Stomach cancer survivor finds hope at MD Anderson, even after wife’s death

For 78-year-old widower Do Lee, the hardest part of having stomach cancer wasn’t chemotherapy, radiation or even learning to eat again after two-thirds of his stomach was surgically removed. It was figuring out how to live without his beloved wife of almost 40 years, an MD Anderson CRNA (a certified registered nurse anesthetist) who died of the exact same type of cancer he had, three years before he was diagnosed — to the day. “Sunny was so grateful to work with such dedicated doctors and friends,” Do says. “But her cancer was very advanced by the time it was found — already stage IV. She died 18 months later in hospice.” The power of serendipity Watching his wife suffer through the same treatments being recommended for him initially made Do feel very bitter. “You’re not going to do to me what you did to my wife,” Do told Emma Holliday, M.D., during his very first office visit. “You’re not prolonging my life just to watch me die. And I walked out of her office.” But when his severe diarrhea continued unabated, a colleague of Do’s late wife convinced him to return. He decided to give MD Anderson another try and made an appointment with Brian Badgwell, M.D., and Paul Mansfield, M.D., a close colleague of his late wife. A bit of serendipity is what finally convinced Do to stay. A friend of his late wife had given him a Bible, and he’d read a passage from Jeremiah about God having a plan. “So, when Dr. Badgwell told me, ‘I have a plan for you,’ I thought that was really...