Mitchell's 5th Birthday

Mitchell's 5th Birthday

Mitchell's 4th Birthday

Mitchell's 4th Birthday
February 2011
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Nov 2010

Mitchell's 3rd Birthday

Mitchell's 3rd Birthday
Feb 2010
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Monday, March 21, 2011

From the mouth of Mitch

Mitchell has been very sweet--as usual--and keeps telling us "I love you" throughout the day. Today as we were bathing Eden we had the following conversation:

Mitch:"I love you mommy."
Me: "Oh, I love you too. You're such a good boy. You must have been a very good boy in Heaven because you're so obedient."
(Pause)
Mitch: "I don't want to live with Heavenly Father."
Me: "How come?"
Mitch: "Because I want to stay here and live with you."
Me: "You're so sweet. That's what I want too."
Mitch:" I love Heavenly Father though. And I love Jesus--he helps us--but I want to stay here and live with you and daddy."

Does he know? Does he get a vote in all of this? I need this angel here with me. What a blessing he is in my life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sky is Falling

Does anyone else feel like the world is falling apart right now? In the last few weeks, I've known of another family friend have a child diagnosed with a brain tumor; a family friend who lost a baby suddenly; friends leave the church; the Japanese earthquake/tsunami; a high school friend who was murdered and left behind a wife and five kids. Add to that all of the cancer issues with us and those we've met, it feels a bit like I'm in a bad dream. (That reminds me, will somebody pinch me, please?)

It's easy to feel depressed when we hear of events like these. We feel helpless, afraid, and question what exactly Heavenly Father is doing. This is the time we need to have faith and strength, remembering the Lord has a plan. As I thought of it yesterday--because I have been deeply affected by all of the above--I realized that although the storm is here, I have my poncho on and ready. It doesn't mean the rain isn't going to still hit me, or that I won't get hurt, but it does mean that much of the bad will slide off of me because I am protected by my poncho (testimony). I KNOW that we all will be tried whether from afar, or personally, and we must be ready WHEN that day comes (not IF).

I cannot describe in words how much peace I have felt at the hands of my Savior, Jesus Christ. When I feel that emptiness, I turn to the scriptures and ALWAYS find strength. I learn that when we have faith, the Lord can do great things in our lives. I learn that by the power of Jesus Christ's atonement, we can be carried through our trials and succored. I learn that our Father in Heaven has a plan and we can choose to be a force for good in that plan. Best of all, I learn that I am a child of God, that He loves me, will NEVER forsake me, and knows of my needs and sorrows. What a blessing it is to know these things when so much around me is sad and hopeless. I will NEVER remove my ''poncho,'' because I know that, "It is upon the rock of our redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all of his hail and mighty storms shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Book of Mormon; Helaman 5:12).

Many outside of religion often scoff at us "believers" claiming we're ignorant. Even if this were true, which it is actually the opposite, I would much rather be ignorant and happy than "learned" and miserable.

Last of all, remember to be grateful. So many well-intentioned people say things like, "Oh you guys have been through so much, don't you deserve a break?" or "It's not fair you have to go through so much." Let me tell you, while I've often heard people say, "I'm grateful for my trials," I always thought they were crazy. Here I am today saying, "I'm grateful for my trials." Two reasons: 1.) I have learned it can ALWAYS be worse. Yes, I may or may not have to watch my son suffer a horrific death, but I think each day how there are women all over the world who watch their children starve to death thinking how they might have done something differently to prevent that. Or, at the hospital I always see children who are worse off than Mitchell. Not that I should compare, but it reminds me that I can get through my trial. It could be worse. 2.) I feel honored that I've been given this child, who I know was chosen to endure this gigantic feat before he came to earth. The Lord trusts me. He knows that not only will I endure this trial well, but that I will make it an opportunity to bless the lives of my family and those around us. That is what I am trying to do. That is what the Lord wants me to do. When I remember to be grateful for my life (because it's a pretty great one), I feel happy. I am grateful for today. I am grateful for how much more I love my children than I did a few months ago and how much more I know and love the Lord.

Do you have your poncho on? Is it strong and secure? If not, get it ready today--not tomorrow or next week--TODAY!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spoken Too Soon

I think we're getting the hang of this chemo stuff, or at least are understanding how it's going to work a little more. While Mitchell felt well enough all of last week, as I mentioned in the previous post, he threw up a little last Sunday. On the same day he began a mild fever that lasted for a few days and a terrible cough developed too. On Wednesday he also threw up again. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at the doctor's office checking for flu and RSV as a precautionary measure since the chemo wipes out his blood counts. He has been very irritable (can't blame him), and hasn't had much of an appetite. By the end of the week, however, he was feeling better. You know he's not feeling well when, in his prayers, he says, "Please bless me, myself, to get better soon."

Poor little Eden caught the cold bug too and for whatever reason got really sick. I hate watching my kiddos endure illness, but ESPECIALLY sick babies when they struggle to breathe. My Eden doll could barely get a breath in and kept gagging on milk/food. Yesterday she ran a fever of 103, so I took her to the ER just to make sure it wasn't pneumonia. Gratefully she doesn't have pneumonia, but did test positive for RSV and has an ear infection.

Between the two sick kiddos and Jackson's strange unquenchable thirst in the night, we've had some rough nights. GRATEFULLY...gratefully my mama is here to help care for all of us. Thank heavens for moms! I haven't gotten any cleaning or other projects I dreamed of completed while she has been here, but on well; maybe next year will look up. In the meantime, watch your step around my house.

Tomorrow is our bi-monthly infusion. Cross your fingers that the pass is good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Phew!


Of course I shouldn't have been, but I was a little nervous about all of this doubling up chemo business. Everyone hears horror stories of the terrible side effects of chemo. We totally lucked out, however, because whether these chemos are more minimal in how they effect Mitchell, or he's just extra tough (my guess), he was blessed to feel pretty great all week. I zeroed out my calendar this last week in anticipation, but it turned out to be a really fun week at home together. Don't tell anyone, but I may or may not have hung out in my jammies a couple of mornings. Mitchell was a little on the grumpier side, but hey I'll take it.
Children's Village--a facility solely focused on treatments for children--held a skate night at the local rollerskating rink last night. I budged and let Mitchell skip his nap and come to the store with me, so by the time skating came around he was wiped out and tired. The rest of the fam including our cousins had a blast. Mitchell ended up taking a few whirls around in a stroller with one of us pushing him, and he put his hands in the air calling it a rollercoaster.
This morning he woke up whimpering and felt warm. I laid him on my bed and he said he was going to throw up. Sure enough I got the bucket and a small amount of bile came out. Lesson learned. Even though he finishes chemo the night before, we still need to continue zofran (anti-nausea) for a few days.
Now we have a week off until next Monday's IV infusion. Today we had a visit from our Make-A-Wish friends. What an organization! We can hardly wait for our trip to Disneyworld. (Side note: Mitchell calls every stranger who visits us "doctor" now. Today he kept saying to our MAW planner, "Hey! Doctor, look at this.")
Also, I wanted to make sure I didn't sound like I was "dissing" on our doctors last post. Our doctors and Seattle Children's in general have been great. I think they try to keep an even keel so we don't derive any hidden messages. Does that make sense? Parents in this situation cling to a single word, so these doctors have to watch what they say very carefully. We love our doctor and nurse practitioners!
Please remember our little friends: Ashley, Keith, Jonaven, Luke, Peyton, Sadie, Sophia.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

MRI Results

We received a miracle yesterday. Mitchell's tumor shrunk approx. 4-4.5 mm or almost 1/2 centimeter. His tumor was about 25 mm before, so that is pretty awesome--almost 1/5 of it's size! The doctors were not overly excited about the amount of shrinkage or anything, but did say it is great that it shrunk. It doesn't necessarily correlate to any long-term results, but at least it didn't grow.

After Mitchell was returned to us post-MRI (before the results), we were getting him adjusted and working with his port-a-cath tubes, etc. A flood of memories from the past several months flashed through my mind, and immediately the poem "Footprints" came to mind (you know, the one where the Lord carries the person so there's only one set of footprints). We really have been through the ringer. There were some really hard moments--there still are--but looking back it all seems not that difficult, almost like there should be more. This is a painful trial, but I testify that the Lord carries us if we let Him.

I read Bishop Edgley's conference talk again (I quoted him last post), and there was another part that struck me:

"And because of my faith--even in the seemingly worst of times--I recognize with peace and gratitude that in reality it is the best of times."

That sums up where I'm at right now. I know there will continue to be hard moments through this trial, but as I exercise faith I know the Lord is blessing me with comfort, a strengthened testimony, and an increased appreciation for motherhood's sacred role. Through the tremendous sorrow are we able to feel overwhelming joy, which is a major part of our experience on Earth.

Thank you, THANK YOU for all of the fasting and prayers. You never know how much it means to do this for someone else until you've been on the receiving end. We are humbled by those who so selflessly serve us in many ways. And again, we are so grateful our Father in Heaven has given us this boost to keep moving forward.