Devastation Eve

**This post was transferred from the now defunct "The Long Ease" blog.**

Tomorrow morning, I have my every-four-months Gynecology Oncology follow-up.  It's always a day that brings with it nerves and stress.  (Will everything be ok?  Am I still cancer-free?  Will I remember to ask all of the questions I have this time around?)  But this time, I feel overwhelmed in a different way.  With sadness.

It is my Oncologist, Dr. Kebria's, last day at the Cleveland Clinic.

I know I'm not the first person in the history of Oncology to have their doctor leave.  But it doesn't matter.  My heart is broken in the same way that a heart breaks when a first love ends.

It is so hard to even imagine saying goodbye to this man tomorrow.  He literally... LITERALLY... saved my life.  How do you thank someone for that and just say goodbye, knowing you'll probably never talk to him again?

Dr. Kebria was the one who finally confirmed the fears I'd had for nearly a year.  When my new Gynecologist saw what was going on, she called him and he saw me IMMEDIATELY.  He did a biopsy in his office and them cleaned my blood off the floor himself.  He answered every question we had during treatment and after and has always made me feel like he really cares.

But it wasn't until the very day I learned he was leaving that I found out just how much.  And I haven't even seen him since I found out either of these things. Have I even shared this story?  I can't remember.  And it doesn't matter.  I'm telling it, whether you've heard it before or not...

The day I found out Dr. Kebria was leaving was the day of my urology appointment with Dr. Avellone (who has also since left) prior to my last bladder surgery.  When he came in, he asked if I knew who I was going to switch to... "...because, you know, Dr. Kebria is leaving us."  I was instantly wrecked.  Dr. Avellone recommended one of the partners and I made a mental note, but I didn't  know until later just how much I was losing.  My favorite doctor, yes.  The man who saved my life, yes.  But I soon found out he was so much more... because at the very time that I was in my appointment with Dr. Avellone, my mum was across town waiting for an appointment of her own with Dr. Kebria.  She had had some questionable things show up in her own Lady Garden (yeah, I just said that) and she pulled the Phoebe Card to get in to see Dr. Kebria.  When I left my appointment, I texted her the sad news, knowing she was minutes away from seeing him herself.  

She was going through the "What brings you in today?" bit with a Fellow.  When Dr. Kebria came in, he had no reason to know she was my mum... we have different names.  But she said he gave her a quizzical "Why do I know you?" look and explained that the Fellow would do the exam and he would be there to observe.  She responded with, "So you're leaving us?" He was obviously confused as to who the hell she was and how she knew this.  When she explained who she was, why they knew one another, and where I was at that moment, Dr. Kebria, who obviously had no reason to have been looking at MY chart recently, turned to the Fellow... and told... My. Entire. Story.

He remembered everything. From Dr. Gitiforooz's panicked call about my condition, to my arrival at his office, the cervical biopsy, severe bleeding, hospital, tests, diagnosis just over 24 hours later, all the way up to treatment STARTING just six days later.  He remembered it all.  He didn't have any reason to, but he did.  Because he is someone who is supposed to be doing exactly what he is doing.  He is a doctor because he gives a shit about people.  Or at the very least, he gives a shit about me.  I hope, if nothing else, that that Fellow learned something about the truly amazing parts of being a doctor that day... the parts that involve genuinely giving a shit about the people you are treating.  

This.  This is why my heart is fucking breaking.  I'm pretty sure I have family members and friends who could not tell you a story about me in the amount of detail Dr. Kebria was able to share my story with to that Fellow.  So, yeah.  The same day I found out he was leaving, I found out via my mum and fate, even moreso than I already knew, what an incredible loss his leaving is.  He was with me from the get go, and he cared enough to know.  To remember.  

There is a part of me that can't help but wonder about the coincidence in the fact that his last day just happens to be the day of my appointment.  I have to believe that he would not have left without seeing me one last time.  It's a silly, self-important thought, but I can't help it.  Some part of me has to believe he would not abandon me completely.

I am sure so many others have reason to be crushed by his departure.  And I'm sure that in his new life in California, he will continue to provide incredible care to other women who need his expertise and his passion, his intelligence and his gentle kindness.  And I'll be over here in Cleveland... hating them just a little.

Goodbye, Dr. Mehdi Kebria.  You are the reason I am here and I am so grateful.

(I found this in a Google search for a picture of him.
My doctor.  In Cleveland.  How I want to remember him.)

Make sure you tell the people who have made a true difference in your life that they have.  I gotta go.  I have a card to write.
Goodnight, all.
Love love love, 
Phoebe Marie

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