Thursday, October 29, 2015

2 Years

Two years ago today I finished chemo.  Never on that day did I think 2 years from then I would be back to having chemo.  I remember the sense of relief I had that day knowing I had finished a great task.  I had full confidence that day that I wouldn't have to go through that trial again.  But unfortunately I was wrong.  I wonder what I would have changed if I had known then that I would be back at it again.  I can honestly say I'd change nothing.  I'd keep living every day to the fullest as I do and pressing forward.

Today in my biweekly mid-singles religion class where we are studying the Book Of Mormon, we talked about how many times in the scriptures the Lord repeats things 3 times.  For example in 1 Nephi chapter 4, which is the chapter we explored today, Nephi tells his brothers in verse 1 "Let us go up and be faithful..." verse  2 "Let us go up and be strong" verse 3 "Let us go up; the lord is able to deliver us.  A few verses down in 10 "I was constrained by the spirit that I should kill Laban" verse 11 "And the Spirit said unto me again; Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands"  verse 12 "The Spirit said unto me again:  Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into they hands."  And in verse 18 "Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit." 

It is clear that in this chapter Nephi struggled with the commandment he was given.  This was a trial of his faith, but he was obedient.  The Lord told Nephi why it was important to kill Laban, vs. 13, "Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes.  It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." 

As I sat in class I thought of the hard things that the Lord commanded of Nephi, but that how each of the trials that he went through prepared him for the next trial.  I compared this to my life.  I thought grad school was the hardest thing ever.  Looking back it still was a pretty difficult time, but it prepared me for other trials, especially my cancer/chemo trial.  It taught me that I can do hard things, to have patience and to rise above the challenge. 

Is it easy?  Not always, but it is definitely easier knowing the army that is behind me, the many prayers of faithful ones said in my behalf and especially that I have the Lord on my side.  I will admit, it does makes me worry just a bit about what trials lie ahead given this is a pretty big trial. 

No Sugar

Tuesday before I flew back to Phoenix I went to a naturopathic nutritionist.  She basically told me in order for the cancer to not grow to stop all sugar.  She wants me to be on a low glycemic diet.  She told me that I should eat homemade coconut yogurt and drink coconut Keefer (full fat), vegetable broth, raw vegetables, eggs, avocado, fish and berries, but not blueberries.  No sugar, no carbs, no sugar, no red meat, no sugar, no other fruits, no sugar, no quinoa, no sugar, no chicken, no sugar.  And all this before the best sugary holiday approaches.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to be as strict as she wants me to be, but I'll try it.  I'm not giving up apples or chicken as they are my main staples.

Today for lunch I made a smoothie from a anti-cancer cookbook and I think it turned out really yummy.

Strawberry/Lime Smoothie
I had a frozen leftover fruit salad, which was mostly strawberries, blackberries and raspberries that I used.  Coconut water and a small slice of lime (with the peel).  And of course a huge handful of spinach.  This was so refreshing and delicious, I think I'll have it again for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday I made an apple crisp that I threw together.  I didn't want it to be too sweet, since chemo makes things too sweet sometimes.  It turned out really good and didn't have much sugar or any butter.  Sometimes I don't measure and in this case I didn't, just measured by handfuls.

Apple Crisp
I used 2 jars of canned apples without sugar
combine some spelt flour, minimal white sugar and cinnamon and sprinkled on the apples.

The topping I used oatmeal, spelt flour, minimal brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut oil.

Bake on 350 for 30 minutes

You know if I could stick to this low glycemic diet, I could probably wither away in no time.  Lets see if it works or if I can stick to it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Miracles And Faith

Sunday the following scripture was included in my parents Primary Program at church.

2 Nephi 27:23, "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith."

This scripture say's it all.  That God is a God of Miracles, but that he only works those miracles according to our faith.  I believe this scripture, but I also wonder if God has a different plan than I have for myself, then will I not see the miracle that I hope for, even if I have faith?

It's a questions that has played out in my mind over the past few months.  But as I question this, it deepens my faith in my Heavenly Father as my will becomes His. 

The last few months can only be described as frustrating.  I'm frustrated that I don 't see an end to chemo, that I'm doing this all over again, that I have cancer even though I can't see it and feel fine (that is when I'm not having chemo), that I can't plan ahead, because of the unknown of when I will be finished with chemo and that I can't work. 

I listen to a General Conference talk each night and it seems that each talk is directed to me and my situation.  There are so many great talks.  They all keep telling me to keep the faith and things will work out. 

Some of my favorite quotes this week are:

"Mortal Life is not easy for any of us.  We are placed on earth to be tried and tested.  Our response to life's experiences will often greatly influence our testimonies...If you have been tempted to murmur, if you have had doubt that leads to unbelief, if trials seem more than you can bear, turn to Him.  James B. Martino

"Our Savior experienced and suffered the fullness of all mortal challenges 'according to the flesh' so He could know 'according to the flesh' how to 'succor (which means to give relief or aid to) his people according to their infirmities.'  He therefore knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement.  And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us-to give us the strength to bear it all...And so we see that because of His Atonement, the Savior has the power to succor-to help-every mortal pain and affliction.  Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities."  Dallin H. Oaks

"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air.  Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.  Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it.  Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker.  Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil...The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice....Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward."  Neil L. Andersen

"I promise that each faith-filled step will be met with help from heaven.  Guidance will come as we pray to our Heavenly Father, rely on our Savior and follow Him, and listen to the Holy Spirit.  Strength will come because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Healing and forgiveness will come because of God's grace.  Wisdom and patience will come by trusting in the Lord's timing for us.  Protection will come by following God's living Prophet."  Randall K. Bennett.

See, so many amazing quotes and promised blessing by having faith.  I truly believe these words and know that Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of my every needs.  I really am grateful for the patience and strength I have been given to endure the trials that I'm going through.  The burden seems so much lighter than it should.  I'm so grateful to have an army who pray for me and give me strength as they go through this battle along side me.  Sometimes in order for us to grow and progress we are challenged and stretched, but it is only for our good so that we can become more like Him.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Primary Program

Yesterday was our annual Primary Program during Sacrament Meeting.  We prepare all year for this presentation. 

Our theme for Primary this year has been "I know that my Savior loves me."  We have been learning about the Savior's life, His plan of salvation, His obedience, sacrifice and example.  The more we know and understand the Savior, the better we can understand how He loves us.  Spending a lifetime working to come closer to the Savior may help us be able to say, like job, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."  Job 19:25. 

I know that my Savior loves me.  Seven simple words, but with the power to change each of us.  There may be no better place than Primary to see and experience the pure love of the Savior.

I think my calling as the Primary Pianist is the best calling in the church.  I love hearing the children sing their little hearts out, even when they don't know the words.  Yesterday as they surrounded me singing songs about the Savior, my heart was full of joy and I felt the spirit of the Lord in our meeting.  I have to admit, this was one of the best Primary Programs that I've ever attended.  It went so smoothly, the kids sang their little hearts out and most had their parts memorized.

Last week as we were practicing, one of the children gave his part.  I hadn't read the program before hand so I wasn't expecting what he said.  This was his part, "We can live like Jesus by praying and fasting for others.  Our primary pianist, Sister Young has cancer and I decided to fast that her body would be strong and that she would be able to get better.  When I felt hungry I thought of how she felt a lot of pain with her sickness and it made me feel like my hunger wasn't a big deal and that I could be strong for her.  Fasting for Sister Young helped me live like Jesus by thinking more about others and less about myself."  And then I had to play the next song.  I will admit I shed a few humble tears.  I'm so taken back at how my illness and trials have impacted so many people including these sweet children.  I'm ever grateful for this little boys faith, for his prayers, for fasting for me and for his amazing mother who serves with me in Primary and who I love for teaching her children the gospel. 

I have a testimony that my Savior loves me.  I know He lives.  I'm humbled that in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary that He suffered for my sins, my heartaches, my disappointments, my physical and emotional pains, all because He loves me. 

It is my hope that I will be an example of Him, that I will serve Him by serving others and that I will honor Him in all that I do and say. 

This years theme song I know That My Savior Loves me has such beautiful lyrics:

"A long time ago in a beautiful place children were gathered 'round Jesus. 
He blessed and taught as they felt of his love.  Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones, I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee but Jesus is real to me. 
I know He lives.  I will follow faithfully.  My heart I give to Him.  I know that my Savior loves me."

Sunday, October 18, 2015


This past week I attended the temple.  As I sat in the celestial room I randomly opened to Abraham and read these words, "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them."

The word Prove in this scripture seemed so powerful to me as I read and re-read it.  It got me thinking that God is proving me through the trials that he has given me.  He is trying me to see if I will be able to endure patiently and whole heartily and probably without complaining.

When I was diagnosed with cancer again you will recall in other posts that I wanted my will, even though I had no idea what Heavenly Father's will was.  I still don't know his will, but after four months I confess that I've finally softened my heart and am aligning my will with whatever Heavenly Father's will is for me. 

I'd have to say that my most favorite talk from this past General Conference was in the Saturday morning session by Neil F. Marriott 2nd counselor in the Young Women General Presidency.  I love listening to this ladies southern voice, as it reminds me of all of my sweet southern friends back in CLT.  Her talk was just what I needed.  It was entitled Yielding Our Hearts To God.  Some of my favorite quotes from this talk are as follows:

"How do we make the Lord's ways our ways?   I believe we begin by learning of Him and praying for understanding.  As our trust in Him grows, we open our hearts, seek to do His will, and wait for answers that will help us understand." 

She quoted President Hinckley, "If you do your best, it will all work out.  Put your trust in God...The Lord will not forsake us."

"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.  This doesn't mean all things are good, but for the meek and faithful, things-both positive and negative-work together for good, and the timing is the Lord's.  We wait on Him, sometimes like Job in his suffering...A meek heart accepts the trial and the waiting for the time of healing and wholeness to come.  When we open ourselves to the Spirit, we learn God's ways and feel His will."

"The healing of our heart begins when we submit to and worship God.  True worship begins when our hearts are right before the Father and the Son.  What is our heart condition today?  Paradoxically, in order to have a healed and faithful heart, we must first allow it to break before the Lord.  'Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit,' the Lord declares.  The result of sacrificing our heart, or our will, to the Lord is that we receive the spiritual guidance we need."

She quotes the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, "So trusting my all to they tender care, And knowing thou lovest me, I'll do they will with a heart sincere: I'll be what you want me to be."

And she ends with, "When we offer our broken heart to Jesus Christ, He accepts our offereing.  He takes us back.  No matter what losses, wounds, and rejections we have suffered, His grace and healing are mighter than all.  Truly yoked to the Savior, we can say with confidence, It will all work out."

After listening to this talk again on Monday night, I was finally able to humble myself and soften my heart to Heavenly Father's will for me.  He has a plan for me and I know He is with me.  And so this week as I Ponderize the above scripture, I hope that as I struggle with the side effects that chemo will undoubtedly give me, that I can prove to Heavenly Father that I can do all things even if they are hard things, that He asks me to do.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Summer In Fall FF

1.  It's really hard to believe it is October when we are having record temps of 100 which we had earlier this week.  Thankfully I believe this is the last week of those for the year.  I'm so looking forward to going home next week to see FALL!  I have been listening to Christmas Music and lighting my pumpkin candle so a little Fall is in my home.  We did however have a fantastic rain storm just after the crazy dust storm that I drove through today dropping our temperatures and letting us smell the amazing aroma of rain.
2.  Since I've felt great this week because of no chemo, had no interruptions and had a lot of time, I've studied nearly all day, every day for my upcoming boards.  I originally planned on taking them in July and then September.  I have 6 months to take them from when I registered which was the end of May and before my cancer diagnosis.  I've toyed with the idea of postponing them using my cancer card, but I just want to get them over with.  I mean if I do flunk I can always take them twice next year.  I better not flunk.  I've passed them twice before, I better pass them again.  So I scheduled them for the week of Thanksgiving, a week I'll be off of chemo and the last day I could take them.  37 days of studying and then hopefully I will be test free for 10 years.
3.  Saturday I spent some of my day watching Deb's son Dallin play volleyball.  I don't know how they played back to back games without dying, I was dying sitting there with a fan on me and still hot.  But it was fun to watch his talent.  These 15 year old boys can play volleyball so well and are undefeated.
4.  The only reason I know it is fall is because of the college football that I get to listen to all day on Saturdays and sometimes on Friday nights.  I mainly keep track of BSU, Utah and BYU however I really don't care who is playing, I just love to watch and listen to it.  Unfortunately BSU got killed by Utah State tonight and I think they maybe out of the opportunity for a bowl game, however Utah is killing it and the only undefeated team in the country.  At least one of my alma matters is doing something well this year.
5.  This week I've found that palate's, yoga and water aerobics don't increase my heart rate to where I feel like my heart might jump out of my chest.  They are also relaxing and keep me moving since I've sat more than I'd like studying this week.  I really want to do my cycle class and lift weights, but I already know lifting makes my heart rate go up and if that happens, cycle might just kill me.
6.  My friend Janelle came to visit me on Wednesday.  She is such a great friend and we have so much fun chatting.  We visited a new tropical snow/snow cone place that opened just next to the gym.  You know my love for snow cones!  As much as I wanted a sugary cone, I went for the sugar free, because I'm trying so hard to not eat sugar.  It wasn't half bad.
7.  Wednesday I helped my friends with the 8-12 year old girls activity days.  They are so cute and enjoyed their spa day.
8.  Thursday I went to the mid singles religion class.  Such a great class and so many people.  She talked about how in 1 Nephi he had to soften his heart when his dad said they needed to leave Jerusalem.  I thought through the entire class how I have had to soften my heart as I've had to endure yet another cancer diagnosis.  It has taken some time, but I finally feel that my heart has softened and that my will has become Heavenly Fathers.  (I hope His will is mine.)
9.  Today we had practice for our primary program which is on Sunday.  I play the piano and I love it.  The kids are so darling.
10.  I got my ipsy bag in the mail this week.  I love that each moth for less than $10 I get several new beauty products.  This month didn't disappoint.  I love the liquid lipstick that stays on forever, fall colored eye shadow and delicious smelling coconut lotion!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Clean Out The Fridge Smoothy

This morning for breakfast I used things in my refrigerator that needed to go soon and put them into my smoothie.  This turned out to be one of the best smoothie's I ever had and healthy too.  I also wanted something that tasted like fall, as in pumpkin.  I didn't have any pumpkin, but a sweet potato is similar.  This was perfect for my pre-water aerobics class with the old ladies which was super relaxing and fun.

Fall Smoothie
1/2 sweet potato
1/2 pear
1/4 orange
1/2 banana
Handful of Spinach
Some Almond Milk
Pinch of cinnamon
Splash of Sugar Free/Fat Free Pumpkin Coffee Creamer
Vanilla Protein Powder
Blend to perfection and enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Back In My Kitchen

It feels like forever since I've been in my kitchen cooking.  I love cooking up a delicious, healthy meal.  I'm trying for at least this week, since I'm back to my "normal week" to eat super healthy and loose some of this chemo weight.  I'm jealous of the ladies in the chemo unit I bond with who have lost 30 pounds since having chemo.  Not quite sure why, but I'm not seeing those side effects.  I think my biggest problem is that I'm so use to working out and I can't because my heart rate goes up so high when I do.  I am finding that I can walk, but I only do so at night with my friend Cathy because it is just too hot during the day.  This afternoon I put my walking shoes on and thought I'd walk around for at least 15 minutes between my study sessions (I'm studying for my boards).  Yea, I only made it to the mailbox and back because it was just to hot.  I did do some lifting of my 8 pound weights though.

So tonight I made the best tasting, most delicious and healthy Roasted Vegetables.  I think that it is hard to get a good tasting, perfectly crunchy yet cooked roasted vegetable dish.  Remember our cooking class from May with my CLT Sisters?  I basically took the recipe that we were given that day, but didn't make and put my touches on it.  You could put this in with some pasta, but it's delicious by itself.  This was so amazing that I actually had seconds and can't wait to have it for a snack or lunch tomorrow.

Tuscan Roasted Vegetables
1 Zucchini, Diced
1 Summer Squash, Diced
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
1 Red Onion, Quartered
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2-1 tsp minced garlic
I drizzled these with LeRoux Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
Added a little dry oregano and basil, salt and pepper.  I think the more salt the better when it comes to vegetables.
I had a half lemon on the counter so I juiced it and added it which I think brought out the flavors

I tossed all ingredients in a bowel, poured them on a baking pan and cooked them on 350 for 25-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

I paired this with leftover grilled chicken which I made a bunch of yesterday.  I have a favorite go to recipe that I love.

Honey Lime Grilled Chicken
3 T soy soauce
2 T honey
LeRoux Lime infused Olive Oil
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T fresh Cilantro
Combine and let chicken marinate for at least a few hours.
1 pound chicken breast
Grill to perfection

I have to put in a word for a few of my favorite products from MVY.  There is this amazing kitchen store in Vineyard Haven called LeRoux.  There are actually 2 stores.  One with every kitchen supply you could ever dream of and one with food.  Upstairs at the food store they have every kind of olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar you could possible dream of.  I bought some when I initially interviewed in March of 2013.  This summer I didn't leave without more.  I really love their new Sicillian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar.  I use it as my dressing on salads.  Their website had a sale a few weeks ago and I bought a bunch of them because I love them so much.  Oh I also like the pear one.  It makes for a delicious fall salad.  I'm sure if you search my blog you can find a recipe where I used this.

So today after reading my blog, you might as well gather these ingredients and prepare for tonight's dinner.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Ship

Today in church someone spoke about Nephi in The Book Of Mormon and how he was instructed to build a ship; something he had never done.  1 Nephi 17:51and 18:1 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me that I should build a ship...And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship.  And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. The speaker talked about how we all have ships in our lives and that we need to let the Lord show us how to work through our ships.  The trial I'm experiencing once again is my ship and I need to let the Lord wrought a miracle in my life.  It occurred to me today that I am just going through this trial instead of learning what I need to from this trial.

There have been times in my life when I want to see the future.  I must admit this is one of those times.  I want to be finished with chemo, back to work and moving forward with my life.  But I'm learning that the Lord see's time differently than I do.  And so as I ponderize these scriptures this week, I'm going to try to be more open to letting the spirit guide me to learning what Heavenly Father needs me to learn from this trial, so that I can become more like him. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fabulous Friday Returns Again

1.  It's crazy to think an entire week has gone by since we were at Disneyland.  We had such a fun time as a family and I can't wait to see them again.  Saturday mom, dad and I drove back to Phoenix while listening to conference in my new car.  I forgot to tell you what I got.  After trying all the cars I thought I wanted including the highlander, I purchased a 2016 Sante Fe.  I love it!  My cousin Emily also has one and her husband works at the factory, so he helped me in getting a great deal.  I was sad to let Betty go, but now I have Ivan.
I really wanted a white, red or gray car but the 3 toned brown interior won me over.
2.  Sunday we spent the day at Aunt Leslies.  I loved having breakfast of omelets made by Uncle Gordon.  It is a conference tradition and he makes the best.  We watched conference and also had dinner when Deb and her kids came over.
3.  Monday was dooms day.  It was nice to have mom and dad here.  I wasn't as sick as I had expected, but it still wasn't a breeze.  Dad left Tuesday morning and I slept most of the day, because I needed to feel well rested for Wednesday.
4.  My friend Kirt who I fell for in grad school came to town for a meeting on Wednesday.  I picked him up from the airport, had lunch with him, took a short nap while he was in his meeting, had dinner with him and his collegues and then he came over to see mom and eat a pumpkin muffin.  It was so good to see him and definitely too short of a time.  I can't wait to visit him and his 6 acre farm outside of New Orleans hopefully soon.  There are so many things I like about this guy.  He never makes me feel insecure, he makes me laugh and he is a hard worker.  I loved hearing about all the things he has done on his little farm that he purchased just a few months ago.  Oh and yes he has some fantastic lips.
5.  Last night mom and I went to see a program on Irving Berlin.  It was a one man play of his life story.  He wrote many songs including White Christmas, Happy Holiday and God Bless America. The talent of this man and the actor was incredible.
6.  Mom left yesterday morning.  She has been with me for a month.  I'm so grateful she was able to be with me through my chemo treatments.  She did so much for me while she was here.  I do have the best mom and can't imagine my life without her as my mom.
7.  This afternoon I stopped by Laura's and held her twins.  Poor things had their shots today and were a little fussy.  I spent the evening at Deb's.  We had dinner, watched Anne of Green Gables and she made delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  I admit, I've never read or watched Anne of Green Gables, but it is such a fun film.  I love that it is October and we are eating and drinking everything pumpkin, even though it is still 100 degrees. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference, Ponderize & Small Improvements

This past weekend was our church's semi annual General Conference from SLC.  It is a weekend full of amazing talks where I receive answers to questions I've been pondering, which give me peace and comfort especially through difficult times.  This weekend I came to conference with a list of questions, all of which were answered through many different talks.

I love that I can listen to a talk every night from my hand held device, read and highlight the talks from my hard copy that I will receive in a month from now and that through these talks it is a way for Heavenly Father to speak to me through his chosen servants.

Instead of giving you a list of my favorite quotes all in one post, I think I will try to write a post each week with my favorite quotes from talks that I'm studying and how I am applying them to my life.

This was a special General Conference because of the fact that over the past 6 months 3 of the 12 Apostles passed away and 3 more replaced by genuine, humble spiritual men whom the Lord has prepared for these callings for many years.  One of them is Elder Renlund, whose wife had ovarian cancer when she was 25, just 16 months after their only daughter was born.  I've read a few articles about her story and think it would be so awesome to meet her.  Someday maybe.  The other 2 are Elder Stevenson and Elder Rasband.  I've always loved listening to Elder Rasband speak and now look forward to his talks each General Conference the first weekend of April and October.

Our dear prophet President Monson is aging and not as healthy as he once was, but he continues to address us and teach us those things that Heavenly Father wants us to know.

One talk that really caught my attention was about the word Ponderize.  It was a talk by Devin Durrant.  He says, "I invite you to ponderize one verse of scripture each week.  The word ponderize is not in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart.  So what does it mean to ponderize?  I like to say it's a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization...Read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.  As you make this effort, you will feel an increase in spirituality.  You will also be able to teach and lift those you love in more meaningful ways."

Last night as I was doing my scripture study I read the following scripture, which I've chosen to ponderize this week.  It was exactly what I needed to give me comfort as I start another round of chemo this week.

Mathew 14:35-36 "And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all the country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: And as many as touched were made perfectly whole."  Isn't that such a beautiful passage?  I love the faith that these people who were diseased had, to be made whole through such a simple gesture as touching the hem of the Saviors garment.  I have been blessed with this kind of faith.  I know that if the Savior was in my presence I could be made whole by touching his garment, but I also know that I can be healed according to my faith.  My healing isn't going to be quick or easy, but I believe that through patience and faith I will be healed.

Today my CA 125 came down 9 points from 76 to 67.  This is where it was when I was diagnosed in June, but remember it went up in July to 83 and hasn't come down much since then.  I have felt discouraged because of the numbers, but I've never lost my faith in knowing that Heavenly Father hears my prayers and the many prayers said in my behalf.  My white count came up just a little to 2.7, my absolute neutrophils to 1.6 and my hemoglobin to 10.  These aren't perfect, but they are definitely better than my last blood draw.  I had an appointment with the NP who was wonderful, answered questions and adjusted my treatment just a little.  We've decided that in order to be consistent we are going to need to do treatment every 15 days.  This will be spreading things out a bit, but it will give my CBC and bone marrow time to replenish itself.  I also will have Neulasta injections the day after each chemo treatment.  I currently have a contraption on my arm that will release the Neulasta tomorrow evening at 730.  We did decrease the cisplatin a little because with just one treatment I am having foot pain and neuropathy in my hands.  I need my hands to work.  I had these symptoms for about 2 years and they finally went away with time and massage, but with just 1 treatment a few weeks ago they returned.

I will have the next 4 chemo treatments here and then go home for the holidays to have treatment in Boise.  We feel good about today's events and know that the Lord is intricately involved in my care.  He truly does answer our prayers and I know that I will be made perfectly whole as I trust in the Lord and his timing which is different than mine.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

September All In One Post

September came and went so quickly.  I'm actually glad that it is now October and the heat of the Summer can now leave us for a while.  I should be like my friend Janelle and have my house all decked out in Fall, even when it is 100 degree's.  Just going into her house makes me feel like fall is here.  Janelle came with me to my first chemo treatment here in Phoenix and we've had dinner with her and Matt.  These two and their cute twins are such fun to hang out with.

When I was in SLC Labor Day weekend I had the best time visiting with my friends from Grad School.  They came over to Tenielle's and we had homemade Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream that Dad made.  It was delicious.  I love catching up with these dear friends of mine and swapping medical stories.  It's hard to believe that we are going into our 12th year of practice.
When I flew home to Phoenix and went immediately to my Aunt Leslie's to have dinner with family.  I love spending time with them.  She gave me the sweetest teal package from the young women in her ward.  What sweet girls.  I loved every think in the box, especially the uplifting quotes that I have my on my refrigerator.

There is a Circle K on every corner here.  I stopped off at one a few days after coming back to Phoenix, because I couldn't find a Sonic.  I'm afraid I"m now addicted.  You can get a huge coke zero, add in your vitamin c and favorite flavor (mine is Vanilla) and they have the delicious crushed ice that I love.  I missed being able to get a fountain drink when I was in MVY as there are no places like Circle K or Sonic on MVY. 

I've spent lots of time holding these cute twins, visiting with my cousins and enjoying the time my mom has been here.
 Kate had her first pedicure.  Baby toes are so cute.  I've always joked with my sisters that I should have been a foot model.

We had the most beautiful sunset and rainstorm the night mom flew in.  I captured it on my way to pick her up a few weeks ago.
September is OVC awareness month.  There was a day that a spa/salon had a day that celebrated OVC survivors by giving us goody bags and spoiling us with spa treatments.  It was such a fun day.  I had my hair done and got a massage.  It was fun to meet other survivors.
Unfortunately I have to have chemo again tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it.  Let's hope for a fantastic October, even amongst the chemo.

Red's Apple Slush from Car's Land in Disneyland!

I can't wait to make this in a few weeks when I'm home with my family celebrating Halloween and fall.  Yes it has calories and I try to refrain from drinking my calories, but it was delicious. 
Red's Apple Freeze (Disneyland Copycat)

Sweet and refreshing apple slush topped with a creamy foam - just like Red's Apple Slush from Car's Land in Disneyland!

Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 3-4
Foam Topping
  • 1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons mango nectar or juice
  • 4 tablespoons passionfruit nectar or juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 12-ounce cans of frozen apple juice concentrate (keep frozen until ready to use)
  • 12 ounces cold water
  • 3 pumps (or tablespoons) Torani toasted marshmallow syrup

Family Disneyland Vacation

We have been planning our Disneyland vacation since December, well I at least announced that we were going in December.  I bought the tickets in March, told the kids in July and I've been planning it ever since.  In fact I think I was more excited to just be together as a family.  We have so much fun when we are together and the kids are at such fun ages.

Last week mom and I sent the kids a letter from Mickey letting them know how excited him and his crew were for them to come to Disneyland.  They were all so excited to get their letters.

Mom and I spent a few days making Mickey Mouse rice crispy treats, fudge, cookies and gathering all the food, which really didn't cost too much considering there was 21 of us.

Saturday mom and I finally left Phoenix around 1:30, while the Idaho kids left at 7am.  Dad flew into LA and met us at our hotel.  Tyler and Danielle did as well as they drove all the way in 1 day.

Sunday afternoon after picking Tristens girls up from the airport while they picked up Tanner, Tony and Tristen up at another airport, we headed to our house for the week.  The owner was there putting final touches on the house including goody bags for the kids and stocking the fridge for the adults.  We loved the house.  It had 6 rooms, 2 kitchens, 3 1/2 bathrooms, 2 laundry rooms and 2 living rooms and all for only $3050 for the entire week.  It might sound like a lot, but split between 12 adults it was only $250 each for the entire week, which would have been what we would have paid for a hotel room for just one night.

Sunday was a relaxing day for us all, we had a little cook out and the kids had a blast just being together.  We assembled sandwiches and breakfast burritos, which made Monday morning easy, even though we didn't get to Disneyland until 10am.  It's a lot of work getting 21 people into cars and out the door.  Sunday when I went to get our tickets the lady asked me if we were celebrating anything.  I told her that I had cancer and we were celebrating life.  She told me to go to Disneyland City Hall and tell them I had cancer.  So Monday morning I did and they gave me a pass for 6 people to ride any ride every 30 minutes.  It was the best, even better than the fast past line.  Even when the fast passes were all handed out for the awesome Cars ride, I was still able to get disability tickets.  Oh, the perks of being a cancer patient.

I brought a treasure box that the kids were able to pick different things from each night if they didn't throw temper tantrums.  We did have an occasional melt down, but for the most part the kids did great (and so did the adults.)  Tenielle made the coolest autograph books for all the kids.  The kids loved them.
We spent Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Disneyland and California Adventure.  I'll be honest it was too hot for my liking.  I had hoped to have had 70's, but it was at least 90.  We still had a lot of fun though.  I loved seeing the reactions of all the kids when they would ride a fun ride or a scary one.  When we were getting ready to go on Space Mountain Bridget said, "This is going to be so exciting."  When she came off of it she said, "That was scary."  She was squeezing my arm and hand through the entire ride and I was laughing.  I was even a little scared because it is so dark on that ride.

I think one of the best things we did was to take sandwiches for lunch.  It brought us all together and was cheap and easy.  Dinner was on our own.  We had so many delicious treats that we shared.  I'm a fan of trying everything and sharing calories.  My favorite was the Frozen Apple Slush at California Adventure.  It tasted like Martinellis Apple Juice and caramel.  The pear drink that Tristen got was also yummy.  We actually got an apple drink 2 days in a row because they were so good.
I will admit, my feet didn't hold up too well and Tuesday I went home a little early with Troy and Becky's family.  Mom kept threatening to get me a wheel chair, but I really did just fine.  When I got tired or hot I would sit down and drink my free glass of ice water that they will give you at any restaurant.

Wednesday we went to the Character Breakfast.  It was fun for the kids and the food was pretty good.  I can't say I would do it again, but it was a fun experience. 

That afternoon some of the guys went to a baseball game.  We did a Costco run and then made caramel apples.  Each night we watched the fireworks from Disneyland from our backyard.  It was one of my favorite things about where we stayed.
Our last day at Disneyland we were there from 8:45 in the morning until 10 at night.  We had such a great day.  We watched one of the shows and Tony was picked to do some acting and made us laugh.
Friday we went to Huntington Beach.  It was a perfect beach day.  The kids had a hay day, as most had never been to the beach.  Even though we were only out for 3 hours, we all came away with sunburns.  One of the doctors I worked with in Charlotte now lives in San Diego.  It was so fun that she met me at the beach.  I loved catching up with her.
Tristen, Tenielle, and Tanner left Friday night.  And the rest of us left this morning.  I think this was one of the best vacations we have ever had as a family.  It was so relaxing and only 1 child got lost but only while we rode another ride, because we didn't realize he was lost until we got off the ride.  Thank goodness for a quick answered prayer and nice Disneyland workers.

I kept track of the funny things I heard my siblings say several times to their children this week.  I'm sure I'd never have to tell these things to my kids if I had them..."Get out of the garbage."  "Why are you crying? (when there wasn't a reason to be crying)"  "Get your finger out of your nose."  "Did you really just put that in your mouth?"  "Do it one more time and I'll climb back there and slap you." "Get that out of your mouth."  And my favorite, "Quit licking the fence."  Kids are so gross, good thing they are cute!