"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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January at the Loser Home

Hello all. Things are going okay since our last post - again, our apologies that it's been so long between posts. Here is a short list of updates:
* The blood transfusion went well (it took five hours - hospital visits are like a part time job now)

* Dad's blood levels have gone back up, which means the transfusion was a good decision

* Dad's tumor markers (that show how much they are growing) have gone down again, which means the chemo is doing good stuff

Other stuff:
* In spite of the good news, dad is feeling the effects of all this chemical stuff. He feels blah a lot of the time and struggles with energy and nausea still. He does love visitors and talking about old times with friends

* Adam and Rachel are loving being parents of their energetic man child, Isaac. We also love his beginning-to-make-sentence words and being called by our names ("granma", "coley", "awex")

* Benj and Jackie are making wedding plans (dresses, colors, announcement pics, etc) and loving spending time together until she leaves for Oklahoma in two days

* Mom is busy taking care of the house and dad and trying to decide what she wants to do when she grows up

* Nichole and Alex are getting back into the groove of school. Nichole is still working and taking some classes, and is home on the weekends to help. Alex is, well, himself.

Overall, we're still chugging along. Thank you to those who still check the blog and are patient with our slow posting. Again, we appreciate all your love and support,
The Losers

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wishing each of you a very Happy New Year! (And Benj a happy engagement!)

We look forward to many new and significant events transpiring in the coming year . . . Richard is having chemo today. His hematocrit counts (blood levels) are quite low (24.5, down from 27.3, normal range 41-47) so he will receive a couple of pints of blood tomorrow (Friday) at American Fork Hospital. Dr. Whisenant also prescribed a new medication to boost his energy – so look out – who knows what this combination will do!

Bilateral stent exchange at the big new hospital in Murray, the Intermountain Medical Center (IMC):
Richard had a surgical procedure on Tuesday to have plastic stents in his ureters replaced by metal stents that can stay in up to a year. He has more trepidation regarding this same day surgery than any of the other hospital stays or operations he's had to date. We were concerned that the ureters were bad enough from the cancer that the new stents wouldn't go in - if they couldn't be replaced, they would have needed to put in an exterior drain to each kidney that is emptied in another bag, like his ileostomy. The exterior drains are inconvenient, uncomfortable, painful and difficult to manage. Can you imagine trying to sleep with an illeostomy bag in the front and two kidney bags in the back? Thankfully prayers, fasting, and a great priesthood blessing were heard, and a skilled physician got the replacement stents in. Trepidation was replaced by thanksgiving.

We continue to have good days and bad days. Fatigue has been the main issue of the past eight or nine days. On a scale of 0-10, Richard’s fatigue has been consistently near eight, nausea maybe a three to four. This may be from the chemotherapy and possibly the natural progression of the cancer itself. Notwithstanding the good test results last week and his good appearance, the disease is still progressing. He is still dying. We are still coping daily and hourly with that knowledge. We are buoyed up by the prayers, service, visits, and fasting in our behalf by many loved ones. We are humbled by simple reminders that death continues to approach.

In the midst of the day-to-day death experience in the Loser home, we also experience much of life and the true joys of family, service, and relationships. Benj and Alex traded the two seven-foot long Red-Tailed Boa Constrictors for two lovely, cuddly little Australian Sugar Gliders. Though she would still prefer some prior approval of new additions to the home, Michelle is V-E-R-Y pleased that the “big, slimy, slithering” snakes are gone - however, she's not quite enamored with the jumping Sugar Gliders, most especially when they jump at her!

Life in the Loser home has also brought the long anticipated announcement of Benjamin’s engagement. Benj finally asked Jaqueline Fotu (from right here in Alpine, UT), his girlfriend of several years, to marry him on New Years Day. She is the oldest of eleven-and-a-half children. Jackie is currently attending the University of Oklahoma and is in her junior year on a full-ride volleyball scholarship. They plan on being married June 6th, and will move back to Norman, OK for a year to finish up Jackie’s volleyball commitment, scholarship, and degree. We all love Jackie very much for her warm and endearing personality, her openness, and especially appreciate the great influence she is on Benjamin. He has been so happy these past few weeks, although a couple of days before he proposed he was a nervous wreck. We didn't know if he was going to survive the "Future Father-In-Law Talk", let alone pull off a romantic engagement, but he finally managed and did very well. And yes, with Benj at 6’5” and Jackie at 6’1” they will, without a doubt, be supplying the tallest Loser grandchildren. We are so very excited for them! Life is good!