|Doug a few days before his 33rd birthday|
Tomorrow, September 19th, is your birthday. Can it be 12 years now since you celebrated turning 33 with your family? You should be with them still. Tomorrow you would be 45. Instead, in your pictures and in loving memories, you are forever that strong, vibrant young man of 33.
We still have the first email Stacey wrote to the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation. The title "My Husband" did not prepare us for those first tragic words "My husband passed away unexpectedly...." It is the message of unspeakable loss that we hope never, ever to receive at the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation. For those who do not know, they can read what happened to you here, Bicuspid Aortic Valve and Aortic Rupture .
|Doug's children remember|
Daddy's heavenly birthday
It seems so wrong that for months you were fighting something very real that no one understood or named, although it should be well known. Recently Stacey was mentioning what happened once again. She wrote of the multiple specialists you saw. There was a stress test. A chest x-ray, but no CT scan. You were given anti-anxiety medication. Of course, those things did not in any way help unmask the enemy in your chest. It hurts so much to realize that the technology and ability were there. In your own state is a world renowned center for treating this. You just did not know.
Doug, it would have been so wonderful to talk to you on the phone, to meet you in person, as we eventually did with Stacey and your family. We would tell you about your aorta in time, so you could get help.
We cannot change what happened, I know. I just want to tell you that because of you, we have the courage to tell others to persist in getting the help they need, to move on and get other opinions when doctors don't understand.
Arlys Velebir and all the volunteers
at the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation