Since the day of my diagnosis, I have faced my share of adversity and many ups and downs. Along with my family and friends, one of the few constants however, has been my neurosurgeon and good friend, Dr. P. From the fateful day I met him in 2008, he always provided a sense of assurance and confidence that I desperately needed. Earlier this week, when the news became public that he will be retiring after a remarkable 44-year career, I was filled with sadness and joy.
Over the past twelve years, he has evolved as “my doctor” to someone I am proud to call a friend. I put my life in his hands (literally) five times. And fortunately, each occasion was a success and I recovered as a stronger, more confident individual. He instilled confidence in me and is the reason I am sitting here today. I have never shared this with him, but going through this ordeal and seeing the true hero that he is inspired me and over time, I grew so passionate about the cause. However, thanks to law school loans that I’ll be paying back forever, medical school was out of the question, but I wanted to do my part to help others through this, so I dove head first and began volunteering for the CTBTA, followed by serving as Board President and now as their Executive Director.
I have the distinct privilege of working with an amazing group of survivors, caregivers and those who are equally as passionate about this disease as I, who all share a common goal of finding the cure and supporting the brain tumor community. So, although I am not a doctor, I am the next best thing, in that I am using my experiences in a meaningful way and being in touch with the medical professionals who are treating brain tumors and working collaboratively to advance treatment options and find the cure. I have had the chance to fund research projects, tour the labs and OR’s and listen to some remarkable presentations.
So, while I will miss him, I am assured that the worst is behind me and know that I have forever to go, all thanks to him. His colleagues at Yale New Haven Hospital/Smilow Cancer Hospital have big shoes to fill and a void to fill in the hearts of many.
Dr. P., I wish you nothing but joy and happiness in this next chapter of your life. I am eternally grateful for you and hope you realize the profound impact you made on my life. On behalf of my family, I cannot thank you enough for saving my life and giving me the opportunity to pay it forward and now help others on this journey.
Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement!