Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gearing up for the next uphill climb

I went to see Dr. Tricot on Monday, yesterday, and he said it is time to get prepared for the second transplant. Seriously, I had secretly hoped that he would tell me I didn't need the second one, but what fun would that be? He wants to get going asap so I will head up to Salt Lake the end of January and begin a similar process as to what I have just completed.

I have had such a fun Christmas. All the kids were home except Colton and Megan. It was nice to have a three year old in the house again for Christmas. It just makes everything so much more exciting.

The YM and YW in our ward made a video of a few incidents in my life and brought it over for us to enjoy. Our ward really has some great acting talent. It was so much fun to watch and we all had a good laugh. The Bishop was especially impresive. Thanks to all who put so much time and effort into the making of the film!!

My cousin Chrisann sent me a copy of a talk "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar, that I read this past week and it has really inspired me. He quoted Elder Maxwell who said, "There would have been no Atonement except for the character of Christ." Elder Bednar then went on to talk about character and what the definition of character is. A couple of things he said that impressed and motivated me were, "Character is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering, in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward."

Christ was a perfect example of such character. These thoughts have motivated me to try to improve my character and become more like Christ. It becomes so easy when you are in the middle of a crisis to only think of yourself. Life is so much better when you think of others and forget yourself.

Here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Thanks again and again for the many kind thoughts and acts of service that have been done for us in the past and over the Christmas Holiday. We love you all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Top of Rocky Ridge

Hurray!! I think I finally made it to the top of the hill and it was definately not a fun climb!! Yesterday I woke up and just felt different. I could tell that things were going to go in a positive direction and I have been almost 2 days now without a fever. If I get through the night, I believe the Doctor will let me go back to the apartment for a few days and then hopefully I will be in Alpine by Saturday or Sunday.

The past two weeks have been probably the hardest two weeks of my life, I really just want to think of it as a bad dream. I didn't prepare myself for what I experienced, but I don't know if you really could prepare for something like that. I decided I would focus on the positive of it all, and want to share just a few of those positives with you. 1. I met some really great, fun, caring people here on the BMT unit and Iwill always have a soft spot in my heart for their kindness and superior care. 2. I came to appreciate so much more the level of suffering that the Savior did in the garden of Gethsemene. At times when I thought I couldn't bare the burden, I thought of him and knew that he understood my pain and I felt his love and understanding. 3. I continued to be uplifted by the prayers I knew were being said in my behalf. 4. I experienced first hand again as I have so many times already, the tremendous power of the Priesthood. I am so thankful for a good husband that holds the priesthood and is able to call upon that great power at any moment to bless my life. 5. I have loved watching my children pull together to take care of one another and the needs at home. I know they are closer to one another now than they have been at any time in their life.

I could continue on and on and I have come to understand that with any trial there is always a positive if we look to find it. Now, with that being said, I am soooooo glad to be where I am and have the past two weeks behind me.

I look forward to returning home, being with my family, seeing my new grandbaby and getting a good laugh from my other grandson. I think there is nothing better than grandbabies. A few weeks ago Lucas ( my oldest grandson) wanted me to take him to Cabela's. I was loading him in the car and he said Grandma Owens, lets go to Chuckie Cheese it's more fun. I said "Lucas, I can't take you to Chuckie Cheese, I don't even know how to get there." He said, "Grandma Owens, you just follow the road!" Needless to say we followed the road and sure enough we found Chuckie Cheese!

Have a great Holiday. I love you all. Many Thanks!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Miracles

Carolyn wants to record the miracles that are happening to her as she goes

through this treatment. There have been many, but here are a couple of

significant miracles that have happened in the last two weeks. It's a

miracle that she is still with us after her body went into septic shock on

Thanksgiving day. It's also a miracle that she is recovering so quickly

after all she has been through (that's the word her Doctor used!). Although

she is still weak and tired, we're extremely grateful she is doing so well.

Today they are trying to get her blood pressure stabilized and her fever to

quit spiking. If she does good today, she may get released from the hospital

tomorrow. If her fever continues to spike, they may remove her port to see

if that is causing some infection. The tests show that the bacterial

infection in her blood is gone. After she is released from the hospital, she

will need to stay in Salt Lake for a few more days until she gets cleared by

her Doctor to go home to Alpine.


As a family we are grateful to all of you who have shown your love and

support to Carolyn and her family. We feel your prayers and know the Lord is

blessing Carolyn because of your faith. Thank you so much. Words can't

express the gratitude we feel for all you have done to help Carolyn get

through this challenge. Carolyn is a tough old bird and we know she will get

through this treatment and will be able to bless the lives of others for

many years to come.


Posted by Becca Dodds

Monday, December 1, 2008

Update

I spoke with Jeff on Monday evening--and his response to my question about how Carolyn is doing was; "MUCH better"! Way to go Carolyn!!!
--posted by Sydney

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend in the hospital

After a good week of treatment, Carolyn was admitted to the hospital Thursday when she began to lose more liquids than she could take in - mostly due to diarrhea, which is a common side-effect of the chemotherapy. Jeff watched her (and a little football) while the rest of the family was in Panguitch for the holiday. Friday, she was diagnosed with a blood infection, and today (Saturday), she is complaining of being out of breath.

She and Jeff have, as you know, been very appreciative of our prayers and exercises of faith in their behalf. They have felt a strong sense of support, and they never fail to be thankful for all that is done for them. Please continue to keep them in your minds and hearts and prayers this weekend.

Posted by Sydney Haglund

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost there

Friday I got the stem cell transplant. Everything went great. Saturday was just an okay day, but today, Sunday I am feeling much better. Dr. Tricot said that day +5, 6, and 7 which will be Wed, Thurs, and Friday, will be my worst days, so I am preparing for the upcoming week, but honestly I am doing so great. I feel so blessed.

Shea has been with me today. Jeff just got here to spend the night and tomorrow. Jeff and I are excited to welcome our new grandson into the world tomorrow. Carter Mark(?) Owens will have his turn on earth starting tomorrow, November 24. We are so excited, I have butterflies just typing about it. I love my grandbabies!

I hope everyone enjoys the Thanksgiving holiday. I love Thanksgiving, getting together with family and eating good food. Playing games, shooting skeet, Turkey Tournament, all good times.
Have a fun week together family. I love you.

Here's a birthday shout out to Rachael Hubert and Makelle Brown. Hope you had a great B-day!

I have a picture of all you darling beehives sitting on my nightstand. I see your smiles when I climb into bed at night and your smiles when I get up in the morning. Your all beautiful. Thank you.

I came across this quote today and I loved it.

"When we really believe in Jesus Christ-meaning that He will overrule for our good and that He knows who we are--that kind of faith naturally creates a feeling of hope and optimism."

I am filled with hope and optimism. I know Christ knows me and is aware of me. I am healing and gaining strength each day. Life is so good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Climbing Rocky Ridge

This week I started my heavy duty Chemo. I had my first dose on Monday, and will have another dose on Thursday. I'm guessing about now those myeloma cells are wishing they had never seen the inside of my marrow. So far I am tolerating the Chemo, but apparently it takes one or two days for the side effects to kick in. Some people don't get super sick and with all the support I have, I know I will be fine. Friday they will put the stem cells back in my body. I guess it is rather anti-climatic putting the cells back. It is similar to getting a blood transfusion. Next week I get more Chemo on Monday and Thursday and then I wait for my immune system to recover. As soon as that happens, probably 2 weeks, I get to come home for 2 months.

I have my sister, Becca, staying with me. Everyone needs a Becca in their lives. She cooks, cleans, follows up on all my medical needs, and carries on a pretty good conversation. I have such a great family. Thanks to you all!

I am looking forward to a new grandson this month. Cherise, our daughter in law, would like to see him born on November 24. His Grandfather Owens however, would like to see him born on his birthday, December 3. The original due date was Dec. 6, and has been moved up to November 29. I guess he will come when he is ready.

My middle son, Shea, returned from SVU yesterday and I love having him back in the State. Jeff flew out to Virginia on Friday and watched Shea play his final football game on Saturday. They then loaded up the car and left early Sunday morning, driving 30 straight hours and meeting me at the Bone Marrow Clinic just as I finished my first treatment. What troopers!

I continue to see miracles happen each day. I know I am being blessed by all of your prayers. I also pray for all of you wonderful people that have been so generous and kind to our family. Thanks a bunch, and God bless.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Home at last!

I finally finished up the stem cell collection. 21 million in all!! It took a lot longer than I had hoped but the positive side of it is that I got them all.

I met with Dr. Tricot yesterday, got the port removed from my neck and some lab work done. I now have 2 weeks at home and it looks like we may be able to start phase two on the 17th of November.

It is so great to be home. I really missed Kristen and Jeff and it is nice to wake up in my own bed with new sheets and a new spread. Thank you to all who contributed.

Colton and Megan have been staying here and holding down the fort. I really appreciate them.

Life is good.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Closing in on the End

I think I can finally see an end to the stem cell harvest!! I am so excited. As of today I had just over 14 million cells collected and I hope to of had a good day today. If my luck continues tomorrow may be my last day but if not, for sure Sunday. I have an appointment with Dr. Tricot on Monday afternoon and then I will get to come home. I can hardly wait.

Happy Halloween to everyone. It seems like it will be good weather for all the little ones going trick or treating.

It has been fun to have Yvonne here with me this week. Thanks to her family for the sacrifice. Thanks to everyone. I love the comments and notes I receive from all of you. It helps me to keep up with things at home and it is very humbling to know that you all keep up with my situation. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

8 million and counting

I got 3 million stem cells yesterday and just finished more today. I'm not sure how many today, but as long as it's over 1 million they will keep on pulling. I feel really good and continue to feel of your love and prayers. Thanks so much for all your comments and thoughts.

Carol and Paul. I wanted to give you a call, but couldn't figure out the whole time zone thing. It's great to hear about your mission. We pray for you also and know you will have success in your missionary efforts because you are such wonderful people. Thank you for your support in our trial. We love you and miss you.

I am looking forward to being home next week. Hope to see all of you and do a little catching up.

Take Care

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two shots a day!

I am laughing at myself as I just read my past few posts. Did I mention that I am getting two shots a day!! Seriously, I HATE SHOTS! I think that might be obvious because of how many times I mentioned it in my posts. Sorry.

Finally pullin stem cells

I guess I'm not the ideal stem cell giver, but at least I finally got started on Saturday with the process of harvesting stem cells. I have pulled stem cells on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today, Tuesday. Saturday and Sunday I got just over 1 million and Monday I got over 2 million. So before today I had a total of just about 5 million stem cells. The goal would be 20 million. I am getting 2 shots a day to help push the stem cells out into my blood. Jeff also gave me a blessing yesterday so I know things will start to move along and even if it takes me all week we will get the needed stem cells. The guy next to me got 13 million in one day! I'm really happy for him because it is a little hard to hook up to the machine each day and sit for 4-5 hours while the machine pulls out the cells. He is older and it really wore him out so hopefully he won't have to do it too many days.

Yvonne Gottfredson is here this week "babysitting" me. Thanks so much Yvonne. I feel great. I got some notes from the ladies in our ward and enjoyed reading them all. Thank you. My family tells me of some act of kindness that someone has done every day for them. My eyes feel with tears when I think of each of you and the love that you show for us. I don't know how to express my gratitude but I hope you all can feel our prayers for you and all that you are doing for us.

I hope to be home on Monday or Tuesday. I can't wait! I really miss home. I have enjoyed reading the conference talks this week. I love Elder Wirthlin's talk and I try to remember his mother's words...come what may and love it. I am loving many aspects of this experience. I am a better person and more aware of many things than I was before. I hope I can remember everything that I am feeling and learning and hope to improve in my ability to serve and love those around me. I have learned so much from all of you. Thank you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still waiting

We are at the Huntsman Center this morning waiting for lab results to see if today will be the day that I get to start pulling stem cells. Jeff came up last night and will spend the weekend with me and that is always nice to have him close by.

I am now recieving two shots a day to help push the stem cells from my bone marrow into my blood stream. I hate shots!! I feel really good. I am able to go out a little more now as long as I keep my mask on. Not much else to report.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 23, 2008

Sorry I haven't been able to keep up with the blog. I don't have access to the internet, so I can only get on occassionally.

My treatment plan is right on course. My immune system bottomed out this week and has started to climb again. I am waiting for a cd34 count to get to a certain point before they can start pulling the stem cells from my blood. I was in hopes that today would be the day, but they just let me know they are sending me back to the apartment for another day. Hopefully tomorrow. If the counts aren't up tomorrow, we go to a "hard to mobilize" phase where they will give me another shot to boost the stem cell production. Actually I will recieve 2 shots a day for the following 3 days until they are able to collect the needed stem cells. They assure me if I go to the "hard to mobilize" phase, that I haven't failed, that this is just part of the process, so I am staying positive and seeing lots of good in what is happening.

The difficult part now is being patient. My sister Becca is staying with me and I know the days must be long for her. We did go for a drive yesterday to Farmington Bay and enjoyed seeing the ducks and fowls there at the Bay. We took an outing to Trolley Square, didn't stay long, but it was nice to look around for a minute.

It's fun to keep up on the news from the ward. Thanks to all for the food, cards, calls, and notes you send reminding us daily of our blessings and of our good fortune. Someday I hope to return some of the kindness we have experienced through each of you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

My first week of treatment is over!! I don't know how things could have gone any better than they did, a testimony that Heavenly Father is watching over us and is answering the prayers being offered in our behalf. Thank you all. I can't explain the gratitude I feel each hour of each day for the wonderful friends, family, ward members, doctors and staff that are watching over our family. We continue to pray for each of you as well in the challenges that you are experiencing with life and hope that you will feel the same love and peace that we feel from an all knowing Heavenly Father.

Starting today, they expect my counts to start to drop and my immune system to bottom out, so I have begun wearing a mask when I leave the house. I have to be really cautious about germs. They did give me the weekend off, so I don't have to go back until Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday they will put a second port in my neck and hopefully on Wednesday or Thursday they will begin to pull the stem cells. It is an amazing process.

We are meeting a lot of new people and each of them has had different challenges along the way with their care. We are learning so much and trying to be completely obedient to the Dr.'s orders, knowing that if we do our part we can expect success.

The hardest part of this so far for me has been not being around all of you. I miss my friends, my neighbors, my young women, going to church, and all the social aspects of my life. I miss especially my kids.

Hope life is treating all of you well. God Bless.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A small hiccup

I went to my Dr.'s appointment on Friday only to find out it had been canceled because they thought I would not be able to keep the appointment because I was having a procedure done on my back, soooooo.... I won't be seeing the Dr. until Thursday and therefore starting my chemo on Thursday. I look at it as a blessing because I did have the back procedure (kyphoplasty) done on Friday and this gives me a few days to heal up before starting the treatments.

My back feels great. It just continues to amaze me what awesome things they can do to help strengthen an aging body.

I loved listening to conference this weekend. My testimony was strengthened and I felt reassured of my Heavenly Father's love and concern not only for me but for all of us. What a great blessing to have Prophets and Apostles on the earth to direct and encourage and strengthen our lives. I can't wait to get a copy of all the talks and read them again!

Thanks again to all of you for your prayers and continued support you give to our family.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The calm before the storm

This is my final week of waiting and preparing. We will start the Chemo treatments on Monday, October 6, 2008.

So many people have served us this week and I am so appreciative of each of them. I have the greatest ward, friends and family. The primary kids in our ward made cards for me and I am saving them for just the right moment when I am in a place that I need to feel comfort. I know those cards are going to be just the right thing for me to read and I am so excited to read them. I love the primary children.

My good friends, Syd Haglund and Susan Rogers helped me yesterday to get some things together to work on while I am in SLC. They are helping me with a quilt for my new grandson who will be joining us in December. Thanks to both of them. They are great friends.

Yesterday I got a "port" installed in my chest. This is a device that the chemo treatments will be administered in. Tomorrow (Friday) I will go to the back doctor and have a cement substance shot into my vertebra and hopefully that will take care of the back pain I am having. Medical Science is so amazing!!

I also see Dr. Tricot on Friday.

Our family is looking forward to attending the morning session of General Conference together. My oldest son Nathan has been here this week and it has been so nice to visit with him and enjoy his company.

I have had a nice week and I think I am ready for the fight. I still remain with such a peaceful, positive feeling that we are going to beat this cancer. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of my personal situation and they have a plan. I pray for courage and strength and the faith I need to endure these trials. I know each of you have your own personal trials, some of them far bigger trials than what I face and I also know that Heavenly Father knows of your situation and he has a plan for you too.

We all need to "keep the faith" and have joy while we travel through this life. I have personally learned that it is possible to be happy in whatever situation we encounter if we just trust the Lord completely.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dr. Tricot

We went to the Huntsman Center to meet Dr. Tricot yesterday. It was a great visit. He spent nearly 2 hours with us, going over my past history and my new test results. He can't be sure because a few of the tests still need to come back, but his best guess is that I am in stage 3A of the cancer. He said 7 out of 8 myeloma patients have a benign type of myeloma which is a slower growing myeloma and 1 out of 8 have a very aggressive type of myeloma. Dr. Tricot felt like I probably have the more benign type because looking over my records he feels like I have had the cancer for at least 3 years. I asked him if that was a concern to be in the third stage and his answer was that he would rather treat the benign cancer in the third stage than the aggressive cancer in stage 2. So, he still seemed hopeful. He said we need to get the approval of my insurance company, which takes about 5-7 days, and then we will begin the treatment, which will be a double stem cell transplant. It is a four stage process, spanning over 6 months. I will need to be within 15 minutes of the hospital during each stage for about 2-3 weeks at a time. So one of our challenges will be to find an apartment or room to rent out during this time. Our good friend David Haglund's mother lives close by and has already called to offer a room in her home. She is 89 years old and darling. I was so touched by her phone call. I'm worried about how sick I might be, so I think to begin with I will try to isolate myself and then see how things go.

I loved Dr. Tricot. He is from Belgium, has a nice accent, very kind and knows how to put people at ease. He is leaving for a few weeks to go visit his mother and family in Belgium, so while he is gone we will be seeing another Dr. but still feel very confident with everything. We feel so great about being at the Huntsman Center. The staff is amazing and we left the Dr.'s office again feeling so peaceful and full of hope.

Thanks again to all of you for your kind acts of service. Because of this experience, our lives have been changed for the better.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today I'm feeling a little anxious. I am looking forward to meeting with Dr. Tricot in the morning and getting a better understanding of what we are facing.

We all continue to feel great peace. We have been lifted by so many of you, our family, friends and ward members. Jeff's BYU student ward members have shown so much love and compassion. We feel so loved.

We know that we are just beginning the up hill battle. I think we will get started this week and it will be a long climb. There will be spots along the trail that will be easier than others and some really tough steep spots too. I know when we get to those spots, our burdens will be lifted and we will see over and over the hand of the Lord in our trek.

There is a quote from Elder Maxwell, that has hung on our fridge for the past year. It says, "Daily hope is vital, since the "Winter Quarters" of our lives are not immediately adjacent to our promised land. An arduous trek still awaits, but hope spurs weary disciples on. Those with true hope often see their personal circumstances shaken, like kaleidoscopes, again and again. Yet with the 'eye of faith,' they still see divine pattern and purpose."

Our personal circumstances are being shaken again, but we do have great hope, we have complete faith, and already have been able to see divine purpose in this experience. We are grateful for this opportunity to learn and to grow. We have seen miracles, and know we will continue to see miracles. It's not an easy trek, but we have great examples to draw strength from. And, just as the saints loaded their wagons years ago to rescue the saints stranded at winter quarters, Jeff and I have seen all of you load your wagons and come to our rescue. Thanks to you all, and my God bless you with the sweet peace that he has blessed our family with.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008

Just a quick update. Not really too much to report. Tomorrow is my final chemo treatment of this series. I have felt really good and have not had any ill effects from the chemo so far. I feel really blessed for that reason.

Tomorrow night I will go to the HCI to have an MRI and then on Thursday morning they will run a series of tests on my blood, marrow, heart etc. because they like to have their own test results before they begin treating patients.

I have an appointment with Dr. Tricot on Monday September 15, and I am hoping to get a better feel for what we are facing. Dr. Tricot has had good success with treating this type of cancer and seems to lean toward stem cell transplant for fighting the cancer. If any of you are interested you can go to his website at www.fightmyeloma.org. and read about all the good things that are happening with myeloma.

I appreciate all the wonderful notes, phone calls, food, and words of love and compassion for our family over the past few weeks. Also all the prayers and fasting that have been offered in our behalf. We truly feel your love and support.

We are optimisitc. We have every reason to be hopeful. Our testimonies are strong and we believe in the great healing power of the priesthood. With that being said, we completely trust in our Heavenly Father and we know he has a plan for our family.

Thank you all so much. Our burden has been lightened because of each of you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our Happy Family

I love these people!!

First Chemo Treatment

On Friday August 29, I had my first Chemo treatment. It went really well. I am unable to take the oral Chemo because I have to make sure I"m no pregnant before they will give me the drug, so for now I am only getting the IV Chemo. I didn't feel any complications from the chemo and have felt great over the weekend. I go in today, September 2 for my second treatment and I am hoping for the same success.

I contacted the Huntsman Cancer Institute today and did an initial visit over the phone with the "new patient" account personal, Debbie. It appears it will take a few weeks to get set up and in to the Dr. there, but I am feeling like it is the best place for me to be getting my care. They have a Dr. Tricot, (Like the material), that is apparently the best Dr. in the country for treating myeloma. He just recently moved his practice to the HCI, I'm sure he did it for me! I am excited to get aquainted with him and his staff and get going on my treatment.

Today I am feeling a bit anxious. I think things are starting to settle in my brain and I just want to be done! I have never been a very patient person.

All of your prayers continue to sustain us. Thank you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The beginning

On August 27, 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Still unsure of exactly what stage of the disease I am in, we are proceeding with treatment starting today, August 29, 2008.

Last night Conrad Gottfredson (our stake president and my cousin) along with my Bishop Darren Hartvigsen came over to the house and gave me a beautiful blessing, rebuking the cancer in my body, and at the same time submitting to the Lord's will. So....if it is the Lord's will that I will be healed, I will be healed. "It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man." Psalms 118 8-9. I am very optimistic that I will spend a few more years here with my family. The journey will be hard but we will all learn and grow and be better because of what we experience.

At 10:00 am today I will begin my first IV Chemotherapy treatment (Velcade). Along with that I have a oral Chemotherapy drug (Decadron) I will be taking as well. The third drug I am taking is called Revlimid. The schedule will be over the next 21 days. I will do the IV treatment on day 1, 4, 8, and 11. The drug therapy on day 1, 8, and 15. The Revlimid I take every day for the next 14 days. At that point I'm not sure what happens.

Jeff and I are considering moving my care up to the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. Dr. Mower will be back in town on Monday and we will discuss that option with him.

Dr. Mower, the Doctor that I credit with finally making the diagnosis, told me that if there was ever a good time to have Multiple Myeloma, it is now. He said they are making great progress with the treatment and are finding great success.

I know this is going to be one of our toughest adventures yet. I know I will have hard days, and I will need every prayer that I can get. I look forward to the lessons we will all be taught, but especially to the lessons I will personally learn and the relationship I will enjoy with my Heavenly Father and his son.

I will keep you all posted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008