Today Dr. B retired. He’s been my oncologist for a while: since I was a toddler with Loeffler’s syndrome.
Dr.B has been amazing with what’s been happening. I haven’t seen him for a couple of years, then after I had my transplant I showed up at his clinic and was like “heyo!”
I was invited to his retirement party. A lot of his patients were invited and I had the honor of being one of them.
It was packed. The room had so many patients, all connected to him. There was a table with a lot of food — chow mein, egg rolls, dumplings — and I was encouraged to eat some.
Kim, my social worker from those toddler days, told me “everyone in this room has a story.” So I decided to seek out those stories.
There was a mom whose son was treated by Dr. B. Unfortunately, cancer got the best of him and he passed away.
There was another child who was 5. The mom told me he had cancer, but he was successfully treated and is now cancer-free.
Then the speeches started. Dr. B. had a motivating message: childhood cancer is devastating, but your future is what you decide it to be.
After that, patients stood up and talked about their stories with Dr. B. Some even cried. It was just that emotional.
One patient was 18 when she was diagnosed with cancer, but Dr. B. fought for her to stay on the pediatric side. She later learned if she was transferred to the adult side, she would’ve died.
The mom of the 5-year-old cancer free boy also stood up and started to cry.
His collegue, a doctor, said that although Dr. B. was a funny guy, he’s also very strong. When a patient passed, they both had an emotional, touching cry together.
Afterwards, patients lined up to talk to Dr. B. and say their last regards. I stayed until the food was being put away, so that I could ask about his plans after retirement. He said he wanted to study something.
I think it’s really cool what he did. He left behind a legacy of patients that are alive because of him. Many aspiring doctors studying in school start off with the dream he has.
Although it’s sad he has to go, it’s happy because he left a lot of joy behind. Overall, what a great life.