Thursday, August 28, 2014

DIvorced Moms colum: I'm throwing myself a pity party

My latest on Divorced Moms. Happy Labor Day!

I'm Throwing Myself a Pity Party. 11 Ideas On Throwing Your Own
by Lizzy Smith                    
August 28, 2014
It’s official. I am throwing myself a major Pitty Party, cake and all. The reason? Who cares! I simply feel like indulging, celebrating, and commiserating. When divorce-related blues kick us in the ass, sometimes no amount of looking, sounding or feeling strong will suffice. If this sounds like you, here are a few ideas for your throwing your own Pitty Party, whether it be with friends, children or solo. The only requirements for your pitty party? No guilt, no excuses, no apologies.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry My favorite comfort foods are mashed potatoes, mac & cheese (the really good kind, not Kraft out of the box), and sourdough bread with butter. I also love popcorn and brownies with chocolate frosting on top—not together, though! Sometimes nothing makes me feel happier than putting on jammmies, watching a movie, and eating food that I shouldn’t.
My favorite drink is a lemon martini. Grabbing friends and going out and having just enough spirits to make me a bit tipsy is just what the doctor ordered. Whimsical, fun, and, yes, indulgent (because I don’t do this all that often)!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On babies, haircuts and forging better relations with my girls

On Saturday, we met my niece for the first time. She is the cutest baby girl I've ever seen. She is my brother's daughter. So my parents went from just two grandchildren a few years ago to four with one on the way in just a few months. How exciting. Back when I was in the midst of treatment and transplant, my brother, Jason, and his wife were having a baby and I seriously wondered if I would be alive to see him or get to know him. Flash forward a few years later and I know Dylan. It's taken him awhile but he actually has started to like me. Just last month, he actually smiles at me when he sees me and lets me pick him up and hold his hand. For whatever reason, babies hate me until they're two or two and a half years old. Then they won't leave me alone. This new baby girl is the exception. She likes me at just seven months old. I held her, she didn't cry or look at me in disgust, and she even laughed and smiled. Wow.

And on Saturday morning, when I Siena woke up, I looked at her in horror. "What did you do to your bangs?" Yep, my child, who will be nine years old in just two weeks, decided to hack her bangs almost to her scalp. WTF isn't this something that children do when they are tiny? Siena did this when she was three years old ...

But oh no-- she did it again.

So I was just done. For a year I've been telling her that she will either take care of her growing hair or I was going to get it chopped. And she doesn't like to wash it, or brush it, or do anything with it. The bang-thing was the final straw. I made good on my promise. After hanging with the new baby, I took her to the salon and we chopped it short. And oh my gosh, I think she looks so dang adorable that I can't stop hugging her.

She cried, she was mad at me, but she likes it. As she should. She looks like Madeline.

And on Sunday, we took the girls and headed up the canyons to Midway. So fun and beautiful. Did I ever say how amazing I think Utah is? I sincerely love it here. I am so into nature and natural beauty since getting sick and I have found heaven.
Since school has started, I've made good (great?) on my promise to tuck my girls into bed every night and to reinstitute Mommy-Daughter dates. Ok, so granted that it's just been going on two weeks but it's amazing. Especially for Morgan, who is going through a really tough time these days, it has helped. She looks forward to our time together. Tonight at the dinner table (yep, I'm still cooking those meals so we eat together), Morgan said that she had things to talk to me about during "chat time." She was actually thinking about it, planning it, and looking forward to it. Today was Mommy-Morgan date. It was simple, we just did a little shopping. Yesterday was Siena-Mommy date and we went to Rita's for ice cream and then stopped at Costco for samples. Simple, but one-on-one time. I love it. I put my phone away (really hard for me) and we talk. Imagine that.

And on a parting thought, and totally random, Siena disappeared to her room tonight for about 30 minutes. She made a mermaid tail. Now that is creative talent.

And, lastly, I am in the midst of planning another trip. I am thinking Dominican Republic or Vietnam either in October  or one week after Christmas. Some all-inclusive resort where it is me, the beach, and a book. Looking looking looking.... Just the thought makes me smile.

Jenny and I are featured in Utah Cancer Connections magazine!

Myeloma Crowd on Cancer Connections

Myeloma Crowd on Cancer Connections

So excited to he featured in the Summer issue of Utah Cancer Connections magazine.  Click Here to view the article with Myeloma Crowd’s Jenny Ahlstrom and Lizzy Smith talk myeloma survivorship, the chemo brain doc notes app, and more.
For more, click here.

From With myeloma, sometimes it's just mind over matter

A week ago, someone asked me if I could have any job, what would it be? It would be to write and talk about the things I love, like divorce survivorship, surviving and escaping an alcoholic husband, healing, and, of course, CANCER survivorship. And then I realized that I am currently doing that. How many people are "lucky" enough to say that? This ability came through living and surviving some pretty horrible stuff, but I love making a difference. Here's my latest on the Myeloma Crowd.

With myeloma, sometimes it’s just mind over matter
by Lizzy Smith

With myeloma, sometimes it’s just mind over matter
When I was first diagnosed with myeloma in January 2012, my treating oncologist had me on a regiment that included insane amounts of Dex, along with Revlimid and a whole host of other drugs, none of which I can remember anymore. Rather quickly, I started feeling horrible. My voice changed dramatically. And I literally felt like I was floating when I walked around. I would take my daughters to school, or go to the grocery store, and it was a huge struggle. I dreaded mornings. I would wake up, climb up a few stairs to the family room and feel like I was going to pass out. I called my doctor’s office and spoke with a nurse.

“Why do I feel so terrible?” I asked. I kid you not, she started laughing. Like really laughing out loud, and this laugh lasted longer than I was comfortable with. How was any of this funny? Finally she said, “You have myeloma!”


“As a myeloma patient, you just really need to prioritize what you must do and plan for it. Rest up for it. And the rest of the time, stay home and rest.” And that was it.

I finally was able to get my insurance switched around and became a patient at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. At my first visit, when he saw the list of drugs I was taking, he said, “How do you feel taking all that Dex?”

Keep reading...

A note from the alcoholic ex hubby on peace and truth

Text Box: Text Box: Today I actually looked at a check my ex-husband, Rob the Great (Alcoholic) deposited into my account. Here it is. It says: Honesty will set you free. Hope you find peace.

What a nice note! Yes, honesty has set me free. Peace is a tough one and I work on that every single day. I try to help my children find peace every day. The damage this man has caused to two innocent children in unimaginable. It is most unfortunate when adults target children, but when you're an alcoholic, normal thought processes and decisions aren't typical. I'll be writing extensive blog posts about this man and his enormous failures as a father and as a human. I'd write about them now but we are still in the midst of a court battle on this one. But when it wraps up, I'll be sure to share.

As for me? I have made peace with the demise of my marriage. I will never make peace with the terrible toll it took on my health. For that, I will struggle with cancer for the rest of my life.

One step at a time. That's my motto.

Monday, August 25, 2014

From Divorced Moms: That Sex Question... When is it too soon?

My latest on Divorced Moms. Enjoy!

When is Sex Too Soon in a Newly Developing Relationship?
by Lizzy Smith                    
August 25, 2014
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My friend, “Abby,” recently met a guy online, “Stan.” Abby fell hard and fast for Stan. On their third date, the two of them showed up at a dinner I was attending. They looked really cute together and you could tell right away that there was chemistry between the two of them. I knew the look on Abby’s face well, having experienced it with a few men myself. It was that “I don’t even know what’s going on around me because the only thing that matters is this guy I’m with” gaze. If there was a fire in the kitchen, I don’t think Abby would have noticed (or cared).

I talked to Abby the next day. “I could fall in love with this guy!” she said. Just the sound of her voice made me laugh. It sounds so trite but just hearing her talk was exciting. But, on the other hand, I wanted to caution her-- this could very easily end up not going so well. The problem is, who wants to be cautious when it’s so dang fun to just enjoy falling head over heels?

Two days later, Abby joined me for my morning coffee run. “Have you slept with him?” I asked.
“Yes! Last night it was two hours of solid love making. This is what amazing sex is like!” she said. She was literally glowing, cheeks pink... Abby never had good sex with her ex-husband and he was the only man she’d ever slept with until her divorce was final. She was discovering her body, orgasms, an emotional connection… all of it.

Keep reading...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm the poster child for a cancer survivor (!?) Best compliment EVER (unfortunately)

 Today I am at clinic getting my weekly injection of Velcade. I took my Dex this morning. And my PA said, "You are the poster child for a cancer survivor! You get chemo and you have cancer and look at you! You're doing great, you look fantastic, you don't look sick at all."

This compliment really mattered to me. It made my day. Awesome.


I WISH I would never need to hear this compliment. The whole C word sort of ruins it. Except does it? Life brings us all sorts of surprises, some great, some awful, and everything in between. All we can do is react to those curveballs in the best way possible. I'm trying!

At least these days, it's all me. No wig, no fake eyelashes, no eyebrows drawn in with a pencil. For better or worse, I'm authentic.