When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I spent hours searching the internet, trying to figure out how long I would survive this deadly disease.  Based on my research, with my stage of cancer and with the treatment I was doing, the median survival time was 15-22 months after diagnosis.  I just past 22 months yesterday.  I am so grateful and humbled that I am still alive.  It is a miracle that my life has been preserved.  Based on studies and statistics, I should be dead.  But I am still here, and in remarkably good condition, for a stage 4 cancer patient.
    These 22 months have been filled with the most exhilarating  ups and the darkest lows.  I have had times where I have been happier than I had ever been, and experienced the most touching miracles, big and small.  I also have had dark days and nights, where I didn’t think I could survive another day, where I felt great despair about my condition, and times where I feared greatly. 
  Through it all, I have been blessed with so much love and service to help me when I didn’t think I could go on.  I know my survival is a miracle, and I don’t think I could have made it without all of the service rendered to us.  If I didn’t have the opportunity to rest, thanks to those who help watch my children, I think it would be a lot harder for my body to withstand cancer and its treatments.  We have been blessed with hundreds of delicious meals, which are so wonderful because I don’t have the energy to cook.  Not only has our family been fed, but our spirits have also been strengthened by the support. 
    My cancer journey has definitely been a marathon.  I am so grateful for all those who have ran with us, step by step, through the difficult terrain.  I know that all the prayers that have been offered up have helped me and my family continue on, even when we feel like we don’t have the strength to continue.  I am so grateful for all the people who have helped carry our load, so we can run the race without extra weight hampering our fight.
   I am hopeful that I will live many months past my expiration date.  I hope I don’t start to mold or start to stink now that I am past my expiration date.   I plan to live every day as fully as possible, and I still feel now more than ever that every day is a gift.  I have lived every day more fully, enjoyed every little moment, and been grateful for every day that I am still alive.  I encourage all of you who read this to do the same. 

                                              This is our most recent family picture.  It was taken last night at Dan's little sister Kristina's wedding reception. 


I got myself a new set of wheels last Friday Jan. 30th.  A couple of months ago my doctor wrote me a prescription for a wheelchair.  I never go to the mall, or Walmart or anywhere because it is too painful to walk very far, and it tires me out too much.  My girls have been wanting to get their ears pierced at the mall, so I finally broke down and had Dan go pick up a wheelchair for me. 

It was wonderful to be able to go to the mall, and we also went to Costco.  This was my very first visit to Costco.  It is a different world appearing "handicapped".  Some people are so wonderfully sweet, thoughtful, and accommodating.   Then there are the people who are impatient and treat you like you are ruining their life by being in their way.  I don't think we will take all of the kids with us to Costco again.  It was too hard to manage all of the kids, plus a cart, plus a wheelchair. 

This isn't a very good picture of me in the wheelchair.  I was still got tired out, and I think it shows.  The current chemo I am on doesn't cause complete hair loss, so I have some nice hair growing in!  Yeah!!!  As you can see in the picture, my hair is really short, but at least it covers my scalp now.  And my head isn't nearly as cold!  The kids all took turns pushing me in the wheelchair.  The boys even had a turn sitting in it..  Aren't they adorable! 

The mall was great, and Bekah and Abby were so happy to have their mom go shopping with them.  They are so cute with their new pierced ears!  Even Caleb was thrilled to get a pretzel and Dan bought him a Jazz hat and T-shirt. 

Okay, now time for not so fun stuff. 
   An update on my doctors appointment on Tuesday
We found out exactly nothing.  They are unsure of what is going on with my lung.  The P.A. suggested that maybe it was scar tissue from pneumonia.  WHAT???  I haven't had pneumonia in the last 20 years let alone the last couple of months.  The densities in my lung did show uptake on the scan, which means that they are actively growing.  I asked if maybe we should biopsy, and the PA said it was too risky, and it didn't matter whether it was cancer or not, and it wouldn't change the treatment.   It may not matter to them, but it matters to me!!  I want to know what the cancer is doing to my body.  If there is new growth, I would rather change chemos right away, before it is too late and the cancer grows too much. 
    The plan is to do more blood work in a couple of weeks, to give us a better idea if the cancer is still growing despite treatment. 
     We are all really frustrated at the lack of answers and the indifference shown.  My last blood work results weren't even in my chart, so when I asked about the results they didn't even know what was going on. The P.A. wrote my pain medicine prescription for the wrong medicine too.   I really like my oncologist, but don't like it when I don't get to see him, and just see the P.A.  Their office is too busy, and too many times results are lost, and they don't remember when I am due for tests, scans etc. I have to keep track of when I am due for them and ask to be scheduled, otherwise nothing would get done.  They would just keep pumping me full of $4,000 a pop chemo and making big bucks, while offering inadequate caretaking of the patient .  Can you tell I am a little fed up? 
     It is hard enough having cancer, and it makes it more difficult when you have to be your own advocate.  I feel like they are so indifferent, when this is life and death to me!  How can it not matter what the scans say????  I feel like they just assume I am a gonner and it doesn't matter what we do, my death is inevitable.  So who cares about progression, or new tumors...  Just keep me on the most expensive chemo's for as long as possible so they can keep raking in the cash.  I know that isn't probably isn't so, but I feel like that sometimes.   I just wish the chemo would shrink tumors, and the cancer would just go away....

 I am just so grateful for all of you who care so much about me.  My dear friends and family are always so inspired, and know when I need a little extra TLC.  I have received so many nice visits, thoughtful cards, and beautiful flowers this last week while I have been struggling.   I am so grateful for all of the tender mercies shown to me and my family.  Please know that you are heaven sent!  Thank you for taking such good care of me!  I know I say this all the time, but, I could not endure this without all of the love and support we receive. 


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. 


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


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. 


Benefit concert held for Amber Chase May 16th 2008.  Given by Abby Chase, and friends Savannah Anderson and Riley Davis.

Savannah Anderson, Rebekah Chase, Ammon, Me, Abby Chase, Keigely Davis, Riley Davis. 

Anyone who has children understands how EXASPERATING they can be.  Some days they just drive you absolutely CRAZY!  And then some days, they do the sweetest, most wonderful things.  Yesterday was one of those crazy days, and today was one of those precious sweet days.

My 8 year old daughter Abby, and her friends, Savannah and Riley gave me a benefit concert.  They have been planning this for weeks.  They wrote and practiced songs during recess at school.  Then they made fliers and handed them out around the neighborhood.  They wanted to do something to help earn money for my cancer treatments.  I thought the sentiment was sweet, and so heart warming!  The fact that they came up with the idea themselves, and spent so much time preparing and were so excited for it.......  Words can't describe how precious it was.  I received a bouquet of wildflowers, and the girls made a heart shaped envelope for donations. 

It was so touching and sweet, and totally adorable.  They sang some original songs, and then sang along with a couple of Hannah Montana songs and Alvin and the Chipmunks songs.  They danced and did gymnastics.  My face hurt from grinning.  We only had an audience of the girls' parents, grandparents, and siblings, as well as a couple of neighborhood kids, and it took place on the lawn of the elementary school, but it was the BEST concert I have ever been to!!!!!!!

I am humbled, and awed that these young girls cared so much to do something so special for me.  It just goes to show you, that no matter who you are, or how young or old you are, you can make a difference. 

So next time I go to the doctor, I am going to pay the $84.72 donated at my benefit concert towards my thousands of dollars of doctor bills, and this will be the biggest payment I have made because it means the most.  I don't think those girls and their families, and the people who donated will ever know the difference this made in our life.   But I am once again humbled and amazed at how blessed I am.

Savannah and my daughter Abby.  Savannah made the most adorable envelope that said "donations for Amber" on one side, and "We love Amber" on the other side.



To start off, thank you everyone for letting me know that you still check up on me, and enjoy reading my ramblings.  I really appreciate all of your support!!!!

I had a really good week.  My energy is finally starting to return, and I can actually go a whole day without having to take a nap.  Of course, I over-do it for several days in a row, and then I crash for a day or so.  I just need to have patience.

We had another birthday in the family last week.  Abby turned 8.  She wanted a Hannah Montana birthday party.  Abby is a very friendly child, and so she invited 24 girls to her party. That was fine with me because I figured only half would come.  Um, wrong.  We ended up with 18 giggling, crazy, hyper, enthusiastic, energetic girls.  It was very fun, but wore me right out.  I had hoped for good weather that day, so we could have the party outside, but it was a cold windy day.  So, we were stuck inside.  Luckily my house was still standing after the party. 

I gave a talk in church on Sunday about how hope in Christ can help us to have optimism.  I am much more comfortable writing my feelings than speaking in public.  I spent hours and hours preparing my talk, and then I just ended up blubbering for 10 minutes.  When I sat down after my talk, I couldn't even remember what I had said.  Several people told me they enjoyed my talk, though.  The gist of my talk was that when times are hard, if we trust in Jesus Christ, we can have hope that everything will work out.  All of our trials, and heartaches, are learning experiences.  As we go through these trials, if we can have faith, we can receive the help we need to endure our trials well.  Sometimes we bring our trials on ourselves, and sometimes they just happen (like getting cancer).  That is the purpose of this life.  If we never had sorrows or hard times, we wouldn't have joy or  appreciate the good times. 

I had my cancer treatments again today.  It was a really long day at the hospital  and I am exhausted.  My stomach already is upset, and I feel lousy.  But even though that is bad, my sister was kind enough to watch my boys today, my neighbor brought dinner tonight, and a friend is watching the little boys tomorrow so I can rest.  And while I was at the hospital today, my house was cleaned top to bottom by another friend.  So even though I don't enjoy feeling yucky, I am continually blessed by the help and support from friends and family.  I couldn't do it without all of you!!!!!!!!!!!


I have kind of had a bad week.  I hate to complain when there are so many more out there that are so much worse off than I am. 

I have had a sinus infection this last week, and then on Wednesday night my eardrum ruptured.  Boy did that hurt.  My ear has been draining infection since then, and it is quite gross.  Loud noises (children) make it hurt more, so my sweet mother in law has taken the kids for the weekend.  I am just so worn out and dog tired from radiation, it is hard to have energy to do anything.  I hope to just rest and rejuvenate this weekend.  I only have 1 more week of radiation.  They will be doing what is called a boost this week, where they beam extra radiation along the mastectomy scar and where the tumor was.  25 treatments down, only 5 to go.  Almost done!!!  Then I will go in every 3 weeks for a triple dose of herceptin, instead of every week.  My life may be able to return to normal soon!!!!!!!!

Then I feel so guilty for feeling sorry for myself.  Last night we found out that a dear family friend, Kathy Blacker, passed away from esophageal cancer.  Dan and I went to visit her on Monday, and I am so glad we did.  We had such a good talk, and I am so glad I had the chance to give her a hug and tell her I love her.  She has been battling cancer for more than a year, and I would see her periodically at Dr. Hansen's office where we both were receiving Taxol.  Kathy was an amazing woman, and her attitude and strength was such a strength to me. She has been so sick for such a long time.  She hasn't been able to eat and had a feeding tube.  I am glad that her suffering is over, but my heart breaks for her family.  I pray that they find strength and comfort at this difficult time. 

I wonder sometimes, why chemo treatments work for some, and not for others.  There have now been 2 people that I know who were battling cancers at the same time as me who have passed on.  (plus there have been 2 others who I met at Dr.Hansen's office who were receiving treatment who have also died in the last couple of weeks.)  I have had such a miraculous response to all of my treatments.  I feel so guilty sometimes that the treatments have worked for me, and not for others.  I know it is not in our hands, and that everything happens for a reason, suffering and trials, but I am having a hard time shaking the guilt that I feel.  I know that it could be me someday, and I struggle with that thought.  My heart breaks at the thought of dying and leaving my family and friends.  I know that this life is not the end, and that there is an eternal life, but the separation from loved ones is never an easy thing. 

I just pray that those who have cause to suffer and mourn may find comfort.  I know we all have trials, and I hope that we can all help others bear their burdens, and show charity and love to those around us.

Here is a picture of how long my hair is now.  Picture taken Jan 6th, 2008

Let them eat cake!!!  A dear lady in our stake, Jean Davis, brings us dinner on Tuesdays after my treatment day.  This is the fabulous cake she made last week.  Yum!


Christmas Morning, BEFORE

Christmas morning, AFTER

It has been a while since I posted.  It has been a busy time.  Trying to keep up with all of the kids during Christmas break when I am healthy is hard enough, but being tired from radiation and all of the hustle and bustle of this busy time, I haven't had the energy to post.

I wanted to take a moment to share what an amazing, blessed, overwhelming Christmas we had.....
The Burlison family (Blake's paternal grandparents' family) wanted to Christmas for us.  Kris (Blake's grammy) insisted that with all of my treatment and surgery, and exhaustion, she wanted to do all of our shopping and wrapping.  She insisted I send her a list of what the kids wanted for Christmas, and told me she would take care of it. So I wrote the kids clothings sizes, and a couple of toys that they liked, and was immensely grateful that we wouldn't have to worry about Christmas this year.  The money we would normally have spent on Christmas presents, we put towards paying off my oncologist and doctor bills.

Well, Kris warned me not to be overwhelmed.  They got a "little" more that what I had written on the list.  So on a beautiful snowy Christmas Eve night, Kris and Craig drove up to our house.  They unloaded the back of their pickup truck into our home. Bag after bag of presents, beautifully wrapped soon filled our family room.  But wait, they all wouldn't fit.  There were still bags and bags of gifts out in the garage.  Piles and piles of presents.  I was so overwhelmed, and could hardly keep the tears from flowing. 

We had told the kids that we wouldn't be doing much for Christmas because of doctor bills, so imagine their surprise and utter delight when they entered the living room Christmas morning, and saw the piles and piles of gifts.  They were jumping up and down, squealing with happiness, and more excited than I have seen them in a long time.  It took almost 3 hours to unwrap all of the presents.  It was simply amazing. 

People are good.  I am continually awestruck at the big hearted and kind things that people do for our family. 

In fact, just last week, some families purchased and installed new blinds in our kitchen, my sister in law helped me redecorate my kitchen, some kind soul from our church gave us a cash gift anonymously with a simple "Merry Christmas".  Someone from Dan's work gave us some money and told us Merry Christmas.  With this we are able to pay off the rest of my doctor bills from 2007 and start the new year with all of my doctor bills paid off. 

It seems like all I am every doing on this blog is saying thank you, but no matter how many times I say it, it can never be enough.   So once again, thank you!!!!  I thank God and all of you for lifting our burdens and serving us. 

Happy new year!!!!