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Doctors searching for medicine to help Jesse Jackson Jr., wife says

Alderman Sandi Jacksanswers mediquestions about her husband's medical conditiafter attending an unveiling ceremony Henry L. English Way street sign Thursday

Alderman Sandi Jackson answers media questions about her husband's medical condition after attending an unveiling ceremony of the Henry L. English Way street sign on Thursday, August 9, 2012 in Chicago. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 11, 2012 6:20AM

Ald. Sandi Jackson said doctors are still searching for the “right combination of medications” to help her ailing and depressed husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., return to Chicago and resume his re-election campaign.

“He’s getting better. We talk every day. He talks in the morning to our children and he talks to them in the evening before they go to bed,” Ald. Jackson (7th) said. “We’re very, very hopeful that he will continue to get better.”

Congressman Jackson has been hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and absent from Congress since June 10. He suffers from massive depression and gastrointestinal issues, a likely complication from a risky weight loss surgery known as a “duodenal switch.”

Jackson’s campaign recently alerted local officials and volunteers that the congressman does plan to seek re-election and hopes to resume campaigning soon.

“We want his constituents to know they are very much on his mind,” Ald. Jackson said. “He loves them all very much and is very grateful for their support. He wants them to know that he doesn’t take their support for granted.”

Still, exactly when the congressman might be released from the hospital remains uncertain, Ald. Jackson said.

“My hope is that he will come back,” she said. “All of that is dependent on the doctors. I’m encouraged by what they’ve been saying to me thus far.”

The alderman, who spoke about her husband’s condition Thursday afternoon at the dedication of an honorary street sign in her South Side district, said doctors are still running tests and have yet to explain to her the extent of her husband’s physical ailments pertaining to the surgery.

“They have not yet said to me what the diagnosis is as respect to that,” she said. “I know he has been suffering some stomach ailments for close to 8 years. It’s not a simple situation.”

Before becoming absent from Congress, Jackson Jr. had become “more withdrawn” and “not as talkative,” but the symptoms were not obvious to his wife. In fact, she told reporters that her husbands’ behavior suggested to her that he was “very deep in thought” preparing legislation or “thinking about writing another book.”

The last two months have been hard on Ald. Jackson, too.

“I have lost weight. I don’t want to, but I have given the stresses of every day life,” she said. “I may fall out tomorrow. I don’t know.”

But calls from supporters, including singer Aretha Franklin, have lifted her spirits.

“I feel blessed by the outpouring of support and love and prayers that we’ve been getting from people near and far,” Ald. Jackson said.

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