Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Our fond farewell wishes to the year 2012....a year where we learned and grew more than we ever imagined...(whether we wanted to or not! )  
9:00pm has come and gone at our house.....the ultimate boring time that has been pegged as the turn of the year, so this little family can celebrate, enjoy each others company, and go to sleep at a decent time to insure optimal moods and outlooks on life.  Surprisingly we had a delightful meal on a beautiful table set by Whitney and the little boys.  Whit is the ultimate party planner. We drank our selves silly with sparkling cider, played a few games, and let off some fireworks to frustrate the neighbors.  We know how to party around here!  Luckily our children are still relatively small and easily entertained.  We plan on keeping it that way!

The Pyro Crew
Earlier in the day......we accomplished the first day of Chemo after not so RAD, Radiation!  Jeff seemed to hold most of the anxiety going into the treatment center this morning.  I slept well and felt chipper and surprisingly happy.  I love the nurses at the center...and was excited to see and visit with them in the Chemo Suite.  I found myself trying to remember all of the tricks that I used, to make me more comfortable when all of the Chemotherapy side effects rear their ugly head.  I am confident that they will return to my mind.  

As we got ready to be by the Cancer Center by 8am, we rolled out of bed into a very cold bedroom and realized that our furnace had crapped out during the night.  We left with our children drinking Hot Chocolate and sitting by the fire.  Thanks to some great friends and neighbors, and the warranty on our home we had someone over to check it out in and replace a sensor in no time.  Jeff had to leave me during my infusion to take care of the furnace guy, and came home to happy kids who had again been spoiled by my aunt and uncle, who dropped off a treat.  A good friend came to the hospital to sit with me and then drove me home.......Thanks Adrian! 

And as for my side effects.....I feel a little green and am drugged from the anti-nausea meds.  I have been reunited with my fannypack that is stuffed full of the 5FU cancer fighting magic, and the accessed port that squeeks when I move or breath . They totally, totally bug.   I am also bothered by the smell of Chemo that permeates my body.  (I really hope I am the only one that can smell it.)  The Neuropathy tonight is however minimal.  My hands and feet are sensitive to the cold....but the pain (to cold) that I usually feel in my throat is present on my tongue.  Weird.  I am enjoying some hot flashes that are making me feel old and menopause-ish...but they wax and wane and then disappear.  Definitely tolerable on the Cancer Sucks Scale!  I am happy that today is over and that infusion #7 has been smashed!  I am feeling tired and sore tonight and want to get some good rest in.

I loved this quote from a friend on facebook!  I loved it!  Enjoy! 

Happy, Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Getting ready for more...

Christmas has come and gone.  It was great to have some time off and hang out together as a family. It seems to take so much work and preparation and then be over too quickly.  JaNae was feeling better overall but still tired and achy.  She was originally scheduled to re-start chemo the week before Christmas but she changed her mind and rescheduled for New Years Eve... what a way to ring in the new year.  It's been hard to watch her anxiety grow as the chemo start date grows near.  She is not going into it naively this time.  I know the next few months will not be fun or easy but the end of chemo is in sight.  We need to plan a celebration.

I turned 40 and DID NOT freak out about it. (Which is good for me.)

This weekend, her brother from Seattle is visiting her parents so she took the kids and went down to her parents' house while I was working.  After a long day in clinic, I drove over to meet them.  I was very tired  and got a late start so after I loaded up my stuff and the ski gear for the kids, I got a huge brew (mostly Diet Mt Dew) and set off.  It was cold last night and the moon was full and bright.  As I drove, I had to keep active to make sure I stayed awake. I once fell asleep driving and have vowed to never do it again.  I played my ipod through my truck's stereo and blasted old songs from the past.  I loaded a bunch of songs on there a few years ago and don't play them often so I had forgotten how much variety there was.  I sang loudly and rocked along with songs from the 80's and 90's mixed in with a few newer songs.  I think it was therapeutic for me to have a few hours of loud music that I love.  It was the perfect soundtrack for my moods of the past 6 months... up, down, and sideways!   I thought about a lot of stuff and noticed some things along the way... let me share some of them.

When alone and belting out music... I have a good voice that can sound exactly like Bono, Garth Brooks, The guy from The Cure, All of the Depeche Mode voices, Billy Joel, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Cold Play and even some female artists. (I know JaNae will be rolling her eyes when she reads this.)

The full moon looks much more clear on a cold night.

When the dash board thermometer reads 15 degrees and you are going 75mph, it takes 22  seconds for your hand to go numb if you stick it out the window.

I searched the sky for UFO's and didn't see any...  I still secretly hope to see one, though I'm not sure being  abducted would so great.

At 75 mph, it takes 48 seconds to go one mile but at 80 mph, it only takes 45 seconds.

Airliners leaving contrails that cross the face of the moon look really cool... I saw several of them right across the moon.

I think the cop I saw in the median was taking a nap while on duty.

2012 went by really fast... I'm having mixed feelings about seeing it end.


Uncle Steve pulling the kids on a sled.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Today's laugh

We died laughing at this picture from the upcoming movie "This is 40."

The similarities are uncanny.

Jeff turns 40 in one week.  Poor Man.
We like clean teeth...of course.
Reverse the roles and have Jeff and me.  Unfortunately.
Holy I-Pad.

Too bad the movie is rated R so we don't have the "pleasure" of filling our brains with inappropriate-ness and crude humor.  ( I watched the trailer and burned my retinas and tainted my brain!)  We totally would have shelled out money to see it in the theater for another good laugh. Our wallets will thank us!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Yesterday we met with my Oncologist.  I was pleased to meet with her and even more pleased to leave..... without getting a Chemo infusion.  We were in and out quickly after the lab tests (which came back improved) and then Jeff and I spent some time together finishing up our Christmas Shopping.  I am so thankful for him and especially his flexible schedule that allows him to be with me.  My home away from home....aka Mountain States Tumor Institute.... is so much better with support.

Skipping out on Chemo is really boosting my Christmas Spirit. And how nice it is to enjoy this season without a chemotherapy induced stupor.  We have been busy with finishing up with the last week of school with the kids, running holiday errands and sewing and baking/ candy making projects.  It feels so good to feel  decent even though I still tire quickly.  The children are excited for their holiday break, and we are looking forward to spending time together with no school responsibilities and/or homework.  

We have hugged them extra tight this week in wake of the recent tragedy in Connecticut.  I am so thankful that they are safe and here in our home.  I am especially enjoying our sweet Kindergartener and the extra time I have with just him during the day.   He is so loving and kind to me.  He is so good to help me in the afternoon by being easily entertained and often letting me rest.  As I was listening to him play after lunch today, he was pretending that one of his favorite toys (lego dragon) was sick.  According to Wes, his dragon was stricken with cancer and needed to be transported to the hospital for chemotherapy.  I was surprised to hear however that his dragon's treatments were unsuccessful and he bit the dust.  Pitiful that my 6year old includes cancer with his imaginative play.  We need to get out a little more! 

And I am not sure if tonight's activity of "Tap Out" wrestling lessons from the full grown 5th child counts....
Pray for me!  :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Go ahead and pass I am posting.  The last month or so has been rough.  I either felt like crap, or was sleeping.  Radiation was a lot harder than I expected on my body, but in hindsight I am glad that I was oblivious. Ignorance is my best friend lately.  :)  

Today the baby of our family turned 6.  We celebrated just about the whole week and enjoyed our Sabbath Day with him today.  The anticipation that he expressed was so fun to watch.  I don't know what we are going to do this next week without his enthusiasm.  Maybe we can just be excited about new things that he does now that he is 6!

 Jeff and I took him out earlier this week to lunch and then drove around to different toy stores and let him pick out his own bike.  We also splurged and took the kids to Wreck it Ralph Saturday afternoon.  (We loved it....and then giggled as we sopped up tears that ran down our cheeks as the movie ended!)    If you haven't seen it....we would recommend it!
We are slowly but surely getting ready for Christmas and loving the special spirit of Christ in our home.  This time of year is always a favorite....but this year is a little different.  I have really tried to simplify this season as I am still taking it easy and trying to regain energy and strength as my body heals.  It has been frustrating as I am slowly feeling better to not pick up physically where I remember leaving off pre-surgery, chemo and radiation.    I am thinking I have some major muscular atrophy...aka fat, lazy, no muscle tone in those Relief Society arms.  I stirred something on the stove for a few minutes this week and woke up feeling that I had lifted some serious weights at the gym.  Bleh.....  But the simplicity that I am trying to uphold with the hustle and bustle of December feels good.  The kids are enjoying our daily candy kiss countdowns, our special Elf on the Shelf, "Sneaker" as well as a Star Wars Lego advent calender that we purchased last year on clearance.  Our favorite tradition by far has been unwrapping a Christmas book each evening and then reading it together as a family.  Last night I read A Christmas Dress for Ellen.  I had a hard time making it through.  Whitney offered to finish reading it for me at least 3 times.  It is a beautiful story.  A story that I hope my kids can appreciate and remember.  This year has been so hard....but I love the perspective of how blessed that we truly are.  In comparison to many that have lived before us.....the challenges and trials that we are experiencing seem like a cake walk are things that know I can handle and grow strength from.  Jeff has a great job that provides us with the means to feed our children and warm our home.  We are comfortable and blessed and surrounded by so so many great friends and loved ones. 

I am happy and relieved to be in this part of my treatment.   Radiation kicked my trash and I am so thankful to be finished.  The effects were cumulative and it was hard to continue to feel worse as the weeks went.  Not only did driving to the Cancer Center every day for 5 weeks take its toll on my schedule and gas guzzling vehicle, I don't think I have ever been that tired and exhausted.  My hands and feet increasingly became more +dry, cracked and sore because of the oral chemotherapy that I was taking.   As the weeks progressed I had a lot of pain that reminded me of how I felt after my resection surgery.   I spent the majority of my morning noon and night in "my office"!  I really needed to look into a one-way picture window or amazing bookshelf with a plethora of reading material to help me pass the time.  I don't think I could ever admit the number of Sudoku games that I have played and won.  The sheer number is honestly embarrassing!  And I must admit that it is getting quite old.  But here is a little word to the wise.....My Ipad is a bathroom fixture..

On the 29th of November we met with my Oncologist, Dr. Bucur.  It was a hard day, not only because of the idea of starting stupid chemo again....but emotional for me and the unfortunate self pity that I held for a few selfish moments.  As we drove to the Doctor...I received a text announcing the birth of my adorable sister's sweet, sweet boy.  I also knew that my other sister who is expecting would be finding out later in the day the gender of her baby that is due in April.......And I was going to Mountain States Tumor Institute to chat about my insides that have been microwaved and unable to have any more children.  I am truly happy for my sisters and their little families and have since ceased feeling like my life is not fair. I have 4 amazing children that make our home complete and crazy, and I am lucky to still be here to care for them and watch them grow.  I just wish that time would give me a break and slow down just a little.  (Especially with all of the time that I lose in my office!) 

As I talked to Dr. Bucur I was expecting to have her schedule my next chemo infusion appointment for the following week.   They did lab tests and my liver is still inflamed and wanted to wait a few weeks, retake the labs and them tentatively schedule  my chemotherapy.  I was given the option of starting infusions after Christmas but thought I wanted to be the Chemotherapy patient of the year and get the first one crossed off my list the week of the 17th.   Since then, I have gone back for the lab retest.  My billirubin, which they were concerned about, is still elevated but is coming down. We scheduled Chemo for December 17th.    I also saw the Psychiatrist....lots of emphasis on the psycho......which was comfortable and good for a change.  I went alone...aka...without Jeff (who last appointment was a total tattle-tale.)  HaHaHa!  The Dr. encouraged me to think about waiting on the Chemotherapy until January.  And the more I have pondered that idea, the more I have embraced it!  I have been thankful for these last weeks.  It has been refreshing to feel better for a season and to be able to do normal day to day mom things that I enjoy and take pride in being able to accomplish.  We are planning on taking the #7 Oxalyplatin/ 5FU plunge just around New Years.  It is great to have the end in sight and to think about being finished with feeling like garbage in March, if everything goes as planned. Halleluiah and Amen!  Till next time! :)
- JaNae

And until next are some photo gems of the ones I love!

And Holly, we are loving the window crayons!!!