Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Best Kind of Medicine

There are a few sounds that instantaneously change my mood for the better:  the ocean surf, Pachelbel's Canon in D, the sweet song of this bird outside my bedroom window, the wind through aspen leaves, "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-Lite, and my Daddy's laugh.  It has been such a blessing to be able to hear my Daddy laugh lately.  Really its infectious.  And its not just the sound of his laughter but his complete facial expression, especially the way his face turns beet red and his eyes squint when he's trying really hard not to laugh.  

We are blessed to live so close that we are able just to drop by often.  A few days ago I found one of Dad's CDs in my garage, a Bill Cosby comedy act.  I knew he would love it and it just might be the "medicine" he needed to keep his mind off his nausea, headaches, and exhaustion.  The kids and I brought it to him and he invited us to listen with him.  He told us how when he was a boy his family would sit around the record player listening to Bill Cosby and his tales of boyhood and fatherhood.  As we listened I loved watching my Daddy laugh with my boys on the sofa.  I'm pretty sure they got some new mischievous ideas about what to do in their bedroom at night.  The comedy act was full of amusement that hit real close to home.  In truth they didn't need Bill Cosby for new ideas.  For one thing they all sleep in the same room, so its chalk full of nightly giggles and loud bangs, and for another thing, they could just get all sorts of ideas straight out of grandpa's boyhood stories -- most of which have not been revealed to us kids and are anxiously awaited to be told each time my Dad's brothers are around.  We pry for more stories of my grandparents coming home to all the furniture being moved to the roof or a newly placed picture over a fresh hole in the wall.

I am grateful for laughter.  And thankfully we have plenty of it in our family.  I love that we have fun when we are together.  I think being together at my parents' house is another good form of medicine for my Dad. It is hard to see him struggle, but I think only us adults notice.  As grandpa, he's still the same!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flew the Coop

Today we welcomed my Daddy home after 12 long days in the hospital.  A banner adorning the garage door reads, "Welcome Home Daddy. We Love U Grandpa!"  Banners are a tradition with our family, dating back to those awesome days of dot matrix printers with the hole punched perforated trimmed paper.  I always prefer the hand drawn ones myself.  The boys had fun coloring in the letters of "GRANDPA" and tracing their hands.  

My Daddy was not feeling so great today after enduring 3 days of chemotherapy, but he was thrilled to be out of the hospital.  He said that the smell was driving him crazy:-)  The smell.  That's hilarious, out of all of the things that would drive you crazy about the hospital, it was the smell that did it for Daddy.  Owen, Eyan, Felicity, and I went to visit him last night.  All the nurses were loving Dad since he would feed them all the delicious goodies that friends had been bringing him.  Dad told his nurse last night that he was breaking out of this chicken coop today.  He was in great spirits last night.  

Today he looked beat and worn out, exhibiting obvious pain and nausea.  Poor Daddy.  I am sure it will be great to sleep in his own bed, with his own pillow, next to my sweet Mommy.  

The official diagnosis is yet to be determined, with the pathologists still not giving a stamp of approval.  The doctor is standing firm with his assessment of the form of lymphoma being lymphoplasmacyctic, an uncommon classification which involves the B cells in the plasma and an increase in the IgM protein in the blood.  This increase of protein in my Dad's blood is what caused most of his scary symptoms because it made the blood so thick that it couldn't flow properly in his body.  While in the hospital he had to have plasmaferesis, a treatment which replaced my dad's protein-ladened plasma with fresh plasma.  The difference in my father after even his first treatment was extraordinary.

We continue to pray for everyday miracles as he proceeds with his weekly check-ups and chemotherapy every 3 weeks.  It is difficult to watch my father whom I have always viewed as superhuman with superhuman strength and ability, be so vulnerable and susceptible to human conditions.  I know he will be victorious in this battle.  He has too, he's my Daddy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Something I Thought I'd Never Have to be Grateful For...

Truthfully I don't know where to begin.

Thanks to all of you who have kept my Daddy and our family in your prayers and thoughts, for those who participated in the fast, some even fasting for the very first time.  Thank you for the calls, the messages, the visits, the yummy comfort food at the hospital, the help with my kids-even when they've been cranky and/or sick.  Thank you.

Last night we gathered in my Daddy's hospital room as the doctor told us the news.  The pathologists and the doctor are still in disagreement as to the exact disease which my father has, but all agree that it is some type of lymphoma...cancer...that horrible word I can barely bring myself to say.  There are 50 types of lymphoma and they are still running tests on his bone marrow to distinguish exactly which type he has.  The doctor however is very sure that he knows which type it is and has reassured us that is treatable and generally curable and feels like the pathologists-who are even disagreeing amongst themselves- will be in agreement today.

After seeing my father in the worst state I have ever seen and then imagining all these possible reasons why and having them marinate in my mind for over a week, it was amazing how comforted I felt when the doctor said that it was treatable and curable.  I didn't ever think that I would have to been grateful that my Daddy has a treatable and curable cancer.

It has been a roller coaster of emotions and I know we have really only just started this battle.  Many months of treatment and tests are to come.  I am already physically and emotionally exhausted.  I can't even imagine what my mother must feel, what my father feels.  What I do know, I know for a surety.  Heavenly Father loves my father.  He is one of His most valiant servants.  I know He is watching over him and my family.  I know my family is eternal through the ordinances of His Holy Temple.  I know my Savior has felt my father's pain and has taken it upon himself through His Atonement.  We must have faith and hope.  Please remind me of this testimony as time goes on.  I will need to rely on it.

Please continue to pray for us, continue to offer service, continue to lift our spirits.  Thank you all so so very much!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thank you for Prayers

Yesterday we witnessed a miracle in my daddy as he exhibited a dramatic improvement from his condition on Sunday.  Thank you so very very much for all of those who participated in the fast and who kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayers.  Your continued prayers are very needed as this may be a long road ahead.  My mother is carrying such heavy burdens and my heart aches for her.  We still have not received the results of the ominous tests, but we hope to receive word soon.

I was able to spend most of the day at the hospital with my daddy and most of my immediate family.  It was a comforting feeling being able to be there together.  We felt of your strength, faith, and love.  We know that 100s if not 1000s of people participated in the fast, and that is simply a tender mercy of our Heavenly Father.  It is truly a manifestation of the goodness of mankind, God's children.  To turn your hearts, thoughts, and actions toward someone else and their well-being is such a testimony of man's inner desire to be good, to do good, and to be surrounded by goodness.

This morning in our family devotional we sang the hymn, "Did you think to pray?"  We felt the truthfulness of the words "prayer can change the night to day" and the reminder "So when life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray"  I am thankful for the comfort we receive in song.  For me, music draws the comforting arms of my Savior closer.  My dear friend shared song with me that helped her during some scary times, and I'd love to share it with you.

When my world is shaking, heaven stands   
When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands  
Your hands that shape the world  
Are holding me   
They hold me still. 

I ask for your continued prayers for my sweet Daddy, for my loving mother, for strength and optimism for me, for Felicity who feels my tension and has been so cranky, for my little sister on her mission in France, for all of my family, for the doctors.  Thank you!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Fast for my Daddy

Dear family and friends,
It is with an aching heart that I ask for your help this evening.  My extraordinary father, my sweet daddy has been in the hospital for about a week and has been suffering much for a lot longer.  We are still not sure what is wrong with him.  He has undergone many, many tests from which we hope to receive answers in a few days.  Tonight I ask you if you would join my family in a special fast tomorrow on behalf of my father, Russell.  For us, fasting is an added power to prayer alone.  Fasting is not to just go without food for a certain period of time, it intensifies prayers and invites the Holy Ghost into our life for the purpose of bringing ourselves and our prayers closer to God.  Thank you all so much.

With love,


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