Thursday, July 29, 2010

Loss of a friend day 3

Well, I’ve had a day to think about everything and I’m still hurting. I was quiet Wednesday night, kind of in my own world. Andrea beat me in ping pong and usually I get upset but it really didn’t matter to me. I didn’t have my heart in it. I just felt like my body was moving but I wasn’t in it. I miss Dr. W. I went through all of our old correspondences today and realized how truly inspiring she was. And I’m not just talking about as a doctor; I’m talking about as a patient. She was always hopeful, believing she would be cured. I wanted her to be right. I’m sad that she was not. I included one of my last conversations with her. I only included it because I wanted you to know the amazing optimism she showed and the fact that she was going through Hell and still took the time to write me.

This is from January of this year.

Nice to hear from you!
I am actually doing well. I am down 5 or 6 cycles of chemo (depending on whether you count the experimental drug I am taking with the chemo) and my latest CT scan showed that it is working really really well! My oncologist is actually using the words "complete remission". The plan is for me to have another cycle of chemo (just had one Friday), then another CT scan, and then hopefully talk to a surgeon and come off chemo. My oncologist also uses the words "We'll see" a lot. Like I do with my children!

I hope you and your family are doing well and you are having a happy holiday and spoiling your kids with too many presents!
Thank you again for checking in.

And this is the letter that hurt me most. I had asked how she was and if I could include her in my book. Unfortunately she’ll never get to read it:

Dear Andy,
What a sweet and thoughtful note. Thank you.
Yes you have my permission to use my name etc. And even use the words breast cancer if you would like. I am pretty open about this.

I am so flattered by this - looking forward to reading the book when it is ready.
Things are going ok. Some ups and downs but mostly ups. Today is a little weird as I am starting to lose my hair. I had it cut really short so it won't be a big mess when it comes out. I am mentally prepared and have a ton of scarves waiting in the wings! It will be interesting to be bald, but I know it's temporary
I hope you are doing well and the kids are happy and healthy. Mine just started back at Trinity last week. Hard to believe my three year old is in school but there he is, holding his brother's hand as they walk in together.

Thank you again for this email and for keeping in touch. My next chemo starts in a week!

I don’t know what hurt most. Hearing how much faith she had or hearing about her kids. Jesus, I hurt for her whole family. One thing she wrote me months before she passed was to always have faith in your doctor. It’s important. I hope she knows that I had faith in her. She was amazing. I lost a friend and the world lost an amazing doctor.

Yesterday I tried to keep busy. I got all of my work done and when I started to think of my doctor, I instead went on Facebook and added people that worked with Dr. W. so we could have each other to talk to if necessary. I also made my calls to people in my rehab circle and went to a meeting last night and talked about her. Several people came up to me saying what an amazing person she seemed to be. One had read the article the day before and had been talking to his family about her even though they had never met her nor knew that she was my doctor. It felt good to be coping appropriately. I would not have done that in the past.

Last night I e-mailed Arjun, also a doctor and her husband. I asked if it was ok to reveal her inspiring e-mails. He was fine with it, saying that he wanted his kids to know what kind of doctor she was and that he would let them know what an amazing mother she was. I thought it showed how selfless Arjun was when he told me that he was concerned for all of those patients who lost a great doctor. What a strong man and what a selfless person, worried less about himself and more about the people in the world that she helped as a doctor.

I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am today. I have a beautiful healthy family. Sure, we’ve had our issues between CF, MS, brain infarcts and peanut allergies but everyone is relatively healthy.

Andrea and I talked about what we would name after Dr. W. if given the opportunity. Andrea had a great idea. We could have a CF educational table and name it after Dr. Wolfenden. I also thought that the Wish for Wendy Foundation would match all the contributions put on the table and donate it to the CF Foundation in Dr. W.’s name.
She meant so much to me. I will stay at Emory and continue to work with the group there but it won’t be the same. I’ll walk in and expect her sometimes sarcastic smile and her humorous remarks about having children. We joked a lot about our kids. She loved them so much.

I will always hold a place in my heart for Dr. Wolfenden and I will continue to fight so that her mission is some day accomplished…making CF stand for Cure Found!

Andy...Chairman of A Wish for Wendy; But praying that we can cure CF to ensure our wish for Lindy.


  1. Andy - Beautifully written and powerful. And her husband's sharing - so touching, thanks for sharing with us all. May her children as they grow up and her entire family be comforted by knowing the impact she had on so many.

  2. What a wonderful tribute.
    I appreciated your comment about thinking how lucky you are today. Yes, my son has cf but I see so many people with worse problems.

  3. Andy- Thank you for your posts. It is incredible to read what a great doctor Lindy was and what an impact she made on the lives of others. We will miss her. (I'm Lindy's brother-in-law.)