Saturday, June 25, 2011

Head Shaving Party

Anna's hair started to fall out shortly after her second round of chemo. She decided that rather than 'shed' all over the house she would like to have a Head Shaving Party. On Thursday June 9th the party was held with fanfare and excitement!! We had ice cream, family, and clippers. As we waited for everyone to arrive the tension was building as Anna & Ben were nervous, Anna because 'What is my head going to look like?' and Ben because he was shaving Anna's head! We shaved her head, shared some laughs, and ate ice cream; pretty awesome party.

Anna really has a beautiful noggin.

Look at that smile

First Family Pic sans hair; Ryker isn't too sure about what's going on.

Anna's support team; sister/on-call nurse & mom.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To Answer your Questions...

Many of you that are following the blog have said 'Just let us know what to do' or 'What do you need?'. To answer those queries we say, we are not sure. It has been a very interesting experience to try and figure out what we 'need'. We mostly need this cancer thing to go away. Since that's not going to happen we are left unsure as to 'what we need'. We want you to know how much encouraging words/stories/experiences have helped us, how much acts of kindness and generosity of helped us, how much your thoughts and prayers have supported us through all of this.

One of the hardest parts of this whole experience has been the feelings of vagueness that we experience on sometimes a daily basis. We sometimes feel that things are out of our control. It has been strange to look into the next couple of months and know that we will still be going through chemo, still dealing with body aches, still riding an emotional roller coaster, and asking the questions of 'why did this come to us' and 'what are we supposed to learn/gain from these experiences'.

Another thing we have noticed is it's also difficult for those on the edges or the periphery of this experience; all our friends and family who desperately want to do something to help but just don't know what, if anything, they can do. We know there are some of you who would take this from us in a heartbeat if it could be done, we are so thankful to those who have sacrificed so much of your time to step in and watch kids and to be with Anna. We would like to offer some ideas for things that can be done for those of you who are far away at this time.

Here it goes. We would like to hear uplifting thoughts or experiences that have helped you during difficult times. Those things that you fall back on during hard times that help you to re-center and keep things in perspective. As these stories or thoughts might be of a personal nature we would offer our personal e-mails (keyextra@yahoo, annafarmer.30@gmail) as a way for you to share those stories or thoughts with us. We would love if you would be willing to post them on the blog but realize some hesitancy of sharing those thoughts with the public.

Currently the thought that is helping Ben is the Proverb 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."

The things that have really helped Anna are the notes, phone calls and service/time from family and friends. She knows she can not do this alone and is very humbled with the kindness offered to her. Anna is so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and the opportunity to have blessings; they are a huge comfort to her during this time. Her faith in her Savior has grown so much as she studies the scriptures on a regular basis in order to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost in her life. What a great comfort the gospel brings into our lives.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Infusion Round 2

On June 8th Anna went in for round two of her chemo treatments. There was a doctors appointment before the infusion in which they did some blood work to see how her body was reacting to the chemo. All of her levels were good. Once again they struggled with placing the IV and she was poked 4 times!! After this experience it was decided that a port would be placed in Anna. A port is a catheter that rests under Anna's skin so that each time they do any kind of blood sampling or chemo administration they will access it through that area. This will require that she have a basic out patient procedure on the 14th. In the doctor consultation he adjusted her medications (they reduced her steroids) and this time things are going much better. She is staying active and feeling a lot more hopeful about things this time around.

This time around Janet, Anna's mom, was able to stay with Anna during the infusion. Anna feels very blessed that so many of her family have been there to support her during all of this; especially her mom.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And the Winner is....


Anna unveiled her decision at a birthday party for her Grandpa Holt.
Nikki, Anna, Melissa

First Family Picture with "The Wig" as Daphne calls it.

Sisters (Anna's private on-call nurse)

Ben thinks it looks pretty good, and for your information all the wig names were made up by him and are not manufacturers names for those particular wigs. (He is very proud of calling the one "Light Bulb" and the other "Not a Chance").

Anna still has her hair but it's looking like the 'Shaving Party' will be held shortly. (Her scalp is really tender and she is getting more and more loose strands as the days go by). Infusion round two here we come!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your support has been felt

We feel that it is appropriate to share a little bit of the emotional aspect of this experience and the love and support we have felt from family and friends.

We have been on an emotional roller coaster. At the start we felt like we had accepted the idea of Anna having cancer, despite her young age, we felt like we had accepted the idea of the next year being a HUGE challenge, we felt like we had accepted that we would need to allow a lot of support from those who care about us, we felt like we could take it; we were ready.

We were surprised by the variety and degree of the challenges that have come our way. It seemed at times that the challenge was of a mental/emotional nature, while others were definitely physically trying. We have felt the strength and prays of you all. We know that we have been blessed to have such great people in our lives to pray in our behalf and ask for our Heavenly Father to watch over us. We have felt His peace and strength during these challenging times. We pray for His continued support and love.

Memorial the ER

Memorial day is usually the kick off to summer...but for us it was a kick off of a different sort.

On Saturday the 28th Anna said she felt like her eyes weren't focusing and she felt really 'wired' almost like she was buzzing. That's not good, so we called the doctor on-call and they asked a variety of questions which ended in the suggestion "Well, since we can't see her in front of us right now we suggest you go to the ER". This wasn't what we wanted to hear but away we went. Thankfully Sarah was only a phone call away and came right up to Bountiful to watch Daphne & Ryker.
We checked into the ER around 12:00 and started the process of elimination. The nurse took her vitals and did a quick assessment and said she looked dehydrated. Soon the doctor came in and asked more detailed questions about her symptoms and said "Well given that you have just started chemo and your vision is changing we have to suspect that there maybe lesions of some sort on the brain, so I am going to order an MRI". Because it was a weekend they needed to call in the MRI Tech to come in and run the machine. It took about an hour and a half for the Tech to get to the hospital and then they took her for a brain MRI. Our nerves weren't the best as Anna wasn't feeling good and this new possible development was thrown into the mix. It was a long three hours. Eventually the doctor came in and said there were no lesions on the brain and that everything looked okay. The really annoying part was when he eventually said 'We're not sure what is causing the blurry vision, we think it might be one of the medications prescribed, but you will need to talk to your oncologist about it at your next appointment'. We checked out of the hospital around 5:00 and went home. We were both very tired, relieved, and a little perplexed at what the blurry vision could mean for Anna. That night Anna went to bed around 7:00 completely exhausted from a trying day.

However, since the visit Anna has steadily improved day-by-day and is feeling more hopeful about the next chemo treatment. In talking with the doctors and nurses we feel like we have identified the problem as one of the steroids they had prescribed her and are confident we can put this behind us.

Infusion #1