Sunday, February 1, 2015

Time has been flying by.

The past year has gone by so fast! We can hardly believe that it's 2015!
I  just dropped by and when I noticed how long it has been, I decided to make a quick post just so you all know we are alive and kicking. The kids are growing up and we are busy all the time.  We take things a day at a time and love it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A little western...

I took the kids to my parents and JaNae stayed home to rest.  She still doesn't feel up to traveling far.  The doctors said it would be quite some time before she felt a lot better... and they were right.  She seems to be feeling a little better every week but is still wiped out with little energy.  Despite that, we have had a fun summer so far and have tried to enjoy every day.  Here are a few photos from my recent trip with the kids

Whit loves the horses.

My nephew splashed this cutthroat out of that little creek behind us and I grabbed it. He's a little stud.

Walker was a trooper leading his brother around.
Wes... showing off his pocket knife to his uncle. (no stitches yet)

Walker holding a calf, getting ready for the branding iron

Pigs are cute when they are small...

Not so cute when grown...

Cowboy Jeff


Wyatt has skills.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Tale of Two Cancers

The past year has flown by and is still a blur.  5/24 was the 1 year date for JaNae's surgery.  This year on 5/24, her father, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer in his pancreatic duct.  He was in the same hospital in a room nearby where her's was.

 He was not feeling well over the past week or two and suddenly became jaundiced.  He was hospitalized and had some tests which showed biliary obstruction and during a procedure to relieve it, a biposy was taken which showed the cancer.  He had a CT and MRI which did not show any spread of the cancer.  He will be preparing for surgery in a few weeks and have a Whipple procedure which is a major surgery.  He has been told that he will likely need chemo and maybe radiation.  We are now starting another cancer journey with someone we love and admire very much.  About 10 months ago, when JaNae was just starting chemo, her Dad had some symptoms that were concerning but at that time, no cancer was found.  We were so relieved then that he seemed to be OK, now the diagnosis has been made, our hearts are very heavy.

He asked me to post this to let friends and family know.   We have been trying to get our lives back to normal as much as we can...  but the diagnosis of cancer in anyone you love changes your life forever.  

We will be starting a blog for his cancer journey to keep loved ones up to date on his progress.  Here is the link to his blog Kicking Cancer in the Pancreas.  Just for the record, I wanted to call it "Cancer is a pain in the PancreASS" but was vetoed.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I know we haven't been posting much on here...  There has not been a lot to report.  I totally wish I could say that JaNae feels totally awesome and is full of energy but I just watched a good TED talk and decided to not lie.  She still feels like crap.  It's been hard on all of us. But she is getting a tiny bit better every day.  In the past month she has had a CT scan and a colonoscopy and is doing well over all.  As far as we know, she is cancer free and we just have to watch, wait and monitor closely for any recurrence.  We appreciate the concern and support from all of you.

In the meantime spring has sprung.  We had a duck nest along the creek right behind out house and wondered if it was from one of our ducks.  They all hatched and swam away.  It made me think about getting some more ducklings to raise again but... that thought was vetoed.

I did get a chance to take the kids fishing at a friend's pond and they had a great time catching fish. Wyatt and Wes each caught quite a few... Walker didn't have luck fishing but enjoyed his time canoeing around while removing hooks from the fish caught by 2 young women.  He seemed to really enjoy that.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

As of Late

I have started this post about 4 times.....each time ends with me holding down the delete button and going crazy.  I haven't known what to write down.  I haven't wanted to write anything down either.  The last month has been a whirlwind of emotions.  Emotions that I did not even imagine to expect.  After my last Chemotherapy infusion I was teary for about a week.  I was on a high from being finished.  I cried about finally being done, and I cried thinking about all that this last year has brought.  It has been good....and incredibly hard...on me and my little family.  Then after that week was over I felt an enormous let down.  Like jumping off a bridge let down.  For the last year, every week has been dictated by appointments, more appointments and  feeling like garbage.  I would plan one or two weeks ahead of time.....check those things off of my list and then look forward (just a little bit) to my next planned treatment.  Then...all of a sudden, my calender was clear and I didn't need to see any Oncologist, Rad. Oncologist, Surgeon, Psychiatrist, Oncology Nurse, Social Worker or Gastroenterologist for like a whole month!  Yipee-Ky-Yeah you might be saying!   And that is exactly what I said for the first little while.  But to my dismay, almost a year of high stress took its toll on my body and mind.  My coping mechanism of choice has been humor (and denial mixed with a little sewing and chocolate)...and they just don't seem appropriate anymore.  The thoughts "I can't believe what I have been through" and " I have to live the rest of my life like this?" have been consuming and sorrowful.  

I was thinking that I would take a few weeks to heal, get my brain back and have my body in decent shape to do what I needed to do to be a wife and mother.  Well now I am 6 weeks out and still feel like I have quite the waiting game in front of me.  I have half of a brain, am still really tired and do not have a lot of stamina. See picture below:  Taken by Johnson child #4, then  followed by 100 more pictures of weird things around the house and yard. (And I am totally not kidding about that number!) What happens at the Johnson House (while I am sleeping)...stays at the Johnson House.....cause I pretty much am incredibly oblivious!

 I have a lot of neuropathy in my hands and feet and on the outsides of my upper legs(thunder thighs).  In fact, the neuropathy that I experienced during treatment was a cake walk.  I am continually guarded, just in case someone (one of my kids) might touch my legs.  My arms and hands feel sore and are constantly tingly will fall dead asleep without warning.   I have been put on more medication, hoping that it will lessen my pain.  This weekend we did some oh-so-needed yard work that just about put me in the grave.  I was more sore and miserable.  My left over pain meds were my only saving grace.  

In the last two weeks, I again have become sick and tired of Drs. and the hospital.  I have seen an OB-GYN for some help with some hormone replacement therapy, because all of the radiation and chemotherapy have put me into menopause.  I have morphed into a total beast and have become the hotflash/nightsweat queen.  Everyone that resides at our address is praying that I will level out, and am happy to report that the last few days I have seen some improvement.   I was obedient and had a mammogram, and CT scan.  We are waiting to hear results from my Dr.'s, although we are feeling positive that everything will be O.K.  We also passed the bittersweet year mark of my diagnosis, without a lot of fanfare.  Jeff worked late and I spent the night at the Pinewood Derby.  Next week I will have the dreaded Colonoscopy followed by more Dr. appointments.  This cancer circus is continuing to keep us on our toes even though I am technically finished with treatment.  

But as for now....I am resting, and resting.....and doing laundry, meals, dishes, eating chocolate, not getting on the scale, trying to keep up with my children, (and trying to not let them drive me crazy) and feeling good about not being nauseous.    One thing that I am totally missing is hanging out with this lady! 
And YES in this picture I feel just about as bad as I look! ;)

During my Chemotherapy treatments (all 12 of them) my angel Mother sacrificed everything that was on her plate and traveled to Boise to help juggle our schedule.  She was a maid, cook, nanny, chauffeur, sewing/project partner, party planner, and shoulder to cry on.   I don't know if I would have made it without her, and am so blessed to call her mine.  (How about you come back when I am feeling good!!???)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Last chemo

Monday was her last chemo and we are so glad it's over. Today she got disconnected from the pump and is be free from it.   She will have the port in her chest for who knows how long... but at least no chemo is going into it. She has been sick and slept most of the day today. I am so excited for JaNae to start feeling better. She is excited to feel better too but right now she can't keep her eyelids open.

We went in on Monday morning and I got us each a Chic-Fil-A chicken biscuit.  If you have never had one, I exhort you to give it a try.  They are most excellent.  She saw her oncologist and started the chemo. After I tucked her in, I had to go to work for a little while.  When I went outside, it was sprinkling and the smell of rain was wonderful.  The smell of rain is one of my favorite things and I took it as a good sign.  I will tell you that rain smells better in South East Arizona than it does in Idaho but it's pretty awesome in Idaho too.  When you were raised in the desert like I was, the smell of rain takes a special place in your heart and is a symbol of hope and life.  Many of you will not understand this...  but that smell is very powerful for me.

After I got back to the cancer center, I had to use the restroom and my mind was racing thinking of all of the things I had to do... but I made a pit stop at the restroom and was standing at the urinal when the door opened and I turned to see a woman walk into the bathroom... My mind must have been really off because my first thought was "Crap, I'm in the ladies room..." and I was about to apologize when I realized I was standing at a urinal!  The woman rushed out without saying anything and I was very relieved that it was not me that went into the wrong bathroom.  I feel like I walk around on autopilot sometimes.

Here are a few photos to share.  I'm hoping JaNae will feel well enough to post soon...  hint   hint

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

# Eleven

The 11th chemotherapy infusion has come and gone.  I can't believe it but I welcome it.  This past year has come and gone so fast, but yet has been the slowest and most miserable year to date.  Crazy!  I cannot believe that I only have ONE MORE left.  It makes me so happy!!!!  But so emotional, thinking about how long this journey has been for me and my family.  As I was sitting ready for the hook up I felt so thankful and appreciative to friends, family and caregivers that truly have made this whole experience livable.  I really am going to especially miss my Chemo Nurses.  They are angels who feel like family!  
The infusion went well...I slept like a rock and upon waking I forgot where I was....multiple times.  The nausea and "calm yourself...we are only giving you poison" drugs have really made me feel intoxicated.   Jeff was afraid I would  fall on the way out to the was that good.  
We came home a few minutes before the children arrived home from school and enjoyed their company (debatable) and then my angel Aunt and Uncle who live in town brought me my very favorite meal!
 Chicken Pot Pie. 
 It was delish and we love and appreciate ALL that they have done to support and love us. 
 We Love Them and are so lucky that they live close.

The rest of the evening I spent gorked on the couch with no recollection of anything that transpired.  I just remembered when the house became quiet.  (Not a bad way to spend the evening if I do say so myself.) :)
And here is to the rest of the week.  My mom is coming this afternoon and in the time being, I am catching up on laundry and ironing.  So. Much. Fun.  

The highlight of our weekend was creating this masterpiece Sunday afternoon.  There may or may not have been (but probably was) mutiny on-board during the creation....but we made it through.  Walker did a great job putting it all together.  However there may be a few parts where you might think that it is an old Japanese Film where the words don't line up with the sound from the mouths.   It is a treasure!   

Love to you All!