Saturday, December 31, 2011

Santa Cruz

One of the things that my sister Lisa and her daughter Candalyn miss living in Utah is the beach. Yesterday we took a drive over the hill (as my father would say) to Santa Cruz. It was a nice day to go but the traffic was TERRIBLE going over. We drove along the coast a little ways.  Mom and Lisa both like seafood. Candalyn had found a place to eat at. It took us a little while to find it. It was a nice small place near a marina. Mom and Lisa both enjoy quilting so we decided to check out a couple of quilt shops. Mom was looking for some templates for a project she is working on, we hoped to find them there. No such luck. We headed home and decided to check out the store Beverly's. Success!

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blood Transfusion #2

So on Tuesday I had to have a blood draw in preparation for today's chemo treatment. I received a message from my doctor that my anemia is worse and that I would not have a chemo treatment today. She told me that I would have another blood transfusion.

Yesterday was Norm Piercy's funeral. I felt good enough to go to the services. Merri Lea and Rich came over for the funeral and then spent the day with us. It was nice for Lisa and Candalyn to visit with them.

Kaiser called yesterday and they scheduled the blood transfusion for 10:15 today. My niece Candalyn took me to Kaiser for the transfusion. When we got there we were told it would take 5-6 hours, we questioned how long and I was told the reason it would take so long was because I would be getting 2 units this time. I sure home that it works better this time. I'm hoping that I will be done with treatments and able to go back to work by April.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Update

Friday evening we were visited by another wonderful Heavenly choir. This one was comprised of the Osorio and Corcoran family. I love Christmas music, to listen to and to sing. I have not gotten to sing very much Christmas music this year. I did sing some songs to my self while I was having the PET/CT sacn during the last few minutes when it got really hard to keep my arms over my head.

Saturday we were visited by the Corcoran family. It was a nice to see them and we brought make your own fruit salad. We had the traditional fondue dinner we have on Christmas Eve. It was so yummy. Keith did a great job.

Sunday we were up around 7:30 (you'd think we were kids) we had breakfast and then headed to Modesto to spend the day with my sister Merri Lea and family. We had a wonderful dinner and good company. My niece Ella-Liessa made me a origami crane pin in teal (which is the ovarian cancer color) I thought that was very special.

Today my sister Lisa and her daughter Candalyn arrived from Utah to spend the week with us. So Christmas is going to last a little longer. I was also able to chat with my former missionary companion Cheryl MacDonald who lives in Australia this evening.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas To Me!

Today I was scheduled to have a PET/CT scan. I've had one of these before. It was how they knew where the cancer was located. It is a different experience. You have to fast for 6 hours before. Part of the process is to have your blood sugar tested. Then they put radioactive sugar solution into you. Then you  lie for about 40 minutes under warm blankets. Then they place you in the scanner and you have to lie still with your arms over your head for 20 minutes while you are scanned. You have to wait for several minutes while they check to make sure you didn't move. I got the all good. Lisa Zamora who took me to my appointment and we went out to lunch and had a nice visit. While I was checking my emails this evening I saw a email from Kaiser. I opened it up and this is what it said:

I am very pleased to inform you that the PET/CT shows a good response to treatment. The liver lesions look substantially smaller and are now inactive in appearance. The mass in your pelvis has improved substantially as well. It appears the chemotherapy is working very well! I've attached a copy of the report below for your records. I didn't want you to wait until January for this good news. But, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

I just had to share!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fun Surprises !

Mom and I were watching TV last night and there was a knock at the door. I answered and standing there was Brittney Black with a Christmas goodie. Yum! A little while latter I hear some music coming from outside and I open the door and there on our front deck is the Sundstrom family (minus one). We invite them in and they bring in decorated gingerbread cookies. What a treat. They knew that we were not going to have any real gingerbread this year and brought them to us. We tried one and they are yummy! While we were visiting we hear more music from the front of the house, open the door and we have another choir. The Pack and Davis family stopped by. What a wonderful Monday evening. Thank all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blood Transfusion

Last night was a rough night for sleeping. Seemed like I did not sleep at all! Yesterday after my chemo treatment the nurse did not remove the needle since I was having a transfusion today. She covered it up with gauze and tape. Because of that I was not able to shower this morning which was a bummer because I was my hair everyday. You've heard of hat hair well I get bed hair. I've been accused of spinning on top of my head. A while ago my friend Beverly Haring sent me a package and in that package was a lemon yellow knitted cap. I wore it today to cover my bed hair. We had another visitor this morning Nancy Jensen came by to visit and to let me know she is thinking of me. I so appreciate it. I couldn't believe how weak I felt this morning. I couldn't stand at the kitchen window to watch for Penni who was taking me to my appointment, I had to sit in a chair and stand up every few moments to see if she had arrived. She arrived and we went to the infusion center. They hooked me up and the nurse says "let me know if you get a hot flash type feeling, your back hurts ext...." The drip was started slowly. Once I didn't have anything different happen they made the drip faster. It took about 3 hours, I think I slept most of the time. I actually feel better. I had a phone call from someone in my past. Margret Miller who used to work with me at ADP. It was nice to visit with her and catch up. Today started off rough but is ending better.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A New Experience Tomorrow

So I had my second treatment of my third cycle today. Things went well, no sticking problems. My nurse mentioned that I am anemic. She suggested a blood transfusion. I gave her my consent if my doctor thought it was a good idea. She contacted Dr Jeske and she said that it would be a good idea. So tomorrow at 1:30 I will have my first blood transfusion. She promised I will feel better. My good friend Penni took me today and she kindly offered to take me tomorrow. Thanks Penni. We had a wonderful dinner brought in by Elena Jones. I received a phone call from Maria Casillas. She joined the church a little over 1 1/2 years ago. She is moving to the LA area tomorrow. She is a great lady. The gospel has been so good to her. I will truly miss her and pray the best for hr. We had a surprise visit this evening, Roxanne Mortenson a good was very nice to see her and visit with her.  Yesterday Pam Montanez delivered a good basket from the local Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. It was such a nice thought, and wonderful goodies. Since Dr Jeske is having a baby in January I've asked mom to make the baby a baby quilt. She is working right a long with it. When I came home today mom and Keith were not home. Just a little concerned so I called Keith and mom was with him. They had gone to JoAnn's to get binding for the quilt which Keith is cutting. I have such great supportive family. I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tomorrow Is A Go

The last couple of days have been kind of rough. Not a lot of energy. Tuesday I had a blood draw to check my counts for Thursday's chemo treatment. It took 3 nurses to draw blood. They had to lay me flat on my back. One thought about the challenge to draw blood is that the port might have flipped? Not sure how that could happen. They finally were able to get the blood needed. We will see what happens tomorrow.

I've heard from my doctor about my counts. She said they are a little low, but we will go ahead with the treatment tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snow Balls

Several days a go I received an inquiry about something that we had made when I was Young Women's president at least 15+ years ago. Around that time the church had sent instructions about the use of funds for the Young Men and Young Women's activities. They instructed that the youth were not to have any more super, long distance activities. We traditionally went on a snow trip about 4 hours away. So we decided to have a No Snow Party. We had sled races, slalom races, made snowmen out of pillows, blow snowflakes off your nose ( the snowflake was a cotton ball). The last thing was a snowball fight. The snowballs were made of batting and old panty hose. The snowballs have been to Utah and several wards have borrowed them. Who would have thought that something made that long ago would still be remembered. Glad they are still being used.

Tomorrow I will have a blood draw to see if I can have a treatment on Thursdays. Prayers will be appreciated.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Day After

Today was a pretty good day. I was woke up earlier this morning then usual.

In my Thanksgiving post I mentioned that we had a salad called 7-up Salad. It is a tradition of my sisters. I request for the recipe. It is below. 

[When I put this into Weight Watchers Points Plus recipe builder it equaled 2 points each for 18 servings.]

9 x 13 pan = 18 servings

2 small packages or 1 large package lemon or orange jell-o SUGAR FREE
2 cups boiling water
1 - 12 oz can DIET 7 up [or any Lemon –Lime Soda
1 large can crushed pineapple, Juice pack drained (keep pineapple juice)
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1 large Bananas diced

Dissolve 2 small packages or 1 large package lemon or orange jell-o with 2 cups boiling water.  Add 1 - 12 oz  bottle 7 up, 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained (keep pineapple juice), 5 cups miniature marshmallows  , and 2 large bananas diced.

Refrigerate until firm.

1 egg beaten
1/3 cup white sugar
2 TBS corn starch
1 cup pineapple juice

Cook above ingredients until thick and then cool. 

Mix 1 pkg. Dream whip according to package directions. 

Set in refrigerator for 1 hour and then fold into topping mixture and spread on salad.

Refrigerate for about an hour and serve.

You can use any flavor, but we prefer citrus flavors the best. A Hoff family tradition for 31 years and counting!

MerriLea Hoff

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Treatment Day

I have been craving eggs for breakfast the last two days. Since I was up early for my treatment I made my self a scrambled egg, it was so yummy.

My good friend Penni Allen took me to my treatment. I was telling Penni that a lot of times I get to my treatment appointment early but I usually have problems finding a parking space. Penni told me she usually has no problems getting a parking space. Well true to her word we very quickly found a parking space. You know the saying "See a Penni, pick it up all the day you'll have good luck". I now have a good luck Penni.

The treatment went very well today. While I was waiting to be taken to the station to start my treatment Dr Jeske came down the hall. I think she is wonderful. She is so up and positive. I was able to introduce her to Penni.

While I was having my treatment a trio-violin, flute,cello performed Nearer My God To Thee and several Christmas Carols. It was a nice treat. As I was leaving a women from the Immanual Besthda church had a gift for chemo patients.A fuzzy pair of socks, and a crocheted lap afghan and  a nice Christmas card.

We had a wonderful dinner brought in this evening. Sharon Smith fixed it and Valary Smith delivered it. It was very much appreciated.

Keith just came home with a pumpkin spice drink. Thanks Keith.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Nice Evening

Yesterday morning I had a blood test and this morning Kaiser called to confirm my treatment for tomorrow. So we are on tomorrow.

Last night mom and I went to tithing settlement. In our church we pay tithing on out increase and at the end of the year we have the opportunity to declare if we are full tithe payers. We also have a chance to visit with the Bishop. (and the Sees's candy is a nice bonus) Last night also happened to be the Christmas enrichment night. A wonderful ham dinner was served and a nice Christmas program with the Laurels (girls ages 16-18) singing a couple of Christmas songs and some of the sisters sharing Christmas memories. There were sisters there that we do not see very often and sisters who are new to me. It was another wonderful addition to getting ready for the holidays. Thank you to the Relief Society presidency and the Enrichment committee.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Lord's Day

Today was a great day! Since it has been a little over 2 weeks since I've had a treatment I was feeling really good and was able to attend church today. I have not been able to function as a ward missionary as I would like but today I was able to give the lesson in the Gospel Essentials Sunday school class today. I was wonderful to be able to teach.. Teaching is one of my loves and miss it when I have not done it for a while. I made a new friend today Sabrina. There was a wonderful connection. All three meetings were wonderful and fulfilling I'm grateful for the blessings of the gospel. My special Sunday visitor came today I so appreciate her visits. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had received a special package and in that package was lovely yellow beaded bracelet. I wore it today it reminded me of all the love and support that I have received. I plan to wear it often. Hope you all had a special Sabbath.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Nice Day

This morning I went to a Christmas visiting teaching brunch at Penni Allen's. There were 12 of us. Her home was decorated for Christmas and was so festive, warm and inviting. It was a very nice morning and a nice way to start the holidays.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some Good News

Today I went to see my doctor. She shared with me that the CA 125 count has gone down 2/3's.(still has a ways to go though) She is very pleased. So the plan right now is I will have the next cycle starting next week on the 8th that will be Gemstar & Carbo. Then the following Thursday will be the Carbo (that is the heavy duty drug). On the 27th I will have the PET/CT scan. Then I see her on Jan 3rd. That is when she will give me the results from the scan. (she doesn't like to give scan results during the holidays)

After my appointment I drove out to work to deliver Cathy's gingerbread boys. She has been included in getting the cookies for several years. I went ahead and stayed for lunch it was good to see everybody at work. There were a few that I missed seeing.

After that I went to Walmart to do some Christmas shopping. It has wiped me out but it was nice to be outside the house for a little while.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We Have A Great Bishopric

This evening Mom and I had a visit from part of the Bishopric. For those of you who are not familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints each congregation (Ward) has a Bishop, 2 counselors and an executive secretary.(of course there are more callings but at this time not important to go into) These men have full time jobs and families and also keep the ward functioning. The Bishop's 2 counselors Terry Stanley and Warren Davis and the executive secretary Kevin Issacson came by for a visit this evening. We had a nice visit. We all caught up on the goings on in the ward etc. I so appreciate these men taking time this evening to come and see how we are doing. I'm so grateful for the blessings of church membership.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Tree

Well the Christmas tree is up and decorated. It actually looks pretty good.  Keith has spent most of the day wrapping presents. I haven't even started to shop yet. I will have to do that SOON. I really have no idea what to get mom  and Keith.

My good friends Sascha and Daisy came by today and Sascha cut my hair. It has been about 8 weeks since I had it cut and was driving me crazy. It is nice to have it cut. My hair has not fallen out but it is thinning. When I shower in the morning I have hair all over my hands. Oh well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

This past Thanksgiving was a little different but very nice. My sister Merri Lea and her husband Rich and daughter Ella and son Bryan brought over all the makings for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. They cooked it and even left the left overs. We had turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, seven-up salad, a green salad, rolls, stuffing, homemade cranberries, pumpkin pie from scratch and persimmon steamed pudding. It was WONDERFUL!!

One thing I have to share is that I am a TURKEY lover. We eat them several times a year. My father's father raised turkey's and as a child I have memories of going to the brooder  house and helping to feed the baby turkeys. I also have memories of the turkeys out in the field, I must share though that turkeys are mean. When  we were little we used to beg mom not to buy us red tennis shoes (we used to wear Keds). Turkeys will peck at anything that is red. We did not wanted to get pecked by the turkeys.

I so appreciate my family and all they do for me.

We also watched a couple of DVD's. The Home Teachers and 17 Miracles (which was given to me by my neighbors Karen and Jon.)

I love this time of year and all the memories and reminders of the blessings we have.

I'm so grateful for the blessing of the gospel, for my family and friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm Still Here

I didn't realize that it's been Friday since I wrote. Not much happening and haven't been on the computer much. Because Thanksgiving is this week my next scheduled chemo appointment us for Wed. I went yesterday to have blood drawn. Kaiser called today and my white blood count is too low so my next treatment will be
Dec 8th. While I was resting this afternoon Michelle Sundstrom came by and brought some yummy muffins.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sleepless Night

Last night was one of those long nights. I was up until 1:30 am watching TV. Then I went to bed and was still not sleepy. I was wake till about 6:00 am and then went to sleep till about 11:00 am. My brother-in-law Rich (who lives in Modesto) called and said the he would be by in about 10 minutes. I had driven his mother to the San Jose airport and stopped by for a visit. We had a nice visit.

Last night when I was signing off Keith brought mom and I hot chocolate and a dessert from Starbucks called Cranberry Bliss. (I see evidence of the same treat this evening in the kitchen) I really like cranberries and this dessert.  So I searched on line for the recipe for this dessert. I will post it below. I haven't made it yet but I hope to try it. If anyone wants to try it and needs a taste tester I volunteer.

Cranberry Bliss

Total Time:1 hrs 20 mins

Prep Time:40 mins
Cook Time:40 mins





Drizzled Icing


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well.
  3. Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
  4. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand.
  5. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Frosting: combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
  9. When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake.
  10. Sprinkle top with diced cranberries.
  11. Icing: Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and shortening.
  12. Drizzle icing over cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip.
  13. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle.
  14. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices.
  15. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Second Cycle Has Started

The other day I called to change the time of my blood draw for today's treatment. I have to go two days before the treatment to have my blood tested to see if we will move forward with the treatment. I had originally scheduled it for 5:30 when I thought I would be stopping on my way home from work. The next two were changed to 3:30. Since I have a port I have to go to the infusion center to have the blood drawn.Each time is easier.  When I called I also mentioned that they needed to add time for the fluids. Today's was changed to 9:00 am. A little earlier then I've been getting up. It went smoothly which is great.

Rose Adams and Darla brought a delicious dinner. Creamed chicken sauce, biscuits, snicker doodle cookies (my favorite) and fruit. I'm so grateful for such kind friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Nice Surprise

This morning as I was laying in bed deciding if I wanted to get up yet there was a knock at the door. I answered the door and woman was standing there with a bouquet of flowers. She asked for me and handed the flowers. I opened the attached card and it there was a nice well wishes message from Jeannie Lewis and Connie Cherry. What a wonderful surprise. Thanks Jeannie and Connie.

I had blood drawn this morning and I've received a  message from my doctor telling me my kidney function is stable and that my blood count is a little low but that we will go a head and have the chemo tomorrow. Which is the first step in the second cycle.

Thanks for thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not Much Today

Last night when Keith was at Walmart he bought some homemade tamales which we had for dinner. They were sure yummy.

Had blood work done today to prepare for Thursday's chemo. The nurse had an easier time today. It only took about 10 mins to draw three tubes of blood.

Mom is getting stronger every day. She can now sit in a dinning room chair and stand straight up with out having to use the walker of push up with her hands. She can't quite do that from the recliner. She does it 10 times in a row. Yeah mom!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Have A Wonderful Brother

It does not matter how old I get there are still times when little brothers can be very annoying. But I must also say that I have a wonderful and thoughtful brother. He has been pretty much the care giver since Lisa left and has done a very good job. He does the laundry and makes homemade bread on Mondays. He does all the shopping and cooking. Yesterday I mentioned that spaghetti sounded good. Guess what we had for dinner tonight. I'm so grateful for Keith and all that he does for mom and I. I think I will keep him.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wonderful Sabbath!

I actually made it to church today! A blessing of not having a treatment this week. It was wonderful to be able to be amongst so great people. There were wonderful talks today. James Zinn spoke about gratitude. I appreciate being reminded of the importance of gratitude and how it can impact our happiness.

Jennifer Williams spoke about Charity. Her talk was based on two talks, both were from the Women's Broadcast prior to October General Conferences. The first was from President Monson 2010 Charity Never Faileth and the other Sister Bonnie D Parkin from the 2003 Choosing Charity: That Good Part. She talked about how when we think of Charity we think of giving to others and serving. President Monson shared " I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient."  It really is hard to share what was said. Jen certainly put some ideas of how to think of Charity in a different light. Thanks Jen. I would invite you to read these talks and expand your view of Charity.

We also so had a high counselor speaker and reminded us how we need to strengthen each other and share the gospel so that all may enjoy the blessing of the gospel.

It was wonderful to attend Relief Society and to be with the sisters of the ward.

We had visitors this afternoon the Corcoan's. I always enjoy their visits. They also brought yummy cake. (I hope they don't think that we expect this each time they come}

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Will Tomorrow Bring?

I'm really liking my mail man today. Another package came in the mail today. This one also came from Colorado. In the package was a homemade bookmark made especially for me from Dorothy and lemon drops. Something was also included for Mom. It was a recent picture of Dorothy's little guy Asher he is getting so big.

Thanks Dorothy, Nate and Asher. It is wonderful to be remembered.

Mom went to see her surgeon today. He said she is doing great! Only another couple of weeks and she can start to sleep on her sides. She does not have to see her for a year. She has been using her cane in the house and getting around pretty well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ooops I Let Two Days Pass

Ok so I let two days pass. I had a doctor's appointment today. 8:50 this morning...what was I thinking? I left the house a little before 8 and was still 5 min late. One complaint I have about the Santa Clara Lawrence facility is that parking is the pits.

The visit went well. The doctor was a little concerned about some blood results about the liver. She said it could be from the chemo and just messing with my liver. I did tell her that before I started chemo that I had a lot of pain in my liver, felt like I'd been punched and sometimes couldn't catch my breath but since I'd started chemo I had not felt that pain. She stated that that sounded good to her.

I asked her how could ovarian cancer be in my liver. She said that a common way for cancer cells to travel is through the blood stream and that the liver filters every thing and that is more then likely how it got there.

On my way home I stopped at the Corcoran's to borrow their fax machine. We had a nice visit while I used the fax machine. They invited me to lunch, so Pat, Sascha, Daisy and I went to a Sushi place. Pat had Sushi and Sascha and I had Terriayki chicken. When I was weighed today I've lost 6 lbs. Doctor wants me to keep eating protein, so chicken was good.

When I got home there was a package waiting for me. I opened it up and inside was a lemon yellow stocking cap, 2 knitted lemons, and a yellow bracelet. Thanks Bev. I can't wait to wear the them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Visitors Always Welcome

This afternoon we had visitors. It was nice to be thought of and to have some company. Sascha and her children Emma, Nolan, Amanda and Daisy came by for a visit. When Sascha called to see it it was ok to come by, we told her to come and we would have a little party and she could bring the refreshments. They came and brought some yummy apples to share. We had a wonderful visit. I feel bad that I upset Daisy. Poor thing she has been up since 5:00 am and was ready for the day to be over.

We also had a visit from Bishop Wallace, Lisa and Sara. They came with a treat in hand also. (When you come for a visit please don't feel like you have to bring something to share) It was nice to visit with them and to get caught up with some of the goings on in the ward.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Where Did Today Go?

I spent ALL DAY in bed today .I didn't feel bad, my bed would not let go of me! I did not expect that to happen today. Got up about 5:00 for! Then Keith came home with a delicious  gingerbread latte (non decaffeinated) drink from Starbucks. yum yum! Our neighbors brought over a plant and a DVD for me this afternoon. 17 Miracles. Now need to get the DVD player to work. I've wanted to see this movie.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Night Last Night.....Not !

Well when I signed off last night things were going well. Was not tired when it was time to go bed at the usual time. So I stayed up till 1:00 am. Tried to go to sleep again. No luck....up at 2:00 and watched TV till 4:00. As I'm laying there I started getting a craving for doughnuts....not just any doughnuts I wanted a maple bar, and old fashioned glazed. The ones that are still round but are sort of divided into four sections. I also wanted a cake doughnut that had the raspberry frosting. Really weird that I wanted that many because I really haven't had much of an appetite.  I knew that the doughnut shops were not open yet.I was sort of getting desperate I even thought of waking Keith up to get me some but I thought I would be pushing my luck...he has been good to me. I even wondered if there would be doughnuts at seminary since usually goodies are there on Friday morning. When I told Keith he asked me why I was having cravings...I have no idea.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Treatment # 2

Well treatment # 2 is over and done. Feeling ok today. The treatment took a little longer then I thought it would. The nurse had a little challenge getting the needle into the correct spot in the port. There is still a little swollen but it has only been a week and a day. Still have not gone back to work yet.

I had great company today. My good friend Lisa Zamora went with me today. It was nice to spend time with her and visit. If you ever need a chauffeur and some one to keep you company I suggest her.

A great dinner was brought in tonight! A perfect night for squash soup, salad, french bread and rocky road ice cream. Thanks Heather Judd and Sarah Haman.

Well since I was only given one drug this time....lets see how it goes!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The End Of The Gingerbread Era

My dad used to work at the Lockheed test base in the Santa Cruz mountains. Everyday on his way to work he passed the Crest Christmas Tree ranch. I believe it was my first Christmas we got our first of many Christmas  trees from there. The tree was bigger then the amount of ornaments mom had so a family tradition was started. Mom made gingerbread cookies and decorated them and hung them on the tree by ornament hooks.  The fun thing was as the cookies would get moist the hole in the cookie would break and the cookie would fall to the floor. Over the years mom would bag and tie them with a ribbon. Over the years of collecting ornaments the amount cookies mom made was greatly reduced and eventually they were only gingerbread boys.

A gingerbread boy was made for every member of the family and other non family members. The rule was that the cookies could not be eaten until Christmas day. Who ever wanted their cookie would take it and what was left I would enjoy. I usually doled them out to myself and enjoyed them for several months.

While my sister Lisa was here it was decided that last year was the last year the gingerbread boys would be made. So brown felt was bought and fabric paints bought. The actual cookie cutter that mom used for years was used as the pattern. They were sewn and decorated using the paint. A slit was cut in the back and a commemorative note slipped in the back. A cookie for each member of the family was made to be hung on our tree and one for each person to have for themselves to keep for their tree. One cookie was left from last year which happens to be Keith's.

I am going to miss my gingerbread cookies.

Today was a better day but still not much energy. My appetite was better!! Keith made a delicious meat pie for dinner.

The physical therapist came to see mom today. This is probably her last visit. She is very pleased with mom's progress. She had mom show her her canes and she adjusted them. She suggested that if mom is comfortable that she try using a cane in the house. When she went into the kitchen for dinner she used her cane and did very well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not Sure What Title To Use

Today was another lazy day. As you can tell I missed yesterday's post so I did not meet my goal.

We did not have one trick or treater last night.....although I would never know I slept through the evening. I remember the days on this street when neighbors would run out of candy.

I did receive a post card from Australia from a former missionary companion, thanks Cheryl.

Two days before a chemo treatment I have to have blood drawn and tested to make sure the counts are good so I can have the treatment. I thought having a port was supposed to make it easier.First she had to remove the steri strips had to be removed and then it had to be flushed, blood thinner inserted, 3 tubes of blood drawn, 2 tubes of saline solution. It seems like more but I can't remember what else. The ordeal wiped me out for several hours. Sounds like this is going to be normal for a while.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not Such A Good Day

I did not sleep well last night. I was going to take Lisa to the airport this morning. By the time I went to bed I decided I may not be up to taking her to the airport. She came in to say good by and that was all I could do. I wanted to go church today because we were having a linger longer for June Sumsion's birthday. We had asked the Bishop if we could do something a little nicer they a lot of sweets etc. We asked members to bring sandwiches, fruit or vegetables. The ward was providing cake. I got up around noon and was up for maybe an hour and back to bed till 3. Not sure how I will feel tomorrow morning.

I did a little reading in the special Book of Mormon issue of the Ensign.

My former boss Cathy called to check on me today. She had breast cancer after my ovarian cancer. She told me that they have found a mass on her right side. I feel so sorry for her. She had it a lot rougher with her battle then I did. My prayers are with her.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Nice Visit

Today my sister Merri Lea and her husband Rich came over from Modesto to spend the day. It was really nice to just sit and visit and catch up. They are going to bring Thanksgiving dinner and Ella and Bryan will come with them.

Keith made a wonderful Ham dinner.

Still feeling pretty good. A little tired this evening. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today Was A Good Day!!!

Today was a great day! I was able to sleep on my stomach and on my left shoulder! Yeah since I did not sleep well the night before. So far the port is a good thing.

Keith fixed a wonderful breakfast. Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage. Wasn't sure how the sausage would be but it was fine. I spent a lot of today being lazy. Faye and Phyllis Brown who I used to work with and their mother Florence came by. They wanted to visit with Lisa, we have been a few trips together and they wanted to visit her.

April Sanchez brought dinner tonight it was wonderful. I think we could get spoiled around here with all these meals.

Missed the ward Halloween party tonight. John Adams posted a picture around the food table looked like fun, but I did see Courtney Black did not wear a costume :(  .

So far no nausea!!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Surprises !???

I feel today was a good day. I got to spend some time with my sister Lisa. Thanks Lisa!

I did not sleep well last night. Since I'm a stomach sleeper and my port is on the front of my shoulder I had to sleep on my back.  (probably a little nervous too)

We got to the appointment early which was ok. Came and told us that there were no chairs available, that's was ok. When they came to take us back we went past all these empty chairs (no chairs huh?) and they took us back to a private room with a bed and bathroom.  The infusion went really well. The port was GREAT!! So far no nausea (if this had volumne you would hear knocking on wood). 

On our way home we stopped at Togo's-Lisa love's Togo's, they don't have them in Utah. I had to get a Turkey and Cranberry sandwich.

Came home and took a nice nap...I was able to sleep on my side.

Kathy Hardester brought us dinner it was yummy.

Mom and I went for a walk this evening. Mom was walking a quite a clip. I think she is doing really well with her recovery.

I pray the Lord's blessing will be with you all!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Port Is In !

So today I was able to sleep in. You'd think that would lead to an easy and relaxing day....not!  Lisa and I left today at9:00 to go to Kaiser. I had to do blood work. You know how when you try to do more then one thing in a certain time before you have to be somewhere else? Well I wanted to get the blood work done before my appointment to in put the port. At my lab at Kaiser you have to take a number and wait for it to be called to be registered. We arrived about 45 minutes before my appointment. Up on the wall was number 62 and the number I pulled was 83. Let the stress begin. No reason to stress. With in 20 minutes or so and my blood was drawn. Well off to ambulatory surgery. Got there checked in and taken back to get prepared and waited for over an hour to get prepped. They took my blood pressure and it was 80 over ? They decided that I probably needed some fluids (I had not been able to drink since 9:00 am) Well after the little bit of stress over the IV being inserted and some fluids it was 102 over ? They were happier with that.  So they moved me across the street. (actually across the isle). Finally about 2:00 I was in the operating room. They gave me something to put me to sleep. The anesthesiologist stepped out of the room and the person covering for her was a little concerned with my blood pressure and stopped the anaesthesia. Well I began to wake up. I even made several comments to them. They took me to recovery and they were very pleased and told me I would be released shortly.( should be home by 3:30 or so. The surgeon wanted an ex-ray to make sure the port was placed correctly. Some how the request was dated for tomorrow. By the time the nurse figured that out and was able to track down the doctor he was back in surgery. Finally (about an hour later) the ex-ray was finally taken and I was able to leave. Arrived home about 5:30. Dinner was waiting for us. Thanks Wrendy.  Right now I'm feeling pretty good. We shall see how I feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blessing Of Church Membership

I'm so grateful for parents who found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm not sure what my life would be like if they had not joined the church and raised me as they did. I'm not sure if I would be able to endure what I've been asked to endure in this life. I know I would not have the friends that I have in the church.

Because of the church I have been able to call upon holders of the Priesthood to give me blessings of health and comfort. I know that I can have faith in the words and promises that are spoken and that they come from my Heavenly Father. I'm grateful to know that I'm a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I have an elder brother who loved me enough to suffer for my sins, who showed me that I can over come the temptations, challenges and disappointments in life and that if I am true and faithful I can have all that my Father has.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drawing A Blank

I have been sitting here trying to think of something intelligent to write about. I made a goal to try to write something everyday because I know how easy it will be to not write daily.

I love traffic days like today. It took me less then 30 minutes to get home from work. (which never happens)

The surgeon called today to ask me a few questions. The port will be place on my left side toward the top of my shoulder. He gave me some statistics like 1% chance of the lung collapsing (hasn't happened in 15 years), he hasn't had to give a blood transfusion in years. He also apologized that the port will be where my bra strap falls. I thought that was an interesting comment. He also mentioned sometimes there is infection.... Such a comforting conversation???

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Changes In My Life

Today was full of firsts and changes and lasts.

I went to my last Ward Council (that is where a the leadership in our congregation meet and we discuss the members and their needs). Brought my last center piece to Relief Society.

So in Sacrament meeting my Presidency and I were released, and a new Presidency was called and sustained. Alma Estiva is the new President, Diane Black is her 1st counselor, Heidi Beckstead is her 2nd counselor. I know that will be a wonderful Presidency.

This change is coming with different emotions.I know that I can not give to the sisters what they need, but there is something missing in my heart and soul. I will miss working Sascha Corcoran, Lisa Zamora and Dixie Zinn. They have been wonderful to work with and supportive and willing do what ever I ask of them. I've also appreciated working with Mary Lou Schar and Heidi Pojda.

Sascha is the one that gave me the idea for the title of this blog.

After Relief Society I noticed a tote bag on Sascha's chair. It had lemon fabric for the bottom  and then around the top different fruit fabrics and the handles made with citrus fruit print.  I told Lisa Zamora that I wanted one like it. Well come to find out that bag was mine. Sascha had made it for me. The fabric used on the straps is the same fabric that covers her dining room chairs, it is to help me remember our Presidency meetings which we had around her dining room table on Thursday evenings. There were goodies inside, lemon heart cookies, lemonhead candy, a lemon slice sucker, country time lemonade mix and a rubber band man made from rubber bands and binder clips, the only thing holding him together is a rubber band. There is a note attached that God is what keep us together. I know exactly what I'm going to use the tote bag for....when I go to chemo.

Not only was I released I was also called to a new calling which is a ward missionary. I hope that I will be able help spread the gospel in the Branham ward. It is very interesting to me that Alma and I are switching places that has happened to me one other time. I was released from the Primary Presidency and called to the Nursery. Heather Judd was released from the Nursery and called to the Primary Presidency.

So life goes on!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Autumn's Day

Today did not feel like a typical Fall day. It was warm and sunny a good day to be outside.

The highlight of the day was going to Autumn Blehm's baptism. She is Keith Gibson's step daughter. It was such a sweet experience! Family and friends and ward members were there to support her as it should be.

Her mother married Keith Gibson about 2 years ago and the next day her mother Lisa was baptized. One year ago today Lisa passed away suddenly in her sleep.What a had thing for a seven year old to experience.

Today was a wonderful reminder of our Heavenly Fathers plan for each of us. He loves us and provides  guidance for us. He puts us in families to teach us and help us. He does give us trials and challenges to help us grow closer to him and provides us with what we need to be able to return him. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What Better Way To Spend A Friday Afternoon?

So how was your Friday afternoon???

Mine started by being greeted by very friendly smiling people.

What was waiting for me?

A very comfortable lounge chair with warmed blankets.

I was given a couple of  yummy cranberry drinks.

Those smiling faces made sure I was comfortable. As a result I was able to finish reading an Ensign (a church magazine), finish a wonderful book called Daughters In My Kingdom and take a hour and a half nap.

All because my doctor is a little concerned about my kidney function.Well things are moving along.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Have A Love Hate Relationship With This Time Of Year

Fall is in the air. Halloween is coming. We just had General Conference at the beginning of the month.

This is also the time of year when I was battling cancer six years ago.

This is the time of year when leaves begin  to change colors and fall from the trees and the wonderful holiday season is coming. The good things of this time of year out weigh the bad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It Won't Be Heaven If It Doesn't Have Mom's Macaroni & Cheese

Tonight for dinner we had Mom's homemade macaroni & cheese! I LOVE MY MOM'S macaroni & cheese. I have a life long relationship with mom's macaroni & cheese.

That relationship starts before I was born. My fathers mother made macaroni & cheese for him (of course it was made from scratch, no Kraft then. Just looked it up on Wikipedia and it was first introduced in 1937). When mom and dad were newlyweds she made it for him. In his family they ate it as a side dish. In mom's family it was the main dish.  It took her a long time for him to admit that mom's was better then his mothers.

I don't remember when I first had mom's macaroni & cheese but I do remember that every Thursday (that was Primary day) mother would put it in the oven before we left to go to Primary at the Cherry building and when we got home dinner was ready. Have I said I love mom's macaroni & cheese?

When I came home from BYU for Thanksgiving weekend guess what was in the oven? Yep. Mac & cheese!

When I returned from my mission in North Carolina there it was mac & cheese waiting for me that I had not had for 18 months.

I don't get to have it as often as I did as a child, but tonight I HAD ME SOME MAC & CHEESE!!!!

No new update for me....Mom is doing good. The last couple of days she has taken short walks and is almost getting in and out of bed by herself. Great job Mom!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Phone Was Busy Today

Today was a great day for Mom. Her stitches were removed today and she took two short walks outside. Her recovery is steady.

Kaiser must have called me three times today. Dr Jeske called. She has the results from my liver biopsy. She said there were no surprises, that it is Ovarian cancer in  my liver. That is a relief. She is a little concerned about my liver function. She consulted a Kidney specialist and he says that some times the kidney gets a syndrome when the liver is fighting cancer. The first thing they are going to try is put fluids intravenously. So on Friday afternoon I will have 2 quarts of hydration it will take about 4 1/2 hours. She also wants me to drink lots of water. On Wednesday when I do the blood test before the chemo they will also check my kidney function.

Things are progressing.

Thanks you for all your thoughts and prayers!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Electric Couches....Who Knew

Before I start on the couch. I want to share another exciting thing that happened yesterday.

Several years ago my calling was to train consultant that were to help people who would like a little help with learning how to get started on Family History. A couple was called from the Almaden ward. We came into our church building together yesterday. I found out that they went to the Temple for the first time Saturday. I am SO THRILLED for them. We believe that families can be together for ever. The only way we believe that that can happen is in the Temple.

On to the couch. So while I'm having my liver biopsy done ( still can feel the pain) Keith and Lisa went shopping for a new couch.  They got a good deal on it..floor model and they wanted to get it out of the store. Luckly it was delivered Saturday.

Well our couch does not have a lever on the side to raise and lower the foot rest. You push a button and it goes up and another button the foot rest goes down. It is amazing where technology has gone. Keith was told that this is the modern couch.

Electric couches who knew?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Great Sunday!

Today at church during Sacrament Meeting (our worship service) we had the Primary program. Primary is what we call the meeting that children ages 3-12 attend in the second 2 hours of church. Each year there is a theme. This year it is I Know The Scriptures Are True. All year they have been learning songs and talking about the scriptures and learning scripture stories and how they can apply to them. During the program each child presents a short message and they sing the songs they have learned. It is one of the best meetings of the year. This year was GREAT!!!

This afternoon mom had visitors. The Corcoran family came over to visit mom. They sang one of the songs from the program. They did great!

I visited a sister form the church to day. I had told her about my cancer. She told me she had prayed for me and latter she had a dream. In the dream she was told to read 2 Nephi 22. The book of Nephi is found in the Book of Mormon which is additional scripture that we believe in. The Book of Mormon is the history and dealings of Jesus Christ in the American continent. This is what 2 Nephi 22 says:

And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.
 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
 Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
 And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.
 aCry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

This has brought me great comfort. I will have to thank Maria!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Then You Wanted To Know

      The Thursday before mom's hip surgery I met with my oncologist. He informed me that my cancer is back. He scheduled a PET/CT scan. What they do is shoot you with radioactive sugar solution. You have to lay in a dark room for an hour and then you go through the scan which scans your body a section at a time.  That was the following Wed, on Friday Dr Tatman called. The cancer is 2-3 inch mass in my pelvic and lesions in my liver. Dr Tatman no longer does chemo therapy so he referred me to the medical oncology department. By noon they had scheduled an appointment for Tuesday. Lisa went to my appointment. I love my doctor. So the news is not great. Since it is in my liver no surgery right now. I will be starting chemo on Oct 27th. My doctor Dr Jeske schedule a liver biopsy on Thursday. That is quite an experience.

      We show up at 12:30 and go back to be prepped. I get an iv go back to the CT room they scan me to see where they are going to take the sample, they give me a local in that area. He takes some samples but they decide that they are not good enough samples. It felt like they went through my liver and to my back bone. . Well come to find out that my blood pressure had dropped and they did not want to give my any more anesthesia. But I survived!

      So they next fun thing is that I am going to have a port input because chemo will be a little more often.. One cycle is two drugs one week, then the next week one drug, then one week off. I will have to have blood drawn in between.

My veins are pretty deep so to make it easier on me and the nurses I'm having a port put in.  That will be Oct 26th.

     Dr Jeske says she has no doubts that we can get in remission. She also said it will probably be tougher this time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

So Glad It Is Friday

I guess the liver biopsy took more out of me then I thought it would. Today was one LONG DAY!

I still have two weeks before the treatments start. It is also going to be a long 2 weeks.

Today I had lunch with 2 women (they are sisters) that I used to work with and their mother. We still get together on Friday's for lunch. It has been a few weeks since we have gotten together  for various reasons. It was great to see them. Faye took a tumble and broke, no the correct term is crushed her shoulder. She seems to be doing OK.

It has been great having Lisa (my sister from Utah) here to help take care of mom. Mom is doing great, she doesn't think so but she is

Update: I have a pre-op appointment on Friday in preperation for the port to be inserted.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Things I Forgot To Share

Saturday evening Sister Julie Beck the General Relief Society President was in the Bay Area to meet with sisters from our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It was a wonderful meeting! During the meeting I felt that maybe I should start my own blog. I have been following a couple of them. After Relief Society Sunday I was talking to Jennifer Williams, I told her that my cancer was back. She asked if I was a journal writer. I told her no, she said maybe I should....Well the law of witnesses two or more, that was the confirmation I needed sooooo. I have now made a second entry.

Cancer update: I have a mass in my pelvic area 2-3 inches and lesions in my liver. I met with my new doctor...LOVE HER!!! Very supportive and encouraging. She is confident that we can get this in remission, but it might be a tough road. But I say bring it on. I had a liver biopsy today, should get results in a week. They had a difficult time getting the samples they wanted. Some pain involved but because my blood pressure dropped they would not give me any more anesthesia. I survived because here I sit typing. The next thing on schedule is to install a port. I will have chemo one week (to start Oct 27th) with two drugs and the next week only one drug, no chemotherapy the next week. Blood draws in between.  Then is starts over, I will have three of them and then another PET/CT scan (to check how the cancer reacted to the chemo) Then 3 more cycles and then we see from there.

I'm so grateful for all the love, encouragement, support I have received and I know I will continue to receive.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How This Blogs Name Came To Be

So why is my blog titled Lori's Lemonade Club? In the last couple of weeks I have been handed a few lemons!!! I have always loved lemonade. When ever I go to McDonald's that is the drink I get.

In elementary school I was part of the choir. The one song I remember learning is "Lemon Tree" All  I can remember is the chorus:

                                    Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
                                    But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
                                    Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
                                    But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

My father's father wore blue and white stripped overalls. In the bib pocket he had a little baggie of lemon drops and always had a candy jar full of them. When ever we sat on his lap we always had access to the lemon drops. 

I have a niece Lauria Elizabeth Marble and her initials are LEM  she would go by the nick name Lemonhead.

I have always liked the saying "When life hands you a lemon...make lemonade"

Last this past Saturday a dear friend stopped by with scones and lemon curd and a wonderful book called The Lemonade Club. It is a sweet and heart tugging story about best friends in elementary school the teacher often tells the children that when life hands you lemon make lemonade. One of the girls gets cancer and in solidarity the whole class including the teacher shave their heads. As their hair grows back the teacher's does not. She is battleing  breast cancer. The two girls and teacher strengthen, support each other and meet often as the Lemonade Club. What I love about this story is the support that is shared. 

Well I just found out that my Ovarian cancer is back....So my goal is take the lemon I was just handed and make it into LEMONADE!!!!!