When the Cancer Doctor Leaves

When the Cancer Doctor Leaves
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When the Cancer Doctor Leaves

When the Most cancers Physician Leaves

A couple of have been indignant. Unbeknownst to me, my hospital, ever environment friendly, had despatched out a letter informing sufferers of my departure and providing the choice to decide on any certainly one of eight different medical doctors who may assume their care — even earlier than I had an opportunity to inform a few of them in particular person. How have been they anticipated to decide on, and why hadn’t I informed them I used to be leaving, they demanded indignantly.

I felt the identical means as my sufferers, and shortly despatched out my very own follow-up letter providing to pick out a specialist for his or her particular varieties of most cancers, and telling my sufferers I might miss them.

I then spent weeks apologizing, in particular person, for the primary letter.

And although I at all times inform my sufferers the perfect present I may ever hope for is their good well being, many introduced presents or playing cards.

One man in his 60s had simply acquired one other spherical of chemotherapy for a leukemia that saved coming again. I believe we each knew that the following time the leukemia returned, it could be right here to remain. After I entered his examination room, he greeted me the place my different affected person had left off.

“I can’t imagine you’re leaving me.”

Earlier than I may even sit, he handed me a plain brown bag with some white tissue paper poking out of the highest and urged me to take away its contents.

Inside was a drawing of the metal truss arches of Cleveland’s I-90 Innerbelt bridge, with the town skyline rising above it.

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“It’s lovely,” I informed him. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You may dangle this in your workplace wall in Miami,” he instructed, beginning to cry. “So that you’ll at all times bear in mind Cleveland.” After which, Covid-19 precautions be damned, he walked over and gave me an enormous bear hug. After just a few seconds we separated.

“No,” I mentioned, tearing up. “I’ll dangle up the image and at all times bear in mind you.”

Mikkael Sekeres (@mikkaelsekeres), previously the director of the leukemia program on the Cleveland Clinic, is the chief of the Division of Hematology, Sylvester Complete Most cancers Heart on the College of Miami Miller Faculty of Medication and creator of When Blood Breaks Down: Life Classes From Leukemia.”

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