Sunday, March 25, 2018

Dear Kids,
         I’m typing this letter with nine fingers.  The non-participating finger is wrapped in bandages, because I accidentally slammed it in the car door Friday afternoon.  I had gone to Heber in the truck with Dad to pick up our car from L&L auto shop, because it had snapped a spring the day before.  (We had been driving down 300 East in Heber when we heard a loud bang in the car, like a cannon going off.  Luckily we were close to the garage.)  So here we were in Heber again, to pick up the repaired car, when I mashed my finger.  Blood was dripping everywhere, but the nice guy at the garage gave us paper towels and a bottle of water to clean up with.  Dad had to leave his truck at L&L, drive me home in the car and help bandage my hand, and then get Julie to drive him back to get the truck.  If this whole story sounds incoherent, it’s because my brain is fried from all the pain pills I’ve been taking.
         But on a very bright note, next weekend is conference and Easter.  Here’s the plan: After the Saturday afternoon session, so, just after 4:00, we’ll have the Easter egg hunt at John’s house.  Each family needs to bring enough eggs for their own children, but we’ll mix them all up. Then we’ll have our traditional bread and soup dinner.  If everybody brings either a soup or a bread, or rolls, we should have plenty.  Then the guys will go off to the Priesthood session at John’s stake center.  Afterwards, John is providing ice cream.
         The next day, which is both conference and Easter, we’ll be having dinner and a birthday party for Blake at Tom’s house, just after the afternoon session.  I know we usually have Sunday dinner between the two sessions, but because of the party, we’ll eat later, to give us more time.  You can call Kim for a food assignment.   I hope this is all clear.  I’m hoping to be there both days, for all the fun, but I don’t know how I’m going to feel.
         I’ll be having radiation, starting tomorrow, through Friday, and it’s a special intense “short course” radiation they’re using now for colon cancer.  I’ve heard regular radiation isn’t so bad, but I haven’t found anybody who’s been through this new kind.  I googled it, but all I found was very technical information from scholarly journals, geared towards doctors.  There were mortality statistics, but nothing about how the patient will feel.  So I’ll be finding out.  Wish me luck, and please keep praying for me!  I can feel the power of all your prayers!
          Because of all my medical troubles and pain, I’ve finally given up the piano class we’ve been doing at the Lighthouse church for 8 years now.  It was a hard decision.  I planned on just ending the class, but the other teachers (led by Sandra Rickett) said they definitely want to keep it going. They’ve put too much into it to just drop it all, and they love doing it.  I sure wish them well!   I’m not dropping my piano ladies in Heber, but I’ll have to cancel some of our classes.
          But life is good. It’s all good!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dear Kids (and anybody else who might be reading this),
         Practically everybody knows that I have colon cancer. The colonoscopy I had on Monday showed the tumor really clearly. It’s about 3 cm across and 1 cm deep, and it’s partly covering my lower sphincter, which explains a lot of the pain I’ve been having. After the cancer showed up on the colonoscopy, they had us stay at the hospital for a cat scan and an ultrasound, to get better pictures of it. If it hasn’t spread, my chances for recovery are really good. There’s a spot on my liver that might be problematic, but there are liver surgeons who go after those. So I’m really optimistic. I’ll have five days of really intense radiation, starting a week from tomorrow, and then I get a week off to recover. Then, on April 10, I’ll have surgery where they’ll take out the last few inches of my colon, and hook me up to a bag, which I’ll wear it for the rest of my life. I’m really looking forward to the change. That part of my anatomy has been giving me trouble for 33 years now, but finally I’ll be rid of it. I won’t always need to know where the nearest bathroom is. I can go backpacking in the wilderness, or stay at a primitive campground. I’ll be able to eat foods that I’ve had to avoid for the last several years--maybe even ice cream! I can barely imagine how nice that will be!
         You know how the ads on your phone always reflect what you’ve been googling? A couple of weeks ago I was getting ads for brown sandals, which I’d been looking for. Then, last week, I started getting ads for colonoscopies. (They really have ads for those!) Now I’m getting ads for lawyers who specialize in wills and estates. How creepy is that!
          But I really have a strong feeling that I’m going to survive. I don’t think my time is up yet. And it’s all in the Lord’s hands, anyway. Thank you all so much for your prayers! I can feel the power of so many good people praying for me, especially children. I think the Lord gives special attention to their prayers.
         Dad and I slept over at Nora’s house Friday night, after watching Paige in "Peter Pan." (She was a very cute fairy.) Cathy Ackerson was there! She had been to a conference in Salt Lake, related to her work with Wells Fargo. She’s just as lively and friendly as ever! We slept over in Nora’s basement, which now has carpet. Vanessa’s family was sleeping over, too, on their way to Disneyland. But there was plenty of room for all of us.
         We also got acquainted with Nora’s new lovebird, Boris. He’s still a chick, but large for his age. He has spectacular colors of green and bright blue, with peach on his throat. He knows he’s beautiful. He’s very friendly, probably because he was hand fed. I’m looking forward to playing with him a lot more, when we visit there.
          So life is still good! I love you all! Mom

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dear Kids,
         I’m uploading my Mom letter a day early this week, because Dad and I are going to swap out my desktop computer for a surplus school computer that Tom got for us, and it might take us more than a day to get everything set up again. My desktop is at least 10 years old, has only one working usb port, has trouble reading CD’s and DVD’s, and is slow to open and close its tray. The one we have from Tom isn’t new, but it’s newer than mine, and I’m sure it will work better. Besides that, we’re saving it from the crusher.
         If anybody has stopped reading my Mom letter, I don’t blame them. It’s only medical news any more. But that’s my life! I saw a proctologist ("bum doctor") on Monday, and he wasn’t very nice. He was completely unsympathetic to my problems, and didn’t seem at all concerned about my symptoms, but he scheduled me for a colonoscopy Monday morning. At least I’ll find out if there’s anything seriously wrong with me. One good thing–when I told him I could hardly stand the pain, he said he’d prescribe me "a couple" of percoset. When I groaned, he said he’d make it 40. I told him he wasn’t such a bad guy after all.
          And it’s a good thing I got loaded up on pain pills, because Wednesday morning I had to have a root canal. There was a filling Dr. Condie had done the week before, and he had warned me he’d gotten very close to the nerve, and it turned out to be too close. I thought once I had the root canal my tooth pain would be gone, but it hasn’t let up yet. It’s so bad, I hardly think about my other problems. I take the pain meds every four hours, and I’ve gotten to be like the mean old lady in "To Kill a Mockingbird," who always set her alarm for her next dose, and tried to make it through till then. I hope the tooth pain will let up before Monday, so I’ll only have to deal with the colonoscopy. Which reminds me, I have to do the colonoscopy prep Sunday afternoon and evening, so we won’t be up for visitors Sunday night. I’m sorry, because we always enjoy having you kids and our wonderful grandkids come and visit us. It’s the highlight of my week.
          I hope I can write a more pleasant letter next week. If I don’t write at all, it’s because we couldn’t get the new computer set up, or because I decided that life itself simply isn’t worth it. I hope you’re all doing better than I am.
          Love, your unhappy Mom

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Dear Kids,
         There’s a blizzard howling outside, but we’re cozy and warm. We’re happy for the snow, even though it has come really late this year. I’m not thinking about spring at all any more.
         Yesterday afternoon Dad and I went to the wedding for Scott and Stephanie’s adopted daughter, Christina. I’m sure she doesn’t even know who we are, and come to think of it, we never did greet the bride and groom, but I really wanted to see Katie, and any of my other sisters who might be there. We sat together–Dad and I, and Jane and Joe, and Nancy, and Katie. You know, how the old people sit together at weddings, on the sidelines. (Katie pointed out that we were the oldest people there.) We talked about our health problems. And there was a nice dinner. Oh, yes, and we talked to Scott and Stephanie, who I hardly would have recognized. They’ve both lost more than 100 pounds . . . Scott way more. They both look really good.
          I talked to Sharon this week, and I was wondering if Lucy is still interested in being baptized in the Provo River. Sharon said, absolutely! She’s telling all her friends she’s going to be baptized in a river. I talked to the lady who owns the property there, and she’s delighted to have us come and use her pavilion. I guess they’ve had a lot of baptisms there. I heard about one kid who had a rope tied around him so he wouldn’t be swept away, when the water was high. It won’t be high in July. Anyway, the date is July 28, in the evening, after the Allen reunion at Riverwoods Park. What a great day that will be!
         Dad and I are still keeping the doctors busy. I saw my hand doctor, but he can’t do anything to help me at this point. The places where he operated for trigger finger are still OK, so it’s other tendons farther out on my fingers that are making them lock up. It’s not bad enough yet for him to see exactly where the problems are. So I have to wait on that. Meanwhile, I have an appointment tomorrow with a "bum" doctor. I’ve had a lot of pain and bleeding, and I’m more than a little worried. I hope it won’t turn out to be anything serious.
         We think about all of you, all the time, even though we don’t talk as much as I’d like to. I hope you’re all doing great.
         Love, Mom