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To be thankful and have joy

Yesterday, I had a patient come in to the office I had not seen since last summer. She came in to “refill medications”. It seemed like a simple enough appointment. Then I looked at the name…..REALLY looked. Last summer, when she came in for a simple complaint of nausea, I went hunting for gallstones. Instead, I found 4 or 5 LARGE necrotic tumors in her liver. Malignant melanoma. Metastatic malignant melanoma. She should not be alive. Yet….who am I to know the mind of God? I worried about this woman. I lost sleep. She was one of those patients I toted home with me and kept company. I feel their circumstance deeply. She went to Tampa to Moffitt, the cancer center. They did some really aggresssive, experimental chemotherapy on her and her tumors. They actually found other tumors. Yet….had I not know she had stage IV malignant melanoma….I could never have known. She was happy. She was tan and content. She asked me if she SHOULD feel bad. How would she know if she was dying? I fought tears. I asked her if I could hug her. She asked, “Why? Because I am alive and kicking?” And I said, “Hell yeah girl!”

She said she was fine until Mother’s Day. I asked her why. She said because she thought about her kids and what it would be for her not to be here. I asked her how old they were. She responded, “Old enough to be fine.” And THEN she cried. And I cried too.

Maybe 8 years ago, I diagnosed her primary melanoma. It was in an unusual place. It cost her the vision in her right eye. She finally came in because her starboard listing had aggravated her husband. She kept bumping into him while Christmas shopping.

I remember people’s stories. I feel their stories. I carry their stories in my heart. I worry and I cry. I am overjoyed she is still alive. I am thrilled she has her spunk and joie de vie. She is a stick o’ dynamite. I am so thankful.

Thank you Lord.

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