Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Medical Info

I thought that you all might want an update on how things are going medically speaking. Yesterday we went to the Doctor before starting chemo. He had ordered an MRI of my brain. That test shows that there are small tumors in my brain. As I can recall there were only 4 or so, but David thinks there might have been more - but again they are small and as of right now they are not causing any trouble. Dr. Cen, my oncologist, has referred me over to a radiologist, Dr. Chen. Dr. Chen looked at my chart and said that I was too sick and there was no way that I could handle chemo and radiation simultaneously. Dr. Cen told him that he needed to see me in his office first and that I would most likely change his opinion. From the beginning Dr. Cen has said that I do not present sick enough to be at the stage that I am at. He seems to be impressed by this. Apparently he thinks that I can handle this and that my body is strong enough. I am inclined to agree. So, I have my first radiation consultation appointment on June 30th at 1:30 pm. I am not thrilled, but I am happy that they are taking this head-on. Dr. Cen only ordered the MRI because we requested it based on our reading and he felt like it was a good idea. I am certainly glad that he did. I have complete confidence that his feelings of agreement were our Father in Heaven's messenger, the Holy Ghost, letting the doctor know where to look. I've got good People (God and His Heavenly Helpers) on my side and with Them, I will beat this! Have a great day everyone. I know we will. Today's plans include a little bit of one-on-one time with Helaman getting him his new swimsuit, chemotherapy, a trip to the club to swim and a Cub Scout movie night at the church. A busy day ahead, but a very good busy! I am looking forward to it! Love to all of you!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Latest from our Place

Last week was a full week.  We were busy.  On Wednesday we took all the kids plus 2 of Vilate's friends to the movies and lunch for her birthday (see previous post for more details).  On Thursday we sent Faith, Hyrum, Vilate and Helaman over to Uncle Jarrod and Aunt Jennifer's house (thanks guys -- I know it was a long day!) then we took Nephi and Gloria to Sacramento State Preschool.  David went with me to my orientation for Sacramento State University.  It was really fun.  I found out that I am much closer than I thought to being done with my general education courses and can get started on my major courses.  I got my school ID card and they fed us a fabulous lunch!  We attended classes on the technology available on campus and on what your school ID card can get for you.  Then we went to the meeting for Speech Pathology majors.  It was fun and I am really looking forward to being in school again.  I know it is another thing to do, but it is what I like to do for me.  I don't really scrapbook, I sew very rarely these days, cooking is not happening lately, but school gives me something for me and it makes me feel like I am progressing.

On Friday things got pretty crazy.  I woke up in the morning and was losing a lot of my hair in the shower.  That depressed me and then I just felt sort of blah!  I sat around in my jammies and a sweatshirt all day.  Around 4 in the afternoon I started to get really cold and began to shiver.  I had started getting a fever.  Chemo patient + fever = dangerous situation.  I immediately called the Oncology nurses and waited for their return call.  As I was waiting my fever kept rising.  I called my mom and asked if she could come and hang with the kids because I was anticipating that the nurse was going to send me to the ER.  She asked what my fever was and when I told her it was 101.4 she said she was on her way and that I needed to go to the ER regardless of the nurses calling or not.  Well they did call and by then my fever was up to 101.8 and they told me to go straight to the ER.  Mom got here and David and I left.  They got me into my own room very quickly and took my temp again and it was up to 102.6 - that is where it peaked.  The doctor ordered all kinds of tests from x-rays, to blood tests to a throat culture (which forced me to hurl all over the room).  My white blood cell count was down to 1.6.  Normal levels are 3.0 - 12.0.  So, they had to admit me for IV antibiotics and to run more to tests to try to locate the infection.  They said that I was Neutropenic.  Basically that means that I was immune compromised and couldn't have any fresh fruit and veggies or even fresh flowers.  They also limited my visitors to as few as possible and definitely no one who was sick could come near me.  I was stuck in the hospital until Monday afternoon!  BORING!!!

I really don't like being in the hospital.  It is really boring.  I was really depressed and felt lonely, but I also didn't want to see anyone.  It was hard.  I started to doubt my faith.  I felt so lacking.  I hate feeling weak.  I started to feel like a terrible mom, after all I kept leaving my kids' care to others - not by choice - but out of necessity, but it wasn't any easier to leave them.  I want to be my kids' mom.  I don't want that job to become someone else's.  It is a hard position to be in.  Having a large family is a lot of work and lately I feel like I am not doing my share.  I totally understand that I just can't do what I did before.  I need to get better and focus on that, but I really just want to be their mom and focus on them.

So, what got me out of this crazy funk?  Remembering that my Heavenly Father loves me.  Remembering that I can beat this and surprise the doctors and that once I do I can go back to being the mom that I want to be and I will then be a better mom than I have ever been.  Acknowledging that I have the most amazing husband in the world who is trying so hard and doing a great job at being the mommy and daddy and my very own personal nurse.  Realizing that my family is amazing and so helpful and appreciating them - all of them regardless of how they are plugged into my family tree.  Counting my blessings is a blessing.  As I do that - when I do that, it makes things much more manageable.

It is amazing how just counting your blessings makes your heart feel better.  So, let me count a few more of my blessings: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; my wonderful husband; my wonderful kids; fantastic parents who have taught me right from wrong all of my life; the best in-laws in the entire world; a place to live where we are safe, the place is clean, the kids can ride their bikes and scooters, there is a playground and places to play baseball; a car that fits all of us and runs well and it even has air conditioning; beautiful sights to see (ie trees, flowers, rivers, Yosemite, etc); lots of friends that love me; my intellect; the ability to learn new things and concepts; siblings that care about me and are willing to help me at the drop of a hat; Doctors that have found out what is wrong with me and know how to treat it; living in a time where there are things that have been invented and discovered to help me; and the list could go on and on.....

We should make thankful lists everyday.  It think that would help us all to feel better about everything.  I know that it makes me feel better.  It kind of puts things back into the right perspective.  You know, highlights what's important.  Is it important that I feel terrible during these treatments?  No way!  It is important that I remember that these treatments are for my good.  It is important that I remember that these treatments will help me to feel better.  If I can be thankful for these treatments and even appreciate the side-effects (after all having side-effects means that I am also having the intended effects, right?) then they are much easier to make it through.  I'm not saying that I love having cancer - in fact I think it SUCKS!!  But, it does help me to remember to put first things first.  And the best news of all is that whatever does happen, my Father in Heaven is watching and He and Jesus Christ, my elder brother, are stretching out their arms to me and holding me tight when these things seem so tough and that I cannot handle them.  They ARE there.  They are just waiting on ME to turn to them and this trial is teaching me how to do that more than I have ever done before and I am seeing the power that comes from "combining forces" with Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  With Them nothing is impossible - NOTHING!!!!  Good news, huh?!?!  I know that throughout this trial they are counting on my happy spirit to keep shining through.  They want me to be happy and cheerful regardless of this body that is giving me trouble.  They want me to feel of Their love for me and my entire family.  They want me to smile.  So I am determined to do that.

Here is my new favorite song:
Count your Blessings
When upon life's burden you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Count your blessings; Name them one by one. 
Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
Count your blessings; Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.

Counting our blessings and then expressing our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for those blessings will make us the happiest.  We will better be able to feel His love and we will also become more like Him.  Have a good week everyone.  I will update when I can - more chemo this week and lots of little people to hug and kiss - not to mention a husband that needs to know he is loved as well!  Thank you for all of you notes, they keep me going.  Thank you for all of your prayers, I know our Father in Heaven hears them all and that they do help.  Thank you for your love for our family.  Please know that we thank Heavenly Father daily for you and the support that you provide to our family!  We love you all!!!  Be Happy!!!!

Vilate turns 7

Vilate's 7th birthday was yesterday (Mon, June 22nd).  Last week on Wednesday, we took her with all our other kiddos and 2 of her friends to see the movie Madagascar 2 at the free movies (if you haven't heard of these google: Free Family Film Festival).  It was a lot of fun!!  The movie was hilarious and the kids really enjoyed it.  The kids sat really well for the move, that is except for Nephi - he make it half way through the movie before David had to take him out. Following the movie we stopped and got some lunch at a fantastic restaurant called McDonalds and took it home with us to eat on the lawn.  David and the kids played baseball after eating for a while and then it was time to return Reid and Jarrett to their homes.  Vilate was spoiled and got to go and hangout at Reid's house with his family and had a BLAST!!!  Thanks Tiffany!!

Then on her actual birthday David took her to Wal-mart to pickup her present.  She got a pink electric Razor scooter.  It took 18 hours to charge it so she got to ride it for the first time this morning and had a fantastic time!  After they picked up the scooter she wanted to go and buy her very own box of See's candy.  So, David took her there and she got to spend quite a bit of time makin
g sure that she got the right mix of treats for her collection.  She was so proud of herself.  Grandma Cox made a birthday cake for Vilate.  Last year Vilate ordered her very own cake.  She wanted a one-layer round cake that would be just for her - kind of like a baby's 1st cake.  She ate it like a baby's 1st birthday cake too!  She thought is was so funny to get her face all messy.  This year was no exception.  She got her cake, we sang, she blew out the candles, then licked them off, and then dug her pretty little face into that cake.  She LOVED it!!!  It was really fun.  I love that Vilate likes to be a kid and play and be silly.

A little about Vilate at this age:
Vilate loves to laugh.
Vilate is VERY opinionated and is determined that things be her way..
She loves to eat and trying new foods is a fun adventure for her.
She loves to play with her friends.
Her dream is to be a school teacher -- although she has mentioned that being a News Anchor Woman might be fun.
She loves to play baseball and is really good.
She is excited to start playing on a basketball team.
The swimsuit she chose this year is a boy's pair of swim trunks and rash guard that are black and have silver skulls on them.
She makes us laugh and smile daily.  Vilate also tests our patience, but we sure do love her and are so grateful that Heavenly Father sent this wonderful little girl to our family!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy ViLaTe!!!!