Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Surprising Plot Twist

It seems we have jumped the gun a little bit.

I'd like to think that Dan and I always try to look for the positive and hope for the best. This is how we have tried to view the past year. After Dan's last lung surgery we hoped for the best and assumed it would be the last treatment and he would be in remission, just like our doctors predicted. The bad part about always looking to the bright side is that sometimes it doesn't go that way.

Before his right lung surgery we were told that because of how well the tumors in his left lung had responded to the chemotherapy, then we could almost be guaranteed that the right lung would look the same. This would mean Dan would be DONE with treatment! That is why we were so excited! However, the right lung tumors did not look good. A good portion of them were still alive when they took them out.

Dr. Randall said that because of how alive they still were, there is about a 75% chance that they will come back. If Dan does more chemo, then the chances would possibly drop down to 25-50%. Daniel and I are never really concerned with statistics and percentages, however, in this circumstance we were able to use those numbers to guide us in a decision. We decided that Dan needs to do more chemotherapy. It was almost a no-brainer.

He will start at the beginning of next year, so that we can enjoy the Christmas holiday and our New Year's trip to Kansas. The good news is that this chemotherapy will be much less intense than what he has done before. It is outpatient, meaning we won't have to stay overnight in the hospital. He is getting the same drugs, but just a lower dose. We are still enrolled in classes and hope to both be able to go to school. Isn't that great?!

But don't worry... because we're not worried. Dan and I know the end result... it's just getting there that is keeping us guessing. We're doing great. Especially Dan. He is so strong and everyday I see that he is preparing himself both mentally and physically for this next challenge. I wish he didn't have to do this, but it is neat watching him make this switch in his mind... and as he would say: "It's go time".

I hope you are all loving Christmas decorations as much as I am. It's nice to see that everyone is finally catching up to what I started over a month ago :) Thank you for your love and prayers. I promise that they are what's keeping us going. Life is good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I love anniversaries! I love them so much I have figured out how to have two. We were married last year on November 20th, two days before Thanksgiving. So, we will celebrate (well, as soon as I convince Daniel) on November 20th AND the Tuesday before Thanksgiving! It's perfect. Can you believe we have been married for over a year now? Wow!! To celebrate, Daniel surprised me with a room at the Marriott (thanks Nancy!) and a NICE dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Those of you who know me know that I LOVE food, and this food was beyond words. You are all just going to have to go there. I'm seriously in love with it.
Do you know what the best part was? Every time the waiters came to bring food, fill up the water, etc... they would say "More water, Mrs. Hedlund?" Ahh! I had never been to a restaurant fancy enough where they all know your name! It was so fun.
We also tried our cake. Big mistake. It was crunchy, it wasn't crunchy a year ago... enough said.
So, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday and our anniversary I would like to name a few things that I am grateful for about this past year:
  • Getting married to the most wonderful person that I could have ever imagined. When we got married, I had no idea the depth of his character and how it would be tested this past year. I was pleasantly surprised and feel lucky he's my husband.

  • I'm grateful for our experience with great doctors. We have the chance to rub shoulders and be treated by brilliant doctors who are among the best in their field. How grateful I am for people who have dedicated their life to study Sarcoma for the sole reason of saving Daniel's life and others like him.
  • A family who has been overwhelmingly supportive. Both sides, in their own ways, have never backed down in the love and support. It is one of the few things this past year that has been constant and we are grateful. Our extended family has been especially wonderful. Thank you!

  • Our cute apartment! I love having my own little (and I mean little :) house to come home to. Dan and I both sigh with relief as we walk through the doors. It means we're home. The best feeling was to come home after a long stay in the hospital.
  • The knowledge we have that our Heavenly Father is in charge of everything. It's comforting to know that no matter what happens, He is very aware of our circumstance and will send us the help we need. We're grateful for all the help He has sent us this year.
  • As weird as it sounds, we really are grateful for work and school. There was a period of time where we didn't have jobs or school and it just made us appreciate them even more. We appreciate accomplishing something and heading towards a goal. Dan and I both love our jobs right now. Dan's still at the MTC and I'm an aide at the health center.
Hope you all are enjoying your leftovers from Thanksgiving! I know we are!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Okay, I can't hold it in anymore... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

So, my husband might not approve of this, but I can't hold it in anymore. I'm ready for Christmas! My house has been decorated for a week and now I have decided to decorate my blog. It's just too exciting.

I blame this on my mom. Christmas was such a happy time growing up. She made everything so special and every inch of our house was covered in pine trees and garland. Three weeks is just not enough time to do all of the celebrating that I want to do! So we will now start celebrating!!

This is kind of a random posting, but I just wanted to post a few pictures. Sorry these are so outdated. Enjoy!

This is Dan and I with our pumpkins we carved at Jim and Bekah's. It was so fun!

And this is Dan and I at a Jason Mraz concert. I know it sounds like we're obsessed about him... well, actually, I think we might be.

and finally, this is a picture of some of Dan's visitors

Thank you so much for all of you who came to visit in the hospital. I can't tell you how much it helps Dan... and me too! It breaks up the time in the hospital and gives us lots of reasons to smile. We love you!
Thanks to all those who sent us cards and who had us in your thoughts. You'll never know how much you bless our life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Life is wonderful, life goes full circle...

That title is from a song by Jason Mraz (he is our favorite!). He's one of those artists that just put you in a good mood when you listen to him. On the way to the hospital this morning at 5:30 am, Dan and I were blasting this song and singing along. Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves that life really is wonderful. Parts of life might not always be wonderful, but at the end of the day we're alive, we have wonderful friends and family, and we're being watched from above.


I would just like to take this opportunity to announce to everyone that my husband is CANCER FREE! Well... the scans in 6 weeks will verify my hypothesis, but as far as we're concerned today, he is cancer free.
Dr. Karwande took out 25 nodules from Daniel's right lung today. The surgery was a complete success and Daniel's strong body is recovering beautifully. This surgery was very short. Dan was in there from about 8:45 am to noon. The short amount of time it took was a very wonderful surprise for us in the waiting room. Dan woke up and was quickly made very comfortable. We had a surprisingly pleasant and fun afternoon joking around with everyone there (both sets of wonderful parents, Lauren and Jim).
All of a sudden, Dan started to have a sharp pain on the top of his shoulder. What an odd place for a pain! The anesthesiologist thought that maybe the source was the chest tubes they put in his lungs to drain out all of the fluid. He said they might be rubbing up against the top of his lung and creating some pain. Those will come out soon, but in the meantime, they gave him some morphine to supplement the epidural. The pain disappeared after a nap and Dan has been great ever since. He has just been very tired.
Right now he is peacefully sleeping... and given the circumstances, life couldn't be better.

I just want to thank you all for your prayers on our behalf. I wish I could come hug and kiss each one of you. I sincerely give all my thanks for your prayers. Because of you, Heavenly Father has poured out His blessings for us today. We love you all. Please keep the prayers coming, as we find out the pathology of those nodules in a couple days. This will tell us how much of those nodules were dead cancer cells. We are looking for a very high percentage!
We truly are being blessed, there's no other way to explain it.

P.S. - We're at Timpanogos Regional in Orem. Daniel LOVES visitors... hint hint :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Will You Do?

So, my English professor posed a question for us this week. With daylight savings tomorrow, we are all presented with an extra hour of time. A wonderful and enticing gift from summer. I just have one question for you:

What will you do with your extra hour?

Let me suggest a few ideas:
  1. Play a game of Yahtzee... it's a classic that never gets old
  2. Dust off your journal and write down some goals
  3. SLEEP! (the most obvious choice, but somehow often overlooked)
  4. Watch an episode of House. I know you'll love the show just as much as I do
  5. Turn off everything except a favorite CD and sit there and listen to the whole thing
  6. Bake something sweet
  7. Call your mom
As for me? I will probably use the hour to decorate my apartment for Christmas!!! I'm so excited that Halloween is finally done and now we can start the bestest part of the whole year. Only 54 more days!

Oh, and some of you have been asking about Dan's next surgery. It is set for this Friday, November 7th. Your prayers, as always, are so appreciated. Prayers are so needed. They bring comfort and provide Dan with the physical healing he needs. I know the reason he has done so well up to this point is because of prayer. Thank you all so much for the faith you show when praying on our behalf. It is so humbling and we appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I LOVE Surprises

Let me tell you about all the surprises that happened last week.

Dan and I got to go to Kansas with Mallory and surprise Sheryl for her big 50th birthday. It was SUCH a fun surprise. She had NO idea! We got in on a Wednesday afternoon and Paul picked us up without letting Sheryl know what he was doing. We rang the doorbell and then sneaked inside the house. Sheryl went to answer the door, but no one was there. She turned around and we jumped out and yelled "Happy Birthday!" I thought she was going to fall over. She was speechless while she tried to figure out what was going on. It was awesome.

On Thursday we went to Great Bend where Dan grew up (His parents have now moved to a town about an hour away called Salina). It was so fun to meet and surprise so many people who have been like angels to us over this past year. We went with Josh to Dan's high school and met up with teachers, had lunch with the French's (both the original Mr. & Mrs. French and Chris & Allison), saw the Butlers, and I finally got to meet Gloria!

Friday was Sheryl's birthday. We suprised her with a book filled with pictures and letters from all the people that Sheryl has touched somehow. Thank you to everyone who contributed. I wish you all could have been there as she read each and every one out loud and cried through most. We did not expect to have such great, heartfelt letters. It meant so much to Sheryl.

That night was a princess-themed surprise party. Grammy, Linda, and Kerri did a great job with the party and the food was outstanding. Linda's neighbor was a big hit at the party. He gave Sheryl, Dan and I a ride in his hot rod. I must admit... I felt really cool driving around the streets of Salina in it!

One of the best parts of the weekend was that we got to see little Madelyn. When we made flight plans for the trip we weren't sure if Sara and Chris (Dan's sister) would have their baby when we were there or not. Imagine how excited we were to find out that Madelyn was born the day before we flew into Kansas! Another exciting surprise! I wish I could post all of the pictures I took of her because they are so cute! Here's just a few.
(That's a yawn, not a cry :)

It was an exhausting week, but we loved every minute of it. We are so lucky that Dan is now healthy enough to travel. He is doing great and we know we've had help from above. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. In our prayers every night, together Dan and I thank Heavenly Father for each of you and the amazing support system we have. We love our family in Kansas!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Shiny New Scooter!

Look at these fun pictures! The Hymas' and Wensels came over and all the kids had so much fun on the scooter. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Isn't Ryan so cute?!!!

Dan and Ethan.

Kansas pictures to come soon...

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Difference Between a Billionare and Us? A Billion Dollars... and a Heart of Gold

Just so you know, you are now reading the blog of TV stars. Does a 30 second spot on national TV qualify us as stars? Maybe not, but it was still an awesome experience. Just this past weekend, the Glenn Beck show was here in Salt Lake taping a special on the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It was actually to honor the man behind the hospital because Glenn is a huge Jon Huntsman fan (just like we are!). So Dan was invited to go be on the show with four other patients to have an opportunity to thank Mr. Huntsman. Dan said something to the effect that because the news of his cancer came three weeks after we were married, we were still in the honeymoon phase. It was scary to think we might have to be apart and Dan might have to do this alone... but he didn't. Because of the facilities, we were able to be together throughout EVERY minute of Dan's treatment. Because of Mr. Huntsman's vision of what a hospital should be, he was able to heal surrounded by his family. Anyway, I didn't say it as well as Dan so you'll just have to watch it air on Thanksgiving.

Jon Huntsman is a self made billionaire, and is going to die a poor man because all of his money is going into his hospital. With the economy the way it is, no one is even dreaming of expanding, but the Institute just announced that they are doubling in size and construction is going to start very soon. It's all possible because of the generosity of the Huntsman family. Wow, what an example of selflessness.

But you know what, that's not even the best part about him. The best part is how humble and loving he is. When we got to meet him after the show, he was actually thanking US! It was very humbling. We love him! (...and it was fun to meet Glenn Beck, too!)
(What am I doing?! Obviously too busy to look at the camera :) oh well...)

Well I hope I didn't go overboard with praise... but I just wanted to let you know all the things that were floating around in my head as we were able to meet him. He's a great example. Maybe after Daniel and I are millionaires we'll build a hospital too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Dallin!

Today is my little brother Dallin's birthday. He's probably the most mature 15-yr-old guy you'll ever meet. He's grown up with all sisters, no brothers, so we take all the credit. All the girls want him and all the guys want to be his friend, and yet he's so down to earth. Dallin would do ANYTHING for you and you don't even have to ask him... He just does it. He's playing football on the high school team and is such a stud. But even though he's a big jock he still takes time for the people who might not have a lot of friends. I love being your big sis, Dallin! Dan and I love you!

Speaking of football, check out the seats we had for the game last Saturday...

Pretty Sweet, huh? Thanks to John Monahan and his friend we had BOX seats at the UCLA game. Even though we were hoping for a more exciting game, it was still pretty awesome watching BYU recover all of those fumbles and then run them in for touchdowns. It was almost embarrassing for UCLA! Thanks Joy and Drew and John! We love you!
Trying to take a nice picture. Oh Daniel... What am I going to do with you?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Giving Away a Small Fortune

When I first received the assignment in my English class to buy something for a total stranger I had it all figured out. He wants us to get out of our comfort zone, have something creative to write about, blah blah blah. Little did I know how much fun it would be.

Dan and I drove to Smith's and set out on the quest. When we get to the store Daniel informs me that he won't be participating and runs off (actually hobbles off as quick as he can with his cane). "What?! I can't do this without him!" I am really shy when it comes to this sort of thing and I was depending on Dan to smooth things out because he's a pretty charismatic guy. I guess he wanted me to have the full effect and not depend on him. Smart guy. So after stewing over my task for a while, I picked a cute married couple.

"Can I buy your groceries?" Blank stares. "I don't want anything, I just want to buy them for you." Blank stares. I guess they needed an explanation. "I have this assignment for a class..." They finally gave in. With appreciative, but skeptical faces, they said "thank you" and left.

Even though it wasn't the experience I had hoped for, it was fun. What was I hoping for? I don't know... maybe a "Oh wow, how did you know? My husband just lost his job", or "Our house just burned down", or "I didn't know if we were going to make rent this month". Okay, so those were pretty lofty goals but they would have made for a great story. For now I'll have to settle for the fact that a cute married couple living in Provo is now $14.37 richer than they had planned. Believe me -- for a young married couple, that's a fortune.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Origami and Ottomans

Tonight my English class was canceled and Dan had a great idea to go to the library and find an origami book. So we went to the children's section of the library and picked out the book with the best pictures :)

But as we started we quickly realized why this book was in a children's section. They turned out so cheesy! The pictures didn't look ANYTHING like the real thing

For now, I think we will just steer clear of the children's section until we have children. We also rented Sister Act 2 from the library... it's bringing back great memories. Where is Lauryn Hill these days? She is so good!

We had another exciting step toward normal life today (since that is supposed to be the theme for our blog). When we were married we bought a really pretty ottoman for our living room. When Dan got sick, it quickly became Dan's medicine cabinet. It was filled with supplies for his Hickman port, prescriptions, lovenox injections, and numerous other things. Well, we were finally able to get rid of all those things! We filled up a WHOLE trash bag worth of medical supplies. It felt great! Now we have an empty ottoman but no idea what to put in it. Any suggestions? What are you supposed to put in an ottoman?
This is what is looked like:
And now it's all gone!!!
Happy day.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lung Surgery

I know this is kind of old news and we have already told most of you the results of Daniel's lung surgery, but I thought I should post some of the pictures on here. The surgery was very successful and he is healing well, but the process is very slow. Sometimes it's discouraging, but we are happy he has one clean lung! The doctor was able to take our 28 nodules!

Here's Dan getting ready to go into surgery. Why did they put a hat on him? We laughed so hard. A nurse even came in with a razor to shave him before the surgery. I told her I would be amazed if she could find one hair on his body :)

This is Dan right after surgery. He even smiled for the picture!

Daniel spent the week in ICU. I guess it's protocol for lung surgery patients. Look at everything he's plugged into! There are so many cords!

His first walk after surgery

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Opening a New Chapter

As most of you know, for the past several months Daniel and I have been keeping in touch through the website This has allowed us to chronicle the amazing past few months we have had. Dan's struggle with bone cancer has taught us more about love, charity, miracles, and hope than any other life experience could. We will forever look back on the first few months of our marriage with such an array of extreme emotions, but mostly we'll remember how it solidified us together and taught us so much about God's Love.

Having said that... we are very excited to start our new blog for this new chapter in life. Dan has only one surgery left (hopefully) and we are going to thoroughly bore you with the news of our everyday BORING life. We are oh so excited for BORING life!

So, here it goes. Jump into the magical world of Daniel and Melanie... okay, maybe not magical but I'll try to make it entertaining.

Our first day of school (notice the scrubs... I really look official, don't I?)