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Ellis Duane Bigelow

Ellis Duane Bigelow


There is such a thing as parent guilt….I know because I have it. I worked hard to earn a trip to Puerto Vallarta through Nerium, it was not easy but I soon found out there are things more important–I thought I knew this.

Haleigh and Scott were not due to have the baby until the first week in November so I figured I’d be ok to go on the trip and be ready for the baby to come when I got home. The time got closer for us to leave and Haleigh was already having contractions, but still not close enough to be having her baby yet.

We talked to Haleigh about going or staying, which was not the problem. Later she told me it was something I said that really bothered her. She said she was hurt because I told her if she had the baby we would fly home and then go back if we needed to. Seriously? How dumb is that?

The entire time we were gone we called everyday to see how things were going and what the doctor was saying. We continued to hear Haleigh was still moving slowly. We made it through the week but found out the morning we were leaving to come home she had already had the baby that morning.

Of course my motherly instinct set in and I was feeling very guilty for not being there. Moments after Ellis was born Haleigh started to feel short of breath–she knew right away something was wrong, she couldn’t breathe and felt like her throat was closing up. She began to cough and couldn’t catch her breath. Her lungs felt like they were collapsing and her oxygen levels were dropping really quickly. Her doctor took one look at her and immediately called for back up. She said the room went from three people to 25 within a few minutes. They started her on a heart monitor and rushed her in for a CT scan. She said her heart went from feeling an overwhelming amount of indescribable love and happiness to terror as they wheeled her away. They admitted her into the ICU, and her doctor told her she had blood and fluid in her lungs–somehow that fluid traveled up into her lungs causing pain in her chest. She spent quite a bit of time in the ICU away from Ellis.

Poor Scott was devastated standing holding his brand new baby watching the staff frantically rushing around Haleigh and finally rushing her to the ICU. I’m not going to even try to understand the emotions he must have been going through. I try to live with no regrets, but today I feel regret for not being there for my baby girl.

Boy do I make mistakes, I say things I shouldn’t and I’m continually apologizing to my children.
I would never intentionally hurt any of my children, all I can do is say I’m sorry and do better next time. I hope my children will be more in tune and better at motherhood than I have ever been.

Welcome to our world Ellis Duane Bigelow born October 28th, 2017 at 8:14 am. He weighed in at 6 lbs 14 oz. and 22 inches long.

XoXo Monya Bonbon

Summer 2018

Summer 2018

Today was the first day I’ve been out of my bed and able to go downstairs, outside to enjoy watching my grandchildren enjoy the pool. Ezra did all he could to keep Zola out of his cookies. I love this little boy, Ezra quietly came up to me and said “Bonbon can you get me a snack” I asked why he was being so quiet he looked up at me with is darling BIG puppy dog eyes and said “Mommy will say no” as much I wanted to laugh I had to tell him “Ezra if your mom says you can have a snack I will take you in to see what we have in Bonbon’s pantry” Kayla quickly reminded Ezra “We don’t keep secrets” Which I love, I think communication gets lost when children pit their parents against grandparents…..I have complete respect for the choices my kids make with their kids, but every once in a while it’s fun to be the sneaky grandmother–Good news this time Kayla told him he could go to my pantry and have a snack. He chose the largest bag of marshmallows he could find, then shared them with his brothers and maybe …..Zola.  This sounds a little Grey’s Anatomy right now–Eliis  and  Zola are names on that show.
Theo loves Zola, but she was getting a little in his space when it comes to food, this kid can eat–marshmallows were not for dogs, but Zola did get a few nibbles.
Ellis–just sits and watches his cousins, smiling, curious and I’m sure wondering when it would be his turn to jump in the water and take off like a fish. He is the sweetest little boy in the world. He is now 7 months old–my favorite is now while he is aware of his surroundings, belly laughs and such innocence. I’m pretty sure he will be a strong example and leader.

 

 

 

Yes I have a beautiful baby grand piano in our home, I thought this was a cute capture of the boys before they left for the day. Maybe one of them will serenade us with beautiful music to our ears. Ezra said “Bonbon, I want to play violin” I told him “Wonderful, you will be so good at that I can’t wait to hear it” This was a good day for me, seeing these babies brings me such joy. The past few days I have had a massive headache and the top of my head feels like a rotten tomato…squishy, I can hear the blood juicing around up there when I try to put on my reading glasses. I’m not sure if I was nauseated from the feeling of my head having a soft spot and blood squishy around or if there is really something wrong. Dr, Lettieri will be back from Nairobi saving lives to see me.  I’m looking forward to getting out of this bed and getting on with my life right now. I’m falling back on my responsibilities in my new Home Based business and don’t want to disappoint, but for now I have to take care of myself, or I will be of no use to anyone. Did I mention I love this company? These supplements I believe will safe me and are the miracle we have been looking for. Monya Bonbon had a pleasant day, bruising, swollen face and surrounded by the ones she loves the most in life.

 

 

 

 

 

My Tribe

My Tribe

Ellis is our youngest grandchild almost 7 months old. Haleigh brought me soup and Ellis–he took one look at me and started to cry-remember he is only 7 months old I think he is teething, usually he is joyous and happy with everyone. I couldn’t hold him but seeing his face was enough.
These brothers are Kaitlyn and Brian’s boys, Phoenix and Archer. I didn’t really want them to see me all bandaged up, or worse with the bandage off.  One day I was in the hospital and our little Phoenix who is 3 years old decided to Face Time me I only answered because I thought it was my daughter calling. This was our dialogue ” Phoenix: “Hey Bonbon where are you? Me: “Where is your mom and dad? Phoenix: “Sleeping…Bonbon what is that blood?” (it was my drain) Me: “Uhh, yeah it’s a little blood, Bonbon has a boo boo” Phoenix: “Oh did you get a owie?”  Me: “Yeah just a little one, but the doctor is taking care of it so I can play with you again do you want to play?” Phoenix: “Oh Bonbon thank you, yes we can play…..today can I come to your house?” Me: “I’m not home, I’m staying at the hospital” Phoenix: “Is Papa with you.? Did you get a shot?” Me: “I did get a shot, but I am good now and yes Papa is here. What are you doing today?” We talked for over 30 minutes before it was time to hang up, I dreaded hitting END on my phone.  Yesterday he came to see me, not startled by the bruises or stitches that make their way like a train track from one side of my face to the other. He sat next to me on the bed, told me about leaving on an airplane today, going to see all his cousins and for his grandads birthday.  His animation and excitement are really contagious, he reminds me of Kaitlyn when she was a little girl curious, silly faces and totally in awe of his dad (his hero) as it should be. Archer was not phased at all with how my face looked. When it was time to leave I asked Phoenix to send me a Face Time while he is in Utah if he thinks about it his response “umm…We will have to see” from the mouth of babes
Our only grand daughter Weslie comes from my only son Blake and his darling wife Chloe. Blake brought me an acai bowl, it was a nice break from eating everything from a straw. Weslie is not feeling well so really stayed close to daddy. She did give me a huge roll of the eyes for a good laugh and waved “bye-bye bonbon, I love you” and off they went.
This is Ezra, he is Kayla and Jeremy’s middle son. I was Face Timed with Ezra and Theo.  Ezra was playing with Phoenix at his house and really just wanted to know if I would buy him ‘buzz lightyear’ and ‘woody’ apparently Kayla said everytime he leaves playwing at Phoenix’s house he asks her for them….and her standard answer is “No not today, you need to earn it” then he says “Well Bon bon will get them for me” So basically he was calling to know if I’d get him Woody and Buzz next time I’m in Toys are Us.
Recker is our oldest grandson also from Kayla and Jeremy. The only one I haven’t had immediate contact with is Recker….I have a feeling he would be picking out all the stitches on my face one by one, like he did when I had the nerve removed from my calf to my face.  I couldn’t feel it, but he was protecting me ….. he hates stitches and has picked them off of himself so in his mind if he doesn’t like them then of course Bonbon won’t either.
Theodore is Kayla and Jeremy’s youngest son. Theo did a Face Time with Bonbon and didn’t seem weary or worried about my facial appearance. He just kept saying “I wuv you Bonbon” and smiling the entire time.

It’s been one week today since my surgery with Dr. Lettieri. He has text me several times–people may think that is weird getting text messages from your surgeon, and maybe it is a little. I don’t believe he has the time or capacity to do this with every patient he see’s but I’m blessed he checks in on me on a regular basis. Not only to tell me he needs to do more work on my face (really?) but he is also checking in on my spirits–I adore him. I even tell him “I love you” he’s been with me through half of the surgeries I’ve endured always hopeful always happy to see me. I’m not sure what it is like to have a genius mind working overtime 24/7 but boy am I glad he does–although I think he needs some rest, relaxation and a break. Funny thing is I don’t think that is physically possible for someone who does what he does.

Now that I am home, resting has been really hard for me. I got bored with television and could not concentrate …. or the shows were absolutely lame. I miss my grandchildren, they each bring a different type of joy to my soul.

Seriously? I’m a 55 year old grandmother with 7 beautiful grandchildren each bringing a different level of joy, laughter and respect from me….I don’t want them to grow up, I would like time to stand still, well maybe not this week–it needs to go fast but the faster I heal the sooner I get to play. I promised to teach them how to make my famous sugar cookies. I need to be healed and out of this bed looking normal–well really what is normal? Normal is boring too? I’ve learned so much about having facial paralysis through the eyes of my grandchildren–they never knew me looking any other way so they don’t stare, they don’t judge they just love their Bonbon. People can learn from children, I have unconditional love.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

Are You a Friend?

Are You a Friend?

My Sisters Will Always Be My True Friends. Me (left) Sonya (right) and Kris (middle)

The past few month’s I’ve had to make some decisions, hard but freeing decisions. During my recovery I’ve had time to myself the silence has been cleansing. I’ve been pondering friends, who they are, and how to define them.  These are my thoughts, ‘Good friends’ care for each other, ‘Close friends’ understand each other, but True Friends last forever…beyond words, beyond distance, beyond time.  Some friends we make as children and then lose contact as we grow older. Other friends we make as adults and stay in touch with as long as we are in close proximity to and it is convenient to keep in touch but then over time one moves away or busy schedules slowly pull us apart and we start to lose touch.  Those friendships fall into the ‘good friends’ or ‘close friends’

But then there is that last group of friends – those we call ‘true friends’ – they are those we have a mutual caring for, and we understand each other’s hearts, and where bonds are formed between us that span any distance, and where the bonds run so deep that no amount of time apart or lack of words will change the way we feel about that friend. These are our true friends, and when one comes into your life cherish it!  A strong friendship does not need daily check ups, it doesn’t require togetherness as long as the relationship lives in the heart, true friendships will never part.

During challenging times there have been individuals who came into my life I consider my ‘truest’ of friends. They are individuals who saw me through tough times and who always saw the best in me despite any of my shortcomings. They picked me up at times I was down. They stood by me when I felt alone. They taught me things about life and about myself with patience and understanding. They lifted my children’s spirits and made them laugh when they were going through tough times of their own. They forgave me at times when I was grumpy or obstinate. They loved me without judgment and without expectations. They gave me hugs, even at times that I may not have deserved one. These true friends were individuals who were there for me…maybe not always in person or in word every time, but always in heart…and knowing I had them helped me through incredible challenges.

Recently I had a ‘close friend’ who chose to disappear from my life because my morals and standards did not align with our CEO’s.  I made an actually really easy decision to walk away from the company. With that being said, I quickly learned who my ‘true friends’ were.  In retrospect I realize this particular friend did not have my best interest in mind, you see I never changed ‘who I was’ or ‘what I stood for’ anyone who really knows me, knows I am as transparent as it gets and I care deeply for every person I meet. I imagine our paths will never cross again, and that is ok because I am strong in knowing who I am and confident in my decisions–I remember this person saying to me “It’s sad that I will NEVER know who my friends are.”  That statement never set well with me, so every once in awhile I do a reality check on myself.  1. Do you love your life? ✔︎ 2. Are you being true to yourself in all you do? ✔︎ 3. Do you have regrets ✔︎ 4. If you do, are you willing to forgive or ask for forgiveness?✔︎  Truth bomb; If you don’t love or trust yourself, you will never know who your ‘true’ friends are because you are not being true to you, you may be allowing another person to dictate how you feel, or you’re choosing wealth over integrity….don’t hate the people who live free, who want to make a difference in the world and maintain their integrity. I will always choose honesty, authenticity and true love over money….any day any time.

When someone is genuinely your true friend they leave an impression on your heart that will never go away…not with time, not with distance, not even with differences of opinion. True friends secure a place in your heart forever.  I am forever grateful for the true friends in my life, both those who are alive and those who have passed away, thank you so much for being my true friends, thank you for taking the journey with me, thank you for praying for my family and most of all I thank you for allowing me to be me….silly ole’ me.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

 

 

 

Surgery 41

Surgery 41

Eric and I drove early Thursday morning to Maricopa Hospital.  My anxiety level was pretty high until Dr. Lettieri showed up. He’s always so reassuring, comforting and confident.  Dr. Lettieri is a genius in his field, he travels around the world teaching new cutting edge techniques and helping the medical world to learn more about properly treating trauma patients. I simply adore him, he is the only person who can come close to understanding what I am feeling. He’s seen a lot of horrific things in his career. Many times I have cried in his office, trying to process all that has happened to me.  From the perspective of a trauma surgeon who deals with  life changing medical situations, I appreciate his straight forward approach with me; I need to hear the truth. The truth is medicine and procedures are constantly changing…when Dr. Barr’s told me my face would never be the same again he was right–it won’t; but being told I would never smile again was far from truth–I defied medical doctors and taught myself to connect my heart with my head awkward as it is I did teach myself to smile.

My husband Eric, who I like to refer to as ‘Frenchie’ has been by my side through each and every surgery-He see’s the tears, he’s heard the sickness, he’s held me in his arms knowing that there are no human words that can possibly explain what I’m feeling. On days when I said I couldn’t face another day he’s never questioned me, his words soothe me when my soul is aching for relief and I’m able to make it through one more night.  We’ve carried a heavy load on our shoulders these past few years, but we also realize we’ve done all we can do–I live with no regrets and know that when my Heavenly Father is ready for me to be released from this earth and live with Him once again it will be a beautiful reunion.

 

 

 

 

Eric kissed my forehead looked me in the eyes and said “I love you, see you in Paris.” Oh how many times this scene has been played out. I gave a half-smile and said “Yes, I’ll be in Porte Jaune meet me there” It took a few needle pokes before my anesthesiologist came in and decided for now on I would need an ultra sound lead catheter, and within a seconds they had the vein they needed. The last thing I remember is saying “Dr. Lettieri I love you” I’m pretty sure it embarrassed him, but I am very grateful being blessed with him as my surgeon is not something I take lightly. He is a world renown trauma surgeon his brain in constant motion, he is teachable which in my opinion is  a very difficult attribute for some surgeons to have.  I love when he tells me he was in another country scrubbing in on a new cutting edge surgery and had me in mind.  Which is how this surgery came to be.
I’m very excited to say the anesthesiologist did an excellent job at keeping me asleep. During this surgery Dr. Lettieri literally cut through my scalp from one side to the other and pulled my face off. Scar tissue was removed, then he took muscle from my head and re-connected it to a nerve in my cheek. In technical terms he did a muscle flap.  While all this slicing and dicing was happening I was eating a crepe with Nutella, Bananas and fresh shaved coconut. Other than that I really can’t remember anything else. I don’t even remember being in recovery. The surgery was long, while Eric waited he said he heard a code for all trauma surgeons to report to the ER to assist a motorcyclist. Soon Dr. Lettieri visited Eric and told him he was leaving me with very well-trained doctors who would finish up the stitching.

 

 

It’s always so strange when I wake from a surgery, where did the time go? Dr. Lettieri told me he would need to shave a portion of my hair off, I immediately put my hand to my head to feel the damage, the right side of my head was numb to the touch and all I could feel was bandages. I asked “Did he shave my head?” His residents assured me he used scissors and cut my hair instead of shaving it. This made me happy because we had discussed if it would be better to shave the entire head or have a partially shaved head-I now have about half an inch of hair cut off all the way across the front part of my head and a drain just under the skin from my right temple up through the hair-line of the top of my head. It’s estimated the drain will stay in place for 2 weeks then will be removed in Dr. Lettieri’s office.  Normally when I am on such heavy dosages of sedation it takes hours or days for me to go pee, but that night I asked Frenchie to help me to the bathroom. I was pleased that I was able to go, but when I stood up I fainted in Eric’s arms. When I came to consciousness  I was being held up by a two male nurses trying to get me back in bed. It was decided a commode would be brought in next to my bed-no walking to the restroom.  It was simply too soon for me to be up and walking and my blood pressure was too low 97/43.
I was not expecting to spend the night, but the internal specialists said my Creatine was at 0.6 and GFR was 22, also I was very low on potassium. I recently started a new regime with supplements that have actually worked miracles on me, so I was very disappointed but then I remembered I was asked to stop taking any supplements 5 days prior to surgery. They told me to continue with my regular medications but because I have the MTHFR gene it proved to me even more that the nutrition I should have been getting from my medicine was not being absorbed as it should be. We spent the next day trying to get those levels up-I drank something that tasted much like chalk but was not allowed to take my supplements, this was frustrating because I knew if I was able to take Prime (a delivery supplement) I’d be able to go home.  This picture was taken the day after surgery, does it hurt…….? It feels like I was hit by a MAC truck.  I told Dr. Lettieri “You sure know how to show a girl a good time” his answer “Oh bruising is normal, we did a lot of work on you” I’m not sure Dr. Lettieri really understands my humor, he is all business. With that being said, don’t judge me on this post, it’s taken me all day to write. I always like to write asap so I don’t forget anything but to be honest I’ve been in a lot of pain writing this, I despise pain medication but know when enough is enough and I need to take it.  I’ll end by saying this, my life has been spared so many times, sometimes we forget in the heat of an argument or when we disagree with other’s that in the blink of an eye everything can change.  I’ve learned to forgive and love with every bit of my heart, I try not to take people for granted even when I feel I have been wronged or hurt, because in my experience tomorrow may not come. XOXO Monya Bonbon
Night Terrors

Night Terrors

The last few nights I have been waking up with horrible nightmares.  I will be going into surgery on Thursday next week, and I am terrified of waking up during surgery.  That last surgery seriously gave me PTSD even more than I already had it.  I thought I was past the smells at Mayo Clinic, but every time I close my eyes to sleep I can smell chemo, and sickness everywhere. Last night I closed my eyes and woke up terrified–just as the nurse placed the anesthesia over my nose and mouth and said “Count back from 10” I heard Dr. Lettieri come into the O.R. turn on his Beatles music and say “Let’s get started” Then he took out the scaple  and started slicing through the skin on my head. I was screaming “STOP, Please STOP I can feel that” but he continued as I felt the blood pour down my face. I heard him say “Shave more of her hair off, it’s in the way” Do they not understand, I am awake I can hear, I can feel, I don’t want them to shave my head….”STOP” it felt like I was screaming but no one was listening. I tried to move my fingers but they were tied to the bed, I tried so hard to open my eyes but realized there were weights on them. I heard one of the nurses say to another nurse”What are you doing this weekend?” “Wait, what? … I don’t care about the weekend, just please be quiet…listen to my thoughts, I’m trying to connect with you….. screw that SHUT UP”

Then it happened, Dr. Lettieri started to peel back the skin on my face, he was muttering about the nerves–the pain was so excruciating I couldn’t make out what he was saying….”Can you see the tear, look at my eyes, these are tears, I’m awake. Dr. Lettieri…please… I know you care about me and would never want me to feel this, but I do….I can feel my skin split apart, and every tug and pull on my skin–it hurts”

The pain and atmosphere were so nasty, I sat straight up in bed sweating profusely, Immediately I touched the right side of my head to see if I still had hair, went to the bathroom and sat on the bathroom floor not crying, but petrified to move. “Oh my gosh, what if that happens to me, what if they really can’t put me out?”

I’m sick to my stomach tonight just thinking about sleeping, I need something to calm me….I do the only thing I know to do and that is go to a private place and pray to Heavenly Father, then have faith in Him to get me through one more night.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

Who Have You Helped Today?

Who Have You Helped Today?

I haven't always been interested in the well being of other people, I mean not to a point of making it an intentional part of my day. I wonder why it sometimes takes cancer, or a tragedy to help us understand the worth of every soul is great in the sight of God?  Is it even possible for us to comprehend the Love our Father in Heaven has for us? The only feeling I can think of that would even come close to that type of unconditional love is the love a parent has for their children.

I remember a night during chemo, I was so sick I'd lost so much weight and literally wanted my life to end. I laid on the floor begging and pleading for the Lord to take it all away. That didn't happen, but since that long dreary night I learned a lesson--He has the power to take away all of our heartaches and pains, but He doesn't because He loves us that much, He wants us to learn then go out and teach others. I imagine when He see's his children going through difficult times He wants to take it all away, I know when my own children have suffered I've wanted to do everything I could do to make it better for them.

Today as I drove into my subdivision toward home, a woman waved me down. She seemed to be frantic, I rolled down my window and asked her what was wrong. She replied while pointing "Do you know that young man?" I looked over and face down in the rocks was a young man covered in dirt. Not knowing if he was dead or alive I touched his shoulder and asked "Can I help you?" He didn't move but I could tell he was still breathing, again I gave him a little shove to wake him up when he turned over he was frothing from the mouth, he was not in good shape. I believed he was overdosed on something. All around him were graham crackers and ginger ail cans.  I asked him "What is your name? where do you live?" His response was "Don't call the police I don't want any trouble." I finally convinced him to give me his mother's address so I could go get her. To avoid the police he decided to walk to Jack in the Box and I would have his mom meet him there.

My heart was aching for this boy, I didn't know how his mom would take the information but prayed the whole way to her house that KC would get to the Jack in the Box without any harm. When I rang her doorbell I asked her "Is your name Susie and do you have a son named KC?" Obviously this boy had a history of running away. She flung the door open ran out to my car yelling "No not my boy, please God let him be ok"  On the ride there I explained what had happened. She wanted me to drive her by the place where I found him, then quickly we went to see if he was were he promised me he'd be. He was in such bad shape a part of me thought he wouldn't have made it a mile down the road without getting hit by a car.  The embrace between mother and son is not something I will soon forget. He could barely stand, he collapsed into her arms.

We made it to a table outside and I sat across from him, he looked at me and said "I just want to die, why didn't you just let me die?" My eyes filled with tears that drizzled down my face. His mom started to talk but I took my hands and lifted his head to look into my eyes, I wanted him to hear me I mean really hear what I was telling him. She could see I was trying to connect with her son and she remained quiet for this part. With watery eyes I told him "I understand how you feel....." he cut me off  in sobbing tears "How could you possible understand?" My heart was racing, I said a little prayer in my head asking Heavenly Father to please give me the words to help this boy. "I may not know exactly what you are feeling, but I do know what it feels like to want to be dead." "Why would you want to die?" "Well, KC I was abused growing up, physically mentally and sexually I didn't want to live through that. Then a few years ago something most would say is horrible happened to me, I was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer-it forced me to see life through different lenses. I will forever be grateful that I was able to forgive, now I look intentionally everyday for people who need help. KC do you believe in God?" He began to cry uncontrollably then said "Yes why?" "Do you know that God wants you to be happy?" What happened next penetrated my soul and I will never forget it. He looked me in the eyes and said "I was sexually abused" a gasp of air came out of me, I was not prepared to hear that from him.  His mom looked at me with tears, grabbed her son and continually said "I'm so sorry that happened to you."  I explained that none of what happened to him was his fault he was only 14 years old, but until he can get some help he will always be living the nightmare that man put him through. I could see he was delicate he started to hallucinate  I suggested we get him to the hospital. His arms were so swollen, the needle tracks showed me the battle field of his life. When we got him to the hospital he asked "Does God Really want me to be happy? I mean do you really mean that or are you saying what you think I want to hear?"  Once again I held his face in my hands looked him straight in the eye and said "I KNOW He wants you to be happy, and I also know He guided me to you today." KC will enter a rehab facility tomorrow and I promised him I'd visit.

I have had sleepless nights, unimaginable pain and yes thoughts of death. Now that I am where I am in my life, all that I have learned and am still trying to understand I would never trade my life for any one else's. The Lord has been preparing me for moments like the one I had with this young man. I have been given beautiful opportunities to see miracles happen in the lives of people who want to listen.

Recovering from this last procedure I endured has been really difficult. I wake up in a sweat dreaming about the unnecessary trauma I experienced-the people who have reached out to me are little angels the Lord sends, they don't even realize the relief I get, the joy I feel from a simple "how are you doing?" So forget about making millions, or following celebrity lives--sit with someone who needs you, listen with your heart and judge no-one. Don't let people take advantage of you but be open to making friends with someone who needs you. In the end of your life you want to know you made a difference in a life. Love yourself enough, be confident in who you are then go share it.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Name Is Hope

My Name Is Hope

 

Unfortunelty I did not get to go to Porte Jaune Paris yesterday. Eric and I arrived at The Mayo Clinic on time, checked in and soon they called me back. While I prepared myself to be sedated and enjoy a nice bike ride through my favorite happy place I had no idea what lye ahead of me. I was taken into the surgery room and told they would take my blood, spin it in some type of machine I could see in the corner of the room and then they would replace it into the hip bones.  I looked at the doctor and asked “how many times have you done this?” (Dr. Kreymerman taught me to always ask.) The reply I received was “Never, you’re our first, so there will be several other doctors in the room observing.” I could feel anxiety flushing though my body as they began explaining they would be performing this procedure on both hips (bi-lateral) and they would not be using any anesthetic, in other words I would be awake. My brain suddenly became a foggy mess I could hear them talking, but wanted them to be quiet. I turned my head toward them and said “Oh no, I can’t do this while I’m awake” then the doctor explained it wouldn’t be any worse than getting a cortisone shot. I wondered how he knew that if he had never performed this before.

As he began to draw blood from my right arm, the first sting of the needle penetrating my skin and then being shoved into a vein brought me up off the table. I explained to them how hard it is to find good veins on me and that Mayo usually gets a specialist to come in for this part. After 4 sticks, they finally asked for the specialists to come in. I asked them to please stop everything and go get my headphones and phone from Eric so I could try to distract myself with music.  The initial response was—-is she kidding?  I looked at the nurse and begged her to please do this for me, The doctor agreed and off she went to get the music. My hands were tied down so I could not control the music, she put the wireless headphone in my left ear and went to playlists and pushed ‘purchased’ I soon heard music, but not the music I wanted to hear—what was this?  The words were so distracting I could not concentrate the words to the song were ‘Punching Bag’–I asked them to stop once again and change it to my playlist called Church Music.

Instantly  I could hear the beautiful music from our dear friend Clyde Bawden and began to relax. I tried to close my eyes, but the right eye would not close–I asked them to please close it for me and they did continually throughout the procedure. My veins continued to roll, the anesthesiologist poked and prodded until she finally found one vein they were able to suck all the blood out of, however it was not quite enough. A tear rolled down my cheek, as they apologized and asked if they could try on the left arm…at this point I thought “Do I have a choice?” After 10 pokes they were finally able to get more blood still not an adequate amount but we proceeded. I remember looking at all the doctors eyes, their mouths were covered with masks–as the tear rolled one of the doctors winked at me as if to say “I’m sorry”

“Try to relax, while we spin your blood.” The nurse rubbed my arms and held my hand while I  listened to a beautiful song I’d never heard before. I concentrated on the words as I watched all the physicians gather around the ‘blood spinning machine’ “Hello my name is hope, I have made many smile, they’ve tried to keep me silent, they’ve sent rain and they’ve sent fire, but I’m strong and enduring, I am eternal” Tears rolled down my cheeks as the words continued “I know it’s hard to believe in something when it cannot be seen, but my name is Hope and if you are listening then you will hear me singing, I’ve held the hands of children and gave them reason to survive and I can feel their afflictions, please let me come in…my name is Hope and I spring eternal.”  I opened my eyes as the song ended to see the physicians taking my blood out of the spinner and into a syringe–I was asked to lye on my left side. I will never forget what happened next, it was explained they were going to now insert the blood and he did, but not without me screaming in pain–“relax–relax” was all I could hear–that my friends was impossible to do.

The incredible pain I felt as the needle penetrated my bones made my body shake, it reminded me of what my body did when the nerve in my face popped.  “Hold on we are almost done” as the depth of the needle made it to it’s final resting spot I screamed out in pain and asked them to stop, but it was too late the pain quickly and sharply made it to my ankle –it wasn’t going away, I shoved the sheet into my mouth and screamed by now I was sobbing the tears were not going to stop as I hid my head in the pillow. The Doctor moved to the other side of the table rubbed my arm and said “I’m right here” I immediately said with quivering lips “That’s what I’m afraid of” “Well she still has her wit” they all laughed as they turned me over to proceed on the left hip.  I told them I needed to breath for a moment before we started–I asked the nurse to please put my ear bud back in my ear and find the song “Be Still, My Soul” I once again closed my eye and she closed my right eye as they began to force the needle in through the bone–I yelled “I can’t do this”  “We are almost done, just relax”  That word RELAX….what does that even mean….relax……?   seriously…..? I was supposed to be in Porte Jaune picking wild berries, eating a crepe with Nutella, bananas and fresh shredded coconut.  I wanted Eric in the room, I knew he would understand, he could calm me- The Doctor announced “Ok, we are all done”…. Was  I supposed to say “great, thank you it’s been fun?” No, I hid my face in the pillow and cried uncontrollably, weeping, my body began to shake as my crying became louder and stronger the nurse rubbed my back–“I can’t breath….can you get my husband?” Within minutes they had me sit up and move into a wheelchair so they could take me to recovery. The transition was excruciating, since I was the first patient to ever have this surgery they were not prepared with pain medicine. I believe they thought this was going to be much easer than it was.  I was still crying hard when they brought Eric back, I was embarrassed and I think Eric was a little shocked to see me in this condition.

I’ve been home a couple days now, I have the walker manipulation down–Up to the bathroom and right back down on the sofa.  Nothing is permanent, not even pain.

 

XOXO Monya Bonbon

Porte Jaune Here I Come

Porte Jaune Here I Come

Tomorrow I enter Mayo Clinic surgery center, close my eyes and go to my happy place, Porte Jaune Paris.  This surgery is going to be regenerating some of my own tissue from bone marrow into my hip, hopefully alleviating pain and giving me more mobility. It’s a fairly new procedure, insurance does not cover it, but I rather try it on my right hip before going for a hip replacement. If this is successful I will have the left hip done. I’ll be using a walker for awhile (don’t laugh) I cannot have any weight on that hip, but the good news is the recovery is only days instead of months.

I’ve actually gone a year and a half without a surgery this will be #41. Dr. Freeman is my pain doctor, I love teasing him-but the truth is he has really helped me for over 5 years now to relieve the pain with cortisone shots; it’s just time to try something new.  The Lord has blessed me so much, little by little He’s helped me understand the reason I have gone through so much.  I needed to be refined, He wanted me to get out of my comfort zone and serve other’s.  I used to look in the mirror and wish I could go back to where I once was, I wanted my smile back (I still do at times) I sometimes close my eyes and pray for the Lord to allow me to feel again, I mean really feel my life is worth all of this. It takes my breath away many times.  Then I’ll meet someone who needs help more than I do and I have to remind my heart to beat again, I look into the eyes of a child who needs food, clothes or a hug and realize I have a second chance to make my life mean something, I really want to leave this life having made a difference.

So for tomorrow I will get stuck with needles once again, then slowly drift off to Porte Jaune riding my bike, picking wild berries and watching the beautiful white swans drifting through the waters. When I wake Eric will be at my side like he always is.  Then I get to start all over again learning to walk with a healthy hip-time and patience will tell. I’m grateful for modern medicine and the opportunity to try regenerative procedures that allow me to heal quicker.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

 

I Can Only Imagine

I Can Only Imagine

My body has physically been through so much trauma, I often wonder how I have survived it all.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of picking up Recker from school. My Heavenly Father knew I needed this sweet boy in my life, he was born just four months after I was diagnosed, I was blessed to be able to watch him when his mom (my daughter) went back to work.  I will never forget the day I stood at the top of my stairs and begged Eric not to go to work, the depression was so bad during chemo I wanted to literally die. Eric looked up at me and said “Your almost done babe, just keep fighting. Recker is coming over today you need to be here for him.”  I sat on the floor and bawled as I listened to him shut the door.  I couldn’t imagine one more day of throwing up, pain and depression.

When Recker arrived I dried my eyes and held him in my arms.  I’d make it through another day staring into his beautiful eyes, the focus on him kept me alive I loved taking care of him he needed me and I needed him.  Within a year he was diagnosed with Autism, although we were incredibly sad, we also had no idea what autism was or how it would effect our family.  Eight years later, I constantly wish I could be in his head and understand what he is feeling or thinking.

When I picked him up from school, he got in the back seat put on his seat belt–I looked back at him to make sure he was safe, smiled put my finger to my chin and said “I love you Recker” he then put his finger to his chin and said what sounded to be “I love you.”  We drove in silence, well except me talking to him about his day and how school was–he stared into the open air with no response.  When we arrived at my home he immediately put his swim suit on and was ready to dive into the not so warm water.  I sat and watched him swim for over two hours with no verbal communication.  He was perfectly content and so happy.

I realized while watching him, it’s us that are sad for him-he will eventually if he hasn’t already understand that he is different, but we try to teach him he is not less than any other child or person-just different. That night I went to see the movie ‘I Can Only Imagine’ a true story I recommend everyone to see.  It was difficult to sit through, this boy was abused physically and verbally by his father and so many parts of it reminded me of my younger years.

Tonight as I ponder the words from that song, I tried to lose myself in the words of the beautiful words. I can only imagine what it will be like to be in Heaven once again with Recker, both of us with perfect bodies and minds, no more trauma or mis-understandings just pure love. I will finally be surrounded by the unconditional love of a God who has reached down and pulled me out of difficult times. I can only imagine when that day comes my heart will be entwined with perfect knowledge of exactly what God see’s in each one of us.. I will probably have a hard time speaking, but we will not be able to get Recker to stop talking, it’s interesting in our lives we take so much for granted. I cannot image living in a world where you want so badly to communicate with people, especially the people you love most-family. Imagine how hard it would be to understand every word other’s are saying but not being able to respond. What a joyous day it will be for me to see Recker embrace our Savior and hear Him tell Recker what a special boy he is.

On a few occasions I have had the opportunity during surgeries to visit Heaven and see a glimps of what I believe is the most beautiful, perfect place I have ever visited.  Because of those visits I have been granted,  I want to live my life in a way my family will be proud of, I want to help and serve other’s I will do anything it takes to live there for Eternity once my body is ready to part from this world. It is glorious and beautiful nothing hear on earth compares to Heaven–I will be with Recker, Ezra and Theo and hopefully my entire family for eternity–I love that thought.

Love Monya Bonbon

 

 

Why Kindness?

Why Kindness?

Why choose kindness?  This seems like a redundant question, but in a world where so many are struggling between choosing right or wrong I’m grateful I learned at a young age how to pray for guidance. I have learned throughout life that my day is always happier when I give people a little bit of my heart rather than a piece of my mind. One of the greatest gifts we have is the ability to be kind to other’s. When someone is in need, lend them a helping hand, pray for them. Don’t wait for a ‘thank you’ True kindness lies within each of us, giving without expecting anything in return strengthens your heart muscles and creates beautiful people.

There is something magical about being kind, it has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it feel sunshine. Every act of kindness I give always has a way of helping my spirit to grow and I’ve never walked away disappointed.  Have you ever met someone who has the natural ability to give away happiness just by them walking into a room? My mother in law Viola Williams was my favorite person in the world, she had a smile and laugh that could always take any heartache or bad experience away.

I realized I was an unhappy person when I was diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago. The seed of kindness that Viola has planted in my soul helped me to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude for life, friends and especially for family. I had a friend Sheldon Cook who was so kind and gentle when he spoke to me. One day I was bald from chemo and he said “You look beautiful” the empathy he showed came from a sincere place in his heart as he too was struggling with cancer and has since passed on. I will never forget his kind words, he taught me even one small word of kindness can change someone else’s day. We need not be selective on who we choose to be kind to, those who are the most unkind people need love too, actually they may need it more than we realize.

There is of course times when we need to draw healthy boundaries, but we should use prayer and wisdom when doing this. Don’t be took quick to judge, and don’t give up on people too quickly. I have learned to forgive but refuse to be a doormat; in other words do not let people take advantage of you or your situation, the spirit will guide you to know when it is time to let go and let be.

The picture above illustrates a bird alone, I would rather be that one bird who chooses the right then the twenty five who follow the crowd.  I want to live in such a way that if someone were to ask my children or grandchildren the definition of kindness, integrity and loyalty, they’d respond with “My Mother, or my Grandmother; Bonbon”

XOXO Monya Bonbon