Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.~Unknown

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mood Swing....

In order to keep my committment, I am not going to delete my previous blog. My feelings were real and in order for this to be meaningful..I can't delete the bad stuff. This is bad matter how you twist it, turn it, word it, reword it...this is bad stuff.

I stepped outside to take the puppies and Lucy out to find my neighbor out shoveling the walks. Before I could think about it I just blurted out that I needed a blessing. Minutes later he and his wife appeared at my door and sat down and talked with me. She held me and let me cry it out and when I was calm...he proceeded to give me a Priesthood blessing. My fear caused me to initially doubt every word he said but by the time he finished the blessing...I was calm and 'cyndibug' resurfaced. Ahhhh..whew...that was a close call.

Lesson learned...meltdowns are better shared, the power of the Priesthood can reach even the most resistant hearts, brownies are good, and despair can quickly turn to hope when all those elements are in place.

Thank you for listening, for caring, and for allowing me to be genuine..even when it isn't pretty. Love and gratitude always..Cyndi


First I must say to all who posted..."I am here"..thank you. Your love and support crossed the urls of modern technology and spoke reassurance and peace. Please continue to do so. It helped so much to just hear those words...I AM HERE.

Can't say that today was a good day. Had my post-op visit with the surgeon today and learned from the pathology report that I have Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Just a few statistics that I was able to find online when I googled the topic. Only 10-20 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer get this type. This cancer has a higher risk of recurring outside the breast but only for the first 3 years. 75% of women diagnosed with triple negative cancer live to the 5 year mark as opposed to other breast cancers which yield a 93% survival rate. After 5 years, recurrence of cancer drastically decreases. This cancer tends to be a higher grade than other types of breast cancer. This cancer is more difficult to treat because it does not respond to hormonal therapy. Recurrence usually occurs in the lungs and the bones.

On a more positive note, only 3 of the 18 lymph nodes tested contained cancer. My blood was drawn to determine if there are cancer cells still in the blood which would be the indicator that the cancer has spread somewhere else in the body. If the results come back positive, I will have a PET scan next week. Due to the holidays, it will be next Monday before I get those results (BaHumBug). So, it is more wait and see.

Part of me is screaming to sleep and to avoid , to not listen to all the "look on the bright side" hope I am surrounded by. The other part of me is wanting to get back to normal, to see my clients, to do my groups, to act as though this is not happening and to find refuge from this fear in the comforting arms of denial. I have a counterful of wonderful food..brownies, angel food cake, fruit, rolls... casserole but all I want to do is sit here and cry. I hate this..I hate that every time I go to the doctor or get a test result, things look worse or I have to wait for the answers my heart pounds to hear. I hate that I am feeling that I can't trust right now, that my faith is not working...that maybe, I am just going to go through the hell of the next year and die anyway. I hate this. I hate that my sweet elderly neighbors from my old house had to come out in this blizzard to bring me the food I can't bring myself to eat. I hate that I know myself well enough to know that no matter how dark this night may feel..I will awake tomorrow with renewed hope and determination. It's just who I am and what I do. For now though..I committed to be real, to be genuine and to be honest. By what other catalyst can one help another who travels behind me?

So my check in today for this moment is this...emotionally, I am overwhemed..physically...I have cancer...spiritually...I am confused and angry. My committment is not to delete this post. My that I have used over the years to the extent that I am often heard to say it in my sleep during difficutl times is....


To My Daughters...

I have loved this song and have embraced the meaning of the title. Without a doubt, part of my journey will be to clear the distractions of the world and obtain a vision of myself through the eyes of my Father in Heaven. Life has a way of making love and all its components feel hard. Through each difficult experience in my life, that vision has dimmed into life as the world has taunted me to beleive. Each experience left a remnant of doubt about exactly how God views me. When I listen to this song as I did this evening, I am reminded of how simple and unconditional God's love is. How it invites me back to the purity of heart that allows me to truly feel His love for me.

Spent the afternoon with two of my daughters, Katie and Angie. As I experienced them taking care of me while wrestling with the little hands reaching up to capture their undivided attention, my heart went to the words of this song. To my daughters, those who I have loved as daughters, and the women that are my friends...take a minute from your daily routines and recapture "what heaven sees in you."

With all my love and gratitude...Mom, Mama Cyndi, Cyndi

What Heaven Sees In You Official Video

Monday, December 27, 2010


In the recovery group that I lead for women, we do a check-in at the beginning of group. Through the process of checking in we address certain issues relating to their recovery and personal growth. Included in the check-in are reports of emotional, physical, spiritual wellbeing, dailies (scripture reading, prayer, and exercise), self-care (chocolate, bubble baths, meditation, etc.) and affirmations and committments. The purpose is to create personal awareness but most importantly, to develop the habit of being in the moment..whatever the moment is. Check-ins are about the here and now...not the "what if's," or the "shoulds" and certainly not the "why's or why nots."

Today and in days to come...I would like to check in on the blog.

I received an email today from a friend that I serve with at the Wasatch detention center. I had awoken this morning with a heavy sense of reality and my emotions surfaced. Her words so eloquently expressed the emotional dilemma I faced this morning..."I think in times like this it's almost necessary to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. You're bound to feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for your life, your family and friends, good doctors, and the simple fact that you are breathing. But then you also can't help but feel heartbroken about your illness, and scared of the future and even angry for the unfainess of it all."

Her words reminded me of my committment to be real, to be genuine and honest in my feelings throughout the journey. So today, I share my feelings as I felt them this morning..with the awareness that good prevails over evil, hope replaces despair, faith trumps fear, and God lives...

I have struggled the last few days looking at pictures of myself...taunted by the image that faces me in the mirror. My body looks distorted and disfigured. Instead of a womanly figure, I see bruises, and bumps, and the promise of scars. It feels ugly and yet I know that this image now represents the promise of life free from cancer and a healthier future. Those who know me well know that being creative and spontaneous with my hair styles, color and cuts is my favorite thing. I love my hair..I have wonderful people who are talented enough to express my creativity through their talents and skills and I get the credit! Losing my hair is really a part of losing the expression of an important part of the "me" that make me who I am. I feel sad and vulnerable.

Already the day has brightened because I have family who love and support me, children who adore me, grandchildren who embrace me, a Father in Heaven who is aware of me, friends who know my heart, and strangers who daily pray and support me. I am blessed..

For those who follow my blog..please let me know when you are here..just so that I can know that by reading the words on this page, you know how loved you are and how grateful and humbled I am by your support. Just say "I am here.." and your name. I would appreciate that as I feel very inadequate in my ability to express my heartfelt love and gratitude to each of you personally. Wishing you a brighter day...Cyndi

Sunday, December 26, 2010


We really had a great Christmas. It was the first time in I don't know how many years that all six of us kids were together. Even dad stopped by and stayed for a few hours that evening.

Mom was still in quite a bit of pain, but I have heard today that it is getting better. She was in good spirits. She spent the day at my house with the rest of the fam, and just took naps off and on when it all became too much for her. We ate lots of junk food, cleaned 72 times, the boys played football in the warm weather, and we even had an awesome game of Catch Phrase.

Physically my mom is so tough. She is doing really well for just having a major surgery. She had a few problems with her drains but I think we got that taken care of.

Here she is opening our present. We bought her a Tiffany's necklace that is engraved with the word Mom. She's a softie for stuff like that.

We still hadn't showered by about two o'clock when we were all sitting around playing games. Here's proof that all six of us were there.
Mom gave us each Miche purses that were designed for breast cancer research. She has had one since long before she was diagnosed, and now we'll all be supporting her with our bags.
This is how we would find her every few hours. She'd sleep for half an hour, then be back in the game. My dad's mom gave her this quilt that she made. My grandma makes special quilts for all of us, and my mom really wanted one. My dad was thoughtful and picked one up for her while in Idaho.And I get to add this picture because I'm writing the post and I have a really cute little boy. Plus, Grandma loves him. Please forgive my messy pantry.
Mom seems so calm. I wouldn't call her happy, but she is so peaceful right now. I am thankful for that, and for the prayers that have brought that to her. She had many visits and many surprises that made the holiday so special. I would say that despite the circumstances, this was one of our best Christmases in a long time.

Now if we can just get her through to Wednesday when they will remove her drains, hopefully we will get back to regular life for a few weeks.

I have to say thank you to everyone who has donated. If we have your name, you will receive a personal card, but there are quite a few that have been anonymous. Really, I am amazed that during this season when money runs out quickly, people are still so giving. We are thankful in ways that are impossible to express. All we can promise to do is one day pay it forward.

And if your donation was just in prayers, those are just as needed and just as appreciated. Please, keep them coming. We're going to need them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To an old friend...

It was 1:30 am following my surgery. After settling down from the anesthesia, my sister and I talked, laughed, and shared private feelings that had remained just that for years...private. For many of us, those feelings are tucked so deep in our hearts that they are protected from the words that might somehow give them a voice. Through that voice we and others can no longer deny them and our experience becomes our vulnerabilities..raw and exposed. That was how I felt as the events of the day finally silenced our conversation with the promise of rest. I knew that in the morning bandages would be removed and the reality of the last two weeks would no longer be able to elude me. I slipped into the restroom and while my sweet sister waited outside to help me back to bed I made the very personal decision to prepare myself by having my own private viewing. The tender mercies that had guided my path (which I will share at a later date) gave me the faith to know that I could do so without fear. As I peeked beyond the bandages, I was met with a dull sense of confusion that caused my lids to close quickly enough to spare my eyes from taking it in. I was grateful. I did not want to tell my sister but could feel the sadness and lonliness reaching out for expression. Silently I stood in the bathroom and prayed that the Lord would bless me with whatever I needed to move me through those emotions. I did not want to cry and I did not want my sister to cry so as she helped me into bed, we made small talk and committed to fall alseep. As I lay there trying to keep the sound of tears out of my voice so that she would allow herself to fall asleep, the face of a long lost friend appeared in the doorway of my hospital room. The three of us shared surprised greetings, my sister fell into a deep sleep evidenced by her breathing and I was left to visit with my friend.

It was 2:00 am but my friend explained that sleep had been elusive so he had made the decision to come see how I was. At first glance, I saw the kindness and compassion that had earmarked our friendship many, many years ago. We talked of my cancer, explored past experiences and shared heartfelt concern for difficult decisions we were each facing in our personal lives. Absent was the awkward humor used in attempts to avoid uncomfortable emotions or trite, polite conversations that our friendship often relied upon over the years. My awareness of the spirit in the room did not detract me from the whisperings of the Spirit telling me that my friend was the answer to the childlike pleadings of a grown women standing alone facing her greatest fear. And that after all these years of distance and despair, he was there for me.

Rather than share the details of our conversation, I would rather let the faith it strengthened in me weave itself through the pages of my story as it unfolds. Instead, I want my friend to know how grateful I was for his visit, his support, and for the manner in which he allowed me to experience the goodness of his heart as I knew it many years ago and for the peace it left me with. And I want him to know that I see him as a good man, a caring friend, and a loving father whose courage is strengthening his children when they need him to be there for them. And that by doing so...they are able to be there for me.

To the other ministering angels who were with me there before, during, and after my surgery..I express eternal gratitude and a heartfelt love that I have yet to find words with which to express. I am an hour past the time I promised my girls and sisters I would be asleep so I will end for now but I will post more tomorrow. Sweetest of dreams...Cyndi

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Just wanted to take a second to give a quick update. I am out of town with Travis for my anniversary, but I have kept in touch with everyone all day. They took mom back for surgery at about three. I started getting reports that she was out about three hours later, but I think it took her awhile to wake up after that. I think she had a bad few moments both going into and coming out of the surgery, but I'll let her share the details of that if she would like.

I finally talked to her tonight about 9:30, and I just could not be more proud of her. She sounded so calm and peaceful. She made me promise her that I wouldn't cry, which was virtually impossible. She said she is pretty drugged up, and that the only thing that was uncomfortable was the port, whatever that is. Everyone say a quick prayer that I will be able to help her change her dressings and empty her drain. This mother - daughter love is going to be tested real fast:).

I love my mom. Even more than I realized. The second I heard her voice tonight, all the emotion came. She is the most amazing person I know. I am so proud of her. She is strong, she is positive, she is loving, and she will beat this. Most likely with a smile on her face. I wouldn't trade her for the world.

Thank you for all the prayers today. I think we all really felt them. I will encourage her to update when she feels up to it.


Just a quick surgery was moved to today, Tuesday at 1:00. Yesterday I had lunch with all my children and grandchildren and sat on Santa's lap. I finished my Christmas shopping, had a fun evening with my sisters and stayed up all night watching my favorite shows and playing my favorite inspirational songs with my older sister. We laughed, made "boob" jokes and checked out the late night toys as they were unboxed at WalMart. Oh, and I ate a bunch of Katies homemade cookies and did not shed a single tear.

This morning they called early to reschedule and I was at peace. My message for this day is that God lives..He knows our hearts and He answers our prayers. I have a song in my heart and I am at peace. I know the peace comes from the love and the prayers of each of you and I am eternally grateful for that knowledge and from the source from which it comes. God bless each and every one for the love in your hearts and the manner in which you have freely shared it with me. With love...Cyndi

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last night was our family Christmas event my parents plan and work towards for months prior. We took family pictures and then filled our individual cameras with candid shots of the joy being shared. I have beautiful children and grandchildren with more personality than one family can handle. And I cried most of the party. As I took pictures with my family I couldn't push away those taunting voices questioning if this might be my last Christmas. Logic fought back but the other element contributing to my emotions is that I was sick.

I am sick..I have the flu, I have a sinus infection with throbbing headaches, and I have ulcers on my throat. And in three days...I am having major surgery. It's hard to feel negative right paint a collage of wonderful children and darling grandchildren. Hugs and tears shed on my behalf fill my heart with reminders of love and support. Priesthood blessings promise me peace, hope, and healing. And, I am angry.

I am angry because I wanted to spend the days before my surgery and chemo doing the things I love with the people I love. I wanted to take care of things that will make things easier while I am sick. I wanted to play with my grandchildren...take them to McDonalds and listen to their imaginations running wild. I wanted to shop with my daughters and wrap presents. I wanted my money to go there instead of doctors fees and prescriptions. I wanted to sing Christmas carols in church today with all the love for the Savior that fills my heart. I wanted to be laughing and sharing Christmas joy with others. I wanted to go to Katie's house and have dinner with her family and Mitch and Amy. I wanted to be and feel like Cyndi to the fullest...I mean seriously, it's Christmas...

It's not about the cancer right now...I am somewhat numb or in the grief stage of denial right now. It's the right here and now...this very moment in time..the time I wanted to experience to the fullest everything and everyone I love..

I am committed to be postive throughout the experience of the upcoming year. I want to grow emotionally and spiritually and take this experience head on. I want to surface a more loving, compassionate, committed woman. And I want to serve others who experience the painful experiences life has acquainted me with.

But for right now..seriously?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

He'll Carry You by Hillary Weeks

As you read, mom had a bad day on Friday. She came down with the flu, which was most likely given to her by my family. I talked to her off and on, and I think she slept most of the day. I hate thinking of her being cold and sick all by herself, so I'm thankful to my little brother Mitch and my little sister Amy for checking in with her regularly. It's going to be a whole family effort to get through this. I have amazing siblings. They are unselfish in ways they never should have had to be. They are also compassionate and loving. And we all love our mom a whole lot.

I also have an amazing extended family. I love knowing that I can count on my aunts and my grandma to take care of my mom. To raise money, to care for her during her treatment, and to talk to her when she needs an ear. We have had so many offers from others who are not necessarily "family", but with us the word has a very loose meaning. Know that I will call on all of you who have offered for help. Be careful what you offer because I will take you up on it.

Some friends took Travis and I to the Voice Male concert last night. During the concert, they paid tribute to one of their members who lost his fight with cancer this past February. He left behind a wife and a two year old son. In that moment, the utter sadness of all this hit me. That dads don't always get to watch their kids grow up. That grandparents miss out on their grandkids lives because of cancer. That sometimes little kids don't even get to grow up. I don't understand the "why" of all these things. I struggle with it regularly. Why, when my mom is going to be sick for a year, did she pick up the flu the weekend before her surgery? Shouldn't she feel good as much as possible? Why, just a few months after she lost her health insurance, was she diagnosed with such a severe illness? Why, after all that she has endured, did this even have to happen?

I think Heavenly Father is desperate to have my mom back. I think He will test her, and humble her until she is absolutely dependent on Him. I think He doesn't want to take any chances of her getting to a point where she would make choices that would lead her away from Him. I also think He needs her for purposes on this earth. To provide help and compassion for others. To provide a stable force for her children. And to provide an example of love and caring for all people.

It's funny how my prayers have changed. I, of course, immediately start to cry and just lay my list of needs out. But last night as I prayed, I realized something. That the more trials I have and the more I am tested, the closer I feel to my Savior. The more I become like him. Simply to have someone who completely understands me and has felt what I feel. It's the same reason we are drawn to people who have similar lives as us. We need to know that we can do it, and that what we're feeling is normal. And how can I be sad that I am becoming more like someone so loving, and so perfect?

I thought it was going to be bad that mom was diagnosed so close to Christmas. But now I'm thankful. This time of year when the Savior feels so close. And we get to celebrate his birth and the fact that he saved all mankind. We get to hear the music that makes him feel close, and we get to show our love for everyone around us. We get to celebrate the one person who knows everything that we feel. The person who gave his life so my mom could get through this. I'm so thankful to him.

We took family pictures tonight, because as you know, my mom's appearance will be changing drastically within the next few months. I personally think that she is beautiful no matter what. So pretty outside but even prettier inside.

Had to toss in this one of Mitch and Amy. Because they're creepy AND cute.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Waves of emotion..

I haven't felt good today..I think the sleepless nights of the last two weeks have caught up with me. My emotions are running high as I think of what the next week holds. I struggle with what this will mean to me as a women as the changes occur in my body. I worry about my professional career and all the hard work that I have put into it the last two years. I see doors closing that I have painfully kept open as I have tried to move forward personally and professionally and although my faith reassures me..I am sad. I have felt that my life has been on hold for years...cautiously moving forward in order to make sure that I was always doing my part. The thought of another year of uncertaintity feels overwhelming and everything inside of me is screaming for this to not be real. I know that I will be blessed with the strength to do this but for right now, this moment..I don't want to.

The love that has already been sent my way is so humbling and so very much needed. Every day I come home to a treat of some kind on my doorstep. People I have loved but lost contact with have called or texted me and reminded me of my strength and of thier love for me. Never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. There are wounds that words
cannot describe but that are soothed by simple acts of love. Today is a hard day but tomorrow the sun will shine again and I will gain strength from surviving the storm. As it says in the song I added..."but for now...just let me cry."

My love, my admiration, and my gratitude for each of you is in my heart. Cyndi

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's not always going to be easy for me to express my feelings but today is a good day so I will try. No one ever expects to hear the words that I have heard these last two weeks. Cancer? I'm too children need me...I need my grandchildren...Who would think of such a thing. I've had my share of trials and maybe had become complacent that the Lord would 'cut me a break' of sorts.

It's amazing what one word can do to your heart and the feelings sheltered there. I feel all the things Katie spoke of but there is one truth that I know and beleive with all my heart and that is this. My trials have been difficult and painful and ones that I pray regularly that I won't ever have to face again. But with that said I have to add the most important piece. I am grateful that the Lord had the confidence in me to bless my life with the things that would move me towards being a more loving, compassionate, empathetic human being. Through no other means could I have gained the love for others that I feel. So I add my feelings about having cancer to that equation. Do I want it? Am I experiencing fear? Do I cry? Of course the hard emotions are part of this experience. Most importantly though I know that this trial will also become one of my "hard blessings" because I know that my compassion, love, and acceptance of others will increase and God willing, I will be given opportunities both professionally and personally to touch another life when they too hear that fear word Cancer.

I am humbled by the show of love and support from family and friends and even strangers. I thank you, I love you, and know without a doubt that I will survive this under the wings of your love.

I love music so when I post a song...I hope you will listen and that it will carry a messsage of hope and courage into your own lives.

Much love,

Just Let Me Cry

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I was going to take notes today, and post all the information. All the statistics, and random facts, survival rates, remission rates, etc. But I changed my mind. Right now I don't have the energy to care about all of that.

The thought that keeps running through my mind most prevalently is simply that my mom has CANCER. It's hard to grasp. Everything seems surreal. There's a certain numbness that comes, that enables you to take just the steps and do what you have to do. Every once in awhile the feeling sets in, and I'm not sure any of us can do this. But we don't have the option of throwing in the towel just yet, so here we are. Getting ready to take it on.

The only thing I wanted to hear today was that she would survive. I had to pry it out of one of the doctors but eventually she said yes, she will most likely live. But that she has a long road of treatment ahead of her.

I'll start from the beginning. My mom noticed a lump a few weeks ago. We encouraged her to get it checked, and two weeks ago on Saturday she went to her doctor. He sent her to get a mammogram the next Monday. While she was there they decided to do an ultrasound. They sent her back to the doctor who told her that the Radiologist was almost positive it was cancer. She met with a surgeon that Wednesday to see about having the tumor removed. He sent her to have an MRI on Friday. In the MRI they found that there was a tumor that was about 2 centimeters, and another suspicious growth behind it. They also noticed that her lymph nodes looked abnormal. They scheduled her to have a biopsy this Monday. We received the results of that today. We were well aware that the odds were that it was cancer, but were still praying and crossing our fingers that we could have a miracle.

They tested three different spots and each tested positive for cancer. They called it invasive ductal cancer. Since the lymph nodes they tested were positive, they are not sure how far it has spread. She is scheduled for a double masectomy next Wednesday, during which they will pull out more lymph nodes, which will tell us how far the cancer has spread. That will also help to decide the course of the chemo and radiation.

We met today with the Surgeon, the Oncologist, and the Radiation Oncologist. They spoke to us a little about what the plan for the next year is. Essentially surgery, then chemo, then radiation. We don't know many details other than that. We also met with a Genetic Counselor who discussed the possibilities of genetic testing to discover if my mom is a carrier of a certain gene that is known to increase the risk of cancer. My great grandma, my great aunt and my mom's two cousins all had either ovarian or breast cancer. They are suspicious that my mom is a carrier of this gene. This will also help them when developing her treatment course.

She is struggling emotionally. She is concerned obviously about the effect on her physical appearance. She's also concerned about how far the cancer has spread. I think today it all became real. She will be okay, but as for right now she is hurting.

My mom has dedicated her life to helping others. She has given when she didn't have anything to give. She is having a hard time with the thought of being on the receiving end. But she's going to come to terms with that, because if anyone deserves the help and the support, it's her.

She's has a long road ahead of her. But she's strong and she has a strong support system. And we're going to do everything we can to keep her fighting. Because we love her and need her. And the world needs her.

There are lots of details in my head tonight. Way too much to sort through. But the one thing I do know is that this is something a woman like my mother should not have to suffer through. But isn't that the point? The strongest are tested, because they are strong? And who's to say who should have cancer and who shouldn't? This is a new trial for our family. We're going to learn lots of new things, and right now we're just cautiously feeling our way through the first few steps.

So, the next step is surgery. Scheduled for next Wednesday, the 22nd, to remove both breasts. She will be home Thursday, and hopefully will be able to enjoy some type of Christmas. But if there's ever a year that I'm reminded that Christmas is not about gifts, but about love and our Savior, this is it.

I will try to update daily on how she is doing, and will also encourage her to post her feelings when she feels up to it.