Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Biggest Loser.........

Rick and I decided tonight after watching "The Biggest Loser" Finale that I win in our family for being the biggest loser this year. So where is my Jello-grand prize of $250,000?

A hint to all the players on the next season: cut off a leg and you will probably win.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Days Of Our Lives

I feel like our life has been a bit of a soap opera lately. But we are hoping it is winding down. It is official: our buyers didn't end up qualifying (though we were assured that they were pre-qualified, etc). Anyway, a week ago, we "moved" back into our house. We have been on pins and needles to figure everything out this week, just a lot of waiting, mostly. But it is over with these buyers. *sigh* I am so sad! It means we are going to lose our earnest money AND the cost of having a moving van for 2 1/2 weeks, but worst of all, we are probably losing the new house we have been sooooooooo excited about and that was such an amazing deal and I have to continue to deal with stairs.

Anyway, it is over for now and I PROMISE, not to post anything more about moving (at least until it is a done deal). I don't even want to talk about it. bleck!

A few days ago, I decided that regardless of what was going to happen, it was time for our family to have some Christmas. So..... we set up the tree last night and have been playing Christmas music and are trying to have some Christmas spirit.

The kids have been amazing through all of this. I am so grateful for them! And I am glad it is Christmastime to have something so wonderful to focus on!

Anyway, I am DONE. I just thought I would keep everyone "posted." I am done with this and it is time to celebrate that at least it is over. I am "decking" our "halls" today and I am happy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Putting Your Best Foot Forward When You Feel Like You Are Standing On Your Last Leg

I am seriously considering writing a book with that title. And that is how I have been feeling this week. We STILL have not closed on our house. Our new house is just sitting there lonely and sad, just waiting for our family to make it a home. We are living in the few clothes that weren't thrown in boxes in our haste to get out TWO WEEKS ago. We got word today that the title company is waiting for wiring instructions and documents, but we still haven't heard anything and, seeing as how it is almost 5:10, I doubt we will today. The closing on our new house has been pushed back (AGAIN) to the 12th --agh -- to give the buyers and title people time to get their act together. Really, I don't think selling a house should be so difficult. Is it a secret that you need financial documents when you meet with a loan officer? I didn't think so, yet the buyers say that the loan company is putting them through "unusual stress" and asking for "unusual documentation". He is a lawyer and has a trust and didn't think he needed to turn in that paperwork. jThe loan was held up for a week on that one, because they refused to take time off work to get everything in. Then, because everything took so long, the termite inspection was older than 30 days and they had to order a new one. Then the lending company found more "conditions." The loan for our new house has been a breeze, really. I don't get this. I guess I can be grateful that the loan isn't being held up because of us!

There is a fine line between trying to be Christian and not letting yourself get walked all over. We are struggling to find that line. We want to be kind, yet we are paying a small fortune for the moving vans alone.

I have learned through all of this that I am a very very trusting soul. I thought I was getting more cynical in my old age, but apparently not. I still believe people when they tell me things.

AND, I can't find my camera. I know I kept it out, but it is somewhere in one of the cars or the cab of one of the moving vans. I know not where. And the kids have been the cutest and I can't even take pictures of them. *sigh*

I can relate to this scripture lately: 1 Nephi 11:17: "I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Without this knowledge and comfort, I would be a wreck.

On Thanksgiving Day, when we weren't where we expected to be, I was struggling a little. Yet, I looked at my little family and realized how grateful I was to just be here with them. We are all together and going through this together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trying Times Are Not Times To Stop Trying

This week has been what I would call trying!!!!! At first, I questioned - a lot! Does this mean we are doing the wrong thing? Rick said he was surprised, since I was the one who was usually "the strong one" -- whatever THAT means. Anyway, this week, for some reason, I hit my limit for a day or two. I will try to keep it short.

On Monday, while I was in the middle of the last of my cooking spree -- 2 double batches of muffins and a 3-loaf batch of bread -- Rick called to say that the buyers were ready to close on Tuesday. I was thrilled! After 2 weeks of being told one thing and then another, I was glad it was going to be done. The bad news was that they had changed their mind about renting back to us until we closed on our new house. When we closed they wanted the keys. Agh! That meant we would have to finish packing and clean in 24 hours. They said they could push it out until Wednesday and Thursday to not cause too much stress, but if we did that we couldn't close on our new house, which we were scheduled to do on Wednesday. So, we decided to go for it. We had many friends help out that night and it all got done -- including the 72 muffins and 3 loaves of bread.

The next morning our realtor called their realtor to see why they weren't there for the scheduled walk-through and she said there might be a "hang-up" with closing that day; the buyers still had one last piece of paperwork to turn in. My first reaction was, "You have GOT to be kidding me." We had 2 loaded moving vans sitting outside our house, the house was clean and empty and we had reservations at a hotel for the couple of days until we could get into our new house. Well, our realtor called to talk to the loan officer and we found out the real story. I don't want to say bad things about their realtor, but .... agh! good grief! So, we cancelled our hotel reservations, got our phone and internet turned back on (which you know how trying THAT can be if anyone out there has AT & T), and started camping in our own home. But I was grateful for the cooking spree I had done the week before!!!!

We found out on Friday that all of the buyers paperwork has now been turned in and everything is sitting in underwriting, so we are hoping it goes quickly now. Our biggest cost at this point is having 2 moving vans sitting there that we are paying for by the day while we have waited for the buyers to get everything done. We really don't know how much of this is the buyers being flaky and how much is their realtor. We think it is the latter. We think they don't really even know all of what she had been saying to our realtor the last few weeks. We just pray this all really happens. I can't imagine moving everything back in at this point. What a mess!

We have talked so much about closings, etc. that the kids are getting to be pretty literate in all of this. We thought so anyway. Tonight, when we were talking about hopefully closing in the next few days, Emma said, "When are we opening on our new house?" She thought that since closing was part of selling, opening must be part of buying. :) She has been sick for the last few days and it was good to see a little happy spunk out of her.

Last night Rick and I went with some friends to watch the BYU-Utah game. Since I am blue through and through I won't even go into the game, but when we went to their home tonight, they had a red UofU jacket and hat on their wooden pilgrims just for us, to show what they were thankful for this week. Very funny, Mark and Katharine!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Okay, I have been tagged numerous times in the past and I never do this sort of thing -- so why am I doing it now?? :) Who knows. I guess Jeannie caught me in the right mood. So, anyone who gets annoyed by this- just skip this blog and move on.

8 favorite TV shows
1. Biggest Loser (except this season has been disappointing with the "drama")
2. Chuck
3. Dancing with the Stars
4. Amazing Race (although I haven't seen any this season since our Media Center is packed away and I can't record the shows)
5. ????
6. ????
7. ????
8. ????
*sorry, I really don't watch much TV anymore. I feel too good these days. :) And now that I am not at my Mom's house there is no cable -- no HGTV (sob)

8 Favorite Restaurants

1. Mom's House - free, good food!
2. Jason's Deli
3. Sahbuddy's - Israeli food (fabulous falafel and hummus)
4. Thai Palace
5. Cheddar's
6. Johnny Carino's
7. PF Chang's
8. My house -- really I'm too cheap to eat out much and I love to cook, so I end up thinking, "I could have made this better. It IS nice not to have to do the dishes, though.

8 Books You'd Recommend

1. Anything by Shannon Hale -- especially Goose Girl, Enna Burning and River Secret
2. Anything by Jane Austen - I have to admit that Pride & Prejudice will always be up there at the top!!!
3. L.M. Montgomery -- Emily of New Moon ranks as high as Anne of Green Gables on my list
4. Anti-Cancer: a new way of life by David Servan-Schreiber
5. The Whole Foods Market Cookbook
6. Raw Food Made Easy for 1 0r 2 people
7. Any "Alfie and Annie Rose" book by Shirley Hughes. I HIGHLY recommend these books of hers, especially for people with little ones who have siblings (like "Alfie gets in first")
8. Biographies -- just about any

8 Things That Happened Yesterday

1. I cooked enchiladas, sweet 'n' sour chicken, chimichangas, beans and rice w/spicy sausage, chili, chicken noodle soup, and calzones to go in the freezer to make the move easier.
2. Helped Caleb with his Polish Texans Immigration Project, his spelling and his math.
3. Helped Emma with her homework.
4. Read to Emma
5. Went grocery shopping with my kids and still loved them when I got home (a major accomplishment)
6. Watched "Chuck" on nbc.com while I cooked
7. Felt accomplished with the above 6
8. Put my leg up while I waited for Rick to come to bed

8 Things to look forward to

1. A new house
2. A new house with no stairs
3. A new house with a bigger kitchen
4. A new house with a doggy door for the naughty puppy who won't tell us he needs to go out and then pees by the door.
5. A new house with french doors on the living room for a quieter piano
6. Waking up every day
7. Having energy when I wake up every day.
8. Seeing people I love every day.
*can you tell I'm not one bit excited about our new house! Only a few more days!

8 Things on My Wish List

1. A relaxing holiday season (I absolutely refuse to be stressed this year, even if there are boxes surrounding me)
2. A long and healthy life
3. A new digital camera
4. More books (can you ever have too many?)
5. More sheet music (ditto)
6. Healthy children
7. Obedient children who never fight (okay, my Mom used to say that this is all she wanted for birthdays and Christmas. We would say, "No, REALLY, Mom! Tell us what you REALLY want!" I get it now)
8. A Temple closer than San Antonio

8 Things I Love About Fall

1. Christmas Music (we start before Halloween often in this family)
2. Christmas Decorations, smells and wrapped presents under trees (who cares what is in them -- it so fun to see them under the tree!)
3. Gingerbread Cookies and an excuse to make gingerbread (the cakey real stuff), for breakfast
4. Pumpkins -- pie, muffins, bread, etc
5. Thanksgiving -- This year we have soooooo much to be thankful for!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat (please don't let me be the goose this year!)
7. Sleeping with the windows open/No more Air Conditioning
8. Nippy mornings and glorious afternoons

I am not tagging anyone else, but if anyone else wants to do it, I would read it with pleasure.

Happy Fall! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! Enjoy the smells of the holidays! Hug the people you love today!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What do you call a cow with a twitch?

Beef Jerky -- Compliments of Laffy Taffy. I entertained everyone while they ate their Halloween Candy. This is the first year Rick and I dressed up with the kids. I was a pirate, although we never got around to figuring out how to rig up a peg leg. Maybe next year. Rick was Neo (sp?) from Matrix. I have never seen the movies, but Rick looked very Keanu Reeve-ish. Caleb was Indiana Jones and Emma was an angel (in every sense of the word).

Caleb has been quite the little man around here, lately. He has been begging to be allowed to mow the lawn. He finally got to. Our lawn mower isn't self-propelled, so I don't know if he will be begging again anytime soon, but he did such a good job, he is hired for the job. He also likes to fix some of his own meals. Breakfast is his favorite and his specialties are: omelets, eggs/toast, and breakfast tacos. He can also make grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese and is learning to make pizza dough for pizza/calzones. Emma's specialty is breakfast, too -- she can pour a mean bowl of granola. :) She almost has mac and cheese down and loves to make her own sandwiches. They both are big help cleaning and folding laundry and doing dishes. Emma thinks doing dishes is fun. Let's see how long THAT lasts. :)

I went to AZ for 2 days last week for another treatment. I forgot how icky I feel after chemo. I am still feeling "chemo-lag" today. Rick was such a trooper while I was gone. He was trying to work from home, help kids with homework, and get them off to school all by himself. :) He was truly grateful that I am still alive so that he isn't doing this alone. I am grateful, too.
We feel truly thankful this Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ahhh! The Sweet Sound of.......Opera

This afternoon we met Rick at Dell for his company family Halloween Party. And, Dell is not small. I absolutely adore little people in costumes and it is fun for our kids, too, but after 2 1/2 hours of trying not to trip anyone with my crutches and trying not to get pushed over by little people looking for their parents (or by the parents just pushing by people), I was a quivering bundle of nerves inside.

Rick decided to take the kids to Subway to give me a break (I fell in love with him all over again for that) and I drove home ALONE!!!!!!!!!! Alone, alone, alone, alone. As I drove, I realized that it has been 2 weeks since I have been absolutely all alone. No kids, no husband, no one but me.

I put a Renee Fleming CD in the stereo (even people who don't love opera could like her, I think) and felt the anxiety start to melt away. I was so in the zone -- not good when you are driving -- I missed my exit, enjoying the strains of "O Mio Bambino, Caro". So, I ended up taking the long way home and getting a little more alone music time. It was worth it, even though taking that way landed me in a traffic pile-up. I was enjoying my alone time so much I even let several people go in front of me. :)

I do not zone out to opera often enough. I am determined to do it more often - not driving of course.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


oops. Somehow I deleted the kitchen picture (my favorite part of the house, so far). The plastic is still on the granite, and there are no appliances in yet (they will be black), but I think you can get the idea.

Our New Nest

We started our loan process this week for our new house. How crazy are we trying to do all of this house-stuff with what is going on in the economy? We feel very watched out for. We have really been taken care of through all of this. It is fun to see our house done a little more each time we go to see it. These pictures don't really do it justice. Without the electricity on in the house yet, the colors seem a little off. The cabinets are maple, not nearly as red as the they look in the pictures. But the view out of our family room window (I can see it from the kitchen and dining room and it is the same view from the Master Bedroom), is really beautiful. It is only a little smaller than the house we are in now, has a ton of closets and has NO STAIRS!!! After being home for a few weeks, I am soooooo done with the stairs!! We back to a green belt, so there will be no neighbors back there. And I will love having a more formal room/piano room with french doors so the piano won't seem so loud. We love the location and we won't be far from the new cannery they are building in our area. Yay!
We are going to try a charter school. We are enrolling the kids this week to start, hopefully, next week. It is very strong academically and is only 4 hours/day. I just kept playing with them instead of getting all the work done that we needed to do. And I have enjoyed hearing/seeing them play together. When we were in Arizona, they played with cousins so much, they didn't play with each other and got kind of stinky to each other. We will see how this works out....

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Finger-lickin' Good Life

Being back home has its advantages. Like HEB (our favorite grocery store), the beautiful hill country, Round Rock Donuts and great barbecue. We don't go out to get it, though there are some great places here. Why, when the kids think there is something special about the way their Dad fixes barbecued chicken wings? Especially Emma, who is not afraid to get her fingers dirty. I think Caleb would like it more if he could eat it without getting messy. :)

The kids are back in piano, which has been great. Caleb will humor me occasionally by playing duets with me. I love it when he does, but usually it takes a lot of begging with a "fine, but just ONE." Emma, on the other hand, begs me and so hopefully one day soon I will have a willing partner. A dream of mine is to hear them play a duet together someday. Wouldn't that be great?

Life is pretty great these days. The days are breezy and warm, the nights are cool, we are together again as a family and I actually got 4 hours of school out of the kids today with almost NO whining. AND they have been playing for several hours this afternoon with no squabbles. I really should check for fevers, but I am having way too much fun listening to them to interupt. Days like today should last at least 72 hours. 24 hours is not enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We are home!! It has been super to be home. I hit the ground running and am paying for it a bit now -- I am tired. So, now the kids are doing a little more. I am trying to tell myself that it is really ok for the kids to clean bathrooms and swiffer the floor, etc. It won't hurt them to fix their own sandwiches. :) I know this in my mind, but I hate to hear the whining, so it seems easier to do it myself. All moms know this. We are closing on our house on November 30, it looks like, so a bit longer of living with things packed up, but I don't want to unpack it all. The time will go fast. I keep telling myself that. And it is a good excuse to use paper plates. And I am just so grateful that we have a buyer and that it didn't take months and months. I keep praying that it will all work out.

We are back to piano lessons and school work and going to the library. My brother Barry came to see us. That was so very fun. I hadn't seen him in over 2 years! Yikes. We took him to the Round Rock and to Round Rock Donuts. The kids had fun with that, too. They both thought they had discovered gold in the water by the Round Rock. Caleb and Emma were convinced they were starting another gold rush.

Dobby has adjusted well to his new home. At first he was terrified of the stairs. He got up the first 2 and started to cry - too scared to go up or down. Now he runs up and down them constantly. He LOVES his kids He follows them around all day long. And after they go to bed, we have to shut their doors, because he won't leave them alone. If they shut their doors he stands outside them and howls. Other than that, he is a quiet dog. We were surprised, as we heard that chihuahuas were yippie.

It has been nice to see people; although we haven't gotten to see everyone we want to, yet. And it was weird at Church on Sunday, now that our ward is soooo much smaller. But we are adjusting and having a great time doing it.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Rick loaded the car last night and it is PACKED!!!!! We are leaving in about 5 minutes. We have a little addition we are bringing home with us -- we have a baby! :) Well, HE thinks he is a baby. We are bringing home a chihuahua. Can you believe it? He is so cute -- I would never have guessed I would love a chihuahua. We are still debating the name. I think I might lose this time around. Rick thinks Dobby is cute. I have to admit it fits him with his ears. I will post pictures when we get back to Texas. He is smart and snuggly and hasn't yipped once (let's hope it continues). He isn't all the way potty-trained, though, so we have that in front of us. Emma and Caleb are beside themselves. It will give them something to think about when they are missing their cousins. Anyway, we were sad to say goodbyes here, but we are glad to be going home to be a family again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eastward Ho!

We are now leaving Friday morning. Rick is flying in to AZ and will drive back with us. Trying to pack and still do treatments has proven a bit tricky, as I don't feel like I am worth much in the afternoons. But, little by little we'll get it done.

We had a fun birthday weekend with the kids. Rick flew in Thursday night on Emma's b-day and we spent Friday celebrating Caleb's birthday. In the afternoon we drove to Queen Creek to Brady and Berta's house. My Dad and Sharon were there to visit. Caleb got to play Uncle Brady's Wii and some Xbox games we don't have. He thought that was cool. Aunt Berta let Emma, Cat and Sarah (cousins) play with her make-up. Oh wow, what that a hit. I have to get the pictures from Berta - they are too good to pass up.

Saturday morning we went to the zoo. I love zoos a LOT, but we did get pretty hot there. We drank a lot of water and went in the shade, when possible. The orangatuans were my favorite this time at the zoo. The baby was a riot -- so smart!

Rick and I got to spend a little bit of time alone Saturday night - yay! He left Sunday night but will be back on Thursday. I can't believe we are really truly going home! And cross your fingers, our house is under contract. We hope it will go through smoothly and quickly.

Just think, I will be sleeping my own bed in 4 nights. I hope to get home on Saturday in time to make it to the General Relief Society Broadcast. Is there anything going on before it at the Stake Center? I need to find out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're going home!!

We are so excited -- we are going home! We are leaving early next Thursday morning, one week from TODAY! It happened so fast that now it seems like there is much to do to get ready to go home. I hope Mom won't be finding things all over her house for the next month that we forgot. And it will be an adjustment for all of us again. I have to get used to being married again -- just kidding. That will be nice. The kids will have to get used to having a quiet house without cousins next door to play with. They will each miss that! I will miss everyone here, too, but having our family back together again outweighs all of that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Results are in!

Okay, the results are in and, we are thankful to say that they are good! The only part that was a little disheartening was that, apparently, there was more cancer spread throughout my body than we initially knew. So, when we found out all the improvement, our first response was: what? we didn't know there had been cancer there! Maybe now it is good that I didn't know; if I had known how widespread it was, who knows if I would have fought so hard when I was sooooo terribly sick right before the surgery. But now I know and all the places have either gotten drastically smaller or are gone.

Here is what the Dr. wants me to do: chemo every other week for 3 rounds (1st one starting tomorrow), so that would put us here for another month. I have to decide. So we may not be home to Texas until the second week in October. *sigh* We'll see..... I might be able to only have 2 more rounds. We are playing it by ear right now.

The pictures of the kids are cute, huh (and what a cute Grandma and Baby Matthew)? Although you can tell that by the time we got to present-opening-time, Caleb was hot and sweaty from playing outside with cousins. :) They had fun and got seriously spoiled by Aunties and Uncles and Grandma! I love them and am so grateful for them! Rick and I would be so lonely without them! They have been trooopers through this whole experience. They have both grown in compassion for others and in understanding how prayer can really work!

And, one last picture: Emma is learning to make omelets. Omelets or granola seem to be the breakfasts of choice around here, lately.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The next PET scan is here!

Okay, the PET scan is tomorrow - Tuesday, September 9th. I have to be there at 9:30 for the radioactive junk to get put into my blood for the 11:00am scan. I am praying so hard. I don't know when I get the results, but it should be before the end of the week.

Also, my liver enzymes started dropping!!!! That is a great sign. We are so happy!

So, when I post again it should be with good results - I hope, I hope!

Another reason to post is to put up some pictures of the kids. Their cousins and aunts and uncles celebrated their birthdays on Sunday (pretty early, but it was the weekend that worked). The kids got spoiled rotten by their aunts and uncles! They were so happy and excited. And I was tired! I had to make 2 cakes on Saturday/Sunday. Caleb did want to decorate his own and that was ok with me. This is monkey business having kids whose birthdays are right next to each other! :) September is an expensive month for us. Rick's birthday is August 26, Emma's is September 18 and Caleb's is September 19th. I had a good incentive (okay, bribe) for them today to get their schoolwork done quickly; they could play with all their new stuff as soon as they were finished. I have never seen Emma get done sooooo cheerfully and soooooo quickly!

So, Caleb and Emma get to celebrate their birthdays 2 times. They don't mind. We will celebrate it again on their real birthdays when Rick comes into town the 18th - 21.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Okay, I am trying not to worry a lot, it could be nothing. The last few blood tests they have drawn at the Dr's have shown elevated liver enzymes: which could mean several things, one of which is cancer in the liver. I wasn't worried at first, but it went up even more this week. Dr. Lodi moved up the next PET scan to next Tuesday or Wednesday to "check things out". They said not to worry, but that is definitely easier said than done. I am so set on going home by the end of this month that I don't want anything to go wrong. I am praying that it is nothing. The office is scheduling the PET scan and I will know by tomorrow if it will be on Tuesday or Wednesday. Enough time to worry. I hope the time flies by for me until then.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Well, once again I feel like a slacker, but it is nice to be "too busy" to catch up on the blog. Things have been really busy!! We have had a fun last couple of weeks.

I went to the temple all by myself. What an accomplishment. Whew! It was a test of faith, but once I got there, I felt so silly that I had doubted. Everyone was so nice and helpful, and, I was glad to see that I didn't need much help. :) Rick went the same day to the San Antonio Temple so we could "be in the temple together." I know: soooo romantic. Well, we tried.

We had a GREAT time with Rick when he was here. We had a big birthday dinner for him with family and friends here on the Sunday before his birthday and then (THANK YOU Aunt Karson) Rick and I went out alone on his birthday. It was nice to be together!!!!

We had a really fun time in San Diego visiting Uncle Jon and Aunt Megan and their family. We went to Old Town and the beach and the San Diego Zoo. My favorite part (as you can tell by my including the picture) of the zoo were the meerkats. And I never knew giraffes had such personality! It was very very fun. Aunt Megan should be buff now after pushing me so much in the wheelchair that day -- up and down ALL those hills. The San Diego Temple was open for a few hours Monday morning for the Labor Day holiday, so Rick and I got up early and went and did a session -- finally REALLY together in the temple. And it was a dream for Rick since he had grown up in San Diego, but then moved for his Sr. year in High School and then was on his mission when the temple was completed. Other than seeing a sealing room at Barry's and Avery's wedding, we had never seen the inside. It is very very beautiful!

This morning I had to take Rick to the airport which was hard for both of us. Back to being apart. *sigh* The kids and I got right into school after breakfast, though, which helped me stay busy. They did a great job after about 2 1/2 months of NO school. It will be nice to be in a routine again.

I am continuing to feel good, although I am tired sometimes since I go, go, go a lot. After feeling so encumbered and unable to go and do, I just want to go, go, go and often I do a bit much. I still get sick from the treatments, so I really don't go too much Monday - Thursday, but on Fridays and Saturdays, I seem to make up for it and then some. I will continue to learn my limits. I am so grateful for all the help I receive.

It is continually brought to my attention how mindful Heavenly Father is of all his children. I know He loves me and my husband and my children. I am so grateful. I don't know what the rest of my life holds in store, but I am so grateful to know I am not alone in any of this. I am grateful for a Savior who thinks I am worth believing in. I am grateful for all He has done for me. I am grateful for temples, for the gospel and prophets who lead us today. On Sunday, in my brother's ward in San Diego, they talked a lot about Proposition 8 (the amendment to the State Constitution about marriage between only a man and a woman). I am so grateful for the Proclamation to the World from our leaders. I am grateful for others around the world who also stand for the family and also fight to keep the family unit strong. I know that if we can keep families strong, our nation will be stronger.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally! I am writing in here again. Things are going well. We had a great time in Texas sleeping in our own beds and seeing some of our friends. We wish we could have been there longer to see EVERYONE! My goal is to be back by the beginning of October - for good! Keep your fingers crossed.......
Back in Arizona, I am in treatments again. The public schools started on Monday, so that has made things quiet around here during the day. We haven't started school yet, though. We probably will start after Labor Day, although Caleb and Emma need more to do during the day, so we may not make it that far. But Uncle Jon and Aunt Megan and their kids are coming next week and then RICK is coming FOR OVER A WEEK, so I didn't want to start school with all of that going on. We are excited to spend time with Rick when he comes. We have missed him so much!
As far as my progress, Dr. Lodi is going to order another PET scan the second week of September to see where we are at. I am hoping it will be good enough at that point that he will let me go home and come back to AZ every other week for chemo.
Life as a one-legged person continues to be an adjustment. I am getting around really well: driving, shopping, etc. I find that the place I have the hardest time is opening doors to stores and keeping my balance. I will get there. I feel better than I have in a very long time. It is nice to be back to doing "Mom" things again, although it takes me a little longer. Whoever thought that riding the little carts in the stores would be a perk, well, it is ok, but did you know that those wretched little buggers beep when you back up? It is insanely loud and sooooooo embarassing! :)
Most of all, it is nice to feel like playing and singing again. I am so grateful to be alive and getting better! I am grateful for all the prayers and help our family has been recipients of. I am grateful for the Savior and all that the Atonement is coming to mean to me.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I know it has been a very long time since I last posted. I will catch it up in the next few days, but I am posting now to let everyone know I am alive and doing absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This last week has been busy busy going back to the Dr for treatments, working with a home health care nurse, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and trying to be somewhat of a presence in my kids' lives. Sleep was better for a few nights and I found myself starting to build up my strength a smidge. Rick was here until Friday and we missed him right away when he was gone. We are sad that he won't be able to work from Mesa anymore, so anytime we see him will be on a weekend he can come or at the end of August when he will take some vacation time to be with us. It just all seems so far apart.

My hair didn't lose anytime falling out faster than ever with starting chemo treatments this past week. I made my sister and sister-in-law promise me on Sunday that they will tell me when I need a wig. Ugh. It is too hot here, but I will never go completely bald - so I won't do the shaved thing.

On a good note - I drove the other day for the first time. Easy as ever! AND I finally got to get in the pool on Saturday!!!!! It felt soooooooooo good! On Monday my Occupational Therapist worked with me on balance doing exercises in the pool. It made it more fun and less stressful since I knew I wasn't going to fall over, but it was hard - very good for my flabby stomach.

My Mom, Caleb and Emma and I are driving to Austin for a few days this weekend to go through some house things and see some people (like Rick). We are excited, even though we know we won't get to see even half the people we want to see in this very very quick trip. I am so glad I am feeling up to it and feeling more able at doing more things. It is exciting to be getting a little more independence.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Okay, it is 3:00am and I have been trying to get back to sleep for 2 hours now and am giving up. I am about ready to have Rick go get the hammer to put me out of my misery. :) Some nights are better than others and this one will not go down in my history as being one of the best. And after SUCH a terrific day........

Yesterday morning Lauree Strong came to visit from Austin and it was great to see her! And with her she brought presents from the Round Rock ward. I couldn't believe it! The kids were thrilled with their boxes and notes (Emma was still packing her box around last night at 8:00) and I LOVED the notes from the Relief Society and the picture Lauree brought that Jamie had made. I am so grateful for all that Round Rock Ward has done for us! They have surely gone far beyond the call of duty to help our family. I am overwhelmed and it gives me something to work for so I can be of service to others someday. I know the Church is the Church everywhere, but I will always, always, remember Round Rock Ward with such happiness and love -- as a great example of what a ward can be when people love the Savior and want to serve His people.

As far as me, I have been working on my crutches (they are the kind that go around your arm- not the ones that go under your arm). They are harder for me and very scary. With a walker (which makes me feel like I am 85), if I am doing something and I lose my balance, I can grab the walker. With the crutches, if I lose my balance, I am going DOWN! But I am determined to get used to using them, because going somewhere like Church would be easier with crutches.

I also start chemo again this week. I have lost enough hair, so I am not anxious for this to start again. BUT the PET scan they did in the hospital compared with the PET scan they did in
April showed HUGE results. I went over it with my Dr. this week. I was amazed. And I feel so much more hopeful.

I will end with a funny little story. On Friday, I finally got a Port put in. It was NOT fun going back to a hospital, but at least I knew I would be leaving in a few hours this time. Anyway, when the Dr. doing the procedure came to talk to me, he said, "you are little enough that this will show through your skin". I could have kissed him! It has been years since anyone has said I was "little" enough for anything. I know I still have a little ways to go, but to be told that was great! It is too bad I had to get so sick to lose all the weight without even trying after years of struggling sooooo much with trying to lose weight and not figuring out why it wasn't working.

I am grateful for the peace that came to me today in Relief Society when we were hearing a lesson on prayer and personal revelation. I am so grateful to know that I can pray and receive answers to my prayers. I don't know where I would be without that. What a loving Heavenly Father we have who hasn't left us alone on the earth -- no matter how alone and scared we might feel at times.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Okay, here are some pictures. None of them are flattering of me, but I put them up anyway. This last week has been full of memory making moments that I will treasure forever. Having 2 sisters here and having Rick come and having my kids come back has made for a great week!
It was so fun to have Angela here, but I didn't get any pictures with her here and I am sad about that. I missed her as soon as she was gone. Deborah leaves today and I will miss her terribly. She has been attentive and has even slept with me several times when my Mom was worried about me and needed some sleep herself. My kids sure love their aunties!!!!!!! Speaking of which, my kids came home from Aunt Rebecca's house so loved and treasured! They had a huge lunch for the plane and toys to play with and they made memories at both Deborah's and Becca's houses that will last them for their lifetime.
We went to see "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" on Friday as a HUGE group of girls. It was such fun! And it was fun to go see a movie for the first time in a long time. Emma now loves the Kit doll and likes to look at her on the American Girl website.
On Saturday, Rick and I went for a little date. We went to Macaroni Grill and for the first time in several years I was able to sit in a booth. Such a silly thing to make a big deal about, but it was so nice! Then we stopped at Seagull Book and had a good time looking in there. It was just nice to be out together.
This morning we went with Sarah and her kids to the Mesa Temple grounds and Visitor's Center. We saw the art exhibit of the Savior that is up now and it was a very touching and spiritual experience for all of us -- even my kids just loved it and want to go back to see it soon before it leaves the Visitor's Center at the end of July.
I feel so blessed. When I saw the picture in the art exhibit of the Savior walking on water, I felt very emotional. When I took my first step off the hospital bed, I was nervous and not sure what to expect. I have felt the Savior's support and comfort so much in this new journey. He has surely been beside me and helped me to do more than I ever thought I could do. The physical and occupational therapists still are surprised, but I know where my strength comes from. Heavenly Father wants me to be a mother. He is allowing me to stay here on earth to be with my husband and kids and I need to learn to be as independent as possible for them and for my confidence in being a mother and wife. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I cannot ever say I have been alone. Help from the other side and help on this side from family and friends has helped me to get up every day and work hard.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I do have a few pictures, but I haven't put them on my computer yet -- so they will have to come on next time. I have had a few more drug withdrawal "episodes", but the last one was 3 days ago and it was short. So, hopefully, I am done!!!!

My kids came home today!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been GREAT to see them. I think they each grew 6 inches while they were gone, they each look so big! Rick surprised me at the airport -- he is here for the 4th of July weekend. What a great weekend it will be. I am so excited.

I am learning to get around the house better. I can shower completely by myself now. It seems so silly to be excited about something so simple, but it is a step towards independence. Getting dressed, getting in the car, showering, getting around the house, etc. I am getting there. I am so impatient. I want to be able to do it all NOW!

Right now I am so lucky to have some sisters here. Deborah came from Spokane, WA and Angela came from Bluffton, SC. It makes me miss the other sisters, but it is fun. On Wednesday morning all the sisters and sisters-in-law and Mom went to the temple. It was sooooo nice to be there after so many months of not being able to go, but I have to admit, I was anxious because of not knowing what to do and where to go in a wheelchair.

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Well, I finally got to go home on Wednesday. I was so glad to be home from the hospital! Little did I know what was waiting for me for the next few days. Because one of the Dr.s in the hospital had been sooooooo controlling with my medications, I was a mess. So, I went home and started drug withdrawal for the next few days. Whew! what a mess! The last few days I was in the hospital this particular Dr. upped several meds. I kept saying I didn't want that and she went against me and did it anyway. There were several medications she wanted to start that I declined and I think it upset her, so the ones she had control over, she started controlling. So, the night I got home, I started throwing up, sweating, shaking, feeling like I was going crazy in my head, etc. 'The next day was worse. My Aunt Ethleen came over and TOOK over -- to the relief of my mom. She is an RN and she worked with Dr. Lodi and Mom got fluids, minerals, other things to give me. Things weren't perfect for the next few days, but I woke up this morning feeling like me. I don't need to go into detail, but drug withdrawal is a very scary experience.

I am so glad to be feeling better now, because my sister Deborah is here for the next week and my sister Angela is coming in a few days for a few days. We will have so much fun together. I am so grateful they are here. Sisters are the best! My cousin Bryan came last week and I hated being sick while he was here. It was still good to see him and I am so grateful to him for making the trip.

Learning to do things with one leg is a whole new world for me. I am determined to get it all, but I have to admit that there are way too many things I took for granted. Just getting in the shower is quite the to do. But I will get it. I appreciate Rick and all the work he is doing on the house. Regardless of where we end up we have to sell our house. I have to do a one story. And I appreciate all the people in the ward who have helped. It is very humbling.

Thanks everyone for the love and support. I appreciate it. We love you all!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Here are a few pictures from a “photo shoot” the kids and I did to surprise Rick for Father’s Day and one of Emma and Abby enjoying the AZ heat. I wanted to include a picture of Caleb coming home from Cub Scout Day Camp, but he was always sooooo tired and WE were usually so tired (it was usually 11:00pm before he got home), we always forgot. But he had a GREAT time and we are grateful! The shirts and hats were darling and a great hit! He was always filthy and smiling and stinky. Is there any other way to spell success with a Cub Scout activity?

As far as the surgery, I am recovering ok. Everyone says I am progressing at miraculous speed. I just think I am impatient and anxious to GET GOING! I can get myself dressed all the way from the skin out. I can go to the bathroom by myself, I can get into a wheelchair and use it (same with a walker), I am getting there. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. I am very grateful!! As far as Stake Conference, thanks to everyone who was so helpful!

Stake Conference will be amazing, I know there will be a General Authority there. Enjoy it for me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Preface: Rick is writing this post. It's not the drugs talking... ;o)

First and second surgeries went well. Dr Seidel said things went really smoothly and her vitals were really strong through the procedures.

There's still a lot of pain, but Anna's spirits are up. Anna has enjoyed everyone's ideas on the benefits of having only one leg. She's put together quite a list. The humor has been good for all of us and it falls right in line with Anna's coping mechanism. However, I think I took it over the top on the humor though when I suggested we change her name to Eileen.

Physical and Occupational Therapy is progressing nicely. I have been so impressed with Anna's ability to take on the challenge of re-learning how to perform daily activities. Unfortunately, she doesn't give herself enough credit on the victories she makes everyday, but she's getting better at it.

There's still a long road ahead, but we've got lots of help from above.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. We have felt your faith and are grateful for this miracle.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This post will definitely pop a few eyes out.

After being sick all last weekend, I was admitted to the hospital Mon morning.
Dr Seidel (the surgeon) is monitoring my care until surgery. After having a myriad of tests (x-rays, CT scans, a MRI, a PET scan, and bloodwork), we had a difficult choice to make.

The first choice was the amputation of my leg, which would remove the tumor and infection at once. This is because the tumor inoperable because it was so large and twisted around muscle, nerves, and tissue. This option would have a faster and easier recovery.

The 2nd choice was to "leave it alone", "enjoying the time I had left", and "going whole". After discussing w/ Dr. Seidel what the prognosis was for "time left", I realized that if I just left it alone, I wouldn't see a lot of "time left" because the infection was so bad that it would be a matter of a few weeks not years.

So… we have decided on getting the amputation done. It will happen Monday morning at 8am. I am scared, but I feel so at peace with this. And that did NOT happen overnight. J There are 3 Orthopedic Oncological Surgeons in the State and none of them take the insurance we have, so we will have to figure that out, too. I am still in the hospital and will be until after the surgery – about 3-5 days after. I don't have a lot to do, but the pain medication makes me loopy and VERY sleepy, so I spend a lot of time sleeping. I am afraid I haven't been good company for anyone who has come to visit, since I have either been crying or falling asleep when they come.

We told Caleb and Emma on Thursday afternoon. Emma started to cry and Caleb's eyes got very large and he got very serious for a minute. Then, he aksed, "Mom, will you get one of those robotic legs?" Emma got very interested in the conversation at that point. Caleb was disappointed that I wasn't getting a robotic leg, but then he said, "Well, at least you can get one of those Handicap Parking things for going anywhere." J I love that!

Here is a list we came up with of reasons that having one leg is great or why using a wheelchair or crutches are better:

I only have to shave one leg
Maybe pedicures will be ½ price for me
My socks will last twice as long
Going to a place like Sea World or the San Diego Zoo will be great: we will have a place to hang bags, etc and a lap for little people to sit on for a ride when their legs get tired of walking.
If I fly Southwest, I can always pre-board if I want to.

Here is our challenge to YOU:

We want you to send as many reasons that I will have it so easy. I could use reading them, and what a great list it could be. SEND THEM IN!

I have some really cute pictures of the kids. I will get them on soon.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We found a surgeon. Let's hope he can do this. I am getting scheduled for an MRI -- hopefully, on Monday -- so I can meet with the surgeon on Tuesday. He is an Orthopedic Oncological Surgeon, so this is up his alley. I am praying for him or any other surgeon we come in contact with. I don't know who is going to actually do the surgery, but Heavenly Father does, so I am praying that whoever does it will be prepared and kind and extremely knowledgeable to best help me. From what we can tell the tumor has separated a lot from the rest of my leg in the back (there aren't fingers wrapping around the front that we can feel anymore), so hopefully the surgery will be less invasive than it would have been 6 years ago. Plus, we have the chemo treatments we are doing now to catch anything the surgeon can't. I am petrified when I think about the surgery, so we have been trying to think of all the good things: being able to fit in pants again, being able to SIT in a chair, not lugging around 30 extra pounds with me when I can walk again. :) AND, hopefully, we can be DONE with this infection that continues to plague me and keep me sick. I am so done with fevers and all the junk that comes with infection.

The kids are enjoying summer life here. They swim every day and play lots with cousins.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. I appreciate it. It is working.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There hasn't been anything super exciting in the last few days to report. The tumor is still trying to come out, it still hurts like bad words and we are starting to explore options of surgery and who to do it. I didn't like my options of surgery 6 1/2 years ago here in the Phoenix area and we are hoping to find that that situation has changed since I could continue treatments sooner after surgery with no travel involved. Our insurance is in Texas - which could possibly lead us to MD Anderson in Houston (the #2 sarcoma center in the nation) - but I would have to stay and recuperate longer before travelling and continuing treatments back in Mesa. If worst comes to worst, Dr. Lodi still knows people in New York from when he was at Columbia University, but travelling there and back would not be pleasant not to mention the expense of getting it done there and staying there - whew! We will do whatever is best. The infection is back - raging full force and I was pretty sick last weekend. And there are new sores on my leg where the tumor is trying to come through. That is why we are going to look in all the surgery options. Surgery can be a death-sentence for sarcomas, but I have IPT now (the form of administering chemo) that we didn't have before and we will be trusting in that a lot. We'll see.

A couple funny from the kids in the last few days:

On Monday, Rick gathered the kids around to talk about Memorial Day. He had spent time reading about all the wars from the Revolutionary War to present talking about the number of people who fought and died and the history behind Memorial Day. We also read Uncle Randy's great email and looked at the pictures he sent. When we got to talking about the Middle East, Grandma brought up how fast we got to Baghdad and how the whole world watched it on tv, Caleb piped with how fast the bad guys got out of there and how they had to hurry "ON THEIR CAMELS." He is so smart and knows so much about so many things, it was so fun to see that there is still little boy in there with him thinking that they all ride camels over there in this day and age. My Mom and I were giggling as quietly as we could without him seeing. "Giddy-up camels, hurry, hurry, the U.S. are coming!"

Last night when I was putting Emma to bed she had a wind-up teddy-bear with her that played a nifty little version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". She likes me to sing to her after we read to snuggle for a minute, so she said, "Let it go for a minute, Mom, it plays 3 songs: Twinkle, Twinkle, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and ABC's". I was thinking it must have played little variations. I listened to it a few times before I started singing with it and each time it played the same thing. I cracked up thinking that SHE heard 3 different songs just by what she sang. So I sang each one for her to the same tune and she was happy as a lark that she got al three songs.

Okay, so I think they are cute kids. I will keep them. It has also been nice to have Rick here. He has been so helpful and has fixed food, played with kids, and has been getting up at 5:00 to start work by 7:00am Austin-time. Nice for me, because then I didn't feel bad asking him to stop yesterday at 3:45, knowing that it was almost 6:00pm Austin-time. :) He's tuckered by 8:00pm, so I better start getting to bed earlier with him.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Caleb at a Diamondbacks Baseball game with Uncle Spencer, McKay and Kaden.

Caleb at a Diamondback's Baseball game with Uncle Spencer, McKay and Kaden

This picture is for Aunt Deborah's sake. Abigail is feeling much better about her hair after playing spa with her cousins. :) Many thanks to Auntie Berta and Grandma!

Caleb is enjoying being back in Karate!

Emma, Gracie and Abby planting Sunflower Seed SHELLS. They were mighty disappointed that nothing grew, but it kept them busy for 3 hours one Saturday morning! We'd better get them some real seeds.

Doesn't Emma look beautiful! Aunt Karson made the cake, helped her decorate it AND painted her fingernails AND curled her hair for a fun Girls Night. Emma was thrilled!

Cute kids, huh? I am a bit prejudiced, but I love them!

More stuff on the sore, the tumor, etc. Good and bad, well gross. I guess we could call it the good, the bad and the ugly. I won't show pictures of THAT

Good first: the tumor has shrunk MORE this week. We are truly grateful. I am hoping it continues at this rate. SOMETHING has to make this pain worth it.

Bad (not BAD just gross) news: The next part gets a bit gross, so don't read if you might get queasy. I am back on more anti-biotics; yes, a little more infection, and watching to keep it at bay because -- the sore is nothing more than the tumor itself coming out through the skin. UGH! Dr. Lodi (while he is trying to be compassionate about the pain) is ecstatic. He has seen it do this many times with breast cancer, but never with a liposarcoma, but he isn't completely surprised. Apparently, the tumor is now dying and at a faster rate than my body can absorb it and tackle it internally, so it is literally pushing it out. Raw tissue being exposed (plus the pushing out) makes me want to say bad words, but that doesn't make it feel any better, so what is the point? There is no fun in being naughty enough to say the words.

So.....I hope it keeps going quickly (relatively speaking), because that would make this pain a lot more bearable and seem worth it. Actually the pain is NOT really very bearable, but it would be worth it. :)

My hair loss has slowed down a LOT, but I am still cutting some off -- any input on style? It still has to be long enough for a pony because it is now over 100 degrees here and I have days I just don't feel up to fixing my hair.

Rick is coming on Friday to stay for 3 weeks. We are excited to have him here. Let's hope we all still love being together all day every day after 3 weeks. With the kids homeschooling, playing with cousins and lots going on at Grandma's house, Rick working from home, helping out with meals, etc and me at the Dr. most of each day, it could get crazy. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Good news flash:

Yesterday, in checking this horrible sore (I promise I won't swear although I feel like it at moments - it hurts like*%#@*!) Dr. Lodi measured the big tumor in my leg. It has gone down by 30 cm since I have been here! With what I have gone through lately, I would have taken 10 cm. Also the tumor by my shoulder continues to shrink. We haven't measured it, but it is smaller. We can tell. As I have lost weight up on the top of my body, it has gotten smaller, too. It would be more pronounced as I've lost weight if it hadn't shrunk, so we know. Plus, Rick is a good judge. Since he doesn't see me for 2 weeks at a time, he can tell when he comes.

Keep the prayers coming -- I believe in them!!!!! We are going to lick this! It makes the hair I lost the other day worth it. I will lose all my hair to see this GONE! Hair can grow back!

Thanks to everyone for their love and support! I am so humbled with all the ANGELS that Heavenly Father has sent into my life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I AM still alive. I didn't realize it had been soooo long since I had posted. Honestly, the last 2 weeks have been incredibly rough!!! To put it slightly. The infection I mentioned earlier flared to a pretty scary degree. I had a low grade fever during the morning which would start to go up to around 102 - 103 or higher at night. It never left and I was a pretty sick puppy for the last 2 weeks. After a weird heart/breathing thing last Friday which landed me a trip in an ambulance to the hospital, I guess my body decided that that was it. Friday night (or more accurately Saturday morning) at 2:30am, my fever BROKE. I woke up absolutely drenched from head to toe. I was so excited, I woke up Rick (who was here visiting). He was happy for me, but in the middle of the night, I didn't get much reaction from him. :)

So, it took a couple of days after that to feel more back to normal, but I am feeling much spunkier now FOR REAL and getting out of bed isn't such an incredibly hard thing to do.

The kids weathered the sickness, but I think I wore everyone around me out. I hate that. Mom isn't getting well like she should, Aunt Karson is sick now after taking so much care of me and my kids, Aunt Sarah must be WORN out, too. Hopefully, now, I can step back into being a MOM. My days are long at the clinic sometimes and I feel like a working mom. *sigh*

In the middle of being sick, my picc line starting clotting so badly that we couldn't use it and the Dr. wanted it OUT. With the infection, they couldn't put in a port, so last week, with a fever and feeling like death, I had the picc line taken in and a TAK line put in my chest. It wasn't fun. But the Dr. is sure that the reason I couldn't get rid of the infection after ALL the antibiotics I was on, is because it was in the picc line, too. He is probably right, since 2 days after getting it out the fever broke finally.

The kids started swimming lessons this week and Caleb is now back in karate, so they are finding activities here. It is good. They still love playing with cousins and think they are abused if a day goes that they don't see any cousins to play with ( I think it has happened only 2 or 3 times the whole time we have been here). They are good kids and I am glad they are here with me. We miss Rick like crazy and look forward to the times he can come.

Hopefully, next time I can report something a little more cheerful. The good news is: I think we have the infection beat! I am still finishing my last antibiotic, but then I think we are done! Hallelujah!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I know it has been a while. I am sorry - thanks to everyone who has asked. I feel so silly doing this. It feels self-centered.
The above pictures are Caleb playing Legos with cousin Kaden Knopp. Rick and Caleb hanging out in Uncle Spencer and Aunt Karson's pool. And Emma literally hanging around with cousin Abby Thomason.
The last week has been a bit tougher for me than I wanted. I started getting a fever right after I last posted. I didn't talk about it, thinking I was detoxing. But I was feeling pretty crummy. My thinking was, "If I complained about all the pain and aches, I would never shut up. It doesn't do any good and it is yucky to be around!!!!" Besides, you kind of get used to not feeling good sometimes. Anyway, by the next day when I told Mom I had a fever that wouldn't go away, she FREAKED!!!!!! She ran for the thermometer and when she saw 101.9, she ran me to the Dr. She scolded me the whole way there for not telling her. :) Sure enough, she was right, the sore on my leg was infected and from the blood tests they ran it had gone systemic. Ick! So, no port-a-cath until the infection is FOR SURE gone, but miraculously, my picc line started working that very day (which is good since even Dr. Lodi couldn't get an IV in my arm after 2 nurses tried). So I could go back to getting treatments immediately. On top of the treatments now, I am getting 2 oral antibiotics, 2 IV antibiotics every day and a shot in the rear antibiotic every day to take care of this infection. We thought we had it licked for the most part, but this week back came a 102.6 fever raging for a while and that is when the Dr. upped the antibiotics and added a few drugs. Such fun! So that is why I haven't updated. I haven't felt super duper and it is kind of depressing to talk about. BUT, today I woke up feeling the first bit of spunk that I have felt in several weeks. I overdid a bit since I felt good, but now I am ready for bed and to sleep.
THE KIDS ARE DARLING!!!!!! They have been great for the most part. Caleb has been a big help. He has worked soooooo hard on his schooling (he can tell you about the periodic table and has built molecules and explained them all to me with the correct structure -- he is amazing!) and he has been helping Grandma clean and organize. Emma has been NO help, but has sure gotten in a LOT of hard play.
Caleb is going on the father/son campout with Uncle Spencer tomorrow and is very very excited about that. Emma is planning a huge girls' night with cousin Abby. I will hopefully include pictures of these events next time. Good night!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well, I don't have much to report. Yesterday morning, I couldn't get a treatment done because there was some sort of blockage in my picc line. Since Dr. Lodi wants me to get a port anyway, they decided to just expedite that. So, no treatments until the port is in. It may get done tomorrow, we are just waiting on insurance approval. I am scared to death. I won't get put under; they just use pain meds and sedation, but it is still a little surgery. ack!! The nice part is that once I am over the soreness, etc. there is no maintenance for me. I can shower, swim, etc. With the picc line, it has been a pain -- I have to use the press and seal plastic wrap and keep the picc line dry and clean. The port will be under the skin. It will just hurt a little to access it every day -- just like a little shot. That has been the nice part of the picc line. I guess it will all be worth it. I would love love LOVE to get in the pool (when it is a smidge warmer) and just float -- taking that gravity off my leg. The tumor is soooo heavy to carry around!

So, hopefully, the next entry will have good news: back to treatments!

The kids are doing great! Their school is going well and they are already swimming when they can. What a blessing to be by cousins!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Well, here are a couple of pictures from my birthday. What a day! I felt spoiled rotten all day long! Mom and Karson had made some flax seed crackers for me to take into the center to share with all the staff and my other patient friends. Just like bringing cupcakes to a class at school. :)
Dr. Lodi and I sat down and talked again on Friday. We went over the results of a GI panel and a hormone test I had had done in Austin and just got the results for. So now I am taking progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA on top of other things. We also went over the results of the PET scan. Dr. Lodi said it is as good as we can expect. Other than what we already know (the leg - duh- the shoulder, and the small spot in the back, there were small "spots" that showed up on one kidney, my liver and a spot in my abdomen. He said that they were small and couldn't be diagnosed specifically. He said that it could be places of inflammation, it could be the beginnings of something that we are catching early, it could be something that was there that is going away after 2 weeks of treatment -- basically, he said they were something I didn't need to worry about right now. AND, nothing showed up in the right breast -- so the little pebble that I had found that is pretty much gone, he said was nothing. Yay. Anyway, I was getting pretty teary when he told me about the "spots". He told me that they weren't worth losing sleep over, this is our starting point and we will continue to go forward. So, the good news is that there is nothing in my lungs, my brain, my bones, etc. And, Dr. Lodi was very very happy about that. ME TOO! I have to get another PET scan in 90 days and we'll see where we are then...
So, here is more good news: the tumor in my shoulder area is definitely smaller, softer and moves around a lot more. And the spot on my back is smaller and way flatter. So that is exciting. Now, lets get the leg in on the action. I am so impatient about that!!!!!!
Friday night, we had a fun girls' night with sisters and friends. Karson, Berta, Sarah, Mom, Brendl, Carla, and Polly all came over and we did each others feet and toes. It is so nice to have sassy toe nails again -- even though I can't wear sassy sandals yet to show them off. Hopefully it won't be long.
Thanks to everyone for their support and love. I am going to lick this and get my life back! I am going to be one of those miracle stories. I already am. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today I went for a PET scan. Ugh! All I can say is that I am glad it wasn't an MRI; this was bad enough. But it is over. I don't know if I really want the results if they aren't good. It won't change what I am doing. If they just show what I already know -- that is good. I am going to try to be tough. Dr. Lodi is in Korea this week and won't be in the office until Friday. Maybe I will get the results then.

After my treatment at the center, I got home to boxes of presents. Wow!!!!! I was so surprised and touched, I just sat there and bawled! My kids said I have to wait until my birthday to open them, so I don't know what any are yet. But it looks like some friends in Austin had a party for me and sent it here. I am so touched! There is more to look forward to on my birthday than getting chemo and having a colonic! :)

We are sad that Rick hurt his ankle playing volleyball and hope that it isn't broken. Golly, he goes to get exercise and is having a great time and BAM! So my prayers are with him tonight and I wish I could be there. I am grateful for all the people looking out for him!

Our family has just been so supported and taken care of -- I am sooooo grateful for friends, family, and the Lord.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today was the easiest IPT (chemo) day so far in the fact that it took the least time. I still felt pretty cruddy when I got home, but things went smoother at the center. After having another "moment" yesterday where I needed a little reviving, they are watching me like hawks. Yesterday my blood pressure went down to 76/32 before I said anything about not feeling very good. They weren't happy with me. I just thought I was feeling a little nauseous and clammy. I didn't know.... I know a lot of it has to do with me already having low blood pressure as a rule and then doing a juice fast on top of that tends to give people low blood pressure. So, I have to be careful. But I am continuing the juice fast -- after Thursday (which is my 14 day mark), I will take it a day or two at a time. I am not committing to a juice fast for months. But, I have someone making my juice for me and soooooo much help with Caleb and Emma, that I need to see this through.

Some people have asked what is in my green juice. Here is the daily recipe:
dandelion greens
lemon (to get rid of the bitter taste from the greens)
green apple (to sweeten it up a little -- green apples are very low in sugar so I can include them and Dr. Lodi says that if the juice doesn't taste good, what is the point; you're not going to want to drink it)

I drink about 3 qts of that each day. That is my food. I am pretty done at this point with not chewing, but on Thursday for my birthday, I might splurge with some homemade flax seed crackers that Mom and Karson made to take to the center (you know, like how kids bring cupcakes on their birthday -- I am bringing flax seed crackers to all my little friends and nurses)

On IPT days, right after they adminster the chemo and the other drugs, I get to have my sugar splurge to get my blood sugar back up quickly. On the juice fast, that means more juice. But this juice is AMAZING! My Mom has mandarin orange trees in her back yard and she peels the oranges and drops the sections into the juicer and I get this thick, beautiful orange juice that is the sweetest thing you have ever tasted! 2 qts of it every Tues and Thurs. When I am done with the juice fast, I will get to eat a banana or orange or watermelon or some high sugar fruit. Then a salad with olive oil on it. Apparently, olive oil can be huge in not letting your blood sugar fall. So, high sugar fruit to bring it back up and then olive oil to keep it there.

So there is a little info on my eating. Sorry if it is boring. I thought it would be great to get it down.

One last note -- GO ALI for winning Biggest Loser! Finally a girl! And isn't she darling!!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There isn't much to report today. I just thought I would put up some pictures that we took this weekend. Some of the family and one of the kids on their hike. For those of you who don't know, the 2 cute boys in the front of the picture from the hike are Kaden and Kohl Knopp, two cousins who live here in Mesa. This weekend has been full of cousin fun -- which we are so grateful for. The kids are making great relationships and memories to last a long time.
I haven't been in much pain today -- I have just been dealing with a lot of swelling. We'll get it under control....
Today in Church some women sang "This is the Christ" by James E. Faust. I have always loved that song. Today, as I listened to their beautiful voices I was touched by the line, "How many drops of blood were shed for me?" I am so grateful for the Savior, for His Atonement, His great love and care for each of us. I know we each must come to the Savior on our own -- He will not force us -- and the usually what brings us there is being humbled. There are moments when suffering is so hard, but I am not as Job yet (not even a comparison). If this is what the Savior wants me to go through to be the person He wants me to be, I will try to do it more cheerfully and with less complaining. I have so much to be thankful for! I have many great examples all around me of people who have smiled through trials. My goal is to be more like them. Being here with brothers and sisters and friends has given me an opportunity to see what good people I have in my life. My brothers and sisters and their spouses here are so brave and so selfless. I am very grateful for them and their support of our little family while we are here! They have all sacrificed and are sacrificing a lot for us. I am growing to admire them more every day. I am so lucky to have the family I have. Parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews......... the list goes on.
I need to go to sleep. It is WAY too late. I was falling asleep trying to download pictures 2 hours ago. Now, for some reason, I am wide wide awake.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Well, I got one picture today. The red in the tube is my blood -- is that cool? Yes, no. I know it is a little gross. One of the treatments is taking out 200cc of blood, mixing a bunch of stuff with it, and putting it back into my body. That was one of the treatments today. Definitely the easiest of the day. Tracey is one of my favorite nurses. She is really great. She is kind of like a mother hen and really watches over me. Later today, after a different procedure I had a "moment". I got really loopy and dizzy and didn't realize how 'off'' I was until I got up to walk to the bathroom. One of the nurses basically caught me as I was falling across the room. Then Tracey and Michelle (the other nurse) started to hustle. They monitored me and didn't leave my side for about 30 minutes. They had Dr. Lodi come in and then he kept checking on me. I just wanted to sleep, but, since one of my issues apparently was my blood sugar, they wouldn't let me sleep at first. Even after I was doing better, I got checked very carefully the rest of the afternoon. It is nice to know they are so careful. I finally did get a good nap, though, while my IV finished.

Rick got here tired and we were all disappointed about that. In other words, he wasn't much fun today. He is paying for it by having me put it here. :) He is awake enough now to be playing xBox with Caleb, which makes Caleb happy, so that is good. Tomorrow he is taking the kids hiking, swimming, and shopping for birthday presents for cousins and their Mom. So he will get to redeem himself in his kids' eyes. Even tired, though, Rick was helpful by watching Matthew for Spencer and Karson while they got ready for their date. Then he snuggled Emma while she didn't feel good. It really is good just to have him there.

My pain is down again today and the tumor is definitely less swollen. And no IV's until Monday. Hurrah! I have a PET scan scheduled for Wednesday morning and I don't know if I want to know the results of that. I am sure curiosity will win out. I just don't know if I really want to know if it has spread to places I didn't know about. There are enough I DO know about. Signing off until Monday or so......