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....

Can you hear your calling above all the noise?

Can you hear your calling above all the noise?

I’ve never seen so many earphone options in my life as in the marketplace today … tiny, big, over the ear, large enough to hide your ears from view and give the impression you could have alien origins. Hmm … It’s the modern need to be tuned into something, somewhere ALL the time. Being told we can...

All the chapters that must be written

All the chapters that must be written

I remember our walk through Glen Oak Park when Mom came to Peoria for a visit around 1990. We stumbled upon a wedding in the park, and I had to get photos of her. No, we didn't interfere with the nuptials but we sure had fun from a distance … And it's from a distance of three years ago today since...

When things are too hot to handle

When things are too hot to handle

Are there days when you feel like you've reached your boiling point? When your potential temper feels hotter than the reddest sunset? Hot days can lead to hot ways … I don't handle the physical heat of summer well. It could be from a near heat stroke I had years ago thousands of miles away from...

We are all at risk of falling and failing

We are all at risk of falling and failing

Yes, we're in the period of fall risk … my husband Roger from his knee replacement surgery on Friday and me … just being a klutz. No, neither of us has fallen … though the cats are just waiting for a great story to tell on Catbook … I also realized that we're in another kind of fall risk … our...

The two hours that saved me from myself

The two hours that saved me from myself

May you be blessed with discovering new ways of giving thanks on this day … I am beyond blessed with the family and friends who never fail to lend a hand, a shoulder, a word, an ear … They put me in a place of calm, such as this moment of soaking in the power and peace of Lake Michigan last month...

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.