Dr. Paul Cheng (PC): It’s great seeing you Kitty. I haven’t seen you for probably almost two years now and you look great. You know, I miss a lot of my patients, but especially you. You were quite special to me and I was just wondering if you could share with me, because I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this, but how do you remember the first time we met?
Kitty Smith (KS): The first time I met you was when I was doing musical oncologists. I was very impressed with how kind you were. You just focused right in on how I was feeling. I was so impressed with you as a doctor and as a person. I already knew that I wanted you to be my oncologist because I liked everything about the way you presented yourself.
PC: The first time I met you I remember, actually, your smile. You always look beaming when you come in to see me. Even today, you had a huge smile and I just love it. I also feel that the relationship is very, very special. Sometimes it’s not easy having close relationships, especially being a cancer doctor, but there have been many times during the clinic day when I knew that you were coming in that I was like, “Oh, ya know, Kitty’s coming in today!”
KS: When I met you, there was just something that absolutely clicked. I love your sense of humor. I love that when I’m with you I can laugh about cancer and make fun of it. Like, OK, you know, it came uninvited, I didn’t have anything to do with letting this cancer in, but I don’t have to treat it with respect either. It didn’t respect me, I don’t respect it. And, so, the relationship that I had with you seemed to be more important to me than the cancer was because you were taking care of the cancer, I was taking care of whether I am going to be happy today. Well of course I’m going to be happy today. Look at — there’s sunshine, it’s a new day. It’s hard not to smile when you’re seeing somebody who is so incredible as you are. And there’s never been a time that you’ve left me feeling hung out to dry. Anything that came up, you explained it to me fully. You never failed to give me hope and I feel like I’m not going to die of cancer. It’ll be something else. I’m not worried about it.
PC: Did you find it hard to deal with me leaving?
KS: I was devastated, not just because you were my doctor, but because you were my friend and I don’t deal well with losing people in my life. There were times I couldn’t even look at your picture without sobbing.
PC: Yeah, it was a very hard time in my life. Ya know, my father was ill and it definitely wasn’t easy practicing when you have a family member who’s sick. And it’s also hard to leave because of the relationships, ya know, my relationship with you. Although I found you a great doctor to replace me, I still felt like, whether it was justified or not, that somehow I’d let you down by leaving.
KS: I didn’t feel that way. The other patients too. We still talk about you and we still all miss you. So everybody was tickled when they found out that I was going to get to see you and to say hi in person. And, you know, some of us are still around.