Friday, August 26, 2016

Plum Crisp

Here in Idaho it's the summer harvest time which means we have amazing produce that we just can't get enough of!  My parents have this awesome plum tree that had an over production of plums this year.  Mom kept them in the crisper until I arrived.  But really what do you do with plums?  Make a plum crisp of course.  And if you have boxes of peaches, you of course add them to it!

2 1/2 pounds plums pitted and diced
4 peaches
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
sprinkle of salt
3 TBS corn starch
sprinkle of cinnamon
Combine and let sit for an hour

Remember the Apple Crisp I made last fall?  I used this same Topping.  Cook on 350 for about 40 minutes or until plums are soft and topping is crisp.  I've yet to try it, but I know it's going to be to die for!

Emily's Lemon Chicken

When I was in grad school in Kentucky and I lived with my cousin Emily, she would make this amazing dish.  She has cooked it each time I have visited her over the years.  I've always wanted to learn how to make it and she has shown me, but I never really payed attention to how she makes it until she visited me last summer in MVY.

I have been needing to post this recipe for a year and haven't, so since I just made it, I might as well post it.  If you love lemon like I do and pasta, you are going to love this.  It is also very easy and quick and the house will smell amazing while it's cooking.

Chicken Breasts (I half mine so they aren't so thick)
Capers just dump some in.
2 cups Whipping Cream.  Lets be honest, I didn't measure I just made sure it covered my chicken.
1/4 cup Butter, I know I used more than this.
Garlic salt or powder
Lemon Juice
Angel Hair pasta (not spaghetti)
Parmesan cheese to top it off

Combine 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp Garlic powder
Sprinkle over both sides of chicken.

In a large pan melt half the butter over medium high heat.  Place the chicken in the pan and pour some lemon juice in the pan.

 Add some Capers when your meat is almost cooked.
You want the chicken to look like this, so if you have too much lemon juice just dump some out until you are about to put the whipping cream in and then pour it back in the pan.
Pour the whipping cream in.  I think we only put limes on the top because we had them, not because the recipe calls for it.
 Let simmer on lower heat until the sauce thickens about 5-7 minutes.
 Serve over angel hair pasta and enjoy!

Seattle Girls Trip

2 weeks ago I flew to Seattle where HM picked me up.  I swear I changed that plane ticket 3 different times.  Thank goodness for SWA.  HM didn't have the kids (he has 2 darling kids a boy who is 6 and a girl who is 5) that weekend, so 2 weeks before my flight he hinted for me to change it again and come on Saturday instead of Sunday which of course I did.  He made us the most delicious dinner on his grill. I was super impressed with his grilling skills! We also watched some olympics, which I totally have loved watching and am sad they are over.

Sunday we attended his church and mine.  It was fun to attend church with him.  I spent Sunday evening and most of the day on Monday with Aubrey and her awesome kids.  We even got the opportunity to do a little service together.
Monday evening HM had dinner with us at Aubrey's and we had Family Home Evening together.  I spent Monday evening and Tuesday morning with HM.  It was a lot of back and forth, but fun nonetheless.  Time always goes by way to fast when we are together.  I enjoy every moment with him.

I spent Tuesday evening through Thursday morning with Aubrey and her family.  However HM did come for lunch on Wednesday.  Aubrey and I went on a lot of walks and I showed her kids my weight lifting routine in their basement.  It is so nice to walk in Seattle where it is much cooler than Phoenix.  I've been missing my daily walks in Phoenix.  Fall in Phoenix can't come fast enough.
 Aubrey can make me do silly things.  We like to laugh and we do it often!
Thursday morning Alisha and Tenielle flew in for our girls weekend at the beach.  We were celebrating our big birthdays!  My Aunt Marlene and Uncle Tim (Grandma Betty's daughter) have a beach house in Hansville, WA.  It is right on the beach and so relaxing.  Our cousin Jennifer who lives in Lacey also met up with us.  We spent a few hours at Pikes Place, saw the nasty gum wall and then attended a Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand concert in the Park.  I've followed this band for 20 years and love them.  They always put on a great show.  It was even more fun because HM and his kids met up with us.  The view of the sunset was gorgeous and the music was awesome, except for a few of the songs that I don't especially love.  We then drove to Hansvile and got in pretty late, but we still sat up and chatted for a while.
Friday morning Tim made us a Danish breakfast that was delicious and we had fresh picked blackberries and fruit.  We enjoyed combing the beach in our awesome beach hats.  I've never seen so many sand dollars in my life. 
Just as Jennifer was leaving, Aubrey arrived.  We spent a very relaxing day at the house before doing a little shopping and having dinner in Port Gamble.  That evening was super fun as we sat out on the patio talking and laughing as I was wrapped up in my blanket, since I couldn't get warm enough.  

Saturday we were super lazy and slow to get ourselves going, but that's what girls weekends are all about!  We finally got ourselves out the door by noon and down to the cute town of Poulsbo  otherwise known as "little Norway" where we did some shopping and had lunch.  On our way back to the beach house we stopped off at the store so that I could buy stuff for dinner.  The beach to me means Emily's Lemon Chicken.  I haven't made it since I was in MVY last summer.  It is to die for and didn't disappoint.
Sunday Marleene made us breakfast and then we attended church.  We met up with HM and the kids for a quick dinner before we all had to fly home (actually I flew to Boise and Tenielle got to fly to Spokane to see the new baby).  It was a fantastic week.  The weather was out of this world amazing, the food was delicious and the company was most enjoyable.  We will definitely be planning another trip to the beach house in the near future.  It is simply wonderful to be there and the best place to go to relax and forget about your worries.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Good News/Bad News

I have a lot of fun things to blog about from the last few weeks, but I'm going to save that for later.  I unfortunately have to inform you of my labs, CT scan results and what's happening in the next month regarding this ridiculous cancer that just won't go away....

This morning I saw Dr. Dan.  I could tell by his demeanor when he walked in my room that things weren't great.  But they aren't bad, just not what I was hoping for.  

Good News:  All of my labs, except the CA-125 are all normal.

Bad News:  Ca-125 is up from 42 to 47.  It's really only up 11 points from normal, so not super bad.

Worse News:  The pre-sacral mass sitting just above my tailbone grew 6mm.  

Good News:  The pre-sacral mass isn't really causing me much pain.

Bad News:  The red devil chemo isn't working.

Worse News:  I've got sores in my right inguinal region that are side effects from the chemo and giving me horrific discomfort.  I started an antibiotic for them today.

Good News:  The mass by the left iliac crest that I thought was the same size as the pre-sacral mass, is actually only 1.5 cm and hasn't changed in size.

Good News:  I'm not going to be sick this weekend since I didn't have chemo today.  

Good News:  We are going forward with the clinical trial called the Match Trial.  Basically this is how it will go down:  I had more blood work and an EKG done today.  Wednesday morning I'll undergo a needle biopsy, likely from the left iliac crest.  This will be sent off to see if it matches a specific gene that has a specific treatment.  If it matches I'm in and will be given that treatment.  This would be fantastic and I'll likely be on the medicine which is oral until it stops working or forever.

Surgery is also an option to remove the pre-sacral mass.  It is a specialized surgery where they also do an intra-operative chemo treatment.  Even though they say this is experimental, they've been doing it for at least 10 years with good results.  The best place to do this on the West Coast is in San Diego.  While I'm waiting the 3-5 weeks to see if I'm eligible for the MATCH study, I'll go to San Diego for a consult.  

The other option before surgery would also be to start on an oral daily chemo called Procytox.  The major side effect is fatigue.  Dr. Dan did also discuss a few more chemo options with me, one included the first chemo that I did, but these chemo's would make me lose my hair.  I really don't want to go down that road again.

Bottom Line:  Even though I've been on Chemo for over a year, my tumor hasn't responded to it.  Which means in the past year the tumor has really only grown at the most 2 cm.  This is good in the fact that it must be slow growing.  It isn't like I have cancer all over and I'm dying today.  I live with cancer, just like other people live with high blood pressure and diabetes.  And to be honest as a health care professional, there are worse things to live with than ovarian cancer.

It's hard to understand why Heavenly Father hasn't answered my prayers to be healed by this chemo.  I still believe He is listening to me and is aware of me, but I also know that He see's the bigger picture that I can't see.  I believe that I'm not just the one who is learning and growing through this trial, but that there are many around me who are learning and growing because we are going through this trail together.

Tonight Troy brought his kids over while him and Becky went to the gym.  Tears sprang to my eyes when they ran to me and hugged me.  They have no idea of the Dr. appointment that I had today.   They asked me why I was crying.  I told them it was because I was so happy to see them.  I want to be alive to watch my sweet nieces and nephews grow and become the incredible people that I know they will be.  It makes me cry even more to think that this might not be in my future.  In our dinner prayer tonight as 4 year old Stella said it while she walked back and forth through the kitchen, she said "Bless Aunt Terah that her cancer will go away."  This is the same prayer that all of my nieces and nephews and friends children are saying all over the country.  I have faith in these prayers and know that they are heard and will be answered according to the Lords will. 

I am so very blessed to have such an amazing army of supporters, all of who pray for me daily.  I'm especially grateful for the unexpected relationship that has come into my life over the past 5 months.  HM is incredible!  We both believe there is a purpose that we met when and how we did.  It doesn't make sense otherwise.  We don't believe this was just a coincidence, but that the Lord had a hand in us meeting.  I know there has got to be a small or large sense of fear in him.  We had a wonderful conversation last week about having faith and not fear.  Since that conversation I've let go of some of the fear that I was holding on to.  As I was discussing Dr. Dan's visit with HM this morning, he reassured me that there is a solution to this problem, we just need to be patient, keep being positive and to have hope that the solution will come.  Any other man would have wanted me to get lost when he found out my history, but not him.  He makes me want to fight even harder.  I can even cry in front of him and he lets me without making me feel insecure or like I'm weak.

I've discovered in life the secret is to never give up.  Never let a stumble in the road be the end of my journey.  Stay faithful and keep going.

I saw this quote today, which summed things up perfectly,
And so we continue to wait, hope and believe in the Lord's timing and plan, while having incredible faith and patience that the future will be great and wonderful.  President Monson said it best, "The future is as bright as your faith."

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Baby

Yesterday Tristen and Mitch welcomed their first and likely only baby boy.  Oh, he is a doll!  I can't wait to snuggle him and kiss him.  He is just darling.  It always amazes me that when one of my nieces or nephews is born, how automatically I have this amazing love for them even though I haven't even met them.

I always wonder who they will become and the people they will touch.  I'm so lucky to be an aunt.  I love my nieces and nephews as if they were my own.  Carter Mitchell will be one loved little boy.  His sisters already can't get enough of him.


This week actually felt like a "normal" week for me, whatever normal is anymore.  Remember before cancer when I use to only work 2-3 shifts a week and then did normal things the rest of the week?  Well this week felt like one of those weeks.  I forgot how nice normal is.

Of course my days off have been spent doing normal stuff like going to the supermarket, 4 loads of laundry in one day, cooking dinner, eating popsicles on hot days (oh wait that's everyday), finally unpacking my suit case (only to get to repack it again in 1 week!!!), changing sheets, washing dishes, a Tj Maxx/Homegoods run, going to the dentist, reading a book in the middle of the afternoon and oh yes, spending all afternoon at the pool with my friends.

I like normal.  I miss normal. I'm ready for normal to return for good.

Dear Cancer,

Please go away so I can get back to my normal life.

I've been patient with you long enough (like a very long 3 years),

Thank You,


PS.  My nurse's and I are so ready for the Rio Olympics.  I can't wait watch our US athletes over the next few weeks.  Go USA!  Looking at this picture makes me so happy because my hair is finally almost the length it was 3 years ago when I lost it, as you can see in my blog header picture which was taken just a few days before my diagnosis.