Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guess who is featured on "I Had Cancer"? That would be ME!

Look who is featured on I Had Cancer? Yours truly! Best yet are the words of encouragement I have received! Read on with a few of the comments underneath. I am so blessed! I actually had over 300 comments, so I won't post all, but there are a few to give you a flavor. They made me so happy. I get so much strength and courage from people I've never met.

"I had cancer. Multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. Tom Brokaw has it, so does Mat Damon's dad. This disease mostly hits older men. But I was 44 when diagnosed. Otherwise very healthy. I ran five days a week, ate mostly organic fruits and veggies, took my vitamins, and was extremely health conscious. The minute I was diagnosed, I left my alcoholic husband (who, by the way, screamed and spit in my face on the day I was getting tested for said cancer, calling me a drama queen, lazy and a loser) and moved my daughters and I two states away, into my parents basement, and entered treatment immediately. I got loads of chemo, lost all my hair and eyebrows, got two stem cell transplants within a four month period, and got into remission. It's been three years since I was diagnosed...sometimes it's really hard, sometimes I struggle with fatigue and neuropathy and chemo brain. But I live, breathe, love and laugh--as trite as that may seem. I fear less- I went hang gliding for my birthday. I took my kids to Italy this past summer and we ate untold amounts of gloriously fresh pasta and cappuccinos. My body isn't perfect anymore but it has survived and it's thriving. Hooray for that!" – Lizzy, Multiple Myeloma Survivor

Connect with Lizzy here: ihadcancer.com/lizzysmilez

"I had cancer. Multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. Tom Brokaw has it, so does Mat Damon's dad. This disease mostly hits older men. But I was 44 when diagnosed. Otherwise very healthy. I ran five days a week, ate mostly organic fruits and veggies, took my vitamins, and was extremely health conscious. The minute I was diagnosed, I left my alcoholic husband (who, by the way, screamed and spit in my face on the day I was getting tested for said cancer, calling ...me a drama queen, lazy and a loser) and moved my daughters and I two states away, into my parents basement, and entered treatment immediately. I got loads of chemo, lost all my hair and eyebrows, got two stem cell transplants within a four month period, and got into remission. It's been three years since I was diagnosed...sometimes it's really hard, sometimes I struggle with fatigue and neuropathy and chemo brain. But I live, breathe, love and laugh--as trite as that may seem. I fear less- I went hang gliding for my birthday. I took my kids to Italy this past summer and we ate untold amounts of gloriously fresh pasta and cappuccinos. My body isn't perfect anymore but it has survived and it's thriving. Hooray for that!" – Lizzy, Multiple Myeloma Survivor
Lisa Marie Gutowski You rock babe! I wonder how much of the abusive relationship was the cause of the Cancer?
Judy Herrmann you've given me goosebumps. love to you and your children. i am 7 years cancer free and i agree with what you said about our bodies not being perfect. chemo and radiation took their toll on my body, but i am adjusted to my new "normal" and send best wishes to all cancer patients and cancer survivors. 
Brenda McLain You are one strong woman! You did the right thing for yourself and your girls. God Bless you! Best wishes for continued good health and much happiness... and maybe someone that deserves you!
Cynthia Shipwash Young You are awesome!!! X husband asshole right!! My son is a 2/year survivor of testicular cancer. I pray you and he remain cancer free for the rest of your lives!!
Susie Strauch Congratulations on your strength, your mental, emotional and physical healing!
Kathleen Wold Murray Wow, congratulations. I'm sure it wasn't easy dealing with your marriage and cancer at the same time, but us women are stronger than we think we are. God Bless (from an 8-year survivor).
Gary Cosgrove Best thing to do is leave those that are not there for you in your time of need ,I know that personnel experience me same no. Chemo but radiation that stuff cooks the doc's have taken a good feed away from the dogs in the end I am in remission at this time ,no fear of death it will come one day just not yet live every day the best you can ,for some days will be great others not so ,just do the best you can and love those. That are the most important people in your life and keep fighting the good fight, 9 years coming up 5 in remission
  • Marilyn Stevenson So proud of you Lizzie. You have worked. I am s two time breast cancer survivor and feel great and so blessed. Take care of yourself and continue to enjoy life. Xoxoxo
  • Debbie Houran I was diagnosed at 36 with mm and after 2 transplants am now in a clinical trial through the University of Chicago with oprozomib. So far, so good. I'm still considered in remission and am 7 years out from diagnosis. I wish you all the luck, hope, prayers and good wishes I have been lucky enough to have gotten and many more years of happy living for both of us.

    Rebecca Shaw That's awesome your in remission and fought it and beat it, sorry your husband was so ugly to you no one deserves that, moving on with your children was the best thing to do. God Bless
    Arthur Quesada I thank God everyday for what have each day. Thank you for your testimony of great courage I want to wish you His best in your life's journey best to all of you.

    Annie Maguire My sister at 51 was diagnosed with MM...same as you, two stem cell transplants and massive chemo...last treatment 2004...Going strong to this day..

    Bernice Whalen Congratulations on not just beating cancer, but for being the courageous role model to your daughters by deciding to value yourself and walking away from a bad relationship which would have been just as destructive, if not more so, than the cancer.

    Sylvia Gutierrez You go girl God bless you. Live life with many blessings

    Bill Scoble I WAS DIAGNOSED WHEN I WAS 44 to with multiple myeloma had rounds of chemo didn't lose my hair on till they took my cells for my transplant had my transplant went home the same day now in remission for 2years.

    Asselin-lamky Jacquie one year ago today I was in the cancer hospital was told I had 3 to 6 months to live as I have AML acute myeloid leukemia I had a biopsy bone marrow if I was to refuse to immediately start chemo treatments they would then send me to pallatiff care what a scary moment it was for myself and my family, today is my husband;s birthday so a year ago was not a very pleasant one and today we buried our best friend he died of pancreatic cancer so December 27th is not a good memoral day but I must share that I am in remission since juy 2014, my prayers are with all the cancer victims GOD BLESS XXX

    Gerilyn Gigi Shaw You are such a strong woman.. Keep fighting!!

    The Accusations: What my ex says about me, my rebuttal, and how it's impacted my future relationships

    My latest via Divorced Moms. I am slowly updating my readers on Divorced Moms about my prior life with an alcoholic. I am taking a few older posts, refreshing them, and sharing them with a whole different audience. In the past month, I've heard from quite a few readers who have just discovered my blog so I know these stories resonate. I certainly hope so, anyway! Here goes, enjoy!

    Finding Lizzy: How Life With An Alcoholic Impacted My Behavior
    by Lizzy Smith                    
    December 30, 2014
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    A while ago, a friend and I were talking about my former life with Rob, my alcoholic ex-husband. (In case you've missed it, I was married to a highly functioning, verbally abusive alcoholic. I finally left him on the day I was being tested for cancer when Rob, in a drunken rage, spit in my face, calling me a thief, loser, drama queen and lazy.) This friend then he asked me a very thought-provoking question: What would Rob say about me? What would he claim were the reasons our marriage didn't work out?
    Well that was easy enough because Rob screamed these accusations at me all the time. Here they are, along with my rebuttal:

    Rob says: You're a control freak!
    Lizzy Says: Absolutely and completely false.

    This accusation from the mouth of an alcoholic is so trite and boring. Pretty much every alcoholic says that their partner (or children, parents, etc) is a control freak. After all, how dare anyone have the audacity of saying the alcoholic's behavior is unacceptable, right?

    The reality is, I had no control. Every ounce of control was held by Rob the Great (Alcoholic). Every single thing I did was controlled by Rob's temper tantrums, expected temper tantrum, or a hope that I could somehow avoid a temper tantrum. By Rob's refusal to do almost anything around the house meant that I was worked to the bone, overstressed, overtaxed and, eventually, sick and fighting for my life.
    Control? The only thing I controlled was the cleanliness of the home. The more chaotic our alcoholic home became, the cleaner I tried to keep the house. To the point that it became an obsession.

    Rob Says: You have a hair-trigger temper!
    Lizzy Says: I deserve a medal for restraint

    When one is getting screamed at, belittled, and emotionally terrorized pretty much every day, I think I deserve a medal for keeping my mouth shut most times. True, after a couple days of silence, I would email or text Rob messages about how I really felt. Mostly that he was a lazy, pathetic, abusive drunk and I hated him.

    But I walked away from Rob ninety percent of the time I was terrorized. And for that, I am proud of my behavior. Of course, what I should have done was left his drunk ass as soon as I realized what a jerk he was.

    Keep reading... 

    Sunday, December 28, 2014

    The abuser: Always in search of a scapegoat

    My latest via Divorced Moms. Over the past, say, six months, I've had several readers contact me privately about their abusive spouses and almost without exception, their abuser tried to convince them that it was their fault for the abuse. Truth is, it isn't. Here's my take.

    Victims Are Not At Fault For An Abuser's Behavior, Says Dr. Phil
    by Lizzy Smith 
    December 27, 2014
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    Once a month, I get an Aridia infusion to keep my bones strong, which means a four hour appointment via IV. This is part of my maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma (a blood cancer). I am in remission but my indefinite treatment is time consuming. So if I'm not writing and blogging, I will watch TV. During one of these appointments, I caught up on a past Dr Phil episode on the OWN channel and, I swear, I think the couple was talking about my relationship. It nearly knocked my socks off. I soon was reaching into my bag for my trusty notebook and pen and started furiously taking notes as I was literally spellbound by this chilling story. The couple was Michael and Maggie and here are my notes along with my observations:
    • Stunted maturity of the alcoholic: Alcoholics (even highly functioning alcoholics) have stunted maturity. They stopped maturing years prior and they act like children. They are unable to handle stress. Oh.My.Gosh: So true. Rob's (my ex-husband) screaming fits and temper tantrums are strikingly like that of a young child.  
    • Stunted maturity of the victim spouse (and children): Because the victim(s) live in a world of uncertainty, chaos and emotional abuse, victims stop maturing, too. Such behavior often causes the victim to get ill (emotionally and physically). Wow- if this isn't me, I don't know what is. Thanks, Rob the Great (Alcoholic).
    • Alcoholics are driven by the pleasurable principle and pretty much nothing else: So true. Rob lives for the moment and seeks pleasure above all else. Vacations, drinking, naps, movies, vacations, drinking, diving, fishing, sleeping, drinking, naps, diving, fishing. That's pretty much it. Anything (besides his job) that isn't FUN is an annoyance. Somehow, when he stopped emotionally developing, got it into his sick head that anything that got in the way of his "fun" (like true parenting, or helping around the home, or going to therapy, or paying bills, or managing a vacation rental) deserved his anger. After all, how dare anyone expect anything of him but to seek out fun?
    • Blame anyone (and everyone) for taking away his pleasure and stressing him out: He blamed everyone, anyone, any thing for getting in the way of his pleasure. It was me, his kids, money, his job, me, me, ME for expecting anything from him. He said I was his trigger. Then it was his work project. He even went to far as to tell me that pretty much everyone on his team was getting divorces so it was the company's fault. See? Nothing, none of it at all, was his.
    • The alcoholic promises to get well as soon as this one last stress is off his plate: Hmmm... wow, how many millions of times did Rob tell me that he would be a better man as soon as (fill in the blank), he... finished a work project, went on VACATION, finished up a court battle with his ex-wife, moved his oldest daughter out of the house... You name it, the promises to get well in just a few more days or weeks were ENDLESS (and all lies).
    • A restless mind: Rob told me his alcohol therapist told him that he had a restless mind. That Rob was unable to clear his mind and rest, which made him self medicate with alcohol. Except Rob never went to therapy past more than a session or two, because, sheesh, that wasn't fun. So, well, getting better just never happened. It was far better that he continue victimizing his family because, really, his pleasure was the only thing that matters.
    • An inflated sense of self worth: Wow, how many times did Rob tell me that he had so much to offer and, my gosh, it was all my fault that I failed to recognize his greatness. And, who the FUCK was I to try and change any part of his greatness because he was just so fucking amazing?
    This is what Maggie, Dr Phil's guest, had to say. Sounds like my experience to a T:

    Keep reading...

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    My Green Bean cooking demo (great recipe, even for the neutropenic patient)

    My latest cooking demo as seen on Myeloma Crowd. I love doing cooking demos. So fun. Plus, since I know full well what it's like to be neutropenic and try to eat all that horrible pre packaged "safe" food (maybe safe for getting food-born illnesses but not safe for the palate, if you ask me, gag), I knew there had to be another way of eating because pre-packaged burritos and pizzas and canned soups were awful. I found that "other way" the second time I was neutropenic and that time, I ate like a (healthy) queen. Talk to your doctor first, always, but so can you. Here's one way to get one healthy, powerfully anti-cancer, punch to your day of eating. Plus, this recipe is for everyone-- my kids love it, and so do I. Healthy, flavorful, smells amazing... Enjoy!

    Fresh Green Been Recipe & Cooking Demo (safe for the neutropenic patient)

    One of the hardest aspects of chemo treatments for me was neutropenia because I couldn’t eat fresh fruits of veggies. One more frozen pizza and I thought I was going to scream. Except, I soon learned, I could eat delicious fresh foods– if I cooked the heck out of them! (Now before you do the same, please discuss this with your doctor.) So since I did tandem stem cell transplants, I was prepared the second time around. I did my transplant as an outpatient but moved into a Marriott Residence Inn, which had a full kitchen, for almost two weeks because it was just three miles from Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital where I was treated. And I went shopping before I got there. I picked up spinach, garlic, apples, bananas, berries, tomatoes, asparagus and green beans. I ate like a queen (granted, I’m one of the “lucky” ones who didn’t struggle with nausea or diarrhea during transplant and I craved foods– lots of food– and I actually gained weight). One of my favorite recipes is right here. I still cook up this one because everyone in my family loves it. Plus with loads of garlic, it has tons of nutrients for the cancer-fighter.

    To watch my live cooking demo, click here: Satueed Green Beans With Garlic

    Sautéed Green Beans With Garlic

    Ingredients:-Green Beans (fresh or frozen)
    -Fresh Garlic (peeled) – I buy the bags of fresh garlic already peeled and ready to go at either Walmart or Costco. It’s in the produce section
    -Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 3 tablespoons)
    -1 tablespoon Soy Sauce (or more if you like)
    -1 teaspoon Sesame Seed Oil
    – Sea Salt (to taste)

    1. Coat the bottom of a large fry pan with olive oil. Heat oil on medium high setting on the stovetop (about a 7).
    2. Add garlic and stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. (I slice the garlic up so it cooks faster.
    3. Once the garlic is a soft yellow, add the green beans to the pan. Stir to coat the green beans with the oil/garlic mixture (usually takes about a minute or two).
    4. Add the soy sauce. Stir to coat.
    5. Add the sesame seed oil. Stir to coat.
    6. Salt the green beans to taste.
    7. Use a garlic press to add additional garlic to the green beans. I usually use about four cloves of garlic. You can use more or less depending on your taste.
    8. Once the green beans have blended with the oils (about 4 minutes), turn the stovetop down to about a 3. Allow green beans to cook thoroughly, about 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently so garlic and green beans don’t burn. Especially for the neutropenic patient, allow additional time to cook thoroughly. If you cook on low and continue stirring, it is hard to over-cook them.

    Serve and enjoy!

    To see the article in its entirety, click here.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Divorced Moms: My Christmas Wish List. May Love & Cancer Cures Be Under My Tree

    Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and what better time than make my own Christmas Wish List. Hey, why not me, right? Here goes, my latest via Divorced Moms.

    My Christmas Wish List. May Love & Cancer Cures Be Under My Tree
    by Lizzy Smith                     
    December 24, 2014
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    Dear Santa,

    I know my children have bamboozled you with their wants. But so far, I've been silent. I've been a very good girl this past year. I've worked hard, survived a lot, and have tried to be really nice to everyone around me. What I want most is for the world to be a better place. That seems like a broad request, but I've narrowed it down to just eight things I want, most of them not costing a thing.

    1. A cure for cancer
    Cancer kills and destroys everything in its path, except the spirit of us resilient survivors. I ask that the medical community continues making progress towards finding better treatments and cures. And I pray even harder that cancer warriors participate in clinical trials, because that's the only way progress is ever made.

    2. Early cancer screenings to increase
    When it comes to cancer, early detection is key. It gives us our best odds of beating it and surviving. As such, this past year, I've had full on cancer screenings and I want others to do the same. I lead by example and this year, I got...
    -A mammogram. It's an easy exam and painless. If one is over 40 or has a history of breast cancer, she should talk to her doctor but I highly recommend getting one.
    -A pap smear and exam
    -A colonoscopy. I'm not yet 50 and I don't have a family history of colon cancer, but since I beat the odds by getting multiple myeloma, I figured that I can't be too cautious. Plus my friend, Mandy, died of colon cancer just six months ago at the age of 44. Her advice was to get a colonoscopy. So I did. I gotta say, it was easy-peasy. The worst part was the prep-- 24 hours of swallowing laxatives and drinking icky stuff. For the exam itself, they give me a little IV cocktail, I took a nap, and when I woke, it was over. Painless.
    -A skin cancer screening. Every inch of my body was examined for any worrisome signs.
    -A complete blood work panel to review for any signs of trouble.
    So far, all clear! I want everyone to heed my advice to get cancer screenings, age appropriate, and be aware of changes to her body.

    Keep reading...

    Monday, December 22, 2014

    FEAR is when the Big C word is mentioned. AND I HATE IT

    So last Friday, I got my first ever colonoscopy. After getting a clean bill of health from my gynecologist (that lovely pap smear was fine), and the breast people (I had a mammogram last month and it was 'all clear'), I decided it was time to do the dreaded colonoscopy. I am not yet 50 years old and I do not have a history of colon cancer in my family. But, hey, I beat the odds with myeloma (I have no discernible risk factors and yet I got it, lucky me). And my close friend from high school (we went to Hawaii together after I graduated from high school and we spent far too many days skiing together and meeting cute ski instructors and then partying with them on the weekends), Mandy, died at the age of 44 from colon cancer. Mandy was diagnosed just a few weeks after I was diagnosed and when they caught it, it was Stage IV (mine was stage III) that had spread to her lung and hip. She encouraged everyone to get a colonoscopy before she died. Since hearing that warning (I was on a cruise in Greece at the time), it's been in the back of my head. And I finally did it.

    Actually, getting a colonoscopy is easy-peezy. The awful part is the prep-- swallowing five Dulcolax, drinking enormous amounts of red Gatorade (and I HATE Gatorade) with an ENTIRE bottle of Miralax in it, plus that awful fizzy thing drink, I wanted to puke my guts out. By the time I went to get the test, they simply gave me a margarita cocktail of drugs through my IV and the next thing you know, they were waking me up and it was over. And I was starving. The doctor said all was great, green light, no signs of cancer. Hooray!

    Today I went to my eye doctor for my follow up exam. I have tremendously dry eyes (thanks, chemo!) and there are times I want to claw them out. I am using Restasis two times a day and it is helping. The doctor says my left eye is totally healed and my right eye is about 50 percent healed. I am responding beautifully to treatment. Hooray!

    And then I celebrated this milestone by getting my first-ever Botox injections! I am actually going to write a whole article for Divorced Moms on this one, probably next week. I am waiting for the full effect so I can more fully report out if the $550 tab is worth it. And if I love it, maybe I'll get a little fillers. Call me vain and silly (you'd be right!) but after all the awful stuff I've been through, I feel like I need a pick-me-up. I feel like I look tired and worn out all the time. It's age but it's also Dex, and Velcade and Thalidomide, and stress, and cancer and... all of it! Sometimes yoga, happiness, breathing, rest, and love just doesn't get rid of the wear and tear I've endured. Plus it gives me something new to write about.

    But my story for the day does not end here. I had a home nurse come by, compliments of my health insurance company, for one of these little "wellness" visits. I used to do these when I worked and my employer would put $100 in my Flex-Spending account. Now my insurance company is giving me a WalMart gift card for an incentive. I declined the offer three times but I finally acquiesced. I mean, really, what is a home health nurse going to tell me that a weekly visit to my oncologist not? So he comes over, lists all the drugs and vitamins I'm taking, takes my weight, and then... he feels my neck. And tells me that my thyroid is enlarged and I needed to get that checked out. It could be nothing, a result of all the meds I take, or cancer. Huh??? Did he say CANCER. Oh my gosh I wanted him to get the FUCK out of my house because my head was spinning. Bad flashback of three years prior, Christmas, I'm here in Utah on vacation from my home in San Diego and I got that FIRST CALL from my doctor in San Diego that routine blood work showed some weird stuff and he was referring me to hematology/oncology. It was a horrible nightmare. I spent the rest of vacation researching on the internet if I was dying, trying to self-diagnose, and running off to Urgent Care to see if they could somehow diagnose me early. I was going crazy with fear. And all of those horrible things came rushing back. I ran to the Internet looking up thyroid cancer. I called my oncologist's office and spoke with my nurse, Jen. She seemed as baffled as I was. I told her I felt nothing enlarged and I didn't know what he was talking about. Jen said they'd examine me on Friday at my weekly visit.

    I hung up and I was sick. No way was I waiting until Friday, trying to smile over Christmas while I was sick to my stomach afraid of a new CANCER to deal with! So I rushed off to Urgent Care with my mom (gosh, this was familiar, and not in a good way). We met with the doctor. No signs of thyroid anything. No enlargement, no swollen lymph nodes or glands, no visible signs of anything, no symptoms. He had no idea what the heck that nurse was talking about either. And neither did I.

    Relief. No fear about thyroid cancer at all from me. Thank goodness! Now I can just look in the mirror tomorrow to see if there are signs of fewer wrinkles from the Botox.

    But this is one of the many reasons cancer SUCKS BEYOND BELIEF. I am afraid of everything slightly strange with my body. A bruise, a sore tongue, a cut that won't stop bleeding, a cough... is it CANCER? It takes my peacefulness away because my body is a foreign and unpredictable object to me. It has failed me once, will it fail me again? The answer is YES. Our bodies will, at won't point (or perhaps many) fail every single one of us. Because none of us are getting out of this alive. And when you have fought CANCER, we know this all too well, and that realization never leaves us. Even when we're laughing, or crying, or having fun, stuck in traffic and wanting to shoot the car in front of us, or... whatever. Nagging somewhere in the back of our minds is the fact that CANCER exists, it lurks, and it wants us DEAD. It is evil and powerful, dark and terrible. And light, hope, resilience and a KICK ASS attitude, drugs, good nutrition, and loads of answered prayers is one powerful weapon against that evil. I have a HUGE ARSENAL and I will WIN.

    And so there you have it. Happy Monday,


    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    Merry Chrismas!

    Dearest Readers,

    Click on the link for my Christmas card this year! Copy of Merry Christmas 2014

    May you feel the powerful spirit of Christmas, experience unconditional love, and take a little time for yourself. Life is precious. Embrace it. Thank you for the support from readers across the world! Your words, stories and emails inspire and encourage me. You rock!

    Much Love, Lizzy

    Pity is one powerful emotion. It helped keep me stuck in an abusive marriage too long

    My latest via Divorced Moms. The power of pity. Quite pitiful, eh?

    The Power Of Pity. Why I Stayed In An Abusive Marriage So Long
    by Lizzy Smith                     
    December 19, 2014
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    I am often asked why I stayed in a terrible marriage so long. I had a great job, made good money, and seemed strong and independent. Perhaps this story will help answer that.
    Not long ago, I had a dream nightmare. You know when you have a dream that feels so real that it takes hours to shake off the feelings it conjures up? Yep, that was this one. Ruined my morning. No amount of Bikram yoga or massages could help.

    I was back in my old life, living in the home I purchased with my ex-husband, Rob the Great (Alcoholic). In the nightmare, there I was, waking up in my old bed in our master bedroom. Rob was gone (probably on his work assignment- which, truth be told, entailed a few hours at work and lots of hours pounding beers with his work pals and contractors).

    Anyhooo, in my dream, I started off my typical morning, frantic with the enormous things I had to do that day. I scrambled out of bed, put on shoes and walked the two dogs as they pulled me up and down hills. I fed them. I took a shower. Then realized Rob's oldest daughter hadn't come home (again) so I texted Rob to let him know. Hoping she wasn't in a ditch. Not sure why I bothered because Rob certainly didn't seem to care. I dried my hair, put on makeup, got dressed, woke up the children, fed them breakfast, helped them get dressed, made their lunches, reminded them to brush teeth, did something with Siena's hair, got them all in the car and dropped the girls off at school, and made a phone call to my BFF Julie on my way to work to tell her about the latest drunken fight that I had with Rob.

    I got to work, read a few hateful texts from Rob about how he was such a great drunk guy and I needed to appreciate him more then everything would be just fine. I then started my day at work.

    After work, I drove home, picked up the girls, got home, walked the dogs, fed the dogs and made sure they had water, fed the girls, changed clothes, started a load of laundry, helped Morgan with homework, gave Siena a bath and wash and dried her hair, did the dishes, put laundry away, ran a few contracts for our vacation home, paid bills, reconciled the checking account (after having a heart attack that there was almost no money left in the account even though, together, Rob and I earned a substantial income) because child support and alimony just almost doubled after his younger daughter refused to live with Rob on rotation because he was still drinking uncontrollably. I then put Siena to bed and read her a story, tucked Morgan into bed, and then went on Craigslist to run ads for our vacation rental to keep those renters coming. If I had any energy left, I cleaned the house, took out the trash, and perhaps tried to calm down while taking a hot bath before crawling into bed around midnight.

    Keep reading...

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    50 years together! We celebrated my parents' Golden Anniversary Saturday night

    Amazing-- my parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! William and I hosted their party Saturday night and it was super fun and delicious. Perfect. My parents are amazing and I love them so much that there are no words. I wrote about it on Divorced Moms so you can read below. On Sunday, we hit up a great Christmas concert. I felt the true spirit of Christmas in a way that I haven't in years. A woman sung my favorite "Oh Holy Night" and I wanted to sob. I am so blessed, surrounded by people I love Every Single Day, doing things that matter in life, and doing my best to live for each day. Ok, I'm on a time crunch but here are some photos, article is at the bottom, keep scrolling.


    Celebrating 50 Years! Lessons Learned From My Parents
    by Lizzy Smith                     
    December 15, 2014
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    It's official: My parents have achieved a huge milestone, being married for 50 years! We celebrated on Saturday night with a party. The food was delicious, the house decorated beautifully, the kids all behaved and nothing got broken. And as I watched my parents together, I was emotional. The entire evening, I choked back tears as I watched them together. Their union has produced three children and five grandchildren, a few homes (all paid off), and, overall, quite a nice life. They travel extensively-- in a few weeks, they are leaving for Antarctica. They hit the gym almost every day to walk the track. They go to the symphony and for rides up the canyon. They go to church and worship God. When one is sick, the other drives to the doctor, picks up meds, and ensures recovery. My parents are surrounded by family and friends. They certainly aren't lonely and, in fact, usually their home is a revolving door of people coming in and out. While they aren't wealthy, they are by no means lacking for anything. It's not a bad life. How many of us are that lucky?

    Well, now that I think about it, luck has nothing to do with it. They have worked hard, planned well, lived conservatively, and they are (overall) on the same page-- working towards the same goals. If only I had chosen my husband better because divorce is traumatic and expensive. Divorce for me meant pitching the house, suffering emotionally, getting cancer, hurting the children, and taking a financial bath. Only if things are really super horrible at home is divorce worth it (and in my case, it was necessary—you can’t fix substance abuse and sticking around is horror for everyone involved).
    I can't imagine having made a wise choice in my pick of husbands. Think about it. Together, we could have purchased a home and perhaps paid it off in 15 or 30 years. We would have children living in an intact home. Maybe we could retire early. Christmas, summer breaks, Thanksgivings, graduations, and birthday parties-- all of them celebrated together. No fighting over assets and paying enormous sums to attorneys. And going into the Golden Years as a couple, picking vacations and meals together. Watching grandchildren coming into the world without having to plan visits around when the other parent might be showing up. Divorce and split families leaves complications and victims in its wake. It's not pretty. Then again, neither is the journey towards getting a divorce.

    Bad marriages are the true personification of Evil. Divorces are, too. I know a few friends who have had amicable splits but they are few and far between. For the most part, it's amazing how awful adults can be towards each other. It is tragic how two people who at one point, liked each other enough to make children, can become enemies. To the extreme of murder; to the lesser extreme of destroying reputations, lives, and compromising our own standards of decency. I am no different. My marriage and ensuing divorce brought out some of my worse traits. I learned what rage and blind hatred feel like and it is terrible. Learning to heal and find peace and comfort took time. I can honestly say that instead of wishing terrible things for my ex-husband, I've come to the point where I pray for him, for his recovery, and for his wellbeing. But it took over two years to get there.

    As I look ahead to the future, I hope I've learned from my past mistakes and from the example of my parents. I am working hard to ensure that my next mate is an amazing man, and my next marriage is a happy one. Here's what I'm doing differently:

    Keep reading...

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Love Notes

    The best and most important part of my life is being a mom. These two girls are the loves of my life. They are so fun and amazing people. I love them so much that it sometimes hurts. I look at them when they sleep sometimes and I cry. How God entrusted me to raise these girls I will never know. I am flawed but I do my best. This morning, Siena gave me a letter that she wrote for me while I was in San Francisco. I read it and, after I was done trying to decipher some of it and stopped laughing, I gave her the biggest hug. She has such a huge heart. Anyway, here it is.

    I love getting sweet love notes from my daughters! Best way to start my morning.

    It reads (I've corrected spelling where necessary):

    Dear Mommy,
    I love you so much and you are the best mom that a girl could have. You are so pretty. You are one of the nicest moms in the world. You are one of the best people who let nine year old girls do things other kids don't get to do. You are one of the sweetest moms in the world. You are like the star on the Christmas tree, just more pretty. You are like the most prettiest moms and humans in the world. Love Siena

    Ok, melt my heart already! She is seriously so dang funny.

    The other "lovely" message I heard was at the ASH conference. Several of us from Myeloma Crowd went to dinner with several top myeloma doctors. The topic of myeloma research and progress came up. While myeloma gets tiny funding and is an orphan disease, it has experienced more progress than just about any other disease in the past several years. Why is that? Because amazing doctors are committed, and aggressively pursuing better treatments and, yes, a cure! That's a lot of love for myeloma, and to those doctors, a huge shoutout! Thank you! Keep going, faster, faster, FASTER!

    And talk about love-- my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this month! Tomorrow, we are hosting their party. Details of that one next week.

    I am sitting here at my infusion appointment at Huntsman this morning. This is a long one, because I'm getting Aridia. It's ok that I'm here for, like, four hours because I bring my trusty laptop and write. And I'm surrounded by my angels, my nurses, who are amazing and I adore. Not a bad way to ring in the holidays.

    God Bless, Lizzy