Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Surgery Tomorrow

So tomorrow at 5:30 I leave for the hospital. I guess I am having real surgery where they put you under and everything. Good thing I don't I don't get sick from going under. Surgery is at 11. This surgery has a lot less nerves than the other. Should be a quick and easy-lemon-squeezy surgery! Tomorrow I will have my port and hopefully will not have to have another IV for the next year! I just have to steer clear of infections and all will be well! Wish me luck!

Movie night with the Joshua!


Tara Bodrero

Monday, August 30, 2010

Overcome...I miss Citrus Heights and Happy Birthday Steph

What an amazing day. Today we celebrated Steph's birthday...what an amazing sister-in-law! I cannot believe she has stuck with us Schlappi's this long! We really are lucky to have her beautiful smile all the time and forever. Steph is one of those people who can make anyone happy. She is the kind of person where even if she tells you something hard to hear, you know it comes straight from the heart and she loves you. Steph is the kind of person you can tell anything and you never have to add a clause of "don't tell anyone" because she is smart enough to keep her mouth shut when she needs too and knows when it is appropriate to share things. Steph doesn't gossip. Ya, I really don't think I have ever heard Steph gossip and she is a girl...hard to believe for all guys that there is a girl in the world who does not gossip. Steph loves and loves and serves and serves. Steph's laugh is contagious.

As I walked out of our home tonight I was overcome with how much love I felt in the home tonight for and from Steph. So I was already crying and then as we drove away I noticed a huge sign hanging on our house. "We love you Bishop". I completely lost it and by the time we got to Wal Mart I was still a mess. To tell you the truth we have been home about an hour and I still have tears that can't dry because they are constantly replaced by new ones.  I think I felt all the love of the ward all at once. It was like my wedding all over again. I felt the love. These past few days have been hard on us. We (all the children and my mother) loved having our father as a bishop. He always found/made time for us and did the same for everyone else as a ward. A home changes when the patriarch is serving constantly. My daddy loves to serve and I believe him when he says, "I will never stop serving, I will never stop loving, I will never give up". I did not think it would be hard to let your father go as a bishop...I thought it would be nice to see him around more and yes it will be but at the same time...I loved seeing him bear his testimony of how much he loved the gospel and the Lord. I loved seeing him look into the Youth's eyes and tell them that Christ loves them. I loved it when he cried when overcome with the spirit. I loved seeing how much he truly loved the Citrus Heights ward. Our ward is no more, the name is all gone but I will never ever forget my ward family. I will never forget the sacrifices they made for me and my family. They were there when I needed them and they were there even when it may have seemed like we didn't. Trust me there was never a day that we did not need the support of the ward family. I will cherish that ward list forever and never forget the ward that carried me through the toughest time of my life...thus far. My ward encompassed me with all their arms and they are what got me here. I will never be able to say thank you enough. I think this change may be hardest on me...I a sure there are many who think that. These people loved me and prayed for me and fasted and put all their faith in God to heal me. I know that it is because of our joint faith that I am where I am today. The greatest comfort is knowing that even though I won't see my brothers and sisters every week on Sunday, they will continue to pray for me. They will continue to call on the powers of heaven in my name and they will continue to love me as I will them. There is a bond that exists in the Citrus Heights ward that will never be broken, only expanded. My wish is that we invite the other wards that we are now a part of to join with us in spirit and become one...I want us all to become one and I wish for us all to continue to call on those powers in heaven that can heal me. I can be whole again, but if not...how marvelous it will be to go and wait for all my friends and ward family members. I will go if it be the Lord's will and then in a few years my family will start to join me and we can all be together in white. Saturday I got to see many of my friends in white and that gave me only a glimpse of what heaven will be like. How perfect heaven will be. I will miss you Citrus Heights but be assured you aren't done with me yet! I am still here and still healthy and still more excited and ready to fight this cancer. I love you. My dad loves you. Heavenly Father loves you most. Seeing as I can no longer see the screen through my tears I think it appropriate to say goodnight. I truly, deeply love you and I will never forget the kindness you have shown to me. Keep praying and unite with all those around you. I love you

Tara Bodrero
Your sister forever

she talked herself out of a ticket...

When asked by a young patrol officer "Do You know you were speeding?"
This 83-year-old woman talked herself out of a ticket by stating:
"Yes , but ... I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."
Makes perfectly good sense to me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Surgery is Booked for Wednesday

I get my port on Wednesday. It is an out patient surgery and I don't even have to go under! I am awake the whole time but they will give me stuff that will make it so I cannot remember the whole day. It has an amnesic effect...I have no idea how to spell that! They do local anesthesia and cover my port completely with skin. No one will ever know! I am kinda excited and kinda scared. It means no more needles for the infusion and possibly blood and no more needles for my MRI for sure! Hope all goes well. I am rather excited for tonight. Goo Goo Dolls concert and the temple! It is going to be a busy night and I barely got sleep. I hope I make it.

Have a happy productive Saturday!

Tara Bodrero

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Big Black Hole

Yesterday we learned another fact we did not know about brains.  Remember, we only had 15 minutes with our surgeon before surgery; so we pretty much went into surgery somewhat uneducated about this whole brain tumor deal.  Dr. Brachman (radiation oncologist) has been fantastic in educating us about what is really going on inside Tara's head.

When we saw Tara's beautiful scan yesterday; we saw a big black HOLE - it was similar to the very first CT scan Tara and I saw on May 14th. The difference between May 14th and August 26th is that that black hole we saw in May was a TUMOR and now it's just a black hole. Dr. Brachman said when the surgeon took the tumor out; he did in fact take brain tissue.  We mistakenly thought the tumor was some foreign yucky object in there that pushed all the healthy brain tissue aside and possibly pushed all Tara's good tissue around and made everything a really tight fit.  We thought that the brain tissue would relax after surgery and eventually her brain would look like a normal brain with normal tissue looking stuff all around.  Not so.  Tara's brain is exceptional - it will never be "normal."  A good scan means there is NOTHING in that black hole.  Apparently we don't ever want to see anything growing there - because if we do - that is bad cells growing again. We did see some fluid above one of the membranes where the tumor was - that may explain Tara's headaches, but it should decrease and be fine, the doctor said.

So, my comment to Terri was "does this mean Tara will not be as smart as she could be with that much brain tissue missing??"  Terri reassured me that this area of the brain is not used much and Tara is indeed still smart and will still function properly - after all, she continues to ace her brain games tests that Terri administers!  Can it be true that we only use 10% of our brain cells?  I've heard that before - don't know for sure it it's true or not. ( I don't know why my computer changed to italics - sorry - it's a new computer....)

Scott's comment was, "can we put a golf ball inside her head in that hole so the tumor never grows back because there's no room??"  Remember, this hole is the size of a small orange.  That's alot of brain tissue that's missing.  I am so very grateful that everything works on Tara - fingers, toes, mind, etc.  The more I learn about brains, the more I realize how much the Lord is really looking out for us.  Things could be so much worse. 

I think I have cried every day this week - for various and sundry reasons.  I was trying so hard to be ONLY faithful for this MRI, but I'm afraid some fear stole inside of me! I keep telling myself a quote I read from our prophet - "faith and fear cannot exist at the same time". Yesterday I cried tears of joy right there in the doctor's office.  Terri told me (as I teared up) go ahead and CRY - it's okay.  Happy tears.  Such a relief you can't imagine. It feels like now I'll be able to breathe for a few months again.  It's like Dr. Brachtman said - we live in a weird sort of world now - one eye looking back, and one eye forward.  So, now, on to chemo and the next MRI is in 2 months.  I sincerely hope we get used to this routine and get clear scan after clear scan and eventually stop worrying about these scans.

I played walleyball with some fellow walleyball lovers this morning.  Of course I was so happy and relieved and they could all see it in the way I acted.  I was back to my annoying competitive self on the court.  I yell alot and laugh and get frustrated when I miss a good shot.  I've been somewhat not myself now for these past months and it felt good to return to that person.  As I was explaining this black hole syndrome, Leslie Clark said, "Now Tara really IS an airhead!"  She HAS air in her head!  We pray she will always be an airhead and never have anything in that spot again.  I thought the airhead would be appropriate considering Tara put a blonde joke on and I am blonde!!

Tara is acting like a normal person again.  She actually felt like going to the grocery store and buying groceries for their own house.  When I wanted to show her how to make bread, she insisted that we make it at her house with HER bread mixer.  So, off we went to be merry homemakers.  She is even going to cook a few of her meals this week.  WOW!  My mother's heart is happy today.  I remember the week after Tara's wedding when she felt normal and good - I cherished those moments - here I am again cherishing another moment.  We have to grab those days when we can!!

I am so very touched by our ward members and Tara's ward members who are combining tomorrow to fast for Tara and our family.  We have been carried on all of their shoulders through this trial.  I know so many of the rest of you not in our ward have also been praying and fasting also.  So many people were so anxious about the MRI yesterday right alongside of us.  It's as a friend said today - Tara is ALL of our baby! Everyone has adopted her and is feeling some of what we're feeling! We're all talking to each other - trying to find out the results and pulling together.  We are so humbled by your love.  Your truly Christlike love.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I speak for my husband also.  You are the BEST!!!

Love, Becky

Thursday, August 26, 2010

he said my scans were beautiful

Dr. Brachman said my scans were beautiful. Dr. Shapiro...as usual didn't say much...but that means it is a good thing! Everything went great and things are going as expected by the doctors. So my treatment plan is as follows... See how I do with double chemo starting September 2 and then after a month add more on top of that (chemo is 5 days a month). No more radiation ever and the trial every 2 weeks with blood work every single week. Dr. is writing a prescription for a port which I am rather thrilled about! A port means that instead of so much poking of my veins, the nurses can just stick me through my skin and the port inside of my skin goes to my veins. Dr. Shapiro said that I lost a lot of hair...kinda scary but Brachman said it will grow back wherever I have fuzzies. I have fuzzies about everywhere but there are some areas that are still a soft, smooth baldness. I may have some random bald spots but at least I will have some hair. If it is too thin I may just be a proud baldy from now on. So that is the latest good news. Terry is going to get me a copy of all my scans and mail it to me so in a few weeks I may have more pictures of my brain. We got to see before and after pictures and it was crazy the difference between the two. I guess I am supposed to always have a space or hole in my brain. You will understand more when you see the pictures...you can't really see peach fuzz anymore and I could see the plates in my head...those are my favorite parts. Dr. Shapiro had not seen the tumor before today, he had only seen the after surgery pictures and when he saw it - all he said was, "That's impressive". ha. Oh and Dr. Brachman said I am an A+ brain case. I got an A+ on my surgery and I finished radiation, A+ and radiation went well, A+ and my body is doing well health wise, so another...A+!!! He asked me if I were in school and I said no but then he reassured me that I had a 4.0 in fighting cancer...I wonder if they give scholarships for that! Hey it could look good on a resume! :) Well I am rather happy and my doctor over emphasized the importnace of eating protien and said nothing about sugar...I think we may lax up on the diet a little...but only a little. I still want to be healthy so I can fight this but they said my body is doing great and I am at a steady weight too. Yay for doctors today. I also aced my Brain Games with Terry. She said that I set records everytime and she has never had someone as fast as me. I don't think she has ever had someone more competitive than me. I get so excited to memorize 12 things and connect dots by number and letter and both. I get excited about listing all the things I can possibly think about that start with a specific letter - for example, I will have 60 seconds to say all the words I can possibly think of that start with the letter "f". I am also really good at spelling WORLD forwards and backwards. We always have extra time in the end so we get to talk! She has to wait 20 minutes between one of the tests to see how long I retain information. A+ from Terry and I continue my 4.0...oh, also just to keep bragging....I held very still for my MRI and did not cry when they poked me twice today. I was a good girl!

Happy dreams tonight!
Tomorrow is Friday and then the next day is Saturday which is temple session day!!!!!!!
Then Sunday will be a big day and then comes Monday...nothing special about that day besides the fact that it brings me one day closer to being done with all this

I Love Josh

Tara Bodrero

Today is the day

Today is MRI day. MRI is at 1:00 and then doctors at 2:30 and 3:30. We will know our news by this afternoon. Keep the prayers and faith. Whatever happens, happens and it will be good. I am not scared of the outcome, just a little nervous. Whatever happens will be God's will and I know that. I will post later with results

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Well it is sad to say but my vacation/honeymoon that my family joined is officially over. We had an amazing week full of sun and no sharks. I am a freak when it comes to sharks and ask Josh I began squealing as soon as I felt it was deep enough for a shark to swim there. It doesn't really help that shark week was just a few weeks ago. Josh and Nate were "jelly-fished" but other than that we survived with no further damages. We stayed in the most amazing place. The Bakers grandparents opened their beach-side condo for us to enjoy. It was a dream come true. I woke up in the morning to see the beach and went to bed after watching the sunset over the water. I sure hope heaven has a beach... I also hope I am going to heaven! :) We just chilled the whole vacation and that never happens at a family gathering. We like to structure in games and activities and pack the days full and then block out a good 3 to 12 hours at night for games! I think Mom was a little disappointed with the number of games we played but she is now happily playing Rook with Chol, Trav and Kenna so I think she will be okay. I really would go on and on about our amazing get away but pictures will speak better. I only have Chol's pictures because Mom's camera is not here but I will have hers soon...I actually think that is where the beack pictures are. Regardless, here are a few pictures that we have taken the past few weeks.

So now I am sure that all the pictures are on Mom's camera. I just thought this was cool. How often do you really see the mother duck and all her chicks? I see the signs...but never the ducks. We got so close to them.
I went to bed after watching this sunset. This was taken from the window...Amazing right?
It isn't a party without this STUD!!
Outdoor musical...this may just be record that Josh willingly and happily went to a musical with us and pretended to like it! Love you
Steph was the only one who actually looked tan...lucky girl
I really never get cold...I have not taken that jacket off ever...even when I sleep! I am a frozen mess all the time.
Chol and I are going to build our dream houses here...in the middle of no where...maybe they will be happy shacks instead
She is an organized unpacker...could you imagine if two people unpacked at the same time?
I found this fellow while talking on the phone to Joshua tonight
and realized that he/she explained all of this mess on the floor...eww

Well great to end the pictures on a nice clean note! :)

Last night I went to bed with a sweatshirt, heavy socks, a beanie, t-shirt, shorts, long pj pants, and gloves on. I was topped with three blankets and I turned chol's heat all the way up. I still woke up in a shiver...I kinda miss being warm. I was always always the warm one who always was sweating and hot...now I don't even have to wear deodorant because I physically cannot work up a sweat! ha. I was in walmart yesterday and was so cold that I had to go out to the truck in the middle of shopping and get a jacket. This cold stuff is so so weird. I have no idea what I am going to do when it is actually cold outside. I count it as another blessing that I live in Mesa and that I am going through this in the summer. People look at me funny because I shiver when sitting in the sunlight! We went to the mall today and the little boys had fun looking at me. I was impressed that they knew I was a girl! I was mistaked as a boy yesterday at my grandparents house. The little boy told all of his friends to come see the girl with no hair. I smiled at them all and gave them a wave. They all smiled and waved as if they had just seen an alien or a new zoo animal...hey at least I can make people smile. I am really glad that people looking at me doesn't bother me because if it did...I would be bothered all the time.

Well I am super tired and super excited to go home tomorrow...not to work or MRI but to see my Joshua. The MRI is always on the back of my mind though...I just want to know now! My patience is being tried right now.

Keep the prayers we have a big day ahead of us.

Tara Bodrero

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arm Wrestle.

I know I just posted like 2 minutes ago but I have to tell this story. So earlier this morning I was carrying Cholz heavy boxes up the stairs. One, stairs are a nightmare; and two, I dont do well with heavy stuff anymore. So my mom wanted to carry the boxes for me and of course the confident Tara said "Mom I will always be stronger than you, even now when I am at my weakest moment." We all know that I got my fathers build and that I definitely do not have my mothers tiny genes. So she challenged me to an arm wrestle. Now I am only posting about this because of course I won! If I had lost I am afraid I would be downstairs lifting weights or something... It wasnt even close and those were her own words. Maybe I am just posting this because I am so happy that I still have some of my muscle. All hope of my tiny ounce of tone is not gone forever! Yay! I am still a strong girl!...well stronger than my mother! :)

I found a hair

So a few dinners ago I found a nice hair in my food. I picked up, smiled, and said...this ain't mine! Dad laughed and everyone looked confused until they saw that it was a long brown hair...that means, it is not mine! With my new haircut I never have hairs tickling my arms or hanging out on the back of my shirt. With my short hair, the shampoo bottle has remained at half full for about a month. It is funny to walk around new places. We were in the mall the other day and Josh said, "Tara everyone looks at you when we walk by". I didn't believe him until I started watching everyone. I realized that they were looking. I hope they all just got a good look at my beautiful scar. I have to show off the artistry of Dr. Berger, I know he would be proud of his work. I don't even care about my hair anymore all I care about is getting better. Sure I miss it, especially when I see my sister do her hair all cute and wear headbands but hey I can do things she can't do like stick suction cups to my head! Brig was shooting the Nerf gun the other day and we thought it would be cool to try to stick the suction cup to my head. It of course worked and remained there for at least an hour! Brig thought I was pretty cool. Chol took a picture and maybe we will share it later. We do lots of cool stuff with my bald head.

Today is infusion day...ewww! I had a rush blood order yesterday and they were nicer than last week but it still hurts. As far as the headaches go the doctors told me to stop being a tuff guy and take my meds. Fine fine okay I will do it. So I have my meds now and I keep them close. After googling we found that headaches are very common after radiation...I am still carrying the radiation with me. They told me I would for a while. I am like a walking microwave.

Well California here we come!

Monday, August 16, 2010


This is Becky.

We leave tomorrow for our vacation!  Yippee!  Then I go to Utah with Rachel for a week so I'm gone the rest of the month.

We are so blessed.  Last night Tara & Josh were over here and Tara acted totally normal!  She played ROOK, ate lots at dinner; and was just herself again.  I sure love those moments.  Josh and Tara are just so happy together and it is fun to watch them.

Tara has an infusion tomorrow (clinical trial) and hopefully a little chat with our doc which I am hoping will be to encourage Tara to TAKE Tylenol if her head aches.  I think her head is bothering her because of the after effects of radiation (delayed effect) and her brain may be swelling.  I don't think it's anything to worry too much about - it's all part of the deal.  She said she feels "fine" today - don't always know if that's the truth or not.  Then we leave after the infusion and the doctor chat.

I still am so touched by so many.  For some odd reason today 2 strong young thoughtful boys showed up in our front yard and started finding yardwork to do.  Why anyone would want to do that in August at 1:00 in the day in Mesa is beyond me; but I am touched.  This is after our own children actually mowed and weedwhacked last Saturday.  I insisted that our kids can do the yard now; but these boys told me to tell them to "take a day off."  So, these boys are still finding plenty of yardwork to do.  They head off to college soon and wanted to help before they left.  The front yard looks sharp now and we can go out of town and relax about the yardwork.  People are still praying for us, smiling at us, and wanting to help in any way they can.  This is a long battle and I just can't believe how kind everyone is.

We are happy today - excited for this week.  I am taking Deanna Wayne's advice and taking this day by day and we are going to definitely enjoy this week!  We have to!

Tara's brown eyes are quite attractive - they always have been; but now with no hair, her eyes are even more pronounced.  My children get tired of me "looking" at them - you mothers know how it is.  Many times it's enough just to lay your eyes on your children and watch them.  I try to memorize these moments.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I am a little scared right now. I had a headache that woke me up and I had headaches all day yesterday. I have not had headaches since surgery and nothing that has woken me up. I hope the end of August brings good news and not the bad news that my mind wanders off to. I don't want to take medicine because I want to be able to tell the doctor exactly how they felt/feel and I want to be able to tell him how frequent but this hurts really bad.

Happy Sunday


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blond Jokes

Okay I know some people don't like blonde jokes so if you don't, don't read this but I thought it was rather funny. Also, every day at work my dad's business partner, Rick Horton, tells me a joke. He just makes me smile everyday and that's one of the many ways he has helped me and my family. I think it is pretty cool. So this was Friday's joke.I also have been really into detective shows and movies... so this goes right along with my current interest.

Blond Detectives

A policeman was interrogating three blondes who were training to become detectives. To test their skills in recognizing a suspect, he shows them a picture, then hides it.
“This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?”
The first blonde answers, “That’s easy, we’ll catch him fast because he only has one eye!”
The policeman says, “He doesn’t have just one eye. The picture is a profile!”
He calls in the next blonde, flashes the picture and asks her, “This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?”
The second blonde giggles, flips her hair and says, “Ha! He’d be too easy to catch because he only has one ear!”
“It’s a profile!”
The frustrated policeman shows the picture to the third blonde and says in an irritated voice, “This is your suspect, how would you recognize him?” He quickly adds, “Think hard before giving me a stupid answer.”
The blonde looks at the picture intently for a moment and says, “The suspect wears contact lenses!”
The policeman is surprised and speechless because he really doesn’t know himself if the suspect wears contacts or not. “Wait here for a few minutes while I check his file.” He goes to his office and comes back beaming. “It’s TRUE! The suspect does in fact wear contact lenses. Good work! How were you able to make such an astute observation?”
“That’s easy,” the blonde replied. “He probably needs glasses because he has only one eye, but he can’t wear them because he has only one ear!”

four down

four teacher have replied and given Josh the okay to go to California and miss the first day of class...one teacher left! Our chances are looking really good. I keep having random headaches that come and go in different areas. I hope it is just my brain unswelling... WE will find out more at the end of this month. I am rather scared for the MRI. I don't want anything showing up. I will just keep praying I guess. Today is yard work day for Joshua. He is helping his dad. I did my part yesterday so now I just get to check on the siblings and clean the house and pack for the next 18 days. The gulbrandsons are coming into town so we have to get out of the house and we are going to california. At least all we really need for California is a swim suit and a part of shorts. That will be easy. My hair is starting to grow back...well the part that didn't fall out. All the hair that never fell out that I shaved it growing back so I am starting to look funny again. I think I will just shave it again tonight and do that until it all starts growing in. They said it could take until christmas

Short and Sweet for today!

Have a grand Saturday!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Minor Dilemma...

So you know that California trip that my family was all excited about...? We found out that ASU decided that school should start earlier this year and also should start on a Thursday. Josh's first day of classes is the 19th. That is right in the middle of our vacation. We already thought about going earlier so he could be home but I have an infusion that I can't miss and we already tried to find another time to go but the conflict always is...school. Unfortunately, my whole family may not be going to Cali next week...tear tear. We of course are doing everything we can to still make the trip work and Josh emailed his teachers and told them why we were going on the trip and he also was trying to find out what he would miss if he missed the first day of school. We are still waiting for replies...I sure hope they are all in a very good mood and that Josh will be able to go cause if Josh doesn't go there is no way I'm going without him and if the both of us don't go then the whole family doesn't go...I really want to go. So that's the latest little trial we have been faced with. At least it is good to know that it is a very minor trial. What's the worst that could happen? We don't go. Sure Ryan got off work and Travis got a plane ticket but I am sure that Ryan's work wouldn't mind if he showed up for work and Southwest Airlines fully refunds. I just really want to go so we will keep hoping that we will still be able to go. I continue to get stronger and my appetite has been doing much better. I feel normal today. It is the greatest feeling. Ah I just love life.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lunch Time and Random Thoughts

So usually I don't take a lunch break and I just work through lunch. More hours = more money right! Ya but no lunch break can also = insanity so today I decided to take a break from the printing, binding, investment updates, and yahoo finance to come to my happy place. Yes, my blog is one of my happy places! I feel better now.

As you have recently learned I am now a baldy and my hair is all gone. Major pros and minor cons. Major pros include. LOTION on my head! Scratching my head, ablilty to wear scarfs and hats, no more hair is falling out, and most important...Josh kisses my head more and it feels cool cause everything is cold when it touches my bare head. Minor con is that since I can no scratch it I have dead skin everywhere! I just can't win with this making a mess with my head buisness! First it is blood in the hair that won't come out then it is long hair that won't stop falling out and tickling my arms...girls you know how that is...and then the short hair started falling so fast that i noticed short little hairs everywhere and now...and hopefully finally...there is dead skin everywhere. Now this one is my own fault and I can control it but it is still rather annoying because it feels so good to just give my head a good itch! :)

I am still cold all the time. I am sitting here and I am pretty sure it is 150 outside and of course we don't keep the air too cool here but for some reason I still can't function without the heater directed straight at my legs or my blanket on. I keep my head covered to try to keep me warm but I still get so cold. It is crazy...I was always the one who wanted it to be cold and my hands were never cold. Now they literally freeze to the point that I cannot move them!

Another random thought. We are living in the Gulbrandson home. It is a beautful home probably 6,000 sq. feet and fully furnitshed. At first I was like "cool a huge house all to ourselves" now I have realized...not cool! That is a lot of vacumming and mopping! The bigger it is, the more space you have to clean. I do not envy people with big homes...that's just too much work. Now it is nice that Josh and I do not need the four extra bedrooms so we keep them closed and I don't have to vacumm in there and we also rarely use the second set of stairs so that cuts out a lot of work. Really all I have to clean is the two rooms we actually use! To tell you the truth I have not even attempted to mop. I just hand mop little areas that need it... horrible I know but that's about all I have energy for.

Speaking of energy... I am doing tons better. I feel less tired everyday...if i get enough sleep...and I am able to stay awake better. come 10 PM I am ready to crash no doubt and I am still constantly ready for a good nap but I am not so tired that I feel like I can't move anymore. It is an amazing feeling. I almost forgot what it was like to not be dead tired.

Well looks like my break may be almost over. Wish me luck with learning all this stuff I don't understand.

California next week! The whole family will be there! Ryan is taking a day off so he can come which is rather exciting news. My mom wanted to come to the doctor last week because she had questionS that she wanted to ask the doctor and the one and only thing she asked him was if I could boggie board... She stole Josh's last day of taking me to ask the doctor if I could boggie board...now she is really serious about this business.

I bet you twenty bucks she busts out the wet suits...just in case it is cold.

Nothing can get in the way of Becky boogie boarding...she is the boogie boarding queen...and we all enjoy watching her do it and watching her try to convince us to come out there with her.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coronado here we come!

This is Becky.  I don't remember if I mentioned earlier on this blog or not that we are going to celebrate Tara's break from treatment by going to a condo on Coronado Island for 4 days next week.  My family teases me constantly about how much I love planning for trips.  Well, I'm especially excited for this one because ALL of us will be there - no college students will be missing - Nate is missing football and school for a few days to come - even Ryan took 2 days off work and his family will join us.  That's a tough one to get Ryan to take off work....  Travis is flying to San Diego and meeting us there.  Then Rachel, Travis and I will drive to Utah and the rest will drive back to Mesa.

The reason I'm so excited is that Tara should actually feel GOOD on this trip.  Last week in our conversation with the doctors I asked them about boogie boarding and wake boarding and he said YES.  He said this is like other injuries in some regards.  If you break an arm and they let you out of the cast; you can return to playing football or other sports.  Her surgery and radiation is similar to that and he said it will be healed and Tara can do whatever she feels like without worrying about hurting her head.  Now if I can get Tara to not worry about hurting her head, we'll be in business! She will have to use lots of sunscreen on that head, however!  I'm just really being selfish and hoping I have a boogie boarding companion out there in the waves.  We'll have to bring our wetsuits - I've heard it's been cold in San Diego - but coldness will not stop us!  We have wetsuits and I love boogie boarding!!  I've tried to infect my children with this same love; but alas, we have not been to the beach enough.  My husband is a "mountain" kind of guy more than a "beach" guy; but I grew up going to the beach so I still love that along with the mountains.

This week is a "normal" week - what is normal around here?  Normal means no radiation runs this week at all!  No Temodar. No clinical trials, no doctor appointments, only a lab run. I even forgot about the lab run this morning.  All summer on Tuesday mornings Tara and I have gone to the lab.  I missed being the one to drive her this morning; but am glad her dad gets the chance.  Tara & Josh were over for dinner last night and Tara acted like she felt good.  Sometimes she hides how she feels from me and when I ask her how she's feeling and she says "fine" I'm not always sure if I can believe it.  Now I'm not around her enough to actually SEE if she's feeling good or not either.  But, I believe she really does seem to be starting to feel better; although it will take time for this radiation to get out of her system.  Friday she still seemed lethargic as we were cleaning up their house some and moving more stuff around.  But last night seemed better.  I'm not there to witness the "stair test" - the stairs going to work; so I'll have to drive her to work on a clinical trial day just to see how that's going!  So, now I need to return to my previous life in the mornings - start exercising again, teach piano, work on my Scout assignment, etc... maybe even be here when Nate gets home from football practice to make him breakfast!  It's a little weird to get out of the Barrows routine; but it's a good weird.  Next Tuesday Tara has her next injection; then we're off and no more doctors until the end of August when we have the MRI, trial, and doctor's appointments all at once.

I was touched again Sunday at church several times as Tara was still being prayed for by so many. Thank you all!  There was also an announcement made about a special fast for Tara by the ward members coming up. I was so touched that the ward still wanted to do this even though we're through the worst of things we hope.  What would we do without all these people around us who continually pray and love us so much?  You all are the Savior's hands through this battle we're going through. Yesterday I also learned that Tara's new ward also wants to join in the fast - both wards are fasting and then going to the temple together and then having a meal afterwards.  Wow!  I'm humbled and overwhelmed and teary eyed again.  I think I've cried every day this past week for one reason or another.  This morning it's tears of gratitude for our beloved friends and ward members who try so hard to find some way to help.  The biggest help truly is all the prayers offered in Tara's behalf.  Tara was so touched also and said, "that fast will come before the MRI won't it?"

We have been somewhat fearful of the next MRI.  We know it's out there and we just hope and pray this treatment has been working.  I read a scripture yesterday again that helped me with this. "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?"  I have prayed and prayed and yesterday while praying specifically about this MRI again, I did feel peace.  I have to remember that and not ever get carried away by fears.

Today's a good day - Tara actually drank  her entire smoothie on the way to work - no more starving herself all morning while the Temodar and radiation do their job.  I packed a large lunch and hopefully she will have enough choices to fill her up!  Josh's family and our family take turns fixing dinners for Tara & Josh - we both look forward to the time we get to spend with those two newlyweds.  Thanks to the Bodrero family for all they do in this process also!  So many people who love these two kids.  (young adults? Kids?)

Many of you have been asking about further treatment.  It's been mentioned before that Tara will take Temodar 5 days a month for 12 months.  Last week Tara found out that instead of just doubling the dosage of Temodar, they will 1/3 that amount again!  So, for example, during radiation she took 130 milligrams per day, we thought she would go to 260 per day in September - I think they will start with that but then try to get her up to about 350 milligrams a day if she can take it.  I have to remember to be grateful for Temodar.  I really hope Tara is on the Avastin also - but she didn't feel any different after the injection last time; so we'll see.

Again, thank you all so much and we love all of you faithful readers so much!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This is the shirt the Cluff's gave me. It has my motto on it! :) and I am on a journey! I absolutely love it

Typical Settlers at the family reunion...you can see rook going on in the backgound...two games of rook!

I just love Chol's face in this one and you can tell we start the kids learning young when it comes to Rook...we are serious about this card game!

For those of you who don't play rook...99% of the population... you have no idea what this means...for those of you who do...my hand is the hand on the right and I am on defense...yes defense. Kenna is on offense and she took the bid. She called trump yellow...Toast-e-does! You're set and we hit 500! Game over! Ya Josh and I are still undefeated! I had to put this on so I could brag.

So this is today. I decided to shave my head after putting lotion on it earlier and feeling how good it felt to have lotion on it. I did not like the greasy hair feel with the lotion so we quickly came up with a solution...SHAVE IT ALL GONE! So I got home from church and Josh and I watched a few youtube vidoes about shaving your head...funnier than I thought :) We then began the process. It took us a long time because we wanted to be really careful with my precous head. This is after we had shaved it as much as we could with the clippers and I am keeping my head moist with the wet warm towel...this is to prevent razor burn. Ravor burn on your head does not sound like an alley I want to go down. So we soaked it and then moved on the the last and final step...

Lots of shaving cream! This was the funnest part. I am not ready for the white hair look I decided.

It was kinda hard to know how hard to push and we were all a little timid to do it so I kinda just dug in and started shaving. It got easier and Josh did the back and never cut me once!!!!

I just like this one because it shows my cool moles I never knew I had! I need to invest in sunscreen now! :)...you can still see the gray where hair had not fallen out yet on this side.

He did such a good job! I am so proud of him...he is so careful with my head and now there are many more bald spots for him to kiss...he had no idea I did this for the sole reason of getting more kisses! :) Love you Joshua!

I have to taste the bitter to know the good and baby this bitter don't taste too bad with you standing next to me! I don't know where I would be without you Joshua.
This man means the world to me and never ceases to tell me how beautiful I am.

Well tomorrow starts a new adventure...work!
Dad will be here nice and early as expected...
6:30 will come sooner than 7:30 for a departure time.

That means goodnight for me.
My body needs all the sleep it can get!

Today I felt David near. Saturday was a hard good day for me. Hard to say goodbye to my number one cheerleader. Sometimes I can feel him so close just telling me that it will all be okay. No matter what happens...one day I will be in heaven again with David and I will be able to give him a big hug and we will both be...cancer free. Rest in peace David. You will never be forgotten.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mom's last day

This is Becky.  I will be short - I want to hear what Tara had to say about her last day.  I was not there - Scott went to witness the event.  I'm just so very glad it's the last day; although I will miss the rides in the car with Tara.  Tara is a very nice person to drive with and talks to me and does not spend time on her phone while I'm in the car with her.  I am so happy Tara can start to recover now.  I had my cry this morning - it seems like I've had them daily this week.  Today my tears were tears of joy and amazement at Tara's attitude.  She is an inspiration to me also.  They were also tears of sadness for all those who have to suffer this dreaded six letter word called CANCER.  We met someone new at radiation this week.  He was put into a wheelchair six weeks ago just because the doctors took a biopsy of his tumor.  Wow!  That tumor is in a bad, bad spot.  Tara played the piano tonight perfectly - so thanks to all of you out there praying for her 4th finger! When we play this duet together, it's really a spiritual experience for us both.  I lift the lid on our piano all the way up and the sounds just carry themselves heavenward.  (for those of you who don't know me very well, we had a 7'6" grand piano in our home while we sat on folding chairs in our kitchen! A piano is more important than a kitchen table set!!  It's just a question of priorities you know.) I am amazed again at the miracle of Tara's surgery.  No after effects of taking that very large tumor out of her head.  So many others who have brain tumors have to leave part of the tumor in their head, or worse yet, it's in the brain stem and no operation is possible.  We are so blessed; yet my heart hurts for those others who suffer more than we do.

It's almost time for Rachel to leave the nest - our family is growing smaller and we will miss her sorely.  Nate will have to keep us on our toes here all by himself.  She has grown so much this year and is really ready for college.  We'll have a big old hole in our home when Rachel leaves.  So much fun and energy will just evaporate out of our home.....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One day left

Yesterday I took my last Temodar dosage and tomorrow I finish my radiation...hopefully forever. I had a really good couple of days this weekend but since last night things have been a little rough. It is expected and really I can not expect to fee good all the time...which unfairly is usually the case. I really don't know why I am an exception to every case...oh wait...ya I do! It is because the Lord is planning this...not the doctors! I ate breakfast this morning...weird! I usually can't eat because of the meds but I didn't have to wait so Joshua and I had a healthy egg breakfast. I decided that since I am the only thing fighting this cancer for the next month I better be extra good with the eating. I used to justify saying that tomorrow the radiation will catch all my sugar eating problems. I would like to eat sugar in the night time before bed because I had this crazy idea that the sugar would have less time to do bad things if I ate it at night because it would not have as much time seeing as the radiation would zap it the next morning. It is amazing what kind of mind games I would play with myself...it seemed like I was trying to sneak sugar into my body without my brain finding out or I was devising a plan that always had good justification. Being a girl with hormones is no longer a good enough reason for why I need ice cream and chocolate every so often. I have to find a really good reason for myself. Yesterday I told myself that I HAD to eat the sugar. We were in a business meeting and there were eight people or so in attendance and it was two of their birthdays and everyone had cheesecake and they were eating it so out of pure politeness I ate the cheesecake alllll gone! I was just being polite and showing I appreciated their birthdays and their birthday cake! :) See that is excellent justification! Unfortunately, the next birthday party I know I am invited to is my fathers and that is all the way in September! Anyone have a birthday any sooner...anyone...please! I need good justification! :) Just kidding. Maybe I will make it a goal to make it until his birthday...it can be another milestone for me. We all thought it was funny that I had no idea how many days until my birthday but I could tell anyone off the top of my head when August 5th was coming and how many treatments until then. My birthday came and went and was enjoyed but August 5th will always be remembered...so I am making it an official Tara Holiday! (without cake of course!)

I think Chol posted some good pictures of my birthday celebration a few posts ago...thanks cholz you are the best! You are the blog queen! Imma miss her when she's all grown up and gone to college...she says she will miss me too...I think she will be way too preoccupied with a new batch of boys!

Have a happy nights rest and don't forget to smile tomorrow...it is the last day I have to be a slave to that table and mask. It will be the last time I surrender myself to that machine...I hope and pray! My mom said the other day I was like a lamb being taken to the slaughter...I don't think it is to that extent but I thought it was pretty funny.

Tomorrow my life will change again...or at least my schedule. I would say that after tomorrow I can sleep in but I am afraid that after tomorrow my dad will be at my doorstep earlier all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to go to work! (I work for my Dad) At least he is happy every morning...come to think of it...I don't ever think my dad has been grumpy...ever. Weird, I am grumpy all the time...must have gotten that from my moms...just kidding mom I probably got it from my older brothers!

Well this was longer than I intended...sorry. Thanks for reading


Tribute to David Wayne

This is Becky.

Monday the spirit of a great man left this earth and is now reunited with his Father in Heaven above.  This man is David Wayne.  David has been mentioned previously in this blog. David fought stomach cancer for over 13 months.  The quote "trials reveal the character of a man, they don't make the character of a man", is very true especially in David's case.  David was a quiet, unassuming, man who humbly lived his life serving others.  Not many people knew the "real" David (those are his wife, Deanna's words).  We got to know some  the real David during his battle.  The David we knew fought valiantly, without complaint, and had a smile on his face.  He fought for Deanna and was constantly more worried about her than himself.  I'll never forget sitting in their home the night after they heard David had cancer last year.  Deanna said it was like "a heavy hand came out of nowhere and just dropped down and picked you."  I can relate to that feeling.  It's surreal many times - you can't really believe you're living in this weird dream or nightmare of this thing called cancer.  David was not concerned for himself at all, he was worried about Deanna.  He was unafraid, he was only concerned for his family.  Because Scott is the bishop of our ward and the Waynes live in our neighborhood, we have had the chance to know them through this event.  Last time I saw David he was walking down the street by his home.  I was driving by, and was so happy to pull over and see his smiling face.  I did not see him often, but treasured the times I did see him.  He was a champion for Tara's cause.  He was very upset when he heard about Tara's tumor.  I guess he felt it was okay for HIM to go through this trial, but not Tara.  So, the last time I talked to David, he told me he was taking a break from chemo for 3 weeks and he was going to go to California. He needed some time off to let his body recover.  Mind you, David has been on chemo for a straight year and the first round of chemo nearly took his life.  He did not react well to chemo ever and it wreaked havoc on his body.  Every time we heard he was starting another round of chemo, my heart hurt because I knew what it did to him.  I saw him on the street that week.  He was smiling and happy to see me.  His first words were questions about Tara and how she was doing.  He gave me a pep talk about making Tara eat.  He stressed how important it was and how hard it was for him to eat, but Deanna made him take a few bites, a few swallows, anything she could. She made David green smoothies that were REALLY green.  Mine are a picnic (or dessert) compared to what went in David's shakes.  Deanna had him on a strict diet. She read several books and championed David's cause with all her heart.  David was only "supposed" to live 3-6 months, but lived more than double that time.  Anyway, during our little chat on the street I felt uplifted by David and ready to carry on again.  I tried to ask him about himself and how he was doing; but he didn't want to talk about himself much - he kept turning the conversation around to Tara.  That day had been  a blue one for me - Tara had not felt well and was refusing to eat anything all morning.  Food just didn't sound good to her. David picked me up that day. I so enjoyed seeing David and every time I saw him I felt blessed.  I always felt like our situation was not nearly as difficult as David's.

 He was over to our house on "pizza night" - the day after the dreaded pathology report.  He uplifted our entire family that night.  He smiled, encouraged Tara, reminded her to take things a day at a time, or 10 minutes at a time and that she just needs to address every day with a positive attitude and just get through that day.  David made a supreme effort to come to Tara's wedding.  He did not feel well at all that day Deanna said, and thankfully he was moved to the front of the line; but regretfully the line was being moved along during his walk through our line and Tara did not get to talk with him as much as she wanted to.  Tara was very tired also that night.  That was the last time Tara saw him.  This last time business is tough.  You never want it to be the "last time".  I think the lesson in that is to always let the people you love know you love them no matter what day it is.  You never know, as Deanna said just a few days ago, when it's the last time David will walk out of that front door.  Deanna said David had Tara on his mind so much - I know he did.  He was always more concerned about others than himself.  Deanna said her son said, "Dad always prepared everything for us. He always wanted to go before and get things ready.  Now he is getting our place ready in heaven for us."  Another quote from Deanna she wanted to share, "WE haven't changed, but circumstances have changed."  (that was this week).

Last Wednesday was a cry day for me.  Tara felt crappy.  I wanted to visit David in the Mayo hospital on my loop around the city (Barrows to Scottsdale, then home).  I received a text from Deanna saying it was not a good time to come because they were meeting with the doctors and the family.  I knew what that meant.  I was heart broken for the family and also selfishly sad for myself because I wanted to see David again and had not seen him since his return from California.  I took Tiffany Huish's advice and decided it was okay to just cry as much as I wanted and so cry I did most of the way home from north Scottsdale to Mesa.  If only other people's tears could help the situation.  I think I know what it means to "mourn with those that mourn" like the scriptures say in Alma.  I know what that feels like even more poignantly now.

Tara and I tried to practice a piano duet yesterday - the title is "My Heavenly Father Loves Me."  We will play it at David's funeral.  Deanna likes that Primary song.  We have known this duet for years, but still need an hour or so of brush up time.  Pray for Tara's fourth finger.  I am not typically a perfectionist (for those of you that know me) but I am rather a perfectionist about PIANO.  That's it. That's the only thing (well almost only) thing I'm difficult to deal with on. It's the only thing I really expect a high standard of performance from myself and my students and my children, of course.  Well, Tara has not been playing the piano recently (can you believe that!!!) and when you take a break from piano, often your fourth finger (which is the weakest) likes to rebel.  Tara's is rebelling and she needs to whip that finger into shape to perfectly play one of the passages in this duet.  So, that finger needs strength and dexterity between now and Saturday.

Farewell, David Mark Wayne.  We will miss you.  I know that the scriptures say life is but a moment in eternity, but it's tough to see that "moment" while you're living it and we all will miss David.  Deanna and the rest of the Wayne family, we love you and will be right down the street whenever you need anything.  Please pray for the Waynes everybody.

On a brighter note, Tara has had some good days since last Wednesday.  Maybe the Lord knew that we needed some good days. He only gives you what you can handle so the scriptures say - sometimes I find that hard to be true, but I guess we are handling this.  2 more radiation days and Temodar is finished as of today for four weeks!!! Yippee!!!  (Temodar is chemo).  Our constant prayer is that Tara is responding to this treatment and that this disease will be taken from her.  Thank you so much for your support.

As a mother, I am used to Tara's hairless head.  She is still beautiful and it does not bother me to see no hair on her head.  She, as her aunt says, has a perfectly shaped head and looks very good.  Occasionally, when I look at Tara's head however, my heart still hurts, not because she looks like she has a "funky haircut, " but because that head is a sign of what Tara has suffered and my heart has a pain that hits it at times.  My mother went through chemo years ago for breast cancer.  I was in Utah the week she had her mastectomy; but was not in Utah the 3 months she underwent chemo.  When she came to Arizona for Christmas that year and took her wig off, I started bawling.  Not because of how she looked, but because her bald head symbolized what she had suffered and I was not there to suffer with her or help her.  So, now that I've had my cry for the day, I will pick myself up and move on.  It will be a good day because I get to see Tara and she only has 2 days left of this treatment.  I am going to quiz our doctor this morning and see what he thinks about Tara wakeboarding or boogie boarding during her 4 week break from treatment.  I'm sure he won't mind, will he??

As always, I love you all and thank you for your support.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Girl

Rachel here... Tara wanted me to post tonight. I think she needs her sleep. There are not enough hours in the day and blogging just must have been lower on the To-Do list than everything else I suppose!

Soo here goes! It was Tara's birthday last Saturday and lets just say it was a good one! She turned 21. Thats big time in case you were wondering.
She said her day was great and she felt great. Which I think helps make days better these days...
Josh made her yummy crepes in the morning, then I'm not sure what they did in the afternoon, and then they came over to the house for Tara's birthday dinner/party thing. The Bodrero's came too! It was great.
We had an amazing dinner consisting of Watermelon, Fettuccine,  Flank Steak, and Salad. I loved it, and I'm pretty sure she loved it too. Flank Steak is a family favorite.

Anyway, to keep this post short and sweet here are some pictures of the special day.

She rocks the party hat look I'd say...

I love her. We are pretty dang cute sisters. If you want my opinion...

The happy couple :)

Ohhh how I love her....

and of course... Brigham is just the most adorable little nephew

Lastly, my moms AMAZING Banana Cream Pie for dessert. So good.

Basically my sister is 21, and the best sister in the world. It's weird to think that she is so old. Okay kidding, 21 isn't that old. But it seems old. If she is 21 then I am only 2 years behind her. Crazy. We are growing up so fast... Anyway, I love my sister so much and can't imagine my life without her. I wouldn't have picked anyone else to spend these meager 18 years of my life with. 
Lover you Ter, and always will.
Happy Birthday!

-Rachel Schlappi

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.Leon J. Suenes