Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

We had a very Merry Christmas!! Our boys are at such great ages-- the magic of Christmas is contagious. Although we struggled to make it through the 7 minute Nativity video, we enjoyed assembling our nativity advent calendar during the month of December.
Christmas Eve included a 2am wake up from Landon because he was sooo thirsty. At 2:15am he was sooo hungry that Bruce went downstairs to make him a cheese sandwich. At 8am Ryker had to wake Landon up because he was so tired from his late-night escapades.
Landon was so thrilled with his gifts that he thanked Santa repeatedly over the next few days. Xander has put together his puzzles so many times that he wants to race Landon. Ryker loves to play with every one's presents. The boys have done a great job playing together and sharing.
Bruce and I have really loved spending quality family time together during this wonderful time of year. We are so grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior and feel of the love it brings to us this time of year!
Love to you all! Jeanel

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gearing Up for Christmas

As far as weeks go, this week has been quite uneventful. I continued with radiation treatments Monday through Thursday without difficulty. Friday the radiation department was shut down for computer upgrades, which was disappointing because I'll be missing some treatments during the holidays. Hopefully it will all work out in the long run.
We are busy getting ready for Christmas. Bruce and I were able to enjoy a night out together and attend his work Christmas party. The boys enjoy taking turns putting a new character on the Advent calander each night. Landon is so excited to be working on his homemade Christmas presents for his cousins. He also wants to have Santa's phone number so he can make sure he is on the good list. Xander gets out of bed every night and asks, "Is tonight a Santa night?" Ryker loves Christmas music and Christams lights! He also has a hard time keeping his paws off the ornaments. We are so grateful for the snow because it adds so much to the season. Bruce has begun creating his annual sledding mound in the front yard.
We hope that you all are enjoying this blessed time of year. We have received many Christmas cards from family and friends and look forward to hearing from all of you.
love, Jeanel

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Beautiful Boys!!

We had pictures of the boys taken today for our Christmas card. The boys did such an awesome job! Here are just a few!

Let There Be Light (Radiation)

Chemo is done!! and I am feeling better-- tired, but a lot better!
This week was a busy week. On Monday there was bed rest. Tuesday I had my PET scan. Wednesday another echocardiogram and fitting for radiation. Thursday I began with 7am radiation, 8am occupational therapy, 9am physical therapy, and 2pm radiation. Friday I continued the two times/day radition. No wonder I am tired...
I am so happy to let you all know that my PET scan and echocardiogram look great. I am doing the best that could be hoped/prayed for!
Radiation is very tolerable so far. All I have to do is lay there for about fifteen minutes (while everyone else is on the other side of 2 feet of concrete and a 2 ton door-- Not very comforting).
Bruce delivered his last baby on Thursday(he is giving up OB because it is doesn't fit our life right now)just in time to come to my radiation appointment. This weekend he is in Houston at the First International Inflammatory Breast Cancer Conference. I hope he comes back with lots of great info.
On Friday night the boys enjoyed a sleepover at Brooke and Sherman's while I enjoyed some quiet, non-sick time at home. Thank guys!!
I am so grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers! Enjoy the Christmas season!
Love, Jeanel

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

What a wonderful time of year. I am so grateful that I have this time to reflect upon all of my blessings and to enjoy some extra time with my family.
I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for His eternal sacrifice that not only cleanses me of my sins and short comings, but also comforts me through my trials. I am grateful for prayer and for the scriptures. I know that my Heavenly Father knows what I need and loves me. There is no greater peace than knowing this.
I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be married to my true love. He is my rock and my helper and he is a wonderful daddy. He makes me laugh and helps me see the good in our lives. He is my best friend.
I am so grateful for my Landy. He is so smart, loving, and thoughtful. He makes me beautiful pictures and writes me inspiring words. He is trying so hard to be a good big brother and helper. I love his hugs and his smiles. He likes to call me "Mamacita"...
I am so grateful for Xander (aka "Cha-chi). He is my jumper. He is the first one to give me a juicy kissy. He snuggles for just a minute and likes to pet my arm. He is a good little boy and I love it when he decides to play nicely with his brothers.
My little Ryker is a joy. He is funny, loving, and full of energy. His sense of humor is amazing for his age. He loves to say, "hello" to everyone. He calls himself 'Bruce' and says, "I am trouble." He will snuggle for a short moment when I beg. He comes running from anywhere in the house yelling, "I want some", when he hears someone working in the kitchen. He loves just being one of the big boys.
I am grateful for my mom. She has come into our home to love and to serve. Day in and day out, she is here helping the boys and me. How blessed we are to have her! I love you mom. I am grateful for my dad and know that even when he can't be here, he wishes he could be. I am grateful for all of his help in searching for the best medical care available and for providing strength and comfort through it all.
I am grateful for my brother, Jeff. I appreciate his telephone calls to just check on me and his desire to be my protector. I am grateful for him and his family and the loving attention they give to our boys during their sleep overs.
I am grateful for my sister, Suzette. God was truly watching over me when He blessed me with my best friend as my sister. Am so grateful for the deep understanding and friendship that we share. She makes me laugh and cry. She inspires me to be more through her kind and generous example. I am grateful for her husband, Greg, who is always there to lend a listening ear and make me laugh.
I am grateful for my brother, Paul. He is so thoughtful! Ever week he comes over with an awesome home cooked meal, a balloon, and some Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I am grateful for his phone calls and his visits. He has a wonderful heart and is such an example. I am grateful for his wife, Amy. She is so kind and always has a hug and smile.
I am grateful for my brother, Rick. I know that though he is far away (in medical school in NC), he is close in thought and in spirit. I am so grateful that he and his wife, Page, were able to be here for a week in July and help us when everything was so new and tender. It is a time that will never be forgotten.
I am grateful for all of my nieces and nephews. They were my babies (and still are) before I had my own. I am grateful for their sweet encouragement,love, faith, and prayers.
I am grateful for my sister-in-law Brooke who spear-headed this fight with my family and friends and contiues to support me and cheer me on.
I am grateful for Susan. She loves my boys inspite of themselves and is always here to help with a cheerful disposition and faith in her heart that all will work out.
I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for the phone calls I get on a daily basis. I am grateful for those who leave a message on my blog, those who send a letter, those who stop by to say 'hi' or even leave a little treat, and I am grateful for those who help with rides to school and play time after school, those who help me make a quilt, invite me to the temple or take me to a movie.
I am grateful for all of my family, friends, friends of friends, and those of you I hardly know who's faith and prayers see me through on a daily basis.
I am grateful to have been born in this country and have medical advances available to me; I am grateful that I have responded well to those medicines. I am grateful for our house and job, our food on the table, a warm shower, and a soft bed. I am grateful for all the joys of life and wonders of the world I have experienced and know that there is much more joy for me yet to experience.
Thanks to you all for making my life full of things to be grateful for and thanks to God for making it all possible.
Love, Jeanel

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week Off

It is amazing the difference one week can make. I began feeling a lot better on Wednesday and I have really enjoyed this week. I even felt well enough to get some Christmas shopping done and shop for some material for a quilt that Michelle Stay is going to help me make for the boys.
I met with my radiation oncologist this week and will begin the radiation treatments on 4 December. I will have them 2x/day for 4-5 weeks. I should finish at the beginning of 2009.
I began occupational therapy this week for my lymphedema (swelling) in my right arm. Bruce came with me on Thursday to learn how to do the massage and how to wrap my arm. He is a quick learner, but we have a tough time with compliance because it takes a long time and the boys can't be part of the equation.
My last chemo is on Wednesday. On Thursday we are looking forward to having Thanksgiving with my family at my brother Paul's house.
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Love, Jeanel

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One More to Go

What a week! Words cannot express how much I hate this chemo. Even seeing it dripping into the IV line is enough to make me sick. I have so much admiration for my fellow chemo-ites who champion through this week after week. I recognize how much I have been blessed to tolerate things so well and marvel at the courage of those who don't. It really is a fight. It's a fight of physical stamina, emotional fortitude, and spiritual strength. Every day when I look into the eyes of my boys, husband, and the rest of my family, I know that it is worth it! I am so grateful for prayer- It gives me the opportunity to lay my burdens down and know that God is mindful of me and what I need. I am grateful for my daily miracles and count them when I feel overwhelmed. My spirit is quickly bouyed knowing of the prayers, faith, service, and friendship that you all offer on my behalf. I hope you all know that each of you make a difference in helping me fight this battle.
Love to you all and God bless!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quite Weekend

This has been a nice week. It took me about a week to recover from the chemo and my energy was a little lower, but I can check off another chemo treatment.
I was discussing with Bruce today how unfair it is that with this chemo I have gotten the hair back on my legs, but have lost my eye lashes and eye brows. Now this might not seem like that big of a deal for most, but for me it is a real struggle to create eye brows- It was hard enough to successfully use eye liner for basic application and I'd been doing it for 20 years... I feel like a rookie in the majors (and I never wanted to be drafted).
This weekend my sister took our three boys. Our house has never known such peace and quite. Bruce and I have enjoyed having the time to spend together and having time to do our individual projects. I was also able to go to my mom's new apartment. We had a great time running to Lowe's, going out to dinner, and assembling shelves without reading the instructions.
All is well on the home front. Keep the faith!
love, Jeanel

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween

What a beautiful Halloween! I can't remember a nicer night for trick-or-treating. The boys had a great time. Ryker did a great job saying, "trick treat" and "thank you". He was in awe of getting candy by just saying something so simple. He was also much more motivated climbing up to get the treat than he was climbing down. Landon and Xander enjoyed sprinting house to house and counting their loot when it was all said and done. They are working on mastering the art of negotiation as they trade their candy.
Life on the home front is plugging along. I had the second round of the new chemo on Thursday. Thankfully, I had enough energy to go trick-or-treating on Friday and then I crashed on Saturday and Sunday. I tried taking my anti-nausea meds on a schedule to avoid feeling really ucky. I think it helped and will do the same for the next two rounds. I'm feeling a bit better today and will be on the up-swing until my next treatment.
My mom moved into her apartment this weekend. She will be here during the day when I need her and be able to have her own space at night. My dad will be joining her soon, which will be a comfort to all.
The fight marches on! Thank you for your continued faith and prayers!
Love Jeanel

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The new round of chemo began on Friday. The day following treatment I need to go in and get a shot to boost my immune system, so on Saturday we went in as a family and had breakfast at the hospital. It's amazing that the boys think the hospital cafeteria is so much fun...
On Saturday afternoon I began to feel the affects of the new chemo, with the expensive anti-nausea meds. I was pretty nauseated for 2-3 days and slept a lot. Gratefully, my parents and Bruce were able to take care of the kids and let me rest. I have gradually started to feel less nausiated and have gained strength. It sure has been a reality check.
The boys have been enjoying the fall weather, halloween parties, and running around in the basement. Landon had a field trip to the pumpkin patch and played his last soccer game. Xander is really enjoying pre-school and having friends. Ryker is talking more and more each day. My favorite thing is when I hang up the phone he always asks, "Who's dat Mom?"
My dad left on Wednesday. We will all miss him!! Dad, thanks for everything you have done to help us!
Thanks to all of you for your continued support!
love, Jeanel

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Starting Chemo Again

We have had a change of plans this week. On Wednesday I went into my oncologist to get a maintenance drug and my bone treatment, which would have been followed by radiation in a few weeks. Instead we decided I should start the dreaded chemo they call the "Red Devil". I will have a treatment every other week, for a total of 4 treatments. My last treatment will be the day before Thanks Giving. I will then start radiation in December. This will be the year that my holidays are spent fighting the fight so that I can enjoy many more holiday seasons to come!
I was unable to start the chemo on Wednesday because my neck incision was not healed sufficiently. So I began the chemo on Friday and so far so good. For the cost of the anti-nausea meds, I hope to continue feeling pretty well...
On Wednesday I also met with my general surgeon. I have had some considerable amount of fluid build up in both breasts (we affectionately call them "side boobs" because ,most of the fluid build up is toward my sides), but the right one was the only one that bothered me, so to limit infection risk, it was the only one drained. My doctor was able to drain more than 9 ounces.
Both of my parents are in town so my mom has been able to take care of the kids and the home front, while my dad has been able to go with me to my medical appointments. We are so grateful for their love and support.
I started physical therapy for my arm range of motion and swelling after my surgery. I am hoping to do the majority on my own, but if I get lymphedema I will need more help. I really like my new PT and I'm on the hunt to find the right guy to set her up with. She is 30, cute, skinny, brunette, and very pleasant. I've already got a person in mind, but suggestions are welcome.
I have really enjoyed being back at home with Bruce and the boys. They have done well being soft and keeping things to a dull roar. It's amazing how much better I feel just being back with family.
Thanks! Please keep praying for us. We've been blessed with many miracles along the way.
Love, Jeanel

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recovering Well

Yesterday was a wonderful day! My mom and I had a great time talking about the gospel,life, and how the Lord watches over us. Bruce came down to Suzette's with the boys (Landon stayed overnight so that he could have some much needed cousin time), and Jeff came down for a visit with his family. It was so nice to see Bruce, Landon, Xander, and Ryker. The boys aren't much for gentle, snuggle time but it was great to have them in my space and hear their craziness. I can't tell you how the much I miss things that used to drive me crazy. I can't wait to get well so that I can take care of my boys, husband, and home.
Take time to enjoy the blessings of every day life! Thanks again for your faith and prayers. Miracles happen every day, especially with friends like you!
Love Jeanel

Friday, October 10, 2008

Silver Lining

I am home (or I should say, at Suzette's)!
Yesterday was a big day. I got my calcium levels checked 6 times, the tubes pulled out of my chest and my throat, my IV out, and all of the stitches out of my chest. I continue to have fluid build up in my chest wall on both sides-- I'm not sure how or when that will be resolved...
The pathology is back from my neck surgery and shows just thryroid cancer (no breast cancer). Yeh!!!!
Upon arrival at the hospital I was asked to put on the hospital garb, including the tight white stockings. I'm not suppose to use much force with my arms, so Bruce had to put them on me. It took us so long (with great effort and lots of laughs) that the nurses kept checking in on us to be sure we were ok... I'm so glad that we still have plenty of things to laugh about.
My nephew, Sam, counted the stitches in my neck-- he is pretty sure there are 24. I will get them out on Monday. On Tuesday I will have my next treatment with the oncologist and have a follow up with the general surgeon. I will also start physical therapy next week to help get rid of the swelling and gain more arm range of motion.checking in on us.
Bruce has been a great help in attending to all of my needs and keeping my spirits up. I am so grateful that one of his gifts is to see the silver lining in our circumstance and help me do the same.
I am grateful for modern science, medicine and surgery. I am grateful for a surgeon who has sacrificed so much time and effort to be skilled at taking care of the hard stuff. I am grateful for caring staff (not the phloebotomist) and a clean hospital. I am grateful for my wonderful family. Last night I enjoyed a nice, cozy room with soft linens, no mid-night blood draws, no machines and lots of loving concern. I am so indebted to my friends and family who have jumped in with everything they have to take care of me and the needs of our family. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who gives me all that I can handle and takes care of the rest.
Love Jeanel

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Yeh! I made it through my neck surgery. It hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought it would be. My voice is pretty raspy, but has gotten better throughout the day. I have a tube poking out of my neck (which is a little alarming) that will get pulled out tomorrow. I will also be getting discharged tomorrow and will head down to my sister's for a little R and R.
I am so relieved to have this sugery out of the way. One more thing to check off my list on the road to recovery.
Thanks for all of your thoughtful gifts, cards, flowers, prayers, and love. I am so grateful for your friendships. I can't tell you how much it has kept me going and helped me when things seem overwhelming.
Love to you all!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hospital Shots

Here are a few photos from my first hospital stay.
Things continue to progress well. My left arm is doing great, my right arm continues to be a little swollen and numb, especially under my arm, but I do see progress.
We got the surgical pathology back on Friday. My left breast came back normal and the right breast came back with minimal invasive ductal carcinoma and extensive in situ carcinoma. Only one out of six lymph nodes came back positive and there were good margins on all the samples. We aren't really sure what that means, but I will send the results to my doctor at Huntsman to get things rolling for after my recovery from the neck surgery on Tuesday.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, and a special thanks to all those who are helping with the boys while I am out of commission.
Love, Jeanel

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm Home

My surgery went off without a hitch. I slept so much during the day on Tuesday, that zzz's were hard to come by at night.
Wednesday was a family day. Jeff, Suzette, Paul, Amy, and Bruce kept me entertained. We had the end room on the med/surg floor and right outside my room was a little sun room area, which was perfect for our little family gathering. My mom flew in on Wed and was able to stop by before visiting hours were over.
Bruce brought Xander and Ryker by for a short visit Thursday morning. We went down to the cafeteria for a treat. The boys thought they were so big and had a great time.
I came home in the afternoon and have enjoyed the comforts of home. Xander and Ryker are at Jeff and Joni's for a few days. Landon has been enjoying a little alone time at home with his parents. He helped Bruce put up some Halloween decorations.
My sister, Suzette, is off to St. George to run the marathon. On her shirt she wrote, "One day at a time, one mile at a time." I am so proud of her! Go Sister- I love you!
My recovery is going well. I haven't been on pain meds since Wednesday. My right arm is more sore (mostly due to numbness) than the left because of the node dissection. I am working on gentle range of motion and good positioning.
We are working out the details for Tuesday's surgery at LDS Hospital.
The Lord has blessed me with peace during this time. Thank you for all of your prayers!
love, Jeanel

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big Day... Not So Big :)

It's official- my center of gravity has changed. I assume all went well, as I cannot remember it. I spent most of the day sleeping or talking in a very groggy state of mind. Bruce has been my rock today- it has been really nice to have some quite time together.
The pain meds make me slightly nausiated, especially while trying to concentrate (type), so this will be short.
I just want you all to know that I'm doing well emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!
Love, Jeanel

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Miracles and Loving Friends

Busy week with lots of great updates.
Chemo #12 was on Wednesday. It was a long day because I got my monthly bone treatment, my regular chemo, and a triple dose of Herceptin. I was also able to meet Amber, who has been battling Inflammatory Breast Cancer for over a year and has a young family. It was nice to talk with her and I look forward to getting to know her better.
After chemo I spent most of the day in my room trying keep my activity level down because of the PET scan on Thursday. I also had to eat a high protein/low carb diet that day-- just about killed me.
On Friday we got my PET scan results back which show that all of the previous sites (3+ bones, liver, lymph nodes, and right breast) have resolved, except for the thyroid area. A mighty miracle!! I kept reading and re-reading the results with such a grateful heart!!
On Friday we also excepted an offer on our lot and expect to close mid October.
This week I also was surprised with an ipod and gift cards from my grad school friends. I am so grateful for their generosity and thoughtfulness. I'm excited to have something that I will use all of the time that will remind me of them and the fun times we shared. The timing is great, as I will be laid up for the next month+ and luckily I will see my nephew, Spencer, so that he can get things figured out for me.
I was also surprised by a gift from friends at church who had donated to the Susan Koman Cancer Fund to win opportunities to win a quilt. Lucky for me they were successful and now I have a beautiful, comfy quilt made by the Utah Quilting Guild. It is awesome! Thank you so very much. I will feel of your love frequently as I wrap up in my new quilt.
As I look back on this week and think about how I have felt the past little while, I realize that even when I am sad at night, wishing for the days when my cares were much more simple, God has been with me. It has not been easy and there have been times when my sadness has been overwhelming, but I know that the Lord has strengthened me that I might bear this burden. I am so grateful for the miracles I have experienced along the way and have faith that there will be more.
Please continue to pray, especially as I head into surgery this week. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love, Jeanel

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last Chemo Before the Big Day

Today is Jeanel's last chemo treatment. It will be a looong day. She allowed this quick glimpse into what she has been doing for the last number of weeks. Your prayers are needed to help her get through her surgery next week. Again, I awe at her mighty strength. The Lord has truly blessed her with an inner fight and a never ending will!!! AMAZING WOMAN!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


11 treatments down- just one more to go. This week I had some numbness in my hands, feet, and face, but it got less as the days went by.
On Thursday I went to the Social Security office to change Landon's card. While I was there talking to the worker at the window, one of the managers came by to see if he could help. He told me he would call me later to work out some issues. When he called we began to talk and realized that his wife also has inflammatory breast cancer. He told me that he never comes to the windows, but felt that he should come and talk to me. I am so grateful he did and will have the opportunity to meet his wife on Wednesday when we are in the chemo lab receiving our treatments.
Saturday, the boys spent the morning at Brooke and Sherms's while Bruce and I went to the temple. Thanks! We had a wonderful time together.
Suzette came up and spent the night on Saturday and spent most of Sunday with us. I am so lucky to have been blessed with my sister as my best friend. We had a great time and talked about a chic's weekend to NY!
Another development is that we have had three people call this week who are very interested in buying our lot. Nothing is in writing, but one step closer.
The Lord is mindful of us and He answers our prayers. So, thanks for all of your love, faith, and prayers.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Recent Pics

We have not posted any pics of Jeanel, her hubby and the kids lately. So we did a photo shoot. Jeanel's oldest was not there, but he will add him ASAP!!!! Jeanel's strong, amazing spirit continues to shine through her eyes. We can only wish to have half of her strength. We LOVE You Jeanel!!!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Park City

Sorry about the delay in posting. I've been having some computer technical difficulties.
Things continue to move along as we try to come up with a plan of attack. I had my 10th chemo on Wed. and on Thursday I had a CT guided biopsy of the thryoid mass (finally). The slides made from the biopsy aren't very good (there is more connective tissue than tumor cells), but they think the tumor is thyroid cancer not breast cancer. I'm not sure if that is good news, but it is news and does change things. At this point the surgeons are thinking that I should have my thyroid and the mass removed 2-3 weeks after the mastectomy. The verdict is not in and the experts have yet to weigh in, so I will keep you posted.
We had a wonderful weekend as a family in Park City. Bruce had a conference on Thursday and Friday, so we met in on Friday-Sunday. The boys had a great time exploring the hotel, swimming, doing the alpine slide and coaster, and having some family time. Its always nice to get away.
My learning moment this week was when I realized there are only 2 ways of living life- God's way and not God's way. There is no in between. That realization has helped me more fully put everything in the Lord's hands as I fight this fight.
Love this time of year! Enjoy the fresh air!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Surgery Scheduled

Hello everyone! This week was a good one...I had a wonderful surprise this week when I received a digital scrapbook from my classmates in grad school. I got it in the mail and chose not to open it for a few days because I didn't want to get emotional. What a wonderful surprise to see the "glory days" in full color. It was so fun to reminisce. I also had a fun visit with Suzette on Thursday.
I had my 9th chemo on Wednesday. My blood counts continue to look good. I was feeling a little sad, so I was very grateful for the benedryl that they inject before chemo because it knocks me out and by the time I woke up, chemo was almost done and I was feeling better. :) On Friday I had my appointment with the surgeon who will do the mastectomy. It is on the books for the 30 Sept. Although it is a difficult step, I am looking forward to this milestone because it is a sign of progress.
As my journey continues, I am continually reminded of both the tragedies and blessings of life. No matter what our life experience is, the Lord Jesus Christ is our strength, our comfort, and the very focus of our faith.
Have a great week. Thanks for your continued faith and prayers!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mass Investigation

This week started with a trip to the ENT. By the end of the visit I had hoped that I would have the surgeon talked into performing the thyroidectomy with the mastectomy or at least a few days after. I wasn't able to persuade him into seeing things my way because he was preoccupied with a 4cm x 2cm mass that has yet to be identified. I was scheduled for a biopsy on Friday, however this was canceled and a technetium study in now scheduled for Tuesday. I'm not totally sure what the study's purpose is, but hopefully we get to the bottom of this.
I have renewed my internet searching as we get closer to surgery and subsequent chemo/radiation. I was excited to find the First International Inflammatory Breast Conference. It is Dec 5-7th in Houston. Hopefully we will find some life saving information at the conference.
On Wednesday, my mom was able to come with me to my 8th chemo treatment. All went well and as usual, I was able to catch a couple of z's. I was tired on Thursday, but Friday and Saturday were a better. I am looking forward to the long weekend with Bruce and the boys.
Saturday I made the sad trip to the airport with my mom. She returned to TN after a much appreciated extended stay with our family. I will miss the care, companionship, and concern. No matter how old you get, it is always comforting to have your mom by your side when things aren't going well. I already miss her.
Landon and Xander had their first full week of school. Landon is enjoying his class and by all accounts he is making the grade. Xander's teacher says that he is happy and making friends. Ryker and I have enjoyed him being an only child 2 days/wk.
Love to All!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Landon Turns 6. Thyroid Cancer Too?

This has been a crazy week! On Monday I had a biopsy to see if the nodules on my thyroid were cancerous. On Wednesday we found out that not only are they cancerous, but they are a completely separate and independent form of cancer. I was fortunate enough to meet with the endocrinologist on Thursday (they are booked out until November). She was able to help us understand how this affects our current picture. Unlike most cancers, thyroid cancer is actually curable- if it hasn't spread. I will need to have my thyroid taken out, followed by a radioactive treatment. I am meeting with an ENT tomorrow to see how this can be coordinated with my mastectomy. I have also decided to have a bone biopsy to see if the cancer in my ribs/vertebrae is from my thyroid or breast cancer.
Bruce and I have wondered how this new news would have affected us had I not already had breast cancer. As is, it is just another bump in the road, but I was a little offended by the oncologist thinking the finding was "interesting".
I had my 7th chemo treatment on Wednesday. Things continue to plug along. My skin continues to look more normal, the tumor is harder and harder to find, my blood counts are really good and my energy level is pretty good. My tired days are Friday and Saturday, but better than expected.
On Friday we celebrated Landon's 6th birthday. I was able to go to his 1st grade class and play hangman with his classmates, as well as share his birthday treat. His cousin, Wilson, was also able to spend the night. On Saturday, Landon had his first big party- we went to a gymnastics gym and had lots of friends and family there to celebrate. Kim helped me make a Pokemon cake decoration- Landon loved it! Landon is an amazing person. I learn from him every day. I love how he is so bright and full of life. He is bursting with things to say and wants to experience life to it's fullest. He is so sweet and loves to be my helper. We have a special bond and I am so blessed to have him as my first baby.
Thanks again for your love and support! I can feel the strength of your love and support!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Huntsman Update

It was a very busy week this week and much was accomplished. On Wednesday I had chemo in the morning and went to Huntsman in the afternoon. As usual, I slept through most of chemo and felt pretty well. We had an hour or so before we had to leave to Huntsman, so I finished making a comparative chart of my test results because there is a lot of variation from test to test. Huntsman was all that we had anticipated. We are on a good treatment path and the tumor continues to shrink and the skin looks better and better. The only difference suggested by the Huntsman doctors would be to push through chemo (if my blood counts stay high enough) even if I have sensory/motor loss in my hands/feet or have heart problems. I am planning on returning to Huntsman after my surgery which is projected to be the first part of October.
We are continuing to work on the house. On Saturday we had lots of help emptying out our basement and staging the house. I had tired days on Friday and Saturday, so the help and understanding is even that much more appreciated. Thank you to all those who pitched in to lend a helping hand or even an awesome trailer :)!
As I begin to feel the affects of chemo I continue to be more humbled and appreciate that every thing is in the hands of the Lord. Thank you for praying and helping me fight the good fight!
Love Jeanel

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bald is Beautiful!

This has been a good week! Thanks to the Routson's for hosting the shaving party!! A fun time was had by all. I hope that people did not regret their decision once they went home and looked in the mirror. (Some people are even more beautiful bald :)) I really appreciate the support!
Thursday-Sunday was the Otto Family Reunion. We began the weekend by decorating pink t-shirts with the "fight the cancer" theme. It was great to see every one's creativity come out and feel the love and support. We had a great time playing games, hanging out, talking, and of course eating good food. Thanks to everyone for playing your parts, believing in my miracle, and helping us through this. I look forward to many more!
This week's chemo went well. I was actually anticipating not feeling well, especially after last week) but was happily surprised. On Wednesday, I am going to have one more chemo treatment before having a break next week. That will be treatment #6. Following the chemo I will head to Huntsman Cancer Institute with Bruce and my dad for a second opinion. I am so excited and grateful to have this appointment. I am happy with my current treatment, but want to know that we are doing everything that we can and also want to be prepared if we run into any road blocks down later.
Keep praying! Love, Jeanel

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Head Shaving Party!!!!!!

Some of the men and boys, from Jeanel's Wonderful Ward, BRAVELY shaved their heads.I have to say, they all looked great and have nice domes!!!! Including Jeanel!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Not So Bad

Now that we are a little further down this road I am going to try to do an update every Sunday.
The big shave was on Friday, August 1st. It was a day that I will never forget. I am so grateful that my mom and Brooke were with me. When I got home I was wishing that the boys were in bed so that I could take the wig off because it was/is extremely itchy. Quickly it became too uncomfortable to care who was around. I had yet to see myself, so Bruce I and went together for the unveiling. Again, the sadness came, but so did relief. It is a part of the journey that I expected and now can check off the list.
After Bruce and I had our moment, we took the boys up to our room and let them see my new doo. Bruce had just taken them to get their hair cut so they were able to relate. They took it in stride and didn't seem to be emotionally scarred. Landon thinks I have a boy's hair cut, Xander says I'm beautiful but occasionally asks me to put my hair back on and tells me he can't take his hair off, and Ryker pets me and says, "hair".
The wig itself is passable if you don't look to closely, but I don't think I'm much of a wig-chic. I much prefer throwing on my new pink Park City baseball hat. Too bad the scarf/bandana market is skewed towards grandmas.
Anyway, in relative comparison my hair is of little consequence. But at the same time, the big picture continues to be overwhelming. In order to keep functioning as normally as possible, I try to focus on today and the immediate future. I am mindful of taking time to enjoy the boys a little more and marvel at how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband and loving and supportive family and friends.
Thanks and God Bless!
Love Jeanel

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Doo deed is done!!!!

Today was an eventful day!!! Jeanel decided the clumps of hair falling out was to be no more. She was sooo brave to have her head shaved and get a new doo. What an AMAZING women!!!

It was fun watching her try on all the Doo's!!! Doesn't she look GREAT!!!