Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life's Branches

After the great news about the tumor shrinking, we had a visit with the surgeon that will perform the mastectomy, Dr. Morrell. This is the same Dr. Morrell that performed the Lumpectomy and positioned the port-a-cath in my chest and heart. I have come to really appreciate him for his skill and the incredible compassion that he shows. He is part of the battery of doctors that have made this unbelievable journey bearable. This group of people (Dr. Bitner, Dr. Morrell, Karen, Dr. Tamayo, Cindy, Dr. Stinnett, Nicole, and Lisa) are among the lucky ones in this life that have really found their calling and have tied their natural gifts, abilities, and passions to their profession. WE FEEL EXTREMELY BLESSED!

Given the gratitude I have been feeling and the comfort that I feel with the doctors that we have been directed to, I was shocked to find myself crying once again in his office. In fact, I was really looking forward to the visit to set up the much anticipated surgery. So you can imagine my shock when familiar tears of fear and unbelief began to flood my eyes. I had been so focused on the cancer side of the battle that I had not prepared myself for the surgery. Dr. Morrell empathetically stated, “It is an extremely difficult thing to lose part of yourself.”

I continued to think about my reaction in the doctor’s office and his words and pensively gazed upwards while sitting outside my friend’s cabin near Strawberry Reservoir.

The cabin is surrounded by magnificent sandstone, shale cliffs, huge Cottonwood trees and a beautiful winding river. There were no phones ringing, no cars motoring by, and the boys were perfectly content in the natural dirtiness of the setting.

My mind was able to pause and reflect, and my gaze upward rested on the branches shooting out from a large Cottonwood. It was awesome and brought with it shade for us below, a home for some chirping birds and created a wonderful swirling sound as the wind passed through it. All of those factors allowed me to take a deep breath in.

In the middle of all of these thoughts and deep breaths, my eyes locked on a single branch. It had grown along with the rest of the tree, but for some unknown reason had died and become a hazard. That part of the tree will need to be removed for the good of the whole tree. With a precise cut and time, the tree will continue to grow and develop into what it was designed to be.

Comfort came! Though the cancer came upon me in an unexpected way, I feel blessed to have the opportunity and technology to have that “branch” removed. I will have the chance to continue to grow and develop into what God would have me be.

There are things (dead branches) in all of our lives, some in our control and some out of our control, that need to be taken care of (removed) for our (the trees) own good. I am so grateful for the Savior, who, because of His infinite and atoning sacrifice, makes it possible for us to reclaim those things that are lost to us. Whether that loss is our health, a loved one, or a part of ourselves (physical or spiritual). He has created a way for us to triumph over all and become new again through the Atonement (Alma 11:40, 43-44).

Life is often difficult and the turns and bends that accompany life’s “winding river” can have unexpected undertows and currents, but we can trust that the Maker of all things, even our Eternal Heavenly Father knows all things and knows our hearts. He will place stepping stones and sand banks so that we can regain our footing and COME UNTO HIM...sick or well, bound or free...He loves us and will be the “Great Physician” for us bringing healing in His wings (2 Nephi 25:13) as He skillfully removes the dead and hazardous branches from our lives. Of this I am grateful as I am grateful for the skilled physician that will perform my needful surgery on Tuesday morning.  Please pray for him!  I will keep you all posted. Thank you for your love and support.

Love to you all,


“…to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation—we are challenged to change ourselves.”

“…suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning…”

Viktor E. Frankl

1 comment:

  1. We will have you in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow and know that all will go well. We Love You!