9:00 am, November 23, 2013
Dear Dr. Lee:
A year ago today, at this very hour, you were putting your God-given gifts to work as you removed a rather large tumor from my brain. You and God are a great team supported by a host of prayer warriors by our side. It was so very good to see you this past Monday, thank you face-to-face and bringing closure to a year of amazing healing. To me it is a miracle and a second chance to make a difference in this world. I remember coming out of the recovery room last year and, already, feeling and knowing a cloud had been lifted from me and that night, lying in the hospital bed, singing in my mind and gently signing with my hands the words to “Our God is an Awesome God.” This morning, I awoke with a grateful heart, thinking of you, singing with full voice, prancing with joy across the room and raising my arms in my victory dance to those words. What a difference a year makes.
As Thanksgiving approaches, you are, most assuredly, among my countless reasons to give thanks along with my faithful husband, Rachel, Dr. Lobo and all who care for others at the Cleveland Clinic. Again, thank you for being an instrument of healing and restoring me to good, life-satisfying health. Life is good. I look forward to seeing you in 2 years in sunny SoCal. Blessings on your new beginnings at St. Joseph’s, Burbank.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all those you hold near and dear.
With a heart overflowing with gratitude.
Dear Dr. Lee:
It is my great pleasure and privilege to have this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to you for the gift of life and the “joie de vivre” I experience everyday. I came across the note I sent to you on the year anniversary of my surgery and I send it along as well. It remains true today.
Prior to 2005, I lived an active, productive and satisfying life enjoying my family with a growing number of grandchildren and my profession as a psychotherapist. Then, I began a subtle and insidious decline into depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Unbeknownst to me, a rather large benign meningioma was growing in my brain as I sank deeper and deeper into the non-functioning state you first saw me in on Nov. 15, 2012. I believe it was God’s plan to match me with your God-given passion for healing and your open surgery schedule on Nov. 23rd, which was the next time I saw you in the operating room.
I believe all things happen for a reason and, when we are able to embrace the challenges, we grow and the blessings flow. I loved life and enjoyed life prior to my brain tumor. Now, I have a personal experience of what it means to be suck in depression and OCD, a much deeper empathy for the struggle than ever before. I have a profound awareness for how precious life is, how meaningful each moment is. I know in the depths of my soul that I am here to bring love and peace to the world around me. I live a more intentional and conscious life as daily I seek ways to scatter a little joy. The Thanksgiving after my surgery, in response to ‘why am I thankful’, I answered, “For every breath I take.” … and, so I continue to be.
I am following your prescription to “go out and live life to the fullest.” Less than a year after my surgery, I climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and, in October 2015, climbed to the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan during an around the world journey. My husband and I are enjoying our grandchildren and traveling to many of the places on our bucket list. Life is good and, once again with thanks to you, I am living a life of gratitude and joy.
At my first annual follow-up and the first time I had seen you since the operating room, I thanked you for giving me my life back. I will long remember your kind and humble response, “I am only an instrument of God.” Truer words were never spoken and I am forever blessed. May God continue to bless you with a passion for healing and to be the difference in the lives you touch.
With deepest gratitude,