This letter was written by two moms as a thank you to their child’s surgeon, who ultimately saved their lives. Caleb is 5 and has undergone several operations in his short life due to short bowel syndrome, pulmonary vein stenosis and pulmonary hypertension. Lyla is 3 and had a tumor resection due to stage III neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. Words are hard to come by for the team of doctors who save your child, but we tried. This is a piece we wrote from our bleeding hearts.
You just brought my baby from the operating room. You may have met us a few days ago, but that little one is my whole life. Before you leave, there’s a few things I want you to know. When we finally met, the nerves I felt made me sick. My heart filled with worry, would I want you to operate on my child? But then you spoke. You spoke with such confidence and I knew you could do the impossible, what everyone else doubted.
Forgive me for staring, but your hands. I stared at them for a long time when we first met. Maybe even more than making eye contact. What gift were you born with that makes your hands so brilliant? Your hands have saved so many babies. I know that because I googled you, stalked you, asked other moms about you. I spent hours and hours reading anything related to you, your hospital, where you studied, what you majored in. Is that strange? How else could I put my child’s life in your hands?
I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I also know you have lost patients. Not every battle can be won, even though I know you try. Invincible, that’s the vibe I get from you. But you’re human, I know. That’s okay.
Did I tell you how long I traveled to get here, for you? Hours and hours just to get here and have you do this, this incredible surgery on my child. We traveled miles from our home hospital to get here and place my daughter, my son, in your hands. I spent hours looking for pictures of you so I could put a name to the face of who I was trusting with my most precious possession.
Literally, you opened my son’s body and touched things, made them work better or even right. I’m his mother and not even I have done that. He lived in me, and he knows what I look like on the inside. Yet, I can’t say the same about him. You can though. We waited for hours while your hands where in the inside of my little boy’s body seeing things and parts of him that I have never seen and just prayed and waited.
You’re such a different type of person, a surgeon, a fixer, a giver. That goes without saying. Me saying that I trust you is a bit of a understatement. When I hand over my son’s tiny frail dying body, I know that I trust you. To the point that I know you’ll do whatever it takes to make it better. Remember his name and mine, he has a beautiful family, all rooting for you today.
Surgeon, you did a work of art on my daughter’s precious little body. The moment you walked down the white halls after surgery and told me she survived? That moment changed my life. A part of me that felt like those weren’t the words that were going to come out of your mouth, but they were.
Please, tell your spouse that I said thank you when you came home later than you promised – again. Thank you for your commitment, dedication and confidence in doing the impossible. Surgeon, thank you for being different, for standing out in life, for following your calling. Thank you for doing what so many just can’t. Dear Surgeon, thank you for working through sleep, hunger and dinner parties. You changed my life that day you stepped in the OR.
Your Patient’s Mom