I am writing this in a plunge pool in our room in St. Lucia, looking at the Pitons. Is that necessary to document? Yes, because it is essential to this post.

I am tired. I am exhilarated but tired. Life is hard. Business is hard. I needed a little break and I’m getting it. I am so grateful for this opportunity. This is a surprise trip from my husband for our upcoming 9th anniversary. That is awesome. Who gets surprise trips? Wouldn’t have mattered where we ended up…but knowing our destination after months of guessing and speculation, this is perfection.

Why am I tired? Because a lot is going on. Let me catch you up….

West Magnolia Plastic Surgery is experiencing a very exciting and much overdue expansion. I love my office SO much. I love the look of my office, I love the feel of my office. I love it when patients come to my office for the first time and comment on the surroundings. I have wanted to do so much in my space but real estate was a restraint. We were stuffed to the gills years ago. I laugh…and cringe…when I recall the opportunity almost 13 years ago to take the entire first floor of our building. ‘I’ll never be that busy’, I said. Aaaarrrgggh.

Several months ago, a friend of mine who was my office neighbor approached me with some news. He was relocating his office to downtown Fort Worth. If I wanted the space, he wished for me to have right of refusal prior to notifying the landlords. Bittersweet as it was that my office neighbor was no longer next door, I was euphoric because suddenly there was a chance to stretch our legs and add services I have wanted to offer for years.

The Retreat on Magnolia is my idea of a Med Spa. I won’t call it a Med Spa because I don’t like that phrase. It’s overused and nondescript. Are you getting a facial or an operation? Maybe both. Maybe neither. The Retreat is about 1000 square feet of magnificent. It is laser resurfacing, photofacials, Hydrafacial MD®, microneedling, plasma facials, skin tightening…other things tightened (more to come about this…ThermiVA®!) The Retreat is a glass of bubbles, a comfortable couch, an exhale. I decided to call it the Retreat because although there is no place in my office that I don’t like to be, the idea of retreating to that new delicious space is very appealing. Grand opening: coming very, very soon.

How could something like that make me tired? Well, back to life is hard. Adulting is hard. Finances are hard. It is a lot of work to grow your business. It’s not OK to rest on your laurels. Yes, my practice is busy. I am facing 13 years in business this July. I am so grateful for the business I have, for my patients, my office. I am grateful for the chance to expand and offer more to my patients, to my friends. I embrace this kind of fatigue. I’ll take the long hours, the stress, the efforts to make it happen. I am excited for the future of West Magnolia Plastic Surgery.

That little matter of breast cancer coming up on 10 months ago is officially behind me. That took its toll, I think we can all agree on that. My family, my friends really got their butts handed to them with my poor processing of that little diagnosis. I wanted to make everyone proud with my decisions throughout that unforeseen reality. I feel like I was brave on the surface. I think we can all agree I lived out loud. I overshared. My drains hung out in the open. I posted pictures, shared my feelings…both good and bad.

I wasn’t brave and I wasn’t a hero. I acted like I was handling it all very well but I was kicking and screaming the whole time. For someone who didn’t even have invasive cancer, I do not have a lot to be proud of in my behavior. I avoided chemotherapy and radiation. I had 3 operations in 9 months but only 1 that was entirely essential. The last 2 were semi-elective to make some changes that I wanted to see. It’s easy to be bossy in directing how you want your body to look when someone else is in charge. I need to learn to be bossy with myself for what I am responsible for. I am learning.

I have learned a lot in the last year. About myself. And I didn’t like what I saw. I am fixing it. It is a process. Stick with me…

Back to that surprise trip from my husband. That in itself is a blessing. Not everyone gets to be whisked away for days in the middle of life. My husband, we all already know, is the love of my life. I cannot believe my dumb luck in crashing into this amazing soul on this huge planet. Did you make a list when you were little about your Mr. Wonderful? I did and it’s funny that I did because I was not a traditional little girl in that sense. I did not imagine my life as a wife or mother. I did not imagine my wedding. I imagined being a Plastic Surgeon since I was 16…so it’s a good thing that worked out for me.

Most girls make Mr. Wonderful lists, or at least I imagine they do because I did. It’s the perfect guy punch list. No reason to go into what was on mine in detail but suffice it to say that if you made a list of Jeff Knipper’s attributes, it would look a lot like my list. On April 19th, we will be married for 9 years. A lifetime? No. Do I wish it were 59 years? Yes. But I’m only 48 so that’s a physical impossibility.

He has planned this trip for months. Partly because of our anniversary, partly because he is aware of the adulting the past several months that I may or may not be processing well. It was a complete surprise. He communicated with my amazing office to block me out and be sure the schedule allowed my departure. He directed my packing and gave me very few clues. He has always said I’m impossible to surprise because I’m nosy. I admit there was a time in my life that I couldn’t wait to be surprised…I have cracked into more Christmas presents under the tree than I care to admit to. Not good. There are not a lot of great surprises in life. That little ‘you’ve got cancer’ surprise was not a great surprise. This trip was an AWESOME surprise.

Yesterday in the car from the airport to our present destination with this plunge pool overlooking the Caribbean, he realized that today...this day…would have been the 37th anniversary of his first marriage. I raise a glass to that because for whatever reason that did not work out, he was out there for me.

From this vantage point in paradise, I raise a glass to anyone reading this for every reason in the world. Because life is hard but you endure and you survive and you succeed. In business, health and love…my gratitude is overwhelming. Thank you life for all you’ve brought my way. More, please. I am learning every day to handle it the best way I can.

I just survived the 8th anniversary of the loss of my mother: the benchmark for magnificent in my life. In her words…

Here’s up to it!


P.S. I started writing this 2 days ago. I’m not tired anymore. I am rested, refreshed and ready to get back to work. Crazy how a little break from reality will restore your soul. Remember that little mention of The Retreat on Magnolia above? A lot of excitement has happened while I was gone. Be waiting for a big announcement coming very soon…