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...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One of Her Favorite Things...

Kristen loves to go to the dollar store with her Grandpa. This is something she wasn't able to do during the last 7 months, so when Grandpa called she was excited to meet him there. Kristen gets her own shopping cart and she pretty much goes up and down every aisle. She loves paper..did I mention she loves paper...So she stocked the cart with plenty of paper, markers and whatever else looked fun. I am pretty sure we even ended up with some paper plates. She also likes to choose something for her neices and nephews. Grandpa was lucky as he escaped spending less than 20$. A trip to the dollar store...one more step back to normalcy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Earlier in the week I took my mom to Ephraim to put flowers on the graves of her mom and grandparents. Kristen said she didn't want to go so i let her stay with Katy for the day. She had fun at Katy's house. Katy commented how sweet Kristen is and what a good feeling it is to have her in her home. For the rest of the weekend we mostly worked in the yard. The grand kids came over and we went through the field to Grandmas house. Kristen was tired by 4pm. She went upstairs and put on her nightgown then she came back down and raided the fridge of cokes. She loves to sit in my bed and watch tv and drink coke...sounds like the life. Some days I think she feels pretty good, but other days she just doesn't feel like doing anything. Her blood counts are still a bit low and the docs did say it would take 3 to 6 months before she was feeling good. I patiently wait and let her make the calls as to what she feels she can do. Life seems to be getting back in the normal feel of things. Life is picking up the pace. We planted a garden and things are coming up. The flowers are in and the yard is starting to come together. We have been working on Kristen's room. We are almost ready to paint. We re-finished her dresser and Kamie bought Kristen a new chandelier. I'll post pics when we are finished. Thanks to everyone who continues to check in on Kristen!
Richard brought the horse in the yard and let Jordan sit on it, he really wasn't too thrilled. We have puppies! Sage had 2 pups about 4 weeks ago. This is Cody taking them for a ride. So that makes 4 dogs, 1 bunny and 2 horses.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Insurmountable Obstacles Conquered

Last September when Kristen was diagnosed with leukemia I felt it was an insurmountable obstacle. It was a horrific time for all of us. Although Kristen had been through this before this time was somehow different. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. She was so very sick. However, Kristen had something else in mind. She had the will to live and to fight each passing moment. My sweet girl astounded all of us. It was her that guided us by her magical light. This brings us to yesterday...the final step in treatment. Her central line was removed. To me, her line was one of those outward appearances, much like her balding head, that inside was a sick little girl. Today she stands free, Free of the line protruding out of her chest, Free of cancer, Free to be in the place she loves, HOME! And her head...bald no more.

With this post is a pic of my family. They are the ones who stood by me and basically carried both Kristen and I for the last 8 months. As Kristen and I spent most of the 8 months in the hospital...they were the ones who were left without a mother and a wife. They were the ones left with a sick sister and daughter. I was blessed to have 6 children. Katy is 28 married to Charlie and has 3 beautiful children. Rick is 25 married to Lisa and has 2 children (sara was born 2 weeks before the picture) Kristen in next and is 23 followed by Kamie who is 20 then comes Kim 18 and Ryan finishes up our family at 15. Richard and I have been married for almost 30 years. Richard never complained over the last 8 months, (I wish I could say the same for myself) He woke early everyday, made sure Ryan was on the bus then off to work he would go. He worked all day, came home, showered and drove the 30 minutes to the hospital. He then would stay sometimes till 11 at night then venture home to reach bed by midnight then start all over again the next day. Kamie and Kim soon became Ryan's mom, getting him to football and then baseball, getting him something to eat and then making sure his homework was done. Kamie and Kim also kept the house, picked up groceries and never did they miss a day of coming to the hospital for a visit. This time was hard for Katy and Rick as they both wanted to visit, but having small children, we decided it would be best for Kristen if the kids stayed away at least while her counts were low. I could go on and on about my amazing family, I just want them to know how much I appreciated how they all stood tall and did much more than was expected of them. We as a family are changed...forever changed. We stood shoulder to shoulder doing what we knew had to be done. Living in the moment and taking steps into the darkness knowing that we would be led...and led we were.

A quick note about the pictures. Kristen had just finished round 1 of chemo and had spent the last 6 weeks in the hospital. We were all together for my mothers birthday and I felt it was important that we get a picture of all of us together. As you can see we are quite a bunch of clowns, especially Ryan, no one was really happy with the way they looked, nevertheless, we are all together in the picture. I had the pic made big and it made each trip to the hospital where Kristen could look at it often.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

and some pictures from yesterday...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Central line is coming out...

Tomorrow is the day. Kristen will have her central line surgically removed. I'm a bit hesitant as now every blood draw will require a poke! By the way...I have loved the line. This is her third one, both times when she had ALL she had a line, it stayed in for about 2 1/2 years. This time it has been 8 months. As the chemotherapy is complete this is the last step. Luckily we have had no problems with the line and no infections. It will be nice not to have to worry when she takes a bath and the daily flushes with heparin will be no more. This is another step back to normalcy... I think.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Kristen!

Kristen loves her birthday! She also loves tradition. For the past many years for her birthday party she has chosen to go see a movie, or go bowling and of course lunch. This year she has been waiting to see the Hannah Montana Movie. Since her birthday fell on Sunday we planned to go to the movie and lunch on Saturday. I was still a little nervous to take her out in public, but I decided to take my Clorox wipes and Avaguard and it would be ok. She woke up Saturday and I told her we were going to the movie and all her friends who are also her cousins were coming too. She looked at me and said, “I can’t …I’m sick.” The little muffin touches my heart! So we bagged the movie at least for now. Each day since then I have asked her if she is feeling like going to the movie and so far no luck. Sunday turned out to be a great day. She was so excited. We decorated the kitchen with a "Happy Birthday" sign and balloons. She was excited to open her presents but she wanted to wait until everyone was home. Rich was at church, Kamie was working and Kim and Ryan were still in bed. She finally did open them and she was happy. I think getting her a karaoke machine might have been a mistake. She has sung her guts out for 3 days and wow, is she loud! We had dinner at my mom's house and then later that night all of her cousins, aunts and uncles came over. She was too tired to stay in up till 7 she went up to my bed and everyone went up to see her and give her a gift. She was loving all the attention. Her grandma made her a darling pink quilt so I have decided to paint her room and see if I can get her moved out of my room and back into her own room SOON! I have to tell you that there was a time a few months ago that I thought she wouldn't see another birthday. I was a bit teary throughout the day. I am so thankful that she was healed and is finally starting to feel a little better. I still struggle with what lies ahead. I know the next few months are going to be tough. Pray that she will keep producing healthy cells and not those leukemia ones. For today...I will take one day at a time and rejoice in the blessings staring at me in the face!

More Pictures

Happy Birthday Kristen!