May 26, 2010 – Lesli Moore Dahlke – The Tragic & Heroic Story of Lesli Dahlke’s Life after Vietnam – “A Loss of Innocence”

May 26, 2010 – David Gibbons is joined by Lesli Dahlke who following time in Vietnam was to suffer from the horrors of cancer 20 years later as a direct result of Agent Orange.

“In 1970, I went to Vietnam as an 18-year old civilian girl, sponsored by the US Army at Christmas time to provide morale and support to our young soldiers who were so far away during the Holidays. At the end of the Christmas tour, I returned home with many photos, memories, and stories for a lifetime, and resumed my normal life. I attended college and earned a Bachelors Degree in Television, Radio and Film with a secondary emphasis on journalism. Over the years, I successfully worked in my field of television production and built a professional name for myself. I got married and started a happy life with my wonderful husband. Life was good, with the ever-present hum of happiness and the exciting promise of what lay ahead. But then, in June of 1990, I heard the heart stopping words …”you have cancer”. I was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma — a large abdominal retroperitoneal liposarcoma. On the day of diagnosis, the life I knew ended. My life’s future changed forever. I was 38. I have had cancer or been actively involved in its related treatments, follow-thru, challenges, heartbreaks, losses, and so many battles for twenty years. When looking at the whole of my life, I have been involved with cancer for more than a third of my years. The struggles of invasive surgery, chemo and getting used to the adjustment of the loss of so many internal organs — while literally learning to live all over again — was an earthshaking change to a happy life.”

    • Marilyn A. Stolze
    • November 19th, 2010

    Lesli,

    15 years ago my husband was diagnosed with a Lyposarcoma. We were told it was a very rare cancer. My husband Bill was 56 at the time. We had no health insurance and we worked at an apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, California as co-managers. A doctor who refused to see him because he had no health insurance told us to go to Olive View in Los Angeles County.

    We drove there and waited for 7 hours to see a doctor. My husband was x-rayed in the area of the mass in his abdomen. We were told he had cancer and it was a lyposarcoma. We thought that meant he would die. After going through the process that a state hospital requires, Bill was finally scheduled for surgery.

    These doctors were from UCLA Medical School. The surgery took 5 hours and they had to remove a kidney and one of his adrenal glands.

    He had ct-scans eventually annually and none at all now. He is fine. I’m so surprised that the doctors you saw had never heard of a lyposarcoma.

    I wish you all the best. Can’t you go to a county hospital like we did?

    Our total hospital bill was just over $900.

    God Bless You,

    Marilyn Stolze
    543 Amber Way
    Solvang, CA 93463

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