"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh and anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." Ether 12:4

Friday, December 26, 2008

Catching Up this past week

It has been a very busy time of year for the Loser family. We have been somewhat behind on our postings so I, Richard, will attempt to catch you up. I am doing so on Friday December 26 while at the Huntsman Cancer Clinic receiving my second treatment in the second round of chemotherapy.

Highlights from the past week:

* Tumor marker test results = A 27% reduction (meaning the chemo is working) GREAT!

* Liver function (enzymes) = A 56% reduction (meaning the liver is doing better) GREAT!

* My sister DeeDee had successful back surgery to remove two herniated disks in her lower back, NO SURPRISES. We were all a bit concerned after the last Loser routine surgery!

* Fatigue attack Sunday morning kept me home from church and singing Christmas hymns.

* Nausea attack Tuesday evening had me throwing up twice- Chemo effects lingering.

* Family breakfast at the Elder Home on Wednesday was French toast Croissants w/ vanilla syrup, hash brown breakfast casserole, & fresh OJ - it was dewichious and dewightful!

* Alex's "prayers" of the past several weeks for a White Christmas being answered in full measure. We have about 18" of snow in the yard. Accumulated snowfall is likely approaching 30-36" for the past week. Alex is loving it!

* Talking to Elder Cameron Loser on Christmas Day- he is enjoying much success in all aspects of his missionary labors. He is happy, engaged, and enthusiastic.

* Received an Apple TV for Christmas. This is a really cool piece of electronics gear (discovered by our savvy son, Adam) for the storing, organizing and playing of family photos, movies, and music. All family pictures can be displayed on our regular television in any number of playlists and musical accompaniments. It is really amazing and easy to view family photos. We have been reminiscing as a family on a regular basis. Now we have the daunting task of digitizing all of our old photos for the Apple TV. But, what an easy and accessible way to organize everything. I am really excited about this gift if you can't tell. This will be a great legacy once we are done. All of our current photos and videos are already digital so they can go right into the Apple TV. Fun, Fun, Fun!

Just having the family near and sharing time together in living, loving, and laughing. Life is grand . . . and we are so very, very grateful to our God and Heavenly Father for His multitude of tender mercies. Many friends have been visiting and sharing poignant feelings and experiences. Our hearts and our very lives are touched by all of you and the love and caring support we feel from you. We love you all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Second Round of Chemotherapy, First Treatment

Today we braved the 7-8" of snow that landed in Alpine and went for the start our second round of chemo. This treatmant was Jemzar and had added a second more toxic and effective drug called Carbo Platin.
As is becomming typical, the treatment day was anything but normal. The "normal" 35 minute commute took about an hour, so we were late. We met with Dr. Whisenant and discussed some test results, he said I looked great, my weight is the same, and we went on to the treatment. About 1:45, after the four drugs they were giving me had all been infused, I started to get up and realized my ostemy bag was very full and leaking. I had aleady emptied the bag three times since we arrived. I guess today the fourth was the unlucky number. We finally got totally changed over- clothing and all, visited the cafeteria, and then arrived back home at 4:15 pm.
We had cancelled our plans to meet with Russon Brother's Mortuary in Bountiful to make the final funeral arraingements. We had also planned to visit some famliy- the Essigs, and to do some shopping. Oh well! We got the most important part of the day covered.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For all of you "visual" people out there

You may have noticed that our posts lately have been lacking pictures. Here are several photos taken of some of our recent adventures.

Walk through of the Draper Temple (12/17/08)

Outside the Temple

The family plus Charlie (Mom's high school friend and our gracious host). Thank you Charlie!

Silver Beaver Award (12/6)

Salutes

Touched & speechless

Actually receiving the award

Thanksgiving (11/26 through 11/29)

Isaac & Grandpa


Adam & Dad

Quick fishing trip with Karl, Adam, & Adam C.

Dickison Family

San Diego (11/12 through 11/17)

The whole fam (minus Cam) at the San Diego Temple

Isaac & Grandpa at the San Diego Zoo

Sea World

Monday, December 15, 2008

Loving the Snow

Hello friends and family!
Just a few updates from the Loser home (sorry there haven't been more - Nichole's been sick and is trying to stay away from Alpine so she doesn't get dad sick).

Last Wednesday, dad was honored with the "Associate Member Service Award" by the Utah Association for Home Care. He was nominated by the directors of this association, and he attended a luncheon with mom and some colleagues from work at the Desert Star Playhouse. I guess the kind woman who heads the association really likes dad, so she made him a blanket along with his "plaque." It was an honor for him to receive the award.

Last Thursday, our family friend Richard Bangerter took me and dad and Uncle Jared up in his 6 seater plane. From the municipal airport in West Jordan, "we flew in a big circle from Salt Lake down right over our house, up over the mountains (barely), then circled through Deer Creek Reservoir and all the way up to Cache Valley. We landed in Jackpot, NV, where we walked to a casino for lunch, then completed the trip home by flying over the Great Salt Lake." It was amazing! Thank you so so so much Richard! We love you.

Thursday evening and a little of Friday, dad had some nausea, but was able to mostly control it and he didn't even puke! Yea! That evening, dad's childhood friend Rick Smith flew in from California and spent a wonderful weekend with dad. They got out the old high school yearbooks (and to mom's dismay), pointed out all the girls who they thought were cute. Saturday, mom couldn't take it anymore (not really, she thought it was pretty funny) and mom, Rachel and I headed up to West Valley to attend two bridal showers for our awesome cousins, then we grabbed Grandma Dickison and headed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert at the Conference Center. We loved the music - it was great this year! We had some wet moments during some of the beautiful songs.

Speaking of wet moments, mom and dad had some good crying/cuddling moments today. They are hard but special times; even in the face of adversity, there is love and support to be found in the arms of those we love. We are again reminded, on a daily basis, of the love and support we have been given, and we cherish the time we are allowed to spend together. We also cherish the wonderfully cold snow. Isn't it beautiful? (when you're inside with hot chocolate next to the fire)?
All our love,
The Losers

P.S. We got a sweet picture from Cameron today:

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Big Beaver of a Night

Hello friends and family,

Last night was a wonderful and majestic experience. As the scoutmaster, dad was to attend the ward's Court of Honor. Little did he know that he was to receive the Silver Beaver award, one of scouting's highest honors! He had some suspicion he was to receive some sort of plaque or informal award from the scouts, but when he walked in and saw the whole chapel and gymnasium full of friends and family, he broke down in tears of awe and gratitude. The tears continued through the scout merit badge presentations and into the local counsel presenting him (as Richard George Loser :) the Silver Beaver.

The counsel chairman explained that this was the first time in his recollection that this award was presented outside the yearly ceremony. In fact, he informed us that the application (whose lengthy process took several weeks) was approved overnight. Even as a stranger, as he asked all those present to stand and salute dad, the chairman became emotional with the spirit of love and devotion in that meeting. It was a special experience for all those fortunate enough to be present. Congratulations! We love you Scoutmaster!

After a long and physically/emotionally draining night, dad and I (Nichole) awoke this morning and were off to get dad's PICC line and some chemo. We got to the hospital, and after going through an admittance/registration process (honestly, the cancer center is 50 feet away - can't these people share the same network or something? Should we really have to spend 50 minutes filling out paperwork and answering the same questions we've answered 478 times before?) we had to wait another hour for the ONLY nurse who does this to get off her lunch break. Ok, people need to eat. I understand that, I guess. But then, after another hour for the procedure, we get the X-ray back only to discover that the catheter has doubled back on itself. What does that mean? Oh, friends, it means that dad has to go to the Heart and Lung center to have a angio-picc relocation procedure done.

So, by this time it's 1:00 p.m., and we've been at the hospital for 4 hours already. Dad hadn't eaten, so we ran over to the hospital cafeteria and got some food to go. It's amazing - more like a combination of 6 gourmet eatery places! Dad got a Farr's Burnt Almond Fudge shake that he's been craving for the last 5 years, so that was a bright spot of the day. We then went to the Heart and Lung building, where we spent ANOTHER HOUR in the admittance/registration process. Come on, people, give me a break! The system is broken! Anyway, we waited some more in a cool (and large) ICU room, then they took dad for 15 minutes and pop! the catheter was fixed! Then, we went back to the Huntsman Cancer Center for some chemo. Another 2 hours later, we walked out to the car in lovely white-out conditions (well, almost). That concluded our 9 hour "hospital stay," only to get caught in rush hour traffic. At least the snowfall was beautiful and helped us relax and remember the important things in life. Like snow tires. And big snowflakes. And ice cream.

Be grateful for what you have and for what each moment in life brings you. Some things are just out of your control...
All our love,
The Losers

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Take a Page from their Book

Hello everyone! How we love you all and are grateful for your support.

Dad has been struggling with a little nausea still, but guess what!?! The abscess drain is gone! This morning from 7-8 am, dad spent the whole hour drinking nasty red-fake-berry-tasting dye for a CT scan. They did the scan, and didn't find any trace of his abscess, so it's long gone, and so is his extra appendage. That's a highlight of the week for us here.

Dad also visited with the palliative care doctor, and after some problems with his subcutaneous line and dad not having enough fat on his body, we decided to put in a picc line. ("PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central venous Catheter. This intravenous catheter is inserted through the skin, into a vein in the arm, in the region above the elbow and below the shoulder. The catheter is a long, thin tube that is advanced into the body in the veins until the internal tip of the catheter is in the superior vena cava, one of the central venous system veins that carries blood to the heart.") Overall, this means that dad can get his pain and other medication a little easier, without having some of the vein problems he's had. We are taking him in on Monday for the picc line. We also got some more (an indefinite supply) of dad's favorite nausea medication today, so hopefully his puking will be a problem of the past.

Today's parting message: We are so grateful to have family here (dad's brother/his family) from California visiting us this week. They are calm, helpful, and loving, and we have greatly enjoyed their presence. They are the kind of visitors you wish would stay longer, because they teach us lessons about helping others and taking things in stride. As I told mom this week, we can all take a page out of their Christ-like book. Thank you, Rob, Gerry, Jamin, Amanda, Chelsea, and Ronan for your examples to us.
We love you all,
The Losers

ps. Here are some pictures of dad's family from the trip to CA


Coley and Mom by the pomegranate tree


Dad and his doubly expensive lawn chair
(Yes, we finally got it back from the airport)


Dad's sisters frolicking in the leaves


Dad and his grandmother, Della Bohall


Dad and his siblings, together in a picture for the first time:
Gail, Dad, Cindy
Deedee, Catherine
Rob


Robert (brother), his wife Gerry, their daughter Chelsea, and their grandson Ronin


The Loser Family Tree (ha ha)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rough Night

Yesterday afternoon, last night, and into this morning dad has had another bout with nausea. His subcutaneous site (I.V. in his belly) where he receives the pain medication became compromised and we turned off the pain pump for about seven hours until we could get Homecare to relocate the site. This is no easy task, considering that the site is supposed to be in an area where there is sufficient fatty tissue, and he doesn't have much of that kind of tissue left. At any rate, part of the result has been the nausea throughout the night and a couple of vomiting episodes last night and this morning.

Today we went in for a CT scan to see if the abscess is cleared enough to remove the drain. Unfortunately, when we got there, we discovered dad was supposed to drink a billion gallons of the dye drink for the scan. After one sip, he very quickly realized it wasn't going to happen, so we had to reschedule the scan. Oh well, dad's just going to have to carry around the drain a few more days. Hopefully by the weekend, dad will lose this "additional piece of medical paraphernalia" he's been packing since San Diego. At least he got to eat (and keep down) dinner, which consisted of a salad and a doughnut. Yum.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Second Chemotherapy Treatment and Thanksgiving!

Tuesday I had my second treatment in the first round of chemotherapy. All went well notwithstanding the San Diego abcess episode. Dr. Whisenant did dial back the additional medication we had planned on doing to lessen the toxic side effects of the treatment. We will be adding the additional medication at the beginning of the next round of treatments. Dr. Whisenant (oncology) on Tuesday, and Dr. Gange (urology) both commented on how well I looked. I had in fact gained eight pounds on the California Trip in ten days. Of course, I had lost 18 pounds the six days before the trip, so I had need of the weight gain. Thanks to all the family and friends who made that terrific trip a reality! There are so many aspects of the trip that just gelled for a remarkable and memorable family experience.

Wednesday we returned from Dr. Gange's visit to host the John and Mary Cray family from Diamond springs, CA. John and I have been hanging out together since we were three or four years old! What great, great friends we have been blessed with to be a part of our lives.
That evening we were off to Wallsburg, UT.

The extended Dickison family (Michelle's side) gathered for a Thanksgiving Reunion. A few family members were missing, one being Cam on his mission in Mexico City. Otherwise, we were 58 strong! The Dickison family gathered for a feast of thanksgiving, gratitude, horseback riding, goat roping, hot tubbing, family video viewing, game playing, and even a half-day fishing trip to Strawberry Reservoir to reel in about 20 Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. We have had a unique, uncomparable experience that will be remembered by all for a lifetime and beyond. We are truly grateful, blessed, and a happy, joyful family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Southern California Trip

So we had a G-R-E-A-T family trip to California- Myself, Michelle, Nichole, Benj, and Alex flew to Sacramento Saturday for the extended Loser Family Reunion last Sunday. Wednesday Dad drove us to San Diego in their 32' motorhome. Know that we had a truly great time reliving and creating fresh memories! We are so thankful to have been able to go on this trip. We are so grateful for all who made every aspect of this trip fall into place for us- especially for a kind, loving Heavenly Father who not only blesses us with what we need, but also graciously grants those wants which "gladden the heart and are pleasing to the eye."

You know us - so far, every aspect of this trip had neatly fallen into place for our greatest benefit and pleasure. That means we were overdue for some hiccup or another. Saturday we awoke, and after breakfast I noticed wetness from a place on my abdomen area that shouldn't have wetness. Closer inspection revealed that the wetness was coming from the midline incision. The boys visited a surf shop down the street and rented a long board and two pairs of swim fins, and I went to shower. I informed Michelle that we probably needed to call my colorectal surgeon in Utah and report this new development. Dr. Griffin said go to the ER. It could be a tumor pressing on the incision, but the more likely cause of the wetness was an abscess, which required immediate attention. We sent the boys off to the beach while Rachel and Isaac were napping, and went to the hospital to have a CT scan and a drain to empty the abscess.

Our family had a truly awesome and amazing reunion and vacation experience. I said goodbyes to sweet, sweet women in my family, and long long-time friends. Once again we have been blessed by so many wonderful people, and in so many unlikely and unexpected ways. The only thing lacking in the trip was perhaps, just perhaps another couple of days- one in the north, and two in the south. We are more than content and happy with our outcomes and take-aways. We are loved, and it is good to be home again!

To save blog space (and people's eyes), we shortened this post and added an older post entitled "The California Trip Story." If you would like to see this, click on the link at the bottom of the page that says Older Posts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Better Days

Hello all! We are definitely having better days.

Things are going well with our family. This has been an interesting week for sure.
Dad had an appointment with his Palliative Care doctor (end of life pain management) on Wednesday afternoon. Mom, dad and I (Nichole) met with the wonderful Dr. Macpherson for over two hours, and she asked all the right questions and was able to set us on some hopeful paths. For example, we have several new medications for nausea, which makes us very happy. Unfortunately, though dad was supposed to have the Chemotherapy done after the appointment, it didn't work out. Instead, mom and dad went back Thursday morning.

First, they gave him a dose of steroids that are for nausea and energy, then the chemo, then they decided to give him a bag of IV fluid as well. Dad had been nauseous and couldn't keep much of anything down for a while, so he was a little dehydrated. The drugs and fluid helped dad a lot - he had more energy and the nausea went down.

In fact, Friday and Saturday, dad has virtually been nausea free! Hooray, and much cause for celebration! Tonight for dinner he ate 1.5 pieces of pizza, a banana, a brownie, a churro, and a big glass of milk! It's amazing the little joys we find in life now.

If you'd like to talk or visit, please call us first.
We love you all and especially, we love to reminisce with you about ol' times and fond memories.
Thanks again for your love and support,
The Losers

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Experimenting with Drugs (not what you think)

Happy Sunday everyone!

I know we’re a little slow with blog posts (sorry from Nichole and thanks to Adam for the latest post), but we just don’t have a lot of new information to share. Dad is chugging along – lately, we’ve been experimenting with medications and side effects to see what works for dad, and what doesn’t.
Dad has medications for his: 1) kidneys, 2) pain, 3) blood pressure, 4) sleep problems, 5) rumbley intestines, and 6) nausea. Sometimes he gets a little overmedicated trying to manage all these issues and turns into Zombie Dad from Doomsday (that sounds like a horror movie). Sometimes some medications make him nauseated and we have to use more medications to make him less nauseated, which make him more drowsy, more sleepy, or more zombie-ish (or all of the above). When he gets nauseous, we have to go on “puke duty” for a day or two. All in all, it’s usually a gamble what happens, so we’re trying to take it slow and easy. We are grateful for all of dad’s visitors – they help brighten up the days of unease and discomfort.

When we went to the GI Oncologist, who is a specialist in the cancer field, we decided to start Chemotherapy, as you may have read. We did decide to speed up the timeline a bit. Dad had a PET scan and some labs done this last Friday to establish a baseline of the cancer tumors (how big they are, how much cancer stuff is in his blood, etc). Dad will have his first dose of one chemotherapy drug on Wednesday the 12th. It's very mild and is only supposed to cause a little fatigue. Later this month, he will have the second dose of chemotherapy. This one is different from the first, because it involves a combination of drugs that should be more effective, but are a little more toxic to his system. That means there is the possibility of both fatigue and nausea that may last a little longer than a day or two. We don’t know yet how he will react, but after doing these two rounds of chemotherapy, dad will have another PET scan and labs done to see if there was any effect on the cancer tumors. If there was, we’ll continue. If not, we’ll stop.

The reason we are doing chemotherapy is not to “cure” dad. The cancer tumors are too widespread to cure. Chemo can help, however, to make dad feel better. For example, sometimes, the cancer tumors grow and press on organs, causing pain. The chemo helps to shrink the tumors a little, which can bring great relief from the pain. Dad’s pain isn’t so bad right now, and we want to keep it that way. We’ll keep you updated on how things go.

Again, thank you for all of your love and prayers. We are grateful for the knowledge we share as a family that we will be together again after our journeys in this life are over. It sustains us, as does our belief in Jesus Christ.
May His spirit be with you all,

The Losers

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chemotherapy

Thank you all for your continued interest in our behalf. It is amazing the people who come out of the woodwork and express their support and love. It is sincerely appreciated.

Dad continues to improve a little each day. It is a tremendous improvement from the "doomsday" post a couple of weeks ago. He and mom were able to visit with the cancer oncologist and given dad's young age and rugged good looks, they decided to begin the chemotherapy process. Dad will have a PET scan next Wednesday and then his first dose, causing just a little fatigue.

We then plan to take a short vacation as a family out to California to visit family and the beach, both fond memories of Dad's childhood and ours growing up. When we return, he will have the second dose on the 24th. This one does involve a slight chance that Dad may lose his hair as it is more aggressive. The chemo is meant to attack the cancer resulting in less pain and slower spread of the disease. We are all optimistic of its effects.

Dad will take visitors this afternoon until 6 and Saturday from 2 to 6 and again Sunday. Please call the house, Mom, or Nichole to make sure we are at home before you come over.

Love, the Losers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Early Holidays

Over the last few days we have felt an increase of love and gratitude and have shared some unforgettable experiences. We were so grateful that our loving priesthood leaders were able to secure permission for Elder Cameron Loser to come home for a couple of days to be with us. We had all accepted that he wouldn't be coming home, but a tender mercy from the Lord was granted. We recognize this is a rare exception, but we are ever grateful. Dad wanted us all to dress up and look like missionaries when we picked up Cameron to reassure he had a companion.When we learned that Cameron was coming home, I (Adam) suggested we celebrate some holidays with all the family together. We put together the tent fort, had some Easter muffins for breakfast, and watched some fun family home videos. Nicole did have some bad hair days.

The next morning we all got dressed up and headed up to the Garden Park Ward house in SLC to take family pictures. The grounds were beautiful and we had a great time. Nearly 30 years ago, Dad and Mom had their engagement pictures taken there. We'll post some of the goodies when they are ready, but here are a couple of candids and one original that started it all.

Mom had asked some amazing friends to help prepare a Thanksgiving dinner and they delivered a Thanksgiving feast! Elders really delivered. We will be eating the scrumptious leftovers into next week.We were surprised first by the cub scouts. They had a great sign and Dad took the time to shake each hand in the true cub handshake and gave each a hug. It brought tears to his eyes. Thank you for the wonderful visit!



We finished up our Thanksgiving feast and then decided to go and see some Christmas lights and sing some Christmas songs. This is a long standing tradition where Dad researches the best places to see lights and then we take long drives during December and see lights and sing songs. Sometimes the drives got old and boring, but this one seemed a bit short. We all (10) piled in the car and were off. The Loveland family was kind enough to turn on their giant tree up on the mountainside early to give us some lights to see. Thank you so much!

video

We then headed home and just as we arrived, our dear Ricks Friends arrived and sang Christmas carols. Again, the tears flowed and hugs for all. We invited them in and we all piled in the blanket fort and Dad bore his testimony of his surety of a better world. Kleenex please.

As we were climbing into the fort, we found that Santa had come early and left kind notes, gifts, and tokens of friendship. It was all just so overwhelming for all of us. We were all exhausted, but made our way upstairs and shared some fond memories of holidays past. We had our traditional nut in the pudding. Alex went first, and got the nut - cheater! He opened a statue of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. We watched some more entertaining home movies of previous Christmas holidays and retired.
The next morning, we woke up and shared some personal gifts with each other and enjoyed some wonderful breakfast casserole. We watched Isaac play with his new tractors and farm animals, thanks Grandpa and Grandma! It was so fun for us.


We then headed downstairs to cry again at the generosity and selfless giving of our dear friends and neighbors. It was truly a special time for our family.


Thank you all for making it so wonderful. We felt humbled and undeserving yet overwhelmingly loved and cared for. All of God's children should have such a blessing. We can't express the sentiments of our hearts. At one point, Dad was just weeping at the generosity and we asked what we could do to help. He responded that he just wanted to be better. Warmest regards to all of you who contributed to these unforgettable last few days. The Spirit of the Lord was ever present and the manifestation of His love touched our lives through your kind service.

After we gathered our thoughts, Cameron was able to visit with Bishop Mower and President Nilson. We then packed him up with lots of beef jerky and candy from the states while he made a stroll around the block with Dad. Cameron then received a touching father's blessing and they were headed off to the airport to say their last goodbyes. Another Kleenex, or a few boxes!

Dad is drained emotionally along with the rest of us, but doing better physically. He hasn't been "sick" for a few days and is getting used to eating normal foods. He loves to go on walks with visitors and chat so bring your walking shoes if you plan to visit! We've had visitors throughout the day today and for Sunday, please come between 2 and 6. Monday evening, will be family time.

We love you all, everyone a blessing in our lives.

The Losers

P.S. It was Halloween and Isaac did manage to attack everyone with his stealthy...."along came mister crocodile, hungry as can be, and .... SNAP!" Alex did put on his storm trooper outfit and took some friends to fill the pillow case.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Keep It On The Down Low

So sorry everyone about the belated posting! We have been a busy little family trying to accomplish many tasks in the last few days. Some of you know what I'm talking about, some of you don't, and that's okay.

Dad has been feeling better since our Sunday Doomsday. He's still been sick, however, and has struggled to eat and have the energy to move around a lot. We've been experimenting with different anti-nausea medications and doses, and haven't found the best combination yet - I guess it's just something that we'll have to work at. Because dad's still trying to get his strength back and for other reasons, we're not receiving visitors until Saturday.

As a side note, this evening the Loser boys made a blanket fort downstairs. It was hard trying to make it work, so dad generously gave permission to put eyehole screws in the walls. We Loser children have waited 25 years to be able to make a real blanket fort that’s screwed into the wall. It’s amazing what dad’s willing to concede these days. :)

The Loser family was able to watch home videos in our blanket fort and reminisce about the “good old” days. They were, in fact, mostly “bad hair” days.

Just a brief shout out to all those who have helped us with various house projects these last few days. We love and appreciate you more than you could know. Your willingness to serve is a gift to our family.

Thank you all,
The Losers

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Doomsday"

Hello all!
Sorry about the late post - we had a "doomsday" yesterday. Don't worry, it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Saturday night, dad was started on some anti-nausea medication that is highly sedating. He wasn't able to put more than 5 words together, and got to the point where he fell asleep with the cup halfway to his open mouth.

Dad also looks pretty gaunt right now - he hasn't even had a kiddie-sized meal in the last 3 weeks (from the blockages and surgeries. Oh, and cancer). As a result, he's lost even more weight, and we tease him that he looks like (according to the family member): Skeletor from He-Man, Mum-Ra from Thundercats, or King Haggard from the Last Unicorn. If you don't understand any of these references, you're woefully under-media-cized.

Yesterday was a little scary, because dad looked scary (just in time for halloween) and was acting heavily sedated. We sat down, had a family pow-wow, and decided not to go with the sedating medication anymore. 24 hours after taking the last dose, Dad is alert and makes sense when he talks. Basically, he wasn't awake the last 32 hours, so don't be offended if you visited and he doesn't remember. ;)

If you'de like to visit, you are welcome to call and see if he's awake (still sleeping off the rest of the sedation medication). Again, we ask that you limit your visits to 20 minutes.

Thank you for your love. This morning we were again reminded of the tender mercies of the Lord, and every member of our family can say without hesitation that we know His hands are lifting us up and providing us with the strength and faith to continue.
We love you all,
The Losers

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Wonderful World of Narcotics

Well, after spending a few hours at the hosptial yesterday, dad came home feeling much better. We started a hospice program and right now dad has a "permapump" of a narcotic painkiller in an arm IV that he carries around like a purse. Oh sorry, like a manly man bag. He's feeling a lot better overall and eating much better, too.

In fact, we had some visitors last night that got to witness dad's initial high dosage of pain and other meds - he was falling asleep in the middle of sentences, making some really funny faces, and he told some pretty interesting stories about, well, things that you wouldn't talk about in front of children. You'll have to ask Sherri Scoresby what he said. :)

Dad feels good about having some visitors today. Due to his level of pain medication and the fact that he can't stay awake longer than 15 minutes, we ask that if you'd like to come, you limit your visit to 20-30 minutes. The Loser Hospital visiting hours will be 2-6 pm today, Sunday Oct 26th.

If you have any questions, please let us know anytime! Again, we are so grateful for our little cult following of love and support.

Our love,
The Losers

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's Already Saturday

Hello family and friends!

After another rough night for dad, we decided to take him to the hosptial this morning at 7am. He wasn't able to keep any food or liquid down and was in a lot of pain. The hospital put in an I.V. line, rehydrated him, and gave him enough anti-nausea and pain meds ("the good stuff") to put a smile on his face (for a little while at least).

Even though Nichole likes to pretend she's a nurse, we decided to get some professional help to keep dad in better shape. We contacted and set up a hospice program for dad to come and administer "the good stuff" today (and for a while), which will keep dad at home and hopefully feeling better. Dad wanted to thank everyone for their support. He's a little out of it from some of the pain meds and probably wouldn't make good company this evening.

When he got home from the hospital, even though he could barely keep his eyes open, he insisted on "attempting" to watch the BYU game. All I have to say is, They Better Win.

Love,
The Losers

Friday, October 24, 2008

Family & Friend Fast

Dear Friends & Family,

The ward has organized a fast for Dad, Mom, and the rest of the family for this upcoming Sunday. We wanted to invite any and all of you to join with us in fasting if you feel so inclined. We believe in the power of united fasting and prayer.

If you are interested, Bishop Mower has asked that the ward fast begins around noon on Saturday (if possible) and ends during their Sunday meeting together. You are welcome to join during that time frame or at any other time.

Thank you for your faith in our behalf.

As of Friday Afternoon...

Hello all - update from Nichole:
Things have calmed down as the day has passed. Dad's hasn't been "sick" since early this morning, but we've had to closely monitor his nausea on a scale of 0-10, where '0' is The Complete And Total Absence Of Pukeness, and '10' is Oops, I've Never Seen Anyone Projectile Vomit Before.
(In spite of the situation, it is pretty cool to see)

Dad is feeling weak and has been trying to sleep a lot. As a result, again, sorry no visitors tonight.
We're hoping that tomorrow afternoon will be better - we'll let you know in the morning, if you check the blog and want to come.

Thank you for your love and understanding,
The Losers

Happy B Day Alex!

Hi all!
Yesterday was Alex's 16th birthday. We had a little party for him at home, and guess who was there to celebrate (or sit in a chair and feel sick)? Dad was, that's who.

After making good progress at the hospital, the doctor said dad could come home last night. Just as mom was filling out the discharge paperwork, dad got "sick" and we thought for a while he was staying the night again. His doctor, however, let him come home still, but it's been a rough evening and night. For right now, we're not sure what's going to happen in the next day, but at least until early afternoon today, Friday, we ask that no one come to visit.
We apologize - we know you love him and want to share him too, but now is not the best time. We will post again this afternoon how things stand at the Loser home.
Thank you again for your love and support,
The Losers

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Picture of the Week

Adam here. Rachel is the blog mastermind and so we spruced it up a little last night, I hope you all like it. We will continue to add more information along the way. I thought it would be fun to add a happy picture of the week. Something light and funny since you all know my dad is anything but boring and loves to tease. What a handsome couple. Maybe I can convince Rachel that facial hair is attractive, it certainly won my mom over.

More Hospital Stuff (Post from Wed Oct 22nd)

We know that everyone is anxious to hear more and the latest. All that’s going on around here is more hospital stuff.

After a hard post surgery day (Tuesday), Wednesday was much better. Dad walked a lot and ate more than usual. Unfortunately, his bag leaked five times. Normally it’s one ileostomy bag to 5 days, so we are a little backwards. This is due to his belly swelling from surgery and the close proximity of the bag to dad's midline incision.

Dad got to move to a liquid diet on Wednesday - yippie! (Progress to custard, cream of wheat, cream of mushroom soup, and chocolate pudding). Thursday he is moving to soft foods. If that goes well, dad might make it home just in time for Alex’s birthday party!

Again, thank you for all your concern and support. We’ve been unafraid, as of late, to tell those we love “I love you.” We’ve realized how important it is to share our feelings with those we care about. Don’t be afraid to say it to those you care about, too.
We love you all,
The Losers

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day of Rest

Hello all! Dad has been doing better - still having normal post-operative pain, but trying to relax and rest up.

The ileostomy nurse, a kind woman named Joanna, came in today and re-taught Adam and Nichole how to change dad's ileostomy bag. His stoma was leaky, so it took almost 1.5 hours to change his bag, and it STILL leaked when he stood up! Oh well, it's not an exact science.

Dad said he is feeling up to visitors tomorrow. Remember, no pressure! We know it's a drive, and dad will be home by this weekend, so you can save your gas money to buy him a treat when you come visit him later! If you are in the area Wednesday and would like to stop by for a short visit, again no pressure, you can come between 2-8 pm. He's at St Marks Hospital (3900 s 1200 e) on the 4th floor West, Room #24.

Again, we are continually amazed by the love and support we get from everyone. Thank you for your generous words and prayers. We can honestly say that every member of our family, including Elder Loser in Mexico City, have felt the comfort of your prayers. It makes this difficult time more peaceful and calm. There are literally people all across the North American continent who love Rick, even if they know him only through his children.

We love and appreciate all of you,
The Losers
(Like we tell the new nurses, it's like "Closer" without the "C")

Monday, October 20, 2008

Surgery Over

Dad went into surgery at 5pm and his surgeon, the amazing Dr. Griffin, spoke to us at 8:30.
Everything went as he had hoped - he actually found two places right above dad's "pouch" that were squished because of the cancer. So no wonder dad was in pain, he had two blockage sites!
We were also very lucky, because instead of losing potentially 5-10 feet of small intestine, they only bypassed 2 feet.

They were able to cut above the cancer-ridden intestine and make an ileostomy - they took his small intestine and pulled it outside of his belly (forming what they call a Stoma). That means he now gets rid of his bodily waste through the Stoma and won't have to go to the bathroom 30 times a day. Hooray!

Dad is very swollen and in some normal post-surgery pain. We want to get him rested, because the more rest he gets, the faster he can come home (he dislikes the hospital - wonder why?)
As a result, we are again limiting visitors - sorry, no Tuesday visitations and most likely no visitors on Wednesday, either. Thursday, maybe ;) Please call Nichole (472-2493) for more info.
Again, we love you all and are so so so grateful for your love and support!
The Losers

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19th

Just as an update for today, we talked with Rick's surgeon and he is able to move the surgery date up a day, putting us at Monday 5pm. As a reminder, they are going in through a midline incision (5" abdomen cut) and "diverting" his small intestine to the outside of his abdomen. That means he will have a bag on the outside of his belly that catches his waste.

This is probably going to be more invasive than his previous surgeries, which means the first two (or so) days after, he won't be up to visitors, though he can have visitors up until about 4:00pm Monday. Sorry folks, definitely not Tuesday and likely not Wednesday - we're learning to be assertive :) Again, please call Nichole (472-2493) to see if he's up to visitors after Tuesday.

Just as a side note, we're hoping he will be able to come home on Thursday or Friday - they are allowing this to happen because at this point, the goal is not to get him "recovered and healed," it is to get him "recovered and home."

We welcome calls, and we always welcome comments (we read them to Rick) on this blog. See the pencil and orange "0 comments" link?
1) Click on it
2) Leave your comment
3) Choose an "identity" - name/url - list your name
4) Hit Publish Your Comment

We want to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, prayers, and support in our behalf. This is a difficult time for all of us, and it is comforting to know that we are being sustained by our faith in the Lord and the faith and prayers of all our loved ones.
We love you! Please hold your loved ones a little longer each day,
The Losers

Unified

Quick Update by Nichole:
We are now unified, as a family, in our knowledge of our dad's terminal cancer.
Please pray for our missionary, as he is away from us and can only feel our spiritual arms of comfort. Pray that he will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, that he will feel of our love, and will be a better missionary for this experience.
All our love,
The Losers

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10/18 email.

Family and Friends,

Most of you are now aware of the circumstances surrounding our family at this hour. I will give a brief recap and update.

Dad was admitted to surgery at 5. During the surgery, the urologist was able to successfully place stints in both of Dad's damaged ureters. He came and reported that the stints were in and looked well, but would need replacement every 6 months or so. Around 7, the general surgeon came in and reported that Dad had a "porcelain" gall bladder (swollen and hard). It was quickly diagnosed as cancerous. Upon further probing, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to the stomach wall, back of both kidneys, liver, and the ligaments holding these areas of the bowels together. Given that the cancer had metastasized or spread to adjacent organs, it was rated as a stage 4 (end stage).

Gall Bladder cancer is very rare and one of the high risk factors is ulcerative colitis, which Dad has had for 18 years. At stage 4, treatment is aimed at improving the quality of life, not the quantity. There are no cures. Statistical life expectancy is 2-4 months. Gall Bladder Cancer develops very quickly and is generally aggressive; early diagnosis is difficult, especially since all the symptoms are parallel to the complications with Dad's digestive system. 70% of initial diagnoses are already at a stage 4.

We are shocked, blindsided, and emotions run close to the surface. As well, we are reflective, hopeful, and peaceful with what the Lord has in store for us. It will require the very best of our family to see this through and we will draw upon the strength provided by faith in our Lord.

Dad will undergo surgery again on Tuesday afternoon to have an iliostomy where he will have a bag on his stomach to collect the waste. This will improve the quality of life and lessen the pain he is in. We have provided a blog wherein we will update you and post additional information rather than continue with the emails. http://richardloser.blogspot.com/ is the address. He will most likely be discharged latter in the week to go home. We look forward to being at home together.

Many have asked what they can do. We welcome your prayers and fasting in our behalf. Perhaps you could hold your loved ones a little longer tonight in gratitude.

Before visiting the hospital, we request you call Nichole at 801-472-2493 to make sure we can accommodate you.

We will update the blog frequently.

Thank you for all you do.

Adam

10/17 email

Family and Friends,

After being discharged from the hospital last week, Dad was in great spirits and glad to be eating normally again. He did fairly well this week. The doctors administered some autoimmune medication upon leaving and advised him it would be a couple weeks until the system reutrned to normal.

Wednesday afternoon, Dad had acute abdominal pains again. Rachel and I went out to visit him that evening and he had a good time playing with Isaac, but he was clearly in pain. He stopped eating solids, but kept drinking clear liquids. When I went to pick Benjamin up for work on Thursday morning, Dad was in the shower and Mom informed me they were heading back to the hospital as the pain was back in full swing and unbearable. They went to St. Marks, and Dad was admitted. With some pain meds, some xrays and an additional CT Scan, the blockage was back in place.

This evening, Dad will be admitted to laproscpic surgery between 4 and 6. The surgeon will remove the strictured area attempt to make provisions so this doesn't continue to happen. He will also look at a kinked ureter and some pancreatic issues. We again solicit your prayers and faith.

Will keep you all posted. Love, Adam

10/9 and 10/7 Emails

10/09/08 - Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers and faith, your kind words of comfort, and visits to the hospital. We are truly blessed to be surrounded and supported by such wonderful people.

Dad's condition has greatly improved. The NG tube was in place for 38 hours and removed over 1000 ml of liquid from Dad's digestive system. He has been off pain medication since 2 AM Wednesday. He has been able to have several BM's and the most recent X-Rays are favorable though some distention of the kidney and bladder are still apparent. Yesterday the NG tube was clamped off for 6 hours to see if the blockage was clear and Dad could tolerate it. He was and so they removed the tube. (The nurse asked me if I wanted to do it, but politely declined.)

He spent the night and now this morning at 8:33 I just received a text message from him saying, "I just had my first swallow of water in about 60 hours. How sweet it is! Now juice jello & broth. I really am excited! I might get to go home tomorrow!" The doctors will most likely start soft foods tonight and if everything checks out, he will be discharged tomorrow. From here, we still have to address the pouchitis infection and the doctor wants to perform the intestinal scope as an outpatient procedure to give his system time to recover.

We can't thank you enough for your faith and prayers. The Lord continues to watch over us. All our love,

The Loser Family.

10/7 initial email

All, I have been asked to update you concerning recent events in our family and enlist your faith and prayers in behalf of my Father as we endure and learn from this complex trial. Yesterday Dad complained of acute abdominal pains for most of the day. This is not uncommon, however they did not go away and in fact increased in frequency and level of pain. This was quite disturbing to all the family at home. It was concerning that he hadn't had a bowel movement (BM) since 2 in the morning; he generally has 15-30 in a 24 hour period. Mom tried to convince Dad to go to the ER in the early afternoon which he refused and took some pain medication. Mom was in West Valley painting at Grandma's house. Dad called Mom around 6 telling her that he felt he needed to go to the ER. She called me and I drove out to the house as she drove home from West Valley. A good neighbor and I administered a blessing to Dad and we headed to the ER.

The doctors gave him some pain medication. And then performed a CT scan which indicated he had an intestinal blockage near some adhesion which is was caused from scar tissue from his iliostemy surgery. They inserted a tube through his nasal cavity to try and decompress the bowel and clear up the blockage. This would require monitoring and take some time. The surgeon at AF decided it was not within her expertise if the bowel didn't decompress and required surgery. They contacted Dr. Griffin who performed the original surgery in 4/06 and he consented to be the overseeing physician. They decided to transport him by ambulance to St. Marks in SLC which is where they are now and being monitored.

They have been able to remove a lot of food material through the tube and now believe it only to be a partial blockage. They will continue to remove material and once they feel it is clear, they will scope the area to check for narrowing and potential future restrictions and also look at the pouchitis which is the infection he has been fighting for the last year or so which causes 30-40 BM a day rather than the 6-8 he had the year after his surgery. Again, we know you've all been participating in faith and prayers and felt it appropriate to update you on the situation. We love and appreciate our relationships with you. May the Lord bless you all in your endeavors as well. Love,
The Loser Family.

The California Trip Story

Dad wrote several pages describing our family trip to California. Here it is in all its glory and detail:

So we had a G-R-E-A-T family trip to California- Myself, Michelle, Nichole, Benj, and Alex flew to Sacramento Saturday for the extended Loser Family Reunion last Sunday.Then we met with some old family friends- John & Mary Cray. John and his older sister and younger brother came to my four-year old birthday party! We also visited my Grandpa Melvin Bohall's gravesite, and did some nature exploring earlier in the day. Tuesday Michelle & Nichole lunched with a very old friend of Michelle's- Gay Wagstaff, whom Michelle has been hanging out with since they were eight years old. The boys and I visited a couple of the places I lived as a child, and then in Coloma, CA where gold was discovered in 1848. I showed them where I was baptized in the South Fork of the American River under the Coloma Bridge! We ended the day dining with some other long-time family friends- Rick and Michelle Smith. Rick and I have been fast buds since we were 11 years old!

Wednesday Dad drove us to San Diego in their 32' motor home. Know that we had a truly great time reliving and creating fresh memories! We are so thankful to have been able to go on this trip. We are so grateful for all who made every aspect of this trip fall into place for us- especially for a kind, loving Heavenly Father who not only blesses us with what we need, but also graciously grants those wants which "gladden the heart and are pleasing to the eye." We left early and detoured to Fisherman's Wharf for Clam Chowder, San Francisco Sourdough bread, fresh Dungeness Crab, and Shrimp Cocktail. We took our lunch 23 miles south to Pacifica, CA. where my Grandma Bush (Dad Loser's mom) used to live. At the Pacifica Pier we felt the pounding surf, smelled the sea spray, and listened to the gulls while devouring the seafood smorgasbord. It doesn't get much better than that was! It was all I remembered in the way of sensory delight, and all I anticipated in my little brain!

We left Northern California amid tears and sobs and much love. We had a wonderful time at Mom and Dad Loser's in Loomis. Thanks for babying us and your care and love! We arrived in San Diego in two shifts- Adam, Rachel and Isaac flew in at about 2:00 pm. The Northern crew arrived about 10:30 pm via motorcoach, chauffeured by Grandpa George Loser. We stayed in two condos that were literally 40 feet from the Mission Bay Beach, and 150 yards from the outer or surf side of the mighty Pacific! It was gorgeous! The condo comes with boogie boards, beach chairs, kayaks, etc. Half a block away is the Catamaran Club with spa privileges. This "spa" has just plain incredible landscaping, even for San Diego. WOW, what a setting for the Losers to get lost for a few days!

Thursday we went to the San Diego Zoo first thing in the morning. Dad was excited for this time with Isaac seeing all the zoo animals up close. Isaac (and truthfully Benj & Alex, too) got excited over all the incredible animals, plants, and exhibits. As you can well imagine, many landscape designs were carefully observed and photographed with an eye toward some smaller re-creation in a window well in Alpine, UT. About 2:00pm we left the zoo and Dad us left for the lonely return trip to Loomis. He did not even have a Nuvi (GPS) for company. We returned to the condos for lunch, and Isaac and I napped while the boys boogied in the surf. They said it was cold, but very, very fun! Dad reported in at 11:30 pm that he was safely back home and heading to bed. Thanks for the huge help in getting us down to San Diego Dad. You are our hero in more ways than just keeping us safe and driving.

Friday we spent the main part of the day at Sea World. Isaac loved the Shamu show, no big surprise there. The very same Bubbles the Pilot whale (some 40 plus years old) I remembered seeing from a Sea World Stroller when I was a youngster. We commuted home a whole four-and-a-half minutes and the boys immediately changed and hit the surf again. We have video of bogeying until the sun was completely gone! Die-hards for a good time. From surf to spa and hot tubs, then dinner, two rousing rounds of video Family Feud, scriptures, family prayer, and thankfully and tiredly to a comfy bed.

You know us - so far, every aspect of this trip had neatly fallen into place for our greatest benefit and pleasure. That means we were overdue for some hiccup or another. Saturday we awoke, and after breakfast I noticed wetness from a place on my abdomen area that shouldn't have wetness. Closer inspection revealed that the wetness was coming from the midline incision. The boys visited a surf shop down the street and rented a long board and two pairs of swim fins, and I went to shower. I informed Michelle that we probably needed to call my colorectal surgeon in Utah and report this new development. Dr. Griffin said go to the ER. It could be a tumor pressing on the incision, but the more likely cause of the wetness was an abscess, which required immediate attention. We sent the boys off to the beach while Rachel and Isaac were napping.

By 11 am Michelle, Nichole and I were at Sharp Memorial Hospital ER. One CAT scan, two IV antibiotics, and five hours later the ER Doc said it was at least one abscess and I needed to be admitted. A couple hours later an Internalist said the abscess would require surgery to drain. I finally got into a room at about 7:45 pm and I hadn't had any food or water all day long. Dinner service ended at 8 pm. We called the rest of the family to come visit, and to make two stops: three Taco Bell crunchy tacos w/hot and mild sauce, and a medium Wendy's chocolate frosty and small fries. I was taking no chances with the prospect of surgery and no food again the next day! The family and food came for a brief visit, then due to the small, shared room I was left alone for the evening.

Now hospitals and sleep do not roll together for me. I had Nichole's laptop and an assignment from Cameron for several lists as his last request from Dad (lists of my favorites). How sentimental is that from a 19 year-old rugby missionary? Is he a great young man or what?

His lists are:

1. Dad’s Tips on How Missionaries Worked best with him when he was bishop

2. Dad’s Top Twenty Memorable Spiritual Moments

3. Dad’s Scouting Service Record

4. Dad’s Top 25 Favorite Songs and performers, include Christmas too

5. Dad’s Top 25 Favorite Movies/Musicals

6. Dad’s Top 10 Campfire Stories

7. Dad’s Top 25 Favorite Camping and Fishing Locations

Thus far only two of the lists had been completed. By 1:30 am I had most of the lists finished off, plus a list of Michelle's recipes that sounded particularly appetizing to me as requested by Michelle. After five or six interruptions I woke up at 6 am and completed the lists. At 9 am a general surgeon came in to inform me that they would be utilizing Interventional Radiology, or x-ray guided needles and tubes to drain the abscess. We had made each successive doctor aware of our situation of being on an end-of-life family vacation and had a flight home Monday morning at 11 am. Again the doctors and the staff were all amazingly accommodating and caring. I was served breakfast, which I of course ate on the spot, only to find out that my surgery could not take place until eight hours after my last meal. I was scheduled for 4 pm surgery. The family came in to visit after going to church, and Adam and Benj gave me another perfect powerful priesthood blessing. Then they left intending to be back to take me home after the procedure. I actually went in to Radiology at a little before 2 pm. We were out of the hospital by a little before 4pm, and drove directly to the San Diego temple to walk the grounds in the last hour of daylight. It was delightful. President Hinckley said of the San Diego temple, "If the Salt Lake temple is the king of temples, then San Diego is surely the queen." or, so it was attributed to have been said by one of the missionaries on the grounds there. We returned home to have home cooked spaghetti dinner, discuss dispensing of my stuff after I am gone, and outlining a program for my funeral. It had been another very full and fulfilling day of gratefulness and thanksgiving.

Monday began uneventful. Due to our large suitcases, we needed to make two trips to the airport. Three minutes after the first group was delivered to the curb at the airport, I noticed that my ostomy bag went from about 1/3 full to 1-1/3 full, resulting in the soiling of my entire right side and leg. I was riding in our rented wheelchair, and Alex whisked me off to a bathroom. Of course the handicapped stall was occupied! We finally got in and Alex helped to undress me in such a way as to attempt to keep any additional nearby surfaces, or any of my additional surfaces from further soiling. We left Benj protecting the security of all our bags in a corner of the ticketing area, while Michelle was digging through those suitcases for all the needed supplies and clothing change. We had some items prepared from past experience, but we had never experienced a spewing, spurting stream of sewage like this! Michelle waited until the bathroom was empty of any other men and slipped into the handicapped stall with me. Boy, I never felt so handicapped in all my life! Michelle prepared the new bag and applied it while I laid on the floor. At one point a visitor whom I saw come and go reported a person lying on the floor of the men's room needing attention, so we had a visit from security checking to make sure I was fine. I thought the visitor had been talking on his cell phone when he repeatedly said "Hello, Hello." Michelle was afraid to respond at all, and both Michelle and I had thoughts of accounts of toilet stall sex stings and other such weirdness, so we did not answer. Oh well. All is well that ends well . . .I think I have heard about every pun ever thought up about my "END"!

After another small incident surrounding my "medical" gravity chair needing to be checked at the ticket counter, we all managed to board the plane and come safely home. A quick side trip to my surgeon on the way home supplied additional confidence regarding the surgery and anticipated outcome. We arrived home at about 3 pm.

Our family had a truly awesome and amazing reunion and vacation experience. I said goodbyes to sweet, sweet women in my family, and long long-time friends. Once again we have been blessed by so many wonderful people, and in so many unlikely and unexpected ways. The only thing lacking in the trip was perhaps, just perhaps another couple of days- one in the north, and two in the south. We are more than content and happy with our outcomes and take-aways. We are loved, and it is good to be home again!