Past, Present, Future — A Love Letter To Our Neuro-Oncologist

Past, Present, Future — A Love Letter To Our Neuro-Oncologist

Ellie Ewoldt, mom to brain tumor patient Chase Ewoldt, shares a letter below she wrote to Rishi Lulla, MD, Neuro-oncologist. Recently, Chase entered the STAR Program –  Survivors Taking Action and Responsibility.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017 marked the end of an era. Chase has been off chemotherapy and the scans have overall been stable for so very long that it is time: Chase’s file is being transferred from the regular neuro-oncology clinic to a place called the STAR clinic. The “S” in “STAR” stands for “survivor”. Chase is now officially considered a survivor of his cancer. I can hardly breathe for writing those words! And while he will still see many of the same teams of doctors (and there will be many teams – as Chase still fights a great many things), there will be one very significant change: today was Chase’s last official appointment with Dr. Rishi Lulla, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago attending neuro-oncologist who has overseen his case from the first moments of July 31, 2012. We consider it the highest honor to have had Dr. Lulla oversee Chase’s treatment and care and we hope to see him in the halls of the hospital some day soon!


Dearest Dr. Lulla,

Thank you.

Thank you for giving us hope where there was none.

Thank you for reacting to our shattering news as if it was your own – even though you do it over and over again with each family.

Thank you for being a clinical advocate – taking on each and every problem with a precision and logic that cut through the fear.

Thank you for knowing when to scrap the clinical and look us in the eyes as suffering human beings, not just the nearest and dearest to a medical chart waiting to be updated.

Thank you for backing us up and encouraging us to trust our gut instincts.

Thank you for letting us cry.

Thank you for giving us permission to laugh.

Thank you for being an encourager – always pushing us to see the very best and beautiful in the hospital staff around us.

Thank you for learning our names, our lives, and remembering them.

Thank you for learning every nickname we ever gave Chase and what he was like as a person – all on the outside chance that he might not scream at you when you came into the room.

Thank you for learning the names of Chase’s siblings and pieces of their stories – a heart-wrenching acknowledgement that Chase was not in a void and there was a different life outside the cancer.

Thank you for fighting for our future.

Thank you for investing in our present.

Thank you for seeing Chase as a life to be lived.

Thank you for being our advocate.

Thank you for all the things you did that we’ll never fully know or understand.

You somehow make the unthinkable more bearable, and for that, you will always and forever be considered a trusted friend and a precious member of our family.

Love always,

The Ewoldt Family



Chase and Dr. Lulla January 2013 (above) and in January 2017 (below)



Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page