Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A little break

Becki was officially given the stamp of approval by Dr Zangari this week, which means no major procedures, drugs, etc for 2 whole weeks. Yipee! The mouth sores are gone, taste buds have improved just a little, and she isn't so loopy all the time. Her hair has mostly all fallen out, but she is actually feeling much better. (considering) She will be able to enjoy some Thanksgiving dinner and is looking forward to spending some time with family while she is feeling more up to it. The next round of chemo and the transplant will bring back her mouth and throat sores, kill the few taste buds that have come back, and overall be far worse than these last 3 weeks. So we are planning on thoroghly enjoying these next couple of weeks!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just what the doctor ordered!

Brooke's good friend, Stacey Jo, is an aesthetician and Becki LOVES having Stacey pamper her. After her hard week of being in the hospital, Brooke decided to surprise her with a little facial and pedicure. She was in absolute heaven! Stacey even left her with some great samples that will help her feel beautiful. Thanks Stacey!

The Harvest

Thursday morning when Becki went up to Huntsman for the usual labs and test, they discovered that her cells have gone up by 27 points. That is huge and awesome!! Because of this she was able to begin harvesting. It is a very time consuming process, but she was able to just sleep through most of it. They hook you up to the machine and let it try and collect as many cells as it can in 4 hours. They do this process day after day until 20 million cells are collected. It could take anywhere from 2-8 days. The average collection, and what they were hoping to be able to get from Becki, is 4 million. Becki being the champion that she is collected 11 million!!! This was such great news!

Becki spending some time with Emily and Brooke while waiting for lab results.

Look at all this stuff that was going in her. YIKES!

Check out this crazy machine. Wow, technology these days is just mind blowing.

Becki has been so strong and courageous through all this, but things have been definitely hard. It is so hard for her to not be able to see everyone and give hugs and loves. She naturally is having a hard time adjusting to the new hair-do and is suffering from some seperation anxiety. She likes to know that people will be around her all the time. All the drugs they have her on definitely don't help out either. We have been striving to have one of us be with her as much as we can and trying to make sure she knows how much she is loved and how beautiful we think she is, even with no hair! We are so grateful for how hard she is fighting and how brave she is! Thanks Mom! We love you!

Home Sweet Home

Becki was such a good girl at the hospital that they let her come home Wednesday afternoon. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that everytime a doctor or nurse walked in the room she asked, "Can I go home yet?") Her fever has stayed down and she is so excited to be back in her own bed and not eating hospital food. Even though she was able to come home, she still had to go back in Wednesday night to recieve another Newlasta shot. These are the shots that help stimulate the cells in the bone marrow and push them out into the blood stream so they can be harvested. The doctors were hoping to be able to start harvesting earlier this week, but Becki's body just hasn't been responding to these Newlasta shots as much as they would like.
On her way home from receiving the shot, Kim and Becki stopped by Grandma's house so that Brett and Ryan could assist Kim in giving Becki a blessing. (Brett, Jess & their boys live across the street from Brooke, Ryan and Becki's mother, Ruth) It was a quick stop, but Becki was able to receive a beautiful blessing and sneak a peek at her grandkids that she misses so much.
Since this whole process has began, Becki has told Brooke that as soon as she starts losing hair, she wants it shaved off as soon as possible. Well that day has come, so Brooke, Emily and Becki made a fun evening out of shaving her head.

This is what Emily found Becki doing earlier this evening. She used to vacuum her bunnies when they were shedding, so why not vacuum your own head when you start really shedding? She is such a hoot.

We are starting to think we should have all been dental hygienists or something. Scrubs and a mask are quite cute!

Here we go... let the fun begin.

It just wouldn't seem right if a mohawk wasn't involved.

She is so beautiful that she can even pull off the hardcore biker look.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When Becki went up to Huntsman Monday morning, they admitted her into the hospital because of a fever and they believe some kind of infection. She was immediately put on an antibiotic and they are monitoring her closely to ensure she doesn't get too uncomfortable. Generally when patients are admitted, they send them over to the UofU Hospital, but the hospital was really full so they have her in a room at Huntsman. The rooms are much nicer, cozier, and don't feel so hospital like, so we are grateful she ended up where she has. The entire staff is so friendly and has beckoned to her every little need. Hopefully she won't have to be there more than 4-5 days, but her white blood cells are about at zero so she has no way for her body to fight on its own. Huntsman goes by an "absolute neutraphil count" (in her white blood cells) that needs to be around 500. She is no where near that right now, so until her body can produce that, these great doctors and nurses will keep a close eye on her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Treatment timeline

Here is a little more detail on what the schedule is for the next month or so:

-Day 1 began on the first day of chemo (November 5th) and lasted for 4 days.

-Day 6 (Nov. 10) She received a Newlasta shot. (I have no idea how to spell this medical stuff. I resort back to kindergarten and sound things out) This particular shot helps to push the stem cells out of the bone marrow and into the blood stream so that the cells can be harvested. It used to be quite a procedure to harvest the cells, but now they can gather them through the blood.

-Around day 11-13 they will begin to harvest the cells. This could take up to 3 or 4 days. They gather millions of cells, preserve and freeze them, so they won't ever have to do any harvesting again. These cells can be used for many years.

-Day 13 she will receive another Newlasta shot.

After the cells are successfully harvested, Becki will have 2 weeks of recovery.

-Then they start more chemo. The first day of this chemo they label as Day negative 4 (the countdown to the transplant). It is administered at Huntsman on Day -4 and Day -1. This is more of a hardcore chemo that should make her feel super crappy.

-Then she receives her first transplant. It seems to be a fairly easy procedure. They just give her back some of her harvested cells.

The 7 days after the transplant are said to be the worst days. We don't know quite what to expect, but that it will be awful.

Once the doctor has has seen that she has engrafted (which usually takes 10-12 days after the transplant) she gets 2 months off for recovery.

-Then we start the hardcore chemo again, followed by a second transplant.

We will try to keep this updated as much as possible as to her responses and any changes in her treatment.

In the meantime, please keep her in your prayers. She is absolutely amazed at how much love, warmth, and caring has exuded from everyone. Thank you!

Chemo: Round 1

Becki's red blood cells are so low that they have been giving her multiple blood transfusions to help get them up. Because of this they postponed the chemo from starting on November 3rd to November 5th. The first round of chemo, called depace, lasted for four days and was carried with her at all times in a little backpack. The four days ended on Sunday and to her utter excitement, she still has a full head of hair and has only thrown up once. We definitely planned on things being worse, so we are very grateful that her body has accepted this first round so well. It is supposedly a little less harsh then the other rounds of chemo she has to look forward to, but we are happy to report that beside her being extremely fatigued and a bit loopy she is doing well.

An example of Becki's loopiness:  the other day Becki asked Shellie to grab a paper and a pen to write some things down for her. Shellie did so and couldn't stop laughing when she realized that Becki wanted her to write down the subliminal messages that her chemo monitor (in the backpack) was sending to her.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Purple hair and baby kisses

On Saturday November 1st, it was a beautiful, warm day.  All the family ventured down to Draper so that Nathan and Tyler (Becki's grandkids) would be able to see Grandma Becki one more time before it just wouldn't be possible for a while. We all bathed, put on clean clothes, and headed down to Becki's house. As soon as we got there while Nate and Ty were still clean, we took antibacterial wipes to the boys and wiped down Grandma Becki's favorite places to kiss, then let her hold and kiss them. Not being able to see her grandkids is and will be so hard for her. We were all so thrilled that the weather was in our favor so we could keep the germs outside and enjoy each other for a while.

Becki kissing Ty in her favorite spot!

Big hugs for Grandma Becki

While we were there, Brooke gave Becki a haircut so that when she started losing her hair it wouldn't be as traumatic. Nathan took the first cut and then Brooke took over from there. This was something that we thought would be hard for Becki and all of us because it would make it feel that much more real, but she looks absolutely beautiful! Her sister Lori keeps her hair short and we all couldn't believe how much they look alike now.
Becki wanted this to be as much fun as possible, so after the haircut, Nathan sprayed Grandma Becki's hair purple.  He was absolutely thrilled!


During ....

After- Isn't she beautiful?!

Becki likes lots of pictures with all the girls and our hair.

Becki with her boys

Kim took Becki's rabbits, Tumble and Abby, up to his sister's house who is so gracious to watch them during these hard months. Becki had to say goodbye to them that same day.

This day kind of sums up how Becki has been taking this journey.  She makes the most of a tough situation.  It could have been really hard to watch Becki lose her hair, but instead she made a party out of it, complete with purple hair dye!  She is always thinking of others and is really trying to make this easier for everyone.


This last trip to Moab we took really easy because Becki was getting extremely weak and fatigued. One afternoon during her short window of having a little energy, all the girls went out shopping to find some pretty scarves and hats she could wear once the chemo stole all her hair.

Even though Becki had little energy she still managed to get in a few flips and belly flops off the diving board, eat her favorite meal from Pasta Jays, and enjoy some time with her family. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting started at Huntsman

Becki spent many days at the Huntsman Cancer Institute during the last two weeks of October. She had multiple blood tests, two bone and marrow aspirations, a PET/CT scan with general anesthesia, an MRI with general anesthesia, an echo cardiogram, and an EKG. She had already had many of these tests before, but Huntsman requires to have them done again at their own facility for their records.

They gave Becki a rough date of November 3rd to begin the chemo, but a few things still had to be done. On the 29th, Becki and her three daughters attended a 3 hour class that Huntsman puts on for the caregivers. We learned a lot of great information on all we need to do to ensure that this is as smooth and comfortable for Becki as possible. Also, they told us that 80% of patients end up getting admitted back to the hospital because of infection. We are determined to have her be a part of the other 20%. We have taken all of their advice and then taken it a step further. Becki calls her oldest daugher "General Emily", because she and Kim are so anal about germs and wearing masks. We are trying to be so ridiculously careful since her immune system is practically non-existent.

On the 31st they put a triple lumen...something...port in.  (All these medical terms are a bit much for us laypeople)!  This really scared Becki.  After waking up and seeing this "huge 3 prong dangly thing hanging out of my chest" she realized that she could no longer back out. It was a really scary feeling. The port could be in as long as a year. They administer the chemo, take blood, give medicine, etc. all through these three "dangly things".

Becki has been so impressed by the people at Huntsman. They are very compassionate and act like they have all the time in the world just for her. Two guys that were part of the team that put her port in could see how terrified she was, so they took her to the room where the procedure was done, showed her everything and explained all the how and whys. They were really sweet.  It is nice to have her in such good hands.

Don't just endure the storms, but choose the right while they rage

Kim and Becki spoke in sacrament meeting in their ward on October 12th. Becki spoke about what she has learned since being diagnosed 5 months ago and did a fabulous job. (like always) Here are some highlights.

1- Preparation is everything.

Elder Eyring taught that: “There is another even more important preparation [than temporal preparation] that we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us. That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time. What we will need then can’t be bought. It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well. And it has to have been used regularly and recently. What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. (Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady, pp 37-38)

If I had received this cancer diagnosis without years of gospel understanding and perspective; without testimony building experiences; and without the wisdom that comes from keeping the commandments, my spiritual reserves would have been empty. Without those incredibly needed spiritual tools I most likely would have been devastated and angry and confused about Heavenly Father’s love for me.

2-Our daily trials in life can help prepare us for big ones.

Elder Hales said: Sometimes what we learn today may not seem valuable until months or years in the future. (BYU 8/08)
Elder Walter Gonzalez of the Seventy said: Today is the time to prepare – not during the crisis. What are we doing today to engraven in our souls the gospel principles that will uphold us in times of adversity?
By doing so Alma tells us that our afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. (Alma 31:38)

3-Who knows but that your experiences might be to help someone else?

In May when our ward held the fast for the 3 of us with cancer, my wonderful non-member neighbors came over that Sunday morning to tell me that they were fasting too. I was completely awed.
(There was also the story from a previous post about a woman they met while in Mexico)

4- A huge part of what I have learned concerns gratitude.

In D&C 59:21 the Lord says: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
I’m fairly certain that He really does mean all things!

In a wonderful article by Darla Isackson in Meridian Magazine she said, "I see now that my gratitude is the very heart of my faith, the very soul of my trust in the Lord. I am lost without it, because without it I lose the Spirit. The Holy Ghost never participates in my whining, self-pity, negativity, or blindness to the Lord’s purposes. The Lord never motivates or inspires me to complain about my circumstances. Only when I am attending to the commandment to give thanks in all things can the Spirit attend me. No wonder this commandment has been so often repeated".

5- God is in control.

Ardeth Capp, in a past Women’s Conference, taught: "Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things. Because He loves us He will not deprive us of the growth that comes from our tests, however hard they may be. If we understand the purpose in suffering, we can learn from it and become stronger because of it". (My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend, Ardeth Capp, pp 27)
I don’t think we have to enjoy trials, but I do think we must see God’s will in them. And that’s not hard to do when we know that His will is the will of love.
In searching for help in the scriptures to meet this trial successfully in God’s eyes, I have learned that more often than not the Lord strengthens us to bear our trials rather than remove them from us, because ultimately they will refine our character and keep us humble. We are never left alone and Heavenly Father answers all prayers, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate. (Elder Bednar, Ensign, May 2008)

I have a clear understanding of the plan of salvation, and I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of us and is aware of our circumstances. I know that trials, no matter what their origin or difficulty, can be for our good and salvation depending on how we handle them. Anyone can outlast a trial, but the scriptures seem to suggest that there is a proper way to do it, a way that honors God. Elder Eyring said it this way: “The great test of life is…not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.” That is my goal.

The Calzada Saga- part 2

At the beginning of each "Calzada week" Becki would get lab work done, then a chelation, and then would meet with Dr. Calzada.  On this second trip, Dr. Calzada drew a drop of her blood and analzyed it under a microscope.  He saw that her blood looked much clearer and healthier.  The problem was a 400 point rise in her IgA levels as well as other lab indicators that really concerned the doctor. For those of us who aren't so medically savy, we didn't understand how her blood could look better but have the actual disease be worse.  Apparently IgA's are formed in your bone marrow cells and that is what has gone awry.

We don't really understand it either, but basically Becki's IgA is being made with only short chains instead of healthy IgA that is made of 2 long chains and 2 short chains. The real sign of improvement for Becki is if the IgA is made appropriately and the levels decrease.

The doctor told her that he was going to give her 1 month and if the IgA wasn't looking any better, she would have to undergo chemo and bone marrow transplants at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake. He discussed with her that all she had been doing to strengthen and cleanse her body would help her get through the chemo and transplants easier if she had to go that route.

Becki emailed the family and expressed how she was "scared spitless" of even thinking about going down that path.

When she got her labs back at the end of the week her white blood count had actually improved, her calcium was still in the normal range (which meant the bones weren't involved yet) and her kidneys and liver looked great! These are good things.

Undergoing all these treatments was not fun, but Becki had an experience with another of Dr. Calzada's patients that made it all worth it for her:

"The woman with breast cancer got out late like we did and asked us if we wanted to ride with her instead of taking the shuttle. While we were sitting in the very long border line, she asked us if we were Mormon - just like that - out of the blue "are you Mormon?". When we said yes, she said, "so, what do you believe?" In my 51 years, no one has ever asked me that question. It was SO COOL. I gave her a 10 minute spiel and she acted very interested. We are going to try to find a church and pick up a BOM [Book of Mormon] for her. I have taught the missionary discussions many times as a stake missionary, but this was so real missionaryish! It made the whole week worth it."

Well the month passed, Becki had new labs done, and nothing had improved enough. The cancer had clearly moved out of the smoldering state and was getting ugly. Unfortunately, it is a race with the clock.  The one thing we needed we didn't have- and that's more time.  Dr. Calzada told Becki she needed to go to Huntsman and do whatever they told her to do.

Go Big or Go Home

After finding out all the news about Becki, our family decided to play as hard as we possible could throughout the upcoming summer. The more fun memories the better!

What a better way to start the summer than with the girls getting pedicures!

Becki enjoying her grandson, Tyler

Kim's parents lived right outside Moab for many years, so Moab has always been a place our family loves to visit. We once again have a great house to stay at, so we went down several times over the summer. We go hiking, biking, jeeping and swimming, and find lots of other fun things to do.

The family at a dinosaur archaeological dig

Becki examines dinosaur bones embedded in the rock wall

Swimming with grandson, Nathan

Fun in the pool

Does this woman look sick to you? She really knows how to show up her kids on the diving board!

Tyler, Becki and Emily at the park

Nathan and "Grandma Becki" eating Becki's favorite food at Pasta Jay's

Hiking in Moab

We also had the oppurtunity to stay at a cabin that Kim and his crew and recently remodeled.
Becki, Emily and Maya (our husky dog) decided to head up a night before the rest of us to get things set up and enjoy a little peace and quiet. They unloaded all of the food and gear inside, made a late dinner and then went out to get the dog settled. When they tried to get back inside they discovered that the door was locked and the cabin and car keys were inside. Emily's cell phone didn't have reception and they didn't know the area well enough at all to hike around looking for civilization. There were no windows unlocked and picking the lock with a paperclip and a nail just wasn't going to work. (Hollywood lies) Luckily, the rental car that they happened to have for the week was unlocked, but it had nothing in it. Normally Becki's car would be well equipped for these types of "emergencies". Needless to say, they spent the night in the rental car with the blanket that Maya had run through all the sticker bushes on the hillside. At dawn's first light they began walking and were so lucky to find a guy who happened to be heading down to Salt Lake that morning and was more than happy to take them and the dog.

It was a cold and uncomfortable night, but made for a funny start to a great weekend.

The cabin came equipped with four wheelers, bows and arrows, paintball gear, and tomahawks. We had a great time!

Who'd have known Becki was a natural with a tomahawk?  She was the first to get a bulls-eye!

That's right- there are 4 girls squeezed around the edge of a bathtub making our feet all soft and pretty.

Stevens General Contractors (Kim and Brett's business) had a weekend getaway for all of their employees in Park City one weekend in September. These "getaways" often times feel like family getaways with a few friends because half of the people there are family. It was a fun and beautiful fall weekend.

Becki takes on the Alpine Slide

Kim, Becki, Brooke and Ryan (daughter and son in law) riding the lift to the Alpine slide

Becki was on a phone call and didn't realize that she had stuck her leg through the railing. She couldn't get it out for the life of her, so Brett saved the day with a little dish soap!

If there's one thing we've all learned from this, it is how important our family is to each other.  It's so easy with the busy-ness of every day life to get caught up in our own lives and not even see each other for a few weeks!  But after this reality check on the fragile state of our lives, we really made an effort to spend more time together.  We had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories.  And hopefully even when this is all over, we won't take our family for granted again!  We are so grateful for the gospel and that we know that families are eternal.

Becki bowling at Brooke's birthday party

Becki enjoying time with Maya (dog) and Ty

Becki's grandsons LOVE when she takes them to feed the ducks

This is how we see our mom/wife/grandma:  Super Becki!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Calzada Saga

The week of June 9th, Kim and Becki made their way down to San Diego. Dr. Calzada is very well known and has patients from all over the country. Each visit to Calzada consists of a full week, so many of them stay in a hotel just over the border and then a shuttle takes everyone over the border to the doctor's office and back. The doctor's office is a very positive and friendly place. Everyone hugs you, calls you by name, and asks how you are.

On Day 1 they took a HUGE sample of blood and met briefly with the doctor. The blood results wouldn't be back for a couple of days and in the meantime they had many treatments and procedures to do. Every day Becki received IV chelations (an IV of vitamins, minerals, and specific drugs for her body's needs). Throughout the week she had lymph node massages, stem cell therapy, toxic release baths, cholonics, and live cell shots. The idea was to cleanse the body and release any harmful toxins inside. At times there were multiple people in a room getting chelations or such. The air was full of success stories and hope which helped make the burdens of everyone involved a little lighter.

The labs came back as expected, and Calzada said that 8 out of 10 patients he sees he can help cure. Becki definitely fell into the 8. This was really good news. He went on to explain, though, that the body needs at least 6 months to really start showing and feeling signs of improvement.

Dr. Calzada sent Becki home with stem cells that had to be taken weekly and a smathering of homeopathic drugs to take daily. He also put her on a ridiculously strict diet and planned to have her come back to see him in 3 months.

Becki told the family in one of her emails when she was in Mexico, "If it is the Lord's will and this isn't my time to die, then I am turning over my cancer to Heavenly Father." We now had the hope that we didn't need to fear this disease any longer.

A Million Memories

We decided that we wanted our Mom to have solid evidence that no matter how crappy she felt, she could look around and see that her family is happy, righteous, and loves her. The idea was that we want to have a million wonderful things recorded for her. Shooting for the moon here?? I don't know, but it sure seems like a noble goal to reach for. As her spouse and children we all had plenty of years of memories, so we wrote down our favorite memories and thoughts about her and presented it to her on Mother's Day titled "A Million Memories". We have posted a sampling of these memories below:

I love how fun you are to tease. Rabbit stew anyone? -Jess Stevens (daughter in law)

I have a wonderful wife and I believe she has a lot of virtues that have been passed down from you. She emulates your passion to devote everything to your family. Your love for the Savior and the gospel has helped instill a strong testimony in Brooke. I accredit so much of what I love about Brooke to her mom. -Ryan Mattice (son in law)

Its delightful how extensively thorough you can be. Only you would number your make-up and their corresponding brushes. -Emily Stevens (daughter)

One thing that has meant a ton to me is that you always supported me in soccer and running and everything else. I know how boring it can be to sit in the cold and cheer. -Shellie Stevens (daughter)

I think your compulsive need to do everything in the fastest manner possible is hilarious, especially when it involves hot wax and leg hair. Only you would rip off ALL of my leg hairs in one fatal swoop and think that my labor-like screams were intensely amusing. -Emily Stevens (daughter)

I love the way you love your grandchildren. -Jess Stevens (daughter in law)

I remember when my stupid high school boyfriend and I broke up. I came home to a bouquet of flowers and a sweet note from you saying "to one of my life’s greatest treasures…I am sorry you are hurting but know always how much I love you ". It meant so much to me to know at that moment how much I was loved by my Mom. -Brooke Mattice (daughter)

I think it’s hilarious that you hoard watermelon like a criminal. -Emily Stevens (daughter)

I loved when we would lay on the tramp with furry blankets and you would show us the constellations and sing dumb songs with us. -Shellie Stevens (daughter)

I loved the way you comforted me as a child when I dropped and broke a glass bottle of chocolate chips on the stairs at Great Grandpa Strong’s house. -Brett Stevens (son)

I love the incredible "institute lessons" that you taught to me and my friends. We always remark on how we learned more about the gospel in those months than we have in years of church. You are so animated and full of light when you teach or even talk about the gospel. -Brooke Mattice (daughter)

I love the glow in your eyes as you tell us about tearing all the buttons off the shirt of the bully that was bothering you as a child. -Brett Stevens (son)

I think it’s so funny how you rearrange your bunnies’ furniture more than your own. -Joanne Miner (friend/surrogate daughter)

I LOVE how hilarious it is that you say “a---chOUCH” when you sneeze. -Emily Stevens (daughter)

What comes first? Well anybody that knows you would know that family comes first. Since I have joined the family I have witnessed first hand how someone can devote everything to the ones you love; thank you for your great example. -Ryan Mattice (son in law)

My hearts starts racing when I remember the time that you broke your back mountain biking and told me that you would be fine without an ambulance, because they are too expensive. -Brett Stevens (son)

I love that you are my Dr/Pharmacist. Every time I need anything medical related... you always have the answers. And I love the memories I have of being sick and getting to sleep with the sick blanket on your couch. I hated being sick, but I loved being able to sleep in your room! -Brooke Mattice (daughter)

I love when you point at a puddle and say “look” and then splash us. -Shellie Stevens (daughter)

I love that you always have your corner cabinet stocked with all my favorite sugar cereals, even when I am hardly ever there to eat them! -Jess Stevens (daughter in law)

Remember the time your knee got stuck in the deck railing in Park City and even though it hurt you were laughing and joking with everyone about it. I think you are the cutest and I love being around you. You always bring a smile to my face. -Monica Buchanan (SGC friend)

I absolutely LOVED the private institute classes you taught in the comfort of our own home. You made us countless pages of profound wisdom and "Becki found facts" for our scriptures - we couldn't get enough! You also so generously supplied us with colored pencils and cool pens so we could keep up with you.. (yea, right! "mrs. rebound my scriptures because I had so much added quotes and facts") Your love and passion for the gospel is incredibly inspiring. You were always so willing, with a contagious smile on your face, to share your knowledge, testimony, and light.. You made learning about the gospel unexpectedly exciting and inspired us with fortitude to stand and be faithful to the truth. It's been years now, but it was such a momentous time, that you deserve to know how much your tender, yet powerful spirit influenced my life. Thank you for your example, faith, and love - not only for those around you, but for our Savior. You are a strength to all those you come in contact with. Your ripple is beautiful and ever-reaching. I am so grateful to know you. Even now, as I pray for you and your family, the spirit immediately engulfs me and I know that He is with you. What a blessing.. Know you are loved and admired, Becki. Thanks for being you! love you -Kallie Oborn (friend of Brooke's)

Grandma and Grandpa Strong always had some kind of family gathering at their house. They had an old fashioned mailbox where the mail was dropped thru a slot and landed on the floor. Becki and I would pick grass, weeds, flowers, etc and shove them thru the mailbox. Needless to say, Grandma Strong was not very happy about that! -Jodi Mulvey (cousin)

A great memory I have of Becki is when we were sitting on the famous swing on G & G Strong's porch holding our newborn babies. We were talking about how scary it was to be a new mother and what the future would hold for our newborns. That was such an innocent time and it was a long time ago, way back in 1978. -Jodi Mulvey (cousin)

Another fun memory is when cousin Jeff took us for a ride in his car. We got hopelessly lost and had no idea where we were. It was a hoot trying to figure out how to get back to G & G Strong's house! -Jodi Mulvey (cousin)

Remember all the funs we had working at Dan’s Bakery, packaging bread, scooping ice cream and serving hot dogs. And how could we forget our trip to California after high school graduation. I laugh when I think about us eating cereal in the parking lot of the MGM Grand. Do you remember that? The drive to California was also an adventure for two young women who where not to savvy about California freeways. Such fun memories… -Vicki Rognon Jackman (childhood friend)

I would love to keep the list growing so we truly can reach a million memories, so please take a few moments and write down some of your favorites and email them to Make sure to leave your name and what relation you have to Becki. Here are some guidelines you can follow:

1. I [love/like/think-its-hilarious] that.....

2. Remember the time.....

Just be creative! Becki will love reading your thoughts and memories.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Diagnosis

April 17th, 2008 Kim called for a family meeting. Now our family is close, but I don't recall ever having to have a family meeting before. Kim told us all that Becki received some blood results back and they wanted to discuss it with the family. Needless to say, none of us focused well the rest of the day. What could possibly be wrong?

We all gathered in the living room and awaited the news. Becki went on to tell us that her latest tests had many red flags and signs pointing toward multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. ( The doctors were not 100% sure, but she had many of the symptoms. None of us would have ever thought that something so awful was going on inside of her; she looked so beautiful and healthy. She then told us that they were going to run a few more tests that should let the doctors know for sure. All of this must have been terrifying for Becki, but she was so strong and upbeat. She told us that she put her will in the Lord's hands a long time ago, and if this was her time, it was her time. (Not that she wasn't going to fight!) We were all so upset by the news that we had heard, but it was hard to even be sad around her because she had such a positive attitude.
Throughout all of this, the point was made very clear that this was something we would all do and fight together. Everyone would have a say and we would make ALL decisions as a family. How blessed we are to have the family we do. M. Russell Ballard said, "Nothing is more critically connected to our happiness- both our own and that of our children- than how well we love and support one another within the family."

That next week felt like one of the longest weeks ever as we waited to hear the results. The day finally came and we found out that she did in fact have the horrid cancer. The next step was taking it up with the Lord. Becki received a priesthood blessing and then we had a fast to ask the Lord what our next move should be.

We all felt impressed to try some alternative treatment from a doctor, Dr. Calzada, that Kim and Becki had both been to years ago to do some health maintanence. (His office is just over the California border in Tijuana). They contacted his office, but he was out of the country until the beginning of June, so they made an appointment for the first week in June. In the meantime, we spent a lot of time on our knees.

This was a really hard time for our family. I think we all tend to freak out a little more than necessary before we fully understand and get a grasp on things. It just seemed like too much information to process all at once. Becki wanted family pictures done immediately because first of all, she was worried about having hair by the time we got around to taking them, and second, Shellie was leaving for Alaska for the summer. We only had four days to find a photographer and get the pictures taken. Brooke found a sweet girl who had taken her boss' family photos and was so kind to work with us with such short notice.