Monday, April 17, 2017

Angels Are Everywhere

The past week and a half has been rough to say the least.  I've felt physically and emotionally exhausted.  My body feels like it has been through the ringer.  I hurt when I eat.  I hurt when I don't eat.  I've gained a few pounds, mostly by the many liters of fluid I've been filled with.  It couldn't be from what I'm putting in my mouth, because I've hardly done that for 4 weeks.  I'm so tired that my suitcase is literally where I left it when I returned home a week and a half ago.  I did remove the dirty clothes and put them in a basket, which is now overflowing.  But I just have not felt well enough to do anything with them.  I'm hoping in the next few days that will change.

Let's back up to 2 Saturday's ago when I did feel well enough to attend Anne Of Green Gables with my Aunt Leslie and my cousins.  We had been planning this for a while and I wasn't going to miss it.  We had the best time at this tiny theater in the country.  Plus these ladies are angels to me and I love them dearly. 
The next evening as I was trying to eat I was sitting at my bar and I noticed a picture I have of my Grandpa Swensen on my fridge.  At that moment I felt his arms around my shoulders and knew he was with me and helping me through this journey.

Thursday I continued to have horrible abdominal pain.  I not only had cramping in my upper abdomen, but I also had what felt like surgical pain.  Thursday evening my Bishop and Melanie stopped by.  In our conversation I told them that I felt I wasn't ready to leave Earth.  That I didn't feel like I have done all that I needed to do.  But Bishop reassured me that I have.  He asked me if I had a testimony and I said yes.  It was interesting as I sat in the hospital reading my scriptures one night that I read this verse, "Nevertheless, ye are blessed for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you and your sins are forgiven you. And now continue your journey." D&C 62: 3-4.  This was very reassuring to me and gave me great comfort.

The pain through that night became so excruciating that it woke me several times.  I kept thinking to just wait it out until morning and then I'd call Dr. D and she would admit me to the hospital.  A few days before this, my neighbor had sent me a text saying that she felt she should have let herself into my house to check on me.  At some point between my waking up at 2, 4, and 6 I heard someone in my house and thought it was her, but she never came into my room.  I suspect there was an angel watching over me, helping me through the night, as it was easy for me to fall back to sleep between episodes of pain.  It may have been my Grandpa Young trying to find his way through my kitchen.  I don't know, but I like to think that. 

I called Dr. D's office just after 8 and the phone lines sent me to the on call line.  I told them my issues and Dr. D immediately called me.  I told her of my pains and she agreed an admission was necessary.  She called me back after checking for beds.  They were all full, but a few rooms were opening that morning at St. Joes.  Melanie was suppose to pick me up Friday morning at 11 to take me for more fluids.  I sent Melanie a text letting her know that I'd call her when a bed opened up.  Meanwhile, my friend Huyson called me and asked if she could bring me a drink from Jamba Juice.  It was just the juice and tasted so good.  She visited with me for a while and then Melanie came over.  At one point I told them I had to get back in bed because of the pain and fatigue.  Huyson left and Melanie was going to be decided she was going to stay and read to make sure I was ok.

The hospital called around 1215 and told me they had a bed.  I was never so excited to have to go to the hospital.  You know me if I'm not dying I'm not going to an ED, let alone a hospital.  But I was beyond caring.  I just needed some relief.  The resident came in shortly after I arrived.  He could barely touch my abdomen without me having pain.  An x-ray was ordered to make sure there was nothing else like a perforation or obstruction, which there wasn't. On his way out, I did suggest that I hadn't had my TSH (thyroid) tested for a few months, but since I was off the Optivo which was causing the thyroid issues for the past 6 weeks you would have thought it would be out of my system.

I came across this picture and quote on Friday.  I put it on my instagram with the caption:
"This weeks plan was to pack and prepare to fly to Australia on Monday.  Instead I'm laying in a hospital bed with fluids and pain meds flowing at a constant stream.  Australia might just have to wait a day or two until I'm on the mend.  It has however given me some quiet time to contemplate the true meaning of this Easter week."   Huyson commented:  "I have been thinking about what you and I discuss often: what more there is for you to learn from your trials.  I decided it must be because the rest of us need to learn from your example of trial-bearing.  That hardly seems fair, I know!  Christ was perfect and yet he endured unthinkable trials for us.  I know I am becoming a better person from knowing you, and there is no doubt in my mind you are one of the best who ever lived."  I still can't read this without crying.  It is so humbling.

Saturday morning when the resident came in he told me the TSH was 97 and that he'd never seen one that high.  I informed him it had been 144 at Christmas.  This definitely explains the fatigue.  Dr. D came in that morning and agreed that we needed to double the synthroid.  Around noon the nurse came in with some steroid pills, which I wasn't happy about, because they always make me wide awake, which I should have been happy about.  Sunday morning Dr. D informed me that she was reading that Optivo could cause a colitis weeks after stopping it and to use steroids.  The crazy things was I didn't have any symptoms of the typical colitis which usually include diarrhea, high white count, vomiting and a fever.  Well those steroids worked and by evening I was feeling so much better.  I walked several times around the floor both days and even enjoyed a visit Saturday morning from Aunt Leslie and Uncle Gordon and an evening visit from my friends the Sondrups.

I informed all that I needed to be gone as early as I could Sunday morning because this girl needed to be at Easter Services.  I was out of the hospital a little after nine and even early for church to sing in the choir.  As I was being wheeled out of the hospital elevator I noticed a man walking like he was trying to find something and then he spotted me and looked at me.  I stared at him and recognized his face as the face of a friend of mine whose father recently passed away from lung cancer.  It was so mind boggling to me because I never met this man, but I have prayed for him and his family for many months.  I let this friend know of this experience and she wrote back saying, "He is our angel now. There is no doubt.  I had told him to watch after you before he passed." 

I have had so many angels both here and in Heaven watching over me the past week and a half.  I couldn't have done it without them.  I love this quote that I got in my email today,
"At times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right." Elder Anderson

Isn't that so true?

I still don't feel fabulous, but I know that I will soon.  I'm praying that come Saturday when mom, dad and I fly to Melbourne that we will all feel well and have a joyous time.  (My mom was just as sick or worse than I last week with the flu and is finally slowly on the mend)  I called the airlines on Saturday night.  I'm sure I recognized the voice of the lady on the other end of the line.  I know I've talked to her before.  She was so patient, helpful and rearranged our trip and was able to use our flight credit from Sydney to Melbourne to add to the little that we had to pay for all of the changes.  What a blessing and an angel.  And dad is happy he is flying with mom and none of us are flying through Korea or China on our way back from Bali, but back through Sydney and LA.  I'm a little sad to miss several days in Sydney, but hey at least the entire trip isn't a flop.  I've learned since my diagnosis to let things go, don't ask why and to just go with it.

A few more quote's that really helped me this week:
I love, love, love this last quote.  It has brought me so much peace and understanding this week.

I've decided it's a good idea to stop all treatment until my next scan in late June or early July.  Who knows, maybe the small nodules that haven't been treated with radiation will resolve on their own.  I did ask Dr. D about the mass on the kidney and she said she didn't think it was cancerous as it has been there through all of the scans and hasn't enlarged.  That gave me some relief.  As long as I'm not having any back pain I'm good.  I am so happy that the radiation has taken the back pain away. And I'm so grateful for the many angels in my life.  I have been so blessed to have calls, texts, flowers, rides, meals, prayers, support and everything that I needed this week.  In fact today a sweet friend brought me dinner.  I cried as I opened the door because of the love that I have felt from so many.  When I opened the containers and saw all of the fresh vegetables I was in heaven.  My body needed those nutrients so badly and was so happy to have them. 
I wonder sometimes why the cancer wasn't caught earlier or why I came to Arizona.  These ladies are not only my angels by my dearest friends.  When I think of why Arizona, I know it was to have them and many others bless my life.
I love my nieces and nephews.  I especially loved the pictures I was sent this weekend.  Today Aidree Face timed me.  She was so funny telling me that her mom was looking for her chocolate bunny, but that she hid it in her backpack.  Great way to not let mom eat your candy while you are at school!


  1. I'm so thankful for angels watching over you! I wished so bad I could have been there to help. Soon!!!

  2. You are truly an inspiration to me! Thank you for showing me and our whole family what it means to truly have faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. Your testimony is a light in my life that strengthens my own testimony.
    I told my dad about your blog (he's not so tech-savvy ��) And he immediately asked me to pull it up for him. He sat there for a long time reading your posts. I could see the concern in his eyes for you, but we also know there are angels with you. I too like to think of grandpa in the kitchen, what good memories we have. Thanks for your example, we love you! Marie