"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, 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