Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dear Kids,
        Is everybody still enjoying the craziness of the corona virus scare?  Yes, yes, I know we’re hopefully keeping the virus from spreading by our “social distancing,” and I’m very sorry about those who are sick, and for the few who have died (I know it’s more in other places) but people seem to have forgotten that this is the flu season, and that in a normal year, about 20,000 Americans die of the flu.  So far, it’s been about 1,000 from the corona virus, but I’m afraid nobody is seeing it in perspective.  Well, it will pass.  Probably sooner than we think.  I’m really grateful for the churchwide fast today, and I’m sure the fasting and prayers will help speed it on its way.  People keep warning me that I’m especially vulnerable, being older, with probably a compromised immune system, but when you already have a fatal disease, you take everything in stride. 
        On Thursday I went to the Walmart pharmacy to get the second shingles shot. After I filled out the paperwork, the pharmacist on duty said he wouldn’t give me the shot because he didn’t feel “comfortable” doing it.  I definitely wouldn’t have felt comfortable getting the shingles again, besides which, he was a health care provider denying me healthcare.  But I could see I would be wasting my breath telling him off, so I just muttered a few things and walked away.  When Dad came to the window to ask about me, the pharmacist told him to back off six feet.  We both muttered to each other about what a dork he was.  Then, the next morning, I got a call from Alexis, the main pharmacist there, and she apologized for his behavior.  She said if I wanted to come back, she would gladly give me the shot.  So I went back and got it, and they were all very nice to me.  But see what I mean about the craziness?  Common sense doesn’t always prevail.
        We’ll be having the sacrament at our house this afternoon at 3:00 again.  Anybody who wants to is welcome to join us.  Since we’re a family group, we’re exempt from the 10-person rule.  And children seem to be practically immune, so I’m sure all your kids will be OK. 
        By the way, the shingles vaccine tends to give you flu-like symptoms, which I have plenty of right now: the aching, the tiredness, the stuffiness, and the general misery.  So I might spend much of this afternoon upstairs in the recliner, but at least I can’t pass it on to any of you.  Life is still good!
        Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Dear Kids,
        You can guess how thrilled I am at the CT scan I had Friday morning.  I thought I would have to wait until Tuesday to find out the results, since that would have been  my next appointment with Dr. Lewis, but he called me Friday afternoon to tell me the good news, so I wouldn’t have to worry over the weekend.  He said, too, that they’re consulting as much as they can over the phone, to avoid office visits.  That’s fine with me!  He said he’d call back on Tuesday with more information, but from what he’d seen already, my tumors have shrunk dramatically.  The chemo is working “gangbusters,” in his words.  I know this is all a great blessing from Heavenly Father, and I’m grateful to all of you who have been praying for me!  Thanks for encouraging your children to pray for me, too.
        Today is our second Sunday with no official church meetings, and I’m starting to miss them.  We’ll be having the sacrament at our house this afternoon, probably around 2:30 or 3:00, and you’re all invited to come and worship with us.  Our meeting last Sunday was absolutely beautiful!  Thanks to Nora’s family for planning it.  Since I wasn’t feeling well, I went back upstairs right after the sacrament, while the rest of you went to “classes.”  Little did I know that the “nursery” would follow me, but Blake and Tommy joined me in my bedroom.   Since Scout and Sonia were lounging on the bed, we had a lesson about kitties. Blake asked me why kitties have hair all over, while he only has hair on the top of his head.  I didn’t have a good answer to that one.  I showed them that Scout even has hair growing out of his ears.  Blake said that he had hair in his ears when he was a kitty.  I asked him when that was, and he said “Yesterday.” (Which Tom says is his answer to everything about the past.)  Anyway, I really enjoyed teaching “nursery” for just one Sunday.
        Dad and I went back to the cabin yesterday, hoping to finish putting the bunkbeds back together.  This time we ran out of nuts, but we’re only short by three.  We can find them Tuesday when we drive down to Salt Lake.  I’m happy to say our project is moving ahead, however, and now that I’ll be feeling good for two months, we’ll finish all the main stuff.  Not that we’re stopping anybody from enjoying the cabin!  Donna’s family showed up just as we were packing up, with all their supplies and food for a couple of nights.  The magic of the cabin carries on!
        I love you all.  Thanks again for your prayers.  Mom

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dear Kids,
         What a strange and crazy time! Dad and I were shopping at the Redwood Road Walmart on Thursday, and everybody else had their carts filled with toilet paper.  I wonder if anybody has calculated how long it takes to use up that much?  A couple of years?  All I bought was the food we’re out of. 
         It’s interesting and fun to have people so concerned about the elderly.  Like Dad and me.  We've had calls from wonderful people in our ward offering to get us anything we need. With my compromised immune system, I’m probably especially susceptible to any virus.  So we’re both happy to quarantine ourselves here at home.
         Since all the Church meetings are cancelled, we’ll be having the sacrament here at our house this afternoon, around 1:30 or 2:00.  At first it was just Nora’s stake that were told they were authorized to do their own sacrament at home, but then we received an email from our Francis 2nd bishopric saying the same thing.  So we hope some of you will join us. So far it will be Nora’s family, Donna’s family, and us.  Since I’ve been doing chemo, I’ve had the sacrament brought here several times.  It has a special impact, and you really realize that the Savior did all that just for you!
         I just finished round #4 of what they call a “block” of chemo, which is four treatments over eight weeks.  I’m having a CT scan next Friday, and if it shows my tumors have slowed or stopped, (and my doctor thinks it will), then I get eight weeks off!  My doctor explained that chemo only affects fast-growing cells, so it makes sense to taper it off when the cells are dormant.  I’m all in favor of that!   I’ve heard that some people do this on-again, off-again chemo for years, and it helps them live a lot longer.  I could handle that!
         Now I know I’m an old-timer here, because I’ve joined the DUP!  They meet once a month in somebody’s house and share pioneer stories.  All my best friends in the ward are in it, including my ministering sisters and the sisters I minister to.  Some of us are even under 100 years old.  I ride in a carpool with all the oldest ladies and invalids, and we have a younger driver.  It’s lots of fun.
         I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it in this crazy time!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Dear Kids,
         Dad and John went back to California to buy the glider they looked at several weeks ago, but they aren’t home yet.   You can’t travel as fast towing a glider as you could otherwise, so they spent last night at the Comfort Inn in St. George.  I expect Dad home around noon today. 
         Last night, I set ahead 22 of the 23 clocks in our house, but I couldn’t figure out the one on the microwave.  Dad can take care it this afternoon.  There’s also one in the garage which is still on daylight-saving time from last summer, and the two that I hang in the windows when I’m working in the yard.  Maybe we have too many clocks.  I’m now in favor of year-round daylight savings time.
         Monday afternoon we drove to Layton to see the wondrous Chloe Ruth Ackerson.  She really is a darling!  Her hair is sort of reddish, but her eyebrows look very white.  Thank goodness for microblading!  She seemed like a featherweight when I picked her up.  It was strange, and very nice, to hold a baby granddaughter again!
         Jana McGettigan was here keeping me company from Friday morning to yesterday afternoon, and we had a lot of fun.  We talked and watched movies and ate our own special foods.  (She brought her own.)  Sonia spent a lot of time trying to get Jana’s attention, and ignoring me.  Scout curled up next to Jana on the couch and looked very happy.  We were sorry when Jana had to go home, but she promised to come back soon.
         Conference is coming up fast--just a month away.  It’s supposed to be a special commemoration of the first vision, since it’s been 200 years now.  Evidently the Saturday night session is for both men and women, but I’m not sure about kids.  (Somebody can refresh my memory.)  We’ll have our usual Saturday night supper of soup and bread here, like always, and ice cream afterwards.  It’ll be fun, like always.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Dear Kids,
         Welcome to the world, Chloe Ruth Ackerson, born Friday, February 28, to Stefanie and Paul!  Stephanie was scheduled to be induced at 8 am that morning, but Chloe had her own timetable, and was well on her way when they got to the hospital.  She emerged at 8:58 am, weighing 7lbs. 15oz.  Those of you who have seen the picture know she has cute little plump cheeks.  Lynette Rieben says Stefanie looked exactly like that when she was born.  Dad and I haven’t seen her yet, because she was born exactly on my “bad” chemo day, but we’re driving out to Layton later today to visit her. We’re very happy that everything worked out so well!
         Bonnie has scheduled the biannual Allen family reunion for Saturday, August 8, at the same park as always, Riverwoods.  We only hold it every other year now, but we can’t drop it altogether, because Bonnie promised Grandma Allen on her deathbed that she’d keep it going.  Anyway, it’s always lots of fun to see who’s there, and how far some of the family have come.  Oh, by the way, Chloe is #281 of Grandma and Grandpa Allen’s posterity, counting those who have married in, like Dad.
         Our own Ackerson family reunion will be July 30-August 2 at the chalet in Midway.  Tom is in charge.  The first Allen family reunion held there was in 1981, when I was expecting Donna, so the Chalet goes way back with our family.  My Grandma and Grandpa Murphy came to that first one.  Grandma Allen had reserved a cottage for them at the Homestead, and we drove them back and forth.  Grandpa Murphy died just a few months later, so we were glad we had that time with him.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to our reunion this year.  They’ve all been great!  You kids are so adventurous!  When I tell people about our reunions, and I mention that we always camp, they are flabbergasted.  But camping has made it fun and affordable for everybody.  I’m glad there are no sissies in our family.
         I’ve been experimenting with the eyelash-growing drops that Nora uses.  Maybe some of you have noticed her lashes!  I thought they were fake, but she said she’s been using glaucoma drops, and she gets the stuff from India for $13 a bottle.  John said he could write prescriptions for it, and he sent one in to Walmart for me, but the co-pay was $300-something dollars.  So I bought it from Nora.  I haven’t noticed much change in my lashes in the last 2 weeks, so I think my chemo is fighting them.  Anyway, it’s fun to try.
         Life is good!  Love, Mom