Days 2017

Days 2017

Sunday, July 1, 2018

All Rounded Up

I think it's a bit ironic and fun that now that I am officially cancer free, Leslie's marching band is working on their big fall show, titled, "War Cry!"  They get to paint their faces blue, Mel Gibson style, and the whole nine yards.  I will pretend that they are putting on the show to celebrate MY "freeeeedooommmm!"

When I started this entry (a month ago) I was propped up in bed, on nothing but tylenol, recovering from my cancer-removal surgery.  I felt comfortable as long as I didn't move around much and hoped to have my drainage tubes (Luke calls them, "the blood things") removed in a few days.

There was no more cancer, even to be found even under the microscope.  The chemo did a great job,  and was much easier than expected.

Now a month later I'm free of the drains, doing my stretches, etc. easily, and most importantly, carrying around my 21 lb-er.  Mom said sayonara this afternoon.  We decorated her car with paint, "Montana or Bust", and some fun inside jokes like "Captain Bligh Sails Again", part of a Mary Poppins song, and "Repeat After Me:  The Pan is Hot!!"  I figured making her laugh (and cry) was better than just writing her a heartfelt, sappy letter of thanks, because when words can't express..., well, I just thought the car thing was a better move.

I'll tell you something cool that has been on my mind.  Years ago, my Dad's sister Margie had breast cancer.  Before she went under the knife, she asked my Dad to give her a blessing, something he was authorized to do as an ordained elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He laid his hands on her head and blessed her to heal, but seemed to struggle (so the story goes) with the wording a bit, finally settling on "I bless you that the cancer will be *all rounded up*".  Well, she gave him a bit of a hard time for that--trust a cattleman to put things that way, etc.

When Aunt Margie woke up from surgery, her doctor came in to give her the good news.  "Well Margie!  Things went very well!  It looks like we got that cancer ALL ROUNDED UP!"  I like to imagine the surgeon's bemused face at what had unexpectedly come out of his mouth.

Although my Dad wasn't here to give me a blessing, I asked my brother Duke to do so instead. (Mark gave me a blessing upon diagnosis.)  It was nice for me to have an inkling of what my Dad might have said ;) and I'm sure he was pulling for me on the other side.

 More from a month ago:  My mom is still here helping us (nice!), especially since I'm not supposed to be lifting the baby for a few weeks (boo.)   Most of the crew is at the zoo today with their cousins, and then at Primary Children's Hospital for Cooper's cleft ortho appointment, and then maybe swimming, so Mom is going to definitely need the Superman mug tonight upon her victorious return.  What a Woman.

Life is beautiful here, especially with these sweet kiddos around me.  Here are some pictures from the last couple months.
I have a very pretty mother.

Leslie ran for student council.  She had some fun with her posters.  She didn't make the cut, but then was asked to serve as band president.
Guess the fish weren't biting today.

One of the benefits to having Mom staying here (and for everyone feeling sorry for me) was that I got some fun visits from my Sistas.  Here is Rosie cuddling with Aunt Brookie.
 Us with Darcy and her boys.

 Me teaching Brookie's boys all about babies.  They were fascinated and loved the whole bath thing.  I especially thought this was fun because I got to tell Brigham that I gave him HIS first bath, when they landed at our home while waiting for adoption legalities to clear.
Brooke and Jared took Luke with them for the day and played at BYU and Bam Bam's BBQ.  Luke loved it.

Rosie at about 7 mos?

Mom planned a family night for us about pulling together as a family.  We had a 14 legged race.
Leslie went to the prom.  We thought it was pretty cool that she got to wear my sister's prom dress (they are both nearly 6 feet), that my mom had sewn back in the day.  Does that make this vintage, Brooke?  Are you that old?
I love this picture.  She looks about 8 feet tall.

Mom, enough with the pictures.
Me, a little down in the dumps about my bald head and how long everything is taking this day.  I still had eyebrows at the end of chemo, eventually they came out but thankfully mostly because the new ones were growing in.
Mark took the kiddos on a little getaway to Moab and Goblin Valley over spring break.  He took lots of pictures so I wouldn't feel too left out.

 The arch is there in the background.  I guess Luke was getting a little too winded on the attempted hike so they opted out.  Although very healthy, we are still kind of figuring out how much to push him with his fancy heart.

 Very funny,

And of course, we always love Sand Dune Arch.

 Leslie looks like a little kid with that face.

 We also took an evening to visit the Lavendar farms and the fun western stuff there. 

This is George, Rosie's intended, so we had to get a picture of the two of them.  They are intended because, A. We love George's parents.  B. We love George.  C. We think we want to put, "Georgie Porgie and Rosie Posie" on their announcements someday.  Obviously.  Rosie looks like she may not have been consulted on this decision.
Me walking out after my last chemo treatment.  You get to ring the bell.  Aunt Kelly had sent me another bell, mostly for summoning children to my every bedside whim, but I went ahead and rang that one after I returned home from my surgery and was truly cancer free.  (Although, the microscope results seem to indicate that this first bell ringing was the real deal.)

And baseball season is upon us.  Cooper and Boston got to be on the same team again this year, with Mark as coach.  They finished in the rankings at 3rd, which means they get to play in the fun "state" tourney in July.

While mom was watching the baby cakes, we took the opportunity to tour a few colleges with Leslie.  Here she is enjoying the syringe pens at Utah State's nursing dept.

 Cooper turned eleven. 
Boston at bat

 Luke came to several baseball games.  His favorite was running the bases after the game was over.

We took a short celebratory end-of-chemo trip to San Francisco after chemo and our anniversary.  Mark had been looking forward to this milestone as a symbol of our fun, LONG, future together.
Bonus:  The bald head got me into the John Muir Natl. Park without a reservation (for a few minutes while the attendant looked the other way), and got us out of a ticket when we accidentally parked in a no parking zone to take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.  (I also got another warning for going a couple miles over once we were home, that probably should have been a ticket.  We call it: playing the cancer card.  I didn't say a word, but I think the officer felt sorry for me:)
The Muir woods reminded me of the Cedar Walk in Glacier Natl. Park.  Where you don't need a reservation.

I didn't wear the wig hardly at all during my chemo, but it was fun to avoid the questions on the trip.  Until it got too itchy.
Alcatraz.  The tour was awesome.

The escape screw--bar spreader.
This is the picture Mark really wanted:  Me on the other side of chemo, wearing a smile.
The rental car they had for us was bright yellow, so we were highly photographed as we made our way down the switchbacks of Lombard.
 I was touching the wig a lot, probably.  I especially held on tight while we went over the Golden Gate Bridge at what felt like full speed on the top of a double decker tour bus.  Laughing all the way.

 We especially loved some of the Alcatraz rules and were quick to point these out once we returned home to our unruly crew.

 This was just kind of funny to come across.  It was at Alcatraz.
 I guess it was a magical trip!

We enjoyed checking out the bottom/interior of an old sailing ship.  This one was unusual because it was used to haul lumber, so it was long and open on the inside.  It smelled wonderful.
We love trying the food when we go anywhere.   This is me, saying, "Seriously?  You're taking a picture of the food??  You are embarrassing me in front of the locals." But he thought it was pretty funny to catch the stink eye on camera.  By the way, I made a pretty good imitation of this pizzeria specialty when we got back.
Speaking of the stink eye...  Rosie has an awesome scrunch face that seems to be her go-to for any kind of social interaction.  She huffs in and out like a bull, and it's like she's trying to make us laugh.  I need to get it on video.

Rosie loved her first ride in the swing.
Leslie and Luke water sealed the porch one day.  They don't have many work projects together so I thought this was cute.

We held our annual last day of school bonfire picnic where the kids get to burn their old workbooks, etc.
Rosie and Uncle Dave
We went to our annual Fillmore Day reunion over Memorial Day.   This is "Uncle Mark" being the life of the party doling out relationship advice to our young adult nieces and nephews and teasing them about their escapades. 
Here is a funny family photo that was unearthed later.  Wahaha.  Mark is on the left, DeAnn, Kathy, Dwight, and Paul, with JoAnn and Sharon in front.

My surgery was June 1, which I am declaring Cancer Free Day.  This is me in recovery, getting a little emotional as I realized it was over.  If I could have peeked into the future from, say, December 1, 2017 and just seen this picture, I wouldn't have believed this whole thing could have happened.  But, I guess a lot of crazy things in life are like that.

I feel wonderful.

Now, a month after surgery, I still feel wonderful, (really), and just so happy.  God has helped me get through this whole thing, and he has made my burdens light, physically making it pretty easy and especially with putting so many wonderful people in my life to help me.  I'm sure I will be sharing many of my thoughts on this and things I've learned in the months to come.

Also, the eyebrows and eyelashes are coming back.  I will never complain about scrawny eyelashes again.  I feel radiant just to have the little growing nubs I have.  Here is me yesterday, comparing hairlines with my lil bro Duke.  I look forward to passing him up.