“… that has made all the difference.”

Most of the things I do are head shakers: as in you shake your head at yet another act of nuttiness. (Insert your own, perhaps stronger, descriptor here.)

Here’s another chance to shake your noggin from side to side. For the first time in nearly 15 years, and for reasons unknown, I forgot to put postage on last week’s letters to Ellen and Reid. The unstamped envelopes were unceremoniously returned to me on Saturday.

Ellen's letter came back with the red mark of postal shame.

Ellen’s letter came back with the red mark of postal shame.

Since the usual practice is to allow the kids to read what is sent before you see the somewhat edited versions, the returned letters will be tucked inside today’s letter and mailed again – this time with a stamp. There’s a whole lot of head shakin’ going on.

Perhaps, however, this is a chance to show that my two aren’t the only ones on the receiving end of letters. Indeed, far from it. This ‘thank you’ went to the dermatologist who squeezed me into her busy schedule, and, to borrow from Robert Frost, “… that has made all the difference.” As I re-read it this morning, I might have worded a few rough patches a bit more carefully, but the emotional intent remains the same: what they did for me and what they do for others is very much appreciated. (Note: the names of the dermatologist and surgeon are omitted for privacy sake.)


February 2, 2015

Dr. Smith: The call from Dr. Jone’s office came early this morning with the news that I’d hoped to hear: the pathology report “… came back just fine and there’s no further treatment required.” He removed the “thin melanoma” you discovered and broke the news to me gently about a couple of weeks ago.

I guess this note is really in two parts. One is to thank you and your staff for getting me in early in lieu of waiting a nerve-whacking few weeks down the road to get into your office. And the second part relates to the surgery by Dr. Jones and what he and you represent to the average patient.

He talked to me through the entire process from excision to final knot in two rows of neat stitches. As I buttoned my shirt after ditching the stylish patient gown, and as he finished asking me if there were any other questions as he was ready to exit the room, I blurted out that what he was doing in his office is important work. He may have described things as routine, but for folks like me who walk in a half hour early and are filled with anxieties and wondering what lies ahead of us in the small, strange operating room, the surgery is anything but.

You also go through your routines day in and day out, yet I’d tell you the same thing that he heard: what you guys do over off of Fairview Road is important work for people like me.

Best regards – and thank you.

Dave Bradley



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