Colleen Reeves of Mason City has spent most of her life giving to others. Her daughter-in-law, Lori, thought she deserved a little kindness in return, and so nominated her for a bedroom makeover.
Colleen: I started 2018 just like everyone else. I told myself that this year would be better than last year. Little could I imagine what was in store for me. After a routine mammogram and subsequent biopsy, I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in my right lymph nodes, under my armpit. After my initial shock and a little bit of crying, my daughter-in-law and grandson came over to give me hugs, kisses, support and comfort. The first thing my grandson Koi did, was give me a big hug and declare, “Don’t worry Grandma, you’re going to be a survivor”. From that time until now, I’ve never had a sad day, which is very important fighting cancer or any disease. Family support and a positive attitude are critical. It’s been a struggle coping with some of the stronger chemo drugs I’ve had to take.
I never realized there were so many resources out there, until this disease entered my life. They offer wigs, make-up classes, and I recently discovered, due to my wonderful daughter-in-law, Lori, that there’s an organization called My Happy Haven, dedicated to giving a nice, comfortable and serene place to recover or just rest in, for women like me going through cancer. I never realized there were so many kind, compassionate, empathetic people right here in Mason City, IA. The people at My Happy Place and My Happy Haven are volunteers and I can’t wait until I can pay it forward and involve myself in their program. Yes, this is going to be my year! It will be better than last year but next year will be even better, because hopefully, I’ll be well enough to physically be able to pay it forward
My Happy Haven: when we received Colleen’s application, we were inspired by her story and we wanted to share it with our followers. With her permission, this is what Lori, who nominated Colleen, had to say: Colleen is a survivor that has fought through many obstacles from the time she was young. When she was a very young mother, around 21, she lost both her mother and brother. She became the caretaker of many brothers and sisters. She went to school to become a nurse and did very well. She not only worked in a hospital, but also worked in home care facilities taking care of patients. My husband has told me stories that she would bring patients home temporarily that had nowhere to go or care for them when they were released from the hospital. I have heard she was the first African-American nurse in Mason City. I’m not sure if that is accurate. But most certainly, she was one of the earliest. Unfortunately, her problems caught up with her as her stress and responsibilities to care for her siblings and children mounted. She fought her way back and is a loving mother, grandmother and an exceptional mother-in-law! I would love to give her this gift, to lift her spirits and to be as comfortable as possible as she fights this battle.