Dear Heartfelt Readers,

My son, Gabriel, has a lump growing on his left leg. And needless to say, I felt my left leg and a lump was there. A sign of an empath. I quickly worked on it not getting any bigger. But Gabriel’s lump was quickly growing and causing pain. Pierre thinks it’s a benign lipoma or fatty tumor.

His pediatrician recommended removal. Pierre took him to a general surgeon.

I waited, and I listened to my guidance for the pediatric plastic surgeon. And I picked him on a gut instinct. He’s an older doctor, kind, compassionate with experience. We walked in his office and the doctor did not have outer ears. Hmm. Most likely why he went into this field. He looked at Gabriel and connected instantly. He questioned, “Tell me what do you want to be when you grow up? What grade are you in? Do you like playing video games?” Gabriel is in good hands. I’m in good hands. We are in good hands.

Three years ago, we discussed surgery with Gabriel and he adamantly said no. He remembers the thirteen surgeries, the six surgeries of inserting tissue expanders (balloons), the three-months of filling the expanders up, the six surgeries of removing the tissue expanders, and the serial excision surgery. Plus, the laser treatments and umbilical hernia surgery.

If Gabriel is going to be under anesthesia, Pierre and I suggested nevus removal on his face of the areas where he needs to shave.

We discussed it with the doctor. And the doctor asked, “Gabriel, are there any areas that you would like me to remove? Your dad suggested the three on your face. Your mom suggested any hairy ones on your face. I got the lump on the leg. But what would you like?” Gabriel insisted, “Just the three on my face and one on my leg.” The doctor added, “You don’t need to tell me today. Think about it. Tell me the day of surgery.”

The doctor added, “I will give you a mask first. You won’t feel any needle sticks.” Gabriel nodded okay.

A few days later, Gabriel came to me. He shared, “Mom, I would like the nevus removed off my fingers.” I asked, “Do they hurt? Do they bother you?” He revealed, “I don’t know. It’s just what I want.”

I heard him. I understood.

Gabriel and mom at Grand CanyonGabriel and I at the Grand Canyon

At the age of five, we stopped surgery. His surgeon flew in town when Gabriel was ten-years-old and said it’s time to start back up. Gabriel said no and we honored his decision. But now with the lump growing, it’s time to go back in the operating room.

This time, we are steady, not hyper-vigilant.

Our summer consists of surgery, orthopedist, physical therapy, therapy, orthodontists, vacations, fun, and play.

Laughing BoysGabriel and Lucas at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

Christmas BoysGabriel and Lucas at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

People comment, “I don’t know how you do it.” But I do. God’s grace. God’s mercy. God’s compassion. God’s strength. This is my life. This is my awakening.

God has used these circumstances to grow me. A gentle compassion. A stillness. An inner strength. A love for people’s journey. A big heart. A joyful smile. A respect for human life and animal life.

Gabriel encouraged me to go inward. It produced the fruit of self-love, self-worth, self-care, self-respect.

The purpose of my life is share an inspirational and healing message, spread more love in the world, and to shine brightly, giving others permission to shine their lighthouse as well.

I book surgery #14. And all is well with my soul. Now that is growth! Growth in me, Growth in Pierre, Growth in Gabriel.