Eeyore on Steroids: “I’d Look on the Bright Side if I Could Find it!”

I gave my usual ‘I need your best person because I’m a really hard stick’ speech to the pleasant lady checking me in for bloodwork. She was unable to locate orders which was strange as I had literally JUST walked across the hall after meeting with my doctor with clear instructions to go straight to the lab. The last thing I needed was more waiting, escalating the anxiety.

I had prayed for an uneventful appointment with my Stanford doctor, and so far, my prayer was answered… other than a possible naked man leaning his backside against an apartment window on the hospital grounds. I say possible because at first glance, I would SWEAR that’s what I saw and not wanting to stare, I can’t completely confirm.

My anxiety was simply based on dreading needles, NOT on any unusual findings. Everything was fairly routine with a quick scope procedure and check-up. The biggest challenge for all my doctors is managing follow-up care for lynch syndrome. My oncologist stated she spends a chunk of time the night before she sees me analyzing where we are and what needs to be done.

High maintenance in yet another area of my life! Hah!

After 30 minutes of entertaining myself with heating pads on my uncooperative veins, it was finally my turn. The lab is set up in a circle with full view of everyone getting their blood drawn. While contemplating the reasoning for this, I was directed to take the one and only chair in the middle of the awkward circle. I guess she hadn’t picked up on what a baby I am and how this might not be the best idea to have all eyes on me.

Even though the lab tech was amazing, I still found myself fighting the usual tears as I prepared to leave. It’s my moment of feeling sorry for myself, sad I have to walk through this. I’m sure it’s just my way of releasing all the emotions of getting through another doctor visit and hoping everything is fine.

Rounding the corner to the waiting room, I saw a family friend. It was great to see her and she quickly caught me up on the details of the last few months of her life. Cancer had been found in her spinal fluid and now she was undergoing harsh treatments of radiation and chemo in hopes of prolonging her life.

As crazy as it sounds, she looked wonderful! Even in the midst of describing horrific details, she was absolutely radiating with positivity. She laughed often, joyfully declaring how God is in control no matter the interruption to how she thought her life would unfold this year.

I was convicted to say the least.

I KNOW I’ve grown in my faith, but my friend challenged me to take it to the next level with God. Just that week I had been describing a woe-is-me, negative person to a friend and used the phrase, “She’s like Eeyore on steroids.”  I now felt like the phrase could accurately describe me and how I’ve been viewing God’s ability to work in certain areas of my life, mainly having to do with my kids. I’VE been the Eyeore-on-steroids person who only sees the impossible obstacles we are facing and not the God-who-can-move-mountains-Heavenly-Father who is more than able to meet all our needs, big and small!

I’ve been reading Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able, and the description on the back starts with, “Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.” She explores Ephesians 3:20-21, building her case that God is always up to great things.

This is my summary/narrative of the verses based on her book:

Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now (our current reality and God’s present ability) to Him (eyes on Jesus!) who is able to do (for YOU) exceeding abundantly beyond (Lord, please do this or something better) all that we ask or think (He’s got it totally covered) according to the power that works within us, (flip the switch— depend heavily and consistently on the Spirit of God— make room for HIS ability) to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. AMEN!

I began journaling prayers for my three kids; what am I believing God for in their lives? On Cory’s page (which happens to be the longest right now…TEENAGERS!!) I wrote a specific prayer for his grade in summer school math. This is actually a HUGE concern in that he missed passing the second semester by one point. ONE POINT!! High school math is HARD and it has been challenging for little mister. Under my journaled prayer, I wrote…

God Is Able!

The class is now halfway done and Cory has a 95!

GOD IS ABLE!!

It might be a small example to you, but to me… it’s miraculous! AND… as I sat down to blog, I literally could have written about each one of my kids. God has answered a specific prayer I had for each one of them THIS WEEK!

So… rather than being an Eeyore in the circumstances of life, I am looking for God in everything and believing He Is Able!

In the words of the rumbly tumbly theologian Winnie the Pooh:

“Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

I’d love to hear from you and how God is working in your present situations. After all, “A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” (Pooh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Crashes and Other Not So Fun Stuff

The words seemed to hang in the air as a slow wave of fear formed in the pit of my stomach. This was the second time in less than a year the phrase, “Mom I crashed,” was being spoken to me. I immediately pulled off the highway to talk to my 17 year old son on the other end of the phone.

The Salinas Valley Fair was coming up later in the week and we were planning to camp nearby as Cory and Olivia showed their pigs they raised for a 4H project. The problem was the campground filled up faster than expected and we were without a reservation—landing us 27th on the waiting list for overflow.

Ed had talked to a John-Candy-look-alike ranger over the weekend who said he had 7 sites with hook-ups set aside and was willing to sell them starting on Monday: first come, first serve.

We didn’t NEED to start camping ‘til Wednesday, but Eddie knew I NEEDED full hook-ups so he decided to drive our RV to King City early. Cory was going to drive the 90 minutes down to give him a ride home.

As Cory was walking out the door, I stopped him and delivered a passionate speech about the dangers of driving highway 101 during the evening commute through Salinas… lots of speeding cars navigating only two southbound lanes. He promised to be careful.

“Mom. I’m fine. I was in a car accident, but I’m fine,” I willed myself to remain calm as the story unfolded. Cory explained a mini-van had suddenly pulled in front of the line of cars causing everyone to slam on their brakes. He managed to stop in time, however, the guy behind him did not… rear-ending the corner of Cory’s truck and landing in a ditch.

At this point I launched into a second impassioned speech telling Cory to NOT let the other guy leave the scene of the accident. (Apparently the “landed in a ditch” part of the story was not registering.)

“Take a picture of his driver’s license, license plate, insurance card, your truck… EVERYTHING.”

Cory quickly hung up stammering something about needing to get his truck off the road. WHAAATTT?? !

Ed and Cory were both stranded and while Cory’s truck was not drivable, Ed seemed to be not reachable, and I was 40 minutes north of the accident.

It’s a mixture of feeling sick, relieved and very emotional all at the same time.

I got back on the highway heading south toward Cory while trying to reach Ed. About 15 minutes down the road, Cory called, letting me know a fireman had tweaked the back end of his truck and he was able to keep driving toward his dad. He again assured me that although his head had snapped forward and then back, he had not hit it against anything and felt fine.

Ed was a bit shocked at what had transpired and super frustrated with his phone… not one text or voicemail had come through.

The guys slowly made their way home with Ed driving (I realize I don’t usually use slowly and Ed’s driving in the same sentence) and Cory sleeping. Cory seemed slightly dazed from all that happened and had a headache. He continued saying he was fine, just a bit shaken up and trying to process the last couple hours.

The next morning, he was acting SO strange— groggy, frustrated and unable to stay on task with getting ready. I knew his allergies were bad, but he absolutely had to go school. It was the week before finals and he was already going to be missing Thursday and Friday for the fair. He had a math quiz that morning along with tons of reviewing in his other classes.

I let him take his time getting out the door, providing him with a note excusing his tardy, allergy medicine and ibuprofen.

Within the hour the school nurse called wanting to send Cory home. She suspected he had a concussion and needed rest. I felt like the worst mom ever! I hadn’t even mentioned the crash in the note, blaming his tardiness on severe allergies. It never even crossed my mind!

Our doctor confirmed Cory was displaying all the symptoms of a concussion. He explained it can happen even though his head hadn’t hit anything. The whiplash movement of the sudden jerking was enough to cause the problem. He was most likely able to function so well the night of the crash due to the rush of adrenaline.

Cory was to take a break from academics and screens… phone, computer, tv. Nothing cognitively taxing for a few days.

The next afternoon we were headed back to King City for the fair. On the drive down, a friend called and we began chatting about our families. She shared how she and her husband spend a few minutes every morning praying together for their kids and how it’s making all the difference. I texted her later asking what they specifically pray about.

This is what she said:

“We pray that God will allow us to accept our kids the way God created them and show us how we can support them. We have prayed to let go of our expectations of what we thought our kids should be like and ask for wisdom to recognize them for who God made them to be. We pray for protection and for God to send good people into their lives to help them along. We pray for the strength to turn off the Xbox One! Haha. We thank God for the lessons they teach us and for the opportunity to grow closer to God as we journey together through the ups and downs of being a family.”

Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL!

My friend went on to say how much God is blessing their marriage because of this daily discipline of a few minutes of prayer together.

It was a good reminder to Eddie and me to not let the busyness of life crowd out the most important thing.

Cory recovered and is doing really well. I find myself copying my friend’s prayer outline for Jessica, Cory and Olivia… with A LOT of emphasis on the protection part for my little mister! …

… He’s gonna need it ’cause I JUST discovered he ate all the ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Raise Me Up

(I’m backing up to the day I received all the pre-surgery pathology news and how that day unfolded as the lowest point of the 3 month ordeal.  This was the Monday following  car trouble).

I was headed over highway 17 for a doctor appointment at the Stanford Clinic in Los Gatos. I had allowed no extra time as this is generally an easy commute. As I came down the backside of the summit, the traffic stopped and was backed up due to roadwork. Siri offered the brilliant idea of taking Old Santa Cruz Highway to save 10 minutes. I foolishly listened to her, ending up lost and eventually back on 17 heading the WRONG direction. By the time I turned around and got headed in the RIGHT direction, I was SO much farther back in the line-up. I was going to be 30 minutes late!

I tell you all this, simply to have you feel my pain. Misery loves company!

I phoned ahead to the clinic and they were very gracious and willing to work me in. This doctor appointment was completely unrelated to my current medical crisis, but just happened to land in the middle of it all. This was my yearly check-in with my gynecological oncologist because I had had uterine cancer.

My gyn-onc is SUPER young and SUPER cute and looks exactly like Josh Groban…you know, the charming guy who sings, You Raise Me Up.  As Dr. Groban (haha) entered the room, he solemnly looked at me and said, “How are you?”

“Oh brother,” I thought, “he’s read the report.”

This is the report from the ultrasound that I was supposed to call about but didn’t due to car trouble.

LONG PAUSE

Then he said…

“So they’ve found some cancer and will need to take a large part of your colon out.”

Awkward silence.

I didn’t cry, although I could tell he was anticipating that because he did another…

LONG PAUSE.

He began going over the report with me and I just kept thinking, “This is not his specialty. He could be wrong.”

I tried to explain what my doctor had been talking with me about and he replied, “Well.   MAYBE that would work. I mean, they do a lot of crazy, sci-fi stuff up there.”

In other words…

Doubtful, sister!

The rest of the exam was uneventful— always a good thing when seeing a cancer specialist— and I called my gastro oncologist the minute I was in my car, leaving a message about wanting ultrasound results.

As I pulled into my garage an hour later, my phone rang and it was my doctor. She began explaining the test showed pre-cancer with definite hints of stage 1 cancer. She then stated that I had two options. The first one (and I quote)…

“We could remove most of your colon.”

I couldn’t breathe.

OR…

… remove the mass, rectally, and test it further— which was her recommendation.

Ummmm.   YEAH— the second one!

She ended the conversation with, “It’s not bad news… YET.”

I hung up the phone and cried A LOT and realized I wasn’t taking breaths. I was screaming in my mind,

“You HAVE to breathe!  Take a breath.”

This was the lowest point of this journey.

Eddie and I spent a lot of time talking that night. Sometimes you have to embrace the potential bad news— let it land and then give it right back to God. Ed allowed me to share my fears and grief and after awhile, took my hand and prayed over me.

This day happened before my sweet friend had given me the amazing word picture of walking with Jesus.  As I’ve gone back and thought about these hard moments, God has given me an add-on image of my relationship with him. Now, I’m not a poetic person who uses analogies on a regular basis, but this is seriously helping me walk through life with a different attitude.

So… here goes….

I picture the same scene of me as a little girl walking with Jesus, only now he has lifted me up on his shoulders. I think of Eddie and all those camping trips to Yosemite where he inevitably ended up with Olivia on his shoulders as we hiked. Sometimes the heat and dust were unbearable, but Ed never seemed to mind. Olivia would wrap her arms around his head and cup her hands under his chin. She would playfully enjoy the excursion and her view would be so different up there—complete trust in her dad to carry her along as she enjoyed looking at Half Dome, the Merced River and the valley.

THAT’S my new addition to the image of ME trusting Jesus. He is carrying me. As Josh Groban beautifully sings,

“I am strong, when I am on your shoulders.”

Jesus is my strength as I allow him to carry me through this.

Isaiah 12:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song.”

And… speaking of a song…

It’s only fitting that I end this post with Josh Groban’s, You Raise Me Up.  (My doctor looks SO MUCH like him.  Kinda freaky.  Haha.)

(I like this version because it reminds me of my dancer, Jessica.)