No doubt

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself.”

~ Alan Alda

There were times as a dental hygienist I thought I couldn’t be effective. 

Before I met my firstborn, I had reservations about being a good parent. 

Recently, I’ve felt I could not go on, move forward, in the life we now lead. 

In every situation above, I proved myself wrong. When I think back over certain situations or events, I am left to wonder: How did I do it, how did I pull it off, what specifically did I do to get through a situation?


As a hygienist, I relied on my training and later, my experience. The longer I was a hygienist, the more confident I became as an effective caregiver. One expects this might happen, but what about dealing with very difficult people, bosses and staff included? There were many challenging patients whose advanced disease made treatment very difficult, and many whose personalities made it equally difficult.

I’ve met a rainbow of personalities in the course of my career. During difficult times, I tried my best to do the right thing, do my job, stay away from drama, to not gossip, to be friendly and helpful, and go home peacefully at the end of the day. I stood firm when I felt I’d been wronged. There were challenges I simply felt I could not endure, but I did.

In the end, I relied on education and personal ethics, and who I’ve become because of both.


My sister came up with one of the greatest strategies of all time when it comes to parenting. She used to tell her children when they asked for something she didn’t want them to have that it could not happen or be true because “It isn’t in The Parents’ Handbook.” To children everywhere, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

When I think back on various times parenting my children, I am reminded of strategies used on me but also on personal goals. I am the recipient of wonderful parenting because I have/had wonderful parents. Lessons don’t die. My goal to teach early (be firmer with them when they were young) and then let them fly, worked. My sister and I are very proud of the people our children have become (if we do say so ourselves).

The principles I speak of come from within, and what has become ingrained in me.


I’m in the midst of a situation that requires me to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. I’ve had to call on parts of me that may have collected a bit of dust in the recent past.

  • It requires courage unlike any I’ve known
  • It requires quick thinking, the ability to put fear aside, and to act quickly
  • It requires I think in emergency mode, at all times
  • It requires I carry on, no matter how difficult
  • It requires I speak up and loudly if something seems off
  • It requires I be our own best health advocate; I’ve taken on the big guns
  • It requires I be watchful, 24/7, and/or whenever I’m awake
  • It requires I be present, in every single way, day and night
  • It requires I surrender, because I have no choice
  • It requires I trust; those who know me well know this is hard for me.

Every single point above is not easy for me. I’ve been stripped naked for all the world to see. I’ve never felt more vulnerable. So, how have I done it, how have I managed to function effectively as the wife of a man with brain cancer every day since September?

For each of the top three scenarios, I survived and managed because I did not doubt myself. Yes, I questioned, but in the end, I managed and acted and thought and did because something told me I could.

Deep down, I knew I could do it, I still know I can, and that is what propels me forward. I don’t know how; I just know I can. As a hygienist and parent, I have relied on me. I can do it again.

No doubt.


Blessings and thanks for reading. ❤

  12 comments for “No doubt

  1. March 4, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    That’s the story of life and well told. We don’t know how we are going to handle all the challenges that come our way, but somehow we do. Then we look back and go “wow!” Somehow, when the going gets tough, some buckle as if that’s an option. You keep rising to the occasion and will continue to do so. You know your family is counting on you. You have found a well of strength you didn’t even know was there. Keep drinking from that well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 5, 2019 at 10:46 am

      We hear people say that when some crisis occurs, we carry on and through because we have no choice. I feel much the same now. I COULD crawl into a corner and cry, but the relief would be momentary, if that. Somehow we move through it, I believe, when we care deeply for someone and suddenly we are doing all we can for them. We don’t think about not doing this. Something is helping me, and while I think I know the source, it doesn’t matter as long as I continue to feel it and to carry on. I love the well of strength metaphor. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Cabbage
    March 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I so enjoy your posts on this most perilous and trying path you are walking (even though at times you may be running more than walking)
    I appreciate your insights and your vulnerability as you share your journey with those of us who can do little more than watch and offer constant faith and prayers for both you and Bruce.
    Again, thanks for sharing with us all.

    BTW. I found some notes in my family history from a previous trip to Germans from Russia museum in Lincoln, Nebraska where I found documents submitted by your brother Michael as he researched the Appels. It made me smile and reaffirmed our connection to each other. My people are your people and always will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 5, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Hi Pat, Great to hear from you. I am glad you are stopping by now and then. Yes, this has been quite the trial, but we are hanging in there. My husband has the best attitude. He wants this shared, and since writing has been my therapy, this has become a sort of platform for me. We believe this needs exposure in order to increase funding and ultimately find a cure.
      I always wished we had a brother, but sadly, we do not. You came across notes from my uncle, Michael J. “Mick” Appell, who was mom’s youngest brother. He was into family research for many years before he died, and is the only Appell sibling of who took an interest. They shared many notes before he died.
      I was contacted recently by another Appell descendant, but I”m not sure of his lineage. Makes me smile to know we are connected and that there are many of us. Take good care!


  3. Lynne Olson
    March 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, we are proud of whom our children have become… somethings are in the “handbook” and others are not… but we wing it. And still winging it every day…. stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Yes, they are wonderful individuals, our kids. We also wing it, very true. It is a process, one we’re never done with as long as we are mothers. Yes, trying. ❤


  4. Amy
    March 4, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Very powerful, Karen. Keep up the attitude!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. March 4, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Your strength and resilience shines through every word Karen. Life certainly throws us trials and challenges and all we can do is face them head on and with. I doubt, as you’ve done. I wish you and your husband well. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      Hi, Miriam! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it is certainly a trial, but we are handling it the best way we can, trying to keep our heads above water. Hoping you are well way, way across the miles. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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