Hello All; This has been a long, difficult, and lesson-learning week. I am not writing from the chemo infusion suite. In fact, I’m not writing at all. Soon I will post my typical blog. As I was working on that, my “brother from another mother”, Dr. Jeff GUDIN, asked me if he could write a guest post. Of course I would never decline that. In fact, my son-in-law, another Jeff, is gearing one up too. I promise you will see another post from me, even it’s from the grave. My heart and soul are one with Jeff Gudin, and he got me back – this time I was in tears. And let me tell you, since being on oxaliplatin, tears burn, Ironic, right? Here’s what my dear friend, colleague, and brother has so say…
I’m both saddened and honored to be writing this guest blog for my dear friend and colleague, Jeff Fudin, and I hope many of you will follow with encouraging messages of love and hope. I have asked Jeff (if he feels able) to add just a short message, to follow.
Let me just say it – things have worsened considerably in the Fudin household. Not that we haven’t overcome plenty of obstacles to this point but this time, it’s different. Jeff has enrolled in home hospice. I can only hope that all of our support and prayers add a little fuel to his immune system and help fight this awful disease of colon cancer. But on every front, the malignancy is just that – malignant, progressing unfettered and continuing to unfairly rob him of life.
For the past year, we have followed Jeff’s story, full of medical ups and downs, tinged with both lemons and lemonade – and most importantly, surrounded by his incredibly joyous family milestones. In typical Fudin fashion, he has kept our hopes and spirits up – all the while educating us and uncovering the inequities in healthcare that even those of us “in the know” have to navigate.
When speaking with Jeff this week, for the first time, I sensed that feeling of defeat – like he has finally run out of medical therapeutics. I tried to argue and negotiate further diagnostic and treatment options, from cannabinoids and muscle relaxers to prokinetic motility agents and visceral analgesics, but everything he shared, as usual, made sense and I couldn’t argue with the great and undeterred pharmacist.
When I hung up, all I could think about was how can one possibly treat anticipatory grief. Nausea, indigestion, anxiety, confusion, and even frustration and anger overcame me. Simply put, Jeff deserves more time and we need more time with him.
Knowing that Jeff would want me to think clinically, my only respite has been to call this grief sympathy pain. I know that many of us feel it now. And helpless, not knowing how to console a friend, brother, colleague, and compatriot who is suffering with both physical and existential crises. I only hope that we can all take solace in the fact that we, his friends and family, have squeezed out every last possible drop of our love to shower and shield him from pain over the past year. And as we go forward, now more than ever, Jeff needs our prayers of healing and support.
Jeff often speaks proudly of his dad, also a pharmacist (the trade continues to run in the family), who ingrained into Jeff that with their profession came a commitment to lifelong patient care and learning. Who better than Jeff exemplifies that mantra? He has more disciples than anyone I know. Jeff is a pioneer who has changed the lives of countless physicians, pharmacists, nurses, students, and more. Now is our chance to say thanks and let him know how much he means to us. For those like me who often consider a “reply” but don’t push the button… do it NOW. Let’s see if we can get him a few more immune boosts while he continues this battle.
Jeff, we love to read your stories and blogs. We have followed your trials and tribulations. We have been awed and uplifted by your continued determination to learn, to educate, to mentor. You have lifted us up during your entire illness and we are here now for you with love and compassion.
Jeffrey Gudin, MD
Professor, Dept of Anesthesiology, Periop Medicine and Pain Management, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Rutgers NJ Medical School
Board Certified Pain Medicine, Anesthesiology, Addiction Medicine, Palliative Care
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