Hello everyone! 
Before you totally wonder if me or this site has gone crazy let me explain that I am putting this on Amber's blog/journal before it disappears into internet never, never land.  Amber was very active after diagnosis on breastcancer.org comforting others and sharing her story.  She made many online friends in the breast cancer community.  In the breast cancer community there are many who have a never say die, never give up attitude that is the way they deal with the difficulties they face.  Don't get me wrong.  This attitude has its place.  Amber exhibited this also but she tried to let the spirit guide her journey and not just emotion.  When she decided to go on hospice she was worried that many on breastcancer.org would judge her a quitter.  So until the post below she went "silent" on breastcancer.org from May until August.  I am putting this on her site because I want to preserve what I consider a wonderful, honest expression of her faith and courage.  Over 11,500 people viewed this post online and over 500 posted comments all positive, supportive, and loving.  In the comments you could see that many of the terminally ill breast cancer patients had been looking for the courage to even consider the path Amber had chosen but either admitted they did not have the courage or hoped they did when the appropriate time came. 

Confessions of a hospice patient
I have been away from the boards these past few months because I have been afraid to confess that I gave up fighting my cancer, and made the decision to go on hospice.  I was afraid of the responses I would get from those stronger women who have fought cancer longer than I have, and I didn't want to upset anyone. I have checked the boards a couple times a week to see how everyone has been doing.  I have mourned when other sisters have lost their battle to this horrible disease.  I have missed chatting with you all, but simply have not had the energy to stay on the computer, and typing is difficult because I have lost about 75% of the use of my right hand due to tumor growing in my armpit and shoulder that are compressing the nerves.   

After doing 2 years of continuous treatments, each of which failed to beat the cancer, I decided I was sick of being sick from chemo, and not from cancer.  As I made the transition from fighting the cancer, to treating the pain and problems from the cancer, I have felt better than I have in years.  I am sleeping more, and I know that my body is being taken over by the cancer.  My hospice team keep me very comfortable, and are able to manage all of the pain and discomfort that I have.  

When I quit chemo, my oncologist gave me 3 months to live.  It has been more than 3 months now, and I am doing surprising well.  With the aggressive IBC cancer that I have, my prognosis is grim, but for some reason it doesn't seem to be progressing as fast as everyone thought it would.  I have been able to enjoy the summer and go on a couple of trips with my family, and a cruise to Mexico with my husband.  I never would have been able to do these things while I was doing chemo.  I would have simply been too sick.   

I am truly at peace with my decision.  I know it was the right decision. I am a woman of faith, and I know that God's plan was not for me to beat my cancer.  I know He has a purpose for calling me home early, and I know that I will be my children's guardian angel after I die.  I know that God will take care of my family, and that they will be comforted through this difficult time.  

There are days when I long for heaven, and days when I long to stay here on Earth.  It is hard to deal with emotionally sometimes.  I have been reading a lot of books about death and dying, and life after death.  I know that there is life after death.  And I know that the life after this one is peaceful, wonderful and beautiful.  I don't WANT to die, but I know that this is what is meant to be.  

I will try to check in with everyone more often.  I love all of you, and am so grateful for all of the support this site of sisterhood has given me throughout my battle with cancer.  

Like the heading of this forum, I am trying to live well, and trying to die well.  It is a difficult thing to do.

WOW I can't believe the its been more than a month since I posted anything.  

I can't believe how fast time has been going.  Christmas is only 3 days away by Amber time!  She was always so funny when she was excited for something like a vacation, a holiday or the day the doctor promised to start her when she was having a baby.  She would never count the current day even if it was early in the morning and she would  never count the day of the event even if it wasn't until evening.  Sometimes with Christmas she would not count Christmas Eve either because that was almost as much fun.  So you have to imagine what kind of scared I would be when she would apply her Amber time equation and announce to me that Christmas was in however many days and scare the life out of me because I had not finished Christmas shopping for her.  She was giddy like one of the kids when it came to stuff like this.  She loved to have things like Christmas to look forward to even before she got sick. 

Christmas is almost here whether you are using Amber time or or something else.  I want to report that I am ready!  I had a goal to finish Christmas shopping by December 1st and I kind of did.  I had to buy some treats after that date and also experienced some self doubt as to whether I had made Christmas "magical" enough which led me to make a few elective purchases over the last few weeks.  So since 12/1 I have been feeling proud of myself and resting on my laurels and then about 10 days ago my friend Ben called and rocked my boat a little.  It went like this, "hey are you done shopping"?  "Yeah I finished before 12/1" (my chest was  puffed out in pride).  "Did you get it all wrapped yet"?  Silence on my side of the line..."no" (shoulders sagging, can't puff out my chest because I can't breath, nope not a panic attack).  "When are you going to wrap it all"?  To his credit Ben offered to have me come over and wrap so maybe his wife would feel bad for me and do some.  So what did I do about it?  I spent 10 days trying to figure out if I was having a 10 day panic attack as I tried to count how many hours it would take to wrap everything at a rate of 3 presents and a roll of paper and tape per hour.  I could not even use the Amber time equation to make that number look good.  Then I had a moment of revelation.  One of Amber's friends Korina loves to wrap gifts.  By her own admission paper and gifts make her giddy.  I called her and she agreed to wrap the whole mess in paper and make it look attractive.  Not having to wrap the presents, now that made me giddy!  Korina received all of the gifts at 8:45pm on Saturday and had them all wrapped by the next morning.  Amazing.  I did the math and it would have taken me 15-20 hours to do the same thing.  Hooray for Korina's good heart and hooray for people like Korina who get giddy over really strange things.  

I wanted to report that Thanksgiving was pretty good.  We kept most of the same traditions.  There was just a hole where Amber should have been.  We did our best to make sure that it wasn't a blank, painful hole.  The kids and I drew and colored pictures of mom and thanksgiving and I wrote Amber a letter.  We put them in a gallon ziplock bag and went to visit the cemetery before dinner.  We hung the bag on the shepherd's hook by her grave and said a family prayer together.  Then we told a few Amber/Mom Thanksgiving memories and ate dinner at Amber's mom's house.  It all went pretty well and I think we actually enjoyed the day.  It goes without saying that we would have enjoyed the day more with Amber there.  I think we will follow a similar pattern each holiday the first year and see what happens after that. 

I also wanted to report that the kids and I accomplished another first.  We went on our first vacation without Amber.  From 12/4-12/6 we went to St. George Utah to attend a Christmas concert at Tuacahn outdoor amphitheater and just get away.  The concert had Sam Payne, Vocal Point, and our family's favorite inspirational singer Jenny Jordan Frogley performing.  The concert was at 7:00PM and the desert gets cold at night in December so we came prepared.  All of the performers were great and I think all of us really enjoyed the music.  There was some awesome Christmas lights all over Tuacahn so it was really beautiful.  Jenny has been so sweet and good to our family.  Before one of her songs she did a really sweet "shout out" to our family which the kids thought was really cool.  After the concert we went down by the stage and she talked to each of the kids and took a picture with them.  Jenny was the one who performed for free at Amber's birthday party.  We just love her and not just for her beautiful voice. 
The next day I took the kids to the Fiesta Family Fun Center and bought them an unlimited pass so that between 11:00AM and 4:00PM they could do as much of every activity as they wanted.  I think I got my money's worth because my kids did about 10 go-cart sessions each.  We played 18 holes of mini golf, did bumper boats, played arcade games, the little kids did the kiddie track cars, and of course the overwhelming favorite the go-carts.  Blake was a speed demon and no one including me could run him down.  Bekah was more cautious but she had a great time.  The first time around she was all over the guard rail but after that she really did well not wrecking.  I think before Blake or Bekah ever drive a real car I am going to make them do go-carts for hours and hours so I can assess their skill and confidence and ability to avoid accidents. 
We went to church on Sunday in St. George and then headed home.  The kids behaved pretty well and it was an enjoyable quick getaway.  My kids told me that I definitely did St. George the "Amber Way".  Score one for dad!

I need to end this and tell everyone Merry Christmas from the Chases.  Keep praying for us but don't worry we are finding joy and peace each day and facing the hard stuff together with the Lord's help.  Thank you for all of your kindness and prayers.  We couldn't do it without you. 

PS. I need to confess that I am only half way through funeral thank you cards and haven't progressed at all since Thanksgiving.  I haven't addressed any of the cards I have finished.  Amber would be mortified at my lack of social grace.  She definitely trained me better.  She made me do thank you cards on the flight to and from California on our honeymoon.  I want everyone to know the gratitude is in my heart for all that was done and the kindness shown in the weeks after Amber's death.  But the hours in the day just do not suffice.  Being the single father of 4 and sometimes 5 kids (when Blake is there) is more work than I ever imagined.  If I never get them all done or out I need to thank you in advance for your understanding.