Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love

Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love
Summer 2009

Friday, April 30, 2010

4th Chemo treatment

I can't believe it has been 3 weeks already since my last treatment. On my 3rd treatment my doctor was out of town so I met with the nurse practitioner who is only at that office on Fridays. This also meant I couldn't get treatment until Friday which put my booster shot on Monday. My shot is what boosts my immune system back up. I think having to wait so long was not good because I caught a cold. Normally I would have been able to fight a common cold with no problem, but with no immune system this cold "kicked my butt!" It put me down for weeks. But I am feeling much better now. Just in time for another treatment.

Yesterday I had my 4th chemo treatment. YAY! I am half way finished. The most exciting part is that I am done with the drug called Citoxin, or AKA "The Red Devil", and also the drug Adromyican. For the final 4 rounds I will only have 1 drug call Taxotere. The doctor says that with the final drug the symptoms are not as bad. I am very happy. Maybe the nausea and body aches won't be so bad. I think this calls for a celebration. I can finally see the end in sight, well sort of. The end of chemo that is. The nurse said my hair might even start growing back as well. Yippee....but I must say it has been nice not having to do my hair in the morning. I get to sleep in a little longer. :)

In talking with the doctor this last visit I asked him when my surgery would most likely be. He said that my mastectomy will most likely be 3-4 weeks after my last chemo treatment. Which puts it around the latter part of August. I wasn't so happy with that news because it conflicts with the beginning days of school. Steve thinks I am crazy to worry about it, but he doesn't understand the excitement those precious little first graders have on the first day of school. And how disappointing it would be to them to not have their teacher there. I know I should not worry, but maybe with some luck we can avoid that week.
I am meeting with a plastic surgeon on the 11th of May and a microsurgeron on the 29th of May to see what my options are for reconstruction. I think reconstruction is many months away. Radiation will follow the surgery and I've heard that the beginning of reconstruction doesn't take place for at least six months following that. I know this is a long road to be on, but at least one hurdle, chemotherapy, is almost crossed. YAY!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

As I stood in the back of the gymnasium just minutes before the dinner was to begin, my body was filled with such overwhelming emotions. I began looking at all the tables that had been set up to hold all the people that were coming in my behalf. I was looking at all the baskets that were beautifully wrapped and decorated to entice the silent bidders. I was looking at all the items donated to be sold during the auction. I was overwhelmed with such peace and love in my heart.

Last Friday night April 23rd, the school that I teach at, West Haven Elementary hosted a spaghetti dinner/auction in behalf of my family. It was amazing! I am still touched with the amount of love and support that was shown to me and my family that night.

My good friend Mindy (a parent of a former student) was actually the one who came up with the idea. Then she recruited my principal and secretaries who also helped tremendously. Even several of the teachers, aides, cooks, janitors donated items, money or their time to make it such a huge success.

Mindy decided they should pre-sell tickets so they could account for the amount of food to cook. It ended up selling out at 530 and they had to turn people away. I was shocked. I never imagined that so many people would come to support me. I am still speechless. There were so many people that attended. Current students with their family, former students and their family, friends, past co-workers, friend of my family, past neighbors, even some that I didn't know.

So many people helped in so many ways. The cooks stayed and made the dinner which I was so relieved about because I can not imagine how to cook for 500 people. Mindy and others were able to get the entire food bill donated from Kroger, Associated foods and Kent's Market. So all the proceeds went to my family. I had several moms from my class going out to local businesses and getting donations for baskets.

I still can't believe the amount of generosity from the community. In the end we had around 150 baskets and items for the silent auction. Around 30 big items for the live auction, including a billboard space on I-15 worth $4600, a hand made cradle, a beautiful craft table, several overnight get-aways, and a basketball and mini backboard signed from the entire Utah Jazz team. We also did a raffle with several donated items. It was incredible and also a lot of fun. Yes I am very blessed. And it was a huge success.

Mindy was also able to order shirts for everyone that helped at the dinner. They were white with the breast cancer ribbon that said "Awareness". It was neat to see everyone wearing their shirts that night in honor of fighting breast cancer.

A sixth grader at my school had to do a power point assignment on someone in their family or community that they consider a hero. She chose me. I was so touched. So during the dinner they showed her slide show. I don't think there was a dry eye there, especially not mine. The best part was she held up signs and took pictures of them that said, "Fight Like A Girl". This is my new motto. Thanks Kayle.

I was also presented with a check from the 2 yards sales that my friend Corrie held for my family. The 2 yards sales alone made $4000.00. Again I was shocked. I couldn't believe that with just 2 yard sales that so much money could be raised. Her husband also drew the a beautiful picture of my family. They had it framed and also presented it to us that night. Thanks Corrie and her family for all the many countless hours of time spent in behalf of my family.

It was so nice to be surrounded by my family. I am so lucky to have their support as well. We wish Steve's family could have been there to spend this wonderful evening with us however, they all live in California.

I can't tell you how grateful I am now knowing that I can just focus on getting better and not having to worry about how to pay for all the many doctors bills that just keep coming. One treatment alone is around $4700.00 and I have only done 3 out of 8. And there are many surgeries yet to come. Again with so many people being so generous I know that I can conquer this battle of breast cancer. "I'll take on this world, If I stand and be strong, No I'll never give up, I will conquer with love, And I'll fight like a girl." (Some of the Lyrics to the song Fight Like a girl by Bomshell). Thank you again to everyone who has touched our lives in so many ways. We are blessed that you are part of our lives.

Here is a list of the the individuals and businesses that donated for the dinner/auction
The auction would not have been what it was without the help of each one on this list. There were donations coming in right before the dinner so I'm sure I've missed some names and I apologize.

America First Credit Union
Amy Hird
Angi Prevedel
Angie Crosby
Anita Gillette
Ann Holdaway
Barbara Hicks
Bella Blu Photography
Bill Carruth
Boccia's D'Italaia
Brian Brown
Brian Hadley - Macy's Foods
Burrito Grande
CCI Mechanical Giving Team
Cherry Hill Water Park
Classic Roller Skating
Cody Toone - Logo Lady
Comedy Improv
Corrie Martinez
Country Garden Nursery
Crazy Karen Handbags
Dani Franks
Deb Nabor
Debbie Smith
Desert Book-Andrea Barker
Donna Bolton - Mary Kay Cosmetics
Early Intervention Preschool Staff
Gardner Village
Gerald Thomason
Get Away Today
Grandma's Country Kitchen
Great Harvest
Hunt Mystery Theater
Jake Burnett
Jamie Peterson
Jan Stevenson
Jen Kapps Photography
Jenn Calcutt
Jeremy Carrell
Jessica Parsons
Jim Martinez
Jon Fawson - Kent's Market
Karyn Bernier
Kasey Ivins
Katie Smith
Kaylynn South
Kelly Stone
Ken Hargis
Kevin - SFE Corp.
Kim Buchanan
Kimberly Maughn
Kurt Flinders
Lady Fitness
Larry and Michelle Hansen
Layne Tilby
Lee Allen
Lett'er Express It
Lifetime Products Donation Committee
Lilli Hatch
Lori Allred - Imaginisce Scrapbooking
Maggie Roberts
Marcus Gilbert-Charley's
Marty Lee
Martzi Spencer
Massage Envy
Mechelle Tafoya
Micha Larsen - Hurco Design and Manufacturing
Michaelle Coombs
Midnight Moon Soap Shoppe
Mike Price - Scentsy
Mindi Gifford
Mt. Ogden Café
Nancy Manigault
Nancy VanZweeden
NC Designs
Nick Lopez - Dark Productions
Nicole Montoya - Kroger Foods
Off the Wall Improv
Poison Ivy Mysteries
Prevedel Saddlery
Rachel White
Riverside Golf
Roy Aquatics Center
Roy Complex
Russ Gardner - Mountain Inn
Ryan and Maria Johnson
Saunders Outdoor Advertising Inc
Scholastic Books
Shawn and Amy Iverson
Smith and Edwards
Snowberry Inn
Sonora Grill
Steve Rich - Associated Foods
Tanning Oasis
TB Country Stichin
Terrace Plaza Playhouse
Tim Mair
Valley View Elementary
Valley View Elementary PTA
Victoria Dastrup
Weber School District Math Coaches
Weber State University Bookstore and Athletics
West Haven Elementary Resource Department
Wylde Hare Farms
ZinneyLou Totes

Thank you to everyone who donated your time to make the dinner/auction such an amazing event! I hope I haven't left anyone off the list. If I did, I apologize. It certainly wasn't intentional.

Amy Hird
Ann and Dave Holdaway
Barbara Mikolash
Becky Montgomery
Bill Carruth
Carolyn Rusch
Cathay Christiansen
Chris Bachman
Corrie Martinez and Family
Craig and Karen Neiswender
Dave Stallings
Deanne and Layne Tilby
Deb and Steve Nabor
Deb Smith
Fran Robinson
Gerald Thomason
Heather Jorgensen
Jamie Peterson
Jan Stevenson
Jana Poulsen
Jennifer Bair
Jennifer Votava
JoLyn Hathaway
Karen Binette
Karla Edsinger
Kasey Ivins
Katherine Toone
Kaylyn South
Kimberly Maughan
Lee Claycomb
Leslie Saunders
Lilli Hatch
Liz Dickey
Lynette Dunkley
Lynette Grow
Maggie and Clark Roberts
Margaret Handen
Marilee Clarke
Maurine Newton
Michaelle Coombs
Nicki Slaugh
Pam Kennrick
Sabrina Smith
Schuyler Taylor
Sharon Thomason
Shon Avis
Stephanie Taylor
Stephanie Vlaanderen
Teresa Decker
Thelma Reeve
Tiffany Erickson
VanZweden Family

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Cancer cannot do:

It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Author, Unknown

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We Are So Blessed

As I look back at this journey called "cancer", I realize how much my family has been truly blessed and how much we are still being blessed each day. So many people have done amazing things for us. I know I have said it over and over but I am overwhelmed with gratitude. As Steve and I talk about all the things that are happening in our behalf we both get very emotional. On Saturday, April 17th there will be another multi-family yard sale in Roy held in our honor. Families that we have not even met have donated things to sale. People have donated crafts, baked goods, and mostly their time to make this a huge success. On Friday, April 23rd at West Haven Elementary (the school I teach at) is hosting a spaghetti dinner and live auction with all proceeds going to my family. I cannot believe the support from people donating things to be auctioned. We would love to have everyone there so please feel free to join us that evening. Tickets are being sold in advance so they can get a head count for food. They are also going to raffle lots of fun prizes. So join us for a fun evening. Also my friend Jodi has offered to donate 15% of sales to my family for the month of April from her business. She has very cute things and with a $50 purchase the shipping is free. Check out her business at If you are one of those people who have truly blessed our lives. Thank you!! Because of you I know I can beat this.