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How Do We Thank Our Surgeons?

Having gone through a number of cystoscopies, TURBTs, and ultimately, a radical cystectomy (complete bladder removal), I began to think of all the people that have been involved in my treatment, surgeries, and recovery. And what a number of people it is – from nurses to surgeons, physical therapists to family and friends. All have played an equally important part in my treatment and recovery.

My surgeon

But without having access to a brilliant surgeon and medical team, well, it doesn’t even bear thinking about. “The Proff” (short for Professor), as he likes to be known. Well, what a guy! He is the one whose skills ultimately saved my life. He is the guy that I feel I owe every day of my life to. I surprise myself by welling up as I write this. “Why?” I ask myself. It’s because I am so emotionally grateful.

How do you repay someone who has saved your life?

I can give you the answer to that. It’s by living it! Very soon after my radical cystectomy, my hubby and I went traveling. From Latvia in Europe at five weeks post-op to five months later, embarking on an 8-month backpacking trip around southeast Asia. I was determined to live my life to the max!

Our first trip was to Riga in Latvia. I felt so blessed to be here, to be able to travel and experience new things. It was here that I saw in the window of a dark old-world chocolate shop, chocolate butterflies. They were in a beautiful “magic box,” a box that when opened, little brightly colored paper butterflies flew out, revealing the chocolate delights beneath. I had to buy them; to me, they were so symbolic. My surgeon had provided me with the “wings” to fly again. This was going to be my gift to him.

My first annual check-up post-cystectomy

A couple of months later, I had my appointment with my surgeon, the Proff. At the end of my appointment, having been given the “all-clear” for another year, I reached into my oversized handbag and pulled out the beautifully wrapped gift. I quickly told him of all our travels and ended by saying, “Thank you for giving me another year of life.” I handed over the gift. It was said with genuine, deep gratitude. He just wryly smiled.

Twelve months later: another check-up

It was that day again, the day I meet with the Proff. The day I get the results of my annual checkup.

We had spent the previous 8 months traveling around India. On our travels, I came across a figurine of a Hindu deity. It was a small bronze, bull-like figure. Beautifully boxed, in colors of emerald and gold. But moreover, it had a small scroll. The scroll was a blessing to keep the owner safe. Well, we certainly need to keep my Proff safe; he was needed to treat others like me! I immediately purchased it.

At the end of my appointment, and after being given the all-clear for another year, I once again quickly told him of our travels around India. I then pulled the small box out of my bag. As I handed him that emerald and gold box, I briefly explained what was inside. I then looked him in the eye, shook his hand, and thanked him for another year of life. This time, his eyes welled up. I really don’t think he had realized just how much he is appreciated.

Symbols of my gratitude

The gifts I bought weren’t expensive. But to me, they were hugely symbolic. After all, what price can you put on life? But what I’ve learned is that a genuinely said “thank you” can go a long way.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Guy Wheatley
    11 hours ago

    Those were wonderful gestures. I can’t imagine how people can not be grateful to the people who save their lives. I acknowledge them in my book, and mention my surgeon by name in the book. I mailed him a signed copy. I hope he understands how grateful I am to him and all of the dedicated professionals who kept me alive.

  • Mac Howard moderator
    4 days ago

    Shirley, What a beautiful “Thank you.” It is important to let those who have given us so much know that we appreciate them.

    Keep living that life he gave you.

    Mac (site moderator)

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