Friday, February 26, 2010

Change is Hard

Instead of wringing my hands helplessly during Daniel's health problems I've decided to take a more proactive approach. Since I'm the preparer of all the food I'm going to make a change. A healthy change. I didn't even think we ate that badly. I put fruit in everyone's lunch boxes (if it doesn't come back that means they ate it right?) and we always have vegetables at dinner (always being 82% of the time). I've switched over to whole grains (Mom, I think this rice is dirty cuz it's brown). And those Reese's Puffs have some vitamins right? But now I just don't think it's enough.

I gave up eating refined sugar almost two years ago but I have Diet Coke every day. That's probably worse. As I started looking at the labels of our Cheezit's, Nutri-grain bars, and even our Skippy peanut butter I wondered if these foods with their high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, and other words I can't even pronounce are in some way to blame for Daniel's condition.

If the possibility of cancer isn't enough to make me change I don't know what will. I can tell this is going to be a difficult change. Making healthy meals is expensive and time consuming! All I know is that I have to figure it out.

So I guess I'm not going to be buying any more soda....but I do have 4 cases of Cherry Coke Zero left and it would be a shame to let them go to waste.

Here's our first experiment: My kids love Nutri-grain bars so I found a recipe for Whole-Wheat Fruit Bars and Mallory helped me make them. They turned out pretty good.

Bringing home the sandbox

I know this is a bit random but this is what Connor's shoes look like everyday when he comes home from school. How does he go through the day with this much sand in his shoes? I should start measuring. He brings home a good 1/4 to 1/2 cup everyday. Suffice it to say, he doesn't take off his shoes in the house anymore.

Baby New Year

Last weekend Megan, Mallory and I headed to Cali to see our newest addition to the family. Miss Elizabeth Lee Clark was born Feb. 11th. She is adorable! Did I mention that she has my middle name? Never mind the fact that her grandma and other aunt share that same middle name too. ;)

Mallory has been calling her Baby New Year since January and only just decided to start calling her Baby Eliza.

Besides being so cute I'm thrilled to have an Elizabeth in the family since Elizabeth Bennet is one of our family's favorite literary characters of all time.

Welcome to the world Miss Lizzy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge

I've been thinking a lot about a particular scene from The Lord of the Rings lately. It's actually from the last one- Return of the King. Gandalf and Pippin have arrived in Minas Tirith and it's the eve of the big battle. They're outside on a balcony overlooking the land that expands all the way to Mordor. It's very quiet and all of a sudden they see a great pillar of light signaling that Sauron's troops are leaving Mordor and the battle over their world is about to begin.
Pippin: It's so quiet.
Gandalf: It's the deep breath before the plunge.
Pippin: I don't want to be in a battle...but waiting on the edge of one I can't escape is even worse.
That's how I've been feeling lately, like I'm waiting for a battle to start. And I don't know what the monster looks like yet. I don't know how big or powerful he is. And that really scares me. I feel so unprepared.
And then it hit me like a lightning bolt. We're not unprepared. We have armor. We've even been training for this. We started changing our lives last year. We're stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually than we've ever been.
And we're not alone either. We've got troops, hundreds of them. All of our family and friends lifting us up and cheering us on, willing to go to battle with us.
And best of all we have our own Gandalf: Heavenly Father. I've felt His love and comfort so consistantly this last month. Now I know that whatever happens we'll fight it together and we'll be better for it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't be afraid to ask your Doctor to run some tests!

Since the revelation that I may be sick with Lymphoma a lot of people have asked me what were my symptoms and why did my doctor run these tests. I've decided to let you all know what's going on...

Since mid-December my body just hadn't been feeling great. My muscles were sore all the time. I would wake up and painfully get out of bed, get ready for work and feel OK, but after my 5 mile drive into work getting out of the car was a chore, and my legs ached and my joints hurt like I had arthritis. So, during a routine doctor visit, I shared my complaints and asked the doc to order some blood tests, to check for cancer, arthritis, liver issues etc. My results came back with high levels of Alkaline Phosphatase, and a high level of sedimentation. The doctor ordered a abdomen scan of my liver, the results came back showing I had a slightly enlarged liver, but more alarming was that my spleen was 75% larger than it should be with lacerations and other granular looking particles inside. Cool thing about AZ is I asked for copies of the films and got copies within a few hours. With my limited anatomical knowledge I concluded that I knew nothing they were talking about...

The results of the ultrasound led my primary doctor to order a CT scan with contrast. The contrast is iodine, you have to drink some nasty blackberry flavored kool-aid drink. They also injected me with some iodine. I asked for copies of the films and was able to pick them up the next day. Having copies of the films on CD is way cool, the CD's come with there own viewer, if I can figure out how to save images to .jpg I'll post some.

The results from my CT scan pushed my doctor to send me to an Oncologist. Luckily my doc was able to get me into the best Oncologist in the valley. He normally has a 3 week waiting period to see new patients and I got in to see him 3 days after my CT scan. This wouldn't have happened this quickly in CA, what I've written about took place in a few days of each other. My Oncologist ordered a PT Scan, they scheduled the appointment for me, I had my test - got images on CD again an hour after the scan - when I checked them out I got a little nervous, I knew that the hyper active cells would glow from the radiated sugar they injected me with, I figured my bladder would glow, but I was surprised by how bright my spleen was. I found 3 other lymph-nodes that were glowing as well, so I knew the report wouldn't have the best news. The results supported what I had seen, and that I had 2 nodes near my spine that were indicative of hyper-metabolic activity, as well as one in my thigh and neck. The Oncologist ordered a Biopsy which brings us to the present day.

Yesterday was my Biopsy, they took a sample from the 1 cm node in my thigh and now we sit and wait for the results.

I'll keep you posted on my prognosis.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Biopsy Day

Daniel has been feeling a little off the last couple of months. It hasn't been anything major so we weren't overly worried but because of his father and brothers he's been very careful when it comes to his health (I use to even tease him about being a hypochondriac but never again).

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago he went to the doctor and asked him to run some standard lab tests. A couple days later the labs came back with some abnormal liver functions and an ultrasound was ordered. The ultrasound showed an enlarged spleen and liver.

At this point, lymphoma was mentioned but we were told not to worry quite yet. That is easier said than done. Daniel has been the calm one while I'm up at night worrying for the both of us. A CT scan was ordered and Daniel went to see an oncologist. We were again told that lymphoma was a possibility along with Valley Fever (a lung fungus prominent in AZ). We were certain that it was Valley Fever so when the blood tests came back negative for the fungus we were pretty upset. Then Daniel had a PET scan and the oncologist told him that it was most likely lymphoma.

That brings us to today. Daniel had a biopsy today on a lymph node in his upper thigh. We have an appointment on Friday with the oncologist to go over the results of the biopsy. Hopefully then we will know what kind of lymphoma we are dealing with and what stage it is.

And then we fight!!!

Sledding in Snow Bowl

Last weekend we headed up to Flagstaff and went sledding with the kids. It's so strange to drive from dry desert to snowy mountains in just a couple of hours. It was a beautiful day and we had lots of fun. I even saw a bald eagle. Next time I'm going to get real snow shoes for the kids though. Their poor toes were frozen.

Dress my mom crocheted for Malibu Lou

Winter Mustache Pageant on Facebook

This is the mustache on January 31st and I'm so glad it's gone now.


I actually bowled a 151 which I've never gotten close to before.
I think I beat out all the competition by about 100 points.