August 30, 2018

inspiration and revelation

In at least three of my priesthood blessings since my cancer diagnosis, I was counseled to read the general conference talks from April's conference. Each subsequent blessing got a little bit more specific about that counsel. Probably because I wasn't listening very well. Sure, the first time I heard it, I thought that was a good idea. Yet, I never really did anything about it. The second time, I was told there were messages in there that were just for me. So I read a little here and there. But my most recent priesthood blessing so urged me to study those talks again, specifically messages from our prophet, President Nielsen. And even to go back and read his past talks. Unfortunately indeed, it took me three times to hear that counsel before I really took it seriously. For the last few weeks or so I have been more diligent about studying from conference. My mind has been blown! As I have read and studied, specific direction and inspiration that I was not even expecting has poured in. Simple things. But I have already seen a positive impact on me and on my family. I wonder, why was I so slow to follow that counsel?? God is so patient with us and always right there ready to guide us and strengthen us as soon as we take that first step.

The talks from the sunday morning session have been some of my favorites.

Take the Holy Spirit as Your Guide: "We can not just do and think what others are doing and thinking; we must live a guided life."

With One Accord: "As we draw closer to Him, as we seek to receive a personal witness through the Holy Ghost of His divine mission, we will have a better understanding of our purpose; the love of God will dwell in our hearts; we will have the determination to be on of the keleidoscopes of our familes, wards, and communities; and we will minister to each other 'in newer, better ways.' Miracles happen when the children of God work together guided by the Spirit to reach out to others in need."

Pure Love: The True Sign of Every True Disciple of Jesus Christ: "President Thomas S. Monson said: 'May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God's children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.' Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love. The greatest commandment is about love. For me, it's all about love."

His Spirit to Be with You: "The Prophet Joseph set an example for us of how to receive continual spiritual direction and comfort through the Holy Ghost. The first choice he made was to be humble before God. The second was to pray with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The third was to obey exactly. Obedience may mean to move quickly. It may mean to prepare. Or it may mean to wait in patience for further inspiration. And the fourth is to pray to know the needs and hearts of others and how to help them for the Lord."

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives: "Through the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will assist us in all our righteous pursuits." AND "Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort. Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses--yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will 'grow into the principle of revelation."

August 25, 2018

chemo 2 and 3 and other cancer thoughts

I thought on my “good” weeks I would sit down and write more. This week I have felt much better than I did during last week (chemo 3). But on my good weeks I find myself really busy trying hard to be a regular person (like who grocery shops and cooks) and a regular mom (who changes diapers and carries her baby and goes into the school) and also trying to fit in a bunch of fun stuff to keep myself going (like lunches with friends, date nights and girls nights) that it is hard to sit down to write. Not to mention that my brain has a hard time processing and thinking these days anyways.

A girl who went through breast cancer last year told me that sometimes she misses being in the middle of cancer. At first I thought she was crazy, but the more I think about it the more I think she is on to something with that statement. Yes, it sucks and it is hard and I would never choose to do it again or wish it on anybody else, but there is something really special about this experience and the ways it is stretching me and filling me with faith and love. I feel a deeper connection in my relationship with Heavenly Father and my Savior and in my relationships with others. 

I went to a friend’s house for a girls night the other day. We were going to watch a movie, but we decided we wouldn’t actually watch the movie anyways so we all just sat around and talked. The significant thing about that night is that I showed up bald. It’s not comfortable wearing wigs and hats. And I’m still at a loss on how to tie scarves in a way I like. In a moment of bravery and I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me, I left the house without a covering. It’s not like I’m ashamed of cancer, but I don’t necessarily like everyone noticing my pointy ears. But I went bald. And it felt scary for me to show up bald somewhere for the first time. Super scary. I tried to put on a brave face about it, but inside I was trembling. Of course, my friends are amazing and no one even batted an eye or skipped a beat about my stubbly head. As we were chatting, there were even a few minutes that I forgot I was sitting there bald and that felt good to be able to relax like that. 

I came downstairs today and when I got to the bottom step I saw Kyler’s friend was here. He was looking the other direction and as soon as I processed he was here I turned right around and ran my bald head as quick as I could up the stairs. He probably saw my baldness streak by. I guess I wasn’t very brave today. 

Chemo numbers 2 and 3 were very similar. I meet with the dr before each infusion and tell him all the misery of the week and how chemo effected me. Then I head back to the chemo room. Everyone gets a reclining chair. We have found our groove and we sit by a wonderful lady named Wendy each week. Talking with her helps to pass the time quickly. And she has given me a lot of good advice. I brought my chemo bag to chemo 2 packed with books and things to do. I didn't even bother to bring it last time for chemo 3 because we just chat with our chemo friends the whole time.

This is my neulasta shot I get each week. It releases the medicine to boost my white blood count 24 hours after we put it on. I call it "the bomb." When they put it on it beeps at me for awhile and then it stops. You wait nervously for a minute. And then....snap!! Like a rubber band. It does its thing to attach itself to you. It flashes a green light. Twenty-four hours later it starts to beep at you again. After the beeps, it clicks for awhile while the medicine is released. Then the light changes to red and you can take it off. See, it is like a bomb on your arm or belly (you choose where they put it).

After these last two infusions, I was sick for about a week. I alternate between nausea and fatigue. The gi issues are awful. I have days when I'm really foggy brained. I get pretty dizzy, light headed, and shaky. Usually by the following sunday I am just a little light headed and dizzy and then Monday I mostly feel like a regular person again.

My last AC (red devil) chemo is on Monday. I can not believe we will be halfway through chemo! I get sick thinking about having to do it again (like I am literally feeling nauseous just writing about chemo), but at the same time I just want it all over with. So yay for (almost) halfway!

August 16, 2018

These days

My days blur together. I blame chemo brain. It is a real thing! So I may have posted these pictures already since they are from way back in June, but just in case I didn’t I want to remember this one. Perry went to a summer day camp and he loved everything about it! We did have to pick him up early one day when he had a meltdown about sitting next to someone he didn’t want to sit by. But other than that, it was his favorite and he is looking forward to next year. On the last day, there was a talent show for families to watch. I was still pretty weak from my mastectomy at that time, but I am so glad I was able to be there. Each class performed to a song and then some of the older kids performed songs and dances on their own. It was the best! Such sweet people up on that stage performing from deep within their hearts. We felt lucky to be in the audience.

Perry’s group performed to Coco. Even though Perry told me numerous times he does not like the movie Coco.

We love this kid!

When I was recovering from surgery, Eric took the kids to play with my sisters and their children at an indoor amusement place. I heard they all had a blast, but Layla had to do some serious fear conquering up high on this course. Thank goodness for uncle josh who helped her across and got her down alive. 

Kyler left for BYU soccer camp. Surgery and chemo through our plans off, but it all worked out. Kyler was able to get into an earlier session of camp. He flew by himself up to Salt Lake and the amazing Scoresby’s took care of him and got him checked in. Then they drove him back to us at the end of the week. So grateful for their help! As luck would have it, he ended up knowing another kid on the plane so they sat together. 

A rock decoration by our front door from Perry.

Oh, I’m not even sure. But he’s a cool dad.

The kids played a game of beanboozled. I would never ever be brave enough to gamble on those jelly bean flavors. 

It looks like Preston said some sincere prayers before his turn.

We had a duck problem in our pool for a few weeks. A duck kept landing in our water (and pooping everywhere). We tried keeping floats in the pool, scaring it away, and Kyler even built a scarecrow. No luck to get rid of it. Then one morning we saw 9 baby ducks swimming in our water. That explained it. The duck had a built a nest in our bushes. We didn’t want our pool to be a permanent home to a family of ducks, so Eric and the children loaded up the ducklings and drove them a half mile away to our community lake. No one was sure if they would find their mama. But miracle! When they got to the lake and released the ducks the mama duck immediately flew down and called to her ducklings and they all swam straight to her. So cool they were able to find each other. And that they haven’t been back in our pool.

Pictures before date night the week after I chopped my hair (the first time).

We went with some friends to a restaurant in Chandler called “the singing pandas”. Good Chinese food and live entertainment. It was a super fun evening!

B got a lot of attention from the ladies at the table next to us. This lady really wanted B to see Kermit. And she danced with her. Ha!

Elvis came out!

This was the owner of the restaurant performing a few songs.

We couldn’t leave without our picture with the King.

Then it was off to dessert at Sunny Snowballs.

We found another nest in our yard. This time it was baby birds in the tree in our front yard.

Layla ran around the house like this one morning. 

Layla also had her turn as the star student in her classroom. Here is her sweet poster. And her photo bombing dad. 

B got this huge blister on her finger and we had to get it checked out. It was probably just from sucking her finger we think.

We decided we needed a fun family outing. Well I decided that because mostly because my hair started falling out that day. We stopped at bahama bucks and then went to the mall in search of hats for me. 

I pretty much had to walk around the whole outing clinching someone’s arm like that. My chemo brain was thick that day and it is so hard to process anything when I am fuzzy like that.

Say what?! Look how hot my car said AZ was. Yikes!

By chance, we have ended up at the Disney store a few different times over the last few weeks. Perry loves looking around at stores. He is really great about just looking and not asking for everything but every once in awhile he finds a future birthday present possibility and wants a picture with it. He is pretty excited by the Incredibles these days.

B is such a good sport about the games Layla makes her play. 

Ok, not the best picture. But I do want to remember that I have some pretty amazing friends. There are four of us who started doing yoga together once a week (before my surgery). With summer and all of my cancer treatments, we haven’t gotten together weekly, but we try when we can. This picture was from the night after I shaved all of my hair. We were experimenting with some scarf wraps. I think I have a ways to go before I perfect the scarf. But nonetheless, I am so grateful for good friends right now!

I went to my first curriculum night at the high school. Kyler has some really great teachers this year. And a whole lot of homework. He has a lot on his plate with honors classes and Spanish and soccer, but he is working hard and I’m so proud of him.

We played with my wigs one night. 

And I concluded that the guys look better in wigs than I do. 

Though Mary was rocking the wigs, too.

It is such a rare thing to see this little one in tears. She was done playing with that toy. That was all. 

Perry went to a birthday party. 

We went to visit my parents and all the kids enjoyed this toy. Perry was especially happy to drive the wheelchair around. 

My mom also gave B her birthday present. She loves the little people set. 

We discovered something else that makes B cry. She did not want to be near that Caribou! I can’t blame her.

She’s getting much better at walking with support.

Eric’s brother came into town and so the older boys all went to see a movie. Perry had some great ideas and planned a fun evening for us. We went by the Disney store and the pet shop then stopped at the park to take pictures of the ducks. It ended up being a beautiful evening. Layla and Perry took turns taking all of these pictures. There was a man there with some seed and he let the kids feed the ducks, too.

These kids have an eye for beauty.

And that concludes a two month catch up on some little things around here.