Monday, January 28, 2013

Feeling ok.

Happy to report, I have been good since Friday night.  It is SO not worth it for me to eat crap and pay the price of how my body feels afterwards.  It's just wrapping my mind around getting healthy again that is a little tricky.   But like I said, I know it is worth every sacrifice so I just have to look at it as a means to an end.  Hard work always pays off.

I really have to rest a lot though.  I woke up two times this week feeling less than human.  It was really hard.  I had a hard time seeing out of my right eye, it just felt really tired.  I had a headache and felt awful.  When I feel like this, back to bed is the only thing that helps.  This morning, Mom and I made my breakfast and then I went back to bed from 9am until almost 1pm.  It was just what I needed.

When I woke up I felt a little more like a human probably should.  Now that it's 4:30pm, I'm feeling a little tired again, but I don't want to have a nap or else I will be all messed up for sleeping again tonight.  I want to try and keep my body on as normal of a schedule as I can.  I think it is so important for healing.

I have been on the treadmill 3 whopping times and very, VERY, slowly.  And you know what, that is good enough for now.  I am just glad that I am moving.  I can only do about 15 minutes at a time and I have to hold on and walk at about a 2.00-2.10.  But like I said, I am just glad to be moving.

Again we are so thankful for everything that has been done for our family.  We haven't had to cook a meal since we arrived home on Monday.  It has been a great rest for our entire family, and our children love the surprise of what is coming the next night for dinner.  And you ladies have done a wonderful job because they haven't complained at all about one single meal.  And there is usually left overs so Ken can actually have a good lunch the next day.  We are so grateful.

On the head healing front, I think things are going well.  Mom said that it is still a little swollen around some areas, but it has only been two weeks so I think that must be a little normal.  I need to stop babying my neck and start moving it around a little more.  It doesn't hurt, but I am definitely taking it easy.  I know it will feel better once I start giving myself some more range of motion.  Nothing is going to fall out of the back so I just need not worry about that!

Bling Be-gone!

A few days ago, "Mrs. Gorgeous" (C coined this phrase right after we finished up family prayers and tried to suck the pearl out of B's ring.... he's so focused on the spirit while we pray.  We laughed so hard), "BB". "B" took my staples out for me.  I think we did a few on Tuesday evening, then a few more on Wednesday and the rest on Thursday.

I, LITERALLY, thought they were stapled into my skull so I was really freaked out at how they would come out.  I just didn't really have a strong desire to feel all those little edges pulling from my head.  But B reassured me that they really only clamp the skin.  The first one came out and I braced for a barf.... of course I did.  What did you expect!  Well, it wasn't that bad.  It was itchy, and felt good.  She took a few out here and there like I said just to make sure that the incision still stayed nicely closed  up.  Plus, who am I trying to impress right now with my beautiful flowing locks?  My family.  That I can actually be up and moving and laughing.  They most certainly didn't care how many were left in there.

The kids were right into it.  I love my kids.  They have been little troopers through this whole ordeal.  K, was a little squeamish and didn't really want to watch, but mustered up the courage and then they wanted to take some staples in a baggie to school to show their friends.  It was cute.  And I kept one for my "cancer picture book".  Although, I am sure one day I would just rather burn the stupid thing instead of look back at it. 

By Thursday I was bling free, no mare sparkles back there and most importantly ABLE to have a real shower.  It was so nice to be able to wash my head!  Well, you know me and bumps and gross stuff like that so I was careful not to get to crazy with cleaning the incision.  But just to know that clean, soapy water was running over my head was great!

Friday night, we went out on a date with some of our greatest friends M and G.  We went out for M's birthday and decided to eat at the mission.  All you can eat Asian buffet.... I thought it was a great idea!!!  I did so well.  Filled up on salad and then had some of the other food and then..... addict G was on the rampage.  I managed, somehow, in a  fog, to find myself at the dessert table.  I took two pieces of dessert to "share" with Ken.  I did share a little.  And then at the movie, I shared some more stuff that I somehow managed to purchase before the movie started.  Seriously!!!  What is wrong with me.  I've been up most of the night with a gut ache and annoyed at myself that I freaking caved again!!!!  I know I will be good again today, that isn't the issue, I just wish that I could really just leave the crap alone!!!!  Everyone has been so good to not have it around me, well, the other night they did all have DQ but like I said, not everyone has to suffer because of what I feel I should and shouldn't eat!!

Anyways, then we watched Les Mis and I felt like barfing of floating up to the ceiling the entire time.  It was a good movie.  I didn't know there would be so much singing even though it is a Broadway Musical.  But Ken managed to watch it all even after I said, "Should I pretend I'm sick (honestly I wasn't' really pretending at that point) and we can go get out money back and go home?"  He laughed.  I'm glad we stayed.  It took us a while to get into it, but I am glad we watched it all.  By the end though, my poor little head had done enough working out for the day and just needed somewhere to rest.

We came home, I found, somehow, a piece of pizza and then we watched another show which I fell asleep to right away.  But it was just what I needed.  We had a good night.  A decent sleep and now, IT'S Saturday!!!  I hope your day is great!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Grinch....

We are home safe and sound.  I was very excited to come home, and leave all the way from Kelowna to get back here, but by the time we got to Mom and Dad's, I was done.  It was a long 4 hours in the car, and a bit uncomfortable at times.  I did sleep most of the way which was nice.

After we pulled into Fruitvale, Ken had a bit of a nap, we fed the kids some mac and cheese and Ken the left overs for supper (nice wife!) and then they came home.  Mom, Dad (against his will but being sweet and deciding to hang out with us anyways) and I caught up on last season of Sister Wives.  It was great!!  I know my Dad loved it!! ;)
A good family friend of ours (you know, anotha motha, I have some pretty great Mom's!!!) came over for a quick visit on her way to work.  She's a nurse and has kindly dedicated the next few days to coming here to help out.  How sweet is that?  K keeps asking when the Dr. is coming and going to be sleeping in her bed.  It's really cute.  Anyways, B broke her neck quite a few years ago but didn't go to the hospital for a few days and then when she did she found out her neck was broken.... yes, she is a nurse, but just old fashioned tough and clearly not a whiner!!  She took a look at the back of me and said, "Well, your zipper head looks great!"  Yet, another, catchy, nick name.  The kids even like calling it that.  Makes me smile.  I am just glad it's at the back of my head and I don't have to look at it!!  Because, I think it is sick!!!

Had a decent sleep, but was so excited to get "home".  So excited!!!  I got up and got ready, and Mom got all her stuff ready for another traveling road show and we came to Cranny.  Well, there is a specific picture that I have been trying to locate of "the Grinch".  You know, after he does his crash test and is holding his own head up?!  Well, that's how I felt by the time we got to town.

The roads were too much.  And I am so glad that Ken told me to stay at Mom and Dad's over night.  I would have been a total mess.  So today, I feel a bit better.  My neck still feels a little stiff but I feel like I am being overly cautious... we seem to be joking about not wanting anything to fall out of the back of there so that is probably why I am babying my baldy!! But if I am tired it hurts.  Last night I feel asleep on my arm for a little too long in the same position and I paid for it when I became conscious!!  Drugs helped out though.  I was up and at it by 5:30am.... I know, seriously SLEEP IN!!!!!  I just couldn't.  I was awake off and on from 2:30am but made myself stay in bed. 
At 5:30am I turned up my detox mat and sweat it out for an hour.  That was more than enough and I didn't want to give myself a headache from frying too long. Plus I haven't been on it for a week or so.  I'll ease my way back onto it.  Then I had another bath.... I am excited to not bathe in butt soup (love it D and AT) and actually have a shower and wash my head.  But, I guess we don't want any rusting going on back there so I can easily wait until the staples are out!
It was nice to get the kiddies up and have them get ready for school.  Lunches had already been made, breakfast was already ready, so it was a pretty easy morning for me.  It just felt nice to feel like Mom.  But I was very tired, had a headache, and was ready for back to bed.
Mom woke up, and C, (the little fart who coughed all night in our bedroom and then woke up to have his legs rubbed out - he's growing, he's really growing!!!) finally  showed his face outside our bedroom at like 10am!  Mom helped me juice, I ate my green smoothie for breakfast and took ALL of my supplements again.  I feels good to be back on track.  I can't even tell you how good it feels.  Although, I need to exercise the sugar daemon and get it out, but I already feel way better not having it in my system and it's only been 4 days.  Dang sugar.  I guess it is the one challenge that I will learn to overcome in my life and be able to be in control with it one day.  How profound.
I am blabbing.  It seems to be a new trend.  And slightly annoying. 
What's up next is Mom and I are heading over to Kelowna again on the 31st of January.  I have appointments all day on the Friday (Appt with Dr. M, Mask making, not something that I really ever had the desire to create as a craft at home and then a CT) to get set up for treatments which will start on Monday the 4th.  I will have 5 treatments and then I will have some time off, be monitored by more CT's, most likely for a few months, and then we will look into the pinpoint radiation if the light full brain doesn't look like it's working for everything.  I won't be going to Vancouver right away, and I am glad to know that we will see how things are working out so that we don't need to over do anything. 
I still feel good about everything.  I feel like everything that is happening is supposed to.  I am not worried.  Like I said, all fear in my life literally left my body (k, well if I let myself freak out then I get afraid!!!) on December 20th and I still have an amazing amount of peace.  I know who's hands I'm in.  And there is no room for fear when you know who's got your back.
I'll post some gory staple removing pics as we take them!!!  For those of you who do think this kind of gross stuff is neat.  Thank you again for all your well wishes and encouragement.  I truly do feel pretty good.  Like I have said to a few people, "I didn't know what to expect, but I feel way better than I thought I would IF I take it easy."  And I really am.  I want to get better as quickly as humanly and safely possible.  That is another reason why I am glad I am back on "my road" and way of doing things.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Who gives a dime?

I (we) want to be most grateful, respectful, indebted and thankful as I write this post.  I may have overdone it yesterday as today I feel like I can't move my upper body, so I hope I make sense as I post.

I just wanted to do a blog post about all of you and your generosity.

Our entire family (Anderson and Atwood included) are so grateful for everything that has been done for us.  We are so thankful for every donation right down to the last penny that has been given on our behalf.  And it's not only about the money.  We know that there have been countless hours of service, prayer, messages of encouragement and thoughts of love that cannot even begin to be quantified and we cannot express how completely appreciative we are.

The out pouring of love to our family has been amazing and felt so strongly through this entire process.  I have said many times, "We couldn't do this without the army that is behind us."  I mean that from the bottom of my heart and I know Ken does too.

You have taught us true charity and love.  You have taught our children to always be mindful of the needs of others.  Even amidst the challenges our family is facing, our children find time to pray for you and yours (I am not even making that up, K says the sweetest little prayers that you may have every needful thing, that you will feel of the Savior's love and peace for you, that your hearts will be light, that you will be happy and healthy and safe).  It is a testament to me of an amazing Father in Heaven and His plan for each and every one of us.  I love how He can teach us always, in every situation.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My plan.

Number one - Hair.  Had to go.  It looked crappy and made me feel crappy.  Seriously, if you ever have to go through this, and I know it's easy for me to say because I have been bald before and it's really not that bad (I mean, ya, I do love my hair, but guess what, it grows!!!) JUST SHAVE IT!!!!! Don't let anyone else talk you out of it.  If it is going to fall out, just get it over with.  All I could think about was getting my ugly Trump head out of the picture!!!!

I called Ken at 7:30am, remember, I was already up and sponge bathed, new blue dress again, zit face washed but still not looking good at all!!!  I don't remember washing my face with a chocolate bar for the last 20 days, but it sure looks like I have!!  I wanted him to come up so we could talk to the Dr. Neuro together.  Ken made it and somehow with my un-attractive looks and quick wit, Dr. L decided that I was fine to go!  HOLY MY HEART SANG!!!!!

Plan number one needed to be executed right then and there.  I was hoping to be able to come back to the condo all done up and have the kids see that mommy was ok.  I didn't realize that Mom and Dad had an appointment today so we had to push things a little. 

Just thought I would show you what was left and why I would personally just get rid of it all.  Ken counted up 25 staples back there.  Purdy hey!!!  And of course, the infamous "pad".  It isn't even a pad.
My sweet husband washed my head for me with some warm water and a clean towel  and then cut all my hair off with some scissors.  The CCU had some clippers for use, new clean attachment so we don't share germs, that would be awful!!! and Ken started buzzing away.  I can't even tell you how much better I felt having my freaking hair just cut off!!!  I felt like chemo G, but still way better than Trump Arse!!

I am all over the place.... then Mom and Dad called to find out when Ken would be back to get the kids because they needed to bring me up lunch and get off to their appointment.... again, we were aiming for the surprise factor, just wouldn't be able to come home all pretty and ready.  But that was fine.  I just wanted out!!  So we did up the discharge papers, wrote prescriptions, took out my last IV, collected my food and found a wheelchair.  I thought I was going to die in that ride from the unit to the car.... Ken was not wasting anytime getting us out of there.

My drug addict arm.  It looks a lot better than it did.

We got home and Mom and Dad were surprised and so were the kids.  They couldn't stop with the kisses and hugs and we had to establish some new ground rules for coming at Mommy.  I need to stay upright and not so much on my head, so we need to ask to give hug and kisses first and ask before we get in each others faces right now.  I just want to stay vertical, so this will just be for a while.  I move around like a 90 year old geriatric person, but at least I am moving and it feels good!

I promptly went upstairs and drew myself a bath.  I NEVER bath, well, very rarely.  But I am not allowed to wash my head with soap for another 7 days, so I will be getting this tubby little buddy in the tub.  I shaved, (like you need all the details again, but, my blog is open so don't read it if you don't like it!), seriously scrubbed my face off, and just sat there, thinking what a miracle our bodies really are.  Then my little Tot came in and wanted a bath too.  With me.  Tubs to small, mom's too big, so I got out, I wanted to get "ready" anyways.  I needed to feel like me.  Whatever that looks like right now, I just needed to see it wasn't that bad.  So, Tot hopped in and I hopped up on the counter and started doing my makeup.  LOVED the hair (well, as much as I am going to for now) and just wanted to look a little more like my kids Mommy and my husbands, distant wife.  She'll be back.  But this is her for now, and sometimes I still want to cry when I look at her, but she is here, so who gives a crap.
It was really hard to concentrate on doing my makeup.  I feel shaky and it's going to take some getting used to, but I will do it every day to feel like me.  Whoever "me" is for the day.

Gots my make up on!  Chippy cheeks but whatever!  Don't you think my hair looks a heap better than it did??
So all in all, I feel pretty great right now.  I feel good being able to blog and blab on and on and get some things off my chest.  It had felt so weighted the past few days just with everything going on.  Now I feel like my mind is a little clearer and I am good to keep going.

We found out that the CT did reveal that there was still some areas that lit up at the base of the surgical site.   One of the tumors was more cystic/fluid filled so it wasn't as big as we had originally thought, and the other was what he thought it would be. Dr. L was sure he did get a good margin around everything. I know I was in great hands so I am not worried.  And if he didn't, well, radiation is on the list next so whatever.  He did say that it very well could be just some depressed grey matter (lol, brains!!!) and that is why the color showed up in the CT.  As far as we know, I will have two to three weeks off and then we will be back over here for a week of light full brain.  Then probably some more time off and then out to Vancouver for the Pinpoint stuff.  Dr. L said that the light full brain might just take care of those other two spots and then we won't need the pinpoint in those areas.  I am still thinking I want that done at the back though.  I just want to make sure we got all the little buggers!!!!

They replaced the piece of bone in the back of my head with acrylic.  I asked why they do that.  Dr said that usually the area they operated is more covered in muscle and they used to not replace the bone at all because it would just buff away as they did surgery.  But now the replace it with acrylic to give it a bit more stability.... I am not going to complain!  I would rather it be a little stronger back there, more like it should be than how they used to do things.

Ken took the kids outside so I could lay down for a little while, then he came in, I think I slept for 30 minutes but it felt like forever and when I head the door click open I thought "NO!!!!!  I don't want more drugs!!!"  Then I had to laugh and wipe the drool off my face and pillow.  I crashed hard and I know I will sleep well tonight.  Even if it is only for 5 hours.  I will take it.

Not like you care about ALL the details of life right now, but I am down to 1/2 a dex two times a day so that will be great!!  And like I said, I am only on extra strength Tylenol and that totally helps with the pain surprisingly enough.  And I like knowing that I am not pumping my body full of a whole bunch of other stuff that might not seem so helpful for my system right now.... sleeping is what is going to be the best thing for me so the more natural I can keep my state comfortably with the drugs I can take, the better.  I am happy about being able to pair down on a few things.

Now, I just need to stop washing my face with a chocolate bar and the rest of my problems should start to clear away a little.  Like my chipmunk cheeks, my tummy and my facial hair.... just saying, you might complain about a few minor details too once in a while!  And I would NEVER judge you  for it!

Staying in the CCU.... not so great!

I have to be completely honesty with you.  Staying in the in the CCU was a bit of a traumatic experience for me.  I have a completely different outlook as to what theses amazing men and women have to deal with on a daily basis.  I realize that like in most professions, there are different kinds of care workers, but these CCU nurses really have a huge job.  Well, anyone in Health Care really does.

These men and women showed strength, the ability to make quick, fast, life saving decisions, compassions, love, concern, knowledge and amazing care.

Last night was a really bad night for me.  I was so tired and just wanted to sleep.  I felt that every single cell in my body was vibrating higher than any cell in the universe could at one possible time and I felt like I was going crazy. 

I switched from T3 to just extra strength Tylenol yesterday in hopes of cutting back on the caffinene intake (good advice Mom and Dad Atwood!!!).  But, was still on the Dex, no morphine though, but still fell like I was fully charged all the time and my head would literally NOT turn off.

Mom and C came up earlier in the day for a quick visit and then they headed out.  Later that evening, Dad and Ken and the Kids came up for a visit.  They left at about 8:30pm and I had every intention of turning OFF and resting the rest of the evening out.  I was honestly grateful that I was still in the CCU because I had my own PRIVATE room.  I wouldn't get that anywhere else in the hospital.

Why I found it so hard to be there was most people there are very, VERY sick.  They, honestly, some of them, didn't even know where they were or how they got there.  Over the past 4 days I saw many a person come in and all you cold see was their eyes.  Nothing else, as they were all bundled up with all of this life saving force, energy and teams around them to help them make it.  It was very real for me.  It made me realize that what I was going through was most certainly not as serious as it could have been.

A few of the people were in for, (I probably shouldn't even say, but I don't know them and all I could do was pray for peace for them.... I felt so helpless)  car accident trauma, hypothermia, a few heart attacks.   I remember groggily on Monday evening one of the nurses saying to an elderly man, "You had a heart attack at church on Sunday.  Your family has all been up to see you."  He was having a hard time too!  Can you imagine going about a regular day and then just waking up and not even knowing what was happening to you or where you even were??  At least I knew.

It is very busy in there most of the time.  There are monitors going off all the time as everybody, including my own, vitals are being monitored around the clock.  Then when they can clear out a room, if they can, they do and quickly prep for another person to come flying down the halls for extra TLC. 

Tuesday morning when I was a little more "with it" I remember looking out my window, across the hall at another man.... again, all I could see was eyes, and a barrage of IV bags in different colors, like 25 I swear, hanging all over this pole and him just laying there.  It broke my heart.  Like I said, it makes me very emotional and it was very hard on me.

I wondered how many, many special people had passed away within the walls of these units.  I thought of one of my high school friends who we were told if he made it through the night he would probably be ok.  D did make it through that night, but eventually  passed away.  It was just so real.  I wondered of all the angles who wandered the halls there, comforting people and families from Heaven and from earth.... like I said, those nurses are amazing.

Anyways, so last night, with my body freaking on every cellular level and my brain on complete overload, I decided I would do some journaling to calm myself down and reflect and be thankful.  Plus, I was trying to line up all the different drug times that I would need to take something and I had complete anxiety about falling asleep for 15 minutes to be awakened to have to take something and then try and fall back asleep again.  14 pages later and around 10:30pm, I decided it was time for lights out and brain off as best I could.  I currently have a clicking noise that goes on in my head that will resolve but it is very strange and I can feel it behind my eyes, so it freaks me out a little.

I was praying.... hard for me and for the people in there.  I wanted them to feel comfort.  I wanted them to feel safe and loved and not alone.  I knew it was going to take me a long time to settle my body down so I wasn't all that stressed about trying to get to sleep, just more relaxed than anything.  My nurse wasn't coming back in until 12:00am for a check up and more meds so I knew I could probably get in a good hour and a half of rest or whatever until it was time again. 

I literally had just dozed off and a poor man started freaking out.  "Someone anyone, f-ing help me!!!!  F!!!! Someone Help ME!!!!!"  Over and over and over and over and over and over again for like 20 minutes.  One of the nurses yelled, "Can we drop some Ativan?"  I was like, HELL YA IN MY ROOM!!!  Sorry for the language, I was just very distraught by this point.  Then, because honestly people, we are all connected, heart monitors started going off all over the place.  Everyone was just going.  It was crazy.  Again, all I could do was pray.

My nurse finally came in again and noticed I was crying.  I was trying to be a big girl, be appreciative of my own private room and a place to sleep where I was cared for and looked after, but exhaustion and nerves had taken over and I was a complete and utter mess.  I just wanted to call Ken and have him come up and slip behind me in the bed with me and hold me until I feel asleep and then stay with me all night.  But, I know he needed a good sleep to and there was no sense in both of us sleeping crappy just so I could have a few hours of calm. 

They don't like to give brain patients "stuff'" because they don't want to mask any problems that might arise with their care.  But after my nurse saw me, she said, "Sweetie, I'll call the doctor and we'll see if we can get you an Ativan."  I had some right there in my baggie, but I told her about them the day before and I didn't want to jeopardize my health by taking something foolishly.  She was so good to me.... they all were so good to me.  I took the Ativan, and took probably another hour to fall asleep, but I did and I slept for 3-4 good hours.  It was amazing!!  And it was pretty quiet the rest of the evening.  Well, nothing happened to greatly to cause me any concern.  And then I was up and at it by 7:30am this morning again.  I had a plan.

I just wanted to say how thankful that I was for the care that I received there.  It was truly a testament of love from these people who would literally do anything for you, at the press of a button or a call.... whatever you needed, they made you feel like you were important and deserved it.  I just have so much respect for their humanity, gentleness and compassion.  I will never forget it.  Well, I hope I forget the feeling of the awful that was there, but not the rest.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'll do the best I can....

I am very tired this morning. I didn't get much sleep last night at all and I am told the CCU is the quietest place in the hospital so I am kinda dreading my move today. BUT that means days closer to getting out so that is great news.

I have been very productive this morning already. I got my cathader (spelling?) out this morning so I have gone pee all on my own. That was K's first question for me yesterday, "when did you actually go to the bathroom last on your own?" Made me laugh. They were very interested in the "pee" bag.

I sponge bathed myself and put on a new beautiful blue, CLEAN gown. Feels so much better. I brushed my teeth. Apparently Ken was very surprised that I was able to put on my own Chapstick on Monday night..... Apparently I am over doing it and I should milk it a little more. Once I get home for sure. I am most certainly NOT fast at anything right now.

I ate breakfast, and now I am bored. It's 9:26am. That can't be good! I am going to try and have a sleep though, although I don't know when they are wanting to move me.

I feel pretty good but I do get dizzy easily, but I am impressed at how well I am getting around. My head doesn't hurt all that badly and I am pretty much just on t3's now.... and of course the freakin' dex. Whatever, it's a means to an end.

Well, I feel like I should go. I'll post later maybe. I just wanted to say "Hi" and thank you all again. I feel your love and it helps me so much.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Surgery went well

I promised Geneva that I would update her blog while she is in the hospital (I can't wait till I get a tumor and have her do everything for me for a change) and I am not as eloquent as she is, so here it goes. As I promised her, I will try not to leave out any details.

We [Geneva, her Father (Terry) and I], arrived at the hospital at 5:45 am to get her checked in, and ready for the O.R. The wait wasn't very long which was nice because all three of us were quite the spectacle of catatonic beauty and patient hysteria that early in the morning. The first 5 minutes of the conversation between Geneva and her nurse consisted of Geneva apologizing for her deathly vicious farts and the nurse apologizing for her garlic breath. (They hit it off right away and will be bff's for life now)

Phase two of the morning's events had us moved to a new room (same nurse) and Geneva was having her IV inserted. Her veins were less than cooperative so the nurse, who was very apologetic, was digging around with no luck. Through this whole time Geneva was true to form and was cracking jokes as if nothing was happing. Geneva had said something to the effect of "don't slip and poke yourself," as part of some punch line to a joke I can't remember but the nurse's eye's got really big and we could tell she was dying to tell us the story of a lifetime. In the not to distant past, this nurse had a patient flinch while she was putting the needle in and she ended up poking her self. Apparently, this patient then proceeded to tell her she was a prostitute but not to worry, she was clean. If any of you know Geneva well, you will know that we spent the rest of pre-surgery on that subject.

So, to recap, we had been at the hospital for about an hour by this time and our morning had consisted mostly of discussions of hookers, garlic breath and farts.....Typical morning at the Atwood house I'd say.

Shortly thereafter, Geneva was taken away for surgery and I went home for some beauty sleep, cuz I'm worth it, and returned to the hospital at 11am to meet the surgeon for an update on how everything went. "Everything was successful," he said and she would be moved to ICU in a few hours.

The kids and I went back to see her later in the afternoon and she was doing great. Still groggy from the medication, she was having trouble staying awake which made the kids a bit scared that she wasn't doing well. I gathered the three of them close together, wiped their little innocent tears and I reassured them that she wasn't closing her eyes and drifting off because something went wrong, it was because she just didn't love them enough to stay awake.

The kids were really cute, snapping pictures of her with their ipods, checking out all the wires and machines attached to her (well except for Carson who had found a chair in the corner and was watching ParaNorman on his ... the kid couldn't give a crap .....I love that little fart). Geneva was really tired so we didn't stay much more than a couple of minutes.

Terry and Linda went after we left and informed me she was a bit more up for visiting. She is improving with every minute and so far the only symptom of the surgery is some minor double vision in her right eye which they are watching and are confident will subside as swelling goes down.

She sends her love to you all and I can't thank you all enough for your support, prayers and positive energy.

I shall update again as soon as I have more news.

(just kidding about the "not loving them" part of the blog)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thank you.

I just wanted to thank everyone for all of your support.  I would be ungrateful if I didn't.  I am overwhelmed with the prayers and love sent from every where.... people that don't even know our family, are praying for us!  Prayers from every faith and every place.  See how amazing our God is!!  It doesn't matter which ways we believe, we can all pull together and make someone feel so loved.  I want to thank you all for that.

Again, I still feel good.  I am ready for tomorrow and I am ready to get surgery over with.  I am so excited to go home and start to heal and get healthy again.  Ken will post later to let you know how it went. 

All our love,
The Entire Atwood/Anderson families.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick note.

First of all, my GF told me to post on here or she would get me.... kidding, I used those words, that anyone that would like to fast with us on Monday that would be a huge blessing for our family.  I know we have asked for so much already, but we would be honored if you wanted to join us.

Surgery is set up for Monday morning at 8:ooam.  I have to be at the hospital at 5:45am to check in, but that is fine.  I am booked in for 4 hours, which seems pretty short compared to a lot of other things that people have to endure.  I am thankful for that.

Like I said, I have asked Ken to update the blog or at least FB.  I hope he will blog and then link to FB.  But I know he has a lot on his mind too, but he will let everyone know how it went for sure!!

I know this is short, but we are going to watch a movie and shove popcorn down our gobs so I am going to run.  I hope you guys have a great weekend!!  I know I am going to.  We are all ready to go and I feel prepared.

I am sure I will find some time to write a little something before I "go under".  Thank you again for everything you have done for us!!  All of you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The big reveal...

I know I should be the last person on the planet who struggles with vanity.  Especially after all I have been through.  I have learned to love my self no matter what.  Having said that, I am having a hard time looking in the mirror again and actually loving what I see.

This is going to sound all wrong, but I am sorry if I don't really feel like seeing all of those of you who love me no matter what size, shape or form I come in, but I am having a hard time looking at me right now.

This picture is awful, but I don't really feel like smiling.  I just wanted to show you how quickly some drugs can change your appearance and make you feel like someone you were never meant to be again.  I know it's just temporary, but, it is really hard on me.

Just a little bit before Christmas.  I felt like me at least and I had some cheek bones and a beautiful smile!  I was happy.

20 days on dex and counting.  What happened??
Yup, that's Mrs. Misery in all her glory!  She comes and goes, right now, she needs to go to bed so tomorrow doesn't' seem so bad.



The inability to sleep and the need to blab on and on...

Apparently I can't get enough words in lately.  I have just had so much that I feel like I want to share with you.  And I am feeling that it is positive and I feel that is very important.  I wanted to write down another few paragraphs from a book that I have quoted form before.  I feel it hits my nail directly right on the head and I wanted to share that with you.

Again, I am exhausted and should be sleeping, but the drugs haven't kicked in yet so I'll just keep going like a mad fool until I fall asleep sitting up in bed and then have a huge sore on my arse because I should have just layed, (first sign, that is not a word), I believe you actually spell it "laid" down.

Moving right along before it gets any worse.

"In trying times, Just Keep Trying!"

Merrilee is talking about becoming humble or rather the gift of humility.  She talks about watching these people who are humble and wondering how to get there herself.... just like I have so many times before in my life.

"I worked to eliminate the pride issues in my life, but somehow couldn't figure out how to acquire such Christlike humility.

And then my challenges and experiences started.  As they began to multiply, I began to ponder and study the description of humility I found in the scriptures"

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."  (Mosiah 3:19)

"I knew this scripture held the key for me to understand humility.  What I have come to realize is that a child submits to his father because he loves his father.  And he knows for a surety that his father loves him.  The child submits because he knows that everything his father does is in his best interest.

As each successive trial came and increased my burdens, I groaned under the weight of it all.  Day after day, I bowed my head in submission to my Lord.  Day after day, I relied on His love.

Each new experience brought me new pain, new suffering.  But each experience also brought the comfort of the Holy Ghost and the promptings to yield to the will of the Lord.  Each time I was encouraged to let go of the control.  Let go of the fear.  And trust, just completely trust.

I realized that my heart was changing.

Each experience demanded that I once again dig deep.  I knew that my Heavenly Father knew me and loved me.  I knew my Savior did as well  I knew that every singe experience they had designed for my earthly experience was for my good and were motivated by love for me.

And as the trust and love came, I chose to be submissive and humble.  Not only was I willing to endure the will of the Lord, it became my desire.  I wanted His will to be done in my life.  Even if that meant that I would endure pain and experience traumatic things, I wanted His will to be done.  No matter what.

I learned it's hard to be prideful when your entire life is disintegrating around you.  I began to understand much more deeply the struggle and suffering of others.  Each day was an effort to survive, and as the trying times continued, I realized that everyone else was trying to survive as well.  We were all trying to do the best we could.  I stopped making comparisons; I was no different and no better.  I was the same.  More than that, I had no desire to be better than anyone.  I was filled with love and compassion for those around me.  I wanted to help them and needed their help in return.  Meekness and teachableness took on new clarity.

I am now beginning to understand the attributes of a child - submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit.

It's not about me anymore.  It's all about the Lord."

Tears streamed down my chubby little cheeks as I read this passage over and over again.  This is exactly how I feel.  Exactly.  I couldn't have said it better myself, so I didn't even try.  It was just so important for me to share this with you.  To give you some sort of insight as to how I really feel.  I am not afraid.  I know that what is being done in my life at this time is exactly what is supposed to happen and I just need to have complete trust in the Lord.  And I do.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One heck of a day!

Sorry there was no time for updates yesterday at all.  We started out day off early, on very little sleep, yet again.  Our first appointment was at 9:00am - ya, we know that's not that early, but we are beyond tired right now.  That was with the neurosurgeon - really, really nice man!!!  We chatted with him about surgery and possible side effects and such.  There is a chance that people can die from surgery, we all know that, there is a chance that I can get an infection in my spinal fluid after surgery and then of course there are going to be the things that we are just going to have to watch for like having some balance issues and small little changes like that.  He did say over time these things usually correct though and people are just fine.

Surgery is set up for Monday morning most likely at 6am.  It will be a 3-5 hour surgery and I will most likely be in the ICU for 2 days after to just to be watched carefully for infection and making sure that my heart is doing ok and everything else is functioning like it should.  Ken wanted to know if he should be buying me bibs and such... normally I would think he was really funny, but exhaustion just added to sadness and frustration for me at that point.  I smiled when I had to yesterday, and laughed when I thought it was a good time to show people that I am not worried, but I was on total overload yesterday.  I think my big, saggy steroid cheeks hung down like the jowls of a huge boxer all day long.  I HATE looking at me right now.

After we saw Dr. Neuro, we ran to the Cancer Center to talk to our Oncologist there.  She wants to keep me on the same medicine that I am currently on - WHICH WAS AMAZING NEWS and add another drug that usually works better with getting into the brain blood barrier.... that wording seems to come up a lot.  There aren't really a lot of drugs that are effective in doing that.  She is not sure how well it will work, but we are going to give it a try.  They are both pill form, so I will be able to continue to take them at home and I really believe that I will have minimal side effects, not like being on the hard core stuff.  I won't loose my hair - well, with the chemo anyways, we know that's coming off with radiation, but my hair will come back on the chemo.  And I have already been on the one drug for 3 months now anyways and can function just fine so I have no worries.  Well, that is a bit of a fib, this other drug is hard on your heart.  It is crazy what all this crap really does to your body.  You damage something to keep something else going.

Have to admit, I, probably more so than we, didn't want to talk prognosis or anything even close to that because I will surpass every date and time I will ever be told.  I am in NO way trying to be cocky or think I am something special, I just really believe that something great is going to happen.  But, there weren't a lot of smiles of "this is going to be ok" "your going to do well" "long term success".  You get really good at reading peoples eyes especially when the look sad and don't maintain eye contact with you very long.  I just have to go off on my own little path and make up my own blueprint for our families future.  I am not going to be a statistic.  I am going to be me, for how ever long that is!  And honestly, just let the rest melt away.  That is hard, I am not going to lie, but I just can't live my life in that head space.  I just need to keep planning for my future life with my family and me a part of it.

I was told that I need to stop taking all my supplements for now because no one is sure if any of them are blood thinners and they don't want me bleeding out in surgery.  Makes sense, but like I told Ken, it's just really hard to stop doing what I truly believe in and change EVERYTHING it seems for a little while.  I asked about still being able to juice and they "thought" that should be fine.  Just so crazy!  It's healthy for crying out loud.  So yesterday was my absolute last binge day and I am going to get this body as ready as it can through celery, broccoli, green drinks, smoothies, soups and anything healthy I can chuck in my gob, to prepare for Monday.  I know that isn't a lot of time, but I still feel like a good 5 days will serve me well.  And then eating as well as I can post surgery until I can get back home and get full tilt again.  I just can't tell you how much I believe in the nutrition aspect of things.  You wouldn't be able to tell that from looking at me right now because I have seriously gained 13 pounds... I feel like I am in a blow up fat suit.  It comes on so quickly.

But! Dr. M did say that I could lower my Dex dose down to 2 pills a day so that was nice.  He was even joking with us when he was showing us the images on the MRI at his desk.  He had a pack of digestive cookies beside his computer and he looked over at me and picked them up and moved them and said, "I've seen you people on Dex."  I laughed and told him "I didn't want his stale clinic cookies for a crap snack, I want a cinnamon bun the size of my arse covered in 4 inches of frosting."  He laughed too!

After our meeting with Dr. T we headed out for lunch with a new friend of ours.  Ken has met her from work.  She is such a doll.  One of those people who you feel like you know forever.  I just felt really badly because we had to order early before she got there, and start eating because our next appointment was at the hospital for pre-surgical screening.  But we got in a nice quick lunch and visit, we'll see her when we are back this coming week.

We rushed out the restaurant and down to the hospital.  Were asked a million questions about previous surgeries and how things had gone.  Then we waited to speak with the anesthesiologist who noted my heart mummer so he wanted an EEG?  EKG? done.  Like he said, there is a little hole there, and I just want to know what is flowing where before we do this so that if something happens after we know what it was like before.  Smart enough answer for me!  Then I had blood work done in case a transfusion is needed and I have to wear a little pink bracelet for the next 28 days.  We were at the hospital from 1-3:30ish.  Like I said, no time to stop really for anything at all.

We came out and it was snowing like crazy!  Although we were tired, Ken decided that he wanted to get the first leg of the trip out of the way and make it back to Dad and Mom's for the night.  So we quickly hit up Costco for all the essential bulk needs and shoved the car full.  Seriously, packed.  Like no room left at all.  But we have enough TP for a few months!!!!  That always make me happy, and paper towel, and laundry soap... you know, the wired stuff you don't ever really want to be without?!

We raced back to the hotel, threw all our crap together... well, Ken did.  I ate some more, I just crave granny smith apples and almond butter and it makes me happy, plus I knew that if I did that it would help out immensely with the amount of room we would have in the car.  Ken made sandwiches for us for supper and Dad for the next few days at work, we hit up Timmy's to bring some muffins home for Dad for breakfasts and then we hit the road.

It snowed like crazy the entire way to Dad and Mom's.  Our average speed was 74kms but that was safe and it took us 4 3/4 hours to get here which wasn't so bad considering the road conditions.  And it was pretty quite other than some semi's and plows, we were pretty much the only ones on the road.  It was a good drive.

We finally had a  REAL conversation about our life, complete with yelling, crying, frustration, stress, swearing, unloading, and re-grouping.  It was exactly what we needed.  It was UGLY!!!!! let me tell you, but such a weight off our chests.  I think we have some great ideas of what we would like to do as a family in teaching our children certain things, like helping out and being a little more responsible so that they learn that we really all need to work together right now and Mommy and Daddy just can't do it all.  They are old enough anyways, and guess what, back in the day, kids did WAY more than they ever do now.  I want my kids to learn the value of working hard, pitching in and helping others and how important it is to serve.  And that if we can work together as a family, there will be more time for fun because one person won't feel like they are trying to keep it all done.  That was probably a little too personal to share, but I want to be open.  And I am just so grateful that Ken finally did open up and get friggin' mad!  IT'S about time!

On a more beautifully painted picture - we drifted into a still, snow laden little town I grew up in, huge flakes falling everywhere, it was absolutely beautiful, I can't even tell you how certain images seem to be healing and therapeutic for me.  This was one of them.  I love this little town in the winter, it is stunning.  We came up to Dad and Mom's, unpacked the necessary things, ate, of course, why wouldn't we, we have been on a bender!  And came up to bed on full tummies of 7 layer dip, muffins and chips.... ya, they are still sitting in my chest I think... I am excited to wash it down this morning with water maybe??  All day, and then a bag of celery... not sure yet.

It was so nice to actually sleep peacefully, in the home I grew up in.  I drifted off, looking out across the street at the glow of the light against the neighbors house, which roof line is caked with thick snow.  It made me smile.  It made me thankful.  It made me cry.  Everything makes me cry right now.  Ken's still sleeping.  I would be but heart burn has set in so I am done.  But I am grateful that I had a GOOD 7.5 hours of restful sleep.

Today we are heading the rest of the way home.  We have a lot to do to get ready for Monday.  Ken needs to get some time in at work and pick up some things.  He, which I am so thankful for, is coming over for the surgery as well as the kids and my Mom and Dad.  I just want them to be there.  When I am awake I just want to look into their eyes and know they are there.  I just want to be able to have hugs from those that I love and see them smile at me.  I just need them.  So we'll probably be there for another week.  I will most likely be in the hospital for 4 or 5 days, depending on how well I do, I am hoping for 4.  I hate hospitals, especially sharing rooms.  And then maybe we'll have one day at the condo before we head back home.

Like I said, then I will have a few weeks off for recovery and then Mom and I will head back over to Kelowna for full brain radiation, and then hopefully from there straight off to Vancouver for the stereotactic (more pin point) radiation to clean up the back and zap those two smaller spots on the right side.  Dr. Neuro doesn't think he will be able to get those ones as one is too small and you have to be able to see it on the CT to go after it and it only shows up on the MRI - he MAY be able to get the other one, but if not, those two little spots with just be radiated.

I think I still feel ok about everything.  Like I said before, I just feel like it is completely out of my hands and at this point you pretty much just do what people tell you they think is best for you.  I have to trust that this is all happening the way that it should.  I don't have time or energy right now to research anything else, it's just going to happen the way it is supposed to happen.

So we will be home until Saturday, my Mom and Dad Atwood are going to stay with us for a few days to help us get organized to get ready to go and then we will be heading back out here Saturday, to get to Kelowna by Sunday, so we can be set up and at the hospital by Monday am!  I think I have given you most of the details that we have.  That was a long post, sorry about that.  Again, thank you for your concern for our family and love across the distances.  We certainly feel it from everywhere.

I am not sure who will be blogging next.  I hope Ken will keep you apprised of the situations as we go through them, I actually hope that I feel great enough to be able to blog about it.  Probably not so much on surgery day or the day after, but soon after.  Heartfelt gratitude to you all.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lots to take in.

Well, we finally got some answers today... a mixed bag of crap... some good news, some bad news.  Let's just start with the crappier stuff and get it over with.

There are two tumors at my cerebellum.  We also found from the MRI that there are another two tumors on the right side of my head, they are however small and we did find out that mostly everything is operable.  W.O.W.  Surgery... on, my one and only brain.  Whatever, we have heard that the neurosurgeon here in Kelowna is amazing.  So, I still feel like we are in good hands.  Honestly, at this point, there aren't really any options except to do what everyone feels like is going to be the best possible circumstance that we are dealing with.  When Dr. M walked into the room to talk to us today he said, "Well, we've got a row to hoe."  Another word he used was that brain tumors, once metastasized are "pesky", meaning, we are never really going to be in the clear.  I like to still believe in the miracle aspect of this life and I don't for one moment think that anything is impossible.

Our day tomorrow will start off with the neurosurgeon.  We will discuss surgery and side effects from surgery.  Dr. M said that I will probably have two to three weeks off between surgery and then we will do a low dose of radiation on my whole brain here in Kelowna, then we will be off to Vancouver for a more centralized treatment on the two spots in the cerebellum - as "mop up" or "clean up" crew.  Crazy way of explaining it, but, that's what it is.  I was under the impression that all 4 locations can be taken care of, Ken was under the understanding that the two bigger ones can be removed and we will just have radiation on the two smaller ones on the right side.  They are really tiny, like under 5mm's.  I am just thankful for an MRI that revealed that we were actually dealing with a little bit more than we thought we were, now we can just do it all up at the same time.

Some of the more common side effects, but we will find out more tomorrow, are a bit of problems with short term memory loss, problems concentrating and I will be wiped out.  Dr. M said that he has had people that have gone back to work pretty quickly, but usually peter out and need to take time off to recoup.  Makes perfect sense to me!

The one tumor at my cerebellum is quite large but he said it was fluid filled, more swelling in it than tumor, you could see that from looking at the MRI.  So it is actually not as large as a mass as we originally thought.  Good, I guess.  The other one, I can't really remember, I tried my best.  It was still there anyways.

Some of the good news is that the little spots that we were looking at originally have cleared up, meaning, those little places that they "thought" might be tumors springing up, aren't, most likely fluid build up.  So that was great news.  Also, my spinal column is clear.  There were no tumors present which it also great news. 

The full brain radiation will cause all of my hair to fall out again, about 2-3 weeks after treatment and will take about 2-3 months for it to start to grow back in again.  I was sad about this ONLY because, I was hoping that we would just kind of be able to blow through this without having to give the kids too much information, but such will not be the case.  But I don't want them to be afraid, because I am not.... yet anyways.  So we are just going to have to be open and honest, and not talk about dying.... because I am not going there anytime soon!  I think they know that something is up anyways.  W took a call from a doctor today and he seemed a little questioned as to why they were calling us.  The kids are wondering when we are coming home, and now we are just going to have to get on our knees and pray for the best way to tell them what is happening and reassure them that this is just what we need to do and we will get through it just like we have everything else.... together, with each other, family, the Lord, friends and prayer.

I still feel at peace, probably because this is completely out of our hands and in the hands of our Father.  I feel like I know that the decisions that are being made are best for us and I have to trust in that. 

Dr. M did say, which was very encouraging, was women who take care of themselves, stay active and strong and healthy have, obviously, a much better quality of life - I am just factoring out the quantity... none of us know, and I honestly just want to live and not worry about "THE END".  SO DOOM AND GLOOM, but seriously, I just can't even picture myself there.

That's about all I have for tonight.  I am completely exhausted and somewhat relieved now at least we have a BIT of an action plan.  Of course we will know more tomorrow after meeting with Dr. Neuro.  We will fill you in again after that.  Ken wanted to wait until tomorrow once we had more information, but I know some of you like us, may even love us and have been just as anxious as to what the heck is happening so I wanted to give you as much as we had today.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support and love from everywhere!!!!  So redundant, but we mean it from every fiber of our beings.  May God bless you all and may you feel of our love and appreciation for you, all of you, no matter where you are. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Before I forget.

Alright, I just read my GF's latest blog post and cried and cried for feeling sorry for myself.  I wanted to do this a few days ago but I just haven't had the time or the energy.  So I am going to do it now.


I, like always, wanted the tree up early and ready to go, you know, like November 1st.  Halloween down, Christmas up!  It took me a few days to get it all ready, but I did.  Nothing makes me happier than when the house is all cozy for Christmas.  It's warm, smells good and just makes you want to snuggle into one another.

It always seems that Christmas runs together so quickly and then it is over before you know it.  Then there is that post Christmas downer when you know you have to wait until next year to do it all over again and wait for that magic to happen.  Just because this year was so crazy, I just wanted it to come so slowly so we could enjoy every moment.  But, in a flash, it was here!

But I want to focus on the good of this Christmas we had.  We did our second annual tree hunt with some friends of ours and this year we found the PERFECT ponderosa pine.  I found it right away, and it was beautiful.  We chopped it down and drug it down the hill on the snowmobile, Ken tied it to the car and we headed home with it.  We had so much fun putting it up and letting the little ones decorate it.  Their tiny fingers trying to get the ornaments hung over the branches, those little moments that a Mommy holds dear to her heart.

After the tree was up, we started a fire and played a really fun game of Life.  The lights were low, the kids had pop and treats and we laughed and played.  It was a really perfect evening.  C had a bit of a nap so he finally woke up and then was ready to play until like 11:30pm.... the rest of us were done though.  I think he slept on our bedroom floor that night.  Oh well.

The kids had a camp out on the boys bedroom floor the entire time of the Christmas break.  I think they had a lot of fun taking turns sleeping in the top bunk, the bottom bunk and on the floor.  They were so good and I loved looking in on there in their tiny refugee camp in the evening before Ken and I went to bed.  Of course stealing kisses and snuggles and a brush of their forehead before we retired for the night.

My Mom and Dad in Law came out  few days before Christmas and we had some fun with them.  They headed out to Vancouver for about a week and then came back to our place on the 23rd.  They stayed for Christmas which was really nice.  Mom and Dad got Christmas dinner ready for us on the 24th, (my tradition - that way the 25th is free and clear to do whatever we want and not have to make a huge supper and have me be in the kitchen all day long).  We had decided that that day we would go sledding with some friends of ours and have some fun.  We sure did!  It took us forever to get  fire going, the kids were getting cold at times, but all in all the hot dogs finally warmed up and we had a good time.

We got home, and started with our Christmas supper.  After dinner we read the Christmas story from the Bible and once again told how sacred the story of our Savior's birth really is to us.  It was so special as we looked at pictures and just talked as a family.

Then we cleaned up from supper and got our treat platter ready... THE most important thing of Christmas Eve I think.  After that, the kids opening their clean Christmas Jammies and a game (a tradition we stole from the Hall family and has brought us so much fun over the past few years!) and we played Jr. Headbands.  C was a bit of a stinker and kept telling everyone what they were.  But it was still cute. 

Once we finished up the game we headed downstairs to watch Polar Express.  It is another one of our family traditions and I just love it - even though it is kind of a different movie.  The kids are always way to excited to sleep after watching it but it was late and they did ok. 

Just before bed the kids and I headed upstairs to get some egg nog, cookies and carrots out for the night crew that was going to be flying in at some point.  A few years ago, one of the kids spilled egg nog all over the freshly cleaned floor and I was annoyed, but this year they were very careful to not do that... just reminded me of what was really important and if it did happen, it was just another memory... that is all that really matters, is the memories we make.  After we got all of Santa's stuff ready, it was hugs and kisses and off to bed.   They were so excited, and so was I.

Mom, Dad, Ken and I finished up all the last minute details and I think we finally crawled into bed around 12:30pm... pretty early for us on Christmas Eve night.  I loved walking slowly to our bedroom, looking at everything in it's perfect place and waiting excitedly for the pitter patter of fast feet up the stairs in the morning.  I woke up at 4:30am to go to the washroom and I wasn't sure if I would be able to fall back asleep and wait for the kids to finally rouse, but I did.  At 7:15 4 sets of feet came clamoring up the stairs!  W and K.  They headed straight for the tree and found their highly anticipated Santa gifts.  They were so excited.  Ken told them to come into our room and look at them until C finally got up. 

I went out to the kitchen and within 15 minutes, a crazy haired little boy wrapped in a Spidey blanket finally showed his sleepy face at the top of the stairs.  He wandered over to the tree and just stared blankly for a while.  I asked him if he saw what Santa brought him, but he said no.  I showed him the Storm Trooper mask and the Light Saber that actually lit up.  I think he was excited then!  More excited when he found the chocolate in his stocking, which, like always, filled his little cheeks all morning long.

Mom and Dad came up and we started opening gifts.  It was so nice to just take out time and really enjoy watching the kids have some fun.  My favorite part of the day.

Then we had a delicious and huge breakfast of sausages, eggs, French toast with butter milk syrup and bacon.  It was not healthy at all, but it was amazing!  And I PIGGED out!  I was really tired after all of this so I decided to lay down for a while.  I thought I would take a 20 minute power nap, but it turned into an almost three hour sleep.  I must have needed it.  Ken put a movie on for the kids and he had a nap too downstairs and Mom and Dad as well.  It was just a really great day.  I loved every moment of it.

Mom and Dad Atwood left on boxing day I think and Manny and the girls came up.  Earlier in the day we met up with more friends at Idlewild to take the little ones sledding again.  You can never spend too much time outside and it made me feel good to get out of the house.  My Mom and Dad came out on the 27th for a few days as well.  I am so thankful that we were all almost together for the holidays.  We just relaxed, watched movies, talked, cried, laughed and laughed some more.  We took the kids sledding down at the school, one of our favorite things to do with them because the school is so close.  Manny's kids sure had a lot of fun as did ours.  Little V was just ripping it up on the hill.  S loved the snowmobile a little more than actually sledding though.  That night we had a dance party with the kids and then some relaxation time to settle them down afterwards.

One of the most important things that I needed to do over the holidays was get over to the Cardston Temple.  I just needed to feel the peace of leaving every care at the front of the door.  We were surrounded by as much family as could join us and it was a very special time for our family.  We were hoping to be able to spend the next few days in Lethbridge visiting and hanging out, but we had appointments to get to all over the place.

That is the only thing that I was sad about.  I just wanted to spend more time with the family and the kids and relaxing and laughing.  I can't tell you how thankful and how blessed I am to be born and married into the family that I belong to.  I fall back on them all when I feel I can go no further.  They are ALWAYS there for us, no matter what or where or whenever we need them.  They always know what to say and what to do and how to help.  There has never been a second thought into helping us out in a split second.  I love you all so very much, I wish I could express how much, but there aren't words to express such deep gratitude and love that I have for each and every one of you.  Thank you for keeping us going, thank you for loving us in this incredibly hard journey, thank you for helping us focus and remain faithful.  Thank you for your prayers and your love and your understanding.  Thank you for being such a part in our lives that we couldn't do it without you all.

And again, thank you to all of those of you who pray for us and think of us daily.  We pray for you and your well being.  We pray for you and your families and we know that we would not be here without your concern for us.  We pray that your hearts are happy and light and full of peace amidst your own struggles and trials.  I wish there was more we could do for you, but just know that we love you and our prayers for you are just as important as your prayers for us.

Thank you for making this Christmas so special in so many, many ways.  Thank you for making me realize that I have much more to be grateful for than ungrateful.  Thank you for making me realize that there are miracles around every corner, even if it is just a smile or a hug.

I just wanna cry.

I guess today I am not feeling so happy.  I am miserable.  I miss my kids.  I miss feeling like me.  I hate this foggy feeling in my head.  I hate waiting for answers.  I want to go home.  I want to cry.  I want to sleep.  There are a lot of things I want right now I guess, but patience is just one of the things that I am going to have to try out. 

I am bored in this hotel room.  Ken is still sleeping.  I have been up since 3:30am - yet again.  So needless to say I am cranky and exhausted.  I really can't explain how I feel.  I just want to get started with things and get them over with so I can go home and re-claim normal.  I don't even have a grasp on normal anymore.

Sorry I am down.  I wish I could offer more to motivate and make you feel better, but I just can't do that right now.  I can't find it in it for me currently, so I don't have it in it for you.  I think it's just best if I shut off right now and try and find a few hours of sleep... I know that would help more than anything else.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The kiss of Dex.

Well, as you can well imagine, I am a little annoyed at having to be back on steroids.  I have spent the latter part of this year, rebuilding my body to be as healthy as it can be, and in just a few short days I feel like it has all gone to crap.  I know I need the Dex right now so I just have to suck it up.

I have put on 10 pounds in 15 days.  I had cheek bones 2 weeks ago... I honestly don't even know where they went.  It is crazy how much your "landscape" can change almost over night.  When I was talking to one nurse, she said, "You've already done this before.  One hour your going to eat up the left side of the fridge and the next you'll be going down the right."  Difference is!!! this time we got the fridge stocked right.  It is FULL of cut of veggies and healthier options for when I feel like I need to shove something down my throat.

I have to remind myself that I am not really hungry all the time and that I was actually fulfilled on what I was eating before... that is the trick.  And I am not going to lie, food always comes fast and tastes great to mask those inner feelings of self worthlessness.  But I am trying not to dwell there.  This is a short means to an end and I have to keep that in sight right now.  But like I said, it is incredible to me to not even look like me after only a few short days.

Another beautiful side effect of the Dex is the 12 year old boy facial hair that I have springing up all over the place.  Cancer really is not beautiful - ever!  It is frustrating and sickening and annoying.  I am fed up, but I would do it 10,000 times over just to be here.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  In the grander scheme of things, it doesn't really matter what I look like, but it sure is nice to feel like me.

And like you all know, sleeping has been an issue.  Drugs help with that though and I think as long as I can get some decent rest, I can function alright.  There is just so much happening up in my brain all the time that I wonder where it all comes from.  I like escaping to sleep right now when I can because I can shut off and shut out.

Other than that, I think I am doing ok.  I am not great.  But great will come back.  I have to run, we are headed out to clean the car and do some running around to feel what "normal" people feel like.  Sorry for this mismatched rambling, but I just needed to let off some steam.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quick update

This is all I have time for.  The past few days have been... crazy! (is not even the word to describe it).

We did a quick trip, overnight to Lethbridge to go to the temple and have some fun with our family over there.  Well, such is life, and it comes fast and furious.  By the time we were out of the temple we had about 12 phone calls to have appointments set up all over the acre for us in the next 5 days.

We had some delicious supper, packed the care, left the kids and got home at midnight.  I have not been sleeping so I have been up since 230am, out of bed since 430.  We are heading in this morning for some blood work at the Cranny hospital, and then we will be dashing over to Kelowna for an MRI tomorrow at some point.  I have an appointment with our Oncologist in Kelowna on the 8th and it seems that we will be starting some lower dose radiation on my full brain, followed by a more pin point approach to the crap at the back.

The MRI will give us a better idea of what is going on in there.  I have full faith in Dr. M.  I love this man and I think he is brilliant.  I know I am in good hands and I am honestly not that worried.  We gotta do what we gotta do.  I just want to have as much brain function left when all is said and done.  I don't think exhaustion is helping me deal with anything well at all.  I would love to do down for a long winters nap at this point.

Again, I know this sounds redundant, but we just want to thank you for all of your love and prayers on our behalf.  We are thankful for all the kindness that has been shown, people are so amazing!!!  Thank you for the meals, offers to do anything anytime any place, help with our kids and our family, cooking, cleaning... everything.  I can't wait for the day when I am healthy enough to pay it forward.  Thank you for your encouragement and positivity... this is what we need!!

We will post more info once we have it.  Love to you all and hope that your new year has started out brilliantly!!!