"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)


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

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.