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Thank you can be the hardest words to say.

Thank you may be the most wonderful words you ever whisper.

I wish I could say thank you more often. I should thank my wife, my nurse, and my God everyday. God restores my soul to me each morning, for which I am grateful. I should thank Him. My wife loves me and marries me anew each and every day. I should thank her with more than just a wink and a smile. My nurse takes care of you, my patients, and ensures that your pain is controlled, that your wounds heal, and that your spirits remain high. I should thank her more often.

But thank you can be the hardest words to say.

Still, you, my patients, keep surprising me. Every time one of you tells me thank you, my heart fills with warm embers of love and my belly fills with warm fuzzies of joy. I glow like a hearth on a winter’s night.

Thank you.

I am amazed at the ways thank you can be expressed. Sometimes it’s just simple words. Other times it’s a big bear hug. And it always comes straight from the heart.

One of my patients made me a traditional Appalachian Quilt, the kind I have admired painted on barn walls and garage doors throughout our little corner of the world. Knoxville is my adopted home and Appalachian culture has become part of my life here. To receive this beautiful, vibrant quilt is almost as if Jacob himself wrapped me in a coat of many colors.

Appalachian Quilt


Thank you.

Cancer patients often see their physicians and nurses as Angels sent from heaven. Well, sometimes, my patients are Angels sent from heaven to lift me. My team, we work to deliver expertise and excellence and sometimes we can lose the forest for the trees when government mandates, insurance forms and hospital paperwork overwhelm our ability to mange it all. And then someone says thank you, or gives me a hug, or blesses me with a quilt. We may return to Zion on the wings of eagles, but to climb the mountain can be just as exhilarating. To my patients who bring me along as you climb the mountain, thank you.

This quilt of many colors wraps my wife and me in its warms folds every night. The quilt is God’s protection and reminds me that no matter how tough it can be to get through chemotherapy; no matter how painful it can be to heal after surgery; no matter how much work it can take to have radiation therapy; God will bring forth a fountain of strength from deep inside you. The quilt is Superman’s cape, a symbol of strength, of cunning, of the desire and ability to win and succeed. Together, we will beat breast cancer.

The quilt is a prayer shawl, wrapping us up tightly as we say, thank you.