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


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


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


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 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!