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...
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Quiet is good. Kristen’s teeth seem to be doing much better, other than last night she was complaining about her front teeth hurting so I hit her up with some Tylenol. That girl has not been sleeping well lately. She’s awake until at least 11 and up before 6. So if she isn’t sleeping well then neither am I. I guess we will work on that. It has been cold the last few days, I am not sure if I am ready for fall. Ready or not it is on the way. I took Kristen out to the field today and let her choose her pumpkin. She is really cute about pumpkins; she always gets a pen and draws the cutest face on it. The funny thing is that it is always the same face year after year. Kristen and I have been home a lot lately, and I am totally fine with that, there is so much talk about the flu that I really don’t care if her and I stay home all winter. Our days have been filled with canning peaches and tomatoes. We also dug the potatoes last night. It’s amazing as it seems like we were just barely putting the garden in. Ryan is busy with school and baseball and I feel bad that I can’t make it to all of his games. He says he doesn’t care and at least Richard tries to get to them. Kamie is busy going to school full time and also working full time, she is never here. Kim is liking school and staying busy, but we all really miss her. We have decided that Kristen needs a trip to Disneyland. My plans were to take her there as soon as she was finished with treatment and feeling good. I think the time is here. Not sure when, but soon!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Kristen finally made it to the dentist. I say finally as it has taken probably 15 months to get her work done. She was scheduled for her procedure a year age, 3 days after we found out she had leukemia. So of course we canceled. Since you are not supposed to have dental work done while on chemo we had to postpone it for a really long time. Her blood counts were finally good enough for the appointment. We already knew she needed some work done as per appointment 15 months ago. However, we didn't know exactly how much. Seems the chemo turns off your saliva producing and the dentist said because of this and all the chemo and antibiotics she had cavities where people usually don't get them. Most were on the inside along her gums. Her appointment was scheduled like a surgery with an anesthesiologist and the whole works. They started with some gas and them slipped in an IV and gave her something to put her completely out and then even inserted a breathing tube. It took about 1 1/2 hours. When she woke up her nose was bleeding and she wasn't too happy. I will keep her on tylenol for the rest of today in hopes of keeping her comfortable. She has been holding a warm rice bag on one cheek and a cold wash cloth on the other. She has asked for soup, jello and coke so I think things are looking up.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I really can not stop thinking of the events of a year ago. My Niece got married today. It was a beautiful day for a wedding. My daughters and I were in charge of the chocolate fountain and I just barely finished cleaning the last chocolate covered dish. As we all sat in Grandma's yard celebrating I couldn't help myself refecting on the events of a year ago. Kristen was in the ICU with chest tubes in hopes of draining the fluid from her lungs. Things didn't look good. I remember my mother in law coming to visit and I think she was surprised by what she saw. She soon organized a family fast followed by a prayer. My husband has 7 brothers and sisters and we all support each other in everything we do. I remember it was Sunday and everyone of my husbands siblings came to the hospital for a quick visit. I think most of them thought they were seeing Kristen for the last time, that they had indeed come to say good bye and hug her one last time. Later that night they all gathered at my mother in laws home and knelt in prayer. Our prayers were answered and within 2 days we were able to go back up to the floor. I am so very thankful for my family and the support they continue to show toward Kristen. The pictures are taken just a day or two after our stay in ICU, still swollen from all the fluids she was retaining.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
2 days ago we hit that 1 year anniversary of diagnosis. I thought often throughout the day of the events that took place 1 year earlier and I have to admit I felt a little queasy a time or two. I got up early and got Ryan off to school and then went back to lay in bed with Kristen. She was sleeping so peaceful next to me. Looking at her sweet face I could only feel gratitude that she was indeed still with us. Gratitude for her sweet spirit and the joy and peace and comfort she has brought into my life.
That night a year ago when we got the call from the doctor that Kristen did indeed have leukemia, I remember breaking out in tears. Sitting at the desk in the office with Richard looking on the phone and my head dropping to the desk it felt like I had for sure been hit by a truck, a large truck. It was 5pm and Kristen had already gone upstairs to get ready for bed. We had moved her bed in our room as she was not feeling well for some time and was afraid to sleep alone in her room. It was easier to move her bed in my room rather than find her lying on the floor next to my bed. She already had her nightgown on and was sitting on her bed enjoying Disney channel, I went upstairs and threw myself on my bed and was crying. I soon felt someone rubbing my back and comforting me. I thought it must he Rich or one of the other kids. As I looked up it was Kristen. That’s right I am supposed to be the mother, the one who comforts and I couldn’t even face Kristen and tell her of the awful plight that was now before us. Yet somehow this beautiful child was only concerned about me and trying to make me fell better. I did finally tell her. I told her that she was very sick and we needed to go to the hospital. She already knew in her sweet heart as she did the sign for a central line and said, “I don’t want that” I am sure that she knew before I knew that her leukemia had returned after 12 years. Kristen’s hematocrit was only 13 and her platelets were 12,000. so the doctor told us that we needed to get to the hospital that night.
After a few phone calls and 2 suit cases packed, one for me and one for Kristen, we were on our way for something we all feared. I really don’t know how Rich got us to the hospital as his eyes were also full of tears. I called later to check on the other kids and they had all gathered at my home along with some of their friends and Kristen’s BFF, Audrey (also her cousin) and they all just sat in the living room and shared stories and comforted each other. The next few weeks were some of the worst times I had ever experienced in my life. Initially Kristen had many set backs, we spent almost a week in ICU not knowing if we were going to lose her. After many prayers Kristen finally took a turn for the better. One day shortly after we came out of ICU she was sitting on her bed and she looked at me and said, “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!” I asked what she was talking about, I asked her what she didn’t want and she replied, “I don’t want to die!”
And from that moment, our little Princess put up a fight, and fight she did. She did many hard things, things I don’t know if I could do. She fought with grace and dignity and after 7 months of intense chemo she is home and doing well. She is truly my inspiration!
Now for the NOW! You would hardly know what Kristen has been through by looking at her today. We had clinic yesterday and her blood counts are all still low, but not alarming. Yesterday my oldest grandson, Cody, turned 6! Wow! Somebody is getting old. Here at the Kirton house we are going to celebrate and party and live in the NOW! I know that every person in my family has emerged a better person after the events of the past year.
"Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendour, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the Angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty; believe me, that angel's hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence." Greville MacDonald
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Yeah let's talk fun. My daughter who is away at college asked me what was up with my last post. I think she called it creepy. I Guess us mothers aren't supposed to get feeling overwhelmed or at least not admit to it. So tonight we will talk fun. Ever since Kristen finished up her treatments at the hospital I have been trying to think of something we could do to give back to the ICS (Immunocompromised Care Unit) at the hospital where we spent 7 months. When Kristen was released we made cute cards with Kristen's picture and passed them out along with a treat to all of the nurses. The nurses were all so appreciative and said they love getting things from their patients. I really want to do something for the nurses but haven't quite figured that part out yet. What I have been planning for the patients is where the fun comes in. When Kristen was in the hospital she received gifts that people had donated. Her favorite gift was a Build a Bear. I decided a few months ago that I was going to make sure that the children in the unit received a Build a Bear sometime around Christmas. There are 24 beds in the unit so I figured it would be about $500. Rather than ask for donations I am going to ask all my friends here and on facebook to please join Kristen and I for a "Team Kristen" party at a local Build a Bear. All I need is 23 people to bring $25 and spend as little as an hour and make a special bear for a very sick child. The party will be around the first week in December. I know you all want to come! so leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I will make sure you get the info. Let's go have some fun and most importantly put a smile on a sweet child's face.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I am not sure why...but I really feel like I might be lacking in hope and faith. As I say that I am looking up the definitions of both those words; hope-to believe, desire and trust. faith-belief that doesn't rest on logical proof or material evidence. Nope that's not it. So maybe I just need a vacation. Maybe the events of the past year are catching up to me, maybe I'm running too fast, or maybe just maybe life is going on without me and my little princess Kristen. I have noticed the past few days that Kristen is not feeling well. She had hardly eaten and I have pretty much offered her all her favorite foods. But what really gets me down is that my husband noticed it too. I get into these modes where I just sit and worry about her and then she isn't feeling well I just kinda think that I am just being over protective, but then when Rich notices it I know it is real. Another week and we are off to clinic so I will just hold on til then.The girls at their 5k run last weekend