Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sometimes Life Just Stinks...and then what?

I am finished! The radiation is complete and just 7 months after learning that I had cancer and having had my peace interrupted, my treatment is through. When I was in the Tomotherapy machine for the last time, I pondered and took a deep breath, I thought about the journey…HOW INCREDIBLE…HOW UNEXPECTED! So much of this experience has been unbelievable and we have made a conscious decision to be positive in the process. This decision has altered the route and outcome and has reinforced in my mind the curative power of positive thinking.

At the back end of the thought about positive thinking, I had to stop myself from giggling out loud when I thought about a couple of experiences that brought back the clear reality that SOMETIMES LIFE JUST PLAIN STINKS (even when you have made the determination to be positive)!

The first came when a friend wanted to find a little reprieve from the hot day and hectic schedule and retired outside on the deck. As you can imagine in the solace of the early evening’s cooling temperature, being alone with her book except for the chirping of some birds, the early whisper of the evening crickets and the dogs frolicking in the yard, she was in peace; and oh how peaceful life can be sometimes!

That peace continued until the frolicking dogs bumped headlong into a skunk, and as you can imagine the scene as it unfolded in a mess of yelping anxiety and a disdainful stench that landed right back in the lap of the caregiver, my sweet friend. The pungent aroma overwhelmed her senses as the peace spoiling cloud enveloped her. She had become a part of the trial and sadly, as life is sometimes, an innocent bystander’s peace was altered for a time by the not so sweet reminder that life really can be unfair sometimes, and SOMETIMES LIFE REALLY DOES STINK!

About a week after my friend’s unfortunate, yet comical reminder, I had one much closer to home and I did not giggle nearly as much, but I knew once again that SOMETIMES LIFE JUST STINKS! A friend and I had taken our boys to South Jordan to visit with a dear friend and welcome her new baby girl into the world. She was beautiful and life seemed really peaceful; all was right! When we got into the car to head home, we realized that the boys were starving and decided to stop by a local McDonald’s (I will not disclose the exact location—either to keep you guessing or to not dissuade attendance—I do not want to be liable!). Anyway, we pulled into the McDonald’s to the thrill of all four boys and they ran into the play land while we went to place our orders. My friend finished first and was the first on the scene; I was close behind and bumped into her as she froze mid-step and stuttered, “Th-that was not here when we got here!” Time slowed and so did my breathing as my eyes caught a glimpse of the subject of her disbelief…a small pile of human waste!

Still in slow motion, I turned to her and we both frantically looked for the boys, who were already up in the play land structure. Then they came shooting out of the slide… one little boy, two little boys, three little boys…where was Eli? I rushed to Isaac thinking for sure he had had a diaper malfunction; he had not. The other boys were checked; all was fine!

“Eli, ELI! Where are you?” No answer. Despite my abnormal dislike of play lands and their varied germs and other fungi I started to crawl up into the structure, trying to have a calm voice as I knew that he was probably hiding and scared, he had never had an accident of this kind before. I soon realized that he was not in the musty, nasty play land and I had to crawl backwards out of the structure, I now know why they post a maximum height restriction, so in addition to my germ phobia being in hyper overdrive, I was now hyperventilating with claustrophobia trying to get myself out of the plastic cesspool!
As I rushed to the women’s bathroom, I passed my friend who was trying to communicate to the Spanish speaking McDonald’s employee about the situation, and realized there were subsequent piles illuminating the path to my boy. I opened the door of the bathroom, “Eli, Eli! Are you in here?” No answer. I almost got sick thinking about what the silence meant…THE MEN’S BATHROOM! Here I was, every button of disgust already pushed and then it culminated in the realization that he had sequestered himself in the quiet, dirty reaches of the men’s bathroom!

The door seemed to reverberate back to me, almost laughing, as I knocked on the door hoping not to hear a deep voice in reply. All I heard was the scared, cracking voice of my 4 year old, “Mommy, I had an accident!” This would prove to be one of the largest understatements in current history!

My need to help him was much more compelling than my phobias and I ran past the urinals and the foul odor to the back stall and threw open the door only to find the most horrific scene my mind could imagine…Eli was now resting on the uncovered toilet seat, an 8 to 10 inch pile of toilet paper between his legs on the floor (a personal attempt at cleaning up), feces all over the seat, all down his legs, in between his toes, ALL OVER, and big, huge alligator tears streaming down his cheeks! I almost lost all my senses and curled up in fetal position in the corner, but realized I HAVE TO ANSWER THIS CALL (and I would be curled up on the floor of the men’s bathroom)! I kissed his face, wiped his tears, and then went in and out of the bipolarity of compassion and anger …”HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?” “It’s OK. We will be fine!” “WHY COULDN’T YOU MAKE IT TO THE BATHROOM?” “This has happened to a lot of people.”

Every time my tone heightened, he would start to cry again, so I would try to calm down and get into problem solving mode. My mind jumped forward, I will get some paper towels wet them wipe him down, get some disinfectant etc, etc, etc…I peered around the stall door to make sure the coast was clear and to my dismay recognized that McDonald’s had gone green! No paper towels, only air dryers. I almost started to cry. “What am I going to do?” I thought I had said to myself until Eli started informing me about what should be done. I lost my temper again and told him that his time to help had passed. He started crying again. I apologized and informed him that I would be locking the stall door behind me and he was to talk to no one. I had to go to the car and hope for some redemptive items in the trunk.

I hadn’t comprehended how fetid the air had become in the bathroom until I walked back into the restaurant. I just shook my head as I made eye contact with my pal and ran from the establishment. On my way to the car I just prayed that I would have something, anything that might make this a manageable situation. The prayer was answered, I had a pull-up, some heaven sent wipes, a plastic bag, and one of Justin’s shirts that would work as Eli’s new pants AND shirt. I felt grateful and I loved my boy more for the experience!

I walked back into the McDonald’s with a renewed sense that it was going to be OK, only to find that a man in a 10 gallon hat and big ‘ol handle bar mustache was entering the bathroom. I expected him to rush right back out, but several minutes later came to the chilling realization that the deplorable situation inside wasn’t too far out of the ordinary for the men’s bathroom (reinforcing my previous position!). While waiting for TEX to leave, another man went in. I did not get back to Eli for about 5 minutes. In that time, the deposits on his bum, legs, and feet were starting to form a hardened shell. I spent the next 20 minutes scrapping and cleaning up Eli and the bathroom…SOMETIMES LIFE JUST STINKS...and then what?!

Sometimes our peace is interrupted in unexpected ways and we can easily be pulled into the details of what is happening, but if we can find a way to trust what the Lord has said and believe that ALL THINGS CAN BE TURNED FOR OUR GOOD, then and only then will the truly STINKY parts of life make sense. In this way cancer makes a lot of sense. In this way the losses and heartaches that I have experienced in my life make a lot of sense, so I will TRUST THE LORD and let Him make of me what He will!

“VERILY I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks; Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted. Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.”(D&C 98:1-3).

With love,



  1. Oh Becky! What a mess, but it sure makes me want to hug and kiss Eli!!! What a sweetheart. And you are so patient. XOXO to you both!

  2. Congratulations on finishing your journey!

  3. You did it! You finally finished the treatment! Congrats I am so happy for you! You have been such a positive person through all of this! You are such an inspiration to me! I love You!

  4. Way to stick out the McD's incident!
    Congrats on finishing treatment!!

  5. Awesome story! Congrats on being done with your treatments, and surviving McD's! I wholeheartedly concur. : )