Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Idaho visit

I recently made a trip to Idaho to sing in a Regional Singles Choir that was directed by my Aunt Janet.  My sisters and I were asked to be guest singers for the concert.  We sang five different songs (some of them we were joined by the choir).  I'm sure that the choir had been rehearsing for several months.  They did a great job and looked good in their matching red and white outfits.  The chapel was decorated with a nativity, and garland and wreath draped across the stand and podium, among other decorations.

When the concert was over, there was a gentleman that asked my sisters and me if we could go somewhere private to talk.  I didn't recognize him and thought it was an interesting request.  It took a few minutes to pull us all away from visiting with people.  Across from the chapel there was a small classroom that we gathered in.  I thought maybe the man was just going to thank us and I was kind of confused why he needed us in private.

He stood there choked up and teary eyed.  He told us he had already left the church and driven his brother-in-law and sister home, and he had a strong impression that he needed to return to the church and share this experience with us.  He told us that he knew our dad.  He said that while he was sitting there listening to us he thought to himself, "I wish Doug could be here to hear this."  He then told us that he heard my dad say, "I am.  And aren't my girls beautiful?  And didn't they do such a good job?" Then he said he felt a warm hug like a blanket wrapped around him.  He cried while he talked to us, and we all cried listening to him.

Oh boy did my dad love to hear his girls sing!  A lot of the time he couldn't sit still while listening and it was always with a big smile on his face.  The day before he died he was very tired but was still coherent and talking.  He told my sister Lori that he wanted us to keep singing.  We all miss seeing his proud face while we sang.  He was definitely our #1 fan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Perspective

John and I were out running errands today.  Mid errand run we got hungry and decided to stop for lunch.  When we walked in we could see a lady wearing a hat.  You could tell from the no eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair, that she was in the middle of cancer treatments.  I watched her...she looked tired.  After speaking with her daughter briefly, we learned that her mother was battling breast cancer.  We talked to her as she left the restaurant. You could tell that she was not very old--she had to have been in her 50's.   She walked slowly to the car, with a cane.  John and I cried as we watched her.  It brought back a flood of memories.  I told John how hard it was to go wake Riley and Brynn in the morning while going through treatments.  I remember standing at the top of the stairs wishing that I didn't have to make the trek down the stairs to wake the girls.  I was so achy and it took every ounce of energy just to go down and back up.  Cancer is just simply the worst.  This move to Colorado has been hard, but seeing her today puts it all into perspective.  I'll take the mess, the chaos, the crazy, the boring, the feeling lost, the missing Idaho family and friends.  Sometimes our hard things are really not that hard.  I am so grateful for my health. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The BIG move

For a while now John and I have been talking about how tired we were of fighting the battle of the oversaturation of dentists in Idaho. There are probably twice as many dentists in Idaho Falls as there needs to be. I know a lot of dentists were/are feeling the pinch. Some were giving away free iPads for you to come to their office, and before we left we were starting to hear about a dental office giving away a new car for referrals. Holy crap! We tried to buy another practice to add to ours, among many other scenarios, and nothing seemed to work out. So, after many months of discussing it, we decided to move. It was an extremely hard decision to make. If it were just John and I to factor in, it would have been a much easier decision. Pulling kids away from their friends, cousins, and everything that they are familiar with is not easy. Riley is kind of out of the house, so she was okay with the decision (although I know she loves Idaho and everyone there). Brynn will be a Senior this coming year. WHO wants to move to a new High School their Senior year! She is a gem and has such a great attitude about it. She has not once given us any grief about moving, and I know that it isn't exactly easy. Jace will be a Sophomore and he had THE best friends in Idaho. They were such great kids. That was almost one of the biggest factors in our move. We did not want to pull him away from all the goodness! Haley will be in 6th grade this year. She also has a great attitude about everything. She has the gift of being outgoing and talkative, so I think she will adjust.


My brother Kevin had told us about several dental opportunities in Colorado, so we started looking there. John and I spent countless hours crunching numbers, looking at different areas in Colorado, praying about it, etc. One night I was lying in bed awake thinking long and hard about it. When I fell asleep, I had a very vivid dream. I was in my bedroom and my dad walked by. He was wearing tan pants and a sport coat and he was talking on the phone. We had a nice conversation about whether or not John and I should move. I told him all about the things we had discovered in our research. He then said to me, "Well, it sounds like a no-brainer. I think you need to move to Colorado." The conversation then changed. I asked him how he was feeling and he said, "I feel great!" I asked him if he ever got the chance to look in on the family and he replied, "I watch you guys all the time." I immediately woke up and laid there with tears in my eyes. I thought long and hard about the dream so I could remember every detail in the morning. After that dream, I felt like I was ready to move forward. It isn't easy moving away from your mom, 6 of your sisters (and their awesome husbands and kids), and amazing neighbors and friends. But, how often do you get heavenly advice? So now here I am in Colorado.


 I feel a bit like we have had a mid-life crisis. We have pulled up our DEEP roots and are giving it a go in Colorado. Not all the days have been rosy. I miss my family and friends. I miss my old house and neighborhood. We are renting a house for a year and I keep telling John I feel like we are living in a 2-3 star hotel. (The rental needed some cleaning done when we got here). I am trying to have a good attitude. It's hard not knowing anyone in the ward and neighborhood very well. In my old ward I had an instant connection with Nichole P. I'm convinced we were friends in heaven. We just connected immediately. Nichole also happened to be my across the street neighbor. She was an angel and checked on me often during my cancer treatments. I miss her. I miss my walking buddy Michelle. We have walked together for almost 20 years. We could talk about everything! It was therapy and exercise all rolled into one. I miss my family and all our get togethers.  We miss our friends Dave and Emily, they were like family...and the list goes on!  I keep telling myself to look at this as an adventure. Something different and exciting. I always think about one of my best friends Molly. She always has the best attitude and sees the glass as half-full.  So, here's to half-full!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tests

I recently had my three month appointment with my oncologist.  I told him that my lower back has been hurting me for quite some time.  He decided that it would be best to have an x-ray done and check it out, because I have mentioned it to him before.  I'm glad that they don't mess around and just tell you not to worry about things.

I went to the hospital the same day to have an x-ray done.  The next day I met with the doctor and he told me that something was showing up on the x-ray.  He wasn't sure what it was, but he told me not to panic.  It's hard not to panic after going through cancer.  I was then told I needed to have an MRI done.

Also occasionally I have noticed that my heart sometimes skips a beat and then pounds really hard in my chest.  It's something that completely drains the blood from my face and takes my breath away.  I've read a lot about how chemotherapy and radiation can cause heart problems.  I also read about how Tamoxifen can cause problems--like blood clots in your lungs, etc.  I know that you can't believe everything you read.  I don't like reading about these kinds of things, but sometimes if something feels strange or out of the norm, I try to figure out what is going on.  I have been quite stressed out lately (I may get into that more on a later day) and so it could just be stress related.

So they did an EKG at the doctor's office and sent me to the hospital for a MRI on my back and CT scan on my chest.  Between doctors and tests it took about 4 hours.  I felt like I had been through the wringer.  Have you ever had an MRI or CT scan?  Yuck!  I've had them done before and I feel SO claustrophobic!  I was in the MRI machine for 30 minutes and had to keep my eyes closed tight the entire time.

A couple days ago I met with my doctor again for all the results.  They didn't not seen anything wrong with my heart or any clots.  The MRI showed that I have a bulging disc in my lower back.  What a relief!  I am happy to report that I am still in remission!

A friend in my ward passed away last night after battling cancer for probably about 5 years.  She had dealt with several different types of cancer and had to do chemotherapy for YEARS.  She was such a good example to me.  She never complained and always had such a great attitude, even when she had every reason to complain!  She was always taking care of other people, when she was the one that needed to be taken care of.  Yesterday, Haley wanted to go buy her a Coke Slushy and take it over to her.  I told Haley that she was too sick and we couldn't do that.  We decided to write her a note and Haley picked out one of her stuffed animals to give to her.  We left them on her doorstep and texted to let them know.  This was around 4:00 and she passed away about 4 hours later.  I will miss you Anita.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Climb-a-thon

Four youth from my ward recently made it a personal challenge to raise money for Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City by doing a climb-a-thon.

A few weeks before the climb the boys put on their white shirts and ties and went to some local businesses seeking pledges.  They were able to raise almost $3000.

It was a 3 day, 15 trail mile, 1.3 vertical mile climb up the Middle Teton.  There was a total of 3 leaders (my husband included) and 4 youth (my son included).  They came home dirty, tired, and sore.  Most importantly, they came home knowing that they can do hard things....with bragging rights as a bonus.

They are pointing to the middle Teton.  It was an extremely smokey weekend due to all the wildfires in the area.
Jace has the GREATEST friends!  I am so grateful for that!
On the way up
Here they are at the top!  Way to go guys!

After cancer

I recently bumped into a lady that started her cancer treatments a few months after me.  I asked her how she was feeling and she got big tears in her eyes and started to cry.  She told me that she has been struggling with full blown panic attacks.  She can't get past the "what if" thoughts. 

Another friend recently sent me this text--
"I had to go get an ultrasound on my leg to make sure I didn't have a clot (the tamoxifen increases chances) and it's the anniversary of my diagnosis this week and when I got there, I couldn't stop crying!  Serious PTSD!  Everything was fine, I don't have a clot, but I did not expect to be so emotional!  Did you have a happy week on your anniversary or was it hard?  I've been unusually emotional for several days.  I'm wondering what the heck?!"

Two years ago yesterday was the day that we shaved my head.  I really don't try to dwell on the past, but I think when you go through something so traumatic, you just can't seem to shake the thoughts, fear, and anxiety that come with it.  Every time you feel sick, or something is out of the norm, it almost puts you in a tail spin.  I think the only way to understand it, is to go through it.

There IS one thing I miss going through that experience.  It's hard to explain and hard to describe. When I was so incredibly sick, I could feel the help of many from beyond the veil.  It was a very real feeling having them here, and very noticeable that they may be off helping someone else now.

I keep reminding myself of all the good things I learned from this trial.  It has taught me to focus on what is important, and ignore what is not.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

She's off

I'm just sitting here kind of stunned.  The end of the school year was a total whirlwind.  We were crazy busy with graduation things and college prep.  Riley graduated June 2nd and we just returned last night from dropping her off at BYU.  She starts school tomorrow!  I'm still trying to process that she graduated and now she is gone.  I heard the song, "Turn Around" today and wanted to bawl my eyes out.  Why does time have to make changes?  Can't they just stay young always!?

Riley worked so hard and graduated top 5 of her class, Summa Cum Laude.  She had a 4.2 GPA.  We are so incredibly proud of our girl!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Holy Smokes...I'm BACK!

I've been blog/journal slacking lately, but HOLY SMOKES I'm back!

A few weeks ago Jace came to me explaining that he wanted to apply for the Mayor Scholarship.  Part of the process of the application would involve him writing an essay.  Ugh.  I didn't want to sit down and write an essay with him.  What a lame-o, lazy mom.  He came to me a couple of times and told me that he wanted to apply and was running out of time.  One day he ended up staying after school and working on the application there.  I didn't realize why he was staying after school.  I thought he was meeting with a teacher after school and he came home and told me that he had written the essay, filled everything out, and turned the application in.  In my mind I was thinking, "Crap, I didn't help you! I didn't help proof read it or anything!"  I asked him if I could read what he wrote and was told that he no longer had a copy.  Yikes.  I was proud of him for him proceeding forward even when he was met with resistance from me.  That was that.  It was done, turned in, and I really didn't give it much thought afterwards.

One afternoon Jace handed me an large envelope that came in the mail.  I didn't even flip it over to see who it was from, I just grabbed it and opened it up.  The first word on the page....CONGRATULATIONS!  I yelled, "Jace CONGRATULATIONS, you got it!  You got the scholarship!"  He put his hands over his mouth and nose and started tearing up.  We hugged each other with tears in our eyes.  The rest of the day, Jace could NOT wipe the smile off his face.  He was so excited and proud of himself.  The scholarship is for $500 and will be used for college in a few years.

I have since been able to get a copy of his essay.  I had to giggle when I read part of the essay...
My 4th hour class is funny.  I'm in a mixed choir.  I sing with boys and girls, but mainly girls.  That's only because I'm a soprano.  We are singing this song called, "We're the Men of the Chorus".  The bass and tenors sing, "We're the men of the chorus, we're the men."  The sopranos and altos sing, "They're the men of the chorus, they're the men.  It's funny.
What a great kid with so many great qualities!  We are proud of you Jace!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My lately...

No, I did not drop off the face of the earth, but it has been a few months since I've posted.  I had a friend send me an email the other day wondering how I've been since surgery.  I think I am finally starting to feel human again, and am HAPPY to report that I am fiiiiiiinally pain free. 

It has been over a year and a half of pure torture.  I hope that 2015 will be a much better year.  I said the same thing going into 2014 and it was so incredibly hard.  Radiation burns and two surgeries...no bueno. 

I do complain from time to time about being completely out of energy.  I noticed it a lot when I was out Christmas shopping.  I could go for quite awhile, and then it was like I ran right into a wall.  Maybe that has nothing to do with cancer treatments and surgeries.  Maybe I should quit blaming it on that.  It's probably just the fact that I am a chubby old fart.  I turned 43 in November, but sometimes I feel like I am in my 70's.

I still need to go back to Utah for a follow up with my doctor.  Unfortunately, my bladder is in worse condition then when I started this whole thing back in April.  I'm hoping that another surgery is not in the near future.

Lately I've been hearing about so many people that have been diagnosed with cancer.  I've talked to a few ladies recently that have breast cancer.  They both have had their surgeries and now are staring down the barrel of chemotherapy and radiation.  I told them both, it's not easy---but it's do-able.  I have learned so much going through these health trials.  I have started making a list of advice for friends going through it.  I'm certainly not an expert, but have been through it.  I'm also completely an open book and not shy about sharing the good, bad, and the ugly.

I was in the store the other day and I noticed a lady with a hat.  I could tell that she didn't have any hair.  As I looked at her, I realized it was my friend Patti.  We did all of our radiation treatments on the same day, so I saw her everyday for a couple of months.  We finished at the same time.  My heart raced when I realized that her cancer was back.  It had gone into her lymph system and she was once again in the thick of chemo.  Her hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows were once again gone.  I couldn't contain my tears as we talked.  When we were done talking, I couldn't get out of the store quick enough.  I got out to my car and just started to cry.  It's hard not to worry about going through cancer treatments again.  I know that worrying about it doesn't change a darn thing.  I wouldn't be human if I wasn't a little jumpy about it though.

Life it good.  I'm happy.  I hope to get back in the swing of blogging and taking pictures very soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Surgery was a kick in the head


Oh boy did I have this surgery pegged wrong.  I was thinking it was going to be short and easy-ish.  It was like a punch in the face.

I was under the impression that it was a day surgery and a couple of hours at best.  There was some serious miscommunication in the equation.

Monday afternoon (the day before surgery) I went to meet with the doctor for a pre-op appointment.  I started talking to her about the hysterectomy and she was like, "What? I didn't realize we were doing that".  As we discussed it, we realized that someone in her office dropped the ball communicating to her that I decided to have a hysterectomy.  A few weeks before when I met with her, she told me that I should really probably have a hysterectomy.  I left her with the impression that I wanted to think about it.  I was having a hard time pinpointing where my pains were coming from, and I didn't want to do something without thinking about it a bit.  I spent the next couple of days really trying to pay close attention to when/where I felt pain.  A few days later, I called her office to let them know that I wanted the hysterectomy done (in addition to the bladder fix), and the girl did not relay the message.  The doctor told me that she was fine doing the hysterectomy but they would have to scramble to get it all approved through insurance.  Then she told me that I would definitely be in the hospital at least one night, possibly two.  She told me that I should also stay another night at a nearby hotel in case there was a problem.  I called the insurance also to give them a heads up.  I was just another added stress to an already stressful situation.

John and I stayed Monday night at a nearby hotel.  I sat and read for hours.  I wanted to escape my thoughts about the surgery.  I'm a nervous Nelly when it comes to anything medical.  I read the book, "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson, for hours.  She was in an airplane crash a few years ago.  It was a great book.  Reading it made me feel peaceful. Like I could get through this hard trial that I had been going through for almost 6 months--piggy backing 9 months of cancer treatments.  A year and a half of pure torture.  Seriously, pure torture.  I felt like I related to a lot of things in the book.

Tuesday morning we left for the hospital.  I had some serious butterflies in my stomach.  I was praying over and over and over for a successful surgery that would get rid of the terrible symptoms I was feeling (i.e. tons of pressure like I was about to have a baby and killer pain when I went pee).  Ouch is an understatement.

I told my anesthesiologist that I wanted to be OUT COLD before entering the operating room.  She told me that I would not remember a thing.  Wrong.  When we entered the operating room I was awake and feeling panic.  The nurses talked to me to put my mind at ease.  I remember talking to them and moving from the bed to the operating table...thankfully, then I was out cold.

I woke up to OH SO MUCH PAIN.  I remember waving my arm around trying to get a nurses attention.  My legs/hips were absolutely killing me.  It ended up being almost a 5 hour surgery with my darn legs spread eagle in the stirrups.  I am no longer a limber lady and that position for that long was excruciating.  My hips were so sore and 16 days later they are still in bad shape.  I must have pinched some nerves.  The pain starts in my hips and shoots down to my knees.  I could hardly walk for several days.

Doctor N. started first with the hysterectomy.  I think everything went according to plan.  Then, she started working on the bladder.  The poor wounded bladder.  What she discovered was that in April when the bladder mesh was put in, it was done wrong.  She thought she was just taking the mesh out but it was much more complicated than that.  When the mesh was placed it was supposed to be put on the side walls.  But, instead the end of one side of the mesh was stabbed through the urethra and up into the bladder.  The end of the mesh apparently has a hard piece (I think it's plastic) that anchors it when it is placed.  Well, that part was IN my bladder.  Every time I emptied my bladder I just wanted to scream out in pain.  I'm sure when my bladder flattened it was just being torn up by the mesh and hard plastic end.  It made a nice large hole in my bladder.  When the doctor realized how bad of shape my bladder was in, she called two Urologists into the surgery with her.  After the surgery she told me that there is no way she would have done the hysterectomy at the same time if she would have known how bad of shape my bladder was in.  It was just too much.  In the surgery they removed all the mesh that they could and sewed up 3 different layers of the bladder.  Then Dr. N told me that I would be going home with a catheter for two weeks.  A lovely "yellow purse".  The goal was to baby the bladder.  She didn't want my bladder to stretch and work, hence the catheter.

Because of the miscommunication on how long I would be in the hospital, John had to head home late Tuesday night because he had patients the next day.  He was thinking about cancelling them all, but I told him to go.  My mom had offered to drive down to get her poor wounded girl.  I had a completely terrible night.  I think I dozed off ten minutes at a time and then woke up.

Wednesday my mom and brother Jared showed up at the hospital around 11:00.  They stopped and bought a whole bunch of food/snacks with them.  It was so nice to sit and visit and take my mind off things.  I was feeling very weepy.  Their visit was interrupted by 2 urologists.  They were there to take out the hospital catheter and put in a take home one.  Good grief that was painful.  I couldn't even help myself while they were putting it in.  I just kept yelling, "OUCH".  I felt like they were getting a running start to place it or maybe using a blow dart method.  I wanted to kick them both in the face with my feet.  Unfortunately my legs were completely useless from the pinched nerves in the hips.  They were lucky.

A couple hours later, my best friend Heidi (from Junior High/High School) showed up for a visit.  She brought soup, bread, and treats.  It was such a great, much needed visit.  She is completely wonderful.  I just love her.

They released me from the hospital early Wednesday evening.  My mom and I drove to a nearby hotel and went to bed early.  The car ride home the next day was not easy on the ol' rear end.

Fast forward two weeks of painful, humiliating, catheter hell.  Two days ago, my mom and drove the 6 hours round trip to see Dr. N.  I silently prayed all the way down that the results would be good.  They were possibly going to remove the catheter if they could determine that there were no leaks in the bladder.  My first appointment was to have several x-rays done.  They x-rayed the bladder first several times and then they filled it (as full as I could stand) with a solution.  Then they did more x-rays looking to see if anything was escaping.  An hour later I met with Dr. N and she felt confident that the bladder was holding and the catheter could come out!  BEST NEWS EVER!  Six MONTHS from the awful April surgery, the catheter was taken out.

The surgery was done 16 days ago, and I still feel like crap.  I'm quite certain it will take a few more weeks before I feel decent.  I can already tell that things are so much better though.  That killer stabbing bladder pain when I went pee is gone.  I just hope there are no lasting traumatic effects on the bladder.  I have to go back down to see Dr. N next month.  Then again in 6 months and then a year later.  As far as a future bladder repair, I'm not sure if I will even do it.  I had it done in April to prevent leaks when jogging, jumping, sneezing, etc.  At this point I'd rather deal with the leaks unless I just wet myself walking around.

I'm hoping this is the end of a very long road of awful health issues.  It has been a very bumpy road and at times, I honestly didn't know how much more I could take.  I have tried my best to patiently turn it over to the Lord.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finally arrived

Tomorrow I am heading for Utah.  The time for surgery has finally arrived.  I have never been so excited to have a surgery done.  Sounds kind of weird.  But, I have been miserable since April.  Monday is the pre-op and the next day, surgery.

This will be my 5th surgery (in my lifetime) where I've had to be put out with anesthesia.  I always seem to have a little twinge of panic a couple days before the surgery.  I am a baby.  A chicken.  I hate needles, blood, hospitals and mostly anything medical.  I can't watch a surgery on T.V.  I hate to even see pictures in a medical book.  I get light headed and nauseous.  My mom used to have to hunt for me as a child, when it was time to go get immunized or if I had an appointment with the dentist.  I would crawl into a closet in the house and sit quietly.  (Good thing I had such a patient mom.  If my kids did this, I'd probably want to kick their backside).

With one of my surgeries, I was still semi-awake as they wheeled me into the operating room.  The anesthesia hadn't quite kicked in.  I remember watching the ceiling tiles as I was being whisked down the hallway.  As we rounded the corner and into the room I recall seeing the big lights on the ceiling used for surgery, and I wanted to scream. 

Last July, when I was heading into surgery for breast cancer, I was SO nervous.  I spoke with the anesthesiologist to ask beg him to help me be asleep before entering the operating room.  I was out cold ten steps into the hallway.  What a relief.  The strange thing is...this time I am welcoming the surgery.  I'm hoping all my symptoms will go away after it is done.  My fear of needles and hospitals is still there, but I have become a little more brave as I have had to deal with LOTS of needles the past year.  When you are going through chemotherapy, you have a weekly needle in your arm if you don't have a port.  I did not have a port.

The surgery on Tuesday is supposed to take a couple of hours.  After that, I will spend a lot of time trying to wake up from the anesthesia...barf.  I hate that feeling.  Once I am fully wake and have passed off the checklist of things I need to do (pee on my own and such), they will release me from the hospital.  It is a day surgery.  Then John and I will jump into the car and drive the 3 hours home.  It would be nice to head back to the hotel and just sleep and relax, but I hate to have John miss a lot of days of work.  I am hoping that with my seat back and a few drugs, I will just sleep most of the way home.

I am fasting and praying today that the surgery goes well, and that the doctor will be guided.  I am grateful to my loving Heavenly Father, that He is watching over me and helping me to feel at peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weary


20 days until surgery, and let's face it, I'm so completely past miserable.  Every day drags on and seems to be a repeat of the day before.  Pain, pressure, burning, repeat.  It hurts so much to stand and walk very long.  I've become a fat-pro-couch-sitter.  I'm so frustrated that doctors do not warn people of the mesh used in bladder repairs.  Why do they even still use it?  Oh, to go back and NOT have had that procedure done!  I'm also fairly certain that my last surgery caused my uterine prolapse. 

I was recently talking to my sister Pauline.  She is expecting a baby and will be delivering soon.  I told her she was lucky to give birth to a cute little baby.  I am about to give birth to my uterus.  Gross.  I think I will name it.  Riley thinks it should be named Billy because that is her nickname for me.  I am kind of partial to Bertha.  I'm trying to keep some kind of sense of humor.  I've tied a knot at the end of my rope and have been holding on like crazy.  But, I'm about ready to tie that rope into a noose and hang myself.  Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic.  There are days that I literally can feel that I am gritting my teeth.

During my research on removing mesh, I've learned that oftentimes it requires several surgeries to get the mesh out.  It is a very difficult surgery and is not always successful.  I feel plagued with worry.  I'm not sure I will ever feel normal again.  I know that worrying does absolutely nothing toward fixing the situation, but it is just human nature.  Plus, I'm just SO DONE.

My brother-in-law and his family say that when you are going through a terrible on-going situation, it's like eating a sh@# sandwich.  (Hey, they are the ones that came up with it, not me.)  Well, I have been savoring and sucking on that sandwich for over a year now.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.  Barf.

I'm just so done with health issues, it's not even funny.  Pray for me.  I'm not even joking.

Friday, September 5, 2014

New School Year


A new school year is upon us.  This year I have a Senior and am not sure how to navigate through that one.  ACT/SAT tests and applying for scholarships and colleges...yikes!  This past summer we toured a couple of colleges, which was fun.  The thought of sending her out the door to fend for herself is very frightening.  I think I better take advantage of this year and make sure she knows how to cook more than toast and cold cereal.  She's getting close to having a smack of adult reality to the side of her head.  KA-POW!

I sure am blessed with good kids.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another surgery on the horizon

In April I went in for an elective surgery.  I had my tubes tied, an ablation, and a bladder repair.  Since then, I have had problems.  My surgery was done on April 14th and at my six week check up, I was complaining that something didn't feel right.  The doctor told me to give it about three months and see if things changed for the better.  I couldn't wait three months and finally went in on July 3rd for more answers.

During the July 3rd appointment a cyst was discovered on my right ovary.  The doctor assumed that was the root of my problem, and that we needed to watch it for 6-8 weeks.  The next week, and the week after that, I was back in the doctor's office.  I was having a tremendous amount of burning.  After testing for a UTI both weeks, (and both tests were negative) they sent me on my way.

The 4th week of July I called the doctor's office again.  This would be my 4th appointment for the month.  That meant I had been to the doctor every single week during the month of July (except for the 5th and last week in July).  My doctor was out of town for 2 weeks, so I saw a P.A.  She couldn't find anything wrong.

I then started asking for my records to be send to a specialist.  My doctor's office drug their feet for over a week to send my records.  I couldn't get an appointment with the Urogynecologist until my records had been faxed to them.  I finally had to get down-right mean to the lady in the office that dealt with referrals.  I told her that she would get it done for me TODAY, or I was going to get a lawyer involved.  I felt like the only way I could get through to her was by getting angry.  I had already spoken to her several times the week prior and she was simply not doing what I was asking her to do.  After all, they are MY records.  She finally faxed my records and I had to wait another 3 weeks to get in with the specialist.

Thursday, August 21st, I saw a Urogynecologist.  She discovered that the mesh that was placed for the bladder repair was twisted when it should have been flat.  It also felt too tight.  She gave me a piece of mesh to feel.  It really is very scratchy if it is not flat and loose.  She also found that I have a prolapsed uterus.  Both will have to be fixed, and when I say fixed, I mean the mesh and the uterus and going to have to come out.

Without going over the top sharing about my "lady parts" and symptoms, I just have to say it has been several months of misery.  Burning, pain, pressure, etc., etc., etc., etc.

I was feeling extremely frustrated last night.  I feel like all of my problems are a result of my last surgery.  I felt good going into surgery and came out feeling terrible.  I paid a bunch of money to create a list of problems for me and now will pay a bunch of money to have it reversed.  Not to mention another dang surgery.  Yuck.  I started reading about my life a year ago.  Read about it here.  Suddenly, I felt a lot better about my problems and symptoms.  Perspective.

Surgery will not take place for a month.  I have to be on estrogen for a month before they will do the surgery.  It makes it easier to get the mesh out.  It has been such a waiting game since April.  It seems like everything has a long time frame attached to it.  It is SO HARD to be patient when you feel terrible.  I feel better when sitting.  I have become so proficient in the art of sitting.  I want to be out walking, biking, etc.  I feel like I have "sat" the summer away. 

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”           -Orson F. Whitney

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Health Scare

For several weeks I have been struggling with trying to heal from my last surgery.  In April--I had my tubes tied, an ablation, and a bladder repair.  Since then, I have felt many different kinds of negative symptoms i.e. pelvic pain, lower back pain, etc., all of which I thought were results from the surgery. 

Last Thursday, I went back to the doctor to let her know that I thought something was wrong.  After running several tests, she found a cyst on one of my ovaries.  Given my track record for the last year, it put me in a tailspin.  How could I go through cancer treatments again?  I cried in the doctor's office as I talked to the doctor.  She is very aware of the rough year I have experienced, and she did her best to put my mind at ease.

The nurse ran a CA125 blood test (last Thursday) to see if I had elevated levels (which would indicate cancer).  They told me that it would take about a week to get the results back.  They called me this morning to let me know that the results came back as "normal" and that to be 100% positive that it is not cancer, the cyst would have to be biopsied.  I will be meeting with the doctor on Thursday to discuss the action plan.

I cannot express the relief of normal results.  I had so many sleepless nights worrying about the future.  I'm not completely out of the woods yet.  Next week will probably consist of a few more tests and surgery.  I am praying that the surgery will be just what I need to relive me from my yucky symptoms.  It will probably also give me peace of mind.

Last night Riley and I were talking about how last year I was at Haley's baseball game (at the Elk diamond) when I received the phone call with the news that I had breast cancer.  I knew that I would be at Haley's game at the same location the next morning.  She said, "Can you imagine if you get a call tomorrow at Haley's game telling you that it is cancer?  Do you think that baseball diamond would be your least favorite place on the earth?"  That baseball field is also the same location where my dad got sick while dealing with his cancer.  I remember him watching a baseball game and excusing himself to go throw up behind the trees.  It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

This morning---sure enough, the phone rang while I was at Haley's game, at the same baseball field.  It was finally good news.  The curse of the Elk baseball field has been broken!  Halle-freakin-lujah!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Car Search

A couple weeks ago, John was in a car accident.  He was stopped at a stop light and noticed in his mirror that the car approaching was coming fast....too fast.  It didn't look like it she was even going to break at all. Sure enough, she slammed into the back of him.  The force of the collision caused John to hit the car in front of him, and that lady hit the car in front of her.  Shortly after the wreck, John called to say that he was in an accident and needed a ride.  I went to pick him up with all of the kids because we were heading to Brynn and Jace's piano recital.  When we got close to the scene I could see a lady standing in the back of her SUV wearing handcuffs.  She had failed the sobriety test and the police said her vehicle reeked of marijuana. John was completely stopped.  She was probably traveling 45-50 mph, and didn't even touch her breaks. 

So, now we are in search of another car.  Car shopping can be such a royal pain in the butt.  This car was paid for, and we certainly won't get what it is worth from the insurance company.  Grrrrrr.  On the bright side, John wasn't majorly hurt.

THE TRACK RECORD---This is the 4th car John has totaled.  He was driving our white Buick on the interstate and hit a patch of ice. Bye, bye Buick.  In dental school he was driving our Geo home from the school (read that story here) and hit a TRAIN.  Holy heck!  The 3rd car was a tan Altima that was totaled a couple years ago (read that story here).  The 4th car was this little beauty, and I don't think I will be buying him a motorcycle anytime in the near future.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cedar Badge


Monday morning bright an early, my friend Nicole and I dropped off these 4 cute boys for Cedar Badge.
Saturday we drove back to pick them up and see the graduation.  John and I took all of our kids and we were gone for most of the day.  It was a great experience for Jace and he loved going.  He wants to go again next year.  He learned things about planning, goals, and future success.  He also learned more about scouting. 
Graduation started with a bang!
After the gun shot sound the boys came running in from all different directions.  They were shouting and chanting as they ran.  They had a lot of energy.
Jace and some of his buddies
We stopped for lunch afterwards.  They had a fun little spot for pictures outside the restaurant.  Brynn managed to sneak past me and I didn't get a picture of her.
I'm not gonna lie, we brought home a tired, dirty, smelly boy.  His dirty laundry was ripe and practically climbed out of his bag and into the washing machine.  All in all, it was a great day and we are glad to have him back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A year ago...today

One year ago today, I was sitting at my daughter’s softball game, waiting on pins and needles for a phone call from my doctor.  I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the news was not going to be good.  When the phone rang, I jumped up from the bleachers and ran to the fence, so I could have a little privacy.  “We got the results back…it’s cancer”, I heard her say, and suddenly the baseball park started to spin and I could no longer focus on what she was saying.  I handed the phone to my husband and started to cry.  I asked myself, "How can this be possible?"  I worried about my 4 kids.  I worried about the future.  Suddenly I couldn't see into the future.

I always thought I had a pretty good idea what cancer was all about (because of what my dad went through)—but it’s been a lot harder going through it then I could have ever imagined.  I have shed more tears this past year then I can count.  It has been my ultimate test, causing me to dig deep down inside for strength and positivity.  Cancer has completely changed me.  It has made me redefine my priorities. It’s made me realize that some things are important…and other things are not.  It has taught me that life is short.


I have been blessed with angels here on the earth, and in heaven, that have helped and supported me through this trial.  Couldn't have done it without them.
I have prayed constantly and more fervently.  I have completely relied on my Heavenly Father for help and strength, and he has blessed me and sustained me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scattered thoughts and recent happenings

Schools out.  It's only been a few days and I have already threatened to kick some butts.  I'm just not one of these moms that allows a summer-free-for-all.  I totally get the fact that kids need a break and some down time, but they also need to work and gets things accomplished.  Sleeping in until noon, watching t.v., and laying out on the trampoline to get a tan--do not fall under the umbrella of getting something accomplished.  I really don't like to be a nag or bossy, but I will certainly wear that hat if I need to.

Riley and Brynn are both taking some online classes this summer.  Riley INSISTED last summer that she wanted/needed to take Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry through BYU Independent Study.  She needed to take these classes before her Junior year because she was signed up for AP Calculus in school and she needed to take these classes first.  She didn't even come close to finishing before school started.  Her Calculus teacher wasn't too excited about Riley being in her class because she hadn't completed the classes yet.  She got an A all three trimesters of AP Calculus and ended the year with a 4.146 GPA.  She's a smart cracker.  She has until July 4th to finish the BYU classes.  Ugh....more nagging from mom.  Riley also is preparing to take the ACT this Saturday.  I think she is frying her brain.  Brynn is taking an online Economy class.  I'm not totally sure what her GPA is, but I know that she finished with all A's.  Smart lady.  Where in the heck do these girls get their smarts?  From their dad....certainly NOT their mom.  She is just a smart alec and that is about it.

Jace and Haley are staying fairly busy with track and softball.  Jace is also preparing for Cedar Badge and Scout camp.

John and I recently celebrated our 22 anniversary.  When I say "celebrated" I mean the day came and went.  It happened to fall on the same day as the father and sons campout.  We will have to celebrate on a later date.
These are a couple engagement pictures.  Kind of hilarious.  My hair and clothing are hideous.  Speaking of hair, I got my first hair cut today!  It's SO nice having hair again!  My hair was starting to get poofy and looked a little like a bad wig.  I've decided to keep the short hair for the summer and try it out.  I might as well try all kinds of styles while I have the opportunity.

I am still SLOOOOOOOOOOOOWLY healing from my last surgery.  Walking and standing for awhile makes my insides want to be on the outside.  I'm not trying to be a whiner, but I'm getting pretty dang sick of it. Sometimes I walk around like I'm 105 years old.  I really want to start exercising, but it just hurts too much.  My sister suggested that maybe I start swimming.  I think that might be a great place to start.  The only problem is pouring this butterball turkey into her swimming suit.