WPC Pulse: October 2015

On a recent road trip, I discovered a new mental anthem – or at least a song that I’ve not been able to get out of my head for the last three weeks straight. Somehow it touched a cord and expressed something deep that I’d almost thought multiple times but never had the words to say (or at least never in a cool form that rhymed, which sometimes makes all the difference).

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WPC Pulse: September 2015

Have you felt overwhelmed lately? Too much to do and too little time? Are you having trouble concentrating or even remembering things because you are so busy with life? I am sure you can answer yes to one or more of these questions because most people that I encounter these days, especially physicians, are overwhelmed. You may be overwhelmed with the office, EMR, family, church responsibilities or a combination of them all.

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WPC Pulse: August 2015

Over the years, I’ve had patients describe to me how exhausted they feel caring for their elderly parents, even when they don’t live with them. Now I understand. When with them, I am constantly assessing how they’re managing, and I am watching for changes. When I’m away, any phone call could mean a disruption of my day or even a disaster. And if they don’t answer the phone when I call, I have to struggle not to panic.

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WPC Pulse: July 2015

Where do you find YOUR strength? Recently, I was convicted while reading Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s devotional book Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love. One of her studies quoted Isaiah 30 and, as I read the old prophet challenging Israel, I was reminded of the contrast between a medical training view and a biblical view of strength.

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WPC Pulse: June 2015

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2, ESV). I recently had the opportunity to do a five-week Bible study at my church entitled Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath by Priscilla Shirer. Point #1 was about the importance of taking a Sabbath each week for our spiritual health. But it was much more than the traditional “take Sunday off.”

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WPC Pulse: May 2015

There are many things in this world to get addicted to, but I discovered a new one recently – jigsaw puzzles. Or rather one particular puzzle (if you’re interested, it’s a 1,000 piece Norman Rockwell “At the Doctor”) which combined seas of variegated gray-green with devilishly cunning piece arrangement – the better to mislead the unsuspecting puzzler. And all the symptoms of addiction were there: obsession, denial, loss of control, withdrawal from other more important activities. For about two weeks, when I closed my eyes, I saw gray-green.

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WPC Pulse: April 2015

While studying the life of Moses this year in a small group Bible study, I have savored learning about Moses—his triumphs, his failures, his leadership skills, his intimate relationship with Yahweh and how he foreshadows the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. I studied expectantly these wonderful truths, yet I somehow felt distant from the Israelites and their plight. It was as if I thought I am too different as a Gentile believer, redeemed by grace, and on this side of the cross to truly identify with the Jewish people, freed from a life of slavery and traveling to the promised land.

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WPC Pulse: March 2015

There is a definite lag time between what God is teaching me and what I have managed to learn, but—be that as it may—I think God is trying to teach me to slow down and include soul rest and relaxation in my list of daily essentials.

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WPC Pulse: January/February 2015

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him” (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV 2011).

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WPC Pulse: December 2014

God called me to be a missionary physician when I was 25 years old (all of us Christians are missionaries wherever we live). Eight years later, I am now in my second year of medical school at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. I thought that my long journey getting into medical school was difficult, but being here has taken the challenges to a whole new level – personally and academically. So if God has really called me to medicine, why have I been so miserable?

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WPC Pulse: November 2014

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36, ESV).

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Fall is here…evidenced by the falling leaves, the cool crisp air and the kids settled back into the routine of school. But October has a different meaning for me. You see, those pink ribbons have special significance for me as a breast cancer survivor. Just like I grieve the end of the hot summer days I love, I lament over the changes I can’t stop and seem to just endure the trials.

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WPC Pulse: October 2014

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17a, NIV 1984). “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’” (Proverbs 31:28-29, NIV 1984). My heart is full after the conference in Philadelphia. How amazing to meet and talk to other Christian female physicians who are living through similar experiences. But we are much more than that, many are wives and mothers. And we are daughters.

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WPC Pulse: September 2014

“Is Jesus a part of your DNA?” This challenging question came to our group at the close of a recent Bible Study Episode I’m attending with my husband. “Whoa,” I thought, “That’s a pretty deep question.”

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082014Pulse

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, NKJV). This has become a really important verse in my life over the last 10 or 15 years. I don’t know if any of you can relate, but I’ve had a bit of struggle with performance and with basing my identity on how much I was able to do. I’m not totally sure, but I think this started as a young child – maybe even at birth.

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Flying Loaves July 10, 2018

Has anything like this ever happened to you: respond to an email that contained some personally sensitive information and find out weeks later that your email response was never received? Or you send an email with some personally important information and it never is read by the intended recipient? All of this because of a lost email.

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062014Pulse

As a family physician, I see patients almost daily who are struggling with anxiety. If God is important to them, I usually challenge them to memorize Philippians 4:6-8: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV 2011).

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The Only Way July 24, 2018

Grace is Not a Blue-Eyed Blonde is the title of an old book. It talks about Christian grace in our daily living. Grace is not paramount in our society these days…nor is it often talked about in the church. What is grace? My dictionary has 21 different definitions or descriptions of grace. The grace I wish to have daily is theological grace: “a pleasing or attractive quality of the spirit of God manifested in my daily actions with people.”

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However, as we gathered for a family party, I felt more sadness than joy. Eric has struggled with several health issues since infancy. Like his dad, my son, he suffers from atopic dermatitis, an extremely itchy skin disease. Especially in infants, it is almost impossible to prevent scratching, making it prone to infection and scarring. It disturbs sleep and causes irritability.

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he whole process of symptoms, differential and diagnosis is one with which are all familiar, but this past week I made a new personal diagnosis. I have research-induced asthma. Not so much wheezing, but distinct chest tightness and impending sense of doom. The context for this discovery was my first ever research elective – an entire month designated to making staggering progress on one’s neglected half-baked research project.

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When patients of mine have sciatica, they are miserable.

But sometimes it’s hard to convince them that their leg pain – or foot pain, or toe pain – actually originates in their back. “My back doesn’t that hurt much, Doc. It’s the leg that’s hurting so bad.”

Sciatica is like that.

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The day began as an ordinary day, driving the nearly three hours from the home in Springfield, Missouri I share with my spouse of seven years, to Kansas City where I continue to work practicing urgent care pediatric medicine full-time for the Children’s Hospital. I arrived for the noon opening of the urgent care clinic to find we were two providers short that day. In other words, we were at half-staff from a physician standpoint.

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Why has God designed things so we learn most of life’s biggest lessons under stress? I’ve had this assignment to do a devotional for a long time and I have written it twice, but here’s my third attempt because my family is under stress and I am seeing God in the midst of it.

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The Thanksgiving season is upon us. Sadly, the holiday is becoming dwarfed by other expanding fall traditions and an ever earlier commencement of the Christmas extravaganza. The enemy is constantly on the prowl (John 10:10), encouraging us to be too busy and distracted to give thanks. In reality, this period of thankfulness is paramount for preparing our hearts for the Christmas season. Thankfulness displaces the focus from oneself to one’s Provider and Sustainer, often quieting the discontented heart, leading to a more purposeful (and less harried) approach to honoring our Savior’s birth. I desperately want to lean in deeper to my Sustainer during this season.

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It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I recognized one of my mother’s spiritual gifts was encouragement. I was fortunate to grow up in a home with it. Many other children and adults received her encouragement over her 100 years of life.

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Rigor—relevance—relationships—these three values are at the top of my high school senior’s school webpage. It made me think about how those values might be applied to Women in Medicine and Dentistry.

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That’s how I feel about my own life lately. I want to tell you that it has been a quiet week in the Galbreath household. But I’d be lying. I want to tell you that we never argue or complain or criticize or compete with those we love. But I’d be lying.

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Jesus offers us sight – spiritual sight. But so often I forget to ask for it. How frequently do I need to pray for His insight on a problem? Most often it’s not enough time to get all the things done I think I need to or wisdom on how to help a difficult patient or a puzzling medical problem.

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Recently, my 11-year-old daughter was screened for a research project at Case W. It will compare functional MRI scans of bipolar children with healthy children at two-year intervals to look for differences in development and function.

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Sandwiched between Georgia’s infamous statewide snow day and Valentine’s Day was a day that I will never forget. That dismal afternoon I received a letter from the dean of my medical school indicating that I was being “dismissed from the Class of 2012” and “invited to join the Class of 2013 in August.” Although I knew that I was in danger of such a pronouncement because I had failed two classes, the news was nonetheless devastating and unexpected.

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m sure you’re wondering why I’m sharing this story with you. But my mom, as only moms can do, made a really astute comment when I shared my fears about not matching into a residency position. I haven’t quite brought myself to tell her about this guy. Somehow it’s easier to tell a bunch of strangers.

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I think the Lord brings all believers to a point in their lives where they have to say “uncle!” Some sooner than later, frequently over and over. Submitting to His will and His ways always goes against our flesh, our human nature. Let’s face it. Submission is a bad word in today’s culture. But this battle began way back in the garden, when Adam and Eve resisted the will of a loving Creator and insisted on sharing His throne.

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Resolved: The state of the country and world does not trouble my heart. I will faithfully pray for our leaders and nations, but know my true citizenship is in heaven.

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This fall, I have been attending a Sunday school class called “Grasping Truth – one step closer to applying doctrinal truths to everyday living.” 1Timothy 4:16 challenges us to, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV 1984).

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I’m on a flight from San Francisco to Charlotte for our annual Marriage Commission meeting. I’m always amazed at the ability of this full airplane to get off the ground and get me across the country in a little over four hours!

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Recently, it feels like I’m wading through a storming season in life. I feel the strain of increasing work demands that often overshadow the fulfillment I find in working as a physician. Despite significant job uncertainties, my husband and I became excited when we discovered that our family would be growing. However, my joys were smashed when I discovered that my HCG levels were dropping and my pregnancy was coming to an end. In my prayers I often ask that God would work things out for my good and His glory.

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Last January, I had the opportunity to join an amazing group of women on the House of Hope mission trip. While the entire trip was incredible, I was taken aback by the normalcy of prostitution. Even its local name, “sitting in the chair,” was commonplace.

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Why is praying so hard? It’s not that I can’t find the words—and that does not matter, I have the Psalms and “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26, NIV 2011). No, it’s finding the time…slowing down long enough to be still.

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When considering the freedom Christ won for each of us on the cross, I love to think of the final courageous scene of the movie Braveheart. Mel Gibson portrays William Wallace, the Scottish warrior leading the revolt for Scotland’s freedom against England’s abuses and oppression. After all of his fighting for the people, he is betrayed, captured and, while being tortured to death, still shouts with his last breath, “FREEDOM!!!” What a picture of Christ.

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Lately, I have felt like one of my teenagers as I have been given the same meal everywhere I turn for spiritual food. “God’s POWER is made perfect IN your WEAKNESS.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV 1984).

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I grew up in a Christian home and I don’t remember life without Jesus. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor and I attributed it to a God-ordained calling on my life.

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I think many of us are called upon by our churches and community to speak on various topics. That is my assignment for this month at my church’s annual women’s retreat. It is always a challenge to think of what to say, or better yet, what God would like me to say.

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What is it to be a leader? I don’t see myself as a natural leader, but whether I like it or not, my job makes me a leader. As a doctor I am leading each of my patients to a life, we both hope, of better health.

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I’m guessing (and hoping) that I’m not the only one…not the only WIMD-er who sometimes runs into identity issues with being a woman doctor/dentist…not the only one whose kids’ friends can’t remember to call her “doctor”…not the only one whose patients sometimes express their concern about whether or not I’m old enough or practiced enough (or male enough?) to take care of them…not the only one whose kids have been told by someone “only boys can be doctors.”

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