Monday, September 14, 2009
When they talk about chemo brain, they are not kidding! There are days when I have trouble remembering my name. Kim often reminds me that this and everything else that I whine about will all be corrected in the resurrection. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are supposed to be here and that our experiences are planned. We are a handful of people who know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and His Son, our Redeemer, has paved the trail for us to return home and continue our family life. How scary it would be not to know what the next step is. It would sure make life seem unfair. But every little detail, down to my bunnies has been taken care of. I can worry all I want, but it really won’t make any difference.
I am so grateful for my amazing family and how they have supported and loved me through this difficult experience. I will try to keep little updates on the blog as they occur.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It has been a long 9 months, but I am finally able to build back up my strength without knocking it down again. I have completed two bone marrow transplants and all the chemo that goes with it. There is one more round of chemo, called consolidation, that they want me to do, but I have decided that I have had enough. I am moving into maintenance, which is Dexamethesone (a steroid) and Velcade (a chemo drug) every 4 out of 14 days for the next year.
This week has been a week of tests. Monday I had another bone marrow aspiration and I still squirm to find a spot to sit that doesn't hurt! (They remove 5 tablespoons of marrow and a piece of bone.) I also had an MRI and lab work. Today is a PET scan, and an echo cardiogram. The purpose of these tests are to see how well the 2nd transplant did. My appointment with my doctor is next Tuesday, so by then I should have all the information we need.
Every day I am feeling stronger and healthier! It is thanks to your prayers that I have made it this far. I am trying not to be too impatient. With my first transplant, it took me 4 months before I didn’t feel like passing out every 10 steps. It has only been 7 weeks since my second transplant, so I know I have at least 2 more months. The best news is I am finally getting a little hair. It’s taking its sweet time, but if I use a magnifying glass I can see it!!! I also have a healthier immune system, so if you are not sick or haven’t been exposed to swine flu, come see me!!!
Waiting for the firework show to start. Nathan made sure everyone was equipped with a glow stick... wouldn't want to lose anyone now would we.
We also celebrated Shellie's birthday while we were there. All she wanted was money so we got creative with a bunch of $1 bills
We had a great weekend and are looking forward to Moab next month. Becki has already researched a special little contraption to keep her pick line from getting wet. Nothing is keeping her out of the pool this time!!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
They weren't going to let her come home quite yet, but after Emily had a very large and persuasive tempertantrum with the doctor, they let her go. She is doing great. She even walked all the way out to the car! There will still be daily trips up to the clinic for labs, IVs and such, but over all she is doing excellent. Just today while up at the clinic, a doctor mentioned how well she was doing. Becki's response was, "Great, can I go to Moab yet?" He just laughed and told her she at least needs to be able to swallow food. We are so thrilled at how well she is doing. Keep up the good fight Mom. We love you!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Her room @ Huntman
Quite the different view, huh?
Well the last couple of days her hair has really started to fall out alot, so the nurse got Emily a shaver to shave her head. Lets just say we now know why Emily didn't go through cosmetology school...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"You know, some things are just down right crappy--and there really isn't much you can do about it except hope that somewhere down the line there will be a glimmer of sunlit hope that perhaps, somehow, the future could be different. Sometimes that hope is quite a ways off, but then, sometimes for the smallest increment there are those tender mercies that for a single moment open the cloud cover and mercifully allows in the sun. I witnessed one of those moments this evening.It had been a long day rife with hallucinations, poor pain management and looks and facial contortions which could shatter your heart. As the late afternoon progressed, the tension inside our usually happy and luxurious hospital room was ever climbing. I wanted to knock the blessed pain management correspondence out cold and then expressed exactly how I felt to the poor not-so-very-little-and-definitely-balding medical student (that Mom kept repeatedly mentioning did NOT have a ring on his finger--blghhh). Nobody seemed to be listening, Mom was near tears, the not-really-English-speaking nurse was exceptionally stubborn and refused to attempt to understand our demands (or leave). The rising pressure ended with a digestive explosion which true to form brought 2 doctors knocking at the door (their timing is impeccable, really). I slipped out and told them as the patient's advocate I would negotiate but that she was done seeing the medical community for a few moments. They were reasonable and readily understood the concern and dismissed the situation and the deaf and dumb pain management ladies orders immediately. I slipped back in and after getting things and Mom cleaned up finally got her settled back in bed....only to bring another knock at the door. In exasperation, I sighed. In walked the flower delivery lady all cheerful and excited....Mom and I simultaneously said "but she/I can't be around flowers"...."fortunately", the cute flower girl said with a great big smile, "they are fake". Mom's face lit up like a kid on Christmas. "Would you like to read the card?" the girl asked....Excitedly Mom took the card and opened it as we placed the flowers in a visible place and the girl slipped out. Its a beautiful basket with greenery and three bright and incredibly hopeful flowers. The brim of my heart attempted to flow out my eyes as I in awe contemplated what an incredible gesture it was to send a basket of artificial flowers....but who could they be from? By this time, the card was opened and Mom handed it to me and asked me to read it. Through scrawled letters I read the touching message and in near tears said, "of course....it's from Jim and Sarah". These are the words of the card:
On the front: Sending you Hope
Inside: Strength, love and Support (this part was written in by hand) and Prayer
His message said: There are wonderful advances in cancer research and thousands of very smart people who have dedicated their lives and especially their hearts to find the cures and the causes. They wish you well.
Your faith will sustain, your courage will inspire others and your hopes will be realized.
God bless.Love, Jim and Sarah
Its the second time Mom had burst into a smile today. The first was when, completely unexpectedly (he lives in Maryland after all), Jim was standing in our doorway. Mom looked up, saw him, and instantaneously looked like she felt better. Completely serendipitously Dad had ran into him in the lobby (on a floor Dad was not even planning to get off on) and within minutes Jim stopped by our door just to say hello, wish Mom a brief well and continue off with the dignitaries he was with. Mom went on for awhile explaining what a wonderful person he was to the nurse and aide that attended her in the following minutes. Having lived so far away to miss most, if not all, family reunions during the course of my life, I had not met Jim but had heard of him and within moments, I felt this good looking stranger was family and must be of the illusive Maryland branch of Olsons. I was touched by how quickly he was here to visit (especially considering Dad called to tell me he had ran into him after he had already arrived and left). But even more so was I touched by the tender act of sending artificial flowers to brighten a day which had rather fleeting hope.
It was just a small thing, this act, but it seemed so representative of such a big thing. There is such power in kindness. There is such power in simple words said and gestures made. And sometimes, especially on the "cloudiest" of days there comes the one thing that can brighten and lift the lowest of hearts. Last August it was asked of President Monson what he would like for a birthday gift from members of the church and he said that he would ask each of us to find someone in need and do something to help them.
During the last months and year there have been an abundance of generous acts, countless meals, sweet hearts that have gone out of their way to be of some form of help, cards sent, calls made, emails, notes on the blog and innumerable prayers on our family's and Mom's behalf. These have been inspiring, and yet with so very many prayers sent I have wondered, if the pit of my heart could be as low as it is, how awful could it have been with no prayers? I'm glad I don't have the contrast for comparison, I suppose. I don't know why, today, a simple basket of fake flowers was so moving, but it was. Sincerity is an incredible thing. And for all of the thunderstorms that seem to inundate our world, it sure means the world when a simple sincere act is able to break through the clouds."
Becki with Jim and Sarah- they came by and visited again on Friday night one last time before heading back home to Maryland.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thanks for all your love and concern.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Then on Mother's Day we had a nice dinner outside and enjoyed the sunshine. (She just started the chemo on Friday, but we didn't know how soon she would get neutrapenic, so we are staying outside to avoid any germs in the house) Becki really wanted a nice lounge chair for Mother's Day so she could enjoy the sunshine and yard during this next treatment. She is such a sunshine girl! Check out her new chair-
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This second time around is so different than the first. With the first transplant, I began chemo the first of November and I didn't receive the transplant until December 19th. So this second round is hard and fast. I will be neutropenic (no immune system) almost immediately, and therefore quaranteened until my white blood cells can get on their feet again. By the next time you see me, I should actually have hair growing again!! (Just a little sidenote: I have had long hair my entire life. This short hair is a piece of cake. A little baby shampoo, dry it with a towel and wa-la, you are beautiful. I think we should start a fashion statement here in Draper. We would each have an extra hour a day! )
I know this has been a long process, but I ask again for your faith and prayers. And please, not just for me but for Kim and my caretaker daughters and sisters. Apparently, I am a tough cookie to take care of. I just can't imagine me being difficult!
Once again I want to make sure that everyone who reads this will know that I have an absolute testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that because of the atonement, my Savior has experienced everything I am going through. I feel His love and peace. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for my life, and the desire of my heart is to fulfill that plan. His timetable might be different than mine, but I have tunnel vision while He sees the BIG picture. I know that my family is forever because of sacred covenants made in the Temple of our God. Kim, Brett, Jess, Nate, Ty, Ryan, Brooke, Emily, Shellie, Jacob and the rest of my wonderful family - I love you soooo much. I realize more than ever how important each one of you are. What would I do without you?
Friday, April 17, 2009
Last week during my regular weekly appointment, my blood pressure systolic number wouldn't go above 80. This has been a regular problem, and one of the reasons I ended up in the ICU in December. Dr. Zangari has had me into a cardiologist to rule out my heart and after my episode with the blood pressure last week, he canceled all of my tests and is now having me see a neurologist. I am scheduled for a nerve conduction test next week in hopes that the neurologist will figure it out. Needless to say, I am sooo ready to get this over with. I am trying really hard to have a positive attitude about this delay. After all, I really don't want to end up in ICU again! My prayers are always that the doctors will be inspired to know what to do - Heavenly Father must want me to see a neurologist!! I am sorry I didn't write sooner to let you know. I have received many wonderful "good luck" emails, for which I am very grateful. Please don't hesitate to email me. One of the exciting side effects of the chemo drugs I take on a regular basis is that I don't get to sleep until 3-4 AM. I devour your emails in the middle of the night. (Did you know that all of the best shows are on after 1AM - My Three Sons, Home Improvement, Sci-Fi, etc.) Pretty pathetic huh!
I know some of you are going to really relate to this and some of you are going to think I'm nuts, but Tuesday Emily took me to Costco and I got to walk up and down every single aisle (with a mask on of course). I haven't been to Costco in over 7 months. During my real life, I was a once a week shopper there. Wednesday I slept the entire day to make up for it, but it was worth it! Monday, I am going to the temple with my sister Lisa. That has been on the top of my priority list. I feel that I am finally strong enough to sit through a session and handle being in a closed environment with coughing people.
Seriously, thank you for your love and heartfelt prayers! This is all in Heavenly Father's hands and I know He is very aware of my needs and especially aware of YOU - the wonderful, caring people that surround me. You all have earned so many brownie points!!
I love you, Becki
Monday, April 6, 2009
It's been a long 4 month wait, but we are now ready to continue with the second transplant. This week I will have a PET scan, a MRI, a pulminary test, a echo cardiogram and my favorite, another bone marrow biopsy! If all of the tests come back relatively similar to the baseline tests, then I will begin chemo on April 17th. I will be neutropenic almost immediately, so I will have to be completely isolated again. I know it has been a long process, and I have asked so much of you, but please keep me in your prayers. I am really nervous this time around because I know exactly what to expect. I always thought knowledge was power, but in this case I would rather be ignorant.
Today I went up to Layton to see my bunnies. I have missed them so much. Kim's sister Cheryl is caring for them and they are very loved. Then we spent the afternoon with extended family. I still have to wear a mask, but it is so great to hug. I've never been a very huggy person, but let me tell you, that is going to change. After 3 months of isolation I am starved for hugs! Another thing you will never hear me complain about again is my weight. Everyone needs a buffer of fat!! It pads your bones, gives you a buffer during sickness and looks healthy! Those of you who are 40 and under can fight to maintain the anorexic look, as for those of us over 40, ENJOY FOOD! It has taken me 3 1/2 months to be able to eat just a handful of different foods. Food is a very enjoyable part of life. I dream of the day I can eat pizza, chocolate, and bread again without getting sick.
Thanks for letting me rant! I also wanted to thank all of you who have brought meals in. I am awed at the kindness and generosity of my ward(s). Some of you I haven't even met yet. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My poor husband would starve if it weren't for you.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Becki and Tyler enjoying the sunshine
Nathan and Jess playing around at the park
Kim and Tyler- trying to take a walk with everyone. Tyler has to stop and look at EVERYTHING!
Ryan, Nathan, and Brooke at the musical park rocking out
Throughout this whole treatment, Becki has made it a point to keep Nathan in the loop so things won't be weird or scary to him. Here she is explaining her ports, why she has them, and what the doctors do with them.
Kim, Tyler, Nathan and Becki- They really love their grandkids!
We all had a great time and already can't wait till we get to go again with the whole family. Becki has gained her ten pounds, Wahoo!, and is now waiting for her doctor's approval to begin the next transplant. Dr Zangari is a little concerned about her low blood pressure and has been performing multiple tests to see if they can find the root of the problem. He had her see a cardiologist, who said Becki's heart looks fine except that the chemo has weakened it a little. After hearing that, Becki has been determined, even if she doesn't have the energy, to take little walks and do things to strengthen her heart. Hopefully, they will find out what needs to be done, fix it, and get her going on this next treatment soon so we can focus on the blue skies ahead and getting our Mom back.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Steel 'n Thunder
Miss Ruby and Miss Andie (Emily)
Emily's solo performance of "You can't get a guy with a gun"
The whole rootin' tootin' crew
Monday, March 16, 2009
Yesterday, I got to go to a family dinner with all my siblings and their kids and all my own kids. I had to wear a mask the whole time, but this is the first time in 5 months that I have been able to get this close to my neices and nephews. Actually, it is the first time I have been in a public situation. Every time I passed someone they "petted" my head which has about 1/2" of hair now. The kids were facinated! My 15 year old nephew looked just like me! (He keeps his hair really short)
I doubt that I will be starting phase 2 for at least 3-4 weeks, so we are going to try to get to Moab now that it has warmed up, before I start.
Well, I'm half way there. By Fall my hair can really grow and I can be excited about feeling better and better. Love, Becki
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
-Everyday Becki is feeling a little better than the previous day.
-Although food still tastes metallic and nasty most of the time, Becki is doing a better job at keeping it down.
-We have been able to get together with the family. Wahoo! And not even have to wear masks!
-Emily always says you can tell she is feeling better when she starts trying to reorganize all the meds and everything in her room. (for those of you who truly know Becki, she lives for a clean and organized...... life)
- Her labs are looking really good.
A few negatives:
-Food still doesn't taste very good.
-Because she can't eat much, and not much has stayed down anyway, she has lost a lot of weight.
-Tyler came down with roseola and even though he is feeling all better the doctors said the boys can't be around Becki for 2 weeks. (she was really bummed about that)
-Last week when Becki met with the Dr, he said they could wait as long as 3 months to start the next treatment. She has lost too much weight and until she gains at least 10 pounds they will hold off for a bit. Becki really wants to get this all over with, so this was not good news at all.
Overall, we are all so excited to see some life back in our Mom's eyes. She has been so strong, upbeat, happy, and excited to spend some time with her family. We are trying to take advantage of these times and enjoy her health. The Lord is keeping a close eye on Becki, and we are filled with so much gratitude to have the gospel and it's light in our lives. Hopefully each day will continue to bring more sunshine!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Beside the new port, there really isn't too much new info to report. She is feeling pretty good, but hates that she doesn't have the energy to do anything. Most of her days are still in bed trying to entertain herself somehow between all the sleeping. The next transplant is scheduled to hopefully be in the first week of March, but if she gets sick or anything that could be pushed back. One of the most difficult things right now is trying to stay positive about what is still to come. It is so great that she is starting to feel a little better, but so hard to know that she just has to go through it all again, and this time KNOWS how extremely terrible it is. We all assumed it would be ugly, but now we know just how ugly it gets. We are truly looking forward to when this next round of chemo and transplant are finished and she is on the mend for good. How nice it will be to have our fun, loving, and energetic Mom back (Becki is pretty excited too!) In the meantime, we are once again enjoying her current health and trying to spend as much time as possible together as a family.
We will keep posting on this blog as usual with any new updates or news. Thanks again for all your love and support.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Becki with her favorite buddy, Nathan!
Grandpa Kim playing with his boys.
Tyler, Kim & Becki
Well we all had a fabulous time spending the evening with Becki for her birthday and are so grateful she was healthy enough to be able to do so. We hope you had a wonderful birthday Mom.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Thursday afternoon when Becki was at Huntsman doing the usual blood tests and such, a nurse who deals with her regularly, asked her if she had hugged and kissed her grandbabies yet. Becki immediately had tears roll down her cheeks. She has missed them so much. Well the nurse then told her that her white blood cells were looking really good and that she should stop on her way home to give her grandbabies kisses. Becki was ecstatic! She has been waiting for weeks to be able to actually see and touch her grandkids. We all still have to take extreme caution and make sure we are freshly washed up and aren't sick or anything, but we have been cleared to be able to not be so anal until the next transplant in about 6 weeks. Wahoo! We are already planning family get togethers so we can spend as much time as possible until then.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Despite the good levels she is still feeling the effects of chemo though. It has been a rough couple of weeks and she needs lots of reminders of why she is doing all this. Brett and Jess took Nathan and Tyler down to visit Grandma Becki through her window this afternoon and it couldn't have been better timing. Becki was so thrilled to see her precious grandbabies. She misses them and everyone else so much. Hopefully each day will bring a little more health and these next few months will fly by!
(Nathan is sitting right by me while I type this and he really wanted me to write some stuff for his Grandma Becki.) I love grandma Becki! Grandma Becki loves Ty Guy. Grandma Becki loves me too. I want Grandma Becki to feel better and feel good so she can play with me forever and two hundred days.