Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Well-Worn Panty Path

Mr. Rosey has often ask "Why do you feel the need to report EVERY silly thing you do?" The answer is, "I usually get a giggle out of it myself, and often I get a "slap my knee" that's funny moment. And the really GOOD stuff, I get the "bust a gut wish I was wearing Depends or Poise" moment. And when I do, I think of you, my beautiful friends. Comedian Tim Hawkins says, "If you can't laugh at yourself...laugh at someone else." So I share to give you something to laugh silliness, my chemo or spaghetti brain moments, my power surge menopause moments (wait - that one is coming, but Mr. Rosey will die of humiliation when he reads what I got caught I'm letting that story chill a week...or a month.) I shared this story with a blogger friend, Nancy Smith who shares her wisdoms with me. I enjoy her and graciously thank her for supplying me with this title...It was perfect!  I realized when telling HER the story, it was not that I had ever admitted to beyond the boundaries of my voice.  So I decided to embrace the Rosey and share the story across the world.  lol  And live up to my purpose...


Several several years ago at a Ladies Retreat, I had this misfortune of wearing what had to be my rattiest pair of panties. All s t r e t c h e d elastic left to save it's life. They were so stretchy that I had actually pulled the top up, pulled them up over the breasts and snapped the bra band over the cloth.  Oh yeah, it was THAT pair of underwear.  Being the kind of church we were in at the time, we were all wearing skirts or dresses. The up and down in the service was not so much of a problem  But when I started walking from the auditorium to the dining hall (you know what's coming don't you) the panties started to do the shimmy. They pulled out from under the bra band, and every woman knows - when you pull that number, that underwear has no life left.  So I found myself doing that duck walk thing you do when you are either hoping to not lose your bladder or two...trying to keep a bad pair of panties out of view.  I was trying to keep my thighs clinched together long enough to keep the dumb thing hidden until I could get to my cabin and make a change to my "wardrobe program." Well that was in a perfect world. I'm walking and I tripped on a stone and bam...the panties are on the ground. I stopped for a second, unsure what to do. I knew to stoop and picked them up would draw more attention. So I just stepped out and kept going. Got to my cabin and fixed that problem cuz you know if they thought it was wicked to wear pants rather than a skirt it was doubly wicked to be pantiless under the skirt.

I took care of the business and went on to the dining hall Got my food and no one's looking at me but there is raucous laughter coming from these women. I mean they were ROWDY. I took a seat and as I took my first bite, the person next to me turns to me and asks "Have you heard about the woman who lost her drawers out in the pathway?" I choked on my food at that point, which she took as a no and permission to proceed telling me the story of the lady who lost her "drawers" out on the pathway!
 She proceeds to tell me she was a ways behind, but what she heard was they noticed the woman was kind of walking funny.   Then she tripped and her panties hit the ground!  I started choking, gasping and reaching for the glass of iced tea.  She kept right on finishing her story.
"The woman stopped a second and then kept on walking, leaving her panties on the path behind me. She never looked back!"

So they break out in gales of laughter again. So I choke out, "Oh she must have been soooooo embarrassed". Then another woman answers me "she probably was, but she carried it off with such class!"  And again they were off with the giggles, and telling stories that were beginning with the words "That reminds of the the time I..."  Around the dining hall, there were staccato outbursts of laughter, with quieter rumbles of conversation interrupted by the punctuation of giggles.  Mercy, I thought as I rubbed my forehead, hoping to wipe away it's sudden headache.  The entire dining hall is talking about my underwear.

I finished my meal and scurried down the path.  Some brave soul had picked up the panties.  I breathed a prayer of thanks that while this pair was stretched out and dead of elastic, it wasn't knarly know "that time of the month, this is all you wear" KNARLY underwear!

Of course, the people I came with, the blabber mouths soon circulated the story even claiming they KNEW the woman who lost her drawers. That night after the 
service was over, all the serious spiritual business was done, we were having an all nighter in the auditorium.  It was crafts, make overs, all sorts of fun girly stuff going on.  We later gathered in the auditorium singing and sharing and doing skits. So then a few of my "former" friends get up there and starting singing their song...

The road before me, my panties behind me. 
The road before me, Pan-ties behind me.
The road before me, panties behind me, 
no turning back... no turning back.... 

Ack!  I should have choked them all! They proceed to tell everyone that the woman with the missing drawers is one of their group and thought she should come up and take a bow...providing she had replaced the pantie issue anyway. I kind you not, I was slinking down in my seat, hoping to not be seen by the vultures up front.  

Then my SISTER was YOU wasn't it! So she stands to blab while pointing at me as I crawl on all fours down the aisle way...."It was my sister!  It was Rosey!"  As my sister jumps and points at my disappearing backside.  My mother rolled her eyes and shook her head, knowing to not even look at me.

So you see my photo here....blond, blue eyes, I have rosecea, I flush easily and this was WAY before hot flashes. So I'm walking to the front of the building wondering how in the world could there ever be a more humiliating moment, the heat radiating off my face was singeing my hair. 

Then all those laughing women started

 clapping and stood up ! 

 By the time I got up with my friends, there was thunderous applause, along with the hysterical laughter. 

What could I do? I flung my arms around my friend's shoulders and we started singing together....complete with the leg kicks.

the road before me, panties behind me
....through the whole song. 
 And we then took a Rockette bow.

Numerous people came to me laughing and sharing with me about their "wardrobe malfunctions". So many women, shared their own panty mishaps, and others just hugged me and told me "But for the grace of God...while they shook their head." Other's hugged me for being a good sport and being willing to admit it was me.  At the ending award ceremony I was called up front for the recipient of of the "most spontaneous hilarious moment" award....a package of panties with a big red bow. I did not ask how they knew the size I wore.

I don't attend that denomination anymore but my sister does. I still have gone to Ladies retreat with her, and I still hear stories "remember that one year, there was a woman whose panties fell off and she just stepped out and kept going like she didn't know, or at least care.  It was the funniest thing! 

And I always reply to the teller of this story, "Really?  Poor thing, she had to be embarrassed.  I bet she makes sure she has a secure pair of panties on when she travels."  The teller nods and agrees while my friends would grin outrageously, fidget and giggle.  I shot them the "hairy eyeball glare" that can stun small children into obedience, so they calm down.  I choose to forego telling this new story teller that I KNOW the "panty woman" BUYS new underwear for every vacation or trips  She not willing the untimely death of another piece of elastic again!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reconstruction 101 - GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING

Some of you are aware that Rosey has been in Crisis.  On Wed. this week, I was doing chores and realized the "radiated skin and muscle" over my tissue expander, suddenly felt squishy and mushy. I called the office immediately, as I knew this was not normal, and it was not good.  They have always been a rigid and stiff feature of my body.  Hard like baseballs stuck under the surface of my body... requiring my arms to hang like a gorilla.   

I was shocked to find that having my photos on the blog did not just make them visible to you who are reading the blog.  It made these photos visible on google search with my name and personal information.  I have removed my photos and replaced them with this space marker and the link to take you to the photo site.  If you asked for a password, it is rosey2012  I don't mind sharing them with women who are looking for information.  But not for the world to view with my address, and personal information. If you right click you may choose "open link in new tab" and not lose your place here.  I know it's a little more inconvenient.  I apologize for that.

They have been in my body since 12/6/2010.  We have a love/hate relationship.  They have for the last year and 7 months been sources of great pain, discomfort, agony or torture.  I hate the pain.  I love that I have the option to build foobies (fake + Boobie = foobie) and to feel feminine in a dress.  Not so much like a trussed turkey with hot silicon "chicken tenderloin" breast prothesis, harnessed inside a chicken wire bra.  Okay the bra is not quite that bad.  But the whole kit is heavy and hot.  I am so ready to pass them on to a needy person.
     They wanted to see me asap, which happened to be this morning. Dr. Jon poked and pushed and said..."You are right, you are way softer than you have ever been but there is still some tissue expansion in there."  But he was proceeding with the idea of surgery this Monday, July 2nd for my "second" stage exchange.  That means replacing the TE with real implants, the Second Stage surgery.  Then Dr. Puckett made a visit and decided he was not convinced it is a leak, perhaps there was just to change to my "capsule cavity" or to the muscle itself.  They all agreed I was mushy/smushy so Dr. Puckett said, "Let's fill you up to the rim and see what happens.  They did a 90 cc fill and I did not feel any pain, none of the "dislocating my ribs" level of pain that I considered normal.  I had only the sense of pressure against the skin and the weight.  
     I have reached the holy grail....750 cc. The largest silicon implant in the Mentor brand is 800 ccs.  So when you reach 750, they know you will accept the 800 without trouble.   I did leak back though the needle site.  Once home, it FELT like the TE was softer.  I fully expected to call and tell them there is a leak.  But upon observation, I realized I still feel pressure against the skin and the ribs, so if there is a leak, it is not a gushing leak.  I am in a holding pattern until Tuesday morning when I see Dr. Puckett again.  I will report the results to you.  Do we have a miracle or do we have a leak.?   Dr. Jon asked me if I believe in magic.  I told him 'no.  I believe in miracles."   At the end of the post, I will show photos of fully expanded pucketts.  
     Let me me clear.  As you scroll down, you will see NAKED reconstruction photos.  They are not gory.  Certainly not pornographic, but you may not want Jr or Juniorette walking by as your scroll through this page.
     I have also gotten a few questions of curiosity from some by email, who just aren't really certain "breast reconstruction" meant or what the result is.  So I have bravely set forth to assist in your education.  A reconstructed breast is nothing like what Pamela Anderson sports around.  At the VERY end I will show successful before and after reconstruction images so you understand what is possible as well as what a normal expectation may be.
     Mine are fondly referred to as the "Pucketts".  Of course some of you may not know that Dr. Charles Lin Puckett is the surgeon who PLACED these instruments of torture in my body.  I love him.  sigh.  I got recommendations of him as "an excellent knowledgeable doctor with no sense of humor."  I don't know which Dr. Puckett they saw.  My Dr. Puckett, an older gentlemen who is slow to speak, listens intently, grins widely at me and maybe it's just cause I'm his favorite patient.   *wink*   He jokes with me and laughs.  So if a friend or reference says...this doctor is excellent in skill but he has no sense of humor, go interview him.  It may have been your friend without the sense of humor.  Doing a consult with a doctor is not hiring him to be your doctor.  Making a second appointment isn't either.  You haven't really hired a doctor until you sign the consent for treatment form.  And I suspect at the last minute you could still climb down from a table and say..whoa, I'm done, outta here, I have changed my mind.  I'm not doing surgery...and you could probably pull it off.
     To add clarity for those who do not know me, I had a Bilateral Mastectomy in Dec 2010 for Lobular Breast Cancer.  After research and determining who I was and how I dress, I decided that while I might be able to deal with a breast prosthesis on a temporary basis.  I could not however look at the future and accept that I would either be flat or wear the whole mastectomy bra get up.  I did not want to think about it that much.  So I interviewed with Dr. Puckett and made arrangements to have him do my Reconstructive surgery.
     My first visit with him after the surgery, I sternly told him that I had not been informed that Tissue Expanders (TE) were constructed of concrete and rebar.  I love my doctor and he listens to me, but I found it pretty much across the board; plastic surgeons typically don't volunteer information such as THIS IS GOING TO REALLY HURT.  My actual breast surgeon (The doctor who actually the removed the breast tissue before Dr. Puckett came in to rebuild) asked me later if I felt I had been prepared for the reconstruction process.  I emphatically answered NO.  I was told, "It will require a longer recovery than if I just had a mastectomy with reconstruction coming later."  I was not told "Because it will hurt, spasm and burn like fire from Hades itself."  

These are filled Mentor brand
 Tissue expanders
 aka "the Pucketts" ----->

The tissue expander looks like when empty--->
It has a soft ridged texture...kind of like that piece of gummy that got lost in the bottom of your purse, with all the fuzzies stuck to it.  That's how it felt.  Not velvety, not bumpy.  But when you ran your fingertips over the surface there was a soft drag of  resistance.

Some expander brands have ports that are not part of the actual expander, but the expander has tubing connected to a port sutured in the skin.  Thank you Jesus for sparing me of that.  I'm a side sleeper (Once this all healed enough) and if I had those ports sewn into my sides, I would still be sleeping on my back.  *shudder*

The round dark circle is where the needle is inserted IN your port to fill the expanders once they are.... implanted.  The circular port is magnetized metal.  The doctor takes this small magnetic device (shown below) and moves it across your skin.  When the device is moved over the area where your post is located, the magnet immediately stops and essentially POINTS at the port.  The doctor presses down on the pointy end piece and it leaves a small X imprint on your skin.

I looked for a non bloody image of the expander in place.  I didn't want to gross you out too much.  The expander is pushed under the pectoral muscle and as it is expanded, scar tissue surrounds creating a "pocket" or "Capsule".     The implant is "exchanged" months after the surgeon feels he has expanded enough OR the patient has decided this is enough or can't tolerate more.  That is called your EXCHANGE or Second stage surgery. and it supposed to be less painful.  A resident told me Dr. Puckett doesn't use drains for the exchange surgery, I hope he doesn't find a reason to make an exception for me.  Supposedly the concrete bra sensation goes away.  Many women after the exchange surgery refer to the implants as smooshies, squishies or foobs.                               

This photo is nice and all but the depiction of the
syringe is totally out of scale.

This is what they bring in to do the actual expansion,not that little syringe shown in the above photo.  Those two HUGE syringes contain 60 ccs each (one for each side) but they connect to a itty bitty (diameter/gauge wise) long...butterfly needle.  You can see the green "needle butterfly wings" lower on the photo than the syringes, right above those foot long needles.  Ok. Maybe not foot long.  But they are 5 - 6 inches long.

Magnafinder is use.

For more photos of this woman's bravery through cancer treatment
and reconstruction go to Angela's Cancer Story

This image is of a brave young woman who upon finding out she was BRAC2 positive made the decision to prophylactically remove her breasts to lower her risk of breast and ovarian cancer.  She had an 85% risk before this, but her prophylactic mastectomy (PMX) reduced it down to less than 12%.   She having a "fill" or "expansion" in progress in this photo.  You can read more of her decision to prophylactically remove her breasts at April's Story

Read more of her story at
This is what radiation can do your skin,  muscle. This is NOT my puckett.  But this is almost as bad as mine was on day 24 of radiation when the radiation techs pushed my right elbow into my left ear.  I screamed in pain and they jumped back in horror as my red swollen tissue split and slid off to the side.  Doctors and nurses came running.  I loved who grabbed the pain meds on her race to the Rad. room.  I was given the pain medication, the scans were quickly done and then the nurses coated silvadene cream onto telfa pads to lay across the open flesh that was now weeping fluid and blood onto the pristine steel table.  They bandaged me up and then my Mr. Rosey marched into the women's dressing area, DARING anyone to stop him.  He gently covered my body with his large soft white undershirt (silvadene turns black on cotton...just be aware, the garments will be ruined) and wrapped me in my fleece cape.  He took me home.  I think he hurt almost as much as I did.

To view photo, click link and enter rosey2012 if asked
      It was a pretty horrendous experience.  If you can remember the worst sunburn of your life...then think about going out 5 days a week, day after day to get that burned all over again?  That's how radiation burns feel.  My skin literally dissolved over the whole region.   The skin, muscles and blood vessels are so traumatized and fragile, my Plastic surgeon wouldn't consider doing further expansions or surgeries for a year after this is done.  You can have skin issues up to a year after radiation is over, so he waits to pass that window.  I in fact DID have issues in the eleventh month.  I went through physical therapy and the blessed Ginny and I got the puckett ready to expand.  
     Alrighty then, I have done my best to educate you on the PROCESS of reconstruction.  After 14 months of waiting, I am able to restart the expansion part. When I first unveiled the pucketts TO Dr. Puckett, he kind of exclaimed "WOW!"  And he told me I had done an excellent job both healing AND rehabbing the skin and muscles.  He did a 60 cc expansion just moments later.  I'm now three expansions later and at 660 cc's.  And it hurts again.  It doesn't hurt too bad IF I DON'T MOVE.  But even lifting a cup to drink pulls on the muscles.  Picking up the laptop makes the muscle yell at me.  And there's a lot of pain under the scar as well.  WHICH is good in one sense as it means things ARE expanding.  Adhesions are breaking, scar tissue is being stretched and my knarly scar is being stretched and pulled.  It SUCKS.  But it's doing what it has to do.
These are my knarly pucketts.  On the left side of my chest (think backwards of this photo) you will see loose skin hanging out below.  I refer to this as my "chicken fat".  Dr. Puckett was very pleased to have that excess skin.    Having extra skin like that is helpful to the plastic surgeon. It can be pulled up and over the implant. Now the right side....this is the radiated side that is giving me all this trouble.  You will note the absence of "chicken fat."   I had some to begin with, but radiation ate it.  It is taut all the way around.  If you look closely you may note some indentation on that scar, where the other scar is nearly invisible.  A lot of my "discomfort"  this fill is stretching that scar as well.  So owie.
     So many people ask me "is it worth it?"  I think the answer will be yes.  Right now?  Well right now is not a good time to ask me ANY question.  It hurts like Hades, and I don't have great mobility around the pucketts as one does with regular breast tissue.  The pucketts are hard, baseball structures attached to muscles under your skin.  As one doctor states, turn to fast and those expanders could knock someone out.  Shove a baseball under your armpit, walk around and you have a good idea what a TE feels like.  I push through this pain because one day I want to put on a dress without having to wear those hot, heavy mastectomy prosthesis.  I want to have that confidence back.  While the pain is obnoxious and restricting, I know it won't be here forever.  It will go away and I will have a bosom that I don't have to think about.  THEN ask me if it was worth it.
     As promised, I saw Dr. Puckett today, all of us thinking I had a leak.  So after a 90 cc fill now nearly 2 lbs of water (which I will be sure to subtract tomorrow morning from the scale) this is how the Pucketts are looking.  Total in - 750 ccs.

To see Photo, click link and enter rosey2012 if asked
This front view shows the puncture mark from the needle.  Nice bilateral view of the chicken skin.  The chicken skin on the right is new.  The bandaging on the right puckett looks serious, the saline was leaking back from the injection site.  They placed a small pressure bandage there to soak up the back flow.  It still soaked into my bra and left a dollar coin size stain.  6/29/2012 

To see photo click link. If asked password is rosey2012

Bird's eye view (so to speak) of the skin and tissue damage left  from radiation.  That rippling is not supposed to be there.   I fully expect that Dr. Puckett will pull that chicken fat under the arm forward as much as possible and try to excise that damaged skin. 6/29/2012

To see photo click link and enter rosey2012 if asked.

Looks are deceiving.  These are not as huge as they look.    haha But this is a good view of the tissue expander "shelf" that is created when they are fully expanded. Much like how a pregnant woman will rest something  on her abdomen, I have been known to set the computer mouse, the remote or and my phone on the puckett shelf.  6/29/2012

I'm feeling pretty confident in saying there is a slow leak...but there is also a big change in the muscle and skin.  I am very pleased they were able to expand to 750 ccs, even if it is slowly leaking.  The skin and muscle will easily manage the implant I desire.  :)  But I must wait for Dr. Puckett to concur.  So that will be July 3rd.  I expect they will schedule surgery in the next week or two.  In surgery Dr. Puckett will cut open the lower "capsule" to let the implant fall down the chest a bit.  He will cut the inner "cleavage side" on both to move the implants closer to center and pulling them out from under the arms. (Hallelujah, Praise God and Amen!)  Then Dr. Diana told me to expect a TIGHT band will encircle my body at armpit level.  I will wear that for a certain amount of weeks until Dr. Puckett is satisfied that the implant/foobies have settled into their new home and will not attempt to climb over the shoulder.

You know the song? 
Do your boobs hang low?  
Do they wobble to and fro,
can you know tie them in a bow, 
can you throw them over your shoulder
 like a continental soldier.....yeah.  NOT good!!

These are public images of successful reconstructions using expander to implant procedures.

The Goal is not to create porn perfect breasts.
  The Goal is to create self confidence in your clothing.  

To know that you don't have to worry about prothesis slipping, mastectomy bras that are hot and heavy, the straps that keep falling down making the prosthesis sag and roll.  We are warriors, and we have battle scars.  We are beyond that.  We just want to walk down the street and no one notice our chest region.  We want to feel beautiful in our clothing without the burden of prosthesis.

Tissue expander  - Left photos.  Finished implant reconstruction  - Rt Photos
Left photo - CLASSIC shelf appearance

Bilateral reconstruction..(tape is to hold scar formation flat)

Right Mastectomy with reconstruction and Left breast lift so they match.

Some breast reconstructions ARE nicer in appearance...
Very normal in appearance
Which is before and which is after?
I wonder if I could have Dr. Puckett give me a
tummy like that too?
...And in case you are wondering, 
this is one method of reconstructing nipples.  

The Aerola is tattooed on by a medical tattoo profesional. 

And Meet the Pioneer of the 3D Nipple Tattoo - Vinnie Myers   Yes, they are flat tattoo's inked in 3D  I might do this.  lol  I think I doubt it...
This one cracks me up!  I often wonder what hubs would say if
I came wearing a "nipple ring"!  Certainly would have to be less painful
than getting a real one!  
The rippling you see can be caused by certain silicon implants.
Now you know more than you EVER wanted to know about Rosey and Breast reconstruction after mastectomy.  Soon I will be starting the countdown to My exchange surgery to Squishy foobies and posting it as soon as I know.

**Disclaimer**  Please note that this post is written about MY experience.  It is not to say that everyone will have pain, trouble with Tissue Expanders, or need radiation.  I do not pretend to think to advice anyone to choose one kind of Reconstruction surgery over another.  I CHOOSE implants because of specific reasons with my doctor.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Love Them Like Jesus

I sat in the Plastic surgeon's waiting room a couple weeks back.  I had my tablet and was playing a level of angry birds, furiously trying to kill the trio that was thwarting me.  Three women near me were busy chatting and comparing their cancer war stories.  Inwardly I was grimacing as the loudest spoke openly of necrotic, smelly incisions that did not heal.  About the parade of ER visits before someone decided maybe that infection needed a stronger antibiotic.  It wasn't appearing to me the poor woman she had cornered wanted to hear her details either.  She turned her attention over to me,

"How long ago was your mastectomy dear?" she asked me.  I looked up with an eyebrow cocked at her, wondering to myself why she thought I had a mastectomy.  Not everyone in the plastic surgeon's waiting room is there for reconstruction of the breast.  A look around reveals there are people without legs or facial features.  

It was as if she read my mind, as she gestured to her own chest and told me "I'm assuming it's breast cancer, you have that flat, reconstructed look."  In my mind, I thanked her ever so much for announcing to everyone about my flat reconstructed look.  With a sigh I answered, "My diagnosis date will be 2 years ago in July."  She congratulated me for my coming second anniversary and then she put her hand on my arm and then announced, "You are so lucky!  You are getting a boob job for free!"

Free?  This was costing me dearly in so many ways.  Financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.  The price of my free boob job was more than I was willing to pay.

For a brief moment I contemplated ripping open my shirt and showing her my mutilated and contorted body where each breath gives its own share of pain. Lucky?  Seriously, did she just say LUCKY?  Free Boob JOB?  I don't care if the old boobs could be strapped to my knees, they were better than dealing with this.

In 1985, I had a miscarriage.  I was only 6 weeks pregnant, but this pregnancy was the culmination of 4 years of intensive fertility treatment.   The moment the stick turned blue, I loved my baby.  The very night I gave the good news to my husband, I would find myself hemorrhaging within 5 hours.  When I passed the tiny body of our child, we were instructed to keep it in a specimen cup along with any clots or other materials, until I saw the doctor the next day.

Friends called to tell me...

This was for the best; you might have been saddled with a defective child. 
This is God's way of getting rid of defective babies.
It just wasn't meant to be.
Was it gross?  You know...keeping the body in your fridge?
At least you lost it early before you came to feel it and love it.
At least you don't have the expense of having to bury it.
At least you can try again.
At least you now know you CAN get pregnant.
At least you weren't showing yet, you don't have to do a lot of explaining to people.
It’s better to lose the pregnancy now than to have a still birth later.
It was God's will.

My sister in law carried twins to full term.  Unknown to her, they were mono - amniotic/mono-chorionic twins.  They were identical twins who developed within and shared the same amniotic sac.  For 9 months, these little boys played, kicked, punched, twisted and rolled over each other.  In the process, their umbilical cords became twisted, combined and knotted.  The doctor was a family Practioner, who had not noted the importance of the MA/MC diagnosis.  For the reason I stated they are usually delivered by c-section, vaginal delivery is dangerous to the intertwined umbilical cords.  Her doctor did not do a C-section.

Her labor was rapid and she delivered the first baby without incident, but his birth carried out the tangle of umbilical cords, including those of his twin brother. What followed blows this ole OB nurses mind, but I'll skip to the part where an emergency C Section delivered a child in such distress, he had to be resuscitated over a great length of time and put on life support.  He was flown to large city hospial, where they tried to sustain his life.  After multiple brain bleeds and increasingly dire EEG results, my sister in law and her husband made the painful decision to remove him from life support.  She got to hold him for the first time as he struggled to take his last breaths.

She was told…

At least you weren't left with a mentally disabled child
At least you have another baby to love so you won't miss this one.
At least he died before you could make memories and really miss him.
Must have been hard to pull the plug on your own child.
God must have wanted another beautiful flower to put in his garden. (My personal disgusted favorite)
God must have missed his spirit and wanted him back.
It's better this way.  The financial burden would have been horrendous.
You have his twin brother to love, so you will always see his face.
It was just not God's will for you to have two babies.

A dear sister received one of those phone calls in the middle of the night.  It was the highway patrol.  "Mrs. Anderson, I regret to inform you...your son....head on collision...he did not survive."  She doesn't remember hanging up the phone.  Rushing to the hospital, the ER tells her, she cannot see the remains.  She doesn't want that to be the last image she has of her son.  The funeral was held with a closed casket.

She was told...

How bad was he messed up that you had to have a closed casket?
God must have needed him more than you did.
At least you have his memories to hold on to.
When it's your time, it's your time.
At least he wasn't left a vegetable.
Be grateful for the time you had with him.
God must have decided his work here was done.
You know it was God's will.

Another round of fertility drugs had proven to be a loss.  The young couple grieved another opportunity did not bring the desire of their hearts.

They were told...

You can try again.
The world is over populated anyway.
Being a parents isn't all it’s cracked up to be.  You wanna borrow mine for a week?
Is there some sin in your heart?  There must be a reason God isn't blessing you with a child.
How much do those drugs and treatments cost.  Wouldn't it be better to put that toward adopting?
Just get a dog.  It’s almost the same thing.
Buy a house instead.  The house doesn't get mouthy in 13 years.
My friend adopted a baby and the next month when they stopped trying...she found out she was pregnant.  So just adopt a baby and you will have a real baby AND an adopted one.
After you do the "you know", stand on your head for 30 minutes.  My sister's cousin in law's aunt's mother did that and she got pregnant.
Well you guys just must not be "doing it right".
It might not be God's will for you to have children.

The young woman enjoyed her life.  She loved her career.  She loved the home she bought and enjoyed tramping through garage sales and flea markets for the perfect additions to her decor.  She was active in her church, and she mentored several teen girls.  She was "good" with where God has put her.  Her life was full.  She wasn't aware anything was missing.

She was told...

I'm so tired.  You can't understand as you don't have a demanding husband or kids to run around.
It must be nice not to have to share the bed.
You can't know how hard it is to juggle a job and a home.  I mean you don't have a husband to deal with.
You don't have to deal with someone else's junk I mean treasures do you?
You must have so much spare time.  That must be nice.
Have you tried those online dating services?  That might get ya a man.
Your life must be so empty without someone to love.
When its God will for you to marry, it will happen.

The doctor just told her, its cancer.  Her immediate thought goes to her husband, her children, and the sisters.  Her mind flashes to the future and she fears what she sees there.

She was told....

Is it the good cancer or the bad cancer?
Have you written a will?
I hear chemo isn't that bad,
Well it’s a drastic weight loss program.
Let me know if there's something I can do for ya (please God don't let her call me)
I'll be prayin' for ya.
Well you'll get a boob job, (or insert tummy tuck) when you reconstruct.
Are those fake boobies you have now?
Wow.  That sucks, why didn't they catch it earlier?
Have they told you how much time you have?
When you die will you go to heaven or hell?  Do you know Jesus?
We have to trust this is God's will for your life.

They couldn't catch their breath, the news was so good.  "It's a boy!" the agency said.  You can come up to meet him tomorrow.  The court meets next Thurs to award temporary custody to you.  In 6 months, the adoption will be final.  They joyously introduced their new infant son to their friends and families.

They were told…

Wow.  So you couldn't have kids?
That must have set you back a bundle.
He's cute.  Looks nothing like either of ya though.
Too bad, you couldn't have children.
Well I think it's a wonderful thing you’re doing taking on someone else's mistakes.
Do you know what kind of people he came from?  What if he’s grows up to be a psychopath?
So do ya think you'll get to keep him?  Is the birth mother sure about giving him up?
Must be nice to just go buy a baby and not have the stretch marks, the labor or those hormones!

Some of you may have read through these comments and said no one in their right mind could have said these things.  I assure you I have heard all these and much worse.  My own experiences with infertility, miscarriage, cancer, the death of a family member, all these were said and more. I even found myself saying something stupid, and in my rush to "fix my blunder" I said something worse. After my miscarriage and staring off at yet another good person who had assured me that "if I just keep trying it will happen".  I wondered what possessed them to make such inane statements.  I learned a truth in that experience.  

Good, well-meaning people will say 
really stupid things.

Recently a young woman I'm acquainted with lost her baby in a miscarriage.  In talking to her about what to expect physically I also warned her to be prepared.  Some really nice people were going to say really stupid things to her.  When she made the announcement on facebook, the stupid things started appearing just as I warned her.  I shook my head at the things I read.  I couldn't believe what possesses some people to say such things.  

Truly they aren't meaning to be so cruel.  They are just filling the silence.  It's uncomfortable to not know what to we rush to say something, ANYTHING to fill the silence.  And it's usually something awful.

Most of the time, a hug and a genuine I’m so sorry is appreciated more than your manufactured statements.  Sitting with us when our heart is broken.  Holding us in tears.  Dropping off a casserole or dinner with a quick hug and “I love you” ...

Love Them Like Jesus (Casting Crowns)

Asking someone, "Tell me what you need and it's done" is appreciated more than "If there's something you need just let me know."  When we are in crisis, we don't usually know WHAT we need until we need it.  And then we feel like a burden to call and ask...

My own cancer experience taught me the difference between the generic and the specific.  "Let me know" was the generic of course.  Those who said to me, "If you need a ride, you call me.  If you need help doing laundry, you call me.  If you need me to run your errands, you let me know."  and "Tell me what kinds of things you need, and I will let you know what I can help with."  That was so appreciated.  Knowing what people are genuinely willing to do gives direction on where help is needed, and who to call.

One day not long into my diagnosis, I walked to my landlady's home and knocked.  I explained I had just been diagnosed with cancer and in fact just returned from chemo class. I would have my first chemo treatment that very next week.  She took my hands and looked me in the eye and asked me "Tell me what you need from me."  I asked her to extend some grace to us in keeping the yard work done.  I didn't know how long it would be before I would be well enough to get the yard mowed.  With my husband's neuro-muscular disease, it might get a little long before I recovered from chemo enough to bring out the rider.

"Absolutely not" she answered me and for an instant my heart sunk.  "I don't want you to be concerned about the lawn at all.  My boys and I will keep it mowed.  You and your husband just need to take care of each other and get through this."  I cannot tell you the explosion of warmth that filled me at her words.  A real offer that was born from a real concern.  It was a beautiful thing.

I've learned to accept this as well, and you may have to take a deep breath for this one...

Not everything happens because 
God MADE it happen.

Sometimes sucky bad things happen to wonderful people because we live in a fallen, deteriorating world where evil triumphs and sometimes the good die young.  Sometimes bad things happen because Sin rules this world. Someone uses their free will to inflict great evil upon another being, a person makes a bad decision in a split second that changes lives and families.  God may have the foreknowledge, I believe with ALL my heart that He cringes to hear people over and over attributing these atrocities and tragedies to His WILL.  It was not God's Will that a son dies in a head on collision.  It's not God's will that a person gets cancer.  It's not God's will when a baby dies before her parents get to meet her.  But I can tell you that in that ugly darkness, God is there with us.  He's weeping with us and if we let Him, in time He will grow something valuable from this dark place.  I'm not asking you to believe me, because it took me 40 years to believe it myself.  Just be willing to try.

I see His deepest wishes that sin never infected our souls and separated us from his Pure Heart and Perfect plan. The knowledge that this chain of events was enfolding in front of Him, the bad things were going to happen did not mean that He orchestrated the events.  There is another force at work here on earth.  It is the power that controls right now, but the day is coming when that power will be defeated. But for now, we need a little help keeping our arms in the air as they grow weak from the battle.

Many years ago, I had an incident in my life that knocked the wind out of me and swept my legs out from under me.  I called my BFF and explained to her what happened.  She told me to come over immediately.  I arrived and her home was glowing with scented candles.  She asked me, "You want Lemon Zinger?"  She heated the tea pot and poured my cup.  She handed me tissue after tissue and murmured, "I'm so sorry" over and over.  She couldn't fix what was wrong.  She did not try to fill the silence.  She did not try to fix my pain.  She just let me talk, kept my tea cup full, and the tissues handy. She cried with me when there were no more words.  It was the most beautiful gift I had ever been given in a time of need.  When I tell her I need to talk RIGHT NOW.  She tells me, "I'm putting on the kettle."  And I love her for that.

It is fine to not know the answers.  You are not required to defend God in the face of unexpected loss, death, or disease.   We may ask the question why, but we don't really need you to answer. We really just to need to know that you are standing with us in solidarity as we face adversity, that you hold our hand while we weep and pass us tissues and you will rejoice in our happiness.  We aren't expecting you to fill the silence of painful moments. 

Exodux 17: 8 - 13 
 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim.  Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”  So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.   So Joshua overcame the Amalekit army with the sword.

 We just need your support.