Archive | May 2016

Look Out Kids, I’m Gonna Embarrass You Now!

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Me with Dr. Sandra Schultz

I told the truth when I said I hadn’t been anxious about hearing the results of my mammogram.   And it remained the truth until about twenty minutes before my appointment time.

As I walked in the door, that anxiety disappeared as I was greeted by the smiling Dr. Schultz herself.  She was sitting at the front desk, a highly unusual sight, and she laughed at my astonishment and told me not to get used to it that she’d be moving in just a second.  I stopped her before she could get away and asked for a picture.  She said “Certainly, come on in and we’ll get it in front of the tree.”

Before my cancer was discovered, I had known of a woman who had been diagnosed with a very rare, fast and almost always fatal form of this vicious disease.  Her doctor went to work determined to save her life.  She contacted colleagues all over the country with her immediate research.  Armed with all the knowledge available, she used her innate ability to read cancer and started an agressive attack.  I’ll not go into the details because those aren’t mine to share, but years later this woman is still cancer-free.  I believe that if God had not deemed it so, that would not be the case.  But I also believe that He placed her care in the earthly hands of Dr. Sandra Schultz, just as He did mine.

This is a story that could be repeated all day long.  There’s visual evidence of these stories all over the office in the form of quilts hanging on the walls, pink wreaths adorning the doors and artwork all up and down the hallways – all given in gratitude by patients and their families.  Not only is the care given by Dr. Schultz that of which gives hope, but the atmosphere of her office conveys an instant feeling of warmth, making her patients feel like family from the first visit forward.

As you walk up to the window to sign in, you are immediately swathed in that warmth by her receptionist, Brenda McCombs.  Of my many, many visits, never has this sweet lady failed to greet me with the most genuine smile and positive attitude.  The other members of the office – Stephanie, Lindsay, Ruby and Leanna – make the picture complete and they all bounce their warm spirits back and forth amongst themselves, drawing you into their amazing circle of healing.

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Brenda MCombs

My granddaughter doesn’t know it yet, but on June 3, she and I will be joining Dr. Schultz and her team, The Blazing Pink Flamingos, at the Relay for Life Walk in Kings Mountain.  Brenda said she would surprise my granddaughter with her own pink flamingo:

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Have you noticed the artwork and wreaths I mentioned?

As Dr. Schultz and I chatted in the examining room today, she asked how the trip plans were coming along.  I looked at her, astonished that she had remembered my telling her last year of our upcoming trip.  She grinned at me and said she’d made a note on my file so she wouldn’t forget.

In addition to being the tremendous doctor and surgeon that she is, Dr. Schultz is also a very large supporter of non-profit groups in Gaston County.  There were several raffle baskets in the office today, with proceeds going to various organizations.

From the standpoint of being a patient, it is very rare to come across this type of environment.  The dedication of Dr. Schultz, and her staff, is evident to any who find themselves in the midst of their care.  Not only was I blessed that my cancer was found so early, but my blessings were greatly enhanced by being under the care of this wonderful woman.  Her expertise is undeniable, her depth of caring is unquestionable.

Now, to my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter, I say:  Look out paradise, here I come!  No holding back, no fears.  My feet will be as if they’re not touching the ground and I’ll be dancing to music, even if I’m the only one who can hear it.  I’m Maui bound, and I’m cancer-free!

 

 

 

The Waiting Room

Five people waiting in waiting room

My annual mammogram was Friday.  I progressed to annual scans last year after having one every six months once my cancer was removed and treatments were over.

In May of 2013, my daughter and son-in-law had just bought their first house and as they were making changes to make it their own, I was helping them paint – which was an every-room-in-the-house-except-one undertaking.  The three girls – my daughter, granddaughter and myself – had a trip to Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia planned for Memorial Day.  All was well and summer cookouts at my daughter’s new home were being eagerly anticipated.

I remember where I was when I got the call.  I had reached over to pick up a gallon of Kilz at Lowe’s when my phone rang.  And I’m not one to answer a call if I don’t recognize the number, especially if I know all my people are accounted for and I’m busy.  But something nudged me that this was a call that I should answer.  And it began.  The uncertainties, the fear, the what-ifs, the ‘what songs do I want them to play at my funeral’ thoughts.

I’ll not drag this out into all the intricate details that ravaged my body and mind that summer three years ago.  I was most fortunate and most blessed for the cancer to have been caught at just the precise time that it could be managed before it could metastasize.  And I have a phenomenal breast cancer surgeon.

But, once having been there, I can’t help but feel anxious whenever May rolls around and I go into the waiting game to be told the results of the scan.  I’m not a superstitious person – the only one I’ve ever claimed to adhere to was done just to make my daughter smile and shake her head at me.  Have you ever heard the one that says if you’re walking along with someone you love and you come to a pole or post you’re not supposed to let the pole come between you or it’s bad luck for the two of you?  Just imagine the years with a teenage and then young adult daughter…she would actually backtrack and go around a pole the opposite way just to see if I’d follow – which I never failed to do.   We received some very strange looks more than a few times as we cut up around the poles.

But this year is different from last May.  This year I’ve just finished painting my own bedroom but the ladder is still leaning against the wall in the master bathroom, waiting to be put to use.  And we have a ten day trip to Maui coming up in three weeks.  Several people told me I should just postpone the mammogram until after the trip so I wouldn’t have to deal with it until afterwards.  But, after considering it, I saw that as a coward’s way out.

As I sat in the waiting room on Friday, trying not to think about the similarities in my life now to when I was first diagnosed three years ago – what with the painting and the trip –  conversations around me started to penetrate my thoughts and flood out my anxiety.  I sat with my back to those talking but I learned that one of them was a school teacher that has a group of high school students who come to her desk practically every morning to pray.  Other teachers tell her she shouldn’t allow it to avoid trouble, but as long as they want to pray, she said she would never tell them that they can’t.

An older gentlemen spoke up and said the world’s gone to hell in a handbasket and doesn’t even have sense enough to know it and if people don’t wake up real soon they’re going to be left behind because God’s blowing His trumpet and is about to make His re-appearance.

This led to more people agreeing with him and quoting scripture after scripture from the Bible.  It went on about ten minutes before a little lady walked up to the man and put her hand on his arm.  He told everyone that he needed to get her home since she is the one who feeds him and he needed to feed his dogs. As they were walking out the door, my name was called and I hadn’t thought too much more about that waiting room incident until today.

There is so much going on in our world today that makes me feel that I’m truly a stranger in my own land.  I don’t need to go into listing all these either, we all know what they are and they’re too many and just too downright depressing to subject ourselves to talking about anymore than we have to.  And I’m talking the global scale here.  There is much that we can do locally and within our own spheres of influence to tip the bucket.

As unusual as our world is, so are occurrences that happened in that waiting room.  The people in that conversation were widely varied in not only age, but in skin color and nationality.  Even though the five people on my side of the area were quietly eaves-dropping, we each looked around the room and really saw one another.  It was as if none of us were strangers for those fleeting moments – and then it was gone as if it had never happened.

My point is this – could it be that the ridiculousness of life is actually going to pull us together, as I witnessed and felt in that room Friday?  Could it get to the point that we are all so fed up that that itself is the common ground we share – that we’ve just had enough?  And once we get there – hold your breath and really consider this – once we’ve all REALLY had enough, could it not be a real possibility that kindness would prevail?

 

I’ve not given my mammogram too much thought this time around.  I see my doctor on Thursday for her to read the results.  I have peace and I know the PeaceKeeper.  My future is secure, come what may.  But to all my new and precious friends that are growing here, I’ll update you on my next post.

 

 

Me and Bobbie McKee

sky-gate

 

For the last month or so, my DVR has been filling up a lot more than usual.  Dirty laundry has piled up until the weekends.  And my dog just sits and stares at me, trying to figure out what’s going on.  But the new laptop with the advanced keyboard that at first had me severely frustrated is now my new best friend.

Just as many of you have mentioned having yourselves, I’m going to have to force myself to come up with a designated sort of schedule for blogging and writing or nothing else is going to get done.  I feel a bit unbalanced, off-kilter with the many other things that have to be tended to.

But even though my scales are a bit tilted right now, there’s a wonderful blessing in all of this busyness – a blessing that feels like the bud on the Oriental Lily in my yard, bursting forth with a brilliance that’s breathtaking and oh so beautiful.

Let me tell you what I mean:  My Daddy always told me I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And that was while I was still in school, years ago.  I’ll not go into the marital arena, so read between the lines there.  My daughter told me years ago that I think too much, so I learned to limit the degree of which I ramble on with her. There’s been only one person with whom I learned that I could let my thoughts fly free without reservations.  A co-worker with whom I worked for 15 years:   Bobbie (Barbara) McKee.

We took morning and afternoon breaks together, went to dinner quite often.  Her husband sang with a gospel group and we’d travel around to wherever they would be performing, normally on Saturday evenings.    During all these times, we spent hour upon hour talking.  We probably knew more about each other than anyone else in our lives, even our husbands.

We’d discuss every idea you could imagine.  Did we believe in ghosts? did we believe we are the only life forms in the universe? did we believe those who’ve died know what’s going on in the lives of those they loved who are still alive? – those kind of questions.

Then there were the other kinds:  how do those bugs get in those tightly sealed light fixtures?  do fish sleep? and if you pass somebody whose in second place, what place are you in?

Bobbie was a bit older than me but we never gave that a thought at all.  Over time, the endearing look that she’d give me meant the world to me. That look meant that she just knew without even looking at me when I was about to pose a question that would set us off on a wild ride.  We would inevitably take it the distance and would end up laughing so hard we wouldn’t be able to talk.  But my word, the discussions we would have!

Bobbie died in 2005 after being diagnosed only the year before with lung cancer.

Not that Bobbie is never not a part of me, but I was reminded very vividly of our discussions one day last week when a new co-worker, one I’ve known for just a little over one year now, shared a dream with me and off she and I went on one of those wonderful discussions.  I was so elated – all at once for the reminder of Bobbie, for the fascinating talk my friend and I had just had, and for the fact that I was getting to let my mind run rampant for the first time in ages.  I had goosebumps from my toes to my ears and actually had to get up and walk around the building, I was so happy!

And then it dawned on me…the time I am spending here in blogland is essentially the same thing.  I have once again opened myself up to exploring infinite possibilities.  But I am no longer a babe drinking babe’s milk.  Even though I need not fear being drawn into wrong directions or harmful thoughts,  there is a vast and wide volume and variety of viewpoints voiced here.  I am learning to explore other ideas that are outside my own box.  And in doing so, I am finding the path that allows me to maintain my own beliefs and at the same time, consider and converse with others who differ.

Therein lies the blessing.

My daughter says she’s noticed a difference in me lately.  A contentedness.  I know now that it has its roots in my newfound confidence I’m gaining through re-connecting with myself.  I have, in a very real way, returned to myself. I am me again.  And it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve fully been ‘me’.  I am able to speak the truth here, with no pretenses, no reservations.  That is very free-ing.  And it is boiling over into other areas of my life, but I’ll save that for another post.

Thank you, my friends, for giving me back myself.

 

 

 

 

IPNNC

ian watkins

I read a post today by a fellow blogger who said she was considering giving up writing posts.  She presented the dilemma that it seems many of us are faced with today.  That being that if we express our feelings regarding what’s going on in our society , and those feelings don’t line up with popular opinion,  that we can be ostracized, basically cast out from society.

I was pondering on how I would write this post on the drive to work this morning.  That pondering went something like this:

Years ago, my daughter was awarded the Aloha Award at a luau she and I attended in Oahu for having the brightest ‘aloha spirit’ for the evening.  This was at the end of the evening, after she had gone onstage with many others to ‘learn the hula’.  The emcee went down the line speaking with each person and when he came to my daughter, he did a double-take and asked her question after silly question just to put her heavy Southern drawl out there for all to hear. We will be in Maui next month and my granddaughter is looking forward to her time on stage as well.  Now, instead of their wonderful spirits being the highlight, I cringe to think of the silence that may ensue when they learn from where they reside – North Carolina.

So let me just put it out there and not hemhaw around the bush.  I’m proud of reigning from North Carolina, now more so than ever.  NOT because our state is leading a fight against the LGBT and transgender communities.  That is propaganda that leads news stories.  I just saw a story on GMA where a man was ranting through the aisles at a Target store telling them they would all be judged by God.  Yeah, he will too.

I am terribly ashamed for those types of representations that North Carolina is receiving.  But that is not what is fueling our governor and state lawmakers to pursue the upholding of the HB2 law.  It is in no way a discrimination of the LGBT and transgenders. The opponents, and even now the federal government, have created that to be the issue.

The general public is unaware of the number of cases of sexual abuse commited against the children in this country.  Local law enforcement agencies operate under a cloak of silence in order to protect those innocent victims.

But if you wonder whether or not this is true, let me challenge you.  Ask someone who works in such an agency, and ask them quick.  The general comment you will receive will either be yay or nay.  If it’s no, thank God.  If it’s yes, that this is true in your county, then stop and ask yourself if what the opponents of this law are saying is a scare tactic holds any truth whatsover.  If even one child is put at risk, then how can we face ourselves to not support North Carolina in this pursuit?

The picture at the top of this post is a man named Ian Watkins – look him up.  He claimed to actually procreate children so he’d have them to molest.  I sicken myself even writing that.  But these people are out there, people!

Governor Pat McCrory is doing what no one in the past has done before.  In the face of any and all opposition, he is not backing down. He holds firm to protecting our children.  It is not a protection from the LGBT and transgender community.  This has nothing to do with them – and I cringe to say ‘them’ because that signifies an ‘Us vs Them’ mentality – this nothing other than the fact that people who identify themselves as such are raising the demands that they be noticed by using this platform. Which restroom have they been using prior to this debate?  The one they identify with.  Why pass a law allowing them to do what they’ve been doing all along?   Why create this issue?    If I have any discrimination whatsoever against them, it is that they are denying the safety of our children in order to be recognized.  And that recognition is self-imposed.  And ‘them’ includes ANYONE who puts our children in harms way – regardless of sex, gender, race, nationality, or any other facet of humanity.

This all started forty miles east of my home, in Charlotte.  I don’t know the details of how and why it all started other than the city passed an ordinance that would allow anyone to use any restroom based on gender identity. Governor McCrory stepped in at once and the rest is becoming history.  McCrory, I’m sure, has access to the records to back up his strong opposition.

Please do not discredit North Carolina as a whole by the rantings of misguided individuals who put themselves in the judgment seat.  I can still see the wagging finger of my grandmother as she pointed to her Bible and said “love the sinner, hate the sin.”  And who is the sinner?  I am.  You are.  Your children are.  Your parents are.  Each and every person on either side of this problem is a sinner. To me, it doesn’t matter who you are – I believe the Bible.  And the Bible says ALL are sinners and only by the grace of God are we saved.  No one can pass judgment but God.  We each answer for our own selves.  And I don’t want to have to answer for bigotry, hatred, violence.  But neither do I want to answer for playing a part in the misguided failure to protect our children in any way possible from this sickened world we live in.

May God bless Governor McCrory as he fights this battle for not only North Carolina but the United States.  May God bless ALL of our lawmakers.  May God bless each of us who see ‘them’ as being any different than ‘us’ – we are all His children – whether we acknowledge that or not. May God bless each and every one of you reading this.  And may God bless and protect our precious children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Light Post

bare necessities

My granddaughter was sick with strep throat this past week.  And we’re thankful for that – to diagnose her symptoms she was tested the second time in her mere seven years for spinal meningitis.  Two years ago she was isolated in the hospital as they tested her extensively and determined that her severe immobilizing headache and fever was coming from being the child of two parents who suffer from migraines and inheriting the same from them.  After this new episode of the same symptoms, her doctor has told us that with everyone reacting differently to being sick, her reaction to infections of any kind are likely going to result in her having the awful headache with fever.  To be thankful for the strep may have at first seemed unusual, but what a relief when the doctor came in and told them the ‘good’ news.

The little one still spends every Friday night with me and by Friday of this past week, she was so excited to be getting out that she packed two bags of books and toys to bring.  She was enthusiastically by my side all evening and the soccer game yesterday morning had parents on the sidelines yelling at their kids to “help Gracie!”  Later, she made mention that she’d like to see ‘The Jungle Book.’

I’m no longer one who thinks twice about going alone to see a movie.  I had mentioned on occasion wanting to see the movie myself to my daughter who told me not once, but twice, to wait so we could take Gracie.  And what better timing than the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  My daughter, however, with all the things she’d had to leave undone with Gracie being sick all week, suggested she stay home while the two of us went.  Gracie would have none of that.  Mama had to go too.  So, with thoughts of all she had to do running through her mind, she did.

I am still smiling now as I think of the look of peace on my daughter’s face after the movie.  And I remember all over again the album cover of the original movie – I played the album over and over again as a child, dancing around and singing ‘The Bare Necessities’ over and over again.  There is so much in the words to that little song:

Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities  Forget about your worries and your strife.  I mean the bare necessities, old mother nature’s recipes that bring the bare necessities of life.

The night ended with all three of us doing a bit of a jig ourselves.  Lovely.

My intent with this post is to set another site to link to this blog – and as most of you probably know – that requires a link in a current post – so here goes:

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14895151/?claim=vhgduvs9um9″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

I Learned A Lesson

sorry

I sat down with the intention of breaking down the 28 Reasons (see previous post) one by one.  I re-read the entire article again but this time I felt nothing but filthy for even reading it – a type of filth that felt ‘porn-ish’ in nature – an abomination.

I’m sure the author feels very strongly about each of the reasons she listed.  And my first reading of the article terrified and troubled me, as I said earlier, that Christians could be labeled in such a way.  And I still feel strongly that a response from me is required, if only to myself and to those of you who are reading along with me.  But the response has turned out to be quite different than my initial reaction.  That in itself is a nugget of truth that I need to remind myself of often – to think things through before I react.  And to listen to that still, small voice that, yes, speaks to me.  All that hear that voice know it and do not need to fear being in the group labeled ‘Christian’.  Those who hear the voice know Who stands with us.

That being said, my ultimate response to the author of the 28 Reasons is this:

1 Corinthians 13: 12-13

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I have taken the author to my prayer room, that she will know that these comments are not done in love, in the spirit of Christ.  That her mind and heart will be awakened to the knowledge that this type of propaganda does nothing but fuel the hatred, to allow the talons of evil to dig even deeper into those the evil is seeking to devour.  Which is everyone who gives evil the crack to enter through.

So, my dear readers, I owe you all an apology.  My intention to not allow a ‘haunt’ to come upon you was, in fact, the very thing I did.  In my confusion, I was a means of spreading something other than love.  I sincerely apologize.

I have learned a valuable lesson through this.  To guard closely the words I send into the world.  If the words are not good and true and kind, I’ll not allow them at all – even if it’s to make a point as I was attempting to do.

Because if the words are not good, they are not of God.  And there’s only one other alternative to where those kinds of words come from.  I picture that heinous one gleefully rubbing his hands together and saying “gotcha”.

No more.

Again, I apologize.

May God bless each and every one of you.