By Caitlin Kelly
She is closing her practice at my suburban small hospital and headed back to the West Coast, from where she was lured to run multiple programs here.
She’s my breast surgeon and, as anyone who’s faced that cancer knows, there are few physician relationships as intimate and frightening.
From the minute we met, I liked her a lot.
My first words (surprise!) were: “No disrespect, but please don’t ever bullshit me.” And I brought my husband Jose to most appointments with me as well.
She’s a bit younger than I am, and such a badass!
Her fashion sense is something else — Frye boots, pleated skirts, sometimes a pastel shift.
And she always wears funky socks in the OR with her scrubs.
The day of my surgery, July 6, 2018 (a lumpectomy), she arrived with her team, one of whom was a Glamazon with fabulous braids and manicure. Damn!
She reminded me she was wearing her lucky monkey socks — and even a monkey band-aid on her shin.
I know, I know, some patients would never ever want to be joked with pre-op. But she knew me enough to know that a good laugh was the best medicine for me then.
I never doubted that her sense of humor could in any way diminish her skills.
As someone who jokes a lot, I know that only a truly confident woman feels safe enough to be that publicly playful.
Our relationship hs been an unusual one in that we would also have quick personal conversations at every meeting and I got to know her a bit. She read and much admired my writing.
Imagine a physician as a friend.
Now she’s moving on and I am truly bereft.
But so lucky and grateful to have had what truly has been her medical care.