Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Mom!

I went to the doctor this week for my pre-chemo check-up. While there the doctor decided that he was going to give me Christmas off. He thought that with my levels (blood) being so low it wasn't a good idea to start another round and then with the holidays coming, I might enjoy some time off. So, I don't have to have chemo again until the 5th of January. You have no idea how exciting this is for me. I was so worried that on Christmas Eve and Christmas I would feel terrible. I am so grateful for this blessing.

With my levels being low, they gave me a blood transfusion yesterday and today I am still tired, but I feel much better. Today's goals include: typing Hyrum's report for him, doing the dishes, wrapping the last of the gifts I have, cleaning the living room/kitchen area and making carmel. We will see what really gets done. I love this time of year and we seem to be so busy going to such great activities and visiting with friends. I must say though, I will be glad when this week is over. We have 8 things on the calendar in 3 days. It's gonna be busy, but they are all fun things - so it will be great!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Broken Finger, Tattoos and Good News

Broken Finger:
I failed to mention in previous posts our adventures the night before Thanksgiving. The older 4 kids were out in the living room - unattended for a few minutes - and decided that it would be fun to turn all the lights off and run around the room, weird I know, but they did it. Faith was sitting on the floor messing with something and one of her siblings jumped onto the couch using her hand as a springboard. The finger started swelling and was causing so much pain that we headed over to the ER.

You know that you go the ER too often when the receptionist recognizes you! We walk in and she said, "You're back! But this is not the kid you had with you last time, is it?" She remembered me from Vilate's tooth incident. Crazy!!

Turns out Faith has a broken finger - on the growth plate! Now the fingers are taped together and we are awaiting meeting with orthopedics just to make sure the finger will grow normally.

Tattoos:
Today I went and met with the radiologist and they have decided to do radiation on my right upper femur. I have been having pain there a lot lately and they know that I have a pretty big mass there. So, I have 10 days of radiation to look forward to over the next 2 weeks.

When they do radiation on my femur/hip area they have to line me up exactly so that that they get it in the right spot so today I got my first 3 tattoos! They tattooed my hip on both side - twice on the right. It didn't even really hurt - I was surprised! They are really small.

Good News:
The results of the radiation on my brain are so great! We saw the pictures and most of the cancer is gone!!!!!! YAY!!!!! I still have little "lesions" in my brain, but they might continue to shrink. They will do another MRI in few months to see where we are at. It is so nice to get some good news!!

I am feeling good and seem to have a fair amount of energy. I wish it was more, but for now I am okay. Thanks to all of you who have brought and are planning to bring us dinners. They are a great blessing and help to our lives. We love you all!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Health update

As for my health...here is the latest:

Yesterday I had to go to the ER for vomiting blood and feeling crummy. It turned out to be that I was severely low on platelets and magnesium. The low platelets were the cause of the bleeding and the low magnesium was the cause of the crummy feeling. They loaded me with both and I felt much better.

The latest test show that my cancer is shrinking - albeit very slowly. My radiation follow-up appointment is tomorrow - but we already have been told that there is "marked improvement." I will let you all know what we find out after the appointment.

Some days are better than others. I have seemed to have a lot of not so great days lately. Lucky for me the people at church and the kids' school have been so helpful with food and gift cards that things have been a lot better than they could have been.

Over the past few days I have thought a lot about what I am learning here. The Lord has promised not to give us more than we can handle. I know that to be true. He must know something about me that I don't because this is sure feeling like a really, really heavy burden. I must be stronger than I know. The Lord has also said that our trials here will seem but a moment - he didn't mean while in them, but once they were over. I totally know this to be true. This might go on for years or it might only go on for a few more months. This might end in my passing on, or I might beat this thing. Whatever happens, when I look back whether here or in the Spirit World, it will seem that this trial passed very quickly. I need to focus on what I can learn from it. I want to learn all that I can from this experience so that I can become a better person - the daughter that MY Heavenly Father wants me to become. So, here I go, off to learn some more.

I am in my 8th round of chemo and have round 9 starting the week before Christmas. I am trying really hard to spend more time with the kids - even when I am not feeling good. I spend a lot of time on the couch, but my kids regularly come over and give me hugs and kisses. I love it! I really love this time of year. The cold air is hard - I don't do cold so well these days, but I do love it. I love the music and the family activities. I am so grateful for the family that I have been blessed with, my kids, hubby, brothers and sisters, in-laws and all those that surround me. I have never felt more loved in my life. Thanks for making me feel so special and important! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas or whatever you choose to celebrate. Thanks for checking in! My most sincere thanks and love to you all this Christmas season!

Christmas Kick-off

We have a tradition in our house where the day after Thanksgiving is the Christmas Kick-off Party. We get up in the morning and have homemade cinnamon rolls and then we set out candy on the table - tons of candy - and we decorate for Christmas.

This year I started on Thursday night and made the cinnamon rolls. Then Faith and David and I put up our Christmas tree. It was an adventure - a new tree and all the branches had to be put on one at a time. But we did and it is a gorgeous tree!

The next morning we got up and cooked the cinnamon rolls and Faith made the frosting. The kids loved them! After that the lights went on the tree and then the decorating began. We put up all the decorations and had a great time listening to Christmas music and snacking on candy. Gloria insisted that all of her ornaments be kept on the same branch. It was pretty cute, but she was so mad when we told her that we wanted to spread her ornaments out. She just didn't get it.

After all the decorating was done we took the kids to my sister Jenny and her husband Marchane's house to hang for the night. The older 4 spent the night and had a great time playing Rock Band on the Wii and roasting marshmallows in the fire place. Good times were had by all, although I still think Jenn and Marchane are pretty crazy and hope that they enjoy the peace and quiet that comes from going from 13 kids back down to 5. Thanks guys!!

Thanksgiving

Once again, Thanksgiving was a hit! We all congregated over to the church Institute Building at ARC and had a feast. There was so much food it was great! We ended up with around 40 people I think and over half were under 12. The kids love going there because there is so much to do. The kids played pool, ping pong and air hockey. They loved it! Then they would go outside and they could ride bikes, skateboards, motorscooters and roller blades. They also were out there playing street hockey and lovin it. Visiting with people was wonderful and the food delicious. Thanks to everyone that contributed so that my family could have such a wonderful day!!


Girl Scouts and a Birthday Party

This year Faith's Girl Scout troop made a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for us. The way the calendar worked out we had to wait a day to enjoy it. It was wonderful! Thanks girls for thinking of us and for all of your hard work! Everything was YUMMY!!!

We got to go and have a lot of fun with my family at Mac, Mariah and Madelyn's birthday party. It was at Jarrod and Jennifer's church building and the kids loved to play with their cousins. Nephi had a great time eating multiple cupcakes - or at least claiming all the rings that were on top. I think he ended the night with 2 Elmo rings, 1 Cookie Monster Ring and 1 Curious George Ring. He was constantly messy, but had a great time!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Moon

Okay so I am a Twilight fan. I wouldn't say I am a die-hard fan, but I do enjoy the escape that the books provide and I thought the story was good. I went to the premiere of Twilight and I had a group of girlfriends that were looking forward to the premiere of New Moon, so I had to go. I had chemo on Wednesday and then came home, ate dinner and headed over to my friend Kelsey's house for a Twilight showing and pre-New Moon party. It was really fun. Kelsey and Amber did a great job of decorating and Kelsey's husband Lance was really great about having all these crazy wannabe 13 year-old girls in his living room. It was great!!

The next night was the premiere. We got to the theater about 8:45-ish and the lines were awful. We actually were almost the last to be let into the lobby of the theater. Everyone else had to wait out side, and it sure was cold - we were really lucky!!

Around 10 they opened the theater and all but 2 of our group were there. We ate ice cream and nachos and loved visiting with each other until the movie started. I did leave the theater one more time to get hot cocoa.

It was a pretty good movie and I only fell asleep once for a few minutes, thanks to Dawn for waking me up!! I think hanging with the girls was so much fun that it kinda overshadowed the movie, but that's okay. A good time was had and I even got home before 3am!!

The next day the kids didn't have school so I didn't have to get up early and they even let me sleep in until 9am. So nice of them!

Apple Hill


We took the kids to Apple Hill a few weeks ago on a Saturday and had a BLAST! Apple Hill is a really beautiful place just about an hour east of us. It is a bunch of apple orchards and Christmas tree farms that have banded into their own little community. We haven't taken the kids there in years so we thought it might make for a fun day. Grandma and Grandpa Morgan joined us and we had a lot of fun. We started out by the pond and the kids ran on the grass - and up and down a really fun hill.










Nephi insisted on wearing his glasses for most of the day. It was quite amusing. We rode ponies, got faces painted and finished the day off with apple donuts, apple fritters, caramel apples and apple cider. The kids loved the pony rides. Poor Helaman refuses to eat anything apple related, so we just bought him some rolls. He missed out on so much. But as you can see, Hyrum and Vilate were thrilled with their caramel apples!! We had such a great time that I am really looking forward to going again next year. I think we have created a tradition!!

Playin Catch-up

Okay I am back. I am going to update this blog, but I really want to go in order so I have to start back a few weeks ago. The middle of November has been pretty busy for us. We enjoyed our day off in the middle of the week for Veteran's Day. The kids had to help me clean out the car and then after that they got to play outside for a few hours. It was really fun and they even convinced Dad to come and join the fun. We had rollerblades, skateboards, motorscooters, bikes and all the baseball stuff strewn about the lawn here and it was a BLAST!! Baseball was a big hit - no pun intended. David and the kids had a great time running the bases and getting people out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Tooth

On Sunday morning, the day after Halloween, Vilate woke up with a swollen cheek. Not just a little swollen, mind you, but it was massive. She looked on the left side as if she was Jay Leno with a square jaw and chubby cheeks. It was also pink, so we headed to Kaiser so the doctor could check it out. The doc said it was dental but an infection nonetheless. So they gave us some antibiotics and sent us on our way. ****side note: the doc we saw was my doc when I was a kid - she wasn't with Kaiser then****

We called a member of the Stake Presidency who is a dentist and he said we had done all we could for now and on Monday to call our dentist or him. I got Vilate a new dentist on Monday and we went in. They said it was a real emergency because it wasn't dental and under her chin was starting to swell. The dentist was concerned about her airway and the office staff spent 30 - 45 minutes trying to find us an oral surgeon because they were so concerned about the swelling spreading. Of course at 4:00 it's a little hard to get a same day appointment!!! We came home and I spent the next hour on the phone with the insurance company and an oral surgeon who could fit us in the next day.

So, Tuesday we go to the oral surgeon and they say it is the tooth and we don't need to be concerned about the airway it will be fine. Dumb dentist totally freaked me out for no reason!!!! Oh well. The surgeon says they have to pull the tooth but then the insurance company won't authorize treatment on the same day as a consultation. What?!?!?! The doc has Wednesday off so it looks like Thursday we are heading back. Then they tell me that the insurance won't cover the anesthesia for kids over 6 - Vilate is 7. So I have to pay $225 to get her to sleep - but if I don't I will regret it - Vilate is TERRIFIED of the dentist!! At least she got a note for missing school out of the gig - that was free!!

Thursday we went to the oral surgeon's office as scheduled and they went to look for a vein to put in the IV, but guess what, Vilate's veins are too small! Instead they used an oral cocktail to put her out-of-it. She wasn't sleeping, just dizzy and totally out-of-it. I waited in the lobby and then a few minutes later they came and got me. I spent the next 2.5 hours with Vilate in the room trying to wake up. She cried so much and was so uncomfortable it was ridiculous. Apparently the oral cocktail is harder to wake up from than the IV. No kidding. At one point Vilate was hallucinating that the blinds were attacking her. She was so scared of them. It was the one point of comic relief in the midst of this whole mess.

Now we are back to normal - well as normal as we can be. The swelling has gone, the toothfairy came, and we are finishing up our antibiotics. All is good.

Halloween


We had a great Halloween. The kids dressed up on Thursday for their school party. They had a great time in the all school parade and I don't think that they even missed me! On Saturday Faith was invited to go to a friend's house for their festivities. We sure missed her. It's amazing that one child gone made the whole family seem so much smaller. We decided that next year she is required to stay with us...I know it won't last forever, but really I like having them all there!

Faith was the pirate chick; Hyrum and Vilate were wizards; Helaman was a scary scarecrow; Gloria a princess and Nephi was the jedi. Just a few sidenotes about their costumes:
The Jedi costume was made 6 or 7 years ago by my very talented sister-in-law, Robin. All three boys have worn it - Nephi has worn it twice. Gloria insisted on the Barbie costume. I warned her that she had to wear a shirt under it and that it would possibly be itchy - she hates itchy costumes. But we got it anyway, she put it on wore it for 30 minutes then decided it was too itchy - UGH!! I got a shirt for her to put on and her response to the brand new white long-sleeved t-shirt that I bought her was, "Barbie's don't wear those!" She was a real pain in the neck about it! We finally agreed to a short sleeved shirt and it even helped with the itching - imagine that: Mom knows what she's talking about!!!! Vilate and Hyrum were both wizards and were willing to wear costumes we already had if they could have wizard wands - $5 a piece and they were done!!! Helaman's costume was my favorite and, I think, the most creative. He had seen these scary scarecrows with pumpkin faces on Scooby Doo and thought they were cool. He determined that if was a scary scarecrow he could scare all the girls on the playground at school and they wouldn't chase him and try to kiss him - really they were kissing on the playground in Kindergarten! He loved being orange and having a scary painted face and he was convinced that his costume worked - I think the kissing stopping might have a little more to do with the principal coming in and mentioning that the next kissing culprits would have to visit her in her office - but what do I know?!?!?!

We went to Trunk-or-Treat at the church, the kids got loads of candy and then we went over to Grandma and Grandpa Morgans to show off our cool costumes! The best part of the night for me was the Big Hunk candy bars that Grandma and Grandpa had at their house. I had forgotten how wonderful they are! We saw lots of friends at the Trunk-or-Treat and had a great evening! I hope you all had a great Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Days

I have really enjoyed these last few weeks of no chemo. Actually this last week has been the best. I was able to go with David and the kids Halloween shopping and we got everyone costumed out!

Today was the school Halloween parade and I had to miss it because I had class and a major test that I just couldn't get out of. I was bummed. The kids' school has a fantastic set-up. They start in the kindergarten classroom and snake through the school showing off their costumes and then the class that just saw the costumes gets in the back of the line. It is really fun. I was sorry that I had to miss it today, but the kids all came home with great reports of a fun parade and wonderful parties.

Gloria had a hard time this morning because her and Nephi were the only two that didn't get to wear their costumes. We told her she could wear her's on Saturday to trunk-or-treat and she seemed okay with that. Nephi wanted to put his costume on also, but he was much more easily distracted.

I woke up yesterday morning and felt almost back to normal. I was not looking forward to yesterday's chemo, but I went. When I got their the nurses handed me a stack of 3 quilts and told me I could choose one to keep. Apparently some wonderful ladies had been making quilts and donated them to the oncology department at Kaiser to be handed out to the patients. They are beautiful. I'm not sure how many were made, but I was lucky that I got one of them.

So, I had chemo yesterday, today and I go back for an hour tomorrow. So far I'm doing good. I have blocked out what it was like the first few days on chemo the last few times, but I feel really good right now - almost like I haven't had any chemo. This new drug is supposed to be less toxic and "easier" than the last one. We shall see if that really is the case within the next week.

All of my assignments are in for now and I am waiting to hear about 2 tests that I have taken. Overall I am feeling really good about school and I am glad that I am going. Although I do wish I had energy for my school and to work at the kids school, but I don't feel well consistently enough to do much at their school. Hopefully with this new drug I will have more consistent days.

I am looking forward to Saturday's trunk-or-treating. I love taking the kids, as crazy and chaotic as it turns out to be in the dark with hundreds of people around and no stroller for Nephi this year, I am really excited to take them. They are counting down the days! What kid doesn't?!?! After Saturday I am planning to focus full force on Christmas. I have no idea what to get any of the kids, they haven't really said what they want yet.

We will be going to Apple Hill (hopefully) in the next few weeks and then it's Thanksgiving and then we have our own little Christmas Kick-off Party the day after Thanksgiving. Then onto December. I love this time of year, but I feel like things are flying by way too fast! We are busy, busy, busy!! We are enjoying the colors of the trees, the cooler weather and all the activities that come in the fall!! Have a safe and happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Random

I just finished taking a test in psychology and there is no one home here but me and I felt the need to just get my thoughts down...so here you go. Read at your own risk!

I have lost a lot of weight. 40 pounds since the end of May. I now weigh about what I did when we got married - in fact my wedding ring is now worn on the 3rd finger and I can fit my mom's wedding ring on my ring finger. That says a lot - she had the tiniest fingers! David poked my back and shoulder the other day and said that he likes me more squishy. I totally agree. So I am working hard at eating a lot. A lot for me is like half a sandwich. David has been awesome and he gets me whatever I want - whatever sounds good - whenever I want it. Now if I could just shake this terrible cough that I have!

Last Saturday we took the kids to the school carnival. We were there for 2 hours, spent too much money, won some yummy brownies in the cake walk, managed to only lose Nephi - and only one time, ate a bunch of junk, played a bunch of games and got to visit with friends. It was a fun time!!! The kids had a really good time. I was beat when we got home, but I am so glad that we took the kids.

The kids have had a lot of fieldtrips lately. Faith went to the Chabot Space & Science Museum in San Francisco and had a marvelous time. Hyrum went on a 2-night fieldtrip to Mount Lassen and had a great time walking up a volcano and exploring other things. Vilate went to Apple Hill for the first time and loved getting her carmel apple. Helaman went to the pumpkin patch and they also had a rice farmer come to their school. As you see the kids have been kept very busy. While their school requires a lot, I love it and all the opportunities that they are given. The teachers do a great job!!

Today I feel good. I wouldn't say great, but good is a huge improvement over yesterday. I am tired and my house is a disaster, the laundry needs to be folded and I really should go and clean the bathrooms, the kids rooms are frightening and the mouse's cage needs to be cleaned, but all things considered we are doing well. The important things get done. The kids are learning to contribute more. I am learning to care a little less how well folded the laundry is and how their drawers look. If they can find clean clothes in the morning for school, I am satisfied. My priorities have changed.

My new goal is to not yell. I am terrible. Everyone says, "oh your so patient," or "you never raise your voice." So not true! I am a yeller and I really hate it. So, my goal is no yelling. I love my kids and would hate it if they thought otherwise. I hoping if I make my goal public it will be easier to achieve!!!

As for the next few weeks...we are swamped. I have a mid-term on Friday afternoon. I have a paper due on Oct 30th. I really have to study my phonetics stuff and learn an entirely new alphabet. We still need to get costumes for Halloween. Then there is Halloween and trunk-or-treat. I have a bone scan and Chemo starts up again next week. This is all before November!!! Things are crazy busy around here, but it's a good busy and I don't think I would change it if I could - except maybe the chemo part.

Life is good!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Quick Update

Sorry that I haven't been on my game where this blog is concerned. I have been really tired lately and it has been hard to get up the inspiration to blog. I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on what's happening around here. I met with my doctor on Tuesday and he said that the scans show that there is some change - not as much as he had hoped for though. We were okay with it because even slowly killing the cancer cells is still killing them. It would be okay if we could just keep killing them slowly - although faster is better. They are going to give me a few weeks off of chemo - I must say that I was thrilled about that one!! Then when I start up again they will be giving me a new drug - Carboplatin. Carbo is a sister drug to the one I was taking but it is not as strong and shouldn't destroy my magnesium levels and hearing anymore. I am hopeful that the cancer will respond to Carbo similarly as it did with Cisplatin and we will continue to see slow progress - maybe even faster progress - it's just a wait and see kinda thing.

Vilate came up to me the other day and said, "Mom, I don't want to offend anybody, so no offense to you, but it really sucks to have a Mom with cancer." I gave her hug and replied, "You're absolutely right. It does suck to have a Mom with cancer. Ya know it sucks also to be a Mom with cancer." To which she replied, "You're right." Out of the mouth of babes. It does suck to be a Mom with cancer and have a Mom with cancer, but I think that we are doing a pretty good job all things considered.

The kids are growing like weeds and I am not sure I am ready for them to grow up. They are getting more and more independent and occasionally they are even helpful! :) Faith has become quite the kitchen cleaner - I think it is mostly so that she can stay up late after everyone else has gone to bed, but I don't think I will complain. One less thing for David and I to have to do.

Today Hyrum was voted as the candidate for his class to run for Commissioner of Publicity. He will be running against one other 4th grader, 2 5th graders and 2 6th graders. He was so excited that he won the class election. I am so proud of him for wanting to be involved in the Student Council and having the courage to run. He said, "I got 3 more votes than the other girl and she is really popular!" He was so happy!!!

We are keeping busy with fieldtrips (at least one a week), schoolwork, housework, and life. Things never seem to slow down around here. But I think that's a good thing. Our lives are full - full of good stuff!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Difficult Few Weeks

Last week I had my 6th round of chemotherapy. Apparently most people on Cisplatin (my main drug) don't last 6 rounds. The drug is too hard on their system and their bodies stop being able to recuperate. Well, I made it to round 6 and now my body is rebelling. My magnesium levels are out of control and keep dropping. To treat the low magnesium I have had to go in to the ER and doctor's office for 4 or 5 infusions of magnesium. I have had to have a blood test daily. Yesterday I also had to get platelets. The two worse things about this is that it stinks to have to go to the doctor daily and that I miss my kids. I didn't even see Faith, Vilate, or Helaman on Thursday because after my infusion I had to go and have CT Scan. I didn't get home until all the kids were in bed.

So, now that I have had all the infusions of Magnesium and the platelets, I am feeling better. Today is the best that I have felt all week. I have been using a wheelchair because the low magnesium and platelets causes such severe fatigue. Today I can do more - not much more - but at least a little more.

I am learning a lot and the best thing that I have learned lately is that regardless of how hard this all is and how much it hurts - physically and emotionally - there is one person who completely understands me and what I am going through. Joseph Smith, a prophet of God and the founder of my church, was in Liberty Jail in March of 1839. Joseph was in and out of jail constantly on false charges because people who were not of our faith did like him and did take the time to learn that he was teaching peace and love and tolerance and faith. Anyway, back to this time in jail in 1839, he was tired of jail (who wouldn't be). He didn't want to be there and was having a hard time trying to understand why he was in jail again, why didn't the Lord just deliver him? Here is the answer that he got - Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-9:

"...all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?
Therefore hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

Now I know that the Lord said that to Joseph Smith, but I know he would say that to me. This experience is for my good. I am no better than Jesus Christ and he has descended below all - that means he knows what we all feel like the good and even the bad. He never did anything wrong, yet he suffered for all of our sins - he felt the guilt, the pain, the anguish and the happiness of all that we have done, have gone through, are doing and going through now and what we will do in the future and what experiences we will have. He alone knows all of our feelings. This means I can turn to Him and He will totally understand. What a blessing that I know this. This scripture also says that I shouldn't fear for God will be with me forever and ever - what a comfort!!! What a blessing!!!!

On the 13th I get the results of my latest test results so I will post that when I find out. I have faith that whatever the results show, my Father in Heaven will prepare me and my family. I don't have a feeling one way or the other, I am going strictly on trusting Heavenly Father and that he knows what's best for me and all these wonderful people around me.

So, life has been tough the last two weeks, but I feel like I am on the upside now. We have a busy week ahead and I just don't have time to be sick. Remember the Lord loves me and he loves you. All will be well - just have a little faith!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Build-A-Bear

A great friend of mine brought us gift cards to Build-A-Bear. Her idea was for us to take all the kids and get them their own bear and then record my voice in the bear, personalizing each one. How brilliant!!! So, last Saturday we took all 6 kids to the mall. It was chaos, but fun. We were there around 2 hours - that did include a quick trip to See's - because let's face it, who can go to the mall without stopping at "the chocolate store" as my kids lovingly call it. Because of the in-store chaos we only got this one of all 6 kids together. I will post the other candid shots that I got on Facebook - it's just easier there.



Here is Faith and her bunny, Ginger.

Here is Hyrum and his bear, Justin.
Here is Vilate and her bear Royal Rocker.
Here is Helaman and his bear, Palkia (apparently the name of a Pokemon character).
Here is Gloria with her bear who she named Bigely at the store, but promptly changed the name to Locksy-Girl when we got home.
Here is Nephi with his bear Blue Guy. The bear is supposed to be on the skateboard, not Nephi, but try telling that to Nephi!

We had a really great time. The kids loved filling and dressing up their bears. I really enjoyed making a recording for each of them - although I must say that 10 seconds goes by really, really fast - that's all the time you have to record. I thought it was kinda funny that I had to go into the boys bathroom to record because the store was so loud.

If you notice the boys all got the same one. Hyrum was concerned that they would get them mixed up, but then I reminded him that I was making each kid their own recording and then he was fine. He was so concerned that they would get mixed up. It's hard to have a little brother who just wants to copy everything that you do. I keep telling Hyrum (and Faith) that copying is a huge compliment and that it means that the younger kids really like you - but they just don't seem to get it.

On Sunday evening Grandma and Grandpa Morgan stopped by for a visit and the kids loved showing off their bears. It was great fun!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Few Great Days

Sunday was the kids primary program! It was so awesome. For those who don't know: primary is what we call the kids program at church - kids 3 - 11 are in the primary. One Sunday a year they share what they have learned with the rest of the congregation in a Sacrament Meeting (the meeting where we all get together every Sunday). The kids sit up on the stand and sing songs and all get up, one at a time, and tell something in the microphone. It is really cute and the kids are so excited to "perform" and show what they have been learning in primary. I had 5 kids participating in the program this year. Faith, Hyrum and Vilate wrote their own talks and Helaman and Gloria recited a prepared comment. Gloria only lasted on the stand for the first half and then she just couldn't sit still anymore, so I got to go up and sit with her. The kids all did a fantastic job! I look forward to it every year!

Monday was a good day as well. In the morning I was totally lazy and watched mindless TV with the Helaman, Gloria and Nephi. Then Helaman left for school (thanks Krissy for the ride!). When he left we decided to do a craft. I got out the fun scissors, some glue, crayons, colored pencils and fun paper and Gloria and Nephi had a blast making a card for some of their friends - they might never make it to the friends, because I am not sure where they put them - but we had a really fun time making them. It was so nice to just be a mom for a while and do something with the kiddos. Then I took them with me to the hearing aid doctor and got my hearing aids adjusted - they are working great, by the way. Nephi slept through the whole thing in the stroller and Gloria was a model child. After we got home the big kids were finishing up homework (thanks to Lisa for bringing them home). Then Faith and I made apple crisp for FHE dessert. We ate dinner and had FHE then ate a delicious dessert!! It was a great day.

Today was the absolute frosting on the cake!! I started out the day dropping kids at school, Nathan's house (thanks Dawn), and then preschool - Nephi didn't cry for the first time!!!! Then I studied for the next almost 2 hours. I went to my class where we reviewed for the test on Thursday and then I met with the Speech Pathology Junior screener - here's where it gets good!!! We - David and I - have been a little concerned. I am a Speech Pathology major - think speech therapist. Well, you kinda have to hear to help people with their speech and I am kinda losing my hearing. I was so upset when my hearing started to go, because I just made up my mind on my major in March or April. I finally knew what I wanted to be when I was gonna grow up and now I was concerned that these stupid things called cancer and chemo were once again throwing my life off course. Okay, so today I met with Lynda Oldenburg - the junior screener. She looked at my hearing test and called in the audiologist - Jim - and they both said that there is not a problem. In fact they commended me on being proactive and having a positive attitude. Jim actually also scheduled me for another hearing test with my hearing aids in to see where I hear aided. So I go do that on Thursday morning before class. I am sooooooo excited that they both encouraged me to continue. I was really concerned and now I don't have to be anymore!!!! Then to top off the day I got a blood transfusion. I know sounds bad - but it really isn't. It was good for me. I joke that it is like a drug - kind of a "pick-me-up." During the transfusion, which took almost 4 hours, I read my psychology book and got a nap! When I got home I had tons of energy - enough to make pancakes for dinner while I unloaded the dishwasher and I didn't even have to have a chair in the kitchen! It was fantastic!!!

So as you can see it has been a great few days!!! Tomorrow is Wednesday and my break day. David will take the kids to school and the little two to preschool and Helaman and I will hang out in the morning. Once he leaves for school I will have a few hours to myself - homework time!! I am loving school and loving the new schedule. Things here are great!!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time flies when you're havin' fun!

It seems like I just updated this thing, but I just noticed that it has been almost 2 whole weeks!!! So sorry!!! We have been really busy. David and I started school last week and it has been an adjustment - we have been spoiled with both of us home and I don't know yet if I like all the being gone.

I have 2 classes at Sac State. One is Phonetics and I absolutely love it! My professor is great and so are all the students in the class. I go to class on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 - 11:45, but I am at the school from the time we take the kids to school at 8 until around 1. My other class is online and it is psychology. So far, not so thrilling, but I am hopeful as we delve further in it will become more interesting. David goes to school Monday thru Friday. He is done by noon everyday except Wednesday and that day he is done by 1:30. Nephi and Gloria go to school Tuesday thru Thursday and seem to be adjusting to the schedule. Nephi has a hard time with the drop off and Gloria is really ready to come home when we pick her up, but overall it is a fantastic program and I am so grateful for all their teachers. It is a blessing for us! On Wednesdays I only have Helaman in the morning and then when he leaves for school I have a few hours to myself - which I use for sleep and homework. So far the schedule seems to be working well.

The first day of school was also the first day of my 5th round of chemotherapy. This round has been the hardest so far. They - the nurses - say that chemo is cumulative and so it does usually get harder the further into that you get. I'm sure that starting school right then was not the best, but that's the way it worked out. I know many people think I am crazy for continuing my education with 6 kids and now having cancer and dealing with the chemo, but it is my thing. Some of my friends scrapbook, some of my friends sew, some read, some play games, some do other things - and my thing is school and learning. I absolutely LOVE it!!!! It is not easy and I think this might be the hardest semester I have had, even though I am carrying a smaller load, but I want to do it and it gives me an escape. I don't have to be a cancer patient at school and I don't have to be a mom there either. I can just be me. I need that break. So, crazy or not, I am taking it!!

So back to this difficult round of chemo...over the Labor Day weekend I was having chest pains so my wonderful Dad took me to get a blood test. We got to Kaiser and the lab said they were closed! I was so upset - I was told they were a 24-hour lab. So, the door was open and my dad and I went in to sit down so that I could rest and we could decide what to do - go home or go to the ER - which I so did not want to do! We sat for maybe 2 minutes and out comes a lady who says, "Can I help you?" I responded with, "I need a blood test, are you really closed?!" Her response, "yeah, but I can do it right now if you want." My dad and I turned to each other and laughed - the Lord was looking out for me and I got my test. My results came back within an hour and all looked okay. The next day I called the nurse and she said that some of my results weren't back so we would wait for those but, in the meantime just rest. The results came back late Tuesday and I was extremely low on magnesium. Apparently they use magnesium to stop muscle contractions - hmmmm I had been having those chest pains - they were caused by that! So Wednesday I went to the doctor and got magnesium. I could walk again - I could breathe again - it was FABULOUS!!!!

Labor Day weekend was fun. We spent Sunday afternoon at my parents' house. My sister and her hubby and her new little baby were here for the weekend and we had a blast visiting with them and holding that precious little girl! On Monday we went over again and the kids got to swim and play with their cousins. I laid on the couch most of the time and we had a fabulous dinner. I wish that I had been feeling better. I could tell that I was worrying my parents and poor David, so I felt bad, but other than that we had a good visit with the family. I miss not getting together so often with them. We used to get together every Sunday, but it just got too full of a house - my parents have 6 kids, 5 in-laws and 20 grandkids. It is a little crowded and LOUD when we all get together, but I sure love it when we do!

As for now, I am doing okay. I am tired much of the time, which leaves David to deal with the kids. My chest has begun to hurt again so I go for another blood test tomorrow. Lately I have felt like a lame Mom to my poor kids. I hate it when they know that I don't feel good they have a look in their eyes that is scared and I can't stand it - especially the girls. It makes me so sad for them. I have been trying to sit with them more, hold them more, hug them more and kiss them more. I love going to school and I have been trying to stay on top of my homework. The house is pretty clean - thanks to my wonderful hubby that works so very hard. Things are good. Life is good and I am going to enjoy it all!!

We are planning to take the kids on day trips over then next few months. My goal is one a month on a Saturday. So look for those updates. Oh yeah! I almost forgot - if you want to see the pictures from our photo shoot in Old Sac go to www.bluelilyphotography.com, click on the "clients" link and when it prompts you for a password you can put in my name "kaci cox" and you can see our amazing family!! (Don't forget the space!)

Enjoy your life while I am enjoying mine! Thanks for checking in!!!!!! Love ya!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Somma my cute kiddos

Tonight we went to a Family Home Evening Ward Activity at the park. For those who don't know Family Home Evening is held every Monday night - it is a highly encouraged activity by our church. We want our families to be strong and helpful. FHE - as we affectionately refer to it- helps us to spend time together and we usually have a gospel lesson, on things such as "love your neighbor," "treat others with respect," "obey your parents," "Jesus loves us," etc.... There are times when we choose to go and have a family activity and maybe forgo the lesson. Tonight was that kind of night. We got together with our Ward Family (again for those who don't know - our church is divided geographically and you go to the building at the time based on where you live. Those who you go to church with at that appointed time are what we refer to as your "Ward Family") at Ashton Park. The kids played on the playground, at yummy make-your-own ice cream sundaes and followed some dogs around while David and I got to relax a little and visit with the adults. It was a really fun activity.Here is a picture of my Vilate - ya know the one that is terrified of dogs! She came up to me and said, "Mom, look what I can do." She was then handed a cute little dog to hold. She was so pleased with herself. Vilate really has come a long, long way. We are so pleased with her!!!

Below is a picture of Nephi. He is posing for the picture and he altered his outfit all on his own. Please notice the Cinderella skirt, the fantastic head flashlight - turned on so that he has red eyes, and he completed the look with Helaman's rainboot - on the wrong feet I might add. Didn't he do a great job? I think maybe he needs to be on one of those designing shows! He's got TALENT!!!! I love these kids!!!!!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Weeks keep on Flying....

I thought that the kids starting school would give me and David a chance to breathe. But NO! We have been so busy this past week - at least it feels like we were so busy. As I am sitting here I am trying to recall what all we did.....hmmmm....having a hard time remembering. Here is what I remember:

On Tuesday I started calling around to try to find somewhere to get a hearing test. My hearing is getting so bad and David and I were getting nervous about school starting and my ability to hear and understand the lectures. The first place I called wasn't Kaiser because I had been told that they had cut our Audiology coverage - they told me to call Kaiser and make sure. So, I did. The nice lady at Kaiser told me that I was covered and scheduled me for a hearing test on Wednesday in Roseville (about 25 minutes from my house). So, on Wednesday I went and had my hearing tested. Sure enough I have a moderate hearing loss. It is from the chemo and they expect that it will get worse over the course of my next two treatments but that it might improve following the final treatment. Then the audiologist gave me great news! Hearing aids would be helpful and not only that - they are covered 100%!!!! That is HUGE! Hearing aids run about $1500 - $3000 a piece.

I was able to get a hearing aid appointment for the next day. So, on Thursday I headed back out to Roseville and met with Matt. He showed me the top of the line hearing aids and explained how they work and why they cost so much. They are getting me one for each ear and I get to go and pick them up on Thursday of this next week. I am really excited to be able to understand what everyone is saying again. The great news from Matt was that while I have lost volume, I really haven't lost clarity. Basically that means that once the hearing aids are in, my hearing should be good - not as good as it was before - but good. Some people, when they lose volume also lose clarity, but not me and that is good news.

On Friday I took the morning kids and David and I took Helaman to school and then we headed over to Sac State. Gloria and Nephi had a "meet the teacher" thing and Gloria was SOOOOOO excited! She got to tour her classroom and play with all kinds of things - she was in heaven! Nephi fell asleep in the car and missed meeting his teacher. We then headed over to buy our ridiculously expensive parking pass and then over to the bookstore to buy ridiculously expensive books for me. David is still working on his class schedule and didn't want to purchase the wrong books so he held off. After spending lots of money we took the two little kids and heading to McDonald's so that they could play and we could have some lunch. Then we picked up the boys from school. The girls had gone to a swimming party at a friends. Later in the afternoon I took the 4 kids at home and we went to my parents' house so that they could swim. We picked up the girls on the way home and stopped at Wendy's for dinner (gotta love the dollar menu). The kids watched a movie last night on the Disney Channel and I went to bed! It was an on the go day and I was sure glad it was over!!

This week has flown by. I would love it if things would slow down a bit. I feel like things have been flying for months. Oh well, I guess I will just try to enjoy the ride - even if it is going a bit faster than I think it should. Hope you enjoyed your back to school week (if it started for you this week).

First Day of School


They were so excited to go to school last Monday. Vilate, Hyrum and Faith started at 8:05 and Helaman started at 11:20. At 7:45 we loaded all the kids into the van and headed over to the school. Being the so "on top of it Mom" that I am, Vilate reminded me: "Mom, I don't even know where my classroom is!" I had not even though about that! We walked the 3 kids into their classrooms and then David, the 3 other kids and I headed over to the MP room for the Back To School Tea. It was fun and the kids had a great time eating a bunch of muffins and then playing hide and go seek with their friends. Here is Nephi counting at the tree. He would just stand at the tree and put his head on it and when HE was ready he would just start looking for the other kids. The best part was that all the other kids hid together in the same spot each time! It was a great kids game of hide and seek!

At 11 we took Helaman to his first day of Kindergarten and he LOVED it!! After school when I asked if he played with certain friends, he replied, "No Mom, I made new friends." Then when I asked what his new friends' names were, he couldn't remember - but this didn't bother him at all. I love 5 year olds!!

The only problem with the day was having to explain to Gloria why her school didn't start until next week. She sure felt left out.

After school the kids reported on their day and were very pleased with their teachers and classmates. That night I was lucky enough to sit and fill out 12 emergency cards (3 per kid). It was so much fun! - Why can't they just make copies??!?!?!?!?! All in all it was a great day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Week in Review

It has been another busy week. I started out the week pretty tired from last week's chemo. Sunday I missed church because I was so exhausted and then on top of it all I knew I was getting another bladder infection. So, I spent part - lucky for me and my mom only a small part - of the afternoon in the ER. Stupid Kaiser wouldn't just prescribe me meds over the phone after having a positive urine test. So dumb! Anyways, Monday was spent being tired and laying around and as I recall, Tuesday was similar. Wednesday we drove out to the airport and picked up Grandma Cox (David's Mom) and then we stopped by the school and got the kids teacher assignments. We came home for a while and then spent sometime at Del Norte swimming before Hyrum went to Cub Scouts. Oh yeah - and I had to go back to Kaiser to have a blood test and see where my counts were - I was way too tired and having some weird chest pains that I get when my counts are too low.

Then came Thursday. Thursday was great! Started off the day with another blood test - they wanted to check my counts again and sure enough I had dropped dramatically over night and so the wonderful nurse scheduled me for another transfusion on Friday. Good news: I was going to get an instant pick-me-up; Bad news: I had to wait another day. Oh well!

Around 3:30 we left our house and took the kids and Grandma to Old Sacramento to meet up with Aunt Tami's friend Wendy. Wendy is a photographer from southern California who travels and happened to be in Sacramento on this day and we were lucky enough to get a photo shoot! She is AMAZING. Okay, I haven't seen the pictures yet, but the ideas for shots were fantastic. I have seen other pictures that she has done and they are wonderful. I can't wait to see how our pictures have turned out. We haven't had family pictures done since Gloria was a baby - so it was WAY past time. In case you were wondering, I wore my red wig most of the time and switched to the blonde for the last picture. It was a lot of fun and the kids really liked posing and having pictures taken, although Helaman was a bit of a pill in the beginning, he finally came around thanks to Faith and her offer of Tech Decks! You can check out Wendy's awesome work at www.bluelilyphotography.com.

After the pictures we took the kids and headed to the Back-to-School picnic. It was chaos - ya know hundreds of kids, lots of parents, teachers, food, creek, etc. It was great chaos. We were there for a few hours and the kids got to meet their new teachers, play with their friends and I got to see tons of my friends. All around a good time. We love the picnic and are so glad that we get to visit with everyone before starting school.

Friday we made a decision regarding the move that most of you have heard about. If not, here it is in a nut shell: We had been offered a house at the same rent we currently pay. It is a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house with a pool and in a nice neighborhood on a quiet street. Sounds great, huh? And it was a great deal, but after really considering the deal and praying about it, David and I both felt like it is a great deal for someone else. We need to stay where we are at. It is small, but we fit just fine and we love the environment here. We have a great yard - that we don't have to mow - and a playground and wonderful friends and neighbors. So, we are NOT moving. I must admit I was a little disappointed, but in the long run, this will work for the good of my family - I am sure of it. The Lord has never steered me wrong and He has His reasons for us to stay here, so I will make the best of it!

Friday morning I got to take Helaman to his Kindergarten class orientation - basically just a get to know the room and see where you get to come to on Monday. He had a blast. He toured the classroom, played on the playground, saw some of his friends, and even got to play on the computer. Wow! It was really a great morning and I had fun catching up with friends and meeting some new parents.

That afternoon I headed over to Kaiser for my transfusion. It seemed to take forever! I talked to the doctor while I was there regarding my hearing loss. He has determined that it is a side-effect of the chemo (well, duh!) and so they are going to be changing my chemo drugs. I'm glad that he finally is doing something, but now I am a little nervous about a drug change. I am going to contact the doctors that I contacted before for a second opinion and see what they thing about the new drug and go from there.

Right after my transfusion I got to go and see Faith in a play that she has been working on with 40-something other kids for the past 6 weeks. She did fantastic - big surprise! She sang a solo - here comes the bragging - according to the composer of the music, it was the hardest song in the play and Faith did it perfectly! The music was written by the lady who wrote the song, "I'm a Mormon" when I was a kid - some of you will know that song. It was a great play and the kids all did a great job. It is so cool to see your kid on stage being successful! She did great and I am so grateful to Brady, the director, Lisa and Denise, who drove Faith everyday, and all those other parents and kids who worked so hard on pulling this thing together! It was a very enjoyable evening. After the play we dropped Faith at her friend's house for a sleepover and got to go out to Leatherby's for dinner with my parents - HUGE THANKS goes out to Mom Cox for watching the kids through all of this craziness!

And that brings us to today. We didn't do much. Faith had a recording session today followed by a birthday party and the rest of us hung around here and then headed over to Del Norte for an end of summer swim. Mom made us patty melts that were divine and now the kids are all in bed. I am blogging and eating tons of candy - the doctors keep telling me that I have lost too much weight, so I am doing my part to put it back on!

School starts on Monday for the older 4 kids and I am not sure how I feel about that. I am glad that they will have more structure - I'm not so good at structure - and something to do all day and even get to play with their friends, but I am a sad that they will be gone. I am sad that this means for certain that they are another year older. Faith is in 5th grade for goodness sakes. That is only 7 years away from graduation and then BYU. SCARY!!!!! I know that they will enjoy school and I will enjoy the break, but I will miss them.

And a note to all you people out there reading this: LEAVE COMMENTS!!! I love knowing that you read this. I had no idea how many people were peeking into my little corner of the world. I hope that you enjoy what you read, I know I love reading other's blog (so if you have one, TELL ME) and I always learn from others' wonderful examples. Thanks for checking in!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another one done

On Friday I finished my 4th round of chemotherapy. Today is what is commonly known around our house as a "crash day." Basically I just sit on the couch or sleep all day. Sounds fun, huh? It is for about the first 30 minutes and then I have had enough. Thankfully David is awesome on my crash days and I just come and go from the living room as I can.

Guess I should explain a little about crash day. While I am getting the chemo drugs the doctors give me steroids. They give me energy and help me keep up with life. On day 5 of each round of chemo (today) the steroids are stopped and I crash. I get really weak and tired. Standing in the shower, kitchen or even walking down the hall require all my energy. To make dinner I sit on the kitchen chairs, I have a stool in the shower, and I sit down to rest A LOT.

My point in sharing is for journaling - not for sympathy. While there are many yucky things about this cancer, it has made me stop and appreciate the little things. I cuddle with my kids more than I did before. I talk to them more. I am not constantly on the go. It is nice to slow down and take a deep breath and enjoy life. Life seems to constantly being moving and I am glad that I have been forced to take it slower -- not necessarily the way that I have been forced, but I am grateful for the lesson, nonetheless.

This past week has been slow, not much to report. Next week we are pretty busy with back to school stuff. The kids start school in a week. I can't believe that summer is almost over. I know they have mixed feelings, and so do I. Sending them to another year of school means that they are another year older. Faith is starting 5th grade, Hyrum is starting 4th grade, Vilate is starting 2nd grade and my Helaman is starting Kindergarten. CRAZY!!! They are all excited to see their friends and meet their teachers - we won't know who they have until Wednesday.

So, there you have it. We are just hanging in there and enjoying this last week of summer fun. Hope you are all enjoying your end of summer. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, love and generosity. We truly are blessed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dillon's Beach

My radiology oncologist gave me an day off of radiation on Friday - so we got to head to the beach house in Dillon's Beach a day early. We got there around dinner time and right after we ate, Grandpa took the kids down to the beach to walk around. We spent the next 2 days on the beach. It was really fun.

Here's my Nephi having a blast with his wheelbarrow in the sand. It was a little chilly on the beach - but Saturday was much better than Friday.
Here's Gloria making sand angels. She loved just playing in the sand and really would have been okay without any water! It was too cold for her - but she did brave the elements on Saturday and went all the way in the ocean. She immediately came to me and said, "I'm all done. Where are my dry clothes." They were at the beach house and she was more than willing to be done for the day if it meant warm, dry clothes!

The kids had a great time jumping the surf. They were trying to body surf, but it was more like scooting. They had a blast and right after this picture I took Nephi with me and Gloria back to the house and the kids had a great time in the water with their Dad. It was a great trip!!

Uncle Jarrod and Aunt Jennifer brought their fire pit (an drum that they pulled out of their old washing machine) and we roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores. The kids LOVED it. It was the best way to spend our last evening there.

The best part for me was just being together. We had almost everyone in the family there. 19 kids, 11 years old down to 6 months old and 10 adults made for a full house. But we missed having Dan, Traci and their newest little one Morgan who is only a little over a month old. I'm sure we could have found somewhere for them to fit!

I really enjoyed staying up late (much too late) and playing cards with the adults. We had a good time and it was nice to visit with everyone. It was a great vacation!!
**If you want to see more pictures, look on Facebook**

A busy week

I am trying to catch up the blog from the last week or so. We have been busy! We started last week by deciding to move. Wow!! Big decision!! We are really excited and I must say that I am a little overwhelmed by the timeline that we have...but I am sure that it will all work out! We took the kids swimming last week at my parents and we also got to go to the zoo. My little sister came into town for the week and we had a great time at the zoo, seeing all the sleeping animals! Why is it that they are never awake when I am there? I need to get there earlier I guess! Oh well, the kids had fun and we even got a great family picture!I would say that for the picture alone, the trip to the zoo was more than worth it!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Exciting FHE

At our house Monday night is Family Home Evening. Our church encourages families of all shapes and sizes to spend Monday nights as a family discussing gospel principles. So, last night was FHE. We ate dinner and then read the Book of Mormon as a family. We are reading in Nephi and are on the chapters that are similar to the chapters in Isaiah in the Bible. These chapters are difficult to understand and we stop after every verse and try to teach the kids what is being taught. So, it is can be a long and slow process. While we were reading - we were on verse 1 - we heard a lot of noise coming from the girls' bedroom. Nephi and Gloria are encouraged to sit and listen, but we don't make them and they had chosen to go into the girls' room to play. We sent Faith to see what was going on. She came back and reported that Nephi and Gloria had stripped down to their birthday suits and were dancing around the room singing, "I'm naked! I'm naked!" Now we try to teach modesty in our house - ya know, that your body is a gift and you should treasure it and keep it covered. We go in there and there they were in all their glory - David had to leave the room he was laughing so hard and I had to turn around and try to compose myself. It was hilarious!!! I went and got my camera and I would post the funny pictures, but I would hate to be found guilty of child pornography. We had an impromptu lesson on modesty for the little kids and then went back to our scripture reading. All in all it was a successful FHE!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blood Transfusion

On Wednesday I went in for my regular radiation appointment and then saw the doctor, which I do every Wednesday. Dr. Chen took one look at me and said that my blood count was low because I was so pale. He told me I needed to go and get a blood test. So, after Gloria's birthday party I went and had my blood tested and it turned out that I was, to quote the nurse, "about a quart low." So, on Thursday the nurse sent me to get "type and cross matched" so that today I could get a blood transfusion. This morning David and I dropped the kids at Sarah's house (THANK YOU!!!) and headed to radiation. After that we went straight to the oncology infusion center and sat there for 3 hours while I got my very first ever blood transfusion. Before I was even done with the first unit of blood (I got 2) my color was better. We are hopeful that this transfusion will keep me out of the hospital this round of chemo.

As for the rest of this week, it has been great. On Monday we took the kids swimming at the club and we ran into some friends and had a good visit. On Tuesday the kids had a primary activity at the church with the youth and I got to go and pick them up. I got to see some of my friends and show off my cool red wig. It was really nice to see them and visit. Wednesday was Gloria's birthday party and it was wonderful to have a good turnout of her friends and their moms. Thursday was low-key and I got a good nap - yay me! Then today after my transfusion David and I went to lunch at Panda Express and now we are just chillin at home. It has been a good week and I am looking forward to next week when my sister is coming to town. Next weekend we are headed to Dillion's beach with the entire Morgan Clan and we are really looking forward to that! So all-in-all another good week. Another week of radiation down and things are going well.

***Just a side note, if you happen to call and I don't answer, it is because it is hard for me to talk on the phone these days. My hearing is getting worse and the phone is really hard to hear and understand people on. Hearing loss is a side effect of chemotherapy and they are not sure yet if it is permanent or just temporary. If you want to get ahold of me the best way is email, I am an email addict and check it multiple times a day - although sometimes it might take me a day or two (or even a week) to respond! My email address is really easy: kacicox@hotmail.com. Feel free to drop me an email anytime! Thanks for all of your love and support!!

Happy 4th Birthday Gloria




The day after Hyrum's birthday we got to celebrate Gloria's birthday. For her birthday we got her the cutest tea set that she saw back in January and cried when we left the store without it. We also threw her a princess birthday party - after all she is the resident princess here.

Here she is posing with her Hannah Montana pinata! She loved that it was pink and purple and that it was "Hamma Nontana." It didn't hurt that it was full of tons of candy!

She got great presents and was sooo happy to have them. It was really hard to wait for the time to open them. The two that got the biggest response: scissors (who knew?) and the nail kit - see the picture below! She was so thrilled to have her own nail polish! Gloria is such a girly-girl.
Gloria is full of energy and loves to be around her friends. We are constantly asked by her when she gets to go to a friends house and play. Gloria loves to have her hair done, her nails done and change her clothes thousands of times a day. Her favorite colors are purple and pink and she will wear anything in those colors. She loves to put on her dresses and wear sandals. She is my girly-est girl and I love it! Gloria loves to dance and make people laugh. She really enjoys making a mess in her room and letting her big sisters clean it up. There are times when Gloria and Nephi go missing and we seem to always find them in one of the bedrooms, with the door closed and Gloria dictating to Nephi what they are playing. Nephi loves the attention and Gloria loves to be the "big" kid. I love this kid and think she is so funny. She comes up with the craziest stories to tell and laughs at all her not-so-funny jokes. It is fantastic!!!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy GlOrIa!! I LoVe YoU BuNcHeS!!!!

Happy 9th Birthday Hyrum!


He's 9! Already!! On Monday, the 27th, we celebrated Hyrum's birthday. He actually got lucky and got one of his presents a few weeks early. He has been reading Harry Potter for the last few months. He was really looking forward to seeing the 6th movie and at the last minute I decided that I would take him to the midnight premiere. He was so excited. We went with Grandma and Grandpa Morgan and met Uncle Jarrod and cousins: Eli and Jonah at the theater. Grandpa bet the boys a dollar that they would all fall asleep in the movie, they didn't and all earned a dollar at the end. Hyrum thought the movie was fantastic and loved having the big soda and popcorn as well as all the candy that got passed around. It was really a fun night.

Then on Hyrum's birthday he got a new motor scooter. He has wanted one since Vilate got hers and he was so excited to have his own. He had a great time riding around the apartment complex with Vilate.

We kept with tradition and made Hyrum his own cake - chocolate with purple frosting -
which he promptly shoved his entire face into. There is nothing like being 9!

I am really grateful for Hyrum. He is a good boy. He loves scouts and playing video games. He is enjoying reading Harry Potter - thank you JK Rowling. He loves to play baseball and is an amazing pitcher, he's got the whole stance down - it's really cool to watch him pitch. Hyrum does a great job of keeping his room clean and organized, most of the time and, when he wants to, can be one of the most helpful people that I know. He loves his little brothers and sisters and really likes to hang out with Faith most of all. I am so glad that Hyrum is in our family and I love getting hugs from him. I hope that he enjoyed his birthday!

I LoVe YoU HyRuM - HaPpY BiRtHdAy!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nephi golfing


Here is my funny little boy.  I didn't even know he knew what golfing was!

The Best-est Day

Today was a great day!  We started the day doing chores around the house - really exciting, I know.  After we finished all the chores we loaded the kids up and headed over to my awesome parents' house to spend the afternoon.  The kids had a fabulous time swimming for HOURS!!  When we first got there David and I got the kids into their suits and then ditched 'em.  We left all the kids there with my parents and headed over to a wig shop.  I tried on only 4 wigs and found 2 that are totally opposite of each other but both fantastic!  See for yourself:

This one is more conservative and more like my natural hair.


  












This one is more fun and sassy.  I have always wanted to try red hair!  What do you think?  Which one do you like better??
After we got back to my parents' we did a photo shoot and my kids thought that it was awesome.  Then David and got our suits on and David joined the kiddos in the pool.  I am such a wimp and thought the water was way cold, so I just sat around the pool and took some fun pictures.  It is too hard to upload all of them here so if you want to see more pics of our fun day, go to facebook.com and I will upload them there.

We left their house around 6:30, stopped at Wendy's and loaded up on their Dollar Menu.  The kids ate dinner and then went to bed.  It was such a fun day and now I am super tired - but it was sooooo worth it!  I need more days like this and we will have more over the last few weeks of summer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

5 days down - 13 to go

I survived my first week of radiation with no side effects.  I am so excited that there is something that I am doing to fight this thing that isn't taking so much out of me...I just hope that it works!

This week has just flown by and I am kinda sad that summer is already more than half over.

Tonight we took Vilate to her basketball game and it was awesome!  She did a great job.  There is a boy on her team that is really a great player and he made most of the points for her team.  She was getting a little discouraged when all of a sudden she got the ball on a rebound and ran all the way down the court.  She made it to the basket for her team and looked at David.  He said, "shoot it!"  and she did.  She made it!  According to David it was the BEST play of the entire game.  And what was I doing while this amazing play was being made?  I was chasing Nephi - he had run onto the court and then to the other side of the gym and was screaming for me to hold him up so that he could drink from the water fountain.  Yup.  I missed it!  SO LAME!!  But regardless of my missing the shot, Vilate was so proud of herself.  It was way cool! 

The kids are now in bed and I am heading that direction myself.  Tomorrow we are planning to clean this messy place in which we live and then go swimming.  We have 2 birthdays next week in this house, so David and I will be getting things ready for that.  I am excited, I love to celebrate the kids' birthdays.  It gives me an opportunity to make sure that the kids know that they are special and important to us!  I love making them feel like a VIP.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Pluggin Away

Things around here have been busy.  Since last Monday and continuing on for the next 5 weeks I have a doctor's appointment everyday.  That keeps us on the go.  The good news is that the majority of these appointments are only 5 minutes.  In fact the annoying thing is that it takes us longer to get there and back than the actual appointment time.  

Yesterday I started my radiation.  I was nervous, just because it was a new procedure.  The great news is that it is really fast and really easy.  I lay down on a table and they put this mask on me.  The mask holds my head in place.  Then they administer radiation to the right side of my head for 40 seconds and then the machine moves to the left side and they do the same thing there.  So, in less than 5 minutes I am done.  It doesn't hurt or even feel like anything, it is just like getting an x-ray.  Pretty easy - I am sooo glad.  The side effects of the radiation can take up to 6 months to show themselves, but hopefully they will be minimal.  Either way, the benefits outweigh the risks, so we proceed.

The kids are doing well.  We are trying to keep them busy with playdates and keeping their rooms clean.  Faith just started a drama class last week that she is enjoying a whole bunch.  Nephi is now going without naps during the day and that seems to be helping the nights go smoother.  All in all things are good.  

I have been reading in my scriptures more and more and I am enjoying the peace that I feel when I read the words of the prophets and the Lord.  I love reading about when Christ was on the earth and about His interaction with those people that were alive at that time.  I love to imagine myself in those places at that time.  I love to think of what Christ would say to me.  As I read these accounts I learn more of Him and who He is and who He wants me to become.  I see that there is much for me to do to be what He wants me to be.  I am determined to be who He wants me to be.  It will take patience and study, but I will become what He wants me to become.  There is no other good option.  As I become what He wants, I will be a nicer person, I will be a better neighbor, friend, mother and wife.  Isn't that what we should all be striving for?  It is what I am striving for.  

Thank you all for being my friends and great examples to me.  I love and appreciate all of you and your support for our family.  We truly are blessed and I will never take that for granted.  Please know that you mean so much to me - this trial of ours would be impossible to maneuver through without your love.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

G-R-R-R-reat News!

Yesterday was a busy day.  We started the day with a doctor's appointment with my Oncologist.  Thanks to my good friend Sarah for coming over and hanging with the kiddos.  About a week and a half ago I had a CT Scan done and it was time to get the results.  Dr. Cen came in and read us the radiologist's report.  The report wasn't that great.  The radiologist reported that there was a slight change.  So, Dr. Cen said, "Let's look and see."  We looked and guess what?  There wasn't a slight change, there was a GREAT change.  He said that the radiologist isn't an oncologist and they tend to err on the side of caution and since it is still wide spread they probably didn't want to say too much.  We looked at my liver and before I had more cancer than liver.  Now I have more liver than cancer!  YAY!!!!!  I am super excited.  There is still a lot of cancer, but the tumors are shrinking.  It was great to see that.  I also asked if we could have 4 weeks, not 3, between this week's chemo and the next round of chemo because we were going with my family to the beach for a weekend in August.  He said that I must want more energy and he thought that it would be fine.  YAY!  Another victory for me!!!

After we saw the doctor we went home.  Then my wonderful sister, Jenny, and her kids came down from Woodland and hung out with my kids so that David and I could go back to Kaiser and get my port put in.  That was a scary procedure.  They put in a port so that the nurses wouldn't have to do I.V.s anymore.  It is a little thing that they put under my skin above my right breast that has a catheter that goes directly into the upper chamber of my heart.  The nurses have a special needle that they just plug into the port and it directly puts the drugs into my bloodstream.  It is a neat little contraption, but it was scary for me to get it put in.  I was awake for the procedure and would have preferred it if they would have knocked me out!  But - I made it through.  And now I have a port so they don't have to poke me again while in search of a good vein.

I also got to speak with a doctor from the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.  The doctor, John Ward, said that he was sorry about my cancer, but that they would be doing the exact same thing that Kaiser is doing.  That was good for me to hear.  I am glad that they came to the same conclusion.  It was nice to have someone else concur.

We came home from Kaiser and had a good visit with Jenny and her way cute kiddos and then we had the world's greatest pizza for dinner (thanks Carrie).  Round Table Pizza's Maui Zaui with Polynesian Sauce minus the red onions is the best there is!!  YUMMY!!  I LOVE that pizza!!  It was so good that I ate 3 pieces.  David was shocked and very pleased that I was eating!  I went to bed after Family Home Evening and was asleep before 8 o'clock.

It was a busy and great day.  I am so happy that the cancer is getting it's butt kicked!  I am so grateful that I have the port now.  I am lucky to have such great family and friends that are always so willing to help out with kids and dinners.  I am blessed to have good doctors and live in a time when things have been discovered and invented for my well being.  Things are good.  Life is great!!  And I am happy to be living!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Last week's adventures....

We left around 7 am on Monday morning for Yosemite. It is a little under 200 miles, 187 to be exact, to Yosemite to our front door. The kids were excited and the van started out running great. As we approached Yosemite...it was the beginning of the end. We got about 30 minutes out of the park entrance when the "Check Engine" light came on. We stopped, checked fluids and everything seemed okay, so we continued on. About 15 minutes later the light started flashing - not a good sign. We pulled over, had no cell phone service and wondered what to do. We said a prayer and felt like it was okay to continue, just at a slower pace. The light wasn't blinking anymore and within 10 - 15 minutes we arrived at the entrance to the park. David spoke with the ranger and she said that there was a mechanic shop in Yosemite Village. So, we decided to continue on. We made it to the campsite and were very relieved! The kids got their swimsuits on and headed over to the beach with Grandma and their Aunts and Cousins while all the boys helped David put up the tent. We unloaded the car and spent the rest of the day visiting with the family. David went over to the mechanic shop and talked with them and they agreed to look at the car. *****side note: I might get the order of these things mixed up, so if I am a little off, please forgive me.***** The good news of all of this is that we made it there safely. The kids were excited and we got to see our family in a really beautiful place.

On Tuesday the whole family wore our cool new family shirts (thanks to all that worked so hard on these) and went to Lower Yosemite Falls on the bus (my kids love riding the buses in Yosemite) after taking some pictures. When I find my camera I will post the pictures that I got. We had a great time looking at the waterfall and David took the kids up to climb on some rocks. Ted and Megan took me back to camp and David stayed a while with the kids and then they rode the bus back. Things were great. Then the fever hit. I started in with the chills and knew that this was not a good sign. I took some medicine and the fever went down and we decided that with no car (by then we had found out that there were major engine problems and it couldn't be driven home, but had to be towed - thank goodness for AAA) and since I was feeling better we would stay the night. The next morning I felt okay, but soon the fever came back. After a few hours and a rising fever, David's wonderful Mom and Dad hatched a plan to bring us home. Thanks Ted & Megan and Tami & Brent for the use of your cars and thanks to Mom & Dad for helping us drive everyone. While I got myself ready to go all of David's family was packing our stuff and taking down our tent. By the time I was ready to go, everything else was ready too. It was amazing to me. The Cox Family is AWESOME!!!! We really appreciate you guys and all the hard work you put into getting us out of there!

We left Yosemite around 5:15 and pulled into Kaiser's ER at 10 pm. After waiting for 14.5 hours in the ER I was finally admitted to the hospital with a white blood cell count that was off the charts (the opposite problem from last time). After many tests and many hours of waiting they finally diagnosed the problem, got me on the right antibiotics and I was on the mend. I was released from the hospital yesterday (Sat) afternoon. Thank goodness for modern medicine.

As for the car: David has spent hours talking with several different mechanics and they have determined that it needs a "Full head job" - at least I think that is what it is. Basically the top of the engine needs some major work. The car goes into the shop on Monday and it will hopefully be done on Thursday. We just cannot survive without a car and it is our only one. Starting on Monday I have appointments everyday - Monday thru Friday - for 5 weeks. We NEED a car. So it will be fixed.

So in a nut shell: We had fun for the few days we were in Yosemite, we are home safely, I am out of the hospital, the car goes into the shop on Monday and life doesn't look like it will slow down anytime soon. While things didn't go as planned, they are working out. I wish we could have stayed longer in Yosemite and that the car wasn't a problem, but it was beautiful and we loved being able to see family that we haven't seen in a long while. I am one lucky girl with a great extended family. All of you are great - Cox and Morgan. We are very blessed to have all of you in our lives and I love you all very much. Life is great and I am determined to enjoy it, rollercoasters and all. I am hoping for a less eventful week this week....stay tuned!