Dearest friends, these are excerpts from my presentation four years ago at the Stem Cell Dinner. I’d like to share these thoughts again.
November 4, 2011 is the ten-year and one-day anniversary of my stem cell transplant. I consider this evening, being with all of you, a great honor and privilege.
I was diagnosed in July 1997 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital by the late Dr. Paul Logerfo, a great man, doctor and friend. It was my good fortune to have known him. My closest friend Dr. Ken Adler, then recommended Dr. Kolitz to me and within days my therapy began. For three and one half years my Hodgkins disease remained in remission but unfortunately it returned.
I met Dr. Bayer and for the next four months I was involved with 7 Monti and all the people who work there. This was back on September 2001. My lymphoma had resurfaced indeed. . . but just days earlier the Twin towers were attacked. These were sad days. That was ten years ago, and now with some distance I have concluded that I am fortunate beyond words.
Lance Armstrong in his book “It’s Not About The Bike” says, “The one thing the illness has convinced me of, beyond all doubt, more than any experience as an athlete, is that we are much better than we know.”
I couldn’t agree more. I was forced by the illness to find MY inner strength and make it real. I was in the hospital watching the news reports of the 9/11 disaster and thought how many people died that day. I, at the same time, was being given all the care in the world to survive. I am the lucky one.
But it wasn’t just luck. I remember, and always will, the people who made my recovery happen.
For donating platelets, Myriam, Armondo, Glen, Emily, Donna, Jack, Sandra, Mark, Paige, Maryellen, Matt, Rob, Larry, Kevin, Jay.
. . Thank you.
For incomparable nursing and daily care. . . Maria, Bernadette, Marco, Julio, Nicole, Debbie, Primrose, Evelyn, Roseann, Anita, Mahrya, Kerry, Andrew, Jessica, Ginny, Maggie, Paul, Laurajean, Jo. . . Thank you.
To Maureen, a special thank you.
To Diane and Mary and especially Carrie. . . Thank you
To Cathy and the Blood Bank staff. . . Thank you
Dr. Vlahos, Loscalzo, Prudahkar and Sahdev. . . Thank you
To Tita Monti and her family for their individualized concern for people. . . Thank you
To Dr. Jonathan Kolitz, my caring, genuine and compassionate doctor who navigated me throughout the last 13 years. . . Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To Dr. Ruthee-Lu Bayer. Are there words capable to describe her? I don’t think so. Is the definition of an angel adequate? No. I dig down beyond the bottom of my heart to say thank you one hundred times.
My sweet family, Leah, Sarah, Emily, Glen and Lauren for your undying love I am forever loving you.
My voyage will never completely end. It will continue for the rest of my wonderful life, but that IS life and I understand that too.
Good health to you all.