It's been too long once again since this blog has been updated - so I'll post a few highlights of this summer:
* Tara recovered from surgery #7 pretty quickly (relatively speaking). I was so happy to see her return to her pre-surgery state in about 3 weeks. Her stitches came out; and Dr. Smith said her head looked "fabulous" and he told her she could SWIM! It's been forever since Tara swam in a pool. She did get in the pool this week; but was still afraid to get her head wet. Thanks again for all your prayers - we certainly dodged two big events with that last surgery and we're so very grateful.
* She did 3 speeches - she's actually getting amazingly good at talking to people,especially the young women. This brave girl told me that surgery #7 came at "a perfect time" because she could speak at "Time to Blossom" for young women (250 girls) and then go to the hospital a few days later. She also went to Prescott to speak at a girls' camp; and spoke in her uncle's church to another group of young women and their leaders. Her next talk is to a women's group in her area. She feels like speaking to others is part of her purpose here and really genuinely wants to help others if she can by relating some of her experiences. Her talk brings me to tears every single time.
* We were driving home from Barrow's one day and passed a "hospice car". Tara got a very determined look on her face and passed that car saying, "I NEVER want to see one of those cars EVER - it's not ever going to come for me!!
* We went to Utah for our Schlappi family reunion. 2 years ago for this same reunion; Tara got off one day of radiation so she could go. She wasn't in the best of shape 2 years ago; and I stopped to reflect how different this reunion was. Our own family left 3 days early for the reunion so we could spend some time in the mountains together before the reunion started. Tears came to my eyes one morning as I watched Tara get so excited to get on a quad and go riding in the mountains. SHe seemed so full of life and so happy to be LIVING and getting out! She couldn't ride for too long because the helmets bugged her head; but she got OUT! She stayed up late playing games and generally had a great time. I don't take those moments for granted anymore - never will again. I am just so happy when I see her so happy!
* Rachel & her Nate (we have 2 Nates around here now) and Travis are all here for the summer - so we have had some great times being together - it's a wonderful thing for a mother to have her family together. It won't last long - Travis is going to Somalia for a year to teach school there (YES, we know it's the most dangerous country on the planet), Rachel & Nate leave for BYU in a few weeks, and Jerod left on his mission last Wednesday. I told Travis that I have a daughter whose life is in danger through no choice of her own; and he's WALKING in to danger - how much can a mother take? I just pray he returns safely - he's actually going to SomaliLAND which is somewhat safer than Somalia.
* We had some hard times when our friend, Rick Oehme, died. He was a fellow warrior in the GBM world. Tara and I cried our eyes out - it's so tough to know people who fall because of this dreaded disease. Tara did shave her head again - she lost so much hair when they prepped for theskin graft that she just took it off again. As usual, it didn't bother her too much - always bothers me more. It's already growing back quickly. I did make it through this shaving of the head without crying; so I guess I'm learning to deal with more than I used to.
* I have learned again and again to enjoy the moments - and I'm stealing a WHOLE WEEK of them next month - for our annual girl's trip we are going to Vancouver, BC, and Victoria BC. I picked a spot that was nowhere near water that you would want to swim in; just water to look at because I knew Tara would be paranoid about swimming! So, our lower budget trip to CA got switched to Vancouver. And, we have to go a whole week to save money by flying on Allegiant Air. So, I get to steal the girls in the family away for a whole week and I can't believe it's really going to happen! I just want to live life to the fullest; and I know you can live life without going away on trips, but I do love these trips - so I threw away practicality and we are going!! Attendees are: Stephanie and baby Katelyn, Tara, Rachel, and myself. YES!!
* I've personally spent more time this summer being a grandma. Since doctors don't completely fill our lives anymore; I have enjoyed other things. Brigham and our new little Katelyn are awesome and I just can't get enough of holding that precious little new granddaughter.
Love you all! I keep encouraging Tara to write.... maybe she's living in the world of no brain cancer now and that may relate to no blogging, I don't know. But, she loves you all and loves to be able to help where she can; so please feel free to email her.