December 23, 2009
December 04, 2009
December 01, 2009
October 28, 2009
October 07, 2009
I Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God; that he may exalt you in due time, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
"Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could go through life scared. Jesus died to take away our sins and our fears. He died to give us hope, to give us life, to give us something, often the only thing, we can trust with complete assurance."The Secret to Riding Roller Coasters by Randall Willard ----(you can read it on the internet)
I am learning to reach for his hand as I descend down the track. Then I start "clackity clackity clack, slowly heading back up about Tuesday. I can feel myself getting stronger each day and try to be somewhat productive as I clack back up the track. Preparing myself for the next round the following Monday.
September 22, 2009
August 25, 2009
My kids are back in school. I love this time of year. There are plenty of new beginnings, fall weather, and high school football games.
Last week was an Open House for the elementary school. I took my youngest son to meet his teacher and see his classroom. We marched into his room and I proceeded to introduce myself to his 5th grade teacher. I begin to explain that last year was a pretty tough year for our family and before I knew it I became a little emotional. It was totally unexpected. I had to take a few breaths before I could continue and explain the situation. It didn't come out to clear and I ended up telling her I would email her with the details. How do I explain how much I have worried about my son?
This last school year as I was going through chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, and living away from home for months at a time, my husband and I were literally in "survival mode."I constantly worried about and prayed for my children. I was the most concerned about Spencer my youngest. He is my "baby." He has a learning disability. Central Auditory Processing Disorder. He can hear just fine but he has trouble processing information. For example when he hears information about a horse he doesn't know whether to file it in his brain under horse or animal, or a form of transportation. He had great teachers last year and he did make progress but it was hard to stay on top of things at home.
I worry about all my kids. A ten year old shouldn't have to worry about their mom. He even asked me one time how long I was going to live. I told him I am young, I have good Doctors, and I am doing everything I can possibly do so that I can be around as long as I can. Probably till he is all grown up and has children of his own. It was hard.
I worry about my fourteen year old son. This summer he went away for a week to summer camp. Something must have happened up in the high Uintah Mountain air because when he came back his voice began cracking all the time. My usual mild mannered boy occasionally turns into a monster unable to control his emotions. This is not the best combination with a mom on chemo, and steriods. I am learning that sometimes it is best to go in the other room and bite my tongue. I love him and we are learning to enjoy the good times.
I worry about my son Jace. He is a senior at Maple Mountain High School. A brand new school. He is heavily involved in Student Council, Seminary Council, and Football. I am just trying to keep track of him at this point. I just hope that he is making good choices. Last year was pretty tough for him. I felt so bad that I was unable to attend any of his wrestling matches. I missed out on a lot.
I worry about my daughter Mallory. No nineteen year old should have to drive their mother to the infusion room of the hospital and then watch as they administer chemo into her IV. She had a pretty tough time last year. She moved away from home to go to college. Luckily it was only twenty minutes away from home. She spent a lot of time back at home taking care of her younger brothers, shopping, taking care of their needs, and helping her dad. She still managed to do well in school.
I am finding that you never stop worrying about your children. My oldest son is married, working and going to school. His life with his wife just started when mine came crashing down. I hope to be able to be more involved with them as my health improves.
I hope that through all of this my children have learned some valuable lessons that will have a positive impact on their lives. That they have learned compassion, responsibility, and to rely more on their family. That even though mom and dad won't always be there to listen to them, or solve their problems, they can always rely on God who listens and answers prayers in the way that is best. That faith can replace the fear. And that true happiness comes from making good choices living a life with integrity, and doing your homework!
So yes this past year has been pretty tough but it's time to move on. Its time for new beginnings, beautiful fall weather, and a few good high school football games.
August 16, 2009
August 13, 2009
July 16, 2009
Today I am sitting on a beautiful green mountain top feeling a slight breeze while the smell of wild flowers wafts across my face and blows through my long, thick, curly, blonde hair (hey it’s my daydream!) The white puffy clouds dot the blue sky.
Today is a day of rest and reflection. My family and I have been looking forward to this moment for over nine long dark months. It is a day to peer down off this steep mountain peak and realize how far I have climbed. I am tired. I am thirsty. I have blisters and battle wounds but today, “I made it to this mountain peak and the mountain’s under me.”
We met with Dr. Tricot yesterday. I “aced” my tests and scans! All the results indicate that there are no signs of any active myeloma cells. I am in complete remission!
Now I wish I could dance through the field of daisies like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music and say this is the end of my journey. It is the end of days and weeks living away from the family. It is the end of aggressive, high dose chemo, and two stem cell transplants but it is not time to retire my hiking boots yet.
I will still be undergoing maintenance therapy for the next year.
This involves four chemo injections a month of Velcade, along with a steriod drug, Dexamethesone, and Thalidomide an “anti-cancer” medication. The Doctor explains that this regimen will kill off the “sleeper cells” lurking in my body and give me the possibilities of a much longer remission.
I haven’t felt “normal” for over a year. I told Dr. Tricot that I would love to go off all the medication for a couple weeks to see what I feel like without any side effects. He laughed and explained in his Belgium accent, “You must remember what our objective is, you haven’t reached the finish line yet, but you are doing everything possible to get there and the rest is out of our hands.”
These words brought me comfort and assurance that this dark, difficult journey for our family has been worth it. That I have scaled this steep, sharp, rocky mountain knowing that I am doing everything I can possibly do to reach the top and to extend and improve my life. The rest is in God’s hands.
I am tired. I am thirsty. I have blisters and battle wounds but today, “I made it to this mountain peak and the mountain’s under me.”
July 08, 2009
June 19, 2009
June 02, 2009
After reading my previous blog, I realized that I had failed to mention one of the greatest blessings in all of this. My parents! I don’t know what we would have done without them. Luckily they live just 20 miles from Huntsman; a true blessing while I am required to be close to the Hospital during testing, treatments and recovery. I can not even imagine how we would have managed without them. Having them live conveniently near the hospital has been wonderful, however they have done so much more than that.
My parents have given me life twice. Once when I was born; the only girl in a family of four boys. (ironically just like the family I am raising) And now they give me life again through the many sacrifices they have made to get me through these last several months.
They raised me in a home filled with love. They taught us life skills I am grateful for now. Both teachers, they worked hard to care for a big family and made sure we knew how to work hard. We spent many happy summers in my favorite place-Star Valley, Wyoming, working and playing in the hay fields and woods.
They have been with me every step of the way. From the moment we found out the plan, they have adjusted their lives to help my family and I manage all of this. My dad bought a new car that would be easier and safer to drive into Salt Lake everyday for appointments and treatments. He made sure it had good snow tires and was heated before I got in during December when I had to be at the hospital by 7am every morning for over a week. My dad has taken turns taking me to appointments-He takes the shorter ones :) and gets things done around the house when my mom is with me.
My parents just bought a trailer home in St. George last year and were anxious to get down their and enjoy it. They put all their plans on hold without a second thought. My dad is one of my life preservers!
My mom has spent her life caring for her children. She cooked, canned, sewed and worked full time. Although she was a 4th grade teacher for many years, I think her second career has been that of a nurse. She has spent countless hours in hospitals over the years attending to the needs of our family with broken bones, health problems, and serious life-threatening accidents. Well her experience comes in handy once again as she takes care of me.
She has spent many, many hours in the waiting room and infusion room by my side. Her life has been completely consumed with me and my needs. She probably knows more about my disease than I do as she researches and stays on top of what I should be doing each step of the way. She spent everyday of my ten day hospital stay with me even though I wasn’t good company and manages to whip up healthy meals for me even though I could only take a few bites. My mother has given her life to give me a second life. She is one of my life preservers!
How can I ever express the love and gratitude I feel for my parents. I ask the Lord to bless them everyday for the sacrifices they make on my behalf, and hope that I can be there for them whenever they may need my help.
I Love you both and am so grateful to be your daughter. Thank you for all you have done for me now and throughout my life. You have supported me every step of the way. You are my life preservers in every sense of the word. Love, your daughter, Kristine
May 24, 2009
May 20, 2009
May 15, 2009
May 08, 2009
May 03, 2009
April 27, 2009
April 22, 2009
April 21, 2009
April 17, 2009
Early Thursday morning I woke up and seriously considered calling everything off. “I think I will just just sit down in the dirt and slide down this mountain on my butt!” I did not want to walk into that hospital and start another round of chemo! This is seriously not very fun anymore!! The first time around I did not know what to expect, now I know too much. But I guess there is no way out of this--but up so it is time to start climbing again.
I had several high dose rounds of chemo on Thursday and then went in this morning for my second stem cell transplant. The procedure is fairly simple. After receiving a short saline IV, I was given a transfusion of my previously stored stem cells, then two more hours of saline. The cells are stored in a DMSO solution as a preservative. The minute it hits your body, you get a metalic, garlicky taste in your mouth and an interesting odor-which my family did not enjoy.
My husband, my daughter, and one of my sons came with me to celebrate this second “Stem Cell Birthday.” It will take several days for the cells to begin working, and my body is beginning to slow down. This afternoon my face, hands, and feet began to swell. I look like a pink lobster.
I have probably had cancer for several years. I have know about it for over five months. I am still in shock about it everyday. This mountain is very steep!! and some days this climb is on my knees, but I still have lots of life to live and enjoy, lots of family and friends to love, and many lessons and blessings to receive from my Savior.
April 14, 2009
April 06, 2009
April 02, 2009
March 23, 2009
March 16, 2009
March 07, 2009
March 04, 2009
February 23, 2009
February 18, 2009
February 15, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 10, 2009
February 04, 2009
February 01, 2009
January 30, 2009
January 28, 2009
January 26, 2009
January 25, 2009
January 23, 2009
January 21, 2009
January 18, 2009
January 16, 2009
January 12, 2009
Painting "Hinds Feet" by Daniel F. Gerhartz Two women I know were diagnosed with cancer this week. My heart goes out to them an...