He was 44 years old, he was physically fit, he was active in his community,
he was an active participant in his parish and he was a highly intelligent
corporate executive. More importantly, a loving husband and father to
two beautiful girls. It was 2006 and Ken Bendix was living the dream.
Ken and his wife Alexa live in Trabuco Canyon, California. They have two
beautiful young daughters. Ken was very fit. He was an avid mountain biker,
golfer, and enthusiastic outdoorsman. He was a trim 160 pounds. Professionaly,
Ken was a corporate software executive who had worked very hard to achieve
his present success.
In July of 2006, Ken began to experience some abdominal discomfort. He
tried to ignore it as nothing but gas but when it affected his bike riding
and golf game he decided to get it checked out.
In November he met with his family physician and underwent a colonoscopy.
The results were negative for any malignancy. A CT scan was taken which
revealed ascites and possibly some peritoneal tumors in his abdomen. "What?"
he thought, "tumors?"
The next day, a paracentesis was performed where doctors removed approximately
five liters of fluid from his abdomen. Examination of the fluid confirmed
the presence of a poorly differentiated carcinoma. Later that month, Ken
underwent port-a-cath surgery afterwhich he began chemotherapy treatments
using Avastin. He kept asking himself if this was some kind of nightmare
that he would soon wake up from.
In January of 2007, a PET scan and CT scan were taken.The films showed
the ascites had returned but with no evidence of extra-abdominal metastatic
disease. He then completed his second treatment of Avastin on January 24.
Although the films revealed no metastic disease, the doctors were still
concerned about the cause of the fluid.
On January 29, Ken underwent a second paracentesis where 6.5 liters of
fluid was removed. He was losing his appetite and all his strength. He
no longer had any endurance. His weight had plummeted to 129 pounds.
During the paracentesis, the surgeons also performed a core needle biopsy.They
were determined to find out why the Avastin was not working as expected.
Examination of the removed tissue revealed a malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
The date was March 2, 2007. Ken's oncologist immediatley changed his
chemotherapy cocktail to Alimta in conjunction with Cisplatin.
In the meantime, Ken began looking for doctors with experience in treating
his mesothelioma. He met with Dr. Robert Cameron at the UCLA Medical School
in Los Angles, California. Unfortunately, Dr. Cameron specializes in treating
pleural mesothelioma. Dr. Cameron recommended several doctors on the East
coast with experience in peritoneal mesothelioma. He also told Ken about
Dr. Brian Loggie.
Dr. Loggie is a surgeon at the Creighton University School of Medicine
in Omaha, Nebraska. A renowned surgeon, Dr. Loggie is particularly known
for his treatment of rare, cancerous conditions. Patients around the world
have come to Creighton University Medical Center to be treated by him
for peritoneal mesothelioma, appendix tumors and other cancers. For patients
who meet certain criteria, he uses surgical debulking along with intraperitoneal
Ken and Alexa contacted Dr. Loggie at Creighton University and traveled
to Nebraska. They met with Dr. Loggie to learn more about his surgical
treatment and mesothelioma management plan. After examining Ken and reviewing
his medical records, Dr. Loggie felt Ken was an excellent candidate for surgery.
Ken on the links
On April 24, 2007 Dr. Loggie operated on Ken. The surgery lasted several
hours and included an exploratory laparotomy, partial debulking, partial
diaphragmatic peritonectomy, partial omentectomy, cystoscopy, bilateral
retrograde pyelogram and placement of bilateral indwelling ureteral catheters
under fluoroscopy. During the procedure he also was treated with intraperitoneal
heated chemotherapy using Carboplatin. Ken was discharged on April 29.
After a long recovery, Ken devoted his time to help find a cure for mesothelioma.
He contacted the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (www.marf.org) and diligently supported MARF. He continued being the loving, caring
father to his girls.
On March 7, 2009, the students from Dance Dynamics raised $3,195 for mesothelioma
research at the Bendix Benefit Show, at St. John's Episcopal School
in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. One of Ken’s daughters is
a student at the school.
A dedicated husband, loving father, and devout Catholic Ken believed that
faith, determination, optimism, and goodwill are the keys to a successful
life. Although his life had been torn apart by mesothelioma, the presence
of his two young daughters had convinced him that his illness was a unique
opportunity for him to teach his children about surviving adversity with
optimism, intellect, and courage, and about facing terrible pain and death
with fortitude and with love.
Ken and Alexa have been married for over for twenty years and were high
school sweethearts. Their children are the light of their lives.
On September 29, 2009, Ken lost his battle with mesothelioma. He was 47
years old. To help Ken continue to support efforts to find a cure, please
visit his fundraising page:
For Aria Bendix, a senior at SMCHS, life took an unexpected, tragic turn
in September, 2009, when her father Ken passed away from mesothelioma,
an aggressive form of cancer linked to asbestos. Aria then formed the
Breath of Hope Club at SMCHS, which raises awareness for the disease.
Along with Liz Watson, vice president of the club, Aria has helped raise
over $8,000 for the cause.