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.