Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Chemo Journey

If you ever wondered what it's like to come get chemo, this is where we start.

This is the cafeteria.  It's the first smell of the hospital.  If it's your first time, it can smell pretty good.  After a few months, if you're getting chemo, it's the first smell to make you nauseous.
This is a common sight in the hallways...mommy or daddy trying to pass the time with a little one.

This is the first stop...Hem/Onc Clinic.  The clinic doors open at 8:00 a.m. and that is when the fun begins for us.  We have to get up at 6:15 a.m. to get here on time.  If you're 5 minutes late, it usually holds up the process by 1/2 hour. 

Here we sit until the nurse is ready to weigh and take vitals.  Jake laughed at the nurse taking his height this time.  "I really don't think I'm growing anymore!"
With his height and weight, they can now order the chemo to be made up.  It takes hours, but that's ok because they have to make sure he is hydrated enough before they can start the chemo.

Then we get to sit in a room like this and ...wait!  On "long" chemo days, the home care nurse has already accessed his port and he has been having saline solution all night.  The nurse will start some more bolus of saline.  A doctor will come in and check on Jake, then we move on to the next room...

This is where we spend most of the day.  We pick a spot and there we stay!  This week we were in station 2.  Jake kinda likes the corner because it's not too bright and close to the bathroom.  They have Wii and Xbox 360, but after a few months of this, it gets old too.  At first, Jake would play the Xbox the whole time.  Now he listens to his music, plays on the laptop or watches movies if there is anything good on.  We watched How to Train a Dragon yesterday.  They change the movies about once a month.  The last two times we were here, we got to leave around 6:15 p.m.

If you're not so lucky to get your chemo done in one day, your are banished to this area of the hospital!  JK  This is where they keep the nicest nursing staff in all the hospital!  The nurses in clinic are pretty nice too!

This is the next stop.  This area of the hospital is filled with children with compromised immune systems, so it is critical that everyone makes a sanitizing stop.  Then you have to lift the phone to gain entrance.

This in the main nurses pod.  There are 4 hallways with additional nurses pods, so there is always a nurse right outside your door.

Dr. Wright, checking on Jake

This is where we spent the night last night.  Luckily, we had a room with a fabulous view.  Unluckily, it is foggy today!  The yellow chair folds out into a bed.  Not the most comfortable, but better than having to sleep in the rocking chair!  Because they continue to hydrate him, there are many trips to the bathroom throughout the night.  Lots of beeping going on, so very hard to get any sleep

I am so grateful we have never had to stay in the hospital more than one night!  Many of the parents here are here for months at a time.  They have showers here and there is a gym across the street, but I have never used them. 

This is the first time I have stayed overnight with Jake.  The other times, it was routine stuff, so I didn't mind leaving him here by himself.  But when his blood pressure dropped to 69/37, I couldn't leave!

I got this pillowcase from the parent craft room.  They have a box that has gifts for the siblings of cancer patients.  Most of the stuff is for the younger kids, but occasionally they have something the older boys like.  I would have ended with just making the pillow case, but whoever made this one, took extra time and care in putting on, not one, but two colorful borders.  I ended up using this pillow case because I can't stand the smell of the hospital bedding.  As I lay there, silently weeping over my child's illness I could feel the love that the maker of this pillowcase offered.  If their intent in donating this pillowcase was to bring some comfort to someone in the hospital, well it did that for me.

As I prayed for Jake that night, I felt all the mother's prayers going up from this hospital into a very nearby heaven.

This is Jake about 5 minutes ago.  He is so puffy from all the fluid they have been pumping into him.  It's about 11:30 A.M.  The doctor just told me he needs to stay for one more round of antibiotics at 4:15, then he can go home.  (big sigh!)

Abide with Me

Abide with me, ’tis eventide!
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on!
Within my heart a welcome Guest,
Within my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide!
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chemo week whatever...

So we get to the hospital at 8:05 a.m. and everything was going as planned.  His red and white counts were kind of low, so we said, lets get the transfusion today instead of coming back in a couple days.  It would add an hour or so to our stay, but it would be worth it.  Everything was going well until we got the last of the chemo.  He has to have some antibiotics and a drug that coats his bladder, so the chemo doesn't damage it.  Jake suddenly got very sick and extremely tired.  He started throwing up (sorry if that's TMI).  His blood pressure dropped dramatically and his heart was tachycardic (beating too fast).  They had planned to put us in short care until his medicine had finished being pumped into his body, but with this new development, he had to be admitted.

The doctor and nurses tried to get him to take some Tylenol, but he said he was too tired to swallow it.  He wouldn't take it for about an hour.  Finally, I told the nurse to just give it to him in a syringe, don't ask, just put it in his mouth and tell him to swallow!  Jake hates staying in the hospital, but at this point, he was too weak and tired to put up a fuss.  I told him earlier, if he would take the Tylenol, he wouldn't have to stay here...I couldn't convince him.

It's about 9:15 p.m. now.  His temerature is finally back to normal.  His blood pressure is still pretty low.  They have been giving him fluids, antibiotics, antinausea medicines and I'm not sure what else.  He hasn't peed for over 3 hours, which I think with all the fluids he's been getting, he should be about ready to explode!  Sorry, maybe more TMI (too much info.).  I'm pretty wiped out myself, but I can't decide if I should go home or not.  I really can't leave until I'm sure he's going to be ok.

Poor Jakey!  I can't imagine what this feels like for him. 

This is the kind of surprise I don't like!  Mostly because it doesn't make sense to me.  I need things to be normal.  Just when I think I know what normal is, it"s not again.  Sigh....

Well, we'll just "gird up our loins" and keep going.  What other choice do we have, right?  Like I tell my boys, you don't have to like it, it just have to do it!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Update time!

So it's time to update because let's face it, no updates is more boring than a boring update!
Dave:  Dave is boring.  He is coaching Spencer and the deacons in basketball and they won today!  Otherwise, he just goes to work, comes home and plays on his computer...zzzz.  We do try to get in a game of racquetball and we won most of the games today!   That was fun!

Me:  I have been painting and cleaning.  I painted grandma's room and Zack and I put some trim up.  Looks very nice!  I painted three doors and patched and painted some trim.  I shampooed the big couch, two recliners and two cars and got the boys to clean two of the other cars.  So nice to have things smelling clean!  I worked on the taxes and made a mess of my desk, which I will be tackling shortly.  We have spent so much money on medical this year, we will be getting a nice tax break.  However, I just found out that it will all be going right back into's the way it goes I guess.
Zack:  School.  He helped with my projects too.  Thanks Zack!  Lova ya, bud!
John:  More nothing, but he helped me with my projects too.  I'm constantly reminding him to get a life, in case he has forgotten. 
Jake:  Jake is "conquering cancer", as Dave puts it.  He was feeling better on Wednesday, so he went to Trafalga with John and Austin, then to Classic Skating.  Way to be active, Jake!
Mike:  Mike has a "girl friend", though I'm not suppose to call her that because she's not 16 quite yet.  They are head over heel in teenage love!  Her family loves him!  They haven't been on a date yet, but I'm sure they will be planning something next month.  His consequence of waiting to get his license is that he can't drive her around until May.  He is currently looking for a job so he can afford all the things he wants to buy her and the dates he wants to take her on.  Benefit from this relationship:  His room is clean!  Like!
Spencer:  Spencer and Mike have just started a new semester of school.  I'm encouraging him to play the piano and guitar dailey.  He doesn't like it much, but I'm trying to practice piano too, so I don't lose what I have learned and so that he doesn't feel like I'm asking him to do something I wouldn't be willing to do.  Probably not buying it, but it's worth a try!  He is playing basketball with the deacons and was excited to win their first game!  I'm surprised he likes playing because he doesn't seem like the sports type...but he tries, bless his heart!  Reminds me of me at that age.  Sorry you didn't get dad's genes in the sports department bud!
Grandma Holladay:  Grandma took a vacation to San Diego this month.  She is loving the warm weather!  I talked to her today and she wants to stay with my neice in Saratoga Springs when she gets back next week.  I guess we are too boring for her.  I am enjoying the break!  No wonder I have gotten so much done lately!

What's next?  Well, I am going to paint the main bathroom and the hall and bathroom downstairs, then I will call the painting good for a while.  So happy to have that all done!  The next project will be to clean out the garage and get it organized so it's useful to put stuff out there.  No, I guess I have a couple other projects before that.  I'm going to finish organizing the storage closet upstairs, the pantry and my storage closet downstairs.  I think I'm done doing craft stuff, so if anyone is interested in craft supplies, let me know.

Well, that wraps up January update!  I hope some fun happens soon, so I can have something more exciting to report!

Blog ya later!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why am I a Mormon?

I've thought long and hard about this question.  I look at the map on my blog and am inspired by the many strangers who visit here.  So it is to you, my unknown visitors that I direct this post.

If you have any questions about the LDS (Mormon) church please click on this link.LDS Church Info.
This site is sponsored by the LDS church so the information would be the most correct.

To answer my inquiry, I am Mormon because it makes me happy!  Simple as that!  Mormon doctrine teaches us to follow the example of Jesus and to follow all of the commandments, not just the convenient ones.  The Mormon Church has high standards, I love that!  We are taught to be charitable and to love our neighbor, no matter what religion or race, I love that!  We are taught to have integrity!  Who doesn't love that?  We are taught to love our families and that families are so important!  I love that!  We are free to choose, free agency is very important...sometimes I don't like this one so much, where it applies to my children, but it is God's plan and He knows best.  We are taught to be self sufficient...wouldn't the world be in a much better place if everyone had the attitude that they would take care of themselves for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do they part?  Sometimes that choice is taken from you and you have to rely on others, but more often than not, if we are prepared, we can take care of our selves and our own.

I don't believe all the church doctrine blindly.  I am an intelligent woman and I have questioned and researched the things that I believe!  What I have concluded is that living the high standards of God and of the Church makes me HAPPY!  I feel loved and accepted by God.  I feel peace!

Does everything go my way?  Absolutely not!  However, lots of things do...I am very blessed!  If you have kept up on my blog or read some of the past entries you know I have challenges, just like you!  I am grateful for the challenges God has put in my life!  I have grown so much!  I'm am also grateful that I don't have your challenges...because, I wouldn't fare so well.  Give cancer to big deal!  Give cancer to my I have to trust that God knows what's best for my child...and all the others that it affects!

Why am I Mormon?  Because it makes me happy and I have peace and love in my life!  My prayer, is that whatever religion you believe and are a part of, you can have God and Jesus in your life, and feel that same peace and love that resonates in mine!

May I leave you my testimony, that I know that Jesus Christ is real, that He lives and loves us, and He wants us to follow Him, so that one day we can live with Him in heaven.  I bear this testimony in His name.

Rose Sweet Holladay

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What did summer look like again?

 Oh Ya!  Now I remember!
Near Strawberry Lake

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Hope is a powerful thing!  Loss of hope can be devastating.  But hope, coupled with faith, makes it easier to get up in the morning with a good attitude.  It's great to tell people that you're doing fabulous and mean it!  I mean it because I have hope that things are going to get better and I am grateful that things are not worse!

We have been blessed in many, many ways, and for that reason, we live an awesome life!  Thanks for being part of it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cool pics

This was an odd day in August 2010.  The first picture was taken in Orem, Utah and the second is Mt. Timpanogos near my house in Lehi.  I thought the lighting was cool and I just happened to have my camera with me.