Story of Hope
How Ed Glebus Keeps his Health On Course after Heart Trouble and Cancer
Watching him swing a golf club, you’d never guess that Ed Glebus has a complicated medical history that includes atrial fibrillation, heart valve repair, and a blood clot-causing disorder. He also recently underwent major surgery for pancreatic cancer.
“As I age, I really have been fortunate, being very active,” the 69-year-old says. “I haven’t experienced the arthritis or pain that a lot of friends in my age group have. However, I have had other issues and I’ve seen where my physical ability has decreased. But my doctor has been the gatekeeper for me — she has been in communication with the many physicians that I’ve been dealing with, because my case is not that simple.”
Ed’s “gatekeeper” is Suzanne Salamon, MD, a geriatrician and Associate Chief of the Division of Gerontology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Over the past few years, she has overseen Ed’s general care, helped him manage his multitude of medications, and worked closely with his cardiologist, his surgeons, and now his oncology team — being a constant voice at the table for Ed and helping him manage his medical care.
Ed and his wife, Elaine, are grateful for the trusting relationship they have developed with Dr. Salamon.
“It gives me peace of mind knowing that I have someone who cares, who’s looking after me, and who is taking a personal interest in my case,” Ed says. “It’s also comforting to know that Dr. Salamon is also looking after my wife, who has been very supportive but put through a lot of strain. Dr. Salamon took the time to communicate with her to see how she was doing, and it’s comforting to know that someone else is also concerned about Elaine’s well-being.”
Ed first came to the Senior Health Program in the Division of Gerontology at the recommendation of his wife — Elaine’s mother had been a patient of Dr. Salamon’s and Elaine had been extremely impressed with Dr. Salamon’s understanding, kindness and compassion.
“I had such confidence in seeing how they handled my mother, that when Ed needed to find a new PCP, it was a no-brainer,” Elaine says. “The expertise of Dr. Salamon and everyone on the staff, and the fact that they are proactive and pick up on the subtleties in a patient makes me even more confident … I think the care they offer is unequaled, I really do.”
It was Dr. Salamon’s vigilance and attention to detail, Ed says, that led to the discovery of his pancreatic cancer. Ed’s brother died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago, and Ed had tested positive for the BRCA-2 gene mutation (which has been linked to both pancreatic and breast cancer in families). Knowing this family history, Dr. Salamon immediately sent Ed for an MRI and blood test when she noticed that something wasn’t quite right. A tumor was found on his pancreas, and Ed was diagnosed with early stage cancer.
Ed underwent a Whipple procedure, a complex operation to remove the tumor, in June of this year with Dr. Mark Callery and Dr. James Moser of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at BIDMC. Dr. Salamon was with Ed every step of the way — she went with the Glebuses to their first meeting with the pancreatic cancer team, and visited Ed many times while he was in the hospital.
“That was really comforting to me and to Elaine, and Dr. Salamon was also instrumental in meeting with our doctor for my chemotherapy,” Ed says. “She really does care about her patients and it’s appreciated because when you’re in the hospital, you’re hopefully trying to get better and if you see a familiar face that you trust, it makes it a lot more comforting.”
“I have implicit faith and trust in Dr. Salamon and in all of the people on Ed’s medical team,” adds Elaine. “We feel very blessed to have the health care team we do.”
Despite his health setbacks, Ed’s attitude has remained positive and hopeful. He continues to stay as active as he can, and believes he is “coming back.”
“In the future I look forward to staying strong and continuing to age gracefully,” Ed says. “When I came home from the hospital after the Whipple, they gave me a walker and now it’s in the garage and I hope it stays there for many, many years. I want to stay active and go forward and enjoy my senior years.”
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.