Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First trip to the ER

Things were going ok until I was rubbing his bald head after he came up from a nap and it felt very hot!  I checked my "cancer book" to see what temperature I was suppose to call at and he was over that.  The doc told me to take him to the ER.  I gave him his antibiotics he was scheduled to have and took him in (after he threw up his dinner on the floor)....that reminds me, he probably doesn't have the antibiotics in his system now!  All they did for him at the ER was to give him an IV course of antibiotics and some Tylenol and Motrin.  His temp is still high, so I have to call the clinic in the a.m.  I was trying not to, but I lost it at the check in place (crying not yelling).  Scary stuff!

The lost hair...

Hair, but falling out by the hands full.

The end result!
I told Jake it was ok to get 4 tattoos today!  These are the marks they put on him so they can position him exactly the same every time he gets radiation therapy (John said they were his permanent dot-to-dot.). 

Jake's counts were still good today, so he still doesn't have to have his shots.  We started out at the Huntsman Cancer Center and they took a CT scan of Jake's middle.  Next Wednesday they will do a "dry run" of the radiation therapy, then it actually starts Thursday, Monday through Friday for about 28 days (5 1/2 weeks).  We should be done with radiation around 9/13.

Chemo went well today.  Just a little tired...a lot tired.  They warned us that the radiation would make him even more tired.  I know it made me tired!  (weird side note:  I have been getting sympathy symptoms for Jake.  After his chemo I started feeling a little nauseous on the way home).  

Next week we should go in mid-morning and check into the hospital for the next chemo treatment.  He stays overnight and should be released around 10:30 a.m., then we go up to Huntsman to get the test run of radiation.  They said that the radiation definitely makes him nauseous so we are really looking forward to that!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You can do hard things!

I was watching Dr. Oz yesterday and he said you should at least walk 30 minutes a day.  I haven't been walking or running at all this year (much to Molly's disappointment!).  I do play racquetball 4 times a week, but that's not the same as a good uphill run.  Last year I could run down hill and up without stopping (good cardio!) 

This morning was the morning I was going to go out and at least walk for 30 minutes (Molly was so excited she was shaking!)  I laid in bed for a while, listening to the not-so-quiet snoring next to me, trying to make sure that this truly was the day I was going to go "climb that mountain".  The air was still nice and cool, so I made up my mind, slipped into my running clothes, slipped the dog into her harness and off we went.  Walking was too easy so we notched it up to an easy jog.  We got to the end of the street and and I summed up that long hill, released the dog and started my decent.  Knees weren't hurting, so again with the jogging.  I was surprised that I wasn't out of breath, but downhill is always easier.  Small incline, not too bad.  Looped around, another small constant incline, little more work, but feeling good.  Nearing the bottom of the hill, still jogging, should I try?  Could I actually make it to the top without stopping?  No way!  Maybe!  I'll try!  I can do this!  Almost there!  Here comes the steep part!  Yes!  I did it!  My arms went up, just like my Courage Angel!  Then I wept, because He said I could do hard things..and I can!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can I Share?

I had the most amazing experience today!  I went to the temple because (it's Wednesday) I get so much comfort and strength and guidance when I go there.  I felt that I was so wrapped up in worries that I wasn't giving the Spirit any opportunities to talk to me.  So today I went to listen.

I went to that special corner in that special room where peace enfolds me like a warm, soft, safe blanket.  I was soaking up the serenity and closed my physical eyes. Then I could see them, so many angels had come to see me and give me their comfort and prayers.  Some people I had met, some I hadn't, but knew of.  There was grandma and grandpa Jackson, Aunt Marie, Aunt Lois, Aunt Enid was there with beautiful La Fern, Dave's dad and brother, John.  There was Uncle Fred, Sherry, Aunt Jackie, Aunt Clay, Grandma Sweet and her sister Gladys, my friend Carl Blad and his beautiful wife.  Many more friends and many more relatives.  There were so many people there I don't know how they even fit in the room.  Some were ancestors that I had never met, but knew of through genealogy.  The sweetest, though, was my little nephew Thomas.  He stood by the side of my chair and rubbed my arm and said, "Don't worry Aunt Rose, it's going to be ok!"

You know, Tom Tom, I think you're right!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chemo: Round 2

Well that was very encouraging!  The doc was very happy about how much the swelling had gone down in Jake's leg already.  I was able to get more questions answered and we were done within 1/2 hour!  Jake found a shoe that he could fit on his foot (though he doesn't wear the matching shoe on the other foot).  They're both black, so I guess that's close enough (No, he didn't learn how to dress from me...well, he did, but he didn't listen too good! lol).  I told the doc that the chemo turned his hair black (and his brother's, and his friend's).  She said that was the first time she saw that side effect.  Next chemo-next Tuesday.  I think we will be doing the radiation planning that day also.

Round 4 of chemo (Aug. 3) is the one that is going to make me nervous.  Second overnight stay.  Probably a higher dose of chemo.  Radiation starting.  Nevertheless...so far so good!

Addendum:  Blood counts waaaay down, so this isn't so good. :(

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission...

I hope they call me on a mission
When I have grown a foot or two!

Don't smile Cameron!  Don't do it!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How's it going so far?

Well, it's a little better now.  Jake, John and Austin decided to dye their hair black.  Not so bad for Jake because his hair will be falling out soon, but it's a decision that John will have to live with for a while longer. 

Jake totally lost his appetite until Friday.  He had one small bowl of cereal, each day, Tuesday through Thursday (I've got to get me some of that!).  Friday, his appetite started to come back.  Giving the shots is getting a bit easier, but still stings going in.  He has been taking the wrong antibiotic since he's been home...hope that doesn't mess things up.  So far, no fever, no nausea (which I'm grateful for cause those pills are $10 a piece!).  I had him measure his leg swelling this morning and it was down!  Yay!! 

Joyce let us use her cabin this weekend so we took a little vacation from the drama (tried anyway).  I learned something though, when you try to do something you love while amidst a crisis, it sucks all the joy out of the experience.  There were beautiful flowers and I love how the air smells with the weeds and flowers and trees.  The breeze on my face would keep the bugs away and the shade of the trees would keep it nice and cool.  There were beautiful vistas to see and the sweet companionship of my family.  Yet always there was that torturous reminder of worry...does he have enough sun screen on?  Are the bugs biting him yet?  Is he going to get scratched, then infected?  Did he take his pill this morning?  Was it the right one?  Is he drinking and eating enough?  Is he nauseous yet?  Is it clean enough?  Is the food fresh enough?  Is there anyone sick around him?  Does he have a fever?  Is the swelling going down yet?  Are we there yet?

I look forward to the day when the worst thing I have to worry about are my hot flashes! (sigh!)  K.  Done venting.  We are dealing and coping and we appreciate all of your prayers and love and support.  Tomorrow, it's Zack's Day!  (Big smile)!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Zack's Homecoming/Test Result!

Zack's Homecoming event will be this Sunday(July 18th), 1:00 pm at our church (1020 E 1900 N
LEHI, UT 84043
).  We will have lunch-type food right after sacrament meeting.

SHARING TIME:  Since Jake's chemo treatment, his immune system is going to be way low.  We are asking that if anyone has a cold or any sickness that has germs, to please not come to our home until you are fully recovered.  If Jake gets sick from your germs and doesn't have an immune system to fight the infection, he could die from it.  Also, we need everyone to remove their shoes and use hand sanitizer when they enter the home.  We can't have anyone over that has been exposed to chicken pox. 

Jake should be feeling a lot better by Sunday.  He was pretty wiped out today and slept a lot.  His appetite is way down (and mine is way up!)  The bone marrow test came out clean!  Extremely happy about that!  Dr. Wright doesn't think the last test will show any cancer in it, but that should be done by Friday.

Had a little melt down tonight when I saw all the medical supplies the Home Health Care brought by (and a small heart attack when I saw the bill!) and I couldn't figure out which syringe to use for Jake's shot because none of them looked like the ones we practiced with in the hospital.  I don't know how you did it, Jill!  The nurse didn't show up until almost 10:00 pm because she misunderstood that she was suppose to come today.  It turns out that they didn't send the right syringes and she had to use a spare she had in her car. (Deep breath!)  I gave Jake his first shot in the tummy!  He was so brave!  This was a shot to help keep his white blood cell count up.  If his cell counts are too low they will have to do a transfusion before he can get his next round of chemo (scheduled for every Tuesday).

Tomorrow we go to Radiology to find out how his Radiation therapy is going to work out.  (big SCREAM!)  INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!!  (K, that felt better)

Good night!  I'm going to my happy place now :)!

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Chemo Treatment

Well, that wasn't so scary!  Jake is still getting his first round of chemo.  They had an Xbox in his room, which kept him busy.  He didn't really want to pay attention to what the nurse was doing because he was too busy playing a game (silly boy!).  Well, whatever keeps his mind off serious stuff.

Many people have asked us why we can keep such a positive attitude about having to deal with cancer.  Some confess that they would be asking "why me" or be really upset about their lot in life.  One doctor asked how I could be so patient in waiting for test results. 

The facts are, there is cancer in Jake's body and we have to deal with it.  We aren't being punished for something, we don't have a lack of faith, and we are not bad people.  It's not fun, it's not easy, it's not something we would choose to do or have, but it is what it is.  We have free agency and we can choose how we deal with our challenges.  If we get mad, sad, angry or withdrawn, will that make the cancer go away?  Will the test come back the way we want them to or any faster?  No.  If we chose to have a positive outlook, to have hope and appreciation for those who love and care for us with that change the outcome?  No, but the journey will be much more peaceful and less stressful and filled with loving a caring people.  It's much easier to see God's tender mercies when your not mad at Him. 

If your child falls off their bike when they are learning to ride it, you comfort them, then you hope they will brush themselves off and get back on the bike and learn to ride it without falling.  Then someday soon, they will have the joy of riding their bikes all around and feeling the wind on their faces and feel the freedom and joy of riding a bike perfectly.  Wouldn't your child be grateful at that point, that you gave them the bike and you were patient enough to help them learn to ride it?

God didn't tell us it would be easy to learn to "ride this bike".  But He did promise that He would be there with us every step of the way.  And when we fall off, He would be there the wash off the scrapes, give us a hug and help us try again.  And someday soon, we will say, "Look Father!  You don't have to hold on to the seat anymore!"  And we will be grateful that He was patient enough to help us learn to ride this bike.  And He will be proud of us, that we learned to do hard things.

God knows each of us.  He knows the challenges that we face and how it will help us grow into the potential He sees in us.  Just like I want the best for my boys, God wants the best for us.  Even though it's not the easiest or most fun way to get there, it is the best way.  For me it's a no brainer:  Wouldn't you want the Being that knows how it's all going to turn out be in charge?  That is where I find my strength and my peace.  He gave me friends, family and neighbors to help me bare my burdens.  He gave me awesome doctors and nurses who spent time learning about this cancer so that when we brought Jake to them, they would know how to treat it.  He gave us other hospital staff that would see to Jake's every need and help him feel comfort from pain.  He put angels in my life to take care of my needs and my families needs, plus a little more.  He gave me experiences so that I could have the right kind of compassion for others who suffer.  He has kept me safe from all harm and accident.  He has surrounded me with many of His Holy Houses so that I may go there just about any day to feel of His love, comfort and guidance.  He reminds me all the time that I'm not alone, and I can ride this bike!

Jake update 7/12/10

Jake is out of surgery and just had a bowl of Fruit Loops.  We are waiting for the chemo team to come and tell us what our life is going to be like for the next year.

Addendum:  If they don't find any cancer in the bone marrow, the regimen will be an overnight stay every 3rd week.  The other weeks it will only take about an hour and he can come home.  This will be for the first 13 weeks, then they will reevaluate to see if the lymph nodes are shrinking or not.  The second 15 weeks will have the same overnight stays, but he will get to skip a couple weeks and not have to come up to PCMC at all.  Then reevaluation, then another 15 week course. 

The radiation therapy will start on week 4.  Most likely he will have to drive up every day for treatment every day, Monday through Friday.  We will find out more about this on Thursday.

They take really good care of Jake here.  I'm sure they are giving him the best care available.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Uncle Phil

This is my Uncle Phil.  He had a stroke Saturday morning and they took life support off this morning.  We was a very sweet, sweet man.  Every time I sent pictures to him of my family, he would hang them up in his living room.  He always prayed for me and my family.  I will miss him!

Sweet Camp Out!

We went to Fish Lake for our Sweet Family Camp Out.  Audrey and Jeremy were in charge and except for the many bugs and cold nights, it was a really fun Sweet Family get-together!  The day did not start out as we had planned on Wednesday.  Let's back up!  Tuesday, Zack came home.  We took him straight to the Stake President's office, which happens to be the Church Administration Building, where all of the apostles and President Monsen have their offices.  Of course, we got to go there when everyone was on vacation!  Just our luck!  It is a beautiful building, though.  Zack was released from being a missionary and we started for home.  Dave took Jake to another appointment so we drove separate cars.  Zack took the grand tour of the house then got started cleaning out his closet so he could put all his stuff in there.  He took all my stuff out of the closet...the nerve!  Now I have to find some place else for all my treasures!

Wednesday, we started to pack and one of the boys noticed a leak from the truck.  Well Dave and John pulled it apart and decided it was the radiator.  He went down to Checker Auto and bought a new one and installed it, but it didn't have the right connector on it.  Dave was really frustrated by this point, so I called a mechanic to see what I should do to get the right part.  I got a referral to a place in Salt Lake.  Dave began to pull the other radiator out and I ran to SLC to get the right part.  As it turns out, we just needed the adapter.  Dave and John got everything put back together so then we packed the truck and car and left for the camp out.  We didn't get there until after dark.  It was freezing cold and none of us brought extra blankets or warm coats.  There were lots of deer to be seen on the way up, though.

We just missed seeing Rod, and James was even later than we were!  Thursday the theme was Hawaiian.  For dinner we had Teriaki Chicken, some yummy pineapple slushy drink, salads and fruit.  The boys took the 4 wheelers and they set up a shooting gallery (skeet and target) and took turns doing everything.  I was happy to stay in camp and visit with the ladies & James.  Jake ran out of pain pills and started hurting, plus he had another appointment to go to on Friday, so we went home.
Fern and Mel made it from the Anderson clan.  Aaron and Danielle came too, but they had to leave.

Sam and his clan were dressed in festive orange!




Dang!  I got a picture of the dog, but not Spencer!  He was running around all over the place!
Here's grandma Sweet wearing her trucker babe outfit!

and my favorite Holladay!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

He's HOME!!!

Waiting and watching for Elder Zack!
The moment he sees us!
Proud Daddy Hugs

Proud brothers waiting their turn!

Aunt Fernie Hug!

 All safely gathered in!
I love my family! :)

Great news!

Just found out the the bone scans are normal!  One more test to go, but it's looking good so far!

Friday, July 2, 2010

This is about the funniest story I have ever heard!

 From my niece's blog:  Sorry Kelly, I don't know how to make a link to yours!  You had Dave and I busting a gut!  I can just imagine...

My children were talking about that 'one time we asked Mom to do it again' today.  They were laughing about embarrassing me.  I am not ashamed of my beautiful children, but that time....well, here's the story....

So we were on our way to California, and we stopped at a gas station.  I took the 2 kids in to the restroom with me so we could all do our business.  I am a super paranoid Mom- I have a hard time letting my kids out of sight in public places so we all herded into the same stall (and not only out of paranoia- they sometimes need help- you Mommies know how it is).  So they do their thing and as it's my turn, I hear a couple of old ladies enter- they are chatting.  

It's a 3 stall bathroom with great acoustics.  The air falls silent.  One of the ladies lets. it. rip.

My kids both gasp and look at me.

"What was that, Mom?" asks London (very loudly).

"Nothing," I whisper, and put a finger over my lips.

"Was that you, Mom?!" Nathaniel questions at 100,000 decibals.

I shake my head and mouth the word "No!"

"That was YOU?!" London exclaims.

I am bright red at this point, and so embarrassed I can't even move.

The old lady let's it go again.  Louder and longer this time.

My kids bust out laughing.

"Do it again, Mom!" London says.

"Yeah, do it again!" 

"It's. Not. Me." I whisper.  "Be. Quiet." 

"Come on!  Do it again!" 

More sounds erupt from the next stall.

More laughter explodes from ours.

"I knew it was you Mom.  Do it again!"

One of the old ladies starts laughing at this point.

I'm just thinking 'Why me?'

I flush, get myself modest, and rush London and Nathaniel through the fastest hand washing of their lives before sprinting out of there.

We had a talk about bathroom manners in the car when they finally stopped  giggling.  

It's a good thing they are cute, that's all I'm saying.  And, really, it wasn't me.

Good News!!!

No cancer in the lungs! :) :) :)

New info:   The bone scan results will be available next Tues. afternoon.  He will have a central line put in Monday, the 12th, plus get a bone marrow biopsy and aspirate while he is under general anesthesia.  They should be able to rule out that the cancer has not spread on the 14th.  He will start his first chemo treatment, then go home Tuesday and get another treatment the following Tuesday.  Then they will probably go every two weeks for about 30 weeks.  He will at some point soon, have to have radiation therapy.  Surgery is not really an option as he has way too many enlarged lymph nodes and surgery would not be a viable option.  They should see some results within 2-3 weeks of the first chemo treatment.