Love is a Lego VW Bus


We recently spent time with Gary Ulfers to learn about his experience with The Ghosh Center.

When did you first meet Dr. Ghosh?

It was back in 2008 when I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dr. Ghosh said he didn’t need to see me yet, but he still talked with me for 15 minutes. He told me my other doctors would know when it was time for me to see a cancer specialist. From that conversation, I decided when the time came, I’d go with Dr. Ghosh.

In 2011, everything flared up. My urologist wanted to send me to a PCI oncologist, but I still had Dr. Ghosh’s number. So I called him up and started seeing him.

Can you tell us about your treatment?

I started out on chemo and pills, but had a really hard time with chemo. Dr. Ghosh switched me to pills only, which helped. We knew my cancer wasn’t curable, but he tried various treatments to slow it down. Some worked for months; some didn’t. Dr. Ghosh threw everything he had at it.

Through it all, he was so honest. That’s what I like about him. He went through my options, told me the truth and didn’t hide anything from me. He helped me make the choices that were right for me.

I was told without treatment, I’d have two years. With Dr. Ghosh’s help, I got a couple of extra years. Last month, we decided it was time for hospice to take over.

You mentioned that you’re very close to the whole team.

Mindy, Rebecca, LaNette and Laurie – they’re the best people in the world. We’ve shared sad times and good times over the years.

When I had my first chemo treatment, the nurses said if I had any problems, I should call and let them know – no matter when it was. Well, for three days, I felt terrible. When I finally called, Rebecca met me as I came in the door. She took me right back to a room with a bed, put me on IVs and stayed with me until I was hydrated. I needed two liters of fluid that day and more the next.

I waited too long another time and got in trouble! They told me I’d better get in there any time I was feeling poorly. The nurses want to do everything they can for you, even on the weekends.

Tell us about one of the good times.

I have an old VW bus from 1971. When my wife and I lived in Tucson, we’d take it to all Grateful Dead concerts. We had two dogs on the bus and had the world by a tail. The Ghosh team heard all my stories.

A while back, the office called and said they had something for me. When I got there, the nurses sat me down in a chair in the juice bar (that’s what I call the chemo room) and pulled out a present. It was a Lego kit for a VW bus. It was too much. LaNette and Mindy had been in Chicago at a conference when they bought it. They were in Chicago and could have chosen time at the House of Blues! Instead, they chose me.

I can’t tell you how many hours it took me to put that bus together, but I can tell you this. It was a labor of love.