Saturday, June 18, 2016

So Come What May

We seem to be surrounded with lots of young family and friends who've been diagnosed with cancer. A month ago my friend from Jerome, Cami Bingham, lost her little two year old to neuroblastoma.

Lance went to school with Marty Meyer and as they stayed friends Marty sang in various quartets with Lance, taught him to play the bag pipes, and after he got married they became our neighbors. Emily and I had play dates and picnics all the time with our kids. He passed away with stage 4 melanoma cancer at the age of 34, leaving Emily a widow at age 26 with five little children ages 1-6.

Our brother in law, Charlie, was diagnosed this year with liver cancer. I'm always stunned to hear about people with cancer but when it's family it brings it to a whole new level of fear and anxiety.

We have been praying and fasting for these families for the past year and they've each witnessed many miracles. Even though Kenzie and Marty passed away, the miracles were still there and prayers were still answered. Answers to prayers aren't always about 100% healing and even though we pray for healing, we always end with the Lord's will.

It's interesting to think about cancer, I watched a PBS documentary on it which was so fascinating. Basically cancer has always been a part of life, thousands of years before Christ was on the earth people still had cancer. Cancer isn't a new plague in this modern era, we just have more advanced medicines and technologies to detect it. What's interesting is that cancer isn't biased. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old, highly educated or simple minded, or anything. Cancer strikes all walks of life. No amount of money in the world will ever be a guarantee of survival. Cancer is awful. There's so much red tape in the medical world surrounding treatments and images and testing and drugs.

I wish there was a metal detector device used for cancer. Like, here, just walked through this scanner-type-doorway everyday you get home and when you hear the beep you know you've got the beginning stages of cancer and need to seek treatment right away. Then the survival rate would be much higher and it wouldn't cost your entire life's savings and retirement just to get a prescription, and the quality of life would be much better during treatment. For those that don't want to know if they have cancer they can just turn the scanner off. Easy as pie. And I wouldn't charge a dime for the scanner or to have the scanner installed, because everything in life should be free.

But life isn't easy as pie and nothing in life is ever free and if Heavenly Father wanted a device like that then one of the millions of brilliant minds on this earth would've invented it already. I don't know why cancer is so selective in who it takes captive nor why some people survive years with it and others die suddenly.

But I do know this: Jesus Christ is the Savior and Creator of everyone and everything. He knows the end from the beginning and is omnipotent. He is love and everything that is good in this world. I see Him while looking at Cora's little toes to tasting a juicy raspberry to hearing Lance sing beautiful music to feeling the wind on my face. He is in everything. He is in control and wants nothing but to see us be happy and to return to Him one day. As the hymn says, "I believe in Christ, so come what may."


I'm sure I've blogged about these friends before, but these are the five of us (Jean was in the other room) who met and were all in the same ward. We each were born the same year, married the same year, and had baby girls the same year. Left to right is Chris with Sydney, me and Cora, Julie and Maraea, and Liz and Audrey.

Chris and Jean now live in the valley, Julie lives on the South Hill, Liz lives in Mead (10 minute drive), and I only moved a mile so I'm the only one who stayed in the ward. During the season we got together every week to watch the latest Downton Abby episode and indulged in all sorts of yummy food. We still get together about once a month for girls nights, or to browse Burlington, or to get ice cream. There are 11 kids between the five of us and I love the fact that we still make it a priority to spend time together despite the 30 minute drive it takes us to get to each other's houses. Our activities are usually planned around the kids, being that we are all stay at home moms, and there's always delicious food. We always surround ourselves with food. I sure love them, we have such fun together!!!

Fun on Wheels

When the weather warms up we usually ride bikes or walk down to the high school so the kids can ride around in the spacious parking lot. We finally found a helmet small enough (although it's still quite big on him) for Kimball and Cora. When it came in the mail, Kimball wore his helmet everywhere that day; speech, Cora's school, pharmacy, grocery store, etc. He loves it and it's been fun teaching him about safety.
This particular day I asked Kimball to go potty before we walked to the high school to which he refused multiple times. Of course, 10 minutes after riding his bike he had to go potty. The high school was locked and I told him he had to wait until we got home. He said, "But Mom, I can just go on that tree over there." So we had a discussion about what "public" means why we can't just pee on any tree that we see. I allowed it this time and acted like I didn't know whose kid that was across the parking lot.

I Miss Grandpa

Making Super Heroes

Barbershop BBQ

Last week we attended the annual barbershop barbeque. We were the only young ones, the next youngest were in their 60's with the majority being in their 80's. We met at this beautiful house out on the Palouse and although it was a bit chilly, we still had a really good time! (Cora wasn't interested in wearing a mustache).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cora's Update

Cora had another swallow study last week which didn't show any aspirating OR penetration!!! Great news but we're not out of the woods yet. It's a bit risky for her to go from nectar thickness to regular water so we've reduced the thickness to half nectar. Her speech therapists are doing several exercises to get the back of her tongue and those corresponding muscles strengthened with a heightened awareness. I'm really excited for her. Although we're not off the thickener completely, she's still making progress. I couldn't ask for anything more.

I also had a meeting with her Family Resource Coordinator (Carol) and the school district to talk about her transitioning from the Guild School in the fall. Her scores for speech were quite low so she qualified for that. The OT scores were .1 point below for qualification, and I can't remember where she scored with social or PT. She needs to have two areas that are two standard deviations lower than average to qualify for the school district's special education preschool. We meet with them again at the elementary school at the end of September to be retested for all areas and get a more accurate reading of where she's at overall. If she doesn't qualify then we'll continue to find speech, OT, PT, social, and cognitive therapies through a private practice.

Her rash is looking a lot better and very minimal so for the past two weeks I've been giving her bits of gluten here and there. Mostly just snacks - regular pretzels, regular graham crackers, waffles or pancakes, etc. So far I think she's tolerating it well but I'll keep it at a slow pace and eventually work up to regular breads and muffins, etc.

Lets Go Fly A Kite

Last night for a family activity we flew kites which was a first for the kids. Kimball absolutely loved it, his kite was Star Wars. Cora had zero interest whatsoever and didn't want to have anything to do with it at all.

Sunday Show

Don't let their cuteness fool you. It was stake conference and the kids were awful! You know it's bad when on the way out of the chapel a man grabs your arm and says, "Hang in there Mama, you're doing a good job." Great. That means everyone seated behind us watched our circus.

More On

I thought this was a great picture of Grandpa!

Two Wheeler

I finally convinced Kimball that he's too big for a tricycle. He loves this little bike and is very dependent on those training wheels but he sure has a good time on it!

Fun in the Sun

Girls Weekend & Man Trip

For memorial weekend, Cora and I had a girls weekend together while Lance and Kimball went on a man trip. Cora and I got shoes, went to a few parks, took naps together, lots of reading time, snuggles, and she enjoyed bathing alone without brother splashing her all the time.

Lance and Kimball went to TF to visit Kempton and Bonnie while they were in town. It was a quick three day trip and they loved it!
When Kimball got this sticker at the airport he said, "Hey, this is the same sticker the policeman gave me when he gave mommy a ticket!"