When Life Happens All at Once – Part 1

Dealing with crisis A few weeks ago, our priest stopped by the hospital to make a pastoral call on my Aunt Jean. When we talked about all of the things that were happening in my family, she said, “Life sometimes happens all at once.”

I think that’s true. We don’t get to choose when our challenges arrive. The good news is that we don’t have to negotiate great difficulties alone. Family, friends, and sometimes total strangers show up to provide comfort, compassion, and support.

I’m going to be posting a series of blogs about my recent experiences in hopes of encouraging others who might be struggling with “life happening all at once.”

At the beginning of September, I thought my biggest challenge was going to be getting rid of a cranky herniated disc and some nasty bone spurs in my spine. I had been getting regular steroid injections for a year-and-a-half. The good news is that steroid shots work great to manage pain. The bad news is that eventually, they stop working.

My last shot on September 6th, didn’t help at all, and as I worked my way through the system of getting an MRI, a referral to the back surgeon, and the approval from our insurance company, my pain increased on a daily basis.

I had two big events coming up, and I kept telling myself, “I just have to focus on celebrating Aunt Jean’s ninetieth birthday and getting through an all-day speaking engagement in Wisconsin at the end of the month.” I figured once I did that, I could just go flat on the couch and wait until I checked into the hospital. It didn’t quite work out the way I had planned.

If you are in the midst of a crisis, I hope you can trust that you will find the physical and emotional strength you need to meet each new challenge and that eventually, you will come through the storm.


  1. Arlene Shoemaker November 16, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I too am facing yet another MRI on Friday, Nov. 18th. New Doctor, new city, new imaging center.
    Our flight from Maine to our new home in Florida 2 1/2 weeks ago created a nasty amount of pain in my lower back. Four surgeries over the past 25 years have never really solved my problem and I now am facing a new approach to the re-occurring pain.
    This time it may be acupuncture. I have only had 2 steroid shots in the past year so perhaps they will be the “answer” for a while. I was discouraged after reading how they have no longer helped you, Elaine.
    May we both have relief soon!

    • Elaine Sanchez November 22, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Arlene,
      You are going through a lot of strenuous changes, and pain makes everything more difficult. My surgery was tremendously successful. My leg pain came from bone spurs pinching the nerves in my spine. The surgeon removed the spurs, and my pain disappeared. I will pray that your steroid injection works and that you start to feel settled in your new home soon. I’m sure you can really identify with “life happening all at once!”

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