Life Reframed

As we come upon Memorial Weekend, I thought I would share something very personal and deep with you but with a happy ending.

For 10 years, I have not enjoyed Memorial Weekend. Why is that when throughout my life I always enjoyed every holiday? It was because ten years ago, on Memorial Weekend I was in the emergency room with my husband David who was very sick. We did not find out until 4 months later that David had pancreatic cancer. He fought a good fight for 3 years but it was on another Memorial weekend when Dave was taken to an emergency room because the cancer came back with a vengeance. That was to be Dave’s last Memorial Weekend on this earth. Even though I have been with family and friends on Memorial Day, I never really enjoyed myself.

Another holiday I have not liked at all since 2014 is 4th of July! I always loved fireworks but on July 4, 2014, I was taken to the emergency room in Las Vegas because I had severe head and neck pain and became very sick. That night lying in the hospital bed (while fireworks were going off), I was told there was a large mass in my head. Oh dear God! Not me. This can’t be happening. Many of you do not know the full story but I will be brief. I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called a clival chordoma. It was massive. I was very ill. Eventually, my sister and son took me to California where I had an excellent medical team from John Wayne Brain Cancer Institute. I was gone an entire month. My 10-hour surgery was a success. They removed about 95% of the tumor. The other piece was too close to my brain stem. I go for regular MRIs. The great news is I am now able to go once a year and all my reports have been outstanding.

But the point is… I have not enjoyed hearing fireworks. They have only brought back bad memories for me.

When something catastrophic happens in your life, you are deeply affected and it can take years for the bad memories to leave or be replaced with new, wonderful memories. I know because I have worked at it and I have found great joy the past 4 years.

Life Reframed:

My life and thinking have been reframed because of something that happened in April and something that is happening Memorial weekend. In April, I had my first visit for training at Walt Disney World. It was a magical experience and week for me. The first night I watched the fireworks and I felt happy to see them because this was really great news that I was working with Disney. The next night, something magical happened to me while the fireworks went off and I will never forget that night. So you see, now I like fireworks again. I am crying as I am writing this for you but I have tears of great joy.

Today, I am heading to Disney World in Orlando for more training. On Memorial Weekend, my daughter and granddaughter are coming down to be with me for 4 days. Wow. No more sad Memorial weekends. I will now have beautiful new memories of this holiday.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I want you to know that your life can be reframed no matter what happens to you. And to never, ever lose hope.

I thank all of you for being in my life, even if I don’t personally know you.

Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day holiday.



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8 thoughts on “Life Reframed”

  1. Woe Joan, what magical outcome. I cannot wait to hear all your feedback and reflections from training with the Disney team. Thank you for sharing! P.s. after reading your recent story and happy outcome, i was inspired to see my dream of working in London as a wonderful possibility again. Thank you

  2. I have registered today and read your story. generally one just sees the success of people and think successful people donot have problems. Thanks for sharing your story. It gives us strength , courage , understanding and hope that life can be reframed and we need to be positive. thanks.

  3. Thank you so much Joan for sharing these details of your life that give others strength and encouragement to get to the reframing part of things that have happened in their lives. You’re truly a gem and strong inspiration to all!

  4. Thank you for sharing. I too, Understand completely about certain times of the year and/or Holidays. My mom passed 3 years ago just before Easter. Though it’s hard, we find our own ways of getting through.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Joan! It’s very meaningful for me as I lost my sister shortly before Christmas back in 1997, and have tried to help my niece (her daughter of 14 years old at the time) “reframe” ever since then. It’s been a difficult road, and she has done great, but I’ll forward your email on to her. I think your words will be a great source of comfort and inspiration for her.

  6. Joan, thank you for sharing these personal memories and how they have affected you. For me it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. You are totally correct, it’s all in how you look at things. I too have been learning this although it never had a name. I love reframeing. Have a great holiday this year. Disney is wonderful for that especially when it’s seen through the eyes of a child.

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