A Chad, a cog or just happy to be in the alphabet somewhere?

Chad, cog or somewhere in the alphabet?

I was talking to a friend yesterday who mentioned some frustrations he was experiencing at work. After listening to him I replied, “Chad, cog or somewhere in the alphabet?!?”

He knows the analogy I was referring to so he smiled. Let me share with you.

It’s well known that I work in the medical field. In traditional medicine, physicians hold most of the influence and power to achieve change. Although, with the direction health care is moving in, the influence the physicians hold is becoming less (thanks to big business mindset and insurance companies).

So while I write this from a physician/mid level/patient relationship know that it can be applied to any professional or life situation.

There’s this orthopedic surgeon who is one of the absolute best in his field. He routinely takes on the impossibly difficult cases with great success. He has a physician assistant named Chad who is his clinical right hand (trying really hard to prevent sexual innuendos but this paragraph will be challenging), his partner, his go to. They are a dream team and flow effortlessly together. And as a patient you know this because not only do you observe how well they work together, but surgeon boss man informs you that you will see him initially, during surgery and then from that moment forward you will see Chad. In laying down the law or ground rules you quickly realize he values Chad. He respects Chad. And ultimately he trusts Chad. Therefore, so do you. Chad shows up every single day and kills it. Well hopefully not actually KILLS IT but he delivers! Surgeon boss man has switched hospitals multiple times and he always negotiates Chad in his deals. He has Chad’s back and Chad has his. They are a unit and it is undeniable. No doubt this professional relationship took time and work and patience.

A cog. We all know them. Maybe we are them. They show up. They work (or attempt to.) They do what needs done to keep things functioning but don’t go above or beyond the bare requirements. Basically they are just filling in the gaps to keep the machine running….a cog in the big corporate wheel. Their place could be filled by anyone and quickly will after they leave.

Somewhere in the alphabet. These people have given up on any professional excellence and count down the days to payday and ultimately retirement.

A Chad, a cog or just happy to be in the alphabet somewhere?

Life: It’s your story to write. Who do you want to be? And how do you want to be remembered?


Being a Chad in Aesthetic Medicine


Face the Mountain

You can and you will.” How many times have I heard my Mom speak these words to me. Sometimes in her most powerful parental voice laced with threatening consequences (if by chance I decided I couldn’t and didn’t) while other times these words were spoken with encouragement to help motivate me to tackle a challenging task.

I have since adopted this saying and when I talk to myself (frequent occurrence) I say “I can and I will!” The mind is a powerful tool and more often than not, the battle is won or lost just by our thoughts.

Over the years I’ve come to learn some things about myself and life.  For instance, when faced with fight, flight or freeze I…FLIGHT, run, bolt, take off!  I’m a runner and have perfected the skill of evacuation almost effortlessly.  I know where it comes from. It’s no big mystery or secret.  I endured endless ridicule when I was a kid.  Growing up with juvenile onset rheumatoid arthritis in the 1970’s was pure hell.  In this era the concept of bullying was thought of as normal childhood behavior.  A zero tolerance policy didn’t exist in our schools and as a result we were left on our own to figure it out.  I quickly learned survival meant me removing myself from whatever terrorizing situation I found myself in.  Hence, the beautifully perfected skills of running.

Fast forward 40 some years and ya’know what happens to runners? Eventually we run out places to run and we must stand and face the discomfort.  We soon realize whatever we keep running from is inescapable because it continues to show up every place we sprint to until we deal with it.   It’s like our worst life scenarios on repeat.  Whether it’s an adult bully, difficult job, difficult co-worker, unfair treatment, invisibility, domineering relationships, or whatever, freedom will never truly exist until we deal with the issues we’re running from.

Yeah.  Not comfortable territory but I’m learning to embrace this new area called standing still.  And when I’m tempted to “Run   Beth,   Run,” I hear my beautiful Mom’s words in my head, “Bethann, you can and you will!” and I {errrkkk-screeching breaks} stop.

I can and I will. Day by day. Thought by thought. Action by action.

How many fellow runners do I have out there?  How many pairs of situational running shoes have you worn out?

Remember, you can and you will.  Stand. Win the battle AND the war because your life is meant to be great. I speak from experience, running brings a sense of fatiguing disorder and disruption that interferes with peace. Face that mountain instead of wondering (running) around it!

We can and we will.  Stand and be still.

Have a great week!!!


Stand (or sit with feet up and shoes unlaced) Be Still. No running permitted.



Thinking not sleeping

Its after 3am and here I sit.  Awake.  Wide awake.  Why?  Because my mind won’t shut off.  I think, therefore I am awake.

I’m thinking about my Mom and how much I miss her. It’s been a year since she’s been gone and it still doesn’t seem real. I dreamt about her while I crash napped after work today.  In my dream she was praying for me…and I believe she actually was.

I’m thinking about my job, some choices I have to make and wondering how these choices will impact my future and where said future will take me.

I’m thinking I really wish my Mom was here so I could talk to her about everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. And call her a gazillion times a day because I remembered something or forgot to tell her something or needed to ask her something…a gazillion times just because I could.

I’m thinking about my daughter in college and the amount of debt she’s accruing [more than the cost of our suburbia home] without a making-money-right-out-of-school major and the fact that yours truly co-signed those loans taking on financial responsibility should she fail to pay is more sickening than her threats to find a sugar daddy.  {sorta}

I’m thinking at 46yrs old how much I STILL need my Mom.  Every. Single. Day.  More emotionally than anything else but…I mean I recently had the flu and I kept wishing my Mom was there to hold back my Rapunzel mane while I blew chunks.   While Mr. Pavlov means well, I find his his “you okay?” (as I’m the reincarnation of a geyser in human form) lacking.  And the kids? You can fill in that mental picture on your own but let’s just say it involves verbal groans of disgust and rapid departure from the scene.

I’m thinking how some people really suck and I would love to trip them while they walk and then, out of nowhere I’m getting the warm and fuzzies for all of the truly good and wonderful people in my life. (Imma stay right here on the warm and fuzzies for a minute.)

I’m thinking if my Mom was still her I could call her right now…and guaranteed she would be awake!

I’m thinking I’m going to be thinking for the rest of the night.

One thing I do know for sure.  I miss my Mom and this hurt is not going to stop anytime soon, if ever.


Girl Trip North Carolina before she was diagnosed 




Naked and [not] afraid

“We didn’t like the way your mammogram looked. You need to come back for more imaging.”

Any woman who has ever received a call like this knows the dread that creeps into your soul. And those of us with dense breasts are more likely to get these calls.

The tech was sweet. She tried to be nonchalant but as soon as she zeroed in on one area of my breast rather than a general exploration, I knew they saw something and were on a search and discovery mission.

“But I have dense breasts. It’s nothing.” I told myself as I lay calmly. After forever of Ultrasound probing, she smiled and said she had to check images with the radiologist. A few minutes later she came back and went to town again in the target area getting more pictures. She left me once again to confer with the radiologist. And this time it seemed like forever.

Thoughts started to creep their way into my mind. “What if it is something?” I had already had biopsies in the past and know that drill and the waiting process involved. But before I could feed that fear the radiologist herself came into the room and I know enough to KNOW that something was up. She smiled and said she wanted to get the images herself and took over the Ultrasound probing of my boob. She left me alone while she went to confer with a colleague.

I was alone. For a long time. Waiting. And you know that fear that I didn’t get a chance to feed? Well it came back hungry for my thoughts. I began to think about my beautiful Mom and her battle with breast cancer. All of the images of her last days flooded my mind. I started to think about my kids and what they would have to go through. I felt my heart race, my breathing quickened and tears began to form in my eyes. Then it the midst of that torment I felt a calming peace flood my being. I smiled because I knew what was happening. Absolutely nothing.

I was feeling fear but had nothing to fear. It was all “What ifs” Simply put, fear is nothing more than Faith in the wrong kingdom.

The door opened and in walked the tech sans radiologist and informed me the radiologist(s) wanted to get a 3D frontal mammogram. I know the drill. I quickly assumed the position and up on the slab went my boob.Then I sat alone again and waited, refusing to think of anything other than the gazillion things I had to do once I got home.

Door opened and in hurried the tech who now informed me the radiologist wanted her to examine my breast. Seriously? This was a new level of service. I mean my OBGYNE regularly feels me up but a radiology tech? Brand new experience!

So I flashed her the goods and she began to position me and look for any irregularities while she yelled down the hall to the two radiologists in the viewing room viewing my films “No, everything looks good. I don’t see any dimpling or puckering or…well, it looks perfect.” I smiled proudly as I repeated “My boob is absolutely perfect.”

Still wearing the goofy perfect boob smile, I noticed the radiologist walking down the hall toward my room. She looked concerned and puzzled. Very puzzled. She proceeded to inform me that they could identify the dense tissue and where it had been biopsied before but there was an area of tunneling that they couldn’t figure out.

I echoed her word “tunneling?” Then added “As in something a nipple piercing could cause?” She nodded and replied, “Yes but we checked and you don’t have your nipples pierced.” A big, huge, perma-smile of extreme relief spread across my face and I informed her that I did BUT TOOK THEM OUT FOR THE PROCEDURE!!!!! (Because who wants to have their boob smashed while wearing metal jewelry?) She looked mortified and then relieved as she nodded and clapped her hands together. “That’s it! That explains it!!” She yelled. And the boob-probing-feeling-up-3D-mammogram-radiology-tech let out a “Oh Thank God!”

Yes, thank-you God. See, if you allow fear to have power over your mind and thoughts a simple, stupid piercing quickly becomes cancer and the belief is enforced by the actions of medical personnel and the mental and physical torment snowballs from there.

We always have a choice. Our thoughts and our actions are ours. We control them. I choose positivity and faith even though I was tempted to give the radiologist a smack down for making assumptions and not taking a better history but….positivity remember?

And again, fear is Faith in the wrong kingdom. Empower Faith, not fear.

And if all else fails, get naked

Go and Do and Be and See

I met Mr. P when he was 1/2 way across the world in the Middle East.  Here’s a link to that story because we’re going to talk other stuff  The letter that started it all Filipino born and raised he entered America at 18yrs, lived in Chicago for a short time (frost bite on Filipino bodies is particularly traumatizing) before quickly signing onto the 82nd Airborne where he got his cute, little, recently American, frozen toosh shipped over seas into a rough area.  This boy can truly live and function anywhere.  He can bloom wherever he’s planted and has an adaptability comparable to a dandelion (total compliment, honestly)

I was a home-grown girl who lived with an adventurous and daring mother.  She was/is a free spirit who longed to see the world and was always pushing us to go further than we planned (both with travel and life goals).  Thanks to her, we traveled more than your average family back in the 70-80’s.  My dad was a nervous wreck and if up to him we would’ve stayed in our back yard all year long.  But he loved big.  He gave big. So needless to say, he traveled…often.  I gained an education in new vocabulary words and hand gestures as he frantically navigated our HUGE 1970 BUICK SKYLARK through Chicago traffic while we traveled cross country to Montana.  Here’s a peak at one of our trips….Montana, like I KNOW you’ve never experienced.

Thanks to these life events, Mr. P and I knew the importance of experiencing our world.   A long time ago we decided to invest in life experiences rather than “stuff.” And we have held onto this motto since our early newlywed days living in Washington D.C.  For a young, newly married couple, we had a lot of money and could’ve spent it on anything. We made choices.

A few of the choices we made…..While other people had luxury apartments, we opted to be bargain cellar dwellers right in the heart of NW D.C. We were living, breathing vampires each time we exited our apartment and the sunlight touched our bodies.  We actually cringed and threw our hands over our faces.  I do believe our bodies singed and smoked slightly. We had to access our basement apartment off of a dark alley way. Talk about shadows in the night?  We often worked opposite shifts which left me coming home alone.  At night. But I was a vampire, remember?  I got this. I perfected my “I’ll-jack-you-up-if-you-lay-a hand-on-me”  confident walk (I actually believe I’m good enough to teach some techniques).   We had an old tube TV with rabbit ear antenna and drove a banger Toyota death trap (because who really NEEDS a car in the city?) And when our banger Toyota got scraped, hit, keyed or egged we didn’t bleed out and die.  Vamps suck blood, we don’t lose it.

BUT what did we GAIN from these choices?  EATING out EVERY dang time we WANTED, WHENEVER we wanted!  Do you know there is Ethiopian food and it’s really GOOD?!? We ate our way through all of DC those 3 years without even losing a fang and it was divine.  Of course we toured and traveled and spent our money on experiences rather than being strapped to a luxury apartment, expensive furnishings or a fancy car.

We invested in life experiences.

Fast forward to three kids and our current suburban lives.  Ahh suburbia.  Keeping up with the Joneses was coined for a reason.  Yes, we live in an affluent area where the average house price is close $500K and beyond. However, keeping true to our motto, we purchased an older split entry level 3 bedroom home (4 if you count the bedroom we added on – yes ADD ON construction!) We drive average cars.  We try our best to live on one income even though we both work.  Sticking to one income living and saving most of the second income has allowed us the freedom to travel when and where we want, resign from work when an arrogant, narcissist obtains employment and take time to find another job without the stress, pressure and panic.  I much prefer this option over being financially trapped in an abusive situation.

But we now have kids.  And kids like “stuff.”

Each and every one of our kids has experienced the jaw dropping moment when they go over to a friend’s 5 bedroom house and their bedroom with attached bath (I’m told all kids need their own bathroom) is larger than our entire home, with a theater room (according to many families this is a need not a want), an exercise room, a pantry larger than my kitchen (and my kitchen is pretty large – again, add on!)  and an outside oasis.

It’s inevitable.  They come home looking as if they’ve been cheated. Lied to. Deprived. They wine.  They compare. They ask why we can’t have this or that.  I listen. I nod in apparent understanding while I recall multiple encounters I’ve had over the years with my Aesthetic Medicine clients.  One of my jobs involves injecting Botox and Facial fillers to maintain youth (until we find the fountain). I cannot tell you how many of these individuals live in these homes, drive super high end vehicles, wear ward robes that cost a years salary but claim they can’t afford my $140 lash growth serum or ask to do less Botox because they can’t afford the total treatment.  Whaaaa?   Seriously?  Ok, either they are strapped in debt from living above their means in order to keep up appearances or are super cheap.

I snap out of my mental wanderings and remind my ungrateful lovelies that we can afford all of those things and more but that would be our lives.  We would stay in our expensive homes, poop in our own personal bathrooms, eat choking hazard popcorn while watching a movie in our theater room, drive our cushy cars, dress like runway models, claim that we can’t afford a $140 product and destroy our skin in our outdoor oasis. But that would be it.  And I add

remember kids…(please remember) we choose to invest in life experiences rather than stuff.

If that’s the life experience they want then…ok.   But as they think, REALLY think about it (you can see all of the travel memories flash in front of them) they ultimately decide it isn’t worth it. Then they laugh and begin the “remember the time we went….”

For some people going into debt, living large while complaining they can’t afford things or solely living large is what they want and that’s ok. But this Mama wants to travel the world with her kids and give them more than a fancy home and all the “stuff” in it ever could.

I’m going to leave you with a just a few of the experiences we’ve invested in. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic so these are of my “babies” and their earlier adventures.


Reading about is different than actually climbing on a gigantic termite hill


And you think our house is small?


Don’t mind not having your own bathroom now huh? Because your toilet actually has a flushing system.


Gigantic white woman in tiny diesel bus.  I was a total giant in the Philippines. 


testing the senses at the fish market, Philippines


When in Japan, Pop a squat


Dangling food is her thing, Sea of Galilee 


Making bread in the Middle East


Better than a fancy vehicle


In the Middle Eastern sands


Taking it all in


A “man” among men


Rock Mushroom, Negev


Testing the boundaries


“You are a man so you must walk in front of the woman” Josh got an education while in Jordan and escaped to walk with me many times. Each time he was returned to the front. Again, it’s one thing to hear about it but to actually EXPERIENCE it? Priceless.


Not letting Josh walk with the women, Jordan.


Your room doesn’t seem so bad now Josh?


Our quarters in the sand


Ahhh, comfort at it’s finest


Lock and Load baby! IDF 


Testing more boundaries. It’s his thing.


Donnie getting his teeth bleached in the Philippines…experiences!!


A medical clinic? Yes.


Dangling some food again


Stateside with the grumpy Little


Seeing the famous bakery NJ


Typical NYC fun


After a week of subway, I like my average car just fine.



We are women. We are beautiful.



Women are vicious creatures.  We are skilled, ruthless warriors.  We compare.  We compete. We devour. We destroy.

Whoa, what’s this have to do with the title? A little too pessimistic? Overly dramatic maybe? Well then take this scenario:

Another woman walks into the area you call “your zone.” She’s not only beautiful but her 6’0″ frame is that of total perfection. She’s intelligent, articulate (of course fluent in at least 5 languages), hysterical – a natural born comedian, interesting, always knows what to say, bold yet good natured, compassionate, nice smelling, her voice is hypnotizing and everyone around her stops, looks and listens (she’s a freaking human stop sign)

What do you (ahem, fellow women) do? We already know the men’s response (insert visual of a humping dog.) If you’re honest you’ve likely had a few responses.  I’m about to out us.  Ready?

  1. You look at her standing there in her perceived perfectly created state and hate her disgusting existence.  Just because. Nothing should be so perfect.  You don’t even want to get to know her. She needs to be despised.  And besides, she’s likely rotten to the core…you know these things and will slay her before she can contaminate the rest of mankind.  Sword drawn. She will not get past you.
  2. You look at her immaculately kept physique and know that you are a frumpy bug that she can easily spear with her 4″ Jimmy Choos.  You are suddenly inadequate in her presence.  A troll that needs to slink back under the bridge you crawled out of earlier that day. Your true nature is revealed in her presence and it is painful. You know you can’t destroy her but maybe if you gathered enough other bug-like trolls you could make her life miserable enough that she uses her Jimmy Choos to propel herself back up on the cloud that she descended from.  She is not welcome in your underworld.
  3.  You look at her and realize you just laid eyes on the most beautiful, coolest, celestial  creature to suck air.  Your heart does little flip flops with each tap of her manicured nails and toss of her mane. You MUST become her BFF because you will become JUST like her (pure osmosis people.)  You then observe and copy her every move.  The you that was you exists only to become like her. She will either make you her faux friend (i.e. ego boosting slave) or get a little creeped out because you’re acting like a total psycho.  If the latter happens you call her a stuck up bitch and often resort to #1.
  4.   Warning, this is only reserved for the wise and mature women who are comfortable in their own skin:  You look at this fellow woman who has all of the same beautiful parts as you do and appreciate the things that make her uniquely her.  You realize that you are on the same team sharing the same struggles and opportunities. You are not threatened or made uncomfortable by her because you’ve accepted the fact that you’re pretty damn awesome yourself.  You offer sincere friendship and connect with her human to human (unless she is having reaction #1, 2, 0r 3 to you. Then you punch the crazy bitch out.)

Imagine if every. single. woman. approached each other every. single. time. implementing #4.  Our woman world would be strong. United. Familial simply because we had vaginas.

Now, I’m not talking about the toxic, nuclear waste material woman. Of course we need to set boundaries (fortified military grade perimeters) refusing to allow her manipulations to infect us. I’m referring only to the above scenario where a perfect lamb enters the scene and we are instantly hell bent on search and destroy missions.

We sleep with another woman’s husband and justify it (sorry, not sorry I have zero tolerance for this one.) We take the side of men over our female sisters. We judge.  We blame.  We attack. We accuse…each other.  Girls it needs to stop.  We need to start acting like women. We need to support one another.  Accept each other. Love each other.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not perfect. Not only am I sporting a big, black, bulky, awkward, surgical boot but I’m currently testing out natural deodorant (because cancer sucks.) I’m sweating up the pits of all of my shirts. This girl sweats. A lot. And I’m staining the pits of my previously nice white shirts (yes, gross.)



These pits are a white shirt grave yard

I’m intimately aware of each and all of my (many) flaws and imperfections.  And right now the people in my daily world are aware that I have a sweating problem and unfortunate choice in foot ware.

If Miss Perfect were to come into “my zone” right now I may be a tad uncomfortable.  But only for a minute.  Because the one thing life has taught me is to embrace each other. So I’d reach out and give Miss Perfect a sincere, warm, moist hug.  If she tried to spear me with her spiked heel in a desperate attempt to escape, I’d employ my bulky, impenetrable, black boot.  I’d wrap my arm pits around her and hold her tight for several minutes (just until it got a little creepy awkward.)  

She’d literally feel the love and know that we are on the same team. We share the same sword and I do not need to draw mine on her.  We have our own battle wounds that life  inflicted and through understanding we help to shield each other. I’m not threatened of being speared with her Jimmy Choos because I have my own and they’re pretty fine.  I don’t need to be her because I like who I am.  It fits me well.  And I appreciate who she is.

We are women and we are beautiful. Together.


Sleepless and too old for slumber parties

I didn’t sleep last night. Not one single second.  Not because I feared waking up naked or finding myself the unfortunate owner of poorly drawn permanent marker body art because I was the sap who tapped out first.  You had to attend at least one slumber party (usually all female) to understand the previous statement. If you didn’t and don’t then slit your wrists now. There’s no hope for you. 

No I was awake, wide awake. All.Night.Long because pain is a bully and doesn’t let sleep or anything else (I vaguely remember loving food) play on the playground. 

Pain is all consuming. A violent force demanding attention. I usually like to throw something at it and tell it to shut up. But there comes a point when you’ve reached (inhaled, snorted, chewed) the maximum allotted pain meds before all breathing is fatally suppressed, slathered yourself in every imaginable essential oil blend, prayed, praised, and ugly cried before you realize, “Damn, this is here to hang out for awhile.” 

But thankfully this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

First, feel it (whatever it may be. For me, now it’s pain.) Acknowledge it. Admit it’s there because all the denying is simply that…denial.  Take a look at my toes below. See those pins? Denying the pain would be like denying the fact that those pins are in my toes.  Stupid, yet people insist on stupidity. A simple “shit this hurts” should suffice.
Second, walk through realizing that the victory has already been won in Christ. That’s the truth!  The truth always trumphs the fact (so suck it pain.) Among all of the goodies we freely receive with a simple name drop, I believe anything we personally endure we now have super-powered-authority-victory over. So guess what? I may have had to experience countless hours of extreme pain but know this…when I lay my hands on someone pain will get its ass kicked!

Third, there’s something about praise that causes pain and other uglies to flee…eventually. Recently I could only croak out, “I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord.” Even though I took redundancy to a new level and barely whispered, it was enough because He saw my heart. He knew I chose to praise through the intensity of the pain. 

So as the sun rises with my MS Contin, Oxycodone, bath of essential oils and praise in my heart all on board, I feel as if sleep might finally say hello. And I plan to close my eyes and tap out without any concern because I’m in good hands!

He who watches over Israel and 40-some year old women still traumatized from pre-teen sleep overs never slumberes or sleeps ps 121:4