Saturday, December 31, 2016

Things I Learned In 2016

As each year comes to an end, I like to think about things I've learned from the past 365 days.  This year again, wasn't what I was expecting or hoping for.  Nonetheless, I feel Heavenly Father is still testing me and trying me to see how strong I am.

In 2016 I learned...
~To continue to be patient and endure the trials I continue to face.
~That 12 and 13 year old girls have a lot of drama in their lives, but the opportunity to teach them the gospel is a great responsibility.
~To continue to hope for a long future.
~Buying a used house is a lot of work, but so much fun to make it my own.
~To not remodel a kitchen and both bathrooms at the same time.
~How to do back splash tile in a kitchen.
~That Seattle is a great place to vacation and build stronger friendships.
~ How amazing people are as they give of their hard earned money to OVC research.
~That radiation can make me feel awful, but to hang in there while counting down the treatments.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Moments of 2016

2016 had many great moments.  Here are my top 16 in no particular order:

1.  San Fransico, Radio Row, Superbowl 50
2.  Speaking at the Colleens Dream Gala
3.  A new Niece and Nephew
4.  Idaho Summer Pool Days
5.  Exploring Austin
6.  Christmas at Disneyland
7.  Buying a new house
8.  Girls Trip to Seattle
9.  The Snake River Stampede
10.  Visits from Mom and Dad, Lauren, Tony, Tenielle and Alisha and her family.
11.  Canadian Tenors Concert
12.  Visiting Kirt in NOLA
13.  One last family party at Grandpa Swensens
14.  Dressing up for our family Halloween Party
15.  Young Cancer Survivor's Retreat in Oregon
16.  Lot's and Lot's of weddings, Jenny's, Tenielle's, and Tanners

Sledding and Roller Skating

We had so much snow and ice during our Christmas Break.  One late afternoon we decided to do a little 4-wheeling and sledding.  Well, everyone else did while I stayed inside keeping warm.  They lasted about 20 minutes in the bitter cold before some came in crying.  They are so cute all bundled up.
Another day we decided that we needed to get out of the house and have some fun.  Actually I suggested the idea the weekend we were all in SLC.  So what else do you do in Nampa?  You go roller skating at the Roller Drome of course.
When we were kids we use to go several Wednesday evenings a month because it was family night, that was until Tenielle broke her arm in second grade doing the Grand March.

The kids had a hard time getting started, but by the end of 2 1/2 hours they were doing pretty good.  We will have to do it again.  I must say we laughed a whole lot in these 2 1/2 hours.  Why is it so funny when people fall?  I'll never know but it is.
We found out that Mitch is quite the skate pro.  He even raced and came in 3rd of 4.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas in Pictures

Christmas Eve

My cousin and uncle put up these lights on Grandma and Grandpa's fence. The house is still empty from when my grandpa passed away 1 1/2 years ago.  It did bring us some good memories.
 Every year it seems that our Christmas Eve PJ party gets smaller.  But this year Kayla got to join in on the fun.  Yes, I'm 40 and my mom still gets me Christmas Pj's and I love it and yes, we still take a photo.  I think this might be the last one.  I've decided I'm starting a new tradition next year; Christmas in Hawaii.
I loved that Christmas fell on Sunday.  The speakers at church were wonderful and the music was absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite surprises was when Tristen and her family joined us at church.
I didn't receive many gifts this year, because I didn't need anything.  Everything I received though I thoroughly loved.  A shirt, pewter salad tongs and my very first 1/2 carat diamond in the form of a necklace.  Crazy that I got my first diamond from my parents and Tony at the age of 40.  But it is so special to me and I couldn't be more grateful.  I don't even want to take it off.  I especially love that the chain is adjustable.

My aunt gave me a very special gift this year.  She took this picture of my grandpa which was taken when he visited me at the hospital when I was so very sick and made me an apron with the shirt that he was wearing.  I absolutely love it and can't wait to hang it in my kitchen.
Christmas is such fun with these kids and their imaginations.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Baking

Every Christmas Eve my Grandma Young would send us home with a fabulous platter.  I know I've spoken of it every year, especially last year when I recreated them with gum drops and gummy oranges.  Well, we did it again this year and they were perfect, except I forgot to bring the peanut clusters, so I had to send my dad home to get them (pictured without them, but added later.)  And because of the snow storm that dumped on our state Christmas Eve, my cousin couldn't make it from Eastern Idaho with the Peanut Brittle.  Look at that amazing array of deliciousness.  I was quite disappointed that no one brought and mom didn't want to make grandma's cherry filled cookies.  They are my favorite, especially when they are partially frozen.
It was super fun this year to have Tristen, her girls, Becky, Stella and my childhood friend Melissa join us in the kitchen.  This is one of my most favorite days of the year.  I love the memories and the fun we have.
 Becky brought all of the kids, because Troy ended up working.  They had such fun playing with their cousins. 
 I confess, I bribed them with candy for this cute photo!

 Funny thing happened, Aidree couldn't find her doll.  After several people searched for it Bridget said, "Aidree I'll show you where I hid your doll if you come downstairs with me."  Ha Ha, little sisters can tease too!

Friday, December 23, 2016

OVC Update

A few days before Tenielles wedding, my CA-125 went from 34 to 138.  It is likely that it was from the radiation.  I was kind of a basket case, especially since the chemo nurse gave it to me at the end of my treatment (I had treatment in Phoenix).  That would never have happened in Boise, but I guess they do things differently in Phoenix.  My new Dr. D called me the next morning and told me not to worry about it.  Yea, easier said than done.  But many prayers and answers to those prayers made it easier not to worry about it.  In fact I didn't even tell my parents about it until I flew home for Christmas 2 days ago.

Yesterday I had a ct scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis.  I was for sure there was a tumor in the my lungs or abdomen because I've had some restrictions with breathing and have pain with eating.  Today however, the scan showed that the presacral tumors have shrunk and are calcified thanks to the radiation.  There is some minimal growth of pelvic lymp nodes with the largest amount of growth at 8mm.  I'm so happy there are no new tumors.  Dr. Dan spent a good 30 minutes talking options and mostly talking about the fact that the reason I've been extremely fatigued and having abdominal issues and breathing issues is because my TSH (thyroid) is a whopping 144.  He and Dr. Q both said they have never seen one that high and neither had I.  This explains a lot of the awful side effects I've been feeling.  I called my primary care's office in Phoenix while I was having treatment to find out that 12 days ago my TSH was 98.  1 month ago my TSH was 0.03, so I stopped taking my medicine.  They had sent in a new prescription for me which was less than I was taking before, but didn't bother to call me.  So I went from Hyperthyroidism to severe Hypothyroidism in a matter of 30 days.  Crazy.  I also saw Dr. Q after seeing Dr. Dan (they talked between my elevator ride downstairs and our visit).  Dr. Q said that typically immunotherapy makes the cancer expand before it shows improvement.  This made me feel better about continuing it, even though I feel like poop.  Hopefully in the coming weeks since I'm doubling my treatment I'll be feeling better.

I'm so grateful for no new growth and hoping this continues to shrink the tumors.  It is so nice not to have the tailbone pain.  Tony came with me to treatment today.

This cute boy visited me after treatment today.  He picked a book for me to read.  It was a book about a mom who talks to her daughter about why she looses her hair to cancer.  I'm just glad I have a good style these days.  I told Dr. Dan today that I didn't want to do chemo because I didn't want to lose my hair again and then I asked him if I was being vain and he told me no. 
 On our way home we drove by Grandma and Grandpa's.  It's so sad their house is still empty.  I had so many fun memories of their house.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tenielle Gets Married

Tenielle got married last weekend.  I was super sick from treatment, but put on a smile, a cute outfit, took lots of pills to keep me from wanting to lay myself on the floor and endured.  In fact between the luncheon and the reception which I was almost an hour late to, I spent in my PJ's in bed at the hotel.  I was so sick I didn't get to enjoy much of the food, which by the way was delicious.  It was super duper cold.  In fact from the hotel to the house for an hour to get my hair done it went from rain to snow and continued to snow until just before the luncheon started.
They got married in the Gold Room at the Utah Capital.  It was beautiful and the Governor did a good job, even though it was a bit long winded.  But they are married and that's a wrap for weddings for 2016.

There were only a few meltdown moments:
I couldn't resist.  Too funny!
And here are some from the reception, including who wore the fur coat best, thanks to our friend Sally!