We returned from Disney Land on Saturday evening (12/13) and we had a wonderful time.  This was truly a trip to remember and the sweet memories for us and the kids will linger in our minds for a lifetime.  At Disney Parks 2008 was dubbed "The Year of a Million Dreams" and so it has been for our family.  Our hearts are full of gratitude to all those that made this dream family vacation possible through your generous support of the "Run 4 Amber".  It is only fitting that December 2008 be dubbed by our family as "The Month of a Million Thank yous". 

Amber fully intended to immediately chronicle our dream vacation on the blog and post pictures.  But the morning after we returned Amber immediately began her regimen of the oral chemotherapy Xeloda which will continue through Saturday night.  Since Sunday each day has passed with her feeling too fatigued, tired, and nauseated to work on a post.  Finally, she asked me to post something explaining the delay.  She told me to put a disclaimer on the post so people would know it wasn't her.  I assured her that it would not be hard for them to figure out after reading it.  My sweetheart is so articulate and witty and talented that even I, who live with her and see what she goes through on a daily basis, check her blog a couple of times per day. 

Amber asked that I express our love and gratitude to our wonderful friends and family who so tirelessly serve and help us.  At the beginning of this journey I told some of you that really wanted to do something to help us that this illness would be more like a marathon than a sprint because Amber would be in treatment the rest of her life.  At the time I assumed that even though you are all wonderful friends you would grow weary from helping.  Quite the opposite has been the case.  We are constantly in awe at the capacity our friends and family members have for serving and providing for our every need.  In the last 19 months I cannot remember a single person who did not seem genuinely happy to be helping no matter how many meals they had brought in or times they had taken our little boys.  Amber often comments when people ask what they can do that all of our needs are being met, even some needs we didn't know we had.  Each of you angels among us has taught us a lesson in giving loving service.  It should be said of you as it was said of the Savior, "He (or she)went about doing good...for God was with Him".  God bless each of you for your love and kindness.  


This post is coming to you LIVE from DISNEYLAND.  Someone forgot to tell my 2 year old Ammon that this is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth.  Besides Ammon's 2 year old temper tantrums and a little bit of impatience from Dan, (he has a hard time slowing down on vacations and I move at the pace of a snail) everything has been FABULOUS!!  The weather has been cooler than I had hoped, but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm.

    Monday we went to DisneyLand first thing in the morning.  It was simply magical to walk in those front gates and see the amazing Christmas tree and decorations.  Then who should we run into but Goofy, one of our ultimate favorite characters.  Of course we got pictures and autographs.  (I will add pictures once we are back home)  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast from the bakery on Main Street, and then off to the rides.  I had a motorized scooter that I rolled along in, so I didn't get too tired.  We enjoyed rides, and my favorite was the newly redone Small World ride.  We even got to see the amazing firework show.  I was in heaven!!!!  The finished out the firework show with real snow.  Beautiful!!!

    Today we went to Universal Studios.  It was a long drive there in L.A. traffic.  Universal studios was very uncrowded, so we were able to get on all of the rides right away.  The little kids, Ammon and Caleb, didn't enjoy today as much.  Too much time in the car, and not enough kiddie rides.  They did get to meet Shrek, Donkey and Fiona, and later Spongebob and the Simpson Family.  On our way out we saw Curious George, who Ammon loves.  He was so excited, he ran and gave him a hug.  Totally precious!  Then we found a stuffed George for Ammon to take home as a Souvenir. 

I actually went on the Jurassic Park ride and the Mummy ride, but would you believe that the ride that caused me the most pain was the studio back lot tour?  Riding in that tram up and down hills, and then experiencing and "earthquake" made my body quake with pain.  I survived all those fun rides, and Dan "enjoyed" the fun ride home driving once again in L.A. rush hour traffic.  It took 2 hours to drive 40 miles.  Let me tell you, our hearts were pounding more than they were on any of the rides we've been on.  Utter crazy-ness. So many times I said, someones going to crash into us!  We survived, and we were all so glad to arrive back at the hotel. 

    Tomorrow is another Disney day.  We are so excited for our Character breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen.  Then tomorrow we are going to split up.  My Mom and Dad are going to stay with me and Ammon and Caleb, and we are going to devote the day to them and rides and activities for their enjoyment.  Dan is going to take the older kids on all of the crazy roller coaster type rides.  That way everyone will be happy rather than complaining about rides that are not suited for their age.  It is also supposed to be 75 degrees tomorrow.  I hope it is, because it seems like I have been cold the whole vacation.  I really would love a warm sunny day.

I typed this on my Dad's computer so I can't add photos, but I will when we get home.  Thanks again to everyone who made this trip possible.  It has been wonderful to get away from all the stresses and worries of daily life, and spend magical time together as a family making precious memories.  Thank you for making my wishes a reality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



My kids (and I) are bouncing off the walls with excitement for DISNEYLAND!!!  We are SO EXCITED!!  We leave on Sunday.  Bekah and Abby wanted to start packing when they got home from school today.  I told them we will work on it tomorrow, and then off we go on Sunday morning.  Thanks again to all who made this trip possible!  I am bringing my laptop so I can post some pictures and share the fun and memories while we are there.  I am so glad we get to leave all the worries and stresses of regular life behind and go to the "Happiest place on Earth". 


   At this time of year, I think everyone reflects on the things in their life that they are thankful for.  I feel so much gratitude already daily because of all the blessings I receive, but I wanted to take a moment to truly focus and say "thank you" for my blessings.
     I am so thankful for a wonderful husband.  Not only does he go to work every day to provide for our family, he cooks, he cleans, he bathes children, he helps kids with homework, he waits on me hand and foot, he is spiritually strong, he is my best friend.  There is no way I could ever make it without him.  I am so grateful that he is mine forever!  I love him so much!
     I am thankful for each of my children.  They are what keeps me battling my cancer when I think I have had enough.  They bring me so much joy, and make me smile every single day.  I love each and every one of them more than words can say.  

    I am thankful for my loving, supportive parents, and for their examples.  I am thankful for my brothers and sisters, grateful that we are all really good friends, and how much love they show me.  I am thankful for Dan's parents and family.
    I am thankful for the gospel, and for Jesus.  How could I endure all of my trials without Him?  I am thankful for the scriptures.  I am thankful that I have the knowledge that my family is forever!!  What comfort that gives me.
    I am thankful for all the service we receive.  Whether they are small or large acts of kindness, each and every one is so appreciated.  I am grateful for those who read my blog, and put up with my ramblings, and give me support and encouragement.  I am grateful for all of our friends and extended family.  We have the BEST support system ever, and we are so grateful for each and every person who is there for us, whatever the need may be.  
     I am grateful for our home, and our wonderful neighborhood, this beautiful area, to live in America, for the medical treatments that have kept me alive for 18 months, for the kind doctors and nurses who take care of me, for pain medicine, for anti-nausea medicine.    
     There are so many more blessings that are too numerous to count.   Just like the hymn "Count your Many Blessings"  that we recently sang in church, I needed a reminder to do this.  When we sang the third verse, tears came to my eyes, and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of love for my Heavenly Father for all the blessings He has given me.  The third verse was especially touching:

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all.
Count your many blessings, angels will attend.
Hope and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone today.  May you take the chance to count your many blessings!  Thank you once again for being a blessing in my life with all of your love and support!  I love you all.
Love, Amber


I can not find the words to express the feelings in my heart.  I never knew a heart could feel like it is breaking  because it can't contain the love inside.  
     The Run 4 Amber was an overwhelming success!  The amount of generosity, love, and support was truly humbling and amazing.  Saying thank you just does not seem like enough.  Even if I were to stand on the tallest mountain and shout it out to the world, it would never adequately convey the gratitude that our family feels for all of the support.
     All of my siblings (two sisters and three brothers) are runners.  They have run many races including marathons.  Alas, I am not built like a runner.  However, in my life I have been running a different marathon in battling cancer.  My marathon has been going on almost 18 months of continually fighting cancer.  How fitting that a race was held to earn money for our family to go on a amazing trip and also extra funds that will cover the rest of our doctor bills from this year, and enough to meet our deductibles for next year.  The amount raised was reached  $20,000.  As we spent literally hours counting the money, we shook our heads in awe at the generosity and love and support.  We still can't believe it.  
   I believe from the bottom of my heart that we experienced a miracle Saturday in Perry.  First of all, this event was put together in less than 2 weeks.  And from the hundreds of people who came and ran, the beautiful weather, the generosity of the donations, the success of the auction, me having enough strength to be able to attend, it was truly a miracle.
   If the news and world would focus on the good things like this that happen in the world, the world would be a happier place.  There are so many good, caring, humble, Christ-like people in the world, and in their small way, they make a huge difference in the world.  I know that all of my family, including my extended family and Dan's family, will never be the same because of all the love and service that has been shown to our family. 
     A special thank you to Melissa Huntsman and Lee Perry and Jared Griffith and their families, Anytime Fitness, Getaway Today, Galactic Bowl, all who helped organize and advertise the run, all who donated items for the auction, all who ran in the race, all who donated and supported, all of the people who pray and send well wishes.  There is no way I can name all who helped, but know we are grateful to each and every one of you!!!!  God bless you all!!!  We have been blessed because of you all, and we pray that God will bless your lives for serving as He has richly blessed our lives by having you all be a part of ours. 

We counted more than 400 people who signed in for the Race 4 Amber.  Amazing!

Amber with the people from Anytime Fitness. 

Amber with Caleb & Ammon, and Jared Griffith.

Pinkyest person contest!  This was FANTASTIC!!!!

Look at all these cute kids!

These 2 beautiful albums were full of beautiful messages.  I cried as I read all of the sweet messages from all of the people who came and ran.  What a wonderful treasure!

These awesome baskets made the kids feel like Christmas morning.  They were full of fun Disney items, towels, blankets, back-packs, scrapbooks, and Disneyland passport holders!  Thank you to Getaway Today!!!  If you are planning a trip to Disney in the future, please show your support and use this awesome company!

This was the beautiful jar for runner's donations.  The jar held more than $10,000!!!!  THANK YOU!!!!!

Amber with the beautiful scrapbook from her gift basket.

Dan getting ready to break open the jar!  How exciting!


Because of my trials and my attitude and faith, I was asked a couple of weeks ago speak for 10-12 minutes in Stake Conference.  (Stake Conference is a church meeting of all of the different wards, or congregations, in the area)  I studied and prayed and read, and prayed some more to prepare ths talk.  I was so nervous to speak in front  of so many people.  I don't mind communicating by written word, but I get quite nervous speaking in front of large groups.   
     Well, I was the last speaker except for the Stake President, and the meeting had run long.  According to the agenda, I had no time to speak.  The Stake Pres. leaned over and asked me to be brief.  So after all this preparation, I ended up only speaking for about 2 minutes, and basically shared a scripture, a quote, and my testimony.  I was told by a lot of people how wonderful I did, but I felt a little sad that I wasn't abble to give more of my talk.  Therefore, for all of you who were there and only got to hear a small portion of my talk, and for all of you who weren't there, I am posting my entire talk here on my blog.  Thank you for reading!!!  I learned so much more prearting this talk than I anyone else could possibly learn from hearing/reading it.
In the pre-existence when Heavenly Father presented the plan of salvation, the scriptures tell us that we "shouted for joy."  We were told that this mortal life would be a time of learning and growth, and that we would experience trials and adversity, but also happiness and joy.

M. Russell Ballard said:
We mortals have a limited view of life from the eternal perspective. But if we know and understand Heavenly Father’s plan, we realize that dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways we are tested. Our faith in our Heavenly Father and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is the source of inner strength. Through faith we can find peace, comfort, and the courage to endure. As we trust in God and his plan for our happiness with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding (see Prov. 3:5), hope is born. Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all we do. It can give us comfort in the face of adversity, strength in times of trial, and peace when we have reason for doubt or anguish.

As part of Heavenly Father's plan, all people experience adversity during their lifetime. Trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache are a difficult part of life, but with the help of the Lord they can lead to spiritual growth, refinement, and progress.

 Each person's success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, depend largely on his or her responses to the difficulties of life.

Adversity comes from different sources. Trials may come as a consequence of sins. These trials can be avoided through righteous living. Other trials are simply a natural part of life and may come at times when people are living righteously. For example, people may experience trials in times of sickness or at the death of loved ones. Adversity may sometimes come because of others' poor choices and hurtful words and actions. Suffering may also come through a loving Heavenly Father as a tutoring experience.

When some people face adversity, they complain and become bitter. They ask questions like "Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to deserve this?" Such questions can deprive them of the experiences the Lord wants them to receive. Rather than responding in this way, people should consider asking questions such as, "What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?"

In May of 2007 I was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer.  It was stage 4, which is almost always terminal.  It was treatable, but not curable.  Prior to this our lives were very comfortable.  I enjoyed a very lovable strong marriage, 5 wonderful kids, we had a nice home, secure employment.  We were trying our best to do all the right things, going to church, paying tithing, serving in callings, going to the temple, doing family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening.  Even though we were doing these things, it didn't make us immune from this big trial. However, because we were trying to do what is right, and living close to the spirit, we were able to be spiritually prepared and strengthened as well as comforted and lifted up during it.  I was able to endure things I never would have thought I could endure. I received so much strength and peace even during the hardest times.
People say to me all the time:  How do you do it?  I couldn't do what you are doing? 
The answer is I can't do it, at least not alone.  I rely on my Savior.  We are told about the Savior in  Alma 7:11-12

11.  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
  12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Jesus has suffered all things so he can help us through our trials.  However, we need to remember his invitation:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"
(Matthew 11:28–30)

Note that this doesn't say come unto me, and I will do it for you.  He is inviting us to share our burden with him, and he will help us carry it. 

A favorite scripture story that has brought me and my family great comfort. through our battle with cancer is the people of Alma, who were in bondage to wicked people.  They prayed to be set free, but the answer they got from the Lord was that he would eventually deliver them, but in the meantime he would ease their burdens so they couldn't feel them upon their backs. 
     In our life while I have been battling cancer, this has been evident in our life.  The Lord has not seen fit to free me from my oppressor, but he has made it so we have not even felt the burden.  We have received countless hours of kindness and serving, help with our kids, meals brought in, house cleaning, yard work, gifts, and treats, that it has lifted our burden, where we have not even been able to feel it upon our backs.  How grateful we are for all of the selfless service we have received, where needs that have been met when we haven't even asked for help.  If we didn't receive all of this service, the burden would have been unbearable. 

   Sometimes in our lives, we become comfortable in our trials.  We think we have it all figured out, and maybe we aren't relying on our Savior as much as we should be.  I found myself a little guilty of this during the last summer.  I had finished all of my aggressive cancer treatments in February, and was just on every 3 week maintenance  cancer therapy.  My cancer was stable, and I believed the Doctor when he said that I may be able to stay stable for years.  He had also warned us that because my cancer was such an aggressive form that it could come back as fast as it shrunk.  I received a blessing in April and I was told that I would have a season of stable disease, even a remission, and to use that time to enjoy my family and children.  In my mind I was hoping that it would be "season" as measured by the lord's time or a really long time, and not just a literal "season" like summer.   In this blessing I was also told to be patient because I still had things to learn, and also that sometimes we have trials so others can learn from them. 
     I had myself convinced that like the woman in the new testament who had an issue of blood, that she was able to be healed just by touching the hem of Jesus' robe.  Her faith had made her whole.  I wanted to be like this woman, and have enough faith so I could be healed, and not have a reoccurance of my cancer.
     We enjoyed a fun summer, going on vacations, and spending precious time together as a family.  Imagine my distress when towards the end of July, I had a blood test that had bad news.  It looked like my cancer was growing again.  I had scans that confirmed that the cancer was actively growing, and that I had new tumors growing.  If that wasn't bad enough, I had a brain MRI in early August where a brain tumor was found.  Needless to say, my family and I were devastated.  I would have to begin weekly chemotherapy again, as well as radiation for the brain tumor. 
    For a while, I felt lost, I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to refocus my faith.  I had put my faith in being healed, and I was a little discouraged.  One day when I was feeling very sad the words of the hymn "Come come ye saints" came powerfully in my mind:
Why should we mourn and think our lot is hard?
Tis not so, all is right
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take,
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell
All is well!  All is well!

How grateful I was for this tender mercy from the Lord.  I knew that Heavenly Father was aware of me, He knew I was struggling, and these words of this hymn was just what I needed at that point to help me continue to be faithful. 

Just this last week I experienced another tender mercy.  I mentioned earlier how I struggled with trying to be like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment, and her faith made her whole.  I faulted myself for not having enough faith to be healed.  While I was preparing this talk, I came upon the answer to why my faith has not made me whole or healed me.  I found a quote by Dallin H. Oaks that gave me so much comfort.  I think this quote could bring comfort and peace to any of us that have trials or burdens.  He said,  "Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best.  Sometimes a healing cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are healed by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us."

We can find many examples of people being faithful through adversity.  Christ is the ultimate example, Joseph Smith, Pioneers, numerous examples in the scriptures, and examples all around us every day.  Robert D Hales told us, "Often we do not know what we can endure until after a trial of our faith.  We are also taught by the Lord that we will never be tested beyond that which we can endure."

A few weeks ago, i was struggling a little bit with my faith and endurance. I was fearful of my cancer, scared of dying and of leaving my family.   The chemotherapy that I have been on was not working, and I was fearful of trying to decide which chemo to do next, I was researching different chemo agents, and the success rate of different chemo combos was very discouraging.  My dear husband had me read a talk by Dalin H Oaks called "He heals the heavy laden"  In this talk he recounted the following scripture story in Mark 4:37-40 and the hymn "master the tempest is raging"

7 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
  38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
  39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, aPeace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great bcalm.
  40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so afearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

I was reminded after reading this that we can't have faith and fear at the same time.  If we put our faith in Jesus, there is no need to fear. 
Elder Oaks also made a beautiful promise.  He said, "The Healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ-whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them is available for every affliction in mortality."

I am so grateful for the gospel, and for the knowledge I have of my Savior.  I know I would not be able to bear my trials without him.  Whenever I struggle it is because I have not relied on the Savior as much as I should have.  I testify that if we follow the counsel of our church leaders, and put our faith in our Savior and his promises, that we can endure any adversity that we may have in our lives. I testify that our Savior lives, and that he loves us. 


   I had my follow-up consultation for my brain tumor with the radiation oncologist today.  We finally got some good news!  My brain tumor has shrunk to little less than half its original size in the 6 weeks since I had gamma knife, and no new brain tumors.  The rad. onc. said that usually it takes about 3 months to see this much of a response, so it was really good news!!  It's about time!  Lately it seems like we have just had bad news, so it is refreshing to actually have good news.  I had myself mentally prepared for bad news, so I almost don't know how to react to good news.  Now we just need to get the cancer under control in the rest of my body. 
     I have been having so much pain in my left hip from all of the cancer growing, that we had to increase my pain meds, and I still have to take additional pain killers for breakthrough pain.  We discussed with the radiation onc about the possibility of doing radiation on my hip so I can get some pain relief.  The plan is to try the new chemo for a few weeks, and if my hip doesn't start feeling better, I will take a little break from chemo and try some radiation.  If the chemo works to kill the cancer cells, then that should give me pain relief.  So either way, it looks like pain relief is in the future. 
    The brain MRI did show that I have some sinus problems in my left frontal and anterior sinuses, so that is actually what is probably causing a lot of my headaches, and not the tumor.  I will try to find time to visit a ENT Dr. about that.  As if I don't already have enough doctors appointments, etc.
    Thank you everyone for caring so much about me.  Your prayers and well wishes are so appreciated.  I am truly humbled by all the love and support that we are shown.  We really could not bear the burden of this trial without all of the hands that help to lift the weight of it with all of your willingness to serve and help us.  Please know how much we love you all, and we are so grateful for everything all of you do to help us.  Even though having cancer is so difficult, and the treatments etc. are almost unbearable, I am still so grateful because of all the little miracles I have seen, and even more so, to be the recipient of so much caring and kindness.  Unless we taste bitter, we can not enjoy the sweet.  And the sweetness of all the service and love that we are shown makes our lives sweet indeed. 


In my former life, I loved to make handmade cards, and send them out for birthdays, babies, weddings, and thank you cards.  Well, the new me is an incredibly tired and lazy person, so I am just going to do some thank you's here on this site.  We are always amazed and eternally grateful at all the service and kindness we receive. 
Anyway, a BIG HUGE thanks to DeAnn who cleans my house every week.  She is a whirlwind.  She cleans my house top to bottom every Tuesday, and it is the biggest relief.  It is a lifesaver, because I have absolutely no energy for housework, and I don't have the physical strength to be able to mop floors, and scrub toilets and showers and bathtubs.  DeAnn has some donors who pay her to come in and clean for me, and I know she is probably doing it a lot for free anyway.  I just want to say THANK YOU to all who play a part in this GREAT SERVICE!!!!!!
Also, a few weeks ago I received the most beautiful bouquet of roses from a family friend Jessica.  I received them when I got home from my first chemo appointment  and they just truly brightened my day!!!!  Thanks Jessica!!  I also received some beautiful red carnations from Sharon R. that are actually still blooming beautifully.
A couple of people brought me treats this last week, Lori with Brady and Chelsey brought us some yummy zuchinni bread, and Sis. Valcarce and Sis. Topik brought in two wonderful dinners with our favorite treat; PEACHES!!!  Thank you thank you!!!  Also thanks to Kira and Nancy for driving me to my appointments, Laura for the ice cream, Sis. Kapp for taking care of me and my kids all day Wednesday and even leaving a delicious dinner in my crockpot!!!  I also received the sweetest card from Suzi, the mom of a couple of my piano teacher with a beautiful Willow Tree figurine.  So sweet and tender.  Kris, thanks for driving my kids to registration and JR. Rockettes, and letting my kids invade your house all of the time.  You are awesome!  We loved the banana zuchinni bread too.  Thank you to all of my neighbors who always let my kids come and play so I can rest.  And Sharon for being so willing to help with Caleb this week, and for giving my kids popsicles.  And Nola and Laura for bringing me a couple of freezer meals for those days when I just need a little help with getting something on the table at dinner.  And Nola, your rolls were delicious!!!!  Especially with your homemade jam. 

And a special thanks to my Mom and Dad.  They made me the best Salmon dinner on Sunday before I started chemo, and they are there for me, every step of the way.  Supporting me at doctors appointments and tests and procedures, and praying for me, and worrying about me.  My so thoughtful Dad even brought me some apple pie, that was so gosh darn delicious, even when nothing else sounded good last week after chemo.  I also need to tell Dan's family thanks for taking Caleb and Abby camping.  They had so much fun, and were so glad that they had the opportunity to go.  And thank you to Ma Chase for spoiling Ammon rotten while I go to chemo.  It makes my day a lot easier to just have her meet us at the hospital when I go for chemo, and then bring him back to us at the hospital again when I am done.  That way we can just rush me home to bed when I am done with the chemo.
And I can't forget to mention our awesome home teacher, Bro. Brienholt.  He has done so much service and helped Dan with so many projects these last couple of months.  He is so humble and willing to serve.  He truly follows the example of Jesus Christ.  All of you do!!!  Also to the other men who have been tinkering around in our yard, doing some flower bed weeding, and door frame sanding and painting.  I just can't keep track of all of the angels who serve us each and every day.  Then, we also received delicious meals from Griffith family, Amie C., Nicole Q., and Lois W.  and Jane and Terry from Dan's work.  Not only is all of the meals delicious and wonderful, it helps us save money on our grocery budget, which gives us a little more money to pay on all of my doctor bills.  My family is so spoiled, and we are so lucky to have these delicious meals brought in every week.  If it weren't for you, all my kids would ever get to eat is Ramen Noodles, spaghetti, and pizza. 

And no matter how awful I felt on Sunday after getting kids ready for church, and sitting through church (which I love being spiritually fed, I just am exhausted afterwards!) I am so glad that I am able to go and be strengthened and all of the love and support and hugs bring me so much comfort.   And then Roxann surprised us with the BEST cinnamon rolls in the world Sunday night.  I could have died and gone to heaven they tasted so good. 

And then our wonderful, sweet, awesome relief society came over last night with a load of freezer meals.  Our fridge was filled with leftovers from the relief society dinner, and then our freezer is full for the next couple of weeks.  I am so humbled, and grateful.  It is nearly impossible to cook when seeing, smelling, and preparing food just makes you SO SICK, and to know that I don't have to worry about it one little bit for at least a month we are so stocked, is such a relief!!!!!!!  We are so blessed.

Honestly, I don't think we can do it without each and every one of you!!!!!  And when you see my smiling face and wonder why I am so happy, THIS IS WHY!!!  If you had people giving service and love and support, no matter what our trial is, we would be happy.  I am sure I have left someone out, and I feel terrible if I have.  (If I have failed to mention someone who did something nice for us in the last week or two, THANK YOU, and I will blame chemo brain and the brain tumor for not being able to remember everything.)  Every small act of kindness is so appreciated, and we also appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf.  Just know of a certanty
Words can never express the overwhelming gratitude we feel.  I remember the talk from LDS General Conference, Enduring Together by Richard C. Edgley.  I loved his quote "What happens to one, happens to all."  The ward family talked about in this talk could have been my ward.  It is amazing to see what happens when people have charity, the true love of Christ.  Elder Edgley said, "I rejoice in belonging to such a loving and caring organization. No one knows better how to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I choose to call it “enduring together.” What happens to one happens to all. We endure together." 

to read this talk called Enduring Together click here


So, I have a 2 year old.  I love him dearly.  He is so much fun.  But the last couple of weeks, um, not so much.  He has decided that he has to do everything by-him-self.  He wants to brush his own teeth, dress and undress by himself, climb up and down the toilet by himself (still working on that potty training thing), and if I dare try to help him, he answers with a shriek and yelling "NO, men do it!!!" (translate men to Ammon, his name) Then he has to start all over again to prove that he can do it.
   I was quite frustrated this afternoon because Ammon kept wanting to go potty and then get his pants back on.  It was taking FOREVER!  Usually, I am like fine, whatever.  I could do this so much quicker, but if you need your independence, fine. But then it was time to run Blake and Bekah to golf, and Ammon was insisting on doing it himself.  I didn't have time to wait for him.  We were going to be late!
   I finally get his clothes put back on him, all the while he is kicking and screaming.  Then it is time to get in the van.  And what happens?  Ammon wanted to climb in himself and buckle his own seatbelt.  Well, he really has a hard time doing that, so I forcefully did it so we could get on our way.
     As I was driving, I began to think about that.  I was so frustrated because Ammon wanted to do things by himself that I could do so much easier.  Because of his abilities in this point in his life, he is not very capable of doing certain things.  He really would like to do these things by himself, but he just isn't physically able to do them.
     And then it struck me. I am a 2 year old.  I am insisting on doing things all by myself, even though I am not quite physically able to do them.  Sure I can try really hard and push myself, but some things would just be easier if I let someone else do them.  OF course I can take myself potty, and get dressed all by myself, but I need help in other things.  Like having my house cleaned, having help with the kids, having dinner made for me (sweet 10 year old Bekah cooked dinner for us tonight.)  I can do housework, it just takes me a long time, and causes a lot of pain.  I can cook, but while undergoing chemo the smells of food is sometimes very unappealing, and it is hard to cook when nothing sounds good to eat, or when you are just plain tired or in pain. 
    So I need to step back, and accept help.  But please understand that sometimes I do want to do things ALL by myself.  I guess the wisdom would be balancing out what I NEED to do to feel needed and productive without totally exhausting myself.  hmmmmm.  Just something I have been thinking about.


I had my regular treatment of Herceptin and Zometa Tuesday.  I also had my blood drawn for tumor marker tests again.  You know it is bad news when the doctor calls you personally first thing the next morning.  My tumor markers had another big jump.  The doctor told me they wished I would have started the Taxol when I had my Zometa/Herceptin infusion.  I have been rationalizing the delay, but I know it would be unwise to delay too much longer.  The Dr. told me that Her2+ cancer has a higher chance of metastasizing to the brain, and I need to get it under control sooner rather than later.  Also there is a chance that the cancer will be resistant to Taxol, so the sooner we know whether or not it will work, the better.

We have a vacation planned August 6-12 and I plan on starting chemo again August 19th.  That is only 18 more days.  Yuck.

I think it will be harder this time to start aggressive chemo again than the first time.  The Dr. told me that the side effects happen sooner the 2nd time.  I already know exactly what to expect.

I do have to share something that brought a smile to my face and brightened my day last week.  Early Friday morning, there was a knock at the door.  A package was waiting for me on the porch.  I didn't remember ordering anything, so was very curious to see what was in the package.  It felt like my birthday. 
     Inside the box was the most adorable, whimsical fairy.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  It has the sweetest little details, pink ribbons, delicate wings, and jeweled shoes.  It just made me laugh!  So, thank you to my Grandma Laughter (fitting last name, huh) and my aunts Stacy and Jan, and my cousins, Ashley, Hollee, Shanna, and Ashlyn.  The timing was perfect, and I enjoy looking at my cute little fairy every day! 
   I also received the most thoughtful cards from my Mom and Aunt Cheryl yesterday.  It never ceases to amaze me, and shouldn't surprise me anymore, that whenever I am feeling down, my family and friends are inspired to brighten day. 
    So no matter how down I am feeling, I don't feel that way for very long because of all of the kindness that is shown to me.