Thursday, December 27, 2007

hibernation

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about blogging my Christmas. So I'm not going to right now. Let me just thank everyone who made it great. It was wonderful.

So my last early morning trip to the hospital was on New Years Eve. I promised myself I would shower that morning and wear something cute so the nurses could see what I used to look like. I didnt because it meant getting up 30 minutes earlier.

But they still love me. After they pulled the PICC line out (good news, the heart palpitations stopped when it came out, so it was doing something crazy to me) they sang me a graduation song which I bawled through. I just couldn't believe they were letting me go (with apparently good reason as I'm suppose to start my shots today and its not going to happen, I think I deserve a few days off). Hanging out with nurses has made me want to be one again. Its not likely, but I can dream.

I have to thank Jennie, Stephanie, Vicki and Cassie for the rides. Good times in that awful place.

Im so ready to wake up. My kids grew a whole month without me. I would crawl out of bed at 4 in the afternoon and Luke would run to me "mommy, you awake!!" Like it was a novelty to see me out of bed.

One of my new years resolutions is to blog more. Lots goes on every day when your awake.

I made it!!
This is a lame picture to match my lame blog. I feel too tired to think.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

alisa cancer linton

I suppose Im in the depths of cancer treatments, and its consuming my life. I'm either at the hospital or asleep in my bed. My mom is here living Alisa Linton's life and I have to be Alisa Cancer Linton.

Alisa Cancer Linton wears glasses and frumpy pants. She hasnt had a decent shower in weeks cause she cant get her arm wet. She asks the Dr. to add a little chemo to her daily infusion so she could get really sick which would make her feel like its helping a little more (he laughs it off and tells her not to feel obligated to get all the side effects). She goes to the hospital at 8 and comes home at noon for a 3-4 hour nap and gets ready for bed at 8. She then sits down to blog and decides she needs to sleep more than she needs to communicate with the outside world, and hopes that tomorrow she wont be so exhausted. But every day is the same, maybe a little worse. Today she thrashed around in her husbands car swearing she felt so sick she was going to die (luckily he knows she always feels like something is going terribly wrong so he did not panic) and she threw up just to prove her point. Part of her hopes this is not a trend. The other part acknowledges that she has only lost .7 pounds in two weeks and thinks this could do the trick. She shops Target in the name of exercise, but crashes before she makes it to the back isle.

Luckily there are a few diversions for her. Last night was our family Christmas party. As we dug out the traditional costumes for the nativity brother Matt found a misplaced skull hat and couldnt resisit being the pirate narrator. Mom made him stop, but only after Alisa Cancer got some big laughs. And come on mom, pirates had to tell the story too.

"In the days of Ceasarrrrrrr thar be people who went to their own towns to be plundarrrrrrrred- I mean taxed."


Luke plays a dirty faced shepard.

James plays a wise man.

Josh and Sam play guys watching.


We also had a ward party this week. James and Sam sat on Santas lap and asked for a Jeep Hurricane (thanks Brother Wilden for telling them you were working on the $300 item). I dont think Sam was completely convinced because he informed me last night with a huge smile on his face, "Mommy!! Tonight I asked Jesus for a Jeep Hurricane!"

I wonder how many years it takes them to figure out presents like that come from a lady named Grandma Vicki.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

so far, so good

Ive kind of hesitated to report that I'm doing well because the nurses keep telling me its going to get worse. But my symptoms have been so mild! I guess I wont be in the 85% that get fevers and flu-like in the first few weeks. The Dr.s were so kind to describe how awful the first month of treatments were going to be, I never considered my December would be anything but miserable. I suppose its a small miracle that I'm really only feeling tired.

A special thanks to my sister who has been here to watch the kids while Im at the hospital in the mornings, and when I come home for my 3 hour naps. I think she has had a harder week than me. Thanks Sonja!! My mom is taking her place this week, so I should be well taken care of.

Hope your enjoying the snow!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

day 2

They didn't mention the dose yesterday was half strength. Today was full strength, but the results weren't horrible. Only a few hours today I felt like a train ran over my head, but I was able to plant some bulbs, clean up the yard, move around with ease, etc. I know it could get worse, but the fact that I haven't had a fever yet is awesome.

I'm just really tired, which might have more to do with the fact that I was up till 3 am listening to my irregular heart beat, ready to call 911 in case I should go into V-Tach. Suddenly I'm not so offended that my nurse practitioner wrote me a Rx for ativan (an anti psychotic drug). I do have issues, and maybe should have taken one last night.

Sonja said a prayer with Sam tonight "Please bless mommy that she wont be sick today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that, or the day after that, or the day after that, or the day after that, all the way up until I'm a daddy."

I guess I mentioned once that after treatments are done I would by the boys a dog. I didn't think Luke would catch on, but in all of his prayers after someone prompts "and please bless mom that she can get better" he repeats it and adds "so then we get a doggy."

Monday, December 3, 2007

you can start feeling bad for me right about......

never? If today was like what the rest of the month is going to be I'm in serious luck. I didn't even feel the PICC line insertion (an IV they put in the arm and thread a catheter close to the heart to give the infusions). My only experience assisting with a central line placement was with a drug addict who could not get enough drug to calm him down and take the pain away. He screamed the whole time, even though I was putting insane amounts of narcotics in him. So I was a little nervous.

I crashed when I got home and felt a little fuzzy, but woke up feeling semi normal. She said it would get worse by the weekend, but I'm very encouraged.

One thing thats worrying me is my constant heart palpitations. I have had several an hour, so I called the Dr. and they will look at it in the morning. They feel horrible, but mostly I don't want them to say they have to stop treatments because of it. Its a very rare side effect. What do you think cardiac nurses?? Could it be the picc line?

I don't mean to bore everyone, this is just a good way of letting people know how Im doing without having to call my mom (although I know she would love a call) or Jana.

Thanks for all your love and concern. I hope this story has a happy ending.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

state fair corndogs

This week I haven't been blogging because Ive been busy. My sister Sonja has been here keeping my spirits up and allowing me to get things done I wont feel like doing for the next month. Including: Christmas shopping, getting up the decorations, organizing my basement (many trips to IKEA), girls night out (loved 'Enchanted'), spending time with my boys, I even got to get away for a night with Josh. There hasn't been much time to be worried. Mostly I'm just happy.

I have been keenly aware of the fact that one of the side effects of this drug is anorexia, due to a metallic taste in your mouth. Everyone Ive heard of that did interferon for melanoma had this. Am I sad to loose weight? Of course not. But I think by genetics I'm mildly obsessed with (and take great pleasure in) good food.

So naturally I took a break from my cancer diet this week and opened my mouth to anything that sounded good. If I could have had everything I wanted it would have included:

parmesan chicken from buca di beppo
phoenix chicken from chin wa
grandma washburns rolls
dads baked beans
uncle robs garlic mashed potatoes
lettuce wraps from pf changs
anything Jeanette Darais makes
chocolate cake from gurus
chicken calzonetto from macaroni grill

Wow, maybe this is the saddest post Ive had to write. What would you eat if you were about to hate food for a year? (thanks for the post idea Jennie!)

The fun starts tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday the 3rd

Well, I'm an official patient of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We walked down the halls full of sick, bald, wheel chaired elderly and sat next to a few people in the waiting room who looked like they were barely holding on to life. I whispered to Josh "I don't belong here."

The Dr. thought Interferon was the best treatment for me. Thats what all three of my Dr.s have suggested because its the only thing they know helps my stage of melanoma. This Dr. confirmed the 50/50 chance of it coming back, but said the interferon may help an extra 10%.

Interferon is a protein that will tell my immune system to attack. Hopefully the cancer cells. I will be going in 5 days a week for 4 weeks for high dose infusions. Then I give myself shots 3 times a week for a year after that.

I asked them to start me today. "This is a really tough treatment. You could be very sick for a while." "If we start today I can be done before Christmas." He looked suprised. "The first part is very hard to get through." "I havent eaten anything since midnight just in case thats a requirement." I think he knew I meant it. "Ill see what we can do." Unfortunately the best they could do was December the 3rd.

The end of my health history asked: "Is there anything else you would like us to know about you, or do you have any special requests?" The nurse practitioner who did the initial examination looked up a little surprised when she read: SAVE ME!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

17-10

I'm always a little torn during football season. Josh is happy from August to January. I'm confused during those months, because how can watching random people throw a ball around get you excited? I so don't get it. It seems like he's waisting time, but if its making him so happy, how can I argue?

I wish I had something to compare it to. Its like golf. There isn't something I could do for an afternoon that is fun, and relieves stress. Like scrap booking (which I gave up on years ago) is kind of intense, you have to come up with a cute layout and work to get it that way. Fun, but not a good form of stress release for me. Shopping is very fun for me, but it would only be stress free without a budget. Is that so lame of me? Sometimes when Josh can tell I need to get out of the house he insists on babysitting but I'm like"I don't have anywhere to go!"

So anyway, Josh got tickets from our friend who is a trainer for the team (thanks Jeff!) and I'm so glad it was worth the weeks of hype. This high should last him till next year.
Thats right, face paint. Check out cougar Dave.....grrrrrr.

On an unrelated note...we had a great Thanksgiving. My brothers and sister got together and put on an amazing dinner without any of the 'older' generation. We missed our parents though.

My sister Sonja is staying with me to help. The only problem is I'm feeling great. Not even limping. We thought for sure we would be well into treatment when she got her ticket. Sorry Sonja! My Dr.s appointment is in the morning, so I'm going to do my best to get started ASAP.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks...

There have been a lot of emotions since my diagnosis, but the strongest has been gratitude. Its strange how happy it has made me.

Theres not much time tonight. In a nutshell, Im grateful for:

My mom who gave me life
My dad who taught me how to live it
My siblings who share it with me
My friends who make it fun
My Dr.s who are going to save it
My husband who makes it wonderful
My kids who make it meaningful
My Savior who makes it eternal

Sunday, November 18, 2007

tick tock

Well, Thursday I got the clearance I needed from the surgeon to go ahead with treatments. Friday I spent the afternoon trying to get into the oncologist before Thanksgiving so I could start ASAP. So far I'm out of luck. If nothing turns up I will see him on the 26th and I will beg to start that day (I'm sure they wont let me).

I just feel like this cancer has had too much time. It has to be stopped.

The Dr. also mentioned that there are two treatments I may qualify for. Interferon is the one I'm prepared for, the other is biochemotherapy. Its basically chemo plus immunotherapy (like interferon). They are doing a study at the Hunstsman (where I will be treated) to see if it works better than interferon alone. I wonder what the Dr. will recommend?

In the meantime I pretend to have a normal life. But it isn't because everything is changed. Maybe for the better, but its hard to see that side of it sometimes.

The lesson in Young Womens today was on how we spend our time. Time means so much to me now. Its not like money that can be bought and saved. Its a gift that has to be spent every second. It will all have to be accounted for. Where do we splurge?

I don't want to spend any of my precious time on anger, judgment, or envy. I don't want to spend it on keeping up with the Jones'. I don't want to spend too much of it in front of the TV. I don't want to spend it worrying. I don't want to spend it yelling at my kids. I don't want to spend it alone.

One of my favorite movie moments from Mary Poppins: The stressed out banker father working overtime trying to please his superiors and get rich while his children see him for breakfast and before bedtime. The happy chimney sweep who sees time differently sings to the father...

You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give

Thanks to cancer I meet James at the bus stop for three extra minutes to hold his hand. And when my hourglass is up, I cant imagine regretting it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

this title escapes me

Ive been neglecting my blog. We just had a big night in Young Womens so I should be back at this game for a while. Until the next big thing. I swear we (me and the other YW leaders) should start a website "Extreme Young Womens." lets just say when we do a skit for camp, its a full production. Our girls and leaders are so creative, it seems a waste not to share it with the world.

Its late now, so Ill just share a video I made the year I had Luke, and all three boys were at home. Have I told you about my families obsession with multimedia? We have a film festival every year and this was one of my entries. It didn't win.



video

Saturday, November 10, 2007

6 things

I don't love being tagged (although I love the Kelly that tagged me) but I think its going to be easy to tell you six things/habits about me that I haven't previously posted. I can think of 17 random things of today.

1. Ive spent 4 hours today on a 5 minute video clip for YW in excellence. I have to admit, its going to be worth it!!

2. I have 10 new words in my vocabulary, thanks to 2 hours of researching melanoma on the world wide web. I want to be an expert. Although I don't usually indulge like this, I do spend a lot of time thinking what I'm going to do with my life after this nightmare is over. Will I be a cancer nurse? Cancer photographer? Cancer health educator? Or will I go with something Ive never done? Ive always told Josh that I feel like I haven't hit my career yet. I don't know what its going to be.

3. I have a superpower, a 7th sense. Its really annoying. During the surgery on my leg they had to cut some nerves. I think some of them are growing back. You know that feeling in your stomach you get when you drive down a little hill kind of fast? I feel it in my leg (only stronger) when I panic, even before I panic. If Luke is dangerously jumping on the couch I have to grab my leg, "Luke, no! Please!" Every time he runs around a corner. "Ahhh!"
Lets just say I hope its not forever.

4. I signed a pact on my friend Camilles blog: "Just finished Eclipse. I would like to start a petition of readers who refuse to carry on with this stupid craze. If you will join me in your commitment to not read the 4th book (and any other additional ramblings of the same story over and over) please sign here." I could go on about my mixed feelings for these books. I'm relieved that now I cant keep reading.

5. My cat really bugs me sometimes. I just threw him off of me. This is new since cancer. I cant figure it out.

6. My kids and I like to remember the good old days. Sam told me today, "Mommy, remember when we could sit on both of your laps?"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

this part of my life is called......waiting.

Went to the Dr.s again today. The leg is looking better, but there is still a spot that won't drain. He said to give it a week and come back. I cant get into the oncologist till my leg is completely healed. This meant we had to cancel my moms tickets since its unlikely I will start the treatments too much before Thanksgiving.

I was really sad about how things are shaking down earlier today. Its hard to have no control! But tonight is the first night since Sunday I don't have a fever, so I'm feeling very happy. I have a long to do list that I can get started. It will feel so good to do something.

I have to tell you about a boy I saw on the news a couple years ago. His name was Mattie Stepanek. He was maybe 10 or 11 and had been suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy which killed his siblings. He was in a wheel chair, breathing with a trach tube-but he was so brilliant, and happy. Anyway he said something that I loved then, and that I need now.

When asked "Do you ever get angry or scared about your disease or dying?" He says, "I never question God. I might say, "Why me?" But then I say, "Why not me? Better me than a little baby, or a kid who doesn't have strength or support."



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

medical update

So, Ive been waiting to get this stupid drain out of my leg so I can start the treatments. I was having three times the amount of fluid I needed to get it pulled. I started praying to get it out because my mom comes into town next week to help me while I'm on the drugs.

Bad idea.

Sunday during church I started to feel sick, and by 10:00 I had a fever, shakes, my leg was hot and red, and the drainage was disgusting. I called the Dr. ("Sorry to bug you, you just never know when your going to go septic overnight") and went to the ER. My blood pressure was down to 78/48. I felt so miserable, but after about 10 different drugs and IV antibiotics I was able to walk out to the car. They knew it was the drain, but were hoping the antibiotics would take care of the infection so I could keep it in a little longer.

Monday night I felt the same, only I was puking up any medicine I tried to take, so we got some anti nausea pills and I got comfortable. The whole time I kept wondering if this is what its going to feel like that first month of my treatments. I'm completely terrified.

This morning I still felt sick, and the redness hadn't gone away so they pulled the drain out. Josh now gets to stick a huge Q-tip up the path of the drain to keep it open until my body figures out where to put all this fluid. Not fun.

I see the Dr. on Thursday and we are going to get an appointment with the medical oncologist so as soon as my leg heals we can start the drugs.

Im wondering why in Heaven, if I looked at my list of trials, didnt I sweetly say "Cancer? Um....no thank you!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

boo humbug



James once asked me "What are we celebrating on Halloween?" I had to think, "I don't know.....the birth of Frankenstein?"

I think everyones posts today are going to be full of their kids in cute costumes. I'm not saying my kids aren't cute, but their costumes are so boring. James has been a race car driver for 3 years, now Sam is in on it. Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnheart Jr., barf!

Luke was impossible:
"Do you want to be a cow?" "Yea, purple cow!" "We don't have a purple cow." "No cow."
"How about a dog?" "Yea, green dog." "We don't have green, only brown." "No dog."
"You could be an elephant!" "Yea, lellow elephant." "Its a gray elephant." "No elephant!."

I was going over the options again to today. After saying no to everything, he said, "I be Edward" (a Thomas the Tank Engine Train). "No Luke. We don't have an Edward costume." "I be Edward." I gave up and went to play with Sam. A few minutes later Luke runs out of the play room "I Edward! I Edward!" He had found a Thomas sticker and put it in his hair. How was I going to argue with that one?

So, I put some pictures up of Sam in my favorite costume 2 years ago. I promise if they didn't have opinions they would always look this cute.

I always dread the hoard of candy. Last year I had a great plan. The day after Halloween the kids asked the usual, "whats for lunch?" I answered, "Candy!" I dumped their loot on the table and told them they should eat as much as they could, cause everything they didn't eat right then I was going to give away.

It kind of backfired. I was counting on the belly ache we tell kids they are going to get when they eat too much candy. It didn't come. They were supposed to never want to see another smartie. They still begged for it after I took it away, and their friends had enough to keep their blood sugars high. The only thing I accomplished was teaching them that candy was an option for lunch. "What do you want for lunch?' "CANDY!!"

Feel free to share how you get rid of your booty.

I guess the point I'm trying to get at (and its taking way too long) is that normally I hate Halloween. But this year was different. I loved the anticipation, the costumes (except my boys), the ghost stories, the teenage trick or treaters. Even the candy the boys brought back.

I suppose I know the reason for the change of heart.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Happy Halloween
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

thought I would share one of my ah-ha moments, being Sunday and all


Circa Nov. 2005.

It was one of those days.

I woke up tired thanks to a few nighttime feedings. Changed a diaper. Wiped a nose. Fed the boys their breakfast. Cleaned the breakfast off the table. Cleaned the breakfast off the baby, and the floor, and my shirt. Wiped their noses. Put the baby in the bath. Dressed the other two. Dried the baby off, diapered and dressed him.

"Mommy! Im done!" Wiped a bum. Swept the floor. Got out the legos. Picked up and made happy the crying baby. Did the dishes. Wiped noses. Changed a diaper. Got out snacks. Cleaned up snacks. Changed clothes that had been spilled on. Read 'Thomas and friends'. Made lunch. Spoon fed the baby. Started a load of laundry. Cleaned up lunch. Put away the legos. Dispensed cold medications. Nursed the baby. Put him down for a nap and whispered, "I didnt even know you 5 months ago and now your running my life!"

Then I felt exhasted.

I sat on the couch to fold laundry and turned on KBYU to get inspired or uplifted. The devotional topic didn't help. It was on missionary work.

I had been married for 5 and 1/2 years and had 3 kids at home. Three was so much harder than two! My life was a far cry than that of someone going abroad, or even out in the neighborhood, spreading the gospel. I felt like there wasn't much time to do anything out side of my busy, unimportant, monotonous days. I thought, "I should have gone on a mission. Served God while I could have."

I turned if off, and laid down to read my scriptures.

I was in Mathew 25. The first parable was the ten virgins. I compared it to food storage. Guilt. I had lots of beans, but thats about it. And then the talents. More guilt. If anything I was loosing talents, hiding them under the couch along with hot wheels and marbles.

Then the goats and the sheep parable. At the second coming Christ sits at his throne and separates all the gathered people on the earth one from another........

"as a sheperd divideth his sheep from the goats:

and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee and hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

when Luke woke up I gave him a great big kiss and happily went on my busy, important, monotonous day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baby

I feel so spoiled today. My aunt Janice and her daughter Jill brought me lunch and gave my front room a much needed make-over. I'll post pics soon. Its so cute! My mother in law brought back all my ironing. Aunt Denise brought me dinner. Its been heaven. Like if someone would ask you what you wanted to do today-you could pretty much answer this. And yet.....

As I watched aunt Janice pull up all my annuals, I thought how weird it is to be dependent again. At 18 you cant wait to pack all you have in your families ugly van to be dropped off and live on your own. If fulfills all your expectations. You get used to it. You love it. And then...you get cancer. I have wanted to pull those flowers out this whole week, but I cant bend. So many things that defined my life I cant do.

An Oprah thought I always loved (but never really understood) is that sometimes you have to learn to love the 'new normal.' Dependence is going to have to be a part of my normal days maybe for the next year. (Oh, its Drug awareness week in James school and his eyes just bulge whenever I talk about the drugs I'm going to be starting)

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week. Like a second summer. The boys have spent their afternoons hunting bugs to feed the lizard our neighbor is keeping in a jar. Yesterday they found a lizard corpse "with its eyes popped out" in the window well. I watched James and Dallin from my hammock as they picked the last of my flowers and knelt down beside the gravel grave they had dug. They looked so tough in their camo and fohawks (it was crazy hair day at school) but they bowed their heads and looked very (appropriately) glum over the death.

Tonight in the moonlight I saw the brick gravestone, and the meticulously placed colorful bouquets sticking out from all sides. I love little boys!


I just went to get a picture of said grave and noticed there was an inscription. Four hearts around the name 'Baby' and then the names of the boys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

today

Yesterday I was wondering why this recovery was taking so long. A mother with a C-section would taking care of a newborn at this stage. Today I got to sweep my own floor and sit in the sunshine.

I took your advise and watched 'the last lecture'-loved it. Also watched Crazy, Sexy, Cancer. Lots of things to think about. They don't do any treatment on her type of cancer, so she just goes around looking for alternative ways to help slow it down. I think that was good for her. But she never turned to God to get any answers or peace. Faith in food alone doesn't seem like enough.

I'm also going to give Bella another chance tonight. This time on Lortab.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

random things....

Like the fact that Josh, James, and Sam took a ride in a hot air balloon this morning. Grandma Vicki bought the ride at our PTA carnival. I wasn't too nervous until they were way up there and the wife of the balloonist said, "So, are you going follow them to pick them up?" I guess it makes sense, but I didn't realize that you don't steer them, they just kind of go where the wind takes them, and land when they are close to an open field. Who knew? Everyone? I was sad I cant move around very well to take sweet pictures. It seems like a very photogenic event and I couldn't get creative.

His wife also was saying that it feels like your flying. She said if her husband is trying to sell one and the customer has had flying dreams they almost always get the sale. Ive talked about this with my mom and we totally think we know how to fly because it is such a real feeling in our dreams. Is this normal or are we witches?

I am enjoying a clean house today thanks to a random act of kindness. My brothers' wifes' brothers' wife Traci owns a housekeeping business and she offered her services for a while. So Im enjoying my CLEAN house. Thanks Traci!!

I want your opinion on the Twilight series. Im sure to offend tons because so many people have recommended these books to me. It started out all fun, but Ive been in the middle of the second one for a month and haven't seen Edward and I just don't know if I want to finish. Bella is not a heroine by any stretch of the imagination, and there is no hero, no one to like. I don't know, what do you think, is it worth finishing?

I caught the end of Oprah yesterday (I'm not recommending her, but Ive had my share of Ah-ha moments). It was on conversations about death-talking to terminally ill people. I wish I would have seen it all, but she quoted Da Vinci "As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death." I thought that was a nice way of putting it.

So I just read over my blog. Its the Lortab talking. Nothing is coherent, which is why I didn't dare write yesterday. I don't need it during the day anymore, but when I'm sore at night I likey my Lortab.

the pics

Monday, October 22, 2007

Amen.

Truman Johnson

Sunday, October 21, 2007

St. Joshua

Its been a busy weekend for just sitting around.

My in laws took the boys to their cabin Friday so Josh and I started 'project organize your house enough to let anyone clean it.' This is going to take until I get sick again because my house is so not organized.

Ive never watched so many movies in one weekend (2). We watched the Wizard of Oz, which I hadn't seen since I was a child, and my children have never seen, and Josh hasn't seen since he fell in love with the Wicked soundtrack. It kind of has a magic of its own doesn't it? Its a good Halloween flick if your kids haven't seen it.

We also watched Holes with James. Its one of the books I read him this summer. We loved it! He remembered all the characters names, the plot, the jokes. He was a little nervous to watch the movie, asking if we could fast forward the S-A-D part. He couldn't even say the word.

Today Sam had to give a talk in primary. I was so excited because I was actually making some decisions for the talk (James has always decided his own topic, written it himself, decided on the pictures-which generally include me drawing them because there are no triathlon photos in the gospel library). Sam did write the end, what he thought were jokes. "But my favorite prophet is Samuel, because he has my same name! He was a prophet when he was a child. I want to be a prophet when I am a child." James caught wind of the discourse and decided he would be the best one to help Sam since he would be in junior primary anyway. So I think it was probably a disaster. And word has it that Sam laughed heartily at his own jokes over the pulpit.

Just to annoy the primary president a little more, James threw up in the middle of the program rehearsal. Sorry Mindy!

I guess life still goes on as I sit on my couch. Josh wakes up early with the boys, gets them breakfast, packs James lunch, bathes them, dresses them, dresses me, cleans the house, goes to work. When he gets home he feeds us, plays with the boys(its basketball right now thanks to High School Musical), gets them ready for bed, gets me ready for bed, gets the kids to bed. Then he does the dishes, some laundry, hangs things up, or puts IKEA organizers together till late at night. All the while this guy seems happy!

Last night at the end of a day just like this, he was changing the dressing on my leg. He looked up at me and smiled. "I love taking care of you."
Josh glances away from the lawnmower for a quick snapshot. Is this guy for real??

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Universal Experience?


Its not really my style to be so dependent on other people for my everyday needs. I always hated showing my 'owies' to anyone after I had been hurt. I think I even broke my arm and hid it from my mom till nighttime when I couldn't stand it any longer.

I'm sure this part of the humbling Heavenly Father wants me to learn. I was glad to have aunt Denise here the day after surgery to dress my wounds, babysit, clean, and keep me happy.

Yesterday it was aunt Janice who offered her help. I wondered if I would need it, but realized I would have had a stressful day without her. She even said she would empty my drain (of course I didn't make her). She drove to the school because James teacher called to see if we could bring him a new pair or clothes because he had an accident. He was in denial saying his chair was just wet.

The thing is-James doesn't lie, and I don't think he has peed his pants since the day he was potty trained at 22 months. Janice reassured me that this is so normal for that age.

Should I be worried?

I guess when I was in kindergarten the principle walked in and our teacher said, 'don't talk or raise you hand for any reason while the principle is here' I remember watching her so intently, shaking my legs because I had to go so bad, and that conversation lasting forever. I was so obedient! When she came back to the table she rolled her eyes and cleaned my chair up with flimsy tissues. I told all the kids that I had fallen in the toilet.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bullseye

We had some really great news today. Even though its what we expected, it felt SO good to hear that there was no cancer in the lymph nodes they took out on Tuesday.

So there is no visible cancer in the body. He said the treatments they do next will be to help the body fight off any cancer cells that are floating around the body. Im going to enjoy my weeks before I have to worry about that.

Thanks for all your love and prayers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You should always send flowers to your wife when she gives birth

Its been a pretty good day. Last night when they kicked me out of the hospital I was was in so much pain I told Josh if I ever get cancer again I am not going to treat it. That was extreme. Today I can get up by myself and stay up for a few minutes.

I did make the mistake of examining the damage. I felt like the little women when Joe takes the hat off her head to reveal her haircut, 'Oh Joe, your one beauty!' Josh has always said my legs were my best feature. Maybe he will have to settle for leg in the singular.

My little sister has been here updating my itunes with awesome songs to keep me happy. Its amazing what High School Musical will do to your mood.

I got a box of flowers delivered to my door today. It read "Congratulations on your first baby boy. Better late than never. Love, Josh."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

She's Alive Part II

She is home, she is eating and she has been asking for an epidural.

Monday, October 15, 2007

WEblog gone bad

Josh wouldn't let me blog last night. He thought I needed some sleep. I'm going to just blog twice as much today in defiance.

Lots of emotions this week. I was so happy when a gorgeous new couch arrived from an anonymous donor (I have my suspicions). Ive never had a couch I didn't have to hide with a slipcover so I'm really enjoying it.

A little scared when the hospital called the other day to verify my information...'just calling about your radical groin disection.' My stomach didnt like the way that rolled off the tongue. Count me out of anything using the word radical, especially involving a knife. Ive mentioned before my intense fear of surgery. Its just that I have to keep my fingers on my wrist in the dentists office if they give me the gas just to make sure my pulse doesn't...I don't know...stop. Totally absurd.

Its been hard to say hello and goodbye again to my parents who came into town for general conference. A lot of people told me when their parents were on missions and such everything just went so smoothly while they were gone. Its seeming a little opposite here for me, but I'm hoping somehow it will help? I don't know how, and I don't mean to complain, but it seems like I never needed a mom so bad. I know its not her choice to be far away.

My sister is here tonight, but is leaving in the morning. She has been doing everything for me so unselfishly. We got a lot of organization done and she is leaving me with a clean house. She always reminds me how bad a housekeeper I am by doing things that have never been done ie bleaching my showers and linens. There is nothing like a sister, really. When we were little we used to get in these weird, tired moods where everything that happened would send us into hysterics and my stomach would hurt from the uninterrupted laughter. Tonight we just cried at the end of the day.

We told James and Sam about the surgery tomorrow. Sam said "I hope we only get good news or no news" James made a gun with his hands, "I'm shooting. I'm shooting for the good news target." Sam pointed to his head "My brain is telling me its going to be bad news." Fun times.

We wont hear the pathology reports till Thursday, but everyone is sure there wont be cancer in what they are taking out. Sam missed this memo.

I was glancing through my blog starting from this summer. I'm a little sad that my sweet little blog has turned so sour! I really do have so much hope and faith, and love and gratitude. This could end in I guess a tragedy, but I hope and pray that I'm around to make some triumphant title in 5 years.

Which reminds me that Ive been purposely not reading any blogs for a while so I could have some reading to do while in bed. If anyone wants to share their blog with me email the address to alisa.linton@gmail.com or put it in the comments. I would love to see what SWEET things are going on in your lives!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hope in a Bottle

There are so many things I could blog about. I'm picking the one I can get out of my mind.

How do I put it into words though?

James does talk about cancer now. He was home (and I wasn't) when a friend graciously gave me some Tahitian Noni to help with the cancer. He heard the instructions and the hope it might bring. He asks me at random times 'have you taken your noni mommy?' 'how much noni have you had today?' 'have you had your noni twice today?'

The other night he got a hold of some Reichimax tablets (its a mushroom suppliment) at my brothers. The adults looked it up on the internet and found its used to help battle cancer (I'm not saying it dose). Anyway, he came home so excited to show me the treasure he had in his hands that would get rid of my cancer. We had tears in our eyes as he pulled out the bottles and read the ingredients that he was so sure would save my life.

'James, it doesnt cure cancer'
'no, it really does. it stops it. Reichimax. You just take 1 or 2 a day.'

Can I bottle up some of that faith? He pretends not to listen to cancer talk, but hes very tuned in. When my sister and I talk about it in the car he calls from the back 'can you guys stop talking about that.'

I got to take the boys out on dates today. James and I went to the planetarium and read every plaque. Turns out he knows more about space than me. We ended the date with an IMAX planet show in the dome theater. As we saw the number of stars, planets, solar systems, etc. I realized how very tiny and insignificant I am.

And yet to the little boy holding my hand I am his world (or a very big part of it). It would be a very different place without his mom. No wonder he doesn't want to deal with it.

Sam said last night, "mommy I love you so fast my hands get fire all over and burn up." There is no way anyone (or everyone for that matter) could tell my boys how much I love them. I guess I could only hope they would feel it even if I wasn't there to show them.

I don't think mommies should be allowed to die.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

FAQs

How are you doing? It just depends on the minute. Sometimes incredibly happy and hopeful, others the opposite.

Did you hear from the Dr.? Yes, yesterday. He had been trying to get a hold of a few other Dr.s to see I could be eligible for the study I mentioned earlier. Turns out it has been too long since the original biopsy to qualify. He was hoping I would have gotten picked to not have the next surgery, as he thinks there will be no cancer in what he takes out next. So, the surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

What does the surgery involve? They are taking out the superficial lymph nodes near my left groin (around 10 I think). They also take the fat around them (are we sure this doesn't warrant removal of fat from other areas?). He said they have to move a small leg muscle to cover up the blood vessels. He will put a couple of temporary drains in to control the fluids.

Are there complications? Some people (15%) develop lymphodema where their bodies dont drain the fluids correctly-it would be like having a swollen leg always. The Dr. thinks because I'm young this wont happen, the body will find a way to distribute this. He said numbness is normal where they operate, and of course pain.

Who do you like better? George W., George Clooney, or George of the Jungle? George Clooney.

When do you start the drug treatments? He said a few weeks after the surgery, after Ive healed up.

Whats that going to be like? I need to get more info on this. I haven't seen the medical oncologist yet to get a real good idea. From what I gather its one month of IV injections and feeling really sick (like having the flu) and then a year of giving yourself shots for the rest of the year. I will have more info later on this.

Who is going to help? According to all of you, who is not going to help? My mom and sister might fly in for that awful month. This question doesn't scare me anymore, I feel like I could ask a hundred people for anything.

So, you could either be drop dead gorgeous and smell really bad (and there is nothing you could do about the odor) or just look normal and smell normal. What would you pick? I have to admit Matt, this question stresses me out.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bitten by the Love Bug.

Its been a rough few days of waiting. I'm trying to be a patient patient, but its eating at my happiness. I keep calling the office, and if I cant get any answers tomorrow I'm going to sick my husband on them.
I just need to know when I can get this surgery out of the way and start getting sick in order to get better. Is this normal to hate waiting?
Its not like I'm choosing the best material to pull myself out of depression. Note to self: do not watch 'finding neverland' (one of my favorite shows) when you are a mother of all boys, dying, have a boy 6 who doesn't want to deal with it, and your in love with Jonny Depp. This makes for a ridiculous cry. Avoid also books ending in death with said 6 year old. We finished Bridge to Terebithia (which we started before cancer was in his vocabulary) I thought it was beautiful. James had no comment.
Conference didn't help me keep mind off it (although it helped in other ways). I thought they were paying particular attention to death. Was it just me?
I hope you heard the comment about 'cancer, the disease of love." I was like (in a Bryan Reagan sort of way) "Oh, so thats what I have." But seriously I have already learned that truth.
I hope my ward, family, and friends felt very validated as they heard all the talks on service. I just don't know what to say to everyone, except you have lifted this burden more than you will ever know.
I will always love you for it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I like negative results.

I just talked to the nurse at the Dr. office, they said everything looks negative, except some cysts in my liver (which she said is nothing to worry about). This is what we expected, and we will set up a surgery date for next week most likely.

I will let you know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No news today. No surprise.

Josh bought me a Lance Armstrongs Live Strong 'Survivorship Notebook.' He's a big fan of Lance. Anyway I loved what he said, "Before cancer I just lived, now I live strong."

Bring it on.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Galileo Galilei

Today was devoted to tests. The brain MRI was awful. Mostly because I had drunk about a liter of contrast that was screaming to come out. On top of that they put you in a little tube and strap down your head and tell you not to move, even swallow while you hear the 'jack hammer' sounds at your head. Perfect. It lasts 30 minutes with some breaks in between. The technician suggested that the best way to get through the test was to close my eyes and think of a Hawaiian beach. For some reason the thoughts were leaning more toward IKEAs mac and cheese. Then I got nervous that the Dr.s could determine if I had intelligent thoughts or lame ones, involving food. "Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jon, manipulating electrons, string theory, neurotransmitters....."etc. Unfortunately I ran out of smart things to contemplate in a matter of minutes. I feel like I failed miserably.

The CT scan was fast. They don't give you any results for 24-48 hours, although I tried best I could to get a little info out of them. I need to take flirting lessons from Jennie-I'm way out of practice.

Its my turn to get some good news tomorrow.

Life has funny way of....ending. Just kidding, its just that the Dr.s are always so shocked when I talk like that. I think its a good thing, talking about it, that is.

I'm not scared. Death has a beauty of its own. As a nurse Ive been able to be with several people as they passed to the other side. The feeling in the room is similar to being in room with a mom giving birth. Tears in both cases, although maybe not for the exact reasons. A last breath and a first breath. Isn't it all amazing? Life just goes on.

Luckily, because I'm trying to reconstruct my thoughts to the positive (how do you think I'm doing?) my chest should be rising and falling for a while.

Sam was begging not to go to bed tonight "Can I stay up a little longer mommy?" "No" "Just five more minutes mommy" "No, love" "Please!! Just to play" "No, dear" "Mommy, just five more minutes!!"

I gave in.

And then I thought, would God? "Can I stay here a little longer Father?" "Just five more years" "Please, just to be here with everyone I love?" "Just five more years?"

I'm going to try it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Sunday Post.....

consists most importantly of a scripture in Romans "but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope."

I have to admit Ive started cramming. Memorizing scriptures when I get the chance.

These last few days have felt so wonderfully normal. Except in my nightly prayers in which I have always started out 'thank you for this day'-I linger and let the images of my kids, friends, husband, family, play through my head and I cry. Out of gratitude, not real sadness.

Life is so beautiful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prevention

Its so great to hear from all of you. I mean it.

I am going to get my tests done on Tuesday, so there wont be any new news until after that.

My girlfriend Steph Fugal, who I could write a thank you BOOK to, brought up a good point. Was this because of too much sun?

The Dr. told Josh the DNA report showed there was no evidence of sun damage. I have had the blessing of never feeling guilty about the cancer. Afternoons spent cooking on the roof of our apartment in Mexico studying pediatrics did cross my mind. I never used sunblock simply because I didn't burn (and it was so easy to get a great tan). Of course I would take it all back, but it seems like it wouldn't have made a difference.

And then, should I feel guilty because I didn't get it removed earlier? I found a study that showed nodular melanoma (especially the color of mine-pinkish) is not thought to be melanoma even by Dr.s (as was the case with mine).

Im going to paste the abstract of the study. This is for my benefit (most of you wont want to read it), because I do feel a little silly being a nurse and all, and not getting it off faster.

BACKGROUND: Nodular histotype represents the condition that is mostly associated with diagnosis of thick melanoma. OBJECTIVE: The objectives were to evaluate variables associated with and pattern of detection of nodular melanomas and to investigate variables associated with early diagnosis in accordance with histotype (nodular vs. superficial spreading melanomas). METHODS: From the original data set of 816 melanomas, all the invasive lesions classified as superficial spreading (n=500) and nodular (n=93) melanomas were considered for the study. A multivariate logistic analysis was performed. Results. Nodular melanomas did not significantly differ from superficial spreading melanomas regarding sex, anatomic site, number of whole-body nevi, and the presence of atypical nevi. As expected, nodular melanomas were represented by a higher percentage of thick (>2 mm) lesions compared to superficial spreading melanomas (64.5% vs. 9.6%, p<0.001). style="font-weight: bold;">Female sex, high level of education, and detection made by a dermatologist had an independent, protective effect against late (>1 mm in thickness) diagnosis in superficial spreading melanomas. No protective variable associated with nodular melanomas was found. CONCLUSION: Patterns of detection for nodular melanomas significantly differ from those for superficial spreading melanomas. For superficial spreading, but not for nodular, melanomas, variables associated with protective effect against late diagnosis can be identified.


I remember after my horrible birth with Luke, telling my cousin Jill how I felt guilty I didn't love him to pieces right after and she said something like "there is no room for guilt in motherhood." I cant fit that emotion in now either. My heart is already full. Mostly of love....for you.


Here is how James ended up at the end of the Matterhorn-horizontal. He sports the only souvenir from Disneyland, (ironically) a watch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lab Rat

Ive seen three Dr.s today. I'm not going into surgery tomorrow like we planned. Im enrolling in a clinical trial for melanoma, to see if taking all the lymph nodes out or just the sentinel lymph nodes (the ones that have already been removed) make a difference in survival outcomes. The hypothesis is that there is no advantage in taking more lymph nodes out. Im attracted to this study because of:
A: Scans. Lots of them. They are setting up a CAT and MRI within the next week. There is something comforting about having everything in the body on film. They will make sure there is no other signs of tumors so they can accurately stage the cancer.
B: Follow up. Lots of it. Every four months followed closely by these melanoma specialists.
C: The opportunity to help others with melanoma. If Im going to die, maybe it wont be in vain.

So they randomly select if you get further surgery on the lymph nodes, or no surgery but close observation.

After talking to the 2nd Dr. he said in my case he would not take chances and would take all the lymph nodes out. I cant help but agree with him, as I'm feeling like a leg amputation wouldn't be uncalled for to get the dang stuff out. Of course, really the danger now is not the leg, but the blood and the lymph that could be carrying the melanoma. So I think Ill wait and hope to get selected into the 'further surgery' group, and if not I can drop out and just have him do the surgery. Nothing lost, scans gained.

After surgery we start interferon treatment. This worries me, but if it might help, bring it on. The Dr.s are giving me a 50/50 chance of survival after all this. This has changed my way of talking about the situation as it used to be "probably going to die" to....I don't know yet, "might die?"

Now for spiritual experiences. There are just too many, I dont know which to tell.

Last night as we were driving home (and by the way, we pulled up at 2:30 am and the kids were still wide awake) over the moonlit nothingness of central Utah, I was feeling overwhelmed with the logistics of the therapy (who will take me to the Dr. daily for the first month, watch my kids, what if I'm too sick to take care of them, etc.). It was too much to ask anyone. I would be a burden to everyone around me. I couldn't see how this would all work out.

I got home. Cried when I noticed the lawn mowed, the house clean, food everywhere, basement finished. All the details up to chocolate on the pillows and leopard print sheets. There were flowers everywhere with cards.

One card had every word I needed to hear. It was from Jana (next door, amazing). The end of her card read "Please never feel like you are asking too much-there can never be too much. Just please keep asking."

Thank you Jana, I love you.

Have I told you about my ward of miracles? We have had some amazing things happen with ward fasts. Bishop Jensen is calling me the next one. When I hear him say it I totally believe it. They fasted for me today. We broke it at YW/YM tonight. I just want to thank you all. I have felt so much peace today. Everything is going to be okay, either way.

Oh wait, Dr.s orders today: POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

Im going to need some help on this one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This part of my life is called.....Disneyland

Josh came home from work Friday and found my neighbors, the bishop, and his parents, loading up the car. "I'm so confused." "Josh, we are getting away. We are all packed, we are going to Disneyland." "What? Why?"
I was as confused as him. What else were we going to do? Didn't he understand I had to get to the happiest place on earth? Didn't he know this may be my last weekend of even feeling good for a long time? Couldn't he see that I needed to be as close to my kids as possible for the next few days? It just made so much sense.
To me.
But he got in anyway.

Our first night in St. George I cried myself to sleep, and for the first time in my life, woke up crying. Maybe I was crying in between, I cant be sure.
We left early and got to the park for lunch. First ride: 'Soaring.' In which I closed my eyes, took a deep breathe, and bawled like a baby "this is what its like..." "this is going to be me....soon...." Basically it takes you up in the clouds and all over California with amazing music in the background. Loved it. I love California anyway.
Spent most of the rest of the day in California adventures (which is new since Ive been there). The boys loved every ride, every song, every site, every minute.
You know how the day ended. With a dream to make it back.

Sunday we went to the Newport Beach Temple (grounds) for FHE. "Whats it going to be about?" James asked. "I bet you could guess." "Cancer?" "Yup." "Then I'm not listening." We sat down and James covered his ears.
Its been really hard to watch how James reacts to all this news. He wont hear it.
Josh talked (and cried) about the best day of my life. The day I was sealed to Josh. How because of that day we will always be just like we were right then...together.

A resolution was made in Cancun as a college student, where I fell in love with the ocean. I make it a point to get to the coast every year. I thought it would be Chile for 2007, but it was Newport Beach.
Im terrified of the ocean, its so foreign and unknown. Which makes it completely romantic. I guess its like death. Beautiful in its own way.
Sorry I keep bringing it up, but its kind of been on my mind.
California has the bonus of sunset over the sea. It just gave me so much strength to be there.

Today we got to Disneyland early. You have to go under a tunnel as you enter with a plaque that reads: "Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy."

Its been the perfect day. I felt the magic. I haven't cried a tear.

We are driving home right now. We made a Dr.s appointment for 9 in the am.

I'm not going to lie. I cant help but think the happiest place on earth isnt in Anehiem, but in Lehi.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Year of a million dreams.

The Dr. called Friday night while we were on the road. He said the cancer in the first sentinel node was small, and then very small ones in the other two. He wanted to schedule a second surgery to get all the surrounding nodes out on Wednesday. Then we need to discuss what treatments we want to do after that. It sounded like the best bet was Interferon, an immunological drug. I have researched a little internet of this before and those who have done it say its awful. I have tried to stay away from the internet this trip. Looking at survival rates is pretty bleak.

We have had a few special moments in the Magical Kingdom. On the way out of the park last night an employee stopped us to answer some some questions about our experience. The last questions went something like this: "Do you plan on returning to Disneyland?" Josh and I looked at each other, tears welling up, "I don't know" we both said." "Thats okay, would you LIKE to return to Disneyland?" That did it, and I started bawling and explaining that I would LOVE to come back but I just found out that I might be dying of cancer. I don't think she had a box to check that off on her sheet. She was crying and we were hugging. It was quite the scene.

Im not really sure who my audience is anymore, I think my ward friends are tuning in now, but I want to thank everyone who's helped, all the emails (which I'm going to find time to respond to someday), the food and flowers and babysitting. I just feel like I'm doing as well as I am because of all of you. Thank you so much for your prayers. God might get sick of my request, so its probably good coming from you too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happyness

I know a blog (at least mine) in not suppose to take place of, or even be compared to a personal journal. But let type the last entry I had in mine before I found out that my mole was indeed melanoma.

May 13th.

"Its mothers day so Josh is putting the kids to bed for me and I've wanted to write in here for a long time. Yesterday Josh and I were talking to our neighbor Danny about our 'vision board' (refer to the Secret DVD) [its basically a cork board you take pictures of everything you want to obtain in life so you can make a goal to get it]. He asked whats on mine.
I guess everything I want is just right before me. The house is great, the fam is perfect. I just feel blessed to have everything I have. I really feel like I'm living the abundant life.
It's walks in the morning down to the river to watch my boys throw rocks and blow dandelion wishes, and laying in the hammock with all five of us talking about the ghost James and Sam swear they saw in our house.  It's cuddling with Luke before his nap and wishing he would stay little forever-thats what the abundant life is and I thank God for it all."


Today Josh has been calling the Dr. office non-stop. The nurse said it was in, but not dictated so she couldn't tell us what it said. They closed their office at 2:30 so I waited. Josh said he would call at 1:30. From 1:30 till two I was shaking. I was getting ready to photograph my cousins' wedding. I took my mascara off to start putting on my face again. I put my contacts in then stopped, staring. In the mirror I saw a beautiful woman. I can only attribute it to being so nervous all the blood was rushing to my face. I thought for the first time in my mommy life "I don't even need make up today." My hair (which hadn't been touched) was softly falling down my shoulders, perfectly parted.
And then Josh called. He sounded up beat, "So...I talked to the nurse, she told me the results.." "And?" "And she said that they took out three lymph nodes, and they were all positive." "Positive? For what?" (I honestly did not think I would hear those words) "Melanoma."
We cried together for a minute.
I ran to my neighbors to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
Within an hour and a half my friends had packed our bags and my car.
I'm going to cash all the checks on my fridge. We are headed to California right now, until my appointment on Tuesday with the Dr. I really don't know what they do next. Maybe nothing, but I doubt it. I'm scared to death and I don't want to know any more.
If I'm going to go through denial, what better place than Disneyland?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Popularity

Im feeling pretty popular today. I have all your attention. I wish I could tell you something new. Can't. Sorry. I wish I had something funny or even worth reading to say. Can't. Sorry.
I do have a new blog! I finally had time to get it together while my mother in law has been taking care of everything else. Its alisalinton.blogspot.com. Lots of you are in it (if it bugs you let me know (Dave). You can click on the pictures to see them larger.
We better find out tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another day in the dark

Josh called the Dr. today to see if we would know the results of the biopsy soon. The Dr. was already gone, but the nurse was surprised we hadn't heard yet. I guess theres not much we can do till tomorrow. I was glad to talk to my neighbor the other day who has been through cancer. He said while he was waiting for results he just felt useless, which is exactly how I'm feeling. I guess if I knew I would be either extremely happy right now or scared to death. I guess putting it that way I should be content just feeling bla right now, but I'm not (content that is). I'm pretty much feeling like my baby sister who only has blogs to look forward to during the day. Ive pretty much read all of yours like 3 times today. I have been working on something fun, that I will announce tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blog on Drugs

I have only one thing on my grocery list right now: thank you cards. Everyone has been so kind, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

I am feeling happy today just to be alive. As Josh sort of alluded to, I have a strange fear that I am going to stop breathing while on drugs. Maybe because I have seen people do it after surgery, I don't know. I just thought this was probably going to happen to me sometime yesterday. I didn't. But I'm still upset that I was the only one concerned about it. I had to keep checking my pulse, and counting my respirations every time I didn't notice my chest rise and fall. Josh just locked me in my room when I got home. He might as well have left me to die I thought. I didn't nap well or sleep well last night, I had to keep waking myself up to check my breathing pattern. It was awful. I asked Josh to do it for me, so whenever he would move I would quickly hold my breath thinking 'this will teach him not to check up on me' but he never did reach out for me or look at me all night.

We will let everyone know as soon as we find out about the results of the biopsy. I have to say I feel like the cancer is gone, but it could be the drugs talking.

Monday, September 17, 2007

She's Alive!!!!!!

For all who are wondering, Alisa is out of surgery and doing well. The first thing she asked me was "Am I alive." She was nervous about the surgery and so after she kept asking me tell her what her vital signs were, "Am I breathing?" "What's my heart rate?" "Am I alive?" She was riding in the back seat and she said to me, "In case you were wondering, I am still breathing."

The doctor said the surgery went well. He told her to keep her leg straight for two weeks. She quickly asked how she was supposed to walk. It will probably be 2-3 days before we found out the results of the lymph node they took out. They are also going to biopsy another mole that was taken off her back. Another doctor suggested we have it removed at the same time as the leg.

We will keep you all posted on any updates we receive from the doctors. Please stay tuned to our blog, and feel free to send anyone this direction that may be interested.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We have felt the love from all our friends and family. thank you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Crazy Eights

I was going to depress you all with some sad stories of the day, including but not limited to a bawling session with the boys on our newly carpeted stairs. If you know Sam, you know it doesn't take more than a tear out of your eye to get him started, and James cries over candy, so maybe I shouldn't feel all that loved. But I did. My boys dont want me to go. Im going to leave it at that and do what Brittany tells me to do-crazy eights.

8 things I'm passionate about
1. my family
2. flowers
3. food
4. mb
5. friends
6. beauty
7. church
8. laundry

8 things i want to do before i die
1. attend my boys wedding
2. grow old with josh
3. holiday at Prince Edward Island
4. get really good at photography
5, buy an old house and live in it forever
6. have a girl, and give her a sister
7. save the orphans in Romania
8. tell everyone in my life how much i love them

8 things i say often
1. What are you doing?
2. LUKE!!
3. Thanks so much
4. We don't cry over something like that!
5. Fine
6. I don't know, ask your uncle Jon
7. 5 people in 1200 square feet is NOT working
8. Turn your face all the way to the camera

8 books Ive recently read
1. harry potter
2. NT
3. ladies #1 detective agency series
4. photography (text book)
5. good night moon
6. pride and prejudice
7. twilight
8. a-z mystery series (with james of course)

8 songs i could listen to over and over
1. home-michael buble
2. life is a highway (i know i could because i do-and not by choice)
3. mystery-indigo girls
4. almost all the songs on the Miracle CD by Celine Dion
5. your beautiful-james blunt
6. everything-michael buble (and as it turns out, everything michael buble)
7. anne of green gables theme song
8. where is the love-celine dion

8 things that attract me to my best friends
1. they make me feel young
2. they don't spend their lives cleaning
3. they make me better
4. they forgive
5. they listen
6. they laugh at me
7. they cry with me
8. they love me

8 things Ive learned this past year
1. 28 years is not enough time
2. i love being a mommy
3. finishing a basement is really annoying
4. life is better when you live by your mom
5. sisters are the best things in the world
6. i have a lot of friends
7. that i have a lot to learn
8. when the cougs win, we all win

8 people i think should do '8'
1. josh
2. brooke
3. vicki
4. mary
5. dad
6. rob
7. jennie
8. matt

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Josh turns 29!

Just a special birthday hello to my love. We are always amazed at how old we are getting, and especially how long we have had each other in our lives. I guess this makes it about 14 years. He has only gotten smarter, sweeter, and hotter every year. I always say how lucky I was that the coolest kid in middle school ended up being the best dad and husband in the world. Those are qualities I would never have thought of back then. Josh is not only easy to live with, hes a joy to live with. He had never complained about anything I do, how I keep the house, how I raise the kids, how I spend his money and my time. isn't that an amazing quality? I think I can read most of his thoughts by now, and its amazing how just naturally nice he really is. He is my greatest blessing. I love you!

Josh and his family

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What are the odds

Josh called home the other day "Hi!" "Hi" "How are you feeling?......cancerous?" Its kind of funny how differently we see my little situation. I guess he has always been the optimist in the relationship. For example, I have done my research and my odds of dying in the next five years are 1 in 4. When I shared this with Josh he was ecstatic, "So its 3 of 4 you'll be alive!" This from the same guy who signs up for every drawing or sweepstakes he can get his hands on and truly believe hes going to win something from it. You gotta love him.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"But so they probably for sure got rid of all of it."

Title stated by James, pertaining to my cancer. Okay, can I just thank you for all the love Ive felt today? I just cry when someone helps, or even offers. I don't know why, its just so comforting to know I have friends and family that will help me no matter what happens. My mother in law watched my kids all day so Josh could come to the Dr. I came home and my greatest neighbors Jana and Steph had cleaned my house-even my bedroom-and left flowers. Then they brought me dinner. My brother and sister in law had sent flowers. I had several messages and emails and an sweet comments on my blog-thanks Jennie, I love you too. We had a storm this afternoon that shut our Internet down, and that means our phone, so I didn't get to talk to any of you about my appointment. They scheduled me for surgery on the 17th. They said with a melanoma this deep they will have a plastic surgeon take a 'small shark bite' out of my leg where the mole was and then reconstruct that area to make it look as good as they can (can I tell you how glad I am its not on my face?). They inject some dye in my leg that morning so the general surgeon can tell which lymph nodes (the ones in the groin) to take out and send to the lab to see if the cancer has spread there. I guess if the lymph nodes are negative we call it good and watch for other moles. If it has got there its just bad news basically. I cant help but believe that will not be the case. Too much sadness in the thought. I love you all, thank you!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Life sucks and then you die

Remember that stupid phrase from High School? That's how I'm feeling today. So, those of you in me familia have heard (from mom no doubt) about my depressing news of the day. Just thought I could give you the facts here, so rumors don't run wild, and so we can just talk about normal things when we get together. Then should a question arise about my condition Ill just say 'read the blog'. Wouldn't that be rude! Maybe I should make this a 'journey through cancer site' to give others inspiration when they get the news. Then again, I'm more feeling inspired I'm going to die.
Before you get too upset, let me reassure you its not as bad as it sounds, and I'm sure its better than how mom made it sound. The Dr. did sound pretty alarmed today as he asked me about my second surgery which I had to convince him never happened. "Okay, we biopsied it after the first reports said it looked like melanoma, and then remember we sent it to California to have your DNA unraveled to make sure that's what it was, and in the mean time you went to see Dr. Noise the plastic surgeon who does a lot of these?" "No, Ive never heard that name, and I thought we were just waiting to see what the results were." "Well I would have sent you to a specialist....Anyway, we've got the results and they aren't that great so you really need to get into someone." He 'pulled a thousand strings' to get me into a guy on Tuesday. He said it was 2.5 mm thick (which is 'moderate' risky melanoma) so they need to test my lymph nodes to see if it had spread and maybe take more out of my leg. The day just got worse when I figured out which kind of melanoma it was. It was on a mole, and I thought it was just a wart because it grew so fast and was round just like a wart, bumpy, and the same color as the mole, but a little pinker I guess. I got it taken off just because the kids would scrape it and it would bleed. It didn't have any of the symptoms of of the normal skin cancer. But when I read the symptoms of this nodular kind it fits perfect (they even describe it as cauliflower growth which is exactly what it looked like). So here's a little about it:

"Nodular melanoma (NM) represents 15% to 20% of cases. It arises very rapidly, is the most aggressive type of melanoma, and is the second most common type. Unlike superficial spreading melanoma, which tends to spread outward, nodular melanoma grows rapidly upward and inward. NM usually develops in unblemished skin rather than in a nevus. It is often in a fully invasive stage of growth when it is diagnosed.

NM has a typical skin cancer pattern. It is most common in light-skinned people and usually affects areas of skin that are frequently exposed to the sun (e.g., arms, legs, head, neck, and scalp). NM usually develops in middle-age.

NM characteristically appears as a uniformly black-colored nodule (small, knot like bump), although the nodule also may be brown, blue, gray, tan, or even red. It feels very round, and the borders are smooth and regular. These lesions often are mistaken for blood vessel abnormalities because of their berry color and texture."


Anyway, I haven't really been nervous up until today. Worst case, I still fit into my wedding dress for the burial. And if any of you are worried about me, let me set your mind at ease as Josh is asking me every five minutes how I'm doing, can he do anything? Its cute and annoying.
I'm sure this will pass and we can get rid of it all. The chance of things not going well makes thinking about my boys unbearable.
Happier posts to come!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Posted

On James and Sams' bedroom door. I dont know where in the world they found this one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

First Grade Blues


Today was James' first day of 1st grade. My big anxiety was that he wouldn't eat anything for lunch as it takes him 4 times as long to eat as anyone else and recess is right after so he for sure will ditch the tedious meal to play with his friends. Oh, and he is battling his first loose tooth, which prevents him from biting things. I wish that was the only worry. I was fine until I put Luke down for a nap and realized it is going to just be Sam and me for a couple hours. I felt empty. Letting them go is so hard, not just because it will be a long time before they come back, but they come back different. Better I hope, but who knows. So many influences. I remember every time I would get sad about him going to Kindergarten he would console me by saying "its only 17 years, Alisa!" Consolation indeed. James told Kari "I cant really think of anything I didn't like about 1st grade!" I guess that's good enough. I love you James!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

JK for President

Okay, its been a long time since I posted, so I'm going to narrow my subject to a July topic. Namely, Harry Potter. I have to admit I wasn't the biggest fan until this last movie came out and and cried for 2 and a half hours (and i never cry at movies). I think i was good I didn't really remember much about the book, but as it progressed I remember how much I hated Umbridge, and felt sorry for Harry's friends, and how unfair life was for Harry. I don't know, its was a great show. So that got me excited to read the last book. Josh had finished in like 2 days (I have to give him credit, its the first of the Harry Potter books he hasn't been guiltily hiding in some corner of the house 24-7 until it was finished) The book was amazing, JK is amazing. She has conquered the world for all I care. Can you imagine how many hours were spent reading her books in July alone? I went to get my oil changed in the middle of the book and all three people in the waiting room (an older lady, a business man, and a Harley girl) also had their books out so we were instant friends. It is fun to have something in common with almost everyone you meet on the street. I finished the book at my family reunion (the included pictures) where many were also caught up in the magic (and the others had already finished). Just some thoughts about what Harry will be to my kids. Dont you think its been fun growing up with him? I dont know, its like you have a year of questions in your head and speculations about whats going to happen to the boy. But its not possible to find them out until the next July. James will very likely (and with his attention span, VERY likely) pick up volume one and finish the entire series in a couple weeks. Will that take away the thrill of it all?

Ive included an interview with JK she did after the book was out-maybe if your a fan you will enjoy it-if not you for sure will not.

"Spoiler alert: This story reveals some key plot points in the final Harry Potter book. So if you've haven't finished the book, J.K. Rowling asks that you not read this story.

If you found the epilogue of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” rather vague, then J.K. Rowling achieved her goal.

The author was shooting for “nebulous,” something “poetic.” She wanted the readers to feel as if they were looking at Platform 9¾ through the mist, unable to make out exactly who was there and who was not.

“I do, of course, have that information for you, should you require it,” she told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira rather coyly in her first interview since fans got their hands on the final book.
Ummm … yes, please!


Rowling said her original epilogue was “a lot more detailed,” including the name of every child born to the Weasley clan in the past 19 years. (Victoire, who was snogging Teddy — Lupin and Tonks’ son — is Bill and Fleur’s eldest.)

“But it didn’t work very well as a piece of writing,” Rowling said. “It felt very much that I had crowbarred in every bit of information I could … In a novel you have to resist the urge to tell everything.”

But now that the seventh and final novel is in the hands of her adoring public, Rowling no longer has to hold back any information about Harry Potter from her fans. And when 14 fans crowded around her in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland earlier this week as part of TODAY’s interview, Rowling was more than willing to share her thoughts about what Harry and his friends are up to now.

Harry, Ron and Hermione
We know that Harry marries Ginny and has three kids, essentially, as Rowling explains, creating the family and the peace and calm he never had as a child.

As for his occupation, Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic. After all these years, Harry is now the department head.

“Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department,” Rowling said. “They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.”

Meanwhile, Hermione, Ron’s wife, is “pretty high up” in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite laughing at the idea of becoming a lawyer in “Deathly Hallows.”

“I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding,” Rowling said.

Harry, Ron and Hermione don’t join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years; they revolutionize it and the ministry evolves into a “really good place to be.”

“They made a new world,” Rowling said.

The wizarding naturalist
Luna Lovegood, the eccentric Ravenclaw who was fascinated with Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Umgubular Slashkilters, continues to march to the beat of her own drum.

“I think that Luna is now traveling the world looking for various mad creatures,” Rowling said. “She’s a naturalist, whatever the wizarding equivalent of that is.”

Luna comes to see the truth about her father, eventually acknowledging there are some creatures that don’t exist.

“But I do think that she’s so open-minded and just an incredible person that she probably would be uncovering things that no one’s ever seen before,” Rowling said.

Luna and Neville Longbottom?
It’s possible Luna has also found love with another member of the D.A.

When she was first asked about the possibility of Luna hooking up with Neville Longbottom several years ago, Rowling’s response was “Definitely not.” But as time passed and she watched her characters mature, Rowling started to “feel a bit of a pull” between the unlikely pair.

Ultimately, Rowling left the question of their relationship open at the end of the book because doing otherwise “felt too neat.”

Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom: “The damage is done.”

There is no chance, however, that Neville’s parents, who were tortured into madness by Bellatrix Lestrange, ever left St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies.

“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents,” Rowling said. “The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”




Rowling said Neville finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts.

The fate of Hogwarts
Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.

While Rowling didn’t clarify whether Harry, Ron and Hermione ever return to school to finish their seventh year, she did say she could see Harry popping up every now and again to give the “odd talk” on Defense Against the Dark Arts.

More details to come?
Rowling said she may eventually reveal more details in a Harry Potter encyclopedia, but even then, it will never be enough to satisfy the most ardent of her fans.

“I’m dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry’s great-great-grandparents,” she said. Not that she’s discouraging the Potter devotion!

“I love it,” she said. “I’m all for that.”"