Tuesday, May 18, 2010

These Chairs...

At my chemotherapy session last week I had another allergic reaction to the life-saving poison that was being pumped into my veins. With the reaction came all of the precautionary measures…pure oxygen, blood pressure cuff, the Taxol being stopped and another bag of Benadryl being added, then, only after the reaction had calmed, the Taxol was reintroduced at a much, much, much slower rate.

Given the protectiveness of the slower rate, I watched the clock circle its own face hour after hour and saw other patients come and go in the CHAIRS next to me. By the end of the day’s events, I had been in the office for nearly 8 full hours and my body felt weaker than any other point in my life.

Most people who have known me for any time at all realize that I have what is called a ‘patience problem’. My mind is always thinking of the next thing that needs to be done, or the next phone call that needs to be returned, or the NEXT THING period. I have a hard time being content sitting around, so you can imagine that 8 hours worth was enough to almost put me over the edge.

Along with the ‘patience problem’, I am definitely a creature of habit, and have established steady and predictable patterns as the skeleton of most of my days and the majority of the time I try to have the flexibility to let the meat of the day vary in the details, but suffice it to say I like routine, and the routine on that day in treatment had been altered in an uncontrollable way.

As a matter of fact, my life’s routine had been altered in an uncontrollable way, so when my nurse for the day was not Lisa (my angel) and her replacement wasn't able to get my Power Port to extract blood, I started to think about life and how different my life had become in the space of 3 months and I began to cry in a rather uncontrollable manner…to my embarrassment and frustration…I could not convince my tears to stop, much like I could not convince the cancer to just miraculously leave its host.

As the tears were rolling down my face, I was directed to try a different position in my CHAIR to get the blood to flow through the port, I was asked to turn my head to the right and cough while my CHAIR was completely extended backwards. Though the new position did not help the blood flow situation it did force me to not be so focused on my own CHAIR anymore. I realized in a new way that the room was full of CHAIRS!

This was an odd thought indeed as I had seen all of those CHAIRS for each of my treatments, but today was different; those CHAIRS became symbolic of all of the lives that they had held at one time or another. I was caught up in a series of thoughts about the stories held in those CHAIRS; the tears of joy and sorrow, love solidified or dissolved, life’s dreams extinguish or enlivened, relationships gained or rocked, and ultimately LIFE saved or lost!

Suddenly, my tears dried and I took a deep breath in realizing that no one consciously chose these CHAIRS and with that thought came peace (John 14:27). There is comfort and anxiety knowing that there are things that are OUT of our control, just as there is comfort and anxiety knowing that there are things that are IN our control.

My thoughts in regards to the CHAIRS we sit in did not stop with my session. The Monday that followed treatment, Denise and I went to Alpine Academy to speak with the girls who were pivotal in bringing about a successful evening for the Anything for a Friend event. These were the girls that many of you saw in the white shirts that descended on the Union Station and were found doing just about every task imaginable, from cooking and serving, to smiling and singing. They were incredible and we wanted to take a moment to share our sincere gratitude for their service.

I sat at the front of the room about to address the entire group when the idea of CHAIRS hit my mind again. I looked out on the group of my young sisters and realized that these CHAIRS also held in them stories of triumph and tragedy, love and loss, life healed or broken (Mosiah 23:21-22). And, again like the CHAIRS in the chemo room there were events in their control and things outside of their realm to change. I felt a great deal of compassion for these young girls, which lead me to talk with them about the power they do have…that we all have…the power to choose!

Pondering the concept of the power to choose, led my mind to the last group of CHAIRS that I would like to reflect on. These CHAIRS were found in an upper room at the Mount Ogden Golf Course on Saturday and were filled with some the bodies of those who made up the Organizing Committees for the Anything for a Friend event. We had pulled them together to tell them thank you and once again, I looked at the CHAIRS and reflected on the things I knew were going on in their lives, such as, crazy-busy schedules, disabled children, mental health issues, car accidents, failing marriages, and the death of loved ones.

These are not easy things, in fact they would rock a lot of people to the core and force them to focus only on their own CHAIR, and who would blame them, but I am so proud to report that there are people out there and there were people in that room at the Golf Course who chose to look beyond their own CHAIR and make someone’s life better. They all have things in their lives that are out of their control, and the thing that changed my heart was the fact that they recognized something that was in their control…they chose to serve and make someone else’s life easier. I watched their own burdens become lighter as they choose to lighten someone else’s load. What an incredible concept! What incredible examples they are too me!

Surprisingly or not, they were not the first; they were merely following the true example of Jesus Christ (Alma 7:11-12) who descended below all things so that He might comprehend all of the things that would bring pain to our hearts. If we can but realize that the difference between happy and unhappy people rests in the realization that there are things in our control and things out of our control. Happy people actively work through things that are in their control and find peace in knowing that Heavenly Father is in charge of the things that are out of their control. In this way, many people in this life, not only find happiness, but they find a special and unique purpose to their life.

Moroni 10:32: Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

I can truly say that I appreciate my CHAIR and the power of God because I have been able to truly appreciate the CHAIRS that others are sitting in. I hope will can all stand tall in the middle of the ‘uncontrollables’ in this life, so that we will have the courage to actively manage the things that are in our control. God bless you, whatever your current CHAIR may be and trust that Heavenly Father has a plan for you.

Love to you all,


“If we can get that witness for ourselves that we are his and that he loves us, then we can cope with and endure well whatever comes in the varied tactical situations of life. Another thing will happen: we will become much more aware of and alive to the many possibilities for doing good that are present in life’s daily situations.”

Neal A. Maxwell, September 1998

CHAIR in the chemo room!

‘Mom’s Heart’ Moment: That emotional day in therapy started out when I realized that the Mother’s Day tea party at Eli’s preschool was scheduled right in the middle of my treatment. We are lucky enough to have both of our mom’s here and so willing to pick up the slack. For this I feel really blessed, but that blessed feeling did not calm the hurt in my heart that I would not be able to attend with my baby.

His grandma’s brought him by to see me after they were finished and I started to cry all over again as he brought a zinnia, a letter, and a cookie. He was so excited and proud and loved him so much.

As fate would have it, I had the allergic reaction while he was there, so in the middle of not being able to breathe I was trying to motion to Justin to take him out, which he did. Life is mixed with ups and downs. Deep breaths and breathlessness. I am so grateful for the love and support I feel in my life.


  1. Becky...

    I'm so sorry you had such a bad chemo day. I am continually amazed at how brave you are. Thank you for this post. I needed to hear every word.

    Your mom's heart moments are so touching to me too, cause my kids are about the same age as yours and I can only imagine what this all must be like for them. They are learning to be so extra brave too... and the Lord needs sons and daughters that are brave!

    I think about you guys often, and you're always in my prayers.

  2. Your thoughts helped me get through this day. I have been struggling at the thought of putting complete trust in my Heavenly Father. It has always been a constant struggle for me in my life. But as I read about how many people cotrol the controllable and let God take the uncontrollable, that they find happiness and a unique purposes to their lives and the CHAIRS they are in at that moment, a light went on in my head and I saw the bigger picture, just for a short moment. But that short moent helped me to realize that I need to have faith in him who knows me and knows what is best for me, and let him in! As of this moment I choose to come unto him and let him take the wheel. Becky I am so grateful for your sweet spirit and your wonderful thoughts. You help me so much and I know that you help more people than you know with your thoughts! Thank You for being YOU! :)

  3. I am so glad I am getting to know you. You already feel like a great friend to me and can't wait to get to know you better. Hang in there.