Smiling Through Pain

Let’s start with the biggest news of all from my most recent Stanford appointment. This is, well… basically… HUGE!

Are you sitting down?



Forgive me for all the build-up, but this is a really big deal. If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I reference this extremely buggy issue often.

But…I have lost 10 lbs. …and being able to avoid the awkward conversation with the nurses of why I can’t take my ring off was HEAVEN. And hopefully the weight loss will continue and begin to show up in other places besides my ring finger!

This procedure required an IV and THAT turned into a comedy of not-so-funny errors. The first nurse about KILLED me with several failed attempts. She discreetly slipped away and nurse Donna gave it a few unsuccessful tries. Donna decided to send for Dan who is their best guy for challenging patients.

Meanwhile, I quickly got Ed’s attention, asking him to send out an IV-SOS-text for prayer to Wendy and Kelly because I was now nauseous and faint— not to mention BRUISED and hurting. The problem, however, is Ed is not a fast texter:  He over-thinks his wording and spelling before he will send anything. In the chaos of the moment, I SWEAR he asked me how to spell “IV.”  Hah!

Before the infamous Dan could arrive, an older nurse named Dixie stepped in to give it a try. Donna tried to persuade her to wait for Dan, but Dixie was determined! Donna literally leaned over me and whispered, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen.”

Oh my!!

Funny thing… Dixie got it.  First try.  No bruising.

I also had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound.  Not my favorite appointment for a number of reasons… mainly, my mom died of breast cancer and I find myself fighting twinges of fear and being super sad when these times come up.

During the ultrasound, the technician suddenly stopped the screening and with a concerned tone in her voice said, “I need to get someone to look at this.”

She abruptly left the room and I was lying there with instant tears, thinking, “This is it.  They’re gonna say I have breast cancer just like my mom.”

My mom was beautiful— reserved, classy, graceful. I feel TOTALLY ripped off to not know her through the different seasons of life. I really miss her and Mother’s Day weekend is a nice opportunity to write about her, reminding the world that Devona Dean Polk lived and was a remarkable person! Sometimes I wonder if God took her home early (age 46) because she had finally worked through all her past pain… kind of like ending on a note of joy and emotional wholeness. I don’t know. I’m not God and let’s just reiterate my life mantra yet again: I trust him. Period.

The two technicians entered the room and began fiddling with the computer screen. Within minutes the problem was diagnosed… an equipment malfunction which was never about me at all. If the original technician hadn’t been so grumpy, I would have pointed out that after reviewing a patient’s medical history, one should not run from the room stating you need someone to look at this!

Finally, many of you have asked about Eddie’s shoulder since his driveway-motorcycle accident. It hurts and is still not quite right. I don’t want to flat out say it’s an emergency situation, BUT… he’s unable to massage my neck and shoulders because of the pain, so… it’s pretty critical he deals with it!

Seriously, I keep encouraging him to follow-up on it because his future well-being and livelihood depend on it and it’s just not any fun to be in pain.

Speaking of pain, I hope Mother’s Day is a nice day for you. I KNOW it can be hard for a variety of reasons. There was a time in my life when my mom had passed away AND I was just finding out I was unable to have kids. On Mother’s Day the emotional pain was simply TOO MUCH!! If you will be attending a church service where they ask all the moms to stand up and you are struggling with becoming a mom…as Nurse Donna would say, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen!”

I do pray you find a reason to smile through life’s challenges and are able to bring some joy and laughter to those around you.

You can always borrow a line from Eddie and ask someone how to spell “IV”!!








Lock It Up

It happened in a flash.  The soft click reverberated throughout the parking lot.  I was milli-seconds away from catching my thoughtless mistake.  To me, the cost would be high.  My keys were locked in, or rather… I was locked out.

I can count on one hand how many times I have done this in my lifetime – definitely not characterized by it.  Why today?  … The day I have a two-hour reprieve in the sanctuary of my car while my youngest aspires to be a ballerina.

Fighting tears of disappointment, I longingly peered through the window at my coffee, protein shake, laptop, Bible, journal, books and magazines.  Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!  My phone was in my hand- though pretty much useless as it indicated 7 % battery left.

Deep breathing staved off the tears as I began chatting with God.  “Okay.  You must have a plan.  I’ll just mosey in to the dance studio and await the divine encounter you have for me.”  I made myself cozy on one of the over-stuffed chairs in the lobby, ready for my moment.

Nothing.  People came and went without the slightest interest in engaging in conversation.

TWO HOURS later – phone dead, body weary – Olivia emerged from her class.  As we walked out the door, my rescuer veered around the corner.  With a simple click, Ed unlocked my mini-van.  I tried to express gratitude, not frustration over the enormous amount of time it took for him to arrive.

Coffee cold.  Protein shake warm.  Books unopened.  Laptop packed away.  Taking it all in was a reminder of the missed moments.

Texts and phone calls came in as my phone charged.  Everyone wanted something, AND they wanted it done the most convenient way for THEM.  Not one person asked what would work best for me.  I found myself trying to accommodate all the requests.  That’s when it hit me – in a little way at first, followed by a bigger revelation, followed by a practical revelation that hit me like a landslide.  This was the test.

I had wanted help immediately when I locked my keys in the car.  THAT’S what was best for ME.  Circumstances with Ed, however, negated a different outcome.  I had never really considered what was most convenient for him.

I stretched this thinking further:  When I had cancer, it really was not about me.  It was (and is) all about God.  Instead of focusing on why me… the question has to be, “What is best for you, God?”

I took a moment to run through the difficult events in my life – mom dying, infertility, mudslide, cancer.  “What was best for YOU, God?”  It was a new twist on the phrase, “All for God’s glory.”

As I let these spiritual thoughts sink in, God brought my thinking back to some practical insights.  I virtually never ask Eddie what would be best for him, yet I almost always expect him to be thinking that way about me.  I guess I am a lot more selfish than I care to admit.

My life right now is at an all time fast-paced mode of activities and busyness.  I am barely hanging on.  Consequently, every time I connect with Ed, it is through the lens of him helping me.  Making it all work out best for me.  Helping me wrap up loose ends.  Me!  Me!  Me!  And because he is able to handle so much -so incredibly well – I just never really ask what is best for him.  This was the practical, landslide revelation for me.  The “where the rubber meets the road, baby” moment.

I’m selfish.  I’m convicted.  In a way, I’m encouraged.  I’m hopeful.  I’m all those things that can begin the process of change.  The practical becomes the, vehicle in which God can drive me to a deeper walk of faith.

God has his work cut out for Him.  Even as I write this, I’ve blown it more times than I can count on both hands… definitely characterized by self-centeredness.

Ephesians 4:22b-24  “…put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

I’m so far from that ending phrase… true righteousness and holiness.  I choose to cling to God for the ride of my life.  I’m giving Him the keys to my heart.  I’m out of the driver’s seat (overdoing the car analogies a bit perhaps?).  I don’t want to crash and burn (Okay.  I’m done).  Time to trade in my attitude for a new one (done for real this time).