Newsletter – Volume 48


Newsletter – Volume 48

June 3, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Dawn...

It struck me so odd – even unnecessary – I was doing so well after my initial discharge. But then, while eating a home cooked soup (made by son Curran and his fiancé Mannie), one of my side wounds started leaking. We tried to stop it with gauze bandages but couldn’t stay ahead of it. Poor Curran was up for a good portion of the night trying to hold it at bay.

I was able to get an appointment with a nurse on the following morning, and they ran a few tests. They were worried that the refashioned ureter might be leaking urine into the abdominal cavity. The nurse fashioned a bag to catch the fluid more efficiently. I went back home and tried to rest. I just kept feeling worse. When I got up to answer the phone from nurse about the test results, I got really sick. The nurse sent me immediately to ER, where they ran a whole series of new tests and a scan. Good news/bad news, there was no urine leaking into the abdominal cavity, but the scan showed minor blockage in the bowels, so they wanted to keep me in overnight.

The evening nurse during my second stay at Mayo was named Dawn Nelson. She signed in on my patient board as “Dawn till Dawn!” She was vibrant and confident. Her care for patients seemed effortless, which means she worked long and hard at it. On my second night (after collecting my vitals), we got into a conversation about how she got into nursing. I discovered she came into nursing later in life. She finally finished her four- year degree at age 60.

Part of what prompted her interest in helping others was her desire to redeem some of the heartache and sorrows of her own life. She was divorced, lost her 17-year-old son in a tragic auto accident, and walked through her own battle with breast cancer. She understood (on a deeply personal level) the power of kindness and care in the midst of crisis. She decided she wanted to be part of helping people process their own hardship and pain and she is really good at it.

I remember one particular statement she made, she said, “Life is all about the choices you make…” I think she saw before her basically two options: (1) let the heartaches of life make her angry and bitter (2) use the pains of her life as a seed bed for building empathy to encourage and support others. She choose the later.

I cannot express how inspiring that was to me. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. I mention all this because perhaps the whole second escapade at Mayo was given to me as an opportunity to meet Dawn – a fellow black sheep messenger in the medical field.

Obviously, there were some things I needed to get addressed physically. But maybe the higher purpose was to be reminded that God can/does redeem it all – if we let him. I told Dawn, after our conversation, that her life inspired me. I gave her one of my devotionals. Maybe the devotional will be a part of continuing to inspire her to be who she is…. But one thing I know for sure is that I want to be like Dawn till dawn.

Word of the Week


Noun: In biology a root system is the part of a plant that grows underground to absorb water, nutrients, anchors the plant, and stores food.

The Aspen is one the most resilient trees in the forest, and it’s due to their intricate root system.  Though they grow as beautiful individual trees above ground, they have a complex web of interwoven roots underground. It’s another little sign in nature that communicates a powerful truth about life.  If you want to stand as a strong and resilient person in the world, you need a capable support structure underneath you. Community is not essential because you’re weak, it’s a gift of God reminding you that you were made to live strong!

A Video I Found Especially Helpful

Megan Marshman

Overview: Romans 8:28 is often a ‘go to’ passage when one is in the middle of a personal crisis. It’s a promise of God working all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. But what does that really look like? In this two-minute reel Megan has an especially compelling take on the meaning of good. A must watch!

During my time at Mayo, I received so many encouraging notes, messages, Bible verses, prayers and music suggestions. Each of them were sent with such love and care. So grateful. But this particular reel was especially meaningful to me. It hit hard. I watched it with tears. Perhaps you will find equally moving AND helpful. Watch it HERE.

A Heart-Felt Thank You: My Trip To

Mayo Clinic

I was in Rochester from May 13-June 1. The trip had a very specific purpose. It was an attempt to completely eradicate cancer from my body, which necessitated the removal of my right kidney, the corresponding ureter, the prostate, and affected lymph nodes. It was a radical solution, but we felt at peace about the process and the people who would lead the effort. Through a series of special circumstances, the Lord opened the door to this world class hospital. The lead surgeon was the head of the urological department with specialties in both the bladder and prostate. His team was highly credentialed as well. The surgery went mostly well, but there were two complications, which required a second surgery and an additional two-night stay at the hospital – all of which made me all the more grateful we were able to do this work here at Mayo. Thankfully, once all was said and done, I was able to go home with a positive report and real hope for a cancer-free future.

Besides the great work at Mayo, I was also very well-supported by family – alongside Carol, each of my kids took a turn to be with me and support my healing journey. My sister also spent the last 5 days cooking and caring for me. There were also numerous calls, texts, and prayers shared. More than a few people sent resources to help cover the expenses of the trip. Carol and I are both deeply touched by the level of concern shown to us. Saying thank you hardly seems like enough, but please know how greatly we appreciate all that was done for us. And a special thanks to Jennifer who faithfully served as our communications person!

Starting Up Again

Pocket Prayer Texts

In addition to the hard copy devotional that is still available at, I also send out a daily devotional text Monday – Friday directly to your mobile phone. Should you like to receive it, simply send “Pocket Prayer” to 573.673.6241, and I will gladly add you to the list. Those will start again this week.

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