Friday, December 31, 2010

What day is it? What day is it?

Some of our good friends, the Cowleys',  invited my siblings and I to go up to their cousins house to  go sledding. So we all got out our snow clothes and sleds and hopped into the cars. Ashlyn went in a different car than me, McKaye and Dallin. She rode with sister Cowley, Lindsay, Megan, and Tyler. We rode with brother Cowley, Jen, and two of Jen's friends. We rode up to Woodland Hills where their cousins lived. They took us to an abandoned road (asphalt) that does not get plowed making it perfect for sledding. The first thing brother Cowley told us was that at the end of the hill, the snow stops immediately and the asphalt road starts. Brother Cowley said "You must stop before going off the snow bank. I did  that once and it really hurt." Remembering the warning we began sledding.

The first person down was McKaye, making the track. She made it about half way down and then Corinne took a turn and made it a little farther. McKaye went again and FLEW down, making it the whole way having to jump off the sled in order not to fly off the snow bank. Others had started to make it down the whole hill and everyone started to have fun, laugh (at how Jen and Lindsay couldn't quite make it to the bottom without crashing at least  twice), and just enjoy the day.

My second time making it down the entire hill, I got going a little faster than I'd liked and couldn't quite stop. I ended up going over the bank, where my sled then stopped, and I kept sledding on the asphalt. I had to get up fast, because for one, I wanted to make sure that I hadn't ripped my snow clothes, but also because the road was covered in mud, slush, and ice salt. I jumped up and ran back over to where Jen and her friends were standing laughing. I made sure I hadn't ripped my clothes and then looked up to see McKaye coming down really fast and her face looked as if she knew she was in trouble. We, Jen, her two friends, and I, began yelling to her to stop, but she yelled back that she was trying but because there was so much powder, putting her feet into the snow wasn't enough to stop her. She went over a huge jump, plowed into another jump, knocking the air out of her lungs, then eventually slid down the side of the bank, and sliding on the asphalt, like I had, but with her sled.Jen's friend ran over and stopped her from going further. We were laughing so hard I'm sure if we'd had to use the bathroom, we wouldn't have made it. We laughed for a few minutes about it and then the car showed up to take us back up to the top of the hill. Everyone started to load into the car when brother Cowley and Dallin stopped at the bottom of the hill, crashing into each other.

The last person down was Ashlyn. She was flying down the hill and was going to go straight into brother Cowley. He was having a silent debate with himself as to whether or not he would stop her. He told us that the last time he decided to stop someone, he ended up hurting them pretty bad so he then made the decision not to stop her. She went off the bank, but her sled didn't go with her. She flipped through the air, landing on her head on the asphalt. McKaye and I, seeing that she hit her head pretty hard, ran over to her to see if she was alright. She sat up, pulled her hat off, and grabbed her head. She started bawling saying that her head hurt. We were trying to calm her down, and check her head to see if she was bleeding. The Cowley's uncle told us he didn't have enough room for all of us and he'd come back down to get us. So we had Ashlyn stand up and we walked her over to the side of the snow bank where we sat down to wait. Right as the car had left, Ashlyn freaked us all out by asking, "Where am I? How did I get here?". That is when McKaye and I looked at each other, then to brother Cowley and I said to him "We need to go", and he shook his head in agreement.

Waiting for the car felt like hours. Ashlyn was crying and asking the same questions, "Where are we? How did we get here? What day is it? What month is it?  Who did I sit by in the car? Where did I sit in the car?" over and over. We were really scared, but we tried to stay calm in order to not scare her even more than she already was. It scared her even more when we couldn't answer the questions she asked. Since she was in a different car riding up, we couldn't tell her who she sat by, or where she sat, or what they talked about, and no one that was in the same car as her was with us at the bottom of the hill. With just our luck, some dogs from the house nearby came out and were walking around. Ashlyn is very scared of dogs so we were concerned that she would be even more scared because of them, but she didn't even react to them which wasn't normal for her at all.

About 10 minutes after her crash, sister Cowley came down in her car to take us back to the house where brother Cowley's sister-in-law was waiting for us. She is a nurse so we were taking Ashlyn over to her to see what we should do. By the time we got into the car and were heading back to the house Ashlyn started remembering little things about the day. We got to the house and their aunt checked her out and called a doctor she knew in the ER for a second opinion. They both agreed that we just needed to watch her and make sure that her symptoms weren't getting any worse. She had started to remember things but she was still really confused and kept repeating things out loud that she could remember. We sat there for about and hour and a half when Ashlyn decided that she wanted to go home. We got ready to leave and their aunt suggested that brother Cowley and his brother give Ashlyn a priesthood blessing. They gave her the blessing and then we headed home.

Ashlyn ended up with a major head ache but nothing else. We were very lucky. We didn't end up calling my mom and dad until we were on our way home because we didn't want to scare them when we didn't even know what was going on. We got home and just relaxed, it had been a long, scary day and with everything else that has been going on in our family we just decided we didn't want to deal with anyone or anything else for the rest of the night. We were done.

Ashlyn is fine. She still has a slight head ache and her head is a bit tender where she hit it, but other than that everyone is good.

Dad has to stay in the hospital for another day, so now we are hopeful that he'll come home tomorrow.

Keep us in your prayers. We love you all so much and are grateful for everything you do for us!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Hey everyone, this is Corinne.  If any of you didn't understand the title, it's my families way of saying "Bah-Hum-Bug" for this Christmas season. :) My mom has been a little busy so she is having me type up a blog post that she wrote inbetween all of the craziness going on with our family.  So it goes.

Someone called me today and said, "Things must not be going to well because I haven't seen you on Facebook or a new blog post for a while."  That is exactly it.  On Monday December 20th, Craig had his 3rd chemo treatment.  It was pretty rough.  Wednesday we went in to get the pump off and get more fluids.  He has really been having a hard time staying hydrated.  They made us another appointment for fluids on Thursday hoping that would give him enough fluids to make it through until Monday after Christmas.  NOT! I could tell on Christmas Day things were not good.  Towards the end of the day he was very lethargic.  He had slept a lot and I was hoping that it was helping him. Sunday morning when he woke up we could both tell that he needed more fluids and they had told us that if by chance he needed more over the weekend we would need to go to the ER.  So we got the kids off to church and we headed down to Timpanogos Hospital. A few hours into it, the Doctor was concerned with all of the pain in the stomach, and ordered a CT scan.  It came back showing what they thought was Psuedomembranous Colitis, which instead of a pain in the butt, he also has a pain in the belly, which we hope is one of the reasons that he is not staying hydrated.  They treated him until about 7:00pm and sent us home and then told us to contact Dr. Breyer in the morning. 

The night was very long.  From 10:00pm until 4:30am he had gone diarrhea 6 times (6 times to many).  He was almost back to where he was before we went to the hospital.  So the next morning we contacted Dr. Breyer and she suggested that we admit Craig into the hospital for a few days to help him get through this and rebuild his body for his next chemo treatment that he will have next Tuesday, January 4th.  (That is where I am right now, writing this blog, sitting in the ER waiting for him to be taken up to a permanent room) 

When we were on our way home from the chemo lab last Thursday, it was dark.  That was really okay; Craig had not been out of the house at all to see the Christmas lights.  I think he was really enjoying seem, especially ours.  Christmas Eve, before everyone went to bed, the kids decided that they wanted to get up and start unwrapping presents at 9:00am.  Cool!  The life of having teenagers; that was okay with us. 

Christmas Morning was a blast.  Here are some of the things that happened or were said.  Ashlyn was getting a whole lot of clothes and McKaye was getting very excited for her, and herself.  McKaye kept mentioning, "Hey that's cute, good things we're the same size!"  Then McKaye and Ashlyn started arguing over the clothes with Ashlyn saying that she wasn't going to let her borrow anything when she moved out for college.  When mom said that McKaye wouldn't be moving out until she got a job and started making some money, Ashlyn then said, "Hey I saw an amazing opening down at Wal-Mart!!" It was a lot of fun.  Later on Corinne opened up a book and Craig shouted out, "Yes! It's a good thing we're the same size!"  The kids enjoyed the rest of the day playing the Wii and just having fun together.   

One of the kids said that it is kind of a different Christmas vacation.  I very much agree.  Usually we are up at Craig's family's cabin the whole week between Christmas and New Years; snowmobiling, playing games, sledding and just having a lot of fun.  Things have really change around here. Hopefully we will get back to our "Normal Life" soon. 

I hope the kids are able to have some fun this week, but we all know that life isn't fair all of the time.  I know this is not what Craig and I would have choosen to do the past few months, but we are trying to keep our heads above the water.  There has been a few times that we feel like we have swallowed a little water but there has always been our family and friends there to bring us back up and we are so grateful. 

Well, sometime between last night when my mom left the hospital and this morning when she talked to my dad, the doctor came to him and told him that what they thought was an infection causing him all of his problems right now, they think is just the chemo.  So as of right now everyone is really discouraged.  The doctor has said that they will use a chemo only if it is helping and your body can take it, and right now it looks like his body isn't really taking it well.  We just hope and pray that he can get feeling better and be able to continue with this chemo treatment for as long as it is killing the cancer. 


 Here are some pictures from the Cancer Center, Christmas, and Dad in the hospital.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Round 2 goes to Cancer!

I would like to start this blog entry out by thanking everyone for everything that you have done for our family.  We are truly blessed, and hope every day that we are worthy of all of the thoughts and prayers that are coming our way.  We live in a remarkable area and we have incredible friends. 

It has been a whole week since I last wrote, because it has been a rough one.  On Dec. 8 Craig had his 2nd chemo.  We were planning for pretty much the same experience we had the first time.  We soon realized that every day is different, from his struggles with food, to his struggles with pain.  After each chemo treatment he then has two weeks to build his body back up before the next one.  The hard part about it is that you don’t ever get back to where you were the week before, so basically it’s a downward slope.  The past two weeks since his second treatment have been brutal.  He was sick from the chemo for a week. We kept thinking that he was turning the corner but what we didn’t realize was that he was still on the wrong street.  The pain since last Wednesday has been pretty bad.  We increased the pain pills to try to get on top of the pain again, instead of chasing it like we were.  We feel like we are still chasing it right now.  The best thing right now for him is to hold very still.    

Last Sunday night he was really struggling.  He tried to explain to me how he was feeling and from what I could see he was having a panic attack and severe anxiety.  He had been feeling like that a little before but didn’t realize what it was.  After speaking with his doctor we realized that the feelings he has are normal and we are working through them.  I told the doctor that Craig has never had problems with panic attacks or anxiety before.  Her response was that he has never had cancer before.

That night just as he was at his worst, some friends of ours from Kaysville showed up for a short visit.  At first I thought there timing was pretty bad because of the way Craig was feeling.  I soon realized that there timing was perfect; it was good for our kids to see each other, and for us to see Todd and Kristine.  Todd was diagnosed with cancer one week before Craig.  We were able to talk with them about his radiation he is going through and consol each other with everything that is going on in our lives.  Todd was able to give Craig a Priesthood blessing that helped him and all of us to calm down and let him rest. We met this family while out camping a few years ago.  Our families get along very well together.  We are amazed how we have become friends and how Craig and Todd discovered there cancer just a week apart.  In our prayers we continue to pray for Todd and for there family to be able to make it through this trial.  As I see it, it is another one of Heavenly Fathers tender mercies.

He will start chemo again tomorrow, two days early, because of the holiday.  No one wants to give, or get, chemo during the holidays, but we just have to remember that what we are doing is KILLING the cancer.  That is the miracle that we are hoping for this Christmas. 

We had some wristbands made that say, “LIVE-PLAY-LOVE-PRAY”.  Sometimes I think we get the proper order of those words mixed up.  Maybe we put too much emphasis on PLAY.  We should put more on PRAY and LOVE.  Our family does know how to play very well and we are glad that many of you have done it with us.      

 We continue to pray for everyone that is need of any miracles at this time.  We know that with faith anything is possible.          

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tree Hunting

In the past years, one of our traditions has been to go to the cabin and cut down our own tree for Christmas.  We’ve had many friends go up there with us to enjoy this tradition.  With everything that has been going on with Craig, that wasn’t an option this year.  Corinne was very adamant that we couldn’t put up an artificial tree.  I had started looking around to see if there was any where close that we could cut down our own.  That’s when the Jeff and Treasa Wilkinson called.  They came up last year to the cabin with us and we had a great time searching around the mountain for the perfect one.  As a gift to us they wanted to take us to get a tree.  Craig was still not doing well on Saturday from his chemo on Wednesday so I stayed home with him while the kids, along with the Wilkinson family, took off to find a tree for us this year at a Tree Farm in Alpine.  They said it was a lot easier then at the cabin.  We usually take the snowmobiles out looking and it is a long day searching for just the right one.  It’s a little different in the middle of the forest than on a farm where there is tree after tree planted years ago for you to come and look at and decide from.  I personally enjoy going out for the day with the snowmobiles in the 2+ feet of snow and shaking each tree looking for the perfect one, and we have a lot of great memories doing exactly that.  Craig and I received many messages on our phone with pictures of trees, some short and fat, and some about 2 feet tall, they were having a lot of fun making us worry about the kind of tree that they would bring home.  We ended up with a great tree in our living room, to bring us the Christmas spirit.  Thank you to the Wilkinson family for helping with that wonderful day.  Everyone had a lot of fun.

Our speakers today at church were great.  One of them talked about the growth rings of trees and how during times of stressful weather conditions or other bad growing conditions the rings are very close together, showing that the tree hasn’t had much good growth during that time.  I think our families growth rings might be a little narrow when looked back on during this time.  Corinne came home this week from being at college and stated that she was feeling a little out of place with what is going on in the home.  Wanting to help and do what she could to make things seem like normal but she didn’t know what to do.  That is something that we are all struggling with right now.  We want things to be normal, back to the “normal thing”; we really do realize that we are anything but normal.  Many of you have done many things to help us to lighten our load and we are very appreciative of those things.

Craig has turned the corner for this past week’s chemo and now we are in the rebuilding mood.  They give him a shot to help start to rebuild the cells for the next treatment.  He said the other day, “I feel like this chemo is killing me”.  I reminded him that sometimes we have to get knocked ALL the way down to be able to stand back up.  We hope that is exactly what the chemo is doing. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Same Song...Different Verse

Last night Craig and I were both very much dreading going to bed, knowing what would happen today, we went for the second chemo treatment.  Two weeks ago we were nervous of the unknown.  Today we were nervous of the known.  We know what he will feel like for a while.  But we do look for the bright side and that is, the chemo is helping kick this cancer in the butt, or should I say KICK IT OUT OF THE BUTT, and everywhere else.

He has lost a little weight but for the most part is doing pretty good.  When he feels like eating I really try to pack it in, that’s when he starts rolling the eyes.  They said on this chemo that most people don’t lose all of their hair, it just thins out.  Craig has had a few mornings that there was a lot of hair on the pillow, but still doing ok on that also.  I shaved off his hair for one of the Triathlons and really didn’t like it.  But who knows, he may end up looking like very many guys we know, John, Matt, Rich, Decker, and a few others that only look like they have had some partial chemo.  We love you guys.     

During chemo the first time he had some trouble during and after the treatment.  He was having a hard time getting some words out, slurring some of them.  Today we were hopeful that it was just a fluke, but it happened again.  The Doctors started making some phone calls and doing some checking on the meds that they were using on him to see if anyone had ever had this reaction.  They couldn’t find any reason for the reaction.  Dr. Breyer said they are going to try to leave out a medicine that they have been giving him to help with stomach cramps and see if maybe that is what is giving him the reaction.  If he has the same reaction again then they will have to change to another chemo.  That would not be good news because once you start a chemo you want to go as long as possible on it until either the body can’t handle it anymore, or it has stopped working on the cancer.  Craig has had enough crazy things already so we HOPE and PRAY that next time, which will be Dec. 20, everything goes just fine.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cleaning Out the Closets

Just over a month has gone by since we found out about the cancer.  Time does fly when you’re having fun, and I guess even when you’re NOT.   The time went to countless Doctor appointments, two port-a-caths, a visit to the ICU, trips to Salt Lake, (Craig knows how many pot holes there are on the way to Huntsman), phone calls from friends going to the grocery store, countless desserts brought to the house, meals brought in, hand sanitizer, Ensure bottles, lots of hugs, even more tears, and countless blessings.

We start chemo again on Wednesday the 7th.  It still amazes me how fast the nausea starts.  I really thought it would take longer to hit, but it kicked in about 3 hours after we got home from the first visit. They will be adding some other chemical this time that Craig didn’t get last time so we hope that it doesn’t change things too much.  Craig’s best day this past week was Tuesday.  He was able to work from his office in the family room, in his lazy boy, every day.  Toward the end of the week the pain was getting a little worse each day.  To be blunt, it’s a battle to find the right mix to keep things “GOING” well.  We just have to find the happy medium between the Miralax and chemo.  Maybe too much information but this is what is on my mind right now.         

 Ok, I’m coming out of the closet, so to speak.  I have struggled with anxiety since high school, but have not wanted anyone to know.  I have been on and off of medication, but mostly off feeling that I wasn’t a regular person if I had to be on a pill to make me normal to deal with life. Who was I to think that I was normal in the first place?  But again, pride would get in the way. I hid my problems from almost everyone.  Craig kept telling me that I needed to tell my friends so that I had their support when I needed it.  I even went to a therapist to work through some things, which helped for a little while.  The joke between Craig and I was, “Marsha has been seeing Dr. Ruth the past few months and is doing much better now” (her name was really Ruth).  We joked about putting it in the Christmas letter that year.   I recently began working again with my doctor to find the right mix of “normal”, and have decided that sharing my imperfections with family friends will be an essential part of the therapy.  It may take some time to get the perfect blend.  Those who have not experienced these feelings may not fully understand.  Since we’ve met our medical deductible and feel it’s time to get everything tuned up I’ve decided to follow up with the “works”, medically speaking.  I was thinking that a trip to California might kill several birds with one stone, as a trip through the TSA scanners could replace a mammogram, and other procedures.  Plus, it would be very therapeutic.  Anyway, that’s just a thought.

I have had people offer to do so many things for us.  They say, “How can we make your burden lighter?”  It is amazing how people are willing to help and it is all so appreciated.  Many times I have no idea what to tell them, and sometimes they know better than I what I need.  One friend came over and said, “Take off your shoes; I’m giving you a foot rub”. Seriously, after having worn my tennis shoes all day, she made me take off my shoes and started to rub my feet. After I got over the embarrassment, you almost had to wipe the drool off of my chin it felt so good, it was amazing.  I have since offered to give her one in return.

I joked in church today about “how many priesthood holders does it take to install a light bulb”, but having the Christmas lights on the house has brought the Christmas spirit to our home.  We are grateful to you.

Many of you have told us that you are having difficulty adding comments to the blog.  The easiest way to get the “Post a Comment” screen to appear is to click on the number of comments link below each post (see the image below).  We would love to hear from any of you.

We hope everyone’s Christmas shopping is going well and that you are staying in the Christmas spirit.  We need to keep all the things that go on at this time of year in perspective, and remember what we are really celebrating, which is the birth of Jesus Christ.