Shoulder Work Ahead

Shoulder Work Ahead Road Sign

I am not sure if I heard it rip or if I merely felt it rip. One thing was certain, the 35-pound kettlebells I held in each hand as I ran around the gym had just contributed to tearing something in both of my shoulders. Being new to the world of Crossfit, I was still learning the limits to which I could push my body. Apparently, I had just exceeded that limit.

Vivian Cumins Shoulder SurgeryNot wanting to overreact, I nursed my injuries with aspirin and a heating pad for a few days, but the pain in my right shoulder was intensifying. I made an appointment with Dr. Watson, an orthopedic surgeon, who ordered an MRI.

The MRI showed nothing. No tear or damage—literally, nothing. Dr. Watson informed me he could do exploratory surgery to see what might be causing the pain, but he couldn’t guarantee anything. It was a risk, he said, and one I needed to decide if I was willing to take.

I left that appointment confused as to what to do. I didn’t want to deal with the cost or hassle of an unnecessary surgery, but then again, maybe the MRI was wrong. I decided I needed to seek wisdom from God on this one. I prayed silently all the way from the clinic to an overpass bridge approximately two blocks from my office. Typically, I don’t ask God for signs; I just say a prayer and go about my day. But this day, I was so conflicted about what to do that I blurted out, “God tell me what to do—give me a sign if I need this surgery or not!” Just as I was descending the overpass, there was a big, bright orange sign in the middle of the road. I had to slow down and swerve to avoid hitting it straight on. It said, “Shoulder Work Ahead.”

Road crews use those kinds of signs all the time to notify the public they are working on the streets, but I have never noticed them before. But this day, there was no ignoring the sign. It was in plain sight. I began laughing out loud at the way God had chosen to answer my prayer. He literally gave me a sign!

As soon as I parked my car, I walked to my office and made the call to Dr. Watson’s office.

The surgery revealed I had a labrum tear where the bicep tendon attaches and a rather large bone spur. I would find myself hanging out with Dr. Watson a year later to perform the same surgery on the left shoulder, but that time it showed up on the MRI, so no sign was needed!

What I love so much about this memory is it is not only a great lesson in faith, but it also shows God has a sense of humor. Have you ever been given a “sign”?


2 thoughts on “Shoulder Work Ahead”

  1. Becca Robinson

    This story is so great!I laughed out loud when I read “shoulder work ahead”! God does have a sense of humor sometimes, this proves it!

    I have many “signs from above” stories. But one that sticks out the most right now is a story about Botox and a broken down car. About five years ago I woke up to get ready for my work day and as looked in the mirror and I suddenly looked different. I had wrinkles!! It was like it happened over night. I hadn’t noticed them the day before. But on this day my face was full of them. Especially my forehead. As I’m staring at my new wrinkles in the mirror trying to figure out how I had aged over night I hear my daughter shouting that her car wouldn’t start. This car had been giving her trouble for several months but on this day she was stranded. This was the first time it would not start. She was very upset because she was about to go off to college and hated that she didn’t have a dependable car. My heart was so sad for her. She was a good kid and she worked hard in school and at her job. So I decided to do something completely out of character that day. I called into work to take a personal day to go buy her a new car. I called my mom and told her we were going car shopping. She was more than happy to come along. She said we should go to Blanchard Oklahoma because her daddy always bought his cars from a dealership there. As we were driving I was telling her my sob story about how I had woken up that day feeling so old and ugly. She reminded me that Dr.Bogle had a medical spa in Blanchard and we should stop in to see her while on our car shopping adventure to talk to her about skin care products. I knew she did Botox in her office. So my vanity got the best of me that day, I decided to call to schedule an appointment for Botox. I have never felt so vain in my entire life. This was also totally out of character for me. But by the time we got to Blanchard my mind was made up. I was seated in the chair, Dr.Bogle came in to inject my face so I could feel pretty again. Dr.Bogle is also my cousins wife so she knows me well. She said that she loved how expressive my face was when I told stories. She said that she couldn’t stand the thought of taking those expressions away because my expressions added so much extra excitement to the stories. No one had ever said that to me before so I didn’t know that about myself(That part of the story doesn’t really pertain to this comment but I just really love that part and I’ve never shared it with anyone before so I decided to share it now.). After that conversation we agreed that she would only inject enough Botox to tighten my skin slightly. Then she added that if I wasn’t happy with it I could come back and she would give me more Botox. During that “vanity appointment” she noticed a dry spot on my face. I told her that it had been there for several months and that no matter how many different skin care products I put on it, it wouldn’t soak up the moisture. She took a deeper look under the microscopic light. She looked at me with deep concern and said that she thought it might be cancerous or pre-cancerous. She suggested I go to my PCM and ask for a referral to a dermatologist. Long story short, it was cancerous. Luckily, it was only basal cell carcinoma. But there were still talks of removing layers of skin just above my lip. Talks of plastic surgeons coming in for reconstruction surgery. I was terrified that I would not ever look like myself again. The doctors were very truthful about the post surgery outcome in order to mentally prepare me for what I might look like. All I could think about was how I had scheduled that appointment for Botox due to vanity and now I could quite possibly look disfigured for the rest of my life. I wondered how people would look at me on the street or in stores. I wondered if my husband would still love me. It made me realize that my wrinkles weren’t such a big deal. When all was said and done, I was extremely lucky! I still look the same, aside from a slight white scar above my lip. All because it was caught early. In my mind and in my soul, I know that I was meant to go see her that day to catch it early. If my daughters car had not broken down on that specific day when my mom wasn’t too busy to go car shopping with me at the last minute. If she hadn’t been with me to suggest we go to Blanchard. If she hadn’t reminded me of Dr.Bogle’s medical spa in the same tiny town as the car dealership. If, on that specific day I hadn’t been caught up enough at work to take a personal day (this was nearly unheard of!). Who knows what I would look like today or how bad the outcome could have been. It just seemed like two strange things happened that morning and the stars aligned perfectly for me to be in the right place at the right time. It seems as if the events of that day were meant to be. The signs weren’t as clear as “shoulder work ahead” but I ended up exactly where I need to be.

    1. My goodness, everything certainly aligned for you that day and I can feel the gratitude in your writing! What a lovely testimony you now have! Thank you so much for sharing!

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