Monday, January 31, 2011

I am the QB, yeah you know me.... (think rap)

This weekend I was grounded to the couch as I previously mentioned, but there was NO WAY I was missing Lund playing quarterback in his football game. So, my wonderful husband lugged a huge chair to the sidelines for me that had a place for me to put my feet up and everything. So, I still kept my feet up and got to watch Lund play football as well. AWESOME!! I love compromise!!
Also, today I went back to the plastic surgeon and he finally drained the left side of my chest. It was the craziest procedure with a lot of suctioning and pushing and it made me quite queasy, but Morgan thought the whole thing was cool. Now I have a drain coming out the side of me for a couple of days and I am back on the couch until that is out. I am getting pretty familiar with my end of the couch!

Well, enough of the gore, back to the football fun...
                                             Here is a view of some of Lund's cheer section.
                            And this guy preferred sitting on my lap and sticking his tongue out at me!
                                         And there is our fearless quarterback!!! Go Lund!
                                        Here is Papa Lund and Will discussing football and life in general.
 And here is a bunch of us all lined up to cheer for Lund. Sidenote: It was half time and Lund ran over to say "hi" and to eat a homemade cinnamon roll Morgan made for him. They were very, very yummy!!!!
                                       Will got smart and put sunglasses on, but he is still not facing the right way.
                             Will and Sarah always enjoy hanging out with Grandpa Wiemer.
 And you got to love that smile!!! We love supporting you Lund!
 Another sidenote: You won't see Cassidy in any of these pictures because she was home sick.
And of course, the best part of a football game is the post game McDonald's trip!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Things you can do while grounded to the couch...

So.... My doctor has grounded my to the couch for the whole weekend to see if my hematoma (huge blood clot due to surgery) will go away. So far, it is just getting worse.... but I am still grounded to the couch.
 So... I decided to take a picture of a few things that I do while not leaving the couch....

 Will and I have read LOTS of books!!!
 And, here I am in my new top from Kohl's.  I decided that if I have to sit here, then I might as well still get ready for the day and look nice, and then sit all day long.
 Lund and I have played Mancala quite a few times as well.

And....... I had a wonderful surprize visit on Friday. Sister Stephens (the beautiful lady to my right in the picture), is on the Relief Society General Board for the Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints. She came to visit me along with the Stake Relief Society President and a wonderful representative from our ward as well. And to cap it all off, Sister Stephens said that I am her hero......ME!! Wahooooo!! I am someone's hero!!!! And she also told Morgan that he is a hero too!!!! SOOOOOO True!!!!! What a fun suprize visit. Loved it!
Here we all are cozy on the couch. Please notice my awesome flower pin! My Visiting Teacher had literally given it to me 10 minutes before they came. She made it for me and I love it! How talented is she?!!
And just so you don't think I am lying, here is Sister Stephens information from the LDS web page...
                                                       Relief Society General Board Member

Carole Stephens was born in Ogden, Utah, to Carl L. and Forest Manzel as the third of nine children. She was introduced to Marty Stephens while attending Weber State University where she studied Early Childhood Education. They were married in the Logan Utah Temple and are now the parents of four sons and two daughters and are the grandparents of twelve.

Sister Stephens has served in many callings in the auxiliaries of the Church. She has also volunteered her time to serve as a seminary teacher and at the Ogden Regional Family History Center.

Thursday, January 27, 2011 be mommy's servant or not???

Cassidy is home "sick" today from school. By lunchtime, she was sitting next to me at the table eating Cheetos and looking quite fine if you ask me. So, I gave her a choice..... you can go back to school, or be my servant all day long. She chose to be my errand girl all day long....see, it is a win-win-situation. (Until I have to help her with all her make-up homework...argggg)
  Anyways,  here is why it works out so well for me...
   Last night after everyone went to bed I was having chest pains that weren't releived at all with the pain meds or anything else. So, I knew the routine.... I have been through this before. Morgan was snoozing like a baby beside me and I knew that he had a full work day the next day. Instead of waking him, I left a note in case he woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed a good book and a blanket and headed to the ER. I was there from 1:01am till 4:32am and I got a lot of reading done. Diagnosis: A huge hematoma in my left breast. And guess what? These little buggers are painful. Solution: Nothing, they go away on their own... you have to put ice packs on them and take pain meds and they will go away in 1 to 4 weeks. fun times!! Good news: I got back home before Morgan had to wake up for work and the house was silent and dark and wonderful, and I slipped silently back into bed.
  So, you can see why I need a servant today, and it kind of worked out nicely that Cassidy was "sick" today. And it also helps that Grandma and Grandpa Johnson got the kids ready for school and Cassidy and Papa Lund are willling to watch "Psych" with me as long as I want and get me occasional icepacks and meds. Oh, and Papa Lund ran out to get me a chocolate shake from Jack in the Box no less..... so I am well taken care of!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What we have been up to in the Johnson house..

I am a bit backed up with blog posts... pretty much I am "blog constipated"....o.k. that didn't come out right. So, without further ado, I will try to get you caught up....

 One day Will tried to make juice all by himself.... yes, that is concentrated grape juice all over....
 Also, this month Morgan's parents moved here to Gilbert from Pocatello to help us with chemo rounds and everything else. On Sunday night after they moved in, we had everyone over for a BBQ. It was the first time all the Johnson men had been in the same picture for a very long time. So, here are all the Johnson men....
 Morgan, Lund the Father, Warren, and Kimball all on one couch. What you can't see is the football game playing on the TV that they are all watching. (I'm no dummy, I know how to get them to our couch!)
 Another great visit came with Heather and Kimo helping to drive the Uhaul down from Idaho. We really enjoyed having them around and I snapped a picture with them before they hopped on the plane to go home...(sniff, sniff)
 Then, last night for Family Home Evening, Gramma Karen taught an amazing lesson about not telling lies and how "bound" you get once you tell one lie, and then another. Of course, now looking at the picture I took, it looks like Gramma is hanging Lund with yarn, but you get the point.

 And then to top it all off, Papa Lund made some wonderful gooey Rice Krispy treats. They were really, really yummy and I am now craving one thanks to this picture!
 Today Will came home from Preschool adorned with a famous Froot Loop necklace that he made short work of. Gotta love preschool!!
And to top it all off.... We are supporting Warren who goes to ASU Law School. I am also wearing my BYU basketball shirt today to support my brother who attends BYU. Go Cougars!!!
  As you can see, our life is very full and blessed and even though I have had a hard week recovering from surgery, I still feel overwhelmed with gratitude towards everyone who has helped us in sooo many ways!!! We love  you all!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back by popular demand!!!

O.K. folks, so here goes....
When we placed the "donate button" on our website, we were overwhelmed with the amount of donations we received. After a mere 24 hours, we had more than enough to go to the medical conference and we are THRILLED!!! Overwhelmed, actually!!! (Did I mention yet that we were overwhelmed... he he)
  I took the donate button off because we had reached our goal and didn't want to be "taking anyone's money" so to speak.
  A lot of people have been asking where the button went and how they can donate... so after much persuasion from very good friends, I have decided to add the button to the side of my blog. With the stipulation that nobody "feels" that they have to donate or contribute. And, the other stipulation is that all moneys will be used for medical type expenses. No trips to Hawaii, etc...
  so, there it is.....
Lots of love from Christa
p.s. I am recovering nicely from last Thursday's surgery in case you were wondering. Life is good and one whole week off of chemo meds to recuperate!! Yipppeee!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bagdad Buddies...

Our kids have been begging us to go back to Bagdad every week for the last little while. They seem to have an emotional jar that needs to be filled when it comes to leaving Bagdad. Morgan claims that it was the same way when his family moved from Thatcher, AZ to Mesa, AZ. He can still remember many trips back and forth so everyone would be o.k. emotionally with the move.
A couple of weeks back we headed up to see our friends in Bagdad, and it helped that it was Potluck Sunday at the church! We had a wonderful time and filled our emotional jar to the brim.
 Here we see Morgan and Jim Mentzer. Notice Jim's tie... he doesn't mess around on potluck Sunday, a tie would just be in the way of all the awesome food.
 Cassidy stole a baby (of course). Here she is with Lydia.
 The younger kids found their friends outside and had tons of fun.
                                        Megan, Will, and Andrew Swaner.
             Here are all the kids before we hopped in the car and headed back to Gilbert.
                         Grandpa Thor playing football with Canyon and Lund.
   Before we left, we made a trip up to our old house. The Pacheco's met us up there and brought their puppies along as well. It was surreal to see our house being prepared for another family. Will just wanted to stay at his "house on a hill", and truthfully, it is the only house he has ever known since he was born there. He has had a hard time re-adjusting now that we are home. He likes to yell, "Who hates Bagdad??".... then he will instantly respond..."NOBODY!!"
                        Of course Sarah was in heaven since there were animals and friends involved.
 Sarah even took this picture. Not too shabby!
 *We feel that we need to live in Gilbert and LOVE our new home and life, but sometimes the kids miss Bagdad. It was 6 years of their childhood, 6 wonderful years!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oops! I fell on my face!!!

A couple of weeks ago, as we were packing up the van to head out to Bagdad, Will decided to try skateboarding for the first time EVER..... Not great results!!! He fell sraight on his face in the street. I also learned that Cassidy is o.k. with blood while Sarah and Lund ran away from him as quickly as they could. He held an ice pack on his face all the way up to Bagdad, but he was a trooper about it. And although he knocked a tooth loose, it has hardened back up now, so no permanent damage done. Oh, the life of a four-year-old boy!!!

One proud momma!

(While I sit here recovering from my surgery, I will try to catch up on some memories over the past few weeks.)

Lund has been really getting into football the past year and when we saw sign ups for a flag football league, he was really excited. I am excited too because the time committment fits into our busy lives. He only has one optional practice on Wed afternoon and then we show up an hour early to the game on Saturday and practice then. Perfect!

The other reason I like this league so much is because they concentrate on sportsmanship and letting everyone play and other wonderful things. And at the end of each Saturday they pick a "sportsman" of the day, and guess what? My wonderful boy was the first to get a medal! I told him that I am more proud of sportsmanship than I am of winning or losing. He is so great at encouraging his teammates. Go Lund!

 He is also very good at football and it was very fun to watch his game. I think I can get used to sitting in a camping chair with the warm sun shining and watching them play.
 Here he is with his coach and his medal.... Way to go Lund!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thank you!!!!

I don't even know how to put into words the amount of love I feel for all of you out there!!!!! I was simply amazed at the response to my previous blog entry and I feel so thankful to call you all my friends!!!!
       I will definitely be attending the medical conference!!! And, afterwards there will be some left over money...... so I will pay off some medical bills.....hooray!!! I will even list them in a follow-up blog entry so that you don't get the idea that I ran off to Hawaii instead (though the thought HAS crossed my mind.... he he he))
  I go into surgery tomorrow morning to finish the reconstruction on my chest they started over a year ago. I might not post for a day or two or more if the recovery is hard. I just wanted you all to know how much I love and appreciate all of you!!! I feel sooooo blessed!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Call for Help...

I am not quite sure how to begin this blog entry.... but here goes!
   I have cancer (oh wait, you already knew that)! It has gone from being simply in the left side of my chest to being in my espophogus, in my lungs, my stomach, and around my heart. Basically, it is following the lymph system that runs all throughout my body. The first set of chemo drugs they gave me last year for six months didn't kill the cancer, the radiation I had over the summer for two months didn't kill the cancer. The surgeries, double mastectomy and reconstruction did not kill the cancer.  Now, I am on another chemo drug daily and guess what? It's not stopping the cancer either. What it is doing though is slowing it down, making my cancer progression slow up a bit while I wait for someone to invent a drug that will work on my cancer. Basically, I am in a holding pattern....until???? 
   I have taken cancer research into my own hands and my own computer trying to find what is out there, what is new.... what can help save my life. I have heard all about shark cartilidge, essential oils, grandmas's secret recipe, and illegal drugs to boot. But we have decided to stick with the medical route. So, I am my own advocate, showing magazine articles to my oncologist with new cancer meds that I think might help, looking for clinical trials online, seeking out 2nd or even 3rd opinions from other doctors more renown than the last.  I am in a minority when it comes to my diagnosis, because basically, I shouldn't have cancer at all. I never smoke or drank, I nursed all four kids religiously, I don't have any family history of any type of cancer, and I am too young and basically too healthy to be in any "at risk" group. But, alas, here I sit and I don't sit here with anger in my heart because I feel the Lord has a plan for me, just as he does for each of us, and this is part of my plan. And I feel blessed every step of the way. I don't live in a hospital, I pretty much still get to raise my own four children (with some help), and I look to all the world like a normal 32-year-old young mom.
    But, back to my point..... Cancer is expensive!! Seriously, I kid you not. Even though my husband has a wonderful job and we have amazing insurance thanks to corporate America, the medical bills for surgeries, chemo, ER visits, weekly doctors visits,etc all still add up. But now I am standing beside the point.........Here is where I need your help. I have decided thus far that I didn't need any fundraisers or running events or bake sales. But, there is something I REALLY want to do that I think will help my medical case more than I can ever do on my own with all my researching and seeking.
    On February 25th-27th in Orlando Florida there is going to be a medical conference for young breast cancer patients under the age of 40. It is geared directly at what I am facing. I am hoping to leave with a brain full of encouragement, ideas and most of all hope. Hope that I can watch my kids have their own kids someday. I applied for a travel grant from Susan G. Komen and was accepted, so my registration fee for the conference is covered. I also have an aunt on Morgan's side of the family that is graciously sponsoring my flight to Florida. But there are still hotel fees, food costs, and possibly a t-shirt commemorating my trip.
   So, I am reaching out to you, my friends, my blog readers. If you can donate a dollar or two towards my trip I would be soooo grateful and I even promise to post pictures when I get home of me smiling next to other ladies in my same medical boat. If you want to donate, just click on the "donate" button on the right side of my blog. If you don't want to donate, just send your prayers and love our way just like you always do. I can't even begin to tell you how much your love and comments have bouyed me up the past year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What 2010 held, and an amazing year is yet to come... stand by!!

I stole this idea from a friend, but I think we should all take time to reflect on our year....

What happened in 2010:
1. Purchased our first house
2. Survived a year of cancer
3. Lived in an apartment for 5 months even though I swore off appartments 10 years ago. (while waiting for house)
4. Oldest child started to babysit brothers and sisters.
5. Read lots of books
6. Learned how to manage side effects of chemo while still functioning as a mom (with help from family and the Relief Society of El Dorado Ward)
7. Diagnosis changed from stage 3 to stage 4 in September
8. Completed radiation treatments
9. Took a family trip to Pocatello in October
10. Moved to Gilbert, Arizona from Bagdad, Arizona

Here's what I am working on for the new year:
 1. Youngest child is in CTR class in Primary
 2. Take a cruise/Disney trip with the family
 3. Go to Medical conference in Feb in Florida to learn more about my disease
 4. Going on bike rides constantly....Love the new beach cruiser and really love the extra attachment for Will to ride with me.
 5. My oldest child will enter Young Women's in Feb. (What!!?)
 6. My 2nd child will be an 11-year-old scout this year in June
 7. Planning on taking a few or more trips in our pop up trailer...California beaches, camping, etc.
 8. Cancer isn't going to run my life, I will run my life and cancer can sit on the sidelines and watch...(As long as cancer cheers at the appropriate times and doesn't yell at the coach or interferre with MY game)
 9. Take a trip somewhere with just my hubby (o.k., this is wishful thinking, but sounds awesome!)
 10. Excited to watch yet another season of Psych! (For now I will have to settle for re-runs)
11. Sarah gets baptized in May!!!
12. Youngest childs enters kindergarten next fall!
 13. MD Anderson Hospital is coming to Gilbert in the fall. I can't wait for that building to get finished!
 14. My In-laws will move to Gilbert, AZ to be closer to my family... we will have lots of fun times!
 15.  I will also have lots of fun times with my family that is now all gathered here in the Valley O' the Sun, except Ryan who is still at BYU.

What wonderful things I have to look forward to this year and I bet you do too. Take the time to write it down so you can see how amazing your life is!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rock Hounds!!

Last week was the last week of winter break for the kids. I had been wanting to take them on a bit of a field trip to hunt for apache tears (a certain kind of black rock that if you hold it up to the sun, you can see through it. ),and it turned out to be wonderful times. My mom helped me out by coming along and we got to invite Brody, my little cousin and the kids also invited our neighbor friend Jeremy. We had a great time once the locals decided to tell us where to look. The first group of locals was asked weren't very cooperative.
I can still remember that our elementary school went on a field trip to probably this very same spot and hammered out some apache tears that we thought were pretty amazing treasures.
Here is Brody, cute as a bug, with his sunglasses, hammer and of course..juice box! He was ready!

Lund and Jeremy were pounding away at this rock to see if they could find any apache tears hidden inside.
Will thought it was more fun to run his Tonka truck all over everything and pick up rocks willy nilly to place in the bed of the truck.
                   These guys are serious now because they are wearing proper safety gear!
                                Here is grandma helping the boys determine what kind of a rock they found.
                                            It was a wonderful field trip and it even earned Lund his geology pin for Webelos. hooray! That is what i call killing two birds with one apache tear......not the bird in your arms Sarah, don't you worry!
                                              Grandma and all the kids
                                         And the cab driver (oh wait, that is me...heheh) with the kids
We had an amazing time and I think I want to go back with our 4 wheel drive Pilot and my hubby too, cause I think it would be a wonderful family adventure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sno' Momma

I am a bit behind in my posting....
For New Years Eve we had a wonderful offer to go up to a cabin owned by a couple in our ward. We will be eternally grateful for their offer because we really, really had a great time. I was still on anti-nausea meds and did go to bed relatively early, but it was still a great memory had by all. And if you are wondering why you don't see Sarah in any of the pictures, it is because she wanted to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house and get spoiled all by herself and hang out with her Uncle Ryan. I will post her fun times in a later post.

 Here is the beautiful cabin (house) we stayed in... and look how much snow there was on the ground in Payson! Crazy and wonderful!
 The pool table downstairs. Morgan was teaching Cass and Lund all about the marevelous aspects of pool. For the record, I STINK at pool!!! SERIOUSLY!!!

 The view from the back patio overlooking Payson, Arizona. It is a small, cozy town.

 Then Morgan taught the kids the marvelous aspects of Texas Hold'em. Didn't they learn such great things?! he he.  They need to work on their "poker faces",  you can read them like a book!
 The next morning, we hit the slopes!! O.K. it was really only the slopes at the local park and we were actually sledding, but it was INCREDIBLY fun!!
 Look at Will flying down the hill!! He is so light that he just whipped right down those hills!
   Lund was braver than most and tried hills and jumps and had a grand ole' time.
 Even Dad and Mom got in on the action! My picture is on the heading of the blog.
 Sometimes they would wipeout, but look at him smiling through it all!!!

 What was Will's favorite thing?? Eating snow of course!!!!!
Snow sure is a LOT of fun, but I think I will take my warm home and Valley weather and just visit the snow occasionally!