Tuesday, May 26, 2009

She's home!

Becki came home yesterday afternoon and is SO excited to be home and in her own bed.
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

The past week...

Becki still isn't feeling great, but she is doing excellent considering. Her cells have started to engraft and she is now creating white blood cells. Yahoo! She is still unable to eat because the sores in her throat haven't gone down yet and continually mentions how much she would love a to guzzle a huge glass of water or a kids meal. She is definitely hungry, just can't swallow. During the last transplant, her blood pressure is what put her into septic shock. This time around her blood pressure hasn't gone below 100. We are stoked at how well her body is doing so far. Here are a few pics from the last week....

Brooke made this for Becki

Her room @ Huntman
The BMT (bone marrow transplant) clinic was full at the UofU Hospital so the first 4 days Becki stayed at Huntsman. There rooms are like 4 star hotels and the view was incredible.

The view from her window at Huntman

Then a room opened up on Thursday down in the BMT clinic and as one of the nurses in the clinic says, "it is like moving from Olympus Cove to West Valley" They are much more trained for what she is going through though, so we are happy with them taking care of her!

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...
Good Job, Em!
She did redeem herself though... (the next day)
Much better
On Friday they finally put her on TPN which is to supplement her not being able to eat. She was SO excited! She kept saying how much it looked like milk and how she already felt a little better knowing she was finally going to get a little nutrition. As you can see in the picture above, she kept sniffing it as if it were the yummiest thing in the world.
Brooke and Emily snuggling up with Mom

Hanging out with her hubby

We are hoping she will get to go home soon. She curses that hospital bed and all the lovely noises her room makes. There is always an IV beeping or the bed filling up with more air which sounds like an airplane about to take off. We assume they won't let her leave until she can at least eat a little, so she is working really hard on trying to get some food down. Yesterday she ate 3 cheerios... baby steps, right?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There is such power in Kindness

Emily is a very eloquent and beautiful writer and she sent this email out to our family last night. It made us all laugh, cry, and want to be better people. Thanks Emily for your endless service to Mom, your beautiful thoughts and inspiring words. We love you!

"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

Its back to the hospital

Becki was admitted to the hospital after midnight last night because she is starting to run a fever. As much as she and all of the rest of us don't want her to be there, it is almost comforting to know that she is having knowledgable people keep a close eye on her throughout the hardest times. The sores in her mouth and throat are back and came back strong. She can barely even swallow water. Her digestive system doesn't know quite how to handle all the drugs and changes and has made her miserable. And now that she has a fever, it means that she has some kind of infection. Overall, she feels horrible but is remaining hopeful that this will all be over soon!
Thanks for all your love and concern.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Transplant #2

Yesterday afternoon Becki received her 2nd transplant. She is already feeling really sick and lousy. Kim has been keeping her filled with pain meds and nausea medicine which has helped up until this p0int, but last night she began running a fever. It wasn't too high, but we don't want to take any chances. Kim called up to the hospital and they said to watch it closely, but that a fever is common on the day you receive a transplant. Her body is extremely achey and she is trying to sleep as much as possible. The mouth sores have already started to form, so at this point we are just hoping that the next couple of weeks will just fly by. She should be back to having absolutely no immune system by tonight, maybe tomorrow and we expect her to probably be hospitalized by the weekend. The first 10-14 days is by far the worst, so please, please, continue to pray for her and our family. We are anxiously awaiting the summer and fall when she should be feeling better and we can move forward.

Fun in the sun

This past week Becki has been trying to get out and enjoy some things she hasn't been able to do too much of before she gets real sick again. She was able to go do a temple session with Emily and then after one of her dr appointment, Shellie and Brooke took her to Temple Square to see all the beautiful flowers.

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


Friday I will begin to receive 4 days of an I.V. chemo and Tuesday the bone marrow transplant. I am ready! Kim, Brett and Ryan gave me a blessing, I feel great and I am mentally stoked. Spiritually, mentally and physically - I think that covers it! After a few months (depending on how quickly I heal) I will have another 4 days of chemo, and then it is just maintanance drugs!! By Fall I should be where I am now, but with no cancer cells (at least thats the idea!)
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?