"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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Aloha from Hawai'i!

Monday, March 30, Day 137, week 20, month 5 since diagnosis-
Where to begin? We began talking about additions to our "bucket list" about five weeks ago and decided to throw out the possibility of a Hawai'i 30th anniversary trip. The doc suggested not waiting until April 27, but that we should go ASAP. We began planning- here we are in HEAVENLY Hawai'i!
The tender mercies of the Lord just keep flowing our direction. This blessing and so many others, coming in large measure due to the Lord placing so many ministering angels around us in our day to day life- family, family friends, ward and neighborhood family. How we dearly and deeply love you all!
I am incredibly blessed to be feeling very good and have been able to enjoy this trip enormously. (I have used the wheelchair at the airport, the War Memorial, the PCC, but have been walking lots too.) We are accompanied by a wonderful family support staff of Michelle's older sister and her husband Kathy & Dave Petersen from Centerville, UT, and Michelle's mother, Carol Dickison from West Valley City, UT, and Michelle's younger sister Lisa Dickison from the Millcreek area of Salt Lake City, UT. None of the group have ever been to the islands of Hawai'i before. What a trip we are having!
We arrived last Sunday March 22nd on a direct flight from SLC to Kahului on Maui arriving at 2:38 pm. Following is a brief itinerary:
-Sunday- 7:00pm We all toured the Loveland's LOVELY home, BEWILDERED by our blessings and the tender mercies of the Lord being indelibly marked in our lives in such temporal and mortal ways. We are in a HEAVENLY home here in an EDENLIKE earthly setting!
-Monday- 6:45am Recover, recuperate, absorb, settle-in, hotubbed, walked the beach and boardwalk, ate, relaxed.
-Tuesday- 7:45am More of kicking back. Napped. Enjoyed trying to soak it all in! Packed for an early start at 4:30am tomorrow.
-Wednesday- 7:45am We flew to Oahu
Pearl Harbor War Memorial- The Arizona was a spiritual experience.
The Bowfin submarine was incredibly interesting.
The Missouri overwhelmed me. The superstructure stairs did me in.
La'ie- We had planned to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)- no time.
Checked in the Turtle Bay Resort, where I crashed for the night.
-Wednesday- 11:45amTurtle Bay Pictures- nice, nice digs!
PCC for the day, tours, PRESENTATIONS, Luau, Night Show- What an INSPIRATIONAL,
IMPRESSIVE and IMPOSING influence. Passion and pagentry! Crashed again.
-Friday- 9:45am
La'ie Temple and BYU-Hawai'i campus tour. The temple is closed for remodeling so we were unable to attend- Too bad for us!
Hanuku Town- Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, famous for fresh-from-the ponds-that-morning Scampi, and Lemon Butter Shrimp. Shopping, shopping, always shopping opportunities.
Sunset Beach- Ted's Bakery, renown for Hawai'ian Haupia Chocolate Cream Pie. Even Kathy who is not a big chocolate fan had me go back and get her a slice for herself. Michelle's cream puff was 7" in diameter filled with whipped cream and custard! The strawberry cream pie was pretty good too!
Launikai Beach- Green Sea Turtles, 12-15 of them, in the surf, on the beach, hanging out everywhere. It was amazing.
Wai'mai- Aiono's Hawai'ian Shave Ice legendary for it's combination of shave ice, ice cream and some type of sweet beans. Does there seem to be a food theme going on here? Hmmm! Shopping . . shopping . . shopping . .
Dole Pineapple Plantation- pineapple, Shopping . . shopping . . shopping . .
Honolulu- 5:45pm Flight back to Maui-
Kapalua- 10:00pm back at the Loveland's LUXURIOUS home
Meeting up with Scott and MaryJane Johnson, long-time, dear friends. MaryJane works in the travel industry and facilitated some of our travel, has obvious travel priviledges and so they met us here for a few days visit. They prepared a welcome Luau of their own- grilled BBQ ribs, fresh grilled pineapple, salads, Mango Spongecake all ready as we walked in the door. We ate and ate, visited a little and crashed, again!
-Saturday- 8:45am- Very windy, cool, and cloudy.
Kapalua- Just relaxed, visited, lounged, and recovered from the scheduled part of the trip. I really wanted to get in the ocean today but it was just too cold for me, though there were still many other people in the water. I walked a couple of miles on the boardwalk trail behind the house with Dave and Scott. We all hot-tubbed a couple of hours, then napped- again.
Kahana- "Anniversary Dinner" at Roys ending with their deadly baked chocolate souffl`e with it's molten center. Strongly endorsed by MaryJane & Scott, it has been voted all of Hawai'is best dessert for 16 years running! It was sinfully good bordering on immoral.
Every day we have been in Kapalua we have seen Humpback Whales (mothers are 40-50' long), as many as seven or eight at once, mothers and calves!
-Sunday- 8:30amThe Sabbath
Lahaina- 9:00am Lahaina First Ward Fast Sunday block of meetings.
Kapalua- A relaxing sabbath day of rest, naps, and visiting. We had a second anniversary dinner around 7:00pm of grilled, thick, juicy beefsteaks and pork steaks with an assortment of sweet peppers and mushrooms, fresh pineapple, salad, corn, rolls, sautee`d onions and mushrooms, topped off with Haupia Chocolate Cream Pie! I rolled onto the bed with my Tongan Prayer fleece blanket to warm up and read a moment at about 9:15pm before joining the others downstairs to visit and play some games. Michelle woke me up for the third time at about 12:10am to undress and get into the covers.
-Monday- 4:30amFirst breakfast and blogging.
Kapalua- "More to come . . .

-Format Change-

We are making a small format change and moving my comments directly to the "Post" area of the blogsight. This will streamline the flow, and allow more direct response to comments you good people make regularly . . . .Mahalo!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Daily Herald

Mom and Dad were interviewed recently by the Daily Herald, a local newspaper most receive in Utah County. I found out about the published article today via church talk on hope, wherein the article was referenced. Our family is filled with hope, now more than ever - a true gift from God.

Accessing the Daily Herald site, Dad's article was front page. I don't know where it was located in the printed version, perhaps if you subscribe, you could send a hard copy to Dad for his book of memories. Below is the article for reference, quite complementary:

Sunday, 22 March 2009
Alpine man faces death with dignity
Christie Dalley - Daily Herald

Alpine resident Richard Loser (pronounced low-sir) and his family are facing his death with dignity, and a growing bucket list. Diagnosed last October with aggressive and terminal gallbladder cancer, Loser was told he had about two months to live. With the help of five rounds of chemotherapy he is still here.
"We keep adding to the bucket list," said the 52-year-old.

The first thing they decided to do was to have a reunion with his extended family in California. He is originally from the little town of Garden Valley, which is between Sacramento, Calif. and Lake Tahoe, Nev.

"It is a little farming community and a great place to grow up," Loser said. "We had chickens and milk cows and a lot of snow." Loser grew up loving the great outdoors.

Loser and his wife, Michelle, have five children. One of their sons, Cameron, is serving an LDS mission in Mexico City. It was hard to tell him the news. Although he could have elected to come home, he chose to stay. However, the Losers' stake president had other ideas. He worked with church headquarters and received the almost unheard-of permission for Cameron to come home for three days and say goodbye to his dad.

"We found out about it just days before he was to come at the end of October so we decided to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all together while he was here," Michelle said. "I called a dear friend, Pam Elder, and asked for her help to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for us. Well, the word spread and soon everyone in our neighborhood was involved."

"We anticipated I would go around the end of December, and we did not want the kids to associate the holidays with my death," Loser said.

The event included Thanksgiving dinner and all their Christmas traditions.

"Cameron loves the Christmas lights so we asked a couple of neighbors to put them up for us," he said. "When we came home from the airport, we came home to Christmas with all the lights shining."

One of the Loser Christmas traditions is riding around and viewing all the Christmas lights. It was only October so this was impossible, but a family in Alpine, who lights a tree on the hill every Christmas called the Lone Pine, has a son who lives across the street. He asked his parents to light the tree just for the Loser family.

"We got to ride up and see those Christmas lights after all," Loser said. "When we got home we found our friends had filled the whole end of the family room downstairs with presents. We cried and laughed and were overwhelmed."

Another tradition was to put up a blanket fort to sleep in and read the "Polar Express" on Christmas Eve.

"Richard and the boys had just finished the basement and I went down and Richard had put up the fort by putting huge eye screws in the wall. I tried to be upset, but I couldn't get mad," Michelle said. They read the book and watched old family videos.

"Our presents for each other were simple. We videotaped Richard reading the 'Polar Express' and gave a copy to each of our children," Michelle said.

That night they were visited by a group of friends they had met while they were in college at Ricks in Idaho.

"We have gotten together every year since we first met," Michelle said. "There were more than 50 of them in the front yard singing Christmas carols. They had come from all over Utah and Idaho just to see us. They had just left when Loser's Scout troop came. They brought a huge banner which said "We Love You Bro Lo." Loser has been involved in Scouting his entire life. He and his four sons are all Eagle Scouts. His troop has had the enviable rate of close to 90 percent Eagle Scouts.

After three celebration-packed days they took Cameron back to the airport. "He knew he wouldn't see his dad again but he was strengthened by the visit and the outpouring of service and support he had experienced from our ward and friends. He knew we would be okay," Michelle said.

Loser has lost 100 pounds since October but still tries to walk for 20 minutes a day. A long time ago the couple had planned a trip to Hawaii for their 25th wedding anniversary which is in April. However, their doctor advised them to take the trip right away. They put it on their bucket list.

"I have a 'pick line' and a pump to deliver the pain medications so I decided to wean off them so the skin will heal over and the doctor will substitute a transdermal patch. You can't go to Hawaii and not go into the water," Loser said, ever game for a new experience. They are going on the trip accompanied by two sisters, one brother-in-law and Michelle's mother for support.

They leave for Hawaii today.

The Loser family is facing the inevitable with quiet acceptance and doing everything they can think of to make life as memorable as they can in the meantime. They both said one of the things that has helped them is the blog their son created, http://richardloser.blogspot.com, to let their loved ones know how things are going.

"We started out and thought we had to keep everything positive but soon realized it was more honest to write what it was really like with the ups and downs."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Family and Pi Day!

Hello all, and Happy Pi day (3/14)!

This week has been good at the Loser home. Mom and Dad are continuing to make their trip plans, and in an effort to get his PICC line removed (so he can swim in Hawaii), Dad has switched to other means of pain control, including pain patches and pills instead of his pain pump. Things look good so far, and dad has felt WONDERFUL not having to cart around his man-purse. It's amazing to think that he's had it for almost five months! Speaking of which, St. Patrick's day is the official 5-month anniversary of dad's terminal diagnosis, which means that he's beating some of the odds out there. We are excited, and hope he can be one of the 15% that makes it past 6 months! Happy Anniversary!

Our family is doing very well - Elder Cameron Loser is still working hard in Mexico and hasn't broken any bones lately, so we're happy. Alex was officially measured at 5'9" this week, which means he passes up mom in height! I (Nichole) am still working and going to school and spending time at home with the fam. Benjamin just drove out to Oklahoma to pick up his fiance Jackie, and hopefully they are safe as they are driving back right this minute! Adam, Rachel, and Isaac are doing well and, as always, they are faithful and good servants of the Lord. Mom has been shopping this week for bathing suits to wear in Hawaii - it's not really the most fun activity for most women, but she made it through with minimal carnage (though the collateral damage was higher than we would have liked) :)

We were once again reminded this last week of how blessed we are. We have good relationships and we love each other, in spite of our pampered-ness, our awkward stories, our making-up-stories, and our bodily functions. We are a family! We chose to share this mortal journey with each other, the ups and downs, the wrongs and rights. There are times when we run away from our troubles (until they catch up) and other times we stand together, hand in hand, to face the challenges of life. We all run, and we all stand. We are all human. We are all divine. It is these gifts we are grateful for.

We can never express our full gratitude, to our Father in Heaven or to our family and friends. In spite of our weaknesses, we hope this helps you all realize how much you mean to us.
Thank you.
The Loser Family

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Baptisms for the Dead

As a family, we have determined that every Thursday night we will gather together to make a memory. This past Thursday, we were able to go to the Jordan River temple and preform baptisms for the dead. The spirit was incredibly strong and we were all touched. Dad was feeling well enough to be a witness during the baptisms and to even do many of the confirmations. We are so thankful that "sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally". -The Family, A Proclamation to the World
After we finished at the temple, we went to Johnny Carino's for Dinner. Yum! It was a wonderful evening.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chugging Along

Hello family and friends! Another week has flown by and not much has changed at the Loser home. Dad is still chugging along - he had chemo this last Thursday and has felt nauseus and fatigued - same old thing as before. He is having fun planning the Hawaii trip and dreaming of all the things they will do on island(s). At this point, dad still really wants to swim (and who wouldn't?) so he's weaning himself off the pain pump and on to othere pain forms, such as tablets, oral drops, and patches. That means he will have the PICC line removed from his arm before they go. As for the chemo, He's likely not going to have any other appointments this month to give him some time to recover and feel better before leaving on the trip, so we're excited to see if he starts to feel a little better!

Everything else is going pretty okay - Isaac, (the one and only grandchild), got to stay the night this weekend at grandma's house and my how we love him! Elder Cameron Loser continues to do well in Mexico on his mission - if any of you feel so inclined to join us, we like to send him little notes of love and inspiration at csloser@gmail.com. We admire his testimony and faith that God loves us all and wants us all to return to Him when this life is over. We are so grateful for all our blessings, both those we have received and those we anticipate ;)

Thank you for your continued support,
The Losers