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...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Finally enough hair for a Trim

Kristen's hair has grown enough that she needed a little trim. It is coming in darker and with some curl in the back. It is darling! I had to even up her bangs a little and even things around her ears and in the back. I think we are getting away from the need to wear a hat stage. I took Kristen on some errands today and I think she got a bit wore out. I am so looking forward to her strength coming back. I know it will be a while as the little angel has been through so much. Kristen and I spend a lot of time home. After spending 7 months in the hospital I will NEVER complain about being home. We all know this phase of our families life will be brief. We all have made adjustments. Something I have learned over the past 10 months is that it is so easy to lose chunks of your life due to lack of attention to the small things. The small things that matter. I never want to forget anything that has taken place over the past 10 months. Kristen and I love the life we have today. We are loving summer and snow cones and staying up late.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beads of Courage

The program "Beads of Courage" is designed to honor the journey that children take while experiencing cancer and related treatments. The children are given certain beads that represent certain procedures. The collection of beads become a symbol of their courage.
Kristen received most of her beads from the clinic at Primary Children's Medical Center.
A quick list of the beads and what they represent:
Bone Marrow Aspirate- 6 beige beads
Course of Chemo- 5 crystal beads
Central Line insertion and removal- 1 orange bead
Clinic Visit-4 blue beads
Emergency Room- 1 pink bead
Hair Loss -1 brown bead
Neutropenia-6 green beads
Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap)- 7 green beads
Pokes, IV Starts, Shots-8 black beads
Test/Scans- 3 light green beads
Blood or platelet transfusions-28 red beads (Wow! that's a lot of transfusions in 7 months)
Chest tubes, Foley- 2 aqua beads
TPN- 2 dark green beads
Surgery- 2 silver beads
Transfer to PICU- 1 heart bead (Thank goodness it was only once!)
Nights spent in the hospital- 140 blue beads ( during her 7 month course of treatment)
Completion of treatment- 1 purple star
As you can see our little angel earned her beads with great courage!

When Kristen was in the hospital she received this white tiger from the family of a little boy that also had cancer. The tiger proudly displays Kristen's Beads of Courage.
When you squeeze his paw he says, "Never Give Up!"
Kristen still loves to squeeze his paw. I am convinced that Kristen is with us today because she NEVER gave up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blankets, Zucchini and String Beans

I do believe the "Dog days of Summer" have arrived! We have been busy the past few weeks. My daughters, my mom and I all decided to make a few blankets for Lacy . She donates blankets to children that have a serious illness. It has been fun learning how to crochet the edges. Also, we planted a rather large garden this year, so we have been busy trying to figure out what to do with the peas, zucchini and cucumbers that are basically coming out of our ears. I have made zucchini bread, deep fried zucchini, steamed zucchini and what ever else we could think of. The peas were easy as we pretty much sit on the lawn and eat those. The string beans are bottled and pressured and put on the shelf in the basement so at least in the winter we can eat something besides snowballs. If you live close to me stop by and I will load your car with zucchini and cucumbers. As for Kristen she has good days and bad days. Yippee! as the last two days have been GOOD days!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

That's our Girl!

Today was our monthly clinic appointment. I look forward to them only because I get to see Kristen's blood counts and get a better idea of where she is. We have been finished with treatment and home from the hospital for a little over 3 months. I keep expecting to see great numbers in her counts. Although the news today was good, her numbers still seem low to me. Her numbers were actually better between treatments than they have been since she has finished. I am sure Kristen over did it today. For some reason she woke up at 4am and didn't go back to sleep. We had to be to the clinic at 9. After Clinic we took her to the grocery store and to Target, then we took Grandma home and had birthday cake for Grandpa. Driving back to Draper she kept falling asleep. It is now barely 3 oclock and she just headed upstairs to get her pajamas on and sit in my bed and watch tv. I wish I could get my pj's on and sit in bed a watch tv. Kristen was really good in clinic today. Sometimes as soon as the doctor comes in she zips her lips shut and won't talk to the doctor or let him look in her mouth or anything. Today she was friendly and even talked a bit. We really like her NP, Robert, and her doc, Dr. Fluechel. It is nice now that we are being treated in outpatient as we get to see the same doc every time. They seem to keep track of her and are interested in her progress. What a sweet girl she was today and didn't even cause trouble in the lab!

Kristen loves her sister Kamie. She won't go anywhere unless Kamie comes with us. You wouldn't know it, but Kristen is 2 years older than Kamie.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What a difference a few months make...

My daughter found these pics on her friends camera that
were taken in February.
When I look at Kristen today and get fustrated because her progress seems slow, all I have to do is look back at the past few months and remember what she has been through. She is such a little angel! And what a fight she put up! I don't let a day pass without telling her
that I love her and that I am so happy to be her mom.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Kristen woke up not feeling well today. Hopefully that will change. We decided to have a BBQ and water party later today with the fam. It seems everyone has their own plans for fireworks tonight and since Kristen has never been a fan of them she and I will be staying home. Kamie and Kim are going with their boyfriends to 'Stadium of Fire' in Provo. The Jonas Brothers are singing there. Kristen is actually a fan of theirs but because there are so many fireworks in the stadium I decided she would freak out so I didn't get her a ticket. It seems several towns around here are having celebrations so if you get a view of the valley you can see fireworks going off in all directions. A couple of days ago the grandkids made a pinata. They had a little party here. Kristen was being a bit stubborn (who would guess?) and wouldn't go outside so they brought the pinata in for her to take a few hits at it.

Happy 4th to Everyone!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to Dad

Kristen's dad, Richard, turned 50 yesterday. We decided to take the fam to dinner. We went to one of his favorite places, The Outback. We also invited my parents and also Richard's parents. There was 21 of us in all. Kristen loves to go out to dinner but for some reason she always takes 2 or 3 bites of her food and then wants to take the rest home. Richard truly loves Kristen and always makes sure she is happy and comfortable. He always goes out of his way to make sure she has whatever she needs or wants for that matter. He loves to tease her of which he always receives a squeal in return. She has been feeling pretty good lately but still tires by the end of the day. Next week she goes back to the clinic for labs. That always makes me nervous. My daughters and I have taken on a new project and I can't wait to show you what we are making! First we have to finish them.