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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Touched
By Ann Renae Hair


“Honey, feel this…I noticed it yesterday.”

Ryan gently touched where his wife placed his hand.

“That is definitely a lump, Fran.”

“I wonder if it’s hormonal. I’ll call my doctor in a few days if it’s still there.”

“Good idea.”


“Hi, this is Fran Allan. I found a lump. How does Dr. Hobert usually handle this situation?”

“This is nothing to mess around with. He will see you at 3:30 today.”

“Today? Great! I’ll be there,” Fran replied. Okay…that sounds serious.


Dr. Hobert gently touched the area of the lump. “It really doesn’t have the characteristics of cancer…probably a fibrous tumor. But, we need to be sure what it is, because it definitely doesn’t belong there. I’m referring you to a general surgeon who will do some combination of ultrasound, biopsy, or mammogram, to find out what’s going on here. When you call her office, I want you to have an appointment within two weeks – no longer. If you have trouble, call me. I’ll get you scheduled.”

“Thank you, Doctor, for seeing me right away. I’ll call you if necessary.”

As Fran started her truck, the words ‘Live Like You Were Dyin’ greeted her from the radio speakers. She shuddered slightly, lowered the volume, and picked up her cell phone to dial the surgeon’s office.

“Hi, this is Fran Allan. I’ve been referred to your office by Dr. Hobert. I have a lump that he wants Dr. Apcol to check. He said I need to be scheduled within two weeks. Is that possible?”

“Let me look here…Okay, Fran. You’re all set. Tuesday, September 25, one day less than two weeks. We’ll see you then.”


Dr. Apcol entered the room. “Hi, Fran.” She touched Fran reassuringly, her hands cupped around Fran’s while looking into her eyes. “I’m glad you’re here. You’re in good hands. Tell me about the events that brought you here today.”

“Last month, I found this lump. I waited a few days to complete my monthly cycle, in case it was hormone related and would go away, but it didn’t. Dr. Hobert checked it two weeks ago and sent me here.”

“Good. To start, we will ultrasound today and see what’s going on in there. That will help us determine where we go next.”


“I am going to have you come back Thursday for biopsy. We’ll take some tissue samples and test them to identify the nature of the lump.”

“I know you probably have a good idea what you are looking at based on your experience, Doctor. What are your thoughts so far?”

“Rather than speculate, let’s wait until the biopsy is complete. I will be able to give you some information at the end of the procedure, even though we won’t have official lab results for about a week.”


“You did great. We have everything we need for now. Let’s look at the screen. I marked cysts on the right side for future reference, but they’re fine, nothing to worry about. However, the lump on the left side…see how the edge of the tumor is irregular…I don’t like to see that. The shape of the tumor concerns me, which is why we did the biopsy. It is possible that it’s fibrous. We’ll know for sure when we get the lab results. So, you and your husband will come in next week Wednesday to review the results and discuss the next step. Either way, it has to be removed, so surgery is certain. When we have all the information, we’ll plan the details. You’ll be fine, just fine.”


“Thanks for coming, Ryan.” Dr. Apcol entered, greeting Ryan with a confident handshake.

“Unfortunately, the lab results confirmed what I suspected. The lump is cancerous…but you’re going to be fine.”

Doctor Apcol reached for the tissues as Fran’s eyes filled with tears, then compassionately patted Fran’s knee before continuing.

“There is some good news. On a scale of one to three, three being most aggressive, your tumor is a two. Since you caught it early, and acted quickly, your prognosis is great. Kudos to you for self-checking and calling your doctor.”

“What do you mean ‘for calling’?”

“Unfortunately, many women do not call. They don’t want to deal with it.”

“I can’t imagine that. Ryan and I didn’t think we should wait until my spring physical to get it checked.”

“Fran, if you had waited until spring, we would be looking at a completely different scenario. That would not have been good.”

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This article has been read 601 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 01/10/08
Love the title and especially the message. Very effective way of getting it across. I felt the emotion from beginning to end.
Laury Hubrich 01/10/08
This is an entry that touches too close to home being a woman. Thank you for the reminder to take care of ourselves and not ignore potential problems. This was right on topic:) Very good.
Sara Harricharan 01/11/08
This gave me goosebumps as I read it. I was so glad that Fran acted early and discovered what could have been fatal at a later date. Great message here! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 01/13/08
Superb application of the topic, and something that we all definitely need to take seriously.

I'd have preferred transitional phrases to the rows of asterisks, since the "scene changes" are not that drastic, and I think the piece would have a smoother flow that way. Just personal preference, however...this is very well done.
LauraLee Shaw01/13/08
This story "touched" me. I went through almost the exact same process with a few cysts recently, so I followed it very naturally. Sounds like you either did your research or are speaking personally.

Just to take it from excellent to perfect, I would've loved to hear some emotion in between the quotations...how was your mc feeling as she said or asked things? Scared, brave, a mixture, etc.

I do know word count can be a major issue, especially with such an in-depth scenario, though. This piece will minister to many, I hope.
jodie banner01/14/08
What a compelling example of the topic. I hope someone reads this and takes the advice written within this story.
Gerald Shuler 01/14/08
Thank you for including the loving husband. There are many ways to show your love through a "touch". This is a fine example of one of those ways.
Temple Miller01/14/08
I love how this story ended. I also really liked the dialogue. Very enjoyable!
Sharlyn Guthrie01/14/08
This is a good subject for the topic, and a good reminder to all. I like the way you presented this, and it is well-written. If I were to suggest one thing (since you asked for suggestions) it would be to inject more emotion, especially at the end. I would think she would be extremely relieved and grateful.
Betty Castleberry01/14/08
You did a great job with making your point. The dialog was natural. One suggestion: I felt the ending (last line especially) was a bit abrupt. I'm not sure how you would change it, though. This was a good read with a good message.
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
Love the title. Perfect story for the topic. Well done!
Dee Yoder 01/15/08
Your dialogue is very realistic. This is a great subject for this topic and an important message, too: be vigilant and assertive with your health care!I like the simple title; there's many ways to feel that word.
Patty Wysong01/15/08
Your title was a perfect match to the story--and what a message. It would've been nice to have more emotion, but you can only include so much in 750 words! Very well done and crystl clear. Hus!