How A Stranger Showed Me Compassion after I was Given a Life-Threatening Diagnosis.

A Stranger Shows Compassion

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What is Compassion

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of compassion is:

sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. ... pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy mean the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. ... compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid the person who is hurting.

Surgery to Remove the Cancer

Waking up in the recovery room after the grueling seven hour surgery, took a while. I felt like I was in a dream- like state when the surgeon said, "Linda, the thoracotomy to remove the middle lobe of your right lung was a success." I felt really groggy from the anesthesia and said, "thank you doctor, you rock," and lifted my right arm, giving him a high five. I was moved to the cardiac unit first, because they were at full capacity in the pulmonary area. I remember hearing a heart alarm going off several times for the man who laid next to me, behind the curtain. Having anxiety issues and a history of panic attacks, this was not the best place for me to recuperate from major surgery. They eventually moved me downstairs when a bed opened up, but I always wondered what became of my first roommate.






Time to Recuperate

Once I was moved into a permanent room for the remainder of my stay, it was time to settle in and heal. I was relieved the surgery was behind me but knew I had a long journey ahead. I was aware there could be complications as I recuperated and a pathology report to face in the near future.The report would tell me if the cancer had spread to lymph nodes which would change the staging and require chemotherapy and radiation treatment. I hoped and prayed the tumor was contained in the middle lobe and I wouldn't need further treatment. At this point they believed I was a stage 1A, which is the best one can hope for with this disease.

The lead surgeon informed me he would be leaving town for a few days but would be back before I left the hospital. He was very clear that if the path report results came in before he was back, they would not be revealed until his return. He also wanted to make sure my family was notified so they could be with me at this critical time.

The assistant surgeon was coming in daily to check on me while the lead surgeon was away. Other than a bladder infection from the catheter and phlebitis from the I.V. in my arm, things were going as well as expected. Family and friends were a great source of support during my hospital stay. My twin sister who is my best friend, made a point of visiting me twice a day. Once in the morning when I was 'up and at em' and after the dinner hour when she'd lay in bed next to me, gabbing and watching t.v. It made this scary difficult time, feel a little more like home.

Meeting the Compassionate Stranger

t was a sunny March morning as I anxiously awaited my twin sister's visit. The assistant surgeon walked in my room to run the routine health assessment he'd been doing while the lead surgeon was away. When he finished, he moved to the side of my bed and told me in a very serious tone he had something to tell me. "Linda, your pathology report came back and it doesn't look good. Your lung cancer spread to two of your lymph nodes. Your not a stage 1-A like we first thought, but stage 3A. You will need to go through chemotherapy and radiation treatment." My mind was whirling as I recalled the results were supposed to be given by my lead surgeon. "You have a 20-25% chance of surviving the next five years. I will have a chaplain come up and pray with you." I was stunned, shocked, scared and confused. With the message delivered, he walked out. Before I could even react, I saw someone running towards me. She jumped on my bed and held me in her arms. The stranger kept repeating, "I love you, I love you, you will be alright, you will be alright," in between reassuring kisses on my cheeks. I realized that the person comforting me was my roommate. She was a very sick woman in her eighties. I hadn't heard a peep out of her since I moved in the room several days before. There we were- two strangers; crying, hugging and holding on for dear life.

Have you ever received compassion from a total stranger

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© 2012 Linda Rogers

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Comments 59 comments

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 4 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

I will never forget that story Linda. God definitely has earth angels to help us through difficult times. You poor thing-being without family when the rookie surgeon gave you the results. Me and the rest of your family were so angry at him. It was almost like he got off on it as a newbie. At least he was rightly reprimanded for what he did. Ha-five years doc-How about eight and counting. I love you Linda and thank God your past the scary times. I don't know what I'd do without my bestie :-)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

You have certainly had your share of difficulties. Your story touches the heart and is one that will bring warmth to it. I agree with Healing Touch, sometimes God places certain angels in our lives because we need that connection to pull us through. You are a strong person and glad to hear how thngs are much better for you.


twinstimes2 profile image

twinstimes2 4 years ago from Ohio

Amazing story! I am glad you wrote your survivor story, too, as I know this story has a happy ending! thanks for sharing!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

You continue to inspire not just through your own strength, but through showing the loving light in others such as the "angel" who held you in her arms. I agree with your sister and teaches12345 that God was watching over you through her actions that day.

What the rookie doctor lacked in compassion was countered by the angel's compassionate response.

When I was going through my training in nursing school during the 70's being completely "honest" with the patient and telling them the worst case scenarios and also statistical scenarios was just starting to become the norm and today we have all kinds of consent forms which really drill the so called "facts" and potential deadly side effects about treatments and medications into the patient's psyche. While I believe patients do have the right to know these things, the hurried and/or uncompassionate way in which they are too often addressed does more harm than good.

It is my personal belief that no doctor or medical professional knows how an individual patient is going to respond and in that sense, statistics are meaningless. With cancer, the long term survivors are alive 100% of the time.

While I'm sorry that you had to learn your diagnosis in such a traumatic way, I am so glad you're here to tell your story and help bring hope to others who may have been given supposed facts without the softening of compassion and hope.

Sending Hub Hugs and Love,

Gail


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I believe the immediate love and affirmations of health from this lovely lady nullified the words of the doctor. She sure was a bundle of love and nurturing. I am SO happy you are here, healthy and writing this for us.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

What a touching and very human story. I too am glad that we know the outcome after all the treatment. Thank you for sharing.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Linda, it feels like this story isn't quite over...? I can't even imagine giving my doctor a high five and saying "You rock." at such a time, but that's just me. What a woman you are, and how wonderful to have a twin sister for a best friend.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Linda, this is an amazing story. I believe in angels... I believe they are all around us, and as normal looking as we are...I am glad that in your moment of distress.. she was with you.. Be well and strong.. Best wishes to you... God Bless.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 4 years ago from Isle of Man

You have been through some tough times and I cannot imagine the feelings you had when you were given this very shocking news. Isn't it wonderful however that an angel appeared at this time when you needed her. I thought you might appreciate this video that I have only just finished watching with my daughter. Thank you Linda http://youtu.be/z56u4wMxNlg


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 4 years ago from India

That must be a very difficult time for you. Sometimes people don't talk to each other but they simply get bonded to each other on the fact that they see each other regularly. :-)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

What a fantastic story. The woman had such compassion for you and that is something to always remember. Stay strong and know that people are healed all the time of many types of cancer. God Bless.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great horrifying story and that assistant needs to find his 'bed manner' which he doesn't have a clue about.

Voted up,awesome and interesting.

I wish you anything and everything, this is sent with lots of hugs, Joyce.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear sis-I don't know what I would have done without your bi-daily visits. You almost made it fun-Almost. LOL

I always wonder what ever happened to both of my roommates. The heart patient and the woman that held me in her arms. What a blessing she was for me at a time of need. Love Linda


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Teaches-thanks so much for coming by and reading my story about the rookie doc that got off on giving perhaps his first "bad news." I thank God that my roomie came to me after he walked out. I had no family there at the time and needed to freak out with someone. Common sense would tell most of us to wait on bad news until family is around. He was also told NOT to tell me the news until the big cheese surgeon got back but he did it anyway. He did get reprimanded though and I hope it taught him better bed side manners.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi twinstimes2. Thank you so much for reading my story about the rookie doc/surgeon. Yes, I am a survivor of eight years and the odds of this type of lung cancer returning is very low now after this amount of time. I hope others that have been diagnosed with any cancer will see that the doctors don't know everything. There is ALWAYS HOPE!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Gail-as always, I am deeply touched by your warm comment and the great information you added regarding your profession. I do believe my roommate was put there to help me at that time of crisis and I also believe that whatever kept her so quiet during her illness as she lay next to me, was something serious and she needed me as much as I needed her. Every time I think of this story, I get holy goose bumps. It was one of those moments in my life that will be forever etched in my memory. Huge Hub Hugs back to you my friend. :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dearest Hyphenbird-I love your comment about the lovely lady being a "bundle of love and nurturing." You are so right! There she was at the exact moment I needed her. She was definitely my earth angel and I will Never forget the compassion she showed me. It was a beautiful thing she did and her family is so blessed to have her. I do hope she got through whatever was ailing her.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

xstatic-Yep, I'm not going AnyWhere-I feel great and just celebrated my eight years cancer-free this St. Patrick's Day. Life is such a blessing and so are my hubber friends like you. Thanks for taking the time out to read about my earth angel in the hospital.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Ron-you just gave me the giggles with your cute comment about me high fiving the doctor. I was SOOOO Happy that I got through the surgery (I was scared to death about it)and when he told me it all went well, it was my drug induced, natural reaction. LOL He did tell me he got a kick out of it as I'm sure he doesn't always get grown up kids like me as patients. I still feel like I did when I was young-More the young in spirit-Not always the physical. Thanks for coming by-it means so much to have you read this story.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Sofs-Isn't it a wonderful thing to know there are angels? whether they are angelic humans doing a superior loving thing or if their spiritual angels. I don't remember ever hearing one peep from my roommate until that day. She ran like a jack rabbit over to my bed like she was a kid. I knew she must've been very sick too. The whole thing still gives me the holy goose bumps. Bless you for coming by and reading about my earthly guardian angel.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I received my news by myself but I had a very compassionate radiation Dr. tell me while showing me the mammogram. He said I would be rushed for a few months to get it treated and explained the steps he would be taking. It has been 3 years now. Time is going so fast. I have to take a little pill for 5 years to drop the recurrance rate by another 10%. It is an estrogen blocker, estrogen was found to be the trigger.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend thanks for sharing this very scary moment in your life.I am so glad to hear you are a cancer survivor for eight years now,and glad to hear that the odds of that type of lung cancer returning is very low.I wish you all the best in the coming years to keep cancer free and will keep you in my prays and thoughts daily.

Vote up and more !!!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Xavier-I have read some of Raymond Moody's books about the near death experiences of people. It is truly fascinating. I started watching the video you uploaded and I can't wait to finish it. I also remember that story about the guy that was hit by lightening and then went on tours to talk about his experience. I believe his name was Dannon Brinkley. Thanks so much for reading about my earth angel. It was an experience I will forever cherish. Great to see you friend :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Sneha-Ya, it was a time in my life that was very scary and I am so glad I can now look at it as a 'big bump in the road' and lived to talk about it. Always so nice to see you :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Pamela and great to see you. Yes, the woman in my hospital room was quite the nurturer. I still can't believe that a stranger would have a heart so big as to come and comfort someone unknown. She was put there, in my room, for a very important reason and I'll never forget her.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Joyce-If you could've seen my family after this episode. I ended up calling Laura right away and the next thing I knew, my whole family was there comforting me and having serious discussions with the hospital staff about this doctor's cold bedside manner. I felt so loved. The head surgeon's nurse even cried with me when she heard what had happened. She promised me that there was much hope in surviving this disease. I will never forget that lovely roommate that came to me in my time of need. It gets fuzzy on what happened after that incident. It was like I have no more memory of her being there after she comforted me. She sure could have been a spirit angel for all I know. Big Hub Hug to you right back my friend.


KatrineDalMonte 4 years ago

Your story is so truly touching and poignant. Sometimes our paths cross with those we don't know at all for a reason. Like in your instance a complete stranger was there at the time you needed the support, and it's so wonderful. True kindness still does exist. Wishing you all the best.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Becky-I am so glad to hear you had a radiologist with a good bed side manner. It makes all the difference. I am so glad to hear your already at three years. YIPPEE! I am glad they figured out it was from too much estrogen. Was it just the estrogen your body produced naturally or were you on hormone pills at some time? Just wondering. Congrats Survivor and may your good health continue.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Kashmir-thanks so much for reading my story about the doctor without the bedside manner. LOL

I am very blessed to be eight years out. I feel great and thank God everyday for being alive so I can help my twin sister raise her two kids. Life is Awesome!!!!!!!!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Katrine-It is refreshing isn't it that there are so many people in this crazy world that are loving and good. It can be easy forget about the good ones on some days but all in all, I think people need each other to get through life. This woman will never be forgotten and I thank her in my nightly prayers.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Mine was from taking estrogen therapy for just nine months 13 years ago. They sent the tumor away to be tested and got it confirmed. I have the letter and lab results still. It was tiny, only 7mm, but could have been really nasty. There was also no traces in the nodes so I lucked out catching it early. Thank God for annual mammograms. And now they want to stop them. Not me.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 4 years ago from Isle of Man

I have also featured your hub in today's Hypnotherapy Daily :) Great story as always.


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 4 years ago from new delhi

God works in strange ways they say Linda.HE wanted you to be comforted and sent that impulse through the woman on the other bed.Life is full of such "unknown"people who walk into our lives and then walk out after random small acts of knidness that stay with us for entire lifetimes much after faces,names and such irrelevant details are forgotten.

We owe them tonnes and the only way we can repay them is by doing the same for others when we can.

I know you do- keep at it friend while i send up a prayer of thanks to the Lord for having letting you stay on for all of us.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Becky-I had heard that taking estrogen therapy for menopause symptoms may have been linked to cancer. I don't think people do these therapies much these days if I hear correctly. You are so blessed that it wasn't in your lymph nodes because it can be much more complicated. I also agree with you that mammograms save lives and should not be missed. Your a great spokes person for why mammograms are so important.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

I really appreciate when you feature my story in your hypnotherapy daily. That is so thoughtful of you :-)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

It is no rumor. I had it straight out of my oncologist's mouth. He said definitely and he is one of the top.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Did you have to get me all choked up Neeles? What a lovely thing to say to me. Yes, we need to pay these beautiful acts forward and do it for someone else. I do try to do this in my life and it always makes me feel great. God sure has his ways to take care of his children, that's for sure. It always makes me smile Really Big when you stop by my friend. Your the bomb!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Wow Becky-That is some scary stuff. I sure hope women know about this and find alternatives to estrogen therapy.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I'm very glad that I read this hub after I read your hubs describing how well you are doing now, Linda! I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience with the assistant surgeon. His behaviour was disgusting. How wonderful that the "angel" - in the form of the elderly lady - was there just when you needed her!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you so much Alicia-I am very blessed to be doing so well after being told my chances of survival were horrid. Don't believe everything the doctors tell you. LOL

I will never forget that beautiful soul that was there for me during that scary time. Thanks you for coming by and reading my story.


chinemeremz profile image

chinemeremz 4 years ago

Hi and thank God this is a story that happened years back, and having you bounce back even stronger from such harrowing experience make the word "hope" valid enough.

I will keep praying and celebrating with you as you celebrate even many many many years of good life with your family and loved ones.

And to this compassionate stranger, I believe she was God sent at a time you really needed all the support to live through a difficult phase of life after the news got to you from a rather inexperienced doctor who I believe failed psychology class.

All the best and my regards to your best friend and other half em sorry your twin. God bless my friend


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Linda, that wannabe surgeon should have been tarred and feathered while being dismembered. What a pitiful excuse for a physician.

You were blessed that day by that elderly angel - I'm so glad she was there. Don't worry about the future. You will be around for a long, long time. I know and after all, I have spoken!


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

Linda, Thank you for sharing this. What a touching story and I'm so glad that beautiful lady was there for you that day. Bless her heart for being so compassionate and caring..Maybe she understood and felt empathy because she had cancer too or maybe she had a family member with cancer. God has a way of putting exactly the right people in our paths at exactly the right time. The doctor should have made sure you had family support there first before telling you that, in my opinion. You obviously made it through and I am so glad.. stories like this really help me to put faith back into humanity.. so often we only hear the negative stuff. God Bless you :) Voting UP!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

chinemeremz-LOL-It's ok to call sis my other half. We say it too. Thanks so much for all your loving words to me. I totally believe that woman was sent to me, and maybe, me for her?? God is an awesome God and always knows what we need. I always love your visits my friend :-)God Bless you too.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hee Hee-drbj-you just gave me such a giggle. I think my family, especially my twinner, did a pretty good job of tarring and feathering the newbie doc. He got in trouble!-Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah!!!!

I do plan on being around for a long long time hanging out with my hub buddies. :-)Great to see you.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Jamie-I believe there are so many more good people than bad, but that's me. Glass is always half full over here. I will Never forget that sweet lady running like a jack rabbit to my side. What a blessing she was. Great to see you Jamie and thank you so much for taking time out to read my story.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

What a beautiful story Linda. I have always believed there are angels amongst us. God bless you and keep on healing...


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much Ruby-It is comforting to know that we are watched over. Blessings to you :-)


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

God will lead the way for us who patient and I believe that He'll give the best for us. Thanks for share the survival story with us. My pray always for you...amen. Take care!

Prasetio


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for coming by Prasetio. It's always nice to see your smiling face. Blessings.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

You're our sweet darling sugar pie with a cherry on top dear heart. We all love you a big bunch. So happy that your out of the scarry zone. Take care, and you're always in my prayers, you, and your sis anyway. God Bless You.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Aww, thanks Stars-You are such a loving man. I wish there were millions of you. God Bless you my sweet and kind friend. Thank you for taking time out to read my story.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

This is sincerly pay it forward great stuff. I just loved it! I am happy to share this via hubbers alert on facebook, twitter, google+, Stumble upon, and with my hub following!


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

This is sincerely pay it forward great stuff. I just loved it! I am happy to share this via hubbers alert on facebook, twitter, google+, Stumble upon, and with my hub following!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Okay, I admit it, I have tears in my eyes. Wow, what a powerful story and beautifully told. I'm sure glad I can call you a friend. It makes me feel just a little bit better having friends like you.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much Angela for not only reading my story but for being so thoughtful in sharing it in so many places. I am already seeing traffic because of your awesome hub called, "Hubber Alert." I know I've already read three links that were put in the comment section. Your hub was a great idea and I think we should all do this for each other. Great to meet a new friend.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Billy-I so count you as one of my dear friends and am grateful I met you here. Thank you so much for reading my story about a stranger that was there to comfort me in a time of need. She was one of those earth angels that are put in the right place at the right time. Blessings Billy.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

It often seems like in our worst moments, we find real humanity. That even a perfect stranger can become an angel does give me faith in people. A beautiful story.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much Dolores. I will never forget the compassion my roommate showed me. It really does give you faith that there are still good people in this crazy world. I appreciate you visiting me today. Happy New Year :-)

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