Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Happy One Year BMT Birthday Jeff! What a ride it has been! Jeff and I have spent a lot of time in reflection over the past couple of days. We have laughed, we have cried, but more than anything, we have been filled with gratitude! Gratitude for life, for health, for family, for our beautiful children, and for the help we have received both spiritually and physically over the past year. When Jeff's transplant coordinator told us we could plan on a year to a year and a half recovery time, I did not believe her. Really, could it take that long? The answer is...YES! It seems like only yesterday Jeff was lying in a hospital bed. I am amazed at how far he has come over the course of the year. He is still not the man I knew a few years back, but I see glimpses of that guy every now and again. He is back into riding horses, playing basketball every now and then, and my honey-do list! As his medications decrease, his energy level increases. As of the first of October, his blood levels were still not in the "normal" range, but they were finally "approaching." My kids LOVE being with him. He has had a rare opportunity to spend day in and day out with them during this recovery process. The relationship they have built is priceless and could not have been built any other way. I am so proud you, Jeff! Thanks for being a great example of enduring to the end! Keep fighting. Soon, this will be a CRAZY memory for all of us! :) You amaze me! Happy Birthday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day "147"

Okay...so I know I have failed most of you by not posting for forty-six days, but you have to understand--something had to give! I will try to sum up the last month and a half fairly quickly since Jeff is watching over my shoulder wishing I would just give the blog thing up! As he has read through the previous posts, he is shocked and amazed by what he doesn't remember and the fact that his wife posted it for all the WORLD to see! Those of you who know Jeff well know that he hates to be in the spot light...and for that reason alone, I was surprised that he allowed me to blog his story this long.

As many of you know, Jeff's blood counts have been hanging out in the low range. For that reason, we had to travel back to Huntsman once a week for the first month we were home. Then, when his counts remained low but consistent, Jeff was able to see our oncologist here in St. George every other week. So, our trek to SLC came every other week. Then, on Day 133, since Jeff had not required a blood transfusion since leaving the hospital in January, his doctor decided he could have his central line removed! I have posted pictures of it, and those of you who were in our sacrament meeting yesterday know how he felt about me taking them--just for the record, I was not on a chair, I was standing quietly by the side of the bed! :) I just continue to tell him that someday he will thank me for four months of constant pictures! He decided not to be sedated for the removal, and he doesn't recommend it! He compares it to the scene on Braveheart where one guy is pulling another mans' intestines out! Then, to top it off, his crazy wife is snapping pictures! A central line is a major risk factor for infection, so it was good to get out. Also on that day, the doctor and pharmacist decided to begin tapering his cyclosporine (immunosuppressant) dosage. He is on an extremely high dose morning and night, so over the next nine months (until December) that dose will reduce to nothing. In the last week and a half, I have been excited to see glimpses of the man I married...playing with the kids, working in the yard (against my better judgement, but at least with a mask and gloves on), making a to do list, etc. I tell people all the time that he is beginning to have more good days than bad. We can't ask for anything more than that! Today, Day 147, Jeff had a doctor appointment here in St. George. After having his blood drawn, we waited in the room for the results. As Dr. Manalo began to read them off to us, we had her check to make sure it was Jeff's results. Each and every blood count had risen substantially. His white blood count was actually in the normal range! Jeff hasn't been normal for more than a year! The other blood counts are still lower than normal, but the fact that progress was made is priceless! Jeff is still extremely tired and has to stay clear of any sickness. He still has bladder issues that we are hoping are temporary. He is in no way out of the woods, but we can see the light at the edge of the forest. We are only going up to Huntsman once a month at this point, and eventually it will be every other, then every six months, then yearly! Now that is something to look forward to! Jeff has asked for this to be my last post, and since he asked nicely, I will comply. At least we end on a postive note! Thank you for your support, comments, and prayers. We could not have done it without you!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day "101"

Our little family moved into our first home in December of 2007. We had planned to landscape our front yard in the fall of 2008, but as you are well aware, we were out of town for most of the season! :) For some crazy reason, I don't have a picture of how we left our home in November, but just imagine dirt and tumble weeds as the before picture. The rest are what we saw when we turned the corner and headed for home! Jeff was shocked and ecstatic! He asked me if I had drawn up the landscape plans because it was exactly what he would have wanted! In all honesty, I had nothing to do with it! The project was planned and carried out by the Little Valley 1st Ward members as well as several family members. I wish I had a list of those who helped so I could thank them individually, but I hear that there was a combination of young and old working together to create this masterpiece! (If someone does have a list, I would love to get my hands on it!) Anyway, I guess the grass is coming this weekend, and I can't wait to see the final outcome! It is very low maintenance and beautiful (which is great since I will be the one taking care of the place for a while)! :) My biggest worry at this point is keeping those cute tulips alive...I killed everything I tried to grow last year! My kids and I spent all morning and some of the afternoon in the sandbox (Kolten was afraid of our dog, so I couldn't have gone inside if I wanted to!)! We are loving the change of scenery and we feel very blessed to be home! O-ya...I almost forgot the big change inside our house! We are now sporting a surround system that shakes our windows thanks to some old high school buddies of Jeff's! I'm sure our neighbors thought our house was blowing up while Jeff and his brothers were watching U-571 yesterday afternoon! Thank you, thank you, thank you! We appreciate all your help through this crazy process. We could not have survived it without your prayers and support. In the 2008 October General Conference, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin gave an amazing talk that Jeff and I read several times over the last three months. In that talk he stated, "the Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude." Now, I am not sure how faithful we have been or how well we have endured the trial, but I do know that we have been blessed a hundredfold through supportive family and friends. Jeff has not had to walk a single step of this road alone. And for that, we will be forever grateful. I am sure that a lot of healing will take place here over the next several months! We are glad to be home.

DAY "100"

(Yesterday) Well, we did it! We are officially home! I can not explain the sense of relief we (Jeff and I) felt as we pulled off the Boulevard Exit and headed down River Road. Then...as we turned the corner and drove down our street...again, there are not words to describe what we found. I will post pictures later today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day "99"

Today, Jeff had another bone marrow biopsy. He has had two others in St. George, but this is the first one I have been able to watch. It was amazing to watch them screw a needle through his hip bone and suck out bone marrow and a sliver of bone. The last two were done in the OR and cost over $10,000. This one was done right here in the BMT infusion room, and the PA nearly died when I told her how much the last two cost. Night and Day difference! Tomorrow is DAY 100! We will be home to St. George soon!

Day "96-98"

This shirt was given to Jeff by our primary and it explains the last three days for all four of us. Enough said!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day "93"

Can you believe that in seven days Jeff will hit his "100th Day" mark? Really, when I look back, the whole transplant process has passed rather quickly! Especially the last month where Jeff has been out of the hospital. Jeff had all his post transplant tests yesterday. We will not receive the results until next week, but we are praying for good news. Yesterday, for some reason, each and every blood count had lowered from the previous week. Jeff had had the best week post transplant yet, so we were expecting his counts to have sky rocketed...not dropped. Anyway, the doctor was not concerned. He simply said that if he hangs out in that range next week, they won't take his central line out before going home. Yup...that is right! He is still planning on releasing Jeff next week! I have absolutely loved Park City! We have wonderful accommodations (thanks to the Miners), my kids and I love the snow, and we are fairly close to the hospital. But, I can not wait to return to my own home in "sunny" St. George where I can turn my kids loose in my back yard and do household chores without two children at my feet! I know that Jeff is extremely anxious as well. His routine and social life will not change much, but at least he will be in the comforts of his own home.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day "90"

Happy Valentine's Day...one day late! Yesterday was a great day...at least it was for me! Jeff's brother Jayson and his wife Laurie came up to Park City on Friday night so Laurie and I could go skiing at Park City Mountain Resort on Saturday morning. Although it was FREEZING cold and snowy, we had a blast. It was the best snow I have ever skied in. Thanks Jayson for watching my kids and MY HUSBAND so I could enjoy a morning off--some Valentine I am! Later that evening, our little family had a fun Valentine themed dinner! Valentines has always been a big day for Jeff and I...we got engaged on Valentines Day 2004! So, we usually ride horses or drive the truck to the spot where he proposed, but dinner had to do this year!

I am actually seeing a little bit of improvement in Jeff lately. He is still nauseated but has not vomited in a week! He also rode the bike in the clubhouse a few times this week. As he feels a little bit better, he gets a little more stir crazy. So, we have been going on "scenic drives" a lot lately. He is starting to ask questions about the transplant, and it is amazing what he doesn't remember. That is probably a good thing. This Tuesday, Jeff has all of his post transplant testing. We will get the results the following week. If things look good, we will be released to go back to St. George. I can't believe we are already to this point! It is a miracle.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day "84"

WoW! What a marathon day! It was all supposed to start at 5:30 a.m. when my alarm went off, but since that never happened (?!) it started at ten to seven! I jumped out of bed, woke up Jeff, showered, woke up the kids, grabbed something to feed the kids, and we were in the car by 7:19! Jeff had a lab and doctor appointment at 8 a.m. and it was snowing like crazy! Somehow, we were only 5 minutes late. From his appointment (which was about 1/2 hour longer than expected), we traveled (again through the snow) to Nephi for "post transplant" dental appointments with my dad. Somehow, we were only 20 minutes late! :) After finding a HUGE cavity in Jeff's mouth (most likely associated with chemo, methotrexate, cyclosporine, dry mouth, kool aid, twix bars, gummi bears, and bubble gum) we ate lunch with my dad, visited my mom at school, and headed back to Park City...again in patches of snow showers! While we were in Nephi, we picked up an amazing care package from the Little Valley 1st Ward Primary! After a crazy day like this, it was awesome to pull out crafts, coloring books, silly faces, and scrapbooking supplies from the primary! We definitely ended the day on a positive note! Thanks LV 1st Ward!
P.S. Jeff's Blood levels are the same or a little less than last week. Why? Well, we are asking the same question! The doctors aren't concerned, so we will try not to be as well.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day "82"

Yup...that's right! Bed Head!! Jeff officially has enough hair to have bed head. I got a good laugh when he stumbled out the bedroom door this morning with his hair standing in every direction--almost as bad as Kaitlyn's. He was good to let me take the picture...let alone blog it! Bed head is a great sign of a good nights rest...something that Jeff hadn't experienced in several days. The first of the week was pretty rocky, but things are looking up. The med switch on Tuesday was ugly. So, Jeff is now back to his original medications, and so far so good. Sorry these posts are so few and far between...I just can't find as much time to blog between picking up toys seven million times a day (while singing the "clean up" song to encourage help from my darling children), pulling my kids up and down snow covered hills in a sled to give Jeff some quiet time, and being Jeff's caretaker (pills, food, pills, food, pills, food, pills...foot rub)!