When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe
I created this blog when my sweet little girl, Kristen, was diagnosed with cancer, for the third time. After fighting for almost 3 years Kristen was called home to that same God who gave her life. I've contemplated on many occasions rather I should quit this blog or not. Each time I am inspired that I should not. One of my favorite quotes comes from Neal A. Maxwell- "Those who "plow in hope" not only understand the law of the harvest but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. True, those with genuine hope may see their proximate circumstances shaken like a kaleidoscope at times, yet with the "Eye of faith" they still see divine design." Kristen blessed lives and continues to do so. Her light continues to shine. As for me, I continue to "plow in hope" knowing well that Kristen is mine for eternity. Families can be together forever! This I know. Our family continues to live and to love and this is our story...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
I got the call yesterday that I had been waiting all week for... Kristen's bone marrow test results are in. At First Dana, the nurse practitioner, said, "well...her bone marrow has recovered and that is good." I'm thinking OK what else???? she then proceeded to say, "and there are no leukemia cells." Yes! I probably yelled in her ear. In the next day or 2 someone will call me to schedule an appointment with the surgeon to have her central line removed. Then the plan will be monthly blood checks at the clinic for the next year. It has been just over 7 months...7 of the worst months of my life. I am supposed to be happy to finally be done with chemo. I am happy...but scared. For the past 7 months Kristen has had chemotherapy kind of like a protective umbrella, it took the leukemia away and kept it from falling on her again. Now that the treatment is finished, Kristen has to stand in the rain without that umbrella. Sometimes I wish I didn't have the luxury of google. You don't know how many times I have typed in the words, 'acute myeloid leukemia survival rate' 'leukemia prognosis' just to name a few. I know the cure rate is not that great for AML. It must be the protective mother in me or something I really need to stop worrying! Kristen is fine! It has been a long 7 months and maybe I need a little more time. I am usually a positive person, I have always been able to find the good in every thing. A few weeks ago I was talking to my oldest son, Rick, about Kristen and her plight. He told me something that I wish he would have told me a few months ago. Kristen's first week in the hospital was tough. She was so very sick and the chemo had begun. It only took a few days and her lungs began to fill with fluid. She was sent to ICU to have chest tubes put in. She was not doing good and things seemed to be getting worst with every passing hour. My husband and my son Rick gave her a blessing. Rick told me that he truly thought that he was going to ask that she be relieved from her pain and suffering. He felt in his heart that she was too sick to go on any longer. He then went on to tell me that as he started the prayer, he was inspired to say something completely opposite than what he had thought. He was inspired to bless her that she would be healed, that her pain would be minimal and that she would recover quickly. 2 days later we left ICU and returned to the 4th floor. I should stop rambling for now as I am still having a hard time getting my thoughts in order. I truly am happy beyond words that the chemo is finished and the cancer in gone. It truly is a miracle, Kristen is the miracle.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I can't believe that my oldest daughter, Katy, turns 28 today! I must be old! I don't feel old. First a bit about Katy...She is the best daughter any mom could ask for. She is kind, thoughtful, beautiful, a very good cook, creative, organized and world's best mommy. She has 3 adorable children. Katy always puts the kids first in her life. She seems to always have something FUN planned. For her Birthday today all the girls (my 4 daughters, my daughter in law and my mom ) went to the Gateway and had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. It was yummy! We even took Kristen. She loves going to lunch and hasn't been out for many months. She loves to spend time with her sisters and her grandma. It has been a good day. I am waiting to hear from the Oncology Clinic concerning Kristen's bone marrow test that was done on Monday. I am hoping that no news is good news. I'll let you know as soon as I know!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Kristen loves holidays! Kristen couldn't be out around crowds, so we kept her home but we still did all the fun things she likes to do. We made Easter cookies, colored eggs, and we went to Grandma C's for dinner and a Easter egg hunt. My mom came and sat with Kristen and all the rest of us went to church. It has been a long time since we were all at church together. It would have been even better to have Kristen there. Kristen is still trying hard to get her strength back. The doctor told me not to expect too much during the first 3 months after treatment. She likes to go up to bed around 6 or 7. Saturday I didn't have the eggs ready to color until about 8, I tried to get her to come down to color eggs but she was too weak. She asked if I could bring some upstairs for her to color. Believe it or not...I took Easter egg dye to my room and let her color some eggs. She has taken over my bed! Kristen likes to see her nieces and nephews, they met us at my moms house for the hunt. They all looked so cute in their new Easter clothes.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Yesterday was Kristen's clinic appointment. Her blood counts are on the rebound but her ANC in still low, so she will still have to wear a mask if she goes out. In one week we go back for what we hope is her final bone marrow test. They will check the bone marrow to make sure it is producing healthy cells and not leukemia cells. After that, we will schedule an appointment to have her central line removed. That means that any blood tests will require a poke. They tell me that they will do the CBC with a finger poke, and I think she can handle that. Since she has been having a blood test yearly to check her thyroid level, she had even been somewhat willing to get the whole 'look for the vein in her arm thing' ok. I love her central line because it totally eliminates the need for pokes at all. Once it is out, she can go swimming, so I think I need to plan an out of town trip so we can stay in a hotel, she loves that and she loves to swim with her family. We have almost been home for a week and what a week it has been! When we got home Saturday, the girls had made a sign, 'Welcome home Kristen' and hung it on the garage along with balloons. They bought her a cake and everyone was here waiting for her. Richard wanted to get her a present, so off to Costco he went and came home with a flat screen tv for her room. She loved it all. It is heavenly to finally sleep in my own bed! I have made dinner every night this week and done a pretty good job of getting the house in order and the laundry done. It feels good to have a little normalcy back in my life. Before we left the hospital, The nurses came in and sang to Kristen. You'll see a picture of them below wearing crazy hats. I had cards made for all the nurses that had a really cute pic of Kristen and I gave them all a treat...of course it was chocolate. Mrs. Cavenaughs makes the best chocolate Carmel and mints eggs ever and you can only get them at Easter, so I went to the warehouse in Salt Lake and bought them. I have to say that I love the nurses on the 4th floor in the ICS unit. (Immunocompromised Suppressed Unit) There are 24 beds on our unit. It is a special unit with filters in each room to keep germs out and double locked doors when entering the unit. Everyone has to wash their hands before entering the unit. The unit is for cancer patients, bone marrow transplant and organ transplant patients. Most patients there are there for a long time and we all get to know each other especially our nurses. The ICS nurses are the BEST! I will miss them, but hopefully when I see them again it will be at the mall and not the hospital. It has been a long road for Kristen and it is so exciting to be home. Now we play this little game we call the waiting game. Something... and no one knows what caused her bone marrow to start making leukemia cells about a year ago. Now the Chemo has stopped them and her marrow appears to be producing healthy cells. Now that the chemo has stopped, can her little body continue to make the good cells? It is scary! At the same time, I have to realize that I have to live for the future and not the past. I need to be positive and not live in fear. This is hard for me. Even though the chemo is done...there is still a lump in my throat and I really want it to go away but I guess it will take time. All I can say, is live a good life, treat everyone with kindness, be happy, and take one day at a time. I often think back a few months ago when Kristen has just gotten out of ICU, she was so very sick and things didn't look good for her. Her and I was alone in the room and she was moaning and complaining a bit. She sat up in her bed and said, "I don't want to...I don't want to" I sat on the bed next to her and asked her what she didn't want to do, and as she shook her head she said, "I don't want to die." We both were crying as I held her in my arms and told her that she wasn't going to die. I believe that very day was a turning point for her. I know that she decided right there and then that she was going to fight and she was going to win. Have I ever mentioned that Kristen usually gets things her way? From that very day, she seemed to have a different attitude. She was more manageable, more patient and more willing to let the doctors and nurses do what they needed to do. She decided that she was not going to die and she was willing to do her part. She is truly my hero and my inspiration. She is the light in the darkness. She leads me every day and teaches me. She a true warrior! Thank You so much for all your prayers!