Honoring Our Excision Surgeons

group photo overlooking winery

This is an old post I’ve been wanting to write up for over a year! OVER A YEAR!! So, I’m finally just sitting down and doing it!

As many of you know, I LOVE my excision surgeon, Dr. Mel Kurtulus from San Diego Women’s Health. And back in September of 2019, I reached out to EndoWarriors I knew were also clients of his to see if they wanted to help honor him and his staff in some way. And we began to play a fun wine & dine event to say thank you.

And not only did we get to eat, drink, and be merry together, but we also go to meet his new partner physician, Dr. Chandra Spring-Robinson! She’s such an invaluable part of the SDWH team and is also super-skilled at wide-margin excision surgery! So it’s an amazing group they’ve put together!

And we all wanted to say thank you.

But how?

I had some friends of the family who owned a winery out in Jamul, California. Unfortunately, the winery is no longer in existence, but Casi Cielo Winery made great fruit-wines, as well as housed alpaca and goats and dogs and cats and chickens overlooking beautiful views of San Diego’s rural beauty. So the venue was secured!

Food! We needed food!!! One of our local EndoWarriors, Chef Kiki, is an amazing chef and caterer and agreed to prepare a bunch of delicious meals. She even made alternative side-meals for people with dietary restrictions or allergies. And OMG…it was DELICIOUS! Okay, wine and food were covered. What’s next?

A menu

A thing. We needed to be able to present a thing expressing our gratitude. But what? A trophy? Nah. I know that Dr. Kurtulus is an accomplished photographer, so maybe something artsy? Something he can plop on a shelf and remember just how many lives he’s changed?

All I found for pre-made wares were boring crystalline towers or glass stars or poopy-shaped teardrops. I reached out to the vast world o’Google and just scrolled through endless galleries of glass artists’ work until I fell in love with one studio. I didn’t even look to see where they were from: I was just in LOVE with their style. Um…Latvia. I fell in love with Glass Point in Latvia. Whoops…so far away…

Anna with Glass Point and I had several email conversations about Endometriosis, the group of folks who wanted to say thank you, how the skilled surgeries give us our quality of life back (even if temporarily), and brainstorms on ideas. I knew it had to have some sort of yellow ribbon. Anna even reviewed my surgery photos to get a sense of the colors of the pelvic cavity and Endo lesions.

After Anna and her team sketched up some ideas, I put a vote to SDWH’s Bloomin’ Uterus patients…and a design was chosen!

Sketches of possible glass sculptures

Which one did we choose? … “Two Arches” for the big ol’ yellow awareness ribbon interwined with flesh.

Not only did Anna send me behind-the-scenes photos throughout the two-month process, but she sent the completed piece back to the United States with her mother, who mailed it to California!

I was even more excited than before! The yellow ribbon now resembled an abstract heart-shape! OH THE LOVE!

When the finished piece arrived safely snug in copious amounts of foam and bubble wrap, I couldn’t resist tearing it open to take a peak. Anna…you and your team are AMAZING!

The September day arrived, SDWH staff and surgeons all showed up and we got to gather around a series of tables and actually just hang out with everyone for a few hours with San Diego’s beautiful weather. We were PEOPLE; not just a physician-staff-patient relationship. And some EndoWarriors ot to meet each other for the first time. And others brought their family and friends with them. Great food, wine, and company.

It was just what we all needed. And I’m so grateful to my fellow EndoWarriors for all pitching in financially and make the Saturday a reality.

And…I love it. Every time I go into his office, there it is catching the light from the adjacent window. And it makes me smile every time.

And it’s true: “Words simply cannot express our gratitude.”

Anna was amazing! She was so patient with me! I mean, c’mon…my first email to her actually contained the phrase, “But I’m going to be that client who doesn’t know what I’m asking for, nor do I have a budget. All I have is a deadline!” Ha! If you EVER need something special hand-made from Latvia, I cannot recommend Glass Point enough! And you can follow them on Instagram for all of their creative endeavors!

glass sculpture with yellow and red ribbons

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