Campers shower each other with patience and laughter

After a very hot day at Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp on Saturday, August 6, I was reminded of a camp from July 2017 when the weather was miserable and how this community of stroke survivors and caregivers and volunteers united in the most amazing ways … Here is our story … You can run, but...

Mothering ain’t easy for everyone

Mothering ain’t easy for everyone

Mothering never came easy to me. It doesn't to all women, despite stereotypes to the contrary. And to this day, I have no idea how I've survived nearly four decades of the role. Or more important, how my one and only child survived my on-the-job training. While my mom was a wonderful mom to me,...

Be honest: who and what do you pray for?

Be honest: who and what do you pray for?

I was drawn into a recent post by the daughter of a dear friend, as the young woman tried to understand prayer after losing someone important in her life: “I prayed for God to heal him. He did, it was just not the way I wanted him to. I was so mad and frustrated, because I was praying and begging...

What’s the speed limit for your guardian angels?

What’s the speed limit for your guardian angels?

Several dear friends have given me a gift saying, “Drive no faster than your guardian angel can fly.” With the gazillion miles I drive, I’ve always heeded that advice … hearing the flapping of winged protectors many times. Moments when God called in extras … Like in college when I didn’t tell my...

Leaders need a kick in the ass with lessons on being human

Leaders need a kick in the ass with lessons on being human

In a world filled with seemingly more people who make a lot of bad decisions, dumb mistakes, and fail a lot in public, I'm feeling pretty doggone good today … Tuesday evening during a live zoom presentation about a part of Peoria's history with an audience, I felt odd, like I was missing something...

The need to write your lyrics … before your song ends

The need to write your lyrics … before your song ends

Sometimes you need a little night music … a little live music to remind you that you're alive … Here in Peoria Wednesday, I attended the opening 2022 concert of the Time Out series featuring five amazing female songwriters of the Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville, TN. It was a fundraiser for the Picket...

The calendars we keep … paper, digital, pure memory

The calendars we keep … paper, digital, pure memory

Dates on the calendar. Sometimes you want to skip them or flip them off … or stay in that moment a little longer. Every December when I was growing up, Mom and I made a special trip to Woolworth's so she could purchase the refill for her daily calendar. She would devote an afternoon to copying...

Are you brave enough to adjust the recipe of your life?

Are you brave enough to adjust the recipe of your life?

Sometimes we follow the ingredients of life. Other times we mess with the recipe to create the flavor that is uniquely our own … and that's when the factor of fulfillment can simmer. My son Gordo stopped by Wednesday for lunch before heading to work at the hospital. He had this round wooden...

A heart aching for the simplest form of love

A heart aching for the simplest form of love

>>>This skip down memory lane is perfect for Valentine's Day … along with a photo of my son, Gordo, with two of his grandmas … since I don't have a photo of the night detailed in this story … How wonderful to remember the simplicity of love before the real world taints it … Enjoy...

The messages necessary for life

The messages necessary for life

The need to communicate is part of our human nature … to send messages, to be heard. Remember those poor soldiers of centuries ago who ran forever to deliver edicts from kings … and keel over dead from exhaustion once they uttered the fatal words … most likely orders like, "Send more money so I...

The real reason people try to rewrite history

The real reason people try to rewrite history

As a historian and journalist most of my life, I pledged to research, examine and report facts. I may have left the newspaper field 30 years ago, but I've never abandoned truth, justice and the American way … at least reality. In those roles, I was trained and yearned to question and dig deeper …...

Listening to the end of the song reveals the truth

Listening to the end of the song reveals the truth

What if we treated life like the lyrics to a song … actually listening to the words instead of being swept away by the rhythm … slowing, not accelerating, the beat of our heart and soul … I'm a child of late 1960s and decade-long 1970s music. Shudder … Speaking recently on an Alzheimer's virtual...

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.