Friday, January 8, 2016

4 Weeks

I actually wrote this 3 weeks ago and forgot to post :( oops 
As I sit here tonight after my relatively calm day I ponder over the past 4 weeks. Today was my 28th week apt, all went well or as could be expected. I had another ultrasound to check a few things out and mostly to check if my placenta had moved, sadly it hasn’t and it’s pretty low. My wonderful Doctor said she loves to be optimistic about it but looking at it she doesn’t want to get my hopes up for the placenta moving where it should and disappoint me when it hasn’t. Baby looks good and healthy which is great considering I have been super stressed and didn’t eat or take care of myself while Reece was in the hospital.
Today marks 4 weeks since we found the “mass” that we later discovered was a tumor in Reece’s kidney. It’s hard to believe 4 weeks have passed or maybe I can’t believe it’s only been 4 week when it feels like much more.  Last night was rough for Reece, she was running a fever and we almost had to take her to the hospital. She didn’t sleep and was just miserable all night long. We both had a horrible night up and down with lots of tears. So today was a good day to take a nap but she started moaning and crying while sleeping. I woke her up to find out what was wrong and she said her tummy hurt. It’s been about 4 days since she has had a BM and I’m worried she has some trapped stool L as none exciting as that sounds it’s all in conjunction with her Chemo. So we have to keep her on Miralax daily, sadly she hasn’t had much of an appetite all week so not much food is going in but what food did go in has not come out L Chemo has made her very picky with food and the smells, so she doesn’t eat much which is not good as she has been losing weight, so yesterday we started on an appetite stimulant, just hope it help increase her to eat more.
I will be honest saying how much I HATE pumping her full of medications or toxins L , and the CRAPPY side effects that they cause,  but I have to push that aside and think what is best for her and just know that it’s going to help.
Cancer is like a “silent Killer”. You have it without even knowing and by the time you find it it’s already spread and then you have to kill every good cell in your body to kill the cancer cells that were left behind.  We were lucky to find this when we did, it’s a miracle that we caught it as early as we did considering it can get 3x the size it was. I believe in miracles and this was a true miracle as the cancer had already started spreading up towards the heart and lungs. If we didn’t have any symptoms it would have reached dangerous areas and the diagnosis would have been devastating. So as much as I HATE cancer and HATE this entire situation I am grateful for the simple miracle that happened 4 weeks ago.
Reece’s hair stated falling out Monday, it was something I thought I was prepared for but I was NOT. Today I asked her if she would like to cut her hair a little so that it wasn’t so long and getting in everything. She thought for a while and said yes. I’m just so amazed and proud of how well she is handling everything. I talked to her about things but in reality she is just too young to understand fully what she’s going through and I wish so badly that I could help her little mind comprehend this all. Most of the time she tells me “I don’t know how to explain it” it just breaks my heart wishing I could just help her.
Turner has been very overwhelmed by everything and he gets concerned when she is sick, throwing up, or has to go to the doctor. He too is just not old enough to understand and comprehend all that is going on. Today after her hair cut he says “Reece you look beautiful”. I wanted to cry it was so sweet, more than half of her beautiful hair is gone and it’s so thin and her sweet little brother though she looked beautiful!!  I feel he has been affected by everything in his own way, as much as a 4 year old can. I’m not a child psychologist but kids have emotions and I’m sure they feel stress in their own way. I try and make special time for him and when I’m gone a lot with Reece it affects him a lot. He is already been a mommas boy so he is very clinging and when I’m gone it just grows!
Today is December 15, 2015
Well Reece has officially lost all her hair, it’s just tiny patches or spikey hairs. She was so brave and didn’t even get sad or scared that it was gone. I am just amazed that she is handling things so well. Reece went to school all day on Monday, I was so happy about her going. I did stay for a couple hours and was able to finally break away. Today we tried to go again but she just wasn’t able to stay without me being there so we all went home. I’m trying hard to find a way for her to be comfortable staying and not scared. I noticed she is getting very anxious about a lot of things, and I completely understand. Her life has been turned upside down. I just hope and pray that we can find a way for her to feel okay and not scared about things that she loves doing.
Sunday my dear friend Natalie Crockett was planning to take family pictures for us and she woke up sick. She felt horrible and was inclined to find a replacement. I was okay with trying to reschedule but she insisted on getting them done. So after she posted a message on a city FB site within a matter of minutes she found someone. His name was Jake McCloud, never met him before until that afternoon. He met us at the AF amphitheater and took some amazing photos. He told us he would be able to drop a flash drive that evening with the photos. I was very grateful for his kindness and insisted that he didn’t need to rush on the photos so soon. Just after 6pm he sent a text message to Clinton saying it was a pleasure working with us today and he left the photos on our door step. What we found on the door was nothing we expected. There were TWO 16x20 framed pictures, 1 of just Reece and another print framed with our family, he also included a photo album with some of the pictures he took that afternoon!! It immediately brought me to tears. I was just in AW and shock that this complete stranger had not only given us a free photo shoot but he personally framed 2 pictures and printed others and placed in an album.  With all that has happened in the past 4 weeks we are just overwhelmed by so many kind and generous people. Some we know well and others we have never met. I am just more assured that the Lord hears and answers prayers, he sends angles to comfort and even complete strangers to bless lives so they may be blessed.  Jake was very touched by our story and he said it was a privilege doing this photo shoot and amazed at how happy we all were considering the circumstances.
This week is the 4th chemo treatment which means it’s going to be crappy L with Chemo she gets 3 different drugs, the first week she gets 2 and then weeks 2 and 3 she gets just 1. So on the days she gets the 2 drugs it takes a lot out of her and makes her super sick. I am grateful for the past 2 weeks that have been relatively good for her. She is nervous about going to chemo because she knows what happens. The worst part is accessing her port, which I’m hoping will only get better. So in her mind that is the only thing she thinks about and yes it’s scary but the nursing staff are very kind and loving. We also work with a great child life specialist who is with Reece at every apt to help in any way she can.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life can change in an Instant!

As my last post mentioned I completely fell off the Blogging wagon. I really wish that was not the case, but here we go.....

Well this year as it’s almost over has been interesting. The year started off good, just moving along. Reece was in her last year of preschool and enjoying it so much. Turner was the typical 3 year old that ruled the universe! 
I had been keeping busy with running the carpet business from home, cleaning houses and babysitting my friends 3 kids. As busy as that sounds it was not too bad, but there were moments that I thought "why am I trying to be super woman?" 
Clinton is still working at the BBQ pit stop and has been so happy, he found a great job that is more of a hobby for him! He has really enjoyed it and has helped the company expand in many ways. 
Summer was fun it came and went super-fast. The kids and I took a trip to Washington to visit. We had our great friend Luz Warner come with us! She absolutely loved it. Her first time in WA and her first time visiting a farm.
School started the end of August and Reece started Kindergarten. She was full of excitement to go to school and asked every day for a month if it was time! Turner is doing preschool at home with me and my friend Jessica Jorgensen’s daughter Lindsay.
The start of the main reason I wanted to get back into blogging.... all started over a week ago……
 Nov. 11, 2015 I was working at Sean's smoke house that night. I came home late and the kids were in bed. The following morning Turner came into wake me up and told me that "Reece pee's blood". I was very confused for one that Turner was telling me this and second her pee was blood.... very confused.... I then got up and asked Reece what happened. She told me her pee was red, she said she was scared so she flushed the toilet. Since I didn't see anything and she didn't appear to be hurting and she told me she was fine. She had zero pain, zero other symptoms.... I just decided to wait and see when she went potty again. After lunch she went and sure enough it was FIRE engine RED!! I was alarmed, but not freaking out. I called my sister’s husband who is a PA and chatted with him, he just advised to call the Dr and get her checked out. So 30 min later we were at the office and seeing the Dr. after she left a sample we were headed to the AF hospital for an ultrasound and lab work. After the ultrasound the Dr was on the phone with me as we sat in the room and he informed me that there was a mass on her kidney. He told us we would need to follow up with PCH and she will need to go in for more testing. So for the next 90min I sat in the waiting room on the phone with the Urology office at PCH getting her schedule for a CT scan.
Friday Nov. 13, 2015 we were headed to PCH for a CT scan. We had no idea what was about to come next. The CT scan went well, it was quick and easy. After we finished we headed up to the Urology clinic to meet with the Dr. about the CT scan. Both Clinton and I had no idea what they found if anything or what to expect. The Dr. was in surgery all day so in-between he came up to chat with us. It was about 12pm when he told us the news.... Reece had a Tumor in her right kidney that they believed to be "Wilms tumor". Both of us were in shock and I honestly don’t think that it even registered for a few seconds. We then briefly talked about what this was and what to expect. Dr. Wallis told us that Reece would have surgery on Tuesday to remove the tumor and her kidney. Clinton was in complete shock and just a mess. I was actually very calm and tried to stay strong for Reece. We met with the nurse who set up the surgery and then headed to Oncology to talk to the team about what would take place after surgery. When she checked in they checked her vitals and found her blood pressure to be super high (155/114) this was not only high for her but for an adult this would be high. So we chatted and re-checked and it was still up. They gave her a BP medication and sent us to Echo for her heart test. After the test we stopped back in the oncology and her BP was still high. For this reason she needed to be admitted for observation and to try and get her BP under control before surgery. We had just planned to be there overnight and go home the next day. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Reece’s pressures were all over that night and the oral medication was not working well enough to keep her pressure down before it would rise again.  That fist night we were up and down, vomiting, had a bloody nose and lots of headaches. Saturday came and they decided that she needed to be sent to the ICU so they could get her on an IV drip for her BP medicine. Sunday came and they finally had her pressure down to a range they were comfortable with. The team had debated back and forth about getting her into surgery sooner than Tuesday. Finally on Sunday late afternoon they decided to do the surgery Monday. I decided to go home for the night and get a good night rest for a very long day Monday. This was the first day I had left the hospital since Friday and left Reece since this all started. As Turner and I drove away I felt my “mommy shield” fall off and my emotions were coming out for the first time. It was a hard night being home without her but I knew that Clinton was with her and she was being taken care of. In just 3 short days our lives changed dramatically. Reece was your typical happy 5 year old going to Kindergarten, playing with friends, running around like a 5 year old should. On Nov. 16th she was headed to the operating room for the 5 hour surgery to remove her tumor and the bad kidney. I had prepared myself so I thought but I was completely wrong. The first hour waiting in her room was brutal, I was so anxious and fidgety I could hardly stand it. We did get updates from the OR about every 90 mins but the time just crept by.
Surgery was over and Reece was wheeled back to her room where we were waiting. It was so good to see her and know that all went well and she was out. The Dr’s talked to use and said that everything went as planned and she did great. They were actually able to save a portion of the major vessel “vena cava”. They and planned to remove a portion of the vein to remove the tumor that was attached to it but they were able to remove the tumor from the vein and not have to take it out. Reece was still very groggy but she could respond and she even smiled at us when we talked to her. She had 5 different lines in her body. It was a sight you don’t imagine to see on your child. About an hour after she was back we were able to get her to open her eyes and she talked a little. As I suspected she was nauseous and started vomiting. The nurse gave her some Zofran to ease her stomach and she was back to sleep in no time. The night went very well, as she was still very sleep from surgery. Tuesday Reece slept about 80% of the day. It was kind of worrisome but they were not concerned with her vitals. Her blood pressure was good from the time her kidney was removed and we never had to go back on any medicine. Later Tuesday we were out of the ICU and got to head to the surgical floor. This was a good step to going home. On Wednesday they took out her catheter, epidural drip and a line in her neck L it was a very rough day. Needless to say she had a lot of tears and so did her mamma. Since the urine cath was out that meant we had to get out of bed to go potty. The first time this happened was so overwhelming but so joyful. Reece hadn’t moved much since the surgery and had not got out of bed in 2 days. The pain she was feeling was “new” and she was very scared. She was very apprehensive to move her torso. She just had her abdomen cut open and a piece of her removed, I honestly would not be jumping out of bed to pee either! It took a bit of coaching and team effort from her wonderful nurse but we make it to the bathroom and we both cried after J
Thursday was better, we started getting out of bed and moving around more. We had goals set to go on walks and get to the playroom. Reece had some visitors from friends and her grandma Turner stopped by. She was started to perk up and feel better. We were hopeful to go home Friday but until she stated eating, drinking more and her bowels started working we had to stay. But Friday she surprised us all and by 4pm we were on our way home.
The weekend was very relaxing, Reece was about 90% back to normal. It was amazing how fast her body was recovering from a major operation. Monday was her apt with the Radiology team at Huntsman cancer research. This is where she was fitted for a mold and had 5 dots tattooed on her abdomen for the radiation treatments. Radiation will start Nov. 30th and she will get 6 treatments in a row over 6 days. Today Nov. 25th she started her fist Chemo treatment. It went as well as expected, the worst part was accessing her port as this was the first time. She was not happy after but calmed down and we were able to chat with the Dr. More about her treatments and what to expect.
Chemo will go for 25 weeks and weeks 1-10 Reece will get chemo every week. We will access the port every time and draw blood and if the labs come back good then we will do the chemo. There may be times she will need blood depending on her counts. Weeks 11-25 she will skip 2 weeks and have chemo on the 3rd week. The 3 medications she will get to treat her cancer will have similar side effects…. Hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and more. But those are the most common. Losing her hair is probably going to be hard but we have briefly talked about that and when it begins to show signs we will address it with her again.
It’s been 12 days since everything stated and we are just overwhelmed by everyone who has offered help, donated to GoFundMe, sent gifts, cards and more. For Reece being 5 years old it’s hard to completely understand what is going on, and why she still has to go for treatments. She said today that she thought they took out her “yucky kidney” so she would get better. I told her yest they did but b/c it was growing in other places sometimes they can see the yucky cells and those cells will start to grow again and make you sick. I don’t know how much she has understood or does but we continue to pray that she will be able to fight like a champ. Reece has always been my tough, gentle, sweet and very thoughtful child. If anyone can go through this trial I know that she can. Turner is doing well, the first week was hard while I was away from him for so long but he is trying to understand as best as his 4 year old mind can. It’s been 12 days of ups and downs and we are only getting stronger with each day. Both Clinton and I are just so filled with love from the blessings we have been given thus far. I know that angles were with Reece in the operating room and the Lord was guiding the surgeon’s hands.
I want to do my best at journaling this journey for Reece. I know she is young and hope to document as much as I can. I believe she will remember some of this but not all and hope to help her see what an amazing trial she went through at such a young age.
Reece you are strong, you are tough, you are a child of God and your mom and dad love you. We know that you will make a full recovery after this is all over. Your life will be filled with many challenges but this is one that will only make you ready to face those that will come your way. 
 CT Scan day 1

 Admitted for BP
 Daddy visiting after 2 days!

post surgery :(

 Going HOME!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

LONG Ago A Use to Blog!

Well not sure what exactly happened but my blogging days ended a while ago and that made me very sad. I think the darn FB saga got the better of me.... but that needs to change. I really enjoyed blogging and it was more of a journal for our family.
Well since my last blog a LOT has happened.... I guess that's what happens when you go 2 years down the road!
We move to Utah b/c Clinton got a job offer and to make this a short story we bought a business last fall and we are now working for ourselves. I run the company from our home and Clinton works a second job (more of a hobby). The company we bought is called Allure Carpet Care. So we are a carpet cleaning business! Clinton has had a passion for smoking jerky for a few years and this past year he got another itch. Another long story made short... while at a trade show for the company Clinton met a guy who owned a BBQ shop, they sell smokers, sauces, rubs and such. After a chatting they did a trade and next thing we know he offered Clinton a job at the shop. So now Clinton runs the place and LOVES it. We have a person who works for the carpet business and he does all the cleaning jobs. Clinton lives a breaths for smoking anything. Just recently he did his first back yard BBQ competition and placed 2nd over all and last week he did another and took home 1st place! He is really enjoying smoking meat and jerky.

As for the kids and myself. Reece is starting her 2nd year of preschool. Last year she went and absolutely loved it. she will be going back again and im so excited b/c she is learning so much and just has a blast. Reece is my sweet, smart, gentle, helpful and thoughtful girl. She is so good and so fun, she has a spunk and gets very hyper around company. She loves to sing, and is very loud while doing so! She LOVES animals just like her dad and is obsessed with pepper (we adopted pepper last summer and just fell in love with him). Reece loves playing with friends and asks just about every day if we are going to have friends over.

Turner is my sweet but fierce child! He has a personality a lot like his mother! He has a mind set out to do something and just get out of the way, and his determination is very strong. He has a temper but at the same time can just melt your heart. this boy is 100% BOY! He and Reece are the complete opposite, they couldn't be more black and white. He just had his 3rd birthday which just blows me away. Turner is a very smart boy but only when he wants to be! He love animals as well and is not afraid to be rough with them. He enjoys wrestling with his dad and play with other boys.
Recently his latest obsession is NOT getting dressed and wearing pjs ALL day EVERY day. which makes Sundays very difficult... and it usually means screaming, thrashing and having a complete melt down all the say into church while trying to undress himself. His biggest problem is not getting a good nap and that makes him very cranky, this boy loves his sleep.

As for me.... well im very busy, probably more busy than I like to be. I started a cleaning business last fall and it grew from 1 client to 6. Along with running the carpet business from home, taking care of the kids I offered to babysit for 3 extra kids for the school year. At the time I thought this is great then I can stay home... its working out but its busy when I have to juggle my answering the phones, doing the books and cleaning.
My biggest issue is saying NO to my clients and having to turn them down for a job. My mother tells me I need to buck and learn to say "no" or im going to burn myself out. She is 100% right and the day I hit the ground I vow to NOT call her!
This post was written a while ago and i somehow never hit post. So today Nov. 21, 2015 its going to hit my wall !