Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Em and Michael!

Happy Birthday to two of my kids! I decided to dedicate this blog entry to Emily and Michael, who are celebrating birthdays today and tomorrow. I have been searching for a picture to put in of them--Emily is totally photogenic, and Michael usually is making some silly kind of here's one that is pretty good of both of them from last summer. I just want to tell you a little about them, as a birthday tribute. Emily is a wonderful, no-nonsense kind of person. She does not get hung up on silly little things, and was never your typical dramatic girl. She is wonderful with kids, and will be an awesome mother. When there is a baby around, she is with that baby--and loving it. When she took care of me for a couple of days, she was very organized and got lots done. She is very sweet to people, and especially loves her grandparents. You can depend on her to get things done. She has always been focused on spiritual things, and cares about the important things in life. I am proud and grateful to be called her mother.

Michael is a fabulous addition to our family. He brings a lot of fun and happiness wherever he goes. He even jumps over garbage cans and walls...and that is the truth! He is interested in so many things, and I am always impressed that he can talk to just about anyone about anything. He is friends with everyone in our family...and just about anyone tha he knows. He loves to be active, and always gives our Brady a run for his money when it comes to playing basketball. He is a good worker, and very committed to living the Gospel. I am so thankful he is in our family, and I am very glad that I can call him my son. So, happy birthday, you two--we love you!!

I am learning to maybe scale back a little. I think I have gotten a little over-zealous in what I think I can do...and I have felt very tired and a little bit I need to be more careful. I DID go to the temple today with a good friend, and that was nice, but a little bit exhausting. As always, it's a learning process of what you can and can't do. Thanks for your love and support--it continues to be a real strength in my life. Much love always, Louise

Monday, March 28, 2011

A very full weekend

I had a very big weekend this weekend, and I don't think I'm quite ready for all that yet. Saturday I went from one thing to another, and finally had to stop mid-afternoon, just so I could recuperate. I needed to do some birthday shopping, but my daughter, Kelsey, did that for me--I just had run out of energy. Spence tried to get me to cut some things out, but as usual, I was stubborn and thought I could do it all. Kelsey is going away to school in the fall, and I better have more energy by then--I depend on her for so many things. She has been a great support.

I started working out at the cancer center last week. The great things about the "trainers" there is they appreciate any effort you put out, and they applaud anything you do. My workouts are small (about 15 minutes), but I'm going to try to be more consistent and build up my energy that way too. I have gone out to eat a couple of times, and the people I'm with are always so happy that I can eat. I'm very happy about that too!!

Friday I got to be with another friend--check out the picture. This is my friend, Debbie Meany, who is our beach friend. I met her thousands of years ago when we were both at UC Davis in California, and we have been dear friends ever since. She is such a good friend that she decided to show her empathy by having surgery the exact same time AND day as I did. They thought she had a cancerous tumor, but it turned out to be benign--that was so wonderful. But we are both recovering from surgery, and understand some of the similar things we've been through. She came and spent the day with me--drove 3 hours up and back from Blythe, just to spend some time with me. That is the kind of friend that she is. We had a great time together. Well, that's a quick (sort of quick) summary of our weekend--hope you are all doing well.

Oh, just one more thing. I thought again of how the little things are the big things. I came to bed late one night. I need to have my head elevated so that I don't aspirate, and I hadn't put the pillows on my side of the bed. When I came to bed, the pillows were there and my side of the bed was turned down--a "little thing" that Spence had done, but it touched me a lot. I hope we can all take time today to do a little thing that will show a loved one or someone that we care. Have a great day--love to you all, Louise

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fabulous Friends

Years ago when we lived on the west side of town in Glendale, we made some really wonderful friends--the great thing is that they still are our wonderful friends, and mean so much to us. Tonight we got together for dinner and for visiting, and it was just the best night ever. I am so thankful for each of them, and the way they have blessed our lives...and for their continuing friendship and support. Truly the saying is right that says, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." These friends are just the best.

So I'm putting a picture in. I have tried to edit it so I wouldn't have totally red eyes--but if I changed my eyes, my face went gray...and then you would worry that I wasn't feeling well, so you'll just have to look at me with my lovely red eyes. We went to dinner, and then we went to the Eliason's house (one of the couples), and just talked and laughed. It was a great evening. All the other couples have served missions for our Church--we would love to do that, but need to finish raising our children (or the one who's going to be left at home--our 13-year-old, Brady). It was just great to share experiences and feelings--and I think we all left, feeling so grateful for friendships that last through the years.

It's funny how much better I am feeling. The fact that we could be gone for 4 hours, and I not be totally exhausted is pretty miraculous. I walked today and worked out (just for 15 minutes--but that's something!) at the cancer center. I AM getting better! Yesterday was a pretty big day, so today I took it easier and rested more so that I could be ready for tonight. Anyway, that's about it from here for today. Love to all, Louise

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet Times at the temple

This has been an incredible day for me where I have really felt the Spirit of my Heavenly Father. It has been a sweet and a very welcome experience for me. Tonight Spence and I went to the temple. It is the first time I have been there since we went with our kids right after Christmas. Going to the temple is really important to me, and it has been hard to not go there for the last couple of months. I loved being there.

Then this morning I went to my institute class, and we had a wonderful experience in there too. We talked about the "tender mercies" of the Lord, where He blesses us in small but very significant ways. Some of the women in there shared some personal experiences where they had felt the hand of the Lord in their lives, and it was just so touching. Therer are moments like that when you feel such a strong bond--we felt that in that class today. So, I just feel really grateful to be feeling better, and to be able to feel some of those feelings again. It's another example of appreciating experiences that we often take for granted. Sometimes we need to go without things to know how blessed we truly are.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday's Moments...

Life is just kind of going along. Tonight we had Spence's parents over for dinner--they were supposed to go too a spring training game, but it was rainy and we just watched the game in our family room. We were much more comfortable that way.

I am feeling pretty good. I am still keeping track of my calories with my online program. If I felt more like eating, I could increase that intake. All my doctors say I just need to force myself. Today we went to see the GI doctor, and so far I'm doing well. I have such a different look now--with my dark hair (no more color from a least for a while), and very short. People often comment on the new "cut" I got--that wasn't exactly my choice, but it is what it is. :) I don't miss wearing my wig--it just never was super comfortable to me.

I am doing well at the 3-hour block at church now--can stay for the whole time, and not even feel exhausted when I'm done. Last night I had a crazy experience with a very violent hot flash--I felt sweaty and clammy and very weak and shaky. But, what was so weird with the whole thing--when it was done, I was super hungry. I am rarely hungry, so that was crazy. But the food tasted good--right now one of my favorite things to eat is Greek yogurt and fruit.

I also had an episode a couple of days ago, where I ate a carrot, and it got lodged in my throat. I couldn't get it out, but finally coughed it out. It was a scary feeling to not be able to swallow and to feel something lodged there--and to not be able to do anything about it. I was pretty emotional after all of that, and am thankful that I don't have many experiences like that.

The kids are back in school, and this looks like it could be a pretty busy week for us. One of the best things that is happening to me is that I can contribute some service at Church. I help coordinate compassionate service in our ward (like when someone is sick or just had a baby or there's any other kind of need). Right now we have some people who need help, and it feels so good to be able to be part of giving them that help--even coordinating other peoples' efforts feels so good to me. We all need to feel useful. I'm grateful I can do something for other people when so many people have done so much for us. Anyway, that's it for tonight--have a good Tuesday.
Love to you all, Louise

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another week has come and gone...and this has been a really fun week. My sister, Laura, and her daughter, Lizzie, came to visit...and we just had the best time. It was our spring break too, so that meant my kids were around. Lizzie and my son, Brady are about 6 months apart in age, and had a fabulous time together--they both have a lot of energy, and played practically every game we have in the house. They are both competitive, but both laughed a lot. It was wonderful to see them having so much fun together.

My sister, Laura, is the easiest person to have around.(she can even get Brady to do much better at his chores than I can). We laughed a lot, talked a ton, and just had a great time. She is a napper too (runs in our family) so we also had many breaks. We had big plans for this week--and did practically none of the things we had planned. We were going to go out to see my sister-in-law's scrapbooking store, but I got sick that day (actually threw up), so we changed plans and had a quiet afternoon at home...and watched "Karate Kid." She helped with making dinners and cleaning up, and we did handwork together...and went outside to read, but ending up talking instead. She is such a good friend to me, and we are very close. I will add a picture of her. I hated to have them leave, but we have a lot of fun memories.

Yesterday we went back to my surgeon, Dr. Perry. We had such a nice visit with him. He seems to warm up more every time we see him. He is still very encouraged with my progress, and feels good about how everything went with the surgery. It is good to get good reports.

My #1 challenge right now is getting enough calories. My sister got me on this online program to monitor my calories--and it helps me to keep track of what I'm eating. I need to worry less right now about nutrition (sometimes the most nutritious things don't have the most calories), and just try to get some more calories in me. It's not like I'm going on an ice cream diet--I just need to eat things that have calories and protein in them. Getting sick in the middle of the week did not make it easy to put in calories--nothing sounded good to me right then. It's funny, but sweet things just don't appeal to me like they used to. I used to down a whole box of Girl Scout cookies--now I am content with one. It's very weird, to say the least. Well, that's about it for today. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Update

It is Tuesday morning. We are still having fabulous Arizona weather--it may get a little warm tomorrow. I am having so much fun with my sister and niece! It is great to have them here. My sister is in Spence's camp, and has me having snacks all the time, trying to beef up my calorie count! My niece makes sure I drink my Ensure (one of my least favorite things to do), and so they are not only providing fun, but also providing incentives to get me to do better.

Yesterday we went shopping for a while, and then ended up at Chick Fil-A, for a chicken sandwich, and I ate practically the whole thing. My personal cheerleaders cheer when I do something like that! :) We have played games and taken a walk--they still make sure I get my nice long nap in the afternoon. So it's been great!

Sunday was a good day for me--another improvement. Spence and I made dinner together, and I didn't need to rest in between different things. I had the stamina to keep working on it, and didn't feel that total exhaustion that I had before. So my energy is improving. I also could visit with people more at church and again not feel totally wiped out. I am so grateful for the way I am gaining strength--and just hope that it will continue. Well, thanks for all YOUR cheerleading--wow, what a great bunch of friends and family I have. :) Love you all, Louise

Friday, March 11, 2011

So thankful for my companion!

It is Friday--in 2 more days, my sister and niece will be here. It is nice to have people visit, and to feel like I can do some things with them. :) Katie and Cody left yesterday, and we had a good time with them. Again I had an "aha" moment yesterday. I still get tired more easily. In the morning I had some dear friends from California come visit for a while. After that, I went with Cody and Katie to look at a place for a reception (still waiting until the word is official that they are engaged). After that another friend came by who is a decorator and is going to help us with some remodeling, and she was here for about 2 hours. I was EXHAUSTED. I had plans for the evening, but stayed home instead and just had a low-key night. I still have to pace myself, and not put too much in one day. That probably doesn't sound like much, but even if I stand for too long, I get really worn out.

The other reason I wanted to write today was to write about Spence. I am putting a picture of him and me in this blog. I just want to say again how much I appreciate all he has done for me. I was reminded again by my sister of how lucky I am to have him by my side. He literally was with me every single day at the hospital--he tried to get some work done while he was there, but mostly he just catered to my needs and was my companion. He always checks up on me, and is the best at monitoring my progress. (He also makes me eat more calories, even if I don't want to!) He has continued on with routines with our children (scripture reading, prayers, etc) even when I may still be sleeping. He has done double duty around our house--all his chores plus several of mine, and has not complained. He is thankful that I can do more now, and that he can be relieved of some of those responsibilities, but he still does a lot. I am so thankful that he is such a caring companion, and that he exercises so much faith in my behalf. Truly I am thankful he is on my team--he is the best. I know you all know that too--you have witnessed how much he has done for me. I am very blessed. Have a good weekend. Love you, Louise

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday THoughts...

Hello everyone! Here I am again--we are having beautiful spring weather in Arizona--this is why people live here, for this fabulous time of year. I have had a couple of firsts (no big deal to most people, but firsts for me in quite a while)--today I am wearing flip flops--normally, I am in slippers or slipper socks or closed today I broke out the flip flops--no big deal, but kind of for me. Two nights ago we ate at Subway, and I ate almost ALL of a 6-inch sub. WOW--that was another big step for me! And I loved it--it was absolutely delicious. :) So, that's the latest update on my teeny tiny baby steps that I take.

I had some thoughts last night as I went to bed. I am reading a book called Making Sense of Suffering--it is very good, and easy reading. One of the experiences was about a woman who was suffering from pancreatitis. She talked about how she was just enveloped during that time with feelings of comfort and spiritual strength. Obviously, it was a very painful and difficult time for her. I thought of my experiences and the feelings I had in the hospital...and how they were different from hers. In the hospital, I felt like I was just at survival mode--that I was just trying to make it through each hurdle, and I didn't have many deep or spiritual thoughts at the time--I was just trying to get through. I know I expressed to Spence sometimes that I didn't know if I was going to make it. Some of my more spiritual moments have come SINCE that time--now the things I read or pray about seem to have a deeper impact on me. Right then I was just trying to endure--I felt the love of others, but I have felt it more deeply in ways since I am not at such a survival level. Does that make any sense? I just know that some of the kindnesses that were extended to me at that time have come to mean more to me recently. So, if I didn't express enough gratitude at that time, I am feeling it more deeply now. So, for all your thoughts, prayers, emails, blog comments, and just for being you, I hope you can feel my heartfelt thanks. Life is good, and it is better because we can share the ups and downs with each other. Much love and thanks always, Louise

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Busy Weekend

Well, here is my report for Sunday. Today was the best Sunday so far--I made it through the whole 3-hour block, and wasn't even tired. It was great! Spence is our Sunday School teacher, and he does a great job.

We are having fun visiting with Katie and her friend, Cody--I might even include a picture of them together. Well, I did put a picture in of all 3 of us--they look good; I look pretty tired. OH WELL... They will be here for most of the week--hopefully, he can survive meeting all the people we are introducing him to.

I had a big Saturday--at least for me, yesterday. I took it easy in the morning, but then I took Katie and Cody over to play practice with Katie's old play director, and met people there...and watched the practice for a while. After we got home, some friends of ours from Tucson arrived unexpectedly--what fun to visit with them. They were relieved to find that I wasn't laying in bed and wasn't totally wiped out. People who haven't seen me or talked to me are not sure how I will be! After they left (and they brought me the most beautiful roses--absolutely gorgeous!), we went out to dinner. So, for me, that was a lot of things to do in a day--and I even folded some clothes. :)

Today has been another fairly big day (remember "big" is pretty relative, considering anything is "big" for me.). I went to Church, and then it was home to dinner.After dinner we watched family movies, and then played games. I never took a nap today--I think that is the first day in a long time that I haven't done that. So, on to another week...and hopefully continued improvement! Love to all, Louise

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Friday

Hello everyone. I had my kids take pictures of me last night. I will probably put the one in that Brady took--Kelsey's camera is too high in pixels, and I think you see more than you might want to!! She took pictures after I wore my wig, so my hair was pretty wild. Maybe when I feel braver, I'll show them to you!

Today is a big day for our family. Our daughter, Katie, who is 20, is driving down from Utah with her boyfriend...and we'll meet him for the first time today. They are getting pretty serious, and it looks like we could have a wedding this summer. There is never a dull moment, or time to really take it easy! But we're excited to meet him.

Last night I had another music appreciation moment. I went with my son, Brady, to a program at his middle school, where the band played. They were really good--it was just so good to be there, to be able to hear them and to be with him. It was good to walk around and see all the different things that were going on. I saw a few people who I know--so that was fun too. I hadn't walked yesterday, but I had to park my car so far away...I counted that for my walk. :)

I am going to the oncologist today. I will be seeing him every month for the first six months. I am doing pretty well. I just find that doing one major thing a day is about my maximum--but I can do smaller things, with small breaks in between. I still go in weekly to test the level of my blood--too thin or too thick, and they keep it well regulated. My eating is going pretty well--I do have my moments when something seems to get stuck in my throat. It's hard to know when you should worry about something or if it's just all part of the whole process.

I have talked to some different friends on the phone this week...and that has been so fun. I do feel like I'm getting more in the normal swing of things, bit by bit. So I'll let you know how things go this weekend. Love you lots, Louise

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And life goes on...

I intended to put a picture in here of myself...with my new "do." Maybe next time... Sometimes I wear my wig, but most of the time, I just go "au naturel" with my very short hairdo. My hair has come in dark with gray--bummer, I was hoping to have hair like my mom with very little gray. (I'm still trying to pretend I'm younger than I am!) It was very traumatic to lose my hair (as you might recall), but now that it left and is coming back, it doesn't bother me at all. I guess you realize in the big scheme of things, the length of your hair is pretty insignificant.

I made it through the 3 hours of church. By the end of the second hour, I was pretty tired, but I'm glad I stayed for the last hour--we had a great lesson on simplifying our lives. That is something that an illness forces you to do, whether you want to or not...and you realize that there are MANY things you can cut outof your life. We tend to make our lives more complicated than they need to be.

I also went to institute class (a church class in the middle of the week)for the first time in months--actually ever since I was diagnosed. It was wonderful to be there--to be learning and discussing spiritual things. Then I went and got a fruit smoothie with a good friend. I have slept quite a bit this afternoon--so I still need to pace myself--one big thing (or just one thing) a day is enough for me right now.

Last night I actually made a good part of our dinner. Again in that process I had to pace myself--I would make part, and then take a rest, then get up again and do something more. Again I was exhausted, but I did it...and it tasted good! I am thankful my family is patient with me, and doesn't expect too much...and they are proud of me for doing anything. Have a good day, and thanks again for "listening" to me report on my days!! Love you, Louise