Patient Care, Perspectives, Sarcoma

A confession to a friend


Dear Hannah,

Where does one start to talk to you? I guess simply saying happy birthday might be the easiest place. Last week Iowa read about you and it was refreshing to see how they were saying we miss you.

I remember when I first met you; I kicked your family out of the room so you and I could talk alone. Something tells me you liked that, and you felt I wanted you to tell me what you wanted from me as your physician. I acknowledged your adulthood and maturity. You had grown too fast while facing your cancer. That day we formed our bond of trust. I am honored to know that your family shared with me that you valued what I had to say. I felt very deeply about you and I was hurt badly the day you left us.

I read Molly’s blog with a deep admiration of her courage and how she wanted to grow.   I mustered up the courage to talk to you in a letter sharing my thoughts that have needed to come out. It is my way of closure. You stretched my heart to a place it had never been, your search for hope in me made me realize how we believed in each other. Knowledge of things sometimes makes it harder to watch what actually happens. I confess that I struggled to tell you in part due to how I felt. Your amazing spirit, the love of your family gave me the strength to do so.

I remember the love around you. The fear, the kindness and the respect. I remember your quiet demeanor.  On the day I knew it would happen, I stood silently beside your bed. I fought back my tears as I watched your shallow breaths. I sent you a million prayers in my heart, my eyes talked to you as I stood there in my own language and I said goodbye. Something I have done to so many who have allowed me the privilege of being a part of it.  

Perhaps I am realizing now that I can talk to you every day. Through those who love you and care.  

Dear Hannah with love from Mo.

 

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6 thoughts on “A confession to a friend

  1. Lisa First says:

    Mo,
    I have so many emotions right now that I don’t know where to begin. You are not only there for your patients but also their families. Always taking the time to answer all the questions we had and emailing us back when we were at home and had concerns come up that we didn’t know how to handle meant more to us than you know. You also welcomed Hannah’s nurse practitioner, Mary, with open arms when she came with us to Hannah’s appointments. You knew she had been with us from day one and you let her continue that which meant a lot to us. I am glad Hannah had the opportunity to have you not only as her doctor but her friend too. You both had the desire to fight till the very end. This is what made you an amazing pair!! Thank you for being a true friend to all of us.

    Hannah’s Mom

  2. Suzanne Burkhart says:

    Wow!!! Like Claire, the tears are flowing. The thought of the beast that attacks Jim from inside is at times, unbearable, but knowing that you have his back, will always have his back, makes this journey a little easier to take. While I don’t focus on the end, I hope you are there to say goodbye. You are a part of us now and I thank my lucky stars that we were sent to be with you. Perhaps divine intervention, or maybe one of your “angels” whispered into Dr. Stewart’s ear, all I know is that we are in the right place.

  3. I cried too reading this. Mo, you are one of the few Teachers I had during my medical education who focused so deeply not just on the science of what we do to our patients, but also on our presence in their rooms, by their bedside, in their lives. I will not forget the lessons and I will attempt to transmit them onto as many young physicians as I can in any specialty I can touch.

    I hope, one day, to live up to the standard you’ve set for youself even though my path will likely take me in a direction different from the one you’ve chosen.

  4. Claire Barnhouse says:

    Mo,
    This blog is the one that really got me..As I sit here writing this the tears just keep coming . You said this so beautifully. I hope and pray that I beat this beast but if the good lord decides it is my time I want you there right by my side with John and my daughter.. I wouldn’t want it any other way.. The world needs more doctors of science like you Mo…You are amazing and special…

    Claire

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