Saturday, October 30, 2010

Better News

I am so sorry to leave you hanging...even for a day. Things have gotten much better. I'm sorry--we seem to be taking you on a roller coaster ride. Spence went with me to the doctor's on Thursday, determined to find out answers, and determined to get me feeling better. The doctor said they were going to treat me for a condition called C-Dif (short for some long medical name), which can cause diarrhea. They wouldn't know for 3 days if I had it, but then they also did some blood work on me which showed that I did have it, so the medicine was right. I have felt much better--haven't slept 24/7, had energy, etc. So I just wanted to let you all know that I am doing better--thank heavens.

Then, the best part of all was that I didn't have to go to the hospital--and all our kids arrived here to spend the weekend with us and celebrate Spence's 60th birthday today. So glad I'm feeling better so I can take part in the festivities! :) Things are looking brighter, for sure--hopefully it can last.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Louise hits another pot hole on the winding road to recovery!

When it is Spence posting you know there must be trouble. Louise is having another one of those down times in her road to recovery. She has some kind of new infection in her body which has left her very miserable. She has had non-stop diahrrea for three days which has left her dehydrated, weak and looking for answers. I took the day off work and we went down to the cancer center to get help. They could tell by looking at her that she was so dehydrated. She spent about 6 hours there getting hydrated. They gave us stronger medication to clear up the diahrrea and another antibiotic to attack the infection they suspect is causing the problem. They won't know until Monday, after the cultures have bloomed, what the infection specifically is. The blood tests they took today will tell them more tomorrow. They do know that her white blood count is pretty high, giving them evidence of infection. The doctor was so concerned that she is giving it 24 hours to see improvement or Louise will have to go into the hospital tomorrow. This can get very serious.

She has spent the last 3 days in bed with zero energy to do much else. It is late right now. She has spent the whole afternoon and evening asleep. She doesn't feel much better but there is improvement in the diahrrea attacks. We are crossing our fingers that the medicine is finally working. Cross your fingers and say your prayers for her. She is learning what being sick is really like. We will let you know how tomorrow unfolds.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Morning

For some reason yesterday, I was just really short on energy--I'm not sure why, but things really seemed to wear me out. I'm having a better start this morning, and hope that means that I WILL have more energy today. I am trying to hydrate myself--drink more water than I normally do--tomorrow is the only day I'm going to Piper Center to get hydrated. So I need to do better on my own. I know that drinking water is really important, so I need to keep doing that.

This is my favorite time of year in Arizona--the days are beautiful, and it is just perfect weather. It makes it a good time to walk too--but it is just so nice to finally have a break from the heat.

I think one of the things that tired me out yesterday is that I spent quite a bit of time on the phone. Isn't it funny how things that have never tired you out before can now make you tired? I feel like a wimp--because it's like I have to rest after every little thing that I do. Still I loved talking to people--so I guess it's the price I have to pay.:) Anyway, I really don't have much to say today--but I wanted to say hello and tell you all thanks again for writing so much on my blog. I love you all!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back to Church...FINALLY!

I was able to go to church today. I only made it through sacrament meeting (so I made it one hour instead of 3), but that was just so nice. I loved being there--I loved taking the sacrament, I loved seeing people, and I especially loved hugs from some of my younger friends (the little children). What a blessing to be back there. I still find I can only do one thing a day--I was hoping to go to a fireside tonight, but I just couldn't make it through another activity...but my strength and energy will increase, and I'll be able to do more. When I think of how much better I feel today than a week ago, I am thankful.

I am still having challenges with my eating--it's not my esophagus as much as it seems to be my sensitive stomach. My desire for things with a little more flavor needs to be curbed by the fact that my stomach just can't seemm to digeset those things. So it is more the jello and applesauce that I should eat...and go slower with the other things. Slightly BORING, but oh well!

During Church I experienced almost like a hot flash--and it may have been a bit of anxiety. However, the moment passed, and the rest of my time there went well. I still have to sit to talk to people--it wears me out to stand for too long. But all in all, it was a good day...and I am so very thankful I could go back to Church. I have missed it for the last several weeks--it felt like coming home to be there. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How Cool is YOUR neighborhood?

My neighborhood is the best, just in case you were wondering. I have known that for a long time--super nice people, friendly, caring, fun to be around...but today they have outdone themselves. Several of them showed up at my door this morning with this huge fall basket FULL of stuff--cards from their kids, all kinds of goodies, candy, fun Thanksgiving decorations, a beautiful fall wreath, a pumpkin carving kit, even a knitting magazine and yarn to make something (I think we might have to start a knitting group--they think I can teach them!!), candles, movie tickets...the list just goes on and on. One of them had decorated some pumpkins (so I can carve them if I want...or we can just let me stay decorated and call it good.) There were 3 different types of sparkling ciders--it just went on and on. Then they gave us a banner, which each of them had signed--expressing their love and hope and prayers for me. Talk about making me feel so special. I couldn't believe they all did that for me. These are people who have already brought me over dinners and goodies and taken Brady to basketball practices, and have been willing to do anything else that we might need. So it's not like they haven't already been doing a ton of stuff for us. But more than all the things in the basket was the feeling behind it all--showing their love and concern for me. They have been terrific. I have walked in the last couple of days and every one that I have seen has been so genuinely pleased to see me out walking. Everyone should be as lucky as I am to live in such a wonderful neighborhood. These are all very caring, loving people, and I count myself very lucky to call them my friends. I love and thank each of my friends on Lippizan Trail. You are truly the BEST!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Coming out Party

Last night I actually had a party at my house...and saw people!! It was wonderful. It was actually a book club for our women's group at church, but people came to my house...and I got to see people I haven't seen for a while. It was awesome! My family helped me get everything ready (and then cleaned it up too), so there wasn't a lot of work for me to do. It was good to visit with people. I can't stand for long--I don't have that much energy, but it was great to see people and to talk with them...and to feel like I was part of the world again. :) PLus it was a great evening. We were discussing a book that my brother-in-law, Greg Cootsona, wrote...and we fixed it up so that we could skype with it was like having him there--he was actually projected on a screen and we could talk with him. It was so incredibly neat!! Of course, he's such a great guy and did an absolutely fabulous job. The women just loved him, and he opened it up to questions, and so it was very personal. So the whole evening was just terrific...and I was very thankful for my friends who were there, and for Greg, who is just the most awesome guy ever! :)I felt good during the evening, but I was very tired and slept very well last night.

Well, it is Friday. I go to the Piper Center to get hydrated, and then Kelsey and I have to go back so I can get my PICC line flushed out and cleaned for the week. I hope you all have a good Friday, and that this will be a good weekend for you. I love you, Louise

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What is HUGBOT...

WEll, I am ready to turn in my computer badge tonight. I just spent nearly an hour writing a blog entry only to have lost it. I posted pictures and the whole nine yards. I will try an abbreviated one, but if it doesn't work, I may give up for the night.

A hugbot--well, it's this cool thing that my nephew invented for me so he could send me a hug, since he can't give me one in person right now. It is this little person he made (and he sewed it all himself) which has long, spindly arms and a big smile, so he can brighten my day. I am posting a picture of him and then of me holding him (The pictures tend to be a little yellow because we were trying to take pictures without a flash--plus don't worry about me, I definitely look tired!). But he has always been a very cool nephew who is very thoughtful--I am thankful he would do such a nice thing for me. You are the best, Michael--thanks so much!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Normal Days are...GOOD!!

I lied. I promised pictures, but I still haven't downloaded hopefully tomorrow. (Always manana, manana--is that spelled right for Spanish?!) I am sitting in my study, so that my ever trusty "slave" (sometimes known as husband) can clean my carpets and do my dishes. I DO have it "made in the shade," and we are all concerned that my re-entry into real life may have some very real adjustment problems!

Today was another good day. I went to hydration at Piper, and then came home to take a nap. Kelsey, my daughter, is always good to share that nap time with me. My cousin, Ginna Baird, came over to do a facial and put some make-up on me. We had such a good time--she even gave me a hand massage too, and that was wonderful. We had a great time, just talking too--she is very sweet. So that was a good thing. Brady and Kelsey ran errands, so I just had a quiet afternoon...and now tonight I have been hanging out here at home. It is so nice to be up more (I even helped some with the dishes!), and not be so out of it. I tried some jello and guacamole (YUM!) and some roll. So far I've kept everything down. I'm making baby steps, but every step to normalcy is a big one for me. Have a good Wednesday! Love you, Louise

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Night

I would like to thank all those who respond so often to my posts. That really means a lot, and it's nice to know that people are reading. :) I read and reread the things you write so it's all good. Thanks a lot.

I had another pretty good day. I am trying to slowly eat some things...and sometimes the things I eat don't exactly agree with my very sensitive stomach. Today I tried string cheese--my stomach rebelled on that one! So it was kind of a rough afternoon...but you live and learn. Tonight I have felt much better.

I was in the family room all morning (even though I was by myself). I did some crocheting and also some reading...and talked on the phone. I am trying to keep myself from atrophying so I do some exercises in bed. They are pretty wimpy exercises, but hopefully even the little things will help. So you can see it was a pretty non-eventful day, but I felt pretty well, and was up more...and didn't just sleep the whole day. Here's to a better tomorrow, and I'll post pictures tomorrow. I have some cute ones! Love to all, Louise

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things are Looking Better

Wow, we've put you through some pretty discouraging blog posts. It's been a tough week, but things are getting better. For one thing my fever has gone down--that has made a huge difference. We think that it is the antibiotic that they put me on that has made that improvement. The nausea has been better too. They have tried a different formula which seem to make me feel more bloated, but we now do it at a lower rate so that seems to help too.

Probably the biggest difference has been prayers--they have been coming stronger than ever. Spence gave me a blessing on Thursday night, and it reallly seemed to help. However, another huge difference has been the care of Spence and my friend, Sharie. She has been here since Wednesday night, and has really helped me through some very tough days. She just lovingly cares for me--I can't describe the loving way she takes care of me. It has been a tremendous blessing. We have been friends since we were 9 years old--and her love shines through every little thing she does. She has been a great help around our house--does so much for each of us, but mostly it is just her gentle way of treating me, and caring for my every need. She is one of God's angels on earth--there is no doubt of that.

I am up more these days. I think it's important to get off of my bed and out of my room--and it's nice to be more a part of things. I am even eating very teeny bites of applesauce...and trying to do more of that. I just can't even tell you how good it has felt to return to the "land of the living." Thanks to all of you--I can't make it through this fight without your love and support and prayers and hope. I am blessed to have such a support system. :) Love to you all, Louise

Friday, October 15, 2010

Her body is in a state of rebellion

This is Spence again. Louise has been attacked by 33 radiation sessions and 7 chemo therapies. We thought she was going to make it through with just a few bad weekends but her body is now thinking otherwise. She made it through the weekend in isolation until the shots she got on Friday and last Monday brought her white blood cell count up to 3.7 on Tuesday and 7.4 yesterday. But, for some reason, her body has hit the wall. She really felt like she had the flu Monday and Tuesday... very weak and totally exhausted. Her diahrea was worse and her nausea and vomiting also got bad. Then Wednesday night the fevers started. They have been 99.4 to 101.4 with only a few breaks since then.
The doctor thinks it could be an infection of some kind, not necessarily brought on by the chemo, but one that the low wbc couldn't knock out when she was infected. She is as miserable as I have seen her. So they ran several tests on her yesterday (blood tests, lung x-rays, etc.) They hydrated her yesterday and are doing so again today. They are running more tests today. We are meeting with the dietician today to probably change her nutrient formula and slow down the pump. She will also be getting a stronger diahrea medicine that works. We are trying to do all we can to change her quality of life. Right now it is the worst!! We are very thankful that Sharie is here being the nurse and home manager. It is a big job. My second career will definitely be in medicine. I'm finishing up my internship right now. I am specializing in a little bit of everything.

So, if she isn't returning phone calls or emails, you now know why. She is still the loving people-oriented upbeat person who is struggling very hard with her rebellious body which is saying, "Enough is enough!" Keep those prayers coming, specifically that she can endure this latest setback.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Day

I haven't written in here for a couple of days. I have actually felt pretty bad--running a fever and just feeling basically yucky. I go to the doctor today, and hope that he can give me some ideas to feel better. I was running a low-grade temperature, but now it is a little higher in the morning, which has us a little worried. I guess it is frustrating to me to feel like I have no energy and can't do anything. I was hoping that I would just start feeling better as soon as treatments were done. Things are never quite like we expect them.

The good thing is that last night my dear friend, Sharie Johnson, arrived from Salt Lake. She is wonderful to have around--and so comforting and soothing. Together we'll get me better. She's the best medicine I could have. :) So send good thoughts, and we're going to lick this infection thing. Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

36 Years--WOW!

Rather than talk about cancer or recuperating today, I want to talk about one of the greatest blessings in my life...and that is being married to Spence. You see, today is our 36th wedding anniversary, and that is BIG NEWS! Marrying Spence was probably the greatest decision I made...besides joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both have blessed my life incredibly...and truly made all the difference.

Nothing in life is just perfect or goes just perfectly...but I would say that Spence and I are a darn good team. We have fun together, we laugh a lot, we share similar spiritual goals, and we love our children as well as the two great families we come from. We have a lot of awesome memories, and most of them center around great times at the beach.

Spence can appear to be very serious but he is very silly and crazy...and makes us all laugh. He can keep a very straight face, but you know he is laughing his head off inside. :) He is good at keeping a balance--between church work, family time, leisure and his job. I always have known that family comes first to him...and our kids know that too. They know he is someone they can come to to talk to about anything, and they all trust him and love him very much. He has been an incredible example to them of what a father and husband should be--what a blessing that is to them...and to me.

As you know from my many posts, he has been an amazing support to me during this cancer time. He will do anything to help me out...and he does. He is positive and encouraging and a huge spiritual support when my spirits lag. We probably won't DO anything fun today--wanted to go to the temple or the movies, but will probably just be home. But you know what--it doesn't really matter. We are togther and that is what has been the best about the last 36 years. Besides that he brought me the MOST beautiful roses--he keeps on spoiling me!! :) I love you, Spence--truly Heavenly Father blessed me by bringing you into my life. Here's to many more years together!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Well, here are those pictures I promised you--you can see the Roxey logo, and then me with the "Zappers." All 3 of them were so awesome, and so supportive, and became my friends. Another cheer for the cancer center!
My entry earlier today was a little bit boring...sorry about that, but you know that's how life is. I've had a pretty good day. I didn't go to church today because of my "isolation order," but I have listened to some conference talks, labeled some pictures...and (wouldn't you guess it)--had a nap!!

My Saturday was all right. It's just about late afternoon that I start feeling a little bit bad. However, I just took an anti-nausea pill so hopefully that will help turn things around.

This week is my kids' fall break. Brady is actually looking forward to going to the cancer center, since he has never been there. I'm glad he can go. I'm going to explain a few things now. A friend thought that Spence and Kelsey did the Congratulations banner...but they didn't. That is something that the Piper Center does on your last day of chemo. They also give you a certificate of achievement that many of the workers there sign. I looked forward to my "graduation day!" Spence and Kelsey did bring me gifts though--a movie and flowers...and I loved those too.

I have an extremely clever friend who designed some t-shirts for the people who did the radiation for me. My sister, Laura, had named the 3 (a girl and 2 guys), Roxey and the Zappers, so my clever friend, Tracy Richards, designed shirts for them. i'm going to post the pictures and let you see how cute they were. I brought them to them on Friday (Roxey has the day off on Thursdays), and then we had to pose in them. Of course, I needed one too. :)That's about all for now--I hope you enjoy the pics!! :)

Sunday Morning

It is fairly early on Sunday morning. I thought I would write in here for sure yesterday, and I was doing pretty well. Then late afternoon I started feeling kind of yucky...and mostly just slept on and off for the rest of the evening. In fact, Spence had done way too much yardwork, so the two of us were fairly worthless. Thank heavens for Brady, who put together dinner and cleaned it up. He held us together! :)
I may download my pictures later today, but just wanted to do a quick update this morning. I had a few phone calls yesterday, and really enjoyed talking to my sister, Susan, who lives in France. We talked for an HOUR! As I have said before, she has been very attentive to me, and I really appreciate that.

This has been my time to practice saying "yes to no." I have had some phone calls from people who wanted to come see me. Because of my low white blood cell count, I really have to say no...and stay isolated. That is way HARD for me...especially when dear friends came in from out of town and wanted to visit. But I did it, and hope that alll of this isolation will rebuild my immune system. I like to be with people, and I hate to miss out on anything fun! :)So, for now, I'll just say good morning, and hope that you all have a very pleasant and uplifting day. Love you, Louise

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Slight Glitch in the Plans...

Well, here are a few pictures of the day. You need to celebrate every little victory. Sometimes we wait for EVERYTHING to work out right...and then we miss out on celebrations along the way. That's no good. :) Spence brought me the movie, "Pollyanna" (fun stuff!) and Kelsey brought me my favorite flowers, Stargazer Lilies! I just noticed for the first time as I walked into the building this saying. They live those words at the Piper Center each and every day.

What did I tell you about anticipating? Things just never are quite the way you think they're going to be! Every week before I do chemo, they have to run blood tests, to make sure that my white blood count is high enough. Every week they have been just fine to do chemo...except for today. Today my white blood cell count was low. That could mean that they would postpone doing chemo because it might be too hard on my body. However, they consulted with the doctor and went ahead with the chemo. Because of my white blood cell count being lower, they know that I am in a "compromised" position, to fight infection. So, I am now in lock-down hibernation, imposed on MYSELF! (also imposed by a few other key people in my family and some of my most protective cancer helpers at the Center) I can't have visitors or go places, except to the Piper Center. I could feel pretty yucky this weekend, but am praying that I won't feel too badly.

I have had another pretty good day at home. Even though things didn't go quite as planned, we had fun celebrating at chemo and radiation, celebrating the last treatment, we hope, for forever! SO I'm going to include some pictures, and hope they work out. I think you should at least VISIT a cancer center--it is incredible the love and outpouring of genuine concern that you feel there...and it's for everyone. They're all pulling for you! Love to all of you wonderful people!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tonight is that much-anticipated night before the BIG DAY! Sometimes anticipation is much greater than the actual event. Since I don't know HOW I'll be feeling, I'm just very thankful that I'll be THROUGH. When I think of the agonizing hours and days and months that others go through, I know mine hasn't been as big a trial...but it has STILL been a trial to me.I know there is still suffering and yucky days to come, but I am thankful that tomorrow is the last day of treatments. HOORAY! :) I get teary-eyed over "leaving" the people who have helped me through each day. They are amazing people...and bless lives constantly. I feel like I have a whole new group of friends that have experienced things with me that I've never experienced before. Again, in another way I am richly blessed.

Kelsey and Brady are normal children, don't get me wrong, but they are also fabulous helps. They help me through taking medicines that I don't want to. Tonight, Brady had basketball practice, and I got a little faint before he left. He told me that he would be totally fine to miss practice, just to stay here with me. He's a sweetheart. I am including a picture of each of them in here, since I was talking about them. Here am I several weeks ago with Kelsey, and then here is crazy Brady, with my college roommate, Suzy Jensen. CUTE KIDS!!

Chad Cherrington, who has been my neighbor for all our life here in Scottsdale, went with me to treatments today. I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Chad and I are very close, and can talk and laugh about just about anything. We had a great time being in the chemo room. Chad even asked if he could have an IV bag, so he would look like he belonged there. :) We never run out of things to talk to--he is a wonderful friend and so close he is like family too. My family is expanding...:) Well, until tomorrow, my party day, good night, sweet dreams and I love you all!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hail on Tuesday!

Hi Guys! Pretty soon my days are going to be like today. I was in and out of radiation, and that was all I had. I loved it! (I willl REALLY enjoy the days when I have nothing to go to!) My sister-in-law, Marti Jones, took me today...and it was very nice to be with her. We sat and visited for quite a while afterwards. I loved being with her. I like being able to share with so many people how they do the radiation, etc.--I think it helps people to understand better what I'm going through. I am so thankful they are so interested in it all!
I played the piano today, did some reading--I got this really cool book called Anti-Cancer, and I think I will learn a lot from it. Hopefully I can improve some of my habits...and live a healthier life. Never fear all you who know me too well--I will ALWAYS have several vices!!
I also went somewhere other than the Piper Center--that was a definite YES!! Kelsey and I went to JO-Ann's, and did a little shopping. It felt wonderful to actually drive on the freeway, instead of driving the same old way to Piper! :)
We had the craziest day of weather here in Scottsdale. Arizona can be pretty much the same--dry, hot days, but every now and then nature bursts through with quite the surprising and dramatic weather. Today we got golf ball sized hail really coming down. Then it rained quite a bit, then it hailed some more. We love any change in weather, but this caused quite a bit of damage. That is when it is nice to be safe and sound (or so you think) in your home.

Well, that was my Tuesday. I felt pretty good, I am thankful for the things I could do...and I am so very thankful that I only have 2 more days of therapy. Didn't Spence do a great job last night describing what's going on with me? I have always admired his ability to explain things clearly. :) Love to all, Louise

Monday, October 4, 2010

My "Superwoman's" medical status and longer vacation!

Hi! Superman here (more like Stupidman). We had just watched an old "I Love Lucy" episode where Lucy dressed up as Superman to appear at little Rickie's party because the real Superman couldn't make it. She tried to jump through the front window from a ledge 3 stories high but didn't do so when she saw the real Superman already at the party. So I guess I tried to do the same dumb thing unintentionally but only the ladder made it through the front window. I watched it go through as I was laying on my back.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a medical update and a brief idea of where Louise is headed once the chemo and radiation finish up this week.

Many of you wonder why she is still having it in week 7 when it was only supposed to be 6 weeks. From the beginning she was supposed to have 33 radiation sessions. She skipped labor day, so that meant that in the 7th week she would have a make-up session. The chemo department said she should not have 4 sessions of radiation without a chemo treatment so they scheduled a final chemo session for Thursday. They have told us all along that the chemo enhances the radiation and vice-versa. They tell us that the radiation will continue to radiate in the cancer cells after radiation is over because of the set-up of the chemo on the cells. I don't understand how all that works but then I also don't understand why 33 days of a radiation gun doesn't burn a hole right through her either. So I work by faith that they know what they are doing.

Today Louise and I met with Dr. Racine, the radiation oncologist, with whom we have met every Monday. She told us that she would not have just 6 weeks after chemo and radiation to heal, but more like 3 months. They would not give her the pet scan until 3 months later. She said it would take that long for the radiation and the chemo to completely leave the body and it would give the body enough time to repair itself and get the immune system functioning at full strength again. She felt like the petscan would pick up inflamation and even the radiation as "false reads" for cancer if they had the test any earlier. She did say that other scans could be done after 6 weeks like a catscan or an MRI. She also thought the GI doctor should do another endoscopy some time in that 3 month period to assess the size or existence of the tumor. But she said the surgery would not be done for at least 3 more months (if it is needed) because Louise would need to be full strength for the surgery. She emphasized how difficult this surgery is and how many risks there are and she is really hoping it won't be necessary. We were very pleased to know that Louise would be able to go through Thanksgiving and Christmas without surgery to ruin it. It would more likely be the end of January. I asked how safe it was to go that long without chemo. She said that the effects of the chemo and radiation would go well into the 3 month waiting period and this type of cancer was not a particularly fast growing. We should not worry about that at all.

So that is kind of our new schedule to look at. This Thursday will be the last day of radiation and chemo and I would also think she would not need to be hydrated 3 times a week either. We look so forward to this "vacation" period coming up where she can now totally recover from fire and poison she has so courageously endured.

Let me give you my "caregiver" view of her present state. She endured almost 5 weeks with mild effects of the treatment. Saturdays were always tough days for her but Sundays would get better. In the last two weeks, Fridays were tough days and she'd hit the worst time on Saturday evenings and nights. Last Saturday night she was up feeling crummy most of the night. She has been really zapped of energy most of the days now. Almost two weeks ago I think the radiation (that does hit part of her upper stomach) and the chemo did a job on her stomach lining and peristaltic muscles that move the food along. If she put any amount of food in the stomach she would get violently nauseated and would throw up. The doctors ordered a pump for her that would take her carnation calorie formula and would drip it into her system at 50 mil per hour for 20 hours per day. Overnight it gives her half of what she needs in a 24 hour period. The slow drip fakes out the stomach so it never feels like it is getting loaded up. This also means she takes almost nothing in orally except water with a little flavoring. With anti-nausea pills and the drip system, she has avoided most nausea for the last 10 days. She is dealing with many other problems though. She still has diarrhea, thrush, a painful esophagus, a gag sensation at swallowing anything and for the last 4 days a new pain in the back right at the level of her tumor. We give her liquid advil in her food tube for that 3 times a day. It does eliminate the pain but the pain comes back every time it wears off. The oncologist assured us that pain was not cancer in the back. She said if the cancer were spreading through the lymph and blood it would be too much of a coincidence that it would loge in the back at the very level of the tumor. She felt like it was more likely to be from the effects of radiation on back tissue since that was where the radiation was aiming.

I know this is getting long so I will quit. I just want to say again how amazing Louise has been through all of this. No one really knows but her how miserable it has been for her. How would you like to have double or triple flu for 7 weeks and be tethered to a pole and bag of formula for so many weeks. How much she wants to bite into the chicken and jello that the Barnetts brought us tonight but can't even try a morsel. But she just goes on enduring with hardly a complaint. I love her so very much. It has taken a lot out of me to see her suffer like she has. Sometimes I lay by her side and don't sleep. I just watch her enduring and worry about her next run to the bathroom. But she smiles and tries to reassure me as well as possible.

Thanks again to all of you who have flown in and stayed with us and done so much for us physically and emotionally. Thanks to so many who have brought so many meals we can't keep up with them all. Brady was bemoaning all the weight he has put on lately because of these meals. Thanks for so you that have taken her to therapy each day. Thanks for the many wonderful visits. You all have won a place in heaven for your love and thoughtfulness. Love to all, Spence

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One More Week to go!

We loved all the responses about Superman! I definitely think the best response was to "send that 13-year-old up on the roof." Sometimes if we "only had a brain!" My sister-in-law, Nancy, asked how I was doing. Weekends are tough--that's all I can say. I was in pain, I now have thrush in my mouth (Emily, my daughter, told us that is a pretty common side effect in this type of cancer),and I just don't feel so well. Today I have been up more--it seems like on Saturday that I just sleep from one nap to the next! There are all sorts of different things that my family does to distract me from pain. Most of all, they just let me sleep. But Brady comes and plays games with me--of course, he's smarter and faster than me, so he always beats me...but I'm going to put a picture of us playing "Speed" together. He's Speedy, and I'm Slowey! Kelsey just helps in any way possible, and is always concerned how I slept and how I feel. She is super thoughtful. Like I said last night, Spence is there for me a ton. So my family is taking care of me...and hopefully Monday things will be feeling better again. I love you all--have a good day...and know that this is our last week of treatments for now. HOORAY!! Love you lots, Louise

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Superman Lives at MY house

There is no doubt after today that the guy with the red cape lives here at my very house. If you could have seen all that Spence did today, while I slept from one nap to another, you would definitely know that is true. Today was General COnference, which means that Spence watched 3 2-hour sessions. In between that, he took Brady to a basketball game, and helped Brady with the lawn. Right before he left about 4:30 this afternoon, he was trying to get some toilet paper off our roof, and the ladder that he had propped against our wall, got wobbly and fell through our dining room window, shattering glass everywhere. Fortunately, he had pushed away from the wall, and fell into our garden, instead of into the glass. It made the most awful sound--scary times. When he got home after taking Brady to the priesthood session tonight, he had to go to Home Depot, and buy stuff to fix the window...then spend the time doing that. Plus he had a major clean-up job to do in the dining room. He also cleaned some carpet for me, and he has prepared different medicines for me to take all day long. (I am NOT a good patient, and hate taking that's another trial for Superman)He's helped me with wash, with changing my bed, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that he earns the title SUPER in every way...and he's so nice, even with all the pressures he has. I love you, Spence--you really earn your star EVERY day, but today you really did! :) He wanted to re-enact the window-crashing incident for the sake of pictures, but we all decided that probably wasn't the smartest idea. :) Happy Sabbath to all of you!