Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Thanksgiving was marvelous! My entire family spent it at my Mom & Dad's this year, & it was just a great day! I was grateful to have the week off of chemo & be able to really enjoy the experience. Kali & Jarett were both home during the holiday & had friends over several times. It was just a wonderful weekend! As we sat around the table at Mom & Dad's & shared what we were most thankful for on Thanksgiving, I said that although I'm not quite sure I can say that I'm thankful for cancer (that's pushing it a bit!), I am so very grateful for the blessing cancer has given me of drawing closer to my Heavenly Father & Savior, Jesus Christ. I am also thankful for the blessing of being so loved & having my love also grow deeper for my family, relatives, friends, ward members, people in this beautiful valley, doctors & even strangers I've met through this experience. These past 14 months have given me such a profound appreciation for the power of love, compassion & charity in our lives. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all experience this each & every day of our lives? Thank you again for your love, prayers & faith--it means everything to me. Love always, Kim
Friday, November 4, 2011
Dr. Prystas, Me & Kathy(the most fabulous nurse!)
Jeri, Val & Amy (what fun gals--always smiling & laughing)
Enjoying my "chemo cocktail" in the party room
It's not always a fun process, but I am so incredibly grateful for these wonderful ladies in my life. They are so compassionate and show their love for me and my family in so many ways.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Two blessings that I'm most thankful for are the opportunity to do our family pictures, & the blessing of being able to attend General Conference for the first time in my life on Sunday afternoon. When I was so sick, I just prayed that at least I would be able to participate in those two activities with my family. My prayers were answered abundantly! I was even able to attend Braedon's football game Saturday before I started feeling lousy again. When I get the pictures back, I'll have to post one...my dear friend (& hairdresser), Heather Holbrook, showed up at my house Saturday morning & did my hair & make-up. I wish I'd taken a "before" picture so you could see the miracle she performed on me that morning. My brother, Paul, told me that morning that I have the best friends...I totally agree! How could one person have such great family & friends? I am especially thankful for my best friend, the Savior, who is always there during my darkest hours--I know that I am never alone and that I matter to Him. Love always, Kim
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Last night, our Stake Relief Society held a special meeting & had Sister Virginia Pearce speak to us. I think she was there just for me--it was wonderful! She spoke about living "abundantly" & that is what my goal is--to live my life abundantly as long as I can. When we were heading down to S.L. to the Dr.'s last week, Kali & I were texting about how it had been a year to the day since my diagnosis. I wrote something about it being a wild year, and Kali responded: "Yeah, it's been quite a year...but Mom, it's been a YEAR!" That put everything into perspective for me. A year ago I could never imagine still being here to see & experience another beautiful fall day. We have had so many wonderful experiences this past year as a family--especially these past 6 months. I have been blessed so abundantly, & have felt the love of the Lord in my life more this past year than at any other time. I am once again feeling the prayers of many of you who have known of my circumstances this past week, & I am grateful! Love always, Kim
Monday, July 25, 2011
Anyway, my CA-125 levels came back and were 67--yeaaa! That is the lowest it's gone down since I was diagnosed. Dr. Prystas did another very thorough exam & said that so far things are looking good. My stomachaches have pretty much disappeared, but I still have to be somewhat careful about what I eat. I know that 3 pieces of chocolate cake in a day isn't the best diet (& really--it's not normally that bad! It had been a stressful week & I was eating for comfort). The sad news I have to report is that my sweet dog, Maggie, passed away while we were at a family reunion in Bear Lake. The vet thinks it was an auto-immune disorder that hit her pretty quickly & she was only sick for less than 48 hours--she doesn't think Maggie suffered much. I have felt so badly about her death. She was kind of a handful for everyone else in the family, but she absolutely loved me & I loved her in return. She spent most of this winter on her pillow, keeping me company while I was going through chemo. She was one of my angels, & I am really missing her--it's hard to go walking & work outside without her right next to me.
I get two more months "off" from the Dr.'s (unless something else crops up) & will go to see Dr. Dodson, the gynecological surgeon, in mid-September. Unfortunately, I've had to visit the hospital the last couple of days because my younger brother, Matt, was in a mountain biking accident in Cedar City on Saturday. He's going to be okay, but had surgery this morning to repair a broken hip & also has a torn ligament in his shoulder & a fracture in his wrist. He's going to be hurting for a while. :-( With four members of my immediate family having spent some time in the new IMC in Murray since it opened, I'm thinking of asking them to give us a family discount or at least name a wing of the hospital for us! Seriously, though, I am once again grateful for the blessings of good medical care, wonderful family & friends, & the knowledge that Heavenly Father & our Savior are always mindful of our needs & are right there to bless & comfort us. Thank you for your continued prayers & kind thoughts. Love always, Kim
Sunday, June 19, 2011
They're not sure if the problems are caused by scarring of all my innards from the cancer, surgery & chemo treatments, or if there might be some cancer still in the abdomen that is causing the problem. The CT scan didn't show any signs of tumors, but it also only shows cancerous areas that are 1cm in size or larger. Sooo...I am now on a low-fiber diet--I can't have alot of fresh fruits & veggies, nuts and whole grains. (or, as Vern says, basically my same old diet!) Darn! I'd just got so I was really liking all the fresh veggies & could make a pretty good green salad! I had been reading this "anti-cancer" book that listed all sorts of changes we could make in our lives & diets, and had been trying to follow it's recommendations--Dr. Dodson told me to stop--that may have been one of the things that landed me in the hospital! So we're back to white bread & cooked veggies. The plan is for me to still follow up with my oncologist, Dr. Prystas, in mid-July and then see Dr. Dodson in September--unless something else comes up before then. Summer feels like it might finally be here, and I am so wanting to just enjoy it with my family! I pray each day for more time to be here with my family & friends, and am trying to follow Julie B. Beck's counsel to be sure that we take care of the "essential & necessary" things in our day before we get to the "nice-to-do" stuff.
Thank you again for your prayers, love & support--I know those prayers have allowed me to come home instead of going to the OR again this week. Once again, there were many tender mercies that occurred during my week that let me see the Lord's hand in my life--He is awesome!! Love always, Kim
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Years ago, I read Lance Armstrong's book about his battle with cancer. I remember him writing that the chemo/radiation treatments weren't nearly as hard as the waiting he did for the year after he was finished. When you're doing your chemo treatments you're so focused & feel as if you're actually "working" on killing the cancer cells. I can see that just waiting & watching for symptoms is going to be pretty tough mentally & emotionally. But I've decided that in most ways, nothing has really changed...I am still entirely dependent on my Heavenly Father. He is in charge--He has always been in charge--I've just deluded myself into thinking that I've been in charge for the last 46 years. That doesn't mean that I'm not doing everything I can to get and stay healthy--I'm trying to make changes in my diet, my environment, my attitude, how I spend my time & energy. But I have to not waste my mental & emotional energy by worrying & giving in to my fears of "what if". I'm going to try to just go forward & enjoy this summer as much as possible. Jarett is graduating from Weber this week & will be heading off to BYU-Provo this fall. Kali is staying in Logan & working for the summer, but not too much...I'm hoping to be seeing quite a bit of her. She has promised to come & help me with the spring yardwork in the next few weeks. Hunter & Braedon will be busy with camps, soccer, basketball & baseball...& we have a few family reunions to attend. Vern and Kali are heading to Alaska on a road trip in June. It promises to be a busy summer & I'm excited about it, & looking forward to feeling well. I've decided that I'm not going to worry about updating this blog each week. If anything happens before my appointment with Dr. Prystas the middle of July, I'll write about it..but I'm hoping that I won't be writing before then.
The scriptural reference I'm trying to engrave in my brain for the next couple of months is this from John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Elder Holland once said that this may be one of the Savior's commandments that is almost universally disobeyed. I know that faith & fear cannot coexist together, & that my Savior wants me to be happy & joyful--this is my goal for the summer (and for whatever time He continues to grant me!). I am so thankful to Vern & our children, Mom & Dad, my brothers & sister, Vern's family & all our extended family members, my ward family, my Ogden Valley family and all my dear, dear friends throughout the world who have supported and sustained me with their fasting & prayers, their letters & gifts, their kind words and acts of service throughout the last 8 months. How can I ever repay what you have given me? You truly are "angels" who have been sent to watch over & minister to my needs. I love you, & I also pray for you--I know that I'm not the only one who has gone through challenges this past year-- we've all had them--mine have just been more visible than yours. Thank you for being there for me. My love & prayers are always with you.--Kim
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I also got the pathology report this week from Dr. Reading. They found absolutely no cancer cells in the right breast anymore--yea!!! They removed 9 lymph nodes from the right arm, and two of them still had residual tumor cells in them. She said that I have responded very well to the chemotherapy for the breast cancer. It's difficult for me to believe that there were no cancer cells at all in the right breast, considering how large and extensive the tumor was 7 1/2 months ago--that is just an amazing miracle to me. I'm still not sure where we go from here. Four weeks ago, the CA-125 levels were 79, which leads my oncologist to believe that there is still cancer in me--they're just not sure yet where it is. I was kind of hoping that they would find cancer cells in the breast, so we would know where they were, and I could feel good about getting them removed. I am so grateful that the chemo has worked so well--I just need to wait (again & always!) until I speak to Dr. Prystas next week to see what the game plan is at this point. Thank you again for the prayers and support during this recovery--it has been much easier so far! Love always, Kim
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I received the news in Provo where I was attending BYU Women's Conference with Mom, Julie and Heidi. It was a wonderful conference, and just the place I needed to be with my worrying. All of the classes I attended offered some good insights and the Spirit was strong there. It was wonderful to get away with these wonderful women whom I love so much, and just enjoy being with them. Elder & Sister Bednar's messages were especially inspiring to me. The theme of the conference was from Alma 37: 6-7: "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." I spent alot of time those two days thinking about all the "small & simple things" that have consistently been done for me and my family by so many of you. These "small & simple things" have lessened my burdens and have greatly affected my outlook & attitude--thank you. I am also very thankful for the many "small & simple things" my Heavenly Father & Savior have done for me. I've been trying to write in a gratitude journal each day since my diagnosis--it has been a very small thing for me to do, but has helped me to really see all the great things that have occurred in my life. I am grateful that I have the gift of sight so I can write and read the about the small & simple things that happen each day in my life. It is so interesting to me that as we recognize our blessings and express gratitude to our Maker for giving them, He pours out even greater blessings upon us. I love you all and thank you for your prayers for me this week. Love always, Kim
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Kali is home from spring break this week, & it's always a delight to have her here! I was able to teach the lesson in Relief Society on Sunday, & I have a full week of activities planned with the family. I continue to be grateful to my parents, all those who bring in meals three times a week, & my cousin, Karen, who comes each week & helps with housework. I know it may seem like a small thing to those of you who are serving our family, but it helps our family immensely for me to have the energy to spend with them when they arrive home from work & school. It has been a long 6 months since things started going crazy for us, & I think the kids are holding up pretty well. We've been able to keep things fairly normal for everyone thanks to all these sweet "angels". I am also very thankful for all my dear friends who call to talk & listen, and those who write such sweet notes. I don't think you'll ever know how much it means to me--thank you. Love always, Kim
Saturday, February 26, 2011
There is so much that I don't know about all that's going on, and where things are headed in my life. I've spent most of my life deluding myself that I'm in complete control--I've always had structure & a plan! Realizing that I don't have control over everything is a huge challenge for me. But, one thing I do know for sure is that I have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who love me. Because They can see with an eternal perspective--past, present, future--I always have Their attention. They know what I'm going through; what I am, and am not capable of, and what is best for me and my family--in this life and for eternity. I know that in the Garden of Gesthemane and on the cross, my Savior has already suffered all that I am going through, and because of this, He is the one person I turn to for strength & comfort. I know also that He daily inspires all the good people in my life. Every day I am loved and receive Christ-like service. Every day there are tender mercies to get me through the day, and yesterday was no exception. I love you all. I am grateful for your faith & prayers. Love always, Kim
Saturday, February 12, 2011
One thing I am especially grateful for this week is the faith and prayers of little children. This last month I've had the opportunity to meet with several young children who have been praying daily for me. I can't begin to describe how touched my heart has been to learn of, and meet with, these precious children of our Heavenly Father. Their faith is so pure and strong, and I am so thankful for their prayers--I know that He especially listens to, and answers their prayers. Thank you, parents, for teaching these young ones to pray and exercise their faith on my behalf.
Yesterday, I also had the great blessing of having my mom's sisters (otherwise known as the "sisty uglers") come to visit me. We had a wonderful visit (albeit short!), and they tied a new quilt to fit on my bed. They, and their families, have been such a support to my family and especially to my Mom, as she serves us all.
I was really hoping to be done with the chemo by this point--I feel like I have been one of the longest running service projects--and am continually thankful for the many acts of kindness & service still being given to us. I can't believe that 5 months into this, everyone is still so thoughtful and generous--you are wonderful and I love you! Happy Valentines's Day! Love always, Kim
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Kim is the most amazing gal I know....she teaches me every day that I'm with her by her Christlike example! What an honor to be her Mom As her Mom (and Dad and siblings) we thank everyone of you that have been and continue to be Angels...for all of the meals, help with the kids, help with the house and everything else that you do....especially the prayers.
We dearly love every one of you! Fern
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
On Monday, I felt again an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Dr. Prystas and her staff--I have so much confidence in her and her abilities. We pray daily that she, and the other physicians treating me, will be guided and directed in the treatment they are providing for me, and I feel a sense of peace that all is going according to plan. What a blessing it is to have such good medical care! I think that because we are so used to having the advantages of good medical treatment, that we take it for granted and don't realize that miracles are performed daily by the good people in the medical field. I do believe that along with their hard work and diligence, our Heavenly Father inspires and blesses them with the knowledge to use the resources He has given us on this earth, and the knowledge of the human body which He has created, to heal our bodies and minds. My prayer is that all of His children could have the same advantages which I have in receiving these miracles. I guess that is part of the the work He has given us--to figure out how to share His blessings with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. I hope that I can be an instrument in His hands in doing this. Love always, Kim
Friday, January 7, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Waking up on the morning of this new year, the sun is shining and this valley is beautiful!! I've been reflecting on how much I love living here--it's not just about the beauties of nature that we enjoy so much. I really think the reason why I love it so much here is because of the beauty in the hearts of the people surrounding me. Twenty-three years ago, Vern was finishing up dental school and we were trying to figure out where we wanted to practice and live for the rest of our lives. Vern was kind of thinking somewhere in southern California or Nevada, where there was more of an opportunity to make a better living--Utah was (and still is!) full of dentists--there were better opportunities elsewhere. Having grown up being close to all four of my grandparents, and four of my great-grandparents, I was pretty adamant about trying to be as close to our families as possible. When the opportunity arose to purchase a practice in Huntsville, halfway between both of our families in S.L. and Brigham City, we jumped at it. I think this has been one of the very best decisions we've made in our married life! It was quite a struggle financially for about the first 7 years, but as I think especially about the last 3 1/2 months, I realize what a "tender mercy" it has been to live here. We are blessed to have close relationships with our parents and siblings, and the relationships we've developed with our friends and neighbors in this valley are a treasure. A friend remarked to me the other day how blessed I've been, because not many people in this life get to know and feel how very loved they are--too often these feelings and sentiments aren't expressed until an individual is gone. I have felt that love in abundance and do feel so blessed!
My next chemo treatment is scheduled for January 10th--this will be my fifth treatment. My body has been responding so well, and hopefully I will only have to have the six treatments originally planned. After that, they will have to do some imaging to determine how much the tumor in my breast has shrunk and if they can then do surgery to remove it. I think I am one of the few women who is hoping for, and looking forward to, a mastectomy. I'm not sure what this new year has in store for me and my family, but I do know that our Heavenly Father and the Savior continue to love us and are very aware of our needs--They constantly inspire the wonderful acts of love and service which we daily receive. Happy New Year to all!
Love always, Kim