Driving myself crazy

By Charles Marshall | April 9, 2009

You would think that after almost twenty years of marriage I would have it all figured out, wouldn’t you?

For example, my wife and I are really fond of what we call "Mama and Daddy time." I don’t mean anything romantic by that. We gave up on all of that stuff long ago. The kids just aren't going to let it happen. If my wife and I even look like we might exchange affection, we're instantly assaulted by tiny hands and feet crawling all over us.

If we do try to get snuggly when we think the kids are otherwise occupied, engaged, or asleep, then alarms sound within the recesses of their tiny minds, and they are suddenly seized with the uncontrollable urge to barge in our door, communicating any random thought that happens to be floating thorough their little heads. So, suffice to say, anything romantic is out.

What I mean by "Mama and Daddy time" is time that we get to spend doing what we want to do. Ahhh, the delight of watching a complete TV show! That’s a TV show, mind you, that doesn’t feature puppets, muppets, or any kind of talking animal. We also really enjoy having a complete conversation with each other without being interrupted twenty million times.

Most of our conversations these days sound like, "So I was talking to Karen the other day ... No, son, do not interrupt me when I'm speaking ... Now, where was I? Oh yeah. I was talking to Karen and ... No son. I said don't interrupt me when I'm talking to your mommy, okay? Okay, now, um, I was um, talking to someone, oh yeah, I was talking to Karen. That's right. Anyway, there I was talking to Karen and … I SAID DON'T INTERRUPT ME ANYMORE! WHAT PART OF ‘DON'T INTERRUPT’ DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!”

My wife and I haven't completed a full sentence in about three years.

But, to be fair, communication was hard even before we had kids. Fortunately I’ve found help conversing with my wife along the way.

Take those conversation hearts they sell around Valentine’s Day for instance. I’ve found that anything a man needs to say during the entire course of a normal relationship can be found written on those little hearts.

When you first meet a girl you might say, “You’re hot.” After you get to know her, then it’s “Let’s kiss.” Then one day you find yourself uttering the words, “Marry me.” Shortly afterward you’re at the altar saying “I do.” And after that, the only other phrase you’re ever going to need is “Yes, dear.”

If it ain’t found on a conversation heart, it doesn’t really need to be said.

But sometimes, during the course of conversation, my wife says something I don’t know what to do with. We were in the car on our way to a restaurant the other night when she started telling me in great detail what she was going to order when we arrived. We’re twenty minutes away from the restaurant and she’s already ordering.

What am I supposed to do with this kind of information? So I turned to her and said, "Hey, do you see me wearing a name tag that says 'Welcome to Denny's. My name's Charles'?”

I know. Not very smart. So, I then I found myself spending the rest of our date explaining just why I said such a dumb thing, which was the second dumbest thing I did that night, because my wife didn’t need all my explanations and justifications. Turns out that all she wanted was for me to take ownership of my actions and apologize.

Unfortunately, I completely missed this little nugget of wisdom because I was temporarily blinded by my gargantuan-sized pride.

It’s amazing how often pride messes things up, and it’s been that way from the very beginning of time. Man preferred his opinion above God’s and we’ve been suffering for it ever since.

I’ve found that before any growth can occur in my life – financially, relationally, or spiritually – I’ve got to swallow my pride and lead with humility. It’s impossible to receive wisdom if one is clinging to his pride.

So I’m going to be on my guard against pride in my relationship with my wife. And it’d probably be a good idea to stick to the script on the conversation hearts from now on too.

‘Plan for Life’ finds cancer risk, maps lifelong prevention

April 9, 2009

SCOTTSDALE – Cancer risk assessment, clinical screening, action planning and follow-up calls with cancer experts are part of the Plan for Life, a unique program now offered at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., it provides individuals with a comprehensive assessment of their risk for developing cancer and a customized plan to help prevent the disease or detect cancer early in its most treatable stages. For those a family history of cancer, it could be a life-saver.

The program, called Plan for Life: Turning Health Awareness into Action, includes:
Cancer risk assessment: A specially trained cancer nurse gathers information on family history and the individual’s lifestyle, such as food choices, tobacco use, sleeping habits, sunscreen use and stress. Health information also is provided.

Clinical cancer screening: Conducted by a nurse practitioner, the screening includes an oral exam, a breast exam, a skin exam, doing blood work, and determining if there is blood in the stool.

Personalized action plan: Based on the assessment and screening, the plan recommends specific steps for preventing or detecting cancer early, such as lifestyle changes or scheduling screenings such as mammograms or colonoscopies. The results and recommendations included in the plan are provided to the individual’s primary care physician.

Follow up: Participants are called four to six months after their assessment to determine if they’ve made lifestyle changes, undergone screenings or have questions.

There is a $95 fee for the cancer risk assessment which may not be covered by insurance. The clinical screening fee is typically covered by insurance, although participants may have a co-pay. There is no charge for the individualized action plan or follow-up calls.

Plan for Life: Turning Health Awareness into Action is available at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, 10460 N. 92nd St.. For more information, call 480-323-1981.