Saturday, March 28, 2009

health update

Friends and family are continually wondering how Travis is doing. How's he feeling? What's the latest on the tumor and treatment?.....etc. We met with our radiation oncologist last week for him to go over the MRI results from the previous week.

According to him and the entire tumor board, the tumor, as I've stated before, appears stable. That's great and exactly what they want to see. For some reason, I thought that perhaps it would have shrunk or miraculously disappeared. That didn't happen, but hopefully the tumor has been stunned into submission and will no longer grow. The doctor explained that it took a long time to grow. This means it could actually shrink over time but we may not see anything for 9-12 months. Because it is low grade, it divides and grows very slowly. The growth cycle is very slow so as cells go to divide, they will not be able to because of the radiation damage. That's what we hope for and expect.

Travis feels great. He looks great. He's still got the same symptoms on the right side of his face. They don't really bother him or affect him in any way. If the tumor were to shrink, there's a chance that his facial nerves could return to normal. But, honestly, that's not my biggest concern. He will be monitored with MRIs every 6 months. That's it for treatment. Life has basically returned to a new normal. 

I really don't dwell on the fact that Travis has a brain tumor. Many friends ask me how I function normally. Trust me, you adapt. I don't think about it constantly. We live our life, take care of the kids and our home, work, play, you know, live our life. I can't say that I don't worry. Wonder what the future holds. Don't we all worry and wonder? None of us can know for certainty. The only thing I'm certain about is that life is uncertain. In a way, it keeps me grateful, humble, and keeps me in the moment. I can only control me, the way I deal with the circumstances. My faith is strong and I have a testimony that our Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us. This is part of the plan. I'm sure I agreed to this a very long time ago. How am I learning from it and what will I do with it? These are some of the things I think about. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Birthday Week

Well, lots to update.........

First of all, last Thursday I celebrated my 36th birthday. (that number scares me a bit) I guess there's really no way around it. It's just weird that I don't feel like what I used to think a 36 year old would be like. Does that make sense? 

I got to spend the day at the Arizona Dental Convention with my dear friend, Cara. We both need the continuing education credits for dental hygiene. Being with her made it such a fun day. For lunch we met up with two other great friends, Lisa and Jill at Claimjumper in Tempe. (a meeting point between Phoenix and Gilbert) It was really sweet of them and I enjoyed myself immensely!

Later that evening, my family celebrated with me. The kids and Travis are always so thoughtful on my special days. I asked for a guitar and Travis delivered. I think I'll learn to play. He also got me some beautiful custom jewelry made by my friend, Noelle. Olivia bought me some cute silver earrings and fancy pens with her own money. Darling!I baked my own cake......totally my choice! If I was going to indulge, I didn't want a store bought one and Travis doesn't bake. I don't hold this against him in any way. Really.
My cute parents, Rollin and Juanita:
My darling sister, Emily and her babe, Paisley:

The next day we were off to Pinetop for the weekend. Our friends, Teresa and Delbert, let us stay in their charming cabin.  We hung out with the kids and enjoyed the cold weather for one last time. It was a quick trip, but a fun getaway.

My next adventure took me to the Marquee theatre where I saw David Archuleta (from American Idol) perform. He was absolutely adorable and amazing. It was worth standing for 3 straight hours. (standing room only) My mom and I had a good time together. We were supposed to meet up with my aunt and cousin but couldn't get to them in the front. We would have gotten beat up by some serious fans if we'd tried. I do think I'm a fan now. He's so talented and such a nice boy! I really sound like a mom, huh? My mom pointed out that technically I could be his mom. Scary. 

My last and most recent adventure took me to the Sun's game against the 76ers. It was a fun and fast-moving game. Suns won! It was a blast to see Nash and Shaq play. They are all just awesome to see in person. My brother and sister-in-law joined us and it was oh, so much fun!

Travis had his MRI last week and results show a stable tumor that remains unchanged. Nothing unexpected. He's doing fabulous and we will continue to monitor it. 

Life is good, what more can I say?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ragnar Relay

My latest adventure happened last weekend when I participated in the Del Sol Ragnar Relay, a 202 mile race from Prescott to Mesa. I was on a team of 12 fun people organized by my friend, Kori. I ran over 15 miles from Friday to Saturday afternoon. It was a crazy, sleep-deprived, adrenaline-pumping experience and I loved every minute of it. I can't wait until next year to do it again.

This was my final leg in Fountain Hills. It was a short but brutal run. I spent the middle mile running straight up an insane hill. I should say I ran/walked. I am not that tough.
This is our team. We called ourselves the "Yoggers" , I think, from Anchorman. I don't get it. There were 5 girls and 7 guys. (Our first runner is already running and his wife is standing in.)
We had 2 suburbans with 6 people in each one. I was in the second car and was runner #7. Tessie and Garrett brought "Bettie," their motor home. It was great to have a place to rest and hang out when our group of 6 wasn't running. We watched movies, ate and slept. Kori and I even managed a couple of quick showers between runs. We had a new running outfit for each of our 3 runs. I don't think the guys changed once. Big surprise.

One of the most interesting and freaky parts of the whole experience was my 8 mile midnight run on a dark highway outside of Wickenburg. I ran with a reflector vest and a flashlight. I could hear coyotes in the desert that I was running next to. It was a little strange and scary. My team shadowed me so I was never completely alone. They had a blow horn and would yell encouragement to me. It was great. 
Here I am with Kori at exchange 7 where I was waiting for Julie (Runner #6) to pass the baton to me. It was a little nerve-wracking and I was anxious to get started.

This was one of the coolest, most unique experiences I've had. I loved the whole thing. The people on my team were a riot! They kept the weekend super exciting and fun. I seriously want to do it again and can't wait until next year. Kaley, I should come up in June and join your team!