Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scan Results

Becky again.... these are Tara's words from facebook - it's easier for her to post on facebook, I'm guessing.

Well it has been 11 months since my last scan...today we heard two of our favorite words..."no change"  I decided to stare at my little Addie instead of the brain scan...I wish I had her for all the other scans...I have less anxiety looking at her than at the scans! Happy day 

Becky here.... I did calm down after my brave break when I vented to all of you; and I credit my calming down due to a blessing I received from my brother who is staying here.  As I was completely losing it; the thought kept coming to me, "you could ask Ron for a blessing."  But I disregarded it telling myself I have cried and cried  before and faced hard things and I could do it again; but I finally listened to the thought and I'm so glad I did.  Suffice it to say, I felt the Lord's love for myself and Tara (again) and I was able to calm down and face the scan calmly with Tara.  Tara didn't seem too rattled and I was so glad.  Thank heavens for little Adelyn to be a wonderful distraction.

I can't say enough thanks for all the prayers and support sent our way.  One other little hopeful piece  - Shapiro said since we made it 11 months without a scan we can now wait for 3 months before our next one.  That is great news in the GBM world.  So, now only 4 times a year will we go through this stress.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scan day

Becky again....

I am sitting here uncontrollaby crying for no really good reason.  I am mostly crying because I am so touched by the support from all of you.  I went on facebook and saw how many people are praying for sweet Tara today.  I just don't know how we could make it through this without prayer.  So, why am I crying??  Is it because I've already been up since 4:30 and am overly tired?  No, I think the reason I can't stop is because my sweet daughter has to face the brain world again today and she is scared.  I don't like her to have to face this.  I don't want to face it, either.  It's been a nice long break without scans but face it we must.  And we can only do it with the support of the Lord and our friends and family.  I just wish that all she had to face every day was the beautiful face of her little daughter and the love of her husband.  I don't want this to be part of her life.  I know we are likely better people because of it; but this just stinks sometimes. So, I am crying and crying and taking my "brave break" now so I won't do it when I'm with Tara.  Thanks for letting me vent and keep those prayers coming.

Love you all

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pictures of Adelyn!!!

Becky here..... it's a little hard for Tara to post pictures with one hand.... so I'm helping her out and getting some cute pictures on the blog.

There is nothing in the world so miraculous as a baby; and watching Tara, Josh, and little Adelyn together is the MOST heart-warming thing in the whole world!!!  Such a miracle and blessing!  I love this little girl so much!  This is the best!  Now I have 3 grandchildren here to enjoy; and 3 more on the way!  Aaahhhh life is beautiful.  We are so blessed.  Please pray for us as Tara faces the scan / brain world again this week. She has been having headaches but we are blaming them on lack of sleep and hormones.  She does seem to be getting better as the days pass and is recovering from childbirth.  Feeding little Adelyn takes all her time, and as new mothers know, getting anything else other than caring for a baby done during the day is a bonus.  A shower is a bonus, a walk, or any picking up in the house!  I love watching Tara experience the NORMAL things about life - all these experiences with the baby are treasured moments for sure!  We love you all and appreciate your support!




Thursday, December 19, 2013

Adelyn Mae Bodrero

December 18, 2013 8 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 inches. I love my baby girl. I lost a ton of blood and had an infection so we will be here a few extra days but all will be just fine. She is amazing and a total daddy's girl. It doesn't bug Josh at all and he is an amazing Dad to our little Addie Mae. All our pictures are on the camera so we will have to wait until we get home to post them here. She is a beautiful chunky baby with a lot of dark hair.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

She is on her way!!!!!

We got to the hospital late last night and she will be here within a few hours!!!! Pray for a smooth delivery:)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ready to Pop!

Okay our baby girl is due in 6 days...I was ready 6 days ago....I think! :) Ha, will I ever be ready? I know I am ready to attempt to see my toes again! Luckily I have been able to sleep like a rock the past week or so...I have heard it may be my last chance! Every time I kiss Josh off to work in the morning or walk out my door I wonder, "Is this the last time?" When will she be here? The anticipation and suspense is driving me, and everyone around me (because it is all I talk about) crazy! Every time I see my mom she gets a giddy smile on her face when she stares at my monstrous belly! I look down and giggle a happy and scared giggle... ummm how is this supposed to work? How is this 7+ pound beauty supposed to make her way out? Yes, another reason I am anxious to party started? If she really is supposed to gain half a pound a week, we have problems... she was measured last time at 7 pounds, 6 ounces... it has been well over a week since then... I think 8 pounds sounds big enough... let's go!!

This is Nate, my "little big" and I at his eagle a few weeks ago. I have since discovered about 5 new stretch marks which leads me to believe I am a wee bit bigger today... My belly is bigger than your belly little bug!

Ha someone asked me other day when I was due and when I told them the 19th they asked, "What month?" You have got to be kidding me!!! This month :) 


We are so excited to become a happy family of 3 but she needs to wait until her Uncle Nate Bug and Grandpa Scott get home from Canada... hurry home guys!!! I am having another contraction! 

Never been so happy to have pain in my life...it means she is on her way!



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grandma!!!

Becky here....

Just had to share some of my joy as well.... Tara's last post was tough for me.  A few weeks ago she spoke at the ASU institute and she chided me on my "faith" and told me my faith cannot be based on how long she lives and that she might not live as long as I want her to.  I don't like the fact that those thoughts run around in my precious daughter's head.  So, I changed my wording to more appropriately reflect "hope" - really I believe my faith is rooted in Christ, no matter what happens.  BUT, that doesn't mean that I cannot HOPE and PRAY every single day that my daughter's life is spared. (which I DO).  But, on to happier thoughts.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe I'm not dreaming.  I tear up regularly when I look at Tara's large stomach.  It's unbelievable to me.  Awhile ago I was privileged to accompany Tara to an ultrasound.  It was such a surreal feeling to be looking at pictures of 4 chambers of a heart with a little tiny heartbeat going strong, a spine with NO defects or breaks in it (which they are watching because of the seizure meds) AND a little tiny face with Josh's lips!!  Unbelievable how the 3D images are so much clearer than the old ultrasounds.  I teared up 3 times during the ultrasound and I just can't get enough of watching this whole pregnancy unfold.  I have to admit it was a little strange to be looking at an ultrasound instead of an MRI of the brain.  Much nicer!  Speaking of which; the doctor asked us if we were going to see Shapiro - we have taken a 6 month break from scans and it's been pretty nice.  We entered the pregnancy world and are trying to forget about the brain tumor world.  I felt the baby kick a few days ago.  happy happy times!

Another blessing has happened as well - Rachel is pregnant also!  I never dreamed the girls would both be pregnant at the same time.  Actually, I dreamed about it; but just didn't ever think it would be a reality.  I cried about the fact that they probably wouldn't have babies together more than I dreamed about it happening.  Rachel and Tara have flipped roles - it is SOOO weird!  Everyone asks me how Tara is doing with her pregnancy - and my reply is this, "she's doing soo much better than Rachel!"  Tara eats and is hungry all the time.  It's completely amazing after years of having not much of an appetite to watch her enjoy eating again.  She's putting on weight and looking like a normal pregnant woman.  (she has to post pictures, she won't let me:)  On the other hand, Rachel has always LOVED food and could outeat most of us; but now she picks at her food and has nausea way too often. She's 20 weeks + and has lost 9 pounds and doesn't look at bit pregnant.  It's sad.  We spent the weekend with she and Nathan last weekend for the spectacular Albuquerque balloon fiesta, and it was hard for me to leave knowing I can't really cook for her or help her through this at all.  I did try to make up for lost time while I was there and fill her fridge and make a few meals; but that will be gone soon.  Oh, the joys of pregnancy!  Thankfully she has a very attentive and empathetic husband who also COOKS!


And, we are still enjoying our Tuesdays and Tara is really starting to act more and more normal and is starting to get as hooked on quilting as I am:)  She's in nesting and project mode.  Yesterday our Tuesday was spent looking at her very cute little apartment.  She is really getting ready for the baby and it's so fun to see.  The little blessing dress she wore is displayed and the bassinet is in the bedroom. the rocker is ready and waiting.  She's planning and preparing and LIVING LIFE.  Then on to the granite stores to weigh in on Steph's countertop decision:)  Tuesdays are like my weekend:) I look forward to them so much - Tara, and often, Stephanie and Katelyn come over.  It's the BEST.  I prefer these kind of Tuesdays to the Tuesdays at St. Joe's; although Dr. Smith is truly a wonderful man, I don't miss the necessity of our past Tuesday dates.  And we are on to a baby shower soon as well!  So much fun!!!

Enough said.... on to preparing for Christmas because that has to be done EARLY this year; which isn't usually the case for me:)  Thanks sooo much for all your love and prayers!  You people are all the best!  I have people regularly tell me they still pray for Tara every day - well, she's here and we are sooo very thankful for your prayers!!! They lift us up.

Friday, October 4, 2013

“You know, I really did not think I was going to make it this long”
“I did not either”
“I thought I would be gone within three years for sure”
“Me too”
“Then why did you marry me…forever?”
“Because knowing I would have some time as your husband is better than no time.”

Last week we went to a friend’s and this was part of our conversation while we danced. I cannot get it out of my head. I honestly thought I would be lucky to make it through treatment and now today, I sit here 30 weeks pregnant with a baby they told me I would never have. I am overcome with awe when I look at my life. I think of all the things I have done, and I am so glad I was wrong about my timeline. I am overcome with the love my husband had and has for me and am grateful for the love we already have for our baby girl.

While dancing in Josh’s arms I had a flash back to all the initial fear of not having forever with him and not having long in this life with my family.  

There have been many times the past 30 weeks (I blame the hormones) that I have cried out of pure joy and unbelief. I cannot believe that this is my life…I am so happy. Josh asks if I am okay then smiles when I tell him, “I am just so happy”. I love being so happy. I love being loved, I love being alive, I love our friends and families, and I love our future family. I cannot believe this is my life!

I am alive
I am pregnant
I am in love
I am happy

--never thought I would have all this
--I don’t need anything more


-Tara & Adelyn Mae

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Anonymous from the Czech Republic...

Please email me at tarabodrero@gmail.com

I would love to hear more of your story! Congratulations on your preganancy! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Baby Girl

Well if you have not heard by now...
Joshua and I are having a GIRL!!!


We went in with our guesses. I thought she was a girl and Josh chose boy to to have an opposing guess... One of us was bound to be right and as usual...I was right! She was exercising her long Bodrero legs and sucking her thumb :) She was moving so much, the tech had to keep chasing her around and she kept her legs crossed until I emptied my bladder...then we got a good shot...clearly a girl! :) 

I wanted to tell the grandparents-to-be together and since they live within minutes of each other we had a little get together and I brought the treat. My mom could not wait to get to the center...it was quite a scene..people ripping open the cakes to get to the middle! 

I can not wait to meet our little girl. We did not have any boy names that we liked so I always joked that it needed to be a girl for that reason alone :) 


I am growing like crazy now and have fully embraced the paneled pants. I often question why I did not find these many Thanksgivings ago...they are so nice! I will have to keep a pair out for "special" times in the future when I am not pregnant but eat until I look like I am.:) 


I am 23 weeks now and she is kicking like crazy! My favorite is when she kicks so hard you can see it from the outside! 

Life is grand here in the ridiculously hot Mesa, AZ! 

______________________________________________________


quick update from appointment yesterday...

I gained 9 pounds...you should have seen the doctors face... :) I did not gain any weight the first trimester and they actually encouraged me to try to make sure I was gaining weight...well...I blew up real fast! She told me not to come in every time with a 9 pound weight gain :) I tried on a skirt that I thought might work for work today...I had about 4 inches space...not even close! I guess I really am stuck with the stretchy skirt Josh bought me and my panel pants!! :) 

Well lunch break is over again! Sending love from WealthPlan Advisers 

Tara + Baby Girl



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dearest Blog.

It is lunch time again at work…the day is half over! The baby was craving something more than a pb&j so I found myself at Sprouts! I was in the car, in and out of sprouts, and back to my lovely desk within 8 minutes… RECORD (and not a single missed call) Now I sit happily with my turkey & avocado sandwich with a wallet much happier than if I had gone to Paradise across the street. I am the only one in the office right now…my typing never seemed so loud. The market is closed so everyone took off after 11 but conveniently dad and I did not get the message…J I guess it is a good thing because I will be gone so much this next month on vacation. I am hoping being on vacation makes this month pass faster.

It seems like most of this year has been full of count-downs.
Count down to when Josh takes the MCAT (ridiculously long count down)
Count down to when we got his score back –one month has never seemed so long in my life. I swear going through radiation went faster than waiting for his score.
Count down to Pharm Tech certification (eh not too bad) followed by a count down to receiving scores.   
Count down to Josh’s first day at work
Count down to Telluride
Now for the count down of all count downs… baby gender day!!! (22 days)
After that count down to med school application/ interview/acceptance time
Finally we end the year with…BABY!!!!

Josh and I get to see Baby B on July 25! I am about 15 weeks pregnant and my pants are definitely not fitting like they are supposed to. I thought you were not supposed to show as soon with your first and what’s with this whole hip thing I got going on? I did not gain a single pound my first trimester and the doctor said not to worry…the pounds will come…he was right! 2 weeks later…about 8 pounds heavier but not in my belly…ummm I thought this was supposed to be a gradual weight gain thing… I think I got a little happy my appetite was back and got to know the dinner potatoes too well! There is no way that little avocado in me weighs that much! :)
I am off to girls’ camp tomorrow, leaving Josh to fend for himself this 4th of July. Hopefully someone will feed him a burger (then I know he will be fine).
Well my sandwich is gone which means my lunch break is too.

I’ll take good pictures at Girls Camp!

-love Tara & Baby B. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Here are some random facebook posts from Tara - I know many of you don't "do" facebook; so I cut and pasted them here:)  It is indescribable to describe the joy that comes from watching Tara be so happy about this baby and knowing there is LIFE inside her!!!  So, here's the posts:)
 
"My life changed 3 years ago today when I met my Glioblastoma. I have spent this May 14th bring grateful for my life, my testimony, my family, my friends, and our little miracle baby. " (from Becky - we celebrated life and had a surprise party here for Tara - she and I will NEVER ever forget May 14th)

 
(Last week we spent some time again in the hospital - after watching Tara suffer all this pain, I am quite sure having a baby will be a CAKEWALK!)
 
"So instead of seeing our baby yesterday I spent the past two days in the hospital... They are not sure what is wrong with me... They took an ultrasound in the ER but did not let josh or I see anything... Luckily we had a nice nurse who found a way to get the pictures on a cd for us... They said the baby is fine but I just have problems. We ruled out kidney stones, gallbladder, and appendix. What else could be so painful is causes vomiting? I know pain and this is at the top of the list... Morphine was not strong enough...
 I am sorry I never updated my status...I think I left a few people thinking I was still in pain in the hospital.... I have not taken pain meds since Sunday and am perfectly stable right now. We still have no idea what went on but I will see the doc again today and hopefully learn something! I went Monday and was able to see the baby! It was moving around like crazy but we still got a few pictures!"
 
 
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Miracle within a Miracle "Poppy"

So I have made it very clear and still firmly believe that `my life is a miracle and love labeling myself as a "miracle"! I do not know how anyone could argue against me! :) I am a walking talking miracle.

This last week I have been able to be a part of yet another miracle. Josh and I have once again beat all odds, picked the one wild card in the bunch, thrown the doctors for a loop, etc! Usually my wild card is cancer, kidney stones, staff infections, near blind eye sight...you get the picture! Fortunately, this wild card has reason to celebrate.  Josh and I are expecting a baby due late December!!!!! My eggs!!! My body!!! wow this was the biggest surprise I have ever had. Not only were my eggs supposed to die from Chemo, but we were also on birth control trying "NOT" to get pregnant! I guess my body really wanted to have a baby, or the Lord did and blessed us with a miracle. I call her my little "poppy" because she is barely bigger than a poppy seed. I do not believe in coincidences, rather God putting his hand in your life.

With that said, I believe it is no coincidence Josh's grandparents came into town and we got on the subject of child birth, then with child birth on his mind, Josh decided to learn what all the symptoms of pregnancy were. Of course I had many of the symptoms such as dizziness, sick stomach and extreme fatigue but I pushed it out of my mind because I have had all those symptoms constantly for the last three years with no baby to show for it! I was 90% sure I was not pregnant when I took the test. I am so glad I was wrong and my Joshua was right! I took a pregnancy test and my heart sunk to a place in my stomach it had never been before. Neither of us said a word for a few seconds in complete shock. We had read the instructions and followed them to a T and we went over, more than once, what the positive lines were, and what the negative were. We let that little puppy sit for two whole minutes then panic struck. Yes, being pregnant would be the greatest thing in the world! In fact, I want nothing more than to be a wife AND a mother but we were on birth control for a very serious reason. My medications I have to take harm the baby and do not allow the brain and spine to form properly. Thoughts raced through my mind and a million miles per hour. "Tara, what have you done! Have you killed a child? Why are you pregnant? Will they make you choose between your life and your child? Will your child be motherless? Will your baby die? You have ruined a life!" I had to keep holding back my tears, I felt so guilty. I mostly repeated, "Joshua, what have we done?" I quickly called my sister-in-law who has had experience with pregnancy tests to gather all the information she had while Josh searched every website about the accuracy of test and how accurate this specific test was. He learned it was actually recommended because of accuracy and I learned that if the tests are wrong, it is because they show a false negative, not a false positive. Now time to figure out how long! My sister-in-law and have close cycles so I found out how close I was to my next cycle...we approximated 4 days. This test could be real!

We freaked out and I had nothing but fear and guilt in my heart until Josh smiled at me on the way to my parents for dinner. That smile is magical and somehow took all my fears away and made me feel like everything was going to be okay. I learned that with God, all things are possible, and with my Joshua, all things will be okay. The peace and love he gives me from one simple pure smile is indescribable.

The rest of the night was enjoyable and nerve racking. Enjoyable because my oldest brother already knew and he came in the door with a smile and little side comments that through my mom for a spin. He kept asking me if I felt sick and we talked about having a 2 bedroom instead of one, we would walk by each other and stick our stomachs out as far as we could. I knew I had to tell my mom and dad before the next day ( I had already called Terry and scheduled a time to get my blood drawn) I needed to drop a bomb on them...but not the usual ("Hey I know you are in Missouri on a business trip but I am having surgery Monday...hope you can make it") blast.  I knew this was going to make my mom fall to the ground! There were just a few problems I needed to work around. My cousin showed up for dinner, my best friend was there, an investigator was there, the missionaries were there and my dad and brother had home teaching and a very inconvenient time! I got the cousin and best friend out of the house with a singles fireside but had no idea how I was going to work around the missionary lessons which were immediately followed by Dad and Nate.

I finally decided to have Nate interrupt the lessons for 1 minute. I insisted that both parents were there!  When they got to the bottom of the stairs I knew it was time. " Mom, Dad, I just wanted to let you know that I am scheduled to have a blood test tomorrow, I think I am pregnant." Boom! The bomb was dropped and my mother slid to the floor with her hand over her heart and tears in her eyes while my father moved his way over to kiss my cheek with his "I love you smile". Of course the first question was, have you been taking your folic acid? Folic acid is what we call my defense against my seizure drugs. The drugs increase risk of de-formalities in the brain and spine and folic acid supplements are supposed to help. I had to tell her the truth that I had not...we were trying not to get pregnant...so i was not too worried. That night our hearts were  filled with surprise, happiness, and fear... I think I slept a grand total of 4 hours!










Monday = blood day. 10:45 could not come soon enough. I left 30 minutes early for the lab 3.5 minutes drive to the lab just because I could not sit at work any longer and I had the doctor STAT the order so I did not have to go though another sleepless night. Four seriously seriously seriously long hours passed before Dr. Tutt called to confirm that I was indeed pregnant! The whole office soon found out whether they wanted to or not because of the screaming and crying that came from my mom! :) I then went to interrupt Dad's meeting to tell him grand baby # 3 was on her way! Our little angel is the size of a poppy seed. We have decided it's a girl until we are told otherwise! :) We are happy to meet our baby poppy end of this year!!!













Okay, I wrote that about a week ago and I wanted to update just a bit. Our poppy is now a blueberry. I was referred to a high risk set of doctors to help with my baby care! I know have a team of 4 doctors to add to my others! I saw the baby's heart flutter yesterday and learned all about the risks that go along with my medications. My baby is exactly 7 weeks old today and our official due date is Dec 28, 2013! I will deliver at St. Joes Hospital! All my doctors and nurses can come see me for a reason other than brain surgery!!!! They will have to travel to an unfamiliar wing to see our new little family of 3!!!!! I am so excited.

Our risks are actually lower than we thought but we appreciate all prayers still...I feel like I never stop asking for them! :) We have a less than 10%  chance of problems because of the meds...those are odds we can surely beat!

I am taking my gummy vitamins and poppy does not make me too sick...just very dizzy and tired...but what else is new? I am just extra tired on top of my extra tiredness :)

We have another an ultra sound in three weeks! My mother could not believe the technology they have now and how early they can see the baby!

This is real! It's happening!

Don't tell me I will not be a mother... Imma be the best mommy ever!

BEST MOTHERS DAY GIFT EVER!!!!!

My favorite Meds by far!! :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Greatest Gift

Becky again...


I just had to post some pictures of our recent trip to Hawaii.  Tara, Josh, Nathan, Scott & I went to Hawaii for spring break. I managed to be lucky enough to be at the beach 2 years in a row for my birthday!  BUT, the greatest gift of all was watching Tara & Josh enjoy themselves immensely and especially watching Tara actively participate in all the activities.  I was completely thrilled all week long.  Here are some pictures:




This was a highlight of the trip - an 8 mile hike!  Tara hiked ALL 8 miles!!!  The views were spectacular and the best part is that she made it!  She told me after the hike that she has been hesitant about doing "physical things" like running the bases for women's softball or exercising; because she didn't think she could do it; but after this hike, she believes she can DO things now!  Yea!!!  To me, hiking this far is miraculous after what she's been through.  We gave Tara the option of staying at the beach only 2 miles in; but she hiked on to the waterfall the extra 2 miles.  So it was 4 miles in; 4 miles back.  She was awesome!!!  And she wasn't any more sore than the rest of us after the hike.  The only not sore hikers were Nate, his friend and his friend's parents who were with us.  They are marathon runners and were not sore; but the rest of us felt it.


I loved the big patches of bamboo on the way to the waterfall




This was at the END of the hike!  She doesn't even look wiped out!


 The first evening there; Tara went to the beach and wasn't planning on getting IN the water; but couldn't resist.  She got in, splashed around in the waves, shreiking and laughing the whole time.  She got her head wet (a huge deal for Tara) and then laughed and yelled, "I feel sooo free!"  My head is fine and I got it wet!  Tara is truly ready to move on beyond her GBM and she wants to forget it all happened and she wants me to treat her normal.  (can I ever forget and really do that??)


A pretty cave - either Pirates or Raiders of the Lost Ark had a scene filmed here.




We walked around the Grand Hyatt  - it was amazingly beautiful and we dreamed of staying there; pretending we were rich and famous, but we don't need a Hyatt because we have really generous friends who wanted Tara to stay in their roomy house on the golf course 1 mile from Poipu Beach!  Thank you generous friends!!! They made the trip much more possible and affordable.


One of Tara's highlights (the other was the hike) was a boat trip we took around the Na Pali coast.  She and Josh just delighted in this whole adventure.  They played "Titanic" on the bow and generally had a marvelous time.  The scenery was beautiful and completely amazing!  We saw whales as well; which was an added bonus!  She was smiling for hours on end during this trip. I was the only one not smiling as I was the one seasick halfway through the trip.  Tara tried to offer me food or ask me if I wanted anything; and it was my turn to be disgusted by food - the smell of food just sent me sick again.  So, I got a tiny picture of what it was like for Tara for so very many days to not want food and be nauseated.  I was so glad she felt amazing during this whole adventure!

So, here's to living LIFE!!! I could not have asked for a greater gift than watching Tara LIVE.  She did have a little seizure scare; but warded it off and she was fine.  Tara said she feels pressure because I'm so happy when she's happy.  I told her that I am happy all the time; but I just stand in awe when she feels good - I'm still not used to it yet; and I will NEVER take it for granted.  Not one moment of life ever again will be under appreciated!  ( at least I hope so!!!)

I think that's why she's been so absent from the blog - she wants to put all this cancer stuff behind her and be normal.  She even made her own chicken noodle soup yesterday for her lunches this week!  Woo hoo!!  

Love you all..... thanks for caring, praying, loving Tara, and being there for us!!





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

There is Sunshine in my Soul Today

Becky here....

To echo the words of a hymn I love, "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today".  I just had to write about my happy, normal few hours with Tara.

Tara is now off on Tuesdays, and often we have tried to get together and work on projects or cook, or other things for a few hours in the afternoon before Tara teaches piano at 2:45.  Many times Stephanie and baby Katelyn have been able to join us, which is an extra treat and she and Tara have been working on Christmas tree skirts together.  Anyway, last night on my calendar, Tara put a recurring event, "Play with Tara!" and it NEVER has an end date.  She meant to put 12 pm; but put 12 am which was a little funny.  That event totally made me smile so big!  Do you know how many Tuesdays that Tara spent sick???  At doctor's?? So many that I told her today (when I was so happy) that I'm just not used to having these hours of "good time" with Tara yet - the newness hasn't worn off.  It was 2 1/2 years on and off of being sick, so the good times are still a novelty.  I still relish them and appreciate every minute of them.  I hope I always will.  So, today wasn't exactly a huge deal to most people, we put together a small little box for Jerod for Valentine's Day, mailed it, went to visit Stephanie and Brigham and deliver some little Valentine's gifts for him, then went grocery shopping, and got dinner ready for "my Joshua".  And at the end for just a few 15 minutes, she actually sewed and acted like she wanted to!  Maybe that was just for my benefit:)  Trying to finish that crazy tree skirt!  Here's another rare event - Tara handled cooked chicken and was successful at shredding it.  It's been a long time since she could smell or cook meat - and it was still a little weird for her, but she did it!  She now cooks meals for herself and Josh now and then; which is a big step in the prolonged chemotherapy / treatment world!  Maybe next week we can actually make bread!:)  Sunday at church someone told me they saw Tara roller blading!  Woo hoo!!  Tara did say that she got tired and had to hang on to Josh to finish; but hey, she was roller blading!  The more and more I am around, the more and more I realize Tara is a walking miracle and I am thankful every single day for that.

The past 2 months most Tuesdays have been spent driving to an acupuncturist's office and back - it's usually about a 2 1/2 hour deal.  We went because of the pain in Tara's legs which was due to chemotherapy and those IV antibiotics.  Anyway, our Dr. Luo told us that he couldn't guarantee that he could help Tara with her leg pain because he has better success when someone comes in closer to the finish of their chemotherapy, and it had been almost a year since Tara finished her chemo.  I appreciated his honesty - he is an internist as well as acupuncture, which I like very much.  Anyway, we decided to give it a try anyway and proceeded through the 10 treatments.  I emailed some family members and asked them to pray that Tara's body would be receptive to the treatments.  Tara started keeping track for the Dr how often her legs hurt and she observed that they hurt daily; many times they hurt so badly she couldn't sit down and she would have to move around, rub them, or whatever and still the pain would be there.  We were afraid she would have to live with leg pain the rest of her life - (her father in law who went through chemo years ago deals with it always as well).  Anyway, at about treatment #5, Tara said her legs only hurt 2 times in the past 5 days, and then by the end of the treatments, there was only one spot on her heal that wasn't responding, so he did 2 more treatments and SHE'S ALL BETTER!!! Unbelievable!  I guess there's a reason Chinese acupuncture has been around for thousands of years.  Dr. Luo said he would never not do chemo and radiation; but acupuncture has its place for some things - it helped Tara!  So, hooray for no more leg pain!  Anyway, we don't spend Tuesdays going there, either, so we're a little free.  I say little because there is always that scan ever coming, ever reminding us that we live in a brain tumor world.  Tara did have another seizure which is troublesome - probably because she had the flu and was dehydrated, then had a seizure.  So, NO MORE FLU!  So, that totals 3 seizures in a 12 month period which means a little more seizure medicine and a little more tiredness.  So, now the only residual effect of Tara's treatment is her stomach hurts often; but it doesn't stop her and she will eat and has actually gained weight which is awesome!

It's been a rather heavy 2 months in the brain tumor world and it was nice to try to enjoy the sunshine today. Our hearts have been pretty heavy.  Our GBM friend, David Baker passed away 2 weeks ago and Tara just had to go to CA for the funeral.  He was an amazing man and the funeral was a spiritual experience. Tara thought she might regret it someday if she didn't go.  My heart breaks for that family who has to live on without him.  Life just isn't fair; but I guess that's what we signed up for just by living in this world.  He was taken home early in my not so humble opinion and he will be greatly missed. Also, since December 22nd our friend, Chuck Buckhannon has not been the same and that's really hard as well.  He has been in the hospital since the 22nd; but did come home finally last week; but he hasn't recovered yet from a stroke he had while in the hospital, so life is tough at that house as well.  Our hearts hurt for all of them!!

I will try to post pictures later..... love you all!  Enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Scan update/Chuck Buckhannon/David Baker/could my life possibly be normal?


Well I think…I know it has been too long since I have been here! I am not sure why I took such a big break…I think part of me was enjoying never having to update people because I was always doing so well…there was no bad news to explain or complicated surgeries/meds we were dealing with. I was just loving being normal…well normal enough for me.

Today I write to report that my scan yesterday went well…tumor has not changed but we found a “ditzel” in there. A “ditzel” is not a medical term it is just what Shapiro used to tell us that there is something in there that is a little odd. He said it is a vein, scar tissue, or tumor but he is doubtful it is tumor because tumors grow in a circular shape usually and this is oblong… So we are not too worried and we are just going to watch it…what else can you do? I count it as a good report! J

Yesterday when I walked into the MRI place who did I see sitting waiting for their MRI?? My neighbor! Four doors down lives my neighbor/home teacher and he was scheduled for an 11:30 MRI and we ended up lying in machines in neighboring rooms. I would much rather stay neighbors in our neighborhood rather than MRI machines! Then we both went over to our Neuro Oncologist's office…yes we share the same oncologist…sad if you ask me.

I have heard there are many who still keep people like me in their prayers and I am humbled by your long term love and support. Please include Chuck Buckhannon in your prayers as well. We are tumor buddies and he needs your prayers.

Another tumor buddy I have met is David Baker. He lives in California but has many relatives that live close to me so I have been lucky enough to spend some time with him. David is a fellow GBM tumor buddy. He was diagnosed 2 years after me and is on the same treatment cycle for the most part. Meeting David Baker will be a memory I will never forget. I was able to sit there and talk to a man who was walking what I have walked and who also shares my beliefs. I loved sitting and talking to him about everything and I learned so much about me and about who I want to be from talking to him.  At first I was a little nervous to talk to him because he was so much older than I was…I was thinking that we would not have much to talk about and it could be awkward…. 2 hours later we were still talking to him and his family and invited to their house for Thanksgiving…and then of course we were there the next day for a few hours…needless to say there was not a moment of awkwardness!

It is amazing how fast you feel connected to people who are traveling your same road.

David Baker needs your prayers as well…I am going to make your list so long!!! J We can all just be the Brain Tumor Group!

So a lot has happened in the last 6 months and I will share pictures of my long beautiful (well long for me! J) hair and all our other adventures that include me being so normal people would never guess I am part of the Brain Tumor Group!

I have started playing the piano again and typing will surely help the agility in my left hand continue to improve so I guess it is time to start up the blog again but this time I want to only report how amazingly normal enough my life is.

I do not have any pictures on my computer so I will have to add a few the next time I write…and it will not be 6 months away!!

Love,

Me

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scan Today

So, I am cheating and I know many of you do not do "facebook"; but you check the blog; so I cut and pasted some of Tara's posts on facebook here so you can hear from her in person instead of me just telling you about Tara's life.  So, here's a few of her words:

"So I went in for my scan today only to see my neighbor waiting for his scan! At 1130 both Chuck Buckhannon and I went back to have our brains scanned and then walked over to visit our Neuro oncologist...crazy! Sad that two people four doors down have the same oncologist :-( love you Chuck Buckhannon you are always in our prayers.

Results of my scan were no change on the actual tumor but I have a "ditzel" there...just a little something that could be a vein, scar tissue or tumor but he said tumors don't grow in the same shape and he is not worried we are just going to watch it."

(This was last week)  "Imma seizure girl! Yesterday at Zupas everyone was lucky enough to see me seizing which included hitting everything in reach...including myself. The scene got better when I tried to stand and my favorite left leg would not work so to the ground I go. Thankfully there was a nice strong man who managed to get me into the car and safely buckled. My seizure did not stop while in the car so the man in the car next to us at a red light had quite a show as I hit my mom over and over and then after that went straight to the window and my own face. I hit my hand so hard one time I started to cry but then looked over at my mom and she started laughing!! Seriously? She told me she had to either cry or laugh so she laughed and then I began laughing...the poor people in that car next to us thought we were crazy for hitting things and laughing. We made it to the hospital and as soon as my arm settled down from the meds I fixed my moms crazy hair (my arm kept hitting her hair and her head) and made sure she had no bruises from my little attack! Memories made and lessons learned. I'd rather laugh than cry!
  
(Becky.... .yes, I was scared and wanted to cry - we had been 11 months without a seizure and this one was a big bad scary one.  I hadn't seen it this bad before, but Tara recovered and seems to be okay now - but it does take awhile to recover.  Sometime the week before the seizure; Tara actually played the piano for an hour!  I couldn't believe it and her left hand was working admirably well.  We even played a few duets.  I will take this as a sign of healing.  In the past when she has tried to play the piano; it ended in either tears or a huge headache with Tara plopping on my bed trying to recover.  The brain is just a crazy organ that I just don't get sometimes.  Anyway, as I felt like crying, I of course couldn't because I try never to do that in front of Tara, so I prayed out loud for us to get through this seizure somehow; and then shortly after the prayer, I started thinking how comical it could look to someone to watch Tara literally hitting my head repeatedly and started laughing.  Tara was scared as well and was actually crying some because she hurt her hand while hitting the console; so I tried to deflect her blows on the console by putting my arm over it; which instead moved her "hits" to my head; which was much softer than the console in the car, thankfully, and it didn't hurt my head; just hurt my heart some.  So, back to the hospital we went, where Tara had the familiar IV needles, poking, drugs, etc.  As for today; my heart is so heavy for my friend, Robin, that I am really struggling.  Today was not a good day in the brain tumor world.  But, Tara once again showed me her amazing faith and told me her faith is "not based on the outcome."  It is locked in accepting God's will.  She is stronger than me; I am working on my faith and trust in the Lord; but I still have plenty of room to have faith grow some more.  Tara completely trusts the Lord, I don't think that means she never gets scared; but she does trust.  I try to push the fear away and always have faith there instead, but sometimes that fear rears its ugly head.  Today it did and I am mostly calm about Tara's little spot on her scan - will have to spend more time in prayer, though for sure to keep myself calm.  She's feeling really good for the most part, so that lends me to believing it is likely scar tissue from that surgery in June.  Shapiro said it's close to the incision area; so that could be an answer.  Last time we were worried about the scan, it ended up being dead tissue from radiation; so these little spots have lots of different reasons for being there.  We will watch and see and just keep praying and praying.  Robin reminded me today that prayer is the best medicine.)

Love you all!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Christmas Present

Becky again.... I know you all miss Tara greatly; but some news is better than no news!  Once again, I have no excuses for Tara other than she is just being "normal" and maybe in her mind that includes not blogging, or maybe facebook is just easier, I don't really know.  But, I do know that many of you still check this blog and I want to tell you the good things as well as the tough times!  So, here's to good times!

Some highlights of the past 2 months:

Spending time with an amazing man, David Baker, who was in town for a few days.  He is a fellow GBM friend who we have been corresponding with.  Tara loved just talking with someone who has been down the same pathway she has been.  No one can REALLY understand what she goes through unless they have suffered the same themselves.  His spirit and attitude uplifted us all.  He told Tara, "you are HERE and you can touch so many lives."  He counseled her to WRITE, because her emails touched him greatly at a time when he needed encouragement, and he thinks she has a gift for that.  So, hopefully she will take his counsel to heart and get back on the blog...  He spoke of the good that we can do and people we can touch; but he also spoke of life on this earth as really just a moment, and that we WILL see our family and be together again and he knows that.  He's not doing so well in the GBM world and our hearts are hurting for his family. If you have a few extra prayers, send them the Baker family's way right now.  They need some comfort and peace.  If you have questions about our beliefs on  being with our family forever and living after this life; don't forget you can always check mormon.org or lds.org for more information.

Thanksgiving weekend FT (family time)
  A hike up Camelback mountain (back in the dark the last 1/4 mile!)
  A 40 minute each way bike ride to Gilbert for lunch and back

I love just seeing Tara get on a bike and be able to MOVE and enjoy it!  Somewhere, somebody took at picture of the bike ride; but it wasn't on my camera so I will have to find it.

Actually, every day, every moment that I see Tara smile or get to spend time with her is a highlight for me.  I still revel in the days that I get to spend time with Tara when she's doing well - the novelty has not worn off for me yet.  We spent so very many days together with her not doing well and it's so very refreshing to spend time with her when she feels better and just watch her face be so ALIVE and happy!  I will never view life the same way again.  I've said this before; enjoy every single moment of every time you can spend with those you love, and make some NEW friends to love while you're at it!

Anyway, on to my Christmas present.  About 3 weeks ago, Tara said to me, "Mom, when are you doing the caramel popcorn plates for your friends this year:"  Well, in my mind I thought - (being the procrastinator that I am) it's NOT the week before Christmas yet!!  Which is when I am usually scrambling to get some goodie plates made to let those around here know we are thinking of them at Christmastime.  It is a large project because we love so many people and is a bit overwhelming at times for me.  Tara actually WANTED to spend time with me, come up with ideas to enhance our goodie plate, emailed me pictures from Pinterest, and said, "how about if we do it early this year and schedule a day to start."  Then, she came up with a shopping list and spent the entire Friday with me a week ago to start this event. Stephanie came over that day as well so it was a huge bonus to have her and the grandkids here as well. We also spend some time 2 more days (partial days because we had other appointments to deal with) working.  Those of you who are mothers of teenagers, have HOPE!  Look what happens when children grow up!  To have a child actually TRY to spend some time with you doing something you really want to do; is nothing short of a tender mercy straight from heaven.  So, this was balm to my soul and pretty much reduced me to tears.  One of the best Christmas presents ever for me!  Yesterday I stopped by to see my little grandkids, I had been sick all week so had been off limits to kissing grandchildren, (so I HAD to stop by and spend a little time after I was off the sick list) and I saw many, many plates at Stephanie's house looking just like mine did!  I was only sad I didn't help her like she helped me!!  But, at least I sent her home with supplies to make her own:)

I was somewhat blue the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - it was my children's "turns" to spend Thanksgiving with their other wonderful families; so I was cooking all day by myself.  No Schlappi relatives came from Utah (last year we had over 30!!!) and our relatives from CA who joined us weren't coming til late Wednesday evening.  So, I had a little pity party as I cooked alone wishing there were others there to enjoy the day with. But, tomorrow will come (reference a conference talk) (or is it Sunday will come) and tomorrow did come, Scott's sister and her husband and daughters arrived from CA, and although our Thanksgiving was small; we enjoyed each other immensely.  So, this goodie plate time with Tara was even more meaningful to me.

The plus side of having married children gone for Thanksgiving is they are here for Christmas Eve!  And I never can complain because 2 of the married kids live here and it's so easy to share with the other families because we get to see them on a regular basis; so if we miss some of the "big days" it's really no big deal to me, I don't know why I was so blue that Wednesday.  So, we all will be together on Christmas Eve, except our good friend and affectionately called "foster son" Jerod is on his mission in Ogden, Utah; but I am hopeful he will get to call us on Christmas so that will be awesome if he can.  Travis will come for a few days from Pasadena.  He can't stay long because apparently grad school is tough the first year and he has to study; but at least he'll be here for a few days.  I'll take it!

Happy Holidays all!!  With love, Becky

Friday, October 19, 2012

Breathe again!

This is Becky.

I have to apologize for venting a few days ago!  Thanks all for being sooo supportive!  The prayers for peace did indeed settle my nerves and Tara and I were able to enjoy our day together.  Dr. Shapiro said, "I think you're fine," which is about as "wordy" as he gets.  Scott, Tara, and myself all get huge smiles and just BREATHE again after those words.  He has no idea what a relief it is when he says that.  We never really know what we're looking at when we're looking at the MRI's, once in awhile he'll say "this is the last MRI, this is the current one" so we try to figure out what is going on in those pictures.  Apparently there is a new machine because the images seemed more clear this time; which is good and bad - easier to see a problem from untrained eyes like ours; which may cause undue panic if we don't know what is wrong and what is right!  He did say the "white stuff" (which always bugs me and I wonder what it is) was just water and not to worry.

Tara and I started our day by visiting Mandy Miller Clive, who isn't doing so well and happened to be at the same hospital we were going to; so we left early, and it was great to see her and her mom. Then, Tara was actually hungry, guzzled a half sandwich (I LOVE it when she actually enjoys eating) and then off to the MRI machine.  She again slept through the test (that's usual for her) and we talked with another brain tumor patient, then off to Jamba Juice to party until the reading of the results.  We were able to take our mind off the reading somewhat.  Backgammon helps as well! :)

The best thing about the "I think you're fine" by Dr. Shapiro is watching Tara as she leaves the office and heads towards the car.  She has the most beautiful, relieved, look on her face and she practically skips to the car.  I love that look on her face and want to see it there forever!

Love you all!  Here's to LIVING!  Enjoy each moment, each day - I know I keep saying that, but we've lived what it's like to worry about the days you have; and so the healthy days are just so sweet!  Today I'm taking my grandson to the zoo; which means I will also get to hang out with Stephanie and sweet little Katelyn which will make my day!!  Thanks sooo much for your prayers!  We always seem to need them and feel their strengthening power in our lives.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MRI Eve

Why I am sad tonight? Is it because Tara admitted to being scared on her eve of the routine MRI?  Is it because her legs are hurting for no explained reason?  I don't know. It's always a nerve wracking routine; this "routine" MRI every 2 months.  I should be fine.  Tara has been feeling pretty good (until the weird leg thing started this week, which will likely go away). Is it because my friend's husband is tired and sick every day lately suffering from treatment due to a brain tumor? Usually the night before I am pretty happy knowing that I usually get to spend several hours with Tara the next day.  We are going to leave early, go to Last Chance, Zupas for lunch, then visit a friend in the hospital at St. Joe's; then on to the MRI and Dr. Shapiro.  I will snap out of it in the morning.  Maybe I am just tired. Is it ok to be tired of the constant knowledge of forever MRI's?  We have an MRI, then move on and live life again - that's the good part. After an MRI, we can usually BREATHE.  Oh, how nice that is.  So, tomorrow we will breathe again.  But, until then, my precious daughter is scared and not too excited for her MRI.  I don't like her being scared.  I'm just having one of those "life isn't fair" moments.  This too, will pass.  I will reflect on all our blessings and remember all those people who suffer so much more than we do or have.  So, I've had my cry sessions already today and I will pick myself up, move on, and enjoy time with Tara tomorrow.  I will remember to enjoy the moments that make up the hours.  I will enjoy looking at her cute pixie face with those beautiful brown eyes.  I will try to forget the words brain tumor or glioblastoma.  Will they always be indelibly printed on my mind?  I spoke with a few people this week who reaffirmed to me that every single day they still pray for Tara, 2 1/2 years later, every SINGLE day they are praying.  Praying like we are that she will LIVE a full life here and be free of this tumor forever.  She's already a walking miracle; those were her words themselves - just want it to STAY that way.

Thanks for letting me vent; just had to whine a little.  I will be fine now.  I will pray for peace and it will come.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

one more thing

I forgot to tell you that Tara did have to shave her head after the last surgery again.  The doctors prepped her for a skin graft; and shaved so much hair in the process; that she just shaved it off and started over again.  She did have a few people in the public call her "sir" or "mister" so she has been wearing more earrings lately!  I can't imagine anyone ever making that mistake; but I think she's the cutest thing ever; so I'm biased.  It doesn't seem to bother her to cut her hair off - it was easier the 2nd time around.  Anyway, you'll see it's already growing back nicely in the pictures.

Girl's Trip!!!

Here are some pictures from our girls' trip to Vancouver, BC!  I am living the philosophy of cherishing the moments; and this week was FULL of moments!  I thought you would all like to see some pictures since Tara hasn't put some on in so very long.  So, I am doing it instead.  I think Tara is not blogging because she's trying to lead a "normal" life.  That's my guess. Maybe she's tired of being a brain cancer patient.  The good news is that she IS living mostly a normal life.  She goes to work most days, doesn't take naps at work anymore; but sleeps hard as a rock at night - her seizure meds still make her sleepy.  The first 2 days of our trip food made her sick (this had been happening the few weeks prior to leaving) and I was bummed!  We had so very many months of being in that "place" where food made her sick and she didn't want to eat.  BUT, the good news is that it didn't last all week, and she loved a certain Italian restaurant we found, and we even went there 2 nights in a row and she ordered the exact same thing both nights because she pretty much licked her plate clean.  It was chicken parmigiana and I don't remember her loving that in the past; but you never know!  I was just so happy to see her enjoying her food.  Rachel has most of the pictures; she has all the restaurants and such and more pretty pictures; but hopefully mine will suffice.  

I picked Vancouver because Tara is still somewhat paranoid about getting in the ocean with all the infections she has undergone; so we couldn't do the budget trip to CA.  So, thankfully for my beloved "piano account" we took a major splurge!  Tara, Stephanie, Katelyn, and myself flew from Phoenix and Rachel met us from SLC in Vancouver.  I won't go into tons of detail; but we just loved our week.  We saw tons of pretty places and walked around alot.  Katelyn (the baby) was a perfect traveling baby and rarely cried.  She didn't hold us back much!  Tara said that it is sad that she was going to go home from vacation in better shape than when she left!  But, on vacation, she has more time to walk around and exercise than she does at home!  Tara did make it on a hike that was actually 1 hr 45 minutes long; and it was lots of uphill on the way up to a beautiful lookout over a lake with islands and mountains around.  Anyway, about 3/4 of the way up (Rachel was hauling up the mountain) Tara said she just couldn't go anymore.  Said she was dizzy and felt really yucky.  But, she decided to push through it and did make it up to the top.  I tried to memorize the moments watching her actually hike.  Part of me was sad that this treatment has taken so much out of her that she struggles with a hike this size; but the much larger part of me was so incredibly grateful that she was HIKING at all!  I had fleeting memories of her last year at this time - last year she was mostly tired and on the couch or in the bed alot; with a few sporadic days of work mixed in.  She has come so far since last year!!  Anyway, we got back down the mountain in 35 minutes (took about an hour to get up) and Tara did say after it was all over that she was glad she did it and pushed through the dizziness and sickness.

We loved eating out, never preparing meals, laughing, sleeping in, and enjoying baby Katelyn!  Most of all, we just enjoyed being TOGETHER.  I loved watching the girls' faces as they were in wonderment at the beauty around them.  We especially loved Butchart Gardens and spent almost a whole day there.  I loved spoiling the girls and took them to a really nice restaurant once (and other just NICE restaurants the rest of the time) and gave them some spending $ because if it was up to them; not much spending money would get spent!  I think that they spent over an hour in the Butchart Gardens gift shop picking out their fun things to spend their money on.  Whenever I give them $ on a girls trip; the rule is they have to spend it or lose it; so they usually comply!  

Saturday (the last day there) Rachel had flown back to Utah, and it was just Stephanie, Tara, Katelyn, and myself.  I never got tired of walking around and looking at pretty gardens; but I think I wore out Stephanie and Tara by Saturday.  They were wondering why I still wanted to walk around every last pathway and why they couldn't keep up when I am the magical age of 50; but I told them it's because I'm not up twice a night feeding a baby (with no naps in the day), and I'm not on seizure meds; nor has my body been ravaged by cancer treatment.  All good reasons for tiredness, I would say!

Anyway, right now Tara is in what I would call the "rebuilding" stage.  She's trying to rebuild her strength.  She has another scan next month; seems like those scans come around way too often.  We have a friend going through this same disease that needs your prayers - his name is David Baker.  He is not as lucky as Tara and his tumor came back right after radiation; which was lightening speed.  But, the good news is he is on a new clinical trial and after some injections of a virus made from his original tumor; the new growth is shrinking.  It's a tough world; this brain tumor world; but we have been so blessed.  Blessed by so very many miracles in Tara's life; and blessed by all the angels around us - our friends and all you who pray for Tara.  Please know we so appreciate your thoughts and prayers.  Love you all!  Becky


















Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summertime catching up

Summertime, summertime...

It's been too long once again since this blog has been updated - so I'll post a few highlights of this summer:

* Tara recovered from surgery #7 pretty quickly (relatively speaking).  I was so happy to see her return to her pre-surgery state in about 3 weeks.  Her stitches came out; and Dr. Smith said her head looked "fabulous" and he told her she could SWIM!  It's been forever since Tara swam in a pool.  She did get in the pool this week; but was still afraid to get her head wet.  Thanks again for all your prayers - we certainly dodged two big events with that last surgery and we're so very grateful.

* She did 3 speeches - she's actually getting amazingly good at talking to people,especially the young women.  This brave girl told me that surgery #7 came at "a perfect time" because she could speak at "Time to Blossom" for young women (250 girls) and then go to the hospital a few days later.  She also went to Prescott to speak at a girls' camp; and spoke in her uncle's church to another group of young women and their leaders. Her next talk is to a women's group in her area.  She feels like speaking to others is part of her purpose here and really genuinely wants to help others if she can by relating some of her experiences.  Her talk brings me to tears every single time.

* We were driving home from Barrow's one day and passed a "hospice car".  Tara got a very determined look on her face and passed that car saying, "I NEVER want to see one of those cars EVER - it's not ever going to come for me!!

* We went to Utah for our Schlappi family reunion.  2 years ago for this same reunion; Tara got off one day of radiation so she could go.  She wasn't in the best of shape 2 years ago; and I stopped to reflect how different this reunion was.  Our own family left 3 days early for the reunion so we could spend some time in the mountains together before the reunion started.  Tears came to my eyes one morning as I watched Tara get so excited to get on a quad and go riding in the mountains.  SHe seemed so full of life and so happy to be LIVING and getting out!  She couldn't ride for too long because the helmets bugged her head; but she got OUT!  She stayed up late playing games and generally had a great time.  I don't take those moments for granted anymore - never will again.  I am just so happy when I see her so happy!

* Rachel & her Nate (we have 2 Nates around here now) and Travis are all here for the summer - so we have had some great times being together - it's a wonderful thing for a mother to have her family together.  It won't last long - Travis is going to Somalia for a year to teach school there (YES, we know it's the most dangerous country on the planet), Rachel & Nate leave for BYU in a few weeks, and Jerod left on his mission last Wednesday.  I told Travis that I have a daughter whose life is in danger through no choice of her own; and he's WALKING in to danger - how much can a mother take?  I just pray he returns safely - he's actually going to SomaliLAND which is somewhat safer than Somalia.

* We had some hard times when our friend, Rick Oehme, died.  He was a fellow warrior in the GBM world.  Tara and I cried our eyes out - it's so tough to know people who fall because of this dreaded disease.  Tara did shave her head again - she lost so much hair when they prepped for theskin graft that she just took it off again.  As usual, it didn't bother her too much - always bothers me more.  It's already growing back quickly.  I did make it through this shaving of the head without crying; so I guess I'm learning to deal with more than I used to.

* I have learned again and again to enjoy the moments - and I'm stealing a WHOLE WEEK of them next month - for our annual girl's trip we are going to Vancouver, BC, and Victoria BC.  I picked a spot that was nowhere near water that you would want to swim in; just water to look at because I knew Tara would be paranoid about swimming!  So, our lower budget trip to CA got switched to Vancouver.  And, we have to go a whole week to save money by flying on Allegiant Air.  So, I get to steal the girls in the family away for a whole week and I can't believe it's really going to happen!  I just want to live life to the fullest; and I know you can live life without going away on trips, but I do love these trips - so I threw away practicality and we are going!!  Attendees are:  Stephanie and baby Katelyn, Tara, Rachel, and myself.  YES!!

* I've personally spent more time this summer being a grandma.  Since doctors don't completely fill our lives anymore;  I have enjoyed other things.  Brigham and our new little Katelyn are awesome and I just can't get enough of holding that precious little new granddaughter.

Love you all!   I keep encouraging Tara to write.... maybe she's living in the world of no brain cancer now and that may relate to no blogging, I don't know.  But, she loves you all and loves to be able to help where she can; so please feel free to email her.




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Surgery #7

Becky here... My brave girl is now behind the double doors again. You would have thought she was going to a party. She is so amazing. Lest week she told me "mom, the timing is perfect! I can speak to the young women at the Conference and then go have surgery! Rachel sccompanied us to the ER today. We laughed a lot, worked on crafts, and played some card games. As Tara keeps reminding me, we need to celebrate LIFE. Josh and Scott showed up in time for surgery. We felt the power of all your combined prayers. We were all calm before surgery (well, maybe not calm enough - we were a little too loud at times). One of the ER docs told us that the markers for infection were low - that means she may escape this without all the complications of infection. She is going to have a skin graft which will complicate the healing process as well as help the healing process. They will take skin from her abdomen. The surgeon wants to take pressure off the incision area so it will stay healed this time. When I asked the dr why the hole appeared again, he said that the effects of radiation worsen over time instead of improve and her skin actually becomes even less healthy. Gee thanks, I never knew that. When we signed up for treatment we pretty much just did every thing they told us to do. We signed pages of releases and listed sides effects and did not really know what we were getting in to. It's probably a good thing we did not know - it's probably better to take it a day at a time. We saw familiar residents, nurses, and ER staff. We were hoping not to have seen them again, especially this soon; but they are generally a happy, helpful bunch of people who are sorry to see Tara go through this again. I did not cry as we left her. I feel somewhat heavy hearted, but yet peaceful as well. It must be the power of all your prayers. Tara was a little sad when she heard the beeping of the IV noise. It reminded her she was in the hospital and probably was a foreshadowing for her of what lies ahead. Thanks to the power of combined prayer, we are hopeful this will only be a little bump in the road instead of a huge detour. I am still amazed that she had a smile on her face all day long. She really does mean 'come what may and love it' and lives it fully. Yesterday was Tara and Josh's 2 year wedding anniversary. So glad they got to celebrate NOT in the hospital. Love you all so much - thanks for your prayers.

Later....  Tara finished with surgery and we got the report from the surgeon. I was so happy and relieved! I am a believer in the power of prayer. Dr. Joganic did not have to do a skin graft aftter all! AND he is seeing no signs of infection and so we will not see our infectious disease doctors either! He took out the titanium plate and screws that we could see, then shaved the bone where it was protruding. After doing those things, he was able to stretch some tissue around and sew her up. He believes the tension will be off the wound enough now that this was worth doing instead of a skin graft. He said that her 'burr holes' from surgery one had filled in with bone tissue and scar tissue so the titanium plate is no longer needed. We hope this will be a lasting fix. She will have the usual pain of recovery; but without these complications; she will get through it much better.  Thank you all sooo very much for your faith and prayers!