Saturday, May 30, 2009


I am so lucky. I am so very blessed. I want you all to know that your kind words, hugs, gifts, dinners, offers of help and love are so appreciated. I check this computer thing multiple times each day. Today I apologized to David for always being on the computer. I told him that I check it so often because your kindness and expressions of hope and love give me strength and encouragement. Thank you for your emails and comments on our blog and on Facebook. I really do rely on them and appreciate them. Please keep them coming! It is nice to know I have so many people that care for me and my family.

A few weeks ago I was complaining to David that I really wasn't serving everyone enough. I felt that I was too absorbed in my own world of kids and their school craziness, of my own school responsibilities and then just the day-to-day obligations of being a wife and mother. I felt like I wasn't doing enough to help others. I was saying to David that no one would miss me - except him and the kiddos....I know, I know - so not true. Because of these feelings I was determined that after my school was finished I would spend the summer teaching my kids about service by showing them how to find ways to serve. I didn't realize that I would be spending my summer teaching them about service by giving others the opportunity to serve us. You are all a great example to me and I hope that you know how much we love and appreciate all you are doing for our family.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Diagnosis

Today I went with David and my parents to meet with the Oncologist. The diagnosis was worse than we had been expecting. I have “Small Cell Cancer” - SCLC. Most of the time Small Cell Cancer originates in the lung and therefore is a type of lung cancer that mostly occurs in smokers. They are not sure of the origination of my cancer, but I have never been a smoker. My cancer is not categorized by using numbers to differentiate the stages. Instead it is classified as either limited stage or extensive stage. Limited stage means that is has not progressed or spread beyond the initial site and extensive means that it has spread. I have the extensive stage.

The prognosis is poor. According to the documents that the doctor gave us to read, from the time of diagnosis: the median range of survival is 8 to 13 months, less than 5% of patients survive 2 years and 1 - 2% of patients survive 5 years. The doctor wants me to start Chemotherapy immediately (probably next week - I am waiting to hear when my appointment will be). Also according to the documents, SCLC is highly responsive to chemotherapy but it commonly relapses within months. What I have read says that I will undergo 4 - 6 chemo treatments and that should put me into remission. Following that I should have 6 - 8 months cancer free and then they will be expecting it to return. Once it returns SCLC doesn’t respond well to chemo and at that time the patient usually only lives 4 months more. Pretty grim statistics.

Now for the good news. I am NOT a statistic. I refuse to be a statistic. I fully intend to blow those statistics out of the water and surprise everyone. David and I and our families believe in a higher power that can do anything. We have faith that our Father in Heaven will take care of us however He feels is the best. Please keep praying for us. I know that it helps and we can use all the help we can get.

If we could ask one more thing: our kids know that I have cancer and they know that I will be undergoing chemotherapy, but we are not telling them the kind that I have or the prognosis. Please don't tell them. We want to protect them as much as we can. We will tell them what they need to know when we deem it necessary. Thanks for understanding.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My ER visit

Last Thursday, the day after graduation, started as everyother Thursday. The kids were a real pain to get up because of the late night before. We got up and headed over to their school. Hyrum was scheduled to go on a fieldtrip that day, and as the fieldtrip coordinator, I was having a bear of a time finding chaperones. I had enough drivers to get all the kids to the Sacramento County Fair, but one of my drivers was a little nervous about being responsible for 6 kids in that environment, and as a parent sending my kids, I was a little nervous as well. I went to the school and talked it over with Mrs. Kaspick and we decided that the kids wouldn't be able to go. So, I headed home.

Once home I started getting all the "little" kids (don't let Helaman know I am including him in that group please) dressed and ready for the day. We were expecting G'ma and G'pa Cox anytime. All the kids were ready and so was I when I decided to eat some oatmeal. I sat on the couch and suddenly my left shoulder began to hurt - kinda like a pulled muscle or like I had slept funny. Within 10 minutes I began having trouble taking a deep breath. Then I couldn't get comfortable - sitting, standing or laying down. I went back into my room and asked, well maybe told, David that I needed a priesthood blessing right away. He knew I was serious when I locked the door and started crying because the pain just kept getting worse. David put away his guitar immediately and gave me a blessing, after which he told me he felt impressed that I needed to call the doctor's office right away. I called and after speaking to the receptionist and sending a message to my doctor, I spoke with an advice nurse. The nurse advised me to go immediately to the emergency room and if I stopped breathing on the way there or if the pain got more severe to pull over and call 911.

David jumped up, got dressed in record time and we headed to car with 3 kids in tow. When we arrived at the ER I told David to just drop me off and I would call with information when I got it. He wasn't thrilled with the idea, but the idea of corraling 3 tykes in the ER was less inviting, so he headed home. It was a slow day in the ER - THANK GOODNESS!! They got me in within 15 minutes and the triage nurse was very concerned. The nurses took me right back and the doc came in quickly. The doc decided to start with Morphine (good stuff :)) and take a chest x-ray to see what was going on.

When the chest x-ray came back the doc looked grim. He said the x-ray was dramatically different from the one that I had had last year when I had a very bad cold. He told me that he suspected an aortic tear. I asked exactly what that meant - how they treated it. He said the closer the tear is to your heart the greater the chance of surgery, but the farther away, it might be able to be treated with medicine. He wanted to order an EKG and a CATSCAN with dye. Then he left me with these wonderful words of comfort, "You know, John Ritter died of this." Good job doc! I immediately got on the phone with David and told him and then said that I would call Nancy (my awesome mom) and see if she could come and sit with me. Afterall Mom and Dad Cox were only here for the day and I wanted David to be able to visit with them. I tried Nancy and she had just gone over to the dentist so I called my amazing Dad. He offered to come, but I told him I would be fine and just give him a call when I knew anything else.

I took the tests and was just sitting in my ER bed when in walked my parents. Following right behind was the doctor. I am so glad that my parents made it before the news was broken to me. The doctor said that the news was worse than he thought. There was no aortic tear. My abdomen was full of tumors. They located them in my liver and spleen and by my aorta, esophogus and on my rib, spine and hip. I think that is all the places that he mentioned. He said that they were working on getting me admitted to the hospital so that more tests could be run - especially a biopsy. I was floored. My parents were shocked. The doctor asked if we had any questions, and I don't remember if we did. Then he left us. My Dad immediately called David and told him that he needed to come to the hospital right away and leave the kids with his parents. David showed up and we called the doc to come in and explain what he told us again.

I was admitted and they ordered a biopsy of my liver because that is where the highest concentration of the tumors is. The biopsy was done on Friday and I was kept in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon on pain killers. They finally sent me home because I could be medicated at home and just wait for the results with my family.

During those 6 days - and still continuing - so many people visited me and helped my family. I am so blessed to have been sent into a wonderful and supportive family (mine and David's) and to have so many friends. As I finish this post I am crying, not because I am sad or scared, but because I know that while this will be a hard road ahead of us, I am the luckiest girl in the entire world. I thank you for all of your love, prayers, help with kids, dinners - that keep on coming, and everything else that you are doing for us. Your families are showing my "little" family what true love is and we hope to return the favor some day!

My biopsy results are in and tomorrow we will know what kind of cancer we are battling - because we will battle this and we will win! There is no other option and I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to come off conquering! So I will!!! Stay tuned. This blog will be the easiest way for us to keep all of you updated. Thanks for all you do! We love you!!!!


WE DID IT!!! Last Wednesday, May 20th, David and I both graduated from American River Junior College with our AA degrees. David got his AA in Vocal Music and mine is an AA in Liberal Arts. It was a great day. David had his last final in the morning. His parents flew in to be with us and we enjoyed celebrating with them. We enjoyed deli trays from Raleys with Mom and Dad and Aunt Robin and Will. Then we headed over to AR (after dropping off Glo and Nephi with the greatest friend a girl could have -THANKS SARAH!!). We sent the 4 "big" kids, Faith, Hyrum, Vilate, and Helaman, with Grandma and Grandpa Cox, Aunt Robin and Cousin Will to meet my parents on the bleachers while David and I got into the line of graduates. The ceremony lasted just short of 90 minutes and after we headed back to our house to have cake and ice cream. Aunt Kelli joined us for ice cream and visiting. Everyone left around 10:30 pm. It was a late night for the kids and the parents, but it was really fun. It was so cool to look up into the bleachers and see our kids waving and screaming for us. We are officially done at American River College and head over to Sacramento State in the fall!