October 13, 2010

Review of Anne Bradstreet by D. B. Kellogg

     Anne Bradstreet has impacted my life!  I’ve read many biographies of many great people, but I identified with Anne, the Puritan more than any other.  The country she helped create is mine and her God is mine as well!  It was quite a shock to realize that I would have chosen to be a Puritan!  They were not what I’d always believed them to be, but were simply a courageous, God fearing people who paved the way for our religious freedom.  Anne Bradstreet was an integral part of the group who fled England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who chose to live according to the Word of God.

     Of course Anne’s life was very hard once she landed in America as she moved from place to place, struggling with a lifetime of sickness, tragedies and giving birth to her eight beloved children.  In the midst of it all she was a prolific poet who influenced her world.  Women in the 1600’s were typically NOT writers, nor educated.  One of the last things she wrote with a challenge, “Children do naturally rather follow the failings than the virtues of their predecessors, but I am persuaded better things of you” is one of my favorites.

     This Christian Encounter series biography of Anne Bradstreet can be a comfort and challenge to us all as we read of a Christian woman who recognized her own failings, yet in the midst of it all, humbly raised a family, honored her husband and loved God with all heart, while remaining “above reproach”.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

July 9, 2010

Book review of She Still Calls Me Daddy

By Robert Wolgemuth

If you’re a Dad with one or more daughters She Still Calls Me Daddy is a must read! From the early years of doll houses to the day of their marriages, the author shares lots of practical experiences and stories that will cause you to laugh, cry and remember. You’ll be caught up in Wolgemuth’s journey as he bares his heart and soul sharing with his readers the lessons he learned about giving his daughters away to another man, adjusting to son-in laws and acknowledging the reality of getting older.

Whether you’re a new Dad just starting out, or one with years in the trenches this is a great read and one you shouldn’t miss! This book will give you special insights and the tools you need to gracefully expand your family and continue to cherish the young woman who still calls you Daddy.”

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

February 28, 2010

Living at Mayo Clinic Hospital was like Tom Hanks in "Terminal"

Walking through the huge expanse of the Mayo Clinic Hospital Arizona at 3:30 in the morning made me realize I was like Tom Hanks living in the airport in "Terminal"!

I woke up in my recliner/bed in the Critical Care Waiting Room a few nights ago and reached for my empty bottle of water. I tried to go back to sleep hoping I could forget how thirsty I was. It didn't work! I remembered the vending machine down the hall... but first I had to find my keys to my lockers. I wasn't sure which one held my purse so I had to open both. Of course I ended up having to take everything out to find a dollar in the bottom of my purse...trying to do it quietly so I wouldn't wake the other ladies tossing and turning in the other chairs. It wasn't far to the vending machines on the same floor just around the corner. The wording didn't make sense, but I finally figured it out that they didn't work!

I had passed by a drinking fountain, but thought it wasn't wise to drink water in any hospital where germs are said to lurk on every surface, where sanitizer machines hang from most walls. Now I was wide awake so I thought I'd just take the elevator to the lobby floor where the cafeteria was located thinking I would surely find another vending machine. It didn't happen! Hospitals are like any large building when there are no people around--creepy! Back upstairs by way of the elevator to the drinking fountain with all the hidden germs praying for protection. At 4:00 am I was back in bed thinking I wonder how many hidden cameras recorded my wanderings.

My only connection to the outside world, my cell phone was dying another night...so I made my way down the same elevator, through the lobby, and cafeteria doors to our car a few feet away. I located my phone charger and was anxious to get back to the warmth as evenings in the desert can be chilly, especially with no jacket and slippers. The doors refused to automatically open as I neared. I had no idea that no one is allowed to reenter the facilities after 9:00 pm. Some workers were watching television looking in the opposite direction while another was vacuuming close by. Knocking on the door failed to catch anyone's attention, but I eventually caught one guy's eye. He shook his head "no" and turned away.

I went to the front door and of course it was locked too with instructions to go to the emergency room... wherever that is! About that time I heard a raised voice in the distance calling me to come back. Somebody had a change of heart! Afraid he would change his mind, I hurried back to the cafeteria door where he was holding it open. He chided me saying "when you leave you are not allowed to reenter and I am not allowed to let you enter." I said, "You mean you aren't going to let me in?" He shrugged and told me to go ahead.

While the above stories were short lived challenges for me I have found living at the Mayo Clinic Hospital a great experience as I've observed the excellent care received by my husband. Everyone has served us with compassion and a smile, not to mention the medical skill and organization exhibited consistently on every hand. I know because I've lived in Mayo Clinic Hospital!

The Worth of Second Opinions...Medically

We were certainly caught by surprise in November 2009! That was only 3 months---a bumpy roller coaster ride-- ago! A routine ultra sound was ordered in October just to make sure my husband, Jim's pancreas had not been compromised from the polycythemia he has. The ultrasound was inconclusive so he had to have an iodine contrasted CAT scan--not an invasive procedure and certainly not something we worried about. A few days later on the way home from an errand Jim got a call from the hematologist.

"I have the results of your CAT in front of me. You have two huge masses sitting on the top of each kidney in your abdomen. I don't think they are cancer, but you need to see a surgeon as quickly as possible."

Our primary care physician sent us to a urologist who, after reading the radiology report recommended that we see a surgeon. The radiology report suggested that it was liposarcoma--cancer. Many days of conferring with friends, specialists, sarcoma support alliance groups and our PCP we began weeks of working with our insurance trying to find a surgeon who was very skilled in sarcomas.

We found that waiting at home for others to "get around to it" was not an option. Since we didn't know how fast they were growing and now he began experiencing periodic serious pain in the kidneys we took matters into our own hands. So...after many failed attempts to reach the schedulers we began picking up records to hand carry them ourselves to various offices in the Arizona Southeast Valley.

Surgeon #1 could not work with our insurance company but recommended another Surgeon #2 who had impressive credentials. That appointment with Surgeon #2 took place right before Christmas. We weren't prepared for his definitive Cancer diagnosis, nor his surgical plan which included removal of what he thought was only one tumor, both kidneys, partial removal of the pancreas and bowels. Following the appointment the surgery date was scheduled for January 24, 2010 with no pre-surgery biopsy option. He was very nice and confident that after the surgery Jim would feel better than ever and have a perfectly normal life! After we began sifting through that information, common sense told us that was not possible!

We began seeking advice from friends and called one cancer facility after another. All of those were dead ends for one reason or another--either they didn't accept our insurance or they didn't give second opinions. I don't even remember now when Mayo Clinic was first suggested, but with further research that seemed worthy of a pursuit. Maybe "pushing" is a more accurate word.

Everything about Mayo Clinic from start to finish has demonstrated thoroughness, caring, organised and skilled care.
Surgeon #3--Dr. Wasif's specialty is liposarcoma. The appointment with Dr. Wasif took place one week before the scheduled surgery date with Surgeon #2. After a thorough exam which included listening to every aspect of Jim's medical history, he concluded that there needs to be more definitive testing before surgery. In that interview he heard what we had shared repeatedly with every other physician who did not "take note" of it. At the end of the appointment we asked, "should we cancel the other surgery?" He said, "I don't think you would survive it." We cancelled.

Jim was diagnosed at age 3 with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. He took cortisone, prednizone or dexamethazone since that time until an endocrinologist suggested it was all right to discontinue all medication at age 30, before we left for our first missionary term in the Philippines. He was still taking it on our arrival in the PI, but when he ran out and no longer could get it there, he stopped. He felt great so that was that! In all of the years that followed no PCP ever seemed concerned with his childhood disease until we met with Dr. Wasif in January.

In the days following Jim had appointments with the endocrinologist, tests and a biopsy. The new diagnosis was: no liposarcoma, no cancer; the massive tumors were NOT tumors at all, but were in fact the adrenal glands that had grown to massive sizes, previously undocumented. It's what Surgeon #3 thought all along. The surgery would not be without risk, but without removal the risks involved compromising the other organs and bleeding...they had to be removed.

Today, I write 4 days following the successful removal of both of Jim's adrenals, cancer free. He is recovering very well with all of his organs-
in place-minus the adrenals of course. We will always encourage seeking 2nd opinions, but the bottom line is God is in control and directed our steps.