Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday December 30th

I feel like my life is full of ups and downs. I was happy to go to a movie and dinner last night with our whole family and 3 more of the boys' friends (yes, one of them was a girl). The movie Marley and Me wasn't too exciting and fabulous, but it was sweet and had some very good messages about family and love. I cried at the end when they had to say goodbye to their beloved pet, but it did make me appreciate coming home to my own smaller yellow lab and cuddling her. I also was thankful that my Sandi is better behaved than the Marley in the movie. She got over her chewing fetish at the end of her puppy phase. Yesterday the children all had friends over to play until the afternoon, when I sent them home and tried to nap a bit. Even David had a load closing yesterday and has another one today, so that makes me grateful.

One of Nathan's chores this morning was to go get the mail (you have to walk 2 houses up the hill through the snow.) You can imagine that we had a lot of Christmas cards to read. Lately I've been feeling sentimental and I've been remembering the past Christmases we have had. I used to be one of those dedicated card senders that had a cute letter and beautiful photo to mail to my extended family and friends. That tradition has died away as I've been getting sicker every year. When I read the beautiful letters and photos that appeared in our mailbox, I couldn't help but mourn for a chance to lead a normal life again, instead of my constant ups and downs. I am letting myself cry about it and trying to realize that all of these beautiful families have their own trials and challenges. I am trying to remember the many blessings that I still receive and I know that Heavenly Father hasn't overlooked our family.

Even though I know my job is to get better and rest, I still feel like I should be doing so much more to teach my children and and watch over them. I have to trust in others that they will do this for me when I am too sick. I know there are ward members and extended family and friends who are helping to have a good influence on my boys, giving the big boys snow shoveling jobs to earn some money, or inviting Nathan to come and play at your house and giving him plenty of hugs and attention (just spare the treats, as he needs to fit in his clothes!) David really does take good care of me. He calls often during the day, picks up items at the store when needed, takes the boys on outings and helps put them to bed each night. Mostly at night is when I get a chance to lie down with one of my boys and hug them and talk to them. I'm grateful for those tender moments and that they don't feel too old to be tucked in by their mom.

It is normal for me to be emotional on the last day before my treatment. I first started chemotherapy in March of 2007 and have pretty much been going the whole time, except a 3 month break in the fall of 2007. I've had tests, treatments or doctors visits every month of 2008. I always have the hardest time keeping my spirits up in the winter. I am hoping to find a light box or lamp that I can use every day since there is not as much sunlight in the winter. I am also hoping to teach my boys how to prepare more meals, including making me some fruit and protein smoothies which are healthy and go down easily when I have nausea.

Well, I feel like I've gone on long enough today. We don't have any New Year's plans, except to eat our gingerbread house on New Year's Day. Brenton gets to go to a youth dance tonight. I can't believe he'll be 15 in only 6 weeks. Speaking of birthdays, mine is coming in 2 weeks and I'll be 37 and just a few years short of 40. Maybe after this next cycle of treatment I'll be up to going somewhere to celebrate my birthday. It helps me to look forward to happy things.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday December 28th

Relief, at last! I have felt marginally well this week, enough to go out on some errands and enjoy Christmas eve at David's parents. I felt ok on Christmas and was grateful. When I felt sick on Friday I was afraid I would always be dealing with nausea and never get a break. Well, some of your prayers must have worked because I was better on Saturday and up to some shopping and going out to lunch with my mom. Today was great as well, since I attended tithing settlement, all 3 hours of church, and also attended an eagle scout court of honor for Sam and Julie's son Adam in the evening. I am always thrilled when I can get up and do things and when I feel well enough to eat things, since I often don't have much of an appetite. Alas, my time is short before I have to start my next 3 week cycle of chemo on Wednesday.

After the next 3 weeks, I'll have a PET scan and the oncologist can determine whether to continue or change my treatment regimen. I get worn out after all of the ups and downs of my medication cycle. I'm hoping to borrow or buy a special lamp (like from Apollo light systems) which simulates the sun and helps people in northern climates with SAD or seasonal affective disorder. I always feel more depressed in January and February, mostly because of the dreary weather and the long long winter. I'm hoping to keep my spirits up if I am going to have the energy to fight my illness as long as I can. I think that God is sending some angels on earth to care for me and answer my prayers. Thanks for all of your cheery comments, too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday December 26th

Yesterday was fun and relaxing. also a little busy, as my parents dropped in to visit. My dad had just arrived Wednesday night after driving all day from California. Then, because of the weather, he thought he might have to leave today to avoid storms in the Sierras. I was sad that I only got a short time to talk to him and see him, so I asked him to think of staying here a little longer and then going home via the southern route, so they could avoid the Sierra mountains. Fortunately he called later last evening and said he was willing to stay for 2 more days. Now, I am standing right next to my dad and I really glad that he decided to stay because I miss him when my mom is here and he is in California. So that was kind of a Christmas blessing for me.

I've still be having struggles with nausea. I am afraid it might be because my liver is getting swollen again and presses against my stomach. I'm feeling sentimental over the holidays, because I worry that it will be my last Christmas with my family. I'm scheduled to meet with my oncologist on Wednesday and I'll probably start my next 3 week cycle of chemo. After that, Dr. Shehadeh said he'd order a pet scan, which is more comprehensive and will give him a good view of the extent of my illness.

Much of my worry pertains to my children. I still want to enjoy time with them and play games and go on outings with them, but all of these things are harder to do when I am sick. I want to take care of the children, but at this point it might be the lesson they need to learn to take care of their mother. Perhaps they can learn compassion service and obedience that they might not learn any other way.

I'm reading a book called Mary and Joseph which is a fictionalized story of Christ's birth. It has brought me great comfort to read about our Savior and his life.
Enjoy your holidays. My boys are happy putting together their legos and playing with new gadgets.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday December 23rd

Yesterday was the boys' first vacation day from school. They spent it climbing around in the snow and the playing video games with their friends. Jennie came over in the morning and took Nathan and Jonny to look at a cat in Orem she's planning to buy after christmas. Then, once Nathan got home and packed his clothes, he went with Jennie up to stay with her for 2 nights.
Brenton and Jonny got invited to a friend's house in the evening, so they had a nice time there.

This morning I woke up with pink eye, of all things. I was able to use my prescription from last time I had that and it seems to be getting better. I'm glad the David's work is getting slower, since he was able to drive the boys over to Greg's to shovel snow this morning, as well as do some shopping. In the afternoon, David was gone, so the boys stayed home, but my friend Cindy and her husband drove me to a few places so I was able to pick up what I hope is the end to all of my Christmas shopping!

This past week I have had a problem with break through pain, meaning the amount of pain I feel even by taking my patch and pills. I was able to talk to Dr. Garner this morning and he reassured me that he wanted to help me and to give me a few suggestions to help me get my pain under control. This issue made me wonder if my body is just getting used to the patch and so it is not as effective over time, or if my pain from my illness is getting greater than the patch's ability to control it.

We've enjoyed the many carolers as well as those who have brought us sweet treats for the holidays. Thank you for these pleasures and treats and cards that make me smile and help me to remember to focus on Christmas and not on my illness.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday December 21st

We're back! David and I spent 2 relaxing nights at a bed and breakfast. We were served breakfast in bed and had hot cocoa and herbal tea every evening. We had been to Haxton Manor in Salt Lake before, but there were a couple things that I didn't like much. This time, everything went perfectly and we were able to go out on Saturday and do some Christmas shopping. In the evening we attended a play called "It's a Wondrous Life" which was a parody of Its a wonderful life. It was amusing and had many plays on words and other jokes. I was really blessed that I felt well enough to go out with David and celebrate our anniversary, especially since I've been feeling sick today and barely made it to sacrament meeting. We got home in time for church and my mom reported that everything went fine while we were gone.

The kids have no school for 2 weeks. I think they'll enjoy sledding and playing with friends. Jonny has already built a snow fort in the back yard and he eventually wants to sleep there every night that I allow him. I'll feel safer if Sandi sleeps with him, as she can alert us to any problems. We don't have any big plans for Christmas day and David is taking a few days off work, so I guess we'll just enjoy being together as a family and making memories. I'd like to teach the older boys how to cook a few more dinner dishes, so they can cook when I'm not feeling well. I need the children to learn to take more responsibilities.
Good wishes to every one of my readers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday December 18th

Happy 39th anniversary to my parents! Meanwhile, thank you to everyone who wished me a happy anniversary tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting out and spending some time with my husband. It is hard to be romantic very often as we are all distracted by the children and work and being busy each day.

Also, I appreciate how many of you reassured me about being a good parent. I was extremely self motivated as a child and I also felt pressure to get the best grades in school, and to get ahead. As a parent, I have to realize that my boys are smart, but not necessary as motivated about grades or as skilled as I was in certain areas. I should be grateful that they all work hard when they are at school and they have good behavior, even though their homework is not always done. I am the sort of personality where I feel guilty if I do and guilty if I don't, so I have to reassure myself that we are all just doing the best we can and I can't worry about things I can't fix.

Also, after reading the comments lately, I feel humbled by the love and encouragement from my friends and family and acquaintances who are praying for me and following my story. I enjoyed having my Aunt Linda and cousin Chrissie over for lunch today. They brought me hugs and gifts and I felt grateful for their love. The area under our Christmas tree was empty until last night when Len and Elaine came by and brought us dinner and some presents as well. We've received several gifts from family members which we have put under the tree and look forward to opening in just one week.

Yesterday I took my last Xeloda pill, so I am feeling slightly better today. I don't have to go back in for chemo until December 31st. What a way to start the new year, right? Meanwhile, I am trying to put thoughts of illness out of my mind and concentrate on my family and enjoying the holiday. By the way, thanks to my neighbor who shovelled our driveway yesterday! Tonight our home teacher is coming to fix the deadbolt on our front door.

I recorded an episode of America's Funniest Videos the other day and we watched it tonight with the kids. It was fun just to have something to laugh about. So here's the challenge: If any of you have some funny videos or dvds, it would cheer me up to watch them. My friend Janet lent me the first season of the I Love Lucy show. I watched it during the 3 days we were up at family camp in July and I rarely stepped out of the trailer because I felt so sick all day. Watching the dvd was a blessing for me to keep my spirits up.

David and I are going out to celebrate our anniversary for the weekend, but I'll try to get in a post or two while we are gone. Happy holidays, everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday December 16th

I haven't been out much lately, except to the chiropractor on Monday morning. I refilled my prescriptions at the same time and my mom went grocery shopping for me. It has been fun to have her do the cooking because she has more time and energy to create delicious meals, even ones that the children have rarely had because I don't cook them. One example was last night. We had pork chops with abples on top and sweet potatoes with a orange sauce. That was a little overwhelming for Nathan, as it was 2 new foods to try. I convinced him to eat the pork by taking off the apples and having him use barbecue sauce, but I didn't have much luck with the yams. Even David hasn't liked yams for years, but when he tried my mom's he actually liked them. How nice it is that we are having pleasant new food experiences in contrast to this show I like on the Travel Channel called Bizarre Foods. I get a big kick out of how many strange things this guy is willing to try in countries and cultures all over the world. Can you tell I've been watching a little too much tv?

I'm hoping to feel better by the weekend, as David and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary on Friday. How convenient that we have my mom here to babysit! Many times we'll go out without a sitter, but it is comforting to know that mom is there to watch over everything. I'm still looking forward to doing some Christmas shopping, as soon as I can go out. Right now, I've been doing a few small things, such as paying bills and writing cards and if I do any walking around, my stomach hurts and I have to lie down again. I guess the positive side of being sick after chemotherapy is the surety that just as I felt worse in the middle of the cycle, now I should continue getting a little better near the end of the 3 weeks (which is actually a week from tomorrow)

I asked Brenton last night to bring me the paper describing his musical composition project in his choir class. Not only had he missed turning in the rough draft, but he was already late on the final draft (which I found out later that the date had been postponed and now it's not late.) Still I was pretty mad at Brenton because he hasn't been writing his homework in his planner and he needs to take more accountability to do his homework or ask us for help, if necessary. I had the school counselor talk to him, but hopefully he'll turn around and start caring more about school. I always wonder how much my illness affects my children. Sometimes I blame myself for not teaching them to organize their homework or for not keeping track each day what needs to be done. Jonny is also learning the need for his planner, since he went from 6th grade into 7th which is now middle school and he has many classes and many different teachers.

Today has been pretty typical in which I take my pills in the morning and generally feel well, but my stomach gets worse at lunch and all the way into the evening, so I never feel like eating much dinner. Taking a nap in the afternoon also helps my stomach because I wake up feeling better.

That's about all I have to say today!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday December 14th

Today was a spiritual day. In the morning before church, we had a visit from the Stake Presidency. I went to sacrament meeting, came home and had some lunch, then took a nap for the next 2 1/2 hours. When I woke, the children were playing and soon after I got up, my mom came back from her weekend at Daniel's. She told us about all her adventures. I told her some of the questions I had been looking up in the scriptures today and we had a discussion with David. We mostly questioned how to find the will of the Lord and how we should pray to bring our will in correspondence with his.

When Elder Pearson came, our whole family sat in the living room in our church clothes, including my mom. Elder Pearson asked some questions about our family, then we asked him some questions. I asked him about prayers --and he told me that at this point in my life, my goal in prayer is to learn by the spirit what the will of God is for me. Instead of wondering about what to do, the spirit can guide me and comfort me and help me know what to do. I liked that answer. He also gave a Christmas message about the people in the Book of Mormon who received the sign of Christ's birth, right in time to avoid being killed for their beliefs. He told of his son who was born with cancer. They had to fight for 6 years for his life, but he is alive today, ten years later, so I felt like Elder Pearson could really identify with our family's trials. At the beginning of the trial, he felt like if enough people prayed and fasted and if he gave his priesthood blessing, then his son would recover, or at least his tumors would be smaller. When Elder Pearson received bad news from the surgeon, it was like a crisis of faith for him. But, he learned through his prayers that his boy was first Christ's son before he was Elder Pearson's son and the son would have to endure to the end of this trial and no one could change that.

Elder Pearson also asked if he could give me a blessing. It was an honor and of course I said yes. The only question was, should David put the consecrated oil on my wig (which is hard to wash) or through a hat or on my bald head. We went ahead with the wig idea. I felt such a strong spirit from this man who was blessing me in behalf of the Lord. He blessed me with peace of mind and peace of conscience, knowing that if I keep the commandments, the Lord will take care of me and of my family and I won't have to worry about them. He specifically blessed the boys, through me, that they would become strong from this trial and would learn many lessons. He blessed me to have the spirit to know God's will. He blessed me with comfort as the time grows near for me to leave this earth; that our whole family would be comforted as the veil grows thinner. He mentioned there are those waiting to accept me with open arms when I die. He didn't say how long I would live, but he blessed me to have a happy Christmas with my family this month. He reminded me that the Lord loves me and is aware of my needs and he cares about me and about my little family. Also, that I might be an example to others of studying the will of God and accepting it in my life.

Of course all the grown ups in the room were crying, even Elder Pearson. He is tall, but he leaned over and gave all of us a big hug before he left. We have felt his spirit lingering in our home just in the past hour and a half. All of the boys went quickly and quietly to bed, so that David and I can write on our computers about the blessing. I believe that I will have many more times when I am sad, but will be able to remember this blessing and have peace and hope in my heart.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday December 13th

I dreaded having to write this blog because I knew it would make me cry. I have been feeling very sick to my stomach and tired the past 2 days. I threw up my morning pills yesterday because I took them on an empty stomach. I take the anti-nausea drugs, and they do help in genereal, as long as I am lying down. Life here at home keeps going around in a circus with me in the middle of it, watching from my sofa. Yesterday, my mom left to take care of my brother's children for the weekend. Then, David took Brenton and his mom to the Tabernacle Choir concert last night. I stayed home with the younger two.

Today, my brother Dave was so kind to invite my kids over all afternoon and feed them pizza and play video games. My husband had some work to do on his computer, so I took a nap at noon and woke up 3 hours later. We got the kids back tonight and we watched a Hallmark movie called "Front of the Class" where a man with Touretts syndrome wants to become a teacher.

I haven't heard back from Elder Pearson about his schedule, but the stake presidency also wants to come and visit our family before church. The children are all excited to meet a member of the Seventy, if he is able to come tomorrow.

There are times like this week when I feel utterly helpless, except to ask the Lord for comfort. I acknowlede that his will will be done in every situation, so I don't pray to be relieved of my burdens, only that I might be able to bear them. With this philosophy in mind, I have been wondering:If I want to give my life up to the Lord, what is the purpose in praying for a miracle, and then be dissappointed when it doesn't happen? Basically, who am I to petition the lord for a situation when he already knows what the outcome will be? Isn't asking for a miracle the opposite of giving your will to the Lord?

I'll be asking some of those questions tomorrow and I'll let you know what happens.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday December 11th

Maybe I spoke too soon on Tuesday when I mentioned that I had been managing my symptoms. Yesterday (Wed.) was the worst day I have felt so far in this treatment cycle. I had hoped on Tuesday evening to attend the ward dinner, but I felt pretty sick to my stomach and I also didn't feel like dressing up and sitting around a table and talking to people. I stayed home with Nathan and Jonny, while Brenton went over to the dinner with the other youth who were serving the adults. Then I woke up feeling pretty sick on Wednesday, yesterday.

I took a long nap yesterday afternoon and when I got up, the children and my mom had completed a gingerbread house, each side decorated by one of them and the roof topped with necco candies for shingles. They had a chimney with a gelly santa poised to come down, plus a walkway made of smarties and even a green jelly wreath hanging on one of the walls. Mom spent all morning baking the gingerbread and she even thought ahead to bring a couple of the ingredients with her, plus the template to cut out the walls and roof, etc. It was a tradition at my house growing up, so I appreciated mom teaching my children how to carry on the tradition. I told the kids they could eat it on New Year's Day, just as my family had done.

I am now starting my second week of taking the oral chemotherapy, Xeloda. I think I would feel a lot less nausea if I didn't have to take those pills each day. In one week, I'll be done with the pills and then I hope to be feeling better before Christmas. I haven't done any Christmas shopping, but I am hoping to get out next week and buy some gifts. We continue to get small gifts from our neighbors and church members. Monday night, a family came to deliver some banana bread and their children sang us some Christmas carols. Yesterday some girls brought us cookies as their activity days project. My boys are always delighted to get sweets, since I don't buy many and we don't usually eat dessert. We always feel supported and remembered by the ward members.

I am feeling a little sad today, because I am thinking of all the things I can't do or enjoy because I am sick. For example, we were offered tickets to the Tabernacle Choir concert on Friday, but I knew I would feel too sick to attend. I am also sad that Brenton and Jonny are behind in some of their school classes. They got really bad midterm reports and I feel like it is all my fault because I haven't monitored their homework and assigments enough. Also, I feel like the boys are stressed because I am sick, so they worry about me and have to answer questions at school and church about how I'm doing, only they don't know what to say. My future health is always up in the air, since we don't know if I'll get better or if I will most likely decline until I die from liver failure. It is scary for the whole family when we worry about the worst outcome, meanwhile we have to press forward with faith, and count the blessings we have. I suppose my times of tears and worry should be allowed, as long as I remember the bright side and have hope in Christ. I'm still reading my book, "When you can't do it alone, take the Savior's hand." I've felt peace from reading that book, as well as from reading the recent conference talks and marking the words that inspire me.

A member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Kevin Pearson, is coming on Sunday to give me a blessing. I'd like to record it and have it to remember over and over, after he leaves. A family member told him about my illness and he called yesterday to set up a time to visit. I feel very humbled, that he would be willing to come and see our little family. He was so kind on the phone to ask me questions, and I must have sounded awful because I got emotional and started crying and blowing my nose. At least I now have something to look forward to, when he comes on Sunday. On Sunday, when I attend church, it is nice to be able to put my wig on and dress up and try to forget that I am sick and bald. Even if I have to rest right up until church begins, I do my best to take medication, put on my clothes and make it through sacrament meeting before I have to come home and take a nap. Perhaps when our ward schedule changes in January, the meetings won't conflict with my nap time!

It was helpful to let some of my feelings out today. Since I changed doctors, I no longer have free counseling available, but perhaps I can find a substitute. David wants me to ask my Dr. about a prescription for hospice care, which could provide our family with grief counseling and similar services. Thanks to everyone who reads this and to those who provide comforting comments and greetings. It is nice to know that so many people are thinking about me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday September 9th

Things are going smoothly here, as mom is keeping the household (and the kids) in good order. I feel blessed that my side effects from the chemo are mostly under contol. When I have fatigue, I can rest or take a nap. When my stomach hurts, I take my medications and sip on sprite. When my throat hurts, I can use my magic mouthwash. As long as I lie down and rest, I seem to feel pretty well. I have enjoyed reading and watching some recorded holiday shows on TV. With the dvr feature on cable, I can look at the TV menu for the whole day and press record for any show, then the next day I can watch the show and fast forward the commercials. I can also record movies that are edited for television, so I don't even need to rent or buy dvds.

So far this week, I've only gone out once, to the chiropractor. Tonight our ward is having a catered dinner for adults, so I might go for a little while. I have been feeling more positive lately, as my illness has not been getting worse. Also, my pain is under control and I am more comfortable. It is my goal to start feeling better enough to do some scrapbooking again. That always makes me feel good, to look at photos and remember fun times our family has had together.

Thanks for your prayers. I think they seem to be working!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday December 7th

The Christmas spirit has arrived at our house this weekend! We have all of our decorations up, we have my parents staying with us, we are having a family dinner tonight and we went to the Festival of Trees yesterday. So far I've been blessed with mild symptoms from the chemotherapy that I had on Wednesday. I was able to take my medicine and go with my family up to Sandy to see the movie Bolt. It was really cute! Then we went to the Sandy Expo Center to see the Festival of Trees. The whole huge building was full with uniquely decorated and themed Christmas trees, as well as a gingerbread village, several aisles of wreaths and centerpieces and other donated items, like children's play cottages and a playset. Everything at the festival is donated and then people go to purchase the items with all of the funds going to Primary Children's Medical Center. On each end of the building they had live entertainment; on one side was also a kids' fun center and the other had a gift boutique. Fortunately the boys and David were able to push me in the wheelchair the whole time so I didn't get too worn out. As it was, after dinner I pretty much had to go up to my room and rest and go to sleep early.

I'm planning to attend Sacrament meeting today. I'm resting right now, then I'll get up right before church and put on my clothes, so I'll have enough energy to go. This morning my throat has been hurting and I have had some nausea and fatigue, but I am staying on top of my symptoms. My friend Rebecca asked me to tell about controlling the symptoms of chemo, since she has a friend who has to get treated. Each drug I have tried has different side effects, some right away, some more than others, etc. My last drug used to make me feel sick to my stomach the day I got it. A friend told me to bring ginger ale and saltines to munch on during the treatment. I use Sprite or soda at home when my stomach hurts, which is usually several days after my treatment. The Dr. prescribes an infusion of anti-nausea medicine on the day I get my treatment, so that helps me out at the beginning. Then, I try to take my anti-nausea medicines on a schedule, otherwise I can get feeling really sick while I wait for a pill to work. For my mouth sores and sore throat I got a prescription for "magic mouthwash" which has benedryl and mylanta and lidocaine in it. For cold sores, I use Neosporin lip treatment. For aches and pains, I have a prescription for pain medicine, but have also used Advil for muscle aches. I guess the worst side effects (other than hair loss) are just nausea and fatigue. When I don't feel like eating, a smoothie is my favorite drink, also yogurt or ice cream. I like mashed potatoes and other creamy soups that are easy to get down. Thank goodness the anti-nausea drugs make you sleepy, so then you can go to sleep and wake up feeling better.

So, since my blog is my gratitude journal, I will say that I am grateful that I am not terribly sick so far, even with an increase in my dosage of the chemo pill, Xeloda. I am grateful that my mom is staying to help take care of me and my family. It provides me with peace of mind to know that my only responsibility is to rest and get better. David is taking care of the financial needs of our family and is able to focus on his work instead of taking care of the children. I've been reading the book "When you can't do it alone, take the Savior's hand." I also enjoyed reading some of the conference talks from October. They help me build my faith and calm my fear.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday December 5th

Happy Birthday to my dad today. I'll get to hug him in person when he arrives tomorrow. So far, I've been feeling pretty well since my treatment on Wednesday. I just have some fatigue and nausea. My medicine makes me sleepy, so sometimes I'll sit down to read and find myself dozing off. My Relief Society president drove me to the pain management Dr. yesterday and that was helpful, to be able to regulate my medication.

Today I felt about the same. In the morning, the Stake Relief Society presidency came by to help me decorate our house for Christmas. My kids had already put up the tree and hung the ornaments the night before, so the ladies hung garlands and wreaths and set up my nativity and other decorations. They even brought music and chocolate. Marlene Black, the president, brought me a pan of cake and a pan of cornbread and returned later in the afternoon with a pot of stew for our dinner. In addition, today we recieved the proceeds of a fundraiser held at Lincoln Academy in my honor. Mrs. Parker brought over the many coins and bills that people donated and it touched my heart to be remembered in this way. I will now be able to pay off the oncologist's bill that has been gathering interest all year long. It is a blessing when I don't have to worry about finances, in addition to the stress of my illness.

Just like my last post, I feel much gratitude in my heart and I also am starting to feel more hope and less fear. I know that I'll be feeling worse over the next week or so, but I believe I can tolerate my side effects better when I have a happier outlook and a lot of encouragement from my support system, those nearby and those farther away. In addition, our family watched the new dramatization of President Hinckley's life, over the past 2 evenings. Our neighbors lent us the movie and it brought a good spirit into our home.

May you also have the blessings of the Holy Spirit in your home, during this season of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday December 3rd

Today I am grateful that I was able to attend Brenton's choir concert last night and Jonny's band concert tonight. I was proud to see them on stage and they did a great job and are growing into such talented teen agers. Another miracle occured yesterday when I realized we were almost out of toilet paper and my cousin Chrissie asked if she could pick something up from Costo while she was there. How did she know to call me when she did? She even helped me get some more new school pants for Nathan, since he recently outgrew the ones he had. Elaine took me to Salt Lake for my treatment today. When we were almost there, the office called to say that they were waiting for the medication to be delivered via Fed Ex and I should come an hour later. To pass the time, I had Elaine drive up past some of the homes in the avenues and the Federal Heights area. Elaine sat with me the whole 4 hours while the chemo drug dripped through my port, even though I fell asleep and had a nap for half the time. She was cheerful and talkative and I feel so grateful to have her as my mother-in-law. She treats me so well.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the pain Dr. and I only had to call 2 people before I found one willing to drive me. I found out yesterday that the school (Lincoln Academy where I worked part time last year) has been having a fund raiser to earn money to help with my deductibles and out of pocket medical expenses. I feel that even though I have tremendous challenges, the Lord is sending people to help lighten my burden, even through my Dad's encouraging posts and the post from Amadee which reminded me of Viktor Frankl's book that I have read some of and need to get back to reading the rest. Even today, as our neighbor brought a delicious dinner for our family, she also lent us that brand new dvd which is a dramatization of Gordon B. Hinckley's life. Before we watched the video, the boys brought up the Christmas tree and we set it up and put the lights on. This is because several ladies in the Relief Society are coming on Friday to help me with my Christmas decorating. Watching 30 minutes about President Hinckley was a spiritual way to end our day, so I am feeling very grateful right now. I'm feeling more positive about the future and I feel the effects of so many prayers of loved ones around me.

Today I thank the Lord that I have so many friends and family members who love and support me and help buoy my spirits when am frustrated or down. Number one is my husband who gets up and helps the children get ready each day for school so I can sleep in. He calls me often to make sure I'm doing all right and he likes to talk to me about his work and some of the successes that he has there. He helps encourage the boys to do more chores so they can learn to do much of the housework. He also takes the boys on outings and encourages them in their advancement in the boy scout program. I feel like my illness has really given David a chance to shine in our family, as I used to do a lot of the things for the children that David is learning to do. David even helps me in and out of the car each time we go out together, so I hope he passes that politeness down to our boys.

Well, I think I've done enough reminiscing tonight. Until next time...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday December 1st

Well, we're back from St. George and doing the regular routine again. The boys especially enjoyed biking and swimming each of the days on our trip, as the weather was perfect in the 60s. We also went to a movie, drove up to the airport on the bluff to see a view of the city, we drove past the temple where it was all lit up for Christmas, we had a special restaurant dinner and we went to see a neat display of real dinosaur tracks that had been discovered only 9 years ago by a farmer in St. George. David cooked the rest of our meals in the trailer and he and the boys took care of everything so I could just rest while they were out. I took part on the driving parts of the trip, but couldn't do the biking or swimming, so at least I had a book to read and a comfortable trailer to rest in.

We got home safely last night and the boys had a good day at school today. I can't believe that Brenton's choir concert is tomorrow night and Jonny's band concert is the day after. Since it is December already, I'll have to enlist some help in getting my holiday decorations up. I'm trying to think of positive things and not worry too much about being sick for the next 2 weeks. I am glad that my mom will be able to come again and take over the household, so I don't need to worry about watching over the kids and making meals, etc. Last time I tolerated the treatment fairly well, meaning I didn't need to get a blood transfusion or take antibiotics for an infection. The Dr. is upping the dosage of the oral pill, so I don't know how this will affect me, but I sure wish the medicine could make me better instead of just keeping my situation the same. I don't think I can go on like this indefinitely, meaning all of the ups and downs of treatment, etc.

Jennie came again today to help me. She always gets me lunch and leaves a dinner for family as well. Today it was lasagna and the children said it was the best lasagna they had ever eaten. Nathan said, "Now I know why Garfield likes to eat lasagna so much!" My children are big fans of Aunt Jennie and Uncle Ryan. Between the 2 of them they can come over and cook anything and fix up your house at the same time!

I know that Heavenly father wants me to learn to ask for and accept help from others. I hope I am learning that lesson well, because I'd like to be done with with this trial, if possible. Otherwise, I'll provide plenty of opportunities for people to serve our family and I know they will be blessed for their efforts as well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday November 28th

Ours wasn't a typical turkey day, but we are enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend. We are in St. George at an RV park and the weather has been nice, around 60 degrees. We packed up on Thursday morning and drove to Cedar City where we stopped to have our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. In St. George we found a nice RV park. The boys have enjoyed riding their bikes around the park. There is also a swimming pool here, so David took the boys out while I am writing on the computer.

The appointment on Wednesday with Dr. Shehadeh went fairly well. He said the CT scan indicated that my liver was slightly larger than the last scan. However, my liver enzymes and blood counts have been stable, even slightly improved. So, the Dr. proposed that I take 2 more of the three week treatment cycles, with the same medicine, just a slightly higher dose for the oral pill. Then, he wants to do a PET scan, which is more sensitive and give us a better idea exactly what is going on. So, even though I'm not looking forward to being sick for another six weeks, at least we know that the medication is keeping my disease under control. In fact, the scan indicated that my lungs are clear, so that is nice to know.

I have mixed feelings about doing more treatment, especially when I have a hard time in the winter months to begin with. There is something about Dr. Shehadeh that makes me want to follow his advice. I listen to him and he reassured me that I did a really good job of tolerating the last 3 cycles. After all, I didn't end up with an infection or even with a blood transfusion, the whole time I was undergoing treatment. As time goes on, I'm even learning to anticipate some of the side effects and keep them under better control.

This weekend, our family is together in our trailer, just the 5 of us snuggled up with our dog and watching movies and playing games. Today was our first day here, so we did some exploring around town and we drove around the bluff and up to the airport, which was a gorgeous view of the temple and the town, with more red rocks in the far distance. We found out about a Christmas gift expo, so we went down there to pick out our gifts, literally! Brenton, Jonny and Nathan are all getting Ipod shuffles for Christmas. I got a new mop and sweep system and David got a bottle of special cleaner, for computers, cds, jewelry, glasses, etc.

We came back to the trailer for dinner. Just like last weekend, David has been spoiling me by cooking all the meals and having the boys help him clean up. Every one of the boys, even Sandi, has come to snuggle with me in the big queen bed. I feel grateful to feel well enough to travel. I have been struggling with nausea up until the day we left. Dr. Shehadeh did give me some samples of a strong acid reducer and I think that has helped improve my nausea considerably, also with taking my medicine with food and little by little during the day, instead of all at once. It is nice to take a break from feeling sick. I won't have any more chemo until Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday November 25th

I'm still in limbo, waiting to hear my test results from the Dr. tomorrow. I still feel sick to my stomach, in fact I threw up yesterday morning just 15 minutes after I took my morning pills on an empty stomach. I don't know how many pills got absorbed or if they all turning to liquid. I am still worried about my abdomen where the liver is swollen. I wonder if it is pushing on my stomach or something. I've also had to take more pain medicine, like Advil, so that also might be hurting my stomach some.

Lately I have been really sad and I think of how little I can do compared with the life I used to live. I do count my blessings and I do hope for better days, but I have leave it in the Lord's hands. Today is the kids' last day of school before Thanksgiving break. At least I'll have them around to keep my company and help out around the house, or at least that's the theory.

I'll write tomorrow after I see the Dr. I'm having a friend drive me up to my appointment because Elaine is still helping Len, who has been sick with pneumonia. I here he is improving a little each day. Get well soon, Len! I am grateful for my caregivers and the angels around me helping my family each day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday November 23rd

A few people have asked me how to access my article and photos that were printed in the Daily Herald on October 26th. I've found that the original link still works. That is: heraldextra.com/breastcancer

After being sick and staying close to home for 2 1/2 weeks, it felt invigorating to have a family outing yesterday. The day was cold and sunny and we drove to Salt Lake. On our way, we drove along 1300 East and saw all of the people dressed in red, walking toward the stadium for the BYU - Utah game. Our destination was the Salt Lake City cemetery. I looked on the internet to find out where Pres. Hinckley's grave was. Unfortunately, I found the cemetery but didn't know the exact place to look when we went there. The afternoon was getting late, so we gave up looking and drove up to Honeyville in northern Utah to camp in our trailer at Crystal Springs.
We arrived around 5 PM and the kids still had enough daylight to ride their bicycles around the campground and float some wood in the pond. David cooked hamburgers, then he took the boys swimming in the hot spring. They also have a colder pool and a waterslide, so Jonny and Nathan used the slide again and again. When David tried the slide, he was surprised to end up in cold water at the end! He had been soaking with Brenton in the hot pool most of the time. I didn't feel like swimming, so I stayed with our dog Sandi in the trailer and read a book.
It was cold in the night, but our trailer stayed warm and toasty. This morning we had breakfast and packed up so we could arrive home before church started at 1 PM. I was able to attend sacrament meeting, then I came home to rest. I've been taking it easy all day and I hope to start feeling better this week. I am glad to have a chance to go out with our family. When we are out in the trailer we are forced to be in close quarters and there aren't so many distractions. The children actually play with each other (meaning they even play with Nathan) and they also learn responsibility when they help David with the hitch or setting up the trailer. I love bringing my own bed and bathroom and kitchen wherever we go, so I have all of the comforts of home. Plus, we can load and unload it at our leisure, unlike going to a hotel when you have to pack your things in the car, take them in the hotel and then repack again to go home. While we are out, I try not to think about my illness, but just enjoy being together as a family.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday November 21st

Hello to all of you blog-watchers! I haven't been as diligent in writing in the last couple of days. Thanks to those who left comments, especially my #1 fan, who is my dad. It was a sacrifice for him to let my mom come out to help me and now I'm sending her back to be with her husband again for a while. Mom just left a few minutes ago, and Brenton just made an offhand comment "This is the best our house has looked in a while!" so I know he noticed what a great job Mom did around the house. Mom left plans for Brenton to make hamburgers for dinner, but he decided to make beef burritos instead. Even Jonny got in the cooking spirit, though he stayed home from school with a stomach ache. Jonny is making homemade vanilla ice cream in our ice cream maker.

We are all glad that it is the weekend and we hope to take our trailer out tomorrow night. Soon we'll have to winterize it, unless we take it somewhere warm over the Thanksgiving break. Physically, I am feeling better. I went to the pain doctor, Dr. Garner, yesterday and he helped me regulate the doses of my medicine. So far it is working well. I would like to get to the point in a week or two where I will be able to drive again. One of the hardest things about being sick is that I can't take care of my children. I am worried about my appointment with Dr. Shehadeh on Wednesday. When he tells me the results of my scan, he will either change my medication or keep it the same depending on the test results. Either way, I don't want to have chemotherapy on the day before Thanksgiving, so I am going to postpone any decisions for after the break.

I've been feeling kind of sad this week. Dr. Garner recommended I begin light therapy with a light box, since I often feel depressed in the winter. I can't afford one, but if anyone has one they are willing to let me use, I'd be grateful. I wish I had something more interesting to talk about, but I suppose I'll have some sort of news next week. I am looking forward to doing more things with my family, once I get feeling better again.

P.S. I forgot to say that I am updating my wish list. Brenton is interested in getting some guitar lessons. Nathan is interested in playing soccer, perhaps for a team.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday November 19th

I had my CAT scan yesterday. It went fairly smoothly, except it took 4 tries to get an IV in my left arm. Normally I can use my port for infusions, but not for the contrast medium they used in the CT scan. I had to fast before the test and drink a sour tasting juice, so my stomach hurt a lot. When I got finished and got home, I had lunch and felt nauseated and threw it up. After I felt better, I took a nap.

Today my stomach still hurts. It is my last day on the oral pill, so I'm hoping to feel better soon. I was pretty anxious before my CT scan, and now I am anxious to see the results. I had my blood tested on Monday, but the Dr. office hasn't called me about it. I am still wondering if I might need a blood transfusion, so maybe I'll try to call the Dr. again. The only thing I don't need to worry about is the house and the kids, since my mom has stepped into that role. I'm just trying to get rest and hoping I'll feel better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday November 17th

I am still feeling emotional and overwhelmed by my challenges right now. I pray that God will give me the strength to help me overcome my fears. David gave me a blessing of comfort last night. That helped me get to sleep. This morning, I still felt sad, almost depressed, and I kept crying on and off. I'm asking my Dr. to increase my anti-depressant dose slightly. I was also supposed to get my blood tested this morning, since I have been feeling extra tired. The Dr. said they faxed the order to the lab, but when I got there, the lab couldn't find it. That meant that I had to go home again, take a nap, and call the Dr. to try to arrange the order to be faxed a second time. Finally, I called the lab and they said I could come on down. Depending on the results of the tests, I might need a shot to boost my red or blood cells and possibly even a transfusion.

Speaking of tests, I am scheduled for my CAT scan tomorrow morning. It will take a week to get the results, but I am still worried that the results will be bad, just like they have been with every other scan this past year. It is helpful to have my mom here for moral support and also so I can rest and sleep when the kids get home. We are applying for social security disability, which could help pay for someone to come in and help from 3-6 in the afternoon, at the time when my mom needs to go back to California.

I have plenty of reading material. Today, Jennie came and helped my mom to sort some of the books in my bedroom. I found all the pamphlets and fliers that the social worker gave for me to read last year, so I'm sure that will be beneficial to read again. Thank you for your nice comments and stories.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday November 16th

Thank you to everone who reads and comments on my blog. I truly get inspiration from your words. I loved the penny story from Glen, especially. As for having faith, Cindy is so kind to say I inspire her, as I do have faith in God. My life is in his hands. I believe in the gospel of Christ, as I truly believe I can return to Him when my life on earch is done. Yet, I still have been crying off and on the last few days and I'm not sure why. I think I'm feeling sorry for myself. Mostly I think I am sad that I can't be well enough to take care of my children or to do anything very fun (exept go to the store and try not to spend too much..) Even then, I am worried about money and this huge bill hanging over our heads. Each year I must pay $3000 out of pocket before my insurance will ctart covereing everything at 100%. Iapplied twice for financial consideration in the spring and summer, but the clinic won't reduce my year 2008 bill. I have been making payments toward it. Now I am looking at the new year and realizing that I will soon have to meet another deductible and owe another$3000 starting on January 1st, 2009. I wish I didn't have to worry about money. I feel like I have enough to wowrry about right now when I am supposed to concentrating on getting better. David's work is going well, but his paychecks are sporatic: meaning he only gets paid when he closes a loan.

Another reason I am sad is because I haven't been able to get downstairs and work on my family scrapbooks. I would love to finish them, as all the books are now 2 years behind, but I don't know if I'll ever feel up to working on them. Most of the time my nausea prevents me from going out to dinner. David and I got to attend an informal dinner party for Sam Bushman and some of their friends and family (grown ups only). David broght over a copy of my newpaper article, so that was nice to be able to show it to people instead of telling each person what is going on. I was wearing my black cap, instead of my wig, so it was obvious that I had no hair. we stayed and visited, ate dinner and dessert, then I was ready to go home because I wasnt feelling well. I've been feeling really tired lately. It could be that my blood cells are low again. I've been taking a nap everyday and I even doze off while watching tv.

On the 18th I am scheduled for a CT exam of my chest and abdomen, so the Drl will be abel to tell if I had any impovement from this chemo medication or not.

I'm all dressed for church, so hopefully if I lie down just before it starts, I'll have the energy to go at least fpr sacrament meeting. I'm glad my mom is here to help our family. When I need to rest, I know the children are doing what they should (or at least trying.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday November 14th

After going to the optometrist twice this week, I still can't see very well up close. My vision has been changing because of the chemotherapy. This happened last year, but the new contacts made everything better. Mom thinks that I might need to wear reading glasses. Maybe I need bifocal contacts if such a thing exists!

Mom drove me to the chiropractor for a massage. After that, we went to Big Lots to stock up on snacks for the kids' lunches. We also ended up getting a pair of jeans, a red shirt for Brenton and some t-shirts and boxers. I was feeling pretty worn out after the errand. I've been trying to rest more today and so I'm saving up my energy for the next time I get up and do something.

I seem to be kind of emotional lately. I feel a lot of fear, but I know it is ok to be afraid. I will try to replace my fear with faith by reading in the scriptures and praying to comfort. What else do you do to increase your faith?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday November 13th

Today my symptoms were very much the same as yesterday. I am feeling sick, but the side effects are lessened by medication. It was fun to get out this morning and run errands. Mom drove me to the pharmacy, then we went down to the Provo clinic and picked out some new head coverings. One is a cute straw hat with flowers on it, and the others are soft head coverings. In fact, they had a lot of beanie knitted hats which must have been donated as a humanitarian project, since they looked like the kind you make on a circular loom.

I had to go back to the optometrist today, since I was still having problems reading small print. I think the contacts he gave me should help, but I picked up a pair of $3 reading glasses which seemed to help me read better, even with my contacts on.

This afternoon, I was able to take a nap. It is blissful to know that I can sleep when I need to and my mom is caring for the boys. Mom's help is also a wonderful way for David to get more work done, since she can help in the mornings, as well asrun effrands and things. I just let her drive our Sequoia, since I can't drive right now, but I do have the handicapped placard, so we can park up close.

I'm glad to feel cheered, instead of sad. I am grateful for too many things to count.

Wednesday November 12th

Everything has gone smoothly since my mom arrived yesterday afternoon. Thanks, Chissie, for delivering her right to my door. My mom is comforting and sweet and I love to have her hear, even though I miss my loving and hard working Dad. Maybe he'll drive out here to pick mom up in a week or so, and we'll get to see him as well.

The 3 boys were invited by a young couple in our ward, Brother and Sister Willis to go to dinner and an activiy. My boys were delighted with the trip to Boondocks and the chance to get out and about. Jonny has a special connection with brother Willis who has been his teacher at church. At Boondocks, a fun center, the boys played laser tag, mini golf, go-carts and they had unlimited tickets, so they could go from place to place and do each activity over and over again. Thank you Brother and Sister for providing the wonderful outing for my boys. Now I am learning why heavenly Father said that when we serve others, we are serving him. For me, those who give love to my children are also showing their love for me.

My mouth sores are getting better already, as I starting using the mouthwash from the beginning of my treatment,which ws last Wednesday. Now I have to get more rest because I am feelihng tired. I also have a bit of a cough, but only at night and we're using the humidifier in our bedroom. have been feeling more nausea eachday, so I am carefully taking my pills to manage it and keep it under control.

Well, that's enough for me. I don't want to be long-winded. One reason I had never considered having blog was that I didn't have much to say. Now, it seems,I have something new to report every day. Thanks to those who care and are listening to what I have to say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday November 11th

I've been feeling sick to my stomach all day, but if I lie down for a while, I usually feel better. My visiting teacher, Peggy, drove me to the Optometrist in the morning where he changed my prescription. The same thing happened during the past year on another chemo drug. Anyhow, I got a new pair of lenses to try, so I can be sure that they will work well for me.

Peggy then took me over to Lincoln Academy so I could check the children out of school early. Brenton and Jonny both had complete physicals. Brenton even got a flu shot. I didn't speak with the Dr. at the end, as I was greeting my mom and David who had come to pick me up. So, I'll need to find out if they have any serious health problems to report. In this case, no news is good news. I wanted the boys to have an exam since it is the end of the year and we have met our deductible for the insurance. Luckily, today's exam will also count when they go to scout camp in the summer.

The Relief Society sisters brought us a delicious dinner. I can tell if the kids like things when they ask for seconds! It is nice to have my mom here again. She takes over much of my responsibilities so I can rest, knowing that the house and kids are safe in her arms. She is also good at cooking and preparing meals, so I know she is good at a lot of things. How do think I learned to be the person I am today?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday November 10th

I've been feeling sicker today. As you can see from my Aunt Sally' comment, nadir is the low point for my blood cells, before they start building back up. I think it must be connected to how I feel, since I have been feeling a little worse each day since my treatment last Wednesday. Today, Brenton and Jonny both stayed home from school, with the same complaints as yesterday. They both had naps today and don't have a fever, so I think I'll send them back to school tomorrow. I let them watch some educational TV today, but now I'm having them sit down and do homework.

Jennie came over to help again today. I had to rest a lot, but she kept busy downstairs while I slept. For lunch, we went over to the Kneaders Bakery, which is just west of us on the Highland Highway. They are well known for desserts, so I just looked at the kinds they had. The line for the register was huge, more than 10 people in line. Those people were waiting to get lunch and sit at one of the tables. Jennie and I went around to the drive through and there wasn't a line at all! Lucky us! I had a delicious soup called artichoke portabella and it was served with a sourdough bread bowl. Jennie had the tomato bisque. I can tell I am going to have a new favorite lunch restaurant. The food was perfect for my stomach, because the soup was smooth and it made the bread soft and easy to chew. So, if you're passing by Kneaders, you know what to do! (Just kidding) I like pretty much any cream-based soup. I noticed from the menu that Kneaders also has smoothies, so I will have to try one of those sometime.

I am glad that my mother, Bonnie, is coming tomorrow to stay with us for a while. I'm sure everyone can identify with the need for your mother's care when you are sick. Husbands are great, but mothers seem to kow just what to do and they know what you need before you need it. For example, I always have a car here at home, but I am not supposed to drive in my condition. So, I just need someone to drive it for me. Three cheers for Bonnie, my new chauffer!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday November 8th

It is nice to have a Sunday, a day of rest each week. I like it when our family is together, here at home, and then at 1:00 the children come to church with us. I like feeling the spirit of God when we worship. I like meeting the other members of the congregation who ask how I'm doing and tell me they are glad to see me at church. I like having friends in the ward who pray for me and put my name on the temple prayer roll. I want to give my will to Heavenly Father so that I might do what he asked me to do. I am humble and willing to learn and to change for the better.

My brother Dave was really kind to take all 3 of my boys on a hike yesterday afternoon. In the past, he only brought Brenton and Jonny, but I was touched that he was willing to take little Nathan and choose a path that would be easier for him to climb. They also brought Sandi, so that encouraged Nathan as well. David and I enjoyed watching a movie together and I made some orange chicken for dinner. In addition, David spent a couple of hours working in our yard, getting things prepared for winter. It was nice to have some quiet in our house for 7 hours!

So far, I haven't been feeling too terribly bad, but I am managing the side effects from my chemo by using my mouthwash and anti-nausea pills. I've been wearing head coverings and soft little hats when I am home. The hats are stretchy, almost like a beanie style so they are quite comfortable. When I go out, I usually wear my wig, but I also have a fall (artificial bangs) that I can wear with a hat, so it looks like I have hair. Thank you to my friend Janet who gave me 3 hats! I don't think I would ever want to go out with just a scarf on my head, because then you can tell I am bald. I have sneaked a peak here and there at my bald head. I am still adjusting to it. Maybe someday soon I will be able to look at it and let the reast of my family look at it as well, but right now I am too embarrassed.

Well, tomorrow is back to work for David and back to school for the boys. I expect to be feeling about the worst theis next week. The Dr. indicated that the medicine's worst effects are felt between days 7 and 10 and it is called "nadir." It's a funy word, maybe I'll look it up sometime. If you do, post a comment on what it means. If I get feeling too bad, I'll go over to the lab and get my blood tested to make sure I don't need any shots or even a blood transfusion. My mom's friend, Alex Heinzen, recommended I take wheat and barley grass juice, since it helps keep your blood counts up during chemo. I bought a big can of the dried supplement and have been mixing it with my Reliv. Perhaps it has helped me avoid any blood transfusions so far! It is hard to know which supplements are doing what for me, but I will continue to take the ones that people give me.
Love from me to you! Emilee

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday November 7th

I went out shopping for an hour today, thanks to my neighbor who drove me. I had fun shopping, riding my cart around the grocery store, picking up sale items and markdowns and using my coupons. I'm afraid I probably bought more than I need, but perhaps it is because I have been cooped up so long and not able to shop for myself.

I need to watch how much I spend. David read my blog the other day and wanted me to correct the fact that besides the closing he had this week, the other 2 loans have since developed "issues" and it is doubtful that they will close. Of course he is always working on new ones, but many of the problems are out of his control, such as pricing from the lender, requirements from the underwriters, the appraisal amounts, loan limits, and other such things. So, David needs me to do less shopping, I'm sure, as we are still required to pay the oncologist our "maximum out of pocket" expense for the year, which is $3000. (It is the amount we have to pay ourselves before the insurance will then step in and pay the rest.) We have been making payments on it since April, just like last year, when we had the installments come out of our checking accounts. It is one thing to be sick, but another thing to worry how you will pay for the medical bills. I don't want to be a drain on my family, but on the other side, they would be paying a lot more for a nanny and someone to replace the duties that I am still able to perform in our family.

While out, we also stopped by the school to check on Nathan, as he was having a hard time with one of his assignments. I guess he refused to do it and started to cry, but he was better by the time I arrived. I remember Jonny had a similar problem 4 years ago when I was having radiation treatments. Did I tell you that I got a handicapped placard? Now I can hang it on the rear view mirror whenever someone drives me around. It is quite handy.

Elaine came today and helped with the boys in the afternoon, and David arrived to take Nathan fishing, just as planned. They didn't catch fish, but at least it was an outing for them. I was able to get a massage at the chiropractor and my visiting teacher drove me there. It is hard to enjoy many parts of life when you are sick, but I do enjoy the massage therapy that I get every week or so. The relief society sisters brought us a yummy dinner. Mindi called in advance to see what we would like and she took our "order" perfectly. We all loved the grilled chicken, potatoes and broccoli. Tonight, we have been watching the "Sound of Music." It is fun to see the beautiful mountains in Austria and the city of Salzburg, which we visited less than 2 years ago. The kids were interested in the first half of the movie and now that it is ending, they are all asleep!

I miss my parents. They have been gone over 2 weeks now and I hope they can come and help me sometime soon. If anything, it cheers me up to have them around, as they are so good to me and to my family. I'm putting up with my sores and stomach aches and trying to hang in there for my kids and my husband. Still, my liver is swollen and I have to adjust what clothes I wear so they will be loose in the front. Here's to better days ahead...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday November 6th

Today has not been as bad as I thought it could be. I had my treatment yesterday afternoon and tried to do a few more things in the evening, since I was worried I might be really sick today. Fortunately, the nausea is under control with medication and the worst side effect is the sores on the sides of my mouth, also inside on my tongue and throat. I am using the magic mouthwash from last month and that helps a lot.

Today, I rested this morning, but was also itching to do a few things. David asked me right before Halloween, "What part of a pumpkin is pumpkin pie made from?" I was amazed that he really didn't know, so I gave some sarcastic answer like, "Well, it isn't from the rind or the seeds!" Today, to show David, I cut up and baked one of our Halloween pumpkins (one that had not been carved). I also cut a few remnant roses in our yard and did some organizing in my closet for about half an hour. It was tricky to come up with an outfit for this afternoon: I have some DI jeans that I got on Tuesday and they fit great, just needed a little hemming. After that, I had to find a shirt that would cover my swollen belly (I feel like I'm pregnant or something. Did you see that TCL show, "I never knew I was pregnant?") In my case, my ovaries are gone, so the swelling comes from my liver which is located on my right side, just under the ribcage. Ironically, it is the same side where I had a TRAM flap reconstruction for my right breast, so the main muscle (rectus abdominus) is missing on that side and was used instead for the blood flow of the newly reconstructed breast. Ok, long enough explanation!

My new friend Shirline offered to drive me around for my errands this afternoon. First we dropped Brenton off at his appointment, then drove to a new dentist that David's parents recommended. Each dentist I visit (This is the 3rd one) has a different opinion of the small sore located in the gum of my front tooth, above the crown. Also, the dentist gave me a prescription for the small sores in the corner of my mouth, kind of like cold sores. I can't believe how quickly they started, in less than 24 hours from my treatment.

Then, we picked Brenton up and went to a store called Allison's pantry. The owner graciously sent me a gift certificate to check out her store and pick up some items for our family. In fact, Shirline, bought some things as well. I liked this store, so if you live near Pleasant Grove, please check it out. It is at 580 W. State in Pleasant Grove, kind of set off from the road, on the east side of the street, across the road from Timponogos Cyclery and the uniform store. Allison's pantry has quality and fresh pantry items in bulk, including mixes, soups, nuts, dried fruits and snacks, as well as seasonings, frozen fruit, and more. We picked out some hot cocoa mix, yogurt pretzels, nuts, dried fruit and candy, plus a package of frozen soup (this is the kind the restaurants serve to patrons, just reheated). I'm looking forward to feeding the soup to my family. I'd love to get another gift certificate and try other items. Thank you, Allison!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday October 5th

I wanted to hold off a day and wait until the election results before writing my next entry. I just got up an hour ago and the children brought me the newspaper. I cried for several minutes when I saw the result. Then, I had an interesting thing happen. I started feeling hopeful and I got a warm feeling all over which comforted me and calmed me. I don't know if it means that Obama will somehow fail to take his oath in January due to his legal problems, or perhaps it means that Heavenly Father is in control and I shouldn't worry because this is all part of his plan. Regardless, I want you to know that I now am at peace with the results.

Also on the internet this morning, they were still counting the ballots for California's proposition 8, which would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. With 96% of the precincts reporting, the results were 52% yes and about 48% no. They are predicting that the proposition will pass, so when I get the final news, I hope I can also feel peaceful with that.

The past 2 days I have been working hard, in preparation for getting my treatment today and because I know that I will be sick for the next 2 weeks again. I have organized bills and sorted through papers and made sure the boys all have enough school clothes that fit them. I went shopping, once with my neighbor Jennifer and once with Chrissie. At Costco, I was able to buy some food that the kids can heat up for snacks or even for meals when I can't help them.

David's business has been going fairly well. He had a closing on Monday and expects two more within the week. We feel blessed that our needs will be met for November, so I don't worry so much about money as I used to. After Halloween, the boys are finally calming down and applying themselves at school. They have also helped with chores around the house and have been playing better with each other. It's amazing what the correct amount of sleep and healthy food will do for your children!!

After getting my head shaved (Thanks for the VEET tip, by the way, I may use it.), I have 2 scarves at home that I can use for head coverings. In addition, my friend Janet, a breast cancer survivor, brought me over two cute fuzzy hats and a turban. I especially like the hats and I'm wearing one today instead of my wig. The wig is fine for going out, but around the house I would rather use a hat. Today I know I'll be sitting there in the chemo chair for four hours, so I'm opting for the most comfy choice, the hat. Also I have a fall, which is a little bit of hair on an elastic band. I position the hair or the "bangs" on my forehead in front, under the hat, so they poke out and look like the hat is covering real hair. The fall is blonde, but it works fine for now until I get another one that is light brown, like my real hair is ....uh was.

One hour to go and it is quite snowy today in Utah. David is going to drive me to Salt Lake. I'm hoping the snow will stop and the sun will come out. That way the sun will melt the snow on the street and it is a lot safer to drive. The rest of you, drive safely as well!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday October 3rd

Lots of activity today, as I "count down" the hours until I'm sick again. A neighbor took me shopping, and as we started driving, I decided to get my head shaved. It was buzzed on Saturday, but now those little pieces are falling out and getting itchy. They make my hat full of little hairs. Now that I'm bald, I haven't looked at myself in the mirror yet. I tell myself I am still adjusting. I had my wig with me, so after the shave, I just put my wig on and went shopping.

One reason for shopping was because I had to make an emergency pants trip for Nathan. Through the past few weeks, his waistline has been increasing, especially with having school lunch and eating candy all week. He now can't fit into any but a few of his pants, which is hard, since he needs to wear uniform pants to school. So, we stopped at Target for pants and then went to Costco for some groceries. It is nice to get a good deal on staples on Costco, but also be able to buy some convenience foods that my family can enjoy while I'm feeling sick at the end of this week.

David took the boys to the Rec. center tonight and they did weights and swimming. I hope they will be able to go more often and get in shape. I feel like I got a lot accomplished today, and I hope for the same tomorrow, with minimal down time.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday November 2nd

I don't know what it is about Halloween, but my kids have been bouncing off the ceiling and haven't come down yet. Blame it on the candy, but I also think there is a bad spirit lurking around and whispering in their ears. Losing my hair that day didn't help my emotions, so I had an up and down Saturday as well. Jonny was supposed to attend a boy scout pow wow in the morning, but I didn't realize that it was down at BYU, which is about 25 minutes from our house. Plus, from the moment he woke up, he refused to go, so David and I had to combine efforts to get him there. On our way home, we were able to greet David's niece, Anna, who was baptized in Pleasant Grove. David's parents and siblings were there and we missed the ceremony, but arrived as everyone was leaving the church.

A kind neighbor offered us the use of their family cabin on Saturday night, so we brought the kids up and stayed until late this morning. Thankfully, it was daylight savings time, so we had an extra hour to sleep in. All 3 boys were fascinated by the pinball machine at the cabin, so that was their favorite activity. I also played ping pong with them, but mostly I drifted in and out between naps during the whole evening. The boys stayed up late, and I woke up in time to say goodnight. Brenton and Jonny did fine, but Nathan had a late night tantrum and refused to sleep in his bed and wanted to sleep in our room. That was fine, but he was also panicked about bugs and he had a stomach ache (too much candy??). About 11:30, he finally ended up throwing up on the bathroom floor and taking a soothing bath before he fell asleep at midnight. See what I mean about the spirit?

Anyhow, we enjoyed the cabin and played a family game there this morning. David made french toast for us all and we came home in time to attend church. I took my mini nap before church, like last week, then got dressed and was able to stay for about an hour and a half. It was fast Sunday, so I got a chance to bear my testimony. It was fun to greet people, as I haven't been out much in the past 2 months.

On our way home from the cabin, I shared with David and the boys the possibility that I might just feel well enough during the first week of December to take a family trip, assuming my 3 week cycle of chemo goes as planned and I have some time to recover. I almost don't want to get my hopes up, but I would love to go on a Carribbean cruise. I calculated that cruises cost about $100 per day per person, so a week's cruise for 5 people would cost $3500. Then, the airfare to the embarkation port would be about $500 per person or $2500. In addition, I know you need to pay extra for excursions and additional activities. I don't know how much to estimate for that. Maybe my parents, the seasoned cruisers, can give me some advice. If not December, then maybe January or February, as it will still be cold in Utah but warm in the south.

Bye for now. I'll try to put a photo or two up for you to see. Emilee

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday October 31st

What a wacky, hair-loss Halloween!!

My day started out fine, then seemed to get worse as the afternoon and evening went on! I felt well in the morning, but got some nausea around 11 AM. That was ok, since my new friend Shirline invited me over to her house to watch a movie. She fed me delicious orange julius, popcorn and even some soup. I still felt ok, and I really enjoyed watching the movie Enchanted, which was really cute. She took me to the store to get some Halloween candy for me to give out tonight. I got pretty tired at the store, so I had to rest after the kids got home. Actually, just the two older boys were here. They wanted to watch a movie, so I tried to convince them to do some chores before starting it, but one of them wanted to be lazy, I guess.

David got home around 4 PM and had just gotten a haircut. He convinced me that his hair stylist would give me a mohawk for free, since my hair is falling out anyway. I'm glad she buzzed the sides of my hair, but when we went to put green color gel on the spiky part, more hair started to pull out again. David took a photo, too, so I must post it up on this blog so you can see me Halloween 4 hour hairdo! I got to show it off to a few people and some kids in the neighborhood.

I don't know if it was the holiday or the candy or both, but my kids were really wild today. They all wanted to do different activities and were trying to decide when to trick or treat and who to go out with. Brenton was planning to attend one friend's party, but when that fell through he had to find someone else's party to crash. Fortunately he found one and a trusted mom was the driver to and from, so I let him go. Jonny has been acting really weird lately, so we found a few things he has been up to on the sly. Goodness, you sure have to be vigilant as a parent, as the kids always seem to be one step ahead of you!

Between the kids and my hair, I had a good cry tonight and now I'm feeling better. I have a soft knit cap that I got last year from the donation box at the cancer center. Maybe I'll pick out a few more, now that I have bald spots all over, so the caps can keep my head warm and comfortable. At least I already have a wig to wear, so I'll survive. Also, I know I have friends who have also gone through the hair loss, so that makes it easier to bear. I think I'll spend tomorrow wrapped in a warm blanket with a good book. I even have some treats to eat while I'm there.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30th

I got to go out to lunch with friends today, for the first time in weeks. I may also get to go out tomorrow to visit my new friend Shirline, assuming my health cooperates. Speaking of which, the children were both surprised and awed when I told them at dinner that my hair is starting to come out. For now, it is staying on my head, but as soon as you pull on a piece of it, it comes out in your hand. I thought the boys might be interested turning my hair into a weird Halloween type hairdo, right in time for the holiday tomorrow. Imagine tomorrow night when I open the door and the trick or treaters aren't sure if I have a wig or real hair. Brenton seemed worried about the idea, but Jonny was all for it.

As expected, I am feeling a little better each day during this week off from treatment. It is a joy to feel somewhat normal again, though I still have some fatigue and nausea. Happy Halloween everyone! Come by my house if you want to see my half-bald head. It might be the only time I show it off before I start wearing my wig full time again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I almost forgot to offer "tk" my email address, so they can contact me. It is emileeellis@comcast.net. Hope to hear from you soon. Emilee

Wednesday October 29th

Today I am looking for "tk", the person who posted a comment to my Saturday entry, who has a standby ticket for Jet Blue. This afternoon, my brother-in-law offered me a buddy pass on Jet Blue, that must be used by this weekend, so I thought that between the two of you, it might be cover the cost of one round trip. I might feel well enough to go somewhere for a weekend, or I might be able to fly a family member out here to visit and help with the kids.

Today is my first day without Xeloda in 2 weeks. I can already tell that a lot of my nausea is gone. I have been getting a lot of visitors lately, so this morning I had my next door neighbor, Christi, who helped in the kitchen plus another neighbor, Suzanne, who brought me a wealth of scrapbooking supplies. That made me excited about scrapbooking again. Then, this afternoon, Elaine came to help with the boys after school. They did some chores and a bit of homework and now they are at Target, looking for a few "accessories" to their Halloween costumes, as Brenton and Jonny still are going to dress up for school on Friday, even though I won't allow Brenton to go trick or treating.

David is going through some changes at his work. Security National is shutting down the Reverse Mortgage division, but David will continue doing loans through another division of the same company. The market has been up and down with interest rates, but David seems to be holding on to some loans that should be going through soon. I don't like the uncertainty of his job right now, but we are blessed that he has a place to work.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday October 28th

Today was busy, and I think I overdid it, as I felt sick this afternoon and evening. I enjoyed making a new friend this morning, who is also a breast cancer survivor. The biggest headache today came from the man who came to fix the crack in my countertop. Because he was there, I didn't get much rest, plus he left our kitchen (2 hours later) full of dust all over the floor, table, cupboards and appliances. I was able to get help from two Relief Society sisters, so my kitchen was clean when the boys got home.

It always keeps me busy to have the kids home from school, as I help them with various things. Jonny's friend came over in need of some more props for his "nerd" costume. I made some homemade bread using the breadmaker and also made some dinner for the kids, so by then, I think I was pretty worn out. I also supervised Nathan in his homework and encouraged the other boys to finish their chores. I'm looking forward to having Elaine over tomorrow afternoon to help when the boys get home from school.

Tonight they had a Halloween carnival at the church for the primary kids, and the young men and women were helping run the games. Nathan wore his jaguar costume and David took him over to church. Brenton and Jonny are still over there helping. The Relief Society wants me to list a few other things that they could help with. One is to organize the bookcases in my bedroom. The other is to sort through my prescriptions so I can apply to a cancer care program which can reimburse my prescription co-pays. Once those are done, I'll list a few more things, but that's all for now.


P.S. I'd like to get to know Christi, my next door neighbor, so I want to have her over to chat this week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday October 27th

It has been fun to receive messages and phone calls in response to Sunday's article. It looks like the paper is running new stories each day about different breast cancer patients, so I don't think I'll get any more coverage. I could ask Ashley, though. I like Susan's idea of having "breast buddies." Up until now, I haven't even attended a support group, though I have been to see the counselor at the clinic. Now that I have a new oncologist, I'll have to find out more of the programs they have in Salt Lake.

Basically, up until now, I was too busy living my life and working and juggling my family responsibilities and telling myself that I could do everything if I just tried hard enough. The time has come, because of the dangerous liver tumors and because of the severity of the chemo drugs, that I need to let others take care of the business around me. I need to concentrate on myself and on making it through each day.

Today, my sister in law, Jennie, came to help. She drove me to the lab for a blood test. I wanted to find out if I need a blood transfusion, as I've been feeling short of breath. She also took me to the store, where I rode the cart around and got some groceries. When we got home, I got a call from Dr. Shehadeh. I like the fact that he calls me himself, instead of having his staff do it every time. He said that I don't need a transfusion at this time. He said he wants me to have one more 3 week cycle of the Ixempra/Xeloda before I get a scan to see the results. He asked about my pain level and I told him it has been getting better, then he told me "Happy Halloween!" He must be pretty Americanized by now to be getting in the spirit of this American holiday.

Tomorrow is my last day of taking Xeloda. I am glad to be feeling better and to be up and around more. Sometimes, little things don't get done unless I am there to mind them. For example, in my pile of clean laundry were two badly stained white shirts of Nathan's. They had gone through the washer and the dryer and the stains were pretty set. When I asked David about it, he said he didn't have any bleach. Well, I walked out in the garage and came back with a gallon of it in my hand. "Oh," was his reaction. I guess it is mostly moms who worry about these things, like having their child wear a clean-looking shirt to school. (My kids wear uniforms to their charter school, so Nathan can only wear a navy or white shirt each day.)

I feel grateful for even more offers of help with the children, a friend to visit with, a flight for a caregiver, and more support because of the publicity of the news article. Every one of those helpers is a hero in my eyes, because they are literally coming to my rescue when I cannot do everything myself. Thank you today to all you heroes out there!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday October 26th

Our family was excited this morning to see our article on the front page of our local Utah County paper. Nathan, especially, was thrilled that his photo was also on the front, and again several pages back. Here is the link to Daily Herald article: http://www.heraldextra.com/breastcancer/
There are several links on the website that connect to a letter and a recording that I made. We expect another smaller article each day for the next couple of days, as the paper continues to cover this topic.

I felt very grateful to be able to attend sacrament meeting this afternoon. I have been feeling tired, probably because of the low red blood cell count. Fortunately I rested right before church and my stomach didn't hurt, so I got to attend. It felt good to get out, if only for an hour and a half.

It is fun to see how excited the children are for Halloween. Tonight we talked about their ideas for costumes and for the activities Friday night. We also played a family game and ate ice cream, just like the photo in the newspaper. The kids ran around with the dog in the back yard for a while. David got out his big ladder and was able to retrieve over ten different balls and dog toys that have been stuck on the roof for the past year.

I'm expecting a better week, since my "week off" from treatment begins on Wednesday!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday October 25th

Halloween is at hand! Today was a relaxing family day, which we ended by carving a jack-o-lantern and David sleeping in the trailer (in our front yard) with Nathan. In between, I managed to get up and around. David's uncle and his family came for a visit. My brother Dave took Nathan for a bike ride. I played a game with David and Jonny. I put together a couple of leftovers to make a stew for dinner.

As my nausea and mouth sores improve, I have noticed a few new side effects: my red blood count is low, so my face and lips look a bit pale. This makes me short of breath whenever I stand up and move around a lot. Also, my hands and feet are getting a bit sore, a side effect of the chemo which damages the tiny nerve endings in hands and feet. But overall, I can't complain, as I felt better today than I have been in a week and a half.

I'm looking forward to reading my article in the Daily Herald tomorrow. If anyone nearby has a copy, could you drop it off on our porch? Ashley said she would bring me by some more copies and some photos on Monday. I am going to try hard to attend at least part of Sacrament meeting tomorrow. I've missed going to church.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday October 24th

Today I was really touched by the comments, specifically the song and the scripture, from Laurie and Becky. Sometimes I wonder why we have to suffer such trials, but often I believe that we learn compassion for others, empathy, humility, faith and many other good qualities that help prepare us to live with God again. I certainly don't feel like an inspiration to anybody, as we are all doing our best to deal with the challenges we have in life. I do feel much gratitude:

Today I am grateful that my body continues to improve, and my nausea and pain and swelling decrease. I am grateful that my children are playing at their friends' houses. I am grateful that my husband's job is bringing in some income, enough to meet our basic needs. I am grateful for the beautiful weather, even if I have to enjoy it from my window. I am grateful for many more things, and I could go on, but that list is enough for today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday October 23rd

Today I noticed an improvement in several areas. My nausea and pain has been getting better. Also, the swelling around my liver is going down. Elaine took me to the pain doctor this morning. My thinking has become less clear and sometimes my mind is fuzzy. I had a hard time explaining to the Dr. about my medications and I was glad that Elaine was there to take notes for me. As a result, I am going to try to lower my dose, as I need all of my thinking capacity to speak and make decisions!

After picking up my prescriptions, Elaine brought me home and the photographer from the Daily Herald came over. She wanted to record my voice telling my story and my experiences. She said that the newspaper article will have a link to the internet, where people can click and listen to several breast cancer patients. I am glad Ashley told me that my words could be edited, so I didn't worry as much about making a mistake or having a pause, etc.

When the kids got home, I was able to greet them and talk to them before I went up and took a nap. I have been using a little of my magic mouthwash before eating, so that the food doesn't make my mouth sore. Due to the meals that were brought this week as well as groceries, our refrigerator is full! Also, my chocolate is in good supply. Jennie suggested I start making a "wish list" so I can update it as well as tell which wishes have been "fulfilled." Many of my small requests have been granted. Today, the only thing I might like is some more movies that I can watch when I am up in my room. We have a digital cable box, but it is down in the family room, so I just get the cable in our bedroom. After enjoying the dvr feature on our cable box, I almost hate to watch live tv anymore and have to wait through the commercials!

Thank you to Jennie for the cute photos of Nathan and Trent. Nathan commented that Trent lost his tooth over the weekend. Also Nathan said that the pumpkin in his photo was too heavy, so he actually chose a lighter one to take home and keep. Can you believe that Halloween is only a week away? Wow!

Nathan at the Pumpkin Patch

Nathan went with his cousin Trent to the Pumpkin Patch over UEA weekend. Jennie took over the blog for a minute to post the picture and surpise Emilee. Hope she doesn't mind!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday October 22nd

I've been feeling emotional today, though I'm not so sure why it is today and not any other day. It is hard to feel encapsulated in my house, so out of touch with the real world. I was able to get out for a short bit this afternoon. Elaine drove me to lab to get my blood tested. Basically the counts were a little down, as expected, but nothing to worry about. Elaine then took my 3 boys down to the dentist for exams. I was happy to hear that none of them had cavities and so it was just a routine checkup.

David has been feeling sick lately. He went to a Dr. on Monday and got some prescriptions. The Dr. told him that if he wasn't better in 2 days, he should take the antibiotic, so David is doing that. Sometimes having him work from home brings me more stress, even though he is there to help the boys or do something for me, should I need it. He tells me that sometimes home is better because the office is distracting. David has an appointment tonight, and he tells me that even though rates went up for a week, they are back down again so he can do some refinances for people.

Despite my worries and fears, I am grateful for the gospel of Christ which helps me have faith and hope. When I am sad or feeling sick, I can pray for comfort. Sometimes my prayers are answered by people here on earth who bring me groceries, pick up my prescription, make dinners for my family and have my children over. Right now, what I need the most is for a friend or two to invite my children over after school or in the evening. I desperately want them to go somewhere and have fun and not have to worry about me all the time. I also want them to be well-supervised, so I can relax and know they are in good hands.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday October 21st

I started out my day fairly hopeful, with my crackers and pills routine. I had a pretty good morning, then a worse afternoon. I felt so sick that I needed to lie down in my bed and not move or talk just in order to avoid throwing up (yes, I do have a container by my bed.) In some ways it was nice that the kids were at school and I got to rest or watch tv. The nausea, however, is tricky because when I am lying down, watching Lifetime movies from my dvr (and the dvd North and South, thanks Laurie!) I feel pretty well, so I get up and move my legs around, get some snacks, feed the dog, etc. The longer I stay up, the worse I feel and so it is back to bed, waiting for the anti-nausea drug to kick in.

It is hard not to get discouraged. I want to hope for a better life, but there are many things I miss doing that make me wonder if I will ever get to do them or enjoy them again. My whole world revolves around staying at home and going to visit doctors. I have one more week of the Xeloda to take (one tablet in the morning, one at night) and then I'll get a week off. Perhaps by then, my nausea will pass, but I feel that I have always been getting sicker and sicker and I don't know that anything else will be able to prevent the progression of my disease at this point.

It will be interesting to read about myself in the Daily Herald this Sunday. The are doing a series of articles about Breast Cancer and they will present my profile. I will be interested to know how the public will react to my situation as I'm including my blog address in the article. I like to read and it is fun to get comments from all of you, even some that I don't know as well as others. It is also a unique situation to be served by everyone, so much that I can barely care for my own needs, let alone those of my children. I have a friend doing my shopping tomorrow. My mother-in-law is taking the boys to the dentist in the afternoon. She is also taking me to another appointment on Thursday. The Relief Society is bringing us dinner and some freezer meals. I feel ok to stay home by myself. If I were to have bad pain, for example, I know now what pills to take or I Icould call a close by friend or neighbor. Much of the stress from our household is handled by David, who struggles between the role of father, husband and income provider. He has got the first two covered, but is struggling to build more job security and more income in this slow mortgage market. I wish he didn't have to work as long and that he had more time to share with me. Bye for now,