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.
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 http://trialx.com/curetalk/2013/09/curetalk-interview-lizzy-smith-on-multiple-myeloma-divorce-and-finding-love-once-again/
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.