Monday, November 29, 2010

Gratitude Is In the Air!

November has got to be one of my favorites... in fact is comes in a VERY close second to December. (Which is a big deal considering I am a Southwick woman... we take our Decembers VERY seriously:)

I love it because gratitude flows so easily through all of us. I have an unusually long list this year.

First and foremost:
My healthy husband. He has not had treatment now for three months. Since the miraculous news of the pathology report from the nodules taken from his lungs, we have breathed a sigh of relief and our world no longer revolves around chemotherapy, surgery and doctors appointments. We still have the lingering thoughts and usual worries about the next scan, but it does not take away from the miracle we have seen.
Here are some pictures of us lately enjoying Dan's health:

(carving pumpkins with the Riches)

(Halloween Costumes. We were a nerd and a bully... don't read into that too much. We do not endorse domestic violence :)

(Dan at Denny's demonstrating his claw skills that won him this stuffed animal.)

Dan got a job!! And a GREAT job, too! He is now teaching seminary at Northridge High School in Layton, UT. If you don't know what seminary is, it's a class that high school kids can elect to take (though it operates independently from the high school) to study the principles found in the scriptures. Dan teaches these things to high schoolers day in and day out... and he loves it!! We feel very lucky because this career path is surprisingly competitive. We couldn't be happier with the job and the Spirit it has brought into our lives.

The above mentioned blessing required us to move. Luckily, we found a great little place pretty quickly. We love our little townhome! I'll try to post pictures later... we're still getting settled. We like Layton so far. We feel so lucky to live next to my sister and her wonderful family!

My new washer and dryer! We braved the 15 degree weather for four and a half hours and got our washer and dryer for half off!! Yay!! It's supposed to be delivered tomorrow. I can't wait. This was me and Dan's first time attempting to brave the Black Friday crowds and it was actually pretty fun. This is the "cold crew", consisting of me, Dan and Dallin.

We bundled up and took turns waiting in line, then warming up in the car with the heater. We found different ways to stay warm:

Last, but definitely not least:
Family. I get so happy every time I think about my family. I could not ask for a more supportive, wonderful, fun and loving family. I know those are generic words to use, but I mean every one of them. I love love my family! We had such a fun Thanksgiving season with the Southwick side, and we can't WAIT for Christmas with the Hedlunds! Grammy's cinnamon rolls, here we come!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"What the heck just happened?"

That's what I woke up saying this morning.

First, let me preface this with... I have the best husband ever. Now let me tell you what he did.

About three weeks ago he started talking about this awesome date we were about to go on. He told me that he wanted to thank me for the past three years. He said that although I might not know, he has noticed everything I have done while he has been sick. I always tell him that it was a
small price to pay for being the luckiest wife in the world.

So on the day of the date he tells me that we are going to do something at Thanksgiving Point that requires tickets. In order to keep it a secret, he had my mom buy them so we had to go to my mom's house to pick up the tickets. When I walk in the door I walked into a surprise luau. My family is all there and our good friends from Hawaii (who were there for general conference) to celebrate. Dan knows how much I love Hawaii so he told me that because he couldn't take me to Hawaii, he'd bring Hawaii to me! I thought it was the best, most random surprise party I'd ever had. I thought this was the big surprise and was loving it.... that is until Dan pulled out the big guns.

During dinner he quiets everyone down to read a poem he wrote. It was really sweet and basically just thanked me for taking care of him while he was sick. It had this line in there over and over: "how can i thank you for all you've done?". The last line answered the question with a surprise vacation to Hawaii! I freaked out! Then I looked at the date for the tickets and they said next week! We were leaving in
7 days! Then I really freaked out.

So, needless to say the last 2 weeks have been crazy, and that is why I woke up this morning saying "What the heck just happened". Being surprised like that was incredible, Hawaii was amazing. Life is so good!!

Here are some pictures.

This is us looking out over Makapuu:

There's no real reason to put this picture up except for that Dan looks really cute in it :)

This is right before we got in trouble for getting too close to the sea turtles. There were SO many!

Ask Dan what happens when you put a whole pot of rice down a garbage disposal. Rice + Garbage Disposal = An unhappy Joy because there's no leftover rice for fried rice. AND, a clogged up sink. Sorry John and Nancy!! But at least the plumber is your new best friend, right?

We LOVED our convertible. Sure, it screamed "I'm a tourist", but it was totally worth it. We had the top down all week and it was probably one of the best parts about the whole trip!

This is our favorite beach. It's called Cockroach Cove and sometimes you are the only people on the beach! Ugly name, beautiful beach.

The resort we stayed at in Ko Olina. Gorgeous!

This is us at the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We weren't going to go there this trip, but just decided that we had to. It's way too much fun! Thanks John and Nancy!

We have the best friends ever!!! Thanks Joy and Kristen for taking off time from work to hang out with us. And thanks Drew for coming to the beach with us :)

THANK YOU Mom and Dad. This was the best graduation present ever! We had so much fun!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Look Ma, No Hands!!

.... says Daniel.

We have an announcement! After 2 1/2 years of walking with some sort of assistance (via crutches or a cane) ... Dan is now walking like a big boy again!

I realize most blog postings about walking center around 9-12 month old babies, but for us this is a big feat. Here's proof:

Furthermore, I no longer have to carry, drinks, trays, grocery bags, his cell phone, etc. It is a big day! Watch closely in the video and you can see Dan has forgotten some of the things that come along with walking. Such as, swinging BOTH arms. I guess when you are used to using a cane it must feel weird to swing your arm again, but I had to inform Dan that it LOOKS even weirder than it FEELS.

We are also happy to announce the end of Dan's treatment. After lots of prayerful consideration, we feel very confident that this is the time to stop treatment and start getting on with life. I already posted about the great news of the last lung surgery. His doctors feel very confident that the chemo did it's job... while we feel very confident that we have seen a miracle from above. So we are pretty well covered on both ends of the spectrum :)

So, from here on out, they will follow Dan's lungs with scans to monitor any growth. He is also "testing" out his leg to see if the added stress of walking can cause it to fully grow into the grafted femur. We are anxious to see if it will grow in before the plate breaks from the added weight without the cane. Please keep your fingers crossed, as Dan wishes to put surgeries behind him.

We are so grateful for this new lease on life. We have really seen a difference in the past few days. We have a new focus. A normal life focus. And the strange part is... normal life feels abnormal. But we'll take it. We have our Heavenly Father to thank for this miracle, and not a day goes by that we don't recognize that. He really does guide the direction of our lives in more ways than we know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The World's Shortest Post

It was all dead.

Everything they took out of Dan's lungs were all 100% dead cancer cells!!

We've seen a miracle... and I mean a BIG miracle!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bored? Try This...

So Dan and I were both in the office when Dan was writing an e-mail. I glanced over at the keyboard and suddenly felt very, very bad for it. Dan was hammering away on the keys like a woodpecker on a tree trunk. I suddenly realized that my dear husband is an incredibly fast typist and it was blowing my mind.

But if you know anything about me, you know I'm competitive. I challenged him to a duel. I thought to myself "Self, you're a pretty fast typist. In elementary school, you always won the typing competitions... don't let Dan intimidate you". So we googled "typing speed tests" and found a good one.

This is Daniel's score:

99 words

This is my score:

50 words
Yikes.... ouch. I'm a little rusty. So bloggers, we now challenge you. Here is the link:

Typing Test

Oh, and by thy way, the second time I took the test I got this:

1039 words(Although the second time, I figured out how to change my score in the HTML format before I posted it!)

P.S. - This blog posting took my approximately 4 1/2 minutes to type. That's gotta help me when I compete in the NCAA Women's Blogging Championships!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Laughter: The Best Medicine

Hello everyone! Daniel here! Well, this is officially my second blog posting. It's not that I don't enjoy writing the minute details of my life and sharing them with the masses, but I've always thought of blogging as a "woman's sport". And by saying that, I mean no offense men who blog, just like I also mean no offense to men who play to softball or volleyball (even though they're clearly girl sports, too). I guess if I had to put blogging in a category, I'd put in the same one as scrap booking. Once offense to men who enjoy scrap booking.

Maybe they should make this a collegiate sport - Women's Blogging! The rules are simple: each team member has 20 minutes to create the best blog entry. They are judged on writing style, how cute the pictures of their kids are, how many times they make mention of their husband being the "best husband ever!" (pretty sure my wife would win that one), and they're also judged on how many comments they get on each blog posting. Let's make this happen, people! We could make the season stretch from June to September - since basketball and football are both in the off-season and the only thing on is baseball (which is horrible! Who has time to follow a sport where they play 160+ games a season?) Honestly, when I watch the Top 10 plays on Sports Center during these months, I want to shoot myself. Here's how it goes:

10: Ground out to first
9: Double play
8: Soccer goal
7: Ground out to first
6: Barehanded catch/throw to first
5: Manager gets ejected for yelling at the ump
4: Ground out to first
3: Walk-off home run
2: Soccer goal
1: By this time, I'm usually crying and I can't hear the top play over my loud sobs. But if I could, I'm sure it would be a.....ground out to first! BARF!

Anyways, I've gotten way off topic. The reason I'm writing this blog is because I wish to let everyone know how I'm doing after surgery. We've really appreciated all of your prayers and have found strength in your support. I'm honestly doing so well right now. I'm pretty much back to "normal life" (whatever that is) and I'm healing really well. And, although sometimes it feels like someone is kicking me in the ribs, the pain really isn't that bad most of the time. Strangers will come up to me in the streets and in the supermarket and say, "Daniel! We don't believe it! You're out and about already?!" to which I can only reply, "How did you know my name?" No, but honestly, if you were to ask me how I'm doing so well after the surgery, I would answer with one word: YouTube.

If you were to take all of the technological inventions of the past 10 years (HD TV, iPods, iPhones, BlueRay, Facebook, etc), and asked me to only keep one...without hesitation, I would say, "YouTube."


Nothing can make me laugh like a good YouTube video! And so I've decided to post the six funniest YouTube videos I've seen in the past week that have contributed to a healthier, happier Daniel.

I tried to find some that you may not have seen before, but I apologize if you've seen any of these before. If you're like me - you won' t mind seeing them again!




Okay...disclaimer on this one: I truly don't enjoy laughing at other people's misfortune, but there's just something funny about people falling down!


The funny part about this isn't his fall (though that's funny), it's that he tries to continue with the video after the fall!

Be sure to watch the whole thing. It just keeps getting better!



Well, that's it folks. Hopefully you've laughed as hard as I did at some of these videos! And if you have any funny YouTube videos that you think I might not have seen or that you just love, please send them on to me!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This is kind of how Dan feels on percocet...

We're home now!

Lots of people have been asking about the pathology of the nodules they took out. As far as the Timpanogos Regional pathologists could find... there was no live cancer!!!! Dan wants to hold off celebrating until the Huntsman pathologists look at them. They have more experience with sarcoma than community pathologists so we will hold off celebrating until then.

Dan is feeling better everyday. When he lays down he gets relief, but sitting up and standing up are a different story. He has been dealing with this spinal headache because of the CSF leak from his spine. This is slowly getting better, but the nausea and pain are almost unbearable if he's doing anything but laying down. Good thing we don't have any plans for the next couple of days :)

So... does anyone have any good ideas for things Dan can do laying down? Maybe some of you mothers who were bedridden during pregnancy?

We will continue to keep you posted on pathology and Dan's status. Love you all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BIG Picture: Great News .... Small Picture: The Jury's Still Out

Hello Everyone

Things are looking good here at Timpanogos Regional. It has been up and down, but now we are definitely on an up.

Dr. K was able to find and remove 5 nodules. That's right... he only found FIVE! When you compare that to the 25 he took our the first time in this lung, then you can see we are definitely making some progress. Better still, the surgeon is pretty sure that only one of them was cancer. He thinks the rest of them might just be scar tissue from the last surgery. We don't want to get our hopes up too high for this, but it's hard not to be thrilled at the prospect. We will find out for sure when the pathology report comes in (probably about 3 days).

Okay, so before you say to yourself "lung surgery? piece of cake!" .. let me tell you about yesterday.

Dan decided to get an epidural. Now, he has already had 2 epidurals with both of his previous lung surgeries and they worked great. So, it was a no-brainer deciding to do it again. We are told that the epidural was placed correctly at the beginning of the surgery and the narcotics and numbing meds did great. But sometime during the surgery the epidural punctured the sack that holds the spinal cord. When the anesthesiologist gave Dan his dose of morphine through the epidural to get him through the first couple hours after surgery, it went straight to his spinal cord. So what does this mean? Dan got TEN TIMES the amount of morphine he was supposed to get. Dan stopped breathing so they gave him a syringe of narcan (a drug given to people who overdose on narcotics).

Needless to say, he was a little bit out of it when we saw him. It was quite a show. He was awake, but not at all coherent. When this stage wore off he became extremely tired. But everytime he would drift off to sleep, he would stop breathing. The slow drip of narcan was doing it's best, but he was still extremely overdosed on morphine. For hours and hours yesterday we sat by his bedside watching his chest to make sure it was going up and down. Dan and I had a code. When he would stop breathing, I would squeeze his hand and he would know that he needed to take a breath. This was pretty exhausting for everyone, especially Dan.

Eventually the morphine wore off enough so he could get some rest. Occasionally he still needs reminding, but he is now sleeping well on his own. On the plus side, he was in absolutely no pain yesterday! I'm pretty sure he's not going to feel pain for the next five years!!

Thank you for your prayers. I know that there were angels around him yesterday to protect him from all of the scary things that could have happened. All of his previous surgeries went so perfectly, we were beginning to take that for granted. I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father for hearing all of our prayers. They really worked: Dan is safe, the news of the nodules appears to be fantastic, all is well now.

We love you all. Thank you, thank you for your love and concern.

PS - Maybe later I'll post some of the funny things Dan said yesterday... I'd better get his permission first :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here We Go!

Surgery #6 is fast-approaching. I can already say that it is tomorrow! Tomorrow, July 26th Dan goes in for a right thoracotomy with metastesis resection. What does that mean? Basically the doctor will deflate his lung, cut him open below his shoulder blades, and spread apart his ribs so that the surgeon can feel every inch of his right lung and take out any cancer nodules that he feels. It's a pretty intense surgery. Dan will wake up with tubes coming out of every part of his body and looking something like this....

With intense pain that requires an epidural, and probably extremely nauseous, with a cut that will eventually look like this...

but he will have a CANCER FREE RIGHT LUNG! So in the end, it will be worth it.

Dan is a stud. I've said that before, but it's so true. I asked him yesterday if he was scared. He said "I'm not scared, I'm ready". Wow. So many times I wish it was me going in for surgery and not him, but then I realize there is now way I could be as brave as him.

So once again we ask for your prayers. I really do feel the power of all your prayers lifting us. Especially on surgery days. The comfort that comes is from Heavenly Father, and it's because you are asking Him on our behalf. I will never be able to say enough thank you's to you for that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just downloaded pictures onto my computer, and thought I'd share some....

Ps- Dan started this fire with flint and steel! That's my eagle scout! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tender Mercies

This is kind of old news now, but I just wanted to let everyone know that we have received some GREAT news! Daniel's latest scans have shown that the nodule on his right lung (the biggest, scarriest one) has been reduced to about 1/3 of what it was!!

This is fantastic and shows that the chemotherapy has been working. I know that the prayers and pleading to Heavenly Father have not been ignored.

These "tender mercies" are all around us. They can be big things like tumors that shrink, but they are also small things like Dan feeling well enough to play the guitar for me. Big things like peace during cancer treatment, and small things like the smell of rain that's coming through my window right now. Things that make me smile, things that make me cry, things that make me laugh. All of them reminding me that I'm loved.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Graduation Time!!

Here are some pictures from graduation weekend. It was lots of fun. Our families came into town and made it a very special time for us.

Our convocations were scheduled for the same time, so we had to decide on a college to walk with. I won rock-paper-scissors so we walked with the college of life sciences. Unfortunately my college is a pretty big one so it took almost an hour and 45 minutes to just read all the names! Wow! Sorry guys! It surprised me how happy I was walking across that stage. I looked to my side and saw Dan, looked up at the bleachers and saw my wonderful family... that's just something you can't beat. This is a big accomplishment for Dan and I and it really would not have been possible without those around us who love us. Our families made our schooling just as much of a priority for them as it was for us. Thank you so much!

After graduation we had a party at my parents house with friends and family. I was happy to see our closest friends and it made me really happy to live in Provo (I NEVER thought I would say that). But honestly, it's been a great place to go to school, and I feel really lucky to have met the people that we have.

I love days like this that break up Dan's treatment into small, "do-able" installments. They give us a fresh breath of air and energize us to keep going and to do better.

Goodbye school, hello real world!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Dan is once again at the hospital doing his fourth cycle. It's high dose methotrexate followed by a couple days of a recovery drug to get the methotrexate out of his system. He should get to go home tomorrow!

A couple of things happened recently that made me laugh.

Our nieces and nephews came to visit yesterday. We sat in the lobby and ate dinner that they brought. After dinner Dan wanted to get back to bed so I walked him back to the room. When I returned to the lobby, my niece Katie said "Can we go back to your apartment to say bye to Uncle Dan?" Our APARTMENT? Oh boy. These poor kids have seen us in this hospital far more than they have seen us in our own home.
Then I remembered what had happened the day before. Our good friends Kavin and Ali came to visit (thanks guys!!) and before they came I found myself tidying up the hospital room! I cleared away old food trays, straightened up our suitcase, and cleared Dan's bed tray. Haha! I stopped and thought about how funny it was that I was treating the hospital room like our own home.

In some ways it does kind of feel like home. Dan and I just added up all of the days that we have spent in the hospital. Our best guess is that all together, we have stayed overnight in the hospital for about 98 days. Wow! That's a third of a year. Three straight months spent at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. No wonder Katie thinks we live here... sometimes I think we live here!

Thanks for the love and prayers that we continually feel coming our way. We are excited to graduate next week! Love you all!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is the last night in the hospital... at least for another couple of weeks. This hospital stay has been different. The nausea hasn't been THAT bad, but there has been something else. Dan has been very anxious. Now, those of you who know Dan will know how weird this is. Dan is someone who is normally very laid back so I know this is from the ifosfomide they are giving him. The doctors warned us about this side effect but I've never really seen it until this time.

His skin is crawling and all he talks about is leaving this room. He's very uncomfortable but he can't find the right words to describe it. It's kind of bizarre. This has led me to the conclusion that physical ailments are much easier to deal with than mental and emotional ones.

He tries to watch TV to pass the time, or play games on his iPod touch, but it's just not working. The only thing that seems to calm him is when I sing. Ha! Imagine that! I know it sounds crazy... in fact, I'm pretty sure it's what is causing the nausea :) He also likes it when I just talk. Not like a conversation with him, but just hearing the sound of my voice. I think sometimes we want something from technology that it just can't give us. Maybe sometimes we should turn off the TV, iPod, computer, etc, and look for the relaxation and unwinding in the voice of our loved ones. We all could use more face to face conversation and interaction.

Wow, I don't know how that turned into a soapbox comment about society. But, there you go.

On a lighter note, the Huntsman hospital had an Easter Egg Hunt yesterday for the patients and their families. All of my neices and nephews got to be there. It was so much fun! I could account for about 75% of the kids there and it made me feel pretty good. They were all very eager to tell people about their Uncle Dan and how cool he is. We sure love those cute kids. Dan didn't feel well enough to join in the festivities, so afterward they all brought some eggs to decorate his room. They are hanging from his bed and IV pole (the eggs, not the kids. haha).

Only one more cycle to go!! After his next cycle they will scan his lungs. Depending on how that looks they will decide what to do next. Maybe more chemo, surgery, or radiation. We hope that this chemo has made those nodules in his lungs shrink, but we'll see. If there's one thing I know, it's that the Lord is in charge. He is guiding our life, and whatever happens is part of a big plan. This plan is sometimes confusing, hard, sad, and scary but it is always hopeful. We always can find hope and peace when we need it. All I have to do is ask (and Dan and I ask all the time!) and the peace comes. That's how I know who is in charge.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Family Pictures

Can you call them "family pictures" when the "family" only consists of two people? I think so.

In March when Dan went into remission (whatever that word means) and his hair grew back, I regretted not having more pictures of us together. For one: he just looks really good bald!

And two: I just wanted to better preserve this stage in our life. So, on Monday my sister took some pictures of me and Dan when he was at the end of his chemo cycle and feeling well. I think they turned out pretty cute! Thanks Em! You can see all the pictures she took if you click her photography website "Elm Tree Photography" to the right. She's awesome.

When I look at these pictures I see how lucky I am. The bald head and dark circles around his eyes show the wear and tear on his body. Chemotherapy has taken it's physical toll on most things.... except for his beautiful smile.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again... he's such a stud! I feel like these pictures capture happiness, and I really want to remember the happiness that surrounds us through this time.

Thanks for indulging me with this post!

Well anyway... We're up at the Huntsman once again. Dan is receiving his third treatment. It consists of ifosfomide and etopiside. Dan's starting to feel the start of the nausea, but it's not too bad yet. We will hopefully go home on Monday.

Is anyone else as excited as I am for spring?!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Friday night we watched Dan's temperature slowly climb. I remember that feeling from before. Our trusty thermometer beeps and I hold my breath and hope that it isn't above the 100.5 cut-off. Friday at about 8:00pm it reached 100.8. So we called the the hospital and they told us to pack up and get up to the hospital.

When we got here we found out that Dan's counts were extremely low. Most people's white blood cell count stays at about 10. When the effects of chemo set in, they may drop as low as three. Yesterday, Dan's were at 0.4. Wow! Good thing we came up to the hospital! Even though it's kind of a hassle to come all the way up here, I'd rather him have a low count here than a low count at home. The I.V. antibiotics will assist his immune system in fighting off bugs because he can't really do that on his own right now.

Okay, so now for the fun part... We totally got the V.I.P. room! Room #1 has always been very mysterious. It is hidden behind a few doors and I can only sneak a peak here and there. When we got here and realized all the rooms were full except for #1 I was so excited!! This room is reserved for people who donate to the hospital, or those who just want the nice room and are willing to pay and extra $100 dollars a night -- out of pocket! It has an amazing view with three different windows that give a panoramic view of the whole valley. I even have my own room! With a real bed! (well... when I say "real" I mean it's a hide-a-way bed inside a couch). And there's a microwave and refrigerator and two T.V.'s in our room!! Can you believe it? We're practically on vacation.

Dan's feeling good. I'm so happy he is. We're so blessed!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shout outs

Shout out
noun \ˈshat\ \ˈat\

1) To acknowledge someone. To make ones presence known. I gave my girls a shout out at the party
2) A message to friends, family, etc. lodged on a radio station, web site, or other popular medium. I'd like to give a shout out to all of you reading this. You're seriously the best!

Wow I am totally overwhelmed right now. Maybe I should know better but I am blown away by the support. I feel like this time around I am able to be "in the moment" a little bit more because chemotherapy is so familiar. This is helpful because I now see the masses of people rallying around us. I would have never guessed that everyone around us would react this way again! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Our favorite part of the day is looking at the blogs and seeing who has left us little notes of encouragement. We don't take these lightly. Dan and I love to read them and love how connected we feel... even to people we haven't talked to in years! Our teachers, coaches, friends, moms of friends, co-workers, and the list goes on. Prayers are the most important and powerful support we recieve. We can feel the power of each one. Thank you, thank you.

I especially want to thank our wonderful family. My mom and dad have especially gone above and beyond. Meals, games, and constant visits. Thanks especially for the food! It is a welcome break from the food here that we are a little sick of. Thank you so much. Way to go Dallin on your Eagle!!! We're proud of you!

I had a very touching phone call today with my mother-in-law. She called this morning with a worried voice that only a mother has. She wanted to know every detail of everything going on. I am so lucky to get to witness the intense love from mother to son. But she did not call just to find out about Dan, the concern and worry was also for me. What an angel. Thanks for all you do. You're 1,000 miles away but it feels like you're right here with us experiencing everything we feel. We love you.

Thank you to all of our sisters. Our phones pretty much ring off the hook. We can guarantee that it will be either Sarah, Mallory, Emily, Liz of Maegan. Thank you!! My sister, Emily, has a baby that is very sick with RSV. He's on constant oxygen and has to be monitored very closely (they would have put him in the hospital, but instead they gave Emily all the equipment to use at home because she is THAT awesome). In spite of all this, her husband Robert has been over to visit us a couple times, and Emily has made dinner for us to eat tonight. Isn't she awesome?!

Friends have been so generous. Nancy and John, Joy and Drew, Schukman, and many others have gove out of their way to send Dan and I on fun dates, come over when we needed them the most, and just pour out love.

And last, but not least, Dan deserves a shout out
He's such a stud to do what he's doing with a smile on his face. Yo te amo.

So many shout outs so little time. Many many more deserve special shout outs. But please just know you're loved.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Deja Vu

Well, I'm sure most of you have already heard that Daniel's cancer has returned. Actually I hesitate to say "returned". Last March, when they told Dan that he was in remission, there were tiny little spots on his lungs. The doctors said that these could be lots of different things, including scar tissue left over from his previous lung surgeries. As long as they didn't grow, there was no reason to worry. That has been the case for the last four scans. However, last Monday we went in for our routine scans that we do every three months and it showed three spots have grown. Two nodules on his right lung and one on his left. So it is not new cancer, but it is cancer and so it is titled a "reoccurance".

It was almost like finding out that he has cancer all over again. Since that moment it has been a weird series of deja vu. Many thoughts have run through my mind. Some are similar thoughts, but already it's so different. Dan and I went home and immediately my reaction was "What lesson did I miss, or what did I fail to do last time that I need to do this time?" I thought there was something that was missing or that I did wrong and Heavenly Father needed to test us further. Then, my wise husband reminded me that sometimes tests are not about passing or failing. Heavenly Father is not sitting up there with a checklist and pen while we are enduring a trial. Sometimes it's just about proving our love to God. Dan reminded me that Job was a prophet, he probably didn't have a ton of learning to do, but he did have to prove his love to God. I'm not at all comparing us to Job, (our life is wonderful) but I did appreciate that lesson Dan taught me because it takes a lot of pressure away knowing that I didn't necessarily "fail" last time.

So now, here we are back at the Huntsman, on the 4th floor, watching the Olympics and watching the chemotherapy slowly drip into Dan. With every drop, I pray that it's the one that will kill the last live cancer cell in Dan's body. Talk about deja vu.

We're so grateful for the love we've felt. It is so wonderfully surprising that so many people aren't tired of praying for us yet! Thank you for not forgetting, because we feel the strength coming from your prayers.

Dan will now do 4 cycles of a couple drugs that his body hasn't seen yet (good news!). Methotrexate, etopaside and ifosfomide are all used with pediatric osteosarcoma and Dan is still young enough for it to work. After that, a scan to see if the nodules have gotten smaller. If they have then he is a good responder to the chemo and there will be four more cycles and then two more lung surgeries to remove the remaining nodules. Then another leg surgery to repair Dan's leg that still isn't healing. So, we've got a road in front of us. But one day at a time. You can do anything one day at a time.

Dan's going to beat this. Don't worry.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Last weekend we went to California. I pretty much love the place. Especially because it means we get to see Mark, Maegan, Ethan, Abby, Whitney, Grandma and Grandpa. We had so much fun visiting them. This picture sums up how precious those kids are...
I love it!! Dan did comment that it made walking a little bit difficult but I thought it was so cute!
The first day we were there we went to Sea World. Every time we go to California we try to do one big thing because Dan hasn't done most of those things. Sea World was awesome! Shamu was definitely a favorite. We unfortunately don't have any pictures because we sat in the "splash zone" for every show. Did you know there are rides there? I had no clue, maybe because it's been so long since I've been there. Our favorite was the rapids ride. We liked it except for the fact that people along the route can put in a quarter and shoot the riders with a giant squirt gun. Really, who pays to shoot complete strangers in the face with a ton of gross chlorinated water?! When we got off I felt like i had just taken a shower with my clothes on. Good thing it was like 75 degrees outside!!

Then we went to Seaport Village which is a really cute little place with restaurants and fun shops. We found a hat shop with the craziest hats. Dan was in Heaven. We decided one day to open a store like this. It was way too much fun to walk through.

and this one is my favorite...

Growing up we didn't really spend a lot of time at San Diego beaches, we went to more Northern beaches so it was fun to go to Oceanside. Maegan and Mark are super close. Lucky ducks.
Then to top it off we drove up PCH from Oceanside to Long Beach. I love that drive. Why would anyone live anywhere else... haha.