28 February 2010

Home Again

While D and I were having lunch together Friday at the Bistro, I was eating my delicious salad when he reached over, grabbed a napkin and dabbed his eyes. He was tearing (funny side note: E said once that she was just 'sweating out her eyes.' hehehe). He said he was going to tell me something but he started tearing up before he started. Awwww. He said he dreamt early that morning that L, our youngest, was laying on him and hugging him. He went to hug her back and woke up, and of course no one was there. He was pretty upset about it.

He's such a social guy. He doesn't like to do things by himself. When we're not together, unless I'm at work, he likes to be on the phone talking with me, or other friends if I can't talk. He'll do anything if I do it with him! And, he loves his kids and loves to hug them and hold them and play with them. So, when he's alone at the hospital, he says night time is the hardest. Not only is he in a small bed by himself, but no one comes and jumps on him in his bed to give him a good morning hug :)

D came home from the hospital late Friday night. He could have stayed the night and gone home Saturday morning, but once he made the suggestion, I agreed he would sleep better once he returned home. Plus, the girls were already staying with his sister for the night. So, we came home and slept in until 10am. It was heaven!

Now he's resting and so are the children...and in a way, so am I :)
Have a nice week, everyone!

26 February 2010

By George! I think I've got it!!

So many people ask what they can do for me, for us, after they hear about the chaos that is our lives. I honestly don't know. Chocolate is always a good choice, but even I have the occasional chocolate limit (stress on occasional). Do you really want to do my dishes and laundry? I didn't think so, and I don't blame you :)

Sooooo, something hit me the other night. Let me explain first.
Cancer patients occasionally require blood transfusions: platelets, plasma or even the whole unit of blood. Chemotherapy kills cancer cells, but it also kills blood-producing cells. So, after a round of chemo, the patient's dead blood cells are cycled out of the system, but it takes a few days for the bone marrow to catch up with the body's need and new demand. Low red blood cells = low energy (and lots of other side effects, but I'm keeping it simple). With D's first course of chemo in 2007, he had 3 blood transfusions over the year, I can remember. There might have been a fourth, but no matter. Point is, with 3 transfusions, that's 6+ units of whole blood. There were also, for D, 4+ transfusions of just platelets (when his blood clotting factors were low).

Back to my point
Here's what any one of you can do to help:
Donate Blood!! You can even get paid to donate plasma, but the blood companies can get plasma when they spin down the whole blood. There is, however, always a tremendous need for both.

There are Red Cross and ARUP blood donation centers all along the Wasatch Front, or you can find one near when you live. This way, you are not only helping D but a whole community of Cancer patients, young and old! ARUP is the main blood donation supplier of Huntsman, Primary Children's, Shriner's and UofU hospitals here in Salt Lake City. What a great way to help!!

Awesome! Thank you so much!! If there are any questions, just let me know.

24 February 2010

How to Take Care of a Cancer Patient

Welcome to the Huntsman Hotel.

That's the nickname patients and family have given this amazing place. It's a beautiful and modern facility; a place where Jon Huntsman, Sr, imagined would help the cancer patient and family forget they were in a hospital and would encourage the focus on healing. You can read more about him and his efforts here. A truly amazing man.

I dropped D off here today, on the Oncology Inpatient Unit. He'll be there, having a continuous infusion of chemotherapy with 3 different drugs until Saturday. I held myself together pretty well, but almost lost it when the clerk took us to the VIP suite. It's been two years since I've worked there, but we were met with hugs and well-wishes. I had to leave to go to work, but I know he's in good hands. I'm bringing the children up tomorrow after school so we can have family time. Thanks for all of the kind words, thoughts and prayers for our family. He and I will have dinner together today, at least :)

Get the flash player here:

23 February 2010

Change is...

Change is good. Change is fun. Change is...inevitable. Yup, I just dropped the Bomb Of The Century! What?? Things change?? Sheesh, is THAT all??
Well, I for one love change. No, I embrace It! Yes, I would be totally comfortable changing my job every three or four years (if I wasn't happy with what I was doing). If it wasn't such a darn headache moving, I'd love to do that every few years too! I love going to new places, getting into the local culture; I just love traveling.

However, since it's not realistic, especially with children, moving every few years, there are a few things I CAN change, whenever I darn-well please.

Side note: Did you know? In a recession, the sale of lipstick increases?? It's an easy, inexpensive pick-me-up...and don't we all need more of those?

My hair, cut or color, doesn't matter. A few months ago I was blonde then went red. It was shocking because we were expecting something more in the dark brown range, but I really liked the auburn color. And, it worked well because my skin does well with cool colors. So, over the weekend when my roots were alarmingly in contrast (think light brown next to red...yeah), my vanity took over and I called my sister. Thanks to her schooling, I reap many of those benefits. She told me what I needed. I've colored her hair a few times, with her coaching, so I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do, but doing that on your own the back? Basically, I was just moving the brush around and mushing the color with my fingers. D says it's blended well enough that when he's not playing with it, you can't really tell it's patchy :) Thanks, sweetie.

I really should have used another ounce of product, but I didn't think about buying two tubes of color, so I just tried to make it work. And it does. At least my roots are taken care of. And the result? A really nice dark brown with a hint of red in the light. :) LOVE IT! Thanks Teresa. And Amber, I'm sorry I didn't call you :) It was a spur of the moment decision and I couldn't wait another day!! You know I love you and your scissors :)

I feel so accomplished today. Know what else? While my hair was processing, I made home-made Mac'N Cheese and veggies AND put away and started another load of laundry. It was a good day :)

19 February 2010

Olympics!! (hand pump in air!!)

So far, since Friday ~I (heart) DVR~ I've been staying up late every night watching the events for the day and sometimes from the evening before. I've even been totally lazy on my days off, just sitting and watching and fast-forwarding TV and munching popcorn and chocolate chips. Love it!!

AND, I have enjoyed my Olympic watching so much that I've involved the children...well, I've tried too anyway. Pretty much the only thing that will hold their attention is figure skating...and it's pushing it with the short program, so the long program is out. They're off doing whatever else before the skater has finished their second combination!

Regardless, watching the Pairs Skating last weekend with their short programs, of course I'm going to be behind the USA guys! However, I always have a soft spot for underdogs, too. Since the judges took any chance away from the US couples ~even though none of the US couples had any falls yet somehow received lower scores, whatever~ I was all for Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao from China (the couple who have been together for 18 years and were married last summer) to get the gold! Good for them! Love a good story!!

Then, there is the Canadian Men's skater, 19 year old kid who has so much pressure on his shoulders, did a great job but according to the commentators, has a lot still to develop. Bless his heart :) and I loved watching him skate to the Phantom of the Opera!

But it wouldn't be fun unless it came down to Russia vs USA. Apparently the scoring system has changed ~ not that I knew much about it before ~ but I guess falls still take points away. Dang. Unless you're on a pairs team, in that case an "almost-fall" takes away more points than the actual "fall" but I digress. Anyway, Plushenko from Russia had a quad jump planned in both his short and long programs. And he did it, in both, but from my untrained eye the landings were wobbly and not as clean as others or even as clean as his triple jumps ~ and apparently my untrained eye can't figure out how falling can equal more points, but we're moving on. But, yes, to his credit, he landed a quadruple jump. What did Lysacek have? A whole bunch of other jumps and fancy footwork! I could have done with out the feathers, but hey! Even with a wingspan rivaling Michael Phelps, he was the most graceful grown man on ice I've seen in a long time! So, the Russian feels the gold was stolen from him, but read this article and you'll totally agree with how and why Lysacek has every reason to cherish that gold medal! Good for him.

It's been a fun week and I can't wait for the weekend again!! Men's Hockey on Sunday, Canada vs USA!!! And I don't even like hockey, but I'll watch this! Also, I totally cried when Lindsey Vonn made it down the mountain ~ ALIVE ~ and won the gold. What an amazing feeling that must have been. And that's what I love about the Olympics: even if our country is out of the race, there is always another story, another person's personal trial to overcome adversity and struggle to the top. And we can all celebrate that! Speaking of celebrating, how about celebrating that two Koreans trip over each other right before the finish line leaving space for you to slide into the Silver medal?? Now that's a nice day, Apollo :)

17 February 2010

Many Thanks, For We Are Greatful

Thank you to the many people who have shared thoughts and love and caring words with us over the last few days. We are truely blessed and have wonderful friends and family. As much as I miss our friends in Sandy and Salt Lake, I understand now why I had such a desire to move south. We will keep you posted.

Thanks again,

16 February 2010

Made With Love

I know what you're thinking: "Support Our Troops? Really? I didn't know Rachel knew anyone in the Military..."
Okay, maybe you weren't thinking that. I do know people in the military, and I love and support the entire military, but that's not what this is about today.
The Yellow Ribbon also has personal significance: it is the ribbon for Sarcoma, like the Pink Ribbon is for Breast Cancer. Go here for more information on ribbon colors.

June is also Sarcoma Awareness Month. I didn't mention it last year because I was hoping this was all behind us. Alas, that is not to be. D found out last Friday that he has another Ewing's Sarcoma tumor, in the same area where the last one was removed in January 2007. We won't know for a few more days what exactly will happen. He's not excited about more chemotherapy or radiation (who would blame him). It's been a blow to both of us. We were hoping he'd make it past the 5 year mark so we could increase his Life Insurance Policy. Oh, did that sound sadist? I didn't mean it like that :)
Well, this is a blog about cancer, right? I guess I need to kick up the "How To Take Care of A Cancer Patient" Column. I'll keep you updated. And Thank You to those who have already expressed their love and concern and thoughts and prayers with us. I know that's what helped us through the first time and we will get through it again....

14 February 2010

Valentine's Day

Yes, 5 years ago today, my then-boyfriend propsed his love for me and asked me to be by his side forever :) .... or something along those lines. Actually, when he finally pulled out the ring, I was so taken aback, not expecting it At All...I then had a momental flash of our evening but you'll want to read the rest of that story here because I don't want to type it all again. Besides, it's D's version of the story :) Fun stuff.

Anyhooo, I am in total agreement with how comerciallized this, and every other, holiday is becoming. Don't get me wrong, flowers are beautiful and I love having them around the house, but seriously? If all you bring home on V-Day is a vase of flowers -- or especially Roses!! Can we get anymore gineric? -- you WILL be in the doghouse. At least be freakin' original, okay?? Put some thought into it.

Don't get me wrong, I love D and he will do anything for me or anyone else that needs something. He has a huge heart...but, as with most men, can forget/procrastinate a bit... You know I love you, babe :) Plus, he hasn't been feeling well a lot lately. Sooooo, I thought I'd help him along. We don't go out much on "real" dates, so I figured this is a good excuse to get out. I wanted to make things managable for him so he doesn't stress out, and though flowers are well-intended, I'd rather he spend the money on something else (like really good chocolate, as opposed to Russel Stover).

So I made a list... went something like this:

Dear D: These are the chocolates I want in dark; go here to get them. I want to go see this movie at a matine (every little savings counts). I don't care where we go to eat; it'll just be nice to have more than 60 minutes together. You pick the movie time and eatery and arrange the babysitter, but don't give me the chocolates until Sunday morning. I bought little boxes of chocolates for the kids to put out for them at the breakfast table, so you can put mine there in the morning, too. Thanks, Babe! Love R~

I know he loves me. I don't need a holiday for him to express it. He does that every day. I'm lucky. I know what I have. Sometimes I take it for granted, okay a lot of times, but it's still fun to be reminded... :) xoxox

11 February 2010

Enjoy Today...

I wanted to write this post at the beginning of January, being in line with starting off a New Year, yadah, yadah, yadah, but something happened...Oh, yeah! Life! Ironic.

Earthquakes in Haiti, a short family trip over a long weekend, loosing a memory card full of pictures (then finding out my sister downloaded the whole thing to her computer too so I can at least recover them!), a house full of sickies including myself, getting back to work, catching up on everything, trying to enjoy something. You know, normal everyday stuff we all are familiar with. Add a daily dose of really good chocolate and you pretty much have my 'every day' in a nutshell.

And yet, it all goes by so fast! My oldest turned 10 just a few weeks ago. Christmas seemed like just yesterday yet February is almost half over!

Now and then I will catch myself contemplating and reflecting, liberty, the pursuit of happiness :) and also all of these in respect to my children. I am in a time and place in my life which revolves around the children. I could go crazy trying to give my children all the social, developmental and physical stimuli available. But, seriously, is it necessary? The 10 year old enjoys video games and building things from anything. The 71/2 year old enjoys drawing and painting and writing. The 31/2 year old enjoys being read to, jumping/running and scribbling. However, the 10 year old needs to work on reading; the 7 year old needs to work on math; the 3 year old...well, she's Three. 'Nough said.

And in my desire to give them the most fulfilled, enriched, enlightened, developed childhood, I could very well pass up the opportunity to give just what I am supposed to as a parent...Myself. And this is my struggle. I work full time because my husband can't; I am home late; sometimes I leave early in the morning; I am often tired; I try to cook healthful meals and succeed most days, but Ramen noodles and veggies is a family favorite; I have 3 beautiful children and a husband who also desperately need my attention.

So, pretty often I have to remind myself of my truest joy, my family, and what I want my children to learn from me: Make the most of your opportunities; We can't always skip school, but there are some exceptions; Organization is important but so is spontaneity; You will have your family forever so learn to enjoy them.

And, enjoy today...before it's all just a memory.

06 February 2010

When the Light Goes Out

I was told a long time ago that one should never start a writing piece with the Title. The Title should be one of the last things to add, because... uhh, oh I'm sure there is a good reason. I sometimes think it's fun to just write down something cute, then write more about it!

That's one of many problems with the structured school systems, at least where I grew up. It seemed as though if it wasn't done how the teacher thought it should be done, it wasn't good enough. I remember so many times when I would do a writing assignment, thinking of something creative and original was very difficult for me! So, the act of actually completing the assignment was huge! But I was never graded on what I had done, rather on how the teacher viewed the paper or the topic, or how he/she felt it needed to be expressed.

As you can imagine, it was very frustrating. I never saw myself as creative, and writing something fictional was very challenging. So I never did it. Once I finished the last English class in college that I needed for my major, I never did it again. Ever. Nothing. Aside from the occasional newsletter or family letter, Nadda.

Then, a few many years after the rest of the world apparently, I heard of this thing called a "blog" where people, mostly Mom's, were showing their pictures and crafts and...stories. Hmmm, that's odd. Am I the only person who didn't know about this until 2007? Where have I been!

And, Oh! The liberation of writing what I want and how I want to write it! Thank you America, and Thank you to whomever it was that started this whole thing! Now, what this has to do with the lights going out, I have no idea, but I don't have to change it cuz I don't want to. :) Have a great weekend!

03 February 2010

Another Look at the Pitty Party

It's been a while since I've posted anything about cancer (or I guess, how cancer has been a part of my family) for some time now. Now I'm curious...this was my last post about The Cancer in our lives. Read and enjoy, but join us back here for the rest of the discussion. :)

Good and thank you for returning! :)

Now that everyone is caught up, I think I need some mental time with the concept again (deep breath) and that time is now, because I am sitting here...with time...and thoughts.

I think I purposefully haven't posted anything about The Cancer because it makes it seem too real...but it is real, isn't it? I can't just will it out of his life (who is also a part of mine). I guess I have to deal with it sometimes...only on My terms

**Hi. My name is Rachel and my husband was diagnosed with Cancer in 2007. He spent that year in and out of the hospital having 10 week-long rounds of chemotherapy every 5-6 weeks then had 30 days of radiation treatments. I started working full time in order to support the family and have insurance. Since February of 2008, we go through an emotional roller coaster every 3 months as we wait for MRI results. We look at every bump, worry about every pain, and I'm sure he looses more sleep over every detail, wondering...Is this it? Will it happen again?**

D had a thyroid scare last week and it will be biopsied next week, and I'm not too worried about that. But, in the same area as his first tumor, there is a "mass" that has been hanging out, soaking up contrast and dye and white cells for almost a year and has recently decided to enlarge itself. We've known about it; the doctors are 'watching' it. We found out this morning that it's gotten bigger. The oncologist wants to biopsy it; the surgeon wants to cut the damn thing out. We are waiting for the thyroid biopsy to see if parts of it need to be cut out too then do them both together.

Now what? Now what you ask? Dunno, I could make up a lot of things :) but we just have to wait. Then, of course, I always over-react and things are never as bad as you think it will be...except for that one time I told D, "Settle down, it's not cancer. What are the odds, I mean, really. People have head aches all the time. I love you; here's some ibuprofen." THAT ONE TIME.

In all seriousness, though, it probably will be nothing; an overactive thyroid, a fistula that is trying to start and just happens to be draining in that very spot in his neck...random collections of lymph nodes that are in the wrong place...really, nothing.
And now we have two weeks to think about it.

Thanks for letting me vent my feelings. Sometimes simply acknowledging the feelings allows them to be properly managed. And by properly managed I mean thrown into the air, twirled, caught, then tossed back into the corners of the mind where they can be once again filed for a fitting "When I have a spare moment" moment.

Now, on with life. Dinner is waiting and I believe I hear E reading a story to her little sister.

02 February 2010

We Welcome February With Open Arms

Yes, what would our world be with out Valentine's Day? Hold on, let me change my Pandora station. It was playing something Britney Spears, but to chat about Valentine's Day, I need some Jim Brickman!
Okay, thanks for waiting. That's better. Now...what were we discussing? Oh, yes, Valentine's Day. I was thinking more along the lines of Chocolate and it's role in this scrumptious holiday, but truffles are beside the point.

How has Valentine's Day changed our world?
Or has it?

I know personally some people who are completely opposed to setting aside a specific day for an outpouring of affection toward someone. This group of people think it ridiculous that there has to be one day dedicated to Love. "I show love every day," or "No one needs to tell me how to show love," etc. Well, actually, (scoff), apparently some people do need a bit of education...Hello, Reality TV!

I digress. Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has a topic on it :) and, wouldn't we know it, started from remembering religious martyrs who, in the early centuries, were given the name Valentine... and somewhere along the line romantic notes started being exchanged in the Middle ages... hummm... martyr = sentimental love... Wow. That could be another post entirely!

Anyway, regardless how interestingly our version of Valentine's Day has come about, is it really all that bad to have a visual reminder??