"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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obituary for G. Richard Loser


George Richard Loser

05/15/1956 - 12/29/2009


G. Richard Loser, loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on December 29, 2009 in Alpine, Utah after a valiant 14-month battle with cancer.


Richard was born May 15, 1956 in Sacramento California, to George Henry and Rose Evelyn Loser. He grew up in Garden Valley, California and graduated from Ponderosa High School in 1974. He attended one year of school at Ricks College before serving a two-year LDS mission in Louisville, Kentucky. After his release, he returned to Ricks College where he met, dated, and married Michelle Dickison of Granger, Utah. They were sealed for time and eternity April 27, 1979 in the Salt Lake Temple.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Richard served tirelessly in various leadership positions and callings over the years, including former Bishop, Young Men’s President, and for the last six years, as Scoutmaster of Troop 1088.
Richard was known for his love of the outdoors, from rock climbing and river rafting to camping and fishing. He was a lifelong member of The Boy Scouts of America, and recently received the prestigious Silver Beaver award.


The two most important things in his life were the gospel of Jesus Christ and his family, whom he taught to laugh, work, and play hard. He expressed his love of the scriptures and shared his testimony to the end. He will be remembered for his ability to make each person he knew feel important and loved.


He is survived by his wife Michelle Dickison Loser, children Adam (Rachel), Nichole, Benjamin (Jacqueline), Cameron, and Alex Loser, grandchildren Isaac and Brigham, parents George and Rose Loser, grandmother Della Mae Bohall, and siblings Gail (Joe) Barrington, Cindy Loser, Rob (Gerri) Loser, Margaret (Kerry) Evans, and Catherine (Jared) Wood. The family would like to thank those who assisted in Richard’s caretaking, both professionally and personally.


Memorial Services will be as follows:

Friday, January 1, 2010

- Public Viewing 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Saturday, January 2, 2010
- Public Viewing 9:30 - 10:30 am
- Funeral Service 11:00 am
- Internment at Alpine Cemetery

Viewing and Funeral Service will be held by Russon Brothers Mortuary at:
Alpine Stake Center

98 East Canyon Crest Road
Alpine, UT 84004
Map Link

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A time of peace

Tuesday night, December 29, 2009 our Father fulfilled his chapter of mortality. At 5:20 pm he peacefully passed away in his bedroom surrounded by his family. What a special time this is for us. We know he is in a better world and we have faith to join him there soon. We love and miss him.

More details to come regarding his memorial services, but for now a tribute. To my Father, my Dad, my Hero. I Love you.


video

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Family and Friends,

The Spirit of Christ is rich in the air and rich in our home. Though it is quite cold outside, a calming warmth envelopes our home today. We've relived our traditions of the season for one last time with Dad. It's been a great couple of weeks.

We did a little service project for Christmas for one FHE evening as a family at my home (Adam.) It was great fun, and helping fill the needs of others is always so rewarding. It was also great to have Benj and Jackie home from Oklahoma. Being together as family is the best.


Another night, we gathered together and enjoyed some stew and then loaded into a 15 passenger van I borrowed. Then we were off to see some Christmas lights. Rachel and I had planned the route a few days before. It was a lot of fun. As kids, we would often pile in the Holiday Wagon (appropriately titled - our old Chevy van) and head out to find some really well decorated houses and make plans how we could make ours better. Sometimes the trips lasted late into the night, but we loved to see the lights and feel the excitement of the season.


I'm sure Dad would have gotten into the synchronized light shows - we'll just have to do it for him now. Some fun places we saw: House 1 - The best by far! House 2 - Pretty funny.

Grandpa Loser came into town as well, and with everyone around, we decided it would be appropriate to bless Dad's second grandson, Brigham. It was wonderful to have Dad stand in and exercise the priesthood along side his sons, a circle of 4 generations.


We've had an enjoyable Christmas Eve and Day. We spoke with Cameron, who is in great spirits and working hard in Mexico. Sharing gifts and spending time with family has proven out a great day.

May you all enjoy this Christmas Season and feel the spirit of Christ in your lives.

Love - The Loser Family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seasons of Love

Hello friends and family,

As I Nichole write this post tonight, (for the first time in a long time), my lips meander back to sing a song that’s been pushing around in my head this last month. It’s from a musical called Rent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8iTeDl_Wug

How did you measure this year? Babies? Graduations? Mission calls? Joy? Job loss? Financial strain? Sadness? Fear? Hope?

How do I measure this year? It’s been different than any other year of my life. I don’t know how I will look back on the events of the last 14 months, but I do know that these words speak a small token of truth:

It’s time now to sing out, though the story never ends.

Let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends.

We were literally given a year, quite unexpectedly, and though the eye of yesterday is sharp and sees the mistakes we made, I know I will measure my year in love. In more love than I knew I had.

Our story never ends. Thank you for being a part of this year. Your companionship has made the story worthwhile.

Yours in celebration of the life of a friend,

The Loser Family

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Update: 2009-11-19, Reality Check



Sunday, November 22, 2009 Day 400, Week 57, Month 13 Since Diagnosis
I had a healthy reality check last week on Wednesday. It came in the form of cold, pain, and taking some things for granted. We made the mistake of testing the medications to see how intense the pain really is. By the time we got the pain back under control it was, PAIN = 8, Nausea = 8. I was experiencing withdrawals, and was miserable for about 10 to 12 hours. I learned that I am probably worse off than I thought with regards to the pain overall, and that this pump set-up is serving me very, very well!

I am also having more and more Dear Liza moments, you know the song and scenario- "There's a hole in the bucket Dear Liza, Dear Liza . . . ." Where there is task after task waiting to be done and a failing memory makes even remembering the tasks a challenge let alone how to perform the task. It is happening with medications, insurance, finances, etc. It is just UNBELIEVABLE! It seems like every week I am losing more of my memory and reasoning capability. I find myself standing in a room, sometimes with something in my hand and cannot remember why I am there or what I am doing. Then the discovery moment happens and I recall the steps I had been taking before and after this Dear Liza delirium moment. Sometimes I feel so foolish, even though nobody else is around or knows of my personal embarrassment.

BUT THE REALITY EXPERIENCE is the birth of Brigham John Loser. My visit last night consisted of mostly sobbing in recognition that I have survived my gall bladder cancer long enough to see with my earthly eyes and hold in my earthly arms my second "miracle" grandson. I am blessed beyond my ability to explain and comprehend by a kind, wise, loving Heavenly Father. He knows my needs and my wants and He blesses me with that which I need, and also with that which "brightens the eye and gladdens the heart". My family loves me and is still patient with this poor patient. Our families (Extended Family, R-Family, Neighborhood Family, Ward Family, Friend Families, Etc.) continue to love, serve, and sustain us.



My eyes continue to be bright and my heart is glad beyond belief.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update: 2009-11-12 , Disconnected

Thursday, November 12, Day 390, Week 56, Month 13

My health continues to be on the slow downgrade, with my weight continuing to fall off (I now weigh a whopping 124 pounds), the edema (water retention) in my feet and legs continuing to build, nausea continuing to be a nuisance, and so on.

Today has been a so-so day, with pain the issue of the day. My pain has been running at about 5 on the 10-Scale, so I have been hitting the bolus about once every hour or two. The pain is not like the old blockages, but is sharp, constant, and running mid-line abdomen. I rousted out of the sack this "morning" at 11:30 am. I felt like I really could have slept longer . . .

There is a list of recordings I want to do, Christmas lights to organize and get Alex psyched up to put in the yard this year. We are scaling back the lights to a much decreased statement in our yard. This has been a really hard thing for me to let go of. I know in the future I will not be here doing the project- it is just that the idea . . . . There are so many of those "ideas" that are becoming harder and harder to let go of; Christmas lights, the landscaping, video/picture scanning and organization, and so on. This "disconnect" from every day living that my imminent death is causing is weird and in many ways inconceivable. I am going along on some regular project or thought process, then boom, the entire process or project is irrelevant because I am dying.

We continue to persevere in our daily activities. We are sustained and supported in our efforts by your prayers, your fasting, and your interest in our well being. I will continue to decline. My death is getting close. It may come in a couple of months or a couple of weeks. No one in the medical field can tell us when, as it is different for every person. They can only tell us what symptoms to look for as things progress. We pray for faith and courage to face the challenges that lie ahead. We are taking each day as it comes and trying to find joy and happiness in it and in this journey. Thanks for your love- and know that we love you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update- 2009-10-20

Wednesday, October 28, Day 376, Week 54, Month 13

Tuesday last week we had a regularly scheduled visit with the palliative care doctor. This is the doctor who manages my quality of life and particularly my pain. My overall condition continues to decline. It is easy to feel additional hard spots throughout my abdomen which are likely actively growing tumors. Other symptoms of my declining health are losing weight, (about two pounds per week) water retention in my legs and feet, and poor kidney function. I am, however, still able to drink all the slushes I want!

Right now I feel "small." My body physically is shrinking - my arms and legs are small and wrinkled, and I 'm weak. I've been in some denial, like we all have, that the end is closing in, and it's hard to understand what's happening, especially since everyone (doctors, family, friends) keep talking about what a miracle it is I've lived so long.

We are constantly being lifted up by our many loved ones- family, extended family, family friends, ward and neighborhood family- all of you. We are especially sustained by our Savior. He strengthens us daily. Even so, all this love and support doesn't keep all of the anxiety at bay. Michelle and I feel the ache of anticipated separation. We and the children are working at coping with this drawn out process. Even knowing that all of us will die, that everyone loses a loved one at some point in time, doesn't really lessen the pain of my death. But, life does go on and we are being blessed.

So, we embrace each day to see what it will present, how I will feel, what I can bring about, what can be accomplished. We enthusiastically entertain visitors- please call first to assure we are available and presentable. A kind visitor and beloved friend, Krystal Scoresby was greeted while visiting on Sunday evening with a gushing forth of my bowels as I hugged her. Yes, I neglected to plug my G-Tube, and some of my stomach contents- cold water - drained all over her bare feet! I was so embarrassed, but that is where I am these days. Thankfully Krystal was very understanding. Thankfully all our family and friends are understanding of our continuing struggles too! We love you because you also love us . . . ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Year Later.....

A year ago today, we were all sitting in a hospital in Salt Lake holding hands and saying prayers, coming to grips with the news received the night before. Dad had terminal gall bladder cancer and was given 2-4 months to live.

Now a year later, what a life we have lived. We've experienced and accomplished more in a year than many do in a lifetime. While it has been a different journey for each of us, we have all grown stronger and closer to the resolve of an eternal family. Terminal Cancer brings into sharp perspective the things that matter most. Some items still remain to be checked off on the bucket list, but most are done and for that we are thankful. Thank you to all who have participated in any way in our lives, whether through visits and calls, or prayers and fasting. It has all made a difference.

Surely the Lord will never, no never forsake us. We have been sustained by His almighty hand. We all agree that the time is drawing near, but no one thought Dad would still be with us today. We look forward to what the days and weeks ahead will bring.

In celebration, we spent the day on Strawberry Reservoir with the family fishing with Karl. It has been a while since we all went fishing. Mom and Nichole obliged and had a great day. The weather was beautiful and the fishing was great. We caught 26 fish during the morning we were there. Thanks Karl for being a great guide and friend!








Dad is still losing weight, but is in great spirits. He's down to 130 lbs, and continues to make his homemade slushies and slurpees, which are quite tasty. He sleeps in till about 10 am and then takes a nap in the afternoon. He welcomes visitors and is anxious to give long extended hugs. We would love to have you stop by, just be sure to call first.

The council he's given is still in play. This life is about relationships. Relationships with your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your friends, your neighbors, and your God. Every day matters in how you build each one. Be a builder!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sunday, October 11, Day 360, Week 51, Month 11 since diagnosis-


(I have thrown in a scattering of pictures. They are in no special sequence or meaning, just some fun pictures to look at!)
Easy Rider Bethany Wood & Uncle Rick
on Stephen Story's Trike. By the way did I say it's for rent?

We have had a very busy couple of weeks, many visitors and much to do. We appreciate so much the many condolences and well wishes we have received with the passing of Michelle's father. The memorial services were beautiful, worshipful, and therapeutic for all the family. Thank you and know that we love you.


We enjoyed a Family Council on Sunday evening where we SKYPED (see http://www.skype.com/) Benjamin and Jackie into the meeting from Norman, Oklahoma. They are enjoying all the experiences of typical newlyweds. Believe it or not, Benj got a job at the Little River Zoo in Norman, OK http://littleriverzoo.com/! He is responsible for the care of forty of their predators. Leave it up to Benj to score a job like that! Jackie continues to be active with Women's Sooner Volleyball and school. http://www.soonersports.com/sports/w-volley/okla-w-volley-body.html.

Alex mucking out the back pond for winter hibernation

I continue to "enjoy" my liquid diet. I try to "liquidate" new menu items on a regular basis. Cafe Rio's BBQ Pork Burrito isn't quite the same when "liquidated", if you get my drift! The nightly regimen of TPN keeps me going, but I am losing weight. I am down to 140 pounds. My doctor has increased my steroid medication again, so my "moon" face is coming back in swell form, but the remainder of my body is noticeably wrinkled and thin. Hopefully the energy levels will be swelling along with the face!

Isaac on the 200# giant pumpkin, from our wonderful neighbors

I am experiencing a gradual decline in overall health. My sense of well being is winding down. Nausea still bothers me the most. On the Ten Scale: Nausea= 3, Pain= 2, Overall Well being= 5. We still are welcoming visitors- love our visitors in fact. Please call first though. We have progressed to the point in my care that we are no longer really doing much with the doctors directly. The treatment plan is to manage nausea and pain to enhance our quality of life together, as my life winds down. Life is still great and there is much to do and much life to live. Heavenly Father continues to hold us up . . .

Uncle Bill in Little Valley above Wallsburg with a Rainbow

Isaac & Grandpa playing and fishing at Strawberry

Friday, September 25, 2009

On the Loser Newsfront

Friday, September 25, Day 337, week 48, month 11 since diagnosis-

Hello loved ones. News of note to pass on:

  • Benjamin Louis Dickison, Michelle's wonderful father, passed away quietly on Friday. The viewing will be Monday evening and the funeral Tuesday mid-morning. Ben fought a terrible battle with multiple potentially deadly diseases (Congestive Heart Failure, Flesh Eating Bacteria, Skin and Prostate cancer) over the past eleven years, but he has finally conquered all and finished the race. Heavenly Father has welcomed him home. His last words to me were "I'll see you in heaven!" I look forward to a poignant reunion with Father Ben in the future.

  • I have digressed to a liquid diet. Almost every time I attempt to eat solids they come back up in a very fierce way. This indicates that my intestines are basically all tumor-ridden and that the cancer has progressed extensively in my digestive tract. I have tried just chewing, tasting, then spitting out . . . it's not very satisfying! I am sure glad, in retrospect, that Michelle had me make a favorite food list and then made sure I got to have each and every one of the menu items. I miss those days of feasting on delicious recipes and many old familiar favorite flavors.

  • Currently I am dealing with pain, nausea, lack of energy, and an overall blahness. The pictures don't lie- my weight has fallen to 145 pounds. The palliative care doc has created a new medication regimen to address my issues, and though these are hard things to deal with, they sure could be much worse. (As a note, in the last few days, dad has been experiencing a large amount of pain, and is currently on heavy medication and thus somewhat incoherent).

  • We are facing the challenges as best we can. I am sleeping more, but still am trying to get out and see and do. Michelle and I went on a Mountain Trike Ride up the Alpine Loop to view the amazing fall colors. Thanks to Stephen Story (AGAIN!) for the amazing Trike he has parked at our house the past three weeks!

  • I am having fun, still! Life is great! I love, I love hugs, I love kisses, I love all my families, I LOVE! Thank you for your love and support!

- Richard

P.S. Ben Dickison's obituary is located on the right side of the blog...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 2009

The month of September has been full of several memorable experiences for our family. Over Labor Day weekend, we had our annual Ricks College Family Reunion in Wallsburg at the Story's Ranch. As seen in the pictures, running the river is always a big hit with the group. Dad had a great time taking Isaac on gator rides.
Last weekend, we had a family reunion with the Loser side of the family again at the Story's Ranch. They have been so generous in allowing us to use it. Thank you Steve and Jan! Grandpa, Cindy, and Bill & Debbie traveled from California to be here with us. We were also joined by Catherine & Jared Wood and DeeDee & Kerry Evans and their families. Friday morning several of us went fishing with Karl to Strawberry Reservoir. Dad allowed Isaac to help drive the boat and he was thrilled! Saturday morning most of the group took a four-wheeler ride up the mountain and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The rest of the weekend was full of more gator rides, games, and visiting.

We've been grateful Dad has had the energy to do so many things recently despite the fact that the cancer is indeed progressing. A medical update will follow soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Washington Lake, Uinta National Forest

We had the fun opportunity to go to Washington Lake in the Uinta Mountains this past weekend. It has been a favorite family camping spot for the last 12 years or so. We've been going there since before the campground was even there!

We had fantastic weather which has not always been the case. We reminisced about all the fun adventures we had from salamander hunting, to hiking, fishing, biking, tree cutting, bear calling, and many more.
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Loser for their use of the motorhome. It made for comfortable accomodations and even Isaac finally had a great nights sleep in it. We played really hard to wear him out so he would sleep. Dad, Alex, Isaac and Adam went canoeing and fishing and caught some fish on Friday. We had a great fireside that night and talked to Dad about some important things we've been meaning to do for a while. On Sat., Rachel and Nicole went out in the canoe and caught some fish too. We did some hiking around the provo river falls and really just enjoyed the beauty of the mountains.
What a beautiful place we live in!








Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grasshoppers and Apples on Top

As promised, here are two clips of some of the activities Isaac and Grandpa love to do together.

video

video

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rolling from the heart of the house

Hello all!
Another day, another message from the Loser home. Things here are about the same, with the occasional addition of random big machines that suck stuff out from dad's stomach. For a long time, dad was having a handful of good days with a bad one thrown in. Lately, it's been a handful of bad days with a good one thrown in. It's all the same stuff, just more (like puking, tiredness, etc). In any case, it's a battle, and one we've been waiting for and expecting.


Dad is still enjoying moments when he gets to sit down and cuddle with Isaac. Those are some of the fun moments he looks forward to in the week. This weekend we are going camping to Washington Lake, one of our favorite family spots. We've had a lot of good times there with friends and family, including the campouts when Benj, Cam, & their cousin Cory camped out overnight on their own little island and were scared of the "bear" noises coming from dad's bucket (you'll have to ask him about it, and how to make them :). Lots of good memories. We thank you for them. We also hope to make some new and lasting memories while we're there this weekend!

Here's a note from dad:
We have had some good moments, in spite of it all. Rachel brought Isaac over on Tuesday after his nap. Isaac and I and our medical support team (you have probably seen our team in the Verizon telephone commercials), went out catching grasshoppers to feed to the frogs and lizards in the window well. We have a little video clip to post of this. He really loves all of the traditional "boy" diversions. Lest you think grandma and grandpa are totally spoiling this manchild, we also have some very tender footage from the recliner I will be sharing, too (in a while - we have to figure out how to get it onto the computer first).

In spite of all the pain and puking, dad looks forward to visitors - just give him a call!
We love you all and cannot say thank you enough for your help, love, and support.

Long days and pleasant nights,
The Losers

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday, August 14, Day 295, week 43, month 10 since diagnosis-
Hello loved ones. Time to interject a personal note. This experience is growing more demanding and difficult the longer it goes on. We have been amazingly blessed in a multitude of ways. I have been unmistakenly sustained, most recently throughout Benj and Jackie's wedding week. The goodbye as we sent the newlyweds off to Oklahoma was tearful and difficult, overshadowed by my recent terminal updates.
I, and I think the entire family, are struggling to digest the most recent cancer test results. Although the timing is anyones guess, we are thinking I probably have maybe a couple of months left now. We anticipate a family council on Sunday. I hope that we will collectively be able to reaccess our bucket list and have some new directions, goals, and activities to focus our efforts on. I have been feeling quite at loose ends. Combining the lack of direction/goals with my feeling of mailaise and fatigue (eight on the ten cale) have me in a pretty good funk at the moment. I am working at turning this feeling around! We will keep you posted on our progress . . .

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weddings and Futures...


Wow! What an exciting time we've all had in the last few weeks. Sorry about the slow posts again - we have been a little busy getting things ready for Benj and Jackie's wedding and for all the things that come with it.

For those of you unable to make it to the gigantic luau/reception, it was amazing! The Fotu family blessed us all in unimaginable ways by providing traditional Tongan foods and entertainment, which made their reception one of the most fun events of the year! We loved every minute of it, and dad seemed to be filled with the buzz of energy and life our guests brought with them - the outpouring of love and excitement was palpable. Sorry if there weren't enough tables for everyone, but as I found, the grass was a good a seat as any. Back when we lived in West Valley, our family fell in love with the unselfish and honorable Polynesian cultures we found there. It is a blessing to have their great happiness and acceptance of Benj, who is the tall, skinny white boy who can't do the Haka (love you Benj, but it was still pretty funny to see you on the stage trying your hardest).

The temple wedding was spiritual and amazing and a dream come true for both
families. The wedding luncheon was fun and filled with music, laughter, and tears of joy and happiness. And the reception? The American Fork Amphitheater is amazing, and was filled with beautiful flowers, smiling people, good food, and fun dancing. For the first time I can recollect (in my "vast" knowledge of wedding receptions), people came and actually stayed. Thank you all for coming and/or supporting us in every capacity (Benj and Jackie are grateful for all of their generous gifts - it's funny how two young, poor people find such bliss in crockpots and bath towels). All in all, it was a wonderful day that we will treasure and remember, both for the blessings it brought our two families, as well as the chance to see all those we love gathered around us.

On a slightly different and dimmer note, dad went back to the doctor this week for a PET CT scan. He hasn't had one since February, and we were interested to see what it had to say about his cancer. It measures the "hypermetabolic activity level" in his body, which is to say that it shows us the places where the cancer is living, growing and thriving. We found a few places where it has actually faded, but mostly there are new growths, and in some places the cancer has almost doubled. It's on his kidneys, liver, abdominal wall, spine, pelvis, pancreas, and lower lung.

He's been very tired and nauseous for the last few weeks, and we have been feeling that the cancer is progressing faster since dad stopped the chemo. He's decided that they aren't going to seek any more chemotherapy, either. As always, we don't have a time frame for all of this. Sometimes cancer grows in a laid back fashion and seems to take holiday for a while, but sometimes it grows like a hungry and desperate beast. For us, it means that we are appreciating the good days that much more.

Benj and Jackie left for Oklahoma on Thursday, where they will be for the next year while Jackie finishes playing volleyball and her bachelors degree in Communications. Since the doctor visit results came before they left, Thursday was quite an emotional day for all involved. We love Benj and Jackie and are excited for them in their new life together! Please help us pray for them, as we pray for all those we love. Including you!

Friends and family, we are so grateful for the love and support you give us. We could not have made it thus far without your very real spiritual and physical strength. You keep us moving when we get stuck. You're like friend-laxatives, or maybe, Fraxatives :)



All our love,
The Losers


Post brought to you by, of course, Nichole



I think Grandpa George got the short end of the stick somewhere...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy 24th of July!!!

Saturday, July 25, Day 280, week 40, month 9 since diagnosis-
Hello loved ones! This is such a roller coaster ride. Each day can be challenging just to get out of the bed or chair and get going with life. The last surgery has been quite difficult to get through with a lengthy recovery. I struggled with pain, energy, and especially nausea for about three weeks. Finally, the weekend of the Fourth was a great couple of days and we enjoyed the holiday with our family and some good friends.
On July 9th we went camping with the extended Loser family to my sister and brother-in-law's (DeeDee and Kerry) mountain property in Sanpete County called the Bighorn Ranch. We took the motor home up to their trailer and had a great time! My other sister Catherine & her husband Jared took our tent trailer up, too. I pretty much laid around in chairs and a hammock and tried to enjoy what everyone else was doing. It was very pleasant and quite enjoyable. The company was wonderful, the food great, and the atmosphere was serene and beautiful. I think everyone had a truly great time and made some wonderful memories!
On Tuesday, July 14th, Michelle and I met with the oncologist to review our action plan. We decided not to pursue any more chemotherapy. The Doctor said that any further chemo benefit would only be about 10-20 percent. Given the negative side effects for me, it just isn't worth the effort. We will monitor the growth of the cancer and when we see a marked increase in the activity we will re-evaluate our position. The doctor is very supportive - at one point during our visit he paused, pushed back from his desk, looked at the ceiling, then turned to us and said, "Are you two okay with all of this? Do you just wish it would end, or you would get better?" Our reply was mixed, but we both acknowledged that we would like him to be able to tell us that we had three months (or some time frame like that) and then we could make definitive plans and move ahead. Of course we know that is not possible for him to do. The doctor said that our visits with him are always easier than he thinks they will be, and he commended us for not seeking every way possible to gain a few extra days of "existence". He said we are doing remarkably well considering all we have already been through. Michelle and I left with mixed feelings once again. Life can be so frustrating!
Thursday and Friday of this week we had a sleepover with the Ricks College Family. All six original couples came for a BBQ dinner at the Loser Home, followed by games, laughter and
reminiscing. Most spent the night, then all were back together for a gourmet breakfast. We are blessed to have such wonderful friends that we really consider family! It was fun and refreshing to be with one another.
Friday afternoon just the Loser family gathered to swim, have dinner, do fireworks in the park out back, and then watch some family videos. It has been a wonderful and memorable holiday. We are truly blessed!
Here are some pictures of the fun things we have been doing-




































Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movies, Weddings, and Water (oh, and Puking)

Hello friends and family!
Things haven't changed that much since the last blog update. Dad's had a rough few days with puking and stuff, but he technically doesn't need to eat, so it's not medically that concerning. He's now getting most of his medications via the PICC line, so we know they are working even when he's sick. I guess when he feels nauseous, we're going to start giving him fluids via the PICC line as well, to help keep him hydrated and give him energy.

Things are going well in other areas, too. Alex was ecstatic over the new Transformers movie (he's a typical 16 year old boy). His top 2 favorite movies are now: 1) Transformers #2 - 2) Transformers #1. The irony is that Adam and I used to play Transformers all the time when we were younger, and now it's Alex who talks about Autobots and Decepticons nonstop.

Benj is gearing up for the wedding in five weeks and has been working full time up in Park City with Adam. Speaking of which, congrats to Adam on his new calling. It required the ordination to the office of High Priest, which was a true miracle and blessing (dad was able to ordain Adam and pass on his priesthood lineage, which Adam can now pass on to the other boys). We were grateful to be able to participate in the experience, and hope it won't keep Adam too busy :)

I've (Nichole) been having fun with my aunt Lisa in scuba diving lessons (minus bloody noses. Oh, and inner-ear pressure headaches. Oh, and the panicked feeling that comes when you just swallowed water. Through your nose.)

We are grateful for the experiences that remind us we are alive, only human, and those times when we realize how incredibly blessed we are. Be grateful you can eat through your mouth.

Love,
The Losers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home at last...

Hello all!
Here' s another update from the Losers:

Dad is back home from the hospital now (he got back yesterday evening), and it's been an interesting two weeks. He has two ostomy sites, one G-tube, one PICC line, and a belly full of staples at the moment. He's feeling better, but still in some pain (which is to be expected - he's hauling around like 200 lbs of medical equipment lately). We are running the TPN in the evenings, and dad is still able to eat, so he's feeling better with all this unexpected nutrition, too.

With all the new stuff going on, the doctors want dad to keep records of EVERYTHING that has ANYTHING to do with his body. It's a little annoying, trying to keep it all straight. Now was that 270 calories of urine, or 2 milligrams of calories? I don't know anymore - it's like word vomit at the moment.

Overall, dad's happy to be home. Oh, and something I personally think is funny? Dad's PICC line is in his left arm, and the TPN runs at night, so guess who had to change sides of the bed after 30 years of marriage? Mom said that she woke up in the middle of the night and had no idea where she was. I wish I could have seen her try to figure that out :)

Thank you to all those who visited and stayed at the hospital with dad. Mom and I couldn't have done it alone. Also, thank you for your continued concerns, thoughts, and prayers. We are looking forward to this Sunday when we can spend Father's Day at home, with our family.

Treasure your fatherly moments.
All our love,
The Losers

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hospital Schmospital (can I get two of those, please?)

Hello all,

Today is Friday, June 12th, and dad just got out of surgery. He's been here at the hospital for a bowel blockage that started out annoying and developed into a full obstruction. So, yesterday, we finally talked to the surgeon Dr. Griffin (the same one who took out dad's colon and found the cancer in October). He wanted to do surgery, but also wanted to know more about where the blockage was and had dad do a whole bunch of tests he's not done before. The doctor decided it was important to do the surgery asap, so dad went in today around 3:30 pm. 

When Dr. Griffin came out, this is the story he told us:

Dad's cancer is wide spread on his intestines, and there were several blockage sites where his guts were twisted with scar tissue and tumors. As a result, Dr. Griffin couldn't separate his intestines without doing a lot of damage, so he left them as they were. Instead, he 

1) moved down along dad's intestines from his stomach as far as he could (leaving 2-3 feet of good intestine) and created a new ileostomy on the other side of his stomach. Yes, he now has two. This means that he can eat still, and the 2-3 feet aren't tumor-ridden. It also means he doesn't have enough intestine to survive off of regular eating habits. 

2) "installed" a G-tube (Gastric-tube) that is a drain directly from the stomach out through the abdomen wall - it's permanent and sticks out of his stomach. If dad has any more bowel problems, he can hook up the G-tube to a vacuum machine that sucks out any blockages at home; this keeps us out of the hospital in the future. 

3) put in a PICC line (he had one before - it's a central I.V. that stays in his arm all the time). They did this because dad needs nutrition, and he will be starting this great program recommended by his new firecracker nutritionist (who has decided to be a strong advocate for him). It involves this cool substance called TPN (Total Parental Nutrition) which is a feeding liquid they create specially for dad's needs. It goes in through the PICC line for 12 hours at night and is like a complete diet; dad won't need to eat when he's on the TPN, but he still wants to try the new KFC baked chicken. Dad's incision is about twice as long as it's been before, so he's probably going to be in the hospital for at least another five plus days. 

I know, I know, it's a lot to take in. At least it is for us. Two bags to change, two new appendages. 
Same dad. We love him.
Thank you, 

The Losers

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hospital Update . . .

Thursday, June 09, Day 234, week 33, month 7 since diagnosis-

Well, I had that nasty dang NG (Nasal Gastric) tube inserted late Sunday night after admission to the hospital @ IMC again. Around 1:30 today my nurse said I was approved for clear liquids. At about 6pm today I got the NG tube removed. It's amazing what a psychological boost it is just to get the tube out! I've been up and walking yesterday and today, trying tto help things move along. If I am able to tolerate the clear liquids, I will hopefully get to eat some soft foods tomorrow. I've lost 8 pounds in the last week and am feeling quite fatigued from fighting the pain and nausea. None of the doctors are anxious to do surgery, especially since they just had me opened up 6 weeks ago, so we pray this decompression takes care of the blockage. If all goes well, I hope to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday or Friday.


We did get some new tumor marker results last Thursday. For the first time since we started chemo back in November, it went up a litlle. Not too significant, but an indicator that we still have a battle to fight. We continue to be grateful for every good day and pray for more to come.
Thanks again for your calls, visits, prayers and expressions of love and concern.

Richard

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy Hospital Sunday

Hello everyone! Thank you for your devotion in reading this blog - we don't post nearly often enough, but try when we can. I know, I know, Yoda said, "Do or do not. There is no try;" but he was at least 800 years old when he said that. It takes time to learn those lessons...

We are posting from the hospital - yep, back again. Dad's got a partial small bowel blockage that's been painful since last Sunday. Instead of opting for surgery right away (every time he gets opened up, the chances of having a blockage as a result later on are like 60%), he is going to stay and be on IV fluids to try and let the blockage pass on its own. If that doesn't work in a few days, we'll try an NG tube (down his nose, into his stomach) and as a last resort, go into surgery. 

So life goes on. There's nothing like having to give a complete medical history five times in five hours. Unless it's listening to the person in the next room puking. 

We'll keep you posted.
All our love!
The Losers

(Post brought to you by Nichole)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Results . . . .

Monday, June 01, Day 225, week 32, month 7 since diagnosis-

Friday, May 22nd we took the motor home camping in the Uinta Mountains. We stayed on the East Fork of the Duchesne River above Hanna, Utah. We stayed in Hades Campground, yes we've been to "hell" and back. It rained every day, but Monday, which turned out just gorgeous as we left . . . However, the motor home made even the rain enjoyable as it pattered down on the roof. We were all snug and dry in warm, comfortable beds. Excepting Alex, who opted to spend the first two nights outside alone in a hammock. He loved sleeping (nesting)in the hammock, even outside alone and under a tarp! It is a very pretty area, at the base of the mountains below the trailhead to the Granddaddy Lakes. We stayed through Monday, going to church in Tabiona on Sunday, and enjoying the beauty of spring in the forest and mountains. It was a great trip, and we made some fond memories.

On Tuesday, May 26th I had a CT scan, followed by an appointment with the oncologist on Thursday, the 28th. The scan showed the disease is stable, and the Tumor Marker is down again. So, the doctor says I am doing very well! Great news! I was actually expecting to hear something different as I have not been feeling well since Sunday- Pain=5, Fatigue=7, Nausea=5, throwing up twice on Monday. I really thought the cancer was entering the next stage. I guess it's just the flu virus that is circulating right now. The hard part of life right now is not knowing what to expect each day. When some new "ache, pain, or symptom" comes along, we don't know if it is the next step in the disease, or just a "normal" bug that is going around. We are trying to take each day positively as it comes and be grateful for the good ones.

Friday, we celebrated Michelle's 50th birthday with an open house, organized by Nichole. The day was a "landmark" day, and we wanted to make it special. So, Nichole sent out an email to everyone in our address list, inviting them to come and party. It was great and many friends and family came by to celebrate the evening with us. Thank-you Nichole for pulling the openhouse off, and thank-you to all our loved ones who came to celebrate!





Friday, May 15, 2009

Birthday Update . . .

Friday, May 15, Day 141, week 21, month 6 since diagnosis-
I thought not to be here for my 53rd birthday, but here I am still!
We had a small procedure requiring a few stitches performed at the surgeon, Dr. Price's office during my visit on Tuesday this week. We have been having bag leak issues with resulting at least daily bag changes because there was a lot of mucus leaking.
I am still tired from the trip to CA-OR-WA-ID-WY, but happy I was able to go be with extended family on a more positive note. The last visit was very sober and in some ways shocking to the California families. I left with much happier feelings this time. Now, it is good to be home and with my family again. Mom and Dad have provided their 31' motor home to us so we can do some family camping in conscience and build some additional family end of life memories per our latest bucket list . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy May!

Hello everyone!
Here we are in May, and we haven't posted in several weeks. We apologize - things have been hectic and changing, as they are for everyone.
Here's an update on how things are going at the Loser home:
* Dad had his staples taken out from the surgery on April 28th, and the surgeon said everything looks great! He reported that there aren’t really a lot of tumors on dad’s intestines, which was great news. We’ve heard that bowel blockages toward the end are horrible. He and mom also met with the oncologist, who told them that things are going well. He did note that there is a new area of tumor growth on the bottom of dad’s lung, so that’s a spot we’re going to have to watch out for. They also decided as a team to stop the chemotherapy – it was just too draining for dad, and we want him to have a good quality of life rather than extend his life with months of exhaustion and puking. Otherwise, dad’s recovering nicely. He attributes his quick bounce back to the epidural he had for the surgery (and you thought only preggos got ‘em) :)
* Mom’s wrist is doing fine – it’s pretty funny, I have to say, to watch her do stuff with only one hand. I tell you folks, she’s almost ambidextrous now! By the way, don’t make fun of her if her hair looks bad – it’s either one-handed, or dad-as-a-stylist (and no one wants to see that).
* By the way, as far as family news is concerned, we wanted to make sure that everyone knows that Benj and Jackie bumped their wedding back to August 1st because they wanted to wait until the hottest time of the year. Just kidding, more family and school- timing stuff to work through. We also wanted to pass on the news that Adam and Rachel are preggo again! We are sooo very excited, and hope that once again, the child looks like Rachel. Sorry Adam. I still love you.
* We were very excited to talk to Elder Cameron this last Sunday for Mother’s day. He sounded serious, which I know is hard to imagine, but he’s doing well and doesn’t have the swine flu. In fact, he believes it’s a scam by the Mexican government. It’s been hard to work around the Sunday meeting cancellations, but he said they are just going to have to work that much harder in the next few weeks. He wanted us to give his love for everyone!
* Dad’s dad (Grandpa George) came out to visit from California, so dad (Richard) decided to take a little trip back with him. Here’s a note about the experience:
“So life goes on and so must we work while the sun is still up and shining. I decided to make a trip to California to visit family again, this time on a more positive note. We had a great family BBQ and visit, made some fun surprise visits on doorsteps and in front rooms, and we saw a lot of country (some incredibly beautiful and scenic) in between. Now I am back home and feeling a bit worn and frayed. It was great to visit family, some of whom I have not seen for 10-12 years.” Overall, dad’s feeling pretty good, considering. We were glad he could say goodbye to some of those relatives.
Thank you all once again for your love and support. We’re glad none of you have the swine flu, and that the world didn’t end.
We love you. We love the beautiful earth. And most of all, we love mom’s homemade spare ribs. Um, um, good.
The Losers
This post is brought to you courtesy of Nichole...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend post, Today- "Normal"

Sunday, April 26, day 189, week 27, month 6 since diagnosis-

Life at home is back to "normal". Michelle and I are both in recuperation mode and trying to help care for one another. Of course family is here and stepping up to meet our needs. Life goes on . . .

I am in some pain and discomfort as I recover from surgery. Pain is hovering around four or five on a consistant basis, but for the most part I am able to be somewhat active. My recovery has been much faster this time around compared to the other three surgeries, I think due in large part to the epidural used during anesthesia. Even having a larger (6")mid-line incision, the hospital stay was much less painful and I was able to rest and walk more and sooner. Both have contributed to a speedy recovery process. Not to say that this surgery hasn't been a setback. Last night I experienced some anxiety about 3:00am. I was tossing and turning and having night sweats. After an early first breakfast cinammon roll and some Andy Griffeth Show, I was able to go back to bed and sleep, though fitfully. I wonder what lessons I still need to learn from all these experiences . . .

As always we feel sustained by your prayers, love, and faith. Thank-you for your continued concern for our welfare. We are grateful for your love and affection.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Everyone is back home . . .

Wednesday, April 22, Day 185, week 26, month 6 since diagnosis-

While in Park City at dinner we had a classic "Loser" moment. All of you are aware of the Germanic orgins of our somewhat awkward last name-
LOSER.
I had created a family logo several years ago, to identify our family, and to maybe at some level push back on society on the hassle any and all of us have received through the years over our last name. For example if you phonetically sound out Adam's name you get the following "A'-Dam'-Looser".

So, I made up this logo in bright, shiny mountain colors, and had it nicely embroidered on several shirts. I like an extra heavy, long-sleeve, mock turtle tee shirt. This particular shirt I had on during dinner Friday up in Park City was a bright white tee. Our waiter early on, stopped as he was leaving and said, "Sir, I just have to tell you I think that is one of the most awesome shirts I have ever seen anyone wearing." We all looked at one another, looked at my shirt, then burst out laughing. We explained it was our family name and family logo, and was PRONOUNCED- "LOW'SIR"! We laughed until we had the tears running. It was a memorable moment in true Loser lore.

Back to the news at hand . . . .
At 2:10pm today, I was finally discharged from the IMC (Intermountain Medical Clinic) after much delay and some infighting between which department had authority over Richard Loser- the surgical team that operated on me and admitted me to the hospital, or the Oncology Team that has been caring from me as a terminal cancer patient for the past six months. in the meanwhile I received a newly prescribed Fentanyl trans dermal patch put on yesterday at 1:20p, had my epidural turned off and capped at 3a this morning, had the epidural removed at 11a, the friendly Foley catheter removed at 11:30a, and showered! Whoohoo! It was all good, as I got out of the hospital fray and was in the warm, bright sunshine!!!

Meanwhile, back at home, on Tuesday, Michelle underwent some minor surgery on her hand. Several months ago in late September, while running she had taken a rather nasty fall on the road. She ended up being diagnosed with 1st CMC Joint Capsulodesis, or Joint laxity of the CMC Joint on her right hand. Bottom line is it was painful, sometimes extremely painful, to hold or manipulate with her right hand. It also hurt to perform a lot of repetitive movements involving the thumb on her right hand. Michelle needed surgery to correct the injury, as it was not going to heal on it's own.

Michelle's hand had been getting progressively worse since October. The surgery is about a 35 minute procedure. After surgery she will be in a soft cast for a week or two. Then Michele will be in a hard cast for two weeks, followed by a splint and Physical therapy. So her recovery from this "minor" procedure will be quite protracted. She doesn't want to be in a cast for Benj & Jackies wedding, so we went ahead and had her do the surgery now. The surgwery had already been scheduled and postponed once. You know how we Loser's are. We must keep life hopping, interesting and planning the next full measure of liveliness and activity!

I was released from the hospital yesterday about 2:00pm. It was such beautiful day to ride home. The weather was close to 80 degrees, clear, bright, sunny day. I was sweating by the time we got home because I had on fleece PJs and a long-sleeve mock turtle neck heavy Tee shirt. I sat in the back yard in a gravity lounge chair and enjoyed the greenery, the spring bulbs, and the fresh air. I also enjoyed the fact that I knew there would be no "ministering angel nurses" coming in every hour on the hour from 7p to 7a to wake me up to see if I was still breathing.

I came home from the hospital with my Father, George Loser. He happened to be visiting Utah from Loomis, CA where my sister DeeDee Evans, and my nieces Megan Wood and Kadee Evans had been visiting for spring break. Dad spent the night with me at the hospital, then escorted me home. We are discussing future travel plans and bucket list activities . . .

I came home to a nicely fertilized green lawn, and gorgeous blooming bulbs of fifty or more varieties, soft pastel purple Drumstick Primroses, heavily fragrant Hyacinths, brilliant Daffodils and Tulips, and more than I can number here. The pond-a clean, clear cascade pond in the front yard with new additions- Koi, Goldfish, and freshly imported Loomis Water Hyacinth. An overwintered California Newt emerged from hibernation, and was in the front Cascade pond already. The back yard Zen pond was sporting freshly emerged from hibernation Pacific Tree Frogs. The Pacifics have been chorusing fro a week -and-a-half now. They have already made several large egg deposits back there. The yard in general, and the pond in particular looks great! A great big hug of thanks and gratitude for all of Benjamin's hard work, and the resulting sunburn! He was all day on the pond in his swimming suit only . . .

Michelle's mother Carol and sister Kathy came visiting with two dinners, flowers, and well wishes. They are such wonderful and kind people. We enjoyed them so very much in Hawai'i. We al remarked as we hugged in greeting that we would all be bak in Hawai'i in a heartbeat if circumstances permitted. It was a magical and fairytailish experience for each of us. Thanks for the love you two are sharing with us!

Then, about 6:30p the entire Young Men's group shows up at our house with rakes, gloves , and grins to tackle our yard spring clean up chores. Weed pulling, dead leaf gathering, Raspberry transplanting, dead turtle removal/disposal, frog egg relocation, and general sprucing up of the Loser plantation to place by a motivated and diligent crew. Afterwards, rousing game of football/rugby was enjoyed in the park out in back, then punch and smores in the fire pit on our back patio. The last of the YM and Leaders left at about 9:20p. Thank-you, thank-you young men and leaders for your hard, prickly, and dirty work in our yard! It looks great, and would have taken our family several Saturdays and weeknights to accomplish all you did in a few hours! You are great and wonderful priesthood servants of our Heavenly Father, and He loves you and I, as a man love you all dearly. Our family love you all so much! You have been, and will continue to be an intimate and integral part of my life, and of our Loser Family life!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Surgery

Friday night we celebrated my six month anniversary since diagnosis with dinner out. About 8pm I began to feel some tightness and distention in my abdomen. By midnight I was in pretty severe pain. It was an unwelcome, familiar, and escalating pain. The bowel blockage from back in October had reoccurred. At 1:30am Nichole and I left for the hospital. I was admitted by 7am. I was in surgery at 6pm for 3 hours.

The surgeon tried to lapriscope the procedure, but ended up performing a 6" midline incision to get to the problem areas. The doc cleared up several areas where there was scar tissue causing strictures of the bowel. Some of the scarring actually caused the bowel to severely kink, which is what caused the blockage. The doc removed considerable material from the bowel, which was extremely inflamed and swollen. The end result was immediate relief.

I was able to sleep through the night, and by yesterday I was sitting in a chair visiting with family and walking laps on the floor. Today, Monday, I am feeling very good. The doc has me on clear liquids, moving to soft foods later in the day, and possibly going home tomorrow! I had an epidural for this surgery, and I am amazed at how quickly this procedure has been moving.

I feel sustained by the prayers and faith of so many people. Not that this is easy or pleasant in any way shape or form. Nor do we wish to be the continued focus of attention for so many people. But, the Lord seems determined to use us for His wise purposes, so we try to be meek and submissive. We are blessed by a very kind, wise Heavenly Father to be surrounded by His ministering angels. We look forward to some visits at home later in the week.

Thank you for your continued prayers and concern for our welfare. We love you all!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Park City- Escala Getaway

The entire family has spent this past week in Park City at a beautiful four bedroom condo (Adam is the project manager for Escala). From 80 degrees in Kapalua, HI, to snow storms in the hottub and 28 degrees in Park City, UT-
We have been spending Spring Break together celebrating the past six months. We wanted this family time in a relaxing and different setting. These condos are very, very nice. Isaac has really enjoyed the hottub/pool and swimming and just playing with grandparents, Coley, and Alex. Grandpa and grandma have enjoyed a lot of one-on-one time with Isaac. We have been playing games, visiting, and just relaxing together. Life is beautiful, we are enjoying it, and we are a happy family!
We acknowledge that your love, faith, and prayers have helped make this possible for me to still be here! We are so grateful and thank-you with all our hearts and souls!

Note: (At 1:30 am Saturday I ended the week in the hospital, with surgery last night for a bowel obstruction at the Intermountain Medical Center. All went well. I am looking forward to a quiet four or five day hospital recovery stay. I would prefer to postpone any visits until later in the week.
I will post more later with details . . .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Treat!

Saturday, April 12, Day 149, week 23, month 5 since diagnosis-

A lifelong young friend, Rick Elder surprised me today, stopping by for a visit with about $20.00 worth of fresh Alaskan King Crab Legs. We steamed half and ate half cold, the steamed part with drawn butter, and and the cold with cocktail sauce. Umm, umm good! What a great young man! Rick seems to know how I feel about good food too! Thanks Rick, for a great visit with a good friend, and for the great treat!

On Thursday this week we received a nifty box from San Francisco- several round loaves of fresh San Francisco Boudine Sour Dough French Bread Soup Bowels and several cans of San Francisco Clam Chowder. Courtesy of my brother Robert Loser's family in Fiddletown, CA. and their thoughtfulness and generosity. We enjoyed the soup bowels that night, and reminisced of the lunch we had at the Pacifica Pier back in November last year. Thanks Bro!

It seems like these steroids I am on would have me eating 24 hours a day. Food tastes great again (the effects of the chemotherapy are slowly wearing off) and I am craving all sorts of things. If you hadn't noticed while in Hawai'i, food was an important element of just about everything we did. We researched and then tracked down the famous speciality restaurants, and the hole-in-the-wall places that were renown for some particular treat or meal. Life is pretty good for me right at the moment.
Michelle & Richard at the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore.


We may not be going back to the chemotherapy treatments. I may be burning the candle out at both ends, and losing ground to the cancer, but my quality of life is so much better. I am feeling truly blessed and able to be doing so much more of what life is all about.
Now, if we can just get Michelle feeling better. She has been struggling with some sinus infection or major allergy issues during and since Hawai'i. I have been feeling better than she has. . . .

Thanks to Dave Petersen Here is a link to a Gmail feature called Picassa where you can view pictures and video clips from our Hawai'i trip. It is like an elecrtronic photo album. feel free to view and download any of our pictures here. http://picasaweb.google.com/Petersendk1

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Continuing where I left off . . . . .

Tuesday, April 07, Day 144, week 21, month 5 since diagnosis-

Kapalua- Loveland Home-
- 7:50am Michelle and I walked the trail to the East end, about 1.5 miles each way
- 2:30pm Michelle was down with one of the worst migraine headaches she has ever had. Comforted her with ice packs and put her down for a nap.
- Part of the group; Kathy, Dave, Scott, MaryJane, and I went to scout out snorkeling locations:
- Honolua Bay in a National Marine Sanctuary and Preserve,
- Mokule'ia Bay (Slaughterhouse Beach) Recommended by MaryJane. (She had snorkeled there with turtles and dolphins in the early morning on a previous trip).
- Honolua Valley Kathy re-named the little valley and trail to the beach her "Jurassic Park". Incredibly scenic huge contorted limbed trees, including Banyans, giant Philidendron vines, rain forest lush greenery. You expected to see Tarzan's tree house in the next huge tree you saw. Unfortunately we ran out of time to get MaryJane and Scott in the water as they had to leave for home by 6:30pm. So we returned home, had a chicken alfredo dinner and sent Scott and MaryJane very reluctantly on their way home. So sad for their stay to end!
-Tuesday-
Kapalua- Loveland Home-
- 6:20 am First breakfast and scripture study.
- 7:05 am Humpback Whale sightings
- 8:30 am Had second breakfast
- 9:45 am Driving the car,/em> Kahakuloa Village-
14.5 miles east from the house on Highway 30
4 miles of one-lane narrow winding road. First time I have seen 5 MPH Speed Limit signs!
- Passed a seven year old boy with his BB gun,accompanied younger girls. He was shooting chicken chicks in neighbor's yard and proudly showing us his kill!
- I bought three loaves of famous Julia's Banana Bread (one fresh eating, 2 freezing for Alpine), coconut candy, (I have learned to like fresh coconut stuff in Hawai'i), and freshly dried mangos.
- Dave and Lisa made similar purchases from Julia's niece at the "Green Stand"
- Got directions to "Maka????hema-whosit" waterfalls (three miles further . . .)
Lower Makamaka"ole Falls- eight-and-a-half miles further on the one-lane narrow winding road - really all the way to the end where civilization started again, then back a couple miles. We hiked half a mile from the road, past several very scenic pools, wild banana trees with fruits, and surreal landscape! Then continuing downstream, climbing 20 feet down Banyan tree roots, to the top of a beautiful 40+ foot waterfall. Then the long slow plod back up to the car.
- Dave drove the car heading west for home.
- Noted distances and locations of Olivine Pools and Nakalele Blowhole on the way home.
- Lunched, napped then got ready to go snorkeling
Honolua Bay - two miles east on Highway 30-
- 3:45pm left with entire group and all support gear
- FINALLY got in the water, only lasted about 35-40 minutes before getting really chilled.
- Found an underwater digital camera, a Wrist HERO- see to the picture and description to the right of this posting. Some poor soul lost $150.00 camera and the 50-60 pictures on it. Leaving a note for the owner if they come back looking for it!
- back home for dinner, games, relaxing
-Wednesday-
Kapalua- Loveland Home-
- 6:30am First breakfast and scripture study.
- 6:45am Humpback Whale sightings
- 8:30am Replaced a leaking bag!@##@
- 10:20am Went to Honolua Store for second breakfast, which ended at 10 am @##@!
- 11:05am Left Michelle resting, Kathy and Carol shopping, Dave,
Lisa and I sightseeing. I rode in the back seat of the car on top of the snorkeling gear bag with the wind in my thinning gray hair! It was like a guided tour trip!
Nakalele Blowhole- eight miles east on Highway 30- 60-70" spoutings, huge breakers, Way cool! Way windy!
Olivine Pools- another eight miles east- The surf was too high to get in the pools, but the power and intensity of the breakers was breathtaking and beautiful. I was bragging about keeping my socks dry as I was standing behind a ten foot high ledge when a thirty foot high spray from a huge breaker soaked me. It was incredible, and on video!
Honolua Bay - viewed from the highway above the bay, we determined our efforts to snorkel the day before were about 150 yards off the mark. It was decided it was too late to make another snorkeling attempt, so we returned home to lunch, finish packing the group, maybe go for one last walk on the beach, and then sadly for them take the family to the airport.
-Thursday-
Kapalua/Oneola Beach- Loveland Home- Just had a low key morning.
- 3:45am Got up to go to the bathroom, couldn't sleep. Michelle was
awake too. At 4:30am we got up and walked on the beach in our pajamas. There were tiny phosphorescent (glow-in-the dark) creatures in the waves and on the beach. They looked like stars in the sky only they were on the sand. It was pretty cool looking!
- 5:30am Went back to bed
- 10:00am Walked down to the small point at the east end of the beach behind the house and looking to make a relaxing rememberance place. Spent about one-and-a-half hours on a ledge six or seven feet from the breakers. Watched three Sea Turtles struggling in the surge trying to find a sandy beach, but stuck in a rough/rocky surf zone.
Returned home for lunch, and a nap.
Honolua Bay- 3:27pm Left Michelle napping, changed into snorkeling gear and went to leave a note about an underwater digital camera I had found on Tuesday. Then I snorkeled where we had scouted from above and had a thousand- fold better experience! I felt so bad that Dave and Lisa missed the real deal by a couple hundred yards! Returned home about 5:45 for a drive to Lahaina. Missed a photo op for a Maui sunset- dang!
-Friday-
Kapalua/Oneola Bay- Loveland Home- Breakfasted and studied scriptures at the small point at the west end of the beach. I video recorded some messages for posterity. All in all it was a Low-key day, lunch, cleaned some, napped and enjoyed the experience!
Honolua Bay- 3:00pm Left to take Michelle snorkeling! After about a ten minute adjustment period on a boogie board, she was paddling around in utter amazement. The diversity, beauty, and close proximity entirely overcame her inhibitions and anxiety turned to astonishment and she became truly lost in the moment. We snorkeled for about an hour-and-a-half before I tired out and began to get chilled. Michelle could have stayed out much longer, but I couldn't convince her to. We were reviewing a fish identification card that pictured about 60 different coral reef fishes and other reef animals, then gave up deciding we had seen all of them and many more! we then headed home and had a relaxing evening.
-Saturday-
Kapalua- Loveland Home- Had a quiet morning.
Lipoa Point- 7:15am Four miles east of the house on highway 30. Read scriptures with the sunrise. Returned home and walked down to the small point at the west end of the beach again to video more messages.
- 10:00am Watched the afternoon session of General Conference
- Lunched and left for the east side of Maui
Kahului- Went to the swap meet to buy an extra piece of luggage for our many purchases, and to check out locally made souveniers at reasonable prices.
Highway 36, the Road to Hana- 1:15pm with the top down on the car and a wonderfully smooth and comfortable ride, we cruised out the road to Hana. Incredible diversity of strange trees, foliage, in this rain forest. There were some taro-like Elephant Ear plants of some kind with leaves three feet wide and six feet or more long! The birds we heard along the way were like you would hear at the San Diego Zoo, or in some nature documentary. It was an encompassing experience. I had marked off several waterfall hikes but I did not feel up to much walking. We made it out to mile marker 17, nearly to the Halfway-To-Hana point.
Ke'anae, a tiny village- We parked for several minutes on the point here in wonder at the sea crashing against shore. We were right at eye level with the surf. The stark contrast between rolling azure ocean, brilliant celestial white breakers, and raw black lava columns and ledges gave pause for pondering. We created another rememberance location to visit in times of stress or anxiety.
- 4:25pm we started back for home.
Wahinepe'e Trail- 5:05pm We stopped and did a short ten minute hike into an inconceivably thick Bamboo and Eucalptus forest. It was a grove of two to three inch thick Bamboo growing 35-50 feet tall. You could not walk through the Bamboo the trunks were so close together.
- It was a long drive back home, knowing we had only one more day left in Marvelous Maui.
-Sunday-
Kapalua- Loveland Home- 6:00am Raised the TV at the foot of the bed and watched the Sunday morning session of General Conference. Napped, breakfasted, and cleaned.
- 10:00am Watched the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference. Napped, lunched, and did final laundry.
Took a final round of pictures of the house and yard.
Lipoa Point- 3:45pm We enjoyed one last walk/hike to a small isolated beach where the expert surfers go. Very picturesque, and pristine.

We then topped off the gas in the car and returned home for dinner, during which we had to change out a leaking bag. What bad timing. We missed our last Maui sunset photo opportunity, and it was a gorgeous one too!
- 7:25pm We left for the airport, about forty minutes later than we had planned. Stress was higher than we had wanted. Our Marvelous Maui experience was over. Our flight ended up being delayed from 9:10 to 9:40 so we had a bit more relaxed airport experience.
- 9:35pm We left an unreal Marvelous Mortal Maui to travel to a real Heavenly Home, a journey of about six hours, where loved ones waited whom we were anxiouus to see after 15 days seperation.

The Hawai'i 30th Anniversary Trip final wrap-up
We thank all the family, family friends, neighborhood family, and ward family, whose prayers, fasting, efforts, generosity, and physical support made this experience possible. I have felt better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than I have in many, many months, perhaps even a year or more. I wish to convey a special thanks to Dave and Kathy Peterson, and Carol and Lisa Dickison who accompanied us and shared in these incredible events and memories. Mere words cannot communicate the appreciation and gratitude we all feel to Lynette Loveland for the contribution of her Kapalua home for our use. She has acted so generously that I am reminded of the scripture found in John 14:2-4, where she has become my "personal savior at Kapalua". Thank you Lynette. Thank you Jim and Laurie. We love you.

Of course we know the source of all these ministering angels we are surrounded by, and we thank our Heavenly Father for His love and compassion. He has provided not only that which we need for salvation and exaltation, but He has also blessed us with that which "brightens the eye and gladdens the heart." We are so blessed!