Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Hair

Ok so many people have asked me lately, since my hair is growing has Kara colored it? and I can proudly say NO, I have not had anything put on my hair since I lost it all to Chemo I wish my hair was a little lighter but I'm not ready for an appointment with Kara yet. When my hair is wet, it's curly, really curly, I have to comb it down while it's wet to take the curl out. I am so excited to have curly hair, it's always been completely straight so this is something new for me. I love that I can actually run my fingers through my hair now, I measured it today and it's one inch on the first layer. The top layers of hair are now starting to grow up and out, a little uncontrollable and I love it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's all about timing.

My visit with the doctor on Wednesday has so far paid off in the sleep catagory, the past 2 nights I have slept really well, but I don't want to rely on drugs to help me sleep again, that was a nightmare to get myself off of those.... however last night I dreamed of running again, my son in law Brian was my trainer (hee hee) and I have to say in my dream he was a good trainer and pushed me hard, running bleachers he was a meanie !!! Funny that I dream of running again, I always hate starting anything ... a diet, working, cleaning, and a new workout. I was training for a marathon when I was diagnosed, a life long dream of mine to run a marathon and I had planned it for October of 2009. When that day came and went I mourned it, I had worked so hard and felt like for once in my life I was going to finish something I started. Now I can think of it again, my plan is to run in October of 2011, my son Blake will be home from his mission and he asked me to not run it until he gets home, it's perfect timing I won't be ready until then anyway. I'm hoping to be able to start running again in January, if all goes well with my next surgery and recovery it should be the perfect time, anyone want to join me?
The good Lord has a way of making my mournings and difficult times work themselves out, its all about timing. I will run that marathon, and when I finish it's going to be a milestone for me, extremely emotional and a step forward in my new way of life. I won't let the VILLAIN get the best of my dreams, I have too many things to do.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is it ok to ask about religion?

Today I'm asking myself this question "Is it OK to ask another person what religion they are?" I ask this question because today was quite a day for me. I had to go to US AIRWAYS corporate center and have a drug test done. When I arrived at the Clinic they had me fill out some forms and then I waited until the nurse came and escorted me to this room where she asked me to
1st put my purse into a locker before I enter the bathroom,
2ND wash my hands without soap, take the plastic container and go in the bathroom and
3rd DO NOT FLUSH THE TOILET. Confident in myself I went in sat down and tinkled in the cup, when I came out
she said "that is not enough, you need to go out in the waiting room and drink water, when you are ready we will take you back in"
I sat in that waiting room for an hour and a half until
I finally asked "can I just come back tomorrow?" then she said "if you do we will have to write you down as REFUSAL TO TAKE DRUG TEST, then US AIRWAYS can terminate you" so quietly I sat back down and waited for my body to process the water, I drank about 15-20 cups of water and was feeling sick to my stomach not to mention light headed. I then asked if I could go out to my car and get my strawberries and tomatoes I left out there, the answer "NO, you cannot leave the clinic" so I waited, watched the same doctor TV show over and over, I can tell you anything you need to know about diabetes, pesticides on your veggies and fruit and why organic is better, flossing your teeth, and colon cancer. Finally I had to tinkle, in fact I had to tinkle badly and I filled that cup up. ha ha

Ok so after 3 hours at the clinic, I needed to stop by TARGET on my way home, I was looking for my favorite pajamas. While in TARGET Mayo Clinic called to ask me some info about a test I have coming up, she asked me who my oncologist was but I was not sure I heard her right so I repeated "who is my oncologist?" I told her Doctor Norhtfelt, when I got off the phone this girl probably in her early 20's walked up to me and said "excuse me, do you have cancer?" I replied "yes I do" she then said to me "do you need a church to go to?" I politely said to her "no, but thank you for asking" she then said "do you believe in GOD?"
I said " I do" with a puzzled look on her face she said "what religion are you?" I politely said "LDS, some know us as MORMONS"
and what happened next was shocking she immediately covered her mouth with her hands and gasped for air, I said "are you OK?" tears filled her eyes and she said "OMG that is the most awful, least christian church on the earth" seriously? I didn't know what to say, how rude I thought. then she looked at me put her arm around my shoulders as if to lead me out of HELL and said "I am going to save you, I can help you get away from your husband we have shelters you can go to" at this point I am so confused and irritated I told her to please leave me alone and I walked away. I'm still not sure why she asked me about the VILLAIN, the only thing I can think of is that she could use it to start the conversation, or that she thought if I was going through treatments and I didn't have something to believe in that she could help me.

I'm ok with sharing what you believe in, there are missionaries of all religions who go door to door and express what they believe in. This past year I have met some of the most incredible Christians I have ever known, I've had people approach me at Mayo and ask if we can pray together, and right there in the middle of Mayo Clinic we hug, bow our heads and say a prayer. More people than I can think have come up and asked me for my name and if it would be ok if they took my name to their prayer circle, I'm always so touched when that happens. Do I think because we are different religions that those prayers are not being heard by GOD? Absolutely not, just the opposite, some of the most sincere, pure prayers I have ever heard have come from strangers who have faith and love for the same Heavenly Father that I believe in. This is what I think, people are good, most people believe in something, everyone should be true to themselves. I don't ever want to limit my relationships to those who share my same religion, there is so much to learn and so many wonderful people to learn from. We should all be tolerant and respectful to others in life, and in religion. To tell another person that what they believe in is WRONG.. and that you have all the answers ...is more WRONG. If I have ever made someone feel like what they believe in is silly or less important then what I believe in I say "I am sincerely sorry" I felt so awful today, I was personally and spiritually attacked, I never want anyone to ever feel what I felt today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr. Peter Kreymerman explains Capsular Contrature

Ok so I admit I know nothing about medical terms. When Dr. Kreymerman explained to me what Capsular Contrature was, I just put it in the back of my head and thought "I have no idea what he is talking about" Last night was another long night of insomnia, even after taking my meds to help me sleep I still couldn't sleep, I google searched Capsular Contrature. I saw the scariest pictures I have ever seen of women who had mastectomy's and recon surgery gone wrong, it made me even more grateful for Dr. Kreymerman. My breasts have been so tight and hard and it is very painful, the pain never goes away. I always feel so bad when my grandson tries to lay his head on my chest and he can't because it's too hard, I'm afraid he might hit his head on them and get hurt ha ha
Dr. Kreymerman explained to me that radiation can cause them to harden, he will fix it during my next surgery, of coarse he will, he can do it all.
Ok so what I found out about Capsular Contrature, its when a capsule forms, which is comprised of fibrous tissue.
in some people, the capsule will tighten, and squeeze the expander. This makes the breast feel hard, and distorts the appearance of the breast. In the later stages, the expander feels very firm, and may take on a "ball-like" look.
I like to be educated on what is going on with my body, but I have such a weak stomach, I searched over 50 websites last night some of them showing actual surgery and cutting it made me sick.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

On days when I feel like I just don't measure up as a mother I watch this video to get some eternal perspective

Monday, July 26, 2010

Would you do it Over?

Someone recently asked me this question--
"If you knew at age 20 exactly how your life would end up, would you change the coarse of it?" I said "no question about it, NO I would not change anything" She was a little surprised by my answer and told me that she would change a lot if she had the chance. OK so for me, and this is obviously not for everyone, I think all the trials and pain that I have seen in my life has made me who I am. It's hard to imagine any other life other than the one I've lived. I think I knew before I came to earth some of the trials I would have to endure, it's selfish to think we could all go through life without any problems, solving those problems and finding a solution is what makes us stronger, it's what builds character.
We often, me included, complain about our lives and some of the decisions we've made, however, they were OUR decisions and we have to unfortunately live with the consequences of our choices. I'm glad that we have agency to choose for ourselves the path that we will take, but those choices are not free they usually come with a consequence.
It's when agency is taken away and someone or something else makes a choice for your life that we really learn to develop strength, patience and endurance. This is when true character is tested, how the trial will effect your life is still your choice. You choose to learn and grow from it or let it fester and grow into an evil disease that is soon not easy to recognize and takes over your life. The VILLAIN is my great adversary, but I have learned that in this life our enemies can become our choicest friends; the secret is in learning what to do with the conflict

Sunday, July 25, 2010

To Do List

I was going to call it a bucket list but I was thinkin' that makes it sound like I think I might die soon, and I don't. So it is going to just be my 'TO DO" LIST..... things I would like to do before I die ..... someday, they are in no particular order and I realize over the years it may change but for today in 2010 this is it:

1. Go to Paris With Eric ....life long dream he took the girls a few years ago (daddy daughter trip)
2. Take my entire family to Nauvoo
3. Serve a mission with Eric
4. Visit Savannah Georgia and eat at Paula Deans restaurant
5. Run a Marathon
6. Give more than I have been given (not sure if this is even possible)
7. Write a book (another life long dream)
8. Learn to play tennis (I don't even know the rules)
9. Learn to use my camera on manual
10. Attend the Olympics (anywhere)
11. Live long enough to see Recker Get baptized
12. I have always wanted to go to Tahiti ...i think BORA BORA will do



Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm a People Watcher

OK so today I'm walking through COSTCO just browsing, looking at books checking out the latest and greatest , gettin' my strawberries watching people try out the samples ha ha I love to people watch and I do it a lot. This guy had his 2 boys with him, probably ages 5 and maybe 7 (just a guess) he was looking at something on one of the end caps and one of his boys knocked a loaf of bread off of his cart ..... wholly cow you would of thought the boy just broke a crystal chandelier or something the man started yelling soooooo loud at the boy, telling him he was stupid and that he needed to be taught a lesson and then he slapped him over the head. The boy coward down, as if he knew it was coming. Seriously ???? was I seeing and hearing this , I saw the entire episode play out like a LIFETIME movie, he continued to scream at the boy and yank on his hair and arm.... you know I can't let it go .... I walked right up to the man as calm as can be and said "seriously dude, it was a loaf of bread, do you really think he deserved all that, you better leave him alone or I will call the cops" and I put my arm around the boy wanting to take him away. What do you think the guy said to me? "mind your own business, he's MY kid not yours" I was so upset I said "actually he is not a possession, he was sent here as a gift to you, for a very short time and you are treating him like dirt" Then something happened I was not expecting he looked at his little boy, who by the way had huge tears in his eyes and he said "I am so sorry" ok so now I'm feeling a little weird and kinda uncomfortable because now what do I do? I just looked at him and said "ok, then just be nice"
I walked off, and a little while later I saw them in the store and the little boy smiled at me, I smiled back hoping he was going to be ok. It seems I always have these weird things happen when I am around, not sure why maybe because I am a people watcher.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Fun Visit With Doctor Peter Kreymerman

Today was my appointment with my most favorite doctor of all time Doctor Peter Kreymerman. First things first, I asked him if anything new and exciting was happening in his life he answered "yes, we are pregnant" at first I thought he asked if I was pregnant, my reaction was "uh, no I'm not" as I patted my belly then I realized he was talking about his wife., ha ha ha. I am so excited for them, they will be having a little baby girl at the end of November. He looked so happy, and I'm sure his wife is cute as can be pregnant. He better be good to her.... ha ha Heather is on vacation this week, we missed seeing her.
Since Mayo is a teaching clinic he had a beautiful young student with him who has been learning from PK since the middle of June. I asked her if he was a good teacher she said he is wonderful to work with..... I knew he would be. PK and Tamy got into some medical jargon about my breasts, some people would think "how embarrassing, or how strange" but it's not I have been so exposed this past year nothing really bothers me in fact I had no idea what the heck they were saying, I say just call it what it is HARD AS ROCK BOOBS. Good thing Tamy knows this stuff, she always explains it to me, still even her explanations are way over my head.
I was telling PK about my anxiety attack I had last night. I was sitting on my bed reading but my thoughts were everywhere. Eric is out of town, its the 1st time he has left me since my diagnosis, and he calls me a lot, but last night I could not control my thoughts and fears and I began to freak out. I was trying to think of ways to control it so I got some nail polish (bright pink) and started painting my fingernails, what? I have never had colored paint on my nails, especially not bright pink... I kinda liked it, ok so back to the attack soon I fell asleep. When I woke up this morning my nails were seriously JACKED UP, I found some remover and took off the polish. I'm not sure if this worked or if it was just really really weird. I love talking to PK because he listens, and I'm quite sure he thinks I'm a little strange, but he always laughs and makes me feel comfortable. I asked PK if he liked my hair and he smiled and politely said "yes, but I liked your long hair better" that made me happy, finally someone who can be honest. I liked my long hair better too. My oncologist, I love too, but I can't joke with him like I do PK, today I was thinking I need to find a way to get Dr. Northfelt to laugh.
We laughed and joked with PK for about 1/2 hour. I told him about some of my experiences I have had since losing my hair, the lady who asked me "did you cut your hair like that on purpose?" or the lady in Walmart who told me my haircut was really bad and gave me the business card of a stylist, and best of all the lady from Subway who hit on me. PK laughed and gave me a big hug, he also said the same thing Eric did "take it as a compliment" After he examined me PK said it all looks good, surgery is in on the schedule for October 12th. I am grateful for Doctor Kreymerman, I wish every VILLAIN patient could experience the compassion, whit and professionalism I have experienced with him. I know going into surgery I am going to be in good hands, Doctor Kreymerman cares for his patients.
After PK I had another appointment to get my PORT flushed, (something I have to do once a month) walking into the Hospital I started to get the panic feeling but Tamy was so good about keeping my mind on other things. I know I can do hard things but it helps to have Tamy with me, she is a gift from Heaven. Thank You Girl.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Live and die with no Regrets

I will be seeing Dr. Kreymerman on Wednesday. I asked Tamy if she would mind going with me, she seems to be able to calm me down when I have my anxiety and she is comfortable with Dr. Kreymerman and his staff. I feel much better about the trip out to the Phoenix Hospital knowing she will be with me, besides going to lunch afterward is a huge highlight of my week.
I've heard people say when someone is struck by a sudden heart attack or someone who dies in their sleep "it was a good way to go" and maybe it is, however it's an end that leaves us without any chances for preparation, exchanges of feelings, or an occasion to get closure on an incomplete relationship. I don't want this for myself, no matter what I end up dying from, I want to be able to take time with my family and friends.
Today the word "cancer" is no longer a death sentence for everyone it strikes. But it does suggest it's shadow. To so many patients including me, this dark cloud of cancer in my life has given me time to think about my life.  What I want to do with it, how I want to spend the rest of it. It's the time to begin living in such a way that the day I do die, I can look back with dignity and integrity. On that day I want to say farewell with a feeling of peace, with no regrets. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet cancer survivors that are realistic, who know the odds of survival but who are positive and have made great changes in their lives, for these people I have noticed that they have lived far beyond what the statistics or doctors have told them they would. For me there has been a fear of unfinished stories. The best way to prepare for our final farewell is to make one last try while you can. Write the poem you've always wanted to write, take a trip you've dreamed of, spend QUALITY time with the ones you love, finally, truly forgive those who have offended you. I think it would be easier to forgive our own imperfections if we did this.
The fact is when we turn the page to a new life we leave behind some old habits and begin looking to our future with eyes wide open and a heart full of love and appreciation far beyond what we ever thought we could.
Yes, it is true I may die earlier than I could of forseen, but is also possible that I'll live much longer, Whatever happens, I'm going to live my life as well as I can, for me it's the only way to prepare for whatever happens.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dinner with the Scows/Wilkins


Dinner with my favorite people.... I love you Jenster !!!! More than you will ever know I love that you sometimes say or do something that is exactly what I need to hear, I admire your spirit and your goals you have for your life. We will still be rockin' in those chairs when we're 80 hopefully by then we should have the world problems solved... love you girl xoxo monya

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ANXIETY

WOW it is 2:00 am and I can't sleep. My mind is racing, I'm thinking about Blake, Haleigh in Utah, my next surgery, seeing Doctor Kreymerman this next week. My house is so quiet but my ears are ringing so loud, not sure what that's all about. I feel so tired but cannot sleep, in fact I am exhausted.
Today I went out to the Mayo Scottsdale Campus to pick up a letter from Doctor Northfelt. I called him and asked if it was ok for me to return to work, he wrote me a letter to give to USAIRWAYS, if all goes as I want it to I will be returning to work on July 26th, he is allowing me to return part time until my next surgery. I have not been working since June of last year, so back to training I will go. I have some anxiety about returning, but I feel like it may help me to get past some of the thoughts and feelings I am dealing with right now. Anxiety is a word I never really had in my vocabulary a year ago and i now i feel like it is a regular question asked by each doctor I see "how are you dealing with your anxiety?" or "I hope you understand that all cancer patients end up with anxiety" " do we need to write you a prescription for your anxiety?" I think of all the symptoms I've been left with I despise the anxiety the most, it comes on so suddenly, I try to not think about the villain but it is next to impossible, I seriously put it to a test everyday saying "ok for one minute, right now, I am not going to think about it" looking at the clock waiting, waiting doing good 30 seconds passes.... BOOM there it is. I've tried relaxation cd's, praying, reading, exercising nothing seems to help. I know it is normal, but I don't want to be a normal cancer patient ... ha ha I wish. On my way to the Mayo today, I could hardly breathe I had to pull over and say a prayer, then just walking into the building made me sick to my stomach. I don't know why I get that reaction sometimes at the Mayo, it has been such a great blessing in my life and so much of my healing has come to me in that buidling, physically and spiritually. I love all my doctors and the nurses and staff have been wonderful, but the smell and fear I get when I enter alone is unbearable sometimes.
Well, for now I will not even try to understand it all, I'm off to bed I still need to read from Preach My Gospel tonight.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer 2010













We enjoyed the 4th of july at our condo in Mexico, and now we are in the cool weather of Park City Utah. I love spending time with my family.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recker Love

His laughter is contagious. I am the most blessed grandma in the world. Life is perfect with Recker in it.

video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Love From The DR

I love Wednesdays when I can stalk my emails waiting to hear from Blake, today he sent these pictures and said he is so happy. He is now in his 10th month and the language is great, he is able to communicate very well with the people. His new companion does not know any English so he is looking forward to getting spanish mastered even better the next 6 weeks. It makes my heart happy to know he is doing what he wants to do right now.

Elder Williams (Blake) and his new companion Elder Miranda

Elder Williams (Blake) and Darlin at his baptism

Elder Miranda, Arlyne and Elder Williams

Members who came to the baptism

Darlin and his Familia

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Perspective

Last year Eric and I were enjoying the 4th of July at our condo in Mexico, and although he and I have always enjoyed our time together I think I have taken it for granted. I knew that he and I would be together forever, so I think I never really enjoyed the little things, always expecting big things to be the attraction. I have come to understand and appreciate things like a husband who listens to his wife get sick but who still wants to kiss her, not for his own satisfaction but to show his pure love for her. Eric so many times during my sickness this past year has gone the extra mile to make sure I was comfortable, he never wanted me to be in pain or be embarrassed about how I looked, he has told me everyday how beautiful I am, I know when I look in the mirror he and I are not looking at the same person. Now here it is one year later, we are at the condo in Mexico and my perspective is so different. Everyday since we have been hear I have taken some time to myself to sit on the beach and reflect. Today I watched two little boys, they looked like brothers, laughing and dunking each other in the water, their laughter was contagious. I found myself completely engrossed in their childhood play. I don't think I would of taken the time to enjoy that moment a year ago. I watched a little fish who was obviously new at swimming, he was getting a little too close to the shore, as he worked so hard to get out into the ocean a huge wave would push him up a little closer to the beach and again and again he would work hard to get free. Finally after near exhaustion he made it and off he went into the deep blue ocean where he belongs. WOW, that reminded me so much of my journey this past year, every time I would get past one hurdle I felt like a huge wave was smashing me against a rock and more bad news would come, I feel like I am still swimming against the waves but not drowning. Finally I think I can breathe a little, moving forward is really hard knowing the VILLAIN can take over again, the only difference now is I'm forced to think about it, before I never thought VILLAIN would be in my vocabulary. Tonight I sit in my condo listening to the fireworks going off, totally happy and content watching my little grandson crawl around, listening to Kayla and Jeremy play a game at the kitchen table and knowing Eric and Haleigh are down at the beach enjoying the festivities. Right now at this moment I could not be more satisfied with my life for me this is what it is all about.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Embrace it, Enjoy it

Today I decided there are so many good reasons to have short chemo hair:

1. I can get ready to go anywhere in 15 minutes
2. No matter how much I run my fingers through it, it does not get dirty and always stays in shape
3. Even the heavy winds don't mess it up
4. My grandson can't pull it out
5. I have saved a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner
6. No blow drying or straightening it dries in about 5 minutes
7. It's thicker and healthier than it's been since I was a baby (no chemicals)
8. Lots of savings on haircuts and highlights
9. I've been told it brings out the color of my blue eyes
10. It's the new me (well for now anyway)

Not sure if I will ever have my long hair again, so for now I am embracing this new look of mine. I'm not "in love" with the look but I have no choice so I'll find every bit of good in it I can.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Look for the Blog

Since I'm trying a new way of life, I decided to go all out and try a new blog look too. Everytime I logged on to my blog I got this feeling the VILLAIN was lingering around. This new look I think will help me to move forward, what do you think? I'm loving the new lighter feeling, thank you Michelle I love it.