Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dr. Kopel Rothberg (b. 1945 - d. 2010)

Early Saturday morning (3/20/10), Elana's father, Kopel Rothberg, passed away from complications related to Parkinsons.  About 10 years ago, Kopel started his fight against "Early Onset Parkinsons".  He never gave up in his determination to overcome the disorder.  He tried every medicine and treatment he could, even going as far to enroll in a study that included implementing electrodes in his brain to combat the debilitating effects of Parkinsons.  He had several mini-recoveries along the way where he would show drastic improvement in many areas.  Unfortunately, the Parkinsons proved to be relentless in the last few months and overwhelmed him despite his best efforts.

I do not believe it was coincidental that his eventual "descent" began shortly after he made a heroic effort to fly to Miami by himself to visit Elana a few days before she left for Monterrey, Mexico to begin her Ketamine Coma Trial.  I still have no idea how he made the trip because it was obvious that he was in very bad shape.  However, he was determined to make this trip no matter how difficult or dangerous it might be for him.  While he may not have known and certainly showed no signs of giving up, he probably had a sense either consciously or subconsciously that this was going to be his last opportunity to see Elana and wanted her to know he loved her and was supporting her fight against RSD.

As I write this, I am in a hotel room in Rhode Island about to wake Elana up so she can get ready for the funeral.  It is a miserable day outside, forty degrees and raining.  Clearly a day of mourning.  This week culminates the most incredible and trying two months of our lives.  Beginning with Elana's well chronicled Coma Trial in Mexico, then continuing with Elana's gall bladder surgery upon her return home from Mexico and resulting complications that forced to make two trips to the ICU for a total of seven days following the surgery and now finally the passing of her father; I would not believe that this all could happen in one continuous wave if I had not lived through it and seen it myself.  (forgive the run-on sentence).

I don't know where Elana gets the strength to endure, as she never feels sorry for herself or seeks pity.  She continues to forge on knowing with full certainty that better days are ahead.  Elana has shown some meaningful improvement and we are encouraged that there will be continued improvement as she continues her post-coma protocol.  Next week Elana is returning to Monterrey for 6 days for a ketamine infusion that we hope will springboard her to starting her water therapy sessions in mid-April.  There is some symmetry that Kopel passed away on March 20th.  The idea that "hope SPRINGS eternal" never seemed more appropriate.

Health and Happiness to you and yours.



  1. Thank you for posting, despite the circumdtsnces. My heart and prayers go out to your whole family and especially ones for strength and support for Elena. It is never easy to lose a parent and this cannot be an easy journey for either of you. May God show you His mercy, grace and strength each day as you gather and regroup.
    Please keep me posted on your Monterrey trip. I will miss you as I won't be going till later. I wish you safe travels and God speed.

    Elena, may Lance's last sentence ring true for you each day! Hope does spring eternal.

    God bless
    Theo & Fern

  2. Sending all my love.