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.