"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

At least she took off her clothes...

As you all know, there are days that seem to go great from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you slide into bed at night. Those days are often filled with laughter, walks to the park, a perfectly cooked dinner (which is on the table right when your husband comes home), a clean house, and of course very delightful, obedient children.

Today was not one of those days...................

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I had a recent experience I wanted to share, but since it is somewhat lengthy, and not everyone will want to read it, I've back-dated it to 7/19/07 so it appears at the bottom. For those interested, please see the post entitled, "Better Than Berries."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Slow Traffic Keep Right

Lindsay & the kids are doing great.  We can't believe how fast they are growing.  Just about every morning, Kamrie comes up the stairs, stretches her arms to the sky, and exclaims, "I grew!"  It's really cute, it's really true, and it's really sad to see her grow up so fast.  Tyler is almost 6 months!  He's rolling over now, and I suspect within the next month or two, he'll start to crawl.  I am constantly amazed by Lindsay's gift for mothering.  She is so nurturing and consistent.  It's amazing just to watch her in action.

Home Sweet Home

I Will Survive

Life is good here in Rochester. I have less than one week left on my first rotation of residency; that is a very good thing. The rotation has been on "General Medicine" which is the service that cares for the "medical" patients in the hospital, as opposed to the "surgical" patients. It has the reputation of being the worst (busiest) rotation of the year, and I just learned that there have been more admissions to the hospital this month than any month ever before. Fortunately for me, I don't know any better. Next month I'll be on the oncology service, so I'll see a lot of cancer patients, pain, dying, sadness, sickness, etc. related to cancer. It will certainly be a learning experience.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Growing Kiddos

Kamrie, Tyler, and I have been having fun playing with side walk chalk, running around in the back yard, singing, going to the neighborhood park, cooking, and of coarse climbing.

Kamrie has been a ball of energy lately, and can't seem to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. Sometimes I think we should have named her Tigger because she definitely is bouncy, trouncy, flouncy pouncy fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! She loves to sing and dance, and spread sunshine all around.

Tyler couldn't be any sweeter or cuter. MUAH! I could kiss him all day (and I do!). He loves to roll over, drool, eat, and smile. His big accomplishment this week is that he can sit up by himself for a few seconds before falling over. I think he could sit up a little bit longer, but once he realizes he's doing it by himself, he gets too excited and knocks himself over. :)

Field Trip

The Mayo Airport had an open house yesterday that allowed employees
and their families to tour their aircrafts and ambulances. I think our favorite one was the life flight, which actually landed right in front of us while we were out on the run way. I have a
feeling Kamrie is going to be talking about this for at least a month
nonstop! Surprisingly there weren't that many people there, but that was fine with us! ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Better Than Berries

"Better than Berries." It's a new theme for my life.

Last Sunday was my last day/night on call for this general medicine rotation. Overall it's been a good month. I've worked a lot, played a little, slept a little, learned a little about medicine, and learned a lot about life. Without question, the most valuable reminder came this last Sunday. One of the patients I admitted is a 50 year-old gentleman who, for his privacy and the alliteration, I will call Barry. For the past week or two, he'd been having some abdominal and back pain as well as a few episodes of blood in his urine. As part of the ER evaluation, he had a CT scan to look for the cause, one of the more suspicious being kidney stones. Sure enough, the imaging showed stones. Unfortunately, that wasn't all the scan showed.

Unbeknown to Barry, he had a large mass in part of his pancreas, with several smaller masses in his liver. Without getting a biopsy, we couldn't know for sure if this was a malignant cancer, but in all likelihood, that is what we were looking at. I spent a great deal of time talking and visiting with Barry & his family. His wife, several siblings, children, and a grandchild were all there supporting him, hoping with all their hearts that the biopsy would disprove our worst fears. It broke my heart to see them aching for answers and for the mysterious and terrible possibility of cancer. I gave them what little hope I had, but I knew our hope would probably be in vain. After the biopsy on Monday morning, Barry and his family went home. There was nothing to do but wait for the results.

When I arrived home on Monday afternoon, I couldn't stop hugging and kissing Lindsay & the kids. This relatively young man who on Saturday had so much to live for and so long to live for it, suddenly felt his whole life was being torn away. Returning to work today, I felt such anxiety, split by the irresistible urge to know the truth yet repulsed by the thought of what it might be. It was as I feared.

Metastatic pancreatic cancer. That's what the result means to me. To Barry, it means his life expectancy just went from 30 more years to about 3 more months. I had the dreaded duty of calling the family to share the bad news. Again, I could not help but think of my loved ones, and how everyone, especially myself, must cherish every moment we're given.

After a long day of work today, leaving the hospital several hours later than expected, I found myself feeling frustrated by the red traffic lights and the inconvenience of a broken air-conditioner in the car on a hot, humid evening. Then I remembered Barry. I thought immediately of how he would probably give anything if his worst problem was to be stuck for hours at a red light on a hot day in a car with a broken A/C. I thought of all the other patients who are sick and stuck inside the hospital, many of them with crippling diseases. Suddenly things didn't seem so bad. Suddenly I could start thinking of so many things to be grateful for and how wonderful life really is. I am sure that Barry and his family will not waste a precious moment of the time they have left together. I hope the lesson will not be wasted on me.

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." - Benjamin Franklin