Monday, September 23, 2013

Living on

I have mixed emotions about continuing on with my wife's blog. She did such an amazing job and I worry that anything I write will only detract from the beauty that was in her writing.

The simple fact is, her path hasn't ended. Now she has to sit in heaven and watch in horror as I make a mess of life with her kids. The kids are fighting right now at this very moment (probably with knives or something) and her I am, shutting it out and typing on the computer. They have been doing an absolutely admiral job of coping with life and I envy them so much. I with I could be more like them. They are my biggest strength though  because they are the only piece of  Geneva that I have and her "Unexpected Path" continues on with them.

As most of you know, we kind of took the summer off after the funeral to just get away. I took the kids camping with family and then we last minute decided on a Costa Rica trip. I'm sure Geneva was cursing my name as she watched. First we decided to rent a 4x4 pickup truck instead of a car and that was just the excuse I needed to take a remote jungle road that some local said might take me where we were going. We got lost for only a moment (couple hours) but after crossing a small river and mud bog we found a little town. I also got the kids right into the culture the first day as we ate lunch at this tiny taco place with a dirt floor and hungry dogs all around. The food was good and the kids didn't get sick so I figured day 1 was a huge success.

Day two we went to Tamarindo (small surfing town) and took surfing lessons. In hind sight I should have taken lessons at a separate time as W and K but that didn't occur to me at the time. Nothing happened but I still realized that someone should have been watching them while the instructor was taking turns teaching me. But nope! They were paddling around on their own trying to catch their own waves. C was by himself on the beach playing in the sand, but at least he was safe and being watched by total strangers sitting by him. Both W and K picked up surfing really fast but K especially. She must have caught 20 waves.

On our way to Costa Rica, we had made some friends on the plane. An older gentleman and his daughter were taking a short daddy daughter trip. They invited us to the resort they were staying at to come and hang out with them. We all had a great time and the kids loved the idea that they could swim up to the bar and get a pop or juice. I swear they thought that was better than anything they had ever experienced in their lives.

Our next adventure took us zip-lining in the  forest. This wasn't dangerous for the kids but I still don't think Geneva would have let me take them. We drove to the top of a mountain (more like a really tall hill) and then took 11 different zip lines down to the bottom. We were lucky we were able to go because had it not been for the hitch hiker we picked up before hand, we never would have found the place. After the zip line fun we made our way back to Tamarindo for dinner and our waiter just happened to be the same hitch hiker we picked up that morning. He hooked us up with awesome food. So let that be a lesson to everyone that it always turns out good picking up hitch hikers. While at dinner, he turned up the music because he could see K was liking it. I had bought her some cute little beach dresses earlier that week so she really wanted to dance because she was wearing one of them. So she and I were dancing in the restaurant (which had all glass doors, walls, etc facing the street) and having a ball. She kept insisting that I catch her by the waist when she jumped at me like a ballerina and hold her high up above my head. I was really uncomfortable with the crowd that was watching but what choice did I have?

A new day brought with it another fun time. My new hitchhiking friend hooked us up with a great deal on deep sea fishing, so we chartered a boat for half a day and went out. 2 tuna, 2 mahi mahi, 1 wahoo and 1 Sail Fish later we were all really tired out. We took a few fillets with us back and the restaurant we went to cooked them up for us. We had enough fish for 7 people so we took some of our friends who we were there visiting. I've never tasted any fish better. 

I needed a break from it all by the time morning rolled around so the 4 of us booked a spa day. W and I got massages and K got mani and petti and C was going to get a massage but chickened out at the last moment. W graciously accepted C's massage for him.

The day off was greatly appreciated because next on the schedule was horseback riding. It was so much fun and W and K were able to ride their own horses. C rode with me but was regretting it by the end because the saddle was really small and he kept telling me that his privates were being squished. I had hoped (like an irresponsible parent) that he would have ridden his own but he wouldn't. We had a great time and C's privates survived. That same day we also took a boat ride up the estuary to look at Crocks. 

Next on our list of things to do was sailing. We took a catamaran trip out on the sea. We had dolphins swimming right below our feet (we were standing on the net part of the boat) which was breathtaking. They swam with us for at least 20 minutes. We also saw some whales swimming near by. I spent most of the trip trying to keep the kids safe and from going over the edge but gave up after a while. I then had the captain back me up and confirm when I told them in Costa Rica it was encouraged to beat your children. He even supplied a small fish club as a prop to take my story to the next level. He said he was constantly lending it to parents with misbehaving kids. C believed me and was much better. The captain even let him steer the ship. We stopped by some tiny islands to snorkel and i went with K and W. C stayed with the captain. Something about the waves constantly looking up to see if W and K were still alive made me horribly sea sick and I stayed back a few seconds while everyone swam back to the ship and I fed the fish. You should put on your list of hardest things to do, barfing while treading water in waves. 

The catamaran was out last big adventure. After that we checked in to an all inclusive resort and just relaxed in the pool, took latin dancing lessons, ate too much food and enjoyed live shows at night. W and K even got pulled up to dance on stage. A beautiful grandma woman from  Columbia grabbed K after she came down from the stage and started dancing with her and was showing her how to cumbia. She later told me that she had seen K and I dancing in front of the class doors at the restaurant a few days earlier and fell in love with my daughter. She was such a sweet lady.

That in a nutshell was our trip. We did so much and were so tired when we came home. I have just barely got life organized since. We had lots of fund and cried lots of tears too. It was just what we needed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Funeral Services

Dear Friends and Family: The funeral for Geneva will be held on Saturday July 20th, at 1PM. There will be two viewing sessions for her. One on Friday July 19th at 7 - 9 pm at McPhersons Funeral Services (2200 2nd St. South Cranbrook). The other will be Saturday July 20th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints (2210 2nd street north Cranbrook) from 11am to 12:30pm with the funeral proceeding directly afterwards.

Please pass on this information to those who knew Geneva. Due to the timing of the local paper's printing deadline, we won't be able to get an announcement before Saturday.

Thank you,


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I am Geneva

Over the past two years I have poured my heart and soul into this blog. I have shared with you all my innermost desires, fears, beliefs and doubts but I don't think I have shared enough about who I am.

I am Geneva May Atwood.

I love life and everything about it. I love and am loved.

Life is an adventure that I face with a smile that is usually accompanied with a sarcastic quip. The smile I get from my Mom and the sarcasm I get from my Dad. Combined, these attributes formulate in to one really lovable personality. Often, I can give the impression that life has me down, or that the struggles I pass through are too tough for me but in reality, there is nothing big enough to ever keep me down. I have three very active kids who seem to challenge my patience at every opportunity and I will admit that sometimes they  win little battles and I loose my cool (who hasn't?), BUT, they have never ever felt anything but love from me.

I was fairly young by today's standards when I got married and had kids (21 and 24 respectively). I fell in love with a young man named Ken and he fell for me also. He knew very early on in our dating life that I was the one for him. We were like two peas in a pod as far as our whit, sarcasm and love of life. We were married after only 6 months of dating and are coming up on 12 years of marriage. Ken knows that he is really lucky to have me, even though he doesn't say it as often as he could. Ken and I have remained best friends through our entire marriage (fights and all) and there is nothing that we wouldn't do for each other.

I remember when we were new parents living in a home we had just purchased and we became quite concerned about what we would do in the event of a fire, especially if the other person was unconscious. So we spend the rest of the evening practicing dragging the other's limp body down the hall and out the front door. This is one of Ken's favorite memories.

Another story that always brings a smile to his face is when we were debating whose head was bigger. I remember telling him that my head was huge and ugly and he would argue that it wasn't. So to settle the matter we took turns weighing our heads on the bathroom scale. We had to do it several times to make sure the reading was accurate. It turns out that Ken was right and my head wasn't as large as I thought.

As most of you know I was in the hospital for the past while but through the grace of God, I am back home now. It is so nice to finally not have that aching back anymore. My only complaint is that there are so many friends and family waiting to say hello that it is hard to find time to update this blog.

So what can I tell you since I last updated you all? Well Disney Land was an experience of a lifetime. I am so glad I had the chance to go there with my kids. I want thank everyone who was part of helping us get there, but most especially Riley, his family and my dear sister Amanda for setting up the fund. I can’t forget my awesome friends in Trail who sacrificed their long beautiful hair to raise money for my family. (Ken is really thankful too even though he is proud and has a hard time accepting charity…It really touched his heart)

So now that I am home everything seems to be at peace. My hair is finally growing back, the scare on my head is gone now and oh yes, and my beloved boob is back. I am cancer free and feeling great.  
I also have a clarity that is almost impossible to describe. I don’t know how to put it to words but I wish you could all see how unimportant so much of our lives are. For those who are struggling with feelings of inadequacy or guilt from sin, LIGHTEN UP!!!, nobody here cares what you have done and if there is one message they could give, it is that it isn't as hard as you think to get here. Life is simply a test at the end of a course; I mean you've already made it through the whole semester, now it is simply a multiple choice exam at the end. And… it’s open book for crying out loud so you can go back and change the answers you may have gotten wrong. Do me a favor and give yourselves a break and don’t sweat the small stuff. And if that wasn't easy enough, you can simply ask the “Teacher” for the answer if you don’t know it.

If there is one thing I have learned through all of this is that he lives and there is a real plan for us. I did not understand his plan for me during life but I do now. Everything makes sense finally and I see how my short earthly life was an important part of things to come for my family. I know they don’t see it right now but I promise that it will all make sense one day. Trust me!

I also want to thank every person who was praying for me. Although the outcome wasn’t what you all desired, I want you to all know that your prayers were answered. It broke Heavenly Father’s heart to not keep me on earth but I can promise you, it was the right thing to do. I can’t ruin the surprise but you will just have to wait and see all the great things that are going to happen. Besides, it’s not like I won’t be around or anything, I still plan on visiting all the time.

I met my grandmother for the first time today and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found out that she was a “Dog the Bounty Hunter” junkie too. So to my mother I say, “Don’t let anyone make you feel silly for your “Dog” habits.

I also have a few more shout outs to make (sorry I can’t give one to all of you but I’ll make it up to you by the end of this blog). I would like to let Mike know that I found his arm and leg here and they are pretty cool, although they are somewhat disappointed at how well you are doing without them. I’ll keep them clean for you while they wait.

To Dale F, I want to caution not to judge Mormons so harshly because you would be surprised at how many of your relatives here are members. They are however very proud of the great job you are doing with their great great grandchildren.

To my friends, I want to ask to feed my husband lots so he stays fat and un-datable (but don’t tell him I said that)

Okay, that’s enough shout-outs for one blog.

This last while in the hospital has been a great experience for me. I have been able to come and visit so many of you while my body rested in bed. Even if you didn't notice me, I have been to see you and I can prove it. If at any time during this blog you have found yourself smiling,,,,,, that was me saying hello........ If you haven’t smiled, well I guess we weren't that close and too bad for you.

So as I conclude my tale of “My Unexpected Path” I say farewell to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love. I must be going as its movie night and apparently we get to watch a real scene from any time in Earth’s history. While that sounds cool and all, I hope they have Django cuz I freaking love that bag scene.

Bye for now,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

My update

Hi everyone,

I know it has been a very long time since my last post and I am sorry for that. On June 16th, the family and I went to California for our Disney Vacation. The trip was a mix of everything (good bad sad etc.)

The first 2 days there were great. We went to most of the rides at Disneyland and took lots of pictures. (ken will upload those later). As the week progressed the discomfort I had in my hips progressed from being a nuisance to being unbearable pain. We ended up in the ER twice to get stronger pain meds. Ken even tried to send me home a few times but I wouldn't let him.

We made it home as scheduled and Ken took me straight to the ER (against my wishes because I just wanted to go home and sleep). Luckily, he didn't listen to me because I had my first seizure that morning.
The doctors also gave us the news that the tumors were throughout my brain, lungs and abdomen, and that there wasn't anything they could do for me that would have any significant improvement.

This was hard news to hear.

I have been in the hospital ever since that day (June 24th) and my condition is weakening each day. I am comfortable though and the doctors and nurses are very good at keeping my pain away with medication. The days are passed with me sleeping with the occasional quick conversation if I can manage it but you have to lean in close to hear what I am saying.

Through all the sadness that has come from this chapter of my story, it isn't all bad. I have seen friends who have already passed from this life, I am surrounded by so many people who I love and who love me back. I am still able to crack a joke now and again which brings smiles to my family


I will sign off for the moment but hope to update you all again later on my status.

Love Geneva

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A rough few weeks.

Sorry it's been a while, I have thought many, many times about getting on here and blogging, but it would have been so depressing.  And I don't want to do that too often.

Of course, the past three weeks brought the news that my tumor markers were going up and I also found a lump in my neck.  Honestly, the night I found that out I literally felt like I was dying.  My heart has never been so broken as it was that evening.  I felt all my will and life just being sucked out of me... letting numbers and doctors past comments get the best of me.  I cried, no, sobbed for two weeks straight.  Realizing the seriousness of my situation just broke me.  I had never given into the fact that this could possibly kill me, and it was a hard pill to swallow.  I was almost in pain I was so sad.  I could never explain the deep, depressing sadness that my entire body felt.  I hope none of you ever have to feel this way, although, because of situations in our lives, I think we all at one point do.

The thought of me not being here was too much to take in.  And then I thought of Christ.  The agony that He went through... for you, and for me.  My heart broke thinking of what He had to endure for me.  I cried and cried and cried and pleaded with my Father in Heaven, for what I don't even know.  I am done pleading for my life.  He knows what my heart wants.  I am in his hands.

My body was full of sadness from the time I woke up until the time we went to bed.  Sleep was my only escape... and when Ken would come home from work he would let me bawl in his arms.  It was healing though.  Awful and hard to wrap my mind around but a necessary process to go through.

I really did feel like we were wrapping up my existence on earth and needed to prepare for that.  And I guess in a way we all need to do that.  But, I kind of feel now that I have a better grasp on things.  It is really hard to contemplate your own passing, but for now, I think I have moved through it and I am back to greener pastures.  I can not live in that place, and none of us should... Although it is hard with little ones and frustrations that go on with that, I have truly learned to appreciate every day.  That doesn't mean they are all good days, but I am thankful for every moment and every morning when my eyes open against their will.

I have also started to try and be more present.  With people living with us for the past 5.5 months, I've been able to pretty much do whatever I want.  Sleep in as long as I want, nap as long as I want, only  help with making some meals, a pretty charmed life some of you might think.  But with each passing day, I think I slipped into a little more of a depressed state.  (On a side note, we did talk to our counselor about going onto antidepressants... she said it would only take the edge off.  Ken and I agree that there is not pill they can give you to make you happy when you are going through something like this.  She also said I am just in the depressive phase of grief, and my cousin explained to me that we can jump around through the different phases.  I know that I have done that and will probably continue to do that for a while.)

I called my Mom one day while she was at church and I lost it.  I came to the conclusion that I needed to feel that I was needed again... more like a mom than a bystander just watching my family.  I am now getting up in the morning with the kids to get them off to school.  I wouldn't say I am cheerful as I am usually sore and nauseated but today was better.  Still sore and nauseated but I tried to be softer with them and smile a little more... instead of Uncle Fester giving them the death stare because they are taking too long to eat their Lucky Charms (I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22... just kidding.  But on a serious note, I could eat 5 bowls of Lucky Charms in 5 minutes when I was a kid, seriously do they want me to switch to puffed wheat?  NO sugar.)

I have tried to be up more through the day too.  Of course when I need to lay down I do it because all the old symptoms come back.  And I am tired by the evening if I miss a nap but I sleep really well through the night.  So I can't complain.

OK, so Mom and I went to the doctor yesterday.  First question I asked about was of course, my Tm's.  Dr said (Different Doctor than last week) that we aren't treating my tumor markers.  We are treating you as a person.  If I came in looking very sick then they would do some deeper looking into my body (CT I guess) to see what was going on.  And he said as a cancer patient you either look sick, or you look like you are doing ok.  He said I looked fine.  He also told us that if I don't stop freaking out all the time about my tm's, then they will just stop telling me what they are.  I liked that response.  Because I have honestly felt like the same pile of crap since January after surgeries and radiation, but I am getting a little stronger all the time.  That is why Mom says to me, "Well how did you feel five minutes before you got your results?"  "Fine." I would say.  "Then don't let the numbers "pee on your brain" (famous Mom phrase)."

I told the Dr about the lump in my neck.  He said it feels like a little cyst.  It is small, round, squishy and moves around so Dr was not concerned that it was a tumor.  And it is on the side of my neck not where lymph nodes are.  I gave that man a hug so fast he almost fell over!  He made my day.

We also came up with a plan for me to do 1/2 my chemo this cycle and then stop a few days before we go to D-land and we'll just see where things are at when we get back.

I did take a trip to the optometrist yesterday to rule out that I was having retinal detachment happening (flashing lights, things show up in my periphery - like I was in the closet the other night grabbing something and Ken's shirts, I noticed, had a bright purple/blueish streak across them like one of the kids had on an LED flashlight and were close to the shirt to make the beam of light into a line.)   My eyes were fine.

Yay, but not 'yay' because it makes me a little nervous for my next MRI... like something is going to show up in my brain scan that is causing the problems.  I have my MRI two days before we head down to D-land and I need to know the results so that I can take Dex (OH FOR FREAK SAKE!!!!!!  MY FACE IS JUST STARTING TO LOOK LIKE MY OWN AGAIN) down with us in case anything happens.  Seizures from swelling and such.  But I have had the news of "you have a brain tumor" before, so I hope I will be able to stay in the cloud and just keep floating along until we get back home and would have to deal, once again, harshly with reality.  So if you don't mind continuing to pray with us that all will be ok... we would really appreciate it.

All in all, so far, I am back to life.  Living and planning like I am going to be around for a while still.  It's been a tough few weeks and I am glad to have them behind us.  At the same time I am nervous for these next set of results, but right now I do it one day at a time.  That is all I can focus on so that I am in the moment, as they are what matters most.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I love my husband!

I should have written this yesterday when I was feeling more inspired and less hopeless and sad... broken hearted.

My tumor markers came back today and they have doubled yet again.  I am now up to 297.  So I am completely defeated right now.  Even though we have been told not to put too much weight on them, but the doctor did tell us last time that the way that mine have been going up is a good indication of progression.  Can you guess why I'm a tad bit discouraged?

Anyways, I have not been feeling all that optimistic and joyful the past few weeks... quite sad actually.  I was crying to Ken the other night, saying that "I can't do this anymore".  I'm just so sad.  I look at my husband and want to cry, I look at my kids and want to cry, I think of my parents and all the rest of my family and I want to cry.  You would swear I would be thinner because I cry out all my bodies liquid each day.

Ken, I mean this in all seriousness, in his infinite wisdom said to me (I love this man, with all my heart and more.  I am thankful for eternal families is all I can say.) three different things.

1.  I am always saying "sorry" that I brought this on our family.  Well, there will be no argument as to the answer every single time I utter this word, whether from Ken or another family member, or friend, "Don't be silly.  You didn't pick this and this is NOT your fault."  Of course I apologized.  Ken said to me, "Babe, you chose to come to earth to do this.  I also chose to come to earth, and marry you.  And our children chose to come to our family.  So we all knew what we were doing when we became a family."

It made me feel a little better knowing that we all said we could do this.  Not much... but a little.

2.  Ken again said, "Do you remember when we were watching a movie and K was snuggled up to me and said, 'Daddy, I don't like this part, it's scary.  How does it end?' to which I replied, 'K. I know you are afraid, but just wait, you'll see sweetie, it all works out in the end.'  Geneva, don't you think that is exactly how it is with our Father in Heaven... we say to Him, "Dad.  I'm afraid right now.  I don't like this part.  How does it end?'  To which He would say to us, 'Sweetie, I know your afraid, but just wait, you'll see in the end, it all works out.'"  (Now, I wanted to be an English Major after I graduated, but I have no freakin' idea where all those " marks are supposed to go.  But Ken said all that... just so you are clear)  Of course I bawled.

3.  And of course the dreaded conversation about "moving on".  It happens.  It's supposed to.  But that sure doesn't make it easy.  I keep feeling like I will be replaced by someone better than me and that Ken will love her far more than he ever loved me.  I know this is not true.  And their love would be different.

But he explained it to me in the following way.  He said what if I married _____? (Like one of my best friends.)  We are not going to name names here.  But I really love this person with all my heart.  All I could think of is how it would be an honor for her to be the mother to my children.  It really changed the whole perspective of  the entire situation.

Again having said that, I want to be the one holding my husbands hand when we are out.  I want to be the one snuggled into the warm small of his back while we sleep.  I want to kiss him goodnight.  I want to be the one to make him laugh and I want him to hold me when he needs a "pick me up".  I will always want this, no matter what happens, but I also realize that I may have to step aside and let someone else help out for a while.  (again all of this applies to my babies too)  But that does break my heart.

Yesterday we had a heart and gut wrenching conversation about reality.  I know it won't be the last.  But it was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do in our lives.  It was so raw but to tender at moments too.  I honestly can't picture myself and my family without me in it.  It just doesn't seem like a real possibility and I kept saying to Ken that "I can't do this!"

Needless to say right now I feel mentally and spiritually dead... or completely drained.  I physically don't feel all that great but I can't complain.  I have a wheeze in my chest right now but we have been assured over the weeks that my lungs sound clear and good and the DR yesterday said, "I can't hear anything.  I don't hear a wheeze."  Ken said "Well I don't know how you can't because I can hear it."

I am heading in for another MRI because there are some signs of neurological problems with my eyes.  I truly can't even fathom jumping right back into what we just finished and are still healing from to do it all over again.  I look at my family and think I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.  But at the same time, my heart is so heavy and has had it fare share of heartbreak.  If you have anything positive to say, please feel free to email me or fb me or leave a message here.  Thank you for all of your love and support.  I am not stupid to the fact that 1,000's of people are praying for us so if this was really supposed to turn around, I think it would have already.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mother's Day

I was reading a post on FB this morning and I loved what this momma said.  It is Ken's cousin and they lost a precious baby boy a few years ago.  She had said that for her, Mother's Day is bitter sweet, but that she would focus on the sweet.  So I am choosing to do that too and I have to thank you SP for giving me insight to do the same.  You changed my whole day.  Thank you!

We actually did "Mother's Day" yesterday, which was fine with me.  W and K came rushing into the bedroom with their treasures that they had made for me.  It was so sweet and C was wrapped right up in the excitement - even though the poor little fart didn't know what was going on.

K was the first to give me her gift.  It was a list of the top 10 reasons why my mom is special. Of course it opened the flood gates, especially with the comment that "She fixes my brokin hart." (All i's dotted with hearts.  If they only knew what they did for my broken heart every single day.

She also made me a picture of her, at school, on a piece of wood that said, "Mom.  You captured my heart."  Also a treasure to  me that found the perfect place beside my side of the bed.

My beautiful girl.

W was next, already watching me to see if I was still crying... I cry so much, but I really try not to let them see me when I am in a full blown "what if" cry, that's not fair to them, but they have seen it, so he was watching me closely.  "Mom, why are you crying?" he asked.  "Just because I love you guys so much and you are so very special to me," I replied.

He eagerly handed over his treasures to me.  A beautiful card that made us laugh and cry and a cookie bouquet that he had made in his class at school.  The cookies were iced and said, "I love you Mom."  Again, tear jerker.  I think I kind of broke his heart when I told him that I couldn't eat them all because it was "too much sugar".  He understood.  I did have a bit of one and told him how good it was.  And I was going to offer the kids one but he asked that I didn't and that we save it as a decoration.  I agreed.

W's card for me... we love it!
The flap part and the reason why we chuckled.  For those of you who may not have seen the back of my head, that is exactly what it looks like!  Kids are so honest and just "draw it" like it is.
C felt completely lost in the whole situation but knew that they were giving Mommy stuff, she was hugging W and K and crying so he better get to it and make something for Mommy too.  He darted out of the bedroom for a few minutes and came back in just as I was drying my eyes for the second time.

His beautiful hazel eyes were shining along with his smile as he handed me my gift.  It was Christmas card that was left over and he had put masking tape over the right hand side.  Inside was another card, a cute card that was blank on the inside.  He told me he wrote in it, "This is not from W and K.  TTYL XOX," from a song that often plays on RadioDisney.  Again, the tears came along with a huge hug and then the laughter as we chuckled over his choice of message to me.

C's card for me.  Love that crazy kid!!  Have to.... I'll tell you why in a minute.

My "treasures".

Being as yesterday we did MD, I got to sleep in.  I finally got in the shower around 11am.  As I was getting out I head a commotion in the kitchen.  Something about spray paint and the SUV.  Couldn't be!!  That would not happen in my house. 

Well.  I was DEAD wrong!!!  C had been dabbling a little bit art work done by spray paint for the past few days in the garage.  Ken had left it out since Christmas.  The kids had a spring concert at school and W needed a "wild" shirt so Ken ripped one of his old ones and put a little spray paint on it.  That is where C learned that this color comes out of the cans if you press a button.  The first few days he just tried it on the floor.  And we could smell spray pain in the garage so I decided it would be best to put the cans up and out of reach - not like that would really stop my C.

This particular morning, he decided that his "canvas" would be our SUV.  All I could do was laugh.... Ken, not so much, but he was so good and calm with C.  He did yell a little and then put him in his room "for the rest of the day".  C was worried about starving to death and where he could go to the bathroom.

This is his master piece.

After researching on the internet where the best place to sell you child is - I'M KIDDING!  But seriously, Ken found out non-acetone nail polish remover would work.  He went out and got some and it worked like a charm.  Took it all off.

This morning C kissed K's white duvet with wretched Barbie lipstick on.  That stuff stains faces let alone bedding.  We weren't as successful at getting that out.  Anyways, it was a great weekend and I am so thankful for my husband and my kids.  AND I am excited for next year, when C is prepared and I get more treasures from my babes.

I hope your Mother's Day was great!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Why we kept quiet.

As some of you have seen I posted a video on my FB page that my sister did up, I will hopefully be smart enough to get it onto here, but if not, she is burning it to a disk and will send it with my parents and I can upload it then.  (Yes, asked for Ken's computer genius mind to do the video for me, but he said I had to get it from my Sis.  So I'll put it on here later.)

Many, many special people have been doing two different fundraisers for our family.  I have wanted to write about it many times, but I didn't want it to seem like we were asking for donations as people have already given us so much.  I am even hesitant to do it now, but I just love the video that my sis made for us and it is perfect so I want to share it with you.  We are not doing this so that you feel you have to give... please just keep praying for us, that is enough.  And to those who have been able to give towards our trip and such, thank you SO much, you have no idea how much this means to our little family.

These two girls have spear-headed another fundraiser that is going on.  Meet the beautiful Ricki.  She has not shaved her head in this pic for me, but she has donated her hair many for cancer.  Isn't she beautiful?!

This is Ricki and Kaylee together.

And meet Kaylee (and her beautiful little daughter... I did ask if I could put her cute mug on here so I don't get into trouble).  YES!!!  That is Kaylee's real hair and she too has donated her hair many times for wigs as well.


To those of you whom we don't even know, thank you.  Thank you., thank you.  To those of you who spent your time to put this together, thank you so very much.  To those of you who are involved in the other fundraiser that isn't on this video, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

You are all so special and we pray for you and your families every night.... luckily the Lord knows who you all are because we don't, but are so thankful for you and your prayers.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The little things.

Today, I am on my own.  W and K are in school and C is having a play date at his little buddies house. So I did what all of you would have done... I slept in until noon, of course after I helped to get the kids off to school and C ready so Ken could drop him of at M's before he went to work.  He was so excited to go out and play with his little buddy.

I have really been struggling latley as he is my last babe, and he starts school in the fall.  This isn't what I had planned for my life.  Being to tired to do all the things that I wanted to do with him and K for that matter.  Being sick wasn't on my list of things to do.  I lost it the other day and sobbed to Ken, "This isn't how it is supposed to be.  It wasn't supposed to be like this.  But I guess this is exactly how it is supposed to be."  And I guess my job it to figure out how to muttle my way through it and make the most of it.

My tumor markers are up again, 174 this time.  I honestly don't have any drive in me to find the good part of this news. Like my Mom said, "How did you feel 5 minutes before you found out?"  "Fine, " I replied.  "And how do you feel 5mintues after finding out?"  "Physically the same." I said.  "Then don't let it bother you so much.  I know that is easy for me to say and not so easy for you to do." was Mom's answer, and she is right... but again, harder for me to do.

I have been back to processing, it seems like I am always processing... good and bad, but always on the go with the brain.  But I have found that I have been more patient and loving, and I watch more carefully, how my children laugh and fight.  How sweet they can be with one another and how they really do love eachother and do things for one another.  Makes me feel at tims that I am not a total dead loss.  I love their laughter and their freckled noses and their smelly bodies when they come in from outside and they need to shower.  I love their utter concern and care for me.  I love how they pray for me in every single prayer that ever escapes their lips.

Being on my own today I thought I could handle some music while I was cleaining up from the weekend, W's 9th Birthday!!!! 9  Can you believe it!!  I hope I am here for so many, many more.  I love watching them grow and change from year to year.  Every year whose ever birthday it is we sit down together and look at all their pictures from birth to current.  We laugh and I try not to cry, but I always do.  I just can't believe it goes so fast, but at the same time, being in the position I am in I want to fly through it so I don't miss anything.

Anyways, I guess listening to sentimental music wasn't the greatest idea, but at least I will have cried all my tears by the time everyone gets home and I can be happy mommy.  I always want to be happy mommy, but sometimes, she's just so sad.  This one song came on by Hilary Weeks, yes can you tell she is one of my favorites.  And it summed up exactly how I felt at the moment it came on.

"If I Only Had Today"

It seems like I've watched a million sunsets
And stared at a thousand full moons
Sometimes it feel like I've been here forever
And sometimes it all feels brand new

I could never count the heartbeats
From the day I was born until now
But not a single one goes unnoticed
By Him who breathes life in me somehow

But if ther were no more tomorrows
If I knew that I could not stay
I know how I'd spend every moment
If I only had today

I'd hold you and listen
And I'd let the dishes sit in the sink
I'd tell you I love you over and over
And for once I'd just let the phone ring  (So all of you who say "You never answer your phone!", sometimes I just want to be in the moment that I am in and not have to talk about anything else because I might be busy with my family.  But I still love you and will call you back... eventually!)
Then I'd remind you of forever
And how our love would never change
If I only had today
I'd wake up before the sun did
And I'd watch as you quietly sleep
I'd pray for time to move slowly
Knowing the moment won't keep

All the gifts that Heaven has given
Every blessing that's come my way
Wouldn't mean anything without you
So if I only had today
I'd hold you and listen
I'd memorize every detail of your face
I'd tell you I love you over and over
I wouldn't let excuses get in the way
Then I'd remind you of forever
And how our love would never change
If I only had today

There's no time like the present
Life doesn't come with any guarantees
The sun will set and time won't wait
So while I have today

I'll hold you and listen
I'll let the dishes sit in the sink
I'll tell you I love you over and over
For once I'll just let the phone ring
And I'll remind you of forever
And how our love will never change
Because I have today.

So as I was running around the house with an armful of shoes and boots from the little people that live here, I was thankful that I can put these little shoes away.  That I am here today, becasue I have this time, here and now.  That is my garuntee.  And I am blessed to have this moment.  And although I am not feeling the best from the chemo, I am here... to see, and love and live.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finally, an update.

Again I apologize, I know it's been a while but we didn't have our computer upstairs for a few weeks... Ken later informed me that I was more than able to use the one in the basement... well, of course I didn't think of that!

I finished up my first round of chemo, it went pretty well until I stopped.  For the first two weeks on the chemo I felt pretty good.  Just kinda nauseated at times, but not too bad but I did get a mouth full of sores.  On my gums, tongue and a few down my throat.  It was pretty crappy and I told Ken I wasn't sure how I was supposed to keep going if this was how I was going to feel.  Ken asked the nurse here how many "rounds" of this chemo I do and she said until it stops working or she can't do it anymore.  Needless to say I was completely discouraged by this response because I totally felt like crap.  Sorry, the week that I have had off has been worse.  I have felt like barfing almost the entire week but gravol did  help with that.  And I have the gross chemo film in my mouth... that is enough to make one want to barf.  You seriously can only brush your teeth so many times in a day and then I am sure the toothpaste will be giving me the mouth sores.

Yesterday I had my blood work done.  It all came back good, hemoglobin, liver function, neutrophils etc...  We should have the tumor marker results by tomorrow - AND I AM PRAYING THAT THEY HAVE GONE DOWN!!!  We all are.

Dr told us that the drug combo that I am on is usually very effective.  Of course there are people that it doesn't work on, and then there are people that have had quite a long term success with this regime.  I hope I am the latter.  Dr adjusted my dose, down a little, so that I will be able to tolerate it a bit better.  They don't want me to have the mouth sores and such so that is good news, because I was honestly wondering how I was going to do it over and over again if I felt the way I did on the first three weeks.

We also discussed repeat scans and what will happen with that.  Dr told us that usually you don't to a repeat CT until three months AFTER your last dose of radiation.  So we are looking at June-ish for that.  We were told that sometimes after radiation, the tumors can actually get a little bigger with inflammation so you really do need to give it some time for everything to settle down.

Dr asked how I was coming off the Dex.  I said I was doing pretty well and told him the dose that I am down to.  He said that was good but I had to take it exactly how it is prescribed so that it is best for my body.  Ken did tell him that I have been  having some headaches which we were told is completely normal for 8-12 weeks after radiation...  Also, coming off the dex does create some of those problems, headaches, dizziness etc, that I have been experiencing and Ken, rightfully so being as I was so forthcoming with my symptoms last time, was just trying to make sure that what I have been feeling is normal.  I was pleasantly surprised that they symptoms are normal.  And they haven't been nearly as bad as they were at Christmas.  Just more of a pressure headache if I bend over or again, if I get tired.  And then if I am tired, and I haven't napped, then I do have the aura's and that sort of crap, 1,000 pound noggin... you know, normal stuff that everyone gets on a daily basis.

I have been sleeping a lot more these past few weeks.  But I chalk that up to chemo and just regular healing.  I am so thankful for the help that we have that affords me to be able to sleep most of the day... k, well it's not that bad.  But I have upped my hours in our bed!  By MYSELF!!! all you perv's out there!

On a totally different note, today I went on a bike ride... granted it was just around the block.  I told Ken we should to a test ride before we actually ventured out onto the real road.  I almost crashed 3 times before we even got out of the driveway.  Ken was laughing, but seriously told me to get off my bike and walk it off the driveway because he didn't want me to scratch his truck.  Nice hey!?  The downhill part was awesome... going up the hill back to our house was enough of a workout for me.  I didn't walk my bike up, mostly out of pride, and there was a guy outside fertilizing his grass and I didn't want him to think I was a loser...  my outfit gave me away in that regard.  I decided that the phrase "it's like riding a bike" wasn't really true.  It most certainly felt as awkward as my first kiss and it didn't help that Ken was totally making fun of me, although, I would have made fun of me if I could have done two things at once.  I would usually pride myself because of my ability to "multi task", even though apparently it has been proven (probably by a man - sorry guys!) that your brain can not actually do two things at the same time.  Ya, you probably can't deliver a baby and make a stir fry at the same time (gross, why would you do that), but I can talk on the phone and do something at the same time.... Ken can't.  Literally, can not do it.  So if I could ride my bike and make fun of myself, I would have done it, but I am not that talented... YET!
I am getting stronger.  Because you all care so much.  If I am down on the floor, I can actually get back up on my Bambi legs with minimal pushing with my hands in front of me.  I can also go up the stairs now without holding on.  Little victories are huge for me right now, and I count a lot of weird things as another goal that I have met.
I did go for another run a few weeks ago.  Ken was working out in the morning and before I left he said, "Just be careful ok."  Me in all my positivity said, "Why?  What do you think is going to happen to me?"  So in my head I am thinking stroke, heart attack, aneurysm... thanks for the morning vote of confidence... All to which he replied, "No.  Just be careful.  Don't fall down or anything."  "Oh.  Ok."  And I was on my way.  I warmed up, downhill with my music and proceeded to jog at "my spot", which is also down hill.  I was going along, feeling great and then my left foot felt like it had a little more freedom than my right.  Sure enough my shoelace was undone.  I was almost to "my spot" where I stopped running, because it goes up a huge arse hill, so I wanted to push myself just that little bit further.  Then I heard Ken, " careful..."  Was this what he was talking about.  I could picture myself stepping on my shoelace, and falling down.  First thought, how the heck am I supposed to get back up?  This was a few weeks ago when I was still pretty weak in the legs.  Luckily we live in Cranbrook and this particular route the sidewalks pretty high, so as long as no one was around, I could have rolled off the sidewalk and probably landed on my feet.  The other option if I did wipe out was to get onto all fours as I have grown accustomed to, and then get my rear in the air and push myself up and pray that there, once again, no one was around to see this weird, chubby, bald chick, arse up in the air, doing who knows what at 6:50am. 
I decided to take Ken's advice and be careful.  I stopped and did up my shoelace and double knotted the other one.  I was successful and made it home without road rash and a hurt ego... thanks to Ken??  ;)
I know that was a lot to take in.  Sorry for all of it.  But I thought I should let you know how things are going.  I will post when I get my tumor marker results.  Hope all is well with you all!!  Thanks for your continuous prayers and love.  You all mean so much to us... even if we don't know you or know you very well, you are important to us in our lives. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What's up now.

I know I don't need to apologize for my second last post, but I am sorry... it was pretty bad.  But I most certainly have my bad days.  I am "normal" in that regard.

This week, if I decide to focus on the bad, was totally filled with cancer crap.  Tuesday was a funeral for someone who passed away from cancer, Wednesday was my dr's appointment, Thursday, Ebert died of cancer (I know, silly but I swear there isn't a day that goes by!!), Friday we found out about two more young (in there 30's) that are battling with the disease again and for the first time.  Our prayers will be with them as I am sure theirs have been on our behalf.  So, honestly, I did focus on the bad a little, but I also tried to focus on the good, and the great and the blessings that I have.

I started chemo again on Wednesday.  I take 4 horse pills at 6 am.  Have to take them on an empty stomach or after a low fat meal.  So they are most effective I take them early.  Then I set my alarm and get up and eat, because I have to take my next set of chemo pills as close to 12 hours apart as I can.  Well, I don't know about you, but I don't eat at 7 and 7 , or 8 and 8.  The pharmacist said 10 hours is ok.  They are another 10 pills in total.  The same ones I have been on, but a much higher dose.  So far, so good.  I haven't really had any nausea, but I take gravol at the slightest onset because I don't want to feel sick.  I do chemo for two weeks on and one week off.  I have to be careful, just as I was before on chemo around sick people, and if I get a fever for more than an hour, I have to go to the hospital to have my counts checked for infection so I don't die of one.  We did that about 3 times last year, and every time I was fine, but you have to be so careful.

Asked the dr about scans and such, and he said we don't want to over scan.  We just wait and see if new symptoms arise and then we do a scan.  Seriously, I agree with the over scan thing, but it just seems like such a stupid way to treat cancer.  Let's just wait and see if and when it gets worse, then we'll tell you there's really nothing we can do because it's so far gone, and that's how we do it.  I hate cancer.

On the recovery front, I think I am still progressing forward.  I still, obviously, get tired very easily, I am doing the best I can with the kids to have as much patience with them as I possibly can.  Ken and the kids are my life and I need to treat them better than I treat anyone else... why is it that we are always quick to be cranky with the ones we feel we can get away with it, with?!  I have been trying to find the joy and happiness in the moments this week, and I can say that I have.  I have watched my kids with a deeper appreciation of their little selves.  And they are pretty darn cute!

We had a little situation this week, and our family is so darn lucky that I have a babysitter right now who can stay cool, calm and collected under pressure.

Mom and I were making pancakes for me and starting supper on Tuesday night.  Tuesday is our busy day of the week.  K was at dance and W and C were playing in the front yard.  I was telling Mom that I was a little nervous that C was out there under W's "care" and that they were in the front yard period.  She reassured me (so it's all her fault... KIDDING MOM!!!) that we have to let go of little things here and there and they are ok and we are right here.  She's right. 

A few moments later W is screaming his head off followed by C.  I ran to the garage where I knew they were coming in.  I honestly though C got hit by a car and I was just sick!!!!  SICK!!!!  W came rushing in, followed by C, who was holding his bloody little head.  He moved his hand and I freaked... There was a huge gaping hole in his head and you know how the head bleeds.  I came running into the kitchen, C, right behind me and I grabbed a paper towel and slapped it on his head.  W was screaming his head off and I was freaking, Mom yells, "SHUT UP!!!!"  So we did... luckily there was a voice of reason in the room!!  LOL  Seriously.  Mom scooped up C, I don't do crap like that, with hole in bodies and such... I can do blood and poo, but not stuff like that. 

We got W half calmed and outside.  He has asked if C was going to die.  Of course we told him no.  He felt so bad and I felt bad when he asked me if I was mad....  long pause, while actually thinking of the appropriate thing to say.... "No honey.  I'm not mad.  You just need to use your head."  In my head, "Of COURSE I'M MAD!  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?  WHAT WAS I THIKNING LETTING YOU TWO PLAY OUTSIDE IN THE FRONT YARD TOGETHER?!" 

Mom told me to come into the house and pull the plug on the pancakes.  Done.  I thought she asked me to grab her keys, and I thought she said they were by the cupboard.  I was looking by all the cupboards but I couldn't find them anywhere.  I grabbed our purses and ran back outside frantically told her I couldn't find the keys.  "I have them right here."  Mom said as they dangled from her hand as she held C in her arms.  "Are you ok to drive?"  "Ya."  I said, "I can't hold him like that.  I don't do that type of stuff."  Nice Mom.

On the way to the hospital, C gazed up to gramma and sweetly asked, "Gramma, am I going to die?"  We both chuckled a little and said of course not.  I know W was relieved to hear the answer yet again that his little brother would live.  Mom also remembered that we had brussel sprouts on that I forgot to turn off so we called Ken who was on his way to pick up K from dance and asked him to run home and turn them off... we didn't need a fire while we were gone too!!

We dropped Mom and C off at the doors and she got in right away.  We "checked" in and then went in with Mom and C.  They wrapped a big bandage around his head and put some topical freezing on it to get ready for the needle freezing.  Then he had some medicine and we waited a bit longer.

This is what happened.  There was a PVC pipe under our trailer outside that Ken has started to make a bow and arrow with, but it didn't work out and ended up outside sitting under there.  W grabbed it and threw it to C like a "boomerang" and he missed catching it, so the end of it clipped him in the forehead, causing previously stated wound.

Ken and K showed up at the hospital and we all decided to wait with C.  Seriously, he is one tough kid.  He ONLY cried when he first came running into the house.  Not during freezing at all, not during stitches, not at all.  W cried WAY more than he did, but he felt really, really bad. 

When they took the gauze away to start the stitching you could see C's skull.  I didn't look as you can well imagine, and I though W was going to barf and K started to cry.  I'm sure the Dr's thought we were nuts for all staying.  Whatever. 

10 stitches later the little guy, and the rest of us were ready to go.  Moments like this make me feel like I'm alive and "normal".  I know this doesn't happen every day, but it does happen, and makes my family seem normal.

I am grateful that it wasn't worse than it was.  C is doing really well and it looks like it is healing up nicely.  One of the stitches pulled out the next morning when we were changing the dressing and he didn't even flinch.  Like I said, tough little fart!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

None Were with Him - I'm redeeming myself I hope!

Just like you.

Today, I am not amazing.  Honestly, I never think I am amazing.  We all just have to do what we have to do in certain situations, and surviving is not amazing... it's natural.  To be honest, I am having an awful day.  I just want to be normal.

I literally feel like my world is crumbling before me today.  I don't want to die.  Ya, that is morbid.  I think it's because I am tired and had a fun, but busy weekend.  It's a beautiful day, it's Easter Sunday, I have so many blessings, but I just feel awful.

I am maybe a little apprehensive about starting the new chemo drug... (instant tears.  I'M 32 YEARS OLD!!!  WHY AM I ON CHEMO DRUGS?  THIS ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE A YOUNG PERSON DISEASE!) 

Heard of another person's funeral who's coming up was because of cancer.  Everyone
dies of cancer... or so it seems.  Why should I have hope?  Where is my hope?  I'm sorry I am not uplifting today.  I really wish you could have seen mine and Ken's conversation on our bed after church, which I missed because I was sick.  I think it would have helped me out a lot to able to be there today, not left to my own thoughts for an hour.  My sis was here until 12:30pm so she kept my mind busy and occupied, but when she left - doom and gloom.

I sobbed uncontrollably.  Voiced all my fears.  Which never really change.  I have blogged about them all before.  Same old depressing crap.  What bad news are the next set of scans going to bring?  How much time do I really have on this earth?  How long to I have to make a lasting and meaningful impact on my children's lives?  How long do I get to be in my husbands arms?  I know we don't know.  I know none of us really know.  But at least most of you don't have to think about how you are probably going to die.  How horrible is it going to be?  How much will it hurt?  I can tell you I am sure it will be mentally horrible, that's for sure.  I just don't want to die.

I feel like everything is out of my control.  I feel like there is nothing that I can do to make anything better.  Sorry to be like this, but, these days are very real too.  I am not happy and positive all the time.  I am terrified and faithless at times, as you can see.  I worry and wonder and - just - keep - breathing.  Seriously.  That's about all I can control some times.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Things you should think about before saying...

Well, this morning, I decided that I was going to go for a walk.  I ventured out with one boobie on, and my little Dexy gut, leading the way down the hill.... yes, I started down hill, then you have to go up to get home.  I wore Ken's shirt, and hoodie, a very stylish and cute hat with matching scarf, some yoga pants and my "fugs" (fake ugs...Costco).  Eventually, I decided to "jog".  No support in the shoes, and my knees are in pretty rough shape.  I may not be moving in the morning.  Plus, I looked like an idiot.  Oh well, it was so nice to get out and get some morning fresh air and hear the birds and listen to my music.  That is how I started my day.  I won't tell you I finished it with WAY too much Easter candy or McDonald's.  That's why I am awake right now... vibrating.

I wanted to share a few things with you that I have said over the past few weeks... I am not proud.  They are kinda funny, but come out totally rude and NOT at all what I mean to actually say.  I hope I don't offend by sharing these little sentences with you.

First offence.  At my Gramma's house.  So, K's GG.  GG watched K for us while we went into Vancouver for the pinpoint radiation.  K was having her lunch and went to get up from the table.  GG quickly and abruptly replied, "Sit back down until you finish your lunch."  K's eyes got wide, she looked at me like she had never been spoken  to like that, sat back down and continued eating.  I was totally shocked!  I replied, "Wow!  Everyone NEEDS a crusty GG in their house!"  OOPS!

Second Offence.  One of my gf's came over for a visit.  I hadn't seen her in a long time, and I always love seeing her... all my friends honestly.  You have no idea how you brighten my days.  Anyways, she brought me a beautiful necklace and on it is stamped, "Fresh COURAGE take".  I LOVE IT!!!  Classy Geneva replies by saying, "See "dear friend who shall remain nameless", this is exactly the kind of crap I need!"  WHAT?  Who says that.  Not what I meant.  I meant, I love it and I need these beautiful reminders that I can do this!  Was NOT executed in that way at all.

Third Offence.  Another dear person who shall remain nameless, one morning says to me, "I'm going to run downstairs and have a quick shower."  To which I answered, "Thank you."  Ummmmmm - people actually still talk to me.  Are you surprised?  They laughed after I tried explaining myself and said, "Well, it's been a few days so maybe a thank you is in order.  Maybe I do stink."  NO, not at all!!!  Just me, trying to.... I don't even know.  But honestly, they didn't stink at all.  I felt so bad.

Fourth, and possibly the funniest and most embarrassing - for me anyways.  I asked C to get dressed the other morning.  Mom, please forgive me for sharing this story but it was funny-ish.  He brings his clothing upstairs, naked.  He get's all shy around my Mom-in-law and hides his wee willy wonka in his little hand and covers his but crack with the other.  So I say, "What's the big deal, Gramma's seen hundreds of those in her life." 

I am sure you can figure out what I meant to say... or at least what I was thinking.  My MIL has 5 boys and a billion grandsons, she has seen "wee willy wonkas" hundreds of times in her life.  THAT, my friends, is what I was trying to say.

As for updates, I am doing pretty good.  I have gone out twice this week on my own and it felt good.  I am still not comfortable being out for very long by myself, but it was nice to feel independent for a few moments.  Builds my confidence.  I will also be starting Chemo again on Tuesday.  I am not nervous, it's pill form and the same stuff I was taking before, plus a new drug that supposedly breaks the blood brain barrier, so we'll give it a try.  I am slowly coming of the Dex and I surprisingly feel ok.  I am pretty shaky, still, but I know, some of these things are going to take a while to gain ground on again.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!  I hope it's great and you are able to focus in, through all the little ones (and big ones too maybe?) excitement and rejoice in the ultimate sacrifice that was given for us, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know I am thankful and abundantly blessed because of His love for me.

Again, we thank you all, and love you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pop one out.

Today, I made pancakes from scratch.  It took me 3!!! YES, 3 freakin' hours.  Granted I ground all my flours up with Gerty (my Bosch whom I miss dearly).  But I swear on my life, I have had at least one of my children quicker than that.  Yup, that's my post for today.  Now your not sure what to do are you?  LOVE YA!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Do you have the faith, NOT to be healed?"

You might ask "What an odd question?  And WHY would anyone think this way?"  Well, I have wondered many times over the past few years if this is the actual "will of my Father."  I have wondered as the news that keeps on coming always seems worse than the time previous.... I have wondered as I have had to endure things that I thought I would never have to face... I have wondered as my body feels like it is growing weaker at times instead of stronger, "Will I be able to get back to health this time and truly make a difference?"  I have wondered and asked Ken what the point is. Shouldn't I just give up and give into His will.  What is the point of fighting against it if he already knows His plan for me.  Ken always says, "If the Savior or our Father in Heaven was standing right here, would they tell you to give up?  Would they tell you to quit?  Would they tell you it's fine not to try anymore?"  Well, no, I don't think they would.  And to be honest, I feel, deep down inside of me that I will have a miracle in my life.  I don't know how many years, days or hours, but I feel and have been blessed with blessings to feel that it will be longer than anyone would think.  But having said that, I have to share this talk with you.  Because I most certainly have the faith, to not be healed.

This talk was given by Elder Bednar, one of the members of our church who is an apostle of God.  He is a man of great faith and love and as heart breaking and true as his talk is, I loved it.  He councils those facing adversity to "Shrink Not".  Again, I know this is from our church, and although it and I will be talking about it from my perspective, we ALL face trials and how we deal with them, no matter what they are, I believe it's important to do our best.

“Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can only be received through the things we experience and sometimes suffer,” he taught. “And God expects and trusts us to face temporary mortal adversity with His help so we can learn what we need to learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity.”

believe this with all my heart.  I know I was sent here to learn and live through the trials of my life to become ultimately what God wants me to become.  Not what I think is the best for me to be.  He has a plan for me and as heartbreaking and depressing as that plan might seem at times, I said I would take it on and do it.   

When I think of my husband and children I think, "How could me not being a part of this family possibly be the best answer for raising the family we planned to?"  "How could my children not having THEIR mother, be the best answer?"  Again, it comes down to complete faith in His plan.  And that isn't easy.  But like I said, ultimately, I want to become who he intends me to be.

He then goes on to talking about picking up one of the other Apostles one day at the airport who was also going through cancer treatments, Elder Neal A Maxwell.  Elder Bednar asked him, “During the course of our conversations that day, I asked Elder Maxwell what lessons he had learned through his illness,” Elder Bednar stated. “I will remember always the precise and penetrating answer he gave: ‘I have learned that not shrinking is more important than surviving.’”

Sharing scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 19“concerning the Savior’s suffering as He offered the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice,” Elder Bednar reminded those listening that “the Savior did not shrink in Gethsemane or Golgotha.”

During difficult experiences—often filled with pain and suffering—character is built, hearts are purified, and souls are enlarged as individuals gain experience and spiritual tutoring, Elder Bednar explained. Just as Elder Maxwell faced tribulations with an understanding of God’s plan of happiness, grace, and dignity, so can all valiant Latter-day Saints, Elder Bednar assured, as they “shrink not” and allow their individual will to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7).
And that is not easy to do.  Especially when we have our own plans in mind.  "Not shrinking" and becoming our full potential of who we really are I believe is one of our greatest triumph's here on this earth.  No, I don't believe that we are only here to learn and not have a good time, but I do believe that we are here to learn difficult lessons and endure things that will teach us who and what we really are and what we can truly become.  
Elder Bednar then goes on to talk about a young married couple that after just three weeks, her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer.  Elder Bednar shares some of their experiences with us through their personal journal enteries.
Elder Bednar told of visiting this couple in the hospital, being asked to give a priesthood blessing, and asking the husband an unplanned but inspired question. “If it is the will of our Heavenly Father, do you have the faith not to be healed?”

As Elder Bednar counseled with this faithful couple, they “increasingly understood” that a blessing of healing could only be received if they had the faith not to be healed and were “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [them]” (Mosiah 3:19).

“In other words, they needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘natural man’ tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve,” Elder Bednar explained. “We recognized a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted.”
Quite often, such is the case for most of us.  We always seem to think we know what is best for us, but don't quite have all the puzzle pieces that complete the whole picture.  And that is frustrating, heart wrenching and can cause us to become angry at times.  "Shrinking" I would call this.  But again, we are human, and I think we all "shrink" a little before we grow a lot of the time... when we see what we are really made of.
Elder Bednar shared the words of the young husband from his journal: “Having faith is not necessarily knowing that God would heal me, but that He could heal me. I had to believe that He could, and then whether it happened was up to Him. As I allowed those two ideas to coexist in my life, focused faith in Jesus Christ and complete submission to His will, I found greater comfort and peace.”
I find this too in my own life.  When I just let things go and have the faith that I need in my Father in Heaven's plan for me, whatever that plan entails, I have peace.  And that peace goes so much farther for me than fear.  That is not to say that I don't feel afraid at times.  Although I try not to picture myself as a sick and dying person, those images do come to my mind and break my heart.  How would my last moments be?  Would I want my children there?  What would I say to them?  What would I say to Ken so that he and my kids know that I will love them from beyond this life, that I will be there for them, that I will always be in their hearts and be a part of them no matter what.  Would it be scary for them?  Of course I don't want them to remember me like that, but would be all just be laying on some well used hospital bed in a pale blue, depressing palliative care room, crying together and me not wanting to slip off, close my eyes and take that last breath, that last look into the eyes of my loving husband and children or would I be to sick to even know they were there?  

Like I said, I try not to think in this way. I like to picture my future, building another home, my kids as teenagers having friends over and K bugging her big brother and his cool friends while they are throwing lunch meat at one another while C is up to something somewhere doing something he probably shouldn't be.  I have to have faith and live from this point, but it is a conflicting feeling when I also have to have the the faith in His plan.
Elder Maxwell gave a talk in October of 1997 and I just wanted to share a portion of it with you as I find it is so true as well.  He states regarding Jesus: "As He began to feel the awful weight of the approaching Atonement, Jesus acknowledged, “For this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37). We too, brothers and sisters, came “into the world” to pass through our particularized portions of the mortal experience. Even though our experiences do not even begin to approach our Master’s, nevertheless, to undergo this mortal experience is why we too are here! Purposefully pursuing this “cause” brings ultimate meaning to our mortal lives. And we are greatly helped if we enter with faith that pavilion of perspective—the plan of salvation. Then the search for meaning is ended, even though further and resplendent discoveries await us. Alas, as Church members we sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry point.
Next, as we confront our own lesser trials and tribulations, we too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we “might not … shrink”—meaning to retreat or to recoil (D&C 19:18). Not shrinking is much more important than surviving! Moreover, partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus.

Continuing, we too may experience moments of mortal aloneness. These moments are nothing compared to what Jesus experienced. Nevertheless, since our prayers may occasionally contain some “whys,” we too may experience God’s initial silence (see Matt. 27:46).
Certain mortal “whys” are not really questions at all but are expressions of resentment. Other “whys” imply that the trial might be all right later on but not now, as if faith in the Lord excluded faith in His timing. Some “why me” questions, asked amid stress, would be much better as “what” questions, such as, “What is required of me now?” or, to paraphrase Moroni’s words, “If I am sufficiently humble, which personal weakness could now become a strength?” (see Ether 12:27).
I want to be like Moroni and ask, "Which personal weakness could now become a strength?"  BUT, I am not going to lie, sometimes I would like a few minutes to regroup and rethink and refocus.  Then again, I want to become who He wants me to be.  In quoting Elder Bednar again, I want "[My] individual will, to be swallowed up in the will of the Father."
Elder Bednar then instructed, “Even with strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirmed will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.”
Trusting in the Lord’s will and timing is essential, he said. “This story is both ordinary and extraordinary. This young couple is representative of millions of faithful, covenant-keeping Latter-day Saints all over the world who are pressing forward along the strait and narrow path with steadfast faith in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope.” Elder Bednar emphasized: “They were not serving in highly visible leadership positions in the Church, they were not related to General Authorities, and sometimes they had doubts and fears. In many of these aspects, their story is quite ordinary. But this young man and young woman were blessed in extraordinary ways to learn essential lessons for eternity through affliction and hardship. … They came to understand that not shrinking is more important than surviving. Thus, their experience was not primarily about living and dying; rather, it was about learning, living, and becoming.”

So do I have the faith not to be healed?  I think it is pretty evident that I do.  But I also have the faith that His will somewhat aligns with mine, and that I will be around for a while and be able to accomplish certain things in my life.  I very much believe in miracles, and pray for one in my own life.  I have keep living from the standpoint that I am living and  very much alive and need to be  thankful for each and every day.  And ultimately, whatever His plan is, I know it is the best plan, that was laid out for me before I choose to come to this earth... for me to reach  my full potential and become as He needs me to be.