Friday, October 29, 2010

What a Beautiful Place!

It's almost like a palace, isn't it?

(more to come...It's almost midnight and I'm just too tired to post the rest)

Chemo: Round 16

Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!
The CT Scan showed the candy in his pocket.

You'll have to click on this picture to see the full effect.  To the right of the capital building is LDS Hospital where 4 of my boys were born.  Occasionally we get a nice view from Jake's hospital room.  Last time, we had a nice view of the parking garage!  See the storm rolling in? I had to drive home in a huge snow storm!

Ever since Jake found out he had cancer he has been wearing two different shoes because one of the shoes rubbed on his toe wrong and gave him an infection.  He ended up having his toenail removed.  I finally asked him if he wanted a new pair of shoes (I thought he was making a fashion statement).  He said, "yes, that would help!"  Hmmmm, all this time I thought he liked wearing his shoes like this!

Here's Jake with some of his Conkerr Cancer pillow cases.  They let him pick some colorful pillow cases when he is admitted, to brighten up the drab white colors of the hospital.  The tubes connected to him (which are actually connected to line up by his heart) are where they give him saline to make sure he is hydrated enough so the chemo doesn't fry his insides (too much).  When he is hydrated enough, they push the chemo through this IV that goes directly into his arteries.  I hate to think what it is doing to his heart!

He often brings his own blanket from home.  I have to wash everything when I get it home because it is toxic from his sweat.  He is smiling...for me.  He gets hardly any sleep because he has to go to the bathroom every hour.  The best part of the hospital stay is coming home.

Besides losing his hair and his appetite, he is losing a lot of strength and feeling in his fingers and toes.  I have to open toothpaste and water bottles for him.  He is down to 125 lbs.  It's getting harder and harder to find a place to give him his shots.  I have to make him double up and pinch the skin together to fabricate fat.

Love you Jake!  Hang in there, bud!

Happy Birthday Gennie/Grandma!

Gennie/Grandma Holladay turned 89 on her birthday!  She wanted fish and veggies for her special dinner, so that's what we had.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reports are in!

I forgot my card reader, so the pictures will have to come later.

So we did the evaluation and a scan to determine how Jake has responded to his cancer treatment.

The scan shows that the lymph nodes that were swollen before have completely gone down!  His tumor has shrunk down to about half it's size.  He is, apparently, improving at a normal rate.

Now I was ready to ask the scary question, what was his prognosis.  Well, they don't know yet.  They are hoping that the cancer disappears, but won't know for sure until they can test for the next 5 years and come up cancer free on a continuous basis.  Things look positive, though, so thank you for your prayers in his behalf.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow!

I don't know why I'm a little nervous for tomorrow!  Jake is getting some retesting done to evaluate how the treatment is going.  So far it has been mostly good news...but I fear there may be something heart breaking that we don't know about yet.  I stocked up on hugs from my friends on Saturday, just in case...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I remember when...

It wasn't too long ago, when my greatest worry was what to fix for dinner, how I was going to lose this extra weight and getting my kids through school.  I used to spend time clipping coupons, finding good deals on household items, planning get-togethers for family and friends, and the latest craft item in Homemaking.  No big challenges to handle, just being and doing. 

I was just floating along, really.  No need to know how to swim because I was always close to shore and could stand up if I got tired of paddling.  I wondered, then, what my next life challenges would be.  Now it feels as if I were thrown into the ocean, sometimes feeling it swallow me up in its massive, unforgiving, uncontrollable movement!  Unknown territory!  A place where your experience, wisdom and knowledge doesn't help you now. 

In the movie, Other Side of Heaven, when the men are thrown into the ocean with no land in sight, just huge waves crashing down on them, how would they know what direction to swim or if there was ever hope of reaching land while they were still alive?  Who finds their way in the middle of the ocean?  No landmarks to go by!  In the middle of a storm, you don't even have the heavens to show where you are!

I think the worse thing to do is to give up or do nothing.  Sinking is not moving forward.

There is always hope and courage to kick your legs and move your arms, to move forward.  Sometimes you find a life preserver to rest on while you find strength to go on.  Sometimes another swimmer comes along and pulls you up from the depths of the sea, just long enough for you to catch your breath and keep going.  You never know what God is going to send you to help you, but you know He will not forget.  He is aware and He will send you everything you need to make it through this storm, this challenge.  Amazingly, you see others trying to face their own challenges.  Sometimes they are swimming in the same current you are.  You find that even though you are struggling to make it through your own storm, reaching out and lifting them gives you more strength and power than you could imagine was possible!

Sometimes you wonder, isn't it enough that I have to swim this ocean?  Must there be waves to conquer, and rain and thunder and lightning and sea creatures?  Isn't it enough that I'm cold and wet and tired and afraid?

But, you keep going, one day at a time...and you learn things along the way, things that you would have never learned on dry land.  Things like patience, empathy, faith, long suffering, endurance, hope, love, what things you should value and cherish, what is truly unimportant...

...and when it's over, and were given the choice, would you choose not to make the journey?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

UEA Weekend

Dave took a few days for UEA weekend.  We hadn't been down to see Uncle Jack for a long time, so we loaded up the boys that were left home (Zack and Spencer) and headed South.  Dave got to help Uncle Jack feed the cows and I got to be the cook.  I love to make some good home cooking for Uncle Jack because he lives the bachelor's life and great meals are few and far between. The picture above is Maple Canyon.  I have some great memories here.  Uncle Jack and I used to ride up this canyon on the 4 wheelers.  Now he's 83 and doesn't go up much anymore.  He seems to get cold a lot lately.  I love the contrast of the rocks and trees here!  Our family used to camp here once a year and have a blast!  Now it's been overtaken by rock climbers.  The locals don't come here anymore.  It's still beautiful, though!
Spencer, Uncle Jack, Alan Bailey and Alan Bailey
Alan is my cousin by marriage (if you really stretch it!).  He helps Uncle Jack out all the time. He lives in Fountain Green.  He drove his team of horses over with his grandson, Alan.  He's pretty cool!  We like to kid and joke around!  He's good folks!
Bahbye Now!
Dave was having some allergy issues so we came back home Friday night, but not before we had some delicious pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy!  I checked on Jake on the way home and he was feeling ill.  I had John check to see if he had a fever and he did.  He was down in St. George visiting John and he forgot (so he says) to take his Neupogen shots with him.  His Uncle Scott is an OR nurse, but he was out of town (I'm sure he still doesn't know that Jake had to go the the ER).  Anyway, I called the on call doctor and they said to take him into the ER to get some antibiotics.  I'm so proud of Tyson (cousin) for having the smarts enough to call the bishop and have him give Jake a blessing before they took him in.  I was freaking out a little not being able to be there with Jake and make sure he was getting taken care of properly.  John did a good job, though.  They finally got checked out at 2 a.m.  Jake got home about 5:30, 6:00 p.m.

I got a call from an ER nurse requesting Jake to come back in and get admitted to the hospital.  The Hem/Onc consult doc wanted to give him some more antibiotics.  I politely told her "No Thanks!  We will follow up with our own docs here."  Jake wanted nothing to do with going back to the hospital!  Last time we had an ER visit, he was fine in the morning.  It didn't work out the same this time!  He still had a fever of 101.  No doctors I trust were available Saturday evening.  I knew I had to get some more antibiotics in him and some food.  With a little medical background, some research, common sense and a lot of faith, I found something that worked!  His fever was down this morning and completely gone by this afternoon!

I was pretty stressed and emotional all morning because the choir was meeting at my house and I wasn't sure if I would have to take Jake back to the ER this morning.  Wasn't sure if I could give my Primary lesson either.  It all worked out...somehow.  I was strengthened my some friends and the spirit at church.  I did get choked up, however, when they sang I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus in Primary because it now reminds me of John leaving home.  Jake gets another round of labs in the morning and if the counts are good, then we will stay the course.  If not, we will take a trip up to the clinic.

You know, I was so looking forward to a break from all this!  I guess it was silly of me to think, No chemo, no problems!  Sigh!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jake update 10/15

See Jake's Blog

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Well, I don't have any pics to share with this update, but this one about sums up what it looked like for John to leave home.  He hasn't accumulated much, so he didn't have much to take.  The most important things he wanted to pack were his golf clubs and his paintball stuff.  That's about all he took when he left home a few years back...he just wanted his golf clubs and paintball stuff.  Clothes were secondary items.  He borrowed the truck and headed to St. George to make a life for himself.  I attended a baptism of one of my Primary girls in the morning and reminisced about the day Jake and John were baptized.  His short life replayed itself in my mind and I found myself sobbing through the song, "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus". (I'm having a mommy crisis!  It's allowed!)  I went home and helped him pack everything into the truck.  I took him to lunch, but couldn't talk much without coming to tears.  He thinks I won't miss him much because I still have a house full of people here, but I will miss everything about him that I love.  I told him I was going to have a good cry after he left.  He said, "Oh, like you did when Zack left?"  That's the one!  That is the cry that lasts for months.  I broke down on the first hug good bye and told him,  "Don't get me wrong!  I'm glad you are getting on with your life, but I'm going to miss the heck out of  you!"  I told  him he might understand when he has his own kids just how much I love him.  Then I said, "Never mind!  Guys don't get this and you'll never be a mom!"  He agreed.  Then he did a couple of things.  I hugged him again before he left, then I watched the tail lights disappear around the corner with my son.  (Sigh!)  Bye Bye Baby Boy!  I Love you with all my breaking heart!
Jake & John

Sunday, October 3, 2010


 Dave let me shoot his AR15...every shot dead on!  Mostly I like to shoot the 22's.  I had fun popping the heads off those flowers!  I'd laugh every time I'd hit one! :)
 Mt Timpanogos from the West side of the lake.
 Iva and Gennie went with me up AF Canyon for a look at the fall colors.  Isn't she a cutie! :)
 I love this canyon!
 This is chemo Jake.  He is like this for about 2 days after chemo.  My friend, Sylvia, made this blanket for him because he spends the hot summer days wrapped up in quilts and blankets.  It's about 75 degrees in the house.
This is one of my favorite places to go!  I think it's called Strawberry Ridge.