Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bon Voyage!

Becky again....

Well, fans, we ARE GOING!  Miracles do happen and we indeed leave Thursday for our trip.  4 different flights, 4 schedules; and hopefully we all meet in San Juan, Puerto Rico and enjoy each other this week.  We will miss Ryan & Stephanie sorely; but will enjoy them and Brigham when we arrive home on Christmas Eve night.  Tara is a little anxious about seizures - she doesn't want to have one on the cruise (or ever for that matter) so in your prayers; please pray that she is seizure free and able to enjoy this time together.  Thanks sooo much!

It has been CRAZY around here trying to prepare for Christmas and a cruise.  I, once again, am so grateful for the moments that make up life.  Last Friday I was so happy that Tara felt like helping with the cookie baking / caramel popcorn popping job.  We wanted to give some goodie plates to our neighbors and friends (who live close enough to deliver plates to!) who have been soooo good to us.  Tara actually had energy all day and worked like a trooper to make those cookies.  She said the math skills involved in cookie making were good for her brain!  I don't take those priceless days for granted.  I don't remember the last time Tara had energy all day long.  Usually if she's at my house, she may have energy for a few hours at most; but then she's here because she's usually sick or eating dinner.  Not usually is she here because she's energetic and wants to help with a project.  Don't take your daughters for granted.  I love working on projects with my kids.  Stephanie and I made a quilt for Brig's bed together; and she's in the process of another one, and I look forward to the day Rachel will live here maybe with a few children at some point; and she can hang out during the day and work on a project!  Anyway, I cherish those times.  So, here's the truth about how Tara is feeling:

She is more energetic overall than she has been since before surgery
She has been working more days at work (a good sign)
She doesn't take naps much anymore
Her head is completely healed and ready for swimming in the British Virgin Islands!
She still fights bad headaches that scare her at times
She said last week her "body felt like it was going back on chemo again"
She has a loss of appetite
She says her math skills are pretty poor, and reading is more difficult

Not sure why the math and reading; I do believe that since she can do math and can read (it's just harder) she can work at those things and they will increase in ability.  She didn't seem to be affected in those areas after the original surgery; so I am hopeful the brain can regenerate and increase it's abilities in those areas.  We'll ask Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Smith about it next month.  I hope the cruise menus will tantalize her taste buds and shock them into working again!

Our house is mostly a happy house these days.  It's exciting to think about Rachel's upcoming wedding, and the trip.  Stephanie is looking pregnant and it's fun to watch her stomach start to grow.  She finds out what the baby is while we're on the cruise....  I love having my family around me and will look forward to alot of that at Christmas!  I am blessed with good health myself; so I can keep going.....

It's been quite a long 18 months - but here we are with one treatment left in January.  Life is good.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season - and enjoy the little moments - I will never be the same again. I hurt more when others are hurting (emotionally and physically) and the good moments are just sweeter.  I don't even take a day for granted anymore.  I love looking in my children's faces and memorizing the moments we have.  Don't let your lives have something very shocking happen before you stop to be positive and love the moments we have been given.  Learn from our journey and enjoy your health and energy NOW.  In Mike's talk he says, "instead of focusing on the things I can't do; I try to focus instead on the 990 things I can still do!"

Love you all!  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Becky here.... Tara is being a delinquent writer... so you'll have to settle for me again with news.  I have so many awesome people who tell me they check Tara's blog for information; so once again; I'll supply some info from my end; and later I'm sure you'll hear from Tara.....  I have to first apologize to Tara - (I kindof did in person already) and "sort of" got her permission to post an email I intercepted that shows us all another glimpse into the wonderful soul of Tara.  She left an email up on my computer; when I went to what I thought was my inbox; I read this wonderful interchange between Tara and a new friend she's met online through this journey.  So, I'll paste this email in here; then give you the update on our lives..

This is Tara in response to her friend who wants to use some of Tara’s story to a youth group (I think) where she lives in NYC.

Things are going really well actually. I have been a bad blogger but this past week I did get my port out of my chest and there were a few blessings in disguise that we worked through... we learned a lot and I am now port free! It is a big step for a cancer patient to be port free. I have been seizing since surgery but the seizures have led us to new questions with new answers that have brought more comfort especially when it comes to our upcoming cruise that we just got cleared to go on! :) Heavenly Father has his eyes on me and knows my specific needs.

I know this is probably more than what you asked for but when I think of missionary work I get so excited. If only they could feel what I feel, if only they knew Heavenly Father like I know him. Sometimes I get sad when I think about all those out there who do not feel what I feel and know what I know but then I get glad when I realize that they can know. I am so happy your church is doing this
Questions Tara answered:

About how many rounds of chemo? My treatment was supposed to consist of 30 initial rounds that were to be taken at a lower dosage (120mg) while on radiation 5 days a week for 42 days. When that was complete (last summer) I was to multiply my dosage by 2.5 (I think...the math is a little weird b/c the meds only come in certain sizes) 350mg and take those treatments every month for  5 days a month. The total treatment time was supposed to last 14 months. I,of course, had to have the trial chemotherapy as well as the traditional chemotherapy because of how serious this cancer is.  I had to stop the clinical trial in March because I went too many weeks without a dose of the chemo due to my brain infection and resulting surgeries. My brain surgeon would not let me have the chemo because it was interfering with my healing and since I went more than 6 weeks I was thrown off the trial. Now, since I do not have my original tumor...I cannot get back onto a trial drug unless a tumor grows back. Trial drugs are really big things to people like me. We are pretty much willing to try just about anything. Sorry I know I tend to ramble.  Radiation treatments? I did all 30 and am proud of it! :) 5 days a week Six surgeries? Yes, 6 brain surgeries. Dr. Berger #1 San Fran and Dr. Smith @ my home away from home Barrows Neurological / St. Joseph’s Hospital for #2,3,4,5,6

Why Come What May and Love it??? Is it a theme or motto? Not quite sure to be honest. Really it was the first thing that came into my mind. I had loved Elder Wirthlin's talk from general conference so much and had tried to already implement that principle in my life so when this stormy day came around and I thought about what I was going to do...the answer was clear. I was going to love it. Even if "it" was brain cancer, surgery, chemo, hospitals, etc. He shared a story in his talk about how they learned to laugh and when I get down or sad...I try to find a way to laugh and when I laugh...it makes it more easy to love. When I can make the nurses happy or those around me happy or smile...I can be happy and I can love. Come What May and Love It hopefully has become a part of me. I do not know what the Lord has in store for me. I love my experiences and my hard times even more now because you emailed me! :)  it always makes me happy when I can help people and I know that I can help more fully because of my trials. Thank you trials.:) 

How have you been able to be grateful during the hard times? How has the Savior played a role in your outlook/ability to be grateful/happy?? Oh well now you are practically begging me for a 6 page paper...I will try not to give you a list...I could go on and on. This is where I get extremely passionate. This and the Temple which to me go hand in hand. Let me start with the second question because that is my favorite of them all. The answer is a sure yes. I always talk about not being the person that I was May 14, 2010 and how grateful I am for that and I think that this is one main reason why. I have a better knowledge of a lot of things...or at least I feel as if I do. When faced with a trial like cancer, unfortunately, one of the first things on our minds is death and separation. It is scary. I don't think that any religion or belief could sheild people from that fear but I do know that the Plan of Salvation has helped me understand better who I am and where I am going when I do die or when anyone I love dies. I have more peace and less fear because I have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, The Eternal Plan of Happiness, Yes I am happy! 

-Another role. He was a great example. An example of service. They say that it is hard to think about yourself when you are thinking about others. Well, I am not going to go against it! I find that when my back is really hurting the very best way to get it to stop is by giving Josh a back rub...I swear it works every time! :) Christ was a great example of prayer and this is where I have needed him the most. There are many quiet times in hospitals or at home alone when I know I need to be happy. I know prayer is the key. I can pray and when I do it helps. It does not alleviate pain. I will not go tell people that prayer is a pain killer and that it will solve all the world’s problems but I think that when I pray I turn my heart and my mind away from “ Say Yes to the Dress” and back to my Father in Heaven and when my heart and my mind are in the right place I always tend to deal with the pain better. I have comfort. I have peace. Then I become grateful for those times that I realize what the power of prayer can be. That is how I can turn bad into good. Turn pain into pleasure. I learned that day how powerful my prayers were at the second you need them. Yes, the pain was there but I could deal with it better. I know angels have been with me. We are promised that we will not be left comfortless. I have never been left comfortless but sometimes I have to stop whining so I can hear the comforting words or hold still so I can feel the comforting blanket. He will help us, if we let him. Been through that last week with the fertility thing again...

Okay sorry I told you I would write a novel!!!! Sorry my answers got so long...I just get so excited.  

 Becky again.... just couldn't help sharing some insights into Tara.  I knew all you faithful followers would want to hear from her heart again.

Now, for the medical / other update from my perspective.  Last time I wrote, we were headed to Dr. Smith & Dr. Shapiro's offices.  Dr. Smith did indeed take Tara's stitches out that day; and pretty much ordered her to go swimming in December.  He told her to shower, that her head is waterproof and not to be afraid of infection anymore.  His nurse was so kind; she said, "the only thing we want to put in our charts or hear from you about is how great your cruise was!"  Dr. Smith had to be psychologist and doctor at the same time - to try to encourage Tara to live it up and believe that she will be okay.  She had a hard time that week - she was, to put it bluntly, very blue and sad.  Which, doesn't happen often, despite all she's been through.  She did indeed at the end of the visit open up to good Dr. Smith and he said it's okay to have a bad day, but don't let it carry on too long  - his advice was similar to Uncle Mike's - don't let a bad day turn into a bad week or a bad month.  He reassured Tara that she's been through ALOT the past 1 1/2 years and she's entitled to feel blue some; but don't let it drag on.

Next, we went to our absent minded scientist doctor - Dr. Shapiro.  He was ready for us this time, and before I could even whine about chemo making Tara sick for the trip; he looked at Tara and said, "You have a trip coming up, and I don't want you to finish your last 4 doses of chemo until January."  This came from the doctor who for 6 visits (at least) in a row couldn't remember why we went to San Francisco for the original surgery.  He had to keep checking his notes - poor Dr. Shapiro sees so many brain tumor patients!  Anyway, we are now to the point that he knows Tara pretty well now and she always generates a smile from his scientific face.  He goes to her first now to give her a hug as she leaves the office.  Tara has completely won that good doctor over.  When Tara's head started leaking again in October; she took 1 of her chemo pills; then stopped so she could have surgery.  So, she has 4 left - treatment is not done after all.  Shapiro said it won't matter if she waits till January to have those last 4 pills; but it is wise to finish the treatment.  There must be something important to that specified number of treatments.... I don't understand; but oh well.

So, after all this; Tara still did not feel well at all. She has been sore from her port removal; plus when that nurse hit a nerve while attempting an IV, her arm still has not recovered; although it is progressing. She felt like a "sick person" (according to Tara) and she felt pressure to feel better so we could go on our trip.  I try to reassure Tara that if she doesn't feel good; that's why we bought trip insurance; and we can wait until summer.  So, after all the clearance from doctors - it doesn't work if Tara still feels sick so much.

The week after all this; Tara did indeed start to feel better and let me tell you; I know how happy I am when Tara seems somewhat normal - I can only IMAGINE how happy she must be!!!  For one whole week in a row she felt pretty good - she even exercised 2 days in row - imagine that!!  I was holding my breath, hoping this would continue, thinking to myself - "could we possibly be finished with Tara being sick?"  I didn't want to get too hopeful, because too many times Tara has just been too sick.

Tara and the rest of us were all so excited for Thanksgiving for many reasons - and that gave Tara something huge to look forward to; which may have helped in her feeling so good for that week.  Rachel was coming home; and many of the Schlappis were coming for Thanksgiving - that is Scott's brothers and sisters.  40; to be exact!  Needless to say, it was a PARTY here for 4 days.  Rachel came the weekend before Thanksgiving which was AWESOME especially because we got to be here when she got engaged!  Yes, it's official; my little Rachel is not so little anymore and she will marry Nathan Anderson on February 18th in the Mesa AZ temple. So, much of our time with Tara was spent with Rachel planning her reception.  Very fun stuff!  Tara spent as much time as she possibly could with Rachel while she was here.  Rachel came home and just spread some sunshine around our whole home!  We had an Iron Chef competition and Tara actually cooked with Josh some very tasty treats - which was impressive coming from a girl who has lost her appetite for the most part.  We had some great family time together and then the BIG family showed up by Wednesday.  Tara partied hard - stayed up late playing ROOK, and of all the crazy things, went Black Friday shopping again this year.... I couldn't talk her out of it.  All the Schlappis came to see Tara, and she was not about to miss out on anything!

So, after the dust settled, company left, Tara did indeed crash - literally.  She had a full seizure (the arm freaking out again) Sunday morning.  So, since Sunday, she hasn't been herself and now she feels sick again.  My personal opinion as a mother, is that Tara pushed herself too hard; but Tara doesn't think that's why she had a seizure... but neither of us will ever really know.  I just have to wake up the next day and hope Tara makes progress toward the way she felt a week ago.  That is my prayer and since she felt that good once, I believe it can happen again.  It was beyond fun for me to see Tara have some energy and excitement and so many smiles.  Thank you Rachel and our other visitors for helping facilitate the happiness.

I have learned to enjoy the moments that make up my life.  One of those was last week when 4 out of my 5 kids and their spouses were together enjoying Iron Chef,  and enjoying Nate's first basketball game on the JV team. As I looked at my family seated on the bench in front of me at the game, I just couldn't help smiling and smiling as they cheered on their brother.  We really missed Travis.  He didn't feel it was practical to fly home for 3 days when he would be joining us in 3 weeks for the cruise.  Anyway, it's moments like that which make up the memories in my mind that get me through the hard times.  I hope we have a memory next month taking that trip together, but as Tara says, "come what may and love it"  - if she feels too sick to go; we will look forward to going another time and that will be a future memory to cherish.  

I have wished this before, and I wish it again - I wish I could be sick this week instead of Tara - I wish I could take the pain and sickness away.  Only Christ has that power and only He could do that for all of us.  What a priceless gift.   I have to remember to be thankful for my energy and health so I can keep carrying on for Tara and other family members.  I have been so blessed with good health through all of this.  I dream of the day that Tara has good health - I know it can happen, it has to happen!  I saw a glimpse of it last week.... had to pinch myself every day when she acted like she felt fine...... and I better be careful on this blog or she will try to fake it to me (as usual) and pretend like she's feeling good so I will be happy....

May you all enjoy this December and cherish those who mean the most to you at this time of year.  Don't be so busy that you can't stop and enjoy your family.  I am cutting out many things this year.... no Christmas cards (but a wedding invitation in January will suffice!) not many gifts for the family (the cruise is our gift - the gift of being together) and I may not get homemade goodies made; although I would still love to do that... however, I must get decorations up earlier this year than last year - Tara wants them up early, so Thursday is my goal to accomplish that task.  That's early for me!!!

Love you all!!!! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tender Mercy today

Becky here.    I am in my usual spot next to Tara's hospital bed watching her sleep.  Trying really hard not to sniff, be on the phone, or do any noise that bugs her.  Typing may bug her soon - we'll see.  Today is port removal day!  Tara was so excited to get the port out.  We visited a part of the hospital we haven't seen before (new since last year when the port was put in) and the nurses were all so kind and helpful.

As nurse #1 proceeded to attempt the IV; it was really hurting and she must not have hit the vein well.  Tara's beautiful pixy face was pinched with pain as the nurse tried to get blood to come out of the IV.  No luck - no blood came out and she finally withdrew the IV needle.  Try #2 on the other arm.  She put it in and instantly Tara cried out in pain (real tears) and freaked out because her hand was suddenly going numb and she was hurting so very much.  I ordered the nurse to remove that IV.  Thankfully Tara did get feeling back in her fingers after a few minutes.  I had my cry for the day as I watched this all unfold.  I look into Tara's eyes; and most of the time I just see Tara, my daughter, my friend - I reflect on all the years I have gazed into those brown eyes.  Other times like today; I see in those eyes Tara, the brain cancer patient who has suffered so much so bravely.  It just breaks my heart to see the pain.  I want it to stop.

The nurses wouldn't leave us - they were busy doing other things to prep Tara for surgery.  I told them we needed a few minutes with the curtain shut before we could proceed with another IV attempt.  Through my tears, I held Tara's hand and prayed with her for the next IV draw to go smoothly with as little pain as possible.  I pulled myself together (of course, Tara was already pulled together way before me!) and then opened the curtain and told the nurse we were ready.  We pasted our smiles on and a nurse #2 tried the IV this time.  It went in so smoothly and with very little discomfort.  Tara was calm through the whole thing.  I had them put a warm blanket on her before this attempt also and during all of this she was trying to remember to BREATHE.  Blood came out smoothly from the IV; and then she was good to go.

She is sleeping now; but needs to wake up so she can see Dr. Smith and Dr. Shapiro; also scheduled for today.  We're trying to consolidate appointments!!  The final decision on the cruise may be made today depending on Dr. Smith and Shapiro and if Tara feels comfortable with the whole idea or not.  I hope Dr. Shapiro decides to just be DONE with chemo and doesn't want to finish that last treatment she only started for 1 day before the whole surgery thing.

Can this possibly be the last time we'll be in post op?  I pray so.  I hope so.  I really do.  It is possible - with the Lord anything is possible.  Every day Scott & I pray that this will be "taken" from Tara.... and I know so many of you pray that also.  I want her body to HEAL now and get stronger, and Tara desperately wants that also.  Pray for healing and strength please, as well as the tumor being rebuked and taken from her.

Thank you all from my mother's heart to yours.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

i am back! :) Venting Sessions and Best Sunday Ever!

Here I am, I do not know why I have not written... pinterest maybe? out of the habit? regardless all bad excuses and I am back. We had good news from the doc last week as my mother has probably updated. The cruise is most likely going to happen!!!! We solved the mystery of the missing passport and they are all safely in one place now. Let me get straight to the point of all my worries for the upcoming cruise that I cannot address to my mother directly so I will do so thusly. (now that is a word)

Can I swim?
-reasons this is in question
     1. I  am just under 5 foot 8 and now weight 127 and I assure you that none of it is muscle...that cannot be a healthy swimming body...I am going to need some serious flotation device and since we are not going to be checking any bags....I do not think I will have room in my carry-on for every thing I need for 9 days and a few life jackets! :)
     2. I am no longer "half bald" but I would say I am still 1/3 bald. Any ideas on that one to keep the sun off while swimming but I cannot have anything that will be tight....ahhh.
     3. Will I be healed? Eternal optimist mom says yes...I sure hope yes and we all know what Smith will say but what will my head say?
    4. Port. Port. Port. Port. Port. Port. Port. Mom if you are reading this can you please call Terry and every other  surgeon you know so we can get this wonderful thing out!
           *****Dear readers...as you may be able to tell I am in an extremely sarcastic mood and I do need to clarify one thing. I do wish to get my port out right now but if anyone ever asked me whether or not they should get a port I would say yes without a hesitation if they are to have any long term treatment. I have loved my port and it has helped with a lot of anxiety especially when it came to needs for me. I cherished my port when I needed it and now I just do not need it anymore. I just do not want people to think they are bad and not suggest them to people because I wanted mine out so bad. Okay...enough for the lengthy disclaimer.

So yes I have had 6 brain surgeries. I was kidding with my Josh a while ago and I told him that we would just have as many kids as we did surgeries! The doctors told me that my chemo would kill my eggs and of course I decided to shut my ears and say "la la la" when they said that. Instead I decided that for every time they cut em open I would be blessed with a baby! :) Ummm I think we need to slow down on the surgeries. 6 should suffice but be thy will.  My Aunt Juls said 6 is her lucky number so this has to be it. Sorry Rachel and Nate and whoever else loved 5...I think Julie has it! :) I hope she does.

So this whole treatment thing has kinda sorta...well taken all my muscles away from me. Me and miss Julian (hard core trainer on video tape for those of you who do not know) need to have some serious dates before this cruise or I am serious concerned I may die! :) We need to get down to business. No more of this " Now Tara you are going to have stitches or feel pain or nausea or get light headed and freeze or seize or feel tried all the time or lay in bed." No I am ready to go. Get this port out. Take me off the 20.0000 medicines that all have the same 4 yellow stickers that tell me "do not to operate heavy machinery","use cation when driving", "do not drink alcohol, may increase severity" and "may cause drowsiness"  They all tell me that I am a tired drunk and I am sick of it! Done to all of them.     Wow now this has turned into a venting session....I do need to blog more often! :) Sorry if this is getting boring...it is good for me. I understand if you have stopped reading.

If you have prevailed, today was a wonderful Sunday. I was very nervous about going to church in a new ward (news flash we moved again if you did not know) I have been in the same ward pretty much my whole life. It was really scary for me. I said a few prayers of course and Heavenly Father is looking out for me as usual. He sent me a new angel to get to know. I went home and just cried I was so happy to have a friend to have at church. Someone to sit by and talk to. She even has a baby boy she let me hold for a little. Each night I pray that one day Heavenly Father will allow me to be a mother to a precious son or daughter of  His. I have this new pinterest thing where I go look at cool ideas and I will not let myself go look at baby things in fear that I will never have one of my own but what is fear. Tonight after my Scripture study I am going to go crazy on pinterest finding cute ideas for my future full family :) I am going to let myself dream and hope and picture myself holding my baby in my arms wrapped in the blanket I made her. Heavenly Father knows I can be a mother. I can dream. I will dream. Last year I picked out fabric for a little girls quilt....my first daughters name is Kate. I want to start Kate's quilt. My fear of not having children has made me not want to start that quilt. I know fear is of the devil. I need to start that quilt. I need to start that quilt. Heavenly Father knows much much more than doctors. I will start that quilt.

I am back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rejoining the Living!

Becky again.... Things are looking up at the Schlappi / Bodrero household!  Yesterday Tara only had one Percaset (pain med) and today I don't think she had any!  She is tolerating light and noise much better than last week  - (last week was zero tolerating of light and noise) and she's able to focus some also.  She got out of bed yesterday and did more than just take a bath for the day.  She actually focused on sewing some quilt blocks for at least 30 minutes until she spotted a scorpion (a DEAD scorpion) which so freaked her out that she ended the sewing process.  AND, she helped some friends and I do a marathon quilt project last night which started at 9 pm - Tara lasted til midnight. Totally amazing!  She is smiling more (although smiling hurts her jaw muscles which are always cut during surgery) and doesn't talk with a weird voice (due to the trach tube in her throat during surgery).  She is acting happier; but I think she's also trying really hard to be happy (or at least "look" happy).

She still is in pain - but I don't ever know how much because she doesn't like to tell me.  I do know it still hurts; however.  She can't bend down without her head hurting and she still needs to sleep in and rest often. After all, there was some "sawing" that went on in her skull - which causes pain for sure! But, she is a fighter, and she's fighting through this one and we will make it! She is still my hero and the "princess on the hill" as Collette would say... (Scott's sister)

I have heard from so many people this week that Tara is still in your prayers every day.... I am so amazed by that.  It humbles me and makes me realize how sometimes I don't see outside my own "box" sometimes and need to remember all those out there who are suffering and have trials.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Going home today!

This is Becky.  Tara is going home today! (this was written last Friday) Yippee!  I hope the only other surgery on Tara's horizon is a minor one to remove her port.  We have 3 items of good news.

LOVE our anaethesiologist!  Tara did not throw up once until last night; and we think that was from the Percaset.  She has never been able to eat the first night before; and his concoction worked!  Yea!  We will keep him in the charts and use him for the port removal surgery.  Her eating this surgery has been better than all the others this year.

SURPRISE VISIT from Uncle Mike!  Can you believe it?  He was in town to speak at a convention in Scottsdale for the day; and had his driver re-route him to the hospital instead of the hotel for a few hours!  We were so surprised and LOVED it.  It's impossible to be blue when Mike is around.  He wheeled right in and brightened up our dark room (Tara hates light and noise for awhile after surgery).  We ordered lunch out from a favorite Italian place close instead of eating hospital food and had a little party!

NO CULTURES GREW!  That means prayer #2 was answered!  I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father who is still watchful of Tara as she goes along this brain tumor pathway. Tara will be on antibiotics for 2 weeks as a precautionary measure only. They will be in a pill form - NO IV ANTIBIOTICS!  They should not upset her stomach as much.

She will still probably be expected to go through her last chemo treatment that she skipped this week.  She will do it in about 3 weeks after healing has happened.  So, our expected news about finishing chemo was a little premuture; but all is good because it's still just one more treatment!  Now, we just need to pray that Tara's head heals quickly enough that we can go on that cruise in December.... but if not, we will remain positive and plan a different trip....

Thanks all for your prayers..... we feel them strengthen us so very much!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Surgery 6 report

This is Becky.

Well, fans, I just spoke with Dr. Joganic - surgery #6 is about to wind itself up.  I am sincerely hoping and praying this is the LAST, the very LAST surgery!

Tara once again headed through the double doors all smiles and sleepy.  She remained positive all last week as she prepared for surgery.  I am the only wreck around who mopes and cries.  I did successfully not cry this time as she went through the double doors - just fought to hold back tears and this time I succeeded.  Tara's smiles once again carried me along.

Dr. Joganic said the reason for the hole in the head was that the hole was where there was a bone screw or something like that which was putting pressure on that area of the skin.  He talks fast and I would need to record it or have him say everything again; so I'm doing my best to hurry and type what I know.  He said the collagen cells have already turned on to healing (how does he know that?) He said they usually take 13 days; so there is a chance she can even heal faster than the last surgery.  The biggest dilemna to healing is that her skin never will be the same since radiation last year; but the INSIDES of her head are looking good.  He did a small bone graft - put some bone material in where they drilled some bone out. Dr. Smith was the bone driller, and Dr. Joganic was the one in charge of the skin.  So, Dr. Smith drilled out some bone tissues; smoothed it all out, and then the graft with some webbing (titanium) was placed over the bone material.  This will make Tara's head all smooth and pretty again and therefore reduce the pressure of the skin stretching and therefore pull off a LASTING healed head.  At least, that's the plan.  Her bone did not look infected - that's ONE answer to prayers - he said as they drilled to just smooth it out; the blood and bone tissue looked really good.  Her tissue cells have healed from last time and he was generally pleased with her insides.

So, for my second prayer - no antibiotics - the verdict is still out on that one.  I was really, really moping and frustrated because the seizure med takes away Tara's appetite; and the antiobiotics are just horrid on her stomach; so I was very blue about this whole surgery.  Dr. said he did not see signs of infection (YESSS) BUT they sent some tissue off to pathology just in case.  In other words, we will know in 2 days if she "grew" any infection or not.  I pray she does not have any little tiny traces of infection; because if she does; those doctors will slap those antibiotics in her system pretty fast.

The anaethesiologist used a different mix of stuff today hoping to help Tara's nausea.  We'll see how that goes.  She's headed to recovery now; so I'm going to sign off so I can be with her.  I'll post more when I can.

Thanks soooo much for your prayers!  I am feeling better now.  I really really hope we can still go on the cruise; but I'm not sure about that.  Her head has to totally close up.  Dr. Joganic said not to rule out the cruise; but he didn't exactly say she would be fine...... we have to pray she heals quickly.  If not, we will still keep our chins up and plan some other trip - but we would have to wait til summer and I don't want to wait to celebrate the end of treatment that long!  I'm not exactly the most patient person; although this whole process is teaching me more patience than I ever wanted!!

Love you all so very much!  I will be happy to tell Tara the doctors feel good about this.  We just need to get to the place in her life where we can stop checking the inside of her head every few months!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Well...my cancer is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My favorite mother feels it necessary that i put a new picture up so I will write under the one she has posted. Thanks Mom! :)  You can't even tell that I am rather thin on the right side of my head...my comb-over is working wonders! 

Okay so Mom filled you in a little with what is going on lately but here it is again. 
Tuesday = MRI day but it was more than any other MRI day....it could potentially be the very last MRI day of treatment! :) I love seeing Shapiro...it is amazing how he went from the bottom of our list of favorite doctors to the top. He probably could easily be one of my favorite doctors of all time. I guess I have never known one as well as he! He has seen me more in the last 1.5 years than any other...well he has a rival with Smith...and luckily...we love him too! I am so blessed to have doctors that I love. I actually hug them every time I leave no matter what the news are. They have become a part of my family. I am sure you other fellow doctored people understand. 

Okay so here are the results...

let's just say I asked Shapiro if I could have more medicine and he said NO! :) He said that there was no reason that I would need any medicine right now. My brain looked fine. 

MY CANCER IS IN REMISSION...IT IS GONE FOR NOW!!!!! and hopefully never coming back! Man I knew we could do it. I knew that we could kick this thing to the curb! :) it still does not seem real to me and really I think I am still in shock. I don't think it has hit how big this is. 

I think the main reason that it has not hit me hard is because of what I have known since Friday. Well tomorrow....I am having surgery number 6 on my head. Josh and I have decided that we wanted to have as many children as we did surgeries so it is now urgent that we slow down. We will be lucky to get what we do get :) We would love to have a big family but I think our definition of big goes to rather XL when we go over the 9 children range (just a person thing) so I think my head needs to be done. 
We are not sure why I am leaking yet but I did see Smith (Nuero-Surgeon) and the plastic surgeon again so we will have them both in there to try to solve the problem. They may try to add titanium back in and shave more bone out (infection may be in bone). The really really really good news is that the scan looked amazing so this is just a simple brain surgery. They only scheduled the operating room for 1.5 hours I think which is rather short compared to the last procedures my head has endured.  I wanted to keep that little fact a secret but my Mom brought it out so I guess it is not a secret anymore. She brought it out for good reason. There is always need for prayer but please remember that I am not the only patient of these good doctors. I see so many people go in and out of those doors each and every day. They need comfort too. Especially those little ones... it breaks my heart. 

So here we go...

5 this year but that is Chol and Nate and Lori's favorite number...anyone else??? if not...please pretend tomorrow that it is. 

Last round of chemo - coming up!!

I really hope Tara posts soon; but I felt like I needed to post today; so if she posts also and repeats some things; I know you readers won't mind because I know how much you love to hear from her!  But, I also know she wouldn't post this picture; so I just had to do it!  Isn't she just beautiful??

Good news first..... Tuesday was MRI / Dr. Shapiro day.  Dr. Shapiro said there was NO CHANGE in the MRI. Do you know how good those words are in the brain tumor world?  Really, really good.  Other good news - last night Tara started her LAST round of temodar (chemo).  She said on the way to Dr. Shapiro's office that she thought this day would never come.  First we start with counting down 42 days of radiation; then we progressed to counting down 12 months of temodar treatment (which turned into 15).  We have counted other things, such as days to get off those dreaded antibiotics.  Just to make it through this very long treatment is a milestone!  We are celebrating the end of treatment with a family cruise at Christmastime - Dec 18 to 24.  We are just a tad excited.  As of Tuesday, the doctors cleared Tara for getting in the water and having the time of her life!

Okay, now that I've told you the good news.... we have to remember the good news as we move forward to other issues.... we still need your prayers.  Tara's left arm is not behaving again.  Last week she said when she closed her eyes, she didn't know "where her arm was".  I convinced her to play womens' softball with our church group last Wednesday evening; and she couldn't make her arm with the mitt move to catch the ball.  That's just an example of what it's doing.  Shapiro classified this as "small mini seizures" and Tara has them multiple times per day.  Her arm "comes and goes".  It's not in any pain; but Shapiro wants to get this stopped.  So, he has her taking some more of her Zonogram seizure med (which causes appetite loss for Tara) to try to help this.  We are supposed to call him in 2 weeks and see if it's working.  The down side of this is the appetite loss - Tara really wants to enjoy eating on the cruise in December.

Okay, now for the last thing to pray for - Tara's head started leaking AGAIN this morning. The good news is that it's clear fluid; not green or yellow.  But, it's still fluid and still leaking.  Tara is on her way to Dr. Smith's office now.  (I'm in St. Louis with Scott & Nate)  We really need your prayers that her head will close up; and the fluid will be taken care of. The thought of surgery again is very troublesome to say the least.  We so appreciate all your prayers that we know you consistently send heavenwards.  We've come this far; but we still have more paths to travel on this brain tumor road.  It's testing my patience, for sure!  I had my brave break this morning; but after many tears and a long prayer; I'm feeling better.  Just needed to write this blog and enlist the troops again!  Thank you all!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

still there??

Are you still there...still checking after all these days of me NOT posting? Ya, I took another long break from posting and I have been informed that there are many of you out there who are getting frustrated with the lack of bloggingness! so here I am! Thank you miss Chol for the wonderful new background...I feel it quite appropriate for the blog. Reasons that I have not been blogging... well there are not any good ones especially because I have had so many good things happen in my life in the past month.

First on my mind and very exciting to me. I ran my first mile since diagnosis!!! I was so sore the next day but it felt so good...I ran a mile only to end up in the ER the next day for...kidney stones...yay :( not sure if I wrote about my first encounter with them...this is my second this month. I have a happy 6 mm kidney stone sitting in my right kidney waiting to drop and cause me extreme pain...time bomb waiting to explode! We are going to try to dissolve the little bugger before it gets on the move.

Okay so we are through kidney stones 1 and 2 and my mile maddness... now onto my wonderful new opportunity next summer! I guess since girls camp I have started myself a little speaking career. Next summer I have the wonderful opportunity to speak at a girls conference called Time to Blossom. I am so grateful that I will have this chance to share what I know and love with all these girls. Earlier this month I also spoke at a Stake Standards Night and got to share my testimony of how important our standards are and how they can either lead us to the temple...or away. Growing up I have always been petrified of speaking to people but now I get to talk to people about something that I am so passionate about. I get to share my story and my miracles. I get to share my testimony and my love for my Savior. I hope to inspire them with the experiences that have inspired me! I get to share with them something that has become a major part of who I am. Every time I talk to the youth I feel so strong that it is what it is what I am supposed to be doing. I pray that I continue to have more chances. I feel like I can be needed here to help the youth and others around me with my story. This is another reason that my trial has been a blessing. I absolutely love sharing my story. My hair is getting really long and I am looking more normal. People don't stare as much as they used to and this may sound weird but i don't like it. I like people asking me about my head and I like being different. My hair is getting so long that my oncologist asked if I was wearing a hairpiece today...seriously Shapiro??? :) Then I went to the watch place with my momma and another man thought I was a different daughter of my moms...

Okay next item of business

Last night I finished a treatment of Chemo and what does that mean????? ONE MORE LEFT??? UNO, 1,  only one more and then...well, then I am done! What am I going to do with myself??? :) ha we are going to party in the British Virgin Islands in December to celebrate! Mom will be celebrating the most...celebrating less trips to barrows, less grumpy sick Tara days, less chemo days, and most importantly...not shopping for one Christmas present!! We are going to give each other gifts that don't cost money this year and go on the cruise together!! So exciting!  I have mixed feelings about being done with Chemo but I guess it will be nice to not get sick...i just like having that medicine fight for me in my brain...it gives me peace. I also have mixed feelings about getting in the water. Some call it fear. Okay I will admit that I am scared to get in the water. Maybe a little because of sharks but mostly because of my wonderful head. I just do not want to end up in a hospital bed again. I am just so scared that the water will somehow get in there. The doctors have assured me that I will be just fine and I know that they are right...I just still am a little scared. I am sure I can work through it by December though.

Wow...a lot more has happened this last month but I am getting kinda tired so I think I will try to rap it up but before I do I must tell you the highlight of my month.

MY SISTER-IN-LAW IS PREGNANT!!!!!! 9/9/11 we found out. I was in getting an x ray on my kidney and when I come out my mom is literally screaming that Steph is pregnant. The whole office and waiting room is very excited for us! I am sure the neighbors heard too... :) They have been trying for a while and I am so excited to see this new Schlappi!! Ah 9 months need to fly by fast

okay last item of business


some of you may know how I feel about scorpions. If you don't. I do not hate a lot of things. I feel like hate is a very strong word so I use it carefully. I do not hate cockroaches or spiders. I do, however, HATE, loathe entirely scorpions.

(as a note before the story... WealthPlan was having its' first conference and we gathered all employees from across the country. Angie, our newest employee, had the blessing of staying at our house...lucky her :) )

2 loverly evenings ago I was settling down to watch me some HGTV...a personal favorite! I grabbed my favorite blankie...still call it that and plopped on the couch with Angie. I look over my left shoulder to see a tan, very alive, man-eating scorpion ready to kill me. I of course screamed, began hyperventilating and jumped to higher ground while throwing the blanket across the room. Angie was a bit confused to say the least. She understood further when I began screaming scorpion over and over. I told her to get Josh quick so he could kill the beast but instead she found it and killed it...what a brave soul. I have still never killed scorpion and I intend to keep it that way. A special thanks goes out to Angie for saving my life!! :)

ha I just told Joshua that I was writing about Scorpions (he is ready for me to be done as well) and he asked me if people wanted to hear about scorpions. well people you probably don't but I want to keep this as my journal so it stays!

Okay now the rambling has gone to far!!

ahh I missed blogging!

I love you!!

Thanks for being faithful

Tara! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

2 more months...I am beginning to feel normal...I think

Today I woke up and decided that I was going to be normal. To tell you the truth I really don't know what normal is anymore but I sure tried starting with a nice healthy workout. I actually rode a bike for 32 minutes and 17 seconds...the most I have exercised since may 13, 2010! Today I was lucky enough to ride in front of a mirror. I happened to wear my "Brain tumors stink...that's what I think" and "Cancer fears Me!" shirt that I made. Could not have chosen a better shirt to wear. As I looked up I saw myself as someone who was overcoming and empowered. I really felt that cancer was fearing me. With every minute I could feel myself pounding the cancer out of me. I feel like since I have received more comfort from the doctors I have begun to relax and stop pondering about the whole situation as much and it has been so nice. I sweat so much my hair was drenched...and I got to help Josh clean the cars! I have never been so happy to wake up and clean the cars. I was just happy that I felt well enough to face the heat and do some work....I felt more normal again. I ended up running to Walmart after and still had my shirt on. I actually enjoyed people staring at me. They saw my funny haircut and then the back of my shirt! The Lord promises that we are called to pass through trials and that they will only be for a small moment. Today as I look back I feel as if it is becoming a small moment...I feel like I am so much more  and most importantly I feel like I have the potential to be so much more. I have had the opportunity to share what I have learned with a lot of people and that brings me joy. I am so happy to share my deep feelings of what I believe and know. The light at the end of the tunnel is here and I know exactly what I am going to do when I get out of this! Cancer can't have me. I am much more.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Okay so my mother feels it necessary that you all get to see  a few pictures of me and my new hair (that has been recently cut). She took a few pictures when I was wearing make-up and normal clothes so she may be surprised when she sees this but it's all good!

The other night for the first time I blow-dried my new hairs!!!

And if that wasn't enough I teased it...and then I curled it...and then combed it and fluffed it every which way possible!

Josh had tons of fun taking pictures of all my hair styles...so happy that I actually can have a "style" now.

Man I really looked like a goof!
The first curls!

Odd comb out of curls

Joshua's favorite

I got a little tease happy on this one

I got my grandma style all ready for when I am older...Josh is hoping the Second Coming comes quick... :)

Ahhh that was a nice random post...

I felt it more interesting than all the doctors I have been to because of my silly kidney stone...

Happy 50 tomorrow dad!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2 rounds left...I think

Okay so it seems like yesterday we started this blog...really it has gone by so fast. I knew it would. I remember at the beginning freaking out when a day would end...just scared that one more was gone.

I am not the same girl I was. I gave a talk on Sunday and while preparing I thought of how much I have changed. I am a completely different person today. I think it is for a better.

Okay my hair...having a little problem with it. I actually want to cut it...shorter but I know that my Joshua would not appreciate it. He wants my long locks back...don't blame him...I did look pretty good. I just want to keep it short until the "patch" grows back...then the grow out can begin. For now I will leave it as it is...happy husband makes me happy.

My Chol is gone too...seriously it was more hard this time than any other. We had a pretty good summer but an awesome last week. I got to see her everyday and hear all about her life. I love talking to her. Josh just says that I love talking! :) Ha, he is probably right! In fact, I know he is right. I just love people and I love talking to them...most of the time! :)

I see that my momma has already given to good news about the scan... so I will just continue my rambling...I am probably seem to like rambling more than talking! :)

Today on the doorstep I had two boxes of baby stuff...I am still perplexed as to why it is here...no credit card changes or anything. I don't have a baby and I don't go on baby sights. I am not pregnant and I do not wish to own baby formula or products. Anyone who has a baby want this stuff...there is two big boxes of it...not really sure what it is but it is going in the trash unless someone speaks up.

Now on to my final ramble about my pointless doctor visit today. I saw a urologist. Shapiro wanted me to because of the kidney stone I passed. Just when we thought we had taken out a few doctors we get a urologist. I think I am fine and so does he but he still needs blood work, a urine sample, and an ultrasound. I really wish all these doctors could share! I am becoming quite the pro at filling out paperwork. I decide what is important and what is not. They ask for my medical history and I decide that they don't need it. I simply write GBM. They had no further questions...worked like a charm! So know we have a new doctor who is pointless. Kinda fun to have one of those...all the others are kinda important.!

Ward Pool Party tonight (aka..free food for Josh and I tonight!) I actually completely submersed my head today in water. First time since February. I actually forgot what it felt like. I washed my hair with shampoo instead of anti-bacterial soap. We are making huge progress here! It is so nice to be able to wash my hair in the bath instead of bathing and then getting dry and dressed only to get soaked when I wash my hair in the sink.

Okay enough rambling...I am hungry.


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Becky again....

The MRI last Tuesday was actually BETTER than the one 2 months ago.  There are these white areas on an MRI called "enhancements" which is area the dye goes to where tissue or something builds up.  This small area of enhancement was visible last MRI; but gone this time.  Last December when we were quite scared about too much white showing on the MRI; it turned out to be dead tissue from radiation; which was only possible to figure out via surgery.  Anyway, this was good news this week - especially since Tara was worried because she had been having bad headaches for awhile; which can worry her.  So, we happily showed Tara's head to Dr. Smith who agreed with Dr. Joganic that her head is healed - although the skin is very thin; it is still covering the wound which is fabulous!  Dr. Shapiro prescribed more chemo - which she started on Thursday.

Tuesday night after spending most of the day at St. Joseph's Hospital Tara & Josh returned that night with kidney stones of all things!  I bailed on this visit; by the time I got their phone call they were already checking in the ER; so Josh handled this one.  Poor Tara - how much can a body handle?  Really, now!!! She had kidney stones about 5 years ago; and man oh man, it looked so painful then and it was painful for her again this time.  So, they gave her some more hardcore pain meds to get through it and hoped she would pass the kidney stone.  Well, it took 4 days!  She finally passed it last night; just in time to stand up in front of a young single adult congregation this morning and give, might I add, a very moving talk.  So, now she only has chemo sickness to deal with.  BUT, at least it's only ONE thing to deal with.  No more saline flushes, heprin flushes, antibiotics, sanitary gloves, alcohol wipes, or various other supplies need to be in our house.  They're all going in the TRASH.

Guess how many chemo treatments after this one??? 2!!!! That thought keeps me going.  Tara wants more - I want her to feel better again - I dream of that day - so 2 more treatments here we come!  After 14 supposed months of treatment (which has turned out to be longer because of the brain infections) we WILL finish.  Like Tara said in her talk today, she will WIN and beat this cancer. Guess what else?  We splurged and planned a cruise for Dec 17-24 to the British Virgin Islands to celebrate the end of Tara's treatment!  I still have to buy the plane tickets; but the cruise is BOOKED.  Merry Christmas Schlappis!  I was so very sad that Tara couldn't even get in the water at Lake Powell; that we really just wanted to do something else that she could totally enjoy when this is all finished.  She'll have 6 weeks to try to recover from all this chemo before the trip. Hopefully that's enough time to get enough medication out of her body that she can enjoy herself.  She'll still have seizure medication that makes her tired; but she can alternate between sleeping on the beaches and swimming and snorkeling in those beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean!  The chemo is starting to pile up (cumulative effect) and she's sick longer and more often; but that's to be expected.  I, for one, just cherish the good days even more.  The end is in sight!!!  Then we have done all the doctors know how to do and Tara is in the Lord's hands.  I, of course, will throw homeopathic treatments Tara's way and try to do everything we can to help fight this tumor and discourage it from ever returning.

One more thing.... we did indeed give away the quilt; but we have no pictures yet; so we've been waiting to meet the recipient and get pictures; and it's been tricky; so hopefully they will be forthcoming.  Just know it went to a very special little girl. All we know right now is that an 11 girl named Lilly was in one of Arizona Oncology's Clinics; and her grandmother bought her a single raffle ticket.  Lilly is fighting a bone tumor and is having a rough time undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.  Terri Thomas, one of the foundations organizers, took some tickets to the 2 clinics she works at and sold some tickets.  When Dr. Shapiro drew out the winning ticket last month; Tara & I were initially disappointed that "one of our people" didn't win the quilt; but after finding out a little about the winner; we were very happy.  We believe the quilt is where it should be and I hope it will provide some cheer to Lilly.  We are hoping to meet her; but her mother has not returned calls yet - so the whole privacy thing has to be sorted out first.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More of our Adventures

Okay back again to finish the catch up!
I know I ramble tons but this has also become my personal journal so I have to write down more than just what happens in surgeries and what the silly doctors say…I get to document my wonderful life!
So where were we…oh yes, I think I finished Girls Camp and then took my mom’s post and put it below mine… sorry momma!
I actually started going back to work after camp because I was feeling so well. It felt so good to get off that couch and actually do something productive. The only downside is the more I move…the more energy I use and the more energy I use the more food I need and the real problem lies there…I don’t like eating. So there I was being a good little cancer crusher eating a nice healthy lunch when doctor Kumi (the one I cannot understand) calls. All was hunky-dory until he called and told me I could not go to Lake Powell!!! WHATTTT no lake?? I was the one who got to pick this family vacation and he was trying to tell me I could not go. Maybe I cried a bit…after all, I thought my family would be going on the dream vacation without me!!! Kumi didn’t quite know how stubborn and persistent my mother and I are…he soon learned! Needless to say miracles surrounded me and I was able to go. I can’t wait to put a wonderful picture of the creation I got to wear on my head so water did not touch my precious wound. When I say miracles…I literally mean it…more than one! It was not only the wound that had to head but also the body that needed to escape infection, the port that had to be changed by a doctor who actually knew how to who was on our insurance, the medicine that could only last a few days and had to be kept cold and shipped periodically throughout our vacation, and the supplies that took more room to pack than my personal things for 2 weeks!! Oh and we had to make sure we had sterile water and cleaning supplies at the lake…lake water comes out of the faucets and there is no way that was going to work. One miracle after another solved our minuet problems and I was cleared by every doctor to head to the Lake. Doctor Smith even told me to “live a little, put your feet in the water”. That is what living a little is?? Ha! I decided not to “live a little” and stayed safely dry all week long thanks to my wonderful head arrangements and towels.   We went with the Brian and Carrie Smith family (practically our extended family) and had a blast. I had fun playing mafia and cards with those who were left behind on the house boat and even got on the speed boat a time or two just to watch the “mad air” that the wake-boarders got.
There was no way that we were going to stop our fun there! We then went back to page to get my port changed and then straight to Cedar City for a family reunion where I got to share my drugs with the broken armed and meet all these new cousins I never knew I had! Putting a helmet on was out of the question because of the wound so I got to relax back at the cabin while everyone else got literally lost in the mountains. I waited to be daring until my father was gone so he could not protest and until the riders knew their way around a bit. We made up another perfect “thingy” to protect my beautiful healing head and went on an easy…well what we call easy…ride to Strawberry Point where others looked down in awe and I trembled in fear of heights… I am as bad as my dad when it comes to heights. Me and heights just don’t get along. The rest of that adventure continued without a problem but why stop there!!!
Nest we went to Logan, Utah to see the Bodrero family and to celebrate my birthday. Josh had not seen his cousins in a while and I had a lot t meet. I had an unforgettable birthday song sung by the Larsens and actually memorized all their names…Josh get working on the Schlappi side and good luck! We had fun eating Creamies and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. Medicine was delivered cold and we were having so much fun being away from doctors that we decided to stay with my Uncle in Fairview, Utah on the way home where I had my personal highlight of the trip. I got to ride me a horsey! I love horses, always have, always will. I used to ride every year for my birthday when my great grandpa was alive and now thankfully Tyler has taken over.  It seriously is my favorite thing ever and we did not ride a silly trail either. We decided to blaze our own through the mountains. The mountains were covered with yellow and purple flowers and when we rode through sometimes my feet would brush the tops of the greenery. Ol Amiga behaved herself and leapt a few times just to give me an extra thrill. Next to my love for horses is my love for dogs and it just so happens that Tilly picked up three new lab puppies the day before we got there… I think I was in heaven! We played with the puppies, milked Bumblebee the goat and were treated to nice cold goat milk! Josh was sold on it as soon as he learned he could drink it and not get sick. He is lactose intolerant so he always gets sick with dairy products. We used the goat milk for our alfredo sauce and Josh is now doing research trying get his hands on his own goat!

So things accomplished in this trip include
No emergencies
“max air” for the lakers
Port change smoothly
Visit Grandma  Bodrero, Great grandma Bodrero, Grandma Stratton, Grandma Schlappi and Grandma mom (just wanted to add another grandma and remind my mother she is a grandma!!! )
Brig, Tara, Summer birthdays complete with candles and birthday songs
Safe quad ride
Extended family
Tutor for ACT with successful outcomes!! Yay Larsens
Horses (Josh’s first ride…rode like a pro!)
Beautiful mountains
Learn wonderfulness of goats and their milk
Lots of love and hugs from all family!

Okay now I am more caught up. Wow that was long. 1106 words and counting… it was much harder to write this much on English papers!

Sorry this is forever and a day long!

The one and only

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Girls Camp, Lake Powell, Cedar City, Logan, Fairview and GOATS!!!

Well it has most certainly been more than a month since I have written I think. Sorry! it looks like my mother has filled you all in a bit. I think since last time I wrote I have been in surgery and been to Girls Camp, Lake Powell, Cedar City, Logan, Fairview. I have grown one year older and most definitely wiser too! :) Wow my life is hard eh?? :) Of course it was a miracle that I was able to be gone more than a week and through this whole time (minus the surgery) everything has been pretty smooth. It was so nice to spend a good amount of time away from all those doctors.

My life has definitely changed in the past month starting with Girls Camp.

I remember going last year...that is when I had to realize the severity of my cancer and what it could possibly mean. This experience was a complete 180 from last. I got to have so much fun and I got to realize what I have really learned in that year. I actually found a little journal entry from that day last year in my scriptures. Back then I was so scared to die and that was all I could think about. I was too scared that my life was going to be ruined because of this cancer. I saw it all as a horrible curse and really viewed it only as a disease. Soon after I did some serious soul searching and have learned a lot about me and my Heavenly Father. This girls camp my journal entry was much different. Instead of focusing on the hard parts of this cancer I got to focus on all the good things.

Okay I must go back to two days before Girls Camp even started. My mother did not want to go to girls camp...she wanted to stay home with me and make sure I would be okay...remember I had surgery the previous week. Being the stubborn piece of work I am I continued to tell my mother to go to camp and pack her bags. My momma's stubborn too and made it known that she would not be leaving me. That's when I knew I needed to go to girls camp. I really wanted to anyway so it was a good thing anyway. Sunday afternoon President Baudin came over... and I knew exactly why he was there. He was going to ask me to go to Girls Camp!!! My little heart was so happy to be invited to go. He asked to sit down and talk for a while. I got a little dissapointed after a few minutes because he was just interested in how my family was doing...I was scared I wasn't going to get to go afterall. Then he looked me in the eyes and told me he felt prompted to ask me to go to Girls Camp and I could hear the angels singing. I promptly said yes! I knew he was coming! I told my mom to go pack those bags she didn't want to pack! Man I love being right!!! Mom's going to girls camp...ahhh I just knew it. I practically danced around the house until Tuesday finally came. I wanted to go up early with Dad Monday but I guess the doctors wanted to see me before I went...:) We had planned all the doctors visits around Girls Camp before because we thought my mom was going so it all worked out perfectly. They said as long as I did not roll around in the dirt I could go! I have never been so excited to pack for girls camp! I arrived with no responsibilities or restrictions! I had full access to the freezer filled with ice cream and could do whatever I wanted!! Can it get better? I got to walk around from cabin to cabin and take naps whenever I felt needed! I did not have to go the hike or clean a single bathroom. I did not have to plan anything either. It was the most relazing girls camp ever. I was just to try to make people happy! I like that job.

President told me that I would probably get a chance to speak to the girls at one time or another. He did not tell me for how long or what day or what topic. He just said I would get to speak. I am actually suprised that this did not make me nervous. I usually like to have everything that I am going to say written word for word on a paper because I know that I am a rambler and my thoughts are not always completely coherent... evident in this passage I assume.  Wednesday night came around and I happened to be earing dinner with the Stake Presidency. This is when President asked me what I thought the girls were supposed to hear this year. I thought "wait, isn't that your job President...to receive revelation and tell me what to speak on??" I guess not!! :) I had actually pondered a bit about what I would say to the girls previously so when he asked me I jut said the word that was written the biggest on my thought list. It was actually the very last thing I wrote on my list and I wrote it in the very middle and then circled it. I know that it is what they needed to hear and knowing that has taught me so much. Looking back I realize that I can recieve inspiration when my heart is in the right place. I thought that I would be speaking on Thursday night but then President through me for another loop and asked me to speak that very night...in about 30 minutes. I realized that there was no way I was going to have anything written down so I decided to prepare my heart instead of a paper. I had a good prayer and then relaxed and did not think about it again until we pulled into the fourth level camp. I had one word to go off, "temples". The greatest thing is that I have had experience with the temple and more importantly the spirit was there. I was able to stand in front of all those beautiful girls and tell them what I felt the Lord needed them to hear along with my strong testimony of temples. I guess it went well because President asked me to do it again the next night in front of all the girls. I was a little worried about doing it again...how could I replicate what I felt and what I said...I had not prepared anything. So of course the next night was much different but I believe it was still special and most importantly, the spirit was there. I could see princesses that were one day to be queens and I saw all the potential in their eyes. Of course I bawled and confessed my love for hugs so afterwards I got a hug from at least 50% of the girls. I will forever cherish those hugs. I will never have an experience like that. Those hugs made cancer worth it...they made all my pain worth it. I will never ever forget my time at Girls Camp and pray that I can go again next year. Young men are amazing but young women...ahh just a little bit better! :) I think I connect with them better. I sure hope I can go again next year.  This girls camp changed my life and I only hope and pray that I could have helped someone else. I know why I am still here...I can help people. I also know why I want to stay here...so I can help again and hug more young girls and have more experiences like I had this June. I wish I could have stayed forever. My life has much more meaning now. I feel like I am doing something good in this world. I feel like I can do something good for my Heavenly Father. I know he loves his daughters...I love them too.

Brownies are done... I will finish the rest of my adventures later!! :)

Much Love


Becky again....

Yesterday was a wonderful "doctor day". 9:30 we went to Dr. Kumi (infectious disease) who said Tara can get OFF her antibiotics as of Wednesday. He wanted to put her on a pill form until her next MRI (next week) but I reminded him they make her SICK. Honestly, do these doctors not know how yucky people feel while on their meds? I made Tara tell Dr. Kumi how sick she's been while on this drug, and then he said, "are you sure it's from this drug?" Really, after almost 5 months of antibiotics, I think Tara would know what makes her sick... anyway, he said she can stop! Tara has been especially sick the last 2 weeks, and I, for one, and very much looking forward to NO MORE antibiotics and I know Tara will enjoy not having a bottle attached to her chest for 4 hours a day. (these are IV antibiotics) So, we did NOT make a return appointment with Dr. Kumi!!!

Next, Dr. Joganic (plastic surgeon). He put his hefty magnifying glasses on; looked at Tara's incision; and proceeded to take ALL the stitches out! All of them! This is the 1st time in 5 months stitches have come out without a residual, non-healing, scab on top of Tara's head (which equates to a hole in the head). This is the 1st time since February that we have gone to the dr, and not had surgery again within that month. Dr. Joganic said Tara's head had "completely epithelialized" guess what that means? The dictionary says "completely cover with epitheliam" which is SKIN. It's the outer layer of skin on the brain for all you non doctor people. Dr. said this was starting to epithelialize last month; but yesterday he had no worries about her head and reassured us it was healing. There were a few spots I was still bothered by; but Mr. Magnifying Glass said he wasn't bothered or worried, so that's good enough for us! Yea!!!! No return appointment for Dr. Joganic, either! 2 doctors out of our life! We really love our doctors; but when we don't have to see them, that is awfully good news. We don't even have to see Dr. Smith; but we want to - so next week when we go for the MRI (Tuesday) we will stop by and have him rejoice as well with the condition of Tara's scalp. He's the doctor above all who encourages Tara to "live a little." He told her at Lake Powell to "put her feet in the water and live a little." (although she didn't do that regardless - she was so careful about water).

I was pretty much dancing out of Barrows, and Tara had goosebumps. Last month she got all teary eyed when Dr. Joganic said her wound looked good and was healing as well. That is really music to her ears!!

So, we have Dr. Shapiro, Dr. Smith, and an MRI next week. We're trying not to worry - it's always a bit of a worry at MRI time - but we have to remember that faith knocks away fear, must remember and remember that. Tara has had some bad headaches lately, but I reminded her last night that Dr. Smith said those weren't a sign of the tumor reoccuring - her tumor would have to be large to have that happen; and with constant MRI's, he doesn't think that would be the case. Tara just can't have a headache without a little concern. Normal people can have headaches, but I guess Tara will never be normal - we all know she's extremely special, not just normal!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Girl's Camp 2011

Becky again...... so sorry you aren't hearing from Tara - I know it's on her TO DO list to write on her blog sometime this weekend; but it's been way tooo long; so I'm going to fill in some of the gaps of the last month from my perspective.  Tara may cover many of the same things; but as you have learned, we have different perspectives.  I know her writing makes you smile, cry, and laugh, and mine is mostly informational - but even information these days is sadly lacking.... so I'll start and Tara can finish!!!

My last post was somewhat depressing..... I'll have to admit I was NOT at all looking forward to weeks of antibiotics again. So, I'll start with the Sunday after that post.  This was the 1st Sunday in July.  Let's just say we have an amazing Stake President who really does listen to the Spirit and is where the Lord wants him to be when He wants him to be there!  Sunday evening President Bawden stopped by our home (about 7 pm - I'm sure he had been gone since 6 am that morning) just to visit us.  He felt impressed to come by.  Tara & Josh were at our home for Sunday dinner that evening.  Scott, Tara & I stepped in the living room to talk with him (we knew he came to see Tara) and the first thing he said to any of us was to me and it was, "How are you doing, Becky?"  "You don't seem to have your usual sparkle." Tears instantly flowed down my face.  Lynette Bayles calls this face of priesthood leaders the "Bishop face".  Same thing happened to her when Scott asked her how she was doing one day - and REALLY meant "how are you doing?!"  Anyway, President Bawden knows what it feels like to be the one watching a loved one suffer - he's BEEN there and I know he knows.  We proceeded to talk for a bit - mostly Tara talked to Pres. Bawden and her spirit was shining through (nothing unusual for Tara).  She was in a much better spot that I was; she was still positive and talking about how she's learning through all of this.    Now I have to preface my next comments with some info.  One of my husband's responsibilities in our church is to oversee the girls' camp for the 12-18 year old girls in our stake.  It's held once a year.  I told him this year I would go with him and help cook or do whatever was needed of me because Nate would be gone that week to EFY (Especially for Youth - a church camp) and I might as well get out in the mountains; be of some service, and be with him since there were no "kids" to mother that week.  That Wednesday I had decided not to go to girls' camp.  Tara was in her "couch" mode - feeling just too sick and blue to do anything at all; and although it would make Tara really really mad for me to stay home from camp because of her; that's exactly what I was going to do anyway.  I know there are so many others who would happily step in and help in any way they could; but my crazy mother's heart just can't stand the thought of Tara feeling crappy without me trying to do something if I could.  Too many times there is absolutely nothing I can do but just see her be sick; but even if that's the case; I didn't want to be away from her.  Is this co-dependancy?  I don't know...  anyway, Tara had in her secret little heart wanted to go to girls' camp also; and I had thoughts about her going and was wishing the stake leaders would ask her to go; because I knew how much she loved girls' camp and I believed that there were girls there she could touch; but girls' camp is not something you just invite yourself to and say, "hey, by the way, I feel like I should come and be with the girls and help somehow".  You have to have a job, a role, a reason for going.

President Bawden, after visiting with Tara, and seeing her great spirit shine forth, said that he felt impressed to invite Tara to girls' camp.  The hugest smile broke out on Tara's face and she just KNEW it.  Just knew that she was supposed to go.  Bear in mind that she had been feeling really yucky after the June 29 surgery.  President asked her if she could make the trip; and she said yes, but she wasn't too sure about leaving Josh.  So, President visited with Josh also; and Josh was his wonderful, supportive, self and encouraged Tara to take this opportunity.  Tara was all smiles, and this meant that I, as well, would be going to camp.  Tara & I both received priesthood blessings that evening.  From that moment on, Tara's strength steadily started to improve., and my spirits improved.  I just needed that boost I received from the priesthood blessing and visit from Pres. Bawden.  It's like the Lord was telling me He knew I was still there, still going along this pathway...

Tuesday morning we went to camp - 1 1/2 hours away.  Tara's role at camp was to just enjoy the girls and do whatever she felt like.  She wasn't sure how she would be used yet.  She took some pretty hefty naps every day; but was eating better than she had eaten in weeks, and was feeling reasonably well.  She was able to walk around the campsites back and forth without trouble.  Wednesday came, and Pres. asked Tara to speak to the 4th level girls - these are girls 15 turning 16.  These girls camped at a different spot that the rest of the group; so we traveled there that night.  Pres. asked me to introduce Tara and "tell her story" and then Tara spoke.  It was difficult for me to get through the "story" - it's really the 1st time I've told it to a group before and public speaking is NOT my forte.  I shake and tremble and especially in a story like this; it's tough for me to get through.  I can play the piano in church hundreds of times and rarely do I get nervous; but the minute I open my mouth I pretty much fall apart.  But, somehow the Lord sustained me, and I "told the story."  I said things I didn't think I had told Tara before; like what the pathologist really said the day of the report - how my daughter's life really was on the line.  Tara spoke after me, and Pres. asked her to follow the Spirit and talk about whatever she felt like the girls should hear.  She spoke of how important her temple wedding was to her - one thing she said was, "if the Lord took me home right after my wedding, I knew it would be okay because of my temple marriage."  But, the Lord has left Tara here (as she said) and while she's here she believes she's here for a reason and that reason is to help others.  I personally, hope there are billions of people she has to help because I want her on this earth for a very long time!!!  She spoke of the importance of the temple, of God's love for each one of them, of temptations, of modesty, and other issues.  Many tears were shed and many lives were touched.  I'm sorry this is so long; but it's counting as my journal and I don't want to re-type again.

Thursday Pres. wanted Tara & I to pretty much repeat Wednesday's experience; except give it in the main lodge to all the rest of the girls.  Thursday at about 3:30; someone came to steal me away from my cook's responsibilities in the kitchen.  Tara was lying on the couch in the lodge unable to get up.  She was unable to focus, walk, and she was "feeling weird."  (which is a word she uses often).  2 nurses were around her and one bishop who is also an oncologist at Mayo Clinic.  She was pretty much out of commission and I was wondering how on earth she was going to stand up and talk to all the girls that evening; but I had the thought, "if the Lord wants her to speak, there will be a way."  Sure enough, about 6:00; she pops off the couch, eats a reasonable dinner, and gets her strength back.  That night she stood by Pres. Bawden for about 45 minutes as they both spoke to the girls.  After her talk, the girls started to line up to see Tara, and a line formed that ran outside of the lodge of girls waiting to give Tara a hug.  She expressed her love for the girls and her desire to help them, they felt that love, and wanted to meet her personally.  After the "line of hugs" Tara seriously SKIPPED out of the lodge. Skipped!!  Coming off the couch to skipping - THAT is the power of love.  My mother's heart was so happy for her.  I love those moments when I see glimpses of Tara - the not sick version of Tara.  That girl is something else, and girls' camp was such a tremendous experience for both Tara and the girls.  I know the Lord is REAL, I know He loves us, and it helped me so much to feel that, as well as Tara.  I got a little glimpse of eternity.  There are people here who Tara can help with her story, so many people.... I want her to keep on reaching out and being needed so much on this earth that she won't be called back home to heaven.....can't stand the thought of her ever not being here..... that's the place in my mind I just can't go; even though my mind wanders there at times..... when it does; I have to push away the fear and remember that where faith grows, miracles blossom.  Tara's afraid again today - she gets that way when she has a bad headache.  I try to remind her she's been here before - and help her push away the fear also; but sometimes fear rears it's ugly head anyway.  She's so sick today - those antibiotics are really taking their toll; but the good news is that WEDNESDAY she should be able to stop (at least that's what I'm hoping the dr's will say on Monday).  Wednesday marks 6 weeks since surgery.  I'll write more later... you still need to hear about vacation....