Getting a Healthy Dose of Sick Time
When Kio Ebrahimzadeh walked back onto his job as an Oxnard policeman this week, nine months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, he felt he was returning to a safe haven.
Ebrahimzadeh was surrounded by officers who donated more than 1,200 hours of sick leave so he could undergo brain surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy without worrying about pay.
“This is how wonderful the people are,” he said after he returned to work Monday. “They told me my sick bank was filled up with 600 hours within an hour” after a call went out for donations.
Ebrahimzadeh, 30, is a man who loves being a cop, who got into the field because he wanted to help people, who said he always remained focused on getting well and returning to work. And his co-workers responded to that, said Oxnard Police Chief Art Lopez.
The sick leave donation is “something that really showed the type of individual he is,” Lopez said. “He was so upbeat, and he had the type of attitude that was, ‘Hey, listen, I am going to beat this.’ ”
But the outcome wasn’t so obvious at first.
He had been on the force about five years in January when he was suffering from tough headaches. The morning of Jan. 4, he felt sick at work. He began sweating, his ears popped--and that is all he remembers of the seizure that sent him to the hospital.
The diagnosis was a brain tumor that had to come out.
“My big thing, my focus, was let’s just get it out and let me go back to my life,” he said.
So, supported by his co-workers and his family--including his mother, who flew in from Las Vegas--he had the tumor removed from his brain. Along the way, he agreed to appear in a documentary for the Discovery Health Channel, charting his fight with the tumor. The show will rerun Tuesday, according to Ebrahimzadeh.
The tumor turned out to be malignant, so every day for seven weeks, Ebrahimzadeh went to radiation, driven by whichever co-worker happened to have the shift off.
Now he takes chemotherapy pills the first five days of the month, which weaken him. But, otherwise, he can work. He is doing desk work, not his favorite job. But he is back at the place he loves.
“I’m just proud to make it through this stuff and be back at work. It was wonderful” walking into the office this week, he said.
But it wasn’t his first time back.
“I would come in every two weeks just to show everyone I was doing well,” he said. “And just to say thank you.”
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