When reflecting on his history with Baptist Health Lexington, David Haydon finds that one word can sum up his entire experience: gratitude. On his journey to health, David has undergone multiple surgeries and received care from a number of physicians and their respective teams, and through it all has been made to feel like more than just a patient.
“When dealing with Baptist Health, I know the entire population [of staff] and facilities of the health system are behind me,” he said. “From communication to care, every person at Baptist Health worked to make sure that I am here to watch my grandson grow into his teenage years and continue to make new memories with my wife, Donna.”
David does not hesitate to identify his loving wife as the person who he is most thankful for. He credits her compassionate, unwavering and loving support as helping him to heal through the numerous procedures and recoveries he has endured throughout the past decade.
“Without Donna, I would not be able to enjoy life and what it offers. She is my rock, my encourager, my caregiver, my friend, my companion and my everything. I am not only grateful for her support when I needed it most, but for her giving spirit that never fails to lift me up and keep me going.”
David believes that gratitude plays a critical role in all facets of life and is the secret to living life with a positive attitude.
“We can make a difference with a grateful spirit. We can make a difference with our family, with our close knit group of friends, our community, our city, state and on and on and on.”
Since high school, Lindsey Daugherty’s life has been dictated by how much pain she would experience on any given day. With unpredictable and intense pain caused by Endometriosis, Lindsey began looking for solutions outside of typical pain management and found her way to Baptist Health.
“I didn’t want to rely on pain medication my entire life,” she says. “Over the years, I lost jobs because I was bedridden and unable to function. After coming to Baptist Health, I began being asked what they could do to make me feel better and I began to realize that I don’t have to live my life like this. There are people who genuinely care and want me to feel better, and they were going to help me get there.”
For many years, Lindsey had trouble identifying gratitude in her life due to the inability to escape the constant pain resulting from her condition. Through the guidance of Jon Voss, MD, and Monica Vetter, MD, she was presented with her options which included a hysterectomy procedure.
“During this process I began to identify things I was grateful for again,” she said. “Not only were my physicians giving me options that would provide relief from the perpetual discomfort I had suffered from for many years, but they also weren’t trying to push me to make a quick decision. The medical staff at Baptist Health answered every question, exhibited patience as I thought through what I wanted and truly had my best interests at heart.”
Following another workday cut short due to pain, Lindsey made the decision to move forward with a hysterectomy and has been thankful for the freedom that followed.
“I am just overall a happier person now,” she said. “It’s even the little things of being able to go to the grocery or plan a vacation without having to worry about whether I will feel sick. I don’t have to live in fear anymore, and that is something I will always be grateful for.” Baptist Health’s Project Gratitude is an ambition to better understand the role gratitude plays in our health journey. Learn more and share your stories at ProjectGratitude.com or #JoinProjectGratitude.
I don’t have to live in fear anymore, and that is something I will always be grateful for.”
When Kiara Jackson found out she was going to become a mother, she didn’t expect her water to break in the middle of the night or for her OB/GYN to be out of town when that happened. After making her way to Baptist Health Lexington, she realized that despite the deviation from her birth plan that this would be an experience she would never forget.
“I made the mistake of going down a social media rabbit hole when it came to setting my expectations for labor and delivery,” she said. “When I went in and the doctor that had been with me throughout the course of my pregnancy wasn’t there and it was four in the morning, I was nervous about what was to come, and I had watched others have all these bad experiences. Luckily, for me, that wasn’t the reality of the situation.”
Kiara credits the staff at Baptist Health Lexington for enabling her to have a good experience despite the unconventional start.
“Baptist Health helped me on my journey to become a mom,” she said. “Every single person from nurses to physicians and beyond made me feel like I was exactly where I needed to be. I am grateful for everyone who was involved, including my mom and my fiancé.”
Kiara continues to receive care from Baptist Health including lactation support and infant wellness checks from some of the same employees who helped her bring her child into the world.
“Gratitude is a constant in my life right now. At Baptist Health, I feel like every person I come into contact with is genuinely concerned and invested in my wellness. At home, I am soaking up every moment with my baby and there is nothing better than that.”
Baptist Health helped me on my journey to become a mom. Every single person from nurses to physicians and beyond made me feel like I was exactly where I needed to be.”
For over the last two decades, Wayne Oates has experienced atrial fibrillation (AFib), and spent many years of his journey trying to find a cardiologist that was the right fit. Eventually, his primary care physician referred him to Gery Tomassoni, MD, and after seven years, they’ve established the type of bond he always knew was possible.
“I’m thankful for the little moments, just those little touches of care let me know that I was more than just a patient and they truly cared about me.” says Wayne.
For Wayne, it wasn’t just the connection he cultivated with his physician, it was the support and care that emanated from every employee that he came across. “I’ve been through a lot of office visits, procedures and tests, not only have they educated me through what my body is going through, they’ve supported me every step of the way.”
Being thankful for having access to great care, good medical doctors and staff that he trusts stands out to Wayne as he reflects on his time with Baptist Health. “I’ve been a patient of Baptist Health for a long time,” he says. “My wife and I have watched this hospital transition since the early ‘80s to make upgrades and meet the needs of our community. Every experience we’ve had has been very positive. It’s been obvious that I was not in this alone, and I am truly grateful for a great medical support team that worked to make me feel better and support me during my difficult days.”
I’m thankful for the little moments, just those little touches of care let me know that I was more than just a patient and they truly cared about me.
Devon Gordon had a healthy and relatively easy first pregnancy, and she’s proud to report she even managed to continue CrossFit classes throughout: “Up until the day before I gave birth. I think this really helped me mentally and physically for birth and postpartum.”
She’s grateful for her healthy pregnancy, and especially for the good health of her newborn son. “I was induced three weeks early because they were looking at my son’s heart and something was going on with it,” she explains. “They thought he needed to come early.”
Devon was anxious as her induction approached, but she was determined to focus on the positive — a mindset she believes can foster gratitude even in difficult times. Ultimately, all went smoothly during labor and delivery at Baptist Health, where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
“From the start at check in to when we checked out, every single person we came across was so wonderful, so helpful. Every nurse that we dealt with, I felt like we were their only patient,” says Devon. She’s grateful for wonderful care throughout her pregnancy journey — from the first appointment with her obstetrician, Lynne Simms, MD, to her postpartum visits to Baptist Health’s free lactation clinic, where caregivers helped her overcome breastfeeding challenges.
“This does not happen everywhere, and we could have had a very different experience, so I just wanted to really acknowledge those people who went above and beyond for us,” she says. “I can’t imagine doing their job — that’s an intense job in labor and delivery and postpartum — and I want them to know how impactful they are every day.”
Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives can foster gratitude and promote healing.
Soon after undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer in 2020, Wendy Monsanto learned the disease had progressed to stage three. It’s treatable, but not curable.
“I could take that and go one of two ways: dwell on the negative or just be grateful for the time,” says Wendy, who began working at a high school several years ago after spending 18 years as a stay-at-home mom.
Since her diagnosis, she’s chosen to focus on the positive and all that is good in her life — especially the people: “I have an awesome support group, between work family, my church family and my literal family.”
She’s also grateful for her Baptist Health caregivers. “They know me, they know my whole story, they know my kids. They just take the time to get to know you, and I really appreciate it. If you have to go through something like this, it’s nice to have that personal experience.” In particular, she’s thankful for her gynecologic oncologist, Hope Cottrill, MD. “She’s been very good to me, very open and honest, and I’ve really enjoyed having her as a doctor.”
Now more than ever, Wendy is grateful for time spent with loved ones, and she’s determined to make the most of every moment. It’s a mindset that recently inspired her to spend a week in Italy with her daughter. “Cancer made me brave,” she says. “That’s something I would have never done before…
“This is how we should be living regardless of diagnosis. It has propelled me to be grateful for what I have, the time that I have,” she adds. “My goal is to shine a light and let people know that despite awful news, you can still live every day to the fullest.”
My goal is to shine a light and let people know that despite awful news, you can still live every day to the fullest.
Kathy Fraley is an avid runner who’s logged countless miles over the years, including three half-marathons. Soon after completing the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon in the spring of 2021, Kathy redirected that strength and stamina as she began treatment for stage one breast cancer.
“I could not have had better care than what I received at Baptist Health. It was a very positive experience,” says Kathy in reflecting on her treatment, which included a lumpectomy and radiation.
Hearing the word “cancer” came as a shock, but her fears subsided thanks to kind, patient and reassuring caregivers. “The professionals at Baptist Health showed the utmost care, kindness and respect,” she says. “I feel very well taken care of and am grateful.”
Tapping into that gratitude has made a difference throughout this journey, Kathy says, helping her spiritually, physically and emotionally. “If you can be grateful, then your spiritual life is going to be in tune with God. Your physical body is going to be able to heal, because gratitude helps you look at life with a positive attitude. This aids in healing. And gratitude helps emotionally to keep our focus on all we have that’s good, right, pleasing and encouraging.
Even when we are sad or grouchy, we can’t stay that way when we remember to be grateful.
William Bridges was born at Baptist, as were his children, grandchildren and even his newborn great grandchild.
Baptist Health has long been a reliable presence during joyful times in his family, but also during challenging times, like William’s cancer diagnosis.
“I would like to express sincere appreciation for the entire staff for making a somewhat difficult situation a very positive experience,” says William, who recently underwent five rounds of Cyberknife treatment at Baptist Health. This robotic approach to radiation therapy successfully treated his cancer without debilitating side effects — and for that, he is grateful.
“They took a very negative situation and turned it into what I thought was a very positive experience, and I’m just tickled to death to be able to share my story,” he says.
Facing cancer was scary, but William immediately felt at ease upon arriving for his first treatment. The Baptist Health staff was warm and compassionate, he says, and his daily treatments were efficient: “I mean, one day I was not there 15 minutes. It’s just kind of amazing to not have to wait in the waiting room, to get a treatment of that nature, and then be out of there in 15 minutes!
“I was very grateful for the time that I had to spend there, I’ll put it that way.”
I would like to express sincere appreciation for the entire staff for making a somewhat difficult situation a very positive experience.
Brian Hughes had always been the picture of health: The 62-year-old exercises, eats healthily, and gets a yearly physical. So it came as a shock when he heard the word “cancer.”
Brian turned to Baptist Health for prostate cancer care, which included five rounds of Cyberknife treatment. This precise robotic approach to radiation therapy successfully treated his cancer with no major side effects — and for that he’s grateful.
“I am very grateful and thankful for getting in to do that and all the doctors I saw,” he says. “I am grateful that we have a facility close by so that I didn’t have to travel far. I’m glad Baptist has this technology.”
It was a trying time, but Brian felt comfortable at Baptist every step of the way, from his radiation treatments to his genetic counseling sessions. It was the genetic counselor who determined his two sons are not genetically predisposed to prostate cancer — yet another reason to be grateful.
“I am thankful for every day. I make the most of each day and look at the little things,” he says. “We only walk this way once, so let’s make the best of it.”
I am thankful for every day. I make the most of each day and look at the little things.
When an oncologist first uttered the word “cancer” to Angela Simmons, she tapped into her faith to find strength. “I said, ‘Alright God: It’s me, you and the doctor.”
Turns out a full team of doctors, nurses and other staff at Baptist Health would care for Angela throughout her cancer treatment — and for that she is grateful.
“I had a wonderful team. God really blessed me with caring people, I cannot pinpoint one,” says Angela. “I am grateful for my doctors and other staff.”
Months of chemotherapy were difficult and at times debilitating, Angela says, but the warmth and compassion shown by health care providers helped ease the burden. “During and after my chemo, if anything hurt or felt unusual, I knew I could call and they would always get back to me, usually in an hour or two. It showed me they cared… You don’t normally get doctors who reach out within an hour or two. God really blessed me with those people. God built my team.”
Angela is grateful for the strength she exhibited during these trying times. “I just cannot put into words. It was a beautiful experience, even though I had to go through it,” she says. “I truly believe God gave me the strength to go through it gracefully.”
I had a wonderful team… I am grateful my doctors.