"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

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.