Friday, December 7, 2012

Cancer-not the sign

August 30, 2012 I received that dreaded phone call that no one ever wants. It was my OBGYN calling with the results of my biopsy. I have papillary thyroid cancer! (  I of course had a melt down. Then composed myself enough to finish the conversation.

After my 6 week post-partum check from having Lincoln, my doc did a head to toe check. (which is odd cuz usually they only do a pelvic check, but divine intervention played a role here) She found a lump in my neck. She did a thyroid blood test on me to check all my levels. Everything came back normal. She had me do an ultrasound of my neck to have the lump measured. If the lumps are larger than 1 cm they biopsy them, if smaller they just watch them. I had two larger ones and several smaller ones. The two larger ones were bigger than a cm so we biopsied them. One was cancer the other benign.

My OB said I would have a rough couple of months but that I would still be able to be a mom and wife and live a good life. I wasn't nearly as freaked out about having cancer as I thought I would be. Maybe Heavenly Father just comforted me enough to make me feel safe, I don't know why I didn't freak out more. Thyroid cancer is the BEST kind of cancer to have. (Weird to say, but it's true) Many women (can occur in men) have several lumps in their thyroid throughout their life. 25% of them are carcinoma (cancer). Thyroid cancer is 100% curable. For some they remove the whole thyroid, others just part of the thyroid. They removed my whole thyroid. I will now be on meds the rest of my life. (which is much better than dying from cancer) Thyroid cancer is the slowest growing cancer as well.  They removed my whole thyroid and some of the lymph nodes. I had stage 1 and it had not spread to any of my lymph nodes, which is super good.

The next step was telling our families. We knew we would need lots of help, especially with the kids. We have had an amazing support system through all of this. Our families have been a huge help and tremendous blessing and we have had lots of friends help and offer support too. I got the lovely task of telling our families. I had a harder time telling our families than I think I did knowing I had cancer. Not a phone call I ever wanted to make. I never thought at 26 that I would have cancer.

Our next step was seeing the ENT. I had an amazing surgeon! (Matthew Schwarz) He took time to answer any of my questions and walked me through the basics of what would be happening. I was TERRIFIED to be having surgery. I had never had surgery in my life. In fact, the only thing I had ever done at a hospital was have my children. I wasn't so much scared of someone chopping body parts out of me, cutting me open, nope I was terrified to be put to sleep. I like to be in control of my situations and I knew that I would loose all control by being knocked out. I must report, it wasn't bad at all. I remember going into the OR room and then I remember being pushed through the doors into the recovery area. The pain wasn't even as bad as I thought it would be. I hurt more from the tube going down throat then the actual incision. Surgery went very well. The doc was very pleased with it. My lump was 1 1/2 cm (about the size of his pinky (from the tip to 1st joint). Recovery was pretty easy. I was a little tired for the first few days, but recovered quickly.

After surgery I was placed on a thyroid supplement. I adjusted well to the meds. Next thing, seeing an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist is the one who will monitor me from here on out and prescribe my meds for me. She started me on a low-iodine diet Nov. 19th. For this diet you have to basically eat nothing. Fruits, veggies, tiny portions of meat, pasta (depending on what it's made from). You can't have any iodized salt, egg whites only, no dairy. It's pretty rough. This has been by far the hardest part of all of it. Along with this diet you can't take your thyroid meds, which makes you hypo thyroid. Not so much fun. It will be almost 3 full weeks that I will have done this diet/no-med ordeal. It has been hard, for all of us. I can't eat much, then I get grouchy. I feel like I have no temper control. I get mad at my kids for the stupidest things. And I still have to feed my family, so I've been trying to fix 2 meals that are someone similar but that I can still eat. I also FREEZE. I get cold so often and have a hard time getting/staying warm. The whole purpose of this diet is to prepare for the I-131 treatment. This treatment kills any remaining thyroid tissue/cells in your body.

I started the I-131 yesterday. I have to be isolated for 3 days. I can't have any human contact. I have to be extra careful, wash my hands extra good, flush the toilet 2-3 times everytime I flush, drink lots of water to flush it all out, remain on my diet. We sent the kids to grandparents/cousins house for the time being. We knew it would be hard to have them here and not be able to come in my room. Even Josh had to move across the house. It's weird moving your spouse across the house to sleep in a separate bed (especially when he hasn't done anything to deserve it) :) The main side effects from this treatment are swelling and aching in the neck/jaw area. And they weren't kidding! WOW! I took the pill yesterday and when I woke up this morning my neck and jaw hurt so bad. I feel like I have a metal jaw. I am more swollen then I ever was with all of pregnancies combined even. Luckily, that will go away. Ibuprofen is helping. I am able to go out to the kitchen and cook myself food while Josh is at work. I can wander a little bit while he is gone. It's mainly excreted through urine, fecal matter, saliva, and sweat. I just have to be cautious of what I am doing and use good hygiene.  Then I go back to the hospital on Sunday to do a test to check my levels to make sure my radiation levels are low enough to be around people again. As long as my levels are fine, then I can be human again. I can eat normal and then I start my meds 3 days later. And work on being "normal" again.  If they aren't safe then I will remain in isolation until they are good. Typically, for the dose I was given I should be good in 3 days. As long as I drink lots and lots of water.

Dealing with cancer at 26 was never something I would have imagined for myself, but I know the Lord has a plan and it's all part of His plan. There have been several things that have occurred that I could never deny His hand playing a big part. I want to list them here so I don't ever forget. If it weren't for having Lincoln, we wouldn't have found it as soon. My regular checks were in December and who knows at that point how bad it could have been. I am so grateful for a doc who did a head to toe check after having my baby. I never have head to toe checks but if she wouldn't have done the check and only done the pelvic check, it wouldn't have been found for at least a year. A blessing for us, our insurance has a $750 deductible and a $5000 out of pocket max. Having the baby and surgery definitely put us there. (Surgery itself was $20,000. Josh's insurance is changing next year to a high deductible plan. We ended up paying less due to having it all in the same calendar year vs starting from scratch. Josh has been working on his CPA tests. He has finished taking all 4 and is just waiting for his last grade (which hopefully will come today). He has studied but this is all going on while I have been dealing with my cancer. It hasn't been easy for him to study and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord has helped him remember the things he has been studying. There is no way he could have done it alone. He has been able to pass all of his tests so far. I know there are other things, but I can't think of them.

This has been a big change and adjustment for all of us. We have come closer to our Savior through it all and I am so grateful for the blessings we have received through it all. We have been much more aware of the blessings we are receiving and I feel like they just keep coming, even in moments of trial, maybe even more so. It's been a very humbling experience for Josh and I. We have grown closer together and have strengthened our relationship through this all. He has been so so supportive of me and the things I need and has been willing to help with anything. My kids have been amazing and have been so awesome at handling my ups and downs.  We have had a tremendous amount of help from our parents. They have come to stay and help with the kids when I had surgery, they took the kids right now for my treatment. They have offered so much love, support, prayers, and things I can't thank them enough for. We have had a tremendous amount of support from our ward family and friends. Especially, the Peterson's and the Larsen's. They have been willing to watch my kids while I have doctors appts, tests, etc. They have been a major blessing in our lives and we can never thank them enough!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to be my friend, Lisa, escort through the temple. They were able to take their boys and be sealed as a forever family! It was the first time back in the Boise Temple since it reopened. The Spirit was SO strong. It's a day I will never forget. I had some time to ponder and mediate while Lisa was doing some other things. It was just what I needed. I read a scripture in D & C 136: 31-My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom. This scripture really stood out to me. I am so thankful to a Father in Heaven who knows/sees the big picture and gives us what we need, even when we don't think we can handle it. I am so grateful for the lessons learned, the relationships strengthened, the testimony grown, and I am most of all grateful for the Atonement. It's such an amazing concept and something I am still trying to understand/fathom. It's truly an amazing gift. I love the gospel and the peace of mind it brings and the bounteous blessings we have received because of it.

I cannot express enough the gratitude we have for those who have given/offered their support, their love, the prayers, and service provided. We love you all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hunter's 1st day of Preschool

. I found this questionnaire on the internet and had Hunter tell me his answers.

Name & Age: Hunter-4 years old
Grade Level: Preschool
My School: Spelling Bee's Preschool
Teacher's Name: Miss Amber (Law)
Best Friend:Hailey Larsen
Favorite Color: yellow
When I grow up, I want to be: A dad
Favorite Snack: fruit snacks
Favorite cereal: cherrios
Favorite book: Thomas the tank engine
Favorite Holiday: Easter & Christmas
Favorite Food: Granola bar
Leave favorite food: Avacado
Favorite Game: CandyLand, Break the Ice, & Cootie
Favorite Summer Memory: Roaring Springs
3 words that describe me: happy, energetic, fun

Hunter is loving preschool and wishes it were more than two times a week. He is learning lots and making new friends.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wedding day/Anniversary

They finally got married! We are so happy for them. Josh takes full credit for this too. He is the one who set them up. They got married in the Twin Falls temple on July 20, 2012. It was so nice to be able to witness a sealing on our anniversary. That's right. they got married the same day as us, just 6 years later. :) We are even lucky enough to have them live right down the road from us. We live in the same subdivision! It's so much fun and the kids love being able to walk to Reed and Krystal's house whenever they want. We love you guys!

Photo: The happy couple! Don't worry Krystal I got your back postin these for you!! :)

Priesthood Blessings

This past week has been a whirlwind of events. Some happy, some sad. Josh has been working very hard to earn his CPA license. In order to receive this you have to take a series of 4 tests. The books he is studying out of are huge! Some are bigger than others but we're talking like 200-300 pages. And it's all about numbers, just looking at it stresses me out! :) Just imagine what it must be like for him. Having to actually remember what he reads! He has to get at least a 75 in order to pass each test. His first test he passed. I don't remember the score I just know it was at least an 80. He just took another test on Friday and now we are waiting for the results. Needless to say it is a little stressful for him.

This past Thursday we received some bad news. It's something that we can deal with but it is definitely going to be a HUGE trial for us. We have always said that we have been super blessed because we haven't really had any major trials. Which we were definitely thankful for. This is something that at 26 years old I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I would have to deal with. But this is Heavenly Father's plan for me and I just have to remember He knows what I need in my life and if I follow His plan and do all that is asked of me, I will be okay. This trial is something that is going to be hard for all of my family. For Josh, it's going to be a financial stress, he is going to have to help with the kids even more than he does, he is going to have to help more with the house work as well. There are several other things that will be added to his plate as my husband and as a provider and as a father throughout this trial that will require a lot from him. I know he is going to rely heavily on the Lord to help him through this, but I know he will be okay and make it through because of our Savior and the gift the atonement brings.

This is going to be hard for my kids because for a while I won't be able to help them with the everything they need. They will rely more on their dad.

It's going to be a long road for me as we learn to adjust our lifestyles and learn to cope with the changes this trial may and will bring. I am so grateful for my family and for our wonderful friends who have already offered their love and support and have so graciously volunteered to help with whatever we may need. I know that I am already relying on my Father in Heaven more than I ever have in my life.

This past weekend (Labor day weekend) Josh's parents were here to visit. We love having them! Josh asked his dad to give him a father's blessing to help him cope with the struggles that lie ahead. His dad knows the basics of what are going on in our lives. Such as his CPA test and the trial I have been given. He however did not know of Josh's concerns about financial stress, family stress, the stress that will be placed upon him with my trial. He didn't know ALL of the feelings of his heart to the deepest extent. I knew most of them because we have discussed the insecurities we are feeling at this time, the worries we have, the fears and so forth. When Josh's dad placed his hands on his head and started to give him the blessing he was talking in his quiet voice (his dad isn't a super super loud person) and once he started giving the actual blessing (like after he said his name and used the power he holds) it was amazing to hear the change in his voice. (I've never seen his dad give any of their kids father's blessings before, so maybe everyone else notices it too) When he started to give the blessing it's self, I knew that he was saying what our Father in Heaven wanted Josh to hear. I knew the Spirit was telling him what to say. There is no way that his dad knew all of the concerns of Josh's heart with out divine guidance. It was so amazing to me to hear the words that were being spoken and to know that they come from a loving Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to have a husband and wonderful family members who hold the priesthood and are willing to exercise it when asked.

I know we can survive anything if we trust in the Lord. If we rely on Him to help us through our struggles and trials we can become closer to Him in all we do. I know we have a long road ahead of us be we are going to be okay!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Today was an amazingly spiritual day. We had the privilege of blessing our 3rd child, Lincoln, at church today. As I sat there and watch all the men stand in the circle, Josh, his dad, my dad, Josh's brother, Nick, and our brother-in-law, Reed, it brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for a wonderful husband who honors his priesthood and tries to live worthily of his priesthood duties. He has an amazing example from his dad and looks up to him a LOT! It makes me so thankful to my Heavenly Father for the blessings he gives us each and everyday. Being a mom is one of my greatest blessings and sometimes I take it for granted. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for entrusting me with his precious children. To help raise them up in the gospel and to help teach them His plan for them.
I am so thankful for the gospel in our family and for the comfort it brings to me to know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, despite our downfalls. I am so grateful for the temple and for the chance we have to be a forever family, if we live worthily. I am so thankful for the opportunity to read from the scriptures each and everyday. I am so thankful for the lessons my children teach me from doing our daily family scripture study and prayers.
I am thankful for Joseph Smith and for his willingness to listen to the promptings he received and for translating the Book of Mormon for us. I am thankful for our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know he was called by God and that he is our true and living prophet. I am so thankful for the counsel he gives us.
I know with my whole heart that this is true church and the only way to enjoy true happiness. I am so thankful for my blessings and for the joys I get to experience because of the gospel.

*I'll add pics once I get them uploaded to the computer.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A baby story

If you don't like birth stories then skip this post...

We have had lots of family events lately. We had a niece who got baptized June 30th, my sister got married July 4th, my brother came home from the Marines, and my sister-in-law is getting married July 20th. I really wanted to have the baby in time that I could be able to go to these events, especially my sisters wedding. Heavenly Father and I were not on the same page unfortunately. I'm okay with it now cuz I have a beautiful baby to love on but I'm still sad I missed the wedding.

The weekend before (baptism weekend) my sister called me and said they were in town cuz David went skydiving (it was a wedding gift from my brother) and they wanted to go to dinner. We planned the place and time. We went to Texas Roadhouse. When we got there my brother was with them! It was a super awesome surprise and it was fun to have dinner with all 3 of us siblings, plus a few. It's been a while since we've all been together. That helped me with the whole fact that I had to miss the wedding.

Needless to say we still had no baby! On the 4th of July we didn't really have any plans because we didn't know when the baby was coming. We had talked about going to the fireworks at the speedway but that was about it. I woke up about 6 am that morning feeling so sick. I was throwing up and had diarrhea. I was a little mad cuz it was a holiday and Josh was off and I was excited to spend time with him and enjoy the holiday. Who wants to be sick on a holiday! I lounged around all morning. Throwing up every hour or so. I was laying on the couch and about 11:30 am my water broke! We debated whether we should go to the hospital or wait around for a bit. We headed to the hospital and got there around noon.

We got checked in and my contractions were about 6 min apart. Nothing too painful yet and when they checked me I was at a 3. I hadn't showered yet for the day because I was feeling sick and didn't have the energy. After they got me checked I hopped in the shower and they were getting the jacuzzi ready for me. I hopped in there for about 40 min. It was so nice and makes me really want my own. :)
After that I had to get my IV in so that I was able to get the fluids in me I had to have in order to get my epidural. Josh and I just watched TV (which was a luxury to watch cable since all we have is locals) and relaxed while we could. After I got my fluids in I got the epidural. Josh hadn't eaten all day and his mom was just getting to the hospital with some food for him so I made him leave the room while they did my epidural so he didn't faint. :) The anesthesiologist who did my epidural was Lisa. She was AMAZING! The easiest best epidural I have ever had (out of my 3). She was quick and it wasn't very painful either. Just the little poke.

After this it was about 4:30 and we just hung out and chatted with his mom for a bit. I was at a 7 at this point and so we figured things would get going soon. I said between 5 and 6 he would be born but Lincoln thought otherwise. We really wanted to deliver while our nurse, Amanda, was still there. She was such an AWESOME nurse! Shift change was at 7 so we were getting short on time. They gave me pitocin cuz my contractions were still far enough apart that we wanted to get this show done. And I wanted to be done because I was STARVING and wanted to eat. The doctor (Lisa Minge) came in about 6:30pm and checked me. We were ready to go! She got gowned up and they called NICU in (I had meconium in my water) and we got started.

The nurse and Josh had to hold my legs. I was so numb I couldn't control them AT ALL! I had been having some pain on my right side and it didn't seem to matter how I was laying it wouldn't go away so they gave me some extra type of meds and I didn't feel ANYTHING. Josh's mom was at my head. I started pushing at 6:40 pm and I pushed 3 or 4 times and he was here at 6:53 pm. He pretty much slid out on his own. The doc turned to grab something off the cart and when she turned back around she said oh my gosh this kid is sliding out all on his own.  Which made it easier for me. :)

 Our first pic together.
Baby Lincoln being all checked out. He weighed 8 lbs 3 oz (our biggest baby yet) was 21 3/4 in and has a TON of dark hair and we are in LOVE with it.

The kids got to come see Lincoln about 30 min after he was born. Hunter loved him! McKenna wasn't so fond of him. She glared at him and pushed him away. Before they left for the night she warmed up and held him and was okay with it all.
 Don't mind the ice cream on the face. They came from McDonald's with Aunt Krystal and didn't care about getting cleaned up they just wanted to see their brother. :)
 Check out that glare! (this could someday be used for black mail) :)
 She was still a little nervous about it but was much better.

After delivery they changed shifts. I was so glad we had Amanda for our delivery cuz the next nurse, Nancy wasn't our favorite. She seems kinda grouchy and was in a hurry, not very friendly. We did find out she was in a hurry cuz she had a transport coming that she had to take care of. She got Lincoln all bathed and ready to go to our new room. We got all settled into our room and Josh ran home to get his pj's since we didn't think about grabbing his stuff before we left. He got back and we settled in to bed. We sent Lincoln with the nurse for the night so we could sleep. (Yes, I send my kids away at the hospital)

Thursday morning my doc came in and checked me and asked if I wanted to go home. Well, DUH! Who wants to stay in the hospital if they don't have to. I wanted to sleep in my own bed! She said okay, you can go home as long as the pediatrician says it's okay. The peds doc came in and suggested we stay another day cuz he needs a newborn check done the next day (Fri) and his circumcision done. Our pediatrician doesn't have rights at St. Al's so he said if we could get an appt for Fri. with her then he would let us go as long as Lincoln passed his bili check at 25 hours old. We called and got an appt for 10:30 Fri morning. We did his bili check at 8:00 pm and by 8:30 pm we were on our way home. It was the shortest stay we've ever had with our kids at the hospital but that was fine by me! We came home and the kids were anxiously waiting for us on the front step. They were so excited to have their brother and mom home.

Our first family photo with all 5 of us

My fears of delivering at St. Al's were all for nothing. We had an AMAZING experience and loved all of the staff, even the grouchy one, and decided that we liked it better than St. Luke's. If I could have my old OB and deliver at St. Al's it would be the ultimate dream delivery next time. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


 There were so many guitars on here and even a few other things like a keyboard and such.
 One of our views from the top of the Space Needle
The Seattle temple.

Saturday morning we woke up and ate our delicious bagels we got and a mango we purchased at Pike's Market. They had every kind of fresh fruit available. The better part was you could sample things at some of the places. These were the BEST mangos I've ever had. They were called champagne mangos. After we ate we got ready and headed out for the day. It was snowing! We took the light rail to the monorail which took us downtown Seattle.

We stopped at the EMP museum first. It was pretty cool. They had guitars of every kind there. Some that were like the first guitars ever made and then modern ones too. They had an area where you could learn to play the drums, guitars, and the piano. You just put the headphones on and it told you what to do. They also have a stage set up for a real band. You and you group can go and pick a song you want to play and then they put you in front of an "audience" for you to play. It sounds like you are really playing the song even if you're not. :)

After the EMP we went to the Space Needle. It was cool to see all around Seattle like that. I don't know that it was cool enough to do it again but it's nice to say I've done it at least.

Next was the Pacific Science Center. This was pretty cool, especially compared to our little Discovery Center here in Boise. There was so much to do there. We want to go back and take the kids there. They would have loved it. There was so much for them to do. We wanted to see the laser light show that they had but we didn't want to stay for another 2 hours cuz we had other things planned.

We headed back over to Pike's place area over to the piers. We ate fish and chips. (I think I mentioned this in another post too) We waited forever! Placing our order was fast and we had a bowl of clam chowder that we split so that helped with the time. The workers for got to drop our fish so we had waited over 20 min for it. They asked us if we still wanted it but didn't offer to refund us or give us something else. Luckily for them the fish was really good or I would have probably been a little more mean.

We headed back to the hotel for a little cat nap (for the pregnant one) and a little sports (for the manly one)

We went back and wandered downtown Seattle a little bit trying to figure out what we wanted to eat and explored some of the shops there. We couldn't find much that sounded too appealing for dinner so we headed back to the hotel. By the time we got there we were so  tired we didn't even care what we ate so we got a Roast Beef sandwich from the hotel lobby. (lame I know, but we just didn't care at that point)

Sunday we had bagels and mangos for breakfast again. Then we drove to the temple to say we've seen it. It would have been even more fun to say we did a session there but since it was Sunday we couldn't accomplish that goal. :) To get to the temple we drove over these floating bridges. I wish I had a pic. They were literally floating on the water. It kind of reminded me of a dock, but it was stationary. Dave, Josh's boss, told him about them and said we should check them out. When they originally built the bridges someone forgot to lock something underneath that kept it floating and needless to say it didn't last long, it sunk. :( They just built a new bridge on top of it so the old one still remains there. It was a little nerve racking at first to realize you are that close to the water but I survived.

We found a mall and wandered around for a bit. We found some flip flops and sunglasses for the kids and they love them! After the mall we went back to Claim Jumper for lunch. We should have only ordered one things since their portions are so big but we got two things. We started with their tri tip dip appetizers. They were so good. I've never had tri tip that was so good before. And then we ordered a club sandwich. The thing was huge. We couldn't eat it all so we brought it home and mom, krystal, and reed enjoyed the rest.

We didn't have too much time after lunch so we headed to the airport and just hung out there until our flight left.

We had a FANTASTIC trip and can't wait to go on another one. I'm so grateful for Josh and all that he does for me and our kids. It was totally worth the wait for a honeymoon!