Mar 29, 2018 9:00 AM

Author: Communications


Bonnie (above) and Bill Lloyd (below) pose as Mr. and Mrs. Clean. Photos by Busath Photography.

Updated May 2018. In memory of Bonnie Lloyd.

In separate photos, Bill and Bonnie Lloyd pose as Mr. and Mrs. Clean, crossed arms holding cleaning products and bald heads gleaming under professional studio lighting. 

“Some people have said we have way too much fun with cancer. I disagree,” says Bonnie. “Attitude is important, and being joyful can help our bodies respond to treatments and improve wellbeing.” 

The photo of Bill as Mr. Clean was taken 15 years ago during his treatment for leiomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma, at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). Bonnie didn’t pose as Mrs. Clean until last fall, years after Bill passed away. 

“He was given six months to live and ended up fighting for seven and a half years,” Bonnie remembers. With chemotherapy, radiation, 11 surgeries, five clinical trials, and integrative medicine, Bill spent a lot of time at the HCI hospital. Bonnie was with him through all of it. “I know just about every inch of this wonderful hospital.”

During one of Bill’s hospital stays, their children and grandchildren gathered white rocks and wrote “We love you, Pops” on the hillside. Today, you can still see a heart they made, which Bonnie hopes has brought joy to many more patients over the years.

A few years after Bill died, Bonnie was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. She first noticed red bruises the size of a pencil eraser on her eyelids. After many visits to Moran Eye Center and a dermatologist, a blood test finally revealed the cancer. 

“I thought I knew everything about cancer. I had been through this vicariously. But when it’s you, it is different,” Bonnie says. 

For Bonnie, it’s also different to have cancer without Bill. “As I look around the waiting room, there’s often two people sitting together. It makes me a little sad sometimes because it makes me miss my husband.” She stresses the importance and blessing of having a caregiver. “I didn’t realize how valuable I had been going through this with Bill 24/7 until I didn’t have it.” 

When a treatment decision needs to be made, one of Bonnie’s children comes to the appointment with her. “Sometimes you really do need four ears,” she says. 

“Multiple myeloma is a complicated cancer that can impact people in different ways,” she explains. “But in the last few years there have been new drugs approved and many clinical trials. Soon this will be called a chronic disease. There’s hope.” 

Last fall, when Bonnie knew a second stem cell transplant would lead to hair loss, she had her photo taken at Busath Photography. She went back to view the photos after her transplant and hair loss, and the staff remembered Bill’s Mr. Clean photo. They offered to take Bonnie’s too. 

“I had so much fun taking these photos,” she says. “Our perspective was to enjoy life no matter the circumstances. You find joy. Sometimes you have to search under the rug and in the closet, but there’s something to be happy about every day.”


Communications

Huntsman Cancer Institute
cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

multiple myeloma sarcoma caregiver patient stories

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