Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update on the Men in My Life

2011 is already racing by.  I can't believe February is knocking at the door.  I have received many inquiries into the status of my Daddy as well as to my husband Mike who's condition has fallen out of the spotlight now that Daddy has been in it.  For those of you who may not know, Mike was diagnosed in the summer of 2009 with Multiple Sclerosis.  I can't believe it was that long ago.  You can read about our journey in my previous posts:  

Unfortunately Mike accidentally deleted his blog, journaling his thoughts and daily struggles with MS, when he deleted his old email account.  I am so sad that we no longer have his words of inspiration and perspective.

It has been a trail of smooth and rugged terrain over the past year and a half.  We have so much to be grateful for and I thank my Heavenly Father daily for this amazing man that is my eternal companion.  It has been difficult for me to witness the effects of this disease on him.  Tasks that are easy for you and I prove difficult for someone who struggles with issues of equilibrium, beyond extreme fatigue, inability to manage body temperature, constant shooting pain in your leg, numbness in various parts of your body, random twitches and shocks, and the frustration of telling your body to do one thing and it doing another or nothing at all.   Holding your baby, going up and down stairs, walking or sitting for too long, staying up late, getting over a simple cold, and so on are challenges that you wish weren't.

Of course I've discovered that Mikes suffers from all this and random other things not because he complains, because he does not, but because he will make jokes about it or I'll watch him struggle or I'll have to beg it out of him.  I can usually tell when something is wrong, but have a hard time getting him to admit to it.  In the beginning I seemed to forget some days that he was sick, but it has seemed like lately the physical reminders have increased.  

At times I battle with feelings of severe discouragement over his condition & our future as well as feelings of overwhelming inadequacy for the task of being the right kind of support for him & our children, but always always am I met each and every day by a loving, faithful, encouraging, and hard working husband.  He is a pillar of strength for me who continually points me to our eternal source of strength, our Savior Jesus Christ.  I have gone so long without worrying about our future due to the fact that I know my Heavenly Father is always mindful of my family.  How do I know this?  Because he has proven it time and time again.  So why do I allow those moments of doubt and fear to creep in?  I guess I doubt myself and my ability to handle it all.  At those times I am reminded through that still small voice that I am not required to handle it all by myself.  The words of one of my favorite scriptures {shared by my cousin Shelise so long ago} are whispered in my heart, "ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along." {Doctrine and Covenants 78:18}  I love to be led.  That is one of the greatest feelings and experiences in life, to be lead by God.  I pray for his continued guidance as we meet whatever may come next.

My Daddy is holding up fairly well under the circumstances.  He was able to be home for Christmas which was a miracle in itself. This photo of him and Felicity is on Christmas Day, both in their Christmas pjs.  He has received 3 rounds of chemotherapy since having to be in the hospital for 25 days and has been well enough to be at home and even to resume a lot of his church duties as stake president as well as going back to work a few times a week.  My mom drives him into work and has adopted a neighborhood in Whittier as her home away from home.  Many days he is able to work from home.

Since his release from the hospital my parents have met with several other doctors, getting "second opinions" regarding my father's diagnosis and treatment.  From what they have been told, the type of Myeloma my father has is very rare, maybe 200 cases in the entire country.  This is what made it so difficult to diagnose in the first place.  My parents are in the process of deciding under which doctor they will be doing treatments.  Right now he is on a cycle for chemotherapy in which he has it 4 times within 2 weeks and then off only 1 week before the cycle begins again.  The 2nd treatment day is always the roughest with 2 chemicals instead of 1.

One of the biggest battles that my Daddy has had over the past month and a half has been an unrelenting, heavy cough which has kept him from sleeping and recovering properly causing various side effects.  He has undergone multiple tests to try and determine its origin, but they have been inconclusive.

Just as my amazing husband, my incredible father is as positive as ever.  It is great to see a smile on his face, especially when he is with the grandkids.  Owen and Eyan have enjoyed some special time with grandpa playing the Wii, doing puzzles, and watching those silly shows that grandpa likes to watch like "Wipeout".  He is learning a new normal and I think that it the latest challenge for him.  But Dad enjoys a challenge because that is what life is made of, challenges.  I know that he will "come off conqueror"!

Monday, January 03, 2011

January 2011: The Follow-Through Fairy

photo by HappyTownUsa

I love New Year's.  Not for the staying up late part or being allowed to eat whatever you want "one more last time", since after-all, you will be starting your diet the next day... but for the good ole sense of renewal!  For the feeling of "I can be better".  For setting aside your normal frustration with your shortcomings and determining to improve.  You see yourself in a new light, one of optimism and of possibilities!

I love this feeling!
Here's where I digress for a moment... I remember having this feeling last year and for some reason, my New Year's resolutions seem to be the same as last year.  Hmmm?!
So this year I've decided I'm having a New and Improved Resolution:  To FOLLOW-THROUGH. I'm rather good at coming up with ideas.  I've got piles of them and piles of started projects to prove it.  What I need is completed projects, results.  I need to see change in myself.  What does that require:  (all together now...) FOLLOW-THROUGH.

So here's what I'm thinking, I need 2 things this coming year that are going to help me.  Really one or the other will do.

First, a new super power.
My kids asked me recently who I would be if I could be a superhero.  I told them that I wanted the super power to stop time.  I would bring my hands together and time would stand still, everyone would be frozen like a statue, even the little dust particles in the air {which I named "Sun's Helpers" as a little girl, incidentally} would stand still.  I could clean up, finish projects, exercise, cook dinner, and do what I needed to do with my children frozen in time and then, voila...I could start time back up again.  Wow, that would be incredible!  Of course they didn't think it was really cool super power.
For some reason I'm thinking that there was a girl named Vickie who had this power on a show I watched as a child, maybe "Small Wonders".  I'm thinking that's not exactly right, someone correct me here.

Photo by MBarberPhotos
Next, the Follow-Through Fairy.
Since we are so good as a society at coming up with fictional creatures that grant us our every wish and bring us gifts and money, I think I might as well come up with my own.  The Follow-Through Fairy.  I think she will become very popular.  She can sprinkle you with her Follow-Through Fairy Dust and suddenly you will have the energy and efficiency to balance your time to complete all of your projects and remain on the path to self-improvement.  Brilliant ideas will suddenly come to your mind and your will-power will be unstoppable.

So the first unfinished project I decided I needed help from the Follow-Through Fairy on this year is my well-participated contest, "Girls Got No Skills" that some of you may have entered ... last July... 2009.  I asked for help with submissions of recipes that this cooking-challenged gal could make for my children now that Mike is no longer the family chef.  I asked for meals that would be easy to make, healthy, and kid-friendly.  Now I would need to add that they could not contain red meat, for Mike's diet restrictions.  So sad, but I need to resume the contest so badly.  Yes life has been crazy with having a baby, Mike and my Daddy being sick, Mike's new work schedule dot dot dot, but I've got to figure out how to put yummy, healthy meals on the table for my children.  The saddest part is that they don't realize that they are deprived of normal family meals.  Case in point:  Feeling that amazing New Year's Empowerment today I asked Owen to write down the boys' things they would want me to make for dinner- any meal at all- determined to learn how to make it for them.  Here are the boys' top meals: oatmeal, corn dogs, breakfast shakes, and Malt-O-Meal with Chex, Cheerios, and quesadillas also coming in among the favorites.  Mike and I were dying.  Laughing but oh so sad.  My boys don't even know what "a meal" is.  Really I've tried-lots of times even with 4 food groups in one meal:-), but I haven't been consistent, not enough FOLLOW-THROUGH:-)

So I ask for your support in encouraging me this year to complete some of my projects and make those changes that I want to see in myself.  I have such good intentions!  Really I do.


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