A native Miamian, attending all schools in Miami-Dade County. Graduated University of Miami School of Law. Went directly into politics. Spent 4 years as City of Miami Beach Commissioner. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives and was a State Legislator 6 years. After leaving Tallahassee continued my career as a lawyer.
Until Summer 2014 one morning, I noticed a bit of blood in my urine. A few days later at a routine office appointment, I casually mentioned this to my doctor. To my astonishment, he took it much more seriously than I did. I was immediately scheduled for a series of tests. The tests came back with the worst possible news, bladder cancer. Thus, was the beginning of my nightmare.
My life became centered around doctors, specialists, more tests, and eventually, the surgical removal of my bladder. During this emotional downward spiral, when I thought the worst was over, I learned that now I had to adjust my life to living with a new way of urinating … in an ostomy bag pouch which is adhered to my body at all times. Still groggy from the anesthesia and emotional whirling, I was unable to concentrate and do not remember any of the instruction given in the hospital.
Once back home, that ’ s when the real journey began. Visiting nurses came each day for 30 minutes to change the bandage, give me basic, limited instruction on the care of my new port. No one prepared me for the emotional upheaval this causes. The physical pain subsided but the emotional pain soared. My life was saved … and it was over! All at the same time. I realized I needed professional help … but where to find it? I researched online, asked doctors and visiting nurses, talked to friends, and finally found an ostomy nurse who was qualified and willing to come to my home and teach me to become self-sufficient in caring for and living with my new reality.
My ordeal made me realize there are many people who are currently going through the same thing I did and I don ’ t want them to have problems like I did. This is why I formed the Miami Ostomy Aftercare Program. This not-for-profit organization seeking to close the gap and provide ostomy aftercare education and information to health care providers and patients alike. A generous grant gave my dream to help others in my predicament.
I created this organization to provide all the necessary resources or all post-surgery ostomy patients. To provide patients with qualified nurses to not only attach and maintain the ostomy aftercare devices but also to instruct them to become self-sufficient so they may continue living as normal as possible.
It has always been my intention for this not-for-profit organization to provide direct aftercare instructional services pro bono or at a very reasonable fee basis.