Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank Heavens for Friends

WOW--tonight I just had a very unique experience. I just talked to a friend whom I've known and cherished as a dear friend for years. Maybe it was just the wrong time to call and maybe she wasn't in the mood to talk, but I truly felt like she didn't want to talk to me AT ALL. It has made me stop and think a little about friends and how much they mean to me. I try to keep in touch with people, and to be interested in their lives. I learned a lot from my mom and dad about how to be a friend--EVERYONE was their friend, and they really worked at keeping in touch with those people. In fact, THEIR friends became OUR friends. In the last few days we've had some fun contacts with people who have been friends for a long time. In Church about a week ago, a friend was there who moved away a few years ago, and came back to visit. It was such a joyful reunion to see her, and to visit for a few minutes. Our kids played in a mother's group many years ago, and those ties still mean a lot to both of us. On Saturday night we went out with 2 couples whom we knew when we were first married--every time we are together it is like we just pick up from where we were the last time we were together. It is like FAMILY to be with them, and we love them very much. Both of those couples are couples whom we have looked up to as examples for years--what a blessing to still be friends. Today I was with a cousin who is also a very dear friend, and with her daughter, and her brand-new baby girl. What joy there is when we share our lives with those around us--being with others can't help but enrich our own lives. So, tonight I just have been reflecting on how powerful those friendships are in my life...and what a strength and a joy they are to me. When I think of people like that, I think of the little song that says, "Make new friends, but keep the old/ One is silver and the other's gold." Many thanks to so many people who are those "golden" friends in my life. I love you very much, and count your friendships as some of the greatest gifts of my life.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Day to You!

Well, I haven't written in a while, so I thought I would write a little today. The new year is off to a pretty good start. I am still working on resolutions--I spend a lot of time making them, and probably not nearly enough time trying to work on them!! But at least I get a good list of what I HOPE to do this year...and hopefully make at least a stab at completing some of them!

I am trying to learn how to make a book out of my blog--I would like to have a hard-covered record of my cancer journey--for myself mostly, just to reflect on the incredible experience it really has been. I have been studying of how to do that, and it is quite the process. Right now I am gathering pictures for it. I am also working on pictures for a slide show for Brady's court of honor. I enjoy working on pictures--I just take way too many of them to ever keep up!

I am really proud of my two daughters, Katie and Kelsey, who are both in school right now. Katie is in a very difficult semester, with both lots of classes AND student teaching--she does the classes first, and then later on in the semester, she teaches. It takes a lot of time and is a challenge, but she is working very hard. Kelsey is also doing very well this semester--her first semester at BYU was a lot of adjustments, but now she has "learned the ropes" and is doing well with time management and in her classes. I am very proud of both of them, and for how hard they are working. We talked to both of them for a long time last night, and that was awesome--love them both a lot!

I have had kind of a challenging week, health-wise. I'm not sure exactly what to do or how to handle it. Last night we were at a fireside, and I had not felt well, and got really hot, and had my dumping syndrome symptoms. I laid down on a couch, and had hot flash problems. This week I have dealt with dizziness and lots of fatigue. It is challenging to know what to do. I know if I try to do too much in a day I pay for it. I know if I eat too much or the wrong kinds of foods, I also have to pay for that. I keep hoping to be totally "normal" again--and maybe that will never happen quite the way I hope. I am not trying to feel sorry for myself, but it is kind of frustrating to have these ups and downs. I guess I just need to keep pacing myself, whatever that means...and hopefully just rest when I feel like I need that. I can do so many things I couldn't do even 6 months ago, but then I have these incidents. Oh well--I guess I should just be grateful for whatever I can do, and try not to worry that I can't do everything. Spence is always a great support. I DO miss Kelsey--she was always so sensitive to how I felt. But, all in all, I just need to be thankful for where I am, and pray for guidance in taking the best care of myself.

Just to give a few pictures--I am going to include a picture of Brady after he passed his Eagle board of review. His interviewer (main Scout guy--there are 2 other guys who sit on his board) was very complimentary of Brady and commented what a good young man he is (music to a mother's ears!). The other picture is of us with Jodie at her play that she did this month--she was awesome in it! If you ever have the chance to go see handicapped adults perform, be sure and take advantage of it. It is an experience like no other! Have a good week!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another day to give thanks!

WOW, I just read my blog from a year ago--I guess I say it too much, but I am SO thankful to be where I am today rather than where I was a year ago, where I had just had a second surgery to correct a collapsed lung. Today I was at my father-in-law's, and ran around the yard with their brand-new darling puppy. What a joy to be outside, to be enjoying our beautiful winter weather, and to be carefree with a little puppy! There is something so totally fun about a puppy--they are just the cutest!I tried to take a picture of her, but she would never stand still long enough for me to catch I ended up taking a video of her.

I am taking a break right now--doing that dreaded job of putting Christmas away. What a lot of work that is! I loved my Christmas decorations this year, and didn't want to take them down...but it's time. Last year my kids took down my decorations because I was going in the hospital. I don't want to go back to the hospital, but maybe I should plan on being sick every January, so someone else can do all this work. It takes SO MUCH time! Anyway, I just thought what a contrast this day was...and how thankful I am (even though I complain) to be well enough to do all of this...and to enjoy a beautiful Arizona day!

Plus--we had a great accomplishment in our family last night--Brady, our 14-year-old, went to his Eagle board of review, and PASSED. He is now an official Eagle Scout, and we are VERY proud of him! Way to go, Brady! Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

I am sure most of you don't remember what you were doing on January 3rd, 2011. Actually, neither do I, since I was so out of it. It is the day that I had surgery a year ago...and the doctors made sure that I remembered none of that day. But I just reread Spence's entry in my blog that day, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to be where I am today...and not where I was last year. What a journey it has been since then, and I can't believe how "normal" my life has become again. I can do most of the things I could do last year, I work out more than I did last year, and I have had a truly blessed year. But it was a tough journey, and I could never thank Heavenly Father or the people around me enough for carrying me through all of that. I have had many people call my recovery a miracle, and I believe it is. As I've expressed before, I have a lot to live up to, since I was blessed so much. I still have people expressing concern for me, and wondering how I am feeling. I still have adjustments to make in my life--like eating is still an adventure (and sometimes a trauma), and I still have "dumping" problems, sometimes when I least expect it, and I sometimes wear out quicker than I would like...but all in all, I am very blessed. Look at what happened in 2011 for me--I was able to recover from major surgery, and I grew hair spite of chemo and radiation! I welcomed two darling new grandsons into our family, and gained a new son, when he married our daughter, Katie. We had many wonderul moments--vacation at the beach, a fun Thanksgiving, a truly blessed (but a little bit lonely) Christmas, and many family times with our immediated family, and also with extended family members. Many people sacrificed time and money to spend time helping me with my recovery, and I appreciate that more than words can say. One of the sweetest things I heard this year was when my daughter, Kelsey, made a comment on her Facebook page, expressing her thanks on Christmas," I am very spoiled, and I love being with my family...and my mom is cancer-free." As you might remember, she was the one (besides Spence) who was by my side every step of the way. Writing Christmas cards this year was truly a pleasure, because it gave me a chance to express gratitude to so many dear friends and family who kept praying for me and pulling for me. My hope is, of course, for continued good health, but also that I can help others who may have heavy burdens to carry in 2012. It would have been so different if I had had to go through this experience by myself--how blessed I am to have an incredible support system, and a loving Father in Heaven, who blessed me so that I could still be around. I wish words could adequately express the love I feel for so many of you who followed my blog, and continued to pray and fast for me. I wish I could repay, even in a small degree, all that you have done for me...but in spite of my inability to do all that I would like, please accept my love for you...and my eternal gratitude. YOU helped bring about the miracles that I have experienced in my life. Thank you, and a happy and blessed new year to you all, Louise