March 4, 2009

About a year ago I had a friend offer that she would be available to “listen” to me whenever things got tough through my treatment. Even if she picked up the phone and all she heard was screaming—she’d listen. I thought, “Yeah right. When will I ever need someone to listen to me like that?”

When? Yesterday. Yesterday was that day. I knew I needed to talk to someone. So I called my friend Tiffany. Two time survivor of leukemia, bone marrow transplant, mom, and my friend. I don’t know what it was that broke everything, but when it all came down and I called Tiffany she answered, “Hi!” I couldn’t even get through my first sentence without her saying, “It’s okay. What’s going on??” Then she listened like no one else could because she’s been there. Because she knows what it “feels” like. All of it and she just listened. She didn’t try to solve anything. She didn’t try to make anything better she just listened. What did I tell her? It seems trivial today when things are better to recap the last couple of weeks, but I’m going to do it because so many people care. Thank you for caring. And thank you Tiffany for just listening.

The first week of treatment seemed okay. I gained about 18 lbs., itched like crazy and had Ward there with me through the treatment. It didn't seem too bad. Then I was home for 6 days, lost much of the weight from the treatment and we were back. This time with my Mom and Dad, who I am so grateful for.

In not so brief: I had a PICC line placed on the Thursday before my treatment began—No they couldn’t make it more convenient because the drug company is paying for everything so I had to go by their protocol and be away from my family for 4 extra days. Monday morning I started my treatment—things went so smoothly and quickly (Not so common). I was very grateful for a visit from my friend Bill Frey and his wife Karen. They have been a huge inspiration and support to me through this. After Monday morning my days cloud and I remember receiving medication to dull the effects of the actual drug and then receiving the drug everyday at about 3:00 then everything is gone from that time on for the rest of the day. The week just really slipped by me—except that my Mom and Dad were there to take care of me. The most clear thing of all was Friday afternoon when Ward appeared in the doorway and I felt saved. I told him to take me home and we were on our way driving home within two hours. The drive was fine (I was completely doped up) and I was grateful he was there—It was worth the $59.00 one way ticket to have him come—especially since neither of my parents wanted to drive home across Wyoming in the dark.

The side-effects from this treatment were extreme. Again I gained about 20 lbs. (Try gaining and losing 20 lbs. twice over three weeks). This time I was quite dehydrated throughout the treatment so the nurses told my mom. By the time I got home I had through my incoherence in the treatment scratched many places over my body to open sores. When Ward stepped in and made me stop scratching they scabbed over so I had patches of scabs, about 3-6 inches each, over my entire body and then my body began to peel as it would if you would have a really bad sunburn. My sister who saw me on Saturday said she couldn’t believe what I looked like “the little slits for eyes, the puffiness, the scabs the peeling skin everywhere”. Are you grossed out yet? Now add the ultimate fatigue, joint pain, the electric shocking sensation that you feel every time a bead of water from the shower hits any part of your peeling body, and the extreme pain from lotion applied to the open sores to help them heal and add to that the migraine that had to top things off yesterday and you’ll understand what a good friend Tiffany is.

Maiya told Ward yesterday “Mommy cried and cried because she’s not a strong mommy.” I forget to kind of keep things to myself around my 3 year old. But it was verbatim what I had said all morning. All I wanted was to be back to how I used to be. I wanted to be a strong mommy that didn’t have to have help from anybody else. I wanted to be able to have control over my life and my future.

I have an eight week break right now. Eight weeks. I’m so happy. I have scans but no treatment. In all honesty I think that if they’d told me yesterday that the treatment was working and I needed to start another round I would have told them NO! I think eight weeks will help me forget. I hope it does—and I hope the treatment is working.

Just know that I’m okay today. Why did I tell you all this? I don’t know. It’s me. It’s my life and this is all about documenting and getting it out there so I can take a good look at things. I hope you’re not too disturbed. I hope you know that while yesterday was a lot about crying and screaming (a little). A few too many of those moments were in the form of prayers. And I am so grateful for the immediate answers to so many of them. For a friend who would listen, for a husband who would do everything, for a loving Heavenly Father who made things much better today.

I love you all. Make today a good day.


Diana said...

It's 3am here and I'm not a strong Mommy either. I wish I was there. I miss you, and I love you!

Josi said...

She's wrong, though, you're extremely strong. We all have our breakdowns--thank goodness for Tiffanys when they come. Here's to feeling LOTS better today :-)

Lois said...

Anne, you make all of us count our blessings each and every day. To be thankful for our little ones and try harder every day to be better. Thank you for sharing with us. We love you and are wishing the best for you.

Amie said...

Anne, I am hoping for a peaceful 8 weeks for you. I'm sorry for all you have to endure, but grateful that you share it and let me have the chance to pray for you and to remember what is important in life. I, too, have been blessed often by friends and family put in my path at a particular time to help me cope--you were one of those friends to me when coping in Cleveland was hard. So glad you have a friend who knows what you are going through.
I will be in Utah next Thurs. and am wondering if you are up to having a visitor. I was thinking about maybe next Saturday. Zach will be with me, too. Or, I could come the following Tuesday. Random, I know. But I don't get to stay very long and I feel like I'm on a tight schedule. I would love to see you. Please let me know how you are feeling. Love you! Hoping today is happy.

Holly said...

Anne I have checked your blog every single day since Feb 19th, wondering and worrying. What a blessing to hear from you today.

You could fall in a heap and feel that the whole world weighed upon you (as I am sure it does) and yet you would still emerge a STRONG MOMMY.

Here's to an 8 weeks that is full of simple jyjoys that that crowd out everything you'd rather forget.

Bless you Tiffany.
I love you Anne.

Brodi Ashton said...

Count me as one of the many people who were checking your blog several times a day, thinking about you! I am so sorry for the itchies and the pain. You are so tough, so strong and so sweet.

I hope the weeks off will bring you some peace. I'm loving your book.

Bob and Rozann said...

We just read your last entry as of March 4, 2009. Anne, we love you so much. You are our hero. God is blessing each of us through you. All of our lives are in His hands. I feel He is shedding tears for you and what you are going through right now because of His infinite love for you. We are praying for your recovery every day and night. I know He listens.

God Bless you Anne, you are a very strong Mommy!

Love Uncle Bob & Aunt Rozann

Heidi and Maxwell said...

Oh, Anne I love you so much! I can't stand that you have to go through all of this. As someone else has stated with this posting, I am reminded to appreciate everything I have, especially for my sweet family and the gospel. I am so thankful for better days!!! I love you, I love you, I love you. I am glad that you shared all of this because despite the faith and all of the blessings, this whole thing stinks and it's okay to say that it does.

I am thankful for your friend Tiffany!

Love ya lots

Spencer and Whitney said...

I am not sure what to say, as I can't imagine what you are going through, other that we love you, miss you and we are praying for you and your family. I can always remember, since I was little, looking up to you, as I do even more today, and always feeling like you genuinely loved me and others around you. I am so grateful for your posts, it makes me so thankful for so much in my life, including the knowledge of the gospel and my eternal family. We hope and pray for the best.
Love, Spencer

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

Anne, Anne, Anne . . . I'm so glad you're back, so glad you're in the recovery stage, so glad . . . and praying.

Karla said...

I was so excited to see that you had updated. I sure enjoy hearing about how things are going for you. I hope that it isn't too much trouble for you to type in on your Blog. Boy, cancer really stinks! (Such an understatement, I know.)
I will keep you in my prayers - you just keep on fighting! :)

Jamica said...

I always feel guilty: you experience the pain and I get the benefit of learning from your experiences. Thank you for sharing. You always pose the question "why am I sharing this?" but please don't stop. I always count my blessings.

I hope to be a mom like you when I grow up! said...

Anne - we love you!

Tiffany - thank you for being such a wonderful freind to our dear Anne and her family - and congratulations on your healing.

Curry said...

You are an amazing daughter of our Heavenly Father. I look up to you, as I did in our youth, as you face this trial with faith in Him. Your strength inspires me to draw closer to Him as well as my family. I am glad you have been blessed with a wonderful husband, parents, children, family and friends. Please now that you are also in my prayers every day. The world needs more people like you!
Enjoy your 8 (feel good) weeks with your cute little girls!

Sarah Krause Gunnell

P.S. I loved the WOW! reflections video! What love you have in your home! Very cute girls!

Claysons! said...

Dear Anne - I'm so glad you finally blogged again. i have been worrying and wondering about you. thank you for your honest and frank information. its the heart of where you are and only a very 'strong' person would have the guts to open up like that. i really, really hope this treatment is working. we've missed you at writing group and can't wait to see you again. you're always in my thoughts and prayers. i'm glad you had Tiffany to talk to - what a blessing! Becki

Sydney said...

Oh Anne, you are stronger than you think and I can guarantee you are stronger than many of us mommies. What a perfect time for an 8 week break. Enjoy the arrival of spring and know that you're not alone. Our prayers are with you.

Shelly said...

Oh Anne I don't even know what to say but that I love you and even though I am sure it is hard to share all of this with us, thank you. It reminds us all what is truley important in life. Keep being strong.You are amazing. Look how far you have come. Spring is almost here..enjoy!

Sarah Buma said...

Who thinks Anne is strong? "Raise your hand if you're sure!" :) I've been reading all these posts over the last week and was going to quietly cheer for you this time. But I can't keep the thoughts to myself. Thank you for being my friend...all of ours! You are remarkably strong! You just are. I thought of you in a new way last week. I remember President Monson's family saying something to reporters when asked about his many travels over a lifetime of church service. One family member said many, many years ago she realized that he didn't belong only to them anymore. But because of their faith, they were happy to share him with the world. You have such a capacity to love and to share and to give. Even when you lack the strength to write, or to express, we pray harder. Like many have said, we finally exhale when we hear from you again--then pray more! Thank you for being Anne. Thank you for being so generous and good. Thank you for being strong and letting others share their strength with you. SPRING--a time of new beginnings, is CALLING YOU!! You remain in our prayers!!!