Monday, January 31, 2011

Cancer Sucks

Just when we thought we were on the mend.  As I said in the last blog, Craig’s chemo went pretty well, on Tuesday that is.  Wednesday through Sunday didn’t go as well.  It is very hard to see him do as well as he was doing the week before chemo, and then get knocked back down.  He said yesterday, “I’m not really sure why I am feeling this way?”  My response was, “UUUMMM , do think maybe it’s because you have cancer?”  The week before chemo was great, we just need to be patience and work to get back to that point.  I try not to get too excited when he is having good days, so that it doesn’t hurt so much when he has the bad ones.  It is very much a roller coaster of emotions around here.  I guess having 3 girls was preparing me for this trial with Craig.  Trying to plan events around our family seems to be the big guessing game right now.  We have a few birthday’s and an anniversary coming up and want to do some fun things but when each day is different how do you plan for a few days or a  couple of weeks out? Sometimes it’s minute by minutes, day by day.  We thought we had week by week all figured out, but as Craig said yesterday, “I think I got cocky.”

Our sweet Ashlyn has her 16th birthday on Wednesday February 2, yes she is our ground hog, (for Elizabeth and Geroge in England, you will need to look “Ground Hog Day" up on google).  She is such a delight for us to have in our family. She is very tender and sweet to us, and everyone around her.  She adds a very special spirit to our home, and has a very special tender relationship with Craig.

It is our anniversary on February 5th, 23 years and counting.  We are going snowmobiling, and then to dinner and a movie.  Hahaha,  just joking. But we may get some take out for dinner, sit really close with Craig in his recliner pulled really close to the couch where I will sit, and hold hands, and watch TV.  We will do something really special next year.

I justs asked Craig what I should title the blog.  After a few moments he said, "Cancer Sucks".  Well it has nothing to do with the blog but its true. I really don't like that word, in fact, I don't like either of the words, but putting them both together really actually makes since.   "Craig, why don't you tell us how you really feel?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Chemo went pretty well today.  I was able to get a lot of shopping done in about 2 hours.  I love clearance tags.  I have no idea what I will be doing with the items but it’s so great to save money.  I love when they tell you, “You saved $27.96 today”, and you only went in to buy 3 items which should have cost under $5.00.  I’m sure that many people will love what I bought.  Even picked up some great “White Elephants” gifts for next year.  Invite me to your Christmas party and you will have a good laugh.  I was also able to stand in the card section and read many very crazy cards.  It is very therapeutic, you should try it sometime.  It has saved a lot of money on therapist and medicines.  If I didn’t go and read the cards and have a good laugh once in a while it would get pretty rough on the whole family.  One of the cards I read said, “HUH?”  On the front, the inside read…and that concludes our lesson in male conversation skills 101.  I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants.

Oh, as I was saying, Chemo went very well today.  They gave Craig a double dose of nausea medicine.  So far it has been working very well, but then we have just been home 2 hours, but so far so good.  Remember, we always try to look on the bright side.  He has been getting out almost every day for a little walk.  He hasn’t gotten any cramps, (oops I almost typed craps, instead of cramps, and I guess that would have been correct too), like last week yet so I think it is going very good.   When they weighed him today he stayed even at 164 lbs.  We did a little happy dance.  His blood pressure was a little low, but they aren’t worried about that.  We were able to sit and visit with some friends, Matt and Jodi King.  Matt was getting some fluids to pump him up.  Jodi said he starts to look like a plant that needs watering.  He is going through pancreatic cancer.  McKaye and their daughter Courtney have been friends since elementary school.  They are at different high schools now but still try to keep in contact at least through face book.  They are a wonderful family and our love and prayers continue to go out to them.  It is good to be able to talk to someone that you have known for a long time that knows exactly what is going on in your head.  We ran into them on our very first visit for chemo and just hugged each other, and were amazed that we were meeting up at such a dreadful place.  We really look forward to meeting up maybe for dinner or a baseball game, somewhere that doesn’t mean that you have cancer. 

Crazy - the road that life takes us down sometimes.  I have said before that I never thought I would ever see the inside of an Oncologist office, or everything else that we have seen and been involved with.  I am just glad that there are tremendous doctors, medicine and treatments that give us hope.  We know that there will continue to be many ups and downs.  We feel good that lately we have had more ups than downs, and we will hold on to them tightly.  Craig just said that he feels just slightly off kilter, and we can go with that.  

P.S.  Check out Craig's twin, Dallin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's ok to Dream

Hello, do you ever wish you were saying “ALOHA”?  If I can’t go snowmobiling I want to go to Hawaii and sit on the beach, feeling the sand between my toes, watching the waves crash in, smelling the air, and going snorkeling.

Anyway…now that I have that out of my system, Craig has been doing pretty well.  Amazing what a week off of chemo, and a week in the hospital can do for him. The last chemo has gone pretty well.  Food is still a big issue, fluids have gone much better, but Craig is just not a drinker, so he is doing ok for him.  We are going to go in on Friday and get some more fluids before the weekend and then chemo again on Tuesday.  I hope the next one goes as well as this past one did. 

Yesterday he went for a walk with me.  It was nice and sunny and I was hoping for him to get a little sun on his head.  NOT!  It’s funny how cold you get with no hair and down 25 lbs.  He did really well, with his winter coat and snow hat.  Our cul-de-sac is pretty small but it was still a very long walk for him.  I’m not good with distances but I would think it is about 400 yards around the circle.  About 150 yards into it, (for those of you that know our neighborhood, it was in front of Malone’s house), Craig said, “Ohhh I think I’m starting to get a cramp in my calf. This statement coming from a guy that 4 months ago yesterday, ran a marathon. I smiled to myself; I wanted to cry, but kept the smile.  He is on the phone with a co-worker, right now and apparently the guy was asking him how he is doing, Craig’s response was, “I’m doing great”, the guy said, “what a champ”.  Craig’s response was, “Well somewhere between a Champ and a Chump”. Yes, keeping a good since of humor is vital right now.  One minute we are laughing and the next minute we are crying. 

I mentioned that Craig has lost a lot of weight, last week when we were at chemo; I noticed that his shirt sleeves were short.  Everything else fit very well but those darn sleeves.  I looked at the tag to see the size and it was Dallin’s shirt.  Pretty sad when your husband can wear your son’s shirt that is 5’11’’ and 110 lbs, dripping wet, and it still looks pretty good. 

Craig made it to the first hour of church on Sunday. It took him all morning to get ready.  Eat, take a nap.  Shower, take a nap.  Get dressed, take a nap.  Then when I brought him home he had another nap.  It looked good to see him up there with the Bishop and other counselor.  He wore a mask for germs and had a pillow and blanket.  Most men dream of going to church with a pillow and blanket.  There were a few comments about his lack of hair.  Decker said for me to tell him he thought he looked very sexy.  Suzette Carter mentioned that, unlike Matt’s, at least Craig knows that his will grow back.    

The kids are doing well.  Corinne is back in school at Weber and is enjoying her new job.  McKaye is working hard to finish up High School and applying to colleges.  Ashlyn is enjoying High School and is ready to turn 16 soon. Dallin has just started his 2nd semester in 7th grade and playing basketball on a bantam team.  He really needs to figure out an eagle project and start working on in.  I think they are doing very well under the circumstances.  We have great church leaders, friends, and extended family, which also help keep an eye on them.

I am continuing to cut hair and do photography, just a little smaller window.  I know how important it is to continue on with as much as possible with “NORMAL LIFE”, again we are very aware that we are anything but NORMAL, just look at who are friends are. Ha, ha, ha, love you all. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Back on the Chemo Again"

Craig and I took off for the Chemo lab on Tuesday, January 4th, not knowing if we would be getting a treatment or not.  It was a NOT! The Doctor suggested that we give his body a few more days to rebuild.  She said that he really had no reserved, when he gets sick he could end up in the hospital again.  So we start Monday Jan. 10th again.

Dr. Breyer told us that we that the chemo is not doing what she hoped it would do, which is stop the growth or even that its in the opposite direction.  So we will most likely be finishing the last treatment and then starting a different one the next time.  Die Cancer, DIE!

This has been a good week for Craig and the whole family.  He has been able to eat pretty well and feeling pretty good, we all needed this week.  I feel bad that Corinne was not able to see Craig feel a little better.  It’s hard when all you see your Dad doing is sitting in a recliner, in bed, or in the hospital.  “Corinne, he looks good this week and even went to Dallin’s basketball game yesterday”.  I was very nervous that it would totally wear him out.  I was able to park very close and it wasn’t a long walk to get in, it was good to have him there. 

Corinne has been applying for jobs on Weber States campus.  Tuesday she had an interview and it went well.  They called her back Thursday and she got the job.  She will be working in the student services office.  She is still currently working for Avalon Care Center in Bountiful but just on call and that doesn’t work very well being a student.

With everything that has been going on I forgot to mention that we had a special visit from the jolly old man himself and his lovely wife, yes Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  It was before Christmas and the kids were up at their Grandparents.  They came in and had a short visit with Craig and I.  They said we don’t know you and you don’t know us but that’s not important.  The important thing is that we are here to wish you a Merry Christmas and we hope you get well soon.  They left us a fruit basket and a gift that I put under the tree to be opened on Christmas morning.  To those of you that were involved in that, thank you very much. Another blessing of “Giving and Receiving”.   

Tuesday January 11, 2011
I didn’t get to finish and post the blog so now I will update through today.  Craig did have chemo yesterday.  We finished up the first series of chemo, which were 4 treatments.  The Doctor is waiting to see how he does with it and also compare the PET scan to the scans that he had in the hospital recently to see if we will continue with the same treatment or move on to the next one.  I hope we find out soon.  He did get very nauseated very quickly during the treatment yesterday.  Usually I can get him home and have him eat something before it really kicks in.  The nausea pills seem to really be helping this time.  This morning he was able to eat a scrabbled egg, and he only rolled his eyes a few times at me.  Ginger ale soda seems to be going down pretty good this time.  It seems to be different every few days on what he can drink and eat. 

We were able to talk to a lady yesterday that we have seen quiet often at the chemo lab.  She is going through throat cancer and is on a feeding tube.  Craig took his hat off to show her that he was beginning to look a lot like her, their heads match more now.  She seemed a little embarrassed about hers.  Craig told her, “you looked great, it’s ok”. She mentioned it yesterday before we left and said that it really made her feel good, and that’s how we need to feel about things.

I was at the hospital cafeteria and a lady sat down next to me.  She asked me if I had someone in the hospital or having surgery.  I then told her that Craig was in the chemo lab getting a treatment for cancer.  She felt very sad and voiced her concern for our situation.  She said that we were too young to be going through such a hard thing.  I agreed, but then pointed out that we have seen very young people and very old people receiving treatment and it’s not fair for anyone. Yesterday there was a young lady in getting her first treatment of chemo and then was on her way to get radiation.  They said that the Doctors were going to do everything they could to save her ovaries; she and her husband do not have any children yet.  When someone walks in the chemo lab for the first time you can see it in their eyes.  “The Deer in the Headlights Look”.  The fear of the unknown, denial, disbelieve, and shock.  It seems like an eternity ago for us in some ways but in others ways it seems like yesterday.  I so remember the first time walking into the lab, and looking around and wanting to run.  Everyone in the room is trying to put a smile on their face and be positive, for themselves, their loved ones and everyone else in the room.  We all put on the, “It’s going to be ok”, look for each other, and especially the brand new ones.  It’s a place where everyone knows what each other is feeling like.  We visit with each other and in a very short time are the good friends.  I remember on our first treatment, I thought that we should be in a room by ourselves, and not just out in the open for everyone to see and stare at.  I found out within minutes that that room is wonderful and full of people that are all basically in the same boat.  We are there for each other.  Just like when we were leaving after our first treatment and an older lady smiled at me and said, “Just do exactly what the Doctors tell you to do, and you will be fine.” I was scared to death and I knew that she knew it.  Now I try to do the same for others when it’s there first time.  Reassure them that I understand what they feel like and that it will be ok.  Just knowing that there is someone that understands what you are going through and that you are not alone. 

None of us are ever alone.  We all have either family or friends that love us, and if we are lucky we have both.  We also have a loving Heavenly Father that loves us and will never leave us alone.  We have felt a tremendous strength from all of you, from your thoughts and prayers.  We really don’t know what we would do if we were all alone.  Bill Gay, the CEO of the company that Craig works for, and his wife Rose came to see us on Sunday afternoon. She mentioned that she doesn’t know how people get through this kind of situation without the gospel and the knowledge that we have of it. We had a wonderful visit with them and our children.  He said that they are anxious to have him back at work with them but that working from home is really ok and that he knows Craig will be back soon.  He is a wonderful man, and has a wonderful wife.  

January 12, 2011
Holy Cow, now it is Wednesday and I promise that I will get this finished and posted today.  Craig got his pump off today and received two more liters of fluid.  We are going to stay on top of it this time.  He is feeling pretty good.  The days off have really helped him a lot.  The Doctor said that bones show that the cancer is progressing but the liver looks a little better, like the tumors are showing signs of shrinking.  A bright light in the week. The next chemo will be January 25th.  Craig was rubbing his head today on the way to the doctors.  He said, “I think my hair is growing”.  I just laughed to myself and let him have his little positive moment.  Now I WILL hit the post button, I promise! 

Wait, Haha sorry, one last thought! McKaye and Ashlyn were having a little fun with Ashlyn's new necklace and took some fun pictures of themselves and Craig!! We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!!

This is the size of the necklace! They are so creative!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hospital Not Cabin

What a week! This was definitely a different Christmas break for us.  Instead of being at the cabin, as is our tradition between Christmas and New Years, Craig spent 8 days in Timpanogos Hospital. We are now home and getting back into the normal routine.  Tomorrow, Tuesday January 4th, Craig is scheduled to begin his next round of chemo.  Because of the recent setback we’re not sure what treatment, if any, the Dr. will order.  It seems odd that we just brought him home from being very sick, and now we’re taking him to get chemo to make him sick all over again.  But hopefully being sick from the chemo will make him better in the long run.

My New Year’s resolutions are to give all the love and support I can to my husband and children.  Craig needs my help to get through this cancer and to lighten his load us much as possible so that he can continue to work and support our family.  I need to help my children to understand what Craig is going through and how they can help both of us.  This is a lot for them to cope with also but with each other’s help, our loving Heavenly Father, family, and friends, we will make it through this.

We had the most wonderful Nurses, CNA’s, and Doctors while Craig was in the hospital.  They were all wonderful, but two young men really went over the top, Jared and Robert.  Craig learned to love them as brothers in a very short time.  On Sunday he invited them to come in while some Priesthood holders gave them the sacrament.  He then asked Jared to give him a Priesthood blessing.  I was not with them, but Craig said it was a wonderful blessing and that he felt honored to receive it.  When I arrived at the hospital later that day I thanked Jared for being a worthy Priesthood holder and for giving Craig such a comforting blessing.  He returned the thanks to us and said that it was an honor for him to do it.  I was thanking him for his services, and he was thanking us for the opportunity to serve.

That’s what it is all about.  Giving and receiving service, receiving and then paying it forward.  We have been receiving so many blessings from so many people.  It is not enough to write Thank you cards, or even to just say thank you.  In all of our lives there is a time when we need to be the “Givers”, and then also times when we need to be the “Receivers”.  We obviously receive blessings when we are on the “receiving” end, and also the person that is giving receives blessings.  I am a firm believer in people being put on our paths for certain reasons.  I am very sorry that Craig had to be in the hospital but the experiences that we had there with two fine young men will never be forgotten.

The Gospel is amazing and all of the tender mercies that are put in our pathway for us to learn from are as well.  We have many friends here on earth that we consider to be angels, and now we consider Jared and Robert at Timpanogos Hospital our two newest ones.