Monday, March 24, 2008

Good News!

Happy Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with loved ones, shared the joys of all the blessings and miracles Christ brings us, gave thanks for the Ressurection, and felt joy for the second chances we get through The Atonement. What complete love our Savior has for and shows us!

Last friday, we got the wonderful news that I AM IN REMISSION! What sweet words to hear! This means that the chemo was working correctly, and my body was cooperating. YEA!

Now I am entering the "consolidation" phase. I will do three more one-week rounds of chemo, but as an out-patient in the cancer clinic. These are lower doses, and I get 3 weeks inbetween each round to heal and gain my strength. During the 3 weeks of "rest", I will still be going into the clinic to give blood samples, and meeting with my doctors so they can monitor my immune system and other blood related concerns. They are also able to give medicines when my numbers start falling to hopefully boost my own marrow production so I won't have to have as many transfusions. Too cool.

So things are definitely on the recovery track, and I hope that I only have 3 more months of these treatments...then the next stage is "full remission"...where I hope to stay for a very long time! I start the first chemo round (well...first since I've been home...) this week, 3/24. My doctor suggested I keep ice in my mouth for the week I'm in treatment to reduce the mouth sores that were so...annoying...last time. I had a good friend suggest that idea while I was in the hospital; I'm determined to follow the advice this time! (Sorry I wasn't so obedient the first time...) I might even be going overboard, as I try to think of a way to suck on ice while sleeping! ;-)

I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, and am grateful for your continued actions on mine and KC's behalf. I know God answers prayers and strengthens our faith through our trials. I have witnessed this over and over throughout my life, but especially in these last months. He never gives us anything we can't handle, and many angels found in friends and family have made this experience something we can definitely handle. Thank you for being a part of my growth and for enriching my life.

PS- Oh, I also hope all the eggs were found before the skunks had a chance to hunt them, and the chocolate was soothing to the digestion! Nothing better than a diet of hard-boiled eggs with seasonings of jellybeans and various shapes of chocolate! Just don't make a salad with the fake green plastic "grass"...Trust me on this. Love you all!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Helllllo! Sarah here, writing to you in my house, in my study, at my computer, with no cat on my lap (I pushed him off...way too demanding for attention while I'm trying to write!)

I came home Saturday afternoon, and enjoyed sitting in a comfortable chair to watch some of the many recorded TV shows I had missed while in the to have my Survivor! I'm sure many of you know that joy you have after being away for a long time, of just sitting in your house and looking around with a goofy smile on your face. It was heaven.

Then it was time to go to bed and I house has stairs! Drawing on my backpacking memories of tenacity, I climbed my Mt. Whitney one stair at a time, with KC nudging me from behind. After a "quick" shower to wash all the hospital smell off me, that wonderful cloud of a bed never felt so needed. :-)

Each day I feel stronger and can go longer between rests. I continue to tackle the stairs a few times a day, and it felt soooo amazing to wear jeans and a shirt the other day! "Normal" clothes! I'm also loving the fashion of hats...With a long shirt, pants, and a hat, I can pretty much cover up any evidence of chemo. Pretty cool, huh?

One of the things I am most grateful for, is that I get to plan my own days again. I can wake up and make my list (that KC always laughs at) and do the things that I want/need to do on a schedule. (Sigh of comfort) Granted, I don't always get through much of the list, but that's okay. One day at a time. I'm learning to put "sit in chair to rest" and "nap time" on my list more often....that way I get more things checked off!

Friends from the neighborhood have been so supportive in our transition. They think of ways to help before KC and I even have frame of mind to think about them. My friend, Laura, had already coordinated dinners to be coming for us, which relieved KC's responsibilities immensely! He's a great cook, but when he has so many other things on his mind that he is really has been a blessing for us. "My girls" sent a message of encouragement which touched me deeply, and others have called or briefly stopped by to give a smile and a hug. Great thanks to Donna, who made me a hat to wear to church...I love it! Many thanks also to Brad and his family, who made me some hats which have added greatly to my new sense of style.

Monday I was blessed to see my Hanson nieces, which I've missed so much during this time! Jessie brought her 3 girls over, and we went outside to feel the sunshine! I love the sunshine! We walked around and looked at all the flowers (bulbs) coming up through the ground, talked to the dogs, and played a small version of soccer. I was amazed how they energized me! KC kept quietly asking, "You okay?" I was excited to just smile, and respond, "Yep." It was a wonderful visit.

On Tuesday, KC and I braved my "first" outting. We went up to my parents' house for dinner and a sleepover. It was immensely enjoyable to sit and tell stories and laugh it up family-style. My two other sisters, Amy and Kat (with fiance Cory), also came to share in the fun at dinner. It was very enjoyable! While there, we even got to talk on Skype to KC's parents and on the phone to our Fleming nephews. They kept asking, "When do we get to see you?" KC and I kept thinking, "Oh, if only they knew how much we wanted to see them!" My Uncle Rick called also, and it was great fun talking with him. We are so blessed to have an amazing, loving, and close family.

So, for the next few days I'll be sitting a lot, tackling stairs and other activities that strengthen my muscles again, taking alllllll my medications, reading, writing, and realizing how clumsy I am at wii. KC keeps stifling his laughter as he encourages me......but we'll see. Brennan was right, it sure is helping my muscles and hand-eye coordination improve! (I'm sure a toddler could do better than me at some of these games!) I'm so very grateful for this fun way to improve!

As for the update on my cancer, I go into day-surgery on Wednesday (19th) for my next bone biopsy, and then on Friday (21st) I meet with my oncologist to discuss the next steps in my treatment. They'll also be doing blood-work, etc. In the past, he has indicated that the next 3-4 months are dedicated to treatments and sending me into remission (hopefully permanent), but until then, I don't really know much except to eat well and get strong. I'm trying to get an appetite back still, but small nibbles here and there seem to help. So, just know I'm taking it one day at a time, because I've learned a lot can happen in one day!

Enjoy each moment of this beautiful spring weather, and thank you again for all the jokes, laughter, smiles, and inspiration. May God bless you for all the love and support you share.

Lots of love to ya!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Grateful It's Leap Year!

Well, it's a good thing it's leap year, because my improvement has been making LEAPS and bounds. Get it? I know, pretty corny. But, when you're in the same room most the day, some things seem a bit funny that aren't really so. ;-)

I have tons of good news to report. Let me start with yesterday (Thursday). My counts were up to a mask-free level, so KC and I were able to take walks around the floor without me having to breathe in my wonderful breath each pant. Boy, the walks were so much more pleasant! My apologies to the visitors who have gotten close enough to me to know what I'm talking about. To those who did not experience this joy....believe me. You are blessed. Needless to say, it was wonderful to see the familiar sights without my glasses fogging up.

Now for today's news (Friday). I am now a free woman! I have no more tubes attached to my arm; or as my oncologist says, "The umbilical cord has been severed." I find it funny how quickly we get into habits, because for some reason I still look for all my "leashes" each time I get out of bed, and think how I'm going to maneuver around the side table between me and my destination. Just shows ya... you better be careful which habits you pick-up, huh.

Also, I was informed that I GET TO GO HOME TOMORROW!!!!!!! Wow! How cool is that? So, I spent today doing my checklists of lasts....this is my last shower here, this is the last time I get clean sheets here, this is the last time you will poke my finger for a blood sugar test, this is the last time I DON'T sleep on MY bed! It was great. The nurses and PCT's were wonderful to celebrate with me all day. Many came in to wish me well and warned me they only wanted to see me again at the grocery store, or as a was a little bitter sweet. They have cared for me so well, both physically and mentally. They definitely live up to their name as the "7th Heaven Angels" (we are on the 7th floor); so if you're planning to be in the hospital (do people really do that?), I highly recommend this staff. The food ain't bad, either.

KC and I also got to have a lunch date down in the cafeteria thanks to the staff giving us a coupon for a free meal. I have to say, it was quite overwhelming to be in a room with more than 5 people total, but it was great just sitting and watching people interact. I was very excited to have a salad, because I haven't been able to eat fresh produce for the last month due to bacteria precautions. It was so fresh and yummy! I admit, I'm sure I looked a bit funny chewing, as I still have mouth sores, but it was deliciouso! KC enjoyed a moment of my first sip of Sprite in the last month, as well. Apparently, I was quite comical. I now know what my nephews and nieces mean when they call it the "stingy drink". Yep, definitely bubbly and "stingy"!

I also got to talk to many of my dearest friends today, which made my heart sing. I think my dad said it best, when he commented that relationships are what this life is all about. He's pretty smart.

I thank you for all of your relationships with me, for they are all cherished. My heart has been filled with so much love; I am very blessed and thank you and God for that. I guess I get to add another last to my list today, for this is the last blog from the hospital! I will write next from my chair at my computer in my study in my house with my cat on my lap. Isn't life great?

Have a great week, and enjoy whatever comes your way. Love you all.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Way to go, Vikings!

YEA! I heard you got the red-shirt award the other week! How did you do it? I mean, we've been trying for how long? ;-)

Anyways, just thought I'd congratulate you for a team effort well done! Please know I'm thinking of you, and am proud of all your accomplishments. Thanks for the good book recommendations; I'll be looking them up soon. Enjoy each day, and be good to each other.

~Mrs. Scott

p.s. I've been doing some math with the nurses. See? You do use math in life! I told you it was fun! :-)

Happy March!

Sorry it's been so long in writing. I feel as if I am coming out of the Dark Ages and into the Age of Enlightenment. It's amazing how you can kind of "check-out" of things for a while...and then to feel the awakenings of the mind, stirrings for cultural activities, and strength of the spirit return is sooo refreshing!

Different than the historical Dark Ages, however, my days of darkness have a tapestry woven of spiritual blessings and growth. I have never before realized the degree of learning we can accomplish through others' trials, but I have been honored to learn this through many of you. Here are just a few examples, and I hope that they are okay to share...

  • My nephews and nieces had a strengthening experience in fasting as they wanted to fast for my recovery; they learned how to focus on the purpose of a fast and it became a personal experience for them.

  • My nieces, who pray for me each day, one morning asked if I would have fun. I was later able to share with this dear 5 year old that her prayer was answered. Her desire mentioned in her prayer enabled me my first good day after the storm; and I did have fun. I laughed a lot that day.

  • A few people close to me have started taking more interest in their religious life, due to their concern for me.

  • Many dear friends have put my name on the prayer roles, which have given me blessings of relief, a visit from a specialist who could give me aide, or a night with my favorite nurses/PCTs who watched out for me.

  • Priesthood blessings have strengthened and comforted us all in our times of need.

I also have received spiritual growth through an other's time of trial. I remember as a youth, watching our dear friend, Brother Sion, struggle with cancer. He didn't speak any English and was in a lot of physical pain, yet he attended church meetings each and every week. I would watch for him each Sunday, and learned from him that if he thought it was important to be there at church, then no matter what my complaint, it was important for me to be there too. I will forever be grateful for his example.

Other weavings of my tapestry have been in the forms of people blessing us with their abilities.

  • A friend from the neighborhood, Stacy Lamb, came and cut my hair one afternoon. It had become quite hard to take care of, and the long strands of hair were just...gross. So, now I have a great new cut that is easy to take care of, and is easy with the lifestyle I now lead.

  • I also received a beautiful quilt of love (complete with pillow cases) which my family made to help me remember my life outside of the hospital...something that is occasionally vague in my mind anymore!

  • I have some great artwork and hilarious pictures sent by my nephews and nieces. (and their parents, too!)

  • I have been touched by notes, comments, cards, gifts, and letters left and delivered by dear friends and family, letting me know they were thinking of me and sending me strength.

  • The Relief Society of my ward has delivered tapes of excellent Sunday lessons which has helped me feel connected with the ward while here in the hospital. I've loved hearing the comments of friends along with the lessons.

  • Though my body seems to be decaying around me, my dear husband still looks into my eyes and tells me I'm beautiful and that he loves me.

There have been many other blessings, and I don't mention them to boast. I merely hope to acknowledge the amazing people who bless my life through their selfless actions, and hope to spread their love and inspiration. I am truly humbled by the service given on my behalf, and am grateful to be a witness to it.

So, if you're wondering how I'm doing, I'm on the upswing. I have now gone several days without a fever, and I am showing little bits of improvement (and less hair) each day. My oncologist joked with me the other day, "You know, you can start growing that bone marrow any day now!" I promised I'd work on that. True to my word, my "blood counts" are starting to improve!

Yesterday a dermatologist was called in to look at yet another rash of mine. His opener was, "There are two types of rashes for a cancer patient. Ones that will kill you, and ones that won't kill you." Great line, huh? I'm happy to tell you, I have the type that WON'T kill me. Hallelujah and for Jeff Dunham fans "Silence, it won't kill me!" :-) So, all is well and on the mend.

Have a great week, and hopefully I'll be able to get to the computer a bit more than before. Again, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. They are felt and truly appreciated. God bless you.