November 20, 2011

Thanks for Loving Me Through It

Thanks Mom, Dad, Joe, Tyler, Dani, Trevor, Mallory and to all those who continue to love me through this mountain that I face.  You give me courage and hope as this journey continues.

October 29, 2011


One thousand and ninty five days ago today, we found out that I had cancer.  The doctor said it was Multiple Myeloma. " Multiple what?"      "It's a bone cancer," he replied and the rest is history.......

Well it has been three years since that dark day.  I can't remember the name of the doctor, where his office was, or what he looked like.  I never went back to him because he was not an oncologist.  I can't remember what I wore, or ate, but some of the smallest details still stick in my brain.

 "Could you please write down the name of the cancer for me?"  I asked.  He tried to explain more to Joe. I remember none of the conversation. 

The memories of the day have stopped and started a million times over in my head through the last three years.

I think it is time now to decide exactly what to do with this day.
I need to decide if I should even remember it, honor it, or rip it off my calendar and tear it into a million tiny pieces never to be recognized again.

Fot the past three years, I have remembered this as a day I want to forget.
What do I do now?

 I guess I can choose two ways of looking at this day.

 As a time to look back and focus on the disbelief, shock, and terror from the day

Shock and Terror!
Jace holding an Iguana in Puerto Rico.  Now that's scarry!
I can use this day to  help me rejoice and celebrate the Mountains I've climbed,
<><> <><> <><>
Here's Tabitha enjoying Autumn and Halloween
The things I have learned.  
The people who helped me get here.

My son Jace who is serving an LDS mission in Puerto Rico

 and the Gifts of Life that God has given me each of those one thousand and ninty five days.
Tabi and I enjoying a local Halloween celebration on Main Street.
We passed out 80lbs. of candy from our martial arts studio!

Today I Choose Two!

October 24, 2011

Still Climbing

My hopes for a steady recovery after finishing treatment in August were postponed for a while.  September started off great. Tabitha turned one.  We had a birthday party at the park.  Tabi was the entertainment as we watched her enjoy her very own birthday cake.
  My little grandaughter is now toddling(walking) around the house and keeping her teenage uncles busy keeping her out of trouble as she explores our home. 
What sunshine she brings to my life!

Mid September brought some challenges that had me sliding down this mountain I've been climbing.  I even had to put on my extra bracelet for the climb.
                I've explained about my "couragelet" before but can't find the post.
                                               ( ker-age-lets, yes I made up that word!)
  I was given my first "couragelet by a Peruvian woman in a village where I was staying with my daughter.  We spent two weeks in Peru with a humanitarian project.   I wore  the bracelet when I climbed Macchu Pichu and have worn others like them from Peru since I began my mm mountain climb.

After several regular visits to my oncologist, the P.A. (physicians assistant) noticed some increased numbers having to do with liver function.  She suggested that I have an ultrasound.  The results came back positive for .........."Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."  Probably caused by steriods...  definitely not alcohol since I have never drank any. (somehow that seems funny to me.  There has got to be a joke in there somewhere!)   After the initial panic, my internet research suggests that this is pretty common, rarely shows any symptoms, and can sometimes be cured through diet and exercise.  I have an appointment with a GI specialist in November to figure it all out.  Until then I'm putting it on the back plate.

Well my friends those steriods haven't finished with me yet!  Around mid September, I started to notice my stomach aching after I ate and really hurt if I drank pop. It began to worsen until I was feeling nauseous all the time. I visited my oncologist several times.  I went to the hospital infusion room twice for IV fluids and zofran-an anti-nausea medicine.  It just did not seem to work!  I was having more nausea and vomiting more than when I was on chemo!  something was wrong and I was getting very discouraged! Finally the Dr. suggested I get a scope.

On Tuesday the 18th, I went in for an endoscopy procedure where they sedated me then put a scope down my esophagus and to the stomach looking for anything unusual.  Strangely I was worried if they found something and also worried if they didn't.  At that point after being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I just wanted to get some meds to knock me out and keep me under as long as possible. 

Well before I could count backwards from ten to seven, it was over.  The doctor -who was an hour late starting! and trying to catch up, came in when I woke up with the news that I now have an ulcer at the bottom of my esophagus  probably due to.....steriods!  ugh!!  He quickly wrote me out a presciption for omeprazole and he was out the door. I have been on this med. for three years but quit in early September after Dr. Tricot told me I didn't need it anymore.  Huh? What?!!.  Dexamethasone strikes again!

So now I had an answer but that still did not make me feel any better physically.  Luckily, on Friday I had an appointment with my own medical detective.  Dr. Jane is an oncologist who specializes in pain management and medication side effects.  She thoroughly went through all of my meds and symptoms.  Some I have and some I didn't know I have.  She worked her magic, changed some meds,  and said that she could help me feel better.  I wanted to run over and hug her!!  It will take about 6weeks to heal this ulcer.  I should start feeling better much sooner. I'm also hoping be able to get rid of some of the pain and neuropathy too.   

So thats where I've been the last couple months and here's what I've learned:
1. I need to go to a GI because I have NAFSand GERD from an ULCER which I got from DEX and RXs for treatment for MM.
2. Being sick without knowing why has been tough.  I'm trying to be tougher.
3. Being physically sick is hard on the soul.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching.
4. The most important things in life aren't things.  They are my faith and my family and a good husband who brings me yogurt smoothies, black licorice, and back rubs whenever I need them!   Thank-You!

August 23, 2011

You Can't Get Better Than Zero!

The glass doors swoosh and blow a little air into my face as I leave the underground parking lot and enter the hospital headed for the elevators.  I always push the “up” button with the middle joint of my middle finger. Have you ever thought of how many germs have accumulated on those elevator buttons? ! I am much more cautious about such things now.  
No matter how many times I have entered these doors, rode this elevator, headed for floor number 2, clinic B.  I always think back of my first visit.  It has been 33 months.  Almost three years.  This place used to be my battle zone.  Today I just want to put all of that behind me.  Today I see if I have won the war.
The elevator doors open and I leave my dark memories behind.  I step into the beautiful lobby and almost feel at home as I enter the clinic.  I know many of the nurses and employees by name and even more by face.  I haven’t  been here for six months; I used to spend so much of my life here in the beginning. 
 These people know what I have been through.  They understood the fear in my eyes and the crack in my voice when I began treatment.  They have seen me at my worst.  Holding my hand and reminding me to breathe while I brace myself for the bone marrow biopsy. Drawing countless vials of blood and asking about how my family is doing; What I did for summer vacation. They remind me that I can do this. Hopefully they will see me at my best.
Maybe that is why I wore a dress to my appointment today.  Last Thursday I  went through the usual tests. (see test results on side bar)  Not that there is anything usual or common about them.  Today Dr. Tricot head of research and expert oncologist of multiple myeloma (Not melanoma) will go over test results and discuss with me the “Plan.”  (This is where Alex Trebek comes in with the music from Jeopardy.  Hum a long if you would like. Da da Da da. da da da.)
And this is what he said in his Belgium accent................."Things look perfect and you cannot get better than perfect.”   Which interpreted into Western English means.  I am done with treatment!  My numbers are doing what they are supposed to.  And to further explain he added....."You can't get better than zero!"

I am DONE with treatment
One year of not-one-but-two stem cell transplants. High dose Chemotherapy and recovery.
ONE year of Velcade (more chemo) Thalidomide, Revlimid (ugly friends that help "the velcade go down" and do it's dirty work.
ONE year of the nasty but effective steroid that helped me gain 20 lbs, chubby cheeks, and ADD. (Attention Deficit Disorder.)

So after 33 months of very aggressive treatment I am looking forward to a very, very long remission and hopeful cure.  My beloved Belgium doctor thinks that I have a good shot at it.  I'm taking his word for it.

Stay tuned: What happens now? 

And now for a little help from my friends.  How does one celebrate such an occasion?  Any suggestions from a double scoop of chocolate mint ice cream in a waffle cone to an exotic cruise on a limited budget will be considered.

August 09, 2011

Dex Reflections

Reaching for Seashell,A suntanned person reaches for a seashell washed up from the Indian ocean stranded on the beach in the maldives photo

by Kris Kelly 8/25/10
I sit in the warm grainy sand.
Back and forth I massage my tingly toes and feet in the warmth of the grains.
Messaging my mind with myeloma thoughts.
Always there when my world is quiet.
The hot sun warms my cold bones,
my chemo curls.
The hot sun melts into my parched skin
dried from drugs, and side effects.
I don’t recognize parts of this body anymore.
Portraits from my past are just faint ripples
of my reflection in the water now.
My youthful appearance changes as the effects
of dex puff and fluff shaking my nerves, my hands, my patience.
The dex waves this week seem stronger.
The foaming swirls swoosh up to my ankles.
lapping at my soul.
threatening to overcome my positive thoughts
my marching-forward-attitude, my sunshine.
I breathe deep, sleep more, try to protect my children from my pain.
I’m hiding my slacking energy behind the strong shoulders of my beloved.
I breathe, I wait, I pray, and then...
The draining dex waves slink back into the sea
and once again I can see the hidden gifts left behind
in the wet, cool, sand.
The shiny twisted shells of miracles.
Each one a unique blessing.
The life I have been given, the smooth, peaceful thoughts of family, love, God.
The tender mercies of my Saviour glistening  among the grains. 
and I arise stiffly, slowly and walk back to my world preparing for another round.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma October 2008.  Dexamethasone was the first medication I was prescribed.  I have been on this steroid continuously since then.   Two weeks ago I finished up my last round of Dex.  I go in for blood tests, a PET scan and a biopsy next week and then meet with my Oncologist at Huntsman a few days later.   Assuming that my "numbers" are all good, I will be done with maintenance treatment!   

I was feeling pretty poetic and somewhat dramatic as I wrote this poem a year ago.  I just wanted to get down on paper what I felt on my "dex days."  

July 31, 2011


"Little Miss Tabitha."  
My sweet  grandaughter is almost eleven months old.  She brings so much joy into my life.
     Tabi is walking around furniture and starting to say a few words.  Last week I  moved one of her toys and she said, "no, no no!"  She gives her doll "loves,"  laughs at my dogs, and loves to read books.  I am so glad she lives nearby.
     Tabi is the center of attention.  When our family gathers, she sits on her blanket and plays with her toys and we circle around her and watch in amazement and awe.  I love being a grandmother!

And now for those living in my area...I am renting out my preschool building and supplies.  Please help me spread the word.  G here for more information.

July 25, 2011


July 24th is Pioneer Day.  This day is set aside as a time to honor the Pioneers who traveled across the united states to Utah so that they could have religious freedom as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (mormons).  Many of my ancestors were Pioneers.  They joined the church in England and went through many hardships in order to settle in the west.
   I have often thought about the sacrifices they demonstrated and the courage they must have had.  My great, great Grandfather was Samuel Lane Crook from Apperly, Gloucestershire,England.  His family listened to the message of the missionaries and were baptized.  His sister Elizabeth Crook Panting  and Samuel were able to buy passage on the ship "Thorton" to come to America.  I have always been fascinated by their stories.  
     Here is a small account of Elizabeth's story.
   Elizabeth Crook Panting was born 7 May 1855.  She married  Frederick Panting. He was considered the "town drunk."  When Elizabeth joined the church he was quite upset.  Elizabeth secretly saved up enough money to buy tickets for her and her children to leave for America.
   As they boarded a train to begin their journey. Fredrick came looking for them. Elizabeth was scared of what he would do to them.  She prayed and asked God for help.  A thought came to her to exchange bonnets with the woman sitting next to her and ask another family to watch her children.  As her husband walked the aisles of the train before it began to move, he looked back and forth at the faces looking for his wife. He had a gun only half way hidden in his pocket.  He stared Elizabeth in the face and then walked on by unable to recognize her. The first of many miracles in her journey.
   After crossing the Atlantic Ocean and traveling further across their land of promise by steamboat and train, Elizabeth, Christopher (5), and Jane (1) began their handcart trek in Iowa City, Iowa.
Elizabeth was privileged to experience another miracle during her journey to Zion. She told the story of this miracle to her daughter, Jane, repeatedly throughout her life. As Jane (Panting Bell) grew older she told this story to her children and grandchildren:
As the Willie Company traveled along the plains, they had many trials which slowed them down considerably. Little Jane rode in the handcart and was very ill. Her mother didn’t dare to stop to take care of her as she pulled her handcart along. She would call to her son, Christopher, to ask if Jane was dead yet. When they reached Ft. Laramie, the expected provisions were not waiting, and they had to continue on with reduced food rations. On October 14, after another reduction was made in rations, Elizabeth went out to gather some buffalo chips to make a small fire to warm what little food was left for her children. She had on a long, full apron and had almost filled it with the buffalo chips when a man came up to her suddenly (and seemingly out of nowhere) and inquired as to the circumstances of the company. Elizabeth told the man that most of them were starving and were in great need. He asked her to follow him, saying perhaps he could help a little. Shaking the buffalo chips from her apron, Elizabeth followed the man. They went over a small hill out of sight of the camp, where he led her to a cave where a lot of dried buffalo meat was hanging. Elizabeth told her granddaughter, June Cranney Monson, that there were shelves of books on one side of the cave that looked like the Book of Mormon gold plates. She said they looked as if they were sealed. The man loaded as much meat in Elizabeth’s apron as she could carry and told her to share with the other people. Then he led her out of the cave and to the top of a small hill and pointed out the camp below, cautioning her not to get lost. As Elizabeth turned back to the man to thank him after she had looked where he had pointed to the camp, he had disappeared. She looked for the cave and could not find any trace of it, but she still had the dried meat. She went back to camp and divided the meat out to the ones that were in the most need, no doubt saving lives.
  The Martin handcart company were stranded in a place called Martin's Cove, Wyoming. Many of the members never made it that far. the rest of the company were taken on to Salt Lake City. My great,great aunt eventually lived in Logan, Utah where she married and had nine more children.  
  Elizabeth has been a great example in my life. I have thought of her courage, faith, and strength many times in the last few years.  
  My own challenges seem small compared to what she faced.  As she demonstrated continuous faith on her journey, she was blessed. 
  I am so grateful to have such a strong example in my life.  Thank you Aunt Elizabeth.  Miracles do happen. God does bless our lives. He does know our needs. 

July 20, 2011

Moments that Matter

One of the first moments I remember as a four year child was swinging on the swing set in our back yard. I was wearing a white dress with blue flowers and a big blue collar. As I went back and forth i sang with all my heart a song I made up about how much Jesus loves us. This must have been a moment that really mattered in my life to have remembered it for so many years. I love this message and I'm sure you will.

June 09, 2011

A BEaUtifUL MeSs

Family Easter Egg Hunt.
That cute little bunny is my grand daughter.

How can I explain all that has gone on in the past several months?  Life just seems to roll along and sometimes I can roll along with it and keep up with the daily normalcy of life.  Other times I have been the rock that silently lies still and immovable as life swirls too swiftly for me to catch up.
So How am I doing?
I am trying to make it through the last three months of maintenance therapy.  It seems to be getting harder.  I have been on 20 mg of Dexamethasone every three weeks.  I take it on days 1-4.  I used to get a little energy on those days but thats seems to be dwindling.  
From about day 5 to to 14 I get severe fatigue, achy muscles, and pain.  I slowly work my way back up and feel pretty good for a few days and then start all over again on day 21.  If all tests are good I should be off of any treatment by September.  If I can hold out that long.  It is SO tempting to just call it quits!  I have too many things to do, projects to accomplish, and people to do it with to spend half my life laying down!  
So that's the latest report on “How I’m doing.”  I’m just telling it like it is.  

As for the home front it has been filled with great things as well as crisis.  I am writing about these things not to brag but explain how great, as well as crazy my life has been lately.
Trevor and Mallory. UVU graduation April 2011
Mallory our only daughter graduated from Utah Valley University in April.  She received a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Science.  We are so proud of her!  She has worked so hard to get through school quickly and can hopefully Trevor can do the same.

 Our son Jace has been out in the mission field for about ten weeks.  He Loves Puerto Rico and the people there.  Every week we wait anxiously for his next email.  Right now he is in Ponce.  He rides a bike along with another missionary-called his companion.  The companion instructed Jace on the fine art of catching lizards.  So as they are traveling along on their bikes they will catch a few and put them on their backpacks where they stay until taken off.  He has met many nice people and certainly stands out in a crowd.  He said several grandmothers tell him he has beautiful blues eyes.  
    It is so fun to share in his adventure.  If you would like to read parts of the letters he sends home you can go here.
Our two sons at home are keeping life rolling along, as I said before sometimes I can keep up and sometimes life just swirls around me.  Thankfully my husband pulls up the slack and spends a lot of needed time with them.
Last month, my son Trent completed his eagle project,  which took much planning and preparation.  He and several friends painted several buildings at a campground.  The total project took over 100 service hours to complete.  Trent demonstrated leadership and organizational skills to complete it.
   Our church has a very strong scouting program for boys and we really feel like it helps build Young men.  In a couple weeks their troop will go camping and river rafting. 
  Oh also this past month Spencer tested for his black belt.  He has worked really hard and for years to accomplish this goal.  It was more challenging to him then his older brothers,  We are so proud of him for sticking with it.  Now all my family have earned their black belts.  
Joe, Tyler, and Spencer after getting his blackbelt.
(whew stay with me here I’m not done yet.)  
So life has been just rolling along until Thursday May 26.  That evening I really  understood what it felt like to come so close to losing my husband.  As far as we can figure he choked on something and passed out.  When Trent and I found him he was turning blue with sporadic breathing.  I had Trent call an ambulance while I called my neighbor who is a Nurse Practitioner.  I was a basket case- (I guess becoming an EMT is out of the question for me.) Luckily his heart kept beating and he was getting some oxygen.  He was taken to the hospital and ended up spending three days there.  He had aspirated into his lungs so he was kept sedated and incubated for 24 hrs while they cleaned out his lungs and ran every imaginable test.  Nothing was conclusive.  The best possible medical reason this happened was that he just choked on something.  Thank goodness the other possibilities  were extremely serious.  Non-the-less this incident completely humbled us.  

    My body was already worn down from “dex week” and then with this added crisis, I ended up with an ugly case of pneumonia.  I’m sure you can imagine the chaos at our home this past week as he was recovering and I was getting sicker.  I am so eternally  grateful for strong family and neighbor support. 
Me at Huntsman Cancer Institute where I was treated
 March 2011
I have basically written the facts or events of the last few months, however the feelings and emotions are somewhat overwhelming.  It has been hard! and brings plenty of fresh prospective on what really matters.  I thought I pretty well had that covered with getting cancer but apparently the Lord has much more for us to learn.   It is absolutely a “Beautiful Mess” right now but as the song says, “here we are.”  I am still here and my husband is still here and we and our family are in this for the long haul.  But I do thinks its time for a vacation!

March 24, 2011

Sweet Sacrifice

Yesterday, March 23, 2011 was one of those "big red letters days on my calendar."  Our son began  two years of service as a mormon missionary.  What a beautiful, happy, sad, and bittersweet day.  We dropped him off at a mission training center.  He will be there for three weeks.  Then he will fly to the Dominican Republic where he will receive more training in the spanish language as well as religious education.  After that he will begin his service in Puerto Rico.
   I'm sure all parents can relate how this feels to watch your child leave your home and walk into their future.   I question myself.  Have I done enough?  Have I taught him all he needs to know?  Will he be able to live independently and live on more that Macaroni and Cheese?  My mind has been  reeling with a thousand questions, but my heart has been calm.
   I have felt so many "sweet whisperings," from heaven as I have watched my son decide and prepare for this mission.  Prepare to share the message of Jesus Christ and serve the people of Puerto Rico.  He will be sacrificing much, as will we, however we have been given much.  "Where much has been given, much is required."  You can read my about missionary service below.  I copied this from  I will occasionally post some of his experiences here.

    One of the greatest gifts I received this last christmas came from this son.  It was a letter written to me.  Jace expressed his love and gratitude for me and wrote what a huge impact my cancer experience had him.  He said it had made him stronger and helped him prepare for his decision to serve a mission.   Now there are few things about cancer that are truly blessings but seeing how it has brought changes into my and others lives has truly been a "sweet sacrifice," in my own life.
Elder Kelly, (Mr. Personality)
Good Luck on this Amazing Journey!

Who are the Missionaries?

If you’ve seen them walking, riding their bikes or driving around your town, you’ve probably wondered what Mormon missionaries are doing, exactly.
Why would these young men and women choose to put on their dress clothes and traipse around strange parts of the world for two years? The Lord’s Church has always been a missionary church. Just as Jesus Christ and His disciples preached the gospel, more than 50,000 missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are spreading His word today. They are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in all parts of the world. Most missionaries are about 20 years old, though many older married couples also choose to serve. Missionaries voluntarily put aside school, work and dating for about two years in order to serve the Lord at their own expense.
Communication with family is even limited to letters or email and very occasional phone calls so that they can focus wholeheartedly on serving the Lord and the people where they serve. During their two years of full time service they devote themselves to studying, meeting people and teaching about Jesus Christ and His restored Church. Their work is a labor of love, and most missionaries end up feeling they gained more than they gave by serving.

Laffi Tabi

My silly grand-daughter. Sorry it's sideways. I'm still learning how to do this. There is nothing like a little laughter especially from a baby to make the world a brighter place.

February 15, 2011

Mat Talk

Lest you think our family is obsessed with all things martial arts, I wanted to share something else we are involved in.
(Trent, my 112 lb. 9th grade wrestler with the yellow shoes)
  Joe started his career as a teacher and high school wrestling coach.  He coached for ten years and has been involved with community wrestling since then.
  When our first son was about two years old, he used to put all of his stuffed animals in a pile and run around them yelling, "two points! two points."

(Trent and Tyler. Brothers talking strategy)
Well, twenty-three years and four sons later, wrestling continues to play a big part in our lives.  All of our sons have been quite successful in the sport. 
Jace and Trent who took 5th in State!!
We just finished the official wrestling season last week.  We spent two days at the Utah 4A State tournament cheering for our high school team and supporting my freshman son.

   I feel so blessed to have been able to watch most of Trent's matches this year.  I've missed so many of them over the past two years. Even if I don't understand all the moves and rules, and the seats get uncomfortable and the crowd gets so noisy, there is nothing better than being able to watch your child work and struggle and wrestle after paying the price in practice for weeks and months.

Jace declared the winner of a match last year
I live each second on the mat with him. My heart pounds in my chest with each point given.  Whether the ref raises my wrestlers arm at the end .... or not, I was there standing on sidelines or seating in the stands rooting for him all the way.  Feeling his successes or his failures, I am there. 

   Wrestling is a lot like life. It's tough! We all need a lot of practice.  Sooner or later we will be out on that mat by ourselves facing challenges and fighting to come out on top.  Somethings we must face alone.  We all must be prepared to face our opponents or situations and sometimes we must do it by ourselves; One on one against the opposition or problem. However, through the easy or the hard it is good to know there are family or fans cheering us on from the sidelines.
  I hope my sons and my daughters will know and understand that no matter what comes in their lives, I will be there cheering them on from the sidelines and enjoying my involvement in their lives.

Oh, and about me. I go to Huntsman for tests this week. Labs, an MRI, and another biopsy.  Fun.  Wish me Luck and may all my numbers be good.


January 26, 2011

The Family That Kicks Together-Sticks Together!

The Kellys  Oct. 2008
Front row: Mallory, Trent, Spencer
Back Row: Joe, Kris, Jace, Dani, Tyler

I went back to work this month.  
Is it a job or an adventure hmmmmm?
I’m working at our family owned and operated martial arts studio.  
The front desk
My family has been kicking in the martial arts for about twenty years.
It all started when my husband and my oldest son at 7 yrs. old began training.  
Well to make a long story as short as possible......
Tyler competing in forms

In 1997, we opened our own martial arts studio in a building behind our home.  My husband taught classes in his “spare time” in the evenings.  Eventually our own children and several students also became instructors. 
             Spencer practicing self-defense 

I used to run a preschool in the building during the day then move all my equipment out of the way and help run the studio in the evening.  I look back now and think, “Wow! how did I ever do it.”  I definitely don’t have enough immunities or energy now for four year olds.
In October of 2008, we moved to a building on Main Street and then to our current location a year ago.  My son took over the management of the studio. (We opened a couple weeks before I was diagnosed with mm.  I remember painting the walls and complaining how tired I was. :) Fortunately at that time, Joe was able to step back and spend more time caring for our family and me.  What a blessing!
Tournament sparring

Well that’s the history in a nutshell.  Maple Mountain Martial Arts continues to do well and as it grows a decision was made that the business needed a “studio mom.” Someone to run the front desk, tie Little Ninja’s belts, answer the phones, answer the questions, and just be there to meet and greet students and parents among other things.   So I’m now working at Maple Mountain Martial Arts for 2-3 hours, three to four afternoons a week.  It has been great for me to get out among people again and have somewhere to go everyday.    
 Jace after testing for his black belt and 
Mallory earning her 2nd degree black belt.  
Joe also tested for his 3rd degree that day.
(you don't see brother/sister hugs like that everyday....very rare!)

This isn't exactly what I earned a college degree for, however I am very blessed to have such great working conditions and there are plenty of "perks". My son is  now my "boss"  I work with my daughter; she is one of the instructors, and I take my youngest son with me.  He does his homework there and attends class. 

Myeloma medication-dexamethasone is still wrecking havoc with my energy levels.  I battle fatigue daily and bone pain whenever it decides to appear.  Having a job helps to put cancer on the back burner.  Just what I need. 

Another view of the studio.  We are in the process of remodeling the basement to add additional space for classes.

Who would have thought any of this would be possible when my husband and son put on  crisp new uniforms and clean white belts twenty years ago.  

We have definitely had ups and downs, but over the past few years our back-yard business, our family, and I have grown in many ways.  Our lives have exceeded those white belt expectations and our family continues to kick together and stick together.

Fourteenth Year Cancerversary

              My husband and I at my 40th High School Reunion.                                                    Am I seriously that old?! ...