Fifty-one days after first being diagnosed with cancer, Councilman Bill Rosendahl returned to City Hall on Tuesday, upbeat and thankful for support he received from his colleagues, family and others during treatment.
Using a walker for support, Rosendahl, 67, offered hugs to his colleagues and City Hall workers as he gave a thumbs-up signal to the audience and others who gave him a standing ovation on his return.
"I am so grateful to be here," said Rosendahl, who lost 45 pounds during the past two months. "Whether you believe in God or a white light, it's important to believe. The message I have for people is never give up."
Rosendahl said he is planning to proceed with a scheduled fundraiser for election to his third term next March, but said a final decision on whether to run is still up in the air.
"I'll decide by the first week of October if I am strong enough to serve a full term," Rosendahl said. "The last thing I want is for the voters of my district to elect someone who cannot serve."
Rosendahl said he wants to run again to provide some institutional memory to a council that possibly is going to have five new members.
"I want to be able to help them learn the ropes around this place," Rosendahl said. "It can be very confusing."
Rosendahl said his cancer was discovered during a routine examination followed by an MRI that discovered a tumor in his pelvic region.
The cancer was in his ureter, a tube
Since his diagnosis, Rosendahl underwent 13 radiation treatments and two treatments of chemotherapy.
"The chemotherapy actually made me feel stronger," Rosendahl said. "That's why I'm down here. I asked my doctor if it was OK and she said for me to go for it."
During his treatment, Rosendahl said he used medical marijuana to help him deal with the pain.
"I used it only when I needed it and it has helped tremendously," Rosendahl said. This was not the first time he used medical marijuana, he said. He was first provided a prescription by his internist for earlier diagnoses of diabetes and neuropathy.
"I have always been an advocate of marijuana," Rosendahl said. "I think it's a shame we have so many young people in jail for using it."
Rosendahl said he has been able to keep in touch with his staff and constituents through social media and through visits to his home by city staff and officials.
Every City Council member visited him at some point as did Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Rosendahl said.