consult me. They found a tumor and he wanted to remove it now, not later. Alex and I talked about this possibility beforehand so I gave him the consent to proceed.

Tests later show the tumor to be benign, good news for sure. But Alex had developed some severe complications. The surgical team went in again to address the severe hemorrhaging. After several more harrowing days Alex was finally discharged with orders to maintain a strict clear liquid diet. Over the next several weeks Alex lost almost 30 pounds. She became the disappearing woman.

Alex went down to Cedars Sinai five more times for operations. Each time they operated to address a new complication. All the procedures were painful. After every one, she had to start the clear liquid diet. When she was able to start eating solid foods the ache would return to her stomach. Alex was weak many days and missed out on several family activities. She always found the strength to get back to her daily routine, only to return for another operation. She is one tough girl.

She missed a lot of time at work. Her Company is very, very supportive of her. Several of her co-workers donated a day of their vacation days to mitigate Alex’s lost time. That is testament to the love and admiration Alex receives wherever she is.

Alex has been her happy and optimistic self throughout all of this. She lights up any room when she walks in. She’s supporting her Mother through open heart surgery. Alex is there for her son Connor, Savannah, Courtney and Douglas. She’s been by my side while I recover from PTSD.

Thank you Erica and Bill Clark, her Sister and Husband, for there warm and generous hospitality in their LA home. Thank you Dr. Lo for his steely resolve to get this resolved. Thank you to the wonderful staff at Cedars Sinai. Thank you to our friends for your support and love.

I can’t wait to see her this afternoon, stepping off that train. I hope this is the last of the procedures. I hope she can ride with me again. I hope to have her back at her full self, full of energy and optimism. The picture above says a lot. Welcome back, My Love.