Tag: Resilience

Memory Of Cleveland Clinic

Memory Of Cleveland Clinic

Every 3rd of July I am reminded of fighting for my life in The Cleveland Clinic. Four years ago today I was in surgery, literally hoping for a miracle. Little did I know the miracle was sitting right here in Arizona, with Doctor Lettieri.

On July 3rd 2014 I was rolled into surgery, Eric gave me a kiss on the forehead as they wheeled me into the operating room. Tears rolled down my cheeks onto the pillow, nurses kindly asked what they could do to help; shaking my head, watching them walk away I knew there was nothing anyone could do. Not even with the best surgeons on the face of the earth, no one could be able to bring my smile back.

The worst was still ahead of me, waking up in the recovery room after an eleven hour surgery I felt my head. It was full of staples, like a train track from one side to the other and down the back of my skull. My ear was pounding and swollen. I just wanted to see Eric and go home; after seven weeks in Cleveland I was depressed, sad and disoriented.

The next day, the fourth of July 2014 is a day I will never forget. No attending’s were in the ICU, the residents were in charge for the Holiday. Pain beyond my belief was surging through my body; a senior resident forgot to put orders in for pain medicine; I thought I would die on that day. I was prepared with letters to my children and dear husband. When the resident did not answer page after page to come to the ICU-I went further and further into a deep dark place, actually wanting my life to end because the pain was so bad. Nurses rubbed my legs and listened to me sing “Be Still My Soul” and “I am a Child of God” over and over again. It was an hour and fifteen minutes the senior resident finally make it to my room, followed behind him were other junior residents. He questioned my pain like I was faking; wondered why I was crying, and asked me too many questions; which I believe now was a senior resident showing off for the junior residents. I was gasping for air I couldn’t speak without trembling, he finally gave me the pain medicine. Even after the pain medicine was in my system my body shook like a baby, composing myself was difficult.

This is one of the junior residents Brendan Alleyne-he came to visit me after that incident and held my hand. The compassion he showed was nothing I will ever forget, I wish I could tell him what his acts of kindness did for my faith in the future of medicine. I’m thinking about him today, Dr. Lettieri is constantly telling me about the ego’s of residents, just like the senior resident I encountered at Cleveland Clinic. They forget who they are serving, I often wonder if he would have treated me different if I had been his mother, wife or child. Thank you Dr. Alleyne wherever you are today, I believe you are caring and sharing for your own patients now and hopefully learned something from this experience that will help you always remember patients are real people, with real families and a story to tell.

XOXO Monya

See You Later

See You Later

To say it’s been a whirlwind of emotions the past 6 weeks would be an understatement. This is Shane Wright, his son Brian is married to my daughter Kaitlyn. Shane celebrated his birthday on May 24th with his wife children and nine grandchildren; two of which we share grand parenting with. Kaitlyn said his birthday was so fun, they played and danced together ate pizza had ice cream and cake. Shane sat watching his children and grandchildren laugh and play together from his own words “We’re told by Heavenly Father we may have joy in our posterity. Nothing compares to the joy that I feel when our family is all together. It’s the purest joy a parent can have. My heart is full” On Wednesday May 30th this giant of a man left this life to live with his Heavenly Father.

Shane’s posterity, such a beautiful family.

The first time I met Brian I knew he was a special man; most parents think their daughters are too good for most men but Eric and I are were so impressed with Brian we were afraid Kaitlyn would scare him off. When Brian asked Eric for Kaitlyn’s hand in marriage, he actually told him no twice. Poor Brian was living in Utah and chose to drive to Arizona twice to get Eric’s approval. I explained to Eric it is always hard on father’s to finally hand their daughter’s over to another man for them to care and love for, but it was time. We had the opportunity to meet Shane and Dee Dee Wright before they were married and immediately our hearts were bonded to them. Kaitlyn and Brian were married and had their wedding reception in our backyard in November of 2009.  I was diagnosed with cancer during their engagement and started chemo therapy just two days after their wedding; I will never forget Shane and Dee Dee’s constant prayer’s on my behalf.

Shane (grandad) Phoenix and Dee Dee (Mimi)

Over the years and two grandchildren later we grew to love this man and were so proud to have the opportunity to co-grandparent with he and Dee Dee.  Shane was a stone mason, he had an eye for perfection when it came to his profession. He also raised his children to have respect for other’s and to share the knowledge they had of the Gospel of Christ. The last time I spoke to Shane he was visiting in Arizona and had helped pick out stone for a fireplace in Haleigh and Scott’s home. We stood outside next to his truck while Phoenix played and ate snacks from his granddad’s truck.

He asked me how I was doing and told me he never misses a day of praying for me. Then he looked at me and said “Perspectives change when you know you are not going to be on earth forever, we have truly been blessed.”  Shane knew he had some time left but was also realistic enough to know what he was diagnosed with was incurable and unless he was struck by lightning or hit by a car, he would definitely die from his diagnosis.

It was evident when I sat in the Chapel at his funeral and watched over 300 people sit and listened to his family speak of Shane and his incredible accomplishments in life; and when I say accomplishments it had nothing to do with money. Shane helped youth, many young boys grow and become fine men, husbands and fathers. They testified of Shane’s undying sacrifice’s as he served others unconditionally.  I don’t believe Shane had an enemy’s, everyone loved him. His smile and attention to details lit up any room he entered. Each and every time Eric and I saw him he looked at us in the eyes and asked about us, how we were doing, how each of our children and grandchildren were–simply put he cared genuinely for people.

When Brian spoke at the funeral, he was speaking about his father but was describing himself in every way. I love Brian, I love everything about him we are blessed to have him in our family and know he will miss his father deeply but will carry on the traditions of his father and pass down his work ethic and compassion for other people to his own children.

I will miss Shane and still have a hard time believing he is gone from our lives for now; so until we meet again I will do my best to be a good person, share memories with Phoenix, Archer and their future children about the amazing grandad they had.  I never say good-bye so see you later Shane

Monya Bonbon

Dr. Lettieri Post Op

Dr. Lettieri Post Op

This is the REAL Dr. Lettieri–my Flip Phone Doctor is back-with his Converse, humor and beautiful blue eyes. After assessing my bruising and clotting, we have decided to wait a couple of weeks to see how it looks-we are not afraid of the blood clots traveling. My face feels like it did when I had Capsular Contracture in my breasts–extremely hard to the touch–but the bruising is almost gone. Dr. Lettieri said because of how much work he needed to do my face will take longer to heal. I will be undergoing a few more surgeries this year. My sinus reconstruction will be toward the end of the year, and Dr. Lettieri referred me to someone he said he would “allow to operate on his family’ If knew Dr. Lettieri like I do that is quite a compliment. He picked up  his handy dandy flip phone and contacted Dr. Howard’s office to send me asap. It’s nice to have a surgeon who is humble enough to understand there maybe another doctor (who was trained by Lettieri) he trusts and admires. I told him how nervous I was to see a different surgeon, he explained to me on the next surgery Dr. Lettieri will be in attendance, but not for the nasal reconstruction, to perform the rest of the facial reconstruction. (and possibly to check in on me) So three surgeries in one if if works out.–Can’t wait for that recovery;  if it wasn’t for my perfectionist surgeon he would have kicked my out and given up on my by now.

Dr. Lettieri is Italian and loves Canolis–so this is what I brought him today. The plate says “Be Happy Always”

As I waited for Dr. Lettieri, I realized they brought me into a surgical procedure room. This is the bright light he uses to see EVERYTHING–it’s pretty bright.

One time on my way to MIHS to visit with Dr. Lettieri, I watched 2 teens having full on sex under this tree. I honked; many times yelling at them to stop. I seriously would have given anything to have a hose and spray them down likes dogs in heat. I told Dr.Lettieri since it was happening just outside his window but off campus; his answer “Nothing surprises me here, I’ve seen it all” I shouldn’t have been surprised either; it did shock me. Today as I was leaving the Clinic I watched a van open and police officers escort a prisoner in an orange jump suit and shackled by his feet, secured with handcuffs on his arms.

I didn’t judge him, he was typical looking nothing to scare or offend me, in fact it made me want to show compassion for him, especially not knowing is story or the journey he has been on.

Yes I am definitely in a surgical room–what are they going to do to me today?

Bored……? Yes, soon Dr. Lettieri entered the room, stuck his large hands into my mouth to feel for the blood clot, and I’m pretty sure created another bruise. However, we are getting close to perfection he was very happy with the surgery outcome; still he has some follow up-but we need the swelling and bruising to go down, he thinks he can work on it at the same time Dr. Howard performs my nasal reconstruction; not crossing my fingers on that one. Dr. Lettieri hugged me and said “I will see you soon, we have been through a lot together but remember I’d let Dr. Howard work on me, you need to listen to me she’s good” I now have an appointment with her in the end of June–but l’m not having another surgery until I decide.

Monya Bonbon

 

(more…)

Resilience

Resilience

woman-girl-freedom-happy-39853.jpeg

Life is not always peaches and cream.  Learning how to bounce back when times are tough can help you enjoy the inevitable roller coaster we sometimes ride.

Have you ever met someone who seems bulletproof when it comes to life’s trials? I often wonder why some of the kindest people I know are constantly bombarded with challenges of life; and how they always seem to bounce back very quickly with little or no damage to their soul.  I have seen them emotional, so I know they are not hiding with their head in the sand. I believe they are simply resilient.

According to the American Psychological  Association, resilience is “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats of significant sources of stress-such as family and relationship problems, serious health issues, or workplace, and financial stressors.  It’s basically bending instead of breaking.

Anyone can learn to be resilient, I was forced to choose resilience or stay in bed and cry it out….(I actually have done that a few times)

I’d like to share with you some of the things I have found useful to build my resilience and be prepared for the next time life decides to throw me a curve ball.

  1.  FACE YOUR FEAR: I had no choice but to face my fears; cancer was a fear I never knew I had until I was diagnosed with it.  I took time to learn everything I could about the nasty villain; from reliable sources. I soon found out if I didn’t face this head on, it would restrict my life but not extinguish the villain. In other words, even if I ignored it, I still had cancer. So I asked questions (a lot of questions) I didn’t want to know statistics but wanted to know what I could do to help myself get through the difficult times.
  2. BUILD FRIENDSHIPS THAT MATTER: One of my coping skills I mastered was my blog, I used it to connect with people who were going through the same process; but restricted it to those who were interested in being positive. One of the most important things to have when you are going through a difficult time is to open your circle of friends-and be open to new relationships. I learned the hard way it is important to have people you can rely on and who can rely on you. Giving support to others to just as important as receiving it. As brave or determined you might think you are, you need a support system that can catch you when you fall.
  3. FIND A SENSE OF PURPOSE: Nietzsche a German philosopher  said it well “He who has a why to live for, can bear almost anything” I learned really fast what was important to me; family. Living your life on purpose gives you purpose and meaning in a way you probably never knew you could. There are so many distractions in life to keep you from living in the moment. When you find a reason to live and fight for you can be pretty darn strong.  One of the everyday purposeful things I do is give back to other’s-service get’s you out of your own world and gives you a sense of wellbeing.
  4. BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE: This one was harder for me to grasp and took a few years to realize I needed to re-evaluate my physical activity.  Before my diagnosis I was training for my first Marathon. Most of my life I have been an athlete, I love running, cycling, lifting weights and cross-training. It was a part of my life, 6 days a week I was in the gym and running the track. It came to a complete halt when the doctors suggested I stop running and cut down in my gym classes.  When asked to just walk or do some exercises at home I was appalled thinking “walking? seriously? who does that?” I’ve now opened my mind to the idea that some exercise is helpful for both emotional and physical resilience.
  5. EMBRACE CHANGE: While change is not always easy, it’s an inevitable part of life. Why fight it? You cannot control some of the things that happen to you, but you can control how you handle them.  I try to to tackle things head on and stay optimistic in regards to the out come.

We don’t always know when stress will strike, but we can be better prepared to meet it when it does by following these 5 steps I have learned to embrace. Resilience is a learned behavior–but it’s ok to feel sad, angry or disappointed. When that happens to me I go into my closet, scream, cry, yell or pray for help but when I step out of that closet I know it is game on and I dry my tears.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

 

Surgery Tomorrow With Dr. Lettieri

Surgery Tomorrow With Dr. Lettieri

UNFORTUNELTY THIS DID NOT GET POSTED UNTIL AFTER THE SURGERY.

When I came home from the hospital last week I was told to clean the open wound area everyday with a solution Dr.Lettieri gave me and to keep it covered. That night I came home and cleaned out the area and noticed there was a bandage or clear mesh substance covering the area. I began to clean and took that very important piece of integra out of my ear.  I can tell you it was one of the worst pains I have ever felt and bled like crazy.

Looking at this now, I can clearly see the integra

I had a post operative appointment the next day with Dr. Lettieri, he was quite amused that I had pulled out the integra.  It is a glue designed to keep the area covered and only done under  general anesthesia. Imagine how dumb I felt, good thing Dr. Lettieri had an alternative and I was ok with his funny candor as he explained the importance and expense of the integra.

This is what it looked like when I went to see
Dr. Lettieri–Integra Gone

I’ve spent the past week cleaning the area everyday and keeping it covered. Yesterday I visited with Dr. Lettieri after spending some time with him it was determined I will enter into surgery tomorrow.  Dr. Lettieri is going to debris the wound and fill it with integra again.  I was under the impression the wound would be stitched back up, however he explained to me the risk of another infection.  He will eventually do a skin graft over the area, then we wait and see how it heals. I will be undergoing a few more surgeries.

Day after surgery–Dr. Lettieri Blonde Proofed
the integra…it won’t be coming out this time.

This surgery has really been difficult to recover from. Maybe it’s from the anesthesia but I have been nauseated and dizzy for 3 days.  Today I am grateful I was able to write a couple thank you notes and lift my head off the pillow for a few minutes without sickness lingering in my head.  I have not taken any pain medicine, I will start a regimen of Advil tonight to help relieve some of the pain.

Kelly Clarkson Performs “Piece by Piece” – AMERICAN IDOL

Kelly Clarkson Performs “Piece by Piece” – AMERICAN IDOL

Well it’s the last season of American Idol, as I listened to the lyrics to Kelly Clarkson’s latest song I couldn’t help but shed a few tears.  So many parallel’s I’ve had with emotions of being abandoned and walked away from.  I never understood, and possibly still don’t understand how a parent can just walk away from their children.  It’s unfathomable to me however, I lived it and I survived it. The powerful part of the story is she was able to take back her life piece by piece. This too I can understand my children have experienced unconditional love from their father, my husband Frenchie. I pray all the people in the world who feel powerless can rise above the insecurities of being abandoned and realize this is not about them….the world can be cruel but we have the power within us to be kind and change the next generation.
 Lyrics to Piece by Piece:
And all I remember is your back
Walking towards the airport leaving us all in your past
I traveled 1500 miles to see you
Begged you to want me
But you didn’t want to
But piece by piece you collected me
Up off the ground but you abandoned things
And piece by piece you filled the holes that you burned in me
At six years old and no
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father could stay
And all of your words fall flat
I made something of myself and now you wanna come back
But your love isn’t free
It has to be earned
Back then I didn’t have anything you needed
So I was worthless
But piece by piece you collected me
Up off the ground but you abandoned things
And piece by piece you filled the holes that you burned in me
At six years old and no
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father could stay
Piece by piece…
Piece by piece I fell far from the tree
I would never leave her like you left me
She will never have to wonder her worth
Because unlike you I’m gonna put her first
He’ll never walk away
He’ll never break her heart
He’ll take care of things
He’ll love her
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father should be great
Piece by piece…

Today I am grateful for families who stay together.
Dr. Sal Lettieri

Dr. Sal Lettieri

In December I had 2 surgeries with Dr. Lettieri. I was able to go back to work in January, but for some reason the area on my neck where the drain was inserted is not healing.  I’m tending to believe Dr. Barr’s when he told me my body unfortunately does not heal as most other patients do.  I have bad gene’s I think is what he said.

I’m still changing the bandages 3 times a day, the wound gets better then suddenly goes bad again.  I’m not going to let this stop me or slow me down. I’m still not giving up on my home based business, trying hard to be true to myself, reading from a good book everyday and sharing with others.

Insomnia is still a major side effect I’m dealing with.  The sleep doctor wants me to get up every morning at 4:30 am, this is the time I get up to go to American Airlines for work.  However, I only work three days a week….I’ve tried but not sure I can keep this regime as it is not helping me to sleep.
Dr. Northfelt once asked me “If there was one thing you could have back pre-cancer diagnosis what would it be?” my answer is always “I’d love to be able to sleep or even take a nap!”

My hip is slowly deteriorating, Dr. Lettieri has given me a name of a orthopedic surgeon who he thinks will help.  I can no longer keep getting cortisone shots, well I can, I just don’t want to.  I need a permanent fix not a temporary bandage.  I’m hoping to do this without surgery, so I will go forth with this new doctor and see what he has to say.  If Dr. Lettieri knows him and recommends him, I’m in good hands.

Today I am grateful for options in medicine.

Dr. Lettieri

Dr. Lettieri

So much has happened since I last posted.  May is almost over, I never go this long without blogging.  This has been such a great way for me to release some of my frustrations, express my appreciation from my heart and share the humor in my life.

I have a surgeon.  I love, love, love. Dr. Sal Lettieri.  I was referred to him by Heather a year ago, but since he was out of the country at the time we decided to go to Cleveland Clinic (huge mistake) I haven’t heard from Cleveland Clinic since I had my surgery in July of last year.  I realize I should have waited and seen Dr. Lettieri.  He is employed by Mayo Clinic, works at the Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix and does 2 days a week at Mayo…..whew that was a mouth full.  How do I explain Dr. Lettieri, and why I love him……?  He is compassionate with a little bit of sassy in his attitude.  I just really feel comfortable with him.  Dr. Lettieri did my last surgery at Mayo Clinic.  He is very confident in what he does.  There is a huge difference in doctors who are confident and those that are cocky. My doctor at Cleveland was very cocky and arrogant, I never felt comfortable with him or felt  he had my best interest at heart.  I was so impressed with Dr. Lettieri one day at one of my appointments.  He was telling me what he thought would be the best surgery for me, then instead of making the decision he said “I know some really smart surgeons, I’m going to call one of them and get their opinion” he pulled out his ‘flip phone’ (seriously who still has those?) called a colleague  gave him my diagnosis and asked him what he would do…. the other surgeon agreed with his decision, he hung up and said “In my job I know some really, really smart people, so I’m going to get one more opinion” and he did, he called another surgeon he knew just to make sure they all thought it was the proper procedure…..I loved him at that moment, not too many doctors do that in fact no doctor I know has ever done that for me…..confident vs. cocky……he’s confident.  Last week I got a text from him saying “call me when you can”  I was at work on a break so I called him.  This is what he said “I’ve been thinking about your surgery and…….” he proceeds to tell me about a change in the procedure of my surgery, …… I interrupted him and said “I trust you, I don’t really understand any of what your telling me anyway so just do what you know is best for me” It finally feels really great to have a surgeon I can trust.  I have thought about him so many times since then, what it said to me was he was thinking about me.  He has many patients, and I guarantee he has their best interest at heart. I found out that he is Nie Nie’s Dr. L, on her blog.

My last appointment with Dr. Lettieri was good news.  The nerve replacement he did from my leg to my face is supposed to grow an inch a month.  February was my last surgery, so it should have grown 3 inches.  He checks this by tapping on the left side of my face to see where I feel it on my face.  When he did that, I instantly felt it on the upper right side of my lip….HOORAY….stand up and do a jiggle dance…..it’s working.  I cried on the way home, I’m so happy.  So, what does that mean?  It means in 3 more months if it continues to grow I will have another big surgery to connect it to a viable muscle, or was it a nerve….? I don’t know, it gets connected to one of those on the right side.  It doesn’t really change the look of my face, but it gives me some feeling back.  Right now my face is still so numb.  The entire right side of my upper lip feels like when you go to the dentist and get novocaine….. Dr. Lettieri, was really happy with the results.

My eye continues to be an issue, it constantly drips.  Basically the surgery Dr. Cockyman did at the Cleveland Clinic was a waste of time. I have a hard time seeing out of my right eye. By the time I leave work at UsAirways it is a constant drip and never goes away.  Dr. Lettieri and Heather had me do some exercises with my eyes to see what the issues were.  I will be having surgery at the Mayo Clinic on June 24th, hopefully to put an end to the eye dripping and redness.

The Price of Beauty

The Price of Beauty

I was recently at a training in Canada, as I religiously took notes I suddenly was struck with shock when I heard Mark (the trainer) tell a story about how much women pay for their beauty products.  I heard laughing from the audience, but I was in another world.  I was having an outer body experience. What is the price we pay for beauty?  I’m not talking about a monetary price, as Mark was humorously entertaining us with.
I had an ah ha moment, I wrote:   Mark said “believe me guys, there is a price for beauty….”
I immediately wrote down “For me, what I have learned about beauty from Nerium this past year is Priceless” My face is disfigured, it will never be the same.  I want that so badly, I want to look at someone and smile, smile BIG.  I want to show my teeth.  I can’t believe I took my smile for granted.  Just like I took my hair for granted, the feeling in breasts for granted, being able to run and train for granted, I could go on and on….. I simply took everything in life for granted.
I cannot honestly say any of this is understandable, nor has it been easy.  I may not always please people with my honesty and truthfulness, however I know the Lord has gotten me through these past few years.  I have been refined, not defined by Him who loves me just as I am.  In my quiet time, when I spend thinking and pondering over why so much in my life has been hard there have been times I’ve truly wanted to crawl in a hole and die–I’ve wondered if anyone would even miss me, lost sometimes in despair.
Then suddenly my heart is filled with more love and an overwhelming feeling of His arms around me, pulling me up through that dark and empty hole into the light again.
I lived for so long not caring about others, not caring even about where I was going or where I should be.  I now know my life was intentionally and most humbly prepared for me before I even came to earth.  His grace has gotten me through enormously unbelievable circumstances.  Because I know He has made promises to me if I am righteous and obedient I will continue trying to live as He wants me to.  I will share Hope and Faith with others, I know the Lord will use me, he will lead and guide me to people who are in need.  This life for me is no longer about beauty on the outside, I ask Him to help me not turn from pain and to give me strength and compassion to help others who are climbing an uphill battle.
We all want to feel beautiful, external beauty, I know this because I have been that person.  There are still glimpses I take in the mirror that horrify me.  When I am weak, I know I have to move forward, never go back, never give up.  I am putting all my faith in unseen strong hands that I have felt comfort me and pull me to a higher ground.  I love that feeling, knowing He is watching over me, He knows me, He feels my pain and He understands my journey on this earth is not quite over.
Physically I am tired, my body aches my heart is full and yet I want to fight because I know there are so many more miracles to come to others from Him through me.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing those sacred moments the Lord has so gracefully revealed to me I have more work to do before it is my time to go live with Him again.  He has lifted my burdens on so many occasions when I have wanted to give up.  When Sheldon died, one of those special moments came.  I truly miss him, and visit his graveside often. I’m not sure why, I haven’t visited anyone’s grave as much as his but I feel a peace there. I will never forget him telling me I looked beautiful when I was bald.  Eric tells me I’m beautiful everyday, he is so kind in that way and I appreciate it so much, but the day Sheldon said those words to me, it meant something different.  He stood there pale faced and bald himself and yet for some reason those words penetrated my heart like no one else ever has. Maybe because I trusted he knew how I was feeling, not just using “words” to succor the needy.
Every bit of the worlds definition of physical beauty has been taken from me.  So yes, there is a price to pay for physical beauty, but for me what I have learned about pure unconditional love and beauty in His eyes is priceless.

#HappyActs 365 days

#HappyActs 365 days

Whoa—-I pushed myself today, but I’ve never felt more gratified.  365 days ago, when I found out about the International Day of Happiness–I was incredibly touched in a spiritually humble way.  I made a choice that day, I was going to do 365 days of Happy Acts and see if it would change my life in any way at all.  I began by writing everything I did in a private calendar.  Then I got a planner and made it an intentional goal for my everyday personal growth.  I had to be intentional with my thoughts, but not intentional with my actual act of kindness. I let those come naturally but looked for ways I could help another person.  After 6 weeks of doing it everyday, I was put into the hospital for 3 weeks, still I was able to follow through with those acts, they were on my mind constantly.  I became obsessed with overcoming obstacles and achieving this goal.  2 Weeks at Mayo Clinic, I came up with ways to help nurses or doctors out–sometimes just by thanking them using their name, and sincerely getting to know them. Smiles, special notes and gratitude were my best friends. I handed out Live Happy Magazines to everyone I could. Then I went to Cleveland Clinic for 7 weeks.  This time I went prepared, not knowing what the circumstances would be–I was still able to give thanks, and share happiness. In the past year I was blessed with 8 surgeries to help save my life.  What better way to say thank you?  These are people who loved, cared and helped me through some tough times….Diana Lents I will forever be grateful for, Angel and John were constantly giving me #HappyActs. Evgenya and Alex Kreymerman visiting me and showing #HappyActs was a huge surprise, but so much needed during that time when I had no family with me.

March 20th, 2014— from this day forward I will give at least one act of kindness a day, and I promise to do this for 365 days.

Today March 20th, 2015—✔ I did it….
I can’t even explain the overwhelming feeling of such an achievement and what it did to change me from the inside out.  I can honestly say, I am a different person now than I was a year ago.  I’m not talking about the facial paralysis, I made this goal before that happened.  My motivation behind this goal was to see how many people I could touch. Turns out the Lord had a different motivation in mind when he lead me down this path.  He wanted me to see how achieving this goal would change and help me.

THESE  people give unselfishly everyday as they
work at Mayo Hospital–5 and a half years with them
I’m grateful BOSA DONUTS FOR EVERYONE
You know if you read my blog I like to visit the chemo lab
and always take Holiday Treats for them to enjoy during
March and April before Easter…lots of tears today

Today as I drove the long freeway to Mayo Clinic, I pulled over to the side of the road, cried some tears of joy and actually said a prayer of thanks for helping me achieve this incredible goal.  I actually start goals and give up, but not this time.  It was certainly not for glory, or to boast in anyway. I wish I could post every act of kindness I did, however for a couple reasons I will not:
1. HIPAA laws and the privacy of some acts that are too sacred to share.
2.  Heavenly Father and I may be the only ones who will ever know the change these people made in my life.

At the end of the day, trying to change one life at a time, will hopefully help others to feel what I’ve felt this year.  These people have made an indent in my heart that will never ever be removed.  Most of these people will never know the difference they’ve made in my life–some of them are my hero’s as I watched them struggle with different trials.  I was placed in some places at the right time for a reason–I am so eternally grateful for those times– This year I found out how strong I am, who I am, what I can achieve and most importantly that because I intentionally found these people, I was then able to find myself,  I like what I found–for the 1st time in my life nothing can hold me back from being BRAVE–I’ve let it define me.  Today I realized while I was having that tender moment on the side of the road, I’m OK with me. I’m no longer afraid to open the door to a me I’ve never seen before, and I know on those days when the walls seem to high to climb Heaven is on my side.  I’m ready to let nothing hold me back from what I feel inside of me– I will be forever be grateful to Jeff Olson for going before the United Nations and officially making March 20th the International Day of Happiness. I had the opportunity to meet Kym Yancey,  CEO of the Live Happy Magazine he is a wonderful man, with a love for his family and for spreading happiness–I will never forget my interview with him.  Good people, attract good people–don’t we all want good people in our lives?
Happiness is part of who I am now, I look forward to inviting more blessings not only into my life but to give to others–365 days of Happiness.

I bought a couple extra Happy Tee’s to give out to random
people.

 

Two of my grandson’s, bought them Oreo’s and Kool-Aid
something their mom doesn’t buy them.  good thing for
grandma’s to bring a treat every once in a while
instead of the apples and bananas #HappyActs

 

One of the Happiness Walls from today–love when parents
participate and encourage their children. What a great
Dad–no hesitation at all.

 

I made a decision to go to a gas station in an area
where I knew people struggle financially.  I sat and waited
I felt it with my heart, she was the one….sure enough
zero gas and only $10 to her name. I filled her tank…
she was so happy, and the gas attendants didn’t
understand….LOL
How cute are these sisters? They are going to fill the
buckets of others who need it with their love

 

Another mom showing her children the value of
Happiness and sharing in their lives

 

These are elementary school kids, no one helped them
come up with these ways to share happiness..
another tearful moment

 

Some of the cute notes from one of the boards the
children wrote on

 

I love these happy people for coming graciously into
my life a year ago.. I love them

For the anniversary of this day, I intentionally made plans.  The two walls of Happiness were so fulfilling, more than I thought they would be.  With the help of Carrie and Lindsay we set up 2 walls at elementary schools.  What a complete gratification to see every student want to participate, to watch parents instead of dropping their children off they got out of their car and walked their children to our wall.  I was so impressed by these sweet children and parents–if our next generation could share love everyday in some small way, we would be raising a new generation of grateful children.

ONE DIFFICULT YEAR–TODAY MADE IT ALL WORTH IT….This was such a rewarding,  fantastic day. Thank you Danny Jones, Elizabeth Decker and Shelli Richardson for never giving up on me.