Friday, April 30, 2010

So Sad

Blake wrote home this week to tell us he had to have his finger nail and part of his finger removed, he got an ingrown finger nail a few months ago and it has gotten progressively worse over the months. He had to spend the night in Santiago so he could have the procedure done in the morning. He said they did not deaden it, I was freaking out. Then they gave him some ibuprofen, he popped 4 in his mouth, then he said she was freaking out. I said "why did the surgeon freak out, I would of taken 6" he said "surgeon????? she was no surgeon" after that I stopped asking questions, it's scary what some missionaries who serve in 2nd or 3rd world countries have to endure.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Letter

Ray and Vi with the Kids
Raylani, Eric, Doran and Kurt

Ray and Vi on their Wedding Day

My most favorite woman in the world was Eric's mom Viola Williams, I really loved spending time with her, she always made everyone feel like they were her best friend, she made everyone feel important. She served a mission in Hawaii, the Polynesian people loved her dearly, as did so many people.
When Eric and I were engaged she passed away from breast cancer. Her marriage to Ray (Eric's Dad) was magical, they loved each other so much, I remember so many times coming into the house and Vi and Ray would be snuggled up on the sofa laughing they sincerely loved and cherished each other. When she died a part of him died, a part of everyone who knew her died, her children adored her and it seemed that their hearts were crushed.
Ray passed away a year and a half ago, his wife Betty cannot live alone and her children have placed her in an senior living community. Last week Eric and I met his sister Raylani and his brother Kurt over at dad's house so they could split things up. I went into Vi and Rays bedroom and in the closet was a very old yellowing envelope that said Eric on the front, I opened it not knowing what I was going to see and to my surprise was a letter to Eric from his mom. As I began to read the letter my eyes filled up with tears and it made it difficult to read. The part I loved the most about this letter was that Vi was really sick with cancer when she wrote it, she has asked Eric and Ray to give her a blessing, she said it was a very special experience for her, knowing that her son and husband could put their hands on her head and give her a blessing, she said it was every mothers dream to have her son be worthy enough to bless her. She went on to tell him how proud she was of him and the life he has built by including the Lord in his decisions, and that he should never take his Priesthood for granted, it will be such a great blessing in your life. Reading this letter was so touching to me, especially knowing her, knowing her spirit and testimony. I remember how much she suffered with breast cancer, and did not want to leave her family. Not knowing what the future will bring is difficult and Vi was a perfect example of someone who had complete faith and understood the atonement. It's interesting the things we cherish as we get older, it's not the car, or the house, not the lavish vacations but I have come to realize that what I treasure the most in my life are little things like this letter, they mean so much and are valuable not to the bank but to my heart. I think it's time for me to write letters to my children.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hard Things

A couple of weeks ago Vicki Walker talked at church about hard things and how we deal with them. Today as I looked around during sacrament I saw people that I love who have endured Hard Things in their lives. The person who has suffered from the loss of a child ... could I do that? My children mean so much to me they are the reason I don't give up some days, living without one of them would be the hardest thing I could imagine going through. I am grateful for the knowledge that I will live with my family forever, I have a testimony of the plan of salvation.
What about the person I know who has been through a divorce, would I be the bitter woman who cannot forgive? I might, a divorce takes so much out of a person. I know women who have lost their husbands to cancer and heart attacks, they are some of the strongest women I know, how do they do that? Parents who's children are addicted to pornography, drugs or alcohol, my heart aches for them. The hold that Satan has on those kids is real and it's all consuming. The sleepless nights, being on bended knee pleading with the Lord to help your son or daughter can be a heart breaking experience. Then there are the couples who do everything right, but because of this economy they lose their jobs, homes and for the 1st time in their lives they are questioning themselves, wondering how this could happen.
Most everyone I know has been through hard things in their life, some learn from it and never forget how in despair the Lord really did comfort and bless them, some walk away from life and choose to not look back, blaming life's trials on others. There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to decide if we are on the Lords side or not. I have learned that having faith is not a convenience, we cannot decide to have faith when things go wrong and expect those trials to be taken away suddenly because we have faith. However, I do believe for some of us who are stubborn it takes time to learn to turn things over to the Lord and ask him to teach us, sincerely ask Heavenly Father to bless us with his love. Even through disasters and hard times in our lives we can find some relief by staying close to what we know to be true. Now that I understand WHO I AM, and that part of Heavenly Father lives in me, I know he has made promises that will come true, I know I am a woman of great worth and a daughter of HIM who loves me and wants me to succeed and be happy. I know he looks down on me and his love surrounds me even during Hard Things.

One of her many talents ... Haleigh

Hales is taking a photo class and has gotten so good at taking pictures, these are some of the ones she took yesterday of her friend Katie Smith.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Muscles have Memory

Going into this 3rd week of radiation I am starting to feel the side effects of it. The fatigue is weird, it feels like something is not right in my head,like my equilibrium is off and my head is fuzzy. Fatigue is different than being tired.
I am still dealing with the neuropathy in my legs but I think I have learned to just live with it for now. When I am through with radiation I can see a naturalpathic doctor. Eric contacted one that he knows and he said it is best to wait because most Naturalpathic doctors use alot of antioxidants, while in radiation I was told to not use any antioxidants or vitamins. The way it was explained to me is that during radiation all of my cells are being zapped, the good and the bad, if I am feeding the good ones with antioxidants it will interfere with the radiation therapy.
Yesterday I started back at the gym, I took a cycling class. Tonight when I finished cylcing I could feel that my muscles were remembering my workouts a year ago. I am told that muscles have memory. As I cycled tonight I got a little teary eyed I hope I am able to continue through my radiation. The radiation techs told me to take it slow and not to over do it. That is so hard, all my cycling friends were there on the same bikes, in the front row. I got on that bike right next to all of them and had a hard time not taking off and pushing myself. I was cycling 2 classes a day, plus either a weight class or another cardio class usually two-two and half hours a day 6 days a week, as much as I want to be able to do all that again, I know it will take time and I have to listen to what my body is telling me. I promised my doctor I would stop if I get too tired and fatigued. I think he felt like he was tired of me asking "can I go back to the gym?" So for now I am taking it slow and trying to be grateful for what I CAN do, and not focusing on what I CANT do.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Relay For Life 2010

My sister Sonya organized TEAM MONYA. This is the 1st year I have ever participated in this event. Everyone of my children have been apart of Relay for years but I never really knew what it was about until tonight. It was an emotional night for me and so many survivors of the VILLAIN. The night began with all the survivors making the 1st lap around the track, I walked with Dena Weech, a friend of mine from my ward she is a survivor of non-hotchkins lymphoma for 5 years now. As Dena and I walked we had a conversation about this VILLAIN that both of us know all too well. I told her that I am realizing that VILLAIN victims are in a society of their own, no-one can understand that society unless they are a victim to it, and breast cancer patients also in a world of their own, I feel their pain and know the anxiety of losing breasts to the VILLAIN. I also know that the way I feel right now, if I were to be told the VILLAIN is taking over other areas of my body I would not do this fight again, yes you heard it right, I would give up, I can't do chemo again ..... however, Eric made a good point to me when he said "I know you, you would fight again, it's like having a baby, no-one ever thinks about having another baby right after they have one" I agree, right now it's all too fresh, I remember the pain and the sickness and since I am still in treatment I guess I should not be too eager to say what I would do.
Last night I met so many survivors who have fought and won their battles, they have been free of the VILLAIN for years and years, going through this it's easy to get discouraged when you hear about the ones who fought and lost their battle. I think the stories that touched me the hardest were the children who have become victim to this awful disease. Knowing what I know about the VILLAIN I don't ever want my children to experience this like I have, and to see such young children was heart wrenching, as a mother it would be so difficult to watch your child suffer. I wonder how Heavenly Father could watch his SON suffer in the garden for all of our sins and pains, HE must of wanted to take away HIS SONS pain. It makes me think ..... besides all my fellow breast cancer patients, HE is the only other who understands, truly understands our pain HE felt the pain of neuropathy, the sickness of chemo and the fatigue of radiation. This is comforting, I can't explain it but I am overwhelmed knowing that when I pray for peace and for hope HE gets it, HE knows me and what I am feeling, when I can't explain my fears to anyone HE understands, I know Heavenly Father would love to take away my pain, but HE can't this is my journey, and I have learned so much about myself, our family has had so many blessings come because of and in-spite of the VILLAIN.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Haleigh, Maddy Brown and Alyssa Brimhall all went to Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity, Haleigh said it was a life changing opportunity. I am so grateful she was able to go and enjoy serving other people.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Got Hair?

OK so this morning, I was looking in the 15x magnifier mirror I have in my bathroom and guess what???? I have some hair growing in.... kinda more like peach fuzz but still it's starting. Of course I asked Eric "do you see the hair growing on my head?"and he replied "um.... yeah sure .... " I said "it's there I promise .... look in MY mirror" I love Eric ... funny guy!!!
I've been told that hair grows kinda funky after chemo, I have always been a true blonde but it looks kinda dark coming in so we will see in a few months.
This must be the day to remind me of my non existent hair, because on the way to the Mayo this morning I pulled up behind this car that had a huge print on their back window that read GOT HAIR ? I busted up laughing at the irony of this morning.
Losing my hair was one of the most devastating parts of this whole journey. We live in a world that cares about HAIR, I never realized how much I cared about my hair until I didn't have it anymore. I had to come to grips with the fact that I am vulnerable and needed to ask the Lord for strength to understand why this was happening to me. I even doubted if I was being heard, and then out of the blue an answer would come and say to me "be still and know that I am God, rise up and listen to me, in my eyes you are beautiful" I have come to understand that I am a divine daughter of Heavenly Father, that he will wrap his arms around me and comfort me when I am feeling discouraged. More times than I can ever remember before doing, I have knelt in quiet prayer and asked him to help me fight this battle and win. There have been times when I have felt small and insignificant during this journey, then he has answered my prayers, he has calmed many storms in my heart that I thought I could not conquer. I will never be the same person, I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I know without a doubt that in all of our lives there are going to be trials, temptations and difficult times it's part of HIS plan, we can't grow and learn unless we are able to overcome and know that HE can be our constant guide if we will let him. I am HIS beautiful daughter of GOD, with or without hair he loves me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is the guy that makes everything worth it right now .....

Friday, April 9, 2010

5th day of Radiation

Today was my 5th day of radiation. Yesterday and today Eric was off so he went with me. The radiation technicians took him back and showed him all the machines and let him watch while they radiated me .... he said it was really interesting. While Eric was there he was talking to Chris (radiation tech) who was with me everyday this week, come to find out they have a mutual friend. I have to say that the technicians who work with me everyday are the nicest, most compassionate people I have met at MAYO. Finishing this 1st week of radiation has been therapeutic for me .... I think I have been really anxious.
My skin is a little red, but I was told by the technicians that the side effects will not really be seen until after the 2nd week. Right now I am feeling so much better, I have put some fears aside and I am ready to conquer this radiation mile-stone.
I am so looking forward to Haleigh getting home on Sunday. She has been gone for 10 days doing Humanitarian work in Guatemala. Eric and I have missed her so much ... she really lights up our home when she is here. I told her a couple of weeks ago she is not allowed to go to school out of Arizona, I am sure of that decision now. I have heard some parents say they can't wait until all the kids are out of the house, but I don't feel that way at all .... I miss the hussle and bussle of life when they are here, and I miss the friends who come to visit when they lived here. If I had my way they would all live in Arizona.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I want my life back

This is going to be raw and really honest right now ........ not that I haven't been honest all along, everything in my blog is for the purpose of journaling. I want to be able to look back and remember everything I have been through, also for my posterity to be able to learn from my experiences. I was told right after I fond out about my VILLAIN, that someday my son who is serving a mission in the DR will want to read this journal and understand all that has happened while he was serving the LORD, maybe he will understand more about the blessings that have actually come to our family while he was gone. I also wanted to journal exactly what happens to breast cancer patients, I have looked back already and read some of my entries, especially when I needed to know about side effects or something a doctor has told me.
So hear goes.....
I have not slept more than a couple of hours since Sunday night. I have been throwing up and my stomach aches, I also lost 7 pounds, I'm not completely sure why. It is the worst feeling to stare at the ceiling fan all night just waiting for the sun to rise, 3 nights in a row. I'm not sure I can do that again, I might just go crazy in my head. Since I started radiation I have been really depressed and lonely, feeling like WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END. This morning I layed with Eric on the sofa watching Recker laugh, still there is something inside of me that is scared. I did not want Eric to go to work, I miss him when he is gone the house is so quiet and I feel sad. When Eric left for work this morning I was crying, I told him I WANT MY LIFE BACK, he hugged me and told me that I am almost done, keep fighting, and that he loves me.
When I went to radiation today they happened to also have on my itinerary a visit with the Oncology Social Worker, her name is Patrice Al-Shanti. I was told she was going to talk to me about the different programs that are offered to VILLAIN patients at MAYO. In my mind I though, "great .... I'll sit and listen maybe something or someone else can help me today" When she entered the room she shook my hand and introduced herself. She explained to me that she is there to talk to anytime I need, she had my file and knew so much about me and my life, she even said to me "I love your blog" I was surprised that she had read my blog. I told her exactly how I have been feeling the past couple of days, we discussed how much I have grown through this journey, but she explained to me that what I am feeling right now is NORMAL, almost all VILLAIN patients experience this depression and anxiety after they are finished with chemo, we want our lives back the end is on the horizon. When I started chemo I was ready for a fight l put all my fears in the back of my head and did what I had to do, now that its over and I am feeling better I want life to be normal again, but its not normal.
She told me I need to get things on my calendar, lunch with friends, go to a movie, start working out again ....... WHAT? wait slow down a bit, I can workout again? That put a smile on my face .... she said maybe go for a walk, get on the treadmill start slow, I am still going to deal with the neuropathy and I know I will not be at the pace I was a year ago but still this is good news to me .... I know I'm weird I love to workout, most people hate it, but for all my life it has been something I enjoy. I was given a CD called Healthful Sleep, it is guided imagery with music to help you sleep, OK never done this before but it is worth it to get a good nights sleep, I'll try anything.
So there you have it.... I am Normal, I have fears, I don't always have to be the strong one, it's OK to feel what I am feeling, it's OK to cry uncontrollably and it's definitely OK to want my life back.

Monday, April 5, 2010

1st Radiation Appointment

I entered the Mayo today wondering what was ahead of me. Waiting for my name to be called I talked to a woman who was waiting on her husband who was having his radiation treatment. Her daughter also had breast cancer 2 years ago, she talked about how her hair grew back curly and beautiful, it has been so long since I have had hair I wonder how long it will take, and what it will look like? As my mind wondered off I heard my name over the loud speaker... my stomach turns and I get up to meet Chris, he will be with me in radiation today. After getting my gown on I was taken to a huge room, in the middle of the room is a table connected to an incredibly big machine. I now have 5 tattoos the size of freckles where they will radiate. My right arm is up above my head, it is painful, I have not had my arm above my head for that long of a time since before my mastectomy.
The technicians set up my body so that all the beams would radiate exactly where they are supposed to and I am told not to move. When the lights went out and the technicians left the room I felt like I was in a Sci Fi movie, the huge round machine above my head moves and makes noises, red and green beams penetrate my breasts. The technicians come in and out rearranging the machine and continuing to tell me not to move. The machine rotates completely around my body, the beams radiate each spot a few times, when it was all over I had been in the same position for 40 minutes and it was difficult to straighten out my arm and get off the table. My chest and face feel hot and now are red.
On my drive home, I was contemplating all that I have been through so far and what is ahead of me, my life has changed that's for sure and it will never be the same. I have been really studying and trying to learn more about HOPE, not really completely knowing what HOPE was until now I think I have a better understanding of it. HOPE is trusting that the LORD will fulfill HIS promises to you. When you have HOPE, you work through your trials with confidence, patience and optimism. HOPE helps me to overcome discouragement.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I'm sitting in a very quiet home, just got done watching conference and I am thinking about Haleigh today. She is in Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity building homes. During the past 6 months she has been through so much watching me struggle with the VILLAIN, so I am glad that she is able to get away. On Thursday she spoke at Seminary General Conference, she was asked by Brother Chatwin last week to speak about OVERCOMING ADVERSITY. Eric and I went to listen to her speak, she did an incredible job and I was very touched by her spirit and maturity as she spoke. It is hard to believe she is my baby and that she is graduating this year from High School. It seems the years have flown by, all of my children are growing up so quickly, sometimes I wish I could slow things down.
When I look back on the years of raising my children I know there were mistakes we made, but I am grateful for those times, for in those times we were taught important lessons by the Lord. I'm sure many mothers and fathers wish that if they knew what they know now they would maybe do a few things different. If we didn't make a few mistakes how could we grow and learn what the Lord wants us to? Those years of growing and learning help us to be better grandparents. We never stop learning, and I am so grateful for that.
When Kayla got married I was so grateful that she and Jeremy were going to live close by, and looked forward to her and Jeremy's visits, now I look forward to seeing Kayla, Jeremy and Recker. They are such great parents and now will raise their children in the Gospel and teach them to follow the Prophet and listen to their leaders, they will teach them to pray and fast and give primary talks, bare testimony and serve missions.
When Blake left on his mission it was bitter sweet for me and still is. Leaving him at the MTC in Provo was so hard, I watched him walk away with the other Elders knowing I would not see him for 2 years. When I got home from Utah, I entered Blakes bedroom sat on his bed and cried. Each letter and email that comes from him reassures me that he is where he should be, one of his recent letters to me said "mom when President Bednar visited us his wife spoke and this is what she said... If every Elder will be the missionary that they think their mom wants them to be, they will be successful" then he said "don't worry about me mom, I am trying to be the missionary you want me to be" Oh how I miss him, the Lord is watching over him and helping him, I know when he returns home he will be the man that he knows he can be.
Kaitlyn lives in Utah with her husband Brian. The day she left our home we were so sad, she and Blake have always brought the humor in our home, I miss her laughter. Now that Haleigh is the only child at home (and she is rarely home) it is so quiet. I have learned that each one of my children have survived ha ha...we, Eric and I have survived ha ha.... I don't think parenting ever ends, motherhood is the best thing I have ever done in my life and I am proud of each one of them, not because Eric and I have been the best parents in the world, but because they have each learned to BELIEVE.