23rd Random Act of Kindness

images-10

Oh dear, I am in trouble…

Sitting waiting, wondering what is taking so long I am thinking to myself. I see a doctor walking towards me in the waiting room and he says, “Laurie, will you come with me please”. Well, you know this is not going to be good news.

We go back into the examination room and two other people come in the room and I know, oh man, this is really bad. My heart starts to go a million beats a second and my whole body has this shaking that will not stop. The doctor proceeds to tell me they have found a calcified tumor in my breast that looks like cancer and I need to find a specialist as soon as possible.

My Mother was just diagnosed with stage three-breast cancer 3 months before so my sister and I thought it was a good idea to get checked. I had been many times before with no issues but this time was different. It was the look in their eyes. The look you know you are in deep trouble. The look that has tears in it. The look that feels sorry for what you about to go through. The look you never want to see.

I was walking out of the office in a daze, with my imaging, doctors note in hand and I entered the elevator and saw my OBGYN who had delivered all of my babies. He knew I had this appointment today and we had become very close over the years. We are about the same age and had children at the same time. He also knew I never took things very seriously. I had been in his office the day before and he found this lump and set up the appointment with the radiologist for the next day. He looked at me with the look that I knew he had heard already. Man, does bad news travel fast. I looked at him and just broke down. I do not cry EVER, so this was truly an event. We walked outside the building, I am just sobbing uncontrollably and we sat on a bench. I cried for about 10 minutes, and then I was done. I actually never cried again. We started to make a game plan.

 By the time I reached my car I had an appointment with the best surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital in two hours. Sometimes it is really nice to know people who can work that quickly. While driving from Bethesda to Washington DC I called my husband to fill him in but with an attitude I was fine and everything will be ok. I did not want to alarm anyone and I was truly very good in bad situations, I always have been.  Something comes over me and I just do not stop until everything is in place. If you are sick, I am your girl. I will do everything in my power to make you well.

So finally after a very long wait, this tall blonde beautiful women comes into the room and looks at me and says, “So I hear we have a problem!” Look at it this way; you will have great new boobs. I just started to laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. I knew she was the doctor for me. Her opinion of this awful tumor was no different then the other doctor, so I knew my life was going to change forever.

So the dreaded day comes and I am in this bubble gum pink robe with these wires poking out of my boobs. They had found more tumors that needed to come out. My sister Shelly came with me because I really never said how serious this was to my husband and my children. I needed this to be very understated so I could make it through. I had told very few friends and family about this and wanted to almost keep it a secret.

As Shelly and I were walking down this hospital hallway, we both started to laugh uncontrollable; you know the nervous laugh where you cannot stop. Literally, we were told to stop three times. We just could not, every time we looked at each other it just started again. I think it may have been the “I am gonna die” jokes they did not like. They come to get me and I was walked into this room where your robe comes off and you lie on this table with your arms out like a cross. My doctor says, “I hope you do not mind but I have some of my students that will be in here for the procedure”. I am fine with that until I see 15 doctors that looked 12,  whom all want to touch me. I just went with it, made friends with all of them before they put me out.

I wake up in recovery and find my sisters eyes. My doctor and nurses are looking at me saying how do you feel? I’m okay but why are all of you looking at me like that. I have very low blood pressure so I have a hard time with anesthesia and I was having some issues with coming out of it. Worried looks is all I see and to make things even worse she says it does not look good for me and we have to wait a few days for pathology. At this point, I am starting to prepare myself for the worst. My first thought is my hair, how will I look bald? Seeing a person go through chemo is no picnic and I wondered to myself, would I be a trooper like my Mother.

I am at home talking to some friends who are checking up on me, Shelly had left to go back to Boston and I am just recovering from the surgery. It was a snowy, gloomy day and I was in bed feeling a little sorry for myself. I get a phone call from my doctor and she says, “Are you sitting down”? I am thinking, oh man, here is comes, the dreaded words of, you have cancer. I could tell in her voice that she was holding back tears and that just really threw me off and I was just waiting, almost hurry up already. She starts off with, I had them run this twice just to make sure but you have just won “the lottery”. I have only seen this 3 times in my career and you are the luckiest girl. NO CANCER…

I jumped out of bed so fast it would make your head spin, yelling for my kids and husband, guess what NO CANCER. Are you sure Laurie, my husband says? Yes, I won the lottery. They are all hysterical and I am running around the house jumping for joy and just so elated I am not sure what to do next. I start to make some calls to my family and friends to let them in on the news so no one has to worry anymore. What all of them said to me was you have no idea how many people were praying for you. I would have been so mad at everyone if I had known anyone knew about my situation. They all know how fiercely private I am and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Unbeknownst to me, I had been put on everyone’s prayer lists, that friends of friends were praying for me, Churches were praying for me, strangers praying for me. Even our children’s school was praying for me. I had know idea that the world could be so kind and people you do not even know have your back in the worst of times…

The power of prayer and my miracle. Thank you to all of you for your random act of kindness.

 

16th Random Act of Kindness

Act like a duck

My homage to ducks…

I thought this was the sweetest thing as I walked through a park and noticed they had actually constructed a ramp for ducks to easily get into the water fountain. In everyday life we can find the beauty in bridges, ramps and just simply your hand. I have certainly used the analogy of a duck many, many times and I have been told, “Laurie, when you walk, you waddle “like a duck”! I do have a certain style and if it is a duck walk, then I love it because it is me…

You know you love ducks.  How many times have you said this?

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”

“With a rubber duck, one’s never alone”

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

“A few feathers short of a whole duck”

And my personal favorite!

“Let it roll off, like a duck”

7th Act of Kindness

Jamie Winslow

 

Written by Jamie Winslow Co-Founder of SMGA

It stands just a few miles away, we’ve all sped by it hundreds of times, but how much thought have we ever given to what goes on in that massive structure just off the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Cedar Lane. As a result of realignments and closures, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was formed by merging the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda Naval Hospital. It is the largest military medical center in the country and often the first destination of care for warriors wounded and injured during global conflicts.

 

For the past eight years, one local Maryland group has been bringing the game of golf as a form of mental and physical rehabilitation to the post-9/11 wounded and injured warriors from Walter Reed/Bethesda. Co-founded by two life long Montgomery County residents, the SMGA (www.smga.org) has grown beyond its humble roots. Today, the SMGA operates at more than eight locations across the country, conducts hundreds of golf clinics each year, and has given away nearly a thousand sets of customized, fitted golf clubs.

 

Although more than 2000 wounded and injured warriors have taken at least one lesson at an SMGA sponsored location, the organization, until just recently, was an all volunteer organization. More than 90% of all the funds it takes in directly benefits warriors’ recovery through the game of golf, and many warriors credit golf for literally saving their lives. To hear the SMGA tell it, recovery, particularly the wounds associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can last a lifetime and golf is a game that can be played for life. The SMGA program, from instructional clinics and lessons to equipment and golf course access is designed to mirror that lifelong timeline.

 

The success the SMGA has had over the years has involved random acts of kindness too numerous to count. Facilities such as Olney Golf Park and the country clubs at Argyle, Manor, and Norbeck have opened their doors to SMGA warrior golfers; PGA of America golf professionals have given hours of instruction time; local companies and individuals have provided funding; and local restaurants such as the Green Turtle, Ledo’s Pizza, Subway, and Urban BBQ have donated countless slices, subs, and sauces to the lunches that are provided at each clinic.

 

While this is only one warrior’s story (http://www.pgamediacenter.com/videos/2013_BeyondTheGreen.cfm?vid=2&seek=934), without even really knowing it, our community has come together to deliver a random act of kindness to those American heroes who have given so much to protect our nation’s freedom.

2014Manor1SMGAManor22014SMGAManor3 2014SMGAManor4 2014SMGAManor5