Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Update

Hello again. THere hasn't been really too much going on in the past few days. Unfortunately, I'm not keeping food down like I would like to...but I probably just need to be patient, and realize it's all a process.

I was a little more tired after Church on Sunday--and I slept quite a bit. Whenever I sleep a lot, we worry that I might be getting the C-Dif infection again...but I think it had just been a big weekend.

Tomorrow I will have an endoscopy--a scope of my esophagus. That is what we did in August where we first discovered I had the tumor. It is a more precise test than the cat scan, and so if there are still parts of the tumor there, it will show that. We are not done with all the tests yet, and even though the cat scan results were terrific, it is STILL a process. :)

I have been able to do a little more of my Church responsibilities...and it is so nice to be able to do something for someone else. You feel like you are contributing again, and that is a good feeling.

I can't believe tomorrow is December 1st. Christmas will certainly be here before you know it. I am learning to order things online...and hoping to simplify that way. The trick of life is always to try to learn to focus on the important things and not get caught up in the "thick of thin things", but it is a lesson we have to keep re-learning. Have a great day! I love you, Louise

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

I have taken a couple of days off from writing. I hope you all have had a relaxing weekend--now the Christmas craziness begins!

I have done quite a lot (for me) this weekend. The biggest news, however, is that I have been able to swallow more things. I think that a lot of it is in my head--and that hearing that the tumor was gone has made me think that maybe I really CAN eat. Last night I had a thin piece of pizza, and some squash. However, we did go to the movies, and I ate POPCORN! (and quite a bit of it). I would still do my normal thing--take really small bites, and chew it slowly...but I ate POPCORN! Wow--that was a treat! When we got home from Thanksgiving dinner, we had some leftover turkey, and I ate some of that. From time to time, I still do lose my food again, but I am very encouraged that I have been able to keep most things down. I even had 1/4 of a turkey sandwich for lunch. I guess this is another case of achieving "baby steps" that we can celebrate.

On Friday my niece, Hillary, and her mom, Marti, came over and cut my hair. Hair has become quite an issue around here, as it has gotten thinner and thinner...and as I have more bald spots. I'm sorry to admit my vanity, but it has been really hard on me emotionally. However, this hair cut helps, and then my girls have been buying me cute little hats to wear so it is not so obvious. It's pretty amazing how much having hair means to you...or at least to me! I may even post a picture in a coming post. :)

One thing I did learn is that I still can't do much shopping. Kelsey and I tried to go out Friday morning (not a smart idea) and find me some hats. However, standing in line to buy two very over-priced hats, I felt like I was about to pass out. Thank heavens Kelsey was there...and believe me, I didn't venture out again the rest of the weekend. :) That just wore me out too much.

Most of all this weekend, we have just been very thankful for the news about my tumor. We have more tests this week, but we have felt really blessed that the radiation and chemo really did their jobs. Hopefully, the cancer will be gone too. Have a nice Sunday--may we all be thankful for the "little things."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Very very thankful Thanksgiving Day

What a great Thanksgiving this has been. Thank you all so much for all your comments. It is amazing to have this many people rejoicing with us. I think this morning the impact of last night's news hit me more...and made me very emotional, and so very thankful--thankful for each one of you who cares so much, for every person in my family, and just for the goodness of my Father in Heaven. I feel overwhelmed by His goodness to me.

There were just so many good parts of this day--first of all, I felt better than I did a few days ago when I was struggling with my third bout with this C-Dif. We were out in our neighborhood and talked with some of our neighbors. Their genuine joy at our news was so very touching. I feel so loved in this neighborhood, and my neighbors have become such dear friends to us.

Then we spent about 3 hours at Spence's sister's house, and had just the most delightful time there. Spensce's sister, Barbara Anderson, gave the blessing on the food, and it was such a sweet, thoughtful prayer. The dinner LOOKED delicious, and everyone said that it was--I got little bites of roll, mashed potatoes and chocolate pie. I was tired and laid on the couch for a while...but everyone else was in there, and we had such a good time visiting. It was one of the most pleasant Thanksgiving dinners ever. I DID eat some turkey when I got home--so I ate more than usual today. (I'm wondering if the fact that we found out that there is no tumor has made me more able to swallow things--at least I didn't have problems that way today).

We got to talk with both Emily and Brian tonight too--so it was like spending time with all our children. WE missed having them here, and feel so very thankful for them and their families.

Then tonight we watched one of my favorite Christmas movies, "It's a Wonderful Life." I love the message of that movie--that every life touches so many others, and we mean so much to so many. That's how I feel about all of you tonight--I even got a comment from a friend of my sister's--so there are a lot more people out there who we don't know who it would be nice to know. :)A big thanks to all of you for your love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy, happy news!

WOW--today we got the best news! We found out that the cat scan showed that my esophagus is CLEAR. There was no sign of tumors or masses or growth anywhere, including my lymph nodes. Can you believe that? You probably all can--because you all have had so much faith and hope for me. It was me who became the doubting Thomas in the last several thank you for believing. There are still tests to come--an endoscopy which may show more details than the cat scan did...but for now we have GREAT reasons to rejoice! I have been so afraid to hear the results of the scan, so it has taken me some time this afternoon to actually digest these results. Spence and I are so relieved and so thankful. Truly we have many reasons to rejoice at this Thanksgiving time. Thank you again for caring so deeply, and for being there to support us through this nerve-wracking time. I know there are other tests to come, but for now, we are just WAY happy! :) Love to all of you and a very happy Thanksgiving, Louise

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tough Tuesday

Well, unfortunately, it was kind of Black Tuesday. I spent the day in bed, and struggled with this infection all day. It really knocks it out of me. My daughter, Katie, just got home from college, and I have barely spoken to her all day--just because I haven't felt so well. I fall asleep, and basically am totally out of it. I will have had 4 doses of my antibiotic when I go to that should make things better for tomorrow.

Because of feeling so badly today, I didn't call about the cat scan...but we'll do it tomorrow. I need to find out before the Thanksgiving weekend. I just have struggled today with feeling so crummy, and I just couldn't put finding out about the scan on top of those bad feelings. It's been a tough day, but hopefully tomorrow will be MUCH better.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sick again...BUMMER

Can you believe this? I have that dumb C-Dif stuff again. I went to the doctor, and he said that it is really hard to get out of your system, and he suggested at that time that I go back on antibiotic (twice daily for 2 weeks and then once daily for another month), but at that time of the appointment, I was feeling fine--I was a little bit tired (which goes along with this infection), but then I got home and was full-blown sick with the diarhhea, exhaustion and everything else that seems to go with it. Luckily, we just got a hold of the doctor, and so I will start on the antibiotic tonight. This stuff is crazy, but it is NOT easy to get rid of.

I spent the afternoon after the doctor's in bed--just so tired and cold. But once we get this antibiotic going, I know I'll be feeling better. Hopefully this time we can get totally rid of it! Still no news about the cat scan either--maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Pleasant Sunday

Today I stayed for the whole 3-hour block at church--that was great! I took a nap when I got home, but I didn't feel too tired or anything. I AM getting more energy! It was good to be there. As usual, I talked to a lot of people--they are still very interested and very concerned. They are awfully good to me.

I am branching out a little on my food--tonight I had some tomato soup from Trader Joes, and it tasted good. Tomorrow we see the internist, and he may be able to give me some tips on how to improve my swallowing. I'm still mostly tethered to my "tree," and "eating" out of my feeding tube.

I am able to do more around the house. Tonight I even did the dishes--it feels good to be getting back into the swing of things, and to be able to do more to help out. Kelsey made dinner--she has done that a lot. She has become quite the good shopper and cook. However, Spence still does the lion share of the work around here--so many errands, lots of "honey do" things, and just a lot to make all of our lives easier. He took Brady shopping this week to buy warmer clothes, and even bought him some Church clothes. I am thankful to have him around. Well, tomorrow may bring news of my cat scan--we'll have to see.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Insights

This morning we went to the funeral of our friend, Judy Andress, who died last Monday (who I wrote about). It was a sweet service. She did not have any children or any family left...and yet everyone who knew her became her family. It was quite a tribute to someone we had lived courageously and joyously in spite of her huge challenges. She had cancer for so many years and had so many different rough experiences. I felt like many of the words of the funeral went straight to my heart. Funerals are always a time to reevaluate your own life...and this was no different. A dear friend who spoke gave this scripture from the Book of Mormon,which we regard as another testament of Jesus Christ, and it really touched me. It is from 2 Nephi 31:20, and it reads, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." It seemed to touch on all the things that I should be doing and feeling...and I'm so glad that I was there to be reminded of all that.

Other than that, it has been a pretty normal Saturday--with chores and wash and errands. I am thankful there are glimmers of inspiration in the middle of our mostly-ordinary lives. Love to all, Louise

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting back to the temple...

Well, I survived the cat scan. It actually was a "piece of cake." They had me swallow some water with berrium in it, and I was worried that I would have problems swallowing, but it was just like drinking water...and that is something I can do. I guess we'll hear results in the next few days. I am just going to try not to think or worry about it--not always the easiest thing to do. But I guess there is no need to worry until we know there is something to worry about.

I also went to the temple with Spence tonight...and that was wonderful. I have missed being there so much, and it was just great to be there and to feel the peace that I do when I am there. We have been worried that I would get too tired when I went, but I guess I was feeling well enough so it worked out well. So I have much to be grateful for.

Also my kids got to go to an early showing of "Harry Potter," so they were very happy about that. So, all in all, it was a very good day. Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sleepy Morning

I had a crazy start to today. I wrapped myself up in this darling fleece blanket that my sister and her family made for me, and just was dead asleep. Spence woke me up to give me medicine, but then I was dead asleep again. I woke up 1/2 hour later, and went right back to sleep. It was like I was drugged. When I woke up at 9:15, I really wondered what was wrong with me. My sister, Laura, who is pretty practical, just said, "It looks like your body just needs some rest today." So I went with that--took it easy this morning, and was able to work out and walk the dog this afternoon. So I guess she was right--I just needed to listen to my body, and sleep when I needed to. (Do you ever think I'll get these simple lessons down?!)

I did get a phone call from Diane who works with Dr. Donovan, our cancer doctor. The tests show that I DON'T have that C-Dif infection that I had, and that is great news!!

Tomorrow morning I have a cat scan. I am a little nervous about what it might show. I don't think we'll have any results for a while. It's always that fear of the unknown, plus the waiting that just gets to you. I need to be as positive as my son, Brady, who is very sure that I'll be just fine. He's a good one to have around! Well, that's just about it for today--have a happy Thursday. Love to all, Louise

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It is Tuesday night, and there really isn't too much to tell. Even though I can't swallow practically anything (my 3 staples are water, Gatorade and applesauce--FUN, huh?), I still burp way too much. It is disgusting, and my kids think it's hilarious since I have always told them that burping is rude. With kids, you always have to eat your words, don't you?

Today I went on a walk with my dog--it was hard to dodge all the sprinklers, so we really didn't go that far. Then I worked out for a few minutes at the Piper Center gym. Keith is the guy in charge there (kind of like a personal trainer for all those of us trying to get back into some kind of shape after dealing with chemo and radiation and other fun stuff like that), and he is just the nicest guy ever. One lady in there told me that he even does some of the exercises with her when she's having trouble doing them herself. :) Kelsey goes on quick errands while I'm in there, so she did grocery shopping for me while I worked out. It worked out great.

I also did some reading today. I really thought I would read more while I was recuperating, but for so long I didn't feel like doing anything except sleeping. I am starting to do more now. I've even been doing some things on the computer. Still, I have to admit I get tired of being hooked up to my "tree" (where I get all lovely instant breakfast through my feeding tube). Oh well--I guess it's giving me nourishment and I should be glad about that.

I am going to post a picture of me with my grandson, Logan, at our Church's trunk or treat the night before Halloween. And that's how I'll end it for tonight. Thanks for all your posts today--they were so fun to read.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on Cancer

This morning I found out that a friend of mine from church had passed away. She died after battling cancer for several years. She never gave up, and she kept trying new things, hoping that her situation would change. She had an incredibly positive attitude and was always a fighter. Cancer is such an awful thing. It seems like we hear every day of someone else who has some type of cancer. I think for all of us hearing the words,"They have cancer," is just so devastating. It too often sounds like a death sentence. But there are many cancer survivors and people who have been able to overcome it. We need to take hope from that. There are also many ways that cancer helps us to purge from our lives those things that really aren't important--things we think we HAVE to do, or goals that we feel we have to meet. Still, life goes on, and it is hard to watch people we love suffer, and it is hard to feel helpless when it comes to doing something for them. So cancer (or any other hard challenge we face) can help us care more about those around us, and help us become more spiritually in tune so we can really focus on our relationship with our Father in Heaven, and feel His love. It can help us just enjoy each day a little more, because each day is a gift. So, thank you to all of you who share this journey with me and with others who are suffering for various reasons--you help me laugh and enjoy life...even when it seems so uncertain. I love you, and thank my Heavenly Father for every one of you. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sabbath Snoozing

Hello everyone. It is Sunday night, and I was wiped out today when I got home from church. This was more a result of yesterday than it was of today...but today I had planned to take it easy this afternoon. I kept waking up from my nap, and then falling back asleep again--3 hours worth of napping! WOW--that's a lot of catching up to do!

I loved being at church, even though I have to say 2 hours this morning and 2 hours last night wore me out quite a bit. I saw so many people that I love there--and they were all so loving and welcoming to me. What a blessing friends are to me--they truly bring love and joy to me.

I am still struggling with swallowing. I can barely keep anything but liquids (water and Gatorade) down. That is frustrating. I should be getting better with that, and yet I'm not. I take little bites of things, but often I throw them back up. I would like to get off this liquid diet of instant breakfast, but until I can keep things down, I need the nutrients from the instant breakfast. I hope I can start eating things better--my whole family feels so bad watching me struggle with that.

Let me tell you about yesterday. Spence was gone the whole day--from way early in the morning until midnite. He went to the Bay Area to go to his uncle's funeral, and so we were on our own. Kelsey was feeling miserable with a cold, and so she was pretty incapacitated. Brady was trying out for his school basketball team, and had 3 games during the day when he had to play. So I went to those 3 different games, and came home to rest between the games. Kelsey and I also went grocery shopping--I was like a kid in a candy shop because it was so much fun to be in a store again! Wow--you do start to appreciate the little things! Then last night I went to that Church meeting for 2 hours--so I came home and crashed after all of that. So that is probably why I was tired today too--remnants of yesterday. But I made it through...and that was a good accomplishment. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A step at a time...

Thursday was a quiet day, but I didn't sleep as much. I worked out for a few minutes at the Piper Center--I'm taking it really slowly these days, but I am doing something. I even cooked dinner for our family--a real milestone, so I am doing a little more each day. :) My infection seems to be getting better each day...that helps me have more energy also. I even drove myself over to work out--I guess each of those "accomplishments" are steps on my road to recovery.

I wanted to share with you a picture of our cute Logan, our grandson. He looks like he is about to pray in this picture--he's pretty cute!

I am hoping we can go over for a few minutes of our high school football game tonight--first game of the play-offs. It's all a matter of how much energy I have--so we'll see how I do today. Have a great Friday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Letting people help

One of the things that you learn when you are going through this kind of experience is how fiercely independent we try to be. We try to always take care of ourselves and never ask for help. It is not bad to be independent, but sometimes we need to recognize our need for help, to ask for it, and then be grateful for it--not an easy thing to do. Today I am thankful for my neighbor, Heather Huth, who asked me if she could pick up some groceries for me while she was at the store. She was going to be out running errands, and so I agreed to let her do that for me. I think we both felt good--I felt good because it really was a help, and she has wanted to do something to help me and hasn't been sure what the best thing was that she could do. We need to be willing to accept service as well as give it--and that is not an easy lesson to learn. I know that I am not always one that is good about accepting help. Thank you, Heather, for helping me and reminding me that it is good to get help. :)

I am feeling somewhat better today. Spence and I went to see the doctor. We will be setting up a cat scan in the next week or two to see how I'm doing. It was a beautifully cool day in Phoenix--practically perfect. Have a happy Veterans Day! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More ups and downs

I was challenged by a friend today to write more of what I am learning from this whole experience.That is a good challenge for me because I feel like I am just trying to survive each day...and maybe thinking about the whole thing would give me a better perspective.

Today I was hoping to go to the temple, but I had some more diarhea problems, so instead I spent the day in bed, and got back on the antibiotic. This seems to really wear me out, so I mostly just slept. This C-Dif infection that I have is what wears me out so much. I get frustrated by the ups and downs, because it seems like I am getting better...and then I have another set back. I guess that may be one of the lessons I'm supposed to be learning--to have patience during this whole ordeal, and take what comes with more trust in the Lord. I guess I would like to "call the shots," and have things go the way I would like them to. It is not easy for me to submit to the will of the Lord, because I want to do things my way. Maybe I'm going to keep having these setbacks, until I start learning how to really let the Lord lead the way in my life. Many people tell me that I have faith, but what I really need to learn is to have more faith in the Lord, and that his will will be the best thing for me, what ever that may be. Love to all, Louise

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Not quite what I thought...

I was sure that I was going to church today, but when I had a rough night with a sore throat and a cough, I just felt like I couldn't go...and possibly expose myself to more germs. (I have never been paranoid about germs, but right now, with a lowered immune system, I have to be more careful.) So I was bummed out and couldn't go to any of Church. I always feel like I'm missing out big time when I can't go.

I also struggled today with swallowing a pill for my cold--it seemed like it took me most of the afternoon to finally not have any more repurcussions from just trying to swallow it. I kept gagging on it, and kept feeling like I had an obstruction in my throat. I think part of it is my swallowing problems, part of it is my stomach, and part of it is my own mental attitude. I am so paranoid about taking pills right now. I am so afraid that I won't be able to swallow them. I feel somewhat better from my cold--hoping that I can beat that right away.

Brady and Spence served me the sacrament, and my friend, Charlotte Portanova, came to visit. Jodie stayed with me all afternoon to make sure that I was okay! Thank heavens for my kids--they help me so much. Thank heavens for Spence also--yesterday he had the craziest day--everything broke on him here, he took Brady to his basketball game, he had all kinds of things to get ready for Sunday, and he had to go out and go grocery shopping for me at 11:00 last night. He deserves an award every day! Have a good Monday. Love to all, Louise

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Simple Saturday

My life isn't too exciting these days. I am trying to do a little more each day. Last night Spence, Brady, and I went to see the movie, "Secretariat," and we loved it. However, even sitting for nearly 2 hours made me really get restless. I was glad to get home where I could stretch out and be more comfortable. I just can't be out away from home for too long.

Today we went to the baptism of this darling Hawaiian girl in our ward--then we went to the "luau," that they held for her afterwards. It was a really nice thing to do. As soon as I got in their house, I found a place on the couch, and just planted myself there. In big groups like that, I just find somewhere to sit, and let others come and talk to me. It works out, and people are very nice to not just leave me alone. :)

I did some jobs around the house today--little jobs, but I hope they help in a little way. Kelsey and Brady are so good about helping out here, I felt like it was MY turn to do something to help them. Brady and I are both starting to get colds, so I hope we can get over them soon. Poor Spence--Saturdays are really busy days for him, with all he has to do around a bunch of errands for me. Tomorrow is Sunday, and I am looking forward to going to Church again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another day in the life of...

I have just woken up from one of my several naps during the day. I try to do something (wash, dishes, a walk), and then usually I am ready to rest for a while. People keep reminding me that I am I will accept that. This has been a good week. I am so thankful to be feeling better. I have gone walking with my dog every day, and try to go a little farther each day. I am hoping to get back into working out at the Piper Center next week.

Since I am not being dehydrated by my sickness, it is amazing how much better I feel--more energy, not so tired, etc. I am thankful for medicine, and hope I won't have that nasty sickness again. I have actually gotten some reading done this week. Even with a bunch of books to read, I have not had much desire to read--it even takes energy, and I didn't seem to have that.

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day. I had to go to a meeting for my oldest daughter, Jodie, who is handicapped...and it went for 2 1/2 hours. That just totally drained me. Then we had another one that night--all I wanted to do was get home and relax. I really do need breaks.

Well, the great news of last weekend was that we are going to have another grandchild. Our daughter, Emily, is expecting in May--and we are thrilled at the thought of another grandchild! I still haven't downloaded my pictures--but the weekend was wonderful, and it has been fun to think of the happy memories of that time together. (It is also very nice not to have to keep any more surprises from Spence--that took a lot!!) Love to all, Louise

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hello from Scottsdale

This has been a pretty normal Tuesday--normal for when I'm feeling well. I went to hydration--amazing difference from last Thursday when I needed hydration so desperately. I actually stayed awake all during hydration. I've done some crocheting today, and some reading, and went for a walk with my dog--so it's been a pretty good day all in all.

I spent a lot of time today working on getting ready to vote--nothing like leaving it to the last moment. Spence delivered our early ballots.

I am still feeling better--don't know how things will go in my roller coaster recovery, but am thankful things are on an upswing right now. I am still thankful for this medicine that I'm on for the C-Dif--glad it's working. Well, that's it for today. Have a good Wednesday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Monday

Well, that might be a little bit of a misnomer, inasmuch as my family all left today--the ones who live out of town. But we had a wonderful weekend together--we totally surprised Spence, which is a huge feat!! I will post pictures--probably some of Kelsey's since they are really good. We really planned for all of this to come off, and it DID!! Spence didn't suspect a thing, and was totally blown away when the whole family stood on our front door step, and yelled SURPRISE! :) It was the best. My kids really seem to love being together, and it is fun to see them have such a good time together. We have our one oh-so-cute grandson, who entertains us non-stop...and makes us all happy. We are so thankful for our Logan Boy!

We had time to laugh and talk and play games--we even had time for a car accident. Our car got rear ended, which took a few hours out of Saturday afternoon, but no one got hurt. However, Emily (our daughter), her husband, Michael, and our daughter-in-law, Keri, all were in that car--and felt the pains of it for the rest of the weekend. We hope they all will be feeling better soon. We played games and just had fun together.

It is a miracle that I could make this weekend. On Thursday I was so sick and so out of it--couldn't stop sleeping and felt you know from some of our last posts. However, they did diagnose my sickness right, and got me medicine that has actually helped. I am so thankful. It was touch and go on Friday morning as to whether or not I would have to go to the hospital. I really didn't want to, with everyone coming into town. I think lots of prayers went up at that time, and I was so blessed to feel better and to be able to stay home. At night, when I got tired I would just put myself to bed...and let the kids keep enjoying themselves. I got the sleep I needed, and they were able to "play" like they wanted to. I do have many things to be thankful for on this Monday, especially for a great family. They not only were way fun to have around, they helped me so much with dishes, clean-up, etc. They are the greatest! Have a good day--thanks for all YOUR good thoughts also. :)