Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thanks for Memorial Day

This morning I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir do their weekly broadcast. It was about Memorial Day, and the gratitude we should feel for those who have sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedom. I was touched by the words spoken and the music sung, and need to express my thankfulness for the many men and women who have given their all so I can enjoy the freedoms that I do have.

I also wanted to give a health update--I have been so busy talking about babies and graduations, that I need to let you know my progress health-wise also. :) I went to my oncologist this week. He was thrilled about my positive pet scan and blood work...and I have now graduated to seeing him every TWO months rather than every month. It will be nice to have one less doctor's appointment each month. I don't even have to see him until after Katie's wedding in August! I am able to eat more, although today I ate TWO cookies and could feel the effects for a while afterwards. (I have to be very careful about the amount of refined sugar that I eat) I have been working out at the cancer work-out center, and I am glad to do that. I am going to try to walk my dog more often--for the exercise, but also so my dog gets out once in a while!

I will post a couple of pictures of Kelsey's graduation from high school.The one picture of our family shows her brother, Brady, and her oldest sister, Jodie, and, of course, her dad! Kelsey was a darling graduate, and had a great time at her all-night party. I am proud of her for graduating and also for getting accepted to BYU, where she will start in the fall. She's done great, and I know she will do many good things in the future--she is a great girl, and I love her very much. Have a happy and thankful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Celebrating Sharie

I still have pictures to post of graduation and the celebrations that went with it...but today is my dear friend, Sharie Johnson's birthday...and I wanted to pay tribute to her. She got me through one of the toughest weeks of my treatments in the fall...and then came and celebrated life with me this spring. She has been my friend since FOURTH grade!! That's pretty unbelievable, and she has been the best friend ever. She is not one to give a lot of advice, so when she DOES give some advice, you sit up and listen--she is very wise. It is her birthday today, and because I am such a slacker, I haven't even sent her a card or a present I wanted to dedicate my blog to her. People come and go in our lives, and then there are some that make all the difference in our worlds. Sharie is that person to me. She is kind and gentle and very Christ-like in all that she does. She touches peoples' lives and makes all who know her want to be better. I always come away from being with her, hoping that I can be that much better and sweeter. She is accepting of everyone, and finds the good in people. She has been a supporter of me all my life, and was the one who brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to me. How grateful I am for her, and for the powerful influence she is in my life. My children call her "Aunt Sharie," and rightfully so--she has always loved and cared for them too. I hope on this day, HER day, I can be that kinder and gentler person. Thank you, Sharie, for all you are, and for the shining light you are in my life. I love you so very much. I am including pictures of Sharie and me--she just radiates goodness! Love to all, Louise

Monday, May 23, 2011

The End of School

This is an entry about my daughter, Kelsey. She does not like to have too much attention drawn to her, but she is ending her high school career, and it is a time of much nostalgia for me--she is ready to be "outta there," but I am having more tender feelings.

Last night we went to her seminary graduation. High schoolers in our church go to a church class every day of the school year. It's called seminary. When there aren't many LDS kids in the school, the kids go to early-morning seminary, where they are taught for about 45 minutes each morning before school starts. Kelsey did this for all 4 years of high school, and it would start about 6:30 or 7:00 each day. (depending on when school starts). They studied a different book of scripture every year. Her first year I was her seminary teacher, and maybe that is why seminary graduation was extra tender for me. The music got to me, and the fact that several of her Church friends also graduated just made it very meaningful to me. I love many of them, and the thought that they will all be taking off for school, and then going on missions and different things that are coming up for them, really got to me...and made me quite emotional. Even though high school has lots of ups and downs with friends, I still get quite attached to my kids' friends. Last night was particularly touching to me. Again, the words of a song come to my mind: "Each life that touches ours for good Reflects Thine own great mercy, Lord." How thankful I am for my dear friends and for people who have been my children's friends. There isn't much joy in life without the love and caring of good people. I am glad that my children's friends can be MY friends as well. It was a tender night for me. I am putting some pictures in of that event. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Going Home

I just wrote a whole post, and then lost it. I still deal with technological challenges. I will try to recreate what I just wrote. As you can tell from my title, I am going home today. I need to go back to the "real world," and not just play grandma. It has been such a wonderful experience to be here with Emily, Michael and their precious baby boy. He is just so sweet, and really does well. He does cry (he is a baby after all), but can be calmed down quite easily...and mostly just cries if he is hungry or has a messy diaper. He is very alert, and is just SOOO cute! He reminds me so much of Emily as a baby--and everyone who sees him thinks he looks like her. It has been such a great experience to be here in their home--there is such a sweet and loving spirit in here, and I am constantly learning from their examples. I have enjoyed helping out--even doing dishes in someone else's kitchen is fun! Last night SJ sat in his swing and watched me do the dishes while his mom took a little nap--how fun was that! Michael is a very attentive and loving husband and father--mixed in with his sense of fun also. I have just been so impressed with what a sweet family this is. They have had several visitors, and this baby is certainly not lacking for cute boy outfits! I have called this my "baby slumber party". We stay up late with the baby, and then sleep in--it's been so much fun. I hate to leave, but we will see him and them in a few weeks when we come back for his blessing. I am so proud of Emily and the wonderful, caring mother she is. She has always loved babies, but to see her with her own baby is a very sweet and touching thing. I am so grateful that I could feel well enough to be here, and to do a few things to help. When I heard they were expecting, I was in the middle of all my cancer treatments--and wondered if I would be able to come and help. So I feel very blessed to be here, and to have shared in these first days of little SJ's life. Truly again Heavenly Father has blessed me. I am going to include a few pictures, just because I am so biased about this baby, and this family whom I love so much.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Truly a Day of Thanks

Hello, It has been a while since i wrote. What an eventful week this has been! I am posting some pictures of our new baby, Spencer Christopher, who will be known as SJ! What a darling, sweet little baby he is. How thankful I am that I can be up here in Utah with him, Emily and Michael. I could post forever about all the cute, sweet things we have experienced...but let me just say how thankful I am for him, and for my daughter, Emily, who has just been a trooper through all of this. She had a difficult labor and has been pretty sore this week. But her love for this baby just shines through...and it is a privilege to be here with her and Michael. I love them all, and am so proud of them. They will be terrific parents--this baby is very lucky to come into this home.

In all the hoopla of having SJ arrive, I have been a little less expressive about my great thanks for the blessings of my Father to me, health-wise. It is humbling to know that I am totally clear of any cancer right now--what a tribute to the faith and prayers of so many of you. I am thankful for the mercy of a loving Father to me, and for the power of the priesthood which has blessed me incredibly through this. My healing has truly been one of the "tender mercies" of the Lord. The power of my own prayers and those of my family have been a strength beyond measure. My son, Brady, has always been incredibly positive about how things would turn out. How thankful I am for his ever-cheerful and encouraging attitude. He just KNEW I would get better. My sister, Laura, has a friend who has been battling cancer for years. Her attitude is what mine needs to be (and in fact, would be good for all of us)--where she lives life to the fullest, and makes every day count. When I found out that Emily was pregnant, I just hoped with all my heart that I would be well enough to come be with her and hopefully offer some help. I feel ever so grateful that my Father in heaven has granted me that blessing.

I want to share a couple of pictures with you. There is one with Emily and her cousin, Katherine Allen Mitchell. They have been friends all their this picture is particularly poignant to me. (In fact, I cried when I took it). My heart is filled with gratitude this morning. This day is a gift--may it be that way for all of you too. I love you very much, Louise

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shout Hooray!

I have got two very big reasons to shout HOORAY!! We have great news to share. First of all, several of you have been asking about the results of my pet scan. Again, the news "couldn't be better." We talked to the nurse in our GI doctor's office today, and she said that everything was clear--that there is no sign of cancer. The endoscopy showed that my stomach and intestine were perfectly clear. Isn't that the most terrific news? We feel so incredibly grateful to our Father in Heaven for His merciful answer to our prayers. WOW--we are so fortunate. Spence's colonoscopy also showed good results, so we feel very blessed. The news just couldn't be any better. With cancer treatment, you have to just count your blessings along the way--you don't know what might be coming "around the bend," but we are ever so grateful right now. Thanks again a million times for your prayers and love and concern. We have certain people in our life who are just always aware of what is going on, and so quick to show their concern. Bless you all for caring.

The second reason we have to rejoice is the surprise early birth of our second grandchild--born on Mother's Day. Our daughter, Emily, was due on May 25th, but her baby decided to make her a mother on Mother's Day itself! She had a baby boy, who they have named Spencer Christopher (what an honor for Spence to have another grandson named after him)Johnson, and they are going to call him SJ! We are thrilled that he came, and that he seems to be doing well. We fly up to Utah in the morning, and can't wait to meet him, and to see Emily and Michael. So we feel very richly blessed right now--and so very thankful for the goodness of our Heavenly Father to our family. I am going to try to post a picture of him so you can see--and of Emily too. She looks darn good for just having a baby! She's always been photogenic, even after delivering a baby. :) Love to all, Louise

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday's Update

It is Friday, and so we have done all our medical things this week. Except for taking blood for me which happens later today. As I've said, what would I do for entertainment if I didn't have medical appointments? On Wednesday I had my pet scan. Of course, we don't have the results yet, but hope that they will be good ones. Then Spence went to do a colonoscopy yesterday. It is pretty pathetic that the nurses all recognized us from being there a week earlier to do my endoscopy. We're getting to be too familiar to everyone at the hospital. When you're on a first-name basis, it means you've been there too much. The pet scan went fine--since they move you in and out of the tube, you don't have quite the same claustrophobic feelings that you might have if you just had to be in there for 20 minutes without moving.

I have been more diligent in working out. I have had quite a bit of pain in my upper arms and shoulders--probably because of months of little use. So my "trainers" are working on me building muscle strength and trying to loosen up those muscles. I feel like a wimp when I can hardly raise my arms over my head.

I had an experience last night that was a graphic example (but small) of dumping syndrome. Kelsey brought home a blizzard from Dairy Queen for Brady. I literally had 2 spoonfuls of that, and still had a reaction--got hot, sweaty, tired and weak. It lasted for just a few minutes, but I guess all this stuff about sugar for me is a real thing. I better really be careful about eating that stuff--I have to admit, I also had had a couple of Easter M&M's, so that probably didn't help. Back to the fruits and veggies--SIGH...anyway, I hope all you mothers out there have a great Mother's Day. There is nothing quite like a mother. My mother has been gone for quite a while now, and I miss her--and miss her mothering. So don't procrastinate telling your mother how much she means to you. It will mean so much to HER. Love you all, Louise

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not looking forward to another test

I talk a good story, and now that I'm awake, I am doing better. But fear got the best of me last night--and worries about this pet scan actually kept me awake during the night. I RARELY have problems sleeping, but last night was different. Even though everything else has looked good, I still fear having another test that could show that I have cancer, and then waiting for the results. I am thankful for the sun coming up, and things DO look brighter. There is nothing I can do now about the I am going to enjoy my morning and then head over to the hospital for the test. Then we'll play the waiting game, and we'll just hope for the best. :) As I've said many times before, this is all part of the "process." Sometimes I just don't want to be reminded that this is an ongoing thing--I would just like it all to end. We don't usually get to "call the shots" that way! OH WELL. Have a good day. Love you, Louise

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Diet Dilemna

Thanks to Spence for informing you about my dumping syndrome. It was such an amazing thing to have the nutritionist tell us so much. I think Spence definitely is getting his honorary doctor's degree!!

As Spence told you, it makes things much clearer. What we couldn't believe is how all the symptoms of dumping syndrome were symptoms that I've had! I still need to read all the info she gave us...but things started making sense after talking to her. However, it still is a challenge to figure out what to eat. Let me try to explain. I'll use Gatorade as my example. When I was having my C-Dif problems, Gatorade was a great help in restoring electrolytes to my system. I was first on regular Gatorade, but then learned about G2, Gatorade with less i changed over to that. Then, when I was trying to add more calories to my diet to help gain weight, I went BACK to normal Gatorade, which has more sugar in it. After talking to Terry, our nutritionist, I knew that I shouldn't be drinking stuff with that much sugar in it, so now I'm back to the G2 stuff! The challenge is still getting the calories in, without adding the sugar. To complicate things a little more, I tend to have high cholesterol. I have been on medicine for that, which may be causing me to have some random pains in my leg (and at times, in my shoulder). Some of the things I am told to eat (to add more calories) are more butter, mayonnaise, gravies, etc. which are not good for you can see why all of this causes me to be in somewhat of a quandry! I wish medicines didn't have side effects, and that you didn't have to worry about how one medicine can affect another. I also wish that there were more calories in healthy foods, and less in all the junky ones! What can I say? I am encouraged to learn about dumping syndrome, and as soon as I figure out what I can really eat, things will be much better. Forget the doctors--we're going straight to the nutritionist--she seems to really know what she's talking about!!

Tomorrow is the pet scan. They told me that it will take about 2 hours. I can't read during that time, so I'll bring my ipod, and just listen to music. Just ask Spence--he'll tell you: I'll be asleep for that 2 hours!! This pet scan will show if there is any trace of cancer in my body right now. I'm so thankful I can have doctor's appointments--how would I fill my days if I couldn't fill them by spending time with my doctors? I certainly know how to have fun. Have a great day--keep sending those good thoughts. :)