Me and the Miracle of the Pink Bear

“Why didn’t you quit?” a young medical student recently asked me. Her eyes suggested she could relate to the med school challenges I had just shared with her. “I knew being a doctor was what I wanted to do, and that made the difficulties just bumps in the road,” I explained. Later, as I thought about it more, I realized it was also because there were people along the way who made it worth all the struggles.

One was an 8-year-old boy whose cancer was advanced by the time I met him. Hospitalized for a bone marrow transplant at the university where I was an intern, his body had rejected the treatment, and he was dying. I was the one assigned to draw his blood every morning, and I was terrible at it. My only saving grace was that he was so sick he didn’t always wake up as I stuck and re-stuck every morning. Continue reading →

Living and loss: how it all started……

halo: getting ready for heaven
halo: getting ready for heaven

“It’s not a stroke,” the ER doctor seeing my husband said into the phone lines from 500 miles away. Oh thank heavens, I thought to myself as I sat down on my sister’s couch. “It’s worse,” she said bluntly. “He has a large brain tumor, looks like it’s a metastasis from an equally large lung cancer. We’re transferring him down to Roanoke immediately. I’m so sorry,” she said. Absorbing this news, all I could say was “okay, thanks, I’m on my way.” But after I hung up the phone I screamed – a primordial, deep, gut-wrenching, brutally painful scream like nothing I had ever screamed before, barely aware I was even doing it, and totally oblivious to the fact that it was 1 o’clock in the morning and most of the world was asleep……… Continue reading →