Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vintage Finds

I'm totally into vintage, especially since I've found a whole catalog of antique stores in Phoenix.  I've only been to 3.  But I tell you I can't wait to have another day off so that I can spend it at the antique stores.  I came across these bar stools which remind me of the swivel blue barstools we had in our kitchen when I was a young kid.  They were gone come 5th grade.  Not sure why or where they went, but I remember them.  Or maybe this memory is from my grandparents house.  Oh dear, chemo brain.  Anyway, I saw these last week and can't stop thinking about them.  One might say they are ugly, but I remember when I lived-in Charlotte it took me forever to find some barstools (that weren't really comfortable and which I sold at my one and only garage sale).  I originally said I wasn't going to do the bar stool thing, but I think 2 would be just fine for me.  I'm going to keep looking, but I expect to buy these unless someone picks them up, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one around here who would think these are a gem.
 Here is a little glimpse into my living room.  See that cute little rocking chair?  I picked it up for $25 at a yard sale in my neighborhood a few weeks ago.  It was this lady's grandmothers.  It is darling and such a steal.  Really, why would you sell such a gem.  It's solid wood.  I have this weird  love for rocking chairs.  I've yet to put much on the piano, those are just random things.  The mirror is going above the piano, but the wire broke while we were putting it up and I have yet to fix it.  I love my flower chair that I bought just before I left Charlotte.
 Can you see my awesome drop leaf table in my dining room?  I'm so in love with it.  I totally forgot about the crocheted Families Are Forever framed art I made that is leaning against the wall and yet to be placed because it is too heavy. (I literally forgot about it until I opened the box it was in which it has been taped up in since I moved from Charlotte in October 2011.)  Maybe my awesome friend Lauren can help me put it up on that wall when she comes in 8 days.  I can't wait for her to visit.  We always have a ball when we are together and this friend of mine is one talented woman when it comes to painting and fixing things.  You can't really see this cute rug in my entrance way, but it has some cute blue ribbon like stuff that matches so lovely with my living room.  The shutters come next week which will be fantastic because it is just too hot to open those doors and it's not even May.
 This old sewing box fits perfectly between my two new 1900 era chairs.  I love that it's something I've never seen before.  When I saw it I may have jumped up and down and screamed like a teenager!  I might just have to get back into my crocheting and cross stitching if my carpal tunnel will allow me.
I've come across several vintage secretary desks and have decided this is what I want to use in my craft room.  So this week or next I'll be on the search for the perfect one.  I'm excited for Lauren to come help me organize my craft room, it's quite a mess with absolutely no organization.  

I'm getting super anxious for my granite to arrive next Monday.  It will be so nice to finally have a sink and counters.  Oh, the things we take for granted.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Home Is Coming Along FF

1.  My mom flew to town last Tuesday.  It is always great having her here.  I worked 3 days while she was here, but I really feel that we got a lot accomplished while she was here.
2.  Here's a look at the kitchen and the master bathroom.  Still no sinks.  Brushing my teeth, washing the dishes and my hands in the tub is getting old and I still have another week or so without sinks.  I didn't like the gray bathroom cabinets, so I'll be switching them to the same as in the kitchen.  And mom and I decided to go with this quartz in the kitchen.  The other was too light.
3.  I finally was able to clean things up and put things in the cupboards, which eliminated most of the boxes that were in my breakfast nook.  It is so nice to have so much cabinet space.  Mom is trying to talk me into knocking out the pantry and expanding it.  Maybe in a few months when I've built back my savings account.
4.  Last Wednesday, I took Pediatric Advance Life-support and then mom and I did some shopping.  That evening I was also able to have a nice long visit with my friend Aubrey as she was visiting her parents.  I love that dear friend of mine.
5.  Sunday I gave a talk in church.  It has been a long time since I've done that, but I was grateful for the opportunity.  I feel it gave my ward members an opportunity to get to know me a little better.
6.  I had no idea until 2 days ago that Phoenix has so many amazing vintage antique stores.  I love vintage and have found some great buys including a drop leaf table like my grandma Young use to have.  (I'll have to take a picture of it).  I love this his and hers needle point rocker and chair that I got.  It adds so much character to my room.  And I'd never seen an old sewing box before yesterday, but it sure adds to the the chairs.  Oh and I love the rug that ties this room all together.  I'll take full pictures of the competed project soon.

7.  Isn't this little one just the cutest thing you've ever seen?
 8.  My friend and nurse Angela from MVY ran in the Boston Marathon this week.  She did it in just under 4 hours.  I'm so proud of her and loved that I was able to support her from clear across the county.  She ran in honor of childhood cancer.
 9.  My mom is the master picture hanger upper!  Thanks mom for your talents.  She had to leave me on Wednesday to go to Spokane and watch Tristens girls.  I'll save up for more projects when she comes again in the Fall, since I can't seem to convince her to come during the summer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I got the results of my CT scan this week.  Not the news I was hoping for but not surprised.  When compared with the scan from November the tumor is now 1.3 cm larger.  This means I have a 4x3cm mass that I'm sitting on.  The good news is there isn't any new growth.

It's difficult for me to understand why all those months of chemo didn't shrink this tumor as I thought it had.  I mean it did some, but it has grown since.  I'm super hopeful that the chemo I'm on now will kill the tumors completely.  If not, there is a huge potential that I'll have to have it removed and have a colostomy the rest of my life.  That would be awful.  However today when I was at the Indian Medical Center (because I'm going to start working a few shifts when I can) one of the new providers was telling me that she has a friend with one who lives in Alaska and she is able to hike, bike, swim and do everything anyone else can do.  I still don't want one and hope and pray Heavenly Father provides me with the miracle I'm seeking.

The other good news is the echocardiogram was normal, which I knew it would be.  We will have to have the heart checked from time to time because this chemo can enlarge the heart.

As far as side effects, this chemo has been easy in comparison to previous.  I have been rather tired, but I refuse to take a nap except for on Sundays.

My next chemo treatment will be May 3 when my friend Lauren will be here visiting.  I'm so excited to see her and have her visit.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Idaho Fun

Last week was such a fun time with my family in Idaho.  We spent nearly every day together as a family.  It was nice to not be in a rush and to be able to relax.  It seems that the only times we are together for an entire week is around Christmas, which is always crazy.  The unexpected week for Jeannes funeral brought us together at the perfect time.  Spring was in full bloom all around us and the weather was absolutely beautiful.
After the funeral on Monday Stella came over to play with Aidree and Bridget.  It is so fun to watch them develop friendships.  I'm who I am because of my cousins and the relationships we have together.  Of course later in the evening everyone else came over to mom and dads.  We have so much fun just being together.
Tuesday we all got our hair cut.  Tristen really cut hers and finally donated it!  Thanks girl.  It is cute. When I lost my hair to chemo I missed being able to get my hair done with my sisters.
Afterwards, we had lunch at our favorite Flat Bread and our cousin Des and Uncle Robert joined us.  The kids always have fun making pizza and watching them cook.  I won't mention how many times we had a fiasco with spilled chocolate milk, but I'm sure they will be mopping up that sticky mess for weeks to come.
Wednesday I read Dr. Seuss to my nieces
And then I had chemo.  Thankfully it wasn't so bad.  And of course hugs and a good cry always make it better.
That evening I felt good enough to teach the kids how to play kickball and we had fun playing a little volleyball, even though the balls kept being hit over into the pool area and I had to be the one to fish them out from the middle of the closed pool.  This evening was the best.  It was a beautiful evening and we all enjoyed sitting out on the porch chatting and watching the children.
We even got a picture of everyone smiling.

Thursday morning my brother Tony took me to the hospital to have an echocardiogram and a CT Scan.  I have yet to get the results.  It was fun to spend some time with him.  

Several times throughout the week we walked down to my grandparents to clean things up and to restock the pop fridge that grandpa always had full for us and our friends when we would come over.  When I was restocking the fridge, I swear I felt grandpa standing behind me, especially as I stocked it with coke.

Friday we got ready for Saturday morning.  We had a surprise baby shower for Danielle.  It was so fun, except the chemo side effects of nausea kicked in right as everyone was coming so I spent most of it in bed.  She got a bunch of really cute things.  We are so excited for another baby girl to join our family.
 We sure love our Grandma Betty.
Saturday evening we had a family party at Grandpa and Grandma Jeannes.  It was exactly how they would have wanted it; pizza, soda, licorice, rootbeer floats, conversations on the patio and some games of badminton and crochet.  The games didn't really happen, but the kids used the crochet game pieces in their backyard adventures.  My grandpa always had a beautiful yard.  I think he'd be disappointed that it has gone downhill.  This evening was one of my favorites while I was home.  It was fun to chat with cousins and siblings. 
That evening Tanner's girlfriend presented me with the most beautiful painting that she has been painting since October.  This girl is getting ready to apply to medical school so she is busy, but she made the time to think about me.  I love how she depicted OVC awareness and my love for MVY.  It looks awesome in my bedroom.  That night Tony's girlfriend also made me a fun OVC box of goodies with balloons and a sweet card from my family.  I'm such a lucky girl to have such an amazing support team.  I love them each dearly.
Sunday Tristen, the girls and I headed home.  Oh what fun we had and the memories we made.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

More Chemo

I'm sad to report that I started experiencing tailbone/back pain about 3 weeks ago.  This is the same pain I've had the past 2 times I've had to have chemo.  My chemo holiday of only 2 months was not long enough.  Monday the discomfort was almost more than I could tolerate.  I had emailed Dr. J last week and never heard back from him.  I emailed him again on Monday and he finally emailed me back Tuesday.  Monday I called Dr. Dan's office knowing he wouldn't be in until Tuesday.  When I didn't hear back from him and was super uncomfortable while trying to sleep on Tuesday night, I finally got up and emailed him.  He sent me a message Wednesday morning telling me to call and come see him, which I got right on it Wednesday morning.

I had my monthly CA-125 last week which was 31 up from 28, but still in the high normal range.  But the symptoms largely out weight the numbers.  So Wednesday I saw Dr. Dan and was put on another Chemo treatment called Doxyl.  Dr. P wanted to put me on this last summer, but one of the side effects is hair thinning, which I didn't want then and don't want know but I'd rather be out of pain.  It is slower acting and only once a month.  All 3 oncologists agree this is the next treatment.  The treatment only takes a few hours which is so much better than the last ones that take all day.  I've been a little tired, had some nausea, but for the most part the pain is worse than the side effects.  It is most uncomfortable to sit, but the worst is to lay on my back.  Sometimes the heating pad works, but I've been having to resort to pain medicine, especially at night.  Dr. Dan has had to convince me to take pain meds and reminds me that I have cancer and it's ok to treat the pain and no I won't become addicted if its just for pain.
This is so hard for me to understand why after the many prayers and fasting my family, myself and many friends and strangers have said that I have yet to have been blessed with the miracle we are all hoping and praying for.  But I keep reminding myself that I need to have patience and trust in the Lord.  I have faith that there is a treatment that will destroy these cancer cells.  We just have to find out which one it is.  It is my hope this is the one.

Today I read one of my favorite scriptures that says, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and eye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." D&C 88:62-63.  This scriptures makes it sound so easy and I'm doing all that it says.  I have great faith that Heavenly Father hears all of our prayers and he will answer them in His timing.

President Eyring just 2 weeks ago in General Conference taught, "All of us have had our faith tested by precious blessings delayed, vicious attacks of those who wanted to destroy our faith, temptations to sin, and selfish interest that reduced our efforts to cultivate and soften the spiritual depths of our hearts...If you listen with the Spirit, you will find your heart softened, your faith strengthened, and your capacity to love the Lord increased."  He then quotes this scripture:  "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." D&C 69:4-6.

How can I be discouraged after reading those quotes?  They give me the spiritual medicine I need to keep moving forward, to increase my faith and hope and to continue to believe in miracles.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Grandma Jeanne

This was the last picture I took with Jeanne New Years Eve 2015.
For 3 weeks my Step-Grandma Jeanne was in the hospital.  She has been healthy for most of her life.  She was lucky in that she didn't have to suffer for long.  It was interesting that when I was leaving from being home for Christmas the thought came to me that this could be the last time I see her alive.  Isn't that crazy.  The little pieces of inspiration that come our way.  I had the nice opportunity to talk to her on the phone and while I talked to her, my brother was recording our conversation from her hospital room.  It is a strange feeling knowing in the past 4 years all of my grandparents have left this earth, but I've been so blessed to have them as long as I did.  My aunt asked each of us to send her a word that described her.  I sent her a sentence about how she made the best spaghetti sauce and deviled eggs, as my aunt included it in her obituary.

We were all planning on coming home this week, but because of her death we came home Sunday.  I flew to Provo and drove with the kids to Boise.  Sunday evening was the viewing.  She looked beautiful and peaceful.  I love this picture of Tenielle and Kadyn.
The funeral was on Monday and was beautifully done.  Our family sang How Great Thou Art for the opening song, my aunt did her life sketch, my brother Troy gave an amazing talk and shared all the memories we had of her growing up, all the grandchildren and great grandchildren sang I Am A Child Of God and our friend Ted gave a talk.  It was a small funeral, but well done.
Boy Cousin
I will miss our walks to Grandpa and Jeannes as we have done it all of our lives since they only lived 12 houses down the street.  It's funny that when we were growing up we thought it was such a long walk, but as adults it is so short.  I've walked down and back several times this week and reminisced the last 39 years of my relationship with them.  Oh the memories.

Jeanne M. Swensen was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 13, 1926 to James and Bertha Blood. She was the 9th child born of 12. She passed on March 28, 2016 and is now among the angels.
Jeanne was loyal, humble, humorous, sincere, giving, lovable, a good listener, compassionate, caring, generous, unique, feisty, and beautiful inside and out. She made the best spaghetti sauce and deviled eggs around and most recently shared one of those recipes with her granddaughter. 
She married John Godfrey at the age of 17. He was in the Navy and she worked at the defense plant as a "Rosie the Riveter," during World War II. They were married 32 years and later divorced.
Jeanne worked at the Western Idaho Potato Processing Plant for 25 years, where she was the supervisor over quality control. It was there that she met the love of her life and sweetheart Ralph Swensen. They were married on May 27, 1977 and shared 37 years of marriage until his death in December 2013.
She loved food, playing cards, bingo, going to Jackpot, her cat Oreo, spending time with grandchildren and great- grandchildren and time spent at the beloved cabin "Rocky Top," in Placerville, Idaho. Family was the most important thing in her life. It was the little things in life that made her happy.
Jeanne didn't like to travel much, but when her family from the east coast came to visit she enjoyed Ralph being the tour guide whether it was taking them to the cabin, Yellowstone Park or Montana. Lots of special memories were made.
Jeanne is survived by four step children: Robert (Thalia) Swensen, Leslie (Kathy) Swensen, Linda (Tony) Young, Marian (Harvey) Kenworthy; 15 grandchildren: Emily Parrott, Callie Booth, Robert Abram Swensen, Benjamin Swensen, Andrew Ralph Swensen, Joshua Roach, Jamie Johs, Shawn Swensen, Terah Young, Tyler Young, Troy Young, Tristen Rasmussen, Tony Young, Tanner Young, Tenielle Young; and 26 great-grandchildren; her sister Barbara King, along with many dear nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband Ralph Swensen; previous husband John Godfrey; many brothers and sisters-in-law; her parents; siblings James Blood, Arthur Blood, Dorothy Karrabbio, Eileen Chitro, Norma Faenza, Thelma Phillips, Patricia Reagan, Lorraine DeSimone and Marion Green.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 4 at the Nampa Tenth Ward LDS Chapel, 927 Ruth Lane, Nampa. A viewing for family and friends will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, April 3 at Zeyer Funeral Chapel, 83 N Midland Blvd, Nampa (467-7300) and at the church from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the services. The graveside service will be held immediately following the services at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 15862 S. Indiana Ave, Caldwell. The family extends an invitation to all who would like to return to the church for a meal for family and friends provided by the 10th Ward Relief Society. -