Monday, November 10, 2008

"The world's a mess, and I just need to...Rule it!"

Thank you, Dr. Horrible! Gotta love those quotes.

So, how about that Election!?! Wow. History in the making. "And that's all I have to say about that..." Thank you, Forrest.

I promised to update after my last doctor's appointment, so here it is. My numbers stayed about the same as last month (statistically speaking), meaning that my platelets are still low, but my immune system and blood cells are okay. Darn; no football practice for me! I guess I'll have to put my dreams aside for a while. (hehe)

After some consultation with the Doc, we decided to not worry about another bone marrow biopsy yet. If more leukemia starts happening, we should see it in the bloodwork. So, we started the maintenance stage of my protocol. This includes weekly shots of chemo, daily pills of another chemo, and then my 2 weeks of ATRA pills every 3 months. I do bloodwork every week and see the doctor every other week, so I'm being monitored very well. "My" clinic is amazing; truly.
I braced myself for the rollercoaster, but it actually hasn't been that bad. As long as the drugs don't build-up in my system, and the effects are on a sort of plateau, then no worries. I can do this for the next year or so. The real struggle is keeping a mindset of simplicity!

A favorite night was Halloween, when I was able to talk to almost EVERY niece and nephew. So cool! My favorite quote of the night was from Michelle, who asked something like:
"Aunt Sarah, is your hair still brown and all spikey, or is it back yet?"
I got quite the chuckle. I might define it as fuzzy verses spikey, and my apologies for any misquote. Love ya, Michelle!

I had great plans of creating a Halloween costume so I could be "procrastination", but unfortunately it came to fruition instead of an actual costume. Oh well. Maybe I'll do it next year... Seriously, I did not plan that.
Another amazing day was when KC and I took the dogs for a small walk in the canyon. We clocked the distance by car afterwards...2 miles. TWO MILES!!! That may sound not very far for all you athletic folks out there, but compared to what I've been able to do the last 9 months...I felt like Superwoman! It totally boosted my ego.

Not much else to report... we've been witness to much good news and recovered health to many of our family members and friends. That creates lots of smiles on our faces! KC and I send our love out to you all. Enjoy these coming holidays!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scary Things Happen, Go Forward Without Fear

"Oh! Spooky, spooky, spoooooky spooky!"

---Scooby Doo

Happy Halloween! As much as I love summertime with all the heat and fun; as much as I love wintertime with all the snow and snuggly moments; and as much as I love spring with all the awakenings and surprises each day; I love fall! There just seems to be an energy in the air. The leaves are an hourly changing canvas to the anticipation of the holidays approaching. Hearing my friends talking about all the canning they are doing, stocking up their pantries with goodies energizes me. (Seriously, my jaw drops when I think of how much they accomplish in the hours between 5:00 pm and 6:00 am.) The added fun of decorations and celebration just helps me realize that life is full of joyful moments.
I try not to get too philosophical in these blogs, but with all the focus on the election and economic, medical, and educational problems our country faces, my mind and recent correspondences have seemed to dwell on the scary situations that we are facing. However, as I enjoy the good times with loved ones day to day, I feel blessed to have reminders to ease the burdens of this thing called life. Here are a few of my ponderings...
1) Just like our gardens have been nurtured and cared for, we need to nurture and care for our well being. We need to do all we can to be healthy (spiritually, physically, emotionally), educated, and financially sound. Then, just as we preserve our labors to sustain us for latter days, we can rely on our preparation to sustain us through any bleak times we will encounter in our future.
See the benefits of lunch with friends? I think if the school board knew how profound we could get at lunch, they might give us a longer break. I'll work on that... p.s. I was really sad to put my garden in the recycle bin...good times and good flavors...

2) The colorful mountains show that change is not always bad. It can be renewing, and have beauty of its own. Change is also part of life. All things have cycles and patterns which they follow. If you know these cycles and patterns, you can watch with peaceful understanding, enjoying the view.
Walks outside and time with the dogs; much better than a sweaty gym; better smelling, too; most of the time. Sorry, Jes!

3) Just the opposite of KC and Amy, I hate scary things. That thrill of having something startle you...yeah, not for me. Recently we were at Lagoon's frightmares. My parents and I were reminiscing about what a whimp I was as a kid (still am), and how much they needed to reassure me through the haunted houses, slides, and such. I then watched my nieces who saw the scary decorations around the park. They laughed or shrugged at them, and then qued for the exciting rides they wanted to enjoy.
It reminded me of a time that Ben and I were watching Scooby Doo as kids, and Shaggy and Scooby were scared of an area they had to enter. Scooby commented it was scary, and Shaggy said, "Ooh, don't say that.." Then Scooby said it in a spooky voice. That scared Shaggy even more. So then Scooby said it over and over, in a funny, questioning way, which sent Ben and me into a FIT of laughter. To this day, I can still hear Scooby and see the two of us tearing from the laugh.
We can do that, too. Find reassurance and knowledge from people you trust, including God. See the scary things for what they are, laugh or shrug, and move on to what we really came here to experience.
Huh. Deep thoughts at Lagoon, who would have thought?

So, I'm definitely not a shining example of these ponderings, but I'm working on the lessons.

Well, now that I've used a lot of words....I'll try to do my updates in quick fashion.
(Hey, does this count as publishing a novel?)
*At the end of September, we checked my blood numbers again. They are slowly coming up, but my platelets still need to be higher for the next round of treatment. My next update will be the end of October. The great news I received, is that I only need to take the ATRA every 3 months, not every month like we previously thought. Hooray!!! This really helped during parent/teacher conferences a few weeks ago. I thought I would be at a peak of a cycle, experiencing many side effects, during conferences due to the ATRA; but I didn't have to take it that month! Amazing blessing. So, in a few weeks we'll check the blood again (just in time for Halloween!). If the numbers aren't high enough, we'll do another bone marrow biopsy to see what's going on.

*We had a great visit with Mom and Dad Scott in early October. So fun to be with them! Yea, you should all be jealous.
*People have gotten older and fatter, and we are celebrating it ALL!

*Twilight movie MUST come to theatres soon...the obsession has returned. My cure? Healthy doses of other books. Seriously, I think my friends and family are coordinating an intervention with all the piles of great stories that are appearing in my life; and I want to read them all; right now!

*I got to play in snow. Welcome to Utah.

I'm signing off. Things to do, places to go, people to tackle. Until next time; live well, be happy, and don't let the scary things distract you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Enjoying the Snooze Times!

Ahoy, me hearties! Did ye all celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day? I quite enjoyed my fun on Friday, and I haven't quite purged it from me system yet! I e'n witnessed a treasure hunt... it was a great end to the week! Aarr!

Well, I knew I better update my blog when a dear friend called this week worried I had disappeared into the sanitary halls of the hospital again because she hadn't seen or heard from me in a while! Oops! No worries. I'm fine. I'm just really boring, and I didn't want to send anyone into an unneeded coma. I shall try and make ammends!

The really big change for me this last month has been teaching again. I am loving being back with my incredible friends and cherished students! I am so lucky to work with people I truly care about, and who laugh with me multiple times each day... you should hear us at lunch! In addition, the puzzle of teaching curriculum and tapping into students' learning processes are soo invigorating for me. I get excited just talking about it! It does take a lot of energy I've come to realize; hence the boring part of me in the hours I am not teaching, but the energy is little payment for the reward I receive.

This year's group of students truly knock my socks off. They are so eager to learn, and always seem to be trying so hard to do their very best. It's inspirational just watching them, and the comments they make are many times commically insightful; I love my job!

I also get the gift of seeing my last year's kids in the classrooms surrounding mine. Yes, I know it sounds possessive; but to me they will always be my kids! It is so heart-warming to see their smiles and talk with them about all the great things they are doing. What innovating youth, who are busy living exciting lives! Good for them; I'm so proud.
Another exciting event was a BBQ with many of my friends from my high school gang. SO FUN! It is a miracle that we can go for years without seeing eachother, and then when we reconnect, it's like the time didn't matter. I felt as close as I did when we were 17/18 and working on conquering the world. We're still working on that, by the way. The only down side of the evening was the proof that I am indeed getting older. Babies turned into teenagers "overnight". We're not that old.... are we? Yikes. Later that night KC and I kept commenting on how special it is, that we have friends who can stand the test of time. I am truly lucky and blessed. We are eagerly looking forward to the next shindig, or whatever else we end up doing together!

As for the medical update, (I just can't seem to sign off without one...) I've been proceeding with the treatments...partly. At my last appointment, my platelets were still too low to start the full next step of my protocol. "The status is NOT quo!" (for all you Dr. Horrible fans!) Not wanting to delay too long, I've started the ATRA again and am waiting to start the daily chemo pills until the numbers are better. The doc gave me a month between my appointments, so it's been a bit strange not going into the clinic for so many days.... but much more "normal life"! I'll be taking the ATRA 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, etc. for... I don't know how long. I have experienced some side effects, but nothing I haven't already experienced. The side effect that probably impeeds me the most is the fatigue... wow. But in my 2 weeks off, watch out! I'm a whole different woman. All I can say is that KC deserves a medal of somekind. He's been a great support and model of selflessness as he helps me accomplish what I need to each day. I'm so glad I had the great taste to snatch him up the moment I saw him! Not to get mushy on ya, but I truly, deeply love that guy!

Well, happy trails to you all. I'll work on being less boring in the coming days, and maybe I might just post again soon. Then again.... you never know. I am a creature of habit! Love, love. ~Sarah

Monday, July 21, 2008

Great News!

REEally? It's already the end of July? Where did it all go? I know time went much slower back in February. Oh well. I'll just adjust to the time-speed-travel phenomenon, but if someone finds the switch, slow it down a little, would ya?

My great news is that this last Monday my doc let me know that my most recent bone marrow biopsy showed no signs of the leukemia! Isn't that fantastic?! I now have the definite and sure "Okay" from him to go back to work. Hallelujah! I love my job. :-) I'll still be going through more treatments for the next year or so, but supposedly they're not bad enough to impair my awesome teaching opportunities... yahoo!

As for our other news, we had a great time in New Orleans. Here's our trip in a quick list:
visiting 6 plantations

eating alligator (if you want to count my 2 bites of it "eating"...not ordering that again!)
boating the bayou
eating great food (even seafood) at amazing historical restaurants
walking/wheelchairing around the French Quarter and cemeteries
inhaling beignets
enjoying some AMAZING Jazz Music
devouring Bananas Foster
learning in great detail TONS of history...including Napoleon, Creoles, Louisianna Purchase, several wars, and Hurricane Katrina
nibbling on pralines
visiting the Gulf of Mexico and
Lake Ponchatrain
sharing muffeletas
riding the riverboat
amazing food with ambiance galore
Mardi Gras World and Mardi Gras museum
really good food
riding the cable cars
eating popcorn while watching Get Smart
walking along the barataria
did I mention the awesome food that we had?
seeing art, doing puzzles, reading books,
and visiting the botanical gardens.
I almost feel that I should end the list with, "...and a partridge in a pear tree!" oi. Needless to say, it was fantastic! The weather cooperated so well, but really the best part of the trip was spending time with Mom and Dad Scott. They are quite the witty and enjoyable couple, and we love joining them as often as possible!

I only mention this, because many people have asked...I was not able to up to YW Camp. I really missed being there with the ...young women and younger women.... especially with the stake leaders being so great to keep me included in so much beforehand. (They are incredibly caring, nurturing, and amazing women; I really have taken them to be examples in my life to follow!) It was verrrry sad for me, but I was stuck doing transfussions all week. Blood, platelets; the usual drill. It was a definite Bummer.

Speaking of blood and such, if anyone has a great cure for my obsession with the Twilight saga, let me know! I'm hoping the fourth book coming out in a few days will give me some closure and put an end to the constant pull I have to reread passages, read excerpts and outakes on the author's webpage! Oh, and the movie's've got to watch them at least 3 times to get any satisfaction before moving on to something else! I'm such a dork sometimes! (...but I can't stop!) "Team Edward!"

Well, these next few weeks I'll be getting ready to go back to the classroom; I'm so very excited to see all my friends and "kids"! I hope ya'll enjoy these last moments of summer and make the most of them. This summer has been so wonderfully filled with friends and family; it's a bit sad seeing it come to an end. I'm just bracing myself for the zucchini and tomatoe wave to hit. Good luck to all those fellow gardeners out there!