My Surgeon is awesome: Girl Talk

Robert Downey Jr, as Iron Man.
Oct 18, 2011 – This particular piece received a lot of hits this week so I thought I’d look at it to see why and oh wow I really shouldn’t publish blog pieces while still on pain meds. I’d delete this, but there’s some good stuff in it, even if it does reveal a mild (and short lived) post-op crush on my surgeon – so I’m keeping it. You should have seen it before I scrubbed it — mortified does not even begin to describe how I feel reading this a year later and realizing it has gone viral locally.  I wrote this back when I had all of four readers — my family — and then I promptly forgot about it until now. — This is part of a series I’d written during my hysterectomy in 2010. You can tab to the older entries to see the full story if you’d like. or not. Either way – enjoy.


The only thing I hate more than going to the doctor’s office is going to a MALE doctor’s office. I don’t do doctors. I especially don’t do MALE doctors. Hmmm. Nope, not my style. And yet what do I get with my referral on Easter? A Male doctor. Nice.

Color my Easter basket un-thrilled. It’s bad enough I was in so much pain I had to leave Easter Services to go to the hospital, now I find out that I need to see a guy about my female parts?  Can I just please fall down a rabbit hole and stay there? I mean, it worked for Alice didn’t it? —

Oh that’s right, she came out of it eventually.


I tried to drown my pitiful sorrows with chocolate marshmallow bunnies, but it didn’t help. I needed to see a specialist and he was available and it turns out, it didn’t kill me.

My surgeon at looks kinda like Robert Downey Jr (or at least he did post anesthesia), is a College Lit major before med school, artist, poet,  loves the rock band U2, happily married with children, is a total brainiac, and he cares as much about my emotional well-being as he does my physical health.

Can I keep him if I say he followed me home?

Okay, well no probably not. I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t go for the whole followed me home bit. Worked with the cat, but not a doctor.

Still, the whole reason I know he loves U2 is because I told him once that my husband and I have tickets to see U2 in Denver on June 12 and how I think that I “need” to be well by then.

That isn’t going to happen, and Bono is in the hospital as well, so I’ll see them in 2011 instead.

Even though the answer is no climbing the Rockies so soon after my hysterectomy, my surgeon did at least empathize with me. He also found a way for us to connect emotionally – a mutual appreciation for the rock band U2. That connection took me from freaked out scared to “I think I can do this.”

I like that.

I tell him a lot of things actually, and I am pleasantly shocked to discover that he not only listens to me – he repeats facts I’ve shared back to me at various times and uses them work through a plan of action for my recovery. He hears me. Wow.


My MALE surgeon rocks like Bono….

                                                                                                                          ………………. only better. Who knew?

So why is this news?

Because I only use female doctors thank you very much.  Always have always will. Except for this time. This time I needed an emergency referral and opted for first available and got R.D. Jr.  Edited on June 29 to add — my surgeon is my new GYN. I’m not going back to someone else. He’s an excellent doctor, and I can get over his being male — eventually. (laughs)

Common myths I’ve always believed.  

1. A female Doctor will understand me in ways a male doctor cannot.

2. A female doctor will listen and be compassionate.


3. I’ve always thought of Male gynecologists as a creepier than normal Mr Rogers. (I’m serious, grown men in cardigans have scared me since I was a toddler.)

What I’ve learned in the last 40 days –

It’s not the sex of your doctor that matters, it’s the doctor that matters.

My female doctor listened to my complaints about my cycle getting worse and said “Welcome to Peri-Menopause” without looking into it.

RDJ said let’s look for the cause.

My female doctor listened to my complaints about my bladder getting weaker and said “Welcome to middle age, it comes from having babies dear.”

RDJ said, “I might be able to fix that, if you need me to, but I’m not sure you do yet. Let’s find the balance between too much and just enough, okay?”

My female doctor listened to my complaints about random abdominal pain and said “here take these pills, I think you are getting depressed.”

RDJ. said “This is why you are in pain, …… I can fix that.”

My female doctor felt the top of my mass, said my abs had split and told me where I could get a tummy tuck.

I never asked him where I could have gotten one of those. That would have been well… too much for me. But what he did so is spend more time doing the surgery right (albeit the hard way) so that I could recover more quickly. And it was the fibroid pressing on my bladder that was causing my “issues” and not my babies after all.

I can’t tell you if my surgeon is good at making eye contact, because I wasn’t. I still have some issues with the whole male gyn thing, BUT: What I can tell you is at this office, and at Saint Whosits  in Tulsa, I felt cared for, cared about, and taken care of. He listened to me and he included me in every step of the process. He went out of his way to make me comfortable and help me understand.

While I’ve worked with men almost my whole life – I prefer to stay in my head. Intellectually I can match any man. What I don’t do well, is  vulnerable. And in order for this patient/doctor relationship to really work, I have to be vulnerable. What’s great about this office, and this particular surgeon is they make it easier to do that than I had expected.

I couldn’t ask for more in a doctor, male or female. Can you? So, question for you dear friends, what is your favorite thing about your doctor and what is your least favorite thing?

 I realize I am being more well, personal than usual. I mean yeah, I can wear my heart on my sleeve,  but today – I want you to see my internal heart.

Added May 31, 2011 – It has been exactly a year since my hysterectomy. (Read update here) I cannot even put into words how much better I feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While I wish I could have avoided the surgery, I’m grateful for the staff of doctors and nurses who walked me through it every step of the way.   

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. Please note that no goods or services were provided in exchange for this post.

Notsowordless Wednesday: Big Ol’ Sweet Iced Tea: Anita Renfroe

I have had an interesting few weeks, let me tell you. While everyone was celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior on Easter morning, my husband and I were in the emergency room of SouthCrest Hospital. I wasn’t happy about that little detour, it wasn’t in my plans. Finding a mass in my uterus that day wasn’t in my plans either and I was scared.

Funny thing is, God has plans for me – and for you too – and even though His plans don’t match up with ours, His plans are always best.

I’d love to tell you that I handled this little detour well, but I’d be lying.

I could tell you that the message I received from one of my mentors the next day (Jer 29:11, I know the plans I have for you..) filled me with hope – and it did, for that day, but I let go of it. I have a built in forgetter. Fortunately for me, his mercies are new each morning and I need morning mercies, don’t you?

Truth is, I was scared and I got mad at God.

I pulled every “no fair” argument I could think of. It’s not fair God, I have plans this summer.

I know that I am not the only woman in the world who has ever played the “not fair” card with God, and I won’t be the last. The good news is, God is big enough to handle our fears, our disappointments, and our anger. I’m thankful for that.

My little health detour has given me time to look at things from a new light. It’s given me time to read, to be with my family, and to just soak up His love and Grace. I’m in pain a lot of the time, and I have had to lean into Him more than ever.

I also learned something in this detour, perspective is everything. For three weeks I’ve been focusing on this fibroid in my gut that is causing my stomach to swell, and my clothes to hurt. It is a source of frustration for me in more ways than one.

I missed something though – it turns out this fibroid is a gift.

I got my biopsy results back yesterday. The good news is, I don’t have cancer. The other good news, they did a biopsy of my uterine lining and I have Intraepithelial dysplasia, a precancerous condition that if left untreated can turn into cancer. If it hadn’t been for this massive fibroid that takes up half my gut, they never would have found the other.

Uterine cancer does not have symptoms until it’s too late. This detour revealed a much deeper problem that would not have been discovered otherwise.

You might say, this detour saved my life. 

And so I sit, taking back all my “no fair” arguments and remembering that He does know the plans he has for us, and his plans are not for harm, but for a future and a hope. His plans apparently include a hysterectomy as well and in light of my present circumstances, I’m totally okay with that.

 One of my no fair arguments with God revolves around how I’m just now learning who I am. I’ve made new friends, found new talents and only recently had the courage to try my hand at comedy. Having lived the first 40 years of my life in fear, finding courage is a big issue for me.  I didn’t want to lose all of that now. Turns out I won’t have to, He has plans, remember? Having said that, I want to introduce you to a woman I met on my journey a few years back. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

I was first introduced to this funny gal when a friend emailed me the video Momisms,  Anita Renfroe’s YouTube video on everything a mother says in a 24 hour period set to the William Tell Overture.  This video went viral in a matter of weeks. It was this video that launched her into seemingly overnight success. I say seemingly, because the truth is Anita has been speaking and doing comedy for years. There is no such thing as overnight success, her success is bred from hard work, dedication, and pure talent.

While we aren’t friends, I have met her once or twice and she is as down to earth and genuinely wise and funny as her videos show her to be. She is definitely a woman I would love to hang with.

We belong to the same organization but I do not consider her my peer. She’s a legend on the circuit. I’m a newbie. Anita is simply a woman I enjoy watching and learning from. Having said that, I’d like to introduce ya’ll to her newest YouTube video, Big Ol’ Sweet Iced Tea. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. So pour yourself a glass of sweet tea, and enjoy.

FCC regulations also state that I have to inform ya’ll that no goods were received in exchange for this endorsement. I am simply sharing a resource that I think you will like as much as I do.

Let’s Talk About it: Girl Talk

Content Warning: This post is for women only. Men read at your own risk. I’m talking about girl parts today.

Women are funny creatures, we’ll either spill our guts and tell you more than you ever wanted to know or we become so stinkin’ private it’s a wonder any of us know where babies come from. We are at times polite and modest to a fault. And we are at times honest to a fault. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m just saying that sometimes it is helpful to know things beyond who did your hair or how much you hate my new dress.

Case in point. When I went to the hospital last week, I thought something was truly, seriously wrong with me. Turns out that one in four women develop fibroids in their life time. Not to be crass, but you’d think at 44, I’d know what those are.  “Female problems” aren’t something that run in my family. No one has ever had issue beyond early menopause. I am now learning that several of my friends and extended family have lived with fibriods and eventually had hysterectomies, but I didn’t know that last week.

I do know that my Great Grandmother died from cervical cancer at the age of 86 and I know that she’d had a hysterectomy when she was in her 50’s – but the why behind it went to the grave with her. No one knows. Her cervical cancer went undetected because she never had another pap smear after that.

Fibroids were always something women get in their breasts, not… well… elsewhere. And fibroids were something that was maybe the size of a small pea or maybe a quarter, but not so big that I would be deemed the size of a woman in her 22nd week of pregnancy. Having the emergency room doctor describe my new friend as something that “could be a fibroid, could be a cyst, or it could be cancer, we don’t know right now.” Did not help my heart or my over active imagination. I’ll let you guess which word I focused on.

I’ve also learned that they develop over time and that most women live with them until they get troublesome. Mine has reached troublesome. Why no one found it before now, is still a mystery to me.

For those who have been following my health detour, I saw the surgeon today.

Today’s doctor visit went really well. I like my new doctor and my husband even went with me. There were some glitches, like the fact that my primary never sent him my file or the films or the lab results. This after my hounding her office for three days to get them to process the referral in the first place. Typical really of that office.

I’m changing primaries after this is over.

My new doctor is warm and kind, a surgeon, strong women’s health advocate, and practical. He stated that statistics show there is an 80% chance this is just a benign fibroid, that 1 in 4 women get them in their life time and until tests show it to be something else he’ll stick with that diagnosis. He also reserves the right to change his prognosis once all lab results are in. Yes, it seems “big” by my standards but in his line of work he’s “seen worse.”

Another bonus is he saw the humor in my naming it and doesn’t think I’m wierd for doing that at all; at least not to my face.

He seems more concerned by the polyp on my cervix than the mass in my uterus. I didn’t know about the polyp either. Biopsies were taken for both and I’ll know the results when I go back to see him on the 28th.

I have regular female exams, so these things are new occurances this year. I’m not happy about the timeing. Jeff just lost his mom last month, I don’t want to be down right now. We have trips planned and summer arriving. I’m stubborn, and I have work to do.

I’m not sure what lessons are ahead or what I’ll learn from all this, but like it or not, I have down time coming up. Today, I’m learning to accept the gifts that can be found in that.

My question for you guys: How do you handled seemingly forced down times? How hard is it for you to let go of your plans and surrender to what is?

We Have a Referral and I’m learning peace

I can be a bit controlling, especially when I’m scared. My husband will laugh when he reads that and add a “you think?”

I know that control is never a solution to fear, especially not on this side of the Resurrection. But knowing and doing don’t always mesh in my world. We are working on it.

I’ve had three days of phone calls, not only for myself but for my son with epilepsy. I’ve learned through his disorder how to be assertive with doctors and when to follow-up and when to call. D needed a script refilled and for whatever reason, I was the hand holder between the pharmacy and the pediatrician. I’m glad I called it in three days early. It took the full three days to get it refilled. It never takes that long.

My doctor issue really frustrated me. I got frustrated because they were not giving me correct answers. I followed up on Monday like the hospital told me too, and received a call back stating that my referral was being processed and that I should receive a phone call later that day. No phone call came.

Tues: I called back and left a message for the gal in charge. The gal up front read the notes on my file and assured me everything was being processed. No return call came.

Wed: (Today) I called the processing gal directly and was saddened — and slightly angered — to discover she had no clue who I was, and had received no such paper work nor a message that I had called on Tuesday. The gals in the front office did not lie to me — there were notes on my page that indicated a referral was being processed. Sadly it turned out the referral was for the wrong patient. My gal promised to get to work on it right away. True to her word, she did. It took three hours, but I have my referral as promised.

I had a lot of choices this morning. I did succeed in the choice not to lose my temper, and yet still communicate I was angry. I chose to ask to leave a message for my doctor and when I was told that won’t be necessary, I could choose to call the office administrator and speak with them — once my referral was complete. I chose to say a silent prayer rather than speak out what was in my heart at the moment.

Lots of choices. Right now.. I can choose to be happy I have my referral completed. I see a specialist on April 14 at 10 am. I have instructions to call every morning between now and then to see if they have a cancellation.

I know that God does not make bad things happen to people. Things happen because we live in a sinful and fallen world. God is the ultimate hand holder. He holds me in his every day.

I know that he still has plans for me and the phone call from Thelma on monday was all part of that. I talked to her (via email yesterday) and she had no idea I was going through something. We aren’t friends, even though we’ve met. (I hostessed her a couple of years ago) I am however part of You Go Girl. Thelma is someone I intentionally put myself at the feet of to learn. 

The phone call is part of something new she is doing with her You Go Girl mentoring network. It just so happened the devotion on her heart for this month was Jeremiah 29:11. And so together we got to thank God for doctors, modern medicine, and telephones of all things.

So now, I wait some more and know the his plans for me include a future and a hope. And I can rest in that.  And finish my laundry.  It’s kind of piling up.

Let’s talk about plans.  Will you share with all of us a time when your plans and God’s didn’t totally mesh, but his turned out so much better?