First of all, thank you.
There’s a lot about a disease that nobody can teach you about, not even the specialist that is diagnosing and treating you but you allowed me to figure that out on my own. There was times when I thought I could do more than my body would allow me and you would let me try but come running back to you with the sob story. There were times I doubted myself but again, you would let me come back to you with the winning story.
As a consultant you not only had to understand my physical needs but also my personal.
Our appointments were never structured and it was dependent on how my day was going. There was times when I would bounce into your office and tell you of everything I was able to achieve and attend – the highs. But there were also times I would come into your office very quiet and worn out, defeated by this and you would pick me up and remind me just how far I had come.
I remember when I had been out of hospital for just 7 days and I was back in A&E with suspected Meningitis on New Years Eve and you did not leave until I had got a bed on the ward and had my CT scan. There was many unselfish acts on your behalf but this one I will never forget thinking your time could be better spent at home with your family, just like mine should have been.
At times I felt I resented you – you stopped me travelling to Australia and meeting my nephew but the reality of the situation was I had just been discharged from hospital after being in for 3 months. My body was not ready. I was not ready.
There was times I got fed up of attending the hospital. I went there every day for 2 months after my discharge, then every other day, then weekly etc. And I just wanted my life back. At the time I thought you was taking it from me, the truth is every appointment gave me a little of me back every time.
Over time I grew stronger and I started to rebuild myself. Not only was you my doctor but at times my therapist. Nobody quite understands the mental side of a lifetime illness at the age of 21 and you never took any of my outbursts personally.
I remember telling you about my new job, about my adventures and my new relationship. Everything which seems so long ago now. 1 year to be exact.
The first time I had met you they had transferred me back to Manchester after falling ill from my first chemo IV treatment in the October, come the December I would be admitted for 3 months under your care and every moment after you called the shots. Not once was anything left unturned, you ensured every road was looked into. Again, the tests weren’t nice and I often questioned the biopsies, scans and every other needle that entered my body.
We bonded a lot and I guess in ways you became a friend. The journey of this illness hasn’t been the smoothest, but with time you helped me rebuild my life and held my hand through it all. Nothing was ever too much, no matter the time or the severity, you looked into it until there was an answer.
I never truly appreciated just how dedicated you was to your job until you left and I got given a new consultant. The day you told me you was leaving, I rang my mum and cried. It felt like a member of the family was moving away, a friend was leaving. I wasn’t sure why I got so upset until 4 weeks later I was sat in the waiting room unsure of what was to come.
The consultant I got given had no idea of my history, as a kidney specialist he was not interested in my Lupus and I felt deflated. He didn’t understand I needed my treatment, he didn’t know my history, it was telling a stranger about my illness – something which frustrates me on a daily basis. Going through the history of my health and explaining my life to him only to see him 4 weeks later and him not remember any of it really made me understand your dedication.
‘The good physician treats the disease, the great physician treats the person with the disease.’
In a way I am sorry that I took it for granted, but also I am so grateful for every second of your time. A good consultant really does make the difference to an individuals quality of care and I hope some day to be in the presence of such a great doctor again. For now I will continue to fight because you brought me too far to turn around now.