Meeting Someone Who Will Change Your Life

In our travels through life we’re sometimes fortunate enough to meet some really special people. We might meet them in an airport, at a baseball game, in the supermarket or walking down the street. We also might meet them because people close to us recommend them in order to help us with something.

While I’ve met many incredible people from all over the world, lately I feel very fortunate to have met two people who live in my hometown. When I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was little I had the same doctor until he retired. After that I went to another pediatrician who was well respected in the community. I enjoyed visiting him and he pointed me in the right direction as I moved into the adult years.

When I got out of college I found another doctor who I really liked. He just fit my style. Unfortunately he decided to go in a different direction and get involved in the administrative side of the business. However, he referred me to a woman who is now my primary doctor, Dr. Suzanne Blood. Since my first visit with her many years ago we’ve formed a pretty good patient/doctor relationship. I respect her work and I value her opinions. She has compassion and understanding that so many people in the field don’t have. If I have blood tests done she always goes out of her way to call me to let me know how things look. I can tell that she’s genuinely concerned about my health.

A few months ago when she called me at work and told me we had a problem I was a little nervous. When the doctor calls you at work you know there might be an issue that should be addressed. After a brief conversation she told me that she had put a call into a surgeon who is a friend of hers. She told me that I had a tumor that needed to come out and she referred me to Dr. D’Agostino because in her words he’s one of the best in the business.

Since I know how wired she is I knew that I was being sent to a doctor who is very good at what he does. Since I had to wait a week to see him I asked around to see if I could find anything out. It didn’t take long to get answers. To my amazement he had operated on many people I know. Every person told me the same thing, “He’s really good and on top of that he’s a great guy.”

With all of the positive comments I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Still, not knowing him, I didn’t know what to expect. As I waited in the exam room with my father all I was really thinking about was whether or not he would let me go on the vacation that I had planned since January.

When the door handle turned and he came into the room he didn’t beat around the bush. He said that he had looked at my past medical history. He gave me his opinions on what we were dealing with and told me the choice was up to me. I could have the tumor taken out early the next week or I could go on vacation and have it taken out when I returned providing I was mentally capable of dealing with the emotions if it was cancerous once it came out, although he was pretty sure it wasn’t.

It didn’t take me long to think about it. I figured in the grand scheme of things two weeks probably wouldn’t make much of a difference, so I left for vacation later that day. I can’t tell you that it wasn’t on my mind when I was away. I thought about all the “what if and could be” scenarios.

When the surgery was scheduled the pre-op people from the hospital called. They gave me directions to follow with my medications and I did exactly what they told me to do even though I knew it was going to pose a problem the next morning. I guess you can say that I do what I’m told.

The next morning was a disaster. My blood sugar level was through the roof. When one of the nurses tried telling me I should learn how to control my disease a little better I was not too terribly happy. As the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.” When my doctor got there he talked about the situation with me and my parents. He said he just didn’t feel comfortable doing the operation given the circumstances. Then he told me to do what I normally do the following week and we would get it done. That made my life a little easier and less stressful.

The next week came and my blood level was really good up until the surgery before me extended a little longer than expected. That’s when it started to creep up.

Then Dr. D. came in and did something that most other doctors probably wouldn’t do. He said, “Great job with your blood.” For some unknown reason he had the ability to make me ignore all of the nurses and relax. Very rarely do I consider myself any different than the next person, but every once in a while I realize that living with diabetes can be rather difficult. I guess I’ve just become accustomed to following a system and not doing things I’m not supposed to.

When the pre-op girl called me before the surgery she was asking me the questions and she said, “Do you drink alcohol?” I answered, “No, I’ve never had a drink of alcohol in my life.” Since one of my friends works in pre-op she called me later that night and said that her co-worker asked what the heck is wrong with this guy because I said I never drank. My friend laughed. When I was diagnosed they told me not to drink or smoke so I’ve never done either.

The surgery ended up taking longer than anticipated, but I wouldn’t have known the difference because I wasn’t conscious. It has definitely been a little painful at times over the last month, but as with anything I can deal with it.

A few days after surgery Dr. D. called me later in the evening. I guessed that he was probably the only one in the office since it was around 6pm. He asked how I was doing and how I was feeling. In some ways it felt like the doctor I watched on Little House on the Prairie when I was little. The doctor was always concerned for the people he treated and he showed compassion. You just don’t see that too often anymore, which makes it even more significant.

As the days passed I had to see him in the office once a week so he could check on the wound. He called a few times during those first couple of weeks just to make sure things were going well. When he did that I understood why Dr. Blood had referred me to him. They handle their patients the same way in that manner. Dr. D. seems to be much more passive and laid back, but I guess that’s probably what makes him such and incredible surgeon.

Before I left his office on Wednesday I gave him something to read to see what he would have done if he came across a situation like I did a few years ago. I have a feeling he would have reacted just as I did. I’m not sure why but I get the idea that his mother was a very good woman. I know that I get my compassionate and caring side from my mother. I’ve been lucky to get a lot of great qualities from both of my parents but it’s my mom who brings out the soft side in me.

I feel unbelievably lucky to have met both Dr. D and Dr. Blood. It brings me to one of my favorite quotes which reads, “You never really know when you might meet someone who will change your life. More importantly, you never know when your influence might change another life.”

That quote holds true for me for both of these doctors. If I hadn’t met Dr. Blood I never would have met Dr. D. They have both contributed things to my life in their own ways. Dr. D. changed my life my taking out the large tumor that has caused me a lot of discomfort for what I think has been a very long time. Although he can probably see how he has changed lives I’m sure he doesn’t hear as often as he should how thankful people are for his expertise in his field. Here’s to you Dr. D……………………..thank you for taking good care of me and showing compassion during the recovery. It goes further than you know. I’ve heard many people discuss your work and post-op care and concern. Don’t ever think it goes unnoticed.

I’m sure surgeons deal with the negative aspects of the job on a daily basis which at times must make them numb. I can’t imagine having to be the bearer of bad news on a regular basis. At the same time, I would imagine that it’s exhilarating to know that you saved a life or relieved someone from a lot of pain.

As for the quote above, I’m sure my influence probably hasn’t changed the lives of either of these doctors, but I’ve also been fortunate enough to reach many children while doing the motivational lectures at different schools. I’ve done many things in my life and I’ve accomplished a lot in the fields I’ve dabbled in, but there’s absolutely nothing that can compare to touching the life of a young person.

So, as you go from one day to the next try to find what you’re good at and let your influence change the life of another. I’m not a politician. I’m not a teacher and I’m not a surgeon, but I’ve found a way I can help others. Once you find yourself in this special place you’ll never want to return.

One Response to “Meeting Someone Who Will Change Your Life”

  1. Dan says:


    Had the pleasure of meeting and talking with you and your Dad @ the Yankee Classic friday evening. Very nice , blog, and website– Please keep up the great work.


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