Someone left a voicemail a few days ago. Voicemail. In 2019 friends don’t leave friends voicemail.
Transcript: Hi, Mr. Fox, my name is Tiffany. I’m calling from Dr. Shaw’s office. I wanted to remind you that you’re due for an annual appointment follow-up appointment. So, please call us back at 949-76x-xxxx. Thank you, bye-bye.
“Helaine,” I called out, “Do I have a Dr. Shaw?”
Anything’s possible. Cancer left me with an army of docs including some who stepped in-and-out for a single procedure. I returned the call.
We were right. No Dr. Shaw. I was really wanted by Dr. Selby, one of the surgeons who performed my Whipple operation. He wants to admire his handiwork which required me to leave the hospital with my belly held together by 16 staples.
This is an emotional moment for me. Lots of people worked hard and were integral in saving my life. It’s different with Dr. Selby and his partner Dr. Staffer. They cut out the thing that was going to kill me.
As they were closing me up a pathologist found they hadn’t gotten a clean margin, meaning a few cancer cells were left. They undid some stitches, went back in to cut some more.
Right there. That’s the difference. That’s the life and death move that spared me. And that technology wasn’t always here to quickly know how well you’d cut.
All my test are clean from a cancer that returns quickly. I likely will survive 10:1 odds against–just a 9% chance. That’s crazy. A lucky early find and skillful surgeons well equipped. No one is luckier than me.
I will hug Dr. Selby when I see him. Last time I whispered in his ear, “You saved my life.” I’m thinking no one tires hearing that… or saying it.