One of the really great things about being a physician and taking care of someone for a long time is that you have a chance to get to know them personally.  Patients are not just defined by their disease but, like all of us, by their unique life experiences.  Some of these experiences have been good and some bad.

In these past few weeks leading up to Christmas I have been impressed with how many of my patients are struggling, not just with their disease, whatever it may be, but with real life tragedies and problems.  I know this time of the year is a happy one for most, but not all.

Therefore, my Christmas wish is that all those that I know who are struggling with a sick relative or spouse, the death of a close loved one, or problems with their children or grandchildren will be able to find, even for a brief moment, the happiness this season brings.  Focus on the positives for a few moments and be at ease.

Of course, Christmas is for children. Most of us can remember the excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning. I wish that this was a universal feeling, but I know it is not. I encourage everyone at this time of year to reach out to someone young or old.  Talk to them and, more importantly, listen.  I have found this little kindness can be one of the best gifts you can give to anyone.