This is My Story... This is Our Song...
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In, “Naked. This is My Story…This is Our Song…”, Dr. Masters has, with finesse and conviction, written a basic primer on personal storytelling. With her own mesmerizing story woven throughout, Dr. Masters successfully connects the real with the surreal. Naked is a story within a lesson and a lesson within a story. More than that Naked is life…life bubbling over with success, tragedy, pain, renewal, failure, transformation, and redemption. It is a guttural look at what it means to be a human being…both contemptible and beyond contempt.
Naked is the true story of Leslie Masters, a 45 year old physician, single mother of three, soccer mom, cheer and gymnastics coach, cosmetic medicine expert, entrepreneur, small business owner, imperfect, spiritual human being. As she tells her story in the first person singular, Dr. Masters lures the reader onto the mindboggling and at times bewitching trail of recovery and discovery.
From DEA officers in her office to mice in her kitchen, Dr. Masters' artistry in storytelling will make you laugh, make you cry and introduce you to emotions you have not known before. With the benevolence and compassion of a trusted friend she holds out her hand and both invites and emboldens the reader to tell the one story that only they can tell…their own story. Dr. Masters reaches deep within the wisdom of the ages and from Plato to Jesus, Buddha to Einstein and Sigmund Freud to Bill Wilson, Dr. Masters helps us transform teachings into “right here, right now” applications.
What makes this book special is that it is wretched, raucous, raw and real. Dr. Masters shows with brutal honesty, courage and sophistication just what “telling your story” is all about. Leslie is bright, articulate, and funny…and what she becomes to the reader is a treasured intimate friend. Before the final page has been turned, Dr. Masters has become Leslie…a flawed, broken, faulty, incomplete member of humanity. The result is a captivating work that is relevant, and even necessary, in the world that we all live in today. Fueled by the power of truth, this is a story that needs to be heard.
It was a sunny but brisk day in late September. Just about the time the trees start changing color and the Oklahomans pull out the jackets in preparation for colder weather. Her Oncology Clinic was packed as usual with patients fighting the dreaded “C” word…cancer. She sat perched on a high stool at the bustling nurse's station dictating the last patient's progress note. Her RN rounded the corner with the latest update. She grabbed a pen and paper and without pausing dictation jotted down her nurse's latest report. “7 West needs orders on Mr. Swansen, Alice Carmichael is in the ER, one of Dr. Lynch's patients is having a chemo reaction and your next patient is ready in room 3, labs are on the door.” Her mind clicked instinctively, re-dictate this note later, chemo reaction patient first then orders to 7 west then labs on door of room 3. The ER could handle Mrs. Carmichael for now. She slid gingerly off the stool with a slight wince and headed to the treatment room.
The patient was flushed, sweaty and with rapid respirations and heart rate, but clinically stable. “50mg of Benadryl IV, 10mg of decadron IV continue hydration and discontinue chemo for 30 minutes then resume and give over 4 hours instead of 2.”Typical allergic reaction, a little reassurance, a little TLC and she'll be good to go. The chemo nurses knew the scenario well. What a job she thought, pumping poison into people to try to save their lives. How the nurses did it day after day had never ceased to amaze her. She scribbled a quick note, wrote down the orders and turned back toward the clinic.
"Dr. Masters,” It was Julie the clinic manager, a sweet, caring woman who had always been willing to step between the doctors and outside intrusions. “Dr. Masters there are two DEA agents with badges out front and they say they need to speak to you.”Her heart stopped and then resumed beating faster than it ever had before. She feigned a non-concerned nod though she knew the color had just instantaneously drained from her face. “Could you just show them to my office and tell them I will be in shortly.” Her mind went wild and every hair on her body stood upright. What do they know? What could they know? Stay calm she said to herself, it could be nothing. Her whole world was swirling. A wave of nausea came and went and then came again. Her hands were clammy, her heart was trying desperately to jump out of her chest and her mind kept repeating, “God help me, God help me.”
She picked up the phone and dialed 7 west and like a robot on auto-drive began to talk. “This is Dr. Masters and I have admit orders for Mr. Swansen.
Admit: 7 west for Dr. Masters
Diagnosis: metastatic colon cancer with recurrent ascites
Vitals: Q2 hours x 2 then Q4 hours
She continued to speak but could no longer hear her own voice. The orders seemed to her to just float out of her mouth in slow motion. Why couldn't she hear herself any more. Though she knew that she was speaking she could not hear her own voice. She jotted down the name Donna so she must have asked to whom she was giving orders though she never heard herself say the words. Again she slid off the high stool cautiously and again she winced. She stared blankly down the hall at her office door. She turned and told her nurse to tell room 3 it would be a few minutes. She didn't hear herself say the words but her nurse nodded and she just assumed that she must have spoken them. As her nurse walked away she felt a dread build up from somewhere deep inside her, a dark, wretched dread like she had never felt before.
"Please God, please God,” her thoughts kept saying though she no longer believed that He would answer. She didn't even know what God she was talking to. “Not now God, not now God, not now.” Her temples pulsed with pain as she gently made her way down the hall. Her thoughts went to Olivia. My God she has been through so much and has been home in Tulsa for exactly one day. Just yesterday the two of them had flown in from Phoenix, victorious after a 9 month long agonizing custody battle that had finally been settled in her favor. Olivia was back at home at last. It had been 9 months of shear torture since Olivia, her then 10 year old daughter, had decided to live in Phoenix with her dad, a decision that lasted about 4 weeks. The 4 week mistake had grown into a 9 month ordeal when her father refused to allow her to return to Tulsa. Night after night she had listened to her anguished 10 year old baby girl beg to come home. Day after day she watched the wheels of the family court system move inch by excruciating inch. “Please God, not now, please,” now the begging was hers and the recipient…an unknown God. Her insides felt hollow and vacuous. There was nothing there but an echoing void.
She entered her office to be greeted by two shiny gold badges both in the shape of a star. The man introduced himself as Steve Washborne, an investigator for the Oklahoma State Medical Board and the woman whose name she didn't hear introduced herself as an investigator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. She shook their hands and tried to act cordial and curious, although she knew in her heart why they were there. She listened as they laid out their evidence. “Who is Kay Dobbs?” the man asked. “She is my nanny.” She replied. “Why are you writing her so many prescriptions for oxycodone and oxycontin?”They knew. They knew everything. She walked over to her purse and again winced as she bent down to pull from it a prescription bottle for oxycontin. “These are mine,” she explained “They are prescribed to me by a pain doctor.” “The prescriptions for Kay Dobbs are for her pain from osteoporosis.” Her explanation was weak and she knew it but she continued to insist that the fact that they were on the same meds was purely a coincidence. She refused to give in and continued with her feeble explanations. Their eyes were stern and somehow sad. They left after saying, “Dr. Masters we just want the truth. We are only here for the truth.”
The remainder of the day was covered by a heavy fog. She tried to hold it all together but realized that she failed when one of her cancer patients asked her what was wrong and if there was anything she could do for her. She loved her patients, every last one of them. And they loved her. She was determined to be the loving, caring rock that so many of them needed. She vowed to be their hope. “No one has a crystal ball,” she would insist “we can't see the future so let's just together do what needs to be done today.” She cried with them when the news was bad and rejoiced with them when the tests came back good. She prayed with them in desperate moments and held their hands when words were too difficult to utter. She believed with all of her heart that hope had to die last and when, in the end, that hope did die she would sit with them and their loved ones as they took their final breaths. And today, in her own time of need, one of them hand reached out her hand of compassion in return.
The short drive home that evening seemed long as her mind whirled. She was alone, caring about everything and about nothing at the same time. Her mind screamed, “Deny, deny, deny,” but her heart knew that it was too late for that. She had been writing prescriptions to her nanny and doubling and sometimes tripling her own dose of oxycontin. Her thoughts raced from, “Shit what a cluster-fuck,” to “Our Father who art in heaven.” Despite the race in her mind
Leslie Masters is a physician, an entrepreneur and a single mother of three children, Sam 9, Georgia 11 and Olivia 17. She grew up in a small town in South Dakota and lives today in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Dr. Masters received her undergraduate degree in General Science from the University of Iowa and her Medical Degree from the University of Minnesota. She went on to receive her post-graduate training in Pathology, Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.
Today she works in the area of Cosmetic Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she owns and operates her own clinic-The Masters Clinic. Dr. Masters has been featured in the Tulsa World, Oklahoma Family Magazine and on numerous TV and radio shows. Although trained initially in the areas of Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, Dr. Masters entered the world of Medical Aesthetics in 2005. Not long after beginning her work in the area of aesthetics, Dr. Masters noted a recurring theme. The vast majority of people seeking her help presented their goal as, "I just want to feel better." This trend provided the impetus for this book. Dr. Masters life experience took it from there.
In addition to writing her first book, Dr. Masters sends out a daily "Thought Of The Day" via text message and expands further on the TOTD on her daily blog--lesliemasters.com. Dr. Masters spends her "spare time" darting between football, soccer, cheer, voice and tumbling events. When asked what is the hardest thing she has ever done she smiles and says, "I became a parent."
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