Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween FF

1.  I love Fall and I love Halloween.  I admit I'm missing the Fall leaves and the crunch they make under my feet, but...I'm not missing the cold temps.  I am still enjoying the warm weather for one more day before the temps drop to the 70's.  It is a little strange to have Halloween on a day that it is going to be 90.
2.  It was so good to spend last Friday with my friends Lauren and Chris.  We spent the morning at the Mesa Temple, then had the best cuban sandwich at Liberty Market.  We had snow cones for dessert and then they dropped me off to do a video conference with a job in Hawaii.  For dinner I made them fish tacos and then we watched BSU stomp all over BYU.
3.  Yesterday morning I took dinner to my friend Ofa who had a baby last week.  It was so fun to sit and chat with her and hold her sweet baby.  She is such a sweet friend.  I probably needed our time together more than she needed it.  I'm so grateful for friends, I truly have been blessed with many of them.  Yesterday afternoon I went down to Casa Grand which is about an hour from Aunt Leslies, to visit an urgent care staffed by EMP, the company I worked for in Charlotte.  They are a fantastic company.  Oh, the decisions I have to make in the next few days...
4.  On my way back from Casa Grand I stopped at the Gilbert Temple where I did sealing's.  It is such a happy thing to do knowing you are helping to bind families together.
5.  After the temple last night I had dinner with my friends the Sondrups.  I had such a fun evening catching up with them.  It was nice to get their take on living in Phoenix, since they aren't from here.  They love living here.  They have the cutest 2 year old twins who talk so well.
6.  This morning I spent my last time helping with tours at then new Phoenix Temple Open House.  What an incredible experience this has been this past month to participate in this temple experience!  There are at least 36 of the most amazing paintings in this temple, most of which depict Christ's life.  There is a beautiful picture of a black woman dressed in white praying, that I absolutely love.  Every time I have gone through a tour I see something new that I didn't see before.  It has been fun to talk with people not of our faith and see the excitement in their eyes as they visit this beautiful temple and feel of the peace that is there.  They estimate there have been 180-200,000 people visit the temple in the past 3 weeks.  The temple will be dedicated in 2 weeks.  What a neat thing it has been to be involved in 2 temple dedications in Arizona in less than a year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

1 Year Ago Today

All day I've been re-playing the events of 1 year ago today.  I remember the 40 minute ride over to the hospital with mom and dad as we played Roar over and over again and how the bright sunrise blared in our eyes.  I remember how crisp it was outside, the smell of fall in the air, the awful smell of the hospital food in the hospital hallways, what I was wearing and the pain I felt in my chest as I finished my last round of chemo.  I remember how I felt walking out of that hospital feeling a sense of freedom knowing I was finished with needles and fluids going into my chest and abdomen.  I remember how my abdomen felt as it filled up with 14 pounds of fluid.  I remember walking the halls with my mom to alleviate the pain in my chest from all of the fluids and seeing my nurses for what would be the last time during my chemo treatments.  I remember the tears that filled my eyes and trickled down my cheeks as I walked out of my hospital room for the last time, knowing I had just accomplished a task I never imagined I'd ever have to face, let alone finish.  I remember the roses still in bloom as I walked out of the hospital on that October afternoon.  I remember thinking, "Did the chemo do what it was suppose to do? And now what?  What do I do next?  Do I just go back to what I did before I was diagnosed?  How do I just go back to where I was after all I've gone through?"

I remember a few days later going to the cancer therapy session and asking these questions to the social worker, but not really getting an answer.  A few weeks ago when I saw Dr. Dan, we ran into one of the social workers who I became quite close to.  She asked me if I had read a book on survivorship after chemo.  I told her no, but that I had all sorts of questions when I finished and that no one gave me answers, but that I had to find them all on my own through my own experience.  She said there wasn't really much out there in regards to literature.

Now that I have year 1 down, I've learned a thing or two about survivorship.  I've learned that you take a few months to be proud of being bald because you've earned it and you are definitely at a point where you are tired of wearing something on your head.  I've learned to start back slowly on an exercise regimen and to keep it going, even if you don't feel like it.  I've learned to travel even more than I did before (is that possible) and enjoy the opportunities before you.  I've learned to talk about ovarian cancer as much as I can to others and to be proud of what I've gone through.  I've learned to cross off things on my bucket list and to live life to the fullest.  I've learned that you go back to work when you are ready and to enjoy work even more.  I've learned to enjoy reading like I did before cancer.  I've learned that I can be loved regardless of hair or scars.  I've learned to love deeper.  I've learned to forgive quicker.  I've learned to not get upset over trivial things.  I've learned to enjoy the ride even more than I did before.  I've learned to not work so much and so hard, because it's only money and when you die you aren't taking it with you.  I've learned to spend some of that money on things that you want or things that you want to do, because if you don't someone else will.  I've learned not to worry so much that the cancer is going to return, but to think about it not returning.  I've learned that sometimes your family will worry about your cancer returning more than you will and that's ok.  I've learned to be more compassionate as a provider.  I've learned it's okay to think, "This time last year I..." and that per a patient those thoughts eventually fade, even though it may take years.  I've learned to experiment with short hair as it grows out and to have patience as it does so.  I've learned that it will take at least a year for your body to be back to where it was before cancer or at least close to wear it was and that it will never be the exactly the same as it was before.  I've learned to accept trials, setbacks and surprises.  I've continue to learn that Heavenly Father is in charge, that He will continue to guide me and that He will continue to answer my prayer's.  Most importantly I've learned that He see's the bigger picture and to trust in his plan for me.

More than anything, I've learned that I'm a cancer survivor and that because of this title I can overcome anything, because it take faith and courage to conquer cancer.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Miracle of Hair

This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my last chemo treatment.  It is hard for me to believe I went through what I went through with cancer.  It was such a hard time, even though the last 2 1/2 months may have been just as difficult emotionally.  Today I was the guest speaker during our Primary Sharing Time.  The topic was on faith.  I talked to the kids about the faith that it took for me to struggle through cancer and losing my hair.  I told them that I have 9 nieces and nephews who I was determined to live for.  I talked about how these kids prayed that I would get better and how their faith grew as they saw this miracle take place.  I then told them about Aidree's prayer at Thanksgiving how she prayed that my hair and eyelashes would grow back and how Bridget said when I was crying over the prayer, "Why you cry?  Your hair grow back."  The sweetest thing occurred in the kitchen last week when I was home, just before Tristen drove back to SLC.  Bridget and I were the only ones in the kitchen.  She looked at me and said, with a slight question in her voice, "Heavenly Father made your hair grow back."  I said, "Yes Bridgy, He did, because he answered your prayers." I hope that my nieces and nephews never forget the miracle that they witnessed.  I truly feel like a miracle and am so grateful for miracles in my life.  I was reading this week in Ether 12 of the miracles that the Lord performs, but only after we have faith.  How grateful I am for the many examples in the scriptures of those who had faith and the miracles that took place because of their faith...Oh the difference a year makes!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall FF

It is again 2 weeks of fabulous friday rolled into one!
1.  Last, Last Wednesday I met a few fellow PA's that I work with for brunch before we went to the Temple Open House.  It was fun to go with them and to share with my friend Jody some of what we believe as members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints.  Afterwards I ushered in the afternoon and ran into a sister missionary from my stake in Charlotte.  It's always fun to see people from "home."
2.  I spent an evening last week having dinner and ice cream with my cousin Abe who came to town for work.  As always, it is fun to sit and chat with him.
3.  Thursday evening I went home!  It is always good to be home.  Tristen and Tenielle drove in around the same time that I flew in.  We love having slumber parties at Grandma's house!  Aidree and I slept in my bed in the studio apartment.  At some point she said, "Terah are you still in bed."  It was so cute.  When we woke the next morning it was still dark outside and she didn't want to stay in there by herself.  As we were walking into the house with so much maturity she said, "The stars are so beautiful in the sky."  It was cute coming from a 5 year old.
4.  Friday morning I had my appointment with Dr. Dan.  I have been having some abdominal pain here and there.  Even though I didn't think it was necessary, mom and Dr. Dan agreed that I should have a CT scan since it has been 11 months.  I'm happy to report it was all clear and the CA-125 was 12 which is still in normal range!
5.  Friday evening we went as a family to the Pumpkin Patch; our favorite Fall tradition.   Too bad we didn't get a good picture of all of us, but at least we are all in it.  We always have so much fun.  This year Aunt Marian, Grandma Jeanne, Aunt Leslie and her girls and granddaughters came with us.
Stella is such a fashion diva, already wearing scarves.
6.  Saturday morning my cousin Callie cut my mullet.  She always does such a great job.  Tanner and I went with her and her family to a pizza parlor for lunch.  It was so enjoyable spending time with them.
7.  Saturday evening was our Young Family Halloween Party.  There is always such a huge turnout and the weather this year was the best ever.  I love celebrating holidays with my family and making memories.
Proof the hair is growing!
8.  It was good to see my church friends on Sunday.  But it is always sad on Sunday's to see the kid's leave.  We had so much fun together and it was such a quick weekend.  The leaves were so pretty, but not quite in full color.  Until Thanksgiving...
9.  I ushered again at the temple yesterday!  I love serving in this capacity!
10.  My friend Lauren and her husband Chris came from NC yesterday!  Last night we met for a quick ice cream cone before they met with friends for dinner.  Today I get to spend the entire day with them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Home

I know it's only Tuesday, but I'm a little excited for the next 2 days to fly by.  I'm going home this weekend for a very quick few days.  I haven't been home since the first week in June.  I'm excited to be HOME and to hug my family, especially my cute nieces and nephews.  I'm excited to smell, see and taste Fall!  I'm excited to get my hair trimmed and see what we can do differently with this head of curls.  I'm excited to wear a sweatshirt and jeans.  I'm excited to go to the pumpkin patch and to have Halloween with my cousins.  Do you know who else is excited?  Miss. Aidree!  Tristen told me that she was chatting with the neighbor boy today about how excited she was to see her Auntie Terah.  That totally made my day!  When I talked to Aidree on Sunday she reminded me that we were going to a movie and to the pumpkin patch.  I love that she is getting older, can remember the plans that we have made and that she loves to talk on the phone.  I can't say that I'm excited to see my oncologist Dr. Dan, but it is always nice to see him, which I will do Friday morning.  Hoping and praying for normal lab results.  So if this is the last post for a week or so don't worry, I haven't fallen off the band wagon, just a little pre-occupied with the cuteness of 9 little munchkins!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Super Sunday

1.  I so enjoyed watching conference last weekend.  My favorite quote was, "Become really, really good at forgiving. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don’t ever think that you are exempt from this commandment. Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul.  I think I'm pretty good at this, but I can always be better.
 Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]” (Abraham 3:25)—and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right”" You can find the entire talk here.
2.  Saturday night I watched BSU play a very intense football game against the rival Nevada.  I am happy to report BSU won!
3.  Sunday Deborah and Laura and their families came for dinner.  The best part of the night was doing gourmet caramel apples.  They tasted and looked great!
4.  Wednesday I got help with the VIP tours at the Phoenix Temple Open House.  It was so neat.  I went with a group that had one of the artists.  There are so many pictures in the temple.  My favorite being a black women dressed in a white dress and praying.  I met some great gals there too.  It was nice and cool this day.  It rained all around us but only had a few sprinkles at the temple.  It was pretty amazing.  It is pretty cool that they have a photo booth that you can have your picture taken in!  These are some of the girls I served with.
5. Deborah came over Wednesday.  We had a nice visit, ate dinner and watched The Mysteries Of Laura, one of my new favorite shows on TV.  Thursday morning before work Deborah and I lifted weights together.  It was fun to spend time with her.
6.  I did tours at the temple Friday night.  It was such a sweet experience.  Each time I would walk into the Celestial Room I would feel such a strong spirit and as I would leave the room that feeling would lesson.
7.  This week I have spoken to both Hawaii and a job here in Phoenix working for the same company I worked for and loved in CLT.  I am being very prayerful with this decision and know that in the next few weeks when I need to make a decision that Heavenly Father will guide me.
8.  Today at church I saw the Little A's for the first time since being here.  Little girl A would hardly let go of me.  She is so sweet.  It was fun seeing them and how they have grown in just 4 months.  As for Mr. J, well he paid me no feelings right now will be held back except that I think he is a coward.
9.  I'm so in love with this song.  It reminds me that I have a purpose in this vast universe, that I'm a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and that it is important for me to help other's realize they are Glorious!  Hope you enjoy this beautiful video Glorious.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Back To Phoenix FF

1.  I feel somewhat like I'm at home here in Phoenix.  Aunt Leslies house smells like my grandma's, especially when she makes her homemade bread!  My clothes are unpacked and I am feeling like I could stay for a while, at least until Christmas anyways.
2.  Saturday I so much enjoyed my time in the temple.  I missed having a temple that I could go to when I wanted when I lived in MVY.
3.  I watched the General Womens Broadcast with my cousin Deborah and my Aunt Leslie on Saturday.  I love the confidence it re-instills in me that I truly am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father, who knows me and loves me.
4.  Deborah and I went to the snow-cone shop after the broadcast.  You know my love for anything icey, especially snow-cones!
5.  We went to Deborah's ward on Sunday.  They had their Primary Program.  It was the best one I've ever seen.  It was like a small mormon tabernacle choir.  I'm excited to see my ward do their program the end of the month.
6.  It has been good to be back to work here in Phoenix.  I really do like the people that I work with here.  I was sad to let my supervisor know that I will not be taking a full time job there.  I have felt so much peace this week in knowing that Heavenly Father really did answer my prayers in regards to this job.
7.  I went to COSTO and TALBOTS today!  I gave into the the sale on Jelly Belly's and bought some at Costco.  I love Jelly Belly's thanks to Alisha.  When she was in her first year at Ricks, she would come home on weekends and we would go to Fred Myers, buy a bag of Jelly Belly's and guess the taste.  These days I just pick out the ones I like and skip the nasty ones, like rootbeer.  It was so nice to be able to drive to whatever store I wanted to today, even though I admit I wished when I was out basking in the sun that I was doing it at the beach.
8.  I bought a plane ticket to go to Charlotte in December this week.  I'm excited to see my CLT friends.  It was only $211; a spur of a moment decision, but when you find a great deal like that, you better jump because it likely won't be there when you come back.
9.  I have been in Heaven when it comes to the produce section at my local Sprouts!  I must admit, I've eaten an entire stock of celery this week and am on my second.  Produce is sooooooo cheap here!  I bought 15 pounds of my favorite Honey Crisp Apples this week.  They were only 88 cents a pound, I've never seen them that cheap.  I bet you can't guess what we are going to do with them this weekend....I'll keep you guessing for now!
10.  The first thing I did Saturday morning when I got here was go to the gym, do a spinning class and then sign up for a gym membership!  I love the gym!
11.  This coming week the Phoenix Temple Open house begins...I'm so excited to be a part of the open house each week, by being a core usher!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An Answer

I have been praying and fasting and begging Heavenly Father for an answer regarding a job opportunity at Indian Health.  This is the third time that I have taken an assignment here; I love the people I work with.  The work is great and my supervisor who is also a member of my church is wonderful.  But remember that scripture I quoted a month or so ago, "And I went with the spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.  Nevertheless I went forth...with courage."  I have repeated this scripture over and over in my mind for the past month.  I went to the temple on Saturday thinking for sure I would get an answer.  Nothing but a stupor of thought.  I thought I was ready to settle down, buy a house, take a full time job, quit traveling for work and get my earthly possessions out of storage.  I thought wrong...for now.

I started back here in Phoenix at Indian Health on Monday.  By my lunch break on Monday I knew without a doubt that I was not to take a job there.  All day long I kept thinking, no, no, no.  It was my answer that I had been waiting for and I can't deny it.  I'm so grateful for an answer for now.  What's next I'm not sure.  For now I will be here until Christmas.  I love being here, living with my aunt and uncle and enjoying the sunshine.  I think being here will be a wonderful way to end 2014.

I know that 2015 will bring me even more amazing opportunities...we shall see what happens!

I love these quotes, they have brought me some of the peace that I've been seeking.