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

A Good Egg

I mentioned in my previous post that a beautiful person in my life, my Mom, was recently diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer.  While I’m not going to give very much attention on here to this topic [because cancer sucks and doesn’t even deserve the single mention I just gave it] I do want to honor my Mom.  In fact, this honoring is going to continue well into May and Mother’s Day.  So Mom, sorry but you’ll just have to deal with the attention.

Things have not been easy these last several months for our family.  When one member is hurting, the entire family unit hurts.  But true to our nature we try to heal the hurt with humor.

It all began with a head shaving party lead by her son-in-law, Mr. Pavlov.


Dear Lord what am I doing?!? Remember, I’ve been a good Mother-in-law….


OY VEY! Deep breaths….


Serious work


Offering support. Don’t worry Mimi, that ear will grow back besides, you have two.


The incredibly happy look and large smile worn by Mr. Pavlov is concerning.

So who knew that there’s this whole show-your-support-and-shave-your-non-cancer-head thing that people do?  My daughter and I, who are descendants of Rapunzel (I’m convinced of this fact) began to get twitchy over the nobel notion.  Just as we were about to make the huge sacrifice of losing an inch or two (I mean  an entire inch…that counts for something!) these beautiful people decided to go full blown commando shaven.


These two are pretty super and just incase you didn’t know…this is actually the real Superman.


Two strong women


It seems certain members of our tribe have developed a fondness for her numerous wigs. With each new wig comes the “ooooo” and “Ahhhh” and of course the mandatory sampling of the goods. Test driving the wig starts by yanking it off of her cute, bald head, running to the nearest mirror and usually ends in front of a camera phone. Yes, we are deplorable and social media rules.


Sometimes you gotta strike a pose, vogue and steal your Mimi’s wig


The wig knows no gender….

And when she finally lost her eyebrows we, of very-little-eyebrow-drawing-on- experience, were there to hook her up with brows.  Hey, that’s what family is for right?


She’s very trusting….wonder if she prefers The Joker or Spock?

Life has a way of throwing surprise parties and when it does you want to surround yourself with people who really know you and will support you.  People who not only say, “I’m here for you during the good, the bad, the ugly” but also who back up their talk (which can be so meaningless) with hard core action.

My dad is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of action.  He has been like a mother hen caring for his chick during this nasty ordeal.  Anyone who knows my Mom quickly realizes that he has his work cut out for him.  The “chick” is strong, determined and independent.  Rest or taking it easy is not something that comes naturally to her.  She created the term “burning the candle at both ends” and goes until she can go no more.


Yet another Chemo day and Dad is never far away.

Mom valentines day

Valentine’s Day is not ruined by Chemo day and fatigue thanks to Dad.

And when she finally crashes, he is there as he said he would be.  These are the people you want in your corner when the battle rages.

Talk is cheap. Words are just words unless they are backed up.  Sadly, people disappoint.  I’ve had my share of disappointments recently and it is the sucky behavior people throw at you that causes you to truly appreciate and value the good eggs in your life.


Two of my favorite eggs. My brother always did look more like her!

And I’m holding onto mine a little tighter….

I love you Mom!

A girl interrupted.

I was walking into work today deep in thought.  My mind was mauling over the previously mentioned “baggage” that 2015 is starting off with.  We, as a family have some serious decisions facing us.  I’m talking the heavy stuff but desperately wishing for the “paper or plastic?” decision making variety.

Let’s table the decision talk for awhile and face some facts.  My beautiful Mom was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  I’ll write more about this later but  she is a general in her faith and one of the strongest women I know.  It’s pretty sad when the “patient” (i.e. Mom) is telling the family member (i.e. Me et al.)  “I’ll be ok.”   We should be the ones encouraging her and yet, true to her nature, she continues to protectively care for us.  She has begun the long treatment process (below) while we try to be useful…if nothing else we provide the sick, distorted, dysfunctional humor to distract and deny the facts.

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But decisions are to be made and I was deep in thought.  I was also being slightly pessimistic and maybe even a little pissed over the tendency of humans to meddle in the affairs of others and create unnecessary talk.  With this talk comes wildly incorrect information and by the time it’s repeatedly circulated it becomes difficult to find even a nugget of truth in the muck.  So yeah, I was pissed.

But God understands His creation and unconditionally loves.  He is good.  This fact I know regardless of the storms around me.

In His unconditional love and understanding of my extremely pessimistic thoughts I heard a voice belt out,

Now that’s the optimism I love!!

I chuckled as I appreciated the sarcasm and then looked up to see if God Himself had appeared in the flesh to deliver me this message.  And he did.  In the form of His human creation.  A man, who was exiting the hospital and who I had failed to notice due to my self preoccupation, stood before me smiling from ear to ear.  He repeated again,

Now that’s the optimism I love!

Keep it up and maybe we’ll get somewhere.

I paused and began to laugh truly appreciating the humor of my God.  I was also at a total loss as to what in the heck this seemingly nice man was talking about.  Just as I began to wonder if he was a Psych ward escapee he saved himself with,

It’s sixty degrees out right?!?

I mean you’re not wearing a coat so it must be warm! We can hope!!

I looked down at my body clad only with thin scrubs and a lab coat just as I felt the negative temps and wind hitting my skin.  Oh yeah, a coat! Of course!  I never wear one when I’m in the hospital.  I don’t have a place to keep it and carrying it around with me all day? Not an option! So I have grown accustomed to rapidly scurrying across the parking lot before I turn into a human ice block.

Now it all made sense and I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfectly timed interaction.  My God, what a God!  I am truly thankful that He knows us and uses everyday occurrences to speak.  I am always willing to be a girl interrupted…by God!

I am not God (shocking, I know) but in my humanness I’m going to speak.  To all of those people who like to meddle, gossip, and delight in the misfortune of others…I feel sad for you.  Sad that your life is not full enough to enjoy.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe my daughter actually says it the best…


Live your own life and forget about the lives of others unless you can actually offer sincere help.


Goodbye 2014.

And I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.  In fact, I thick my foot got prematurely lodged in your backside trying to hurry the process along.  I will spare you glorious readers the “Oh how my year sucked” details but here is one highlight.

My knee decided it no longer wanted to straighten.  I know, insane right?  A hinge joint deciding it no longer required to comply with the anatomical rules of operation.


But nonetheless I found myself in the ER (above) with a stubbornly flexed knee.  After two ER docs and about 10 ortho residents and a few fellows had their manipulative way with me, I was told to follow up with the Attending surgeon.

Much to the disappointment of all the young ortho bucks, I guess the attending would get to be the one to exercise his virility and unlock the beast.  But I would like to thank a particular ortho resident.  His extremely hairy chest and gold chain beating on it with each forceful manipulation helped to momentairly distract me from the pain and I’m convinced, kept me from passing out.

I mean first, that much chest hair? Not my thing.  And secondly, how in the heck could that chain beat so freely and with such force without getting caught in all of that bush?  It was truly fascinating.

Clearly he was unaware of my voyeuristic activities or the fact that he was grunting and sweating.  I can only imagine what the scene looked like from another angle.  It would have been comical had I not been every shade of the rainbow and about to vomit from pain.


But enough about hairy chested residents.  My temporary ride above sucked and I gained new appreciation for my legs and for the support of my family.  My daddy (above sporting the look of worry) is truly a one-of-a-kind wonderful man and second to none.  He has always been my hero and I shadowed him relentlessly as a kid and would probably continue to if it wasn’t so creepy.   But let’s face it, good men are worth shadowing.


It was love at first perma skin mark between me and the ortho attending.  He had me at “GA Yes.” Rather than spreading my legs and contorting me into the various pretzel formations that his younger, inexperienced counterparts attempted, he decided to give me good drugs and take care of business arthroscopic style.  And the fact that he marked the correct body part to invade was a huge bonus for this girl.


Someone should’ve told anesthesia to keep the good drugs running because when I finally came to pain had been playing on my playground for awhile.  And anyone who knows anything about pain knows that once it gets ahead of you it is game over…pack your bags….time to find a drug dealer and shoot up heroine.


I spent much time on the couch during my recovery.  And as all mothers can confirm, our children are never far away.  I’m extremely thankful for the rare occasions that I’ve been able to poop in private.  In fact, my bowels literally shut down when there’s not a kid competing for attention.  We’re taking full blown constipation until a child returns to get things jump started again.  I think I’ll require bowel retraining when they all leave for college.

During one of my many moments on the couch I happened to look over and there was under ware clad Tres lighting up the room with his moon.

“Laughter doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22) and I had much medicine that day.

2015, you’re starting off with some baggage but I believe that you have the makings of greatness in you.  So goodbye 2014, don’t let my foot cause you too much discomfort on the way out….hello 2015!