Sunday, June 30, 2013


My first Sunday in Charlotte a girl played a piano solo called, A Child's Prayer.  At that time I didn't know anyone there, I was there with my mom but she was going to leave soon.  I felt lonely and scared as I started my career in a city I didn't know.  As I listened to this beautiful solo I thought of the words and felt so much reassurance that Heavenly Father heard my prayers.  To this day when I hear the primary children sing this song or in another form my eye's well up in tears, because I know the words of this song are true.  On Father's Day our church choir sang this and I have been told that it made my dad quite emotional which is so sweet to me.  Many times as I have been lying in bed over the past 3 weeks the words of this song come to mind and give me peace.  The words of the song go as followed:
1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?

And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?Some say that heaven is far away,But I feel it close around me as I pray.Heavenly Father, I remember nowSomething that Jesus told disciples long ago:"Suffer the children to come to me."Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
2. Pray, he is there;Speak, he is list'ning.You are his child;His love now surrounds you.He hears your prayer;He loves the children.Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.

I love what the Bible Dictionary say's about prayer:
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
So many prayers have been said by so many people in my behalf over the past 3 1/2 weeks.  I am so grateful for all of those prayers.  I know that Heavenly Father hears all of those prayers.  I don't know how He hears them, but I know he does.  I have felt at peace from the prayers of so many and am so grateful for continued prayers.  Prayer doesn't take what I am going through away, but it does make it easier and does make me feel closer to my Savior and our Heavenly Father.  Please keep praying for me and my family.  I testify Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Fabulous Friday Addendum

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep without luck I remembered that I forgot to blog yesterday about other fabulous things that happened this past week, so I must do it now.
~ Early Sunday morning I was so sick.  Mom and I paced back and forth in the kitchen to try to relieve some of the pain that I had; gas build up in my stomach.  At one point I broke down and said, "I've been praying and this hasn't resolved."  At that point she hugged me and prayed out loud and soon my symptoms ceased.
~Sunday afternoon my friends came to visit. Thankfully I was feeling better, but the funny thing is my pouch was loud as in letting out tooting noises, which I have no control over.  What do you do, but laugh about it?
~Sunday was the first time that I put makeup on since this all started and Tristen curled my hair.  One feels so much better when put together.  I admit my eyes look buggy without makeup on.
~The kids came over to celebrate June birthdays.  Oh, how I love when we are together.  My nieces and nephews are the cutest ever!
 ~Saturday my friend Aubrey called to say they would be traveling back through Nampa and she and her mom wanted to come visit on Sunday.  It was so good to see her again.  I am amazed at the strength I get from my friends, especially her.  I am so grateful for her friendship.  We had a lovely visit and it was hard to part, but hopefully she will come visit again soon.
~Yesterday Dr. Kaylor called to see how I was doing.  He is the best primary care physician.  I have learned from this experience to be more concerned with my patients and to check up on them periodically.  A few days after being in the hospital Dr. Kaylor came just to visit me.  I don't know many pcp's who just drop by for a visit.  We walked the halls and talked like friends; not patient and DR.  How grateful I am for him, his expertise and his friendship.  
~This week I got cards from my Relief Society Sisters in Charlotte and from the staff at Indian Health Services.  Their sweet messages meant so much to me and lifted my spirits.  Every day I have so many sweet messages and posts on facebook from my many friends.  I so much appreciate each one and the strength they give me to keep going through this trial.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fabulous Friday Is Here Again

1.  This week has been the week for me to take in all that has happened over the past 2 weeks.  There was not really any mourning in the hospital.  I was too sick and tired for that.  Grandma Betty tells me that it is normal and appropriate to cry and cry I do.  Some days are worse, but today I feel in control of my emotions and only teared up a little when my aunt Sherry came to curl my hair, but so did she.  Grieving means I'll get through this and that I will.
2.  Tristen, Tyler, and my cousins Desiree and Callie brought their kids over to swim.  It was hard for me not to be able to get in my bathing suit as you know how much I love to do that, but after some tears I had an enjoyable time sitting in the sun watching them.  I love all the kids who came to swim.  They are so cute.  Lucy called me the sick one.  It was pretty funny.  I loved how Lucy and Aidree held hands like they were best friends, which they are.  Lucy is Desiree's daughter.  They remind me of the relationship that I have with Alisha who is Desiree's sister.
3.  The last 2 days I've been able to get my pain under control with 2 pain pills.  I only do it once a day.  I try to just take 1 pill but it is nice to not have so much pain with 2.
4.  I was cut from my epigastric (upper abdomen) to my pubic line; I know too much information.  Just below my belly button there developed an infection when I was in the hospital and they had to take the staples out and pack the area and put me on IV antibiotics.  I'm happy to report that it is getting better and I hope we can stop packing it in the next few weeks.  Thankfully I am numb in the area, so I can't feel the packing.
5.  I saw Dr. Perez this week. My albumin and protein were up which means I can stop the IV TPN and Lipids (nutritional supplements).  This is so nice because I had to have them 12 hours a day.  I now just have to have a liter of fluids every other day.  Next week I will have my picc line taken out and have a procedure where they put a port in my chest.  4 weeks of a picc line is not comfortable.  I also meet with the Chemo Dr. next week.  A physician from Huntsman Cancer Institute (we had a connection) called and talked to me on Monday.  The problem is my insurance doesn't cover them.  Hopefully my dr. here and there can converse regarding my treatment.
6.  I can now do a few things on my own, bend over to flush the toilet, put my shirt on, and today I got out of bed by myself for the first time.  We take so many little things for granted.
7.  We have had so many visitors this week.  I'm so loved.  Someone brought me a sunshine basket that had all things yellow in it.  I got a darling package from my friend Pamela who lives in Texas.  Each item had a quote or a scripture on it; that made my day.  I was also able to talk to her.  She is such a good friend.  There is an ovarian cancer walk in September in Dallas.  It is my goal to be able to walk it with her.  The Indian Health Services where I worked in Phoenix sent me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers.  It truly has brightened up my week.
8.  This week in my scripture reading I read the last chapter of Mormon.  It was just what I needed.  It talked about miracles, prayer and faith.  I felt so much peace after reading it.  How grateful I am for the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that he not only bore our sins but he knows what it feels like to have ovarian and colon cancer.  He has born this burden, which makes me so grateful that someone else knows what it feels like.

Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Tuesday afternoon (remember I saw my pcp Monday morning) sitting in the ob/gyn's small quiet office made me quite tearful.  I don't recall if I had a feeling that I was going to have the diagnosis of ovarian cancer or not, but I know I knew something wasn't right.  Dr. Klomp was a little late getting in my room, but he later told me that he had been on the phone with the radiologist and had been in contact with Dr. Kaylor.  After getting a history he said, "You have ovarian cancer." Remember a few months ago when I wrote about my biggest fear was being told I had cancer?  My biggest fear became my reality.  Yea, I broke down right then and when he told me I needed to have a total hysterectomy I became a little hysterical.  No one expects this at 36.  I am too young, have so much ahead of me and so many plans for my future.  Dr. Klomp is an amazing man.  He is in his late 60's, early 70's, but still practicing medicine.  He had never met me, but I didn't feel that way.  After he did an exam he said, "do you believe in the power of the priesthood."  I said, "Yes." He said, "I believe in the power of the priesthood. Does your dad hold the priesthood?" I said, "yes he gave me a blessing on Sunday."  He said, "I believe in the power of the priesthood, even though we have all this medical knowledge; there is power in the priesthood."  I said, "My dad is a Bishop."  He said, "I'm a stake patriarch and I'll be by your side through this whole thing."  He told me to go around the corner and have my blood drawn and he would call the gyn oncologist.  I had such a peace as I had my blood drawn which was the CA125 marker for ovarian cancer which was positive.  This means this is a hereditary cancer and we will meet with genetic counselors eventually to have my mom and sisters tested.   The thing with the CA 125 is if this is high, you are more likely to have breast cancer too, so I will have to be tested for the BRCA1 and 2.  My mom's mother's mother died at age 36 from a gyn cancer, which likely was ovarian and her sisters both had breast cancer.  My grandmother died at age 47 and had a hysterectomy at age 32 and she didn't have any sisters so we haven't had any recent cancer in our family.
On my way home from Dr. Klomps office Dr. Cooper's office called and had an appointment set for me at 8am the next morning.  That evening I was full of tears, lots of them.  Tyler, Troy, Alisha, the Christensen's (sister C is my visiting teacher) and Grandma Betty came over that night, which gave me great comfort.
The next day I didn't even put any makeup on, because I knew I would just cry it off.  On our way over to see Dr. Cooper,  I puked my piece of toast into my Kleenex box just as we were getting to the hospital, I think because I was so emotional and just sick to my stomach.  I hate to throw up, hate it, hate it, hate it!  I will never get use to it.  I met with Dr. Cooper who is about my age, has really curly hair and so nice.  She put things very bluntly, telling me again I needed a hysterectomy, that this was likely in the colon and the appendix.  To our great surprise, she and Dr. Klomp cleared their schedules and they scheduled surgery for that very afternoon; one of the many tender mercies we have experienced through this entire thing.  She immediately admitted me to the hospital.  While waiting to be taken to my room I was sitting in the waiting room bawling when a sweet social worker came up to us and talked with us.  It meant so much.  I never realized the impact a social worker can have on someone until this experience.
Things happened so quickly once I got admitted they started IV's and I had to have the disgusting fleets enema.  I wasn't suppose to have surgery until 5, but it then got moved up to 3:10.  I remember them wheeling me down to the pre-op area, the anesthesiologist coming in and then that was it.  I don't even remember being down there very long.  Such a whirlwind.
Surgery was 8 hours.  Dr. Klomp came out around 8 and talked with my family telling them he thought they got 93-95% of it, later he said he thought they got 95-98%, but Dr. Perez said he stayed until the end and he felt they got 100%.  At that point Dr. Perez, Dr. Cooper's partner went into surgery.  At 11pm, Dr. Cooper came out of surgery exhausted with a drink in her hand.  Her report:  I had cancer in both ovaries, my appendix, sigmoid colon, omentum (this covers the abdomen), in lymph nodes and a few spots on my liver.  Because I had it in my colon, they had to do an iliostomy, so I have a bag attached to my stomach; not cool.  This is reversible though.  Dr. Perez says they should reverse it after my second chemo treatment, but Dr. Cooper acted like they would reverse it after the entire chemo regimen.  Let's hope it is Dr. Perez's way.  I am getting use to it, but it is not fun.  I had to have 2 units of blood during surgery.  I'm grateful for those 2 people who donated blood for me.
I wasn't out of post-op and in ICU until after 1am.  My Aunt Thalia, Aunt Marian, Tristen, Tyler and Troy were all there during surgery and Tyler and Troy were there until I was in my room.  Mom and dad stayed the night.  At one point my mom said that Troy just broke down in tears saying that he didn't know how my mom was doing this, because it would be so hard if it was one of his kids.  This meant so much and was so sweet.  This experience has truly brought our family closer, not that we weren't but I feel so much more love for my family than ever before.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Last Day In Phoenix

My last day in Phoenix was such a great day that I have to blog about it before it gets away from me.  My nurses had a potluck for me in which we mostly had watermelon and the most delicious cherries.  I am now missing fresh fruit, since I'm not allowed to eat it with my new pouch.  It was a good day at work.  I don't remember anything special about it, but we took pictures and I said my "I'll see you later's," as I know I'll be back and I hate goodbye's.  Looking at these pictures I look so healthy, oh how I am glad this day I didn't know what was growing inside of my little body.  Do you like the old school x-ray reading machines?  I had never used one in my entire career.  Most x-rays now are computerized.  It was kind of fun going back to the good 'ole days.
My favorite nurses Lisa and Ruth.
All of us girls were from CompHealth, Betty, Beth, Lisa (nurse), me, George (An awesome supervisor), Ashley.
After work I stopped by Costco for a quick run, went to my local Winco to buy some fresh fish and then came home for my last glass of grapefruit juice and some sun.  I marinated the fish and got things ready for our Friday fish taco's.  I love fish taco's and so do my cousins.  I told them I made the best and they agreed.  After we had dinner we climbed up into the grapefruit tree to get grapefruit for me to bring home to mom.  We filled a box rather quickly.
Then we spent the rest of the evening playing Megans choice, Charades.  It was rather entertaining.
Our favorite eggs and bacon.

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's Definitely A Fabulous Friday

It has been over 2 weeks since I have been able to sit at my computer and type.  This is a fabulous things of course, since I love to blog.  The last 2 weeks are kind of a blur, but we have taken notes of the amazing tender mercies and I will back track at some point to fill you in on all the details.  For now I want to focus on the fabulous things that have occurred this week.
1.  After being in the hospital for 15 days on the Oncology floor I came home yesterday.  It is so good to be home, to sleep in a bed that I don't get stuck in the gutter and to eat real food instead of soup and jello.  My cousin Jennifer brought me a pair of wonder women pj's.  Perfect for my long haul and my departure.
2.  I can't begin to express the deep appreciation I have for the nursing staff, doctors, family and friends, amazing cards, letters, packages, FB posts and expressions of love.  I never knew how loved I was until the past 2 weeks.
Elder Rowe, my previous bishop, stake president and now area authority came for a visit and brought me so much peace.
Grandpa Young loves me.
Although, I don't remember this much, Aunt Leslie and Jennifer came for a short visit.
3.  I have home health assisting with my care.  What an amazing thing it is to be able to be home to have IV treatment care without having to be in the hospital.  Because of all I have gone through they are giving me IV nutrients so that I can build my strength before I start Chemo.
4.  I am so grateful for insurance.  I have an amazing insurance plan and am grateful that I was inspired to pay a little more to get a better plan.  It would be nice to put my tax returns towards a new car, but I'm ever so grateful that I have the money to pay my medical bills.
5.  My aunt Carol made the most beautiful blanket for me and brought it to the hospital this week.  She embroidered the tree of life in teal which is the color for Ovarian Cancer Survivor.  I love the quote that she put on it, "Faith and fear can not coexist.  I choose faith."  She said that when she was embroidering the first faith that her machine wasn't working well and that this represented the ups and downs that I will go through but to have faith that I will heal completely.
6.  I've talked of my dear friend Aubrey; remember my visit in January to Seattle?  Well her family was traveling through Boise yesterday on their way to Utah.  It brought me so much joy to visit with her for nearly 2 hours.  My heart almost burst at the excitement I had as she entered the room with her big smile and her oils that she rubbed my feet with.  It was so surreal having Aubrey push my IV pole as we walked side by side around the oncology floor.
7.  Alisha has visited me several times and has given me a foot massage with chocolate lotion.  Oh, how I love a foot massage.  My cousin Callie painted my toenails and did my hair while in the hospital. It made me feel so much better.  Painted toenails always make me feel pretty!   My aunt Sherry also came and did my hair one day.  It meant so much to me to have them come pamper me.
My Aunt Thalia was there every single day and loves me like her own.  She took such great care of me and got me this beautiful quilt from the pediatric department.  Please disregard how bad I look here.  They were taking me outside for the first time in 9 days.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ovarian Tumors Go AWAY

The entire time I was in Phoenix I had horrible lower back pain.  I basically can't sit.  It feels like I have fallen on my tail bone.  It is all I can do to sit 30 minutes to drive to work or to sit an hour and 10 min through Sacrament meeting.  I have also been having some lower abdominal pain; it feels like I have done a 10000 sit ups, yet my stomach looks like I am 4 months pregnant.  I seriously get up to drain my bladder 3-4 times a night, my bowels have to be relieved 5-6 times a day and I leak when I sneeze, which shouldn't happen given I'm a healthy 36 year old women who has never gone through child birth.  Several weeks ago I made an appointment with my pcp for Monday morning, June 3, at 8 a.m. and a week ago I made an appointment with an ob/gyn after feeling a mass coming from up in the lady parts and after 2 weeks of not being able to jog even a little because of the abdominal pain.  Yesterday I had my appointment with my pcp.  They drew blood and I had a pelvic ultra sound, where they of course found an ovarian mass on my left ovary.   When the very kind radiology tech finished, she went to talk to the very hot radiologist who came to take another look, which meant she had to put that penis like camera up me for a second time ouch!  Given the fact that I let them know I was a PA and I was only here 3 weeks, or maybe it was because I have multiple tumors on my ovaries and the radiologist was probably like "oh crap, " he told me what he saw, which they typically don't do.  I have a 9 cm left ovarian mass and a 5 cm right ovarian mass.  He seemed quite surprised when I told him it had only been going on for a short while.  He felt an MRI was needed.  The contrast from the MRI gave me one of the worst headaches ever, in fact it was so bad that Tristen had to come get me from the hospital and mom and dad had to come and get me from Tristens.  Thankfully with a priesthood blessing I was able to sleep last night.  This afternoon I have an appointment with Dr. Klomp, the ob/gyn.  I am not expecting good news.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Warm Green Chili Chicken Dip

My work had a going away pot luck on Friday.  I wanted to bring something without having to make a mess of the kitchen and to use the left over stuff I had.  This turned out to be quite the hit, super delicious and easy.  I though for sure I'd have a bunch left over, but I didn't have any left over.
8 oz. cream cheese; I whipped it with a hand mixer
2 cans chicken from Costco
1 can green chili's
1 can artichokes (actually I used left over from last weeks pizza's so about 1/2 can)
shredded pepper jack cheese
a little cumin
a little white pepper
salt and pepper
Warm in oven and serve with crackers.  I think next time I might add 2 cans of green chili's, which I'm pretty sure gave the taste it needed.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Friday Night Fish Tacos

I have to write this recipe down before I forget it, because I basically made up, given the fact that I couldn't find the recipe I usually use.  We had delicious fish tacos last night and Aunt Leslie said it was her most favorite thing that I made while I was there; even though I think most things I make are good and really my favorite was the peach pie.  I must say it was a rather delicious meal though.
I marinated Cod in 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp minced garlic, salt and pepper, juice from 1 lime for a few hours.  Actually I had never marinated this before so I did half marinated and half with just salt and pepper.  I liked the marinated better, it gave it more flavor.  I bought a little over 3 pounds of cod.  Amy my culinary cousin says' you should figure 1/2 pound of fish for each person.  There were 8 of us and 3 pounds gave us a little left over.
Fish Taco Sauce (this is the important part):  about 1 cup sour cream, about 1/2 cup Mayo, sprinkle in some dill (I like a lot and fresh is best), a little chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder, a little tabasco sauce, juice from 1 lime or maybe a little less depending how limey you want it.  This seemed a little to sour which I don't remember it being (I wonder if it tasted different because I used low fat mayo) so I put in just a pinch of sugar, even though I know I didn't use this in the past.
Grill the cod on the grill.  I let my cousins husband the grill master cook the fish, I am not good at manning a grill.
I use corn tortilla's and I don't fry them, just a little Pam spray and a pan.  Layer corn tortilla with sauce, cabbage (or coleslaw mix which I used for only 68 cents and I didn't have to cut it up), cod, cheese and guacamole, which I made from 4 avocados, a tomato from the garden, salt and pepper, lime juice, a little grated onion; I can't remember or not if I put garlic in this.  I don't do cilantro, even though  a lot of recipe's call for it.  Add a coke zero and you have yourself a very enjoyable meal!