Tag: Chemo

What is a Saint ?

What is a Saint ?

When I think of someone as a Saint, my mind immediately goes to Viola Williams, Eric’s Mom.  In my eyes she could do no wrong, she actively would seek out the weak and weary and take them into her home for comfort from their worldly…

Botox….Seriously?

Botox….Seriously?

Yesterday I was at work sitting at my desk, a girl walked up to me and said in a whisper “where did you get your botox done on your forehead” I whispered back with a shhh and finger over my crooked mouth “are you kidding…

Living Happy

Living Happy

A couple of weeks ago my dear sweet friend Liz Decker asked me to give a testimonial at our and Event, I  knew I wanted to but was not sure what to say. How could I possibly inspire or be an example ? I have done ok with my home based business and fully enjoyed meeting new friends and taking my mind off of my cancer journey, but I am surely not an example of success.  I had goals written down, simple things I wanted to achieve daily, weekly then monthly when the tumor in my ear arrived and killed the nerve in my face all my goals had to be put on hold. I had 3 surgeries in one week, making it 18 surgeries within 5 years. While I was in Mayo Hospital for 3 weeks, my  friends came to visit–what a surprise that was to me, I barely knew these people. That act of service was a truly heartwarming experience, I realized I really am loved by other people than my own family.  These past couple of months have been incredible as I have fought my way through thick and thin to stay alive……right now I’m a little thick because of the steroids I am on, but guess what?  I simply don’t care, if those steroids can help me get to a healing place, bring on the thick.
Look at these beautiful, happy successful women

 

Don’t go anywhere without this magazine–every nurse, doctor
and resident got one from me at Mayo and Cleveland Clinic

 

Liz and Danny–great leaders, great friends
Love Danny’s shirt, I have it too it says
TODAY CHOOSE HAPPY

This subject of Living a Happy Life has become so dear to me over the past 12 years or so.  Being raised in a fully dysfunctional home, then meeting the man of my dreams was quite an opposition from what I was feeling in my home , hearing Frenchie say “I love you” it was shocking to me.  I remember going home that night at the ripe age of 19, kneeling by my bed and promising the Lord I would live worthy of this man, if He would keep His promise and get me out of this toxic environment.  Promises made were not broken, we were happily married, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and one magnificent son–they are all married now, and we have been blessed with 2 grandsons from my oldest daughter Kayla and her husband Jeremy–oh how our family has been blessed with great son and daughter in laws–I love them all-they make me smile.

So back to this subject of really Living a Happy Life, is it possible? There was a time I did not know what love was, not to mention true happiness.  But the second my daughter was born, I was instantly fell in love with her, my happiness was filled to the brim, nothing could or ever would compare to this…..wait 13 months later my son came along, big 9 lbs 8 oz, Frenchie cried.  I wasn’t sure he was crying because he was blessed with a son to carry on the Williams name or if he was just happy for that special moment of being told “congratulations, he’s a handsome healthy boy” All four of my children have brought such joy and happiness to my life, they lived the young life that I was never granted and I loved watching them make mistakes, figure out the problem and fix it.

When Kayla had her 1st child Recker, the doctor induced her so that I could be there for the birth, I was going through my chemo treatment and didn’t want to miss the birth of our first grandchild.  He was blond, beautiful and big–with a mixture of characteristics from both Kayla and Jeremy. Talk about happiness, there is not much more that compares to the unconditional love between a father, mother and their new baby, a gift from Heavenly Father, he has entrusted in parents to take special care of these special children of His.

Although those moments and days after a baby is brought home is such a happy time of life, trials do come to all of us.  My question, even to myself is how do we maintain a happy life through sometimes what seems to be an endless amount of sadness, sorrow, anger and disappointment?  I don’t have much science to back it up, but would like to give my opinion on this subject. I believe each child is born into a family with their own spirit, some of those children will be born naturally happy all the time, smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses and eating may make him happy. Seeing both of my grandchildren laugh, giggle, run and play always changes my serotonin levels  and creates a smile or two from me too. Recker our oldest grandson was diagnosed with Autism at age 16 months, I had no idea how to feel about that, should I cry or should I feel blessed that he had been sent to our family to teach and help us grow in compassion, and unconditional love? Now Recker is 4 and a half, he still does not speak, but tries hard to communicate–my daughter and son in law are amazing with him.  Many times I have wept for them, not because of the diagnosis, but because of not knowing how to react when people are rude. I love to just watch him, no words, just watch….he seems so happy, he absolutely brings happiness to me.  I’m not sure he knows he is different, he laughs and plays and hugs and kisses us–he truly is happy.  Heavenly Happy.

Ezra visiting bonbon at Mayo–he never stops smiling

 

My sweet little Recker boy, dirty from doing what he loves
playing outside–gave me the #1 for the RedSox

When I was a child my family called me BonBon, I’ve been told because of my super white hair, the only thing I can see is a likeliness is that the ice cream bonbon’s are white inside, covered in chocolate on the outside. No matter, the name stuck with me and even now when I  repeat this name for my email, or to explain why my grandchildren call me Bonbon—it always brings a smile to those who hear it. So does smiling mean a person is happy? I’m not sure that qualifies as complete happiness, but it sure is a great start. I believe there is power in a positive mental attitude.

When Frenchie and I first got married he would go around the valley speaking to hundreds of people about how to have a positive mental attitude….so weird that he and I ended up being married, because I was as far from a positive person when we met—-maybe that’s why it took 6 years of dating—I’ve learned so much about having a positive outlook from him.  Imagine this, when we first got married Frendhie would make me stand in front of the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful, I was going to have a great day, and that I was happy. Laugh if you want, I did too, in fact I was so resistant at times he would laugh at me and tell me “if you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will either, so hold your head up high and repeat after me”

yep…where it all started–Frenchie is
still my #1 fan even when I have a bad day
Positive all the time, never heard a swear word
from his mouth in over 30 years. Believes
no matter what there is always good in
people, we just need to find it and let
them know, they are important to him.

It took me years, probably until I was about 36  years old to realize the power of words, they can hurt worse than any physical pain or abuse they sting your brain and can last for years or even life, or they can lighten a room full of people,  perhaps make one of them feel empowered to change their sad life to a happy one.  I know this from an experience,   I had an experience that changed my life forever.  One day I was wallowing in my own sorrow, feeling bad for myself, actually I’ll just say it I WAS VERY DEPRESSED. It had been 7 years since my mother walked away from me, I tried so hard to figure out how to “fix” it, I took on the blame and felt as if I was a failure on so many levels, maybe I should of done something different.  Why couldn’t I get this emotional baggage I was carrying around and put it on a plane going far far away? I was far from a happy place.  One of my friends came by the house with her children so they could play with mine. While they played, she asked me what was wrong, and that she had noticed an obvious change in me. I was sensing my mental anguish and decided to tell her a portion of what was going on in my life. Remember at this point, the only people I had to talked to about this was my parents, Frenchie and my bishop.  She looked me straight in the eye and said “I hope you will understand this when I tell you, but I took psychology at BYU and learned that the percentage of people who have been abused as a child is very high that they too will abuse, so I cannot allow my children in your home anymore, in fact we need to cut our friendship and not allow our children to play anymore.” She went as far as to make sure our children were not in the same primary classes together.  Now, to most people this story sounds cruel and unbelievable but for me it changed my life.  I never wanted to be “that” person.  From that day forward, I chose happiness.  Well I have to admit, not everyday since then has been “HAPPY” actually far from it, however, I’ve learned to find something to learn from each experience that comes into my life.  We may not all agree on the parenting skills of others, or what our passions are but I believe we can all agree living happy is far better than the opposite.

My teenage years were fun with my friends Linda and Jami, I loved them so much and always found happiness, a joy in their presence, mostly because we were girls who made good choices and lived the rules and regulations not only of our faith but also our family rules.  As I have thought about this question,”What is Happiness” the past 8 months I have deliberately made a decision to not allow negative influences impact my life.  (The loss of a family member or family excluded), I allow myself grief but with that being said, I also believe the Lord wants us to be happy while we are alive and that we are promised a life happy after death, so happiness is never taken from us in life or death.  We are the ones who make those decisions, “will I be happy today? or will I be angry or sad?” I found after putting this purposely to action when I walked or ran on the treadmill I am either reading a book or watch the TV in front of me, more than likely I listen to music on an Ipod.  I noticed the difference, when a few years a go after finishing my chemo and radiation treatments my doctor told Frenchie and I it was time for me to look at my bucket list and start doing them.  We first chose to go to Paris, my husband speaks fluent french and it was a place I always wanted to go.  While in Paris I found my “happy place”: Porte Jaune, we were in nature riding bikes being forced to see the Lords creations, to pay attention.  I believe getting back in touch with nature provides endless abundance of happiness. We stopped and picked fresh flowers and berries, we sat and watch as an older generation of men played a game of horseshoes or chess. Children holding handing with their parents giggling so contiguously we had to see what was going on, it was a fish in the stream they were concentrating on for  what seemed to be  15 minutes. Frenchie and I then joined in their happiness. Every surgery I have gone through before I go into the OR Eric says, now go to your “happy place, I’ll meet you there” Do you have a happy place?

the man feeding birds-so peacefully enjoying his day

 

MY HAPPY PLACE IN FRANCE Porte Jaune

 

with my favorite frenchie–selfies

I am a Facebook, Instagram contributor, I enjoy hearing the good things my friends are doing, or knowing that I need to pray for a family in need, however, I too believe too much time can be spent on those things. For me, I have made it a habit to read from a good book, or listen to a positive CD or music.  I have turned my car into a NO PHONE ZONE and will always be listening to self-help or inspirational stations, or CD’s.  Once I have done what I need to do to feed my own soul, then I will check in on FB or IG.

On my nightstand–tried to edit out the pill bottles sorry

 

This is the book that can change
your perspective

 

Something I love to do this book
is a good way to change your
attitude towards the blessings
you have in your life-and share
it with others
You’re never too young to learn how to
live
a happy life

In the most recent Live Happy Magazine I read “Does Happiness Matter?”  We’ve all heard that success won’t bring happiness. But have you ever heard that the reverse is true? Choosing happiness is not just the right thing to do–it’s the smart thing to do for your health, relationships, and believe it or not your business. A Harvard study proved happiness fuels success, happier people are healthier, and live longer, they are more satisfied in their relationships, and they experience less stress.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had two different doctors ask me a series of questions one of the 1st questions asked was “did you have any childhood trauma or unneeded stress, or did anything significantly difficult happen to you as a child?” Whoa–that question threw me for a loop, I did not want to admit it, but yes I did live 25 years of total stress, and trauma,  keeping secrets, pretending to be a “Happy Family” if I didn’t do that,  I would be the blame for a hurt I knew my mom could not handle, so I kept it in until I was 29. Besides a family history the only other symptom I had been stress–Letting that go and not only being true to myself, but true to my family has been a mixture of emotions–It not only opened up a huge wound, it put a lot of stress on my husband and family.  Being the optimistic, I actually thought confronting this issue was going to finally change my life for good, and we could get some family help, I was wrong.

My life from that time forward changed, it took time, I had to go through every emotion and allow myself to feel pain, hurt, anger, guilt until finally after many years I was able to forgive and feel what joy and happiness, I mean true happiness is.  I began taking my children for walks, going to the park, and being the mother I always wanted to have.  I changed, I made a difference by being involved with my children, I did not do the best job but I did OK, and I know my children are going to be even better than I am as a mother.  So the answer to the Question “Does Happiness Matter?” a huge resounding YES it does.

http://goodthinkinc.com/2012/01/harvard-business-review-positive-intelligence/

Researchers have found that “getting in touch” “earthing” “grounding” or “connecting with nature” regardless of what we call it, There is an obvious connection with a person’s “we’ll being, as well as our physical well-being. So how do we start? One thing I have learned personally, there are like I mentioned before, some people who are naturally born with a happy positive attitude. I myself was not, I have had to work on this continually.  Many times children are born into a family that is very structured and teaches them organization, which in many associations in life and at home is very important.  I always wondered how people who taught their children at home could do it….I would of said to my kids “OK let’s go to the park, or a movie, then we’ll come home and do our math” In other words I am not a structured person–I love spontaneity–I look forward to doing small things for other people, I love to help people in need (which sometimes blows up in my face)  I believe a person who leads with a positive mood is contagious, I would rather surround myself with uplifting, positive, compassionate people than the person who never has a good thing to say, or is a pessimist.

8 months ago my mother passed away I was not close to her and had a difficult time understanding her thinking.  I decided at that moment I was going to take the next few months and do a kind service or something nice for someone, anyone.  What I did first was get a clicker I carried in my hand, every time a negative thought came into my mind or out of my mouth I clicked. After a week I decided to check out the clicker…..oh boy was I disappointed, there were more clicks than I wanted to have. Now what do I do? I knelt and prayed that night and asked the Lord to please help me to change those thoughts and actions.  I’ve always been a little bit scared to ask the Lord for these types of helps, because if you ask for help He will give you more oppositions to increase your accomplishment of mastering this trial you have. So knowing this I pondered why I wanted to do this.
I reset the clicker and started clicking all of the service and good things I had done,  good thoughts or comments I had expressed to others, unexpectedly after a week I took a look at my clicker surprising my positive thoughts and service had tripled in numbers. I bought 100 clickers and give them to all the people who want to work with me on my home based business–one week doing the negative, one week the positive, then make the adjustments,  I started writing down my goals for the day, the week and finally the month. I check it everyday and re-evaluate whether those goals are realistic, in other words I don’t set myself up for failure.  Failure isn’t falling down, it’s refusing to get back up.  I’ve learned if I had never experienced failure, pain or hurt, I would not appreciate the great blessings I have in my life.

Without ever feeling sorrow or trials–
you would never know what success
and happiness is.

 

Think  Happy-Be Happy-and the success
will come–it’s more important for you
to love yourself love your life and be happy
with who you are, than it is to struggle for
financial freedom, this secondary to
your living happy

Being astonished by the results of my positive week, I continued with the clicking method and I keep track of those happy thoughts and how they effected not only me but others.  When I started this experiment I was 50 years old (essentially half my life over) Imagine if the people in the world all wore happiness clickers. You may ask what types of things do I do to help others have a happy day.  I started very slowly by opening a door for an elderly person who could not reach the door handle at Mayo Clinic. One day I was at a grocery store where all the floral’s that
mornings were being thrown out because they had a few brown spots on them, I asked the manager if it were OK for me to take a few, his response was “take them all”, and I did.  I then went to a local park and began handing them out to all the people who walked by me, I  loved this, everyone had a smile. I went one morning and picked up trash that had been blown into the field where our children play soccer, I bought groceries for a family I knew needed them and dropped them on their door step, I bought lifesavers took them to a cancer facility and gave them to all the cancer patients, I gave a man a ride who was hitching, when I drove up and picked him up, he said “why are you helping me, no blonde woman has ever given me a ride, usually I hop in the back of a workers truck” I was listening to  inspirational music, he asked me if I was scared, I said “should I be? do you have a gun or knife?” he said ‘no’ then I said “then you should be scared” and we both laughed BTW MY FAMILY WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS ONE. I don’t regret it.  Giving a smile to an unhappy person, telling someone  you love their blouse or outfit, does the world of good and does not cost a thing. I remember a guy who was in chemo every time I was there, he looked so sad one week I brought him a bag of kisses, with a note, the smile on his face was priceless and we remained friends through email until one week he was not there anymore…..I cried the whole way home, but realized he is happy now, he won his battle–he gets to  continue his journey in happiness just not from earth.  I choose everyday to see happiness in others, I’ve found since doing this I get the rewards of contentment, no regrets, and simple joy. If you want to make the world a better place join the live happy movement today its free to sign up and you will not believe the map you can follow of you paying forward, and then them paying forward it’s global and I love it.

I Am Blessed

I Am Blessed

June 19, 2010 Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m on auto pilot, just doing the things that need to be done. I don’t want to live that life anymore, it scares me, it scares me to go back there. I want to move forward, be…

Life Goes On

Life Goes On

May 17, 1010 For a couple of weeks now I have been experiencing Hot Flashes…., seriously? It’s so annoying, at first I thought it was just because our house was warm and I needed to turn the air down, that’s not it. I think I…

Ditch the Hats

Ditch the Hats

May 12, 2010



I remember saying once (long before I knew I had cancer) “I would never wear a wig if I ever got cancer” After my diagnosis knowing that soon chemo would start and I would lose my hair, I talked with Eric about it. He really wanted me to get a wig, so off to the wig store I went (after all the insurance company was paying for it) This is the conversation between Eric and I
Eric: ” I really think you should get a wig”
Me: “No way, why?”
Eric: ” well I think it would be fun to have a brunette or redhead for a wife, and think about how much fun we could have walking through the mall or at a restaurant, someone sees me with a redhead or brunette, instantly text messages you to let you know I am cheating on you”
Me: “ha ha, OK as fun as that sounds, 1st off I don’t think brunettes or redheads are better than blonde’s , and 2ND off if someone we knew saw you with another woman I doubt that their first inclination would be to text me, but I’m glad you think you could get caught so easily”
Eric: “I’m just kidding, you are the love of my life”
Me:”good answer, but I am not wearing a wig”

I did end up getting a wig $700.00 later, (totally covered by insurance) it has hung on a Styrofoam head in my room for 9 months now. It’s kinda scary when you walk in the room and see it. Oh well, maybe someday I will put it on and wear it for Eric, however it is the same color of my original hair, so nothing exciting.
So I finally ditched the hats, I have to admit it was a little bit harder than I thought it would be. I think if I hear one more person say “at least you have the perfect shaped head” I’m going to throw up. I know, everyone know I look weird and funny right now but it’s getting so hot and the hats make my head sweat. Going out in public without the protection of my hats is hard….but I’m getting used to all the stares I get ha ha
I know I’m scary looking to little children, it’s kinda funny to see their reactions, they are staring so hard they run into things, and then I’ve heard a few say to their parents “mom, why is that lady bald?” a lot of adults pass me in the store with slight glances trying to act like nothing is wrong or different, as if to say “if I don’t look at her then she doesn’t exist” ha ha HELLO
I do exist and I do have feelings ….. I love the people who smile at me and say “you look beautiful” it means they recognize that I’m going through treatment. When people who come up and hug me and tell me they have been through it or someone they know has been through it I love it. It’s comforting to me to have people ask what type of cancerI have or how long I have been in treatment, it shows that they care and that they see me. My favorite is a lady who walked up to me and said
“did you do your hair like that on purpose?” I was so shocked I said back to her “why, does this shirt make me look bald?”
(I had on a relay for life shirt) ha ha all I can do is laugh, it is funny you know it is, its ok to laugh. I make fun of myself all the time, maybe its my way of coping but it does help.
I’m sad to say goodbye to all of my hats, but happy about the prospect of new hair and a new life. These pictures are for me to remember the hats that gave me some comfort on the days when I needed it to go out in public, my friend made all the rosettes for me I had so many to choose from everyday thanks Amy.



Curing Cancer, Dancer by Dancer

Curing Cancer, Dancer by Dancer

May 2, 2010 Through the last 4 weeks of radiation one of the thoughts that has kept me from going crazy is that I knew Kaitlyn was coming to visit this weekend. Haleigh had her final dance recital at Highland High on Thursday and Friday…

Relay For Life 2010

Relay For Life 2010

April 17, 2010 My sister Sonya organized TEAM MONYA. This is the 1st year I have ever participated in this event. Everyone of my children have been apart of Relay for years but I never really knew what it was about until tonight. It was…

Got Hair?

Got Hair?

April 12, 2010

OK so this morning, I was looking in the 15x magnifier mirror I have in my bathroom and guess what???? I have some hair growing in…. kinda more like peach fuzz but still it’s starting. Of course I asked Eric “do you see the hair growing on my head?”and he replied “um…. yeah sure …. ” I said “it’s there I promise …. look in MY mirror” I love Eric … funny guy!!!
I’ve been told that hair grows kinda funky after chemo, I have always been a true blonde but it looks kinda dark coming in so we will see in a few months.
This must be the day to remind me of my non existent hair, because on the way to the Mayo this morning I pulled up behind this car that had a huge print on their back window that read GOT HAIR ? I busted up laughing at the irony of this morning.
Losing my hair was one of the most devastating parts of this whole journey. We live in a world that cares about HAIR, I never realized how much I cared about my hair until I didn’t have it anymore. I had to come to grips with the fact that I am vulnerable and needed to ask the Lord for strength to understand why this was happening to me. I even doubted if I was being heard, and then out of the blue an answer would come and say to me “be still and know that I am God, rise up and listen to me, in my eyes you are beautiful” I have come to understand that I am a divine daughter of Heavenly Father, that he will wrap his arms around me and comfort me when I am feeling discouraged. More times than I can ever remember before doing, I have knelt in quiet prayer and asked him to help me fight this battle and win. There have been times when I have felt small and insignificant during this journey, then he has answered my prayers, he has calmed many storms in my heart that I thought I could not conquer. I will never be the same person, I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I know without a doubt that in all of our lives there are going to be trials, temptations and difficult times it’s part of HIS plan, we can’t grow and learn unless we are able to overcome and know that HE can be our constant guide if we will let him. I am HIS beautiful daughter of GOD, with or without hair he loves me.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/education-centers/cancer-education/arizona

MAYO medical Journal

MAYO medical Journal

March 31, 2010 Today I went to see my favorite of all my doctors, Dr. Kreymerman. He is my reconstruction surgeon, we have a good relationship it’s fun to visit with him. I have not seen him since December when I had my last expansion,…