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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sometimes, messages of love surprise us by the wrapping which they arrive in. Often, they come when we least expect them but need them the most. Such was the case with this message of love sent to me by a child who has the magical gift of letting music express emotions that have difficulty expressing themselves in any other forum. Thank you Amy...for being aware of me and seeing me through the eyes of my struggle...and for allowing yourself to be there when I need the strength of another to guide me though it. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

At best, it has been a difficult week both physically and emotionally.  Physically, I have been battling a staph infection in the wound left by the removal of my port. This was followed by a nasty bout with Bronchitis.  Emotionally, I have been in every nook and every corner of a mother's heart as I have made hard but necessary choices on behalf of a child. 

Sunday morning, Mitch came downstairs and realizing how ill I was, laid his head on my lap and cried the quiet tears of a child struggling to understand why life has to be so hard.  I am grateful for the tender hearts of my children.  Right now, it is their hearts that mine ache for. I miss being able to be there for them and feel so sad that their hearts have to ache for me.

When I was first diagnosed, the nurse told me to plan that the next year would be donated to the cancer.  At the time, the fear and uncertainty of what my future held made a year seem like a small price to pay.  In my logical mind, I still believe that.  My heart is waning as I am realizing how long this year is becoming.  Discouragement is nipping at my heels as I watch my children come to terms with their own heartaches realting to our journey through cancer.  I long to feel like myself be physically and emotionally present for my children and grandchildren.  I try to visualize what it will feel like to feel whole again..both physically and emotionally without the daily reminders of what my body has been through the past 7 months.  Ahhh... to have a bad hair day again seems like such a blessing!

As challenges and struggles continue to appear, I daily remind myself of what I know about life, about love, and about a Father in Heaven who knows the corners of my heart where my greatest fears and heartaches hide.  As stated in 2 Nephi 4 verse 9..'I know in whom I have trusted."  As I have wrestled with the hard things that have presented themselves in my life this week, those words have been the banner running through my mind and truly, I know in whom I have trusted.

It's hard to wrap our minds around the painful aspects of life that we are all called upon to endure.  More times than not, we struggle to make sense when there are no answers in sight.  We question, we doubt, we cry, and at times...wonder where God is as we do so.  I have done all those things.  I have bounced from hope to hopelessness and from faith to fear more times in a day than should be humanely possible.  At the end of a good cry and what feels like a broken heart, I return to what I know and that is that 'I know in whom I have trusted.'  And the lesson learned is that no matter how senseless something may feel, He knows the end from the beginning and He is control.  My greatest blessings have emerged from my deepest tragedies.  From that, I have learned to be patient as He weaves the path that ultimately brings me back to where my heart lives.  It is there that I find the faith and hope to continue to endure all that He asks of me.

In the midst of turmoil and confusion, I am grateful for the strength of my children.  Even when that strength dwindles as life brings challenges, I know that ultimately they will survive.  And I know that I will survive.  The path is strewn with difficult moments however in the end....I know in whom I have trusted...

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anything For A Friend Event

Anything for a Friend is just that....anything for a friend.  My event was magical at best...filled with more love and support than one heart could hold.  What a wonderful opportunity to experience the goodness of others as they did 'anything for a friend.'  I could spend hours sharing the many, many acts of service rendered on my behalf.  I could share the laughter and the tears that are a part of this experience.  With pictures and words, I could string together a chain of inpenetrable friendship and love.  Right now though, my mind lingers on my greatest insight...'and a little child shall lead them...'

The week of my event I answered my front door to find a sweet little toddler standing there holding a pizza with a card clutched tightly in his tiny hand.  As he and his mother entered the door, he immediately ripped open the card as he excitedly announced that he sold pizzas for me.  The 5, one hundred dollar bills that fell to the floor were unmatched by the obvious joy that this little one felt at doing something for this woman he had just a minute before met.  Two years old and his mother had already taught him that service is full of love, excitement, and unadulterated joy. 

The night before my event a young girl came to my door with 114 cupcakes she had spent the entire day making.  As we talked about my event and the upcoming ones, she extracted a promise from me that I would let her help with those who follow me.  She too had the vision of what it meant to spend her time and energy on something even bigger than what she knew it to be.  At a young age, she saw an opportunity to do something for someone else and she took it.

Not sure how to begin to describe the two young men who have touched my heart in such a profound way that I struggle to contain the emotion when their faces flit through my mind's eye.
Tyler, who came to the event, became ill, went home to take some medicine, and returned to be there.  As I introduced him and acknowledged the goodness of his heart, he turned his head into my shoulder and began to cry.  Tyler is 14 and cancer is ravaging his young body. The love I felt from such a young person battling such a deadly battle is now permanently etched in my heart.  Follow Tyler's story at

Then there is my sweet Dylan who is the 9 yr old son of one of my 'other daughters' who is fighting a losing battle with brain cancer. His time here on this earth is short and he seems determined to fill it helping others in spite of his physical limitations and ailments.  Dylan was there at the event, money in hand to contribute.  Dylan won a raffle item...a large stuffed animal and when his name was read as the winner, I couldn't have been happier.  That happiness quickly turned to tender awe as I watched him being pushed in his wheelchair to Samantha...a little 6 yr old also battling cancer.  Without hesitation, he gave her his winnings and watched as she hugged it close.  He returned home and spent the next week putting together a lemonade stand and bake sale to make money for his new friend Tyler.  He was successful beyond measure.  Love always prevails...even if it is for someone you just met.  Dylan's life is the ultimate measure of that.

So when I say that my event was a success...this is what I am referring to.  These are children whose hearts have been changed through a challenge that as adults, we run from.  The world has not yet taught them to run from their fear and anguish so they embrace it with the purest forms of service and love.  They have taught me so much about love by the innocence through which they give to others in the midst of their own fight to survive.  What a wonderful word this could be if we could all return to that place of innocence that allows us to forget ourselves, love more freely, and share who we are with those around us.  Through the eyes of children, I am reminded how simple life can be...even in the wake of a storm, when we reach out to others.  As a result, the winds have quieted, the storm subsided and my hope renewed.  How does one adequately express gratitude for that?   

Never underestimate the power of the simple acts of kindness we all hold in our hearts. 
Gratidue and love always....Cyndi

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One more surgery...

Today I went into surgery for the removal of my port. As Katie and I sat waiting, memories of my last surgery flooded me. I found emotions that I have avoided feeling surface as we talked and shed a few tears. It wasnt until I felt the bright, sterile coldness of the operating room that the emotions fully reached the surface. Fortunately, there was only a few moments until I drifted off into the safety the anesthesia provided. I will never forget the day that I had my double mastectomy. I waited to go back to surgery under the watchful, protective eyes of my children and family. I was heavily clad in courage until I left the security of their love and was wheeled down the hall towards the operating room. As I rounded the corner, there leaning against the wall was my youngest son Mitch. He smiled but it did not hide the tears running down his cheeks and the sadness in his glance. How grateful I was that his sweet face was the last I saw before I went into the operating room. Katie was unable to be there that day and although the reason that kept her away was important, I missed her. It was after I recovered the anesthesia that I realized that through the windows of my heart, I had seen her there, with Mitch, as I was wheeled by. That was a blessing from a Heavenly Father who knew the heart of a mother that needed to see each of her children before she underwent such a major surgery.  On that day, as the doors to the operating room opened and the starkness of the room hit me, my own tears began to fall. The anesthesiologist asked the reason for my tears and I remember feeling surprised that he would even need to ask the question. I cried out I didn't want to do this, placed a hand on each of my breasts and drifted away from the emotion that was choking me.

After that, there wasn't a lot of time to think about the loss I had experienced. There was recovery and preparation for chemotherapy. It just was what it was and I avoided the emotion attached to the experience. Even the scars, the drains, and the pain were unable to distract me from the denial in which I protected my hurt. I was surprised by that but greatly appreciative of the shelter it afforded me. My surgery today cracked my shell and opened up avenues for the pain to begin creeping though. I felt vulnerable and insecure for the first time as I made my way from surgery to my first radiation treatment. It wasn't until I was lying on the cold, steel table under the colder machine above my head, bare from the waist up that the reality hit me. What was once a most intimate, personal part of my body was now the drawing board for two radiologists as they marked with red ink the pathway for the radiation to follow. They were sensitive and kind, professional and confident... but still, unaware of the emotion I was feeling.

I left the hospital with a heavy heart, longing for the time that my body would become my own again..private and sacred. Life is hard and we are faced with loss and disappointment that time often forgets to give us the opportunity to prepare for. I am not sure I could have dealt with these feelings as I entered chemotherapy. Often we are blessed with a delay in the full awareness of the gravity of our experiences until we have the strength to process and embrace it. To me, that is yet another evidence of the tender mercies that are a part of being a child of a loving Father in Heaven. And when we come face to face with the tragedy we have experienced, He is there with His eternal promise of peace and comfort. Truly, He has never left me comfortless when I have prayed for His peace to remove the sadness, fear and anxiety that on occasion, nipped at my heels with every step I took. So, as I shed a tear or two, I reflect back to the words of one of my favorite songs that I shared early in my blog....'my tears are not a surrender....but for now, just let me cry.' My own tears are not a surrender...they are the means by which my heart will heal from the losses I have experienced these last six months. It would be foolish to sacrifice so much so that my body can heal and avoid the tears that will heal my heart. So for now...."Just let me cry. I know its hard to see but the pain I feel isn't going away today. So just let me cry, til all my tears have fallen. Don't ask why and don't ask how.  Just let me cry."

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi