June 30, 2010

MY GIFT

Dear Brother,

It has been four and half years since you left many loved ones on this earth. We miss you. Your tragic passing left many people in shock and grief. Three weeks after your death, I still couldn't pull myself out of despair.... and then ....you somehow.... sent me a gift.

I believe that you had a hand in bringing a little Pomeranian puppy into my life. Our dog Zeus came to us in a such an unusual way. It was beyond coincidences.

He was born the runt of a litter. The owners managed to sell all of the puppies except this one. A friend heard of the situation and offered to take the little dog thinking that he could give it to his grandchildren.

So he brought the feisty fur ball to his three petite, quiet, grand daughters. One day their mother came to my preschool to drop off her child. She showed the puppy to me and let me hold him. She explained that the girls liked the dog but that they were scared of him. He was a lively little thing. Jumping up on them, barking and demanding lots of attention. Her mild-mannered daughters were not enjoying the experience and she had decided the puppy needed a new home. She suggested that my family of boys would love this dog and offered to give it to us for free. After discussing it with the family that evening, we eagerly brought the puppy into our home and into our lives.

We brought him home, changed his name to Zeus to fit his big personality, and introduced him to our first dog, an Airedale Terrier named Zoey. They became fast friends.

This little bundle of energy brought new life and joy into our lives. I still did not connect you-my brother, with this little miracle until I came across some pictures one day. I found a picture of when we were young. You were holding the family dog-a Pomeranian. Then I also realized that you had given your wife and family a dog several years ago-a Pomeranian. I also heard that you had given your friend and his wife a pom. Were you trying to tell me something? I believe you were.

I truly believe you were somehow involved with the events which ultimately led to Zeus coming to our family. You sent this gift to me. To let me know you were there. To comfort me through the pain of your death.

Zeus has been the happy, furry, spoiled baby of the family. Often when I get up in the morning I can find one of the boys laying on the floor by Zeus petting their best friend before preparing for a new day. He loves to "sing" for daddy and get tummy rubs. Zeus is a fierce guard dog if only barking could scare away an intruder. There is something about the unconditional love of a dog that can bring healing and comfort to anyone. Did you know I would face bigger challenges in the future? Did you know that a diagnosis of cancer would shake up every part of my life? Did you know that the gift of a little furry dog would provide comfort to everyone in the family as we faced these challenges?

Yesterday we had to give Zeus back. He unexpectedly passed away. He had not been feeling well off and on for a few weeks. He still seemed happy and healthy so we were not too alarmed. Our family was shocked and devastated when we discovered his lifeless body. I, and my two youngest sons, laid on my bed and cried and talked for several hours. We reminisced about the good times we have had with our little dog and discussed the cycle of life. We talked about Heavenly Father's plan. We talked about how each of us whether it be people or dogs come to earth to gain a body. That when that body dies the spirit still lives on. That there will be a time when we will once again be reunited with those loved ones who have died. Death is a part of life and I'm grateful that my children have had the opportunity to learn these tough lessons with their pets before they experience them with people they love.

So my dear brother, I thank you once again for your gift. He taught us about discipline, responsibility, unconditional love and the plan of salvation. He gave us comfort and joy and the opportunity to love deeply and learn valuable life lessons.

We had to give Zeus back yesterday and our hope is that you may somehow watch over him until we may all be reunited again. Thank you my brother, until we meet again. I miss you. love your little sister, Kristine

June 24, 2010

In a Nutshell

I just happened to run across this the other day. Dr. Oz explains warning signs of five cancers. The fifth one is Multiple Myeloma. The club I belong to. Here it is "in a nutshell." Enjoy.
P. S. I can't figure out how to cut just the clip I want (anyone want to tell me how:).. so.. if you start at about 3.4 seconds that's where info on Multiple Myeloma starts.
F.Y.I I'm on cycle 10 day 18.
Which is my 4th round of chemo for this month. Two more months to go.
Two more cycles to go.
Nine more rounds of chemo to go
and then it will be time to start enjoying my remission!!
I'm starting to believe that light I see isn't the oncoming train but the light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh and another F.Y.I
I have not broken one bone during this journey so I am feeling pretty good about that.
... and I really need to go to bed but my friendly steroid is keeping my mind racing. Sometimes I fight it and try to sleep and sometimes I just ride the wave until it crashes - usually by the weekend when my energy level drains to almost nothing.
So Farewell and goodnight for now.

June 06, 2010

Time for Another Hike

My four sons, son-in-law, and daughter. Aren't they handsome....and beautiful?!
Our only daughter was married on June 3rd. It was such a wonderful celebration. She was married in the Salt Lake LDS temple. The ceremony was beautiful, simple, and sacred. We haven't felt like we were losing a daughter but that we are gaining a son.
It's been six weeks since my last round of chemo. A serious break after 18 months of treatment. After explaining to my doctor all of the upcoming events happening in May, he agreed to let me take time off of treatment. I was desperately hoping he would say that nine months of maintenance was plenty however that wasn't the case. He did say that we must always weigh out treatment with quality of life issues. Well I must say that "my quality of life" has needed some adjustment so it was wonderful to take a "breather" for six weeks!
It has taken a good month to shake off the fatigue and some of the "chemo brain." Just in the nick of time I have been able to enjoy some wonderful events with my family.
Now it's time to jump back on the chemo roller coaster. I head up to Huntsman on Monday to begin treatment. I will start with labs. They will be checking to make sure all systems are "go." Then the games begin. An IV with some saline, a quick push of Velcade(chemo) and a three hour infusion of Aredia-a bone hardening infusion. I will also start back up on Dexamethasone and a new drug called Revlimid. I am not looking forward to the next three months. It is so hard to start back. This time I know what I am getting into!
...so wish me luck, keep me in your prayers, and I will get back on my hiking boots and climb a little further up this mountain.

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