Standing Witness


Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.

Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.

Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.

Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.

Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.

I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.

In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.

A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.

Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.

My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.

“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”

“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”

“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”

“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”

“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”

If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.

Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.

How often can we say that?

Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.

Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.

Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.

I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.

Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.

Where in the world is Deana?

Where in the world is Deana?

Hi everyone. I know I’ve been rather absent on the blogosphere and I am sorry about that. Truth is, I’ve had surgery on my right leg. Due to an old childhood injury, my right leg is messed up and I’m getting it fixed. I had my tibia lengthened three weeks ago. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Not really. I know. It’s in three parts right now and is being held together with a metal plate and screws. In january they will go back and add a metal rod to stabilize my leg and a hinge to attach it to my ankle.

I’m 6 weeks post op tomorrow and finally off pain meds. Which means I get to write again. I made a promise to myself after my last surgery to never again blog while on pain meds. Last time I did that I told the world I thought my surgeon looked like Robert Downey Jr., rocked liked Bono and pondered if  I could keep him if I said he followed me home. On the upside I did get almost 1,000 new followers that week. The downside, one of them was the Tulsa Mental Health Association. (Cyber wave) so, yeah, I don’t BWI anymore.

My next surgery isn’t until January. I do have some stories that I am looking forward to sharing with you, as well as some new friends I want you to meet.

Until later,



Listening to my heart.

“Writing is cutting open your chest, pulling out your own trembling heart, plopping it down in front of someone and asking if they can feel you. I keep on doing it because every now and then, they can.” — Lori Houston Eizinga

It has been a while since I’ve allowed myself to just free flow blog. I’m not entirely sure why really. Part of it is because I’ve been busy and, part of it is fear. Two of my stories went viral this year, well viral for me anyway, and while I do think that’s cool part of me freaked out a little.

Neurotic thoughts of “how do I top that?” abounded in my brain. And then it happened, someone posted a rant in the comment section. A hateful nasty snarky rant aimed at me and my alleged stupidity. It was personal. But it was a stranger and even though it stings it is okay. And then someone misunderstood my heart in a different post. I’d shared a story from The Elephant Journal, Can We Be Lovers Without Having Sex, and while I love the whole premise of human connection and how we’ve lost that today, some people only see the sex part Oh well

I have at times been unfriended, blocked, rebuked, and prayed for, not by strangers mind you, but people who know me. That hurts my feelings. And that comes with the territory.

The same thing happens with comedy. One person’s clean is another person’s edge. Then someone writes and says thank you, I thought I was the only one, and it’s worth it.

And that’s the writer’s life. We will be loved. We will be hated. We will be misunderstood. And we will do it again tomorrow, because if we don’t, a piece of us dies.

fall at the coveI am currently at my cove recovering from the first of two surgeries on my right ankle. My leg is a little crooked and I am getting it fixed. They took out a piece of my tibia and grafted it back somewhere else. It’s being held together with a metal plate and screws. Once this heals, they will go back and add a castor hinge and more screws. It will be at least March of next year before I’ll be able to walk. That means no traveling unless it’s a family emergency, and no stand up. and so I rest on my front porch, read a ton, write even more and practice my banjo.

I really ran myself ragged  last year what with all my have-to-accomplish-now goals. I hit the ground hard when my youngest graduated high school in 2012; Teaching, speaking, writing, 30 college credit hours, stand up comedy (with strong internal pressure to master that over night) banjo lessons (ditto), art classes, acting classes, auditions, contests, building a platform, and becoming a cyclist (that one never really took off). Three weeks of staring at water at my cove revealed a moment of “duh!” I am exhausted. That so far has been my greatest epiphany. Well that and metal inside your leg really hurts when it’s cold outside.

Funny thing is, I entered this recovery/sabbatical with a to do list as well. I scratched everything out and simply wrote : listen to your heart.

Slowing down is good. Being present in the moment is even better.

Alive and Recovering

For those of you dear readers who have been with me since the doctors found a mass in my uterus, I thank you for your prayers, thoughts and encouraging remarks.  For those of you who are new to my blog, it’s been a roller coaster of a ride since Easter Sunday. The good news is, I’ve had my surgery, and I’m home recovering. Preliminary test results say I do not have cancer, I do have a fibroid mass that is larger than a grapefruit and smaller than a bread basket, plus my endometrial cells are presently mutating into a precancerous state thus requiring a hysterectomy. They took everything but my ovaries.

The surgery was more difficult than my doctor anticipated, The mass was so big they named my uterus “Fergus” (I’m not kidding, doctors crack me up) Even though it was a bit on the tricky side according to my surgeon, they were able to get everything. They did everything laproscopically as well so that my recovery time would be shortened.

The pain coming out of surgery was worse than I’d experienced after my gallbladder surgery and ACL repair combined. I vaguely recall getting into it with a post op nurse over pain meds at one moment and seeing my surgeon standing between us the next.  It took most of Friday to get my pain under control. I’m not sure why it was so high, but it was. I’m usually much more tolerant of pain.

I have since learned that I lost a good deal of blood, my BP was really low (80 over 43 low), and my oxygen levels were also below 90% – they had more serious issues to deal with before leveling out my pain. I just didn’t realize it at the time.  I’m sure there is a spiritual lesson in there somewhere.

I’ve been anemic for months and the blood loss during surgery has made it worse. What the doctors told me is I’ve become accustomed to operating on not enough fuel. Once my hemoglobin and oxygen levels return to where they are supposed to be, I am going to be a completely different woman.

I’m on a two-week rest order. My DH thought he took the time off to take care of me, and what he’s discovered is he took the time off to keep me out of trouble. I’m feeling better, I want to work now and can’t. Rest is not optional, it’s required.

I have my pile of books that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading. Photos I’ve been wanting to get around to sorting. And files that need to be organized along with videos I’ve been meaning to watch.

I’m also learning how to let other people “bless us” by offering help, bringing meals and what not. Something this caretaker is decidedly NOT good at.

Icing the Kicker: Surgery Postponed due to Fever.

I am alway amazed at how quickly I can pick up a covering of shame and embarrassment. Or how quickly I can get discouraged and question my own judgement. It doesn’t take much really.

We arrived to the hospital Friday morning bright and early. 5:30 am early, the sun wasn’t even up for heaven’s sake. By 6, I was in my prep room, wearing the funkiest multi-layered purple surgical gown I’ve ever seen in my life and waiting for my nurse to install the IV. I felt horrible. I’ve felt horrible for days and attributed it all to my new-found female issues and could not wait for the surgery to correct everything.

I was prepared for my hysterectomy. I was at that moment emotionally, mentally, and physically psyched. I was also scared, but don’t tell anyone.  Fortunately for me my new surgeon had given me vallum for the night before so that I could sleep.

I even spent the day before drinking that colon cleanser stuff that tastes like salt water and makes you do things that, well… should never be spoken of in polite company, that’s all I have to say about that.

Then it happened, the sweetest most cheerful nurse I’ve met in a while came in and started taking my stats and getting me ready. She stuck some thermometer thing in my ear and read the readout — “Oh my! You have a fever!” she exclaimed and stuck the digital readout in my face to show me. It read 37.5 – which of course elevated my heart rate because didn’t realize it was in celsius. I’m thinking at 37.5, I don’t have a fever, I should be a corpse.

Nurse Pam went and got a different thermometer and it read 100.2. Yep I had a fever.

Pam listened to my lungs (I’d been telling her that with all this rain I was having some trouble taking deep breaths) and they sounded clear. So she paged my surgeon, took some blood work and we waited.

And we waited.

20 minutes later my surgeon is at the door and my heart sank. I know what that means – “no surgery for you.”

I wasn’t disappointed to see him, I was relieved, and I was embarrassed about being too sick to operate.

Dr B. spoke in soft tones and tried to reassure me and find out what was going on.. He listened to my lungs and yes, they sounded clear, but then he did something. He had me say the letter “e” while he listened, and then he had me say “EEEEEE” while he listened again. The “e” sounded like an “a” when he listened again. YEP, I have  bronchitis in my lower left lung. Not bad, just enough to cause fever and trouble breathing. No surgery for me.

Then he rather quietly stated that “I told you, smoking brings its own complications. I was afraid of something like this. If we operate now, you could get pneumonia. We need to wait.” He was being compassionate and logical.

He didn’t shame me.  Didn’t need to. He was just stating facts.

If I could have pulled my purple gown over my head I would have.

I had already spoken to him about my smoking and what I can do to help cut down on complications and he’d told me to either quit or at least cut back as much as I could. I cut back to less than half, but it wasn’t enough. Quitting is the only thing left.

He wrote scripts for a Z-Pak and an inhaler. I go back to see him Wed and he’ll listen to my lungs to see if they’ve cleared up. Gosh I hope so.

I had a brief anxiety moment later that day and told my DH that maybe we didn’t need to do the surgery, maybe I didn’t look hard enough at the other options. He just smiled, sat back and asked about football.

“You know how in football one team will be getting ready to kick a field goal, usually for a tie or win? And how right before they snap the ball the other team calls a time out? Well that’s called icing the kicker. They do it so that the kicker has to spend more time thinking about the kick and sometimes he over thinks it and misses. That is what’s happening to you right now. You are over thinking things.”

Maybe so.  I’m over thinking why I didn’t just totally quit when he told me to and how I’ve never had a male GYN before, and how I messed up his schedule by getting sick, and how.. okay I’ll call it… can I just crawl into a hole and NOT go back to his office, even if they are the best doctor’s office I’ve seen in years?

But, none of that is going to help. And even though I know why I started smoking in the first place back in the 80’s, and I know why I still smoke today (I do it when I’m overwhelmed and want to separate myself from people), I also know that the time has come where I need to be important enough to myself to want to stop once and for all.

I saw this on someone’s Facebook today and I’m thankful for the reminder. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Ephesians 2:10.

Regardless of how much I over think things, or how abusive my own thoughts can be toward’s myself, God reminds me through his word, that I am His masterpiece. I need to believe that more, and believe myself, less.  Here’s hoping the no smoking, and meds work well enough by Wednesday so that he’ll operate on Friday.

My question to you guys and gals: I know too many bible teachers who fall into the same trap of self condemnation, what verses or what things do you focus on during those times that help you pull out? Talk to me.