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"!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update from Fern

Hallelujah...Dr. Prystas' office this afternoon and gave Kim the report on the CA125. We are soooo excited. It went from 1806 to 641 after the SECOND chemo treatment. Kim was hoping for at least 1/2 which would take it to 950 and hearing it went down 2/3 was so exciting. It's been an emotional afternoon. We know that your prayers are working in her behalf. Blessings have been poured in abundance. Thanks from me to all of you. I love you all. Fern

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29

I just got back a couple of hours ago from my 3rd chemo treatment and I'm not feeling quite as nauseous & "weird-brained" as I usually do immediately afterwards. Mom came yesterday before the roads got too bad with the snowstorm, and we headed down to S.L. this morning early. I woke up Sunday morning with a bit of a head cold, and was concerned about whether they were going to be able to actually do the chemo today, but the nurse, Kathy, said that by the time my white blood counts were real low, I'd probably be over my cold--so we went ahead and did it. I was also a little worried because I've had alot of abdominal pain and tenderness near the incision site since last Tuesday. Dr. Prystas did a thorough exam, and feels that I might have an infection going on in the tissue around the incision site and she's given me some antibiotics to try and clear it up. If I'm still having problems by Thursday, then we'll go in an have an ultrasound to figure out what's wrong--I think the antibiotics are going to take care of it.
Before today, I had a pretty good week and a half--the Christmas decorations are up (thanks to Vern and the kids) and most of my shopping is done (thanks to, so we are on our way to being able to enjoy the next month (except for the two weeks I'll be doing chemo!) We started playing the Christmas CD's and Jarett informed us that he's sick of Christmas music already because he's been practicing the last few weeks for Weber High's production of "White Christmas", so we have to listen to it on the sly when he's not in the room or at home. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at Vern's cousin's house and then spent Saturday afternoon with my family decorating gingerbread houses and celebrating my Dad's 71st birthday. If my stomach hadn't been so tender it would have been a perfect week.
Dinner was just brought in again tonight, and we are so grateful for the meals we have received. Even when I've got strength to get up and about, I often don't have the appetite to eat, so it's difficult for me to try and make something to feed my family. Thank you, thank you to all who have brought in meals--we have been nourished both physically and spiritually by your kind service. In closing, I ran across this scripture that I feel really applies to me right now: "Whosever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions..." (Alma 36:3) We are doing our best to trust in God, and know that we are definitely being supported and sustained at this time by Him through all of you. Love always, Kim

Monday, November 22, 2010

Much to be Thankful For

Here's the update for the last week--I began to get my appetite back last Thursday, and have been working on "stocking up" calorie-wise for the next round of chemo on the 29th. As Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, I am very grateful that I'll be able to eat without feeling sick. I was also able to go see the new Harry Potter movie with the kids, Nana and some cousins--my first movie theatre experience in over 3 months-yahoo! I've also been able to do about 3 hours of Christmas shopping in the stores, but it's pretty exhausting so I think the rest of it will be done online. Kali comes home on Wednesday and we are going to spend the rest of the week getting the house decorated for Christmas. It will be good to have all the kids home together for a few days--I'm looking forward to it.

I've had a couple of people this last week ask me what the Dr.'s prognosis is for my treatment and I wasn't exactly sure what to say. I figured some others may be wondering, so here's what I'll tell you--none of the Dr.'s I've seen have really given me a prognosis. Cancer and cancer treatment is difficult to predict because there are so many variables. I was told by two of the Dr.'s that even though they have to "stage" the various cancers, they really hate doing it because the "stage" a particular cancer is at isn't really a predictor for how well that patient will ultimately do. There are Stage 3 and 4 ovarian cancer patients that respond very well to treatment, and then there are Stage 1 and 2 patients who don't respond well at all. Soooo...if you want to know, I have every hope that my body will respond well and that I will be here for many years to come. I'm not exactly sure what happens after I finish chemo--there may be some radiation treatment or not--I think it very likely that I'll have a mastectomy in the future, but I don't know when. It's a possibility that even after chemo the cancer may return and there may be a need for further surgery and/or chemo (I'll try not to get too attached to my hair when it comes in!) There is alot about this all that I don't know about. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I don't do very well flying by the seat of my pants--I'm a girl who usually has a plan. Not knowing what the plan is right now can kind of drive me crazy, but I am learning to trust in our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness and salvation. I am especially thankful at this season to know that His plan for us exists, and that we are His children and He loves us. I am grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. He, too, knows and understands me perfectly and has been with me every step of the way. I am so very grateful for my immediate family and extended family, and to know that we are not sent here on earth to work through everything alone--my family is everything to me, and I am thankful for the blessings the gospel provides that enable us to be together in the eternities. I thank you all for your love, prayers and for following the example of the Savior in providing such meaningful service to me and my family. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and know that I am especially thankful for you this year!--Love always, Kim

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16

This is my first real day completely on my own--it's 11 am, I'm home alone, and I'm still in my jammies. I'm making a new rule for myself--only 1 week in jammies and then I have to put some real clothes on! The second chemo tx went pretty well--some of the side effects were the same as last time, but I think it was definitely easier to go in with more strength and health. Today I'm feeling a little more tired, but half-way normal. Mom is home for the next 2 weeks and will just be coming up to help as I need her. I've spent some time paying medical bills this last month and feel so grateful for the blessing of good medical insurance. I've been wondering how people without insurance handle all this--do they have to forgo needed treatments and medications? It makes me feel sad to think about it.
Dr. Prystas' office called yesterday to give me the good news that my CA-125 levels (CA-125 is a protein that is a type of tumor marker for cancer, especially ovarian cancer) dropped from 3255 to 1806 after my first chemo treatment. Each time I go in for chemo, they draw blood and check several things, this CA-125 being one of them. They will be monitoring this throughout my chemo treatments and afterwards. The nurses were really excited about the results of this test, as they show that the first chemo treatment was very effective in reducing the cancer cells. I felt so much better the third week after treatment, but it's really nice to see that the test results also show this improvement.
We have so been enjoying the lovely meals that are being brought in each week, but more than anything I enjoy the visits of such dear people--thank you, thank you for continuing to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I could not do this without the continual love and support I am receiving from you and our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am feeling especially grateful for Vern this week--he carries alot of heavy burdens and seems to do so effortlessly. He is doing such a good job at keeping things "as normal as possible" for the kids and myself--how blessed I was to meet and fall in love with him 25 years ago!--Love always, Kim

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2nd Chemo Treatment

I'll try not to make this a lengthly epistle again--I probably shouldn't be writing at all since I am really feeling the effects of "chemo brain" at the moment. My chemo treatment was postponed from Monday to Tuesday since Dr. Prystas had to show up for jury duty that day. Mom came up Sunday night and is back to taking care of all of us. Dad is doing really well this week, and I am so grateful to him for making it so easy for her to come here and help--he not only lets her take care of us all--he genuinely wants her to be here and wishes he could be here too. What a blessing to have such great family! Julie came and brought lunch during my treatment yesterday, and the three of us visited while the chemicals were being pumped into me. My health has improved so much in the last 3 weeks, so we are very hopeful that the side effects from this one won't be as bad as before. It's difficult to describe what all the chemicals make you feel like. It's not terribly awful--but I don't feel great. I am amazed when I hear of these people who have a treatment and then go right back to work afterwards--wow! I just feel really out of it. I was glad Mom was driving home yesteday--I think I could have driven myself, but I don't think any of you would have wanted to be on the road with me! Anyway, physically I am getting along okay, and mentally/emotionally things are feeling better too. I've loved being able to get out and about a bit more this last week and seeing all my family, friends and valley neighbors has really lifted my spirits. There isn't a day goes by that I don't get a note, blog message, phone call, visit or other thoughtful act of service and that just makes my day! I know that "angels (are) round about (me) to bear me up." (D&C 84:88) I am so thankful for such good people in my life--how can anyone go through such a thing without such love & support? I am grateful that I've not had to experience that. Love always, Kim

Friday, November 5, 2010

I look like a Marine!

I've had a very good week--gaining strength and stamina and the eating is getting easier. The hair began falling out on Wednesday and my scalp became very tender. I tried styling my hair today after showering, but I couldn't do anything with it and the blow dryer kept blowing hair all over my bathroom. Everywhere I went I was shedding hair--yuck! My friend, Margaret, came to help me by mopping the bathroom floors and vacuuming and I couldn't stand the thought of having my floors all cleaned just to have to turn around tomorrow and have hair all over them again. So, when she was done working, we headed to town to the wig place to have Melanie shave the rest of it off. I cried a little bit while it was being shaved, but it's over and done. My head is all stubbly now and I look like a Marine, but at least I'll be able to eat without finding hair in my food. All the boys in my family tell me the wig looks great--but what else are they going to say at this point? I am wondering what it's going to be like when it all comes growing back in. Unfortunately, I think there will be alot of gray, but I'm hoping that at least it will come back in thick and curly instead of thin and straight. The chemo has done plenty of other things to my body--I think it ought to be able to at least do that for me too!
Heavenly Father has been more than merciful with me this week--I have felt pretty good and have been kept busy with good things all week long. My Dad is on the mend, and if all goes well, he will continue healing and Mom will be back with us when I have my next chemo treatment on Monday. I go to bed each night exhausted and thankful for the day and the many blessings I have been given--I have more than I deserve.--Love always, Kim

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gaining Strength

The last 5 days have been really good for me. The eating is coming along more easily now, and although I'm not often very hungry, food is actually starting to taste good to me when I eat. I've been moving around alot more and doing a few light household chores and it has felt wonderful! What used to feel like drudgery now makes me feel so good. I will try very hard to never complain about cleaning my house--I feel so grateful to be able to do a little bit of it! My cousin, Karen, came yesterday to help with laundry and then she took me downtown to go to Deseret Book, Debra Lyn's and then lunch at Rainbow Gardens. We were gone about 2 hours all in all, and I was so worn out that I actually slept for an entire 5 hour stretch last night before waking up--yahoo! Usually I can only sleep in 2-3 hours stretches before waking up--it felt so good!
Today, Heidi came and got me to go to the Ogden Temple--I haven't been for 6 weeks and I've missed it so much. I really needed to be there this week before starting another round of chemo. There is great peace and power that comes home with me after I've attended the temple, and I am so thankful that they are not going to start remodeling until after I've finished my chemo treatments--another "tender mercy" for me. On the way home, we stopped off at the Valley Market to get a few items and I so enjoyed seeing Terry, Gary and Teresa there. I've missed those folks there and so appreciate all the help they've given our family these last few weeks--what an asset they are to our little valley! I am feeling so grateful for the blessing of health and strength this week and the opportunity to do many of the "little" daily things that we so often take for granted. I'm especially grateful for the blessing of being able to see a few more of my dear friends. I want to give a big hug & kiss to every person I see, but am trying to be careful with my weakened immune system. It's important to me to stay on schedule with my chemo treatments, and I don't want to be catching any "bugs" that might be lurking around so please accept my "air hugs" and know that I can't wait until this is all over so I can give some real ones! The hair is still there, but I wake up every morning wondering if I have any left on my head--it is starting to thin a bit--we'll see what the rest of the week brings.
My Dad ended up in the hospital yesterday with pneumonia, but the Dr.'s were able to get right on it and he is expected to be able to return home this evening. We are so thankful for the miracles of medicine. There is so much talk about the healthcare problems in this country, but we have been the recipients of such good care and feel so grateful that we live in the United States.
I am feeling so blessed and hopeful this week--it's much easier to feel that way when the body is cooperating and I am feeling physically well. I keep reminding myself that I'm just at the beginning of this, and I know there are still difficult days to come--I pray that I will be able to hold on to these good feelings and memories when things get tough again. I ran across a quote in my reading that I love: "We do not experience trials just to see if we will make it through. Each of us experiences the refiner's fire for one reason--to come to know the Refiner." (Emily Freeman) I'm so grateful for my Savior's love and know that He has been with me through all of this. I hope that I won't waste any of this opportunity to come to truly know Him. Every day in our prayers we thank our Heavenly Father for the love and support you are all giving us--we feel it and it is helping to sustain us. Love always, Kim