Longtime SAG members and spouses Bill Doyle and Lissa Negrin have seen it all in the entertainment business, with Lissa stealing scenes as a writer, comedian, and even a Cher impersonator. However, the past few years changed everything when she was diagnosed with ALS which now requires her to use an eye gaze machine to communicate. Bill and Lissa turned to MPTF’s Palliative Care team a year ago for support and guidance, and as Bill says, “They’ve been incredible, a lifeline for both of us.” Honoring Lissa’s wishes to stay at home as she works on her writing and legacy as much as she can with her remaining time, Bill stopped auditioning and has become part of Lissa’s caregiving team.
Guided by Palliative Care social worker Anne Front, LMFT, APHSW‑C, the couple have found tremendous support from the team including our Palliative Care Chaplain, Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg, UCLA Health’s Dr. Daniel Karlin, MD, Angela Contreras, RN, and Veronica Zenon, Coordinator. “What can I say about this team,” Lissa says. “I’m a skeptical person, so when I first met them I didn’t quite buy what I assumed was an act. How is it possible that all these kind, loving, listening, and compassionate people all be in the same room? I soon grew to trust that their love was real, their words had meaning, and most importantly, they will be there for the long haul.” Adds Bill, “The learning curve for both of us was so steep, and there’s so much depth to our conversations with this team.” Bill also set up a site, 4lissa.com, to share updates and reflect on the heartbreak and wisdom they’ve experiencing on their journey together. “When someone is dying,” he says, “there are so many rabbit holes to go through. The whole team knew how to do that in such a loving and candid way that it takes the taboo out of it. They gave us control of this path we’re on.” As Lissa puts it, “I can’t really consider myself to be a lucky woman being caught in the net of this horrid disease, but in some ways I am. I have the luck of being guided by these loving hands on learning to release myself from this tangled web. I love them.” Click below to find out more about our Palliative Care program and what makes it so invaluable.