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Inspiration February 16, 2010

The Silver Lining of My Year in Hell

Ugh. Please bear with me on this. I haven’t written an intensely personal blog post in a really long time – I’m finding I’m awfully rusty. Indeed it’s taken me a week three weeks to get this so that I am ready to publish it.

I’m not one to do public suffering. I admire blogging women who can reach out to their communities in a time of need. Me? I go into cocoon mode. So last year, I fell off the face of the earth. I’ve been rather tight lipped about what I went through, because it’s really not my style to talk about stuff unless I can put a positive spin on things. It’s taken me almost a full year to be able to do so. So finally – here’s what happened to eMom in 2009.

A Disintegration of Life as I Had Known It

During an incredibly horrible and stressful time in March/April of last year (we won’t go into that part), I started having health issues. I’ve never really been sick beyond the flu, and I knew this was different. I couldn’t get out of bed most days. I was starving all the time. My blood sugar was whacked. My usual forgetfulness started getting almost scary. I had insomnia and heart palpitations. It all came on gradually, so it took me a while to go to the doctor.  But I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. After all, I’d been healthy all my life, you know?

Within only a few days, I was getting a very-unexpected cancer biopsy. And suddenly life as I had known it disintegrated before my eyes. I questioned my purpose in life and God. I dropped everything. I saw images in my head of my children, husband and parents mourning me, which was far more traumatic than thinking about dying.

I crumbled to pieces.

Before I go further, NO, I don’t have cancer. It’s a thyroid problem. But for one week in April of last year, the possibility of death loomed before me like nothing I could ever possibly describe.

2009 was my year in Hell. Even though up until that point I had lived a life of “no regrets”, suddenly I had plenty to go around. There were the not-so-surprising regrets of working too much, letting assholes rent headspace, and yelling too much at my kids. I regretted not taking care of myself as well as I did everyone else. And I regretted giving so much that there was nothing left for me.

2009 also showed me that when faced with one’s own mortality, no matter how briefly, one can never go back to living life the same way again.

The Silver Lining of 2009

My 2010 resolutions lie in stark contrast to my past, which used to focus on PR, PR, and a little more PR. I really thought that “fame” would bring me the success I craved. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This year I have vowed more family time, friend time and more me time. And getting more organized so that I can have even more family time, friend time and me time. Life is now about treasuring the time I have on this planet and being grateful for every second of it. So far, 2010 has been the happiest, most successful and most satisfying year of my entire life. Every day I wake up grateful – I seriously never had that before.

Which brings me full circle to the point of this post.

2010 is also about finding a way back out of my cocoon to share what I love with the people I love – and that includes the real life friends and online community of people I truly, deeply appreciate. I’ve never been good at coming out of cocoon mode, so this will probably be a messy work in progress (kind of like the rest of my life). I need to get back to doing what I have always done best – sharing my knowledge, helping other entrepreneurs, and hopefully inspiring a little bit of greatness along the way. I may not be running full steam again, but I am indeed back on my feet.

There are a handful of people who have gently nudged me along (or hit me in the head with a brick) who deserve a shout out right now. Some I have known for many years. Some I met only recently and they provoked me to think bigger. Some don’t even know who the hell I am. These people (probably without realizing it) have played a big role with helping me to get back on my feet again.

They were there even though I blew them off.

They reminded me that blogging is about community and giving.

They inspired me by showing up in life and being truly, deeply awesome.

They took care of things I couldn’t take care of.

And they offered help when I was too stubborn to ask for it.

And they reminded me that while we are on this earth, it is our obligation to shine, even when we feel surrounded in darkness.

Char Polanosky, Liz Strauss, Danielle Smith, Steve Johnson, Lucretia Pruitt, Ted Murphy, Aliza Sherman, Patrick O’Keefe, Beth Rosen, Susan Payton, Martin Neumann, Brandi Kajino, Michelle Lamar, Kelly McCausey, Heather Mann, Rachel, Dorothy Stahlnecker, Randa Clay, Jen Goode, Shannon Weidemann, Marie LeBaron, Allison Czarnecki, Lindsay Maines, Katja Presnal, Megan Jordan, Erika Jurney, Lisa Lam, Derek Semmler, Sommer Poquette, Duong Sheahan, Sugar Jones, Jessica Smith, Jenn Fowler, Scott Stratten, Amber Tardiff, Lorna Brewer, Steve Sipress, Barbara Jones, Kevin Carroll, Alli Worthington, Amy Locurto, Kim Janocko, Lisa Marie Mary, Aruni Gunasegaram, Marla Tabaka, Renee Ross, Karen Putz, Janice Croze, Susan Carraretto, Jill Koenig, Jyl Pattee, Kenny Tomlin, Kristin King, Deb Ng, Lori FalconMissy Ward, Rick Calvert, Samir Balwani, Aimee Giese, Scott Monty, Alicia Paulson, Ree Drummond, JenJen, Laurie Turk, Deb Puchalla, Margaret Roach, George Manty, Kelvin Kao and of course my dearest husband, kids and the best parents in the world.

You are the real silver lining of my year in hell – strangers and friends who made an indelible mark on my life when I needed you the most. You beamed your light into my life, and now I shine brighter because of you.

Thank you.


(PS – if you think I forgot to include you on this list, then I surely did. Please don’t take it personally, I’m probably one of the most forgetful people you know. And please hit me on the head with another brick and remind me, will you?!)


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  • David
    February 16, 2010

    I am glad you are doing okay. I really missed your energy in the blogosphere and know that we will all see more amazing things from you. I know I’ve been eagerly awaiting your return. 🙂 I’m sure with your sphere of friends, you’ll have no problem coming out of any cocoon.

  • Wendy Piersall
    Wendy Piersall
    February 16, 2010


    The very first comment on this post is from someone that SHOULD HAVE BEEN MENTIONED ABOVE. I shall add you my friend – and big hugs to you! 🙂

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  • David
    February 16, 2010

    It’s all good, I just put myself in the PS group. 😉 I remember hearing some secret chattering about the potential sale of your network long before anything was announced, and was sad to think of you selling it, but I think you are in an amazing place now, and as long as you keep up the mindset you showed in this post, it’ll all work out well. Had to come back and spread more happy thoughts… Just in one of those moods I guess.

  • Missy
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Wendy:

    I don’t know you that well, other than from eMom and Twitter. But believe it or not, I was recently wondering whatever happened to “eMom”, as I use to see you on my stream all the time. And I remember your guest post on Problogger when you unveiled “Spark Plugging” to the world. Well, when you moved servers, etc.

    Sorry to hear of your “year in hell”, but glad to hear you’re back on your feet.

    Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and of course its ALWAYS when we LEAST expect it, but it can also make us stronger.

    p.s. I like your new blog and name. Very fabulous!

    Am off to check out WooJr. (peace!)

  • Kelvin Kao
    Kelvin Kao
    February 16, 2010

    You know, when I looked at those symptoms, I thought “hyperactive thyroid”. Not because I am trained in medicine, but because that’s what I have.

    Glad to have you back!

    By the way, when I saw “PR”, the first thing that came to mind was “Power Rangers”. We sure live in different worlds.

  • Karri Flatla
    Karri Flatla
    February 16, 2010

    It sounds a little woo-woo I know, but 2009 was a really tough year of truths and facing sh*t for so many women it seems. Me included. I posted a video about a small sliver of my own “pain” here though I don’t give too much detail:

    Anyway, I share this not because your thyroid issue had “currency” for you, but because it HAS to be okay for women to tell the truth.

    Like you, I’m not an “out there” type of person with my personal life either. But at some point it’s cathartic to just say “this sucks” out loud.

    My mother has Grave’s Disease (hyperactive thyroid); was diagnosed many years ago now but at the time it felt like the scariest thing she’d ever experienced in her entire life.

    Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing my fellow “alpha” 🙂

  • Char
    February 17, 2010

    Wendy – just remember that the things most worth doing are sometimes the things that take you the furthest out of your comfort zone. I commend you for having the courage and strength to step way outside of the comfort zone and keep blazing through. You are an inspiration to me.

    I am glad to see you are embracing your new blogging home – it fits you and I know it will be an amazing success, just like everything else you put your mind to!


  • Shannon
    February 17, 2010

    I am so glad to have just met you & have you in my life. I am happy to be part of your silver lining 🙂

    To 2010 being an awesome year for us all!


  • Naomi
    February 17, 2010

    I think everyone struggles with balance but it’s easy to find yourself sinking into the downward spiral. Thanks for sharing your experience- it can definitely make a difference to see someone else climb back out of the hole!

  • George
    February 17, 2010


    So happy you made it through all that. Looks like your new blog is going to be something special. I hope you and your family have an awesome 2010 and beyond!


  • Heather - Dollar Store Crafts
    Heather - Dollar Store Crafts
    February 17, 2010

    Thanks for writing this blog. It’s always great to hear something straight from the heart–yay for health & healing! Thanks for sharing your wisdom, online and otherwise.

  • Michelle Lamar
    Michelle Lamar
    February 17, 2010

    I consider myself so lucky to be able to count you as one of my friends. You’re amazing, funny as hell and it’s quite EASY to be kind to you Wendy.

    The weirdest thing about reading this post is that I was in a panic this morning at 630am. I was minutes away from dialing you up but figured I’d wait until sunrise. You’re one of those people I feel I can reach out to because you’re in my silver lining too:)

  • Patrick
    February 19, 2010

    Hey Wendy,

    Awful to hear about what you had to deal with, but I’m so happy to know you are doing well. Whatever I did to help, I’m glad to have done it. It was a nice surprise to see you at Blog World Expo and I look forward to the next time we meet up. 🙂


  • Erika Jurney
    Erika Jurney
    February 20, 2010

    I had no idea, Wendy! I’m glad it’s over now, but what a year…

    (momsational 😉

  • Randa Clay
    Randa Clay
    February 25, 2010

    Wendy, I love your honesty and transparency. You rock- I’m so glad to know you and learn from you on a regular basis. Wishing you many blessings and a wonderful year in 2010 to make up for last year!

  • Jane Sleeth
    Jane Sleeth
    February 28, 2010

    Hi Wendy – I just ventured onto your blog for the very first time and saw this post and just had to reply. For once in my life I can honestly say that I know exactly what you went through and the thoughts that filled your head when you became ill. I am a 46 year old first time mom to a wonderful 3 year old little girl and a few months ago on a seemingly normal Monday morning I went to the bathroom and suddenly life changed. I experienced what is known as a gross hematuria – only on a very grand scale which lasted about three hours. I was referred to a urologist and went through myriad tests, blood and other work ups, a CT scan and other things to determine what the cause was. All the while the “Big C” possibility was lurking in the shadows. It took several weeks to completely rule that out as a possibility and during that time all I could was “but I HAVE to see my little girl grow up”. In my case also thankfully the end diagnosis was good – no cancer, in fact no definitive cause, most likely a small kidney stone. But going through that process for me, like you, highlighted what’s important to me i.e. family, friends and in particular my husband and daughter. I vowed also to make the most of life and have just recently started a blog about life as a SAHM with my little girl and all the fun and funny moments of “Mommydom”. I have not so far mentioned this experience on my blog but reading your wonderful article makes me think I should. I am glad you shared this story on line and wish you every success with your new blogging experiences.

  • Karen Putz
    Karen Putz
    March 3, 2010

    Girl, I’ve been so out of touch! Wish I knew, cuz you know I’d run over and join you in the cocoon until you were ready to get out again.

    Here’s to a great 2010– now let’s get together for a real lunch and catch up session! Hugs!

  • Deb Ng
    Deb Ng
    March 5, 2010

    Though I’m mentioned above, I feel rather clueless. We’ve chatted and interacted but I had no clue there was more going on in your life. If I had, you probably would have seen me more often.

    I think sometimes we learn the most about friends in the most surprising ways. For me, true friends show their true colors during times of need, even if they’re rarely around all the other times. As I told Liz Strauss several months ago, I may not be the friend who calls every day, but I’m always the friend who is there when you need me.

    We may not talk every day, but the good thoughts will always be there.

  • Jyl Johnson Pattee
    Jyl Johnson Pattee
    March 6, 2010

    Wendy, I adore your candor, your outlook, your priorities. I just adore you! What a beautifully honest post.

    So glad you are pulling through. I have loved our meaningful conversations at several conferences this past year. May there be many more!



  • Kelly McCausey
    Kelly McCausey
    March 11, 2010

    I can’t believe it took me this long to find this post. I’m sooo glad that you’re back to blogging Wendy! I’ve missed you 🙂

  • Brandie Kajino
    Brandie Kajino
    March 12, 2010

    Oh my gosh… I just came across this… I’m seriously all teary-eyed. I knew it was a hard year for you, and I missed you when you went into Cocoon Mode. I’m glad to hear you are coming out of it. I look forward to hearing more about what you are doing. You rock – and you are such an inspiration and a real person to boot. Quite a combination – it looks good on you. {{{hugs}}}

  • Sheena @ Sophistishe
    Sheena @ Sophistishe
    March 14, 2010

    Wendy!!! I’m so glad I found this blog. I was wondering what had happened to you. I AM SO excited to see you emptying your plate a little to enjoy the simple things that matter. Last year I spent too much time trying to get my big break, wasting too much time online trying to keep up, even getting burned… I kinda wish I could go back so that I could relive my boy’s first year, but I can say something positive came from it all. I was able to connect with people who DID care and I’m able to use this space to support my family. In January, I decided to put the breaks on Mommy Daddy Blog to go back to personal blogging (explanation post is on the front page). I had to come out of the cocoon that I was hiding in while blogging in the parenting community. I thought I had to be perfect, so I held a lot in. Because PR people love middle aged mom experts from the suburbs. Enough about me.

    I know this was hard for you to write, but I’m so glad you did :).

  • Ang
    April 5, 2010

    That’s the kind of courage and optimism I find myself lacking in. Wendy, you’re blog has really helped me see life differently. Thank you!


  • Amy @ Living Locurto
    Amy @ Living Locurto
    May 5, 2010

    Well, I’m only a few months late to comment here. LOL! Glad you wrote this and glad you’re back:-) I hope to see you in person and chat more soon. I love what you’re doing with your new blogs!!

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    Chance Fouch
    May 28, 2011

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  • Arletha Hannam
    Arletha Hannam
    June 30, 2011

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  • Theresa
    November 17, 2011

    After what you encounter and experience I am glad to hear that you are okay. Every one of us goes with ups and downs in life but the most important is how we handle things and to continue standing even when fall.

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