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March 29, 2018

Our Journey with RR UCLA Medical Center

By JnJ

I’m writing this story on behalf of my wife.

Back in April 2017, I took my wife to the ER at another hospital. She was incoherent, confused, and had difficulty forming sentences. This is where she was diagnosed to have suffered a stroke. Subsequent MRI’s and cerebral angiogram were performed which then confirmed that she was suffering from a rare form of brain disease called Moyamoya. To minimize the risk of future strokes, neurologists recommended bypass surgery to improve the blood flow to her brain. This news shattered our world as we know it. But we were determined to do whatever is necessary and medically possible to improve my wife’s condition. So we started searching for a neurosurgeon.

It just so happens that my wife’s sister works at UCLA Medical Center. She searched and discovered that UCLA has a neurosurgeon on staff who specializes in Moyamoya disease. And so, this is when our journey with RR UCLA Medical Center and Dr. Anthony Wang begins.

We met Dr. Wang for the very first time back in June 2017. For us, it felt as if we were meeting a YouTube celebrity because weeks leading up to our first encounter, we repeatedly watched videos of Dr. Wang explaining Moyamoya disease and the available surgical procedures. Now we were meeting him in person. Not a celebrity or a rock star as it turns out, but on the contrary, Dr. Wang was so down to earth. He insisted on us calling him “Anthony”. During the meeting, he took time to answer all of our questions truthfully, and he provided statistical data wherever possible. At the end of our encounter, Dr. Wang said that if we wanted another opinion, he can recommend other facilities and doctors. I recall us saying “no” to him almost in unison, followed by “we are doing it here at UCLA, and you are it”. We left his office that same afternoon with a date for my wife’s surgery.

The morning of the surgery, Dr. Wang walked along side us and again discussed the game plan and assured us that there is nothing to worry about. While my wife was being wheeled into the OR, Dr. Wang took time to accompany me down to Maddie’s Room. As we parted, I remember being left with a feeling of confidence, and also anxiety knowing there are no guarantees. He was about to do brain surgery on my wife after all. But as I entered Maddie’s room and after seeing all the other families in there, I was somehow comforted knowing that all of us have entrusted the lives of our loved ones here. We were in the right place and the best doctors are on task.

Throughout this entire journey, Dr. Wang has continued to show dedication and compassion for my wife. I remember Dr. Wang visiting on many occasions during her post op and recovery period at the hospital. Several of those visits were when he was right about to leave campus late in the evening. Fast forward to December 2017, my wife had a seizure on Christmas Eve which landed her back at a local ER. I contacted Dr. Wang using the myUCLA health app to inform him of the situation. I wasn’t expecting a response till after the holidays but sure enough, here’s Dr. Wang texting me the day after Christmas asking me to send him all of the CT scans and MRI’s so that he can have a look. Simple acts of caring like this has made our journey much more bearable. Thank you Anthony!

It is worth mentioning that our overall experience with RR UCLA Medical Center has been pleasantly amazing. We’ve seen firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and compassion shown by all those who have had a hand in my wife’s care. So to all of you, we are very grateful. Thank you.

Our journey is far from being over. But having UCLA on our team has brought us closer to our destination.

Tags: blood flow, brain surgery, bypass surgery, cerebral angiogram, CT scans, Doctors Day, Dr. Anthony Wang, ER, Maddie's Room, Moyamoya, Moyamoya disease, MRI, myUCLA health app, neurologists, neurosurgeon, Neurosurgery, patient stories, Ronald Reagan Medical Center, seizure, stroke, Surgery, YouTube

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