This is Becky.
We had a wonderful week away from Arizona last week. I have not left the state since San Francisco (and I don't think THAT counts as a TRIP!) and you all know how HOT it is here! So, I was happy to get away. Before I left, there were some things that touched me - a friend of ours told Scott their family still prays for Tara at least 3 times a day and they haven't forgotten. He reminded us that the Lord must be VERY aware of Tara and that she surely will make it through this. We have little (or not so little) reminders from so many of you that you are still hanging in there with us. Another touching thing.... I have a friend (I never like to name people by name because there are so many incredible friends and family out there loving us so much - you know who you are!) who randomly drops off items at my doorstep. We trade books, notes (always her notes, I'm not that thoughtful) or other items. Saturday morning as we were preparing to leave for vacation I see a check in my door for a weird amount - not enough for a candle, not the right amount for Nate's garbage clients or my piano students, and as I look further I see a note on the bottom of the check "for grey bracelets". I was so touched all of a sudden. Later in the day I checked my email and found an email from her wanting me to order some bracelets for her. (which I am of course so happy to do!) Thanks to all of you for continuing to keep us in your prayers and hearts. I really don't know how we would make it through this as well as we are without all of you - our angels - who continually lift us up and through whom we feel the Savior's love. Last week as we prepared to leave town, we had a few snags come up - mostly due to my husband fulfilling his calling as the Bishop. Scott had planned an evening to take the 4 wheelers to get fixed so we could take them on our trip. That evening he spent at the hospital all of a sudden with a family in the ward instead of home preparing for our trip; so a helpful strong young friend helped me load up the wheelers and drive them to the shop. The next day we discover the tires on that old trailer really are not safe to drive all the way to Utah, so Scott calls another ward member to try to purchase tires for the trailer (again with not much time) - and agrees on a price (or so we thought). Next thing I know this neighbor shows up in our driveway while Scott is at work, drives off with our trailer, then returns later with 4 new tires on it. Talk about home delivery! The bill --- $40. Now, we all know you cannot buy trailer tires for $40. That's what it costs to mount and balance them. He intentionally GAVE us the tires; which we are not comfortable with, but nonetheless, we felt again the love from our friends. AND, while Josh's mom and myself were gone both the same week last week, many friends stepped in and drove Tara to radiation and invited she and Josh to their homes for healthy dinners. Tara's week was more fun last week because every day to radiation she got to visit with someone different and she enjoyed you all so much! She also loved going to your homes for dinner. It is so touching for me as a mother to see the outpouring of love. Whenever there is a need, there is someone there to help.
We're back in the regular routine again now - Tara is stuck with me as her radiation run person - but I personally cherish the time I spend with her and am pretty protective of that time!
Another outpouring of love ---(this was totally not necessary because now that Nate is home I can crack the whip and make him do yardwork) as we drove into our driveway last night (or early morning) at 1:40 am the first thing I noticed was that our front yard was mowed AND weedwhacked! We have street lights so I could see..... Upon further inspection the next morning, I noticed the back yard was also mowed, weedwhacked and leaves were also blown! Talk about a wonderful surprise! I was able to find out the culprits of this adventure and they know how much we appreciate their efforts. After I found out they did it without a riding mower and bagged all the grass I was even more blown away! (we never bag our grass and we mow with a riding mower). In 115 degree heat that was most definitely a labor of love. Now, please, all of you reading this, don't mow our yard - Nate is home now and we don't want to deprive him of the pleasure of fulfilling that job - after all, he's not going to radiation on a daily basis! It was wonderful to come home and not have to worry about the yard among everything else that I need to catch up on as you all know - you know how it is after vacation....
It was wonderful to be with family in beautiful Midway Utah last week. I'll let Tara tell you more - but we have an amazing family and it's so therapeutic to be together. The next trip (Tara teases me because I'm always dreaming of the next trip) is to Coronado Island next month. We are celebrating Tara's end of radiation!!! She'll be having her 4 week break from treatments and will hopefully be regaining some energy and be able to play in the waves and have fun. Travis is even flying in from Utah so we are excited. It will be some great family time. We will escape for 4 blessed days.....
As for a mother's view on how Tara is doing..... admirably well for the most part. She was extremely slow going up the stairs to work today (which is a sign of how she's feeling) and her head is starting to look somewhat like racing stripes; but she's hanging in there. Her head does hurt because how can it not hurt with all that radiation going on in there?? She's tired and nauseated at times; but hasn't lost much weight and still manages to eat. It's tough to think of things that sound good to her. She still smiles alot and doesn't complain. Josh is very good and kind to her and continues to treat her like a queen. She finishes this radiation August 5th!!! Not many more days, thank heavens. This is hard for Tara and we will all rejoice when it's over. One more thing, as a mother, it's very strange to have mixed feelings about this clinical trial. I find myself almost "hoping???" that Tara will show a few side effects so we know she's on the drug. When she said she had bleeding gums once when she brushed her teeth and she thought her throat was dry; I couldn't decide if I was sad she had more side effects going on or happy that she may be ON the trial. It's tough to pin side effects on just one drug because there are so many different things you can blame side effects on. You could feel tired from either the radiation, chemo, or the Avastin (clinical trial). You can be nauseated from either chemo or Avastin. There are many different side effects so we'll just keep hoping and praying Tara is getting the help she needs. Many of you are asking about her further treatment - this is what we know now:
September she starts 5 days a month of a double dose of Temodar (chemo). For example, now she is taking 130 milligrams per day; that will change to 260 milligrams. Remember, this is the medicine that is so potent no one else other that Tara can open the jar. That makes a mother's heart hurt just to know that little fact!! This continues for 12 months. Along with the Temodar, Tara will have the injection (Avastin) every two weeks. The first week the injection was 1 1/2 hours long, next time 1 hour, then 30 minutes for the rest of the year. We will have our next MRI probably the beginning of September. Tara's head needs to settle down for 30 days after radiation before the next MRI because there's just so much going on in there it would be a false read. The MRI to the brain tumor community is to what the PET scan is to other cancer communities. It's the way they measure what's going on in the brain. If it's CLEAR, that's always a really great thing. These doctors are very very good and they are determined not to ever let a tumor grow back in Tara's head. They will check it often. ( probably every two months forever more).
Love you all!!! Thanks for your prayers!!! We know the Lord is with us - I feel His love daily and it keeps me standing upright.