Saturday, January 30, 2010

Half Way There

Today was Peggy and LeRoy's 39th anniversary! My dad drove down for the day, and to take my mom to dinner. I was extremely glad they had a chance to go out and celebrate their wonderful marriage!

I was able to go up and spend some time with Melanie, while mom and dad enjoyed dinner. While I was there, Melanie was scheduled to have her brain boost of radiation for the day. Today was day three of radiation, which means she is half way done! They are figuring out some things that are making the process a lot better. Today they sorted out a way to allow Melanie to lay down during her full body radiation. She said it was so much better. There was no puking during the process, so today was a better day!

I went with Melanie down to the radiation therapy area so I could document how the brain boost portion of her treatment looks. We'll have to get some pictures of the full body another day.

The nurses from radiology come and give Melanie a nice ride down. It is quite a walk, so this is a great thing. Melanie says that the ride down makes her nauseous as well, so it is a good thing they always give her Adavan before they come.

Once in the radiation therapy room, she gets to change beds. During the brain boost, she lays on her back. The bed in the background is what they figured out today for the full body. She has to lay on her side now for that one.

The face mold was not the funnest for Melanie to have made, but it looks pretty sweet!

After she lays down, they put the face mask on and then screw it down to the table. There is NO moving the head at this point!

You can kind of see a black line down the mask. This divides the head. Everything behind the black line is being treated and everything in front of the line is being blocked. Good thing the radiation only takes about three minutes, because Melanie feels very claustrophobic! She says she does not like radiation at all. It just makes her feel so yucky. Worse than chemo! Her glands get swollen and she just feels...blah. Only three more days!

Melanie had a visit from some friends in her ward, Monica and Mark Edlemeyer. Monica used to be Melanie's visiting teacher. It was nice of them to stop by. I know Melanie appreciated it, even though she was feeling a bit drugged up on Adavan. She is loving her cozy quilt from the faculty and staff at Providence Elementary. We like to read all the nice messages each person wrote. What a treasure! My dad was able to give Melanie a father's blessing before he left this evening. I know it brought a lot of comfort to her.

7 days until transplant!

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Day of Radiation

Yesterday was Melanie's first day of radiation. My mom and Melanie were suppose to be there at 7:00 a.m., which was a lot earlier than they were hoping. Traffic was pretty bad at 6:30, so they were about 20 min. late. They did her brain boost first. Melanie can lay down for this. My mom said Melanie just didn't like how tight the face guard was. I talked with my mom before the full body radiation, and Melanie was doing good. At about 8:45 p.m., I get a text from Melanie that reads: That radiation process sucked

I guess the full body radiation process took 5 hours! They had to make sure the lung shields were working right, so they would do something, then take an x-ray and wait for a doctor to check it was all good. Once they started the radiation, it was horrific for Melanie. She got really nauseous and had to leave a few times, get sick, then come back for more. She has to stand in a weird position, which caused her back to spasm a few times. There is a bicycle type seat underneath her that she can "lean" on if she feels like she might faint, but they really don't want her to sit on it. One of the nurses commented that it looks barbaric. They were also upset that no one called them and had them bring some anti-nausea medication down to her.

When I spoke with my mom earlier today, she said today it was a quicker process and they kept medicine in Melanie to alleviate the nausea. I hope the next four days are better as well. I know Melanie was really concerned about being able to stand for 20 min., especially once her counts get really low.

Hang in there, Melanie! You are so strong and can get through this radiation! Love you!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Temple Square Adventure

Today was Melanie's final Kepivance injection for this round. She has started to notice some of the side effects. She has been a little more tired and nauseous. She also discovered that it makes your skin sensitive. Her hands and feet are sore, especially when she puts them in warm water. She says her mouth and tongue feel a bit different. She notices her tongue particularly when she drinks. If it helps her to not have a mouth and throat that looks like hamburger (as the nurse describes it), then any side effect is worth it.

Since she is checking in to the hospital for a while, I let my kids miss school and we all went to Salt Lake for some adventures. I waited in the car with all the kids, while Melanie received her injection. She wasn't very long. Our first stop after that was going to get a tour of the Beehive House. This is the house of Brigham Young.

It was neat to see all of the beautiful furniture. Melanie and I were in awe at the gorgeous pianos that seemed to be in every room!

There were two really nice sister missionaries that gave us our tour. Melanie was able to take her mask off, since we were the only ones, and the missionaries were healthy. She was grateful for that!

After our tour we headed to the Church Office Building to ride the elevator to the top. We were able to get a great view of Temple Square, and we even had a great view of LDS hospital.

Kaden really wanted his picture taken in front of the temple. It was a bit chilly!

We headed inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for some lunch. We ate at the Nauvoo Cafe. Actually we ordered our food there, but then took it and ate it in the lunch room in the basement. It was too crowded in the cafe for Melanie to take off her mask and eat. One of the receptionist was kind enough to tell us a better place for her to eat. Greg walked across the street from work and joined us for lunch.

We were glad that Greg joined us for a bit. The kids always love to hang out with uncle Greg. Every time we walked below Zions Bank, they would look up and wave.

Melanie and Kaden had not seen the Joseph Smith movie yet, so that was our final activity. There were only about 10 other people in the large theater besides us. So, once again, Melanie was able to enjoy the movie mask free!

Being the great aunt that Melanie is, she gave Chase, Brooke, and Austin a Valentine bag tonight. They were super excited, but also sad that she would be leaving our home tomorrow morning. They have had a lot of fun together!

Kaden made it back to Cache Valley and mother made it here. Melanie is really nervous for radiation tomorrow, and is not looking forward to the long hospital stay. One of the students she had last, Braydon Shiess, and his family sent my mom with a new DSi for Melanie. She was so excited. She will be able to really enjoy it, and the Brain Age game, over these next several weeks. Thank you! That was so thoughtful!

10 more days until transplant.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kepivance #2

Today was another quick drive into Salt Lake for some more Kepivance. We were only at the hospital for about 30 min. Kaden wasn't so excited about the quick trip, but he endured.

The dosage amount is quite small. Surprisingly high cost for such a small thing. Melanie says she can start feeling some of the effect. Mostly she says her gums feel weird and the roof of her mouth. We'll see how things feel in the next few days.

The nurse who pushed the medicine today is Jared. He was Melanie's nurse when she was in before. She really liked him. He works in the clinic most of the time, so she didn't get to have him upstairs much. I guess one day he sat in her room and talked to her a lot about transplant. It was really comforting for Melanie!

Melanie and I are often "geeks" at night. This is how we sit, and Steve always teases us. Melanie is still in high spirits. She has mentioned a few times that she gets more nervous the closer it gets to Thursday. Kaden will go back up to Logan tomorrow evening (a big thanks to Robert, my brother-in-law, for taking him back), so I know it will be a tough evening for Melanie. My mom will be coming down tomorrow night, for the Thursday admit and beyond. I know she brings such a comfort to Melanie when she is around. We have a fun day planned tomorrow! We head for the last Kepivance (for now), and then we are going to spend some time in Salt Lake. We will be sure to take a lot of pictures!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not 1, but 8 Tattoos

Yes, Melanie received 8 of her very own tattoos today! Four on her chest and four on her back. They are actually just little dots to mark where her lung shield needs to be placed for radiation. They are tattoos and permanent, unless she has them removed by a dermatologist. The radiology nurse said a dermatologist could remove them like a mole, but the scar may be bigger than the tattoo. It just looks like a tiny mole. She said her tattoo experience was just a little prick with a needle.

As you can see, we headed to the hospital today for Melanie to get some items of business taken care of before she is admitted on Thursday. Besides having her lung shields made, she also had a face guard made. They will use this to protect her face, when they do the extra brain boost. This is something she is still extra nervous about. I guess she was laying there and the nurse said she was going to do the face mold now. Melanie was closing her eyes and relaxing, when all of a sudden her face was covered with the molding material. She could only breathe through her nose. Melanie suffers from claustrophobia, so it was hard not to scream or tear it off her face. She did some great breathing techniques and made it though! I really wish I could have been there with the camera.

Melanie also had number one of three IV's she will be receiving before Thursday. Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, we have to go to the clinic for her to receive a drug called Kepivance. It is given through her central line and costs $6,000.00 a pop! Seriously! Is it made of gold? Anyway, it will increase the mucous lining in her mouth and throat. They do this so that hopefully she will not develop mouth sores during her next round of chemo. It will make her feel like her mouth, throat, and tongue are extra thick, but if it works, that is great!

Kaden is staying down here until Wednesday night. Melanie wanted to spend as much time with him as she could before Thursday. They are watching a movie together right now, so I am on blog duty. We knew that today would be a long hospital day. She was about 2 hours at LDS, and then she had a 45 min. appointment with another doctor in Sugarhouse. Kaden would have been extra bored, so I actually took him and Austin to the Church History Museum, while Melanie was getting the IV and radiology work up. We had a great time.

I had to include this picture for our Cache Valley followers. It is some of the oxen and a baptismal font staircase from the Logan Temple. We were able to see a lot of neat things, and learn a great deal about the history of our Church and Prophets. It really helped fill the time as well! After we were done, we picked Melanie up and headed to her next appointment. This time, we just waited in the waiting room. Kaden and Austin were very patient!

It has been so much fun for our family to have Melanie here with us. We have loved every minute of it! Living down here the past 5 years, we haven't spent so much time with her! She says we are going to be sick of her by the time May rolls around. NO WAY! We love having fun, cousin Kaden to play with for these next few days as well!

Today is day 12 on the countDOWN to transplant!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kaden's Day

I am back in good old Pleasant Grove. The weekend home was great! Saturday was a very busy and fun day. Our day began by going to Kaden's basketball game. I wore my mask and gloves and sat on the stage away from everyone else. I took my mask off until the gym started filling up with kids ready to take the floor when Kaden's game finished, at which point I decided germs were rampant. Kaden played well, just not as aggressive as I am used to seeing. His team won; something like 38 to 34.

Kaden and Daniel waiting to enter the game again.
We didn't take our picture until we were home.

Since I will be in the hospital on Kaden's birthday, we had a celebration Saturday from 4:00 on. Kaden wanted to eat at Cafe Sabor. I made reservations for 12 and called to remind them that we had to have a place away from people. They did pretty well at secluding us. The food wasn't as good as I remember, but we had a lot of fun.

Kaden even got sung to in Spanish (I guess?). Our server brought out 3 fried ice cream desserts for us to share. They were tasty.

My neice Taylie and I waiting to leave.

My sister Cami, nephew Tate, and me at dinner.

Me and my neice Lindsey enjoying time at home.

Kaden getting sung to in English. Good old Happy Birthday.

Angie and I went shopping to get Kaden's birthday gifts. We bought this shirt at Fanzz. We thought it was a medium, but it was an XL. We will be going to exchange it. Whoops!

Kaden's cousins adore him. I love how they flock around him.

I will be in the hospital on Valentine's Day so I gave my neices and nephews their treats. The deal was that they had to have their picture with me to get their bag. The bribe worked! Tate, Eli, Taylie, Ethan, and Lindsey all snuggled up.

Me and my grandma Lamb. She joined us for Kaden's festivities.

Saturday was a great day! Sunday was low key. I did get a wonderful visit from my great-aunt Portia. We failed to get a picture! I also had a great visit from my cousin Scott and his wife Leslie. We remembered to get a picture!

I wish I could have seen everyone I know while I was up in Cache Valley. I guess I will soon enough. May isn't too far away.?.?. I am just planning on best case scenario!
I now must go play Ticket to Ride. Stephen's patience is gone! He can't wait anymore.
Love you all!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yesterday was a very long day. I had to be to the outpatient clinic at LDS hospital at 10:00. Started with getting labs done and my lines flushed. Had to meet with the PA to review meds and how I have been feeling. Then I got to meet with the social worker, dietician (how do you spell that?), pharmacist, and nursing educator so that I will know what to expect when I am in the hospital. After being in the hospital for a total of 43 days, the meetings were more a review of the things I already know. It took 2 hours to meet with everyone (11:00-1:00) and then we went straight to the family meeting until 2:20ish, and then had to have another chest x-ray. My parents and I left the hospital @ 3:00. My family and I can't figure out why they (LaDee) always schedules things through lunch. Go figure!

We had our family meeting with Dr. Hoda (1 of my 4 doctors), LaDee (my transplant coordinator), and one of the physician assistants (I don't remember her name). It was nice to have my parents, Angie, Greg, and Charise there with me. One thing I have learned through all of this is that I am blessed with an amazing family. I love them all so much! The purpose of the family meeting was to review the stem-cell-transplant process, to sign consent forms, and to have questions answered.

I did learn that my stem-cell donor is a 27-year-old white male; he lives somewhere in the United States; he has my same blood type, O-; he hasn't had some of the viruses I haven't had (apparently this is a good thing); and that is all. I can get more information in 1 or 2 years. His stem cells will be harvested wherever he lives and then transported to LDS hospital via carrier. I will be given the stem cells on Saturday, February 6 through one of the ports on my central line. The process is just like having a blood transfusion.
Before my stem-cell transplant, I will do 6 sessions (once each day for six days) of total body radiation with an extra boost to my brain. I have been very concerned about the extra boost to my brain. I feel like I am pretty smart and don't want to be "dumb" after. I can't remember who I was talking to, but someone said something to me like you are already so much more intelligent than most of us - having the extra boost will just bring you down to the same level as everyone else. I am choosing to believe this :). Maybe it will get me through. Following the 6 days of radiation I will do two days of chemo. The purpose of the radiation and chemo is to wipe out my immune system so it doesn't fight against my donor's stem cells. The objective of the transplant is for my donor's stem cells to go through my body and find/kill any dormant or hiding leukemia cells. As of now, I am in complete remission. My bone marrow is clear at the molecular level. That said, it is known that I have leukemia cells that can't be seen and that if I do not have a transplant the leukemia will come back and will win. So, transplant it is!

The scary part is that once the donor's cells start making white cells, red cells, and platelets in my body (called engraftment) I can develop graft vs. host disease (GVH). Essentially, this means the donor's cells view my systems as the enemy. Could be the liver, skin, GI tract, or whatever. GVH can cause a lot of problems for a long time. I just plan on not having a lot of problems. I will go into the hospital next Thursday and will be there for 4-8 weeks. I am planning on 4, but should maybe plan on 8 so I won't be disappointed should that happen.

The drive back to Cache Valley was good. We stopped to see my grandma Hill on our way home. I haven't seen her for so long! I adore my grandma Hill - my Norwegian grandma. We are always excited when we get grandma to give is some sort of a smile in a picture. She's always smiling, but is a goof when it comes to having her picture taken. Love her!

It was wonderful to get home to Kaden. I enjoyed visiting with some good friends when I took Kaden to mutual. I also visited my dear friend Janine, the Quists, and aunt Carol last night. I have decided that it is not possible to see everyone I want to see when I am here for just the weekend.

Today was a fabulous day! I had several appointments in Logan today, but made some time to go to my school. I realize it is a big petri dish, but I have missed my friends and students so much! I wore my mask the entire time and did my best to not touch anything. However, I could not resist giving big hugs to my friends. I was able to make it around to most classrooms - I ran out of time (dentist appointment) and didn't make it to 9 classes or the kitchen. I'm sure Curt (Mr. Jenkins) was happy about that because he was leary of my being there and concerned about the petri-dish effect. If I didn't make it to your classroom it wasn't because I didn't want to! My morning students were working hard when I got there. I loved the many smiles I saw and am concerned by a few reactions. I do not look like myself in my mask and bandana and I could tell some students were not too sure about me. I wish I could have seen my afternoon students. Scheduled appointments made it impossible. I am so appreciative to McCall for taking such good care of my students, my classroom, and my belongings. It's nice to not have to worry about things.

I was surprised by a wonderful sign, necklace, and quilt from my friends. The sign will be hungs in my hospital room next week, the necklace will be close by, and the quilt will be keeping me warm. I know the picture is kind of blurry - I couldn't get a nice, clear shot. Each square has a saying, quote, thought, or simply words of love on it. I took a close up of two of them.

(I am now understanding the frustration my sister Kim and brother Greg experienced when trying to add pictures to the blog. I don't know how to get everything to work how I want, so enjoy the randomness of the pictures.)

After my morning appointments I was able to go visit my great-aunt Ronda with my mom. I haven't seen her since summer but have talked to her on the phone a couple of times. We visited her quite often when I was younger. Her back has been making things really tough for her. It was nice to visit with her and to learn how her daughters and my great-aunt Portia are helping her out so much. I also loved how Ronda expressed her desire to serve and help others and her discouragement of not being able to. Sometimes having the desire is enough.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with appointments, piano playing, and resting. I was so worried that my numb fingertips would make it hard to play the piano. So far I can still play. I know that my ability to play the piano is a gift from my Heavenly Father to help me find peace. That may sound strange to some of you. It is something I have learned over the years. Sometimes the gifts we are blessed with are for our own benefit.

Love you all and am glad you now know more than you ever wanted to know! ;)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm Home (for a few days)

After a very long day at LDS hospital, I made it home to Hyde Park. I am so tired right now, but I told Angie I would post tonight. All I have to say is that I will post more tomorrow. I have to go to bed!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pretzel Project

Every Christmas, Melanie dips a lot of chocolates for us all to enjoy. This last Christmas she obviously wasn't able to do this. So, for her project today, she made her ever so yummy caramel, chocolate pretzels! We went shopping yesterday to gather all the ingredients.

It starts with making aunt Eva's delicious caramel. This involves quite a bit of stirring, so Melanie and I switched off to give each other a break.

Next we covered the pretzel sticks with the caramel. Melanie had to take a few breaks during this process, it was a bit tiring.

Finally, it was chocolate time! There were 71 total (notice the bold on were). We had some chocolate left over, so we looked around for something else to dip. We did a few mangoes, and a package of fruit snacks. Some of you lucky, fellow teachers may even get to enjoy these pretzels...hmm. Better make it to the mail room early on Friday morning!

Ladee called again with some great news. The bone marrow biopsy was clear at the molecular level! This was what they really wanted to see going into transplant. They would have done it either way, but molecular remission is the best case scenario! We go up to the hospital tomorrow to have another family meeting with all the doctors and coordinators. This time we get all the details of the coming weeks. It should be great fun and informative!

Melanie is heading to Hyde Park tomorrow afternoon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still a Go

Melanie heard from Ladee today, and everything is fine with the donor blood. We are still a go for the laid out plan. She will check back into the hospital next Thursday. She will have 6 days of radiation, two days of chemo, a day of rest, and then her transplant will be on February 6th. Melanie is so ready to just get it done! She continues to be in good spirits. We have been having a fun time here. We tend to stay up late watching a movie, so I have been bad at updating. We have now finished the Harry Potter series, and we are watching the last Lord of The Rings tonight. I just couldn't believe she had never seen these great series! Next I think we will move onto Mission Impossible. Melanie will head back up to Logan on Thursday for the weekend. I know she is looking forward to having an early birthday party for Kaden (she will be in the hospital on his birthday). Kaden stopped by last night on his way home from the baseball camp he attended. He had a wonderful time, and Melanie was so appreciative of the opportunity!

Melanie has a great project planned for tomorrow. I will be sure to take some pictures! I don't know how to speak "Elvish", or I would leave a parting word. Thank you all for your continuing prayers. I know Melanie can feel their power!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Magic Number Is....


This number represents the amount of money Melanie's hospital bill was for the 38 days she spent there. The itemized bill was 28 pages, front and back! We were given a heads up by a neighboring patient, but it was stunning to actually see the bill. Granted this is before insurance, which luckily Melanie has. Hopefully they will cover 80%, but that stills leaves a big chunk, and she has a long hospital stay and transplant ahead. Kind of daunting!

There have been several donations made to Melanie's account, and given to her personally. A huge THANK YOU to everyone! We don't always know who the donations are from, but please know that Melanie appreciates it more than you know. Her wonderful school, Providence Elementary, raised $2600 last month. She works with some amazing people in a wonderful community! Cami is going to be organizing (with some help) a garage and bake sale in Cache Valley next month, so we hope to earn more money to help out. We will give more details on that as we get them.

Sorry I am not blogging every night. There really is not always much going on. We are going out when it is safe, playing games, watching movies, and just hanging out. Chase, Brooke, and Austin are having fun with Melanie here. It is great to get to spend so much time with her. Friday, Kaden stopped by on his way to a baseball camp he is attending in Mesquite. My brain was not working at the moment, and I forgot to take a picture. They are going to stop again on their way home Monday. Melanie was excited to see him. They were both super excited for the chance he had to go. A business in Providence sponsored Kaden's trip, with the help of the Triplett family. It is a great opportunity for Kaden and Melanie is grateful!

Live long and prosper, Melanie (we watched Star Trek tonight)!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Turning Fear into Faith

Things have been going great here in Pleasant Grove. Melanie has been feeling well and is in good spirits. I asked her the other day if it was the visit home. She said it was more just a change of thinking. Last week when she was here and having a hard time, we watched the movie "Emma" one night. In one part Joseph said, "We shouldn't let fear overcome our faith." Melanie said she realized that was exactly what she was doing. I have seen the change in her and it is amazing! I didn't realize the movie would have such an impact on her.

We have had a few great days. Yesterday we went out and about for a bit. Melanie wanted to get a few things for Kaden's birthday and stuff to make Valentine's for her students. We went to Kohl's, Target, The Dollar Tree, and Wal-mart. She would always wear her mask while we were in the stores and then we would sanitize our hands as soon as we got in the car. It was fun to watch the faces of children when they looked at Melanie in her mask. They weren't sure what to think. There was even one mother that couldn't take her eyes off Melanie. That was kind of annoying! For lunch we drove through and picked up some burgers at In and Out Burger. Neither of us had ever been before. We both agreed that it was alright. The burgers were good and a great price, but not as AMAZING as we had heard. Maybe if we had never had a JCW's burger, we would have felt differently. It was a beautiful day, the sky and air were clear, it was in the upper 40's, and it was just what Melanie needed.

Today we took a quick jaunt to the mall for some more Kaden shopping. Melanie hates to wear her mask, because it makes her so hot! She is great to keep it on while we are in public. We also try to go when there won't be a lot of people.

Here are a few pictures from today:

The kids love to do DS download with Melanie! They all compete, laugh, and have a great time. She has decided she needs to get a DS for her next hospital stay. Chase has offered to let her have his old one (that still works perfectly)! That will give her something to keep busy. Last night I even had to get after ALL of them to turn them off for dinner!

Here are some of the shopping bags from our outings.

Today we organized all the supplies and worked on putting together some Valentines for some lucky kindergarten students. Melanie is such a thoughtful teacher!

Forty-four bags ready for delivery!

Ladee called Melanie today and told her that they found some irregularities in the donors blood. She said it is typical for Hepatitis to come back positive, due to the chemicals they use to test for it at the lab. They often will get a false positive. They are doing some retests, and will keep her posted. If there are irregularities, they will have to try donor number 2, and it will delay things. Melanie does not want to put this off any longer. We are praying things can continue as planned. I didn't realize just what a blessing it was that Melanie even had one donor let alone three. There is a lady that was Melanie's neighbor in the hospital, and she does not have a donor. She is just continuing to do chemo until she can hopefully some day find one. We have been truly blessed and prayers have been answered!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Full Day

Melanie had to be at LDS hospital this morning to get some pre-transplant testing. Since it was early, her and my mom stayed at Greg's last night. She had blood draws, testing for her lungs, testing for her heart, and another bone marrow biopsy. She was planning on being sedated for the biopsy, but it didn't end out that way. One person told her she could eat 4 hours before the procedure, but nothing after that. Well, it is actually 6 hours. So, she could either wait or just do it without sedation. She chose to be a rock star! The lady who did it was super sensitive to Melanie's concerns. She went really slow, and made sure there was plenty of Lidocaine along the way. I know it was not a joy, but Melanie said it wasn't too bad. They are checking to see if this last round of chemo was able to put her in remission at a molecular level. Hopefully it did, because that would be ideal going into transplant.

Melanie was also able to talk with the radiologist today about some of her concerns. They were suppose to make the molds for the shields that protect her lungs during her radiation treatments, but the equipment was down today. Melanie is most concerned about the extra amount of radiation they focus on her head. Since she did have some leukemia cells in her spinal fluid, they do this to try and stop any cells from coming back in the future in her central nervous system. The boost of radiation to the head is controversial, and has some possible side effects. They do make a shield to cover her face, so Melanie was glad for that.

After they were done at the hospital (they were there from 9:00 until 3:45), Melanie and my mom went to Chili's for some food. Her first big outing! Melanie was starving, since she couldn't eat all day. The waiter they had was very good. He sent her utensils through the wash an extra time and made sure her chicken was well done. They also tried to seat them away from anyone. A couple of booths next to them filled up, but Melanie just politely asked if any of them were sick. I met them at Chili's to take Melanie back to Pleasant Grove with me. After a tearful good-bye, my mom and Melanie headed in different directions.

Melanie could have gone back home this weekend again, but since Kaden was going to be gone for several days at a baseball camp, she decided to just come and stay here. She was in good spirits tonight! She watched Harry Potter #4 with Chase, Brooke, and Austin. We are getting her all caught up on the series! Hopefully we will have some fun adventures to post about this week. The next big scheduled date is next Thursday, January 21st. We have another family meeting with the various doctors to really get into the details of the radiation and transplant. Until then, we will enjoy the time here at base camp.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mel's Taste Of Home

It was nice to have Melanie home for a couple of days. I loved to walk into my parents house and know that she was there. I know she soaked up every minute of the time spent with Kaden. She even let him sleep in her bed last night. I'm sure that his knee in her back never felt so good. Everything was kept pretty low key, no wild parties or late night pinochle games. Mike and Steph were both sick which was a bummer. Mel had a visit from a good friend and running buddy Anna who will be moving to CO in a couple of months. What a treat for Mel to see her before she leaves!

Today Mel and I spent some time talking, she expressed a lot of her fears for the months ahead. She is scared...who wouldn't be in this situation? The thought of being in the hospital for possibly eight weeks after the transplant is overwhelming. She was so ready to be out of there after the five week stay last time. Her biggest struggle right now is the thought of being away from Kaden for so long. It has also been hard for her to not be here to support him in his sports endeavors...if you know Mel, she was always there at his games cheering him on. She is trying to mentally prepare herself for what is to come, you know, climbing Mt. Everest. I can't begin to imagine what must be going on within her...I'm sure it is a mighty struggle of not letting her thoughts of the worst overcome her. The next hurdle to get over is the week of radiation which is a new thing for Mel. She meets with the radiologist tomorrow and we are hoping that it will be a comforting thing to learn more about the process. Please continue to pray for her as we enter this new phase of treatment.

Mel and her dear friend Anna.

Sunday dinner with Kaden and some nephews.

Mel has a hard time staying warm and could often be found hanging out by the heater vents.

Mel and our mom left for Salt Lake tonight and will report to the hospital in the morning for tests and some meetings. She will be having a bone marrow biopsy and they are going to put her out this time...thank goodness, the last one was very painful. We are hoping that all goes well!

We will miss your smiles here Mel! Keep fighting and we'll see you soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Guess Who's Home? As In Hyde Park Home...

One exciting thing we learned in Mel's meeting yesterday is that she could come home for a bit before the transplant. We didn't want to say anything until it really happened. Now it has and... MELANIE IS HOME!!! We pulled into our parents driveway at around 8pm tonight. She will be here until Monday night. She has to be back at LDS Hospital on Tuesday for some tests and will continue to go there several times before the actual transplant. If there's one thing we've learned about this process, it's that things change...a lot! We had been told that she wouldn't be coming back to CV for at least a year. We are all so thrilled that she is here and that her and Kaden get to be together.

The drive to Cache Valley wasn't bad for Mel, she said that the headlights from the cars bothered her, but was free from motion sickness (thanks to the little patch she wears). Mel had a lot of mixed emotions about coming home as you can imagine. She did have a look of contentment when she was walking around our parent's home. It has been a long two months! My mom said, "I thought I'd never see the day" referring to Mel coming home. What a blessing that her blood levels are good enough for her to leave not only the confines of the hospital, but the close proximity to the hospital. The tender mercies of our Heavenly Father are everywhere!

I can only assume that there will be many who would like to come and visit Melanie. If you could please call before coming, it would help. She isn't supposed to be in large groups of people and we will need to manage that somehow. She tires easily so keep that in mind. I know that she would love to see you all, but it may not be possible. She is still very sick and needs to be careful.

Welcome Home Melanie!!!