Who’s afraid?

Undoubtedly this video will go viral. Deb was going in for a double mastectomy. Her life about to change forever. Does she look scared?


She is scared as anyone would be. So is her team of doctors and nurses. As they should be. And as much as Deb is putting on a show to hide her fear, she’s doing much more than that. She’s also telling her team “I’m ok. I want you to be ok too”. All surgery comes with risk. There is a chance that Deb might not make it alive but instead of letting that tension overshadow the situation, she lead them in a celebration of life. Of course there is a practical reason to do this: A happy team is a successful team. But Deb is telling her team that if she doesn’t make it, she wanted the last people she sees to have fond memories of her.


I thought about my own surgery in 2007. My doctor wanted to thread a scope via my groin so he could take a look at my heart. A bunch of nervous looking nurses waited for the surgeon to start. A young nurse was checking my vitals when I began flirting with her. I wasn’t trying to pick her up, but I couldn’t resist the chance to make someone smile.

So there I was, with my lower half fully exposed, I asked her.

“So, do you come here often?” I think I saw a faint smile. Of course I couldn’t be sure with her surgical mask and hair cap covering most of her face.

“What time do you get off work?” I asked her. Still no response.

Tough crowd.

“Its very cold in here”.

“Yes we keep it cold to prevent infection”. Finally I get a response.

“I’m just saying its very cold in here so I want you to consider the issue of shrinkage.”

That broke the ice. Everyone laughed and the room felt 10 degrees warmer.


The surgeon hovered over me and said “We’re ready to start. Any questions before we begin?”

“Just one”, I replied. “Will I be able to play the piano after surgery?”

“Did you play before?” He asked.


“Then we’re good to go”.



Today I thank my team who saved my life.