Understand


Death does not put an end to everything. It inspires feelings, questions, and gives perspective. People ask me how I feel when I lose patients. Do I feel sad, angry and defeated? I have walked with my patients down this path and returned alone. It does not end there. Death does not end things. Death is not the last thing.

From each patient I keep something with me. Patients help me gather knowledge that flows stronger than a river and wisdom that propels others who have to walk that path. The path remains uncertain but the journey of those we lost refines and paves the way. There is a certain enlightenment that comes from this that I hope to make you all perceive. What started small in the beginning, with the trust of a few, has become an organic tangible construction of the science needed to move us forward. 

 “A bend in the road, is not the end of the road, unless you refuse to take the turn”. Families always take the turn. What’s the alternative? To go on grieving what could have been? Do we live in our memories? When you meet the loved ones of a lost patient, trudging their way through the rest of life, do you wonder what drives them? I am always touched and humbled by what they say amidst their sadness and fear, their feelings of loss and grief. They say prayers for other cancer patients, and a shout out to me, “You go get this, Mo”, “You figure this out”, and “You find out why?” These words push me on, make me get up, make me see what still needs to be done. 

Memories ebb and flow rubbing into our wounds and heightening our suffering. At times they gather together, like a swarm of locusts they invade, leaving nothing behind: a loss of meaning and loss of purpose, a desolate place. Out of it emerges a new beginning, a new start, that puts the bounce back into our feet and we are alive again. Understand, that is how we make our memories live within us without their crippling effect, and those we have lost can show the way for all of us to succeed.

12 thoughts on “Understand

  1. This is beautiful, Mo. You walked with two dear friends through the end of their sarcoma journey. Keep fighting the beast – for those who have gone on, and those of us who still fight.

  2. This is not a journey I would have ever hoped for but the kinships and connections with you and your staff (from the receptionists to the aides to the nurses to the pharmacists to the PA’s and students) will be embedded in my memory no matter how the journey ends. Whatever the outcome, Jamie and I will forever be grateful for your guidance, your humor, your honesty and your empathy. While we would be stoked to never have to walk into your clinic again, it is not something that we dread as it is often like catching up with old friends. You will continue to receive encouragment regardless of outcome and through all the grief, Dr. Mo, because you are damn good at what you do. I will not dwell on the time I have and will spend in your clinic but when it crosses my mind it will not be with sadness, regret or anger but rather a sort of bittersweet nostalgia for those who helped my husband and I through the most difficult chapter of our lives.

  3. thank you for these words. Not only was this timely for me but gave me some foundation as soon I will lose a dear cancer support group friend yet my father was just rushed into a hospital yet again after a fall today. I doubt he will return home again and tomorrow is his birthday. Your words provided some sense and comfort to me. Thank you. Meg

    On Tue, May 22, 2018 at 11:11 AM, DOCTOR MO IOWA wrote:

    > momilhem posted: “Death does not put an end to everything. It inspires > feelings, questions, and gives perspective. People ask me how I feel when I > lose patients. Do I feel sad, angry and defeated? I have walked with my > patients down this path and returned alone. It does no” >

  4. Thank you for your perspective. Tonya really liked you, which is the only reason I know of you. You are so right, death is absolutely not the end. Keep going. Find a way to beat that sneaky evil cancer.

  5. I too have wondered how you deal with this. You are such a special, thoughtful, giving man. I am thankful everyday that you are in my life and on my side. Thank you for sharing and caring.

  6. Such lovely thoughts, Dr. Mo, thank you. I think of you and pray for you and your work often, please never give up!

  7. Beautifully said. Keep using your talents you have been blessed with to help those lives you touch every day.

  8. Beautifully said. Marcus was one of your hero (as you called he). Love to MO. And keep up the great work. Find away to get rid of this cancer.

  9. Wonderful to hear how you handle this issue. I love you Dr Mo. You care for us all and make us feel like we are your only patient. You work so hard for us. Thank you for all you do! I’m pretty sure that you’re the reason I’m still here.

  10. A lovely sentiment Dr. Mo. I’ve often wondered this about you and the entire staff there at the U. You are truly living your mission, and it’s an inspiration to many.

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