As I scurried around the city right after Christmas trying to pack in our last doctor appointments of the year I felt sorry for myself. Super sorry for myself….and for my girls.

I was just so darn sick of doctors.

Sick of holding Lu down to get blood from her teeny veins as crocodile tears drip puddles down her chunky cheeks.

Sick of worrying about poor Claire every time she comes up with a UTI, gets her red circles under her eyes, and pops out with a new cold sore. I’m sick of the fact that all the UTIs cause bed wetting. And clothes wetting. And more and more piles of laundry.

Sick of getting my own blood drawn let alone watching my poor girls suffer through it.

I was sick of all the worry involved with wondering if Lucy really has such and such a syndrome that the geneticist suggests as she pulls at straws to try to give me a definitive answer as to why in the world my two-year-old still can’t understand half of what we say and acts like she can’t hear us either.

And I don’t know why I keep reassuring myself each time we head to the doctor or the lab that this is the last such-and-such. This is it. Because every time I think that they tell me they need one more test. One more blood draw. They give me one more referral. Just one more specialist.

As I sat in another one of those endless waiting rooms for one of three doctor appointments in one day last week trying to keep Lu happy I was grumpy. I was frustrated. And most of all I was worried. Lucy was getting tested for a rare syndrome that is scary. Really scary. And she fits all the criteria. So I worried for her. I worried for our family.

And then all of a sudden my mind-set shifted…a lot.

A sweet Dad walked in with his two boys and it was clear that both of them had some health issues…one of them pretty severe. This was a family that looked as if they didn’t have much. Their clothes looked like they were on a third or fourth hand-me-down. Their hair was all snarled up on top. They could only speak Spanish to the ladies at the counter as they checked in.

This Dad was clearly devoted to those boys. He wasn’t ruffled as one of his sons rocked himself back and forth talking kind of loud gibberish. He spoke quietly and sweetly to both of them to help them be patient as they waited their turn for the doctor.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so sorry for myself. My eyes welled up a little…not for my own predicament but for theirs. Suddenly my perspective was completely different. This family clearly had much larger health issues than we have. But they were struggling through. They were doing it.

Little did that sweet, devoted Dad know that he changed me a little that day. Yes, we have issues. But I need to remember that they’re so minute compared to what they could be.

So, thank you, you humble, caring Dad, for your tremendous example. My heart is with you and your boys. Thanks for showing me your good heart as you cared for them and for giving me a new perspective.

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  1. Shawni: I know how you feel on so many levels of this post, even down to the chronic UTI’s. Hang in there! The waiting can be the worst. I love your snow pictures, you have reminded me the ironically I have never taken pictures of my kids snowmen.

  2. so true and so beautifully written. I really hope your endless dr. appointments will soon end. Life is interesting how just the little things can shape and change our perspective.

  3. Shawni, I have never left a comment before. I came across your blog from and friend of a friend and love reading it. I served my mission in RO right after you, and felt like I knew you a bit, because all the families I visited would show me pictures of you and tell me how much they adored you.

    So I’m not one to offer much information usually, but I wanted to share a little of my experiences with health and my children and nieces and nephews. My son had severe asthma right after he was born. He seemed to constantly be sick, ALL the time. After doctors and more doctors, my sister (who I adore) said, “You know, I think he’ll be fine if you cut out all animal products–as well as the usual preservatives and food colorings”. I knew my sister. She had children with autism and severe learning disabilities–and was able to treat them all and practical cure them by doing one thing–cutting out all animal products.

    As crazy as it sounds–it worked–immediately. Within days, no asthma, no more illnesses. His behavior improved dramatically. He was happy for the first time. Overnight our whole family converted to veganism and have been like that now for 3 years. We do have occasional meat (once or twice a year)–but ALL our health improved–seriously improved around 80%. We never get sick now, we have a ton of energy. My older daughter’s mood swings were gone. She was happier.

    I can’t say if this could be an answer for you. You are their mother and the best one for them–the one who is constantly getting inspiration and direction for them. And you are doing such an amazing job.

    If you do want any more information or resources about this, let me know. I know and have read about countless families who’s lives have made drastic improvements by eating this way.

    Good luck. And thanks again for your stories. They mean a lot to me.


  4. OK!! I’m crying now. What a wonderful post. Moments like that are so hard. But, how blessed we are when we can crawl out of our own head and see that things could be worse. You are an awesome mom! We love you guys and Lucy is in our prayers.

  5. It is interesting when you get these little tender mercies in your life that puts everything into perspective. It happened with me the first time I had to take Spencer to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for his tests. I was feeling sorry for myself and Spencer. I walked in and sure enough there was a girl who had to be 10 yrs old, walking around, cords all over, holding on to her drip line, bald. I saw the mom smiling and I had a thought come to my mind, ‘Be grateful with what you have, or don’t have for that matter.” Definitely put things in perspective for me.

  6. Shawni, you have this lovely ability to turn something that could be negative into something so positive! What a wonderful quality!

    Just know Lucy is welcome here anytime. We all love that sweet girl.

  7. You know Shawni, even though I don’t know you all that well I can sure get a sense of who you are through your posts. This one especially because although you felt sorry for your self for the little moment I’ve always thought of you as a person who gives, gives, and gives some more. It’s ok to have that moment of self pity, but it’s also great that you recognize what effect others can have in our lives, even for just a moment, and turn around and learn something. That, to me, makes you an amazing person. Hang in there and have Joy in the Journey. You’re awesome!!!!

  8. Shawni-
    You are an inspiration! Yes-that was us in church a couple of weeks ago. You saw us and most likely HEARD us! Unfortunately, our little guy was ready for a nap and not cooperating. And Millie (our 4 year old) was hacking all over the place! Thus, we left, much to my dismay. I was anxious to see you all! And I heard that Dave is a fabulous Gospel Doctrine teacher. Next time! Your family is so darling and grown up. I would love to keep in touch! Have a happy day!

  9. Thank you for this. I just sat today after a weight check appt. trying to add up the time spent in doctor offices and specialists and all the co-pays with Caroline’s mystery illness last spring(lab after lab after lab) c-sections to Kate and her issues with weight gain, thrush (couldn’t kick it) and then her feet…oh the feet appointments! I was wondering how Shauni was handling all her medical issues with her kiddos with so much grace. I know our problems are SO MINOR in the scheme of life. Thanks for the perspective!

  10. Thank you for your comments. I understand everything you said. My youngest son Spencer 2 has a rare metabolic disorder. MCADD and it was a foreghn scary world we enterred into the day we found out. I had a similar moment at primary children’s when we met a mother who was dealing with all three of her children having the same disorder. I also have been struggling with my oldest son who I have always known has issues and have suspected everything from mental illness to autism. Well we are pretty sure and will find out the 26th that he has Apsergers. I tears my heart out in more ways than one. I see him struggling and mourn the loss of his carefree child hood and two I feel so frustrated with those around me who feel they need to judge or suggest a better way to parent. Sure they are well meaning but it hurts when your life is wrapped up in these kids and you spend so many hours on your knees pleading for guidance. I know how you feel. Good luck to you. I

  11. i adore your blog…and your writing style!

    i love the moments where god sends things to put us in perspective….
    i’m praying for you and your family

  12. I read this post and boy, I understand your frustration even though my doctor/hospital situation hasn’t been as long term as yours. My heart goes out to you. It’s amazing how many people pull together for you and your family. I will be forever grateful for those that served us and continue to serve us during my husband’s illness. One of my friend’s shared her news about being pregnant very early on in her pregnancy. I said, “Wow, you’re telling everyone early.” And in her wisdom she said, “I tell everyone early because my babies that have survived the pregnancy stage are the ones that everyone knew about so they could pray for him/her.” So thanks for telling us so we know to pray for you, your family and Lucy — she’s a doll. I’ll take her for a day. You’re a gem. Alysa

  13. I was steered over to your blog through a friend who knows someone you know. (I think) Anyway, I know how you feel. I know what it feels like. Most importantly, I love the way the Lord sends us ‘tender mercies’ at a time when we most need them. Perspective is definitely a great word. It helps me to be grateful for what I have and what I am NOT going through. You can do it. The Lord KNOWS you and knows your needs. Thanks for sharing your heart. With love, Becky

    my son’s blog:

    our family blog:

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