I GET Disrespected

Published March 27, 2015 by blacknright

Let me start this article by saying, I love UCLA, I really do. I think it is definitely hands down the best university out there. Heck, we even beat out Yale in terms of Dream Schools.The True Bruin Statement says the following: As a Bruin, I Commit Myself to the Highest Ethical Standards

Integrity: I will conduct myself with integrity in my dealings with & on behalf of the University.

Excellence: I will conscientiously strive for excellence in my work.

Accountability: I will be accountable as an individual & member of this community for my ethical conduct.

Respect: I will respect the rights & dignity of others.

Service: I will make an impact in our global community through public service.

I take that code seriously and every day I try to uphold those standards laid out in the True Bruin Statement. That being said, it doesn’t mean you get to disrespect me when I come to you seeking your assistance. This wasn’t some cashier who might be stressed out over finals having a bad day, this is correspondence sent on the university’s behalf done in such a childish and rude manner that I couldn’t believe it. It was so bad that even my 11 year old son was appalled by the letter. I petitioned to see if I could get my IGETC certified and I gave them a list of reasons why it should be, this is what I got back from the university:

You cannot have it both ways. You either have full/partial IGETC certification from your community college -or- you are held to all of UCLA’s GE requirements. Your DARS indicates a UCLA-based GE science lab transfer credit but your community college evaluated the two science courses that you took as *non-lab.* The committee understands your circumstances but cannot make an exception. If taking a fifth class in S15 is nota an option, you are advised to find a transferable GE-science with lab credit from a community college or other transfer school. As such, please make plans (financial, logistical, family, degree term) accordingly. You are on an IGETC-1 contract: (1) Complete one applicable GE-science lab (from the UCLA GE list or a transfer school). (2) Earn a letter grade only of minimum “C.” After satisfying the conditions, please return to Window 2, A316 Murphy (M-F 8:30am-4:30pm) so we can update your record.

This is the actual transcript. There was no addressing me by name (and yes, I understand it would be under my record so it is not like anyone else would read it, however if you are professional you still start all correspondence with someone’s name out of courtesy and respect.)  The tone was arrogant and flippant-you can’t have it both ways. Really? Why not tell me to go jump off a bridge?  A more professional person would said “We regret to inform you after much consideration and deliberation that we are unable to grant your petition for fulfilling your IGETC.”

I don’t know who wrote this but it shows a lack of character and professionalism. I am 45 I don’t need nor want to be coddled, I just don’t want to be treated like I am something from the bottom of someone’s shoe either. It wasn’t about the denial, I could deal with that. What I wonder about is, is this unprofessionalism a symptom of larger problem at UCLA? If you can’t write a simple denial letter without being rude and condescending, how is UCLA being represented in the academic arena when these same people have to interact with the public? There is already enough public relations problems at UCLA.  About a month ago, the USAC didn’t want to appoint a Jewish student to the judiciary because SHE WAS JEWISH and they felt she would be biased. This is the same USAC that wanted to divest from Israel and has continually shown anti-Israel/Jewish bias.

Obviously, whoever wrote this thinks it is acceptable to be uncivil and discourteous to students, just as USAC thought they were in their rightst to be discriminatory towards a well qualified Jewish student. UCLA really needs to tighten up their public relations image and instead of trying to teach the students about diversity, maybe hold a few courses on basic respect for both students and administrators. At the very least teach them about the True Bruin Statement because obviously they do not know what it is and  they are failing quite miserably at upholding it.

UCLA’s Hidden Population-Student Parents

Published November 6, 2014 by blacknright

This  past weekend I attended the Parents Weekend at UCLA but I had to do so under the stealth of night because truthfully I was not even supposed to be attending. You see as a student parent, Parents Weekend is not for me. It is for the real parents of UCLA, not student parents. In fact, if you look at UCLA student parents are treated no more than your average club, not a real population.  Now if I was gay and attending UCLA, I would have at least 20 different organizations to join that promote my choice in being gay. From BlacQue to TransUP and Queer Alliance, I would have a real voice in how things are done at UCLA.

For instance, even though 15,849 women attend UCLA and make up 55.3 percent of the campus, [http://www.aim.ucla.edu] it is important to have transgender bathrooms because we can’t have a small fraction of people using the facilities that correlate with their biological sex, that is just not fair to the 0.5 of the population who feel like they are “women.” After all, it is not like sexual assault exists at UCLA and it is not like some sexual predator will use such a ruse to sexually assault women. Granted a sexual predator doesn’t need an excuse to victimize women but let’s  make it easier all the same. So why do transgenders have such a more powerful voice than the untitledwomen? It is because they have aligned themselves with the burgeoning gay community on campus and therefore have more of a say.

Now try to find 2o student parent organizations, it is not happening. There is just one-Students with Dependents. Before the weekend I asked for the demographics for the student parent population. They had none. About 300 students are a part of the program. There are 166 members of their Facebook page. Beyond that there was not much they could tell me. There are 3.8% or roughly 1100 Black students at UCLA. The average age is 21 at UCLA and 6% is over 25 at UCLA.  Given that I am  a Black 44 year old woman, I am used to being the minority. However, to have absolutely no statistics on the student parent population is downright disgraceful especially for a school that prides themselves on being “diverse.”

10696208_10204329945600749_866766391504023180_n

Dr. Kamran Shamsa and me.

Let me  preface all this by saying no one loves UCLA more than I do. Let me give you my back story. I arrived on the UCLA campus during the Fall of 2012. I was a transfer from LACC (By the way the transfers are 29 percent of the population and now have a new representative on ASUCLA) but as the quarter progressed, I began to get sicker and sicker. So I went to the Ashe Center to see what is wrong. If you take nothing else from this remember this: ALWAYS opt in for USHIP, ALWAYS!!! At the Ashe Center I met my guardian angel, Fara Anzures. After examining me she saw I was seriously ill and sent me to 100 Medical Plaza across the street for further tests. There I met Dr. Kamran Shamsa, the world’s greatest cardiologist if ever there was one. He became my advocate and fought for me to get surgery on my heart. I would require a triple bypass and have my aortic and mitral valves replaced. The surgeon who performed the surgery was none other than Richard Shemin, the best in the country when it came to this kind of complicated heart surgery. So I owe my life to these three angels. It is therefore with a heavy heart that this episode of feeling rejected by the same people who saved me-UCLA-leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

So now back to the Parents Weekend. When I filled out the  form for Parents Weekend I had to lie and state that my 11 year old son was my guardian. Now remember when you apply to UCLA you give them information about your parents. I told them that my parents were deceased, yet I still receive letters that read to the parents of Dena Leichnitz. Why do you even ask the question, if you are not going to utilize the information? In any case, my son was my surrogate “father.” I paid the money and then on Friday I went to the dinner. Being that I was a parent, I had to pick up my son from school before I could attend. So that meant missing out on all the activities that take place on Friday, which is basically everything. Nothing really happens on Saturday.

The day I picked up my badge and other parent weekend necessities, I went through everything and put on my badge. Initially, I wore it with a certain amount of pride until I realized everyone who was a student had a badge that read their name and was followed by UCLA College, Los Angeles. Mine said Dena Leichnitz, Los Angeles, California. The parents badge had written their name UCLA Parent, I had nothing. Not UCLA College, not UCLA Parent, nothing, I might as well been a party crasher and considering that is how I felt, it cut deep. It sounds silly but I wanted to cry. I wasn’t even being credited as being part of the school. So I wrote in big letters STUDENT AND PARENT. It was my outward sign of defiance.

My 11  year old son/father

My 11 year old son/father

On Saturday I attended one event. My son during this whole time was on the computers in Powell Library. After all, this wasn’t his idea no need to make him sit through a history class on a Saturday. On Sunday, he did sit through the Parent’s Council and once again I was told the higher ups would do what they could to have student parents on the Parents Council. I signed up my name as being interested in that was that. Even when I talked to Chancellor Gene Block, who was cordial overall, when I brought up how wrong it was not have student parents be a part of this thing I was blown off. “Well this is more for parents who are visiting out of town, we have other things for our diverse population.” And if that is not a verbatim quote, it is close enough.

 As a right wing zealot I should be the last one giving people a lesson in “diversity.” After all, no one is more for tradition, no more for mothers being called mothers and fathers being called fathers. No one is more for protecting the traditional family and marriage than I am. So then how did I become the one who has to be the one to tell the university that it is not okay to discriminate against a whole group of parents just because they do not happen to be a parent of UCLA student but ARE the UCLA student. How then am I then the one saying, your idea of parent needs to change? The whole thing seems surreal. I guess the lesson for UCLA is twofold, start paying attention to your student parent population, we are here and we matter and two next time you give someone a new heart be sure you don’t inflame a new passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Am Still “Anti-Gay.”

Published January 8, 2014 by blacknright

A few years ago, I  wrote a piece on here that until this very day continues to get a lot of responses. So I decided that I would write another piece on it and give the haters something to froth over. So here it is.

Doctor picture1.  Homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle.

Okay, I am about to admit something only very few people know but it might help in understanding why I feel so strongly about this. I am a recovering sex addict. As such I know all about sex done wrong and I know all about the damage it can do to one’s life. If anyone understands about not feeling “normal” when it comes sex it is me. So please don’t sit there and sing me your sad song, I have my own.  At three I discovered the big M (if you don’t know what that is, think about it) and by six I was initiating sexual encounters with the neighbor boy as we tried to figured where his part fit in mine.  At 14,  I was no longer a virgin and my father died a week later (so sex and death got mixed up together. After all, I had sex on Father’s Day and my father  died a week later, that must’ve been my punishment right?)  As a sex addict I put myself in very many precarious situations. Truthfully, I should be dead from AIDS or from inviting strange men into my home and having one of them kill me. It is amazing that I am still here to write this. I see homosexuality as an extension of sex addiction, especially in men. All my life, I have had more in common with gay men than I have with women. Ann Coulter once wrote that the women in the show “Sex in the City” don’t live their lives as women or even straight men but as gay men. As I read those words she penned, it hit me, “That’s me! I have lived my life as a gay man! That is why I was always so comfortable around them! That is why I always felt a connection to them I could never explain!” We were kindred spirits.  That is before God stepped in and saved me. Had he not, who knows where I would have ended up. I was already to the point where a body was a body was a body, it didn’t matter much to me anymore. The deeper I got into my addiction, the more risks I was willing to take and the more I was willing to sabotage my life and those lives of the people I was with. I am telling you all this because people think sexuality is some benign choice, like choosing Jordache over Vanderbilt jeans. Homosexuality is not a normal way to engage in sexual relations, just like my sexual addiction was also abnormal.  You will inevitably incur disease and death. This is from the CDC:

Trend data released today in CDC’s 2011 STD Surveillance Report show that primary and secondary syphilis rates are increasing among gay and bisexual men, who now account for more than 70% of all infections. During the 1990s, syphilis primarily occurred among heterosexual men and women of racial and ethnic minority groups. However, the tide shifted and cases began to increase among gay and bisexual men, referred to as men who have sex with men (MSM) in CDC data systems. A growing number of these cases have been reported among young MSM, with the highest rates being found in men 20-29 years old. What is causing this shift? And what should we be doing differently?   http://blog.aids.gov/2012/12/syphilis-and-hiv-a-dangerous-duo-affecting-gay-and-bisexual-men.html#sthash.ZSsGcRjh.dpuf

And remember even though the mafia couldn’t kill Al Capone, syphilis did! Syphilis can cause blindness, mental disorders and death in its later stages.  Because we have antibiotics we think it is no big deal but syphilis can also mimic other diseases and with its close association with HIV gay men, it becomes even more serious.  This is what the rest of the article had to say about men with HIV who also contract syphilis.

While the health problems caused by syphilis in adults are serious in their own right, it has been shown that the genital sores caused by syphilis make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection sexually. There is an estimated 2- to 5-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV if exposed to that infection when syphilis is present, and studies have also shown that syphilis will increase the viral load of someone who is already HIV infected.

Remember this report was posted December 2012 so we are not talking ancient history here. We are speaking what is happening in the community TODAY!!!

2.  Marriage is about the continuation of the natural family, not about “love.”

weddings1If marriage was exclusively about love then why do the the longest marriages tend to be arranged marriages? Also according to an article in the Chicago Tribune,  “Psychology professor Pamela Regan and her co-authors looked at the marriages of 58 Indian-Americans living in the U.S. About half the participants (28) said their marriages had been arranged, either by relatives or professional matchmakers. The remaining 30 described their marriages as love-based. When researchers had the participants complete questionnaires on love, relationship satisfaction and commitment, they found something rather remarkable. “We found absolutely no differences whatsoever, and we’re not really sure why,” says Regan, whose results were published in Psychological Reports.” Therefore that ever so mystical “love” component has relatively little to do with marriage and whether or not they are happy. So if marriage is not about “love” then what is it about? It is about creating a family, which is something that cannot be obtained through homosexual unions. Whether or not we like it, children need a mother and father. As a single mother nothing  pains me more than admitting that fact. My son is constantly talking about his father and being  that he was one of those “a body is a body is a body” people I told you about there is really little I can tell my son about his father which is truly sad. Especially since at this point in his life, he is ten he seems to need him so much. The questions are becoming more and more frequent and my answers are getting fewer and fewer. The truth is we cannot tailor marriage to fit us, it is not what we want it or think it should be. Marriage is an institution that cannot be undermined without incurring some real and detrimental consequences. You only have to look into the Black community to see what the lack of marriage does to the family and children. Women and  children left on their own to fend for themselves. Marriage is the best way of ensuring future success for children. It is not about social engineering or making a small segment of society feel better about themselves. It is about what is best for everyone involved, men, women and children. What is best, what has always been best is marriage.  To try to tear down the cornerstone of civilization because it does not conform to our modern views is completely and utterly insane. And though Dolores Umbridge (for all you Harry Potter fans out there) may have been painted as the villain in J.K Rowling’s world, she made a good point when she stated “Progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged.”  There has to be thought, reason and logic behind why we are changing something and there is only emotion, hyperbole and threats of discrimination without any real facts to back up the proponents of gay marriage while social science continues to bare out the  truth, children do better in married households.

gay-protestTo sit there and make marriage about “benefits” is absolutely disgraceful. While “love” may not be the only component in marriage, to make it no better than any other business transaction is insulting. While feminists have long maintained that all marriages were nothing more than prostitution or slavery and that sex with men is nothing more than rape, to make the “benefits” argument is no better than their fanatical rantings. I was “married” for four years and my ex-husband did not get down on one knee   and say “Dena, marry me so I can declare you on my tax return.” In fact,  we were going to “lose our benefits” by marrying.  We were both on SSI and we would have lost half our check should we have legally tied the knot. So we had a ceremony, but no legal license. If anyone needs to be fighting for their so called right to marry (which does not exist by the way.  A right is a claim against a person or property of another that is enforceable in a court of law. Therefore since no one has a claim against another person and can force a court to make that person marry them then marriage is not a right!) it is those who are on welfare. As I stated before, when women and men can marry each other who receive government assistance then I will start worrying about the gay population. After all, if any group can benefit from marriage it is those on welfare who because of the rules are not allowed to have the father live in their home and thereby have the children suffer.

3.  Being gay is a choice.

I know I am about to hear all kinds of hateful vitriol about this! Being gay is not a choice! Who would choose to be gay!? Sexuality is a choice. In fact, sexuality is one of the few things we have total control over. It is when Got freedomwe give our control to sexuality that we become enslaved to it and  that it will take over your life. Remember that whole a body is a body is a body thing I told  you about in number 1? Well at one point in time, I started to think being with a woman might be very interesting and I started to seek out opportunities. However, I was pulled back from the brink from God because  he knew if I went down that road, I might not get out alive getting how dangerous I was becoming with my sexual behavior. So I never was with  a woman. However, I was making a conscious choice to go down that road. No different than if I was choosing between Chinese and Italian for dinner. There is also a website called  http://www.queerbychoice.com that deals with this very issue. For a lot of people being gay is a conscious choice.  Even if it wasn’t a conscious choice for you, like it was for these others, doesn’t mean you have acquiesced your power to make sexual decisions. Sexuality is very fluid and you can be straight when you are young and a lesbian when you are older (as my mother was) or you can go back and forth throughout  your life or you can be completely asexual. Whatever your sexuality is, it is totally in your hands and to say otherwise makes you no better than a dog. Even if you don’t want to see yourself as a higher creature, I do and I am not going to change  my opinion because the Gay Elite wants everyone to live their lives according to their sexual urges and who they do and nothing more. That is a sad and repulsive way to live one’s life. There is so much that makes me who I am. I am first and  foremost a daughter of God,  a  mother, a UCLA student, Black, female, a writer, a sister, and a myriad of other things.  But to define myself by my sexual proclivities is as crazy as identifying myself by the fact that I urinate or by my monthly “visitor.” That is a part of me too but it is inconsequential. Or to define myself by my emotions. Emotions are fleeting, I am happy, depressed and angry all in the same day. What ticks me off one day will merely irritate me the next, to base my existence on “feelings” is actually immature and shows lack of reasoning.

However, and  this is where it gets sticky for the gay community, you are your choices. So you have to choose to be gay in order to define yourself in that fashion. I have to choose to go to UCLA in order to be a UCLA student. I have to choose to be a Mormon, in order to define myself as a Mormon. While some things you have no choice in like being a woman or your ethnic background, sexuality is once again something  you have to choose, otherwise it is rape. Therefore, if you are  choosing to engage in homosexual behavior, you are making a choice. If you are choosing to be with this man rather than this other one, you are making a choice. You may not have chosen to have the feelings but you choose to act on them.  As a straight woman I still have feelings for men, but I choose not to act on them. I don’t always like the fact that I find myself continually attracted to the wrong type of man but I still choose not to act on those feelings.  Once I got myself into recovery two things went away 1) my penchant for self-destruction and 2) my desire to be with women. Therefore sexuality is malleable. I have been celibate for seven  years. That is a choice. I have chosen not to further engage in sex until I am married. If I can change my sexuality, then I know it can be done for others and to sit there and say gays have no choice in the matter is to dehumanize them. I refuse to do that.

The real reason the Gay Elite does not like the idea of queer by choice is because it gives people freedom. Freedom to choose to be straight or gay. Freedom to choice how they will conduct their behavior and their lives and the Gay Elite needs to have control over those things. Oh sure they want some freedom but freedom with any of the consequences. They want rights but without any of the responsibilities. They berate people like Michael Glatze who was a former gay activist who recently married a woman. By and large, my intolerance is not for the average gay or lesbian in my life or who I meet on day to day basis, it is with the overall Gay Elite,  organizations like GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign and others who use their power and resources to foist their agenda onto everyone and bully those who do not comply. GLSEN who attempted to get five years old children to sign  a card that they would stand up to people who bullied gays! (THEY’RE FIVE!!!! REALLY????)  I get angry at how the Gay Elite wants to take away everyone’s freedom of choice. So I will continue to battle them. Because I think everyone should be free to make the choice for the lives but should have truth and accurate information regarding that choice. Sexuality is the  most private and cherished thing we can give to another, so why do so in such a secretive, vulgar fashion by allowing unfettered access to all who want it instead of sharing it with one person who will treasure it?

Lastly I am anti-gay because it takes away the brightest and best among us and delves them into a counterfeit life and I think  they are worth more than that.

In a Court of Law

Published September 18, 2013 by blacknright
Royce Hall, main building of University of Cal...

Royce Hall, main building of University of California, Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

September has been an a month full of laws for me. Whether it is appearing in Man’s court on the ongoing battle to keep my son or learning about God’s law as Judaism will once again be at the forefront of my education at UCLA, I have been steeped in the study and practice of law.

 

Today I am in a court of law to make a dream of mine come true. My sister has had co guardianship pretty much since he was three. Today we are here to terminate it. I keep looking down the hall for my sister. My case is at 10:30, it is 10:09. Time is passing slowly. Is she in the right department? It is in Department 5 which happens to be on the second floor, room 236. I guess putting it on the fifth floor would make too much sense. It is 10:13, she is still not here. There are five cases before ours.

 

My heart is beating fast,which for a normal person is bad enough. However, when you add mechanical heart valves to the mix, it becomes more frightening, more nerve- wracking. I do not know why I am nervous. Maybe it is the intended thought of doing this alone.

 

It is ten thirty, we are inside the court, she has arrived and we are sixth in line. I have signed the paper work. Now I wait for what I have been waiting for forever, for my son to be mine.

 

Shamsathon Setback

Published September 12, 2013 by blacknright

IMG_20120122_132341

medications   So here I am in Olympia Hospital…again. I woke up with a sharp pain shooting up my left arm and being that I have heart problems such a sign of cardiac arrest cannot be taken lightly. So here I am being observed. In the meantime, I have gained about 10-15 pounds in the last four days. My INR was 1.5. INR is the measurement they use to see if my blood is too thin or too thick. If it is too thick I can have a stroke. If it is too thin I can bleed  out. My INR is supposed to be between 2.5 to 3.5, so 1.5 Is extremely low.

Once the weight wasn’t coming off anymore and my INR dipped I was feeling like “Oh screw it! I can’t do this!” This is not an easy road for me to walk and I have come to the conclusion I cannot do it alone. I need help. This whole trial and error approach is not working for me and it just might kill me.

So I am now on the hunt for a nutritionist that can help me lose weight while taking into account my whole INR precautions. Right now I just want to scream, cry or crawl into a hole and never come out. But I also know I can’t do that. I have to go on, giving up is not an option. There is too much at stake, most importantly the life of my son. He needs his mother.

So while it will not be smooth sailing, I have accomplished the impossible before. This will be no different.

The Road to the Shamsathon

Published August 24, 2013 by blacknright

Drake Stadium 2008

The Shamsathon is what I have taken to calling the race between my cardiologist, Dr. Shamsa and I. Our race is to take place at Drake Stadium at UCLA. What started out as an off hand joke has become a serious mission for me. He has laid down some rules for the race to take place.

1. I must lose forty pounds
2. I must be able to run 4 times around Drake Stadium, which is FOUR MILES!!!!

To go from zero to four miles seems like a total impossibility and the man must be insane, but somehow I will run around that stadium four times!!

The race is set to take place January 25, 2014. So I have five months to get myself in shape. I have been trying to watch what I eat but the last few days I have been a bit depressed and so I have not been on it as I should. And while I am allowed to have two free days on the diet that I am on, I have noticed the minute I start eating carbs, the weight comes ballooning back.  It is really pissing me off, if you want to know the truth. Carbs are not my friend, apparently.  Giving up bread and starch is like giving up air.  I like sweets but that is a little easier for me to forgo, but forgoing carbs is worse than the triple bypass and the two valves I had replaced.

Oh I should tell you the history of all this shouldn’t I?

THE HISTORY OF THE SHAMSATHON

Well I describe how my illness came to be in I Heart UCLA on this site so read that story for the background on my illness and the whole bypass thing. However, during one of my visits to Dr. Shamsa, he asked  me, “You know Drake Stadium.”  I told him I didn’t. He was like it is at UCLA, how can you not know Drake Stadium. “Anyway, ” he continued, “when you are better we are going to go running at Drake Stadium, just me and  you.” I laughed and told him, “Okay deal.”  I don’t think either of us took it very seriously that day.  Then I got to thinking, “Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.” But still again I didn’t consider it a true “thing.” It wasn’t something I was actually going to do.  But then one day  I decided, “Oh no, this is going to happen.”  It was at that point that I decided to get serious about it. So I sat down and wrote him and told him, that we were going to run Drake Stadium and I gave him the date. At that point  he laid out his rules. So now it is on.

Daily Stats

The last recorded weight was  219.2 (okay I am trying not cringe here.)

Today I had a bagel, eggs and bacon.

 

 

 

I Heart UCLA

Published August 10, 2013 by blacknright

This is not my story. This is not a story about him. This is our story and how UCLA saved my life. To fully understand the severity of my condition, we must go back to Thanksgiving 2011. I was spending time with my friends Claudia and Rosa , when Claudia and I went to the store to pick up a few items. That short walk made me completely unable to breathe. Though it was only two blocks away, I had to stop and rest at several points along the way. Claudia was worried about me and said, “You need to see a doctor.”

Me and Dr. ShamsaFlash forward to February 2012. The breathing is getting increasingly harder and I am admitted to Olympia Hospital. They run all kinds of tests but are unable to find anything after three days. I am diagnosed with angina and sent home. It is now September 2012 and I have graduated from LACC and started UCLA. As the quarter progresses, my breathing is waking me up at night. I am unable to walk two steps without my heart feeling like it is going to pop out of my chest. It is getting harder to get to class. A ten minute walk from Ackerman Student Union to Haines Hall is taking me an hour. I go to my doctor to find out what is wrong. My insurance company, in their infinite wisdom, decides to send me to a cardiologist all the way in Montebello! MONTEBELLO!!!! I can barely walk and you want me to get myself to MONTEBELLO!!!!

Despite the fact that I live much closer to Wilshire Boulevard and you can’t throw a rock on Wilshire Boulevard without hitting a cardiologist in the head! I refuse to go. When I go to my own “doctor” to complain again of the symptoms, without so much as an examination he surmised, with all his 20 minutes of experience in the medical field, that I had allergies! ALLERGIES!!! I know I am not crazy and I know it is not allergies. So I use my student insurance to go to the Ashe Center. That is where I met a nurse practitioner named, Faye Anzures who recognized what was going on was far more serious than what the Ashe Center could handle. I had fluid on my lungs and an abnormal EKG, so she sent me “across the street.”

Enter my hero, Dr. Kamran Shamsa and UCLA cardiology department. Though Dr. Shamsa does not wear blue tights or have a red cape, he should have a big “S” painted on his lab coat. He listened to me, he examined me but most of all, he believed me. He listened to my chest, which sounded like I had swallowed a rattlesnake there was so much rattling going on inside. I took a stress test among others and then he came back and told me, that this was serious and that I was going to need surgery. He laid out my options 1) I could go home now, we could try medication but eventually I would need to have surgery or 2) I could go into the hospital and prepare for surgery now. Even though I was two weeks away from finishing my first quarter at UCLA and taking my finals, I decided to go in and get the surgery done. I dropped all my classes.

During one of my appointments with Dr. Shamsa, he told me that everything was going to be okay and that he was going to be my advocate. Being that I had less than stellar experiences with doctors I didn’t quite believe him, but oh I wanted to. He was good to his word. One night I called him in a panic, I had gotten a letter from Blue Shield saying they weren’t going to cover my hospital stay and I was worried they would not cover my surgery. A night or two before my surgery while I was in the hospital, I get a call from Dr. Shamsa, saying, “Don’t worry about it-everything has been taken care of. Your hospital stay, your surgery, it’s a done deal.” He had spent the day emailing, phoning until he reached the President of Blue Shield and got them to consent to my surgery. I screamed into the phone, I couldn’t believe it! I thanked him profusely.

Later on, after my surgery, I was talking to my surgeon’s nurse, she said she had been told by Dr. Shamsa’s nurses that they had never seen a doctor work so hard to get someone surgery. That brought a smile to my face. That was only the first time he would be my advocate. It would not be the last. When I had gotten out of my surgery, which was done by Dr. Shemin, and I am grateful to have someone as experienced who was willing to take on my case, a group of doctors looking at my case thought I needed a pacemaker. I had already been cut open and didn’t want to undergo yet another procedure though I was assured it was rather minor. I had told them I didn’t want to do but they had convinced me that it would benefit me if I did. Enter Dr. Shamsa, he looked at the data and said, “She doesn’t need a pacemaker.” That is all I needed, if Dr. Shamsa said I didn’t need it then I didn’t need it. He helped me stand my ground and advocated for me not to undergo another procedure that was not necessary at this point.

His reach was not just felt at UCLA. When my rehab center was not giving me the medical attention I needed when my heart rate was up, he got on the phone and told them in no uncertain terms that they were to monitor me and if my heart rate continued to spike than they were to get me to an emergency room pronto. When I was in heart failure and Olympia wanted to transfer me to Monterey Park, he tried to get me transferred to UCLA (That was the only battle he lost when it came to my care.) but to no avail. When I was in Hollywood Presbyterian and they wanted to give me an ablation, he also made sure it didn’t happen. A simple zap to the heart would suffice and I would be okay. I could fill a novel with everything Dr. Shamsa has done for me. But most importantly, he has given me back my life.

I am a single mother and I have a nine year old son. The thought of not being there to see him grow up has been my motivation, to not only improve my life by attending UCLA in the first place but to try to keep myself as healthy as I can. Dr. Shamsa and I have a goal we are working towards, when I can we are going to go to Drake Stadium and run the track there. I want him to eat my dust, so that will mean getting myself back into shape. Currently I have lost 58 pounds since all of this started. My goal is to lose another 8 by the time I see him September. I know the healthier I am, the more I will be able to enjoy life with my son and experience new and exciting things with him. Dr. Shamsa is not just my doctor, as far as I am concerned he is family. Dr. Shamsa represents the best of UCLA Cardiology and I am proud to be his patient.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 223 other followers