If you know me, you know I preach gratitude and grace. Daily. Those are values I try to apply to my life on a daily basis. I think I am doing a pretty good job. So, why is it so hard to find the words to say thank-you for saving my life? It is surprisingly difficult, actually.
I've thought about sharing my gratitude journal with him. It's too soon, it's not ready and it's filled with a lot that does not pertain to him. I've thought about sharing this website with him. But again, it's too soon, it's not ready and I've only just begun writing. I've thought about just asking for a job so I can work with him and help pancreas patients for the rest of my life - that may be a little bit too forward and assertive for a Christmas card, but something I think about All. The. Time.
Just to give you a little background on what a remarkable this person is - I scheduled a follow-up appointment with him two years out from surgery. This appointment was more reassurance that everything was okay - something I seem to need a lot more of now - medically speaking. But also, I wanted to that connection with him, keep that door open to the person who saved my life. That day, as he shared my case with his resident, I injected and simply said, yeah he saved my life. Because HE. DID. In his very matter-of-fact demeanor, he said, it was teamwork. [What surgeon says that?]
Like everything else he has said to me, that stuck with me. Not just in the "oh I remember that conversation" sort of way. It was more in the, wake up in the middle of the night and really think about it sort of way. His outlook on patient care is so spot on. Perfection. Much like in my dialog in a previous post, in this situation, he was doing the heavy lifting. He was the one that was able to perform an open distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy with a severely necrotic pancreas on a acutely malnourished, C-Diff positive, failing patient All I had to do was recover - yet he called it teamwork.
Pancreas surgery has one the highest mortality rates of any operation. In fact, it makes the list of the top ten most complicated surgeries. https://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/most-complicated-medical-surgeries/#.pgl3o8437 So there's that!
Back to gratitude, how do you ever say thank you for something like that? I consider it a privilege to have had him as my surgeon. A privilege to know him and to know him is to be blessed. I believe living my best life is a fantastic form of gratitude, staying sober, watching my sugars, all while being grateful, giving back any way I can and extending grace as often as I can.
Gratitude doesn't have to be grand gestures or lavish gifts, in fact, sometimes that greatest form of gratitude is respect, not complaining, being positive, giving compliments, being kind, extending grace, share in joy, be patient, paying it forward, keeping a journal, random acts of kindness, helping a stranger, forgiving apologizing, smiling. I could go on and on...
I've written this letter a million times in my head - now I just need to put the pen to paper. And say Thank You! Keep Pushing Through Y'all!