Miss November 2016 – Vickie Henderson

The question isn’t supposed to be hard. The answer used to flow off my tongue, then suddenly I stammered. I think I’ve got it figured out now, but instead of a sentence, it’s a paragraph.

vickie hendersonPeople ask me difficult questions, like, “How are you feeling?” and “How many children do you have?” I realize that one shouldn’t be complicated, but that’s another story. I still cringe a little every time I hear the universal question,

“What do you do?”

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a writer. Somewhere along the way I ended up in medical school, which made the universal question easy.  “I am a doctor” or “I’m an obstetrician/gynecologist.” For simplicity sake or to be a little ornery sometimes I said, “I work at a hospital.”

Then my life turned upside down

I was too weak to move. In June of 2014 I developed a rare neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis which causes profound muscle weakness. Restless and full of energy, I entered a season of chronic stillness. Then the questions were hard. Brows furrowed when I told people I was a retired physician. They studied my face and tried to guess my age. “Disabled” added a look of pity coupled with suspicion since my illness is invisible. My cheeks flushed red and I looked at the floor the first time I mustered up the courage to answer, “I’m a writer,” I felt like such a wannabe.

Six months into my illness, I steadied my index finger and hit publish for my first post on “My Right Side Up Life.” Having my very own blog makes me a writer, right? I had to go to school for twelve years to become a physician so it didn’t feel right to proclaim myself a writer without credentials. I attended writing and speaking conferences, enrolled in training courses and joined Arkansas Women’s Bloggers Network for helpful tips, correction and encouragement.

About the time “writer and speaker” felt comfortable tumbling across my lips, I published a book, “Dressing the Wound: Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness.” Okay, so now I’m an author. I can relate to the look I saw in new mother’s eyes when I sent them home from the hospital with their newborn. What am I supposed to do with it now?

So what do I do?

Well, I am a retired physician. I am a patient; disabled by a disease most people have never heard of. I am an author, blogger, speaker and host of an online radio broadcast, “My Journey of Faith.” Dipping my foot back into medicine, I recently accepted an administrative position as part-time CMO (chief medical officer) at my local hospital. Nevertheless, I still make time to sit on my front porch and you are welcome to join me anytime.

The fragments of my life snap together like puzzle pieces. Despite the bags under my eyes from years of sleep deprivation, nothing is more precious than a baby’s first cry and the softness of newborn feet. I wouldn’t trade a single minute of my career as an obstetrician/gynecologist. The years I spent counseling women through every imaginable triumph and heartbreak give me unique insight into a woman’s heart. My experience teaching the Bible to a unique group of women laid a solid foundation of truths which I draw from in my writing. While I raised my children, I illustrated life lessons out of every ordinary experience. When my handicap derailed my active lifestyle, my own words echoed in my ears. Now, my little girl dreams of becoming an author have come true. I’m still not sure what to do with it, I only know I want my words to matter. Mostly, I write to myself the words I need to hear. Publishing my thoughts is a gamble that others might benefit too. My goal is to encourage others to find the blessings in adversity when life turns upside down.

Connect on social media

Facebook: Vickie Petz Henderson

Twitter: @rightsideuplife

Instagram: myrightsideuplife

Pinterest: Vickie Petz Henderson

Author of “Dressing the Wound: Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness.” Available on Amazon and Kindle.

Host of a weekly on-line radio broadcast, “My Journey of Faith,” where she interviews authors, musicians and people with interesting stories from all over the United States.

Blog, “My Right Side Up Life” encourages others to find the blessings in adversity. www.myupsiderightlife.com


  1. Debbie says:

    My heart is all “swelled up” with pride! You’ve come a long way since your Emily babysitting days, and I couldn’t be happier for you that you have chosen to follow that early passion of yours. Even through adversity, you shine. I just know God will continue to bless you, your ministry, and your gifts. Love you!

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