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

Monday, January 31, 2011


Not to detract from the craziness that is my littlest sister, or the awesomeness that is my mom, but I wanted to remind you all that we have our first committee meeting for mom's fundraiser tomorrow night at 6 PM at my house. If you want to help but can't come, either send me an email or call me. I'm sure I'll find something for you to do. The original recipient from Anything for a Friend will be there and will help guide this train wreck that is my thought process. We are going to need all the help we can get. And besides that, it's going to be fun.

2623 West 2675 North
Farr West



Anything for a Friend website:
Cyndi Tangren


That's what I love about Amy, otherwise known as little Amy. She is real and she is genuine. And I love that about her. She is right, I have struggled lately. And sometimes in the quiet of the night, I cry. I cry for a lot of reasons but lately, it is has been because in those quiet moments before sleep calms me, I am alone. I have been alone for a very long time and dealt with sadness before but this is different. This is about me and the insecurities and concerns unique to waging the war against cancer. I don't look like myself in the mirror anymore and the reality of what that means is sinking into the places where denial has lost its momentum. And I can't help but wonder if this could be easier if the arms of a spouse could remind me every night that I will be okay. I know that with every loss, acceptance eventually comes but in the meantime, I am at a loss as to how to recognize myself when I look in the mirror.

My office is fairly close to my home. Friday morning I woke up with enthusiasm and an energy that has become foreign to me. So, I decided to walk to work. The air was crisp and cool and as I plugged in my iPod, the music set my mood and I looked forward to the exercise. I stopped at the bank and felt unusually cheerful as I waited for my turn to come. My enthusiasm did not wane until I was securely in my office awaiting my first client. I met with a few clients, tackled some paperwork and looked forward to the walk home. When I stood to leave, my legs were shaking with fatigue and my stamina seemed to melt into the floor. I felt the excuberence of the morning leave as I called a friend to drive me home. The weekend seemed to follow suite. The sores in my mouth and throat left the privacy of my mouth and moved to a more public view on my face. The image looking back at me the next morning reminded me more of an adolesent boy than the grown woman I had seen the morning before. And so it hit as I have known it is officially on hold for what feels like another lifetime. And so, I cried this weekend.

I know that this is part of the process of this physical and emotional rollercoaster ride I am currently on. I also know that I am a pro at rollercoaster rides. I know that there will be times when nothing can deter me from the faith and hope in my heart and I know there will be other times when I will be curled up in a ball crying (as only lil Amy can do) 'I don't feel good..' That's normal right?

There is advice engrained in me by my father which I have passed on to my children. I'd like to share it with you. When you are tired,and it's dark outside it is never the right time to make a decision. When the morning comes and the light resumes it's purpose, you will make an entirely different decision. So, when discouragement, fear, or hard decisions creep into the 'think time' right before sleep rescues you...remind yourself that it is dark outside and and that you are tired. And let things go for a few hours. Wait until dawn can shed some more light on it.

I echo the gratitude expressed by Amy. The outpouring and evidence of love and support is keeping myself and my children positive and hopeful. I could not do this without the unique love and prayers of each of you. From the bottom of my heart...

Gratitude and love always..Cyndi

Here I am, the cool one.

Hi guys,
It's me, Amy. The small and less bitchy one. Sorry for the language. Maybe I am more bitchy. Anyways, I promised I would post on this so here I am. In my own time, people! Geeze!
Well, I have been home a lot more now, although I still do kind of do my own thing (even at home). Mom has been sad. Even if she won't say it. I hear her cry at night and it makes me sad. I wish I could help. I just don't know how.
The other night I walked down and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said she didn't feel good. I told her not to lie and she got frustrated and said, "I'm not lying!"
I didn't really know what to do... So I just made her a Vernor's and laid by her for a minute. (This is a big step for me, guys.) She is sad and whether she will admit it or not, I am here to do it for her.
Despite the sadness and the pain and anguish, she has a lot of love. Every night I come home to something new that someone has dropped off. I would like to personally thank everyone for the dinners, baskets, notes, and donations that you have provided. They mean the world to us.
I would also like to personally give a shout out to Rhonda Dowden for the amazing food she provided. I need that recipe. Not that I would know what to do with it once I got it, but hey, a girl can try.
I'm grateful for my friends who consistently ask about my mom. It's times like this that you realize who your real friends are.
Anyways, this isn't long but I'm a short and to the point type of girl.
Thanks for your prayers.
Amy Evans

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sharing Hope

Many of you have asked me to blog every day...that you find inspiration from the thoughts I share. May I start this blog by saying that there is no greater compliment that you could pay me than to find inspiration and hope in my thoughts. I want you to know that hope is what sustains me. It teaches me, it inspires me, and it gives my life purpose. Today, I want to share the origins of the hope that directs my life. It is only fair to do so because it did not find roots in my soul on its own. It was given to me as a gift; a priceless, sacred gift. A gift that has been so powerful in my life that it leads me relentlessly down any avenue that might open a window from which I could share it..

My journey began when I was placed in the arms of my parents and settled into the contentment that can only be found in what we lovingly refer to as our gingerbread house. Instead of sugarplums and gumdrops, the walls of our home were adorned with faith, charity, and most importantly hope. I can honestly say that I have no memories of a negative or disparaging word ever leaving the lips of my father. There was no offense, no disappointment that was not met with a response that elicited a bright response that left no room for a negative reaction. To be truthful, my adolescent whims caused that to be overly annoying and sometimes even wonder if this wonderful man was for real. My mother supported him and allowed us the freedom and faith to decorate the walls of our home with the charity of a giving heart. There was no task to big or too complicated when it involved the needs of others. From cookies to be shared to late night talks with neighborhood stragglers hesitant to go to their own homes, my mother was there...patiently sitting in front of the large picture window which marked the entrance of our home. Her image was the beacon in the night to her own children as well as to those who felt they had no where else to go. I could recant countless images but the short and simple is this. I was born of goodly parents.

Life and all the facets of living built upon that hope and faith but none such as the sacred opportunity that I received some fifteen years ago. It is through this opportunity that those early beginnings were solidified in a very personal and spiritual way. Before I go any further there is something I want to clarify about myself. I believe in a loving Father in heaven who knows me. As so innocently explained by my grand-daughter, He is my other daddy. When I picture myself as His darling, beautiful little princess, I can know without a doubt that that I am loved..irrespective of what the world may be taunting me with that tries to tell me otherwise. I also believe that He speaks to valiant, righteous men in my behalf and that as a result, His voice can reach me wherever I am and He has. He has found me in the most ambiguous of places..some that might surprise you and some that in your darkest moments, are not strangers to you. To each of you, irrespective of the role He plays in your life, I hope that you have felt the peace and warmth that always follows His compassion. The rest of the story I shared with the greatest of humility and only because I know that it was through this man that my message of hope burns so brightly within me. It is also why I refer to it as my gift...a gift from a loving Father in heaven through the hands of a righteous man and a prophet of God. I have spoken of difficult times in my life. Times when my heart was broken in ways that a woman should never have to experience, times of the deep despair that seeps into every aspect of your life. It was during such a time that I received
a blessing and counsel from Elder Jeffrey Holland, a latter day prophet in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Of that I know with impenetrable faith. That unique experience continues to bless my life. Since that day, there has never been a prayer left unanswered through the hope that Elder Holland exudes in his person. Conference talks, quotes shared by unknowing instructors, or simply by remembering have followed me over the years and reminded me of the hope his blessing instilled in me. Am I the only one who experiences the miracles found in his messages? Oh no, I am one of millions but has his message of hope resonated in me with enough power to enable me to catapult over the barriers of the last fifteen year? Oh, yes. Did it instill in me a desire to share that knowledge with others. Oh yes. The wonderful thing about hope is that it knows no bounds...irrespective of the differences in our lives or in the belief systems that shape our earthly experience. And in the most humble places of my heart, I know that I have an obligation to share the knowledge that I have of the absolute necessity for hope in our lives. Not just in an obligation like it's one of those things I'm supposed to do but rather an obligation born of gratitude for the personal witness I have been given through the hands of a prophet of God.

Over the years I have wrestled with just how to do that. Daily, we all have opportunities to share this message. Daily, we encounter the darkness that enshrouds the world we live in. Whether we recognize it or not, there are eyes begging us daily to give them some glimmer of hope that the challenges they face will not consume them or someone they desperately love. It may be as impersonal as the woman at the drive-in window handing you your soda or the man in the car facing you as you wait for red to turn to green. Or it may be as intimate as a child who feels they can never right the wrongs of their past or a partner who hungers for forgiveness. Or, it can be a flaw within yourself begging for acceptance and resolution. Whatever the need, fill it. Refuse to look away from those downcast eyes. Reach out to the arms that with despair hang down. And when you see your personal sadness reflecting in the tears of a friend, allow your own to fall. It will cleanse you of whatever hopelessness may be hiding in the wounded places in your own heart. And then you too will know gratitude.

As I write this, I am reminded of one of my own children whose heart feels hopeless as he struggles to catch up from many years of wrong turns and false starts. One who believes that he has no worth, no purpose, and that the choices of his past have left him with no talent, no purpose, and most tragically no worth to anyone else. And that is just wrong because he is my son and I love him with the sacred intensity of a mother. He is the reason hope was born into this dark world on a night marked by the brightness of a single star. This is what I believe. So, as I end this blog to write to him, I pray again...if there is hope in your heart..share it. If there is not..take my words and find it. And when you do or when you can..please share it, look beyond the obvious and the palatable and pleasant views of life and find that one who so desperately needs it.

Thank you for listening, for being the quiet observers of my life and for the hope that filters through your love into me. May I just simply say..I love you.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A good day...

Today was mine and Angie's birthday and it was a good day. Not because we did anything spectacular but because it was just that.. a good day spent with family and full of well wishes from friends. Tonight, I am sitting watching mindless shows with Amy and feeling totally content.

As I have been flooded with birthday greetings from friends both old and new, I am reminded of a conversation I had with Angie's husband Steve in which the question was asked of me-"so how has cancer changed your life?" I have to be honest and say that even though I know that is the million dollar question, it caught me off guard. I knew the answer but the words did not come easy for me. The truth about the impact of cancer on my life is simple. From almost the moment the words left my physician's mouth and floated through that abyss known as denial-I knew. I did not get cancer to die, I got cancer to live and to believe in love that I had not yet allowed myself to believe I was worthy of. Until those words resonated through me, I was unaware of how much I had stopped living. Those closest to me knew it and agonized over it but felt hopeless in finding a solution. I had cocooned myself within the safety of the passion I feet for my work and thrived on it. I had become oblivious to the 'me' I became at the end of the day. Disappointment and disillusionment had hit me hard in the months prior to my diagnosis and without even knowing it, something inside of me had been laid to rest. My hopes for myself, for love, for success had finally given way to the difficulty of the roads I had been traveling and I was sleep walking in a personal state of numbness. Cancer woke me up with a jolt. Never have I had the sense that this was not a blessing...what I infamously call a hard blessing but nonetheless, a blessing. Through the overwhelming show of love and support, I am coming to a sense of the value and worth of the things I have dedicated my heart, friends, clients, and even strangers. I think it is human nature to judge our worth by the outcome of our endeavors. My endeavors have not always had the desired outcome...YET. Subtly and without an obvious awareness, I think I had begun to assign my worth to some unexpected, negative,and oft-time unwarranted outcomes. Through the outpouring of love to not only myself but to my children, I am seeing the more divine outcomes that life had forced behind the darkness of despair. Cancer has restored life to my heart and is providing me with the kindest of refresher courses on the things that matter most in life. One of my favorite sayings goes as follows.."A friend is one who knows the song of your heart and sings it to you when you have forgotten the words." I had forgotten the words to my song. I was well versed in the lyrics of the songs of those around me but had forgotten my own. Cancer is my friend and through the love and support of friends and strangers, sings my song to me throughout the day and long into the night.

As I laid with my little grand-daughter Brylee that same night, her daddy walked by and smiled the most tenderest of smiles as he walked past her room. I whispered to her.."I think your daddy loves you soooo much." In a way that only Brylee could say, she responded. " I have two daddies!" Somewhat surprised I questioned her as to who her two daddies were. " Without hesitation she said " my daddy and Heavenly Father." She completed her sentence by saying that her Gramma Ann had told her that. Pretty profound for a 3 year old to pronounce with such complete faith. And so true-for each of us. One to walk with us during this physical life as we face the joys, sadness, laughter, and disappointments of life. The other to walk with us physically and spiritually, never leaving us alone and certainly never without the tools we need to reach Him on the other side after our journey here on earth is completed.

Each night my grandson Jaxon prays for me. His words are as simple and sincere as the pure kindness that defines his little heart. "Heavenly Father, please bless that people won't make fun of my grandma because she doesn't have any hair." I sense that sometimes the little ones in my life are confused by the changes I am going through but their little spirits are kind and concerned and they wrap their arms around me with an exuberance that dispells any ill affects that cancer casts upon me. I am blessed and I am loved. Cancer may well be the greatest evidence of love that I experience in this life. And with that said, I believe that it will be the catalyst that every prayer and desire of my heart will be fulfilled.

Today was a good day and I love the blessings of this day. A wonderful daughter to join the ranks of angels that I call my girls..some I gave birth to, some I inherited and others who simply inherited me. Happy Birthday Angie Rooney!

My check-in is this..physically, my mouth is sore and my stomach rolls, emotionally, I am content and calm, spiritually, I am filled with faith. My committment is to daily rehearse the words to 'my' song, and my affirmation is

I am alive with love and hope.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Just a few highlights of my "simply a good day!"

Reunion with very dear, very lifetime friend Bishop Erik Cooley!

My favorite thing..watching my children love each other's children
Birthday Girls...

Bouquet of love from Katy and Susy Spainhower..special friends

Daddy's girl..

My "mother dear who loves me so..."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fun Stuff

They have added my mom's webpage and event to the Anything for a Friend website. Here is the link.

I am so excited about this. And scared to death. Remember, if you are interested in helping, please come to the committee meeting next Tuesday, 6 PM, my place. And if you can't be there and would still like to help, please let me know. I will take all the help I can get.

It's things like this that get us through the tough days, so thank you for all your support.


First Treatment..

I have so many thoughts and feelings running through me...some I feel that I can articulate, others I'm not so sure. If this post doesn't make sense, I can officially blame it on chemo brain

I was not prepared to be led into the large room lined with recliner chairs whose occupants were obviously at difference stages of treatment. As I looked around the room, my eyes searching for the empty chair that would be mine, I froze. I was immediately overcome with the realization of where this next leg of my journey would lead me. I truly could not breathe and for the first time in my life, I couldn't move or say a word. All I wanted to do was run. As I searched the faces of the other patients, my first thought was "I'm not giving those flower pins out, I don't want to connect at all...I just want to hide." That's honesty. Truly, I just wanted to slink into my chair and avoid any eye contact. I did not want to see myself in their eyes. I felt like I was moving in slow motion as they led me back to the overflow where I would end up receiving my treatment. As I sat down in my recliner, I was overwhelmed with all the emotions that had just struck me. I cried for the sadness of that open room and the fear that hit me. And my sweet sister Amy simply held my hand until my tears turned to the calmness that always follows an unexpected storm. This was truly an unexpected storm. I ended up in a small room with four other patients who finished their chemo long before my final bag finished draining. I was positioned in front of the doorway and could see the comings and goings of the big room that had initially terrified me. Soon, I saw little ones bringing a flower to someone in that room. I saw frail, elderly men pushing the IV stand of their wives as they helped them into the restroom. I saw daughters kissing the frail cheeks of their mother. I became the recipient of knowing smiles of kindness as individuals finished their treatment and left. I felt my own heart returning as the understanding and expressions of love around me replaced that initial shock of sadness and fear. After that, the nodding heads of those flower pins shoved deep into my bag reminded me of who I am and found their way to the hands and hearts of those around me. Lesson learned..gratitude stills a quivering heart.
The rest of the day was long and uneventful as I napped, crocheted, laughed, ate chips (ugh) and watched the clock. Katie joined me while her children attended school and I felt so proud of hear as I realized how much she had to juggle to be there. The process was not what I expected. There were four drugs to counteract the side effects of chemo that were given first. Each took about 15 minutes. Then the bag of saline which took half an hour followed by the 3 chemo drugs. Two of them took about 40 minutes each with the final drug which is the experimental drug taking 90 minutes to drain. When it was all said and done, I was there from 11:15 am until 5:00 pm. CraZy as it may seem, I craved chips and salsa the whole day so on the way home, we made a quick stop at El Matador and hurried home to consume them...which I did! (Of course as I write this the thought of it makes me want to throw up!)

The last few days have been hard-for the obvious reasons. I am tired beyond reason, my body aches in unfamiliar ways, my mouth has a metal taste, and the uncertainty of what the chemo is doing to my body is nerve-wracking. The image that greets me in the mirror seems unfamiliar and does not reflect the femininity that I have worked so hard to maintain. My life feels uncertain right now and I find myself daily drawing upon the skills I try to teach the courageous people I work with professionally. I have a new respect and appreciation for each of them and they have become my inspiration. The teacher has become the student.

I have to be honest and say that the hardest part for me is knowing the impact that my cancer is having upon those I love. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend; a grandmother. With each of those roles comes a deep and committed love...the kind that allows you to hurt when they do. My children are strong and they became strong by many of the hard journeys they have had to travel with me. They are committed, tender, loyal and resilient-all traits that come from suffering for and in behalf of someone else. As each experience ended in disappointment or each journey marked by a false start, their hearts have ached for me. In spite of it, they have continued to strive to live selfless lives of service and goodness towards others. The challenges I have been called upon to bear have caused them to question and doubt their faith and wonder.. why?. It is a sadness that has lulled me to sleep on many a sleepless night. Experience has taught me that it is these hard experiences in life that ultimately direct us and guide us towards our greatest blessings. The hard experiences my children have with me are defining the depth of their character and I know that with all my heart. Still, a mother cannot help but ache for the heartaches of her children. I know the tears behind the words of postive encouragement. I know the sadness they feel when they look at me in this weakened state. I feel their private moments as they try to make sense of it all. And even as my tears cloud my ability to write this, I know that this is part of our earthly journey and that the tears we shed as a family will one day be the cement that binds us together eternally. So with that said..I have to know that they will be okay. Still, it makes me sad sometimes.
Tomorrow is mine and Angie's birthday...a day we start looking forward to as soon as the last Christmas gift is opened. This year, neither one of us has even thought about it much less looked forward to it. Somehow, it feels irrelevant in the big scheme of things right now. It just kind of slipped up on us. I realized tonight that it is important because the 26th of January is the day Angie blessed my life with her birth. Angie is important to are all my children-Chad, Katie, Mandi, Mitch, and Amy. They are the breath that strengthens my own. They are more love than I can hold in my arms, warm cookies, a clean house, giggles in the night, music to soothe, simplicity, and the light that never dims...even on the darkest night. So tomorrow is an important day!

I will be honest and say that I don't look forward to the upcoming months and the impact they will have on the ones closest to my heart. For that reason, I am so grateful for each of you who love and support my children as they love me. That is the greatest gift I am experiencing from each of you and I am forever grateful. Thank you for loving my children in the many ways that you do. Know that you are in my heart and in my prayers.

My check-in...physically, I am fatigued and nauseated, emotionallyI am subdued, spiritually, I am blessed. My committment is to make tomorrow and every day important and my affirmation is.
I am strong enough..

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi


I spent the day with mom yesterday. She is so brave and so strong. I wish I could be more like her. She only had one little emotional moment. Can't even call it a melt down because it was so brief. She played with her wig and her hats. I think she looks cute without the wig. She was pretty sore but by the end of the night she seemed to be doing better, just super exhausted. If you know Brylee you know she loves her Grandma Cyndi. I had taken Brylee up with me and she was going to sleep at Katie's. When I tried to leave her she would not stay because she wanted to go with Grandma. Grandma being the super Grandma she is said just bring her, I want her to come. Brylee didn't leave my moms side pretty much all day. She wasn't loud or high maintenance...just sat by her and snuggled her all day. I kept asking my mom, do you want me to move her? Super Grandma wouldn't let me. Even in her weakest state she still has time for her grandchildren. I left around 7 so that she could get some rest. Her spirits are high and I believe it is because of all the love and prayers she has received. When I left I had a little melt down myself. I just kept looking at her throughout the day and I just couldn't believe that this was really happening. I kept looking at her thinking wow my mom is a trooper. When I left I just wanted to be able to take her place. I wanted it to be me that had cancer because I would have a husband to be by my side every step of the way. It just made me so grateful that she has so many people who have been and are going to be by her every step of the way. My mom has spent her whole life making sure other people had things when sometimes she couldn't even afford it herself. I am grateful for this opportunity so that we can all make sure she has everything she needs and be there for her. If anyone deserves it is my mom. Thank you for all the prayers, donations and love. I love you mama and we can make it through anything.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Off With It!!!!

Well, better to do it on your own terms I always say. Today Cyndi decided that rather than wait for her hair to fall out she would do like she does everything, tackle it head on. So we threw her a party and each one of her available grandkids got to take a turn "cutting off Grandma's hair." There was laughter and tears and even a little bit of excitement. When it was all over, one of her granddaughters yelled out, "let's put it back on!"

At the end of the day she was tired and more beautiful than she was when she started. I'm sooo amazed by her strength and love her ability to turn anything into a positive. I feel so blessed to have shared such an amazing experience. Thank you Miss Cyndi for all the gifts you give to us every day.

Big Amy

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My body aches, my stamina low but my heart is warm and at peace


I don't really know how you should feel after day one of chemo. Happy that the evil cancer cells are being massacred one by one? Sad that you are poisoning your body? Anxious that while what you are doing will keep you alive, it will also cause changes in your body that are impossible to prepare for? Normally in situations, I can at least imagine how I THINK I would feel. My brain can't even go there with this one. It's an experience that no one can truly understand until they have done it.

Mom is exhausted today. She hasn't felt sick, but the weariness has definitely set in. She spent most of the day on the couch. When I talked to her tonight she mentioned that she had a killer headache, and that her head felt cloudy. She is trying to eat when she has an appetite. I believe the anti nausea stuff they gave her is holding off the nausea for now. But she is so tired. She says she's not sleepy, just physically tired. I honestly don't know if any of that is normal. I have no idea what to expect.

We are talking of cutting her hair off tomorrow. I wish there was a way to avoid it. I would give anything I could to be able to change this part of things. But maybe I'm not giving her enough credit. And heaven knows we have more than enough hats and scarves to make her look beautiful for a decade.

What I'm asking for now, if I could, is even more prayers. As we figure out a schedule, and get into a routine, and as she learns how this chemo will affect her body. We are going to all need extra strength, especially over the next week or so.

I've heard it said somewhere that there is life after cancer. I'm holding onto that, because right now I can't imagine ever fully putting this behind us.

We are all trying to help her, but again, we can't fully understand. Those of you who have been there, or who are there, please let us know what we can do for her. Help us with the things to say, to do, to feed to her, or when to just let her be. I'm hoping we'll get it all figured out.

Keep her in your prayers and thoughts tonight, even more than you have. Because it truly does help. And she needs to be as strong as she possibly can be.


Friday, January 21, 2011

One Down Five To Go

Today was the first chemotherapy treatment for Cyndi, and as I expected she handled it like a champ. As she entered the treatment room she became overwhelmed with saddness at the sight of all the patients receiving chemo. It was the only melt down she had throughout the process. Once she got that out of her system she stayed calm and postive throughout the five hour treatment. She handed out flowered pins to all the female cancer patients, laughed with her nurse (he flirted with her), played with her ipad and even took a few naps. One sweet little old lady sitting in the corner received a flowered pin from Cyndi. Throughout her treatment the lady would reach up and touch the pin she had placed on her hat and give Cyndi a childlike
smile. This kept Cyndi smiling as well.

I sat with my sister and watched a movie and ate junk food as they pumped her with what looked like enough medicine to kill a horse. All I could do was sit next to her and feed my face. I told her that as we continued through the next five treatments, she would become slim and trim and my butt would get bigger and bigger. I guess that's the least I could do for her.

What a strong and beautiful woman she has been and continues to be. Thank you all for your love and support. It has been truly amazing and you will never know the burden you have helped lift for her and her children. May God continue to bless her and you.

Love Big Amy

Today Will Be a Good Day!

Last night I found myself with alot of anxiety as I thought about my Mom starting chemo. I cried alot throughout the day (i know, I'm a wuss). "It's not fair, she has been through enough already," I thought. I left her a voicemail and couldn't help but to get choked up a bit. I told her I loved her and though I couldn't be there, she could find me in her heart. She called me back, and I could not believe how amazing she sounded. There has been a theme throughout her life--the tougher things get for her, the more resiliant and positive she becomes. Last night was no different. I don't want to be all sappy, but when I talked to her and heard the enthusiasm in her voice I was inspired and put into a state of awe. I could feel a special spirit comfort me when I talked to her. She told me that she was feeling an incredible spiritual high, and could literally feel the Spirit wrapping It's arms around her. I could feel it too. I hung up feeling encouraged.

But, I'm a worry wart so I did not sleep. My insomnia was not due to anxiety or worry, but rather the power I felt in my Mother's voice. I still can't believe how incredibly strong she sounded. Man, I wish I had her strength. This morning I took the bus to work and I remembered a story from the New Testament that my Grandpa had shared with me earlier yesterday when he drove me to work. Forgive me for my inconsistencies but this is how I recall the story. Two men built their homes, one upon a foundation of sand and one upon stone. When the rain came, the man that had built upon the sand found his home sinking and was left without shelter, while the man that built his house upon the stone found no damage to his property. What my Grandpa told me he got from the story was that it rained on them both (as it does all of us in life), but those who have a strong foundation will be better prepared and make it through the storm better. Personally, I wish the story would have included the man with the standing home upon the stone offering shelter to the man who foolishly built his home upon the sand. Because almost my entire life, I have built my house upon the sand--and like so many others, my mother has offered me shelter from the storm. And she has taught me how to rebuild my home upon a solid foundation.

My mother and I have had a turbulent relationship up until recently ever since I left home when I was 16 years old. Last night, my Grandma told me that my Mom told her something she hadn't told her in a very long time--my Mom said that she was proud of me. Wow, I have wanted to be worthy of that for so long. Don't know if I am yet, but I feel so happy that my Mom is proud of me. I just wish I had the words to express how proud of her I am. She is an inspiration to me. She is a hero to me. She is everything I think that God would want a person to be. Her faith is stronger than gravity. I never thought I would be this close to her. I am so grateful to be a part of her life. My wife Nicole has said that she feels she connects better with my Mom than with her own Mother. My son wouldn't let her leave the other day when she had come for a short visit. He squeezed her neck and acted as if he wanted to go with her. I've never seen him act that way with anyone other than myself and his mother. And we have only lived in Utah for a little over six months. My Mom's love is so powerful it can penetrate all doubt, anxiety, and evil. I hope one day I can have a foundation as strong as her's.

I am proud of my Mom today, so proud. I have been able to fight the worry and anxiety by remembering her voice on the phone last night. It is a voice that is part of my soul. I can hear it loud as day whenever I want. It is a voice that has led me home when I have gone astray. When I was in jail, I used to hear it as I went to sleep to help me calm down. That voice will never leave me.

I would like to thank my sisters, aunts, grandparents, friends, and all others who have come to my Mom's support. You are all incredible people with huge hearts.

Mom, I am not going to be sad today. I am going to rejoice like you want me to, for this is a good day. And though I can't be with you, if you need me--I'll be in your heart, right by your side--cheering you on. You are my hero and me, Nicole, and Hunter love you with all our hearts!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gifts of Love

When I first learned that chemotherapy would be a part of my treatment regime I tried to think of something that I could do or give to those who would also be at the hospital doing the same. I made a committment then that no matter how I was feeling, I would be the bright spot in their experience. I shared this with sweet Sue..otherwise known as my angel. Today, she excitedly came to my home with a brown box secured together with a plaid ribbon. Upon opening the box, I found 12 flower pins made by Sue's daughters to be part of that bright spot I committed to be. So, my plan is to take the pins and give them to those around me when I have chemo. Sue scatters sunshine wherever she goes as she daily gives loving service to others. I have been the recipient of many, many of those daily acts of service so it is only fitting that the light of her love and example should add to my own to hopefully, lift the heaviness of the experience for others. Included with my gift for others was a bag for me created by her husband Max who many years ago also went through chemotherapy. Contained in the bag were word games, chocolate and the most delightful part... a book of fairytales. Only fitting for someone who believes in fairytales, in happy endings, prince charming, and that good prevails.
I also recieved a care package today from another friend , Marcia who was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks after me. She began her chemo last week and even though she was weak and tired, climbed the long stairway to my office to bring gifts that would make my first treatment bearable. I imagine that walking this path together will create a sisterhood that we have yet to experience.
Tonight, I am content and at peace. It is hard for me to take in the love and support that is being extended my way. It is difficult to feel that I am worthy of such amazing service. I want each of you to know that you are giving me the greatest gift one can acquire in this life. Through your kindness, service, generosity, prayers and love I am coming to a genuine knowledge of the Savior's love for me. I feel it with every card and gift extended. I see it in your eyes and I am humbled beyond words at the message that it instills in me. I don't know how to say thank you for that...words that I might think of seem meaningless in comparison. I can only look forward to the day when, in the presence of our Heavenly Father, words are not needed to experience the depth of love in our hearts.
My check in tonight is... physically, I feel wonderful and alive, emotionally, I am happy and upbeat, spiritually, my heart is touched. My committment is to always 'remember', and my affirmation is...
I am brimming over with love for life.
Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Weber High!

Late this evening my doorbell rang and as I opened the door, I was greeted by my sweet friends Krystin and Tammy Widdison. With tears of love in their eyes, they handed me a ziploc bag full of cash...$530.00 to be exact. Krystin had organized a fund raiser selling snow cones at the girls and boys basketball game at Weber High. Krystin is the team manager and without telling me, organized her friends to put together this fund raiser for me. As they shared with me some of the comments made by contributors, I was reminded of the goodness of strangers and what it means to reach out to those who are struggling. Krystin and Tammy live by this standard and this is just one of many times my life has been touched by the goodness of their hearts.
To the members of the basketball team, their friends, families, and supporters..I thank you for caring and for sharing that with a stranger. I am grateful, humbled, honored, and my heart is touched by this act of service. Thank you to all who participated in any way. I can only promise to follow your lead and do all I can to ease the burdens of those around me.
Gratitude and love always...Cyndi
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all those who joined us last night. Or even those who sent a card, or even thought of her and wished you could be there. We had a great time. Mom alternated between laughing and crying all night long. That's pretty much par for the course these days. I sound like my grandma when I say that.

We also have a new project coming up, and I am going to need all the help I can get. We have been chosen by an organization to hold a fundraiser to help raise money for mom's medical bills, and also just to show love and support. Which you are all great at doing.

That being said, this is way out of my comfort zone and anyone who knows me knows that I don't do things that are hard for me. I'm realizing it is only for my mom that I will put my irrational terror aside and take on something like this.

I already have two able assistants in my Aunt Amy and a close friend of hers. But I am going to need all the help I can get. I am asking for volunteers to help plan this fun thing we are doing. Anyone who loves my mom or any of us and wants to help, YOU ARE DESPERATELY WANTED! The more the merrier!

Things are in the very early stages of planning, but we are having the first committee meeting here in a few weeks.

Date: Tuesday, February 1
Time: 6 PM
Place: My house (call or email for my address)

I probably won't feed you because you'll wish I hadn't, but we really would like as many people as possible to come. At least come check it out and see if it's something you would be interested in helping with. I will post the website for anyone to look through. They are doing awesome things and I am so excited to have the chance to do something like this for my mom. Thank you all!


Hats off to wonderful friends!

Last night was my hat party hosted by Ann Packer. I can't even begin to describe what an amazing evening it was. Her home was magical with pink netting, hearts, candles, pink ballons and more love than I could hold in my heart! As we entered her home, we were directed to the living room where the couch was covered with a variety of hats for all who came to wear in support of me. One by one, my past, present, and future entered the door. I can't imagine heaven being more beautiful as I was welcomed by the friends who fill the memories that line my heart. My friends, their beautiful daughters and grand daughters were all there reminding me of simpler days filled with the sounds of silly children playing together and mothers who loved each others children. As we visited, enjoyed homemade rolls and soup, I was overwhelmed by the love that spilled throughout the house. As I opened heartfelt gifts, my emotions spilled over, my hands shook, and I could harldy breathe as I tried to take it all in. There was laughter, tears, joy, and love shared between everyone there. The votes of reassurance and acceptance as I tried on the many hats given to me cast out any insecurites about losing my hair and actually gave me something to look forward know how it is with a girl and her accessories!

And my favorite pictures of some of the hats given to me are modeled by two of my favorite people in the world. My grand-daughter Brylee, and grandson Bowen!

To Ann, Angela and Brinlee, Malynda, Michelle...thank you for the hard work and love that went into making this an evening that I will never forget. Your courage and committment inspire me. To Carol, Julie, Natalie, Fran, Janice, Linda, Cherry, Mitzi..thank you for sharing so much of my life with me and for loving my children as your own. To Jen, Channa, Kyrie, Shaylie, Lindsey, Chelsea, Emily, Carissa, Brooke, Tessa, and Tegan...thank you for adding the joy of more daughters to my life. To Angie..thank you for being such a good friend to Katie. To Susy and Katie...thank you for the tender friendship. To Janet and Cheryl...thank you for the unconditional love and support, laughter and tears, and adventures only seasoned friends can share. To my daughters Katie, Mandi, Angie, Amy and Nicole..thank you for filling my heart with hope, strength and love. To my sister Amy...thank you for always being there for me and for my children for as long as I can remember. To my mother...thank you for loving me, inspiring me and teaching me to walk with faith. To those who sent love but could not be there...thank you for your prayers and support.

I think that last night could best be described by the text message I received from my mother tonight..."..woke up this morning thinking about last night. There was such a feeling of love in that room and your are truly blesed with good and generous friends. Sleep tight in the knowledge of such love. It truly stuns me but I am also grateful for it and you deserve it

Over the years, these are the women who have been there during the smiles, the tears, the disappointments, the joy, the sadness, and the loss that is part of our earthly journey. They are part of who I am and in their eyes, I am reminded that truly, I am loved. Such is the gift of friendship. Last night, I came home wrapped securely in that knowledge and the warmth it affords as I move into the next phase of this experience gives me courage. For that, I am grateful.

My check in tonight is..physically, I am rejuvenated and strong, emotionally, I feel courageous and brave, spiritually, I am in awe of my blessings. My committment is to be worthy of such wonderful friends and my affirmation is..

With the strength of friends, I am strong, capable and loved.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New Meaning...

On Wednesday, I had my first appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Hansen. I had one of my favorite nights the night before. Angie, Brylee, and Sophie came to spend the night so we had a girls night with all the fixins...chips, 7 layer bean dip, candy and yes, coke! After everyone left, Brylee and I settled into our usual sleepover arrangments; her on the chair and me on the couch. At 4:30 I was awoken by a tug on my shoulder with a little voice saying.."gramma, wanna watch some shows?" So for the next 4 hours, we snuggled on the chair watching all her favorite Dora shows. Then we got dressed and with several heavy sighs, headed to the hospital.

I was prepared to start chemo as evidenced by the calm acceptance that accompanied me on the drive that morning. With each heavy sigh, my anxiety dissapated. With it went the fear of losing my hair and the effects of the other changes my body had undergone. I was okay with it as the worldy pressure of what my appearance would be lost its meaning. I felt the love and prayers of all those who support me lift the burden of fear that has lingered in the shadows of my cancer. I felt like me again...strong, determined, resilient, and hopeful.

Dr. Hansen came in and explained more in depth the purpose and reason for the chemo treatments. The room was crowded with Angie and Sophie, Katie, my sister Amy, and my parents. Crowded with the people I love the most. We had misunderstood the results of the blood work so as he clarified it, the gravity of cancer seeped through as we all listened intently to his explanation. He explained that because the cancer cells had the ability to penetrate the lymph nodes, it had been carried through my blood stream. The blood work indicated that it had not metastisized in any organs. Nonetheless, it is present. The purpose of chemotherapy is to kill the cancer cells that had penetrated blood cells. He stressed the higher risk of recurrence because of the triple negative but felt confident that the chemo and radiation treatments would be successful. Then he explained a clinical study that was being performed in an effort to treat triple negative. With typical breast cancers, a hormonal therapy is given orally for 5 years to prevent reacurrence. Triple negative cancer does not respond to the hormonal therapy which leaves the individual vulnerable during the first critical 5 years. This study is to test a drug that hopefully, triple negative cancer will respond to and as the result, reduce the risk of a recurrent cancer in another primary organ. The drug was approved by the FDA but the approval was reversed due to the high cost of the drug. Dr. Hansen informed me that I met the criteria to participate in the study and explained what this study could mean in the future for those suffering with this cancer. As he spoke, I thought of my four daughters, and five grand-daughters, my sisters, and all the women that I love and knew that participating in this study would create meaning to my own battle with cancer. As the nods of approval on the faces of my family resonated with my own, I agreed to be in the study and immediately felt the heaviness of the earlier explanations lift. Consequently, I had to have a few more tests completed prior to beginning so my chemo was postponed. Participating does not change the chemo treatments, it just adds an additional drug to it. There is a need for 4 thousand participants to complete the study. Right now there are about 1200 participants across the nation. Half of the women will receive the drug and half will not. I will find out on Monday which group I will be in. The plan is to then start chemo on Friday. While I am not excited about the side effects of the treatment, I am excited to be a part of a study that could potentially make a difference in the lives of those who follow me in the fight against cancer..specifically breast cancer.

As I met with the women in my groups this week, I was reminded of a valuable life lesson that has shaped my life over the years. We were discussing the heartaches and disappointment that are so often part of our earthly existence. Over and over the question was asked how to move past the pain associated with those experiences. My response was (and is) this. In the midst of our disapointment and despair, we have to assign a new meaning to the experience; one that focuses on the good that was present during that time. We have to look at that picture that has come to remind us of the pain and see the faces of those present...the smiles, the laughter, the bond of family that resonates in the eyes of each individual. It is the only way to make sense of a senseless wrong or disability..or illness. For me, I feel like being able to participate in this clinical study gives a new meaning to my cancer and as a result, I feel peace. As I walked out of the office and looked into the faces of those sitting with hats covering the starkness where the bounce of curls had once been, my heart overflowed with compassion and a desire to somehow reach out and comfort.

For each of you my friends. If you have sadness or memories that plague you with the pain of the event, I hope you will have the courage to assign new meaning to that time in your life so that peace can replace the sorrow. As you have each so kindly said to me...I am here, hoping and praying that hope will be a part of your hearts and that your love and support of me will be part of your healing as well.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Monday, January 10, 2011

Miracle from heaven...

Finally, the long awaited results from the genetic testing arrived today and the news was...GOOD! Much to the amazement of the geneticist, I was negative for the cancer gene. This means that my children are not high risk candidates for breast cancer and that I am not at high risk for recurrence of cancer in any primary sources. Apparently because of the aggressive nature of my cancer, they were positive that I would be a carrier. That is my miracle from heaven. I have carried such a heavy weight feeling that cancer would become the cloud hanging over the health of my children...and me. As I have spoken to each of my daughters, I have felt their own sigh of relief as they realized how worried they too had been.

Last night, my sister Amy and her two little ones Burke and Morgan gave me a gift with a unique story behind it. Shortly after my surgery, she met with a challenge that found her at the counter of the Apple store needing to return an Ipad. After tearfully explaining the situation behind the return, her frustration bubbled over. She ended up pouring her heart out about me, my family, and my cancer and the challenges we were facing to the manager assisting her. I can only imagine the scene. My sister is pretty tough and is not a fan of crying in front of anyone..much less a stranger. She also loves me a great deal and has tried to be strong for me and for my girls who turn to her for support. So, as she stood crying, the store manager excused himself for a minute only to return with a bag containing her refund and another Ipad. He wished her a Merry Christmas and kindly sent her on her way. So last night, I was gifted with an Ipad to use while I am having chemo. I am so grateful for the goodness of people. I am overwhelmed with the kindness of the many people who have allowed their hearts to be touched. That is what life is about...having the courage to respond to the promptings of our hearts for those who suffer or who are in need.

I love my family. Last night as we all met for dinner at Amy's house, I was consumed with pride for my children, my parents, and my family. It was a hard night..I was over-tired and overwhelmed, humbled..all the ingredients for a meltdown. As I cried over my sister's counter top, I felt the comforting arms of my children around me. Truly, their love calmed my fears and restored my peace. If they were the only gift from heaven that was mine, it would be enough.

My check-in is this..physically, I feel strong and comfortable, emotionally, I am comforted and at peace, spiritually, I am uplifted. My commitment is to face my first chemo treatment with a smile on my face and courage in my heart. My affirmation...

I am blessed beyond measure..
Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I think the truth of what I am facing is settling into the reality that I have been trying to keep at bay. The next year is going to be a year full of changes in every aspect of my life and I am struggling to accept that a majority of the things that I have worked for and hoped for will soon be put on hold. This isn't one of those illnesses that disrupt routines for a few days or weeks. I am looking at a year or more before I return to being "me" as I have experienced life to this point.

I have realized that my clothes (which mostly I love!) don't fit me right anymore and that wearing the prosthesis hurts and makes me ache all night. I look in the mirror and see how disportionate my body looks and it makes me feel self concious and unsure of myself. My closet is full of things I love to wear but are too form fitting to feel comfortable in. Soon, my hair will be gone and I will put my hair on a stand each night before I go to sleep and feel the baldness of my head as I lay down to sleep. My stamina is down so I feel like everything I do, I am moving in slow motion. Nothing about me feels normal anymore and I am struggling with the fact that I will lose that sense of what 'normal' means to me in the months to come as the chemo weakens my body. The establishment of my practice has been long and arduous. I love my work and am inspired by the courage and commitment of my clients. After a few false starts, I am finally seeing the results of the long years in getting there. I fear that I won't be able to sustain it and will lose the ground I have gained. After seven years of being single, I have longed to find an eternal companion and am realizing how much easier this would be to bear with the love of a companion. Most importantly, my grandchildren will be a year older and I don't know how many 'gramma sleepovers' we will be able to have and that makes me sad. I ache for the opportunities and experiences that I may not experience to the fullest. I am heart broken at the thought that as my dad's health continues to decline that I will miss what could easily be the last year of his life. I have fought for so much for so very long, I worry that there isn't enough fight left in me to hold onto and maintain the hope and faith that sustains me. And I fear the nagging depression that nips at my heels throughout the winter months.

I am clinging to knowledge that I have that the Lord keeps His promises and that He can make up for the losses we occur in this life. I have experienced that and know it with all my heart. I don't understand His timing for this at this particular time in my life when I am finally starting to see the fruits of my labors and when the snow is falling but I will trust. And when I can't and my faith feels weak-I will lean on the strength and power of each of yours on my behalf. I am grateful for each of you. Though I may never actually see many of you, I can honestly express love for you as I do love each of you, my friends and family.

Love and gratitude always...Cyndi

Hat & Wig Party

One of my mom's very gracious friends is going to be hosting a hat and wig party for mom on Monday, January 17th at six PM. It will be an open house style party. You can either bring a cute hat or scarf or a small donation for a wig. Or you can just bring yourself. Everyone is invited! Mom is starting chemo this week (we think) so she's going to need lots of fun stuff to accessorize when she loses her hair.

Like, for example, I think this one is cute:

The party will be in Perry (just south of Brigham City). The address is:

1800 South 225 West

Just east of Walker Cinemas:). If you need directions or would like to RSVP (which would be greatly appreciated), just email me at or call me at 801-388-8279.

Hope to see you all there!

My angel

For years, my sweet friend Sue has watched over me as only an angel can. As my Relief Society president, she has fulfilled every aspect of that calling in her service towards me. As my angel, she is celestial in her love and care of me. The winter months have never treated me well; depression typically settles in and I battle the darkness until the buds of Spring appear. For as long as Sue has known that about me...beautiful, bright flowers would appear regularly on my porch during the winter months. Anytime disappointment would appear, flowers, notes, and cards from Sue would surface to ease the sting. I no longer live within the ward boundaries but the distance has not mattered as oft-times daily, little reminders of her love for me are left on my doorstep.

Sue is truly an me, to her children, to all those who have a need. More than anyone I know, she 'gets it' and is an agent of love from our Heavenly Father. I woke this morning to one of her sweet gifts and my heart is so full of gratitude for her. She has laughed with me and held me when I've cried. Her own health issues and heartaches have only served the purpose of serving more. I am so grateful for this gift of love in my life and know that she carries within her arms multiple answers to the prayers I have offered. I love her so very much and am not as good as I should be at showing my gratitude. That is going to change because she is sacred in her efforts to love and serve me.

My life is full of angels..those who pray for me, love me, and give of their time and resources to me as I face this new challenge. I am so grateful for each of you. Know that you too "are loved" and that my heart is humbled by your goodness.

My check in today is ..physically, I feel renewed, emotionally, I feel loved and supported, spiritually, I feel humbled. My commitment is to show gratitude more fully, and my affirmation is..
I can help another face anguish. It softens me and makes way for the laughter and love I need.

Love and gratitude always...Cyndi

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It's midnight and sleep is still eluding me. Today I have felt tired and overwhelmed emotionally. In all reality, I know that I am nervous. I feel like I only have a few more days where everything that makes me "me" will be determining the direction of my life. I have never been one who can relax amidst the sea of unknowns. Right now...I am swimming in it. Some days, the seas are calm and I can take in the experiences of the moment with ease. Other days, the waves distract me and leave me with a sense of uncertainty and fear. Most days, I experience both...and once in a while, I forget that I am out to sea at all.

Spent time with Katie and Amy tonight and listened as they talked about fund raisers and all the wonderful people who have joined me in this journey with generosity and love. As I listened, I could not help but feel a little overwhelmed by all the effort and time that will be expended on my behalf. It is hard to realize that I am so in need of the love and support of others. Being on the receiving end has never been easy for me and I have passed that on to my children. I've always had the sense that it wasn't good because it robs others of the opportunity to share their love with us. And, it is rooted in a fierce need for the independence that tells the world that we are capable, strong, and good enough to face the challenge. So, when I say that I am humbled by the acts of is the truth.

I am especially grateful for my children and for Linda and Amy, my oldest and youngest sister. They have flooded me with kindness and genuine caring and love. Nightly text messages from Amy telling me "Goodnight Miss Cyndi" bounce smiles all the way through me. Daily check-ins and encouragement from Linda reinforce her love for me. As I have thought so much of the two of them, I realize that they have always loved me unconditionally and done so without any expectation of anything in return. How grateful I am for that tonight. To each one of you, I am grateful for your daily thoughts and prayers and your willingness to share that with me.

When I was recovering from a devastating adolescent blunder, my father gave me a necklace with the words "I am loved" on the pendant because he wanted me to always remember how loved I was. I wore that necklace int0 my adult life and never took it off. When I would forget the intended message, I would hold it in my hand until that sense of being loved returned. Sadly, after the birth of one of my children, the necklace was misplace and never found. For Christmas this year, my children gave me a necklace with a pendant engraved with one word; Mom. When I reach up and touch it, I hear those words "I am loved" and I feel comforted.

My check-in tonight is..physically, I am sore, emotionally, I feel nervous and subdued, spiritually, I feel grateful and humbled. My commitment is to express gratitude and my affirmation is..
"I am loved."
Love and gratitude always...Cyndi

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

...and a little one shall lead thee

One of my clients is a young 6th grader who has experienced more loss and more trauma than any child should ever have to experience. One of my goals is to create the sense of trust that has been lacking in his life. My client is an intelligent young person who often retreats to the fantasies created by authors who spin stories of courageous warriors and the lives they touch. Following my diagnosis and treatment plan, I thought of the potential impact for each of my clients. This young person topped my list as I thought of all the losses he had experienced and the relationship I had established. As a result, I chose to talk about my illness and convey some sense of reassurance. After questions about the illness, losing my hair, and my health for a while were satisfied, this sweet young person turned to me and said..."I know a lot about loss. I know it is scary and I know that it is so hard to understand..." And then he said the words that continue to resonate in my heart. With the eagerness of age, my client turned to me and with wisdom that surpasses most adults said " I can help you Cyndi." And my hope is that with that statement my client will begin to process and understand the grief that is causing such disruption in a young life. And by doing so, I believe that truly, I will be helped as well.

I am less than a week away from starting chemotherapy. The feelings I have remind me of the days leading up to Mitch leaving on his mission. I knew he was going to leave; I wanted him to leave, and I believed in the good that would result from him leaving. But every ounce of a mothers heart was screaming to have him stay. During the last few days, the emotional conflict I experienced felt overwhelming. I wanted it but I didn't want it. I wanted him to go but I didn't want him to leave. And yet, in spite of the many emotions running rampant in my heart, I knew that the day was going to come and he was going to leave. Even as I sat next to him at the MTC, everything in me was saying "I can't do this, I can't let you go" even though there was really no choice. He was going. (I remember driving home thinking "the church can't be true...this is just too hard! :-)") That is how I am feeling about starting chemotherapy. I want to but I don't want. I want to make time stand still but it won't. I want to turn and run but there is no where to go. And inspite of all the emotions running rampant through my Wed. I will start chemotherapy. I will be sick, I will cry, I will fight depression...I will want to give up. And many of the dreams I have fought to become reality may be put on hold. That feels like a lot of loss to me...

With that said, I have to remind myself and each of you for the hard days ahead of what I know. I know that there is not a single loss that can occur in this life that the Lord cannot restore. Maybe not in the way we might expect but certainly, that He keeps his promise. I know that trials are for the purpose of guiding us to the strength, courage, and faith that we forget we possess. I know that while He cannot often lift our burdens, He can strengthen our backs so that we can bear them. I know that when we have faith and trust...the Lord is always on time. I know that it is the humanness in each of us that wants to rush the process leaving us feeling that the Lord has forsaken us. I know that this is not true..that He is always on time..His time.

I want each of you to know that it is because of the love of family, friends (those I have met and those I have not) and my Father in Heaven that I am able to have this knowledge. I am humbled in ways I have never before experienced by the goodness that is in my life right now. For strangers who freely give, for sisters who love me and make me laugh, for daughters who remind me of who I am, for sons who honor me, for friends who feed me..physically, emotionally, and spiritually, for colleagues who build me up, for parents who give me hope, for sons-in-law who love and accept me and love my daughters, for grand-children who keep me young, for clients whose courage inspires me, and most important for the loving arms of a Heavenly Father that, when the darkness of the night scares me, wrap me in the security that all will be well.

So my check in is this...physically, I feel strong in spite of the illness attacking my body, emotionally, I am humbled and serene, spiritually, I am loved. My commitment is that I will "remember", and my affirmation is...

"I will accept this opportunity to handle and face this situation that I long to run from."

Love and gratitude always...Cyndi

Monday, January 3, 2011


First and foremost, today is officially the first visit to the doctor where I received good news. My bloodwork came back indicators of any cancer cells and now we have a baseline to track further potential incidences from.

As I walked through the corridors of the hospital I was so aware of the people around me. I had always noticed the people there. I worked there for ten years, interacting with physicians, staff, and patients. Today was, I saw the people as I passed them. I saw the wheelchairs, the confused looks, the worried expressions and my eyes were drawn to them in a way I have yet to experience. I wondered what their story was as my path briefly crossd theirs. I wondered how many of them were fighting the same emotions that plagued me whenever I walked through the entrance doors. I thought of their children, their parents, their companions and hoped that they had love to lift their burdens as I do. My heart ached for those who were obviously struggling in a way that it never had before...For years, I worked with victims of trauma in the ER. I saw the worst of humanity and I also saw the best. I became somewhat immune to the tragedies that people experience. From a professional standpoint-that had kept me safe..and allowed me to maintain a sense of hope amidst the chaos we create when we chose to not care. Today was different and I was grateful.

I woke up early this morning with the sense of dread that has come to accompany me to my appointments. I had been struggling to understand why things had felt so hard the past week since my last visit. As I talked to my Heavenly Father I realized what had been absent from my heart and prayed with all my heart to have it restored. Many years ago, I had sacred experiences with Elder Jeffrey Holland that aided me in my efforts to keep my family and children close as my marriage dissolved. During those years of visiting with him, he instilled in me an inpenetrable sense of hope. Over the years, it has been that hope that has kept the light burning with the world turned dark for either myself or a child. It was the beacon that allowed me to face my challenges with grace (after the meltdowns) and faith. It is the driving force behind the passion I feel for the work that I do professionally. It has always been the lullaby that lulled me to sleep during lonely, frightening times. It is the sunshine during the winter months when depression pounds at my door. Last week, when I was given the news about my cancer...I came home empty. The wind and the snow blowing outside had managed to find its way into my heart and I became afraid. As I prayed this morning I realized that I had allowed my hope to attach itself to the negativity of the physicians words. With that realization, my prayer took a different meaning as I explained to the Lord how vital it was to every aspect of my life to regain my sense of hope. Truly, I pleaded with all my heart to have my gift restored. I cannot survive without it. Without hope, I go the darkest places in my heart that tell me that I am not good enough, that nothing will ever work, that who I am is not enough. The very places I try to teach my clients to heal from and attach a new meaning to.

As I write this, I do so with hope in my heart...not because the physician gave it back to me, not because for now I am cancer free but because a loving Father in Heaven heard the pleadings of his daughter and blessed her with His peace.

My check-in today is this...physically, I am strong, emotionally, I am hopeful and I am loved, spiritually, I know God lives. My committment is to share my hope with anyone whose life I am blessed to interact with..those I know, those whose pain I know of, those with whom I work and serve, and most importantly with you who are following my blog and love and support me. My affirmation is..

"I am a woman of hope."
Your words "I am here" as you read my posts reassure me and remind me that although I travel this road without a companion...I am never alone. Love and gratitude always...Cyndi