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Friday, February 28, 2014

108 and Counting....

Many of you know that Trevor's first blood work appointment was yesterday. We so appreciate all the prayers and texts and phone calls. We continue to be overwhelmed by the sweet support we have received.

When we came back to Pleasant Grove this week we discovered a "box of sunshine" on our porch. You cannot mention the name "Miss Lindsay" around our house without Ivie immediately looking for a beach towel and her swimming suit. Lindsay is our darling swim teacher - and pretty much a celebrity in our kiddo's world. She is a beautiful girl, and I've rarely encountered another more genuine, sweet soul. So I wasn't surprised that this sweet lady and put together an incredibly thoughtful package that made very single one of us smile--and made me cry a bit as well. The box was full of "sunshine" in the form of lots of yellow treats, bubbles for the kids, fingernail polish for me and Burt's Bees chapstick. It contained clothes for the kids, puzzles and books for the grown-ups and simply a whole lot of love. What a sweet, sweet lift for the week.
Ivie sporting her "sunshine" outfit from Miss Lindsay
Miss Lindsay also sent us this spectacular book - which we have been devouring. I love Jeffrey R. Holland, and this collection is simply lovely. 
We also have been enjoying more sibling love this week. Trev's brother and sister (Hillary and J) came. We so enjoy having them in our home--they are incredibly helpful with the kids and the general running of this place. Hillary has dishes done and my kitchen clean before I can even turn around and sweet Justin has snuggled Liam and watched an unimaginable number of showings of Shrek (Ivie's current favorite). Justin and Hillary were sweet to go to SLC for Trev's lab and bloodwork appointments to I didn't have to chase around babysitters. 

And here is the news they brought back:

Let me begin with saying that everything right now is in an acceptable range for Trevor to continue the current chemo schedule we are really hoping to stay on (5 days of high dose chemo, 20 days off). This schedule pretty much knocks our main guy out for a week to ten days, but then he feels mostly normal on the off days--this gives us the most functionality and a family to do fun things like hike, bike and play. So overall, this is a POSITIVE report.
Enjoyed ourselves some biking in sunny St. George this past week. 

Angel bike riding babies

Does life get any lovelier? 
It's also just an easier mental task to only take those nasty pills for five days instead of for 20 days and only have 5 off (last time we did the cancer thing Trev's body couldn't sustain the high dose schedule, resulting in smaller doses of chemo every day. This means Trev feels consta-sick and doesn't really ever get a break). 

However- Trev's blood platelets are just barely in range. His level before beginning the chemo dose was 170, and yesterday it was 108. If it drops below 100 the platelet levels become too dangerous and we will have to adjust the chemo schedule. If you are further interested in the reasons for this, check out the colored text section below about the role platelets play in sustaining our bodies and how chemotherapy impacts them. 

Platelets are clotting mechanisms in our blood produced by bone marrow. Our bodies produce platelets at a fast rate and this is the reason they are so easily impacted by chemotherapy. Most types of chemotherapy target fast-growing cells in the body--because usually the fastest growing cells are cancer cells. Because platelets are rapidly created in our bodies they are inadvertently often targeted for animation by they chemotherapy compounds. Without enough platelets blood is unable to clot, presenting serious health risks. 

Trevor's white blood counts were also a little higher than the doctors like to see, but we are hopeful that this is because his immune system was trying to kick it up a notch to fight off the cold he got nailed with last week.

Trevor's liver is also showing signs of "irritation." This is something that we will continue to watch.

So, while those things all sound concerning, things are still positive. However, before Trevor begins his next chemo cycle on March 6th they want to do lab work again to further consider the chemo dosage. 

We continue to feel the power of prayer and hope and meditation from all those thinking of us. As we move forward we invite you to join us in praying and hoping for these specific things:
  • Trev's doctors will be blessed with knowledge and be able to recommend the best treatment course for Trevor--and that they will be further blessed for their kindness in the sustaining work that they do for so many. 
  • Trevor's platelet levels can rise so that his body can better tolerate the high chemo dosing. 
  • The Temador chemotherapy will prove effective (we will find this out after the second round in March) and a more aggressive kind of chemo will not be needed at this time.
  • That we can all continue to find joy in every day. 
On my end, I've been doing some research on how to support low platelet levels and there is a body of interesting research that suggests in as many as 40% of patients eliminating all sugar and processed food from a diet can help encourage higher platelet counts. 

I figure, why not? It's healthier for everyone anyway - so I'm purging our house of junk (sending home the candy stashes with Hillary and J). However, this sort of diet is new to me and my sweet tooth. If any readers out there practice these sorts of dietary measures will you share your best secrets of success with me? I'm also looking for tips on macrobiotic diets and recipes that can maximize the use of fresh veggies that are rich in Vitamin K and calcium (kale, collards, etc.). Please, please, if you have knowledge in these areas I'd love to buy you a sugar-processed free lunch and hear all about it. :) 

Valentines Love

Sometimes I have to remind myself that long before this blog was ever a source for updating friends and family about Trev's cancer treatment progression that it was a place to share the love and adventures of our little family.

So, for a minute - before I have to type out another cancer update - let's step back and do some of that family oohing and ahhing. And what better subjects to ooh and ahh over than these cute, Valentine's faces?







We had a lovely Valentine's day. We spent the holiday in St. George this year, and were lucky enough to enjoy the company of my dad, stepmom and little sibs. My brother, Clark, had a soccer tournament in STG, so we spent Valentines and the ensuing President's Day weekend in the sunny south.

The day was pretty simple, homemade cards and treats. Then with one minute to spare until midnight Trevor surprised me with a gorgeous and unexpected string of black pearls. They are simply beautiful.

I've always loved pearls, and wanted to own my own real strand. I have a cherished faux strand that belonged to my great-grandmother, and one of my favorite childhood memories is of her teaching me how to tell the difference between real and fake pearls by sliding them across your teethe (fake pearls will feel smooth, while real pearls have a distinctive grain).

Trevor is a wonderful man, but not an overly romantic fellow, and very rarely invests in jewelry--but he has exquisite taste when he does and I am beyond spoiled.

I've happily sported my new necklace several times, and have been interested in reading the "care literature" that accompanied my gift. I had no idea how high maintenance a high-quality strand of real pearls can be. It is recommended that pearls are washed after each wearing, restrung once a year and kept only in a velvet lined box or bag. All efforts to keep the pearls from rubbing against one another should be taken and they should never be left out in direct sunlight for an extended period of time.

I've come to really love the ritual of caring for this necklace, and it must be my literary theory background that hunts for a metaphor in everything--but I really can't help but think that in so many ways the care and keeping of precious pearls is akin to the care and keeping of a precious love. I am so grateful to share such deep and sacred feelings for my incredible husband. He is, and always has been, my best friend and quiet companion. Of the six billion plus people on this planet, he knows me better than anyone else--he sees my "real" side and carefully cares for me, helping me find a shine and a luster and a happiness I never knew could be so rich and so deep.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One Down!!!

First round of chemo is done!

Hooray!

Trev took his last dose last night. Now he will have 20+ days of no chemo pills. At the end of the month we will meet with doctors again to assess the impact that the chemo has had on Trevor's body and the tumor cells in his brain and then decide the best way to proceed from there.

We are crossing our fingers that the tumor will show favorable reaction to this chemotherapy schedule and that Trev's body will be able to handle the high-dose five day schedule so that he might have a little reprieve in the 20 off days. Feel free to cross your fingers and hit your knees with us. :)

Trev has been pretty sick this week - because he takes his pills at night he is sick through most of the night and through the early part of the morning. His eating as been pretty minimal--but thanks to his angel mother and my darling friend Devri, the couple of hours in each day that he feels like eating have been full of good food. Last time we walked down this road Trev lost nearly 60 pounds, so we are trying to keep every ounce we can on him.

Despite all the hard things about this week, we've also had some really lovely highlights--which deserve some big T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U-S.

  • Again, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of emails and texts on Thursday. THANK YOU! 
  • Some very kind, very generous friends sent Trevor a little white package to open after he took his first dose of chemo. Inside was an i-pad mini. We were absolutely blown away by their kindness and intuitiveness. Aside from the time that Trevor is up working in the day he has pretty much been in bed and that i-pad has been a very blessed distraction. I'd call them out by name, but am
    not sure how they'd feel about that. So, THANK YOU to you guys who know who you are. 
  • Trevor got to enjoy the new office chair that my Mom and Dan and my grandparents gave him for his birthday! He loves it and is excited to have a more supportive/comfortable chair to use when he works from home during his sickest days. THANK YOU! 
  • Trevor was also excited to see that Grandpa Ivie had come over and hung up his deer mount down our stairwell. It is the perfect place for it and one big project we can cross off our list. Plus, since Grandma was here to tend the babies I got to go for a much needed run with this pretty girl.  THANK YOU. 
  • Thursday night I slipped out for a bit to go to dinner with some ladies in the PG ward--my darling neighbor's daughter babysat for free and everyone was very kind when learning about Trevor. THANK YOU! 
  • Friday Ivie convinced me we should build a snowman while Liam napped. It did my heart and spirit so much good to play in the snow with my best girl. THANK YOU my darling daughter for being my sunshine. 
  • On Friday I found out that one of our dear old college friends was running a PR event for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Provo. I called up grandma and grandpa Ivie and we made plans to go with the kids. I thought Trev would appreciate the quiet, but he refused to be left behind. We enjoyed the opening ceremonies on the jumbo screens and Ivie loved the kids crafts, games, treats and most especially getting her face painted with this lovely unicorn. Liam--of course--loved the chaos and people watching. he is the most social little kid and he was so content in Grandma Great's arms to just walk around and see everyone, plus I"m pretty sure she was sneaking him bites of brownie and sips of sprite. THANK YOU Di for the great event and THANK YOU to the Ivie's for coming! 
  • We received a lovely card in the mail with encouraging words from our Grandma Gwen. She put into words exactly what I think of Trevor: "I don't know of a man I admire more. He has earned two bachelor degrees, two masters degrees, started a business, helps run a company, married a wonderful woman, had two beautiful children, and bought a home. He has never let his illness stop his progress." THANK YOU!
  • Friday also brought Trevor's parents. Our sweet Linderman Mom came with a cooler full of food and was a whirlwind of cooking/cleaning/washing and folding my laundry/tending my kiddos. Because chemo wipes Trev completely out I'm kind of left to handle the home and parenting bits by myself, and her support was so overwhelmingly appreciated. Dad Linderman and I also had a ball shopping and working on some home-improvement projects. We painted and sanded doors, added wire hanger kits to the back of all the pictures I am hanging so far (since we both decided this a better way to hang things) and hung up bathroom fixtures. THANK YOU!
  • Saturday our sweet neighbors here dropped by a plate of cinnamon rolls--which were pretty much amazing. THANK YOU!
  • Sunday I spoke in church and received a lot of support. THANK YOU! 
  • Monday Trevor enjoyed lunch with his boss. THANK YOU!
  • Monday my darling friend Devri brought by some amazing soup. It is soul-food kind of soup and exactly what we needed. THANK YOU! 
  • Tuesday Trevor met a good friend for lunch. THANK YOU Evan! 
Even though a lot of these things happened here in PG, I am also so touched by the care and concern that have flooded our direction from our St. George family. I've received so many wonderful texts and FB message from my girlfriends there. Even though I've been bad at returning them between family and being pretty generally exhausted (I'm up most of the night with Trevor) I hope you each can know how much you mean to me! From friends just sending me notes to tell me they love me, to friends trying to figure out how to break into my house in STG to clean and bleach the walls, to friends helping me know what's happening in our community there since I've been gone for so long. THANK YOU.

On that same note--I've also heard from all of our UT county friends- just checking in to see if they can help. THANK YOU Sam and Heather L. for your calls. 

I've probably missed someone somewhere because we have received so much support. 

It's funny how just in sitting down and typing out all of these wonderful things how much lighter it makes our burdens feel. There is a sweet hymn called "Count Your Blessings" and the words come to mind right now:

"Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
count your many blessings every doubt will fly,
and you will be singing as the days go by."

Our hearts are singing tonight.

One round of chemo down!

A little PR work....

Even thought Trevor is the one with the academic background in public relations, it seems like I am ultimately the PR person for our family. After word about Trev's current cancer status started to make its way around our Pleasant Grove neighborhood last week, Trevor said that I had better get ahead of it and let everyone know what was going on.

We've always found that this helps everyone feel aware of our situation, limits any misinformation and often forms fast connections among others who face or have faced similar trials.

And the timing was good, since I'd been asked to speak in church here on Sunday.

We had our LDS membership records transferred to the Timpanogas 6th ward a few months ago when it became apparent that we were usually here for the weekends, though we were often still in St. George during the week. We figured that we were already established in our St. George ward, but needed to get to know the area and community here, and being official makes that easier. I wish that we could just have duplicate records in both places since my heart will always belong to both.

I think the talk went well. I'd been asked to speak on the role of free agency in the plan of salvation--so to work a bit about Trevor in there took a few connective step, but I think it came together all right.

Trevor has been thrilled that only I was asked to speak--thinking he dodged a bullet until he realized that this would mean he'd have to wrangle both kids through sacrament by himself after having already taken his chemo doses for three days, so he called in reinforcements. Trev's wonderful parents and my darling grandparents came to support us.

So, here is the talk--it's long, so just hang in if you want to. I was also going to take the time to go through and cite all quotes with proper MLA style--but I'm tired and still need to jot down one more update about Trev for the 'ole blog, so read at your own risk and don't remind me that I was an English professor in a past life.

It occurred to me after Brother ------------- left my home, having just asked me to prepare a sacrament meeting talk for today that in my initial response I might have suggested to him that we follow the apostle Paul’s admonition found in 1st Corinthians, chapter 14, verse 34  where he advises, “Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak.”

When I mentioned this to my husband later, Trevor suggested that it might not be the best choice in our new ward to challenge the bishopric to a scriptural debate.

And choice, after all, is what I’ve been asked to speak about today—more particularly the role agency plays in the great plan of salvation.

Trevor and I recently attended the funeral of a beautiful young women who succumbed to an all too untimely battle with leukemia.  Her passing was sudden and far too abrupt, as indicated by the short spread of the dates on her headstone.

Have you ever spent much time in a cemetery and considered what the most impressive part of a headstone is? Some are sculpted beautifully, some have clever or poetic epitaphs—I always tease Trevor that if I die before him I know he will engrave something like the following on my headstone: “Shoes for sale, call 2130577.”

But regardless of the words or masonry on a headstone, the most important part is really small, it is that little dash between the birth date and the death date. Just that little line.

There is a sweet poem by Linda Ellis that better captures what I mean. The first half of it reads:

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

When we think of the plan of salvation there are many parts of it that we know are certain—particularly those two dates that will be on all of our headstones—according to the plan, each of us on this earth are given a birth date, the opportunity to experience mortal life. And we are each also guaranteed a death date, the time when our toils and our labors and our joys here comes to an end and we return to our Heavenly Father. The way we return to our Heavenly Father depends entirely on how we choose to live and spend our dash, it depends on our agency.

In a 2010 Conference address Elder Robert D. Hales explained the role and meaning of agency in the Plan of Salvation:

Before we came to this earth, Heavenly Father presented His plan of salvation—a plan to come to earth and receive a body, choose to act between good and evil, and progress to become like Him and live with Him forever.
Our agency—our ability to choose and act for ourselves—was an essential element of this plan. Without agency we would be unable to make right choices and progress. Yet with agency we could make wrong choices, commit sin, and lose the opportunity to be with Heavenly Father again. For this reason a Savior would be provided to suffer for our sins and redeem us if we would repent. By His infinite Atonement, He brought about “the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice.” 4

In fact, from the very moment that our Father in Heaven rolled out this plan, we can see a sobering example of just how important our agency is. You all know how the story goes, after presenting this plan Lucifer stepped forward proposing an alternative plan, saying he would lead the children of men. When we read his exact words in Moses chapter 4 verse 1 be sure to notice Lucifer’s use of his agency, “Send me, and I will redeem all mankind, that not even one soul shall be lost; wherefore give me thine honor.” Lucifer used the agency we all exercised in the preexistence to offer this plan—but it is a plan, that in turn, would have denied each of us the opportunity to exercise that same agency.

So then Jesus Christ, our eldest brother, stepped forward to offer himself as a sacrifice, a savior of the world according to the plan already offered by our father in heaven. In Moses 4:2 watch how he humbly exercises his agency: “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”

Following Lucifer’s rebellion a great spiritual conflict ensued—what we often call The War in Heaven. During this conflict each of Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters –that’s me and you—exercised their agency to choose which side to fight and advocate for. We know that because we are here on the earth today that we all choose to follow Jesus Christ—but a third of our Heavenly siblings did not. And because of their choice to follow Satan they were cast out, denied the chance to receive a mortal body, live on earth and progress. Because of the way they used their agency, they lost their agency.

The same model applies in our lives on this earth today. If we exercise our agency to live according to the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we will continue to progress, becoming more like our Heavenly Father in preparation for the next stage in our eternal journey beyond this life. But in our mortal journey the opposite is true as well—when we don’t keep the commandments or follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, our opportunities are reduced. Our abilities to act and progress are diminished.

Now, many in our world today simplify this dichotomy of agency, deducing that agency simply means our lives are ours to do what we will. In a 1956 Conference Address Presdient Stephen L. Richards—who was a member of the first presidency spoke to this sentiment saying, “Some think that they have freedom to do what they will. They seem to think that they have freedom to do with their lives as they desire. They ought to be taught the Lord’s words regarding life”…the words he refers to are the ones we find in 1st Corinthians chapter 6, verse 20 “For ye are bought with a price.”  President Joseph Fielding Smith elaborates on this explaining, “We have been bought with a price beyond computation—not with gold or silver or precious stones, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

When we know and remember the price of our agency, we can more easily recognize and remember the responsibility we have to exercise that agency in ways pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

So, up until this point of our discussion today we’ve talked about how we must make the right choices in life by the virtue of our own free will. But I would posit that the real nature of agency is even deeper than that. If agency is the vehicle of our individual progress along the course of the plan of salvation, it really isn’t enough to make the best, or the most right choices that we can…the attitude and intention that motivates our right choices matters just as much—if not more. After all, we know that as we read in Samuel chapter 16, verse seven: “ The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

If we turn back to Christ’s example, we can see this more perfect way of exercising our agency—because we know that our Savior always made the right choices—even when he was at his physically weakest following his fasting of 40 days and 40 nights when he was tempted by Satan over and over again in the Book of Matthew he always made the right choice. The mission of Christ was clear, and he consistently exercised his agency in ways that furthered that mission. But it isn’t just about what he did, it’s how he did it.

It is in Christ’s character that we can see the deeper employment and fullness of using our agency for our eternal progression. Because in all of the “right choices” that Christ made, he made them with humble and selfless love for our Father in Heaven and for us—the embodying of the two greatest commandments—“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and to love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  Christ always exercised his agency with love. As a boy in Jerusalem he deliberately chose to be about his Father’s business. Even after long days of ministering he greeted children and their mothers with love when his apostles would have turned them away. He touched the lepers others feared and lifted the sinners that others shunned. His love and charity are perhaps no where more poignantly present that in his final mortal moments, when his enemies pierced his side with a spear and lifted a rag a vinegar to his mouth when he cried out in thirst—to all of which he simply said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

With this kind of love we don’t use our agency to go home or visiting teaching simply because it is one more right choice to check off our list—we go because we truly find love for the families and individuals we are given stewardship over. We don’t read our scriptures to fulfill a Seminary challenge, we read them because we love the words of our Lord. We don’t wipe little bottoms or read “Goodnight Moon” for the 1000th time because we are parents just trying to make it til bedtime, we gratefully and humbly remember that we have the privilege of raising God’s choice children.  We don’t face the trials this life promises us simply because we are told to endure—we seek to endure them well with love and grace, submitting ourselves to the will of our Eternal Father.

Life deals each of us a hand of cards, a set of circumstances—it promises each of us a dash. How we progress given our circumstances is a choice we must make every moment of every day that the dash which will inevitably appear on our headstones encompasses. 

In 2002 my sweet husband found himself facing circumstances that promised to impact the use of his agency for the rest of his life. Diagnosed with brain cancer Trevor underwent surgery to remove a large tumor from the left frontal lobe of his brain. When he woke up from that surgery, he was unable to move the right side of his body. Over the course of months he had to relearn everything—how to use a spoon, how to walk, how to play cello that he loved—painstakingly working to create new neuropathways to control reflexes as simple as waving his fingers. In 2007, the tumor was back—requiring another surgery, weeks of intense radiation and 14 months of taxing chemotherapy. On January 28th, we learned that Trevor’s cancer has returned more aggressively, and four days ago he stood in our kitchen and swallowed the first dose of chemo pills in what promises to be a difficult year. In my immediate circle of acquaintances I know of no one who could more easily take his life circumstances and choose to be bitter, downtrodden, and apathetic than Trevor. But this is never a choice that he has made. I can honestly say that though all of these events I have never heard him complain. He chooses daily to live in faith of our Heavenly Father’s great plan of salvation, the plan of happiness and not in fear of his adversity. His illness has never hindered his efforts to progress in this life because he knows who he is—a loved son of our Heavenly Parents whose life and eternal progression are so valuable that our Savior willingly by his own agency felt Trevor’s same pains and temptations to provide a way for Trevor to rise above them in the resurrection.

In a 1995 General Conference address Elder M. Russell Ballard teaches  that no matter the choice or trial we face, if we use our agency to live according to God’s plan we will find happiness and hope.

We mortals have a limited view of life from the eternal perspective. But if we know and understand Heavenly Father’s plan, we realize that dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways we are tested. Our faith is the source of inner strength. Through faith we can find peace, comfort, and the courage to endure. As we trust in God and his plan for our happiness hope is born. By focusing on and living the principles of Heavenly Father’s plan for our eternal happiness, we can separate ourselves from the wickedness of the world. If we are anchored to the correct understanding of who we are, why we are here on this earth, and where we can go after this mortal life, Satan cannot threaten our happiness through any form of temptation. If we are determined to live by Heavenly Father’s plan, we will use our God-given moral agency to make decisions based on revealed truth and the love of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. 

When we understand the plan of salvation, there is no question about how the dash of our lives must be spent. At the beginning of my talk I shared the first half of Linda Eillis’s poem with you. In closing, I will share the second half:

think of these things long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
​the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

May we all choose to spend our dashes living in love and faith as we progress along the plan of salvation is my sincere prayer and testimony that I leave you all with—in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.















Friday, February 7, 2014

Touch

At four AM this morning Trevor woke me up to send me running for a large bowl in case the ensuing nausea from last night's chemo dose got the better of him. I've been awake since then thinking about the power and importance of touch.

When Trevor thought he might vomit early this morning I asked how to help and he responded with, "just give me a little space." I usually sleep snuggled right up next to his back even though we have a gigantic bed, so I scooted over and after a minute he said, "Maybe just put one hand on my back."

There is the sweetest transfer of energy in loving touch. Touch nurtures. Touch reconciles. Touch sanctifies memories.  I think every human soul longs for touch, especially in a society that emphasizes keeping your distance for fear of misunderstanding.

Of course, I could be biased - physical touch is my number one love language. I am a hugger and snuggler and tickler.  My happiest moments are when both of the kids--and occasionally the dog and cat--all end up in bed with Trevor and me and I can just lie there and listen to everyone breathing and feel everyone's warmth against my skin.

You all did such an incredible job yesterday of responding to my plea for an outpouring of support. Trevor was so buoyed up by the many kind words and gestures. He received emails and texts from folks we haven't heard from in a long time, but have the fondest memories and feelings for.  Colleagues called and some dear, dear friends surprised us with an overwhelming gift that will be a God-send for Trevor's sickest of days.  Thank you doesn't adequately cover how grateful we are, and especially I am, for those of you who took the time to send encouraging messages or make encouraging phone calls. I teased Trevor that I knew how much it meant to him to hear those words since I didn't even get in much trouble for posting his cell phone number up on the internet :). I have the best of intentions about responding individually to each and every one of you, but in case life gets in the way please know how much your words and time and prayers and kindness mean.

Today I hope you will all hug or hold someone you love. I have a new favorite motto penned by the lovely children's author Max Lucado:

"Love like there is no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes love again."

May we all practice just a little more of that.

Four more days of hard pills then we wait for 23 days for them to work their tumor-butt-kicking magic, then we will start  the whole thing over again. We expect Saturday to be the most challenging day physically, so maybe drop him another note to make him smile.  We've now entered a tough time, but the thing about "now" is that it is always temporary. Brighter days lie ahead--thank you for all the brightness you bring us.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Here we go....

Well, tomorrow marks the first day in a long year ahead.

This package came in the mail today.

That's Trevor's first round of chemo.

When we walked down a similar road in 2007 I will never forget Trevor standing in the kitchen of our little red house in Logan, Utah, holding a little plastic cup full of the first dose of chemotherapy pills. We joked about how ironic it was that the instructions on the medication said we had to wear latex gloves to handle it, but that Trevor was supposed to put it into his body.

He stood there for a long time and finally said, "It goes against every instinct I have to put this poison into my mouth."

But the human instinct to survive is stronger. And this treatment is a crucial part of Trevor's ongoing survival. As the PA who is part of our cancer treatment team at the Huntsman told Trevor, "This thing in your head is going to keep doing it's best to kill you."

So we are out to beat it back or beat it for good again, and chemo is a necessary step in order to do that.

Intellectually we know that, but it doesn't make it an easier pill to swallow--no pun intended.

What does make it easier is the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received in the past, and will undoubtedly receive again in the future.

A week ago when we met with our cancer treatment team we spent a portion of that time discussing life impacts with a family therapist who is assigned to our family.

  ***Quick side note, this is one of the reasons we LOVE the Huntsman Cancer Institute. They understand that fighting and healing a chronic and serious illness is about more than just medical measures. They provide an entire team of support to each case that includes the doctors, the drs.' physician assistants, an RN, a financial coordinator that deals with all of our insurance approvals/paperwork, and a family therapist who is available for individual and couples counseling to every member of our immediate family. ***

Our family social worker's name is Katherine, and she gently prodded us with questions about the emotional support network we could count on over the course of the next year. The questions brought Trevor to tears, so much so that Katherine noted his strong emotional reaction.

The love and support we feel around us means so much.

And we need it tomorrow. Especially Trevor.

We aren't particularly private people. In fact, we are really open about our journey. Some people have expressed a hesitation to call or stop by because they don't know if we prefer to simply be left alone to deal with this privately. Please know that every kind and concerned gesture is a spot of sunshine for us. As we talked in bed a few nights ago abut this very thing Trevor said, "we always find out how strong we are and how loved we are in times like this." How very true.

I'm hoping that those of you who read this will take a minute to send him a text tomorrow
4 three 5 - two, one 3, zero 5 seven 7

or email
lindermans@gmail.com

or leave a comment on my FB thread tied to this post

or leave a comment here.

or drop him a note in the mail: 948 E 100 N, Pleasant Grove UT or 545 South Valley Dr House 8 St. George, UT.

I always share your words with Trevor, and they help pull both of us through.

We were so touched by those who prayed and fasted with us in mind on January 26th. Thank you. We are continuing to pray that the tumor cells in Trevor's head will be sensitive to the Temador chemotherapy and react favorably to the treatment--thus minimizing the need for radiation or a different form of chemo.

Here we go.