Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Never Know

We needed another post...I know.  Truth is, things are pretty much the same around here.  No news is good news, right?  Mom is doing phenomenally well.  She is in good spirits, and rounding the bend with this whole radiation thing.  She even said the other day she's got a little hair growing back.  We're proud to report there is regrowth!  :)

Because I'm writing the post, excuse me for getting a little personal.  I've just thought so much about some things lately and had to share.

The other day, Mom called me in tears.  She just had to share something special with me.  And then she went on to read a letter that had been written by a dear friend of mine.  And by the end of it, we were both so touched we could hardly speak. 

On front of card:  "Happiness must be grown in one's own garden."


Dear Katie's Mom,
Well, that's how we have been praying for you.  We don't know each other but I adore your daughter Katie so much and feel that so much of what I love in her is from you.  I've really enjoyed reading your blog and have found strength from your example, faith, and optimism--to be a better mother to six little boys, and to just grin and bear it during the trying times.  Thank you.  Please know that a few Alaskans are praying for you.

With love and admiration,
Stephanie W. Bacon
Tenderness!  You never know the extent of one's influence!  And in my case with my Mother it extends to the very tips of the branches of her mother tree, and to the tender roots--running deep.

Another friend's mother sent a card to my Mom early on that has continued to be so touching to me.  She's never met my Mom.  And I've never met her.  But the love in this card was bursting.

The card read:

Cancer is limited. 

It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot destroy peace.
It cannot kill friendships.
It cannot destroy memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot steal eternal life.
It cannot conquer the spirit. 

Dear Gayle,
Your daughter is a friend to our daughter, Heather Price Smith.  Please know how much "others" care about you and what you are going through.  It is heartwarming to see the tremendous love your family has for you.  Best wishes.

Jerry and Shari Price

You never know...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Having Fun Yet?

Mom isn't.  But how much fun can anticipating radiation be?  Let's be honest....

But the truth is, she is looking forward to beginning this next step in the process.  She starts radiation on Wednesday for 33 sessions.  Roughly 6 weeks or so.  Each day of the work week.   

She's anticipating more tiredness, and less nausea.  More sleep.  Less ache.  Sounds glamorous, I know...but I think for her, it's a little something she's glad to be getting going. 

Keep the thoughts and prayers, good vibes, gifts, letters, etc. coming.  I know how very much they mean to her.

And watching her being carried by the love, faith, prayers, and words of all of you wonderful friends and family out there has meant the world to all of us. 


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's Our Favorite Word?

You guessed it...DONE!!!! Today mom had her last chemo treatment. Yippee! She did it, and we are so proud of her. Dad, Aunt Gloria and Aunt Carolyn, along with Bentley and I came to help celebrate. She was tender as usual and humbled as she looked around at other courageous men and women that were as well having treatments. This is a major milestone in her healing process and we couldn't be more excited for her to be finishing up, and preparing to start radiation in a few weeks. She will still however, have to go to Huntsman for the next 8 months, to receive a medicine that is part of her treatment regiment. This process is a lot shorter and not nearly as involved as her chemo treatments have been.

Mom also had her first appointment with her radiation doctor as well today. She has a more informative appointment on August 16th, which will help us know what her schedule will be like and what to expect. We will of course keep everyone posted.

Way to go, Mom. You did it!

Aunt Gloria and Aunt Carolyn have enjoyed being with mom for her treatment days. They have worked on several quilts during these treatments, visited, gone to lunch, and I'm sure talked about everything under the sun. Thanks for your continued support Sweet Aunties.

Bentley gave mom a Willow Tree angel called "Beautiful Wishes". She has a little collection and this one will be such a memorable one to add to it.

I came to be the official picture taker...and of course I wouldn't have missed this day for anything. We are busy talking about what we can do to pass the time during her daily radiation treatments and while we wait for her hair to grow back.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Mom's 70th birthday came and went on Monday--but it wasn't without some surprises along the way!  We've actually been celebrating all month long!  Our family got together for a quaint evening when the majority of us were here and surprised her with a little party with what she thought would be a "family meeting".  We had presents, cake, and a birthday banner to mark the occasion.  Most of the adult children and spouses were there and we really did have a nice evening together.

  But it was such a fun surprise to have these fun lady friends from Quilt Guild come dressed up on her actual birthday.  Nobody actually knew they were coming (otherwise we would have given our Mom a heads up) but maybe that is why nobody clued us in on the fun! :)  They just knocked on the door and walked right into her room and celebrated her with singing, balloons, gifts and goodies.  They hugged her and loved her and really made her feel special.  It couldn't have been more meaningful. 

It was truly just what she needed.

I'm old enough to realize that as birthdays come and go--they are pretty much the same kind of days we live the other 364 days of the year.  But I also know how much this special birthday meant to her--now as she's outlived her own mother by 15 years, and her dad by 8, she was grateful for yet another year to put into her bag full of life experiences.

She is optimistic about the future and hopeful for many more amazing years. Mom we love you and celebrate you and your amazing 70 years of life.   

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#5 Never Felt So Good

Mom has felt really crummy with Chemo round #4.  She didn't once come out of the "feeling sick" stage.  I am still amazed at how well she's done--but I know this one has been really hard for her.  It has been hard to see her lethargic and without energy or excitement for life.  And then there's all the weird symptoms that have manifested themselves this time around--we won't even go into those- But let's just say that with three additional visits to Huntsman aside from her last treatment during this time, she was really relieved this morning to be going for her scheduled 5th treatment today.  I dare say she had an actual spring in her step this morning before she left.  And a real genuine smile that I haven't seen for days!  I think it must of felt liberating for her to get up and get ready--because she actually had somewhere she needed to be today--and because going there would get her one step closer to being--DONE.

I couldn't help but capture a few pictures before they left. It brings tears to my eyes as I think of my Dad helping my Mom into the car--and then Mom turning to me and raising her arm up in a cheering motion saying, "#5! #5!"

Surely, #5 will never feel better than it does right now for her. She will likely be sick again like she has been. She knows that--and so do I--so it was nice to see her have her little moment before she gets sick all over again.

And lastly, Mom was a super star last weekend as she put on her happiness {the best she knew how} for a Dunford Family Reunion at their home in Midway.  I know how hard it was for her to get ready to go outside--I ran into her room after everyone had started arriving to see if I could help her--and she surprised even me by wanting to wear her red cowboy hat.  She looked classy and lovely in every way.  A city girl--gone "a little bit couontry" in her own right!   All of her siblings were there {except for dear Uncle Carlos who passed away a year and a half ago.} I think it must have been interesting for everyone to see my Mom in her state--but she fooled them all and smiled most of the time.  Great job, Mom!  Only 1 more left!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

{PINK} Cotton Candy for Sale

Fourth of July Weekend our kids had a wonderful experience selling {PINK} cotton candy to benefit breast cancer research.  For three days they stood in front of "Seasons of Home" in Midway during a craft fair that was taking place. 

They loved making it!  Except for it left them very sticky...which they didn't mind as much as their mothers...

And the kids loved eating it again and again.

The best part is that the supplies were donated by a lovely lady--who insisted on donating them despite the fact that she herself possibly has breast cancer--AND--with all the kids efforts, they raised $82 in honor of their Grammie.

We are so proud.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chemo Day #4

A week ago Tuesday, Mom went in for her 4th Chemo Treatment. As usual, Dad went early with her to meet with the doctors. By the time I got there, they had just gone into the treatment room. Dad came and met me in the hallway to lead me to where they were--and after walking in, it was such a humbling experience. Several chairs of people with various forms of cancer, being given *hopefully* life-saving doses of Chemo. Some old, some young. Some newbies, some veterans. But all of these people together in chairs--surrounding the busy hive of nurses working to help save them all.

My Mom looked radiant. She always does on Chemo day. Having visited her the last few weeks and watching her function day to day as best as she can, I know that it was no small feat to be there so early. So looking...healthy and normal.

I love these pictures I took of her that day. Still a smile on her face. Still as happy an attitude as she can have.

Mom and her sister, Gloria--we just barely missed the picture with her sister Carolyn too.

Mom with her Pink Ipod.  She loves this gift from our family.  She says it's an absolute must for Chemo day.  I think it's got to be nice to close her eyes and tune out the world during that time. 

Mom and Dad 

Saturday, June 19, 2010


You would have never believed the reaction on the kids faces when Grammie and Grandpa came out of their room the other night...

Yep.  You guessed it!

They traded!

Oh, we laughed and laughed! 

 It's so fun to see these two have a little fun with this cancer thing.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In other "WIG" news...

Mom has been talking for weeks about getting some wigs for the grandkids to use for dressing up.  Let's just say, the wigs have been a major hit! 

There are Grammie goes again.  Always creating memories for everyone.
Oh how we love her!

Ruby, Betsy, Annie, and Casey--all smiles!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mom goes into Chemo for her 4th treatment on Tuesday, June 22nd.
Update soon to come!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Love

I about fell on the floor when I went to my cousin's blog site and saw a whole entry on the "Race for the Cure" they had done for my Mom.  It was so unexpected!  When I called my Mom to see if she knew her sister Gloria, sons Kit and Tyler and Tyler's wife, Marli ran it-- she said she didn't know anything about it.  What an honor!  Here's the post she wrote from her blog.

"We did the Race for the Cure again this year. Every year I run in memory of my Great Grandma Lucille. She was in her early 30s when she died from breast cancer and all the complications that she had from the different treatments they were trying on her. It was an honor again this year to run in her memory.

Also this year was a little more tender because Tyler's Aunt Gayle was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is in treatment right now. She is fighting the fight and being truly amazing through it all. We love her so much and we decided to make t-shirts in her honor. She has a blog that her daughter's created for her it's called make pink lemonade. So on our T-shirts we put "Making Pink Lemonade in Honor of Gayle's Lemons" with a picture of Gayle. We love you Gayle! You're an inspiration!"

Thank you Lloyd Family for honoring our Mother!  We love that you did this and I know how touched she was to recieve your letter and pictures in the mail!   

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chemo Day #3

On Tuesday, Mom completed her 3rd Chemotherapy session. Because her blood levels are still struggling a bit, her doctor and staff decided to continue from this point forward only giving her 2 Chemos rather than 3 each treatment. This is ofcourse not the ideal, but her doctor is confident that it will be enough. The two other medicines are super great meds on their own, but are that much better when paired together. Her infusion appointments will still take just as long because they have increased the amount she receives.

Today mom is back at Huntsman having a blood transfusion. This appointment was scheduled when she was in for her treatment on tuesday. They know that her blood levels will go down from here and so they have decided this time to get her levels up before they go too low. We think this is a very good idea and are planning for this to be a regular happening each Chemo week. So ofcourse, it is somewhat bothersome to mom to realize that there is nothing she can do to build her blood levels. She has asked several times what she can do to help. "Nothing', is the answer. You can't do anything to build up your blood and that is a little frustrating. And so for know we're just encouraging her to have "happy" blood thoughts to make atleast herself feel better.

Mom is very much relieved to be half way done. She is feeling pretty good most days but gets tired quickly. She has learned to take her naps and we've learned to encourage her to take them too. Her next appointment is just under 3 weeks from now. Summer will be in full swing and hopefully family will be gathering around her in Midway, which is something she looks forward to every summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Everything's Going Good

Ginny just reminded me that we probably ought to get another post up to let you know what's going on with Mom.  She had Chemo on Tuesday of last week.  They only gave her 2 out of the 3 Chemos they used the first time.  The 3rd Chemo must have been too evasive the first time around, because she is still working on growing her white blood cells up from that.  It seems understandable though, that they wouldn't give another Chemo to you again if your body wasn't prepared for it, so that's just what happened.  She ended up just having the 2 this last time. 

The same thing happened this time around as well as far as the sickness goes--she feels quite well for the first few days and then gets sick on Saturdays.  She has spent a bulk of the time at Ginny's house in Salt Lake--and I think that's been good for her.  She has commented a bunch that it's been helpful to her to have someone help her be happy each day.  I know the family really appreciates all that she, Cort, and the family are doing to support her.

They went back up to Huntsman earlier today to get her blood count again and it's looking better--so that's great news.  She will likely have her next Chemo on Tuesday, June 1st. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Race for the Cure -- Salt Lake City 2010

I was so excited this year to participate in the "Race for the Cure." I sadly never participated when Sue (Bentley's wife) was going through her treatments. They have been doing this race for several years now and how fun for them to participate this year as a 5 year survivor.

Several weeks ago my running partner Megan asked me if I wanted to run the race with her and another friend, Shannon. I agreed and thought this year would be perfect to run on behalf of my mom. Megan said she would think of a team name and that we were going to get t-shirts printed up with the names of the people whom we were running for. "Sure", I thought. "No problem. This will be great." Well, one morning Megan called me and told me that they had decided on our team name. She said we were going to have pink camouflage t-shirts that read "Stop the War in My Raq". Yes you read right! At first I didn't get it but then thought it was hilarious. I told my mom and Sue just to make sure that they wouldn't be embarrassed to have their name on a t-shirt like that. They as well loved it. So, yesterday Megan, Shannon and I ventured downtown to participate in the race. It was so much fun! It was tender looking at these thousands of people gathered in one great cause. You could feel the hope and courage just beaming from everyone. Of course it made it extra fun that people came up to us and asked to take our picture or told us that we had the best t-shirts there. It was also a bonus that we made it on channel 4 and channel 13 news as well.

What a memorable experience and special day that it was. I hope that I'm always able to participate until we find a cure!

 Little ol' me in my pink camo

They accidentally put survivor instead of fighter for our Mom--but that's okay because she'll be a survivor next year and I can wear the t-shirt again.  Sue is our sister-in-law and Susan is my Mother-in-Law who passed away from Breast Cancer 18 years ago. 

Shannon, Me, and Megan

What a Gift

Meet Wendy.  She is our cousin.  She is a wonderful wife, mother and friend.  And she loves MOMS.  Her Mom especially who has suffered from MS her whole life, and my Mom too--now with Breast Cancer.  Keep reading...
 She, her husband Will, and darling children, Annie and Cal live in North Carolina. 

 Just two weeks ago, she and her family were in a terrible accident.  Please read this excerpt off her blog:

"Sunday evening we were on our way to the Patterson's in High Point for a BBQ. We were on a wide country road that had little roads intercepting it along the way. We had the right of way until we came to another little intersection and Will missed the stop sign. I didn't see it either, but I noticed the other road didn't have one. So I asked Will "Are you sure..?", looked to my right and saw a minivan maybe 10 feet away going just as fast as we were going, 40mph. For a split second I thought 'we're done'. That's all I really remember. And of course my mind replays that instance about a thousand times a day. I vaguely remember Will picking me up to take me aside to give me a Priesthood blessing. Annie screamed, terrified to see me so unresponsive, and then Will and another man I didn't know put there hands on my head and I was out again. The next time I woke up I was in the ER at Forsyth Medical Center. That's what I remember."

Will and her two beautiful children made it through okay--remarkably!  And after waking up in the hospital on the stretcher with her husband Will by her side, the results from the tests came back about Wendy.

"No broken ribs just bruised ones; no internal bleeding just a concussion."

" Last of all (and most noticable) are the lacerations on my face from the impact of the airbag. I'll gladly take some face injuries over injured kids or worse."

When I read on her blog she had survived such an experience, I thought, "Oh there's no way she'll run "The Race for the Cure" 5K in North Carolina the next weekend like she'd told me.

You can imagine my surprise when I opened an email from her this last week, with THESE pictures on them. 

{An excerpt from her email}

"So, yes, last week was somewhat of a different week for us post car-total and in the middle of finals while healing, but thanks to such great help from the in-laws that came to town (and of course good pain killers) I felt up to running Race for the Cure on Saturday. I promised Will I would be smart and so I I didn't try to make a certain time or anything, but kept a good pace and ran the 5K. By the end I was somewhat dizzy from my concussion but I held onto Will for a little bit and got some food and was feeling good again. In total I raised just under $100 ,which I felt good about considering it was a 5K and that I decided to run just two weeks before the race. I was actually thinking of your mom and my mom a lot while I ran. I was running with some dizziness and pain on my side and back due to my bruised ribs from our car accident. I couldn't help but just admire these women who deal with day to day pain and uncertainty and yet push through with faith, patience, smiles, and love. It was actually quite humbling. My pain and weakness was so extremely mild compared to what these women feel. How I hope I can always be grateful for the strength I've been given and use it for good purposes.

Please tell your mom I'm so proud of her for fighting the fight and for doing it with such a great love for our God. How I love her.
It was great to see so many others there, so supportive of the cause to fight Breast Cancer and increase awareness. I can't tell you how much I recommend participating in one! Experiences like this really help me feel like I'm helping, even if in the smallest way."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chemo #2 a NO-GO {Silly Platelets}

SO--Mom was all ready to be given her second round of Chemotherapy today, but when she got there and they measured her blood levels, her platelet count was too low. So instead of doing that today, she got to spend the whole day getting another blood transfusion. Lucky her.

After talking to the specialists, it sounds like this happens occasionally for some people and is not something to be too concerned about.

And though this throws the chemo schedule off a bit, she's in pretty good spirits and is grateful for a bonus week before she has to go another round in the ring.

#2 Chemo Treatment is rescheduled for Tuesday, May 11th. Thanks for the prayers and support. We'll need them again next week as well. In the meantime, pray for her platelet levels to rise!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. “Well,” she said.
“I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw that she
had only two hairs on her head.“Hmm,” she said.
“I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did and had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and noticed that
she had only one hair on her head.“Well she said.
“Today I’m going to wear my hair in a ponytail.” So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Yeah!” she exclaimed. “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sent by my Mom's sister {Aunt Gloria} at a most needed time
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{posted by Ginny}

Last Tuesday marked two weeks after Mom's first treatment. Mom and I said to each other that day, that maybe should wouldn’t lose her hair because it seemed like it would have started to happen before now. Well…we both spoke too soon because that night she called me down stairs to her room in our home and sitting there, on the arm of the chair, was a little clump of hair. We both just looked at it…kind of shocked I think. Tears gathered in our eyes and then we commented how it looked like a little birds nest. We have talked about this openly several times in our family but I guess nothing really prepares you for it. I was so proud of mom. She was so brave but I knew inside she was thinking “Oh’s really happening.”

But no matter how hard you prepare you just don’t know how you will feel until it starts to happen. Mom’s hair continued to fall out the rest of the week--but we had a plan. You see there is some sort of satisfaction you have when you choose to take control of something that is completely out of your control. So, on Saturday morning Mom chose to shave her head. Our friend Megan (a family friend and fantastic hair stylist) came to my home to help out. We set up a regular beauty parlor in the bathroom and threw a gown around mom. We stood there discussing what size buzzer to use and then the conversation switched to how we should go about doing the cut. You would think just taking it all off would be the goal but, oh no, the grandkids got involved and before you knew it we had styled (or buzzed if you prefer) moms hair into a “poodle-doo”, a “rockin mohawk” and finally a typical “summer buzz”. We laughed and took pictures along the way. The grandkids were just dying that Grammie was going for this. Will yelled out at one point, “Grammie you look like a rock-star” and started to play his air guitar. Mom loved it. It was a great relief in the end to realize that she has a very cute shaped head. It actually ended up being a fun memory rather than such a sad one and I’m so glad that she wanted it to be this way.

After we cleaned up the mess, we headed out to a local wig and head cover store (still of course avoiding the “Wigwam” place from a few weeks ago). Mom walked right in, sat down and said she wanted to invest in some head coverings. She was willing to try anything on and wanted colors that would match with different clothing. We tried on turbans, hats and scarves mostly. She looked adorable in most things but knew right off if it was something that just would work. Sadly, the wide brimmed Kentucky Derby style hat I wanted her to buy did not win out. But she did fall in love with another sweet very functionable hat that looks super cute on her. So in the end, we walked away with kind of a sampling of everything. That way she can try different styles out and see what she feels the most comfortable in. We then went and had her wig styled and trimmed that we purchased a few weeks ago and then took her “wig” out to lunch. It ended up being such a fun day although we were absolutely exhausted in the end.

So about now, we know that everyone is curious as to what our Mom looks like without hair. First things first, she looks absolutely beautiful. When most of her grandkids were gathered on Sunday, no one seemed to be bothered or afraid--and this was such a relief to her. We took pictures along the way for family memories but with Mom's permission she has decided that she would let us post a few of them on her blog. So many of you are on this journey with her and she wants you to know that she is o.k. There were a few tender moments as to the reality of this whole thing, but she is doing fabulously--and you will see again, below, how she continues to teach through all of this. We love you, Mom! She goes in for her second treatment of Chemo tomorrow. Thank you everyone for all the letters of love and concern and care. It has meant the world.

The shaving begins...

Mom's Rockin' Mohawk

The complete--BEAUTIFUL buzz

How you will see our Mom the next several months. You look gorgeous, Mom!
We are SO proud of you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A 3 day nose bleed is NOT good!

So already this week we have learned that it is not good if you are having a nose bleed that lasts for 3 days. Yesterday, mom finally decided to call the doctor to inquire if this was normal. Of course, it is not. They sent her to have lab work done and found out that her blood platelets were way too low. She was asked to go to Huntsman first thing this morning for a blood transfusion. When Bentley and I arrived she wasn't quite hooked up yet. Her levels had improved some but not enough to feel like they didn't need to give the platelets. So, after some time she did finally receive a bag. Now, call me crazy but I always thought blood was red. Apparently not if you are getting just platelets. Platelets are a lovely butter cream color (just FYI). Oh there is so much to learn! Anyway, soon after moms nose bleed did stop and she regained strength and energy that she has not had the last few days.

Moms next Chemo day is next Tuesday. They are most likely going to ease up on one of the treatments. The doctor thinks it might be the cause of her drastic drop in blood levels. We'll have to see what they decide to do then. So for now mom's back on track to feeling well this week. She is trying to get things done before she is laid up after this next treatment. She again commented to me today of all the people that have sent cards and messages, emails of phone calls. It is so surprising to her how many friends, old and new, that have reached out to her. It truly keeps her going. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chemo Day #1

For those of you who have spent time with mom have probably heard her say this, "What's our favorite word?...DONE!" That is exactly how mom felt yesterday after completing her first day of Chemo therapy. I have to admit it feels good to her family as well.

Mom started the day early with her first doctors appointment at 8:00 a.m. She had 3 other appointments before she entered the infusion room at 9:30. The infusion room is just that, a larger room with chairs all lined up with people sitting, hooked-up, having their chemo treatments. Everyone I saw was bald except for mom. Her hair looked especially pretty. One lady commented to mom how pretty her hair was and to enjoy it for now. Mom was gracious and smiled. She heard people talk about there stories to each other. I guess that's what you do. One nurse told her that she would get used to this room and that she would make friends there too. She noticed some people looking really sick and that was hard. I think we were both surprised to see smiles on there faces while they looked at mom. It was almost like they were saying to her, "you'll be okay." Of course they know the route she is going down.

Mom left Huntsman around 4:00 and dad took her home. She had developed quite a headache in the hospital during infusion but other than that she was feeling fine. They stopped for a light dinner and then spent the evening working around the house on various things.

This morning, the day after, I talked to mom and she seems surprisingly great. What a blessing it is that she is not sick. She is positive and happy and enjoying any moment that she feels good. She anticipates that she won't always feel this way, but hopes that it is well down the road.

Thanks again for all your kind messages, phone calls and prayers you have offered on our moms behalf. She is often tender when she talks about family and friends. We know how much everyone loves her.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The {Pink} Mailbox

I knew when I saw it at our Young Women's Garage Sale in early March that it might come in handy someday. I thought, "Oh this will make the best Valentine's mailbox or something like that." About a week later after finding out that my Mom had cancer--I knew it just had to be done. Drumroll please...

Introducing: THE {PINK} MAILBOX!

{Mom with her pink mailbox, and her super cute cancer bracelet from a dear friend of mine. You might need to press on the picture to see the detail it's so cute. Thank you, Melissa!}

Yes. It really is pink. Yes, I really did spray paint it this glorious color. And yes, I had neighbors ask about it while I was doing so. (we have community mailboxes here in AZ--"What on earth are you doing with that thing?")

From here on out, this is where thoughts, letters, words of encouragement, little notes, etc. will be put when she gets them (I gave my Dad strict instructions...see below)

I said, "You have TWO very important jobs during this thing:

#1: Mom's mail goes directly from the post office to the pink mailbox. That way when she's feeling up to checking inside, there will be something there for her!"

**hopefully** {that's where all of you come in}

#2: "After she's read the mail, you put it into Mom's Pink Book. Easy as that. That way she'll be able to keep a record of all the notes and words of encouragment she gets along the way."

Dad was total game for it and agreed to do so. It was so much fun to see him the next day come home and put her mail right inside. Way to go, Dad!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PLEASE, at any time, whenever you get an idea or a thought or a prompting to send a little love her way--think about the pink mailbox and how much joy it will bring to her.

Here's her address:

Gayle Wilson
PO Box 987
Midway, Utah

The Many Faces of Mom

I went up to visit Mom in Utah the week of her first surgery. It was so good to see her--to hug her--really hug her. I broke into tears the second I saw her. I told her I'd be wearing pink. I did.

I love this dear woman so much.

It's killing me that I live hundreds of miles away in Arizona and can't be there to support her with a lot of what she'll be experiencing these next few months. Good thing we've already made it a tradition to go to Utah for several weeks in the summer. The excuse has always been because of the AZ heat, but everyone knows it's really because I can't live without Midway...and my Mom.

I took some pictures of her while I was there. She humored me and wore pink. We laughed, we cried...and died laughing...especially when I told her to show me the great gap between her teeth that I love.

Here are some of the many faces of our Mom.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Official Game Plan

We are happy to report that mom has an official plan on how things will proceed from here. Of course all of this is subject to change at any moment, but for now it is nice to know a time frame of where she is heading. Mom met with her oncologist today. Dr. Buys and her team did a fabulous job explaining all the happenings around her treatment. Dad, Bentley and I were all there to be briefed on the plan as well. Mom will begin chemotherapy on Tuesday, April 13 and have her doses every 3 weeks for 6 rounds. This will take her probably until August to complete this portion of her treatment. After chemotherapy she will rest for a few weeks and then she will start radiation which will continue for 6 more weeks. We were excited to learn that the chemo medicines she will have do not tend to cause as much nausea as others medicines. They do however have other side effects of which one will be hair loss. She of course has been preparing for this and so it was not unexpected. Fatigue will be probably one of the biggest side effect that she will have to deal with. The chemotherapy days will be long, probably at least 5 hours spent at the hospital for one appointment. We are getting together a few hand projects and some good books to help pass the time. I think she is anxious to get things started and still grateful that she likes the team that is handling her case.

This next week she will have a few other appointments to have an Echo cardiogram, a PET scan and a follow-up exam from the 2nd lumpectomy she had this last Monday. All of these procedure need to take place before they start the chemotherapy which is why it has been delayed a until the 13th. The Echo cardiogram will help set a base line for her heart as one of the chemotherapy's has a side effect of causing heart issues. The PET scan is an entire body scan to look for the spread of cancer.

So with the realization that mom was indeed going to lose her hair we decided that after her appointment, that mom and I would pay a visit to one of the several Wig shops located on 33rd South. I have never noticed it before but like 300 West in Salt Lake is called Tile Mile, mom and I have officially named 33rd South as Wig Way. Seriously, notice next time you drive it. There are many wig shops. It was tough to decide which one we should go to but we had several recommendations that pointed to Creative Wigs and so that's where we went. I was fine to go to any of them except for the one titled Pattie's Wig Wam. I think the name just wasn't sitting well with me. Anyway, mom was tentative a little at first. But she got into it and tried several on. We emailed several pictures to Katie to help make the final vote. Basically, her new Raquel Welch wig looks just like her natural hair cut and color. I couldn't convince her to do anything different. It looks absolutely adorable and seriously you almost can't even tell. We did however do a little experiment tonight at the house to see if anyone noticed that she had it on. Will her little 4 year old grandson noticed right off and told her that her hair looked a "little messy." She laughed and loved it when others didn't notice right off. Dad of course made her feel the best when he said that we did a "super job" finding one that fit her style so well.