In all honesty I never really thought much about it. As far as I knew he was well. And then I got an email from Dad letting me know he had passed on Christmas Day. The man that saved my life was gone.
I met him on July 2, 1987. It wasn’t my best day but I remember what he told me. He was very professional, compassionate and concerned.
He said “Dean you have 1 of 3 things that might be wrong with you.”
I was now more concerned that I thought I might be.
He went on to say; “One, you have something wrong with your spleen and we can take that out. You will be fine after a short recovery. Two, you have some rare blood disease that we have to do a lot more research on before we know what we are dealing with. Third, you have leukemia.”
That was it. Those were my options. I looked at the man who would give me the 2nd most devastating news in my life and said, “Doc, I think I have option 3, leukemia.”
Saying it out loud didn’t make me feel any better, it made me feel worse and even more scared. Here I was sitting across from a man, a doctor and a caring person that I was about to put all my trust in. My life really depended on his skill, knowledge and commitment to his practice.
Over the next few years I went through some really low points and then hope poked it’s head around the corner and smiled at me. I knew I would be ok.
Today as I think about the passing of this man, the man that poured himself into my care, giving me a chance to live, I feel a gaping hole. I have told him thank you in the past, but I don’t think I was ready for him to go. Even though his health was failing and his mind wasn’t as sharp, there was a sense of security knowing he was still around. I mean he did save my life.
As I think about the years since I was treated, I wonder, have I had this type of impact on others? Have I used the gift of life to make a difference? I’m not sure yet, but my life story hasn’t been finished. What I am thinking, is that it is time to step it up and make the impact on others that my doctor made on me.
Where in your life has someone given you a second chance? Have you used it to help others? Have you used to impact the world around you in a positive way?
Take 30 minutes this week and think about your life and the people that have influenced you. What will you do tomorrow to pay that influence forward and help someone else? Make it happen and make someone better because you are in their life.