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Corporate Executive Lives Over Two Years After Diagnosis

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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.

Bendix Family
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 heated chemotherapy.

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: www.curemeso.org/fundraising/kenbendix.

Aria Bendix
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.