“Your life is God’s most precious gift to you and to the people around you. Make it count.”
These were the words Ate Elma told me today as she had her one of her last few follow-ups with me. She is a Stage 4 breast cancer patient who has been receiving treatment at our institution (UP-PGH Cancer Institute) for a decade now. I’m already the fifth batch of cancer doctor who has treated her and she is very much aware that in a couple of months, half of the team will graduate (hopefully) and she will be having a new physician.
It has only been two weeks since our clinic resumed after the holidays, but these two weeks seemed like forever. Patient visits were longer than usual and full of mixed emotions -some were joyful tears, while some were sad goodbyes.
After quite a handful of deaths I have encountered during my training, I never thought that saying “goodbye” and “thank you” to the patients whom I have taken cared of and shared both good and difficult times with would be so emotionally taxing. I can still vividly remember moments when “complete treatment responses” were celebrated, and times when “cancer recurrences” were mourned.
This makes us, physicians, indebted to all the patients whom we have had the fortunate privilege of serving, and in the process learn and become what we are today and what we will be in the future.
Today Ate Elma reminded me that everything in life is a gift. Everyone we meet is gift.
Our life is God’s gift. Let’s make it count.