Look Ma! No Tumors!

…and then sometimes, the news is good!

Natalie was moved up to varsity tennis this year and having a great experience.  Then, sadly, tendonitis in her wrist took her out for the rest of the season, including districts.  As she used her brace the pain in her right wrist slowly subsided and she became aware of a very familiar pain deep in her right shoulder.  She lost range-of-motion and would suddenly collapse in pain while attempting push-ups.  We recognized the symptoms as those she had before being diagnosed with synovial chondromatosis in which her shoulder joint was full of cartilaginous tumors.  Last time we didn’t suspect anything like this and spent about 4 months using BenGay and dealing with the pain.  This time we were not messing around – we called our surgeon at OHSU and he got us right in for an MRI.  We had to wait over Memorial Day weekend for results, and then did not hear until Wednesday night – what a relief to know that her pain is real but there are no tumors!  Simply inflammation in the rotator cuff.  We will go see the doctor next week and he will help us to know what we can be doing for the pain and to reduce this problem in the future.
But…. NO TUMORS!  This isn’t news that we are accustomed to hearing.  Natalie broke out in a huge smile of relief, “Now I can play tennis!!”  Actually the list of “now-I-can” is much longer (for the whole family).  Suspecting another round of shoulder surgery and recovery we were feeling that too-familiar cloud pressing down on us.  Would she be able to have surgery prior to our extremely busy month of July so that she would be able to participate??  Would she be able to abide the pain until August if they couldn’t get her in right away?  Was this going to recur every two years?
We have grown accustomed to setting aside future plans for immediate care and recovery.  We felt ourselves sliding back down into the abyss from we are so slowly emerging – this was like a great burst of energy.  A weight off of our shoulders allowing us to climb more quickly rather than being dragged down.  Suddenly summer is a beautiful gift to be enjoyed and we are humbly grateful to our Lord for this beautiful and tender mercy!!

Walking on Hilton Head – we found
a prehistoric animal that was new to
us – luckily a local answered our
questions.  Who can name it?

I am also grateful this morning for mountains!  I am always grateful for mountains.  I just LOVE them.  I am not being philosophical, I mean I love real rock-dirt-trees-and-water mountains.  I even love dry-sagebrush-covered mountains, especially when you get to see the rock formations.  I like to look at mountains, I like to hike mountains (not climb – I never said climb).  I grew up in the Rocky Mountains.  I loved my college years in Provo under the protective watch of the Wasatch Front.  I have spent most of my adult life enjoying the beautiful mountains and volcanoes here in the Northwest.

I don’t have any ancestors
from the South, but I really
enjoy a bowl of grits on the side!

This is all on my mind today because I flew in last night from South Carolina.  Mark and I went to a tax conference on Hilton Head Island.  We loved it – and also had time to visit beautiful Savannah, Georgia which we also loved.  The landscape was nice and tame.  I always love seeing the green and trees of the Midwest and East Coast.  It was hot and humid and as we drove I realized that you didn’t really ever see anything but trees.  You couldn’t even see the businesses (which was an exceptionally attractive way to have all of that convenient big box store shopping without having to look at them.)  However, I found myself getting rather claustrophobic and bored – sometimes the trees were swampy and I hoped to see an alligator but did not.  I saw my first oyster beds, at both high and low tides, so that was cool.  The mossy trees in Savannah stole my heart!  BUT – no mountains.  Not even a hill.  Where were the vistas? the breathtaking views?  When the locals raved about their coastline I felt so sorry that they hadn’t seen the Oregon Coast.  (I am so grateful that I have.)

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.
What an amazing kind of beauty!
Key lime pie at a little bakery in
Savannah – I had to buy the cookbook!

Flying home – seven hours in a window seat… I love those endless miles of farm country.  It is comfortable and homey.  We had a layover in Detroit and I love the Michigan fields and farms.  Hours later Mark and I were flying along watching a movie when I glanced outside and ahhh… there were mountains below us!  Rugged peaks covered in snow.  I kept glancing out the window and knowing that I was being welcomed home.

At a beautiful fountain in
one of the many parks found
in Historic Savannah.

Mark always says that the Portland airport is the most beautiful landing you can find.  I agree.  Now I am home and surrounded by beauty – I reflect back on the sights of last week.  Suddenly I long for a walk through a town square in Savannah or to feel the breeze take away the humidity on Hilton Head.  I can see those endless trees which looked a lot like giant stalks of broccoli – and I remember being with my husband and talking, laughing, driving in silence and loving every moment of it.

Home Sweet Home!
Mt. Hood at sunset (from airplane)

I love mountains, but now I have new places to love as well.  I believe that I learn to love a place after experiencing that place with loved ones.
Earth is magnificent in its beauty with all of the variety.  What a blessing to be able to appreciate it.  Where is my favorite place on Earth?  It is wherever I am humble enough to look around and give thanks for the marvelous experience of being alive.  It is wherever I am making memories with my family.  It is wherever Mark and I are together!

2 thoughts on “Look Ma! No Tumors!

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