Sunday, September 28, 2008


Last night Elder Uchtdorf gave me permission to neglect my kids. Not really, but it was so great to hear someone say,"Stop ignoring that intense desire to create!" It is something I have felt all my life. Luckily, I have a job that lets me tap into it frequently, but it's still not the same as creating something I want to. Almost every time I felt the urge I throw it into work instead of painting, decorating, cooking, laughing, drawing, sculpting, etc. I have done those things now and again but I have had guilt about it because I could have been cleaning my kitchen or ironing Jaymeson's pajamas. Camryn asked me to draw a hermit crab for her last sunday and Julene (my mother-in-law) said,"I didn't know you could draw!". I need to do more of it. After I got over wanting to be a whale rider at sea world, I wanted to teach Art in elementary school. When I got to college, my councilor told me there weren't any Art teachers anymore so I should try elementary ed or fine art. I decided I wanted to illustrate kids books. Just like you wanted to be in a famous rock band or in the moving picture shows. Not likely. But I did love my classes and was most happy when I was painting or drawing. Uchtdorf said that we feel that joy because it is God-like to create. Take unorganized matter and organize it in a beautiful way. Create and have compassion. That's where joy is. So I'm going to do it more. I illustrated a christmas book about ten years ago and I think I want to get it published. I want to paint a huge painting of "wishes" for my family room wall. So many things and only the rest of my life to do it. I am happy just thinking about it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


today i bought a bird necklace from a midget. jaymeson fixed our paddleboat and took the kids out on our mini-lake. don't call it a pond. it's a petite lake. in it resides at least one snapping turtle. don't rock the boat.

yesterday i went to the cardinals game and had a blast. i'm not going to lie to you, one of my favorite parts is yelling, "Go Pu!!!!". i also took my littlests to an apple orchard and picked many a jonagold. we fed some goats and were "chicken pirates" with baby chickens sitting on our shoulders. arrggghh! on a related note, last friday (not yesterday! sheesh) was "Talk Like a Pirate Day". we went to dinner with tami and scott that night and Jaymee said to me, "HEY! guess what today is???" and then at the same time we said,"ARRGGHHH! Talk like a pirate day!!" i love love. don't you just love love?

thursday I played with my mother-in-law and no kids all day.

in my kitchen right now are the following:
1. two dozen krispy kreme donuts
2. three dozen chocolate chip cookies
3. brownies from jaymeson's work
4. some sort of gooey ice cream banana fudge frozen bliss
5. fruit flies

my mom called me this smorning (you say smorning, too, don't you?) and told me she finished "The Book Thief". we talked about it and then i went out to my car and cried about it again. i'm a sucker for that book. it owns me. Zusak stretched and yanked my heart all different ways and puppets my tears anytime I think of it. i think I'm going to read it again now. not now, then - when I said "now" the first time.

you're up to date.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honest to blog

Also, heavens to betsy. I went in for my PET scan today. It always makes me nervous. I feel like each time I'm being suspended over an icky bog of cancer. Will they drop me this time or will I walk away unscathed? Happily, I am still winning!! CLEAN SCAN! Phew.
Stick it, cancer.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers yet again.

While I'm on the cancer topic (how rare), I thought I'd share a cool experience I had at Creative Escape in Arizona. The first night there, Heidi Swapp told the story of how after leaving last year's conference, I only lasted a couple hours before being admitted to the hospital... you know the rest. She also talked about how my uncle Doug's (Mr. Bazzill) mom Millie was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. Then they said they wanted to use all those generous scrappers for good. They raffled off a couple tickets to a scrapper's cruise and made $6,000. They thought that wasn't enough so they decided to auction off Tim Holtz's shirt right off his back. If you don't know him, he's an amazing designer from Ranger Industries who came to teach at CE. All the ladies have a bit of a crush on him. And boy can that guy sell his wares. My aunt's store couldn't keep up.

Tim Holtz

Anyway, one of the gals there bid $6,000! Sheesh. That was four times the highest bid in the running. Her grandparents died of cancer, so it was a cause near to her heart. So overall, $12,000 for the American Cancer Society. I was really moved by the whole thing. Another great thing that came from this trial. I wish I could personally hug each of the people who donated. I tried but there are only so many hours in a day.

This is another survivor I met at the conference. (somebody buy me a new shirt!! Maybe this is my only one?) I'm in a cool club now with matching tattoos and scars and such. I'm not going to lie to you, it's pretty exclusive. Maybe it'll get more exclusive with all these donations. I hope you never get to join.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PET Scan

Shelby is getting her PET scan on Wednesday and doesn't get the results until Thursday. I am sure she could use your thoughts and prayers these next few days that all goes well and that they don't find a single thing and that she is still cancer free. I know she just heads through this kind of stuff alone all the time because she doesn't want to worry any of us - but sometimes I think it's nice to know so that we can keep her in our prayers. They don't think there is reason to believe that anything is back - it's just a routine scan, but I know we always worry until we know for sure. Thanks!

She's two

Ms. P is two. Where's my baby?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I shouldn't be allowed out of my house OR My Zany Adventure with Michael Mclean

Last weekend I went to Time Out For Women for the first time. Friday night was kind of strange. It's probably normally very good. I think maybe they just weren't on their game. Maybe the spirit missed its flight out here. I don't know. But it was a little bit, um, not so much? A lot of talk about prozac being holy and "don't EEEVEN get me started on women and chocolate, am I right ladies?? And your husbands, do they love the remote or WHAT?!! Ha ha ha!" Anyway, Michael Mclean was one of the ... performers (?) ... he spoke and sang. I guess it just wasn't my thing. A little too gooey or something. So to ease my yuckness a little, I started blogging in my head (you know you do it) and I was trying to think of a way of saying it wasn't really my bag, baby. I decided I needed a picture of him to go with it (you know you do that too.) So afterwards, my friend Kim and I go up to snap a little somethin'. I didn't want to be rude, so I thought of a fact that didn't reveal where I stood on his music that I could tell him. I said, "My senior year, I listened to Like A Lighthouse every day". That's true - isn't it Amy? He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "That's by Michael Webb. He's a friend of mine. I'll tell him." If he didn't have his arm around me I could have run away. Instead he held tighter and I got to bask in the embarrassing glow while he laughed about it. I wish I would have thought to say,"You didn't let me finish! I was going to say, 'I listened to that stupid song every day and I was so mad because it wasn't one of yours. Plus, I think that song is dirty.'"

Look at me. Sweet kid. I think he's about to tell me he's a big fan of mine or something that won't make me want to hide.

My red, red face. Caught on film. Thank you, Kim.

The next day was great. I'm so glad because I thought maybe I didn't have a soul.

Sorry, Michael.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One year

On the way to the hospital in Arizona with Melanie, I yelped and then we hit a curb. She asked me why I knew to yelp before it happened and I said,"because I'm a precog." (Remember those psychics from Minority Report?) Little did I know that within a couple weeks I'd really look like one. And I had no idea what the real future held for me.

Last week I went to Arizona for the same "Creative Escape" weekend that I worked at last year when I found out I was sick. It was bittersweet. The first night we were there, I slept in the same bed that I had laid in the year before staring up at the fan wondering if the pain would go away or if I should go wake up Melanie. I was also wondering if the hit I could receive from Jeff (he's violent in his sleep and scary to wake up) would hurt more than the pain I was already in. I watched that ceiling for what seemed like forever. This time I went to bed in that room just about an hour after running my first 10k race (the Nike Human Race - why saturday night? long story.) I couldn't have done that last year.

Mel and I last year at Creative Escape

And this year at Creative Escape. Yes, that's my new hair. Dark, huh?

I feel better. I wake up every day grateful. I really do. I'm so happy to have energy and to be able to do everything for myself. I'm even happy when I have to shave my legs. Hooray for hair! I'm happy I get to be here for all the little monkey things my kids (including Jaymee) do. (Like when Preslie asked Sienna to open something for her and Sienna told her to go ask someone else so P went up to the cat and said,"Oscar? Open dis for me, peas?") I'm grateful to have more time to improve myself. More time to get better in the ways that really count.

So what else remains?

Physically, I have some weird scratch marks on my side, chest and back. From the chemo of all things. It looks like chemo has sharp nails and we got in a fight. I won, but the scars remain. I have a nice scar on my chest from my biopsy that has a dent under it. I can't help but stick my finger in it. As for my fingers, the feeling never came back to the tips. It feels like there is super glue stuck on the ends. Maybe my super power is being able to touch hot things and not feel it. Now that my nails have grown back, it doesn't really bother me because I don't touch as much with my fingertips. I wake up to my chest feeling like it's tight and can't expand. It's from the radiation. It takes about fifteen minutes and then I feel fine. As of this last week, I can't swallow breakfast anymore. My throat is too tight in the morning. Also from the radiation. But I just have a shake (which is what I want anyway) and by lunch I'm fine. Jaymee thinks that will heal itself. What else? I'm not sure if I can have any more kids and I have to wait another year and a half before I can even try. That's right. Can't even practice trying. Poor Jaym. Just kidding. I think that's all that's left. When I consider what my body went through, that's pretty awesome. Not bad at all. Hooray for modern medicine! (and blessings)

When I was looking through my pictures for that one of CE last year, I was able to see everything we had captured in the past twelve months. It truly was great. I wouldn't trade it for anything. (I don't want to do it again, but I'm glad for that one time) I'm kinda sad that I didn't capture more of everything. The people who came to help, all the stages of hair loss, etc. I was too embarrassed. By the end I didn't care, but I did at the beginning. Mel told me I'd want to see it later, but I didn't believe her. Here's some pics I didn't post while it was happening because I didn't want to freak my mom out.

Second chemo

My blistery feet (chemo side-effect)

While I don't have a lot of pictures, at least I have the blog. I'm so grateful to Mel for creating it and making me get on here. I wouldn't have documented it without her. It forced me to really contemplate what was going on and what it meant to me. All the comments and feedback got me though the tougher days. I felt so much support and like there was a bunch of people rooting for me. Thank you. I was talking to Jason Hall who was our motivational speaker at the conference. He's quadriplegic, funny and amazing. He interested me in making my blog into a book and I'm considering it. It'll be a short book, since I'm lucky enough to have only been sick for a short time, but I want to remember. I don't know. I was thinking of putting the blog and people's comments on one side and then kind of a bio of what was going on that I didn't say on the blog, i.e. doctors appointments, progress, side effects, etc. and pictures on the other. Would you guys care if I used your comments? I'm still tossing this around, but I think I might do it. If anything, I'd like to have a copy for myself and maybe a couple for Jaymeson's office. There really aren't a lot of things out there for Lymphoma. Breast cancer is the celebrity. I would have loved to have something that told me what I would go through and feel when I was sick.

ANYWAY. This one was really rambly. Sorry. It didn't really come together. I've been off my game for a couple weeks now. I've been wanting to post something about it being a year for a while now and all I got was a block. I've said everything all along though, haven't I? So what would be new? You still know that I love you, right? That's all I really want to say.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Price of Gas

Typical morning. Sienna had her first day of smart kid school and had to be at the bus stop at the school before 8:45. Normally that would be fine but my kids are still on Arizona time and have been playing "rag doll" for the last three days, forcing me to dress and feed their limp little bodies each morning. We hurried out the door only to find she had forgotten her precious papers and we had to go home and get them. When we got back to school the second time it was 8:40. That's when she realized she didn't have her backpack on. How does that happen? She takes after her dad. ANYWAY, we rush back the second time breaking all sorts of laws/land-speed records and got her back just in time to find out smart kid school was cancelled that day. Ha ha. By now my out of gas van is realllly out of gas but I figure the gym is on the way to the gas station, so I might as well stop there first. (I knew my van was really out of gas yesterday, but I like to live on the edge.) They kicked me out after I was just gettin' into my groove because Preslie has what they like to call "green boogers". They frown upon that. So we head off to the gas station and of course run out of gas. I get Miss P out of the car and walk up a long, long driveway to a house that is probably 200 years old. I knock on the door and it creaks open revealing a cobweb encrusted chandelier in front of a large staircase. All of my years of yelling at scary movies on my tv had prepared me for this moment and I knew just what to do. I didn't give my weapon and flashlight to preslie and go inside. I turned and ran away. When I got back to the car, I got the stroller and headed towards the gas station. We sang as we walked and walked and walked AND walked. I took my baby T-rex inside, bought a gas can and filled it up. On the way back to the car I flagged down a police officer and he said he couldn't help me because he has no car seat. I am barely able to carry the gas can and push the stroller through the dirt. Spirit of the law anyone? Oh well. I convince him to at least deliver the gas can. He comes back and asked me if the van with the expired tags was the right one. I told him to go ahead and give the lady who ran out of gas, survived a haunted mansion, pushed her baby two miles in the dirt in a broken stroller a ticket. "Do it", I said, "It'll make you feel great". He laughed and drove away. Phew. I got back to my car, filled her up and started to drive away. In my rear view mirror I saw my stroller still on the side of the road with my debit card in it. Ha ha. If I was intelligent, my life would be way boring. The end.

PS it is the one year anniversary of things and I have much to say. Later, I promise. (how presumptuous! You guys are all sitting by your computers - refresh! refresh! refresh! When will she ever write more about herself?? Hurry!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You think . . .

You think you locked me out of here, but you did not. Just and FYI to be nice and kind to me and send me chicks and rabbits in the mail the day after Valentines day.