Al and Cindy Ousterhout

Edinger Medical Group

Where Every Patient Feels Like the ONLY Patient

When Al Osterhout, 69-year-old Huntington Beach resident and retired business owner, noticed he was unexpectedly losing weight in February 2023, his gut instincts told him something wasn’t right.

He made an appointment with his primary care physician, Dr. Douglas McConnaughey of Edinger Medical Group, who sent him for bloodwork, diagnosed Al with Type 2 diabetes and scheduled a follow-up appointment in one week to ensure the medication he prescribed was working.

Just days later, Al’s wife, Cindy, noticed a yellowish tint to his skin. Cindy contacted Dr. McConnaughey to report the change in Al’s complexion and his continued weight loss, and Dr. McConnaughey advised he go to the E.R. at Orange Coast Medical Center for further testing.

Test results showed Al had a mass on his pancreas and he was admitted for surgery immediately. The 6-hour surgery removed most of the mass as well as 11 lymph nodes and he spent the next 9 days in recovery in the hospital.

Dr. Sean Cao, General Surgeon at Orange Coast, and Dr. Collin Vu, Chemo Oncologist, diagnosed Al with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. Because they found cancer in his lymph nodes, Dr. Vu started Al on 6.5 months of chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation.

Al knew it was important to maintain a positive mindset during treatment and credits the Orange Coast nurses and staff for keeping his spirits high. He even developed a close relationship with the hospital’s valet staff and shares that in particular, John, will always hold a place in his heart.

“John was the first person I saw each morning and his warm, positive attitude meant a lot to me. When he found out I was there battling cancer, he put an arm around me and said he’d like to pray with me right there in the parking lot. I love the doctors and nurses, but John in valet meant as much to me as anyone else at the hospital.”

In December 2023, Al and Cindy received the news they had been waiting months to hear. Al’s post-radiation PET/CT scans showed no evidence of cancer and Dr. Vu said everything looked great.
While Al will need to have clear PET/CT scans for 5 years to be considered “cancer-free,” the future is looking brighter than ever before.

“We still have a lot of living left to do, so I’ve got to keep moving forward,” said Al.
Al is looking forward to traveling with Cindy and making more memories with his kids and grandchildren, all of whom live within a five-minute drive.

For others who find themselves in a similar situation with their health, Al and Cindy urge them to make an appointment to see their primary care doctor.

“The thing about pancreatic cancer that we didn’t know was that it’s very hard to diagnose. Al didn’t have any family history of pancreatic cancer. If you notice something different about your body, don’t wait for it to go away because, just like with any type of cancer, the earlier you catch it, the better chance you have at beating it,” said Cindy.

Although Al owes his health to his doctors, nurses and the hospital staff, he reiterates that Cindy was “his angel” during this dark time – helping and advocating for him every step of the way.

Cindy has been an Edinger patient since her family moved to Huntington Beach 60 years ago, and Al joined the group when they got married 45 years ago. Al and Cindy are both Medicare Advantage patients with Edinger and couldn’t be happier with the care they receive.

Edinger Medical Group
9900 Talbert Ave., Suite 204
Fountain Valley
(714) 965-2500
edingermedicalgroup.com

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