Monday, November 24, 2008

Weeks 4 & 5

Week four was tough.

Mom has been so sick!

Dr. Rich ordered blood work which showed that her liver enzymes were way too high.

So he ordered no chemo for week four.

Mom received lots of IV fluids.

It sure is nice to have a nurse who happens to be your Aunt come and help take care of you. Thanks LaNeeta.

Today the news was the same.

Liver enzymes are coming down but still too high... so no chemo for week five either.

This is a relief but also a little worrisome, we want to make sure we kill this beast.

The Dr told her not to worry.

He feels confident that we have been treating the cancer so aggressively, that the first 3 weeks of chemo have already killed everything.

So she can enjoy the week and have a good Thanksgiving.

She is feeling much better this week.

If the liver looks good next week, they will start chemo treatment again.

She has hated being so drugged sometimes she tries to tough it out and not take a pill.

Not a good idea.

I think we have convinced her that she needs them.

She has been well loved these last few weeks.

So many meals, cards, and phone calls.

Thank you so much for loving our Mom too.

We appreciate all you do for her and for us.


Only 7 Treatments left!!!

We will be so happy to have this part of treatment behind us.

If you have to go through a trial like cancer,
it sure does help to have a great team giving you care.

We have been so happy with the great care the Radiation Team has given mom.

The girls there are so kind.
Katie is on the left next to mom and then Brooke and Melaine.
Then another Brooke with mom.
They let me take these pictures so mom could always remember them and this machine.

This is a molded pillow that holds her in the exact position so they can deliver the radiation in the right spot.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Picture Of The Day

I like Julie's theme of "You Could Be This Guy".

So....just think, today, you could be this guy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Week Three

Week Three has been a busy week, also the hardest so far.

We have had many people come and go.
Dad spent the first couple days, followed by Melanie, Katie and Haley and then finally me.

Dad told me the days go by slow.
You have a twenty minute treatment and then you get to rest for 23 hours and fourty minutes till the next twenty minute treatment..........
so bring something to do.

I kept busy knitting and crocheting mom even helped out.

Katie, Haley and Melanie decorated Mom's room with pictures and thoughts and even a count down chain.
This is so great it really brightened up a dull room and really inspires her to fight on everyday.
Thanks guys you are the best!!

I am sure cancer looks just like this.

Mom is still serving others even though she was having a tough week.

Joe and Lilly are her next door neighbors at the guest house.
They are both well into their eightys.
Mom recieved a call from the hospital asking if she could go knock on their door because they couldn't get them to answer the phone.
Lilly is fighting bone cancer and needed to go over to the ER.
So Mom and Haley loaded them up and took them to the ER. She helped her into her gown and picked up all the money that fell out of her socks while taking them off.
Mom waited there with them until thier daughter arrived.

After this mom was exhasted. This is just like mom always putting others needs before her own.

Next week will be a long one.
She has to have treatment 6 days because of the Thanksgiving Holiday the following week.

I am thankful for the time that I got to spend helping out.
I wish there was more I could do.

I am so thankful to everyone who has called, dropped by, sent cards, and brought meals.
Mom has such wonderful friends and so many people who care for her.

Thank you so much it means so much to our family.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Optimistic Pursuit

Last sunday, we had a special stake conference in which Pres. Eyring spoke. He repeated a phrase several times throughout his talk that has really stuck with me.

"Optimistic Persistence."

In finding happiness we can not sit by passivly waiting for it to find us. We can be happy and find joy even in times of trial.

Les, you have never been one to sit back and watch the work. You are the first one to grab a shovel and dig in. Times that I have worked beside you, either cleaning a house or laying grass or whatever it may be, humor always seems to go hand in hand with the job being done. Its the attitude, the laughter, and the optimistic persistence.

During this ugly battle in your life right now, I think the same idea applies. Being discouraged and negative don't have to take over your life. I don't think that you'll let them. That's never been your style.

I hope that during this time you are able to laugh every time you cry, and cry everytime you laugh.


The Wig That May Not Be

One of the hardest things to wrap your brain around through this whole journey has to be the hair issue.

I've heard a lot of people tell Mom... "at least it will grow back".


I don't care if it was long, short, curly or ugly.

Hair is so much your identity.

You can tell so much of what kind of a day someone is having from the way their hair looks.

So when it was time to go shopping for a wig, there was a crowd!

Michelle, Grandma, Grandpa, Dad, Jess, and me.

The wig lady wasn't very happy I don't think.

She asked us to please stand behind this "line" and she would bring Mom out as they tried on each one.

She soon learned that not much can hold this family back.

Especially not her invisible line.

We were soon crowded around the chair.

Giving opinions.

Picking keepers and getting rid of the no's.

We found a few that were great and finally settled on one.

We turned what should have been hard into a great time.

Do you think this red is too much for Grandpa?

The even better news came a few weeks later at chemo class.

They told her that she probably won't lose it now.

There is a chance...but so far so good!


It Could Be Worse....

I know cancer sucks and all, but you could always be this guy......
Sure Do Love Ya!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sending our LOVE

Mom We are thinking about you everyday.

It is so hard to be far away especially in times like these.

I want you to know how much we love you and how grateful I am to be part of such a tremendous family.

You are such a strong person. When I talk and listen to you, I draw from your strength everyday.

You are an amazing mother, grandmother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.

We LOVE and miss you!!

The Roethel's are sending you some love!!

Week Two

by JaLee

I have had the chance to spend Mom's second week of treatment with her.
Tomorrow is the last day of radiation this week.Then we go home.

A couple of things that I have seen in week two.

I have seen too much of these 4 walls around us in this room. We don't leave unless we are going to treatment or if we are in desperate need of food. I have watched more TV in the last week than I have in the last month.

I have seen Michelle come and love. She has brought numerous goodies, a beautiful handmade quilt and a microwave. Such a blessing to not have to walk out to the main lobby to use the shared one. That was often too. One of the side effects of the chemo is cold sensitivity. It is EXTREME. Water that is room temperature is painful for her to drink. It's strange to hear her say that she has to hurry and drink her water before it gets cold. Michelle also gave me the chance to go out for a quick shopping break. Thank you for being an amazing sister.

I have seen the terrible effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Don't get me wrong...I have never been more grateful for anything. The ability to cure this disease is a blessing. The effects that come along with that on the other hand, are awful. It is not a good feeling being helpless. I can do nothing for her except tell her that she can do it. She has to. She is tired, nauseous, claims to have "chemo brain", is cold, but hot, has not much desire to eat..but has to...then that starts a cycle of intense pain. But...with that being said ...

I have seen a brave and strong person. This is no surprise really. She has always been that way. She won't take crap from anyone. She isn't taking crap from cancer.She is enduring it well. She isn't complaining. Just enduring.I have seen her cell phone ring off the hook.She gets call after call. People checking in. Letting her know they care.So many people care. This is a tribute to the kind of influence she has. SO MANY PEOPLE!Thank you if you have been one of those.One of the most important lessons I believe I have learned from this so far is this...When something that is uncomfortable or unfamiliar, especially an illness or the like, happens to someone you know...the absolute best thing to do is something...anything.I'm not talking flowers and gifts.Just a call.No matter how much you care for or love a person, they cannot know that unless you tell them.Nothing is more awkward than when nothing is said.I should say that this is not at all coming from my mom.Just me and what I have personally experienced.

One phone call in particular brings this point home.
A phone call from a concerned acquaintance.Not really knowing Mom, just knowing that she could talk her through some stuff.She called when Mom was asleep, but I got the opportunity to talk with her for a while.She had almost an exact replica of Mom's cancer.Same age, same treatment, etc.

This happened to her 19 YEARS ago!
That is one good call to get!
This lady may have thought she would be bothering Mom. She may have not thought it was her place to call.She didn't hesitate.
She gives us so much hope!

I have seen many people with cancer. In the clinic where she gets radiation. Cancer knows no limits. There is just way too much of it!The nurse gave us both a pin that says "CANCER SUCKS".I have to agree...I have seen it with my own two eyes!

I have seen one of the most compassionate doctors ever. He dropped everything and rearranged a schedule to help her get through a really hard day.He even went and found a wheelchair for her...not asking the nurse to do it. He waited in the lobby for her. So cool.This was just so refreshing to see.

I have seen service. Haley and Grandma and Mark. I'm pretty sure my kid's had it better with me gone than with me there. I have a husband who doesn't complain. He just does it.Grandma is so impressed with him..she told me I better be good to him. I agree.I will do better.

I have seen the week go. Slowly but surely.One week closer to being done with this monster.One week closer to a normal, happy life for her.I think my compassion grew this week..actually I know it did.


Requesting Prayers

by JaLee

I am now in a place I hoped to never be.

One week ago today my Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Shock, fear, questions and tears pretty much sum up the last week for me.

The "fog" is thick and I feel like it is hard to breathe.

I think the not knowing is the hardest part.We aren't sure on exact details yet.

They won't know those until after surgery.

What we do know:It is definitely cancer.
It is grade 2...which from what I understand isn't super aggressive (at least "less"aggressive than it could be)
She will most likely have to under go a surgery, chemo, and radiation.
That her blood test and scan looked "good"...(as in they don't see any big signs that is has spread)

What we don't know:What stage the cancer is in.
What order those treatments will come in.

It is such a different thing when it is so close.

The pain inside is almost unbearable.


But there is hope.

Hope is the light that will begin to lead through the darkest hour. It will enable us to go forward.

There is hope because of our Savior.

He knows this feeling.

He knows my heart.

He knows hers.

He has shouldered this burden.

This exact one.

He is there to lift us.

He is there to guide.

He is aware of her.

Of our family in this exact moment.

He is making this known quite clearly through his tender mercies.

He is aware of her....She was guided to the right place to receive this news. There were people there who could talk to her about personal experiences that only they had. She received so much there. She filled an emotional well there to use up later.She works in the field of medicine. She has so many connections. Connections to doctors... to people who have done people who know answers.She has friends who are going through and who have gone through this. She is talking to them and "running" into them almost every day.

He is aware of our family...My sister just moved to a new city. She has made great friends with a neighbor...who has a husband...who has done this very thing. She has someone to go to there. Someone who gets it.I have friends who have first hand experience with parents and cancer. They know where I am. They talk me off the edge almost daily.We have family. Namely the "sisters". Who came...and loved...and lifted ...and laughed.We have the other 3 sisters who just get it. They get the big, hard, ugly stuff and help us to remember to keep our heads where they should be.

One last one experience that I don't want to forget.On the day that I found out, I had just gotten home from taking Parker to school.

I was in an ugly, black place. I didn't know where to turn. I didn't know what to do.

I was pacing and Aubrei was crying.

There was a knock at the door. I didn't recognize the car in the drive way.I was not going to open the door. Not ready to face anyone right then.

Not 2 hours after this news.But I did. (Only because I had left the garage door open and they could see my car.)

I'm sure I was a sight.

Behind the door was the proof.

Proof that He is aware of me.

The Relief Society President and her counselor were standing there with a bag.

They had felt that they needed to stop and see how I was.

I didn't tell them.

I knew that I already had what I was supposed to get from them

They said they were bringing me some apples...and could I use some?
Well actually no...I didn't need apples. My dad owns a huge produce stand. I think most people in this small town know that. He has plenty of apples if I want them.

What I needed right then was love.

A message of love from my Father in Heaven.

Letting me know that his arms were there to hold me up.

Reminding me to be strong.

To rely on him.

And I am...completely.

**I am going with Mom tomorrow to her appointment with her oncologist. We will hopefully get a plan and some more information. Please remember her in your prayers.


Maridon Rappleye
Our prayers are with her & all of you, JaLee. These are tough times, but you have the right attitude. Heavenly Father will bless you - I felt his arms around me many times when I was going through our trials this summer with dad. I still do. Kirk & I both hope for the very best for your mom and that she will have the courage and strength to get through it.

Haley Pace
This is proof that you really are stronger than you think you are. You will all bear this triumphantly and you will all come out on top. We love you guys and are praying for you constantly. Our Savior is with you, and he will not leave your side. John 14:18 SDLY

Julie DeCoria
Haley is right. Everything we have been through you have experienced with us. You know how to be brave, you know where to turn for peace. You are already more amazing than you think you are. D&C 121: 7-9. SDLY

Melanie Owen
Beanie,Here I am at 9:41pm doing my "favorite reading", the niece's blogs. I am hooked.You summed up this past week for us pretty accurately. Thank you for doing that. I have had a pretty heavy heart since the news. You never want to hear the "C" word, but here it is, close to home and close to our hearts. It is more than I can bear. I wish I could do it for her. Your mom has been there for me, always, fiercely loyal and steady, the rock of this family and someone we all lean on.One thing I know for sure is that Heavenly Father is going to take good care of her. I really know that. Our job is to give back to her. I told your mom to keep a journal of miracles, because they are and will keep happening. You don't want to forget.Hang in there Beanie! We are all praying for her,you, Jess, Jayden and your dad.Let's learn our own lessons from this.I love you Beanie!

Michelle Corry
"Call it a class, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." -Jane HowardI call it blessed! Some say you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family...I disagree; there is no such thing as luck. I'm glad I was home at Gma Kayes when your mom walked in the house and into Gpa's arms. Your mom sobbed, and a tear ran out of the corner of Gpa's eye. He understood her pain.I'm glad I was in the waiting room at the cancer clinic when your big-hearted dad swore us to secrecy.When the chips are down the family knows how to rally and there is no doubt in my mind that we will be blessed and that the "Mean Aunt" will prevail.

The Mean Aunt

by Julie DeCoria

Two of my very favorite people, Grandpa Havolyn and Aunt Leslie, are going through the hells of cancer right now I've been think a lot about them today and wanted to express my love for them. My heart is feeling a little tender and a little heavy and I want to share.(Haley wrote the post about my Grandpa Havolyn. She says it better than I can)

This is my "Mean Aunt."

My Mean Aunt is so strong.

There is nothing she hasn't done, can't do, fix, wallpaper, remedy, find, mend, or heal. She does everything

My Mean Aunt loves so much. She is so selfless, caring, tender, nurturing, and kind. A living Band-aid, but the permanent, water-proof kind.

My Mean Aunt is brave. She does all the scary stuff that no one else knows how to deal with. She fights for the good, the poor, the beaten, the hopeless, the abused.

My Mean Aunt saves lives. Twelve years ago, she saved the life of my dad, literally. She has saved the lives of her sisters, her children, her parents, her nieces, and countless strangers who have had no one else to lean on. She saves, everyday.

My Mean Aunt really isn't so mean. She is Amazing.

My Mean Aunt has cancer. But I know because of all her Mean Aunt qualities, she will beat this. She comes from a long line of unbelievably strong women, and has been followed by many other women no less strong and amazing. She doesn't have it in her to not beat it.


* comments *
Okay, okay, I tell myself, enough tears! The Mean Aunt said she didn't want a pity party, so I will try to do my part. It is just that the Mean Aunt means the world to me!If it weren't for her, I don't know where I would be.The Mean Aunt has been my shoulder to lean on, my listening ear and my voice of encouragement. The Mean Aunt magically appeared everytime I started to feel sorry for myself, and somehow she managed to take part of my burden away, everytime she came. The Mean Aunt stood unashamedly at by side thru the very thickest and thinnest of times. She did and said all the right things. She was uplifting, encouraging and alwasys full of hope. She helped to mend my broken heart. She was relentless. She never gave up, she never let up. I must have worn her out somedays, but she never let me know it. She doesn't give up on the people she loves. She has helped me move, paint, lay wood flooring, replace doorknobs, plant flower beds, refinish furniture, tend my babies, wallpaper and remodel. She has been a second mom to my girls at times when I wasn't the mom I should have been, how do you say repay someone for that? I have been the direct beneficiary of her giving heart and true devotion for 48 years now. Years and years of unsolicited help with no grumbling from her. So I sit here as tears roll quietly down my cheeks, counting the ways that my life is better, happier and easier because of a Mean Aunt.I don't know how to repay her, but I know that I am going to try. ...Melanie

The Beginning

This blog is being started for two reasons.

One... a way to keep updates and information available to all family and friends. a reminder to Leslie that she can do this.