Starting To Say Goodbye So Wanted To Get This All In

When my wife was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, nothing was in control. I was the primary caregiver, and for a year and change almost all I lived was surgery, chemo, radiation, medications, repeat. It was far and away the hardest time of my life.

During my tenure here I have talked about Ivy values a great deal and gotten a good bit of static for it from trolls who can’t hold in their head that a person can have made mistakes and can also also understand what virtue is.

*So much more on that tomorrow*

But I was right.

That is Dr. Wendell Gordon Miles. I know him from here, and the FB group. When my wife had her surgery it was disfiguring, and she was destroyed. She was scared to even be wheeled out in public.

Then I got a note from Dr. Miles, who is a reconstructive surgeon for people who have had extensive surgeries. He said I could call him. And I will never forget that call. I knew nothing about the path forward from that dramatic surgery. And my wife couldn’t speak to ask the questions. I was in the parking lot of a HomeGoods when he called, and this elite surgeon spent over an hour with me on the phone (try getting THAT from a healthcare provider) and gave me so much information and so many options. He told me the truth, and he told it to me graciously. And he did it from the heart, and refused payment.

My life got out of hand after that, her treatment got more dramatic and then her recovery got even more dramatic and then my career diverged in a wood, and I never followed up with the appropriate thank you.

So here it is. Dr. Miles, after our talk I relayed what you said to Trish, and for the first time in months she had hope. I cannot repay you for that. Thank you forever.

If you wear the clothes and post BS in Reddit and call yourself a journalist with about a dozen different names you are a clown. And not even a good one. If you wear the clothes and extend humanity to suffering people, you are what this is all about.

17 Comments on "Starting To Say Goodbye So Wanted To Get This All In"

  1. Richard E. Press | June 24, 2024 at 6:49 pm |

    Your bravery in this situation is beyond words, Richard

  2. John, I send my love to you and your family and I send my thanks to you for the great work you have done here. My best, Matt in Weston Massachusetts

  3. Tim Irvine | June 24, 2024 at 8:12 pm |

    You are an inspiring person. Thank you for sharing this and all the best. Life hands us so many daunting challenges. You have faced them with grace.

  4. Wishing you and your family the absolute best.

  5. David McQ | June 25, 2024 at 3:56 am |

    Love to you and Trish, ad to Dr. Miles, whom I have always admired for his style and now see that his style is—well, perhaps not the least of him—but something that embodies and expresses a much deeper humanity and class. Indeed, John, what you always argued that Ivy should be about, for all of us.

  6. Peter René Lebenthal | June 25, 2024 at 4:23 am |

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It gives a little hope in a world that seems to have lost all virtues. I wish your wife and yourself all the best you can imagine!!
    René from Paris, France

  7. John
    Periods in our lives that you are going through makes us stronger. Keep fighting you are a Champion!!!!

    Vero Beach,FL

  8. Taking care of (or, for that matter, being) a loved one with cancer is a full-time job. Everything falls by the wayside. Dr. Miles sounds like the best kind of doctor, going above and beyond his obligations to personally connect, to describe care options with candor, and ultimately to bring some hope to a deeply distressing situation. He’s one of those all-too-rare points of light in such an intensely dark and stressful time. Sounds like he represents the best of Ivy-as-a-value-system. Sure, his clothes tell us he’s a man who cares about detail. But his bedside manner and medical acumen tell us what kind of person he is.

  9. So inspiring

  10. That is Ivy lived out – when we care about our style because we want to respect each other and be a genuine mensch to our community and the world, that’s what counts. Just wearing the clothes and thinking it conveys some magic power is just posturing. Thanks or sharing such a great story about a true mensch.

  11. Nice rig.

  12. I cannot add anything that has not been said already except to send my heartfelt wishes to you and your family, John. And, of course, to Dr. Miles. There is still some good to be found in the world.

    Warm Regards,


  13. Gary Glazer | June 25, 2024 at 12:59 pm |

    There really are no words to express my respect for you, your wife or for Dr. Miles Grace and dignity are words that come to mind but so much more. Best wishes to all-you are indeed an inspiration.

  14. roger nsack | June 25, 2024 at 3:25 pm |

    Your grace and courage in the face of your wife’s illness is
    an example for all of us. I have dealt with cancer in my family
    and have recently completed treatment for my own cancer.
    I pray for your wife and family and am confident that your
    care will make a difference. God Bless.

  15. What to say about Dr. Miles’ kindness and generosity?

    I have taken care of my wife through (serious) cancer twice. In the unlikely event this person you don’t know from Adam could ever be any help or support, please let me know. In the northeast corner of Massachusetts in the meantime.


  16. very needed daily dose of ‘humanity does still exist’

    Dr. Miles sounds like the real deal

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