To My Doctor: Thank You for Being a Light in the Darkness After My Diagnosis


I was writing a thank you note for my doctor, but while doing that I thought it might be better to write this piece and dedicate it to her and hopefully other doctors will read it and learn a thing or two.

Dear Dr. W.,

Although you only became my doctor last year, I feel like I’ve known you for a very long time.

You have a very warm smile even while giving me bad news and you’re always reassuring me you’re going to find a way or think of another treatment.

Last year was especially hard on me. Getting a somewhat hard diagnosis was very hard on me and my family. I remember that night while I was in the hospital when I was struggling to accept that this is it, this is how life will be.

You came and explained everything, you gave me options, you said you will contact other specialists to brainstorm with them, but I was still feeling hopeless. As you were leaving you looked back and told me one thing, a single sentence that changed my mindset that day: “I don’t want you to give up, there’s always hope.”

I have dealt with so many doctors, and usually they shrug and move on, just another case and another file, but that night you showed me what a doctor should be. You never gave me false hope, never gave me unrealistic expectations but you promised you will never give up or lose hope, and this is what I needed the most.

You know how when sports teams are in a game and aren’t winning, even after intense workouts, trainings and plans, and their morale goes down, their playing becomes slower or more unenthusiastic? But sometimes, the mere cheering of the crowd, the intensity of the cheerleaders, help them pick up their pace and keep going.

And this is what every patient needs – someone on their side, someone on their team who cheers even when it seems like they’re losing, to show confidence that the fight is their fight, too.

Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

And for me this was you, in all the darkness that came across my life last year, you were the light in it.

I knew I had to fight for my kids and my family, and I knew you were fighting with me, you were doing everything you can to help me get through this, or at least find something that can help me manage my symptoms.

Thank you for being a light in the medical world, a world that lacks so much compassion although it was founded on that basis, a world that so often treats the patients as a case, not as a person, a world that needs to be healed itself in order to be able to provide healing for others.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about things outside my condition, for checking on my kids, for taking an interest in my work and for sharing recipes with me.

Thank you for being a human before being a doctor.

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Thinkstock photo via DragonImages.

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