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The Gratitude Project: My Story

Written by: Bill Sherman on Friday, 1 August 2008, 10:42 AM

As some of you know, I my first sixteen years under the care of a Cystic Fibrosis clinic at the University of Chicago. I spent a lot of time in hospitals under the active care of doctors.

Last week, I tracked down one of my primary care physicians, Dr. Lucy Lester, who is now head of the Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine Division. She started practicing medicine in 1980. By that time, I was a eight-year veteran of the CF clinic (and a precocious nine-year old).

I searched the web and found her contact information, I wrote her a letter. I thanked her for care. Her strong spirit had helped me survive my childhood and achieve my current life. I’m alive today, in no small part, to her.

My letter also included memories of a mutual friend. Dr. Rothberg was my primary care physician and her mentor for many years–and he was an amazing doctor who never talked down to children and radiated compassion. If I know Dr. Lester, she’ll probably laugh when she reads the memories.

I never tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis, so they were only able to treat my syptoms rather than diagnose what I had. I’d never had the CF genetic test, because I knew that the local physician would give me just a “yes/no” answer. They wouldn’t look at the results with a researcher’s eyes.

Dr. Lester still actively researches Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, and other respiratory illnesses. I asked her if she thought access to me or my DNA would help a researcher investigating ways to help children breathe easier.

By the end of the letter, I had revisited my childhood through my eyes as an adult, and I’d gained a new appreciation for what others had done for me. I finished the letter with tears.

That’s my first story for the Gratitude Project. Now, I challenge you to go out and do the same. Find someone who shaped you, thank them, and then tell the story.

One Response to “The Gratitude Project: My Story”

  1. The Meaning of Existence (and all that) » Gratitude Watch - 2009-01-13 Says:

    […] Sherman of Aha-Moments gives us “The Gratitude Project: My Story.” In this, Mr. Sherman recounts life as a child being treated for Cystic Fibrosis, and the act of […]

    January 13th, 2009 4:13 am

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