Dr. Saeed Behshid November 16, 2006
Dr. Saeed Behshid is a 70-year-old clinical psychologist who in 1961, moved
from his home in Iran to the hustle and bustle of New York City. A highly
intelligent man, Dr. Behshid worked as a banker in New York City for two
years before moving to the warmer West Coast of California. In the mid
1970s, Dr. Behshid began attending classes at Cal State University in
Los Angeles and the U.S. International University in San Diego. He earned
his doctor of clinical psychology in the late 1970s and was soon passionately
treating his patients. Helping people to understand themselves and successfully
navigate their lives was a duty Dr. Behshid volunteered for, a job he loved.
It was not long before Dr. Behshid focused his practice on treating young
patients, specifically juveniles. His name was well known and respected
in the juvenile correctional facilities in Norwalk and Camarillo, California.
He took extreme pride, care, and patience with his "kids."
Even though Dr. Behshid's job was demanding, in the summer of 2004,
he began feeling unusually run down and tired. He decided to meet with
his doctors and underwent a cardiac workup including a cardiac stress
test. The results of the test were normal but months passed and he still
did not feel well. In December 2004, Dr. Behshid returned to his doctors
complaining of shortness of breath, a cough, fatigue, low energy, and
occasional night sweats.
Diagnosing the Problem
His doctors in Ventura, California decided to perform a thoracotomy to
look into his chest. Tests performed on the removed tissue returned a
diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Dr. Behshid and his wife, Zahra had
never before heard of mesothelioma and they, along with their children
Sima, Mike, and Susie, jumped on the Internet to begin researching on
their own. The family discovered Dr. Robert Cameron at the UCLA Medical
Center and in January met with Dr. Cameron to discuss treatment options.
After reviewing his records, Dr. Cameron felt Dr. Behshid was an excellent
candidate for a pleurectomy with decortication.
On March 17, 2005, Dr. Cameron performed a right-sided pleurectomy with
decortication at the UCLA Medical Center. In this surgical procedure,
Dr. Cameron chisels the visible tumor away from the lungs and ribs. This
process does not rid the chest cavity completely of the tumor, only the
visible portions. Dr. Cameron usually follows this procedure with chemotherapy
or radiation to fully eradicate the cancer.
Unfortunately, surgeons can not tell how extensive a tumor can be until
the surgery begins and Dr. Cameron found that Dr. Behshid's cancer
was extensive and had affected some lymph nodes and surrounding muscles
around his ribs. However, even though the surgery went well, Dr. Behshid
developed complications in his left lung, the "good" lung.
As the left lung scarred, Dr. Behshid's breathing became more labored
and he was put on a ventilator. He remained hospitalized for nearly three
months, after which he spent an additional month recovering at the Barlow
Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles.
A Painful Recovery
The family was finally able to bring Dr. Behshid home in July, but his
recovery continues to be slow. To help the family, Mike quit his job in
the financial and accounting field and moved in with his parents.
Dr. Saeed Behshid's surgical scars
November 16, 2006
Mrs. Behshid and her son cared for him every single minute of the day.
Mike has not left the house since July 2005. The burden was insurmountable
for Mrs. Behshid who suffered a stress induced heart-attack and passed
away on October 11, 2005.
Mike has had no rest at all since that terrible day. He makes sure his
father is comfortable every night, changes the ventilator, cleans his
trachea tube, bathes, massages, feeds, and sits by his bed each night
for at least two hours to make sure nothing malfunctions. Mike usually
gets to sleep around 3:00 a.m. and then for only three or four hours.
His sisters usually try to relieve him from his surveillance around 7:00
a.m. so that Mike can get some rest. They like him to try to sleep until
9:30 or 10:00.
In November 2006, a CT scan revealed the cancer had returned. Dr. Behshid
will begin chemotherapy treatments by the end of January 2007. His spirit
remains positive and he is surrounded by his loving family. He continues
to eat three regular meals a day but is tube fed at night. Dr. Behshid
gets out of bed when he is able to walk around the house and enjoy his
patios. In addition, the family takes him on outings when he is up to it.
The entire family has been affected by the cancer. Mike and Simi had to
give up their town homes and residences and put their belongings in storage.
Simi moved back home to help Mike. She still tries to balance work, but
may have to request a medical leave of absence.
According to Susie, "I wouldn't wish this life on our worst enemy.
No family should ever have to go through this much pain and anguish."
They all lean on each other for support.
POSTED JANUARY 11, 2007