When Gratitude Meets Intention, It Births Magic

Feb 9, 2020

Always be reminded of what is good and important in our lives and what we want to change about ourselves and the world around us.

Of the many people that I have come across and a story I will now share with you, is the story of Dorothy “Dotty” – one that probably touched me most on how I perceived the lessons I had to learn on my life journey. Dotty came to see me early 2019 with her family of seven adults along with her “to be daughter in law”.

She had been diagnosed with an esophageal (Food Pipe) Cancer. Seeing her walk into my office was rather – nerve wrecking – as this frail 70 yr lady, who would normally weigh 55 kilos was now down to 47 kilos and was slowly fading away.

More crucially she was literally just recovering from breast cancer treatment, when the news of oesophageal cancer came. She had significant side effects from chemotherapy for breast cancer with tingling and numbness in her fingers and feet, which made matters worse.

However, there was something about Dotty that was intriguing, to a point where I was almost compelled, despite her rather frail state to consider a full treatment -that included major surgery to remove her esophageal cancer – an Ivor Lewis esophgaectomy (which is serious surgery with lots of risks especially when one is that frail)…Something that, in these very circumstances I would have said that was too risky to be even considered as an option!

What was really fascinating about Dotty was her will to live and her extreme sense of gratitude – despite whatever was happening in her life!

At the same time, in my own life, I had been experiencing a personal challenge, about which I was feeling rather helpless – I was looking for someone out there to come and help me – as my problem seemed to consume me, I was looking for that magical solution … until I was “infected” by Dotty!!

What dawned upon me was that the challenges I was facing at the time seemed infinitesimally small compared to what Dotty was faced with … I was alive with no imminent threat to my life … at least for now !! (Something I had taken for granted)

I decided to follow my intuition

Dotty was all lined up for an oesophageal resection – after the lengthy family meetings and consultations with the multi disciplinary team – as this lady was not prepared for a “no”.

When she was lying on the operating table,I could see the look in the eyes of my operating team, as if, questioning my sound judgement on considering her a suitable candidate for this surgery.

I tried to wear a sense of confidence and progressed with surgery. The 6 hour operation was done in two stages with the abdominal part first and then the chest part which was done as a keyhole procedure.

Dotty survived the operation – but will she make to home? She was just too malnourished!

Dotty at 44 kilos day 4 after her esophageal cancer surgery. (Her “thumbs up” was a sign that kept my team hopeful that Dotty would be able to go home – some day!)
As you can see in this photo, I was worried for the anastomosis (the join we had made in her chest) that it might not heal and she will eventually develop a fatal complication. In frail condition, it only takes a small insult to loose the patient! We were treading on real thin ice here.

Dotty recovered well and started swallowing gradually – just as a baby learns to eat baby food first and then solids!

Her recovery was remarkable – And while her family gave credit to me for her success, I just knew in my heart that it was “Dotty that healed Dotty”!

Her attitude of gratitude was infectious,
Her intentions to live for her family were explicit,
Her purpose was laid out,
She was on fire!

Dotty came to my office three months after surgery and the picture speaks for itself. For the first time I shared with her, my fears and hesitations on operating her and how her presence, her energy and her attitude had such an influence over her recovery.

Even when Dotty was unwell, she never left the office without giving me a hug!

Dotty continues to inspire many lives around her with her “infectious” personality.

At three month review – guess who was happy to see her!
Dotty smiling
Dottys message

Have you ever wondered what does it take to lead a fulfilled life? I am reminded of Ekhart’s words above.

To help you develop a clear intention for a fulfilled life, please click to download this free PDF on Seven Areas of A Fulfilled Life”. Developing a clear intention help us find our true purpose in life.

Let this be your first task before the turn of another year!!

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and memorable holiday season,

Peach. Health. Blessings

Dr Arun Dhir
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Dr Arun Dhir
Surgeon, Health & Wellness Advocate.
Author of “Happy Gut, Healthy Weight” and “Create a New You Health Journal