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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cousin(s) (05/22/08)

TITLE: Doctorese-English Dictionary
By Joanne Sher


The person on the other end of the phone line may not know it, but he is the answer to my prayer. It's another one of those perfectly orchestrated "coincidences" that only comes from God. I am full of questions, and he, it seems, has the answers.

Knowledge. I have more than I can manage, but still needed more. To be more specific, I need information I can actually understand.

Craniotomy. Polycytic astrocytoma. Craniopharyngioma. Optic Glioma. Only a handful of the words I've heard in the past several days, and whose meaning I barely grasp.

I consider myself an intelligent person, with a fairly broad knowledge base. Yet, these medical terms have me baffled - and when unknown terms are used in reference to your husband, baffled is not a comfortable place to be.

The neurosurgeon--another term I'd barely known until this week--is no specialist in plain English (or bedside manner, but that's another story). I'd gotten some literature on this assortment of terms, but it seemed to have been written for Ph.D. candidates. An Internet search was just as fruitless. All I know is there's some type of mass on Max's brain, and it's affecting his eyesight.

What I need is a "doctorese-English dictionary," or someone who can do the translation for me. And, of course, the more this person knows about the brain and eyesight, the better. Unfortunately, I'm confident there is no such reference book, and I don't have any friends or family who fit the bill.

Well, except one: and he's at the other end of the receiver.

Ever since my mother died when I was seven, I've been very close with my Uncle Buzzy (her brother) and his wife, Tzippy. They have two daughters who are a couple of my favorite cousins.

As we grew older and started our careers and families, however, we didn't stay as close, but still saw each other on occasion. Debbie and Caryn had been at my wedding nine years ago, and Max and I had attended Debbie's six years after that, our newborn son Andrew in tow.

We had met her husband, Mark, before their wedding a few times (in fact, he'd been Debbie's date to our nuptials), but didn't know him well. All we knew was he was a friendly, personable guy and he was studying to be a doctor. Now, three years after their wedding, my cousin (in-law) Mark is in his residency somewhere in Texas, I believe.

Anyhow, just moments ago I'd spoken to Uncle Buzzy, Mark's father-in-law, about Max's health situation.

"Did you know, Dear, that Mark is studying to be an ophthalmologist? I just talked to him about your husband, and he told me that the doctor he's training under specializes in neuropthalmology (eye function in relation to the brain)."

How's that for news I could use? Needless to say, I got Mark's phone number within minutes. Now, the answer to my prayer is on the phone with me. The best part is that I actually understand what he's telling me. He is speaking in layman's terms about things totally incomprehensible to me not half an hour ago.

Mark has even offered to call Max's doctor with specific "doctor questions" for us and get back to us with the answers. What is better in a stressful situation like this than a knowledgeable, helpful advocate of a cousin on your side?

God on my side--but we've got both. And some people say these things happen by chance.

Questions: Have you ever had someone fulfill a need at "just the right time?" Did you thank God for that person, or just chalk it up to coincidence? Can you look back on your life and see the ways, big and small, that God has gotten you to where you are today?

Prayer: Mighty God, You are the author of all of our circumstances. Thank You for the "God-instances" You weave into our existence: those events and people that help us through the difficulties of our daily lives. Forgive us, Lord, for calling these miracles "chance" or "coincidence." Help us see, and praise You for, Your mighty hand in our lives.

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This article has been read 2234 times
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Shirley McClay 05/29/08
Awesome devotional! What a great idea. Is Tzippy really her name or a typo? Wondering how to pronounce it!
Sara Harricharan 05/29/08
What a blessing indeed! So glad that there was help and someone to explain it so the gibberish makes sense! The honest voice of this is wonderful-especially the devotional at the end. ^_^
Beth LaBuff 05/29/08
This devotion is wonderful. Your title first caught my eye. The story with the "at 'just the right time'" message is amazing. It's so nice to know there are no "coincidences" in the life of a Christian. Excellent writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/30/08
This well written devotional illustrates the point perfectly that God orchestrates the happenings of our lives. Thank you for that reminder.
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/30/08
I love stories of how God orchastrates even the most minute of details. Good story!
Ann Renae Hair05/31/08
I really like the light voice to this very serious sounding situation. It makes me think of 'I have to laugh or I'll cry' theory. Also, love the format with question and prayer at the end. GREAT piece!
Laury Hubrich 06/01/08
Jo, this is awesome! I love reading about how God has worked in your lives through Marc's health problems. Wow! Great writing glorifying our truly Great and Mighty God! Wow!
Karen Wilber06/01/08
This is great. You really connected with me as the reader and I cannot find anything to red ink. Seriously. You know I would if I could. ;-) This one's out of the ballpark. Story. Application. Prayer. Pow!
Sharlyn Guthrie06/01/08
You kept me engaged throughout, and I love the prayer at the end. So inspiring. Way to go!
Laura Anne Harrison06/01/08
This awesome deveotional is so well crafted, and it is a beautiful reminder that with God,and in God, there are no coincidences - no things that happen by chance. Every thing that happens - even each breath we take - is God at work in our lives. Well done!
Cheri Hardaway 06/01/08
What a blessing your cousin in-law was for you in a stressful time! God surely does provide.

"I have more than I can manage, but still needed more." -- Watch your tense. Here, it would read better as "still need more," keeping the paragraph wholly in the present tense.

I love the question you phrase at the end of your article, and then the prayer. A very timely reminder of God's faithfulness. Blessings, Cheri

Seema Bagai 06/01/08
Wonderful. I could relate to the frustrations of communicating with doctors.

I can see how this will fit nicely into a book of devotionals. Can't wait to read more.
Yvonne Blake 06/01/08
I liked your title! When you find one of those, order one for me too.
I got a bit mixed up with the names and relationships. Perhaps you don't need to name the ones that don't pertain to this story... just your cousin Mark and your Uncle Buzzy.
Praying that you get the answers you need.
LauraLee Shaw06/01/08
Your title is awesome, and your authenticity drew me in. An excellent devo. Well done!
Lyn Churchyard06/02/08
Loved your title Joanne, and if you happen to find one, let us all know. Well written devotional full of honesty and hope. Loved the prayer too :-)
Jan Ackerson 06/02/08
Joanne, I just can't WAIT to read this book! It's soooooooo good and inspiring.

I like the present tense, but I think you slipped a time or two. I understand your going into past tense at certain points when you're remembering the past, but there are a few other places that seem like they should be past but aren't.

I'm not a huge fan, usually, of devotional material--my attention span doesn't hold on to it--but they way you've written these, with fascinating anecdotes and their applications--I LOVE it.
Joshua Janoski06/02/08
Amazing! Isn't God wonderful? I love how he sends just the right people at the right time. What the world calls "coincidences" I call "divine intervention".

I'm enjoying these stories, and I can't wait to see them all compiled together into your book.
Dianne Janak06/04/08
Joanne... How touching and exciting this must have been in the midst of your angst and confusion. God does work in strange ways, but what a great example of how He works. I want a copy of your book. This is priceless. Your writing flows so well and gives us just the right information. thanks so much.. Dianne J.
Debbie Wistrom06/04/08
The devotional theme works and it works well in this.

Your touches of humor help soften the frustration you felt and others experience.

This was a comfort to me, and I know it would help others in a similar situation.
Betty Castleberry06/04/08
Your true stories are so inspiring and such great witness tools for others going through trials. Very, very nicely done. Thumbs up.
Loren T. Lowery06/04/08
In and for all things, give thanks and praise; and I'm doing this right for for this wonderful (devotional) story. The excitement and gratitude simply shouts out from this piece...indeed God is good and we should give him thanks and praise.
LaNaye Perkins06/04/08
This story is a perfect example of how God knows what we have need of, and provides it. Well done my faithwriter friend.
Joy Faire Stewart06/04/08
Very powerful writing, one of the best. I loved the question and prayer at the end. Excellent!
Peter Stone06/04/08
'God-instances' - what a great word. Great tie in with the story and how God does send people to us in the nick of time. I found the length of the flashbacks a little distracting. I was hoping to see more of the present, especially showing the cousin explaining what those doctorese terms were.
Aaron Morrow06/05/08
Joanne, as usual, exceptional work. Great pacing and I just know I'm going to wake up later tonight and try to figure out how to pronounce "Craniopharyngioma". Keep up the great work!