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The new father was overjoyed with his new baby daughter, Olivia, and wanted the staff at Wilson Medical Center to know the role they played in her birth last month. So he wrote a letter.
"What I want to do is take you back precisely six years ago to the day, July 26, 2011. On that day, my wife came to your hospital to have a bilateral mastectomy as she had been diagnosed recently with triple negative breast cancer. You and your staff not only began the significant steps on that day that saved my wife's life, but your actions allowed for quite an amazing birth six years later," he wrote.
"You saved not only one life beginning on that day, but you allowed for another to join us. I do not know if it was fate, or coincidence, or a higher power intervening that my daughter was born on the same day as Mistelle's surgery six years ago. Whatever it is, I will take it. But please know that I am eternally grateful for what you did for us."
Peter and Mistelle Godlewski have lived in Basel, Switzerland, since 2013. But they were in Wilson in 2011; he worked in Rocky Mount, and she worked in Zebulon.
In his letter, Peter mentioned several physicians by name and the role they played in his wife's cancer treatment, including Dr. Ajinder Chhabra, Dr. Deborah Boyd, Dr. Keith Lerro and Dr. Margaret Metts.
"Finally, to the numerous staff of Wilson Medical Center and the affiliated sites - from pathology, to clinical diagnostics, to the pharmacy, to radiation oncology, hematology, surgery and to so many others - I cannot express how much gratitude that I have for you and everything that you do now and have done for my family.
"It is not an easy task that each of you have, and it certainly is the epitome of a team sport to be able to treat patients in the way you did," he wrote. "I'm still in awe of the way you all seemingly seamlessly handled the treatment of my wife. I know with the areas that you work in, it does not always have the best outcome, and I can imagine that sometimes there is criticism. However, I wanted to thank you personally for your expertise, professionalism and teamwork over those months which all began on July 26th."
Peter said since the cancer treatments, the couple's jobs took them to Europe to live.
"The experience with cancer has made us grateful for the time we have here and focused us on enjoying life just a little bit more," he wrote. "Now we have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby girl."
In an email interview with The Wilson Times, Peter said his wife has done well since finishing her cancer treatments, gets regular checkups in Basel and has had no ill effects from her cancer.
"We have been blessed with excellent care on both sides of the ocean," he said.
Peter said he reached out to Wilson Medical Center out of gratitude when the couple realized that the baby would probably be born on the anniversary of his wife's mastectomy.
"I kept thinking to myself that without the staff of Wilson Medical Center on that day, and those leading to it as well as those after, there is no way that I would have my wife let alone have a daughter on the way. I talked it over with Mistelle, and we thought that we should send a letter to the staff of Wilson Medical to let them know about this and to thank them," he said.
"Quite honestly, the alignment of these dates made me realize that without the staff of Wilson Medical, I would not be a husband or a father today, and just the thought of not having either was quite overwhelming."