Sunday, November 29, 2009

My "Magic" Recliner

The "Magic" Recliner, right next to my Wall of Happiness, which is where I put all the cards, drawings from kids and other well wishes. It gives me sooo much strength and many smiles!
Guess what??? I slept through the night last night, through the WHOLE night!! I didn't have to get up once for a pain pill or try to make myself comfortable or anything!! This is the first time I have slept through the whole night since my surgery, and it felt WONDERFUL when I woke up this morning! I was able to get up and make it through sacrament meeting and even stay for Lund's talk in Primary. Yea!!!

So you are probably wondering what was the change that happened in my life to make this wonderful feat possible... Well, I will tell you, and you have to keep it a secret. I have a MAGIC chair! No kidding, it is truly magical!!! You see, I haven't been able to sleep really well in a bed since my surgery, so I have been sleeping in my old recliner in my room that has seen better days...years really. Well, on Friday night in the middle of the night I thought to myself... "this is enough! This chair isn't working out!" The next morning, after not sleeping much at all, I told Morgan of my plan. We were going to farm out three of the kids and drive into town to get a new recliner... cause I needed some sleep! It all worked out wonderfully and we found my magic recliner at Sam's Club (It just happens to match our bed set we bought at Sam's Club perfectly, what did I say... it is magical!)

So, now I have a magical recliner and I am soooooooo excited at the difference one chair can make in my life!!

Here I am with all my gear in my chair.. I have my lap top, my pillows, my books, and usually a chocolate or two hidden close by!

"I can't eat my left-overs, there is a finger in my mashed potatoes!!"

Like most other families in the United States, we ate left-overs after Turkey day for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a couple of days... until we were all turkeyed out!!!! I guess Sarah is a bit more cleaver than the rest of us because on Friday night she came up to me and said, "I can't eat my left-overs because there is a finger in my mashed potatoes!!" I looked down and about jumped out of my seat at the wiggling finger covered in mashed potatoes looking back at me. It took me a minute to realize that this sad-faced six-year-old had just outwitted her mom.

Here is Sarah looking sad as she brings over her plate of food with a finger in it... (What an actress!)
Here is the real Sarah as you can see by her myschivious smile and a picture that shows how her trick was accomplished. That is what I get for using paper plates for left-overs!
And of course, Will wanted to try it to and you can see my sneaky little girl in the background proud as punch at her practical joke.
Here is what her mom told her, "Well, you had better lick your finger off and get eating, 'cause you are not getting out of eating left-overs that easily!!" (Aren't I soooooo sweet?!!!!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

What happened to the turkeys that weren't pardoned? Well, we ate them of course!! (This is not a vegetarian friendly blog entry)

The wonderful people gathered together (I like how Lund has his scriptures ready for his Thanksgiving spiritual thought)
And of course, the star of the event, all the food!
We had a wonderful Turkey Day this year and our menu was complete with a smoked turkey (Morgan) a regular turkey (Grandma Karen) and many more ammenities that were scruptious. We even used my sisters yam recipe from last year complete with cinnimon butter (yummy).
I didn't include myself in this picture because I was wearing a sexy germ mask due to four sick kiddos. Not the best time to take a picture. When Will saw me come in with a mask on he said, "Oh, are we playing doctor today?" That is how his mind thinks and I love it!
I truly have so many things to be thankful for this year, at the top of my list would be modern medicine since my brother (Type 1 diabetes) and I would never have survived without it. How blessed we are to live in this modern day and age.
I am not excited for my chemotherapy to start, but I am excited for it to be over, so I guess that means... starting it. The radiation doesn't scare me as much and will come after the chemo. It is only like 15 minutes a day five days a week for six weeks. But I might have to move to Phoenix to do my radiation treatments and I am very, very sad to leave my family for that long. But, we will cross that bridge when we get there.
Love you all and hope you made great memories yesterday with family and friends. And to quote Morgan today, "life is full of good times and bad times and it is just everyone's hope that the good times outnumber the bad." And if you look around.... the good always outweighs the bad, plain and simple!

"Blue Room" sung to the tune of "Blue Moon"

When Morgan and I came home from my surgery this past week, we came home to a special, wonderful surprize! While we were gone, some of my wonderful friends here in Bagdad came over and painted my room, just the way I had invisioned it in my dreams! It is glorious and it is definitely a special "healing room". So I am sending a big thank you out to Laura and Carl Phelps, Becky Brimhall (the mastermind), Cheryl Collins, and Penny Martin. You stinkers! I love you so much!!!!!! It sure brightened my mood and my room!!!! I continue to get excited about it everytime I turn on the light! I love my Blue Room!!!!!
See my recliner? I sleep there now more than my bed, it is just so much more comfortable after surgery! Gotta love it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Smiles to go before I weep, smiles to go before I weep... (Robert Frost, right?!he!he!)

Sarah enjoying a shake tonight.... and she is HAPPY!!

I was reading a book yesterday called "Smiles to Go" by Jerry Spinelli and in the book, the kid misquoted Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by the woods on a snowing evening", which states at the end, "And Miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep." but the kid reciting it messed up and said "Smiles to go before I weep, smiles to go before I weep." And isn't that REALLY poetic and prophetic?!!!! I think it is my new motto. I think we all have smiles to go before we weep... Here are a few of my smiles from today...

Will putting my make-up on for me this morning
Putting a puzzle together with grandma and grandpa Johnson

Here we are smiling away while eating at the new Diner on Main.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief!!! Ahhhhhh!! Now doesn't that feel grand?!

Today was a sigh of relief in so many ways....
Sigh #1: My first sigh and a little of a happy cry came when Alicia Garino worked her magic on me!!! We showed up at 9am at her salon and she made me look BEAUTIFUL!!! This was something that I haven't been feeling lately and I even cried a tear when I saw myself in the mirror when she finished. She is one talented lady and I left her salon feeling like a movie star!!! I had Morgan take a picture of Alicia and me right after she finished, but later as I sat down to write this, I found that I didn't put the SD card back into the camera...AAARRRGGGHHH! So, you will have to settle for a quick picture Morgan took of me in the QT while filling up for gas.

Sigh #2: We went to Dr. Cashman's office and recieved the best news so far. The results had come back from my PET scan and Dr. Cashman told me that I am ALL CLEAR, no other cancer in the rest of my body!!!! This is a bit unusual because I have 3a stage cancer and that is some serious cancer levels for it not to have spread past my 8 cancerous lymphnodes removed at surgery. So a hip-hip-hooray and some prayers of thanks for this big breakthrough. This was the first doctors appointment that I recieved good news, so wahoo!

Sigh #3: We went to Dr. Pavese's office and he took out all three drains hanging off my body..... single, double, and triple wahoo!!! It hurt a bit when he cut the stitches out, but it was well worth it to get those blasted things out!

Sigh #4: The biggest sigh is the one I took just now, because we are driving home right now.... I am going HOME!!! Yipee! Small town life, here I come gladly!!!!

I am aware of all your prayers and fasting and I am sure the Lord's hand is in my life every day!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Simple, so beautifully simple!

Here is Will with all my glorious flowers and balloons! He just figured it is some kind of party!
I am sitting here watching my three-year-old play with his cars as he animatedly tells me what each car is doing and constantly says, "mom, watch this! Mom, watch me!" as he runs his cars down the homemade ramp my dad made out of a board for him this morning to keep him distracted. His world is simple, he sees things so simply, and so clearly. Black is black and white is white and nothing is hard or complicated. As long as he has a Hot Wheels car in each hand and a ramp made out of a board, nothing could be better. He does not comprehend the thoughts going through my mind just mere feet away as I sit here watching him with my eyes half open due to the heavy pain meds I am consuming. he doesn't think any less of me now that I have virtually lost my womanhood by having my breasts chopped off this week. He doesn't even notice. The only thing he does notice is that I have "pockets of blood" which are hooked to me that are the JP drains from the surgery. He thought that was wierd for two minutes and now he is over it. That is how his mind operates. Soon, when I lose my hair, he will comment about how funny mommy looks for about two minutes and then he will be over it. That is the beauty and simplicity of Will. That is the way they came to us straight from heaven---simple, and beautiful and able to understand more than any of the greatest scholars in mere minutes. They realize, without even noticing, that my hair or my chest does not make up who I am. He thinks of me as the same person as I am sitting here comsumed by a huge recovery process. He does not see a changed person, he sees the spirit of his mother, and that is what he knows and loves. And it is simple! So beautifully simple!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I do know mixed with a dash of the unknown...(My recipe for right now)

Thanks to my amazing, husband you had a wonderful opportunity to already read about my surgery and how that went. I am constantly amazed and feel that I married the greatest man ever. (Hopefully, you all feel this way and we could battle this out for hours). But for the sake of my blog, let's just go with the fact that mine is the best.... so there!!

Morgan celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday and he never ceases to amaze me. There wasn't a special breakfast in bed like on my last birthday, there wasn't a wife doting on him all day as he did on my b-day either. He simply went around concentrating on his beautiful wife (He!He! this could be debated considering I am in the same jammies from Tuesday and haven't showered in quite a while now)... But with no thought of himself, Morgan went off to a meeting for work in Phoenix, met my parents and I at the plastic surgeons office at 1:30pm and basically pretended that his birthday was nothing of consequence! That is the amazing man I married!!! Selfless love and devotion!!

Luckily, I was born with two sisters with a gift for celebration and beauty.... so I called them a couple of days before my surgery and informed them of Morgan's birthday and asked for their help. They, of course, jumped at the chance... So Morgan did get a bit of a surprize in the evening when Alisha and her cute munchkins and Becky and Jeff and Brody all came in with a key lime pie, a carrot cake and 34 candles! Oh, how I love my sisters! He also got a shirt from Becky and Jeff that says..." I am HUGE in Japan". There is also a present that my sister Alisha has been working on that is almost finished and I will post it here when it is done.. Needless to say... she is amazingly crafty that woman!!
And here is another section of my life.... the cancer side of life. The surgeon called and said that when they took out all my lymphnodes they found that 8 of the lymphnodes were cancerous. So what does that mean? Well, it means that after chemotheraphy I will be followed by radiation for a while. And they also had to cut a nerve out that ran right through the lymphnodes and so from my armpit to my elbow will always be numb. It is hard to get used to the feeling or not feeling, rather, of trying to lift my arm.
The other thing is that we kind of know our stage... I think I have stage 3A breast cancer. We will be going to a test called a PET scan tomorrow morning to make sure it hasn't spread to other organs in my body. If it has spread to other parts of my body, then I will automatically have stage 4 cancer. If it hasn't gone to other organs, then I still have Stage 3A cancer.
So, that is that..... I have some appointments on Saturday, and a few on Monday, and then I would like to go home to my house and my bed and my town for a little while. I do miss my home and friends. Lot's of love to each of you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Keeping You Abreast of the Situation

This is in fact Morgan typing, and the title of this entry was actually Christa's recommendation. I hope I am not unworthily treading on sacred blogging ground, but I just wanted to give an update on Christa's surgery for anyone interested. Christa and I arrived at the hospital at 6am yesterday morning and began the long process of checking in and getting settled. It took about three and a half hours to get Christa set up, inject the radioactive dye, and start her I.V.. They finally wheeled her off to surgery at about 9:30am.

I have to add this little story about a funny thing that happened right before surgery, or Christa will be mad at me. She was outfitted in what was basically a balloon smock that was inflated with warm air in order to keep her body temeratue up. It has a vacuum hose hooked up to it that had a constant stream of warm air flowing in from what looked like a fancy hair dryer. I kept turning the dial to full blast to see how much it would inflate her and she would then get after me for messing with the equipment (the best part of any hospital stay is playing with the equipment).

Then, at about 9:15am, and amid the growing tension we were both feeling, the fire alarm went off. There was a alarm that sounded and a light that started flashing. We looked at each other and were both thinking "What do we do now?" Then an image popped into my mind of us having to evacuate the hospital. I imagined myself having to tye a string around Christa's big toe, turing her inflatable suit to full blast, and walking her out of the hospital like a Macey's Day Parade balloon. She would be happily bobbing around in the parking lot with a whole bunch of other inflated patients at the end strings. One of them would have slipped out of thier knot and with a look of concern would be slowly floating away. Christa and I had a big laugh imagining that. Laughing was the medicine that we needed right about then and was literally an answer to our prayer of a few minutes before. The fire alarm ended up being something that happened all the time and nobody paid it any notice. It stopped a few minutes later and they took her away from me for a while.

It was a long four hours, four of the longest hours of my life, while I waited for any word from either of the surgeons working on Christa. Don't tell her this though because she seemed to more concerned about me having to endure the waiting room than she was for herself. At around 1:30pm Dr. Cashman came out and spoke with me and Alisha (she brought me a delicious lunch about an hour earlier). She said that everything went very well. Christa had done great and was in the recovery room coming out of it. There was some bad news though. Apparenly they found a couple of lymph nodes that were larger and harder than they should have been. They disected one of them and found cancer in it. This means that radiation will be likely and will probably take place after the Chemo is over. Not the best news we could have received, but we had been prepped that this might be the case. This will in fact only prolong the treatment a bit.

Christa's mom showed up shortly thereafter. At about 2:30pm they told us we could come spend some time with Christa in the recovery room, but that she was pretty out of it. We went with her to see Christa, and I will never forget the what happened when I came in. She looked peaceful and tired, but was as beautiful as ever. As soon as she saw me coming I got a huge sleepy smile and she said softly "hello handsome." I am so honered to be her "handsome." She was doing great and the medication did nothing to dampen her personality. She cracked jokes, apologized for us having to wait for so long, and spoke fluent medical lingo with the nurse helping her.

After finally getting settled in her new room she began the tedious process of hourly vital checks, drinking clear liquids, and pushing herself to stand and walk. It was a really long night, but she did have a great evening visit by her sisters and parents. She have a great support system here and back in Bagdad so we have not had to worry about the kids or if we will be taken care of over the next couple of days. She has seen the physical therapist and her surgeons PA, and she should be discharged at around noon today. She will go spend a few days at her parents house and will then have a surgery followup tomorrow.

Last night as I watched her in a lot of pain the verse from Ephesians chapter 5, verse 25 came into my mind: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Christa has been so very easy to love, and I wished that I could somehow take the pain that she was feeling on myself so that she could rest. Her pain did ease and she was able to sleep off and on most of the night. She is so strong. My mother said it perfectly shortly after arriving in Bagdad: "cancer is going to be sorry it messed with Christa." I on the other hand am so grateful that I decided 12 years ago to "mess" with this woman, and for everything that it has meant for me in my life. My crazy Macey's Day balloon girl has had me happily bobbing at the end of a string these past 12 years, and I have loved every minute of it. Just don't tell her. She still thinks that she got a good deal... I told you she was crazy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

O.K., that is just plain gross!!!

here is the unsuspecting meat!!
Will came in yesterday holding a huge cookie that he was eating! It was then that we realized that it was not a huge cookie, but one of the frozen beef patties we had been thawing for dinner... ewwwwwww!!!!!! I sanitized his hands immediately, but I couldn't sanitize his stomach, so hopefully, he won't get sick or anything! I can't believe he thought it tasted good. Boys are sooo weird!

Here he is proving that he actually ate it all and swollowed everything....

My Last Super...for now

I am a bit late getting this entry out, as we are currently on our way to Phoenix for my surgery tomorrow. But, better late than never!

This past Saturday, Morgan and I got invited to a "special pre-grand opening" for the new Miner on Main Street here in Bagdad. And actually, Morgan's boss, David, is the one who got the tickets and was nice enough to give them to Morgan and I. Thanks David!!

We THOROUGHLY enoyed our lunch date together and I ate my heart out since it will be my last big greasy meal for a while. They are making me eat soup and stuff for about a week after surgery.. so bring on the grease baby!!

I would never pass up a chocolate shake though!!! I am not THAT crazy!!!!

And actually, I didn't eat all my food! Believe it or not, I have been craving all the healthy food I have been eating lately! Crazy, I know!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wildlife Zoo.... Our kids fit right in!!!

I was pretty proud of my "flamingo shot"... They sure are pretty... if your into pink!! I guess I am kind of stuck with "pink" for a while... so enjoy the pink flamingo!

I just wanted to write about the amazing trip we went on yesterday, complete with photo commentary!
We had a lot of appointments in Phoenix on Wednesday. I would say that we are becoming professionals at stacking them all into one day while we are there. Well, the kids had a school field trip on Thursday, so instead of rushing back late on Wednesday evening, we all went on the field trip together. We were going to have an appointment with one of my surgeons on Thursday morning to talk about lymphnodes (boring), but that fizzled, so we were off to the zoo (much more exciting than lymphnodes!)...

We went to the Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium about an hour outside of Phoenix and on our way home to Bagdad. I have never been there before and it was seriously AMAZING!! I think I had more fun than the kids did... o.k. it was probably a tie!!!

So, without further ado.. let's start the pictures...
Cassidy petting the star fish..
This is when the octopus ate Morgan's brain....
Lund thinks this is how alligators look... hum????
We got a chance to feed the sting rays and it was sooo awesome!! As you can see, it pretty much freaked me out, their mouths were so weird and they would slime you...... crazy!
I am not sure what is behind us in the cage, but at least a lot of us are in the picture together!
Sarah LOVED the petting zoo. This is a baby goat that she loved!!
Will loved all the different types of fish and sharks...
Cassidy really enjoyed petting the deer. They would just lay there and bask in the love...
I fed the deer some grass. This is the closest I have ever been to a beautiful deer. They are really calm. (unlike the goats that try to eat your clothes right off you)
This is the "flume ride" that the kids went on. The school let them choose which ride they would like the best and both Cassidy and Lund chose this one... I was really glad they didn't choose the "sky ride" because I would have been running along the ground below them to catch them in case they fell off.. (I am a bit of a "nervous Nelly" when it comes to heights)
Lund and his buddy Dax...
The Girl Boat
o.k. this was also a new experience for me and my kiddos. I have never come this close to a giraffee in my life, let alone fed one... Their tongues are sooooo long and soooo gooey!!! Gross!! But they are AMAZING animals!

Look at that tongue!!! EWWWWW!!!

Cassidy really loved this white tiger and she said it was posing for her..

Sarah and the Zebras (I don't think she was supposed to be up on the wall, but she just kept trying to get in with the animals becuase she loves them soooo much)

And here are some crazy animals we saw at the zoo... What a weird breed!!

More wildlife!!!

Weekly Favorite t-shirts

O.K. so I was sitting with my older sister last night laughing my head off at all the different breast cancer t-shirts they make and I decided that we all needed to share in the fun! So, every week I am going to post the funniest ones I find on my blog so we can all have a good laugh, for a good cause!!

Pecans and News...

This past Monday for Family Home Evening we followed a yearly tradition we have of picking pecans every fall at the Bagdad park. It is a wonderful tradition and the kids look forward to it every year. We pay the kids 2 cents per pecan they gather (we max out at 350 pecans each or 7.00). After we have fun collecting all the pecans, we go over to the Bashas and each kid buys their own dinner with the money they earned. They LOVE to choose their own dinner and we love their excitement in picking pecans. A real win-win situation.
The other thing that I wanted to post is that I did find out a little more information at my oncologist appointment yesterday. If you understand breast cancer technology, you will probably understand what it means, if not... no worries! I didn't understand it all last week either. The oncologist said I am HER2-negative and estrogen receptor--positive. That is actually good news (in medical code form), it means I have a less agressive kind of cancer, and a slower growing cancer. That is good news when you are trying to beat this thing!

Now, to the good stuff... Enjoy the pictures!!!

here is how it goes every year.. Morgan uses the citrus picker to bang the bunches of pecans and the pecans fall on our heads. It is great!!! Roberta (our Relief Society President comes with us to. Her husband planted the trees years ago. Thanks Garnet!)

here is Will after being hit on the head with a pecan...he!he!

Sarah using her shirt as a pocket! Good tactic!

Lund trying to escape the work and the picture!!!

Cassidy also uses the shirt-pocket technique