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Charles and Carol Fairbanks have been married for over 50 years. Dr. Ghosh has been a part of their lives for nearly 20 of those years. During that time, he’s touched three generations of their family and brought light into their darkest moments.
Our son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 1997. It came as a terrible shock. Dennis was married with two small children, ages five and two.
When we accompanied our son on a visit to The Ghosh Center, we felt an immediate peacefulness. We knew we were in the right place at the right time and that Dr. Ghosh would do the right thing.
Dr. Ghosh told Dennis, “for your sake and mine, I want you to go to Mayo Clinic for further testing.” Unfortunately, it turned out there was nothing more Mayo could do, so they sent him home. We lost him when he was 31 years old. At least we tried everything.
Dennis taught us a lot. He never complained. He planned his own funeral, taped messages to his children and prepared them for a future without him. After Dennis died, Dr. Ghosh told our daughter-in-law, “I want to be there when your children graduate.” And he was.
I’ll always remember him coming up the walk to Josh’s graduation party.
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on December 23, 2011. Lisa Schepanski, at our Unity Point medical clinic, sent me straight to Dr. Ghosh. Because of the Christmas holidays, the staff was planning to leave early that day. Instead, they stayed late to get my treatment started.
I began a four-month regimen of chemotherapy and responded to treatment almost immediately. Following chemo, Dr. Ghosh told me he wanted to make sure I was getting the best results possible so he connected me with Mayo to discuss a possible stem cell transplant.
The stem cell transplant took place in May, 2012, and about a year later I was told my cancer was in remission. When I was first diagnosed, I was told that if I opted for no treatment, I’d only have 60-70 days to live. It’s been over four years. My stem cells are as healthy as they can be, and I’m cancer-free.
Shortly after Charles was told he was in remission, I was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer: multiple myeloma. I had no symptoms.
Lisa Schepanski found it during my yearly physical exam. Suddenly, I too was a patient at The Ghosh Center. Like Charles, I began treatment with Dr. Ghosh, then went to the Mayo Clinic for a stem cell transplant.
For a while, I was in remission and on a maintenance treatment for my cancer. My cancer came back last November, so I’m currently having more intensive chemotherapy. I’ll head back to Mayo next month to talk about the next stage of treatment. I’m a work in progress, but feel lucky to be cared for by such supportive people.
I’ll always remember him coming up the walk to Josh’s graduation party. To think that he would take the time, 13 years after our son died, to come to the kids’ parties – well, we were all in tears. It endeared him to our hearts even more. His staff is like him, very caring. They’re like family to us.
This is the first of two blog posts about Dr. Ghosh’s relationship with the Fairbanks family. Check back on February 24 to read Part 2.