Thursday, July 31, 2014

Divorced Moms column: Since You've Been Gone, I Can Breathe For the First Time

From Divorced Moms. Enjoy!

Since He's Been Gone I Can Breath For the First Time
by Lizzy Smith                    
July 31, 2014
Fotolia_61736372_XS.jpgIn the world of dating post-divorce, there are sad breakups, and then there are breakups that don’t matter.

The sad breakup is like the one I experienced with Tom, the guy who got away. When we broke up (actually, when he broke up with me), I was devastated. It was a good month before I could drive past his exit on the freeway without crying (and even years before I could drive past that same exit without feeling sadness). I read self-help books, engaged in tons of retail therapy, got massages, indulged in chick-lit books, went on vacations, stopped eating, dated with a vengeance, and (this is the kicker) married a guy I didn’t love-- all in the hopes of trying to heal and forget. There were all kinds of songs I’d hear on the radio that seemed to be written just for me. They were all sappy and pathetic.

Keep reading...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Dreamin'

Where has the summer gone? I am dreading the end of it. No, let it stay forever! This has been this best summer in such a long time.

First, of course, there was the trip to Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. I've already written about that extensively.

Second, there was the trip to Southern California where I got to hang out with my very best friends in the whole entire world. On that trip, I also got to reconnect with a very special California friend, which I will leave private (for now). I got to feel surrounded by love and happiness. On the trip, I took lots of power walks with Julie, slept a lot, read a fascinating book, Zealot, which is a fresh take on Jesus, the historical Jesus, not the religious Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth. Wow, what an eye opener.

We also met up with my rockin' awesome former step daughter, Kalie. The girls loved seeing their sister. They love her and miss her. Me, too! After lunch, Kalie and I hung out for a good hour catching up. To think that we had a rough go of it initially is just unfathonable to me because, despite the fact that I'm old enough to be her mom, I find her incredibly smart, wise, and intuitive. I wish I had been that smart at her age. Instead, I was stupid and worried more about partying than anything else. What a waste of time.

We went to Knotts Berry Farm because we have annual passes.

We went swimming a lot. And Morgan's friend, Kiley, who was once our next door neighbor, stayed with us for four days.

We went to Venice Beach. Always entertaining!

My friend, Katherine, and her two daughters came to California, too.

And we went to Big Bear. And Vegas. When we left Vegas, it was 115 degrees outside. Scorcher! While In Vegas, I went to Hell (aka the M&M Store) at Siena's insistence.

Interestingly enough, while in California, my sore eyes weren't sore anymore. My spine, which oddly enough experiences two stabbing pains per day, and has been that way for two solid years, disappeared. Was it the sun? Love? Peace? Good karma? What? So the Big Question is... Do we move after I'm done with my two years of maintenance therapy? Because we can do anything I want to. And that is exciting.

I met up with my old college roomies, Jen and Susan. I saw Susan last year for the first time in about 25 years. The last time I saw Jen was when Morgan and I flew to San Francisco for less than 24 hours so I could get Morgan's Russian passport renewed at the Russian consolate. With her Russian passport in hand, Morgan was able to travel with me and Rob's mom, Peggy, to Moscow to pick up Siena from the orphanage. Hanging out with Susan and Jen was awesome. Despite all these years, it's like no time has past. I love them forever. We have strong ties that bind us. (Side note: I colored my hair really blond. I think I like it.)

But the summer isn't over. Julie and Shane will be here in a few days. Emmy will be here a week later and we'll meet up with Susan again. We're heading up to Jackson Hole. And who knows? I think there may be at least one more surprise visitor.

Because we have no structure these days, Morgan and I have gotten in the habit of watching NCI Miami reruns until 1AM. Sometimes we fall asleep on the couch. Siena doesn't get out of the water. She's become really good friends with Katherine's son, Gavynn. They stay very busy. Tomorrow while Katherine and I meet up for lunch with another friend, we're dropping off the kids at the Discovery Museum at Thanksgiving Point. That'll give us time to go shopping after lunch. Retail therapy with the girlfriends is always fun.

Soon enough, we will have to get back to school and structure and deadlines, bedtimes, and homeword. I AM NOT READY FOR IT. Until then, I will continue reveling in the warmth of summer.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Divorced Moms column: When should you warn the new girlfriend about your ex?

My latest Divorced Moms column is out!

When Should You Warn the New Girlfriend About Your Ex?
By Lizzy Smith
July 28, 2014
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You've split with your ex and now he's dating someone new. Should you warn her about him? After surveying just about everyone I know, the answer is... Maybe.

If your ex was just your basic ass, let the new girlfriend find out for herself. Who knows, maybe things will work out with the new love, or the one after her. After all, there is someone for everyone, even your ex. When it comes to the two of you, if you're still in deep emotional pain because of your breakup, his moving on can be really tough. It can be really tempting to try and ruin his new relationship. Vent to the new love interest every awful thing about the guy who broke your heart. But is that wise? Or fair?

But there are times when it is worth warning the new girlfriend. Those reasons include:

Keep reading...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Revisiting the past and finding butterlies

It's been forever since I've posted here-- the longest since I've been blogging and I've missed it. I was on vacation in Southern California and I had little to no Internet access where I was at. No kidding, I think there is better Internet on Everest than at the Welk Resort in Escondido, California. Getting away, as always, was fabulous. I reconnected with friends, forgot that I am still battling Myeloma, took lots of power walks, slept a lot, and got way too much sun. We hit up Venice Beach (always an interesting experience), Seal Beach (my favorite Southern California beach), met up for lunch with my former step daughter, Kalie (I will write an entire post about this in the next few days), and rejuvenated. I do a lot of rejuvenating. I highly recommend it.

We flew to LA but drove back. I went to Big Bear where my ex husband, Rob, and I owned a vacation home. That home went into foreclosure when I got sick and insisted that he put alcohol aside long enough to finally manage the home, as I was incapable of doing it. I was sort of side tracked with getting chemo and two stem cell transplants. As it turns out, that responsibility was too difficult for Rob. He chose to drink extra alcohol instead of managing the home and stopped paying the mortgage. The bank foreclosed and I had all the furniture moved out and into a nearby storage unit. So... at the end of our trip, we drove up to Big Bear, spent the night in a fun hotel, rented a UHaul, had movers load it up the next morning, and drove the truck packed to the brim back to Utah. We stopped in Las Vegas overnight and shopped the next day before heading home late that afternoon.

I dreaded going up to Big Bear, especially with the girls. How would we all handle it? Would the memories be hard? Would that visit rip up scars that were healing? While the girls went swimming that evening, I drove to our old home. I needed to see it again. As I drove, I passed the bowling alley where we went nearly every trip. As I drove past it, it was like a dagger hitting my heart. It literally took my breath away and I had to stop myself from sobbing. This was a time when I had a family (albeit a very flawed one), a husband (although an abusive alcoholic), a home, a vacation home, a career, dogs, and responsibilities that one would expect of an adult. And, I wasn't yet sick. Or, at least, I hadn't been diagnosed. Actually, the last couple times we were in Big Bear as a family, my cancer cells were growing at an alarming pace but I was oblivious to it. Anyway, we had cars and... well, the image (if one didn't look too closely) of success. Looks, however, can be deceiving. Nothing was right. The marriage was a disaster, I worked far too many hours, I often ignored my children as I tried in vain to keep our family together, my priorities were all lopsided, and I was desperately unhappy.

Back to my drive through Big Bear... As I felt overpowering sadness and regret, I reminded myself that Big Bear, though we had many good memories there, represented everything that was wrong with my life. Too much "stuff", putting all the responsibilities before health and wellbeing, and working too hard to try and keep it all together. The sadness, the physical pain, went away within minutes. I drove to our former home, got out of the car, looked in the windows, and saw emptiness. There was nothing there. The home was for sale, and it was just a shell. Sort of like the memories of my former life. Emptiness. Filled with nothing.

The girls seemed to weather the Big Bear excursion. Siena talked most about the past. "Remember when Daddy taught me to ski?" and "Remember when we played laser tag?" and "I loved the Big Bear zoo." and "Daddy always took us to Starbucks." Yes, Daddy. The man who has failed his children universally. The term Daddy is not always a good or strong term. Pitiful, regretful, and damaging. While Siena talked, Morgan was silent. The following day as we were driving from Las Vegas to Utah, Morgan and I had time to talk about her feelings. She said that there are nights when she is in bed and she cries herself to sleep. The pain is, at times, raw and terrible. Other times, it doesn't bother her as much. I told her that was part of the healing process. Healing doesn't mean that the wounds disappear. It simply means you make peace with it. Someday the scars may even become a badge of honor-- you survived it and you're stronger for it. You may someday appreciate the experience. Or not. If only I hadn't made such a poor choice. If only I had married a man who wasn't emotionally sick. If only I had stayed single instead of jumping into a marriage. If only the man I had married placed the wellbeing of his two families ahead of his love for alcohol. If only, if only, if only. Things can't be undone. All I can do is try to make better choices in the future. Regret can be a very time consuming and wasteful emotion. All one can do it work your way through it, move forward, and make different choices the best way we can.

And that is what I'm doing. I would far rather be alone than in a bad marriage. I would rather be fearless Lizzy who is picky and choses her mate with great caution and trepidation than the opposite.

I talked to my BFF Julie not long ago about butterflies. I never felt that excitement with my ex husband. And, to be honest, I never felt it with William either. Try as I wanted to, and as cohesive partners that we were for nearly two years, I never felt that overpowering draw to him. To that end, I made the difficult decision to end that relationship. What Julie said rang a bell with me: "I really hope that you never settle for a guy who doesn't give you butterflies." That statement was like a huge wakeup call. No butterflies? That's not cool. William and I never argued. We never raised our voices to each other. We were kind and thoughtful. We looked a great couple. We were together all the time. We traveled and were great partners. We had similar goals and thought processes. We talked endlessly about topics big and small. Everything seemed perfect-- a match made in heaven.

...Except where were the butterflies? Maybe never having a disagreement was the problem. Maybe I've set my sites so high. Too high? No. Because I would far rather be alone than with a guy that doesn't make me swoon. Who, simply put, I just don't love. I "loved" William because, well, he had become one of my BFFs, part of my family. But "in love"? That overpowering feeling that one feels with someone that they just can't live without? No. I've felt that love before. It is amazing. Fun. Exciting. I like butterflies. Actually, I love butterflies.

But the best thing about my relationship with William is this: I loved how I behaved in that relationship. I learned that I'm a great partner. My ex-husband, Rob, loved to scream at me. He would tell me that I was his trigger, I had a huge temper. I couldn't live my life without him. This relationship was a huge reminder that I am none of those things. I was patient, kind, honest, thoughtful, and calm. It brought out the best in me, which is exactly what a good relationship should have. Since being sick, I realize that I actually like me quite a lot. And a lot of people like me. I have many friends and I think if you ask them, they'll say good things about me. I try hard to live my life without regret, to treat others as I want to be treated, and to be loyal. I have put together a life that I am very proud of. I like my life. I've put my priorities in the right order. And, really, I am perfectly comfortable with Me. And in a relationship, that allows me to be incredibly picky. Insanely picky. No more compromising just to be in a relationship. Because I like the relationship I have with myself. And I want butterflies!

I have my trusty list on all the things I want in a guy. Plus, there's that ever elusive thing called passion. It has to be there, too. I've had it before. Granted, I've felt that amazing love for three men in my life. I think there is a fourth out there but I'm in no rush to FIND IT NOW. And that is a great feeling.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Divorced Moms: Tempted to Date A Guy Who Just Split With His Wife? You're Nuts

Tempted to Date A Guy Who Just Split With His Wife? You're Nuts
by Lizzy Smith
July 14, 2014
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Here’s something we don’t talk about nearly enough. The perils of dating a guy who has just exited a marriage. Not divorced yet. Recently separated. Should you proceed?
The answer is a huge big enormous NO.
When I met my ex-husband, Rob, he had recently separated from his wife. In my defense, he lied to me about their official separation date. They had filed for divorce several months prior but continued living in the same home until just weeks before we met. Had I known this, I would have run for the hills.
The problem with dating a recently separated guy are numerous. First, he is still married. If you believe that it’s ok to date a married guy, then you can stop reading right here. Because if you’re morally and ethically ok with that, then you date really horrible men and you deserve the men you date. Enough said. And when your guy cheats on you and makes your life hell, you deserve it.
But for everyone else, seriously, it is imperative that we respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a huge commitment. Most of us hope that our marriages will last forever. Knowing that it’s ending is sad and traumatic – as it should be. Marriages should never end easily. As such, you need to allow their marriage to end before you hop in. Why? Because it's simply the right thing to do.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tales from the (Mormon) dating trenches

I am so grateful that I have friends who are willing to share (and let me write about) their dating stories. The latest is from my good friend Lia. If stories are specific to the Mormon community, I write them here; if they are broader dating stories, I write them for Divorced Moms. Since this is the latter, you get the exclusive!

The Date With Ultra Conservative Mormon

I met Tim online. He looked cute enough. I saw him standing outside the restaurant. He looked just like his profile. I said hello, we hugged briefly, and went into the restaurant and sat down. So maybe he was a little heavier than I expected but he was average. We ordered. In my head, I gave him grades:

Looks: C
Initial Impression: B-
What he ordered: B-
He didn't understand what I ordered: F

We started talking about the Civil Rights error. I have three sons. I told him that I took them to the American History Museum in Washington, DC where my sons were shocked that black people had such a hard time trying to go to school, riding a bus in the front seats, or sitting at a soda counter because of their skin color. I told him I was happy that they were growing up without those horrible prejudices. Next, I told him that my sons were also un-rattled by gay people. My cousin is gay and I have many gay and lesbian friends. My sons have grown up knowing that gay people exist and they don't even think about it. We go to dinner with them, sometimes see them holding hands at the mall, whatever, and they don't mention it, flinch... I don't even think they notice.

That started off a firestorm.

Him: "It's unfortunate that your sons are unable to discern the difference between right and wrong."
Me: "I'm not debating right and wrong with you. I'm simply saying that the next generation is very different than ours or the generation before us and so on. My sons are really good boys. I'm proud of them and they do know the difference between right and wrong." ...Says THE ONE who has no children at all, don't even go there!
Him: "So what do you think about Kate Kelly?" [Kate Kelly is the leader of Ordain Women, a Mormon group that is advocating for the ordination of women within the Mormon church. She was excommunicated a few weeks ago for her activism and this has become a very controversial subject.] Oh my here we go. I decided I would answer as diplomatically as possible and if he didn't like it, we should ever date again anyway.
Me: "I don't believe in excommunication with very extremely limited exceptions. If the church is very concerned with its image, like Pepsi, Bank of America or Nike, then yes, image is more important than anything. Coerce and threaten members into silence in order to maintain the image above all else. But this is a church, and Christian principles like forgiveness, inclusion, love, and openness should rule the day. Free speech. You know, all the Constitional concepts that the church professes to love. So you don't kick people out for voicing concerns or advocating for change."

The look on his face!

Him: "How long have you been divorced?"
Me: "Three years. Why?
Him: "Hmmmm.... Maybe that's why."
Me: Stunned silence.
Him: "Were you like this when you were married?"
Me: "Like what?"
Him: "A feminist? Anti Mormon?"

Says the one who was married for TWO YEARS only, is 50 years old, has no children, and has been single for SEVEN YEARS. I could have gone right back at him but what was the point. I was never in a million years going to see this control freak again.

Me: Silence
Him: "If you don't like the church, you need to leave."
Me: "Thanks, but that's not your decision. I'm not intimidated by sitting next to people in church who don't agree with me. If the church is true, it can withstand debate. Who cares? Leave them alone, let them doubt, and embrace them at church."
Him: "No, you need to leave."
Me: In my head, I'm thinking "shut the fuck up." I smiled.

And it went on and on and on. While he tried to tell me that Mormon women were equal to men because Mormon women had the Relief Society.

Me: "Yes, which reports up to Priesthood authority. So a Relief Society president with a masters degree, who heads up a corporation, still reports to a man who is a janitor. Call it what you will, but equal isn't accurate."
Him: "That's just semantics."
Me: In my head, I'm thinking if he knows the meaning of the word semantics. Obviously not. "No, it's not semantics. It's factual. Big difference." He looked confused.
Him: "Women hold the priesthood in the temple."
Me: "And what happens to that power when we leave the temple? And why? That is what Kate Kelly was asking."
Him: "She shouldn't have asked the question publicly. She had no right making the church look bad."
Me: "It's not Kate Kelly's job to make the church look anything. She had questions, she organized, she wanted answers. She's not the only one."

And this was the kicker...

Him: "People get kicked out all the time. I have a friend whose brother went on a mission. He was a good missionary until about a year into it, he started telling investigators that he was the prophet of the church. His companion told the mission president. He was told to stop it but he wouldn't. His dad was a Stake President and he flew to Mexico and told him to stop it. He kept saying that he was the prophet and was being given revelations and he wouldn't stop because God was telling him things. He was the new prophet. The sent him home early and ex communicated him. They did the right thing."
Me: "So your story is heartbreaking to me. This kid was probably having a mental breakdown. From what you're telling me, it sounds like a psychotic episode, maybe the beginning signs of schizophrenia, or bipolar, or who knows? He probably needed psychiatric care, not an excommunication and a plane ticket home. Oh dear God."
Him: "He needed to be excommunicated."
Me: "Well the concern you're showing isn't very Christ-like." I was hoping he would walk out of the restaurant. Me? I was wondering how far this whole bizarre conversation could go. I suppose when talking to a Freak Mormon, it could go anywhere. Imagine being married to a man like this.

Ok, since I wanted to walk out but decided I wouldn't, I tried a different tact...

Me: "So what are you favorite restaurants?"
Him: "Olive Garden and Five Guys."
Me: "Oh that's nice."

In my head, I gave him new grades:

Looks: F
Conversation: F
Offensiveness: A
Restaurant Choices: F

The bill arrived, thank goodness!

He went to pay the bill. Since I only ordered a small appetizer, mine was $4.99. I handed him $10, and he kept the whole thing. He didn't even give me change. I suppose a feminist should not only pay her half, but several more dollars for his, too.

We walked out.

Me: "Oh my gosh! I had the best time EVER. Thank you very much. So incredibly nice to meet you." I said in my most over-the-top sarcastic voice. I'm not sure he was smart enough to catch on to it. I gave him a Big Huge Hug. "Good luck!"
Him: This time he acted confused. Was I serious? No dumbass. "Oh, yes, ok you too. Stay in touch."
Me: "Absolutely!" As I went home and blocked him.

Now I'm wondering if I send him a quick text before deleting him off my contacts to let him know that there is a reason he is still single. Not that marriage = happiness. I'm divorced. I hated my marriage after about three years. But this guy is offensive. I have never in my entire life been on a date where I was so deeply offended by a total asshole with nothing to offer. And a paralegal that he was who didn't know the meaning of the word "semantics."

Dating in Mormonville is a Freak Show. The men in the Mormon church fall into three categories:

1. Inactive because their guilt over having sex is so terrible. They have stopped going to church and won't go back until they get remarried. Because having sex is the worse thing ever in the church, second only to murder. Men, especially if they've been to the temple, get excommunicated for having sex outside of marriage, even if it's in a committed relationship. As a result, these guys are just "off." In their minds, hey, if they've had sex with one, might as well have sex with anyone they can get into bed with. After all, they're already doomed so it doesn't matter anymore. These guys are Freak-tards.

2. Conservative Mormon: I'll put the guy above into conservative. They believe that, as the Priesthood holder, they call the shots. The woman is the help meet to him. He believes his girl better fall in line. Don't even get me started here. They care about image, putting on a good show of righteousness for the neighbors, make sure they go to all their meetings wearing their suits and white shirt only (colored shirts are a Big Fat No), do their home teaching, pay their 10% tithing plus fast offerings and missionary fund and scout fund, go the temple often, magnify their calling... and forget to be like Christ. They are judgmental, mean, ridged, controlling, and unforgiving. They are assholes. And since they want to have sex Really Bad, they are angry men. Potentially, if they can control their impulses for a few months, they are ready to marry you. Or, if it's like my date, no doubt he masterbates often, which is also totally against church standards. Which makes him angrier, more depressed, more aggressive, and more, you have it, a Freak-tard.

3. Anti Mormon: They've done the Mormon church thing and, usually over doctrinal issues, have left the church. But they also can't stop talking about the church. It is Conversation Point #1. They hate it and they want you to understand that the church is a fraud and you need to leave it too. Getting these men to talk about anything else is one tough sell.

I will keep dating simply because it is entertaining. I'm from Northern California. I dated a lot of men in other cities, having also lived in Chicago and Orlando. Never have I encountered such FREAKS as I have in Utah. Utterly overwhelming nutcases. Is it the church's fault? To an extent. The Mormon culture has created a dating culture that is unhealthy and bizarre. Fabulous.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Divorced Moms column: 5 Reasons Why I Don't Hit My Children

My latest Divorced Moms column is out. Hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July weekend. Ours was nice. Peaceful and relaxing. We leave for LA in just four days, yay!

5 Reasons Why I Don't Hit My Children (as tempting as it can be)
Lizzy Smith                    
July 07, 2014
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I will never forget the time that my then seven year old daughter pushed me to the edge of madness. It was last summer and we had just boarded our cruise ship in Copenhagen. As I was unpacking, something upset her. I don’t even remember what it was. But she literally started screaming at the top of her lungs. A full on child temper tantrum. I was speechless, stunned and frozen. A million possible reactions ran through my mind, none of which seemed a good idea. Do I slap her or throw something against a wall? What are the people around us thinking? That I'm beating the crap out of my child when, in reality, I hadn't touched her? My 13 year old daughter stared at me to see how I was going to react. My heart pounded and I was beyond furious, nearly out of my mind with red hot anger. I walked into our tiny little bathroom, shut the door, and sat on the toilet seat with my hands shaking. Gathering my thoughts, trying to calm down, trying to come up with an action plan. I was frightened at how close I had come to harming my child.
When I was ready, I left the bathroom and sat on the bed next to her and looked in her eyes. “Listen up,” I said calmly, so calmly that she, I think, was truly afraid of me. “If you ever do that again, I will grab you by the arm and push you into the hallway and shut the door behind you. You will then be standing in the hallway alone while everyone on the ship realizes that a seven year old child isn’t being touched or hurt and is just acting like a two year old. You will be totally embarrassed. I am also taking all your dolls away from you (we had purchased several small dolls at some of the cities we had visited on the trip) and they are mine until we get home, . And even then, you only get them back if you have behaved. Questions?”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July! What we plan to do this (mellow) weekend

Happy 4th of July! My latest on Divorced Moms.

10 Things I Plan To Do This 4th of July Weekend
by Lizzy Smith                    
July 03, 2014
4th of july.jpg
The 4th of July weekend is one of my favorite times of year. It brings memories of barbecues, sun, friends and family, and fireworks. After college, when I moved to Washington, DC, I became fascinated with American history and developed an even greater appreciation for what the 4th of July meant: Independence and the adoption of the Constitution. So the 4th of July is even more significant – I get to celebrate my own independence (from an abusive husband) and the adoption of my new life.
I don’t know what I’ll end up doing this weekend and that’s cool with me. It’ll actually be the first time in years that we are home. So we’ll just “wing it.” Here are some ideas on my list. They are inexpensive and effortless:
  1. Picnic: We have amazingly beautiful canyons and parks near us. At least once this weekend, we’ll pack up great food, a few friends, a Frisbee and towels and spend a day hanging out in the beautiful outdoors. Since everything this weekend must be simple, I’ll probably go to my favorite deli and buy everything—yummy sandwiches, hummus, healthy chips, and drinks without aspartame or high fructose corn syrup. There are farmers markets galore here so I’ll stop by one of them on our way up the canyon and load up on fresh, locally grown, organic fruit. In fact, now that I write this, I remember that my mom has a cherry tree in her back yard that is loaded. Maybe I won’t need to buy any fruit at all!
  2. Swimming: A 4th of July weekend isn’t complete without hanging out at the pool with a magazine, sunscreen, and a comfy chair.
  3. Movies: I still haven’t seen Maleficent, which I plan to do this weekend. Maybe we’ll catch back-to-back movies at some point this weekend. Why not?

Keep reading...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oh wow oh wow-- I love it when I get a surprise like this!

I just stumbled upon a blog post that I didn't even know existed, and it's about ME!!! Oh my gosh, I'm so touched and humbled. And I have to post it right here. (Even though a few people - notably my ex husband - have tried to silence me with threats, I have pressed forward. Going public is not necessarily easy but it's been worth it a million times over. Fearless, unapologetic, strong. I strive to live those traits every day in everything I do. I can't say I achieve it but I'm trying! To the extent that I help, inspire or touch others in some way? Absolutely worth it. No regrets.)

Multiple myeloma, divorce and finding love once again; Positive attitude leads to positive outcomes!

In the course of my work writings for the medical research focused content on Cure Talk Blog, I have had the opportunity to interact with many young people, whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down with the diagnosis of multiple myeloma or cancer. Lizzy Smith is one such young girl. Interacting with Lizzy has been different. Her radiance and positivity shown through all the interactions I had with her. 

Imagine fighting multiple myeloma and a divorce from an alcoholic husband simultaneously. Traumatic, draining is what comes to my mind. Lizzy Smith has survived the journey with aplomb.
In my interaction with her, Lizzy shared of how she tackled a messy divorce from an alcoholic husband simultaneously while she got treated for multiple myeloma. Living life to the fullest, Lizzy is now dating and looking for love once again. Lizzy’s journey is very encouraging for everyone to hear that cancer does not always win and does not necessary take destroy physically and emotionally. 
Multiple myeloma, divorce and dating tips; Lizzy Smith talks about it all!
Multiple myeloma, divorce and dating tips; Lizzy Smith talks about it all!
Sharing part of my inspiring interaction with Lizzy, who also happens to be a mother of two young girls.

Me: Multiple Myeloma and a crumbling relationship with an abusive partner. It must have been tough. How did you cope?

Lizzy: It was horrible. The day I went to the hospital for body scans, the X-ray tech said they were scanning me for body tumors because they suspected I had cancer. I started sobbing. I went home and waited for my husband to arrive.

When he did, it was clear he had been out drinking. I started sobbing and said, “They think I have cancer. I’m so scared.” And he responded by screaming at me so loudly that he was spitting in my face. He accused me of being a drama queen, lazy and stupid. I called the police, had him removed from the home, packed up trash bags with clothing, and left him. I moved to Utah where my parents were living and became a patient at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Their Multiple Myeloma clinic is among the top in the world.

Me: You have mentioned in your blog that dating, in spite of battling with multiple myeloma has not been difficult. Any learning’s that you would like to share with our readers, regarding beginning a new relationship?

Lizzy: I am as honest as I know how to be. With my boyfriend of 10 months, I told him about my diagnosis about four weeks after we started dating. I decided I trusted him and if the cancer news scared him and he couldn’t handle it, it was ok. He was terrific and he’s incredibly kind and supportive. Being a cancer survivor has made me a better person and it shows in the way I treat everyone. I think there’s not ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to sharing health news with anyone new. Share it when the time is right, no apologies or second guessing yourself.
Second, life is too short. If you start dating someone new and he or she doesn’t seem like a great person to have in your life, don’t stick around. 

Me:  What would you say are the 2 most important things required in successfully battling an ailment like multiple myeloma? 

Lizzy: 1. A great support system. Not only must your caregivers be trustworthy, but also it’s important that they help you stay emotionally strong. I knew from day one that I would beat this cancer or, at a minimum, learn to live with it. My parents were like-minded. We’ve always been ready to win this battle.
2. Don’t get overwhelmed. My nurses used to start rattling off all the upcoming treatments and procedures. It made my head spin. I finally asked that they just tell me what was coming up over the next few days. It was much easier that way.

Want to read more and know about her current treatment schedule and what were the symptoms which led to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma? The rest of the interaction is here

Interacting with Lizzy, I am reminded of something that I read some time back ~ A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

For more, click here.

Divorced Moms column: HELP- I'm So Tired! 11 Tips for Falling Asleep

I'm recovered from jet lag but (obviously) getting a good slumber is definitely on my brain. Hence my latest on Divorced Moms!

HELP- I'm So Tired! 11 Tips for Falling Asleep
by Lizzy Smith                    
June 30, 2014

I don’t know about you but this divorced mom can sometimes have an impossible time falling asleep. It’s usually because I’ve had a stressful day and my mind is working overtime. When that happens, relaxing enough to get real shut-eye is an exercise in futility. And as the clock ticks and I realize that my timeframe for sleeping is shrinking fast, I become more stressed out, which means that the chances of falling asleep become smaller and smaller. Inevitably, the next day, feeling sluggish and unable to focus, all I can do is drink one enormous cup of coffee after the next. Yuck.

Sleep deprivation is serious business. The consequences of not getting adequate rest include a whole host of health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. When we’re not sleeping at bedtime, we tend to get the munchies and have less energy to exercise the next day. It’s one reason we can gain weight. Plus our brains don’t function so well when we’re tired so we make poorer decisions, are crankier, and suffer from depression more often.

Sometimes I have bouts of insomnia and it sucks. I've been prescribed sleeping pills but I try not to ingest anything that I can avoid (trust me-- after all the chemo I've taken, the thought of dumping extra poisons into my body is really awful). So I've found 11 ways to combat insomnia that work.

Keep reading...