Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

And that it was! We had a great day today. We had a great time especially because he had around 8 inches of snow last night and most of it fell in less than 8 hours. The boys were so excited to have some snow to use their new sleds on. Today the weather was wonderful, bright blue skies, snow on the trees and ground, it was just a beautiful day. We all had a fun time this morning opening gifts and enjoying time with each other. I am so glad that I have the rest of this week off. It is some much needed time to spend with my boys. It will be so nice to be able to just "hang out" with the boys and spend some quality time without having to worry about being anywhere or doing anything. After we do some cleaning that really needs some attention, we will bust out some games, watch some movies that we got for Christmas, and hopefully have some "Peace on Earth" in our home for a few days.
The last few days I have felt so much more peace and comfort. I know that the Lord has blessed me with that peace so that we could have a nice Christmas that we will remember for a long time. John has been such a great support lately, and that has meant the world to me. I was seriously worried about us and which way we were headed, but I think things are turning around and we are doing so much better now.
Well, I am going to go check on my boys before I go to bed. I am so grateful for such a great day like today. Its what we all needed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just CRAZY!

Here I have promised myself to cheer up, put on a smile, get into the Christmas Spirit. For some reason it really has been hard to get myself there, and I am sure its cause of Chloe for one reason. She is still in the hospital and her mom is at home about to give birth. I can't imagine all this going on especially during Christmas time. Stacie will be induced on the 22nd, and hopefully get their little baby boy here.
We have some neighbors who live a block away from us whom we really don't know real well, but Marcus and Aaron know their oldest daughters. Anyway, day before yesterday their 11 yr-old daughter was diagnosed with a..... BRAIN TUMOR! Hers is located between 2 lobes and is sitting on a major artery. They did surgery today to try and take out what they could. When Julie, our neighbor called and told me (she is the R. S. president in their ward) I was dumbfounded! All the feelings came rushing back and the nightmare was real again. I just want to run over to their house and hug every one of those kids. Oh how I wish NO-ONE would have to hear those words or feel that stab in the stomach. That night John and I sat in the dark, just staring at our Christmas Tree not even speaking to each other, but yet knowing what the other was thinking. John finally said... I never knew life could be this hard.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We made it.

I haven't posted in a while because life has just been crazy.
We got some bad news yesterday. Marcus took 5 hours of testing yesterday with the Neuro-psychologist and the extent of his short term memory loss is a lot more than we thought. He really has a hard time remember anything unless he goes over it over 4 or 5 times in a row and that is only on some things. He has been failing every test he has taken. His language skills are pretty minimal. The place where the tumor was, is where his language is. He has always struggled putting his thoughts on paper, but now it is even worse. He has a hard time putting his thoughts together period as well as not really understanding words that he reads or hears. School at this point is going to be a MAJOR struggle for him and so is trying to get the schools to make accommodations for him. He pretty much passes the tests on a "below average" level, therefore this legally doesn't qualify him for "resource". He hasn't been able to get his drivers permit because he can't understand the book to begin with, plus he can't remember things either. He also has "outbursts" where he actually hurts his brothers, and according to the Dr.'s that is normal with any frontal lobe injury. They think going to a psychiatrist would be good and maybe put him on a anti-depressant. I guess to me its just a reality-check that yes, Marcus is alive and well, but in terms of his future, all the dreams he has ever had are gone. Even the thought of a mission is a very scary thought for him, especially when he can't put his thoughts together to say a prayer other than what he has said over and over again for years. It really bit me in the butt that life for him will never be "normal" and trying to keep him positive and happy is getting to be harder and harder. He realizes that and I am sure its the scariest thing for him. Not being able to remember is a scary thought for me, but to think that most of the things I wanted to do in life are going to be harder than ever, if even possible at all.
On the other hand, we have been blessed with another chance for him, for which we don't know for how long. I know tomorrow is another day and I will be grateful for having another day with my sons and husband.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Going to Arizona!!!

Well, we are heading out today for Arizona. John has a meeting this morning then we will hit the road. We will spend the night in Page, Arizona (about 8 hour drive). Then we head out early so we can get to Tucson by dinner-time. We are so excited to go to the nice warm weather and see all of our family. John's whole family will be together for Thanksgiving on thursday, then on friday we will have dinner at Alice's (my sister) with all of my family.
We will have to be extra careful with Marcus and going to places with lots of people. We got his counts back and his white blood cells are pretty low as well as his red blood cells. They are border-line, but the dr.'s think he will be ok going on our trip. We will have to draw blood again on monday when we get home, but we are thinking that his counts are on their way back up. He is pretty tired so I don't think keeping him still will be too hard. I am just grateful that we will be able to go. It will be a short trip, but it will be nice to spend some time with our families, its been a while since I have been on a family trip.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I can't help it......

I just can't seem to really get in and celebrate the good fortune we have had with Marcus. Don't get me wrong I am very happy that we are where we are, but I just can't stop thinking of little Chloe. We all pray for her everyday and I feel a tug on my heart every time I hear her name. I talked to her Mom, Stacie, at a baby shower for their baby that is due on the same day Chloe's bone marrow transplant is scheduled. They are planning to induce the baby (its a boy this time!) in hopes that he will be a perfect match for Chloe. I also saw Jake (dad) in the grocery store on saturday and talked to him for a few minutes. They really are struggling and I feel for them deeply. With the Lukemia she has, the CURE-rate was over 90%!!! She is one of the only 6 or so that relapse a YEAR!!! They were not expecting this at all. It just breaks my heart.

Well, to change the air.... (taking deep breath) We are looking forward to our trip to Arizona this week. It sure will be a short one, but it will be nice to get out of town and be with family. We are leaving wednesday, spending the night in Page, az, then thursday we will arrive at the Matt Russell's home around 1 or so for Thanksgiving Dinner. The boys are so excited and thrilled. It will be nice.

Friday, November 16, 2007

MRI

We are sooooooooo relieved to have it over with! The results were just what we wanted to hear. All things are "stable" or "the same" whichever wording sounds better but we are so happy to know that things are just the way they were last January. All of us are so happy to know that we are done. Life of chemo, radiation, weekly blood-draws, transfusions, IV's, losing hair, shaving heads, nausea.....and just NEEDLES are so close to being OVER. Marcus's platelet count was down so we had another transfusion on wednesday. As soon as his counts are up (probably a couple of weeks) he will no longer have to have 6-week checks nor have weekly blood draws. We won't have to go back to PMC for 3 months! WOW! That concept is just mind-boggling. After a year of all this, I can't believe we are done. It sure is scary, though. Now that we are on our own, every pain I will be recording, documenting and keeping constant watch.... Poor Marcus!!
So now that all this is over, we are going to do some testing, but without needles, pills or scopes. Marcus has had some problems with his short-term memory. He is really struggling in school and I think a lot has a lot to do with not being able to remember things. We have noticed little things that probably only parents would really notice. I think his attention span or able to comprehend what you are saying to him has been affected. There are a lot of times where we are talking to him and we can see that he is not connecting with us. The neuro-psychiatrist said that the area where the tumor was, is where language and personality are based. He was already struggling with English and writting, so this has made it worse I am sure. He completely failed the English portion of the state testing last spring. So on December 3, Marcus and I will spend the day in Salt Lake at PMC, but he will be doing a neurological test to see where he is and what areas have been affected. As time goes on, we will see more and more changes and late-affects from the radiation and surgery. They said he could even get a TUMOR from the radiation!! GO-FIGURE!!
Anyway, all in all we are happy where we are and feel so blessed to have so many good things come out of all this. I know our struggles are far from over, but we have faith that the Lord knows what is best for us and for now it is a break from the awful treatments of cancer. We give THANKS for friends and family who pray for us and give us strength. I am thankful for my Testimony of Jesus Christ and for the Love and Comfort he gives us on a daily basis. I pray that this same comfort that I feel can be spread to others, especially those who I have come to know through this. To those who have loved ones, lost loved ones,(especially children) or themselves who suffer from the horrible thing called...cancer. I know that the Lord has a plan for each of my boys, and for myself and John. He knows what is best and I will keep faith in Him to do that no matter how hard it gets for us because he will be there to guide and comfort us.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I can't wait............

Until this next few weeks are OVER! I am so so so so greatful Marcus is done with his treatments. I know this will be the last time we will have to worry about "blood-counts" and deal with transfusions. (Keeping fingers crossed) He had quite the ordeal yesterday.
Wednesday, Marcus came home from school, went to the bathroom and blood started gushing out of his nose. We had the results of his blood draw on tuesday and his platelets were at 29,000. Dr. Bruggers usually orders a transfusion to anything around 30,000 or lower. Well, she is out on Personal Leave for 2 months, so another Dr. said that he was OK and to draw again on Thursday. This bloody nose was Wednesday, so we took him to our local Dr. who drew blood again. Marcus's bloody nose stopped after 15 minutes, and he seemed to be ok. The Local Dr. said that he would be find to go to his concert that night. (More on that later) It started bleeding a little here and there, but nothing like earlier.
The next day we let Marcus sleep and stay home from school. By noon, we got the call that his platelets (what clots the blood) were at 25,000, so of course they decided to do a transfusion. Well, here in Logan we have to order the platelets from Salt Lake and they won't get here until the next day. I made the call to take him to Primary Childrens for it cause they could do it quick. I am so glad I DID! While we were there waiting his nose began to bleed a lot. We really couldn't tell how much he lost, but he was pretty Pale and out of breath exhausted. After the transfusion they drew again and got the results back before we left. His platelets were at 60,000 but his hematicrit (red blood cells) were down to 25. He was 2 points away from being admitted and spending the night getting a few pints of blood. He lost THAT much blood in just those few nose-bleeds. Talk about scary!!! They even left his IV in just in case his red cells fell anymore or if his nose started bleeding again. But he looked and felt so much better this morning. He was complaining about the IV so I took it out. He is feeling a lot better today and has so much more color to his face. "WHEW". We have been so blessed so many times, I am thankful for it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I did it myself....

Check out my new link.... I made a video for my boys and the song that I picked means so much to me. When I first heard it I felt like it was written for me.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Happy Halloween

I usually Hate Halloween, but this year I really did enjoy myself and my boys. We went to Shopko 2 days before and got the 75% costumes but they got what they really wanted anyway. Noah was a Ninja, Jackson was the Red Power Ranger. (sidenote... I don't think Jackson has ever watched a full episode of Power Rangers, I think that he just thinks they look cool) Marcus stayed home to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters, Aaron went with a couple of his friends out on their own (he was a zombie, but took off before I was able to get pictures of him in his costume), John and I took the little boys out with us. We went to a couple of friends houses, but ended up going inside the Lund's home. They invited us in for some "halloween vegtable chili" so we stayed and hung out for a while. We really enjoyed ourselves.
We walked up to one house who had a black light on their porch, so all the white or light colors glowed. The man that answered the door was wearing black with white paint painted on his clothes that glowed, and some kind of paint on his face that glowed to look like a clown face. As soon as we left that house, Jackson yelled... "That was SWEEET". It was sooo cute. He did get scared, when we went to one of our neighbors and the boy who is 12 was dressed up with the mask from "Scream" was sitting out in front of his house with the candy to hand out. Jackson went up and he kinda jumped out at him and Jackson came running back and NOT happy. The boys Mom brought Jackson back and promised that Jackson could kick him for scaring him. Jackson thought that was pretty funny. We went home pretty wipped out, but certainly had fun. I really enjoy watching the little boys, they sure know how to entertain us in our old age and reminds me of what life is all about.... Having a good time.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Bad Day... =o(

It seems like things like this only happen when John is gone. I imagine its because the boys are afraid that their Dad will bring the SMACK-down on them if he was around. I have been able to tell that the tension has been increasing in our home again. Usually its when an MRI is coming up, or when it's time for a chemo treatment, and it effects everyone. The next MRI isn't until the 14th of November, but I think the stress comes a little earlier this time because of everything else adding to that. The end of treatment we celebrated, but I think it has been more of a scarier hurdle to cross. Its like we are now on the defense instead of the offense. We feel like we are left alone to wait for the monster to come back and mess things up again.
I have noticed that Marcus's temper has been short as well as Aaron's. Marcus tend to get more violent and nasty with his brothers. Aaron just gets smart-mouthed and ornery. Marcus just let everything go this morning and was hurting his brothers left and right. (Not seriously, but pinching them or hitting them which I do not allow) So I went in to talk to him about why he was so angry. I asked him about if its his cancer, and he just yelled... "YES! This stupid thing has ruined my life!" He ripped down his poster of his favorite plane, an F-16...and screamed" I will never fly this plane or be able to join the air-force cause I have a freakin' hole in my head. Everything that I have ever wanted to do is gone. It's not fair." I agreed with him and told him that he has every right to be angry. He needs to get it out and let it go, he just can't let himself take it out on his brothers. His brothers are terrified of him and don't want to be left alone with him. It breaks my heart. I asked him if he is afraid the tumor is going to come back now and he said... "I know it is, Mom". He looked so angry with his hands in fists and a look in his eyes that really scared me. It was all I could do to not burst into tears. I tried to reach out and hug him but he pushed me away. So I told him to go for a walk or stay in his room and listen to music. I went and took a long shower...... my crying place. It isn't fair, thats for sure. What I wouldn't do to just take it all away and do it for him. I wouldn't have ever guessed in my life that we would be doing this. I just wanted to hold him and take the pain away, but I know I can't do that. He is here to learn as well as I am. I know I have a lot to learn and he will probably teach me a lot. I am going to call Primary Childrens and make an appointment with the councilor there so he can talk to him while we are there anyway. I think that now treatments are over, Marching Band is almost over, he isn't doing well in his classes and his MRI is coming up that he doesn't have a lot to look forward to. He is pretty scared. I don't blame him, I have the same feelings, I can't imagine if it were me. I just hope and pray that I can be strong for him and that we all can find the peace we need to get through this.
Last Sunday in RS, as the practice hymn we sang "How Gentle God's Commands". For 1 millionth time I had heard the song but the first time the words hit me.

1.How gentle God's commands! How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord And trust his constant care.
2.Beneath his watchful eye, His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up Shall guard his children well.
3.Why should this anxious load Press down your weary mind?
Hast to your Heav'nly Father's throne And sweet refreshment find.
4.His goodness stands approved, Unchanged from day to day;
I'll drop my burden at his feet and bear a song away.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Vacation Picture.


Here is a picture of Noah, Aaron, John and cousin Danny in New York. This is the day that John and boys arrived and met Aaron, Danny, and Ali at the house in Chautauqua. What handsome boys they are.

Aaron!!!


Aaron's 13th birthday July 5th, 2007. He was so excited to get the nintendo DS that he had been begging for, for months!

More Pictures.....


Ok, Mom. Just for you I will put some more pictures of the boys. LOVE YOU MOM!

Here is Jackson, John and Noah are in the background. This is during the Competition in Idaho.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CELEBRATION!!




Wow, what a party!!! Boy did we celebrate Marcus's end of treatment. I don't think I have ever had a party as big as the one we had on the 19th of October. We found a day that wasn't busy with John's campaign, Marching Band, Scouts,
Cub Scouts, or a Football game. We put up flyers in the Band room at school and passed them around town, mainly to people in our ward. I figured the weather would be cold and rainy/snowy since that is what it has been. But we were once again... BLESSED because my tiny house could not have held the 75 kids from Band and Church, plus the adults that came to wish Marcus well. I cleaned out the garage and set the tv up to watch Transformers, set up chairs and bought a huge cake from Sams Club. We had 3 coolers of soda and popcorn. Luckily the weather was wonderful and the boys played basketball in the back on our little "court", some kids "hung out" on the swings and some played night games. We had people driving by and honking their horns and waving. I think they were probably scared to come in, seeing all the kids there. Here is a picture of Marcus and his cake. I had to rush him over to the cake for a picture before the "pack of wolves" dove into it....haha. It was so nice to see Marcus have so much fun with his friends. I am so glad he has the Band kids to hang out with. They really are great kids. I did have to laugh when I heard a couple of the freshmen talking about their asthma medicine and inhalers like it was a thrilling subject. I guess they call them band-geeks for a reason...haha.
I am so touched by all the kids that came and showed Marcus how much they care for him. It was really overwhelming to see young kids so willing to support Marcus. I know we are supposed to be living here at this time where we could be close to Primary Children's and be in the best neighborhood, and ward. We have been so blessed. There is no way I could express enough thanks to everyone who has been there for us. We love and appreciate you all.

p.s. The next day, they went to Pleasant Grove to a competition and swept all the awards but one, and came in 1st place. They joked it was from Marcus's party and all the soda they drank...heehee.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Marcus Marching

I am not the best Film-maker, but thought I would try and post some video of the Band Competition in Pocatello, Idaho from October 13 2007. They placed 3rd, but they were competing against bands almost twice their size. I always like going to Idaho State because it is indoors and we don't freeze, plus I am able to get some better pictures because the venue is smaller. I only had my digital camera so I was only able to take a few clips. Sorry its so blurry, bumpy and short. I can only upload a small clip, so this is the Finale, and it ends with a good picture of Marcus.


video

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New House???

Ok, I am feeling better today than I was. I am now focusing my energy to something that is constructive and something to look forward to. We might be able to buy a HOUSE! How about that? It just fell into our lap and at a really good price. We are putting in a bid and see what happens. This house does need work, mainly on the outside. MAN.... is it UGLY! It was built in the 70's and has a FLAT ROOF!!! I can't imagine why someone living in UTAH would build a house with Flat roof and of course the roof is damaged. It also has UGLY big dark brown wood shingles on the outside instead of siding. We will need to replace all the windows and sliding doors, put on a pitched roof before we could move in. We have a couple of neighbors that do things like this for a living and they offered to help. We would also have to replace carpet and paint. Not much, right.....HAHA. I know its a lot of work, but I think it would be a great opportunity for all of us. The boys would learn a lot about work and learn a few skills... (including me) The location of the house is just around the corner so the boys would have the same schools and church ward. The boys are pretty excited especially since they want a dog and a cat so bad. So we will keep praying that it all goes in our favor.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pictures......

Why does this have to be such an issue with me? Last school year Marcus took his school pictures 2 weeks before he was diagnosed with his brain cancer. I couldn't look at those pictures for months because it represented him as "before" the nasty tumor. It just hurt too see that innocent face now changed forever. Now, it is time for school pictures once again.

Marcus has been trying to grow his hair out cause its getting cold again. The front part of his head has just sporadic hair strands growing in and has quite a few bald spots. Especially on the side of his head where he had the radiation. Well, he missed the first 2 takes of school pictures due to Band camp and then the big "shiner" (which is still lingering a little) he had from the "basketball in the head episode". So that just left today. Of course will all the band practices, scouts and chemo going on, he didn't have time to get it trimmed up by my cute cousin Jenny. (Love ya Jenny!) So monday nite we took a chance at one of the "walk in" places. I didn't expect miracles, cause there is no way you can cover up with hair you don't have. But when we got in, the only person available looked like she was 12 and just out of beauty school. Personally I think she was really freaked out about his head, and she had no ideas what to do with his hair. I suggested just waiting to cut it and just wearing a beanie over it for the pictures. He said "no, just shave it". He did at one time while he was getting in the chair say he didn't want to shave it, but then changed his mind again. I tried to coax him to wait, but he was persistant that he didn't want to have goofy hair for his year book pictures, so he told her to shave it. I bit my tongue cause I am just the mom. He also had it shaved with the tiniest clippers (that they use to clean up the edges) and so the only thing to cut it shorter would have been a a razor. I could tell once she began to cut, that he was NOT happy. He tried to act cool about it, but I could see it in his eyes that it was killing him. So I swallowed hard and tried to cheer him on and encourage him. What else are Moms for, right? He later said he thought it looked good and said "It will grow back even thicker". My heart just broke, but I kept it all inside until all the boys were in bed.

Once I knew that Marcus was asleep, I went in my room and bawled. I hadn't felt such pain in so long. All I could think about was Marcus's picture in his yearbook and him labeled the "cancer kid". How can I hang those pictures up on my wall and see that everyday? How will my family feel when they see his pictures, will they feel the same? How will he feel when he sees himself in those pictures? Its not like he hasn't been bald before. He has kept his head buzzed all this time so it could grow in evenly. But why does being completely bald bother me so bad? Its not like it was the first time. Maybe cause I saw the hurt in his eyes and there weren't 20 other kids there to support him this time. I guess its just I wanted so badly to be over this. I know it will never be "over" but this is supposed to be a happy time. A time to celebrate! We are DONE. The chemo, the radiation, the whole treatment . His last MRI was the same, and he is enjoying Marching Band and life. Why aren't I just happy for that? There are sooooo many kids doing so much worse and aren't able to have the quality of life that he is blessed with. I should be so grateful and thankful for the life we have now, which I am, but yet I am not. I know this is part of the whole process and for some reason (I really know the reason) we have to LEARN something in this life, and this is just a smidge of it. My Faith has grown so much in the last year, but yet I feel like I still fall so short. Its an ongoing process. So.........onward we go.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

October 2, 2007

I hate this date. Every time I hear it I think of it as the worst day of my life.... ever. The day that we found out about Marcus's tumor. I will never forget that day cause it changed me forever. Its hard to believe we made it this far.

Sunday, Marcus started his last round of maintenance chemo (Temodar and CCNU). This time it seems to have more of an effect on him than most others. He is pale, tired, and not himself. He also has had a cough and congestion for a few days as well. I hope he doesn't get sick. He has been really healthy considering all that he has gone through and I am hoping this goes the same. He has been working so hard with Marching Band that I am afraid he will over do it and have to sit out a few performances.

Speaking of, the Bands first competition was last saturday. John and I weren't able to go cause I wasn't feeling well and neither were the 2 little boys. The weather was so cold, rainy and even some snow flurries. Marcus came home and told us all about the competition and how cold it was WHILE they were performing. Then, last night was the school's parent/teacher conference. Well, Marcus's Band Teacher searched me out and informed me that Marcus did NOT perform at the competition! I was FLOORED! WHAT??? Apparently, he got a really bad headache 15 minutes before the performance and it was bad enough, and lasted long enough that he couldn't go on the field. Mr. P told me that he was pretty concerned because Marcus turned really pale and didn't look well. I was just furious!!! Not only did Marcus not tell me, NO ONE called me. What if he had a seizure? Gosh, I can't believe that Marcus would lie to us like that. His excuse was he didn't want me to FREAK out and call the Dr. He finally admitted that he has been having more headaches lately and they have been in a different place. ( a little more to the right). Not sure what is going on, but his next MRI is the 14th of November and we will see what is happening in that head of his. He still has a knot on his head from the basketball hitting him over 2 months ago! It has gone down, but its still pretty obvious.

Aaron has really had an attitude lately. He is 13, so I guess I should really expect that more and more, right? His grades aren't going very good, and he has been sassing me left and right. He has shot up so fast, he is growing out of everything FAST! He is almost taller than me now. I just can't believe he is growing up. Having 2 teens has been quite a wakeup call for me. Yes, I AM OLD NOW..... haha.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My John....

Here is one of my favorite pictures. This is my husband John with our 2 youngest sons, Noah (8) and Jackson (5). Its not a great one of Jackson, but its totally him, too busy for a picture.
John is the one person who has been the ONLY one to put up with me and love me for me. Even in my times of being a Psychotic mess. He is the love of my life and I can't imagine my life without him. He is the best father and husband. A lot of people say how lucky I am to have him and I agree. I do take him for granted, but I appreciate him for everything he does for me and my boys. Its hard to believe we have been together for over 17 years, and I can't imagine going through all of life's trials without him by my side. I am sure he may think it "FEELS" like longer than 17 years, and I am sure it does having to deal with me, but he has survived wonderfully.

I am very proud of him for many reasons, but he is running for the City Council of Providence, Utah. He has taken on a big job especially since there are so many running (started with 10) and has put a lot of consideration in to campain by listening to people and what they want for the community. He stands for honesty and justice and sticks to his guns. He came in 6th in the Primary election, so he is still in for the General election in November. I know he will do well, and if he isn't elected I will know that its because not everyone had the chance to meet him personally and see who he really is.

John is.... My husband, best friend and the Love of my life and forever.....
(sorry to embarrass you...teee heee)