My Inspiration

My Inspiration

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Charity is more than just doing, it's caring.

I have already post how much I love and appreciate EMTs

I love my doctors!  I am confident they are the doctors for me.  I have complete trust and appreciation for the sacrifices they make to be educated and knowledgeable about my personal case.

But the majority of my aid through this journey has comes from the nurses, whether at the doctors appointment, chemo treatment, or in the hospital.  They are the smiling angels running about non stop attend to our needs. I know its just a profession, but most nurses make it much more.   Most nurses are always happy, honestly concerns about you, and wanting to help you find relief.

One such nurse that has particular stood out to me, is my chemo nurse, Kathy.  From the first day of treatment, when I came in scared to death, she called me "Honey" and gave me a big long hug to calm me down and reassure me everything is going to be okay.  She asked me about all me children and family.  But what makes her so different to me is she remembers from treatment to treatment the details of my life and truly cares three weeks later how I'm doing and what's new with my kids.  As a nurse, she doesn't have to do that.  As I sit her watch her run from beeping IV stand to IV stand, helping each patient, she shows that same concern and personal care to each and every person.

Through watching her I have come to a broader understanding of charity.  I'm really good about running about serving others, a little bit because its ingrained into by my church  and a little bit for self gratification of serving others.  Sad, but true!  Bring meals, cleaning a house, giving a ride, watching kids, or any other serve project you throw at me, it no problem.

But Kathy has showed me that charity is much more.  She runs around busily doing for each of us, but will stop at any moment to talk to a patient, to give a hug and tell them she loves them and hear their story. Charity is more than an act of kindness.  It's a personal investment of caring, knowing and wanting the best for that person, who ever they are family or stranger.  I need to start by practising this with my own family and kids.

My second favorite thing about Kathy is she's not afraid to talk about God.  Many of the patients often talk about the churches and ministries sermons.  Kathy joins right in to testify of her faith in the Savior.

At one of my treatments, Kathy was telling about taking her young grandson that she took to mass at Holy Trinity.  I guess on the way up to take the sacrament, her grandson did something silly, and her first thought was to correct him. But then she had to laugh and take in the moment.  I remember thinking, Kathy knows that she was in the right place, doing the right thing, with the right little person.

Four weeks ago, at my second to the oldest child and oldest daughters baptism, my four year, Alina was having a hard time being quiet and holding still.  Four kids were baptized and then we all came back to the chapel to give them a blessing and confirm the Holy Ghost.  Half way through the first boys blessing, Alina really started to lose it.  So my dear friend, Rachel told her, "Alina you just have to hold still until Kendall gets the Holy Ghost."

Alina immediately stands up and turn around to look over the congregation.  Then she yells out, "I don't see the Holy Ghost.  Where is he?  How is Kendall going to get him?  Can you see him?  What color is he?"  And on and on she went, non stop talking in her loud high voice.

During Kendall's blessing she came over to ask me all the same question.  I tried to whisper back answers, but they were not sufficient for her curiousity.

Finally after wrestling my two, almost three year old on one knee and Alina the chatter box on the other knee, I had, had it.  I scoobed up those two and marched them out of the chapel and back to the kitchen for a snack and a time out for all three of us.  I pulled my wig off and threw my head in the refrigerator to cool off.  (One of four times I wear my wig, and I feel like I'm going through menopause.)

Once again my sweet friend, Rachel came to my rescue and watched the two so I could go back in and enjoy the rest of the service.  As I sat in the back looking around at dear friends that have become family, and listen to the gospel of Jesus Christ being taught to me, my family, and close friends.  I thought about Kathy's story.  I'm in the right place, doing the right thing, with the right people.  We are not perfect.  Far from it.  But we are on the right path to find happiness and joy in this life and the next.  Surrounding myself with people like Kathy, I know help me along the way.  She is a true blessing in my life, and not just because she's my nurse, she so much more.

Sidenote about Alina
The next morning after the baptism, it happened that it was just her and I around the table in the wee hours.  As we started to enjoy our bowl of pink shredded wheat.
Alina, who as Keith says is always suspended in conversation from night to the next day, chimes in, "Mom did you get the Holy Ghost when you were baptized?"

Trying to keep in conversation short and quiet due to morning exhaustion, I respond, "Yes"

Alina quickly asks back, "What did it feel like?"

Me, "It's a good feeling inside your body."

Silence while we both eat a little cereal, then Alina asks, "So is my cereal the Holy Ghost, because it makes me feel good inside?"

Sigh!  Okay you can do better mom.

Me, "Alina the Holy Ghost is the spirit without a body, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ send to each of us when we ask for it or are in need.  We also feel the Holy Ghost when we make good choices and help others. It a conformation that you are loved by them and they are aware of your needs."

Silence and more cereal eaten....

Alina, "So the Holy Ghost is God!"

Me, "Right,"
End of this long, and important conversation.
I love my spicy Alina! 

Best Friends Through the Years

Last night, as I struggled to get my mind off the last chemo, I sat down on my bed with five totes of laundry and started watching a movie called "Big Fish" at 10:00 p.m.  At first I thought it was the cheesiest movie, but then it hooked me, and I had to finish.

Keith came in to bed at 12:00 to find me crying like a baby.  I cry a lot lately.  I turning into a big boob! (Get it a "BIG boob!" Or at least a medium size boob.)

Then over the next two hours, I layed in bed thinking about this movie and my life. This movie was about a man, who hyperbolized stories of meeting and making friends in his life. As his death, his son realized that his father really did live a great life with amazing friends.   But the point I took was that as he befriended and helped someone through his life, they helped him back in the end. Friends come and go, but they stay friends forever.   Between this movie and a note I received from a old friends has made me start thinking about my life.

I was blessed to grow up in a small town in Norther Arizona, Joseph City.  As I think back on teachers, friends, neighbors, my parents, and sisters, I couldn't have asked for a better environment to learn, enjoy and grow into an adult.
One my greatest influences, in my youth was my best friend, Jenny Burt (Collins).  Jenny is my oldest and most consistent friend of my life. As I remember, Jenny and I were in the same classroom all through grade school and most of our High school classes were the same.
Then after high school, we went our separate ways, she met and married a great guy and started a family and I jumped from school to mission to school to being a working single girl.  In the beginning we'd talk and get together a couple times a year but then life gets busy and we'd only get to meet for dinner once a year.
But thats okay! I never felt any less close, or loved, or understood no matter how much time had past.  We're friends that carry for on another. Our lives could not been any more different, when I was getting married at the age of 31, Jenny was having her 9th and last baby.  Time and distance still has not changed our friendship.  How blessed with friendship.

I also thought of best friends that I have made and needed through my life experiences.
Childhood friends that helped me get into a little trouble, take long drives, cruise the streets of Holbrook (which I don't know why) and long talks and happy memories.

During my college, mission and single working girl years, I made amazing friends to travel with, go to dinner, cry over boyfriend break ups and giggle over new crushes.  Dinner and movies, long talks, shopping, serving together, and working together.  Thank heavens for facebook, cell phones, and texting to reconnects.  Few things bring me greater joy then to see an old friends, children on saying or doing great things.  Its a small way to stay connected and caring for one and other.

And now that I'm a mother/wife living far away from family, I have made friends that helped me laugh and make a good joke about the long crazy days of motherhood.  We have friends who have become family because ours is too far away.  The unconditional support through this trial has even made me more grateful for friends.  Friends that drop everything and change daily plans to come watch my children, give me a ride to appointment, even when the appointment ends up in emergency room trip late into the night.  (Sorry Tina and Kristal)  Friends that say its no problem to take 5 extra kids to all their activities and church functions, when by definition any more children under age 10, is a problem.  Thanks you!

I have been blessed with fantastic friends old and new...near and far.  They have molded and improved my life for the best.  I hope in some way I have helped them along the way.

I'm particular excited about my cousin Sherida coming tonight to help with this last chemo.  There was about 4 years that I spent everyday with Sherida, my Aunt Claudette, and Stephanie. I'm pretty sure I was the 8 child, they never wanted.   I miss laughing around Uncle John and Aunt Claudette's kitchen table, discussing politics, funny events of the day, teasing one another, and discussing gospel topics.  My heart hurts missing Claudette and Stephanie, with reassurance that we will be together again one day.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Choices, choices....

Keith and I met with the plastic surgeon this week to discuss breast reconstruction options after the mastectomy.

There were a lot of options, but they boil down to two choices...

Tissue flap procedures or implant procedures

Tissue flap procedures use your own fat tissue, muscle, and skin from your stomach, or back to recreate the breast.
Sounds appealing because you get a tummy tuck and new breast all in one.
However, it's a 8-10 hours operation, and 3-6 month recovery.  Also a lifetime of weak stomach or back muscles due to the surgery.
All scary and not really available to me, right now in my life.

Implant procedures starts with tissue expanders and the use of fake skin (cadaver skin) to stretch the skin out into the desired shape/size of the breast.  
Also you have these horrible drain tubes that everyone says is a pain.
It about a 2 hour surgery and 3-6 weeks recovery with the expanders and drain tubes.  Then a small procedure to replace the expanders with silicone implants and a week or so recovery.

The doctor explained to us the advances in silicone technology, particularly over the past five years.  If punchered, they don't leak and cause the problems of the past.

We both feel like we received good information and feel pretty good about the doctor, now we have to make some decisions. Which I feel is most likely silicone implants.

For me, the low point of this appointment came when the doctor was examining my stomach and back to see if I was a candidate for tissue flap procedure, he said, "You have plenty of extra fat and skin on your stomach to replace both breast."

What!  This after I've lost 25 pound during chemotherapy!  

The Bloodletting Room Conversation

Friday we met with the oncologist to make sure my blood count is up.

As I was waiting in the room I affectionately call "the bloodletting room", for my blood to be drawn, a woman across from me said, "You make bald look beautiful!"

I rubbed my head remembering that I was bald, and said, "Oh thank you.  You get usta it."

She then told me that she was on her second round and her hair was starting to fall out.  So then she asked, "How did you cut it off? Did you go to a salon?"

I told her my son did it with clippers at home, and that I've had to trim it down twice since then because part of my hair has continue to grow, but it's sparse.

Her husband, who was obviously a military man, laughed and asked, "So I need to cut her hair, the same way she's cut mine for years?"

Yep, pretty much. High and tight!

Oh, and my blood count is UP, or at least up enough for a chemo patient.  I'm feeling much better everyday.   I not 100%, but I better than I've been in the past 6 weeks, so no complaints.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All is Well

Last Thursday, when I took the lower dose of chemo, I had two goals in mind.
Don't throw up and stay out of the hospital!
I have big goals, I know?
So I started the anti-nausea medicine immediately after my treatment, hydrated, and went straight to bed. 
Friday through Monday I had all the normal symptoms.  I was constantly nausea, tired, body aches, my eyes twitch and are light sensitive, heat flashes and night sweats.  
But I've started feeling a little better everyday, and I can see the light at the end.  
I've successful  had a week of no throwing up and no hospital visits that were not planned.

I did have a procedure done on Monday afternoon at Dr. William office in the hospital.   
Once again he ultrasound my breast, without finding the tumor.  Happy feeling!  
But he wanted to put a marker where the tumor was so that when they do the mastectomy and take out all the tissue they know what section had the tumor.  Then the pathologist can really check that area for cancer.  
So he numbed me up, and shot big medal needle/prob thing in where the tumor was, then released a marker in my breast.  A little painful but not that bad.  

So all is well.  
I'm doing well.  
Kids are loving having Grandma Hatch here for Valentines.  
Grandma is awesome and on top of every.  
Landon's over his ear infection.   
Keith is busy and helpful as usual.  
And of course we are going to have another stinking snow day on Thursday, because we have a snow day every time I do chemo.  
Can not wait for SPRING to come! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Two things that drive me nuts..

I hate to complain, because I know there are others that suffer greater that I do. And I know there are other side effects I could be having, but I am not, like mouth sores.
But that being said, there are two things that are kinda driving me nuts.

First is called chemo brain or mental fogginess.

When I heard about this in chemo class, before starting chemo, I thought it sounded ridiculous. Boy was I wrong!

Its like pregnancy or mom brain times 10.

I have difficulty concentrating or staying focused on a task. Trouble remembering words, names, dates.  No ability to multi-task even function sometimes.

Thus the reason if any of these posts don't make sense, it's because I forgot to ask my friend Denise or my sister Paula fix all my grammatical and spelling errors before posting my craziness to the world.

A few days ago, I was doing the laundry to find I had once again ran the washing machine without putting clothes in it.
Stood there and laughed, and thought "Next year this is time I'll be back to normal , with a somewhat healthy body that has energy, and an average functioning brain."
I'm realistic, I wasn't that great before this process started.  But this body and this brain is driving me crazy.

Second is the neuropathy in my hands and feet.

They are constantly cold, numb, tingling, and burning, which causes pain. I also have the tendency to drop things.

At nights, I rub my feet and hands together to try and get feeling back.  I also find myself scratching the pads of my fingers on my knee, just like my Grandma Lena did when she was 90 sitting in her recliner.  She probable had the same problem, or it was a nervous twist.

Speaking of Grandma Hatch, last week while my dad was here, I was laying on the sofa and he was sitting across from me and he said to me, "Baby, you know who you look like?"
Me, before dad can respond,  "Grandpa Vern"
My dad laughed and said, "Yes"
I told him I think that every time I look at myself in the mirror.  My pointy nose, short gray buzz cut hair, and pale face, I look just like him.
So for those of you who knew Grandpa Vern, you now have a visual of what I look like going through chemo.
You would think I would be upset by this fact, but I'm not.  I'm actually
quite proud to look like a Hatch.

I don't know if you'd call Grandpa Vern handsome but he was a great man.  One of my favorite from my childhood.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Bear getting ready to Hibernate!

The week before I get ready to start another chemotherapy round, I start to feel like an old bear getting ready to hibernating!

Bears forge for food and eat a lot to fatten up!

I grocery shop like week long blizzard is coming in and I want go out to eat to all the yummy restaurants that I won't be about to eat for a week.

Bears prepare the den.

I clean my house like a pregnant women nesting.

I sure bears mate, party with friends and exercise, but I just don't have time for that.

As I begin my hyphenation, I have to remind my self that it is just one week, and not they whole winter. Although some days it seems like we've hibernating during this whole winter.


I must have done too much over the weekend, because I've been week ,dizzle, and flu like for the past three days.

I knew and was worried about it, yesterday when I went in to get my blood tested to see if I was health enough to do chemo on Thursday.  Unfortunately, I also wasn't meeting with Dr. Moore because he is on vacation, so I was meeting with the Nurse Practitioner.

Three things happen each visit before I see the doctor/NP, they weight you, they take two tubes of blood, and the nurse takes your vital states and reviews your medicines.

I felt nervous waiting for the NP to come in, like I had just failed a HUGE mid term exam.
And sure enough, I did fail!

The NP came in and told me because, my white blood cell count is too low, I had dropped in weight, and spending a week in the hospital, she as the NP could not approve of me doing chemo.  Grrr!

After discussing the fact that my tumor is gone, and the doctor had written a note on the last visit that my dose my be too high for my current health and lose of weight, she said she would email the doctor to ask the approval.  But if he didn't email back within 24 hours of starting chemo, I couldn't do it until next week.

She left the room, and I began to cry.
Odd!  Why would anyone be sad about not getting a chance to put POISON in their body?

But I realized it's because I have mentally told myself, "I can do this until the spring", which is March for me.
If I get behind or gets delayed, I may go crazy!

Thankfully, the NP came in with good news!  Because its only my white count that are broad line low,  which I get a shot called Neulasta on Friday, that gives that count a boast.  And my body obviously is respond well enough to the chemotherapy to lower the dose by 20% and take care of whatever cancer is left.  I can do chemo on Thursday!
As I was getting ready to go, she turned and very seriously said to me, "If your going to do this, you have to go home and lay low in bed"

Easier said then done!
As we all know, Moms don't really get to be sick or it's hard for us to let go, esspecaillty for weeks and months on end.
I came home that day, and tried to sleep, but I couldn't turn my head off enough to fall asleep. (Extreme Anxiety)
All I could think about is all the things I needed to do before I get really sick and just generally needs done for my kids and around my house.

Finally about 6:00 pm, before Keith left for church and Garrett and Kendall needed to be at Scouts/ her 1st Achievement Days, I asked Keith to come up and talk me through whats in my head.
I told him all the dumb, little, but big and important things to me, that were on my mind.
In true form, Keith just talked me down.
He is just so even, constant, and positive that he can see and helps me to see what I need to worry about and what I need to just let go.
I lack this ability to have perspective in all thinks. He has it in spades.
I LOVE that man!

And so grateful again for all my good friends and mom who took charge of my day today so that I could rest.

So, ya for me, because I get to stay on schedule, but I'm not feeling as well as I have hoped going into a chemo.
Prayers would be greatly appreciated that I can stay health through this treatment.

Also thank you all for the cards, and comments you leave me.
As I lay in bed, tired sleeping, movies and mindless watching the computer, I read them and they bring me joy.
Thanks you for caring. I truly feel your strength and support.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Many Blessings and Great News

Tuesday I was released from the hospital, and sent home to rest until the illous completely healed and my energy came back up.
I am so blessed to have great friends,( Rachael, Tina, Denise, Laurel and many others) who came over to watch the kids and care for me, cleaned my house, did my laundry, helped me prepare for the big weekend and forced me to rest.

So grateful that my parents came to visit and help with the baptism.  Even as an adult, its good to have your mom and dad around when you don't feel great, and need help.

I am so blessed to have a daughter like Kendall turn 8.
We had a great day celebrating her birthday, then preparing for her baptism and feeling the spirit so strong during her conformation.
As her and I were laying out her clothes for the baptism, she said to me. "I'm really lucky to get baptized today, because I only get to do it once, and not everyone who turns 8 gets to get baptized.  So that makes me really special."
 How true!

I also realized how blessed I am for my baby Landon to be turning 3.
For the past 11 years, I've always had an infant to be caring for night and day.
I loved that time of my life, but how grateful I am that we have moved into toddlers and kids only.

One of my greatest blessings this week came on Thursday when Keith and I went to visit the surgeon for an ultrasound recheck of my tumor in my breast.
As I lay on the table the doctor began the ultrasound, and I thought it was odd how quiet he was....
Five, six minutes later he said, "This is unusual!"  then continued to ultrasound some more.
Finally he said,  "I can't find your tumor! The place where is was has a little shadowing but the chemotherapy seems to have complete removed your tumor.  This is a REALLY BIG DEAL!"
He said that the fact that my body is reacting so well to the treatments also puts me in a better category for survival.
It also make all those hours sick in bed, worth it!
We had hoped and maybe even assumed that it would shrink, but to have completely gone, is a miracle.
And I'll take it!