Writing a new story with every sunrise


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Every sunrise helps Bill write a new story
When colon surgery brought Bill to the University of Minnesota, he found a skilled team of doctors and nurses dedicated to his recovery – and to bringing him apple pie! Now this former CNN news reporter and author is back on his feet and taking better care of his health. Bill has written a book loosely based on his childhood and every sunrise brings him closer to realizing his dream of adapting it into a movie.

A diagnostic test quickly leads to surgery

Bill describes himself as a typical male when it comes to health care, by which he means he avoids it whenever possible. But a family history of cancer led his doctor to recommend a colonoscopy and it was that test that brought him to see Robert Madoff, MD, a colon and rectal surgeon with University of Minnesota Physicians. Dr. Madoff recommended that Bill have surgery right away to remove a third of his colon. Despite the urgency of the diagnosis, Bill felt he was in good hands with Dr. Madoff and describes the care he received before and after his surgery as “wonderful.”

Without any family locally to help him, Bill was especially grateful for the kindness and good humor of his medical team. “Each of them had their own way of making me feel that my care was their number one mission,” he says. “If I had pain, they took care of it. If I had fears, they talked me through it.” Bill was started on a clear liquid diet after surgery, but he kept telling the nurses that he really wanted some apple pie. As soon as he was able to eat solid food again, one of the nurses stopped at a local bakery and brought an apple pie in for Bill.

On the morning after his discharge, Bill awoke with chills and pain. He returned to the hospital where they found he had a dangerous infection. Dr. Madoff was at a conference, but when the staff contacted him he immediately returned to take care of Bill. “It was an amazing feeling to know he would do that,” says Bill. The post-infection recovery took longer than his first stint in the hospital, but it went well, his strength returned and he went home with a renewed vigor for life. He does a lot more walking now, monitors his blood pressure regularly and will continue follow-up care for a few years to monitor for any recurrence of his cancer.

And he hasn’t forgotten that apple pie. He returned the favor after he was home, bringing a pie and a card back to his medical team to let them know how important their camaraderie and kindness were to him. “They were genuinely caring and attentive,” he says. “That makes a difference in how you heal.”


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