Kim's journey

Kim was diagnosed last Thursday, September 16, 2010 with ovarian cancer. As Kim's Family, Friends, Neighbors and Fans - we have started this blog to help share information, updates, support, and love with each other during her next few months of surgery, treatment and healing. We will try to update it whenever we receive information. Please feel free to leave a comment expressing your support, love, and encouragement anytime - as that is how we will all grow and strengthen each other - especially Kim and her family. We love you Kim, and our faith, prayers, and total support and dedication are with you as you embark on this "Journey"!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Update

Just a quick update--It's Friday evening and all is well. My mom went home on Wednesday morning, for what was supposed to be a week's break--it lasted for less than 24 hours. I woke up yesterday morning at 2 am with a fever, chills and body aches. I was so miserable that I called her at 8:30am bawling for her to come back. Seems I just happened to pick up some "bug" floating around, and fortunately, it seems to be the 24-hour kind. I'd just started taking a pretty strong antibiotic for something else on Wednesday, so that was just getting into my system and I've been doing well all day today. Mom went back home yesterday and took Braedon & Hunter to my sister's last night for a sleepover, so it's been fairly quiet around here today. Today I've felt halfway normal. I even washed a few (maybe 8!) dishes and actually walked out to my mailbox today and back--Wow! Now I'm really moving! The progress has seemed very slow to me--it's felt like 2 steps forward and 1 back--but today I've actually felt that I've made some progress. I'm looking forward to having one more week before my next chemo to gain more strength and get up and about a bit more. I ran across a quote in a book Wednesday that I've been pondering on. As members of the LDS Church, most of us are familiar with the saying, "Where much is given, much is required." But the quote I found says, "Where much is required, much is given." This has certainly resonated with me, as I've had a few "pity" parties the last month, and I've been unhappy with what has been "required" of me. But I cannot deny that though much has been required, much has been given to me and my family. Our Heavenly Father & Savior have certainly blessed our lives--especially these last few weeks. I ask myself frequently if I am learning what I'm supposed to be learning from this whole experience. I certainly hope that I will be more sensitive to the needs of others in the future. I think unless you've been in a similar situation, you cannot understand how each and every small thought and gesture of kindness, along with prayer, helps lift the spirits of those that are suffering. I love you all and so appreciate your prayers and compassion.--Love always, Kim

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Turning the Corner

Thank you so much for your prayers. I've spent the afternoon pondering again the hand of the Lord in my life. When things aren't going very well, it's difficult to see His blessings, but as prayers are answered and I begin to see progress and feel hope again, His hand is so evident that I wonder how I could ever have missed it!
I'm thinking I may have turned a corner this week--I've had two pretty good days in a row. The nausea has begun to wane and it's getting a little easier to eat--not easy yet, just easier. Today was the first time I've weighed myself that I didn't lose any weight overnight--hooray! For the first time in over 30 years, I'm trying to gain weight instead of lose it. Over the years, I've run into people who struggle to maintain weight or gain it, and I've thought to myself, "Oh, boo hoo--that's a problem I'd like to have for two weeks!" Now I have a greater appreciation for how difficult it is for them. Thank you again for your specific prayers on my behalf--I feel them being answered each day.
Today I actually put 'real' clothes on and went somewhere in the car--and it wasn't the Dr.'s office or hospital! Mom and I went downtown for about 2 1/2 hours to run a couple of errands and find me a wig. There's a little place called Robert's Wigs and the owner, Melanie, was just the best! Of course, I ended up getting the first wig she tried on me--I think she's got pretty good instincts. I put it on when Braedon and Hunter got home, and Braedon thought I'd got a haircut and dyed my hair--until he realized that the wig was actually longer than the hair I presently have! Anyway, it's kind of cute and I guess I may be needing it in about a week.
I love you all, and so appreciate the many cards, messages and acts of Christlike service--we have certainly been given much more than we have ever given. Love always, Kim

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prayers Answered

I am so grateful for the many prayers offered on my behalf this week--especially those asking for the chemo to work quickly on the fluids in my lungs so that I might not have to go back on oxygen. I know that our Father in Heaven is merciful, kind and quick to answer the prayers of the faithful. I feel as if I have been part of a miracle this week, as I have not had oxygen since I left the hospital on Monday. The rest of the chemo side effects are difficult to describe. It's not been horrifically awful, but this week has also not been easy, and if I had been unable to breathe everything would have been so much more difficult. Thank you for your faith and prayers on my behalf. Mom says she sees me getting a little stronger each day. It's hard for me to see that yet--I still feel that each day is a little bit of a roller coaster. I took a ride with Mom over to the Valley Market yesterday and had a couple of friends come out to the car to say "hello". It was wonderful to be out and see my friends. I can hardly wait until I'm able to get out and about more--hopefully, next week! Once we got home, though, I was so tired and nauseated and a little frustrated with my progress--I spent most of the rest of the day in bed. Each day seems to bring new challenges and blessings. I am so grateful for the blessings, and need to remember that they are coming because of the challenges--I know there must be "opposition in all things". I am so grateful for the Atonement of my Savior, and His kindness in blessing me through each of you--your thoughts, prayers, messages and acts of Christlike service. At the risk of being greedy, as you pray, would you specifically ask Heavenly Father to bless me that my appetite may return and that I would be able to eat more easily? This has been one of the most bizarre side effects of my surgery and chemo. Those of you who know me well, know how much I love to eat and this is becoming a very large challenge. I have lost 18 lbs. since I left the hospital (a large part of this has been fluid retention), but I cannot afford to lose any more weight if I am going to continue with chemo over the next 4 1/2 months. I love you and am grateful for the blessings being bestowed on me and my family.--Kim

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Each Day a Little Stronger

In talking with Kim this morning - she is so grateful for each of you and your prayers in her behalf.  She has been blessed since her chemo on Monday so that her breathing has been better and she has not had to have her oxygen at all this week.  She says that it is hard to describe exactly how the treatment has made her feel - but she said she is getting a little stronger each day. 
Knowing Kim as we do - we know that it is a little strange for her not to have an appetite - but her sweet mother, Fern, keeps the small meals and snacks close by for frequent nourishment.  Kim did say - that in the middle of the night - she was craving an egg salad sandwich - so that was on the menu today for sure.
Kim was even planning a little outing today - just to get out of the house.  Maybe just a trip around the Valley. 
Thanks to each of you for your support, and your loving comments on the blog.  Kim finds comfort and strength from all of the thoughtful notes of encouragement.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Faith and Prayers

Kim called on her way home from her first treatment.  She said everything went well with the chemotherapy.  While there she was struggling with her breathing and so they sent her to the hospital to be checked out.  They decided to draw fluid out of the left side of her chest cavity.  They took out 1350 cc's of fluid.  Normally they do not draw fluid from both sides at the same time - because there is a chance that the lungs can collapse, but after getting the doctors opinion - they decided to draw fluid out of the other side where she had previously drained just last Friday night - and they took out another 1000 cc's from that side. 
The doctor said that it could take up to a couple of weeks for the chemo to begin to help decrease the fluids. 

So tonight there is something that Kim has requested that we can all help with - and that is to exercise our faith and specific prayers in her behalf to ask that her body will begin to respond quickly to the treatments and that these fluids will cease and she will be able to be strengthened and calmed through our united faith and prayers.

1st Chemotherapy Treatment Today!

Today at 1:00 p.m. Kim began her first treatment of chemotherapy.  The fluid in her chest cavity seemed to be increasing again - making it harder to breath and so Sunday - early morning Kim returned to wearing her oxygen to make life a little easier.  With all of this happening her Oncologist thought that starting the Chemo would help begin diminishing the production of these fluids and so they decided to begin today instead of tomorrow.  Her treatments will be about every three weeks with a total of six treatments - lasting through February.  She will travel to Salt Lake to have them and each treatment takes three to four hours.
Hunter even loaded the conference talks on his mom's i-pod so she would have them to listen to during her treatments! 
Kim was able to sneek into Sacrament meeting yesterday just for a short while - and felt it a great blessing in her life to be there and feel the love and spirit of the ward.
I marvel at her strength, gratitude, and faith - as she faces this new step of her journey.  It remains to be seen - just exactly all the side-affects of the treatments - but we are praying that she can feel of our love and support for her and her amazing family every step of the way!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Roller Coaster Week

It has been quite a week--lots of ups and downs. One day I'm feeling like maybe I'm progressing a bit, the next I'm struggling. Wednesday we met with Dr. Elizabeth Prystas, the medical oncologist who will be handling all the chemo. Her office is near LDS Hospital and she was my sister's oncologist during her treatment for breast cancer. I just love Dr. Prystas and her staff! They are wonderful and I feel as if I will be in very capable and compassionate hands with them. They are still not sure whether we are dealing with just ovarian cancer that's spread or a separate breast & ovarian cancer, so the chemotherapy regimen she is recommending should address both issues. She expects a favorable outcome and reminded me that treating cancer isn't a science as much as it is an art form--they may change things a bit as they go along. She is recommending 6 treatments-once every 3 weeks and I tentatively scheduled to have my first treatment next Tuesday, October 19th if I am feeling well enough to begin. Later on Wednesday we visited with Dr. Leslie Ingersoll in Ogden, a radiation oncologist--she also treated me wonderfully. She isn't recommending any radiation at this point--we are going to wait and see how well the chemo works and use the radiation if and when we need it. Thursday found us back to Salt Lake to see the surgeon, Dr. Webb, and he gave a very favorable report on my healing. He is in agreement with Dr. Prystas' recommendations and has turned me over to her care. I feel so blessed to be able to work with such great physicians--they are all so different, and although they do this stuff day in and day out, they've all been so understanding in recognizing that this is all new and crazy/scary for me. As the nurse, Kathy, told me: "This isn't my first rodeo, but it is yours. We'll get you through this one day at a time!"
After the appointment on Thursday, I came to Mom and Dad's for a couple of days so Mom could do some bookwork at home and Vern and the boys could enjoy the UEA weekend without us. I've been on oxygen at night and part-time during the day since I visited the ER at McKay-Dee a week ago. If I did anything strenuous (ie.-move from my bed to the recliner!) I would be so out of breath that it would take nearly 5 minutes to catch my breath. Thursday night was awful!! I didn't sleep all night because I was struggling for breath all night even on the oxygen. I was so frustrated yesterday morning, thinking there was no way I was ever going to get well enough to start chemo! Finally I called Dr. Prystas' office yesterday afternoon and they had Mom run me up to LDS hospital in the afternoon to do an ultrasound and a "tap" of my right chest cavity. They removed 1900cc of fluid from just my right chest cavity (apparently there is quite a bit in my left one too, but they'll only do one side at a time)--that is just under 2 liters of fluid! I can't believe the difference it has made in my breathing and energy level! Wow! I've been told that once the chemo is started it will begin to take care of all these fluids that have been building up in my abdomen and chest--I'm beginning to wonder if I might be one of the few people who actually feels better after chemo than before--let's hope so! Looking back, it has been quite a week--full of many ups and downs. I am so grateful for the many prayers that have been offered on my behalf and the many acts of service our family has received. I feel as if I am being ministered to my angels each and every day. During the tough times, it's difficult to see things that way, but as my prayers have been heard and answered, I can see the "tender mercies" of the Lord in my life. I am so grateful for the "miracle" of modern medicine--these are wonderful doctors & researchers, but I do acknowledge the hand of our Heavenly Father in granting them His knowledge to bless and heal us. I truly feel blessed to live at such a time as this! Thank you for your love, support and prayers--they have truly sustained me. Love always, Kim

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kim is Amazing

I stopped by this morning for a quick visit with Kim and her sweet mom Fern!  I went there with the hope of brightening their day and sharing with them the love and support of the sisters in our ward, but as always the opposite happened and I came away feeling uplifted and blessed to be able to know and associate with these amazing women. Last Friday Kim felt a little anxious about not being able to breath easily and she headed to the hospital to just be checked.  While there she was taken care of by a very caring staff of doctors and nurses - a couple of which Kim new well from the Valley.  She is very grateful for the tender and attentive care that she received amidst a very "crazy" night in the Emergency Room.
They did send her home with oxygen and she is using that periodically throughout the day and night to ease her breathing.  The team of doctors met today to plan and chart her upcoming treatments.
Her mother, Fern is there and this morning fixed Kim crepes and she was able to eat a few of those.  Kim's color was great, she told me she is noticably stronger each day.  She has a few doctor appointments this week on Wednesday and Thursday, and is hoping for good reports about her healing.
Vern and Kim and their family appreciate so much all of the many caring ways that you are showing love for their family.  She is missing and craving her regular social schedule - but realizes that for now your prayers, cards, and blog posts are what she needs most - as getting her strength back is the most important thing - so that they can begin Chemotherapy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Follow-Up

I realize that I haven't been in communication much, and am so grateful to Patti and Heidi for updating this blog. This past week has been a tough one--physically and emotionally I am just spent and it takes every bit of energy to breath, eat, sleep and shower once a day. I'll even admit that I haven't flossed every day--just a few times! I have been reading the messages and cards that have been sent, and feel so overwhelmed by the love and support our family is receiving. The flowers, gifts, meals, rides for kids, housekeeping help and errands run have meant so much to us--I wish I could send a thank you note and hug personally to everyone. Please know of my love and gratitude for all you have done and are doing--you are truly serving as the Lord's hands in our lives. I am also so grateful to Vern who willingly goes to work each day and carries such a heavy load; and all my extended family--especially my angel mother. She says that she's doing what any mother would do for a child, but my sister and I know better.
I went to see Dr. Webb today to have the staples removed and things are progressing along slowly, but steadily. My body is still bloated with loads of fluids, which makes it difficult to move much and breath, but we are working on getting those drained off. The pathology reports appear to show that it is ovarian cancer in both the abdomen and the breast. The cells appear very similar in both places, and although they can't completely rule it out, Dr. Webb said it would be just "weird" if it was two separate cancers. I told him there were quite a few people who would probably agree that I was slighly "weird", but he assured me that everyone thinks they're different from everyone else! Anyway, the good news is that ovarian cancer typically responds better to chemotherapy than breast cancer does, so we are hopeful that they can find a "chemo cocktail" that is going to be just perfect at eradicating this! I get to be one of the topics of the day again next Monday among the cancer specialists in SLC and then we'll hopefully get a game plan going. Because of the extent of the surgery, we've been led to believe it will still be a few weeks before I'll be ready for that.
I am really missing all my friends and family, and I don't mean to "shoo" people away from calling or visiting, but I am still so weak and it's difficult for me to talk and visit much. I have a long road ahead of me, and will certainly need the calls and visits in the future. Thank you for your prayers--I still need them so much and they have been what has sustained me these past couple of weeks. Love always, Kim

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This afternoon around 3:00 p.m. Kim was released from the hospital and has returned home to her family.  The past six days have been filled with challenges and blessings.  Her goals now include getting an appetite back, resting, and building her strength and keeping healthy so that she can be ready for radiation and chemotherapy.  Her mother, Fern, is there and has assured us that at least for now she has the wash and house cleaning under control.  Meals are planned and scheduled to go in every other night, so if you are on our list and have not been called yet, you will be receiving a call and will have the chance to help with that.  There are also ladies helping with carpools for the kids at night - and Vern is keeping us posted on anything else that we can help with. 
For now - the family is asking that there be no visitors or phone calls.  Our efforts can still be put towards our thoughts, prayers, cards written, or comments on the blog to cheer and brighten Kim's days ahead.
Vern and Kim are so grateful for everyone and want to thank each of you for all that you are doing in behalf of their family - they feel loved and appreciate each of you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Conference Saturday

Kim was up and walking the hall with Vern this morning! You know Kim, when given a task she's going to achieve it. Gaining strength, an appetite, and control of pain are the three things Kim is focusing on to be able to come home. Yesterday Kim experienced a small setback, but after having the fluid drained from her upper torso, she's bounced back and is looking forward to enjoying Conference today with Vern, Kali, and her mother, Fern. Last night she was also able to see Hunter and Braedon for a bit. Vern brought in a laptop and Kim read the blog entries and was strengthened through your love and support as well. Kim is still not ready for visitors but sends her love and appreciation for your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Getting Some Rest

Kim was able to get some much needed rest last night - even amidst the many nurses coming and going from her room.  It is reported that she will be up today and doing a little walking to start to get her strength back.  The results of the tests from the Pathology department are still a few days out.  These will determine the course that will be taken as far as treatment, whether the breast cancer and ovarian cancer's are the same type, and if another surgery will be scheduled at this time.
The immediate family is still requesting that there be no visitors, but they are so very grateful for everyone's prayers and thoughts - they know they are loved - and it is what's getting them through this time of recovery and healing.