Only the shadow knows what perks within

Only the shadow knows what perks within

On those days when I feel older than dirt, I recall the haunting refrain from that radio show, "The Shadow," here and gone before I was born: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" This selfie of me and my shadow made me wonder, not what lurks within because that's a...

Things you want to say … when you’ve lost your voice

Things you want to say … when you’ve lost your voice

What's the saying … we make plans and God laughs. I do not write this in search of pity or get wells. My dear hubby Roger has been caring for me as best he can as I deal with whatever is all in my head. Well, I didn't need a doctor to tell me that … There's a certain stillness in the middle of the...

Speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Before and after … I'd used the formal photo, here, since 2009, where I had a makeup and hair helper in the studio. And the photographer friend had to keep coaxing me to smile.   That was when I was 51, thinking I had experienced a lot of life, but I didn't know shit. This was before I had cared...

Clearing mind clutter takes a special solution

Clearing mind clutter takes a special solution

Clearing the clutter in your brain is like purging a closet or storeroom. Some things you preserve, others you pitch. Sometimes you swipe away a little dust, other times you've got to bring in the shop vac and empty it many times … And sneeze numerous times to keep the oxygen and thoughts flowing...

Looking for the shiniest tool to shovel shit

Looking for the shiniest tool to shovel shit

You risk everything when you take a chance … and when you DON'T.   I've ridden some wacky waves this year — wait, haven't we all?!?! — not realizing that a perfect storm had been aligning itself … waiting on ME to step atop a new surfboard to navigate those unpredictable water surges. My old...

Two years after 9-11: standing amidst a city of souls

Two years after 9-11: standing amidst a city of souls

As I read my mom's journals, I came to September 11, 2017, the day she designated as her own "9-11" … after a diagnosis of lung cancer. Then I remembered hearing that from other people facing a variety of difficult challenges on that specific day of any year … For several generations alive on...

Driven to find help for my creative shit list

Driven to find help for my creative shit list

When I was a kid, I stood at the fence at the back of my yard and envied the golfers who drove their carts across the endless acres of manicured green. Living near the 16th tee of a country club course gave me lots of uncluttered acreage for me to image myself running free there … Or at least...

We’re all surviving something

We’re all surviving something

I fall in love so easily. And when you love so many people, you laugh more, you cry more, you experience life more. And I've decided that's what IT is all about. I used to be a homebody until stroke and brain injury camps taught me to live on the road. And I mean LIVE … with real guides, real...

In sickness and health, in common sense and clumsiness

In sickness and health, in common sense and clumsiness

Remembering those wedding vows 42 years ago, I don't recall the clause about "common sense and clumsiness." Well, I was a bit nervous that day … thinking but not REALLY knowing what I had committed to … Relationships are kinda like the Hokey Pokey … you put something in and you pull something out....

What must be kept full and what must be empty

What must be kept full and what must be empty

When you’re stuck in traffic, you’re immediately grateful for two things: full tank of fuel and empty bladder. Don’t you just hate it when interstate traffic suddenly stops and you haven’t seen any warning signs that construction is ahead? Then you wonder if there’s been an accident and hope no...

Relationships must be recycled with purpose

Relationships must be recycled with purpose

Around age 40, I realized to my horror that I lived in a throwaway society. Material items didn't seem to last as long as I remember when I was a kid, teen, wife, then mother. I was from the "old school" where you tried to fix things or get the most mileage before trashing or recycling it. We...

Stop juggling before you drop everything

Stop juggling before you drop everything

How on earth could I miss the designation of July 17 as World Juggling Day?!?!? Did you miss it, too? I mean, we’re all juggling something … mostly life. Not even counting a pandemic, we keep so many balls in the air these days that it’s almost impossible to suck in the oxygen we need to survive....

About Monica

A former weekly newspaper reporter and editor, Monica Vest Wheeler focuses on coping with and surviving the everyday and emotional challenges of brain-related injuries, illnesses and diseases.

In addition to co-authoring a book on coping with cancer, Monica has written about Alzheimer’s in “Alzheimer’s, Dementia & Memory Loss: Straight Talk for Families & Caregivers,” one of the books in her Help Me Cope & Survive! series. Her latest projects in the series focus on coping with the daily challenges of stroke, brain injuries and brain tumors-brain cancer.

She’s spent thousands of hours working with and interviewing hundreds of patients, survivors, families and caregivers, and healthcare professionals, and interviewed individuals affected by the horrors of the Holocaust and intolerance. She’s given dozens of presentations on ways to cope with the emotions of catastrophic injuries, illnesses and diseases; the Holocaust and tolerance; the need to communicate; ways to express emotions on paper and verbally, how to use family history to better understand oneself and family today; and much more. She’s also interviewed individuals affected by the horrors of the Holocaust and intolerance.

Monica’s warm and engaging style is helping to bridge the silence that is so pervasive for those dealing with disease, loss and crisis.