Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lisa's MRI

Lisa went in for another MRI today at the request of her medical oncologist.  They gave her a disc with the images on it, so I went through it tonight on my own.  With my limited knowledge of radiographs and anatomy I went through and took a look at them.  I used our photoshop to leave some notes and arrows to help people see Lisa's tumor.  You can also clearly see in these scans the void that has been left from the surgical removal of the tumor almost 4 months ago.  It has since filled in with spinal fluid.

You can definitely see the swelling that still remains in her right hemisphere after her radiation therapy, but that won't return to "normal" until June.  You can also see in this one where they sawed her skull (sorry there aren't arrows, but left side of image, the two black spots where her skull is interrupted.  One above the top arrow and one below the lower arrow).

We won't know for sure what her doctors think of the scans until Friday or Monday, but as you can see from these scans she unfortunately is not cancer free (though we knew she never would be).  The question we have is whether or not the size of the tumor is about what her doctors expected after radiation and chemo up to this point.  When she goes back in June for another MRI we will better be able to know if it is in remission or still growing.

Running With Lisa 5K

My Fun Run was held last Saturday in Midway and it turned out amazing! The weather was perfect and I believe everything went off without a hitch. This is my wonderful friend, Laura. She organized the entire thing with the help of some other awesome friends of mine.
Angie and Amber. 
I am so blessed to have wonderful friends and a support group right here where I live.
 The race wasn't set to begin until 9:00am, but my little family went over at 8:00 to see if any help was needed. A bunch of my friends from Maryland had planned together to meet at town square at 8:30 to present me with a gift. About 40 of my friends, from now all over the world, put together a beautiful quilt for me. It is something I will cherish and value my whole life. To see the individual blocks, you might have to be friends with my friend Stacey, but if not, this link might take you to it. Each girl individualized their quilt block/blocks for me with a memory, quote or something else. Below pictured is Hannah, Emily, me, Stacey, Natalie, Jayne and Adrienne. Many of these girls came from out of state and each of them are dear friends of mine.
The race began at 9:00 and I was put at the front of the line with Cody. We took off running. You can see Aubrey riding her little bike in the right of the picture. I ran with Cody for the first little bit, then he took off and I finished the run with my cousin Loren and his wife, Britney.
 It was definitely not my best timed run, but it was gorgeous and beautiful.
 Cody's cousins came to visit Midway a month or so ago and brought me several items intended for an auction (that has not happened yet). One of his cousins has an amazing embroidery machine and she made these sweatshirts. What a cool reminder for my Mom and I to have/wear. I have a couple extra if anyone is interested.

So I never found out a final count of people that came to the race Saturday, but I do know that over 500 were signed up/registered as of Friday evening. The turnout was overwhelming. Family, friends and community members definitely rallied together for me. I went to the grocery store later that day and had random strangers coming and talking to me, telling me that they were at the race. This is a picture of most of my family members that came to the race. My Dad's band, the Ken Foster Trio, also played in the gazebo during the breakfast and the race. It was quite fun and the kids were able to dance and sing along.
Our backyard neighbor put this video together with the neighborhood kids to promote the race. It's so fun to watch. Check it out here. Thank you to all who helped put this together. We were able to raise a lot of money to help with my medical bills and we feel extremely blessed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Break in Goblin Valley

Last week our kids had spring break from school, so we headed down south for warmer weather.  Thursday morning we packed the trailer and headed out.  We met up with my parents in Spanish Fork and then followed each other the rest of the way to the southern end of the San Rafael Swell.  We found an awesome campsite near Temple Mountain.
Temple Mountain used to have a mining community established at it's base back in the uranium mining days.  There are uranium mines all over the place down there and some ruins left over from some of the structures and houses.  Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the cliffs that surrounded our campsite, but it was beautiful.  After we set up camp we headed in as a group to Goblin Valley state park.  It's a cool park and the kids enjoyed jumping from hoodoo to hoodoo, but I was surprised at how small the park is.  I also was bummed that the entrance pass was only good for one day.  Oh well.
My dad, me, Tucker and Blake claiming our spot as kings of the hoodoo.

Here's Aubrey demonstrating her climbing skills.

Lisa enjoying the red rock scenery.

This is Cole's way of smiling for the camera.

Aubrey would pose anytime we tried to take a picture of her.  It was quite funny.

The next day we headed over to Little Wild Horse Canyon, a very easy slot canyon.  We hiked about a mile and a half in and then turned around, which was about the right distance for Cole's little legs.  The kids did awesome on the hike.  I think they could have hiked further too had they not been constantly climbing into every nook and cranny that we came across.

In that mile and a half stretch that we did we crossed through two really narrow stretches of the slot canyon.  Hiking with a baby on your back can be a little challenging at times in slot canyons.  I can't tell you how many times Blake almost smacked his head on a rock as I navigated over, under, and around boulders and such.

This is a cool photo that gives you a sense of how narrow the canyon can be at times.  In the foreground you can see Lisa walking through the slot canyon followed by Cole and Aubrey.  In the background you can see my mom climbing up and over one of the many obstacles along the way.  I highly recommend this hike to families with kids.  It's possibly one of the easiest slot canyon hikes you find.
On our way back out we passed a scout troop and one of them offered to take a group photo for us.  Look at that happy family!

My dad brought his 4 wheeler and the kids just could not get enough of it.  They were constantly wanting to be taken for rides, especially Cole.  It was easily the most coveted item on this trip.

Blake didn't like the 4 wheeler as much, but still had a blast getting dirty, digging in the sand, and wandering all over the place.  We did some awesome dutch oven cooking Friday night and made some fried chicken and potatoes.  Yum.
Overall the weather wasn't that great, but we still had a blast and enjoyed the scenery and the chance to get away for a few days.  On a sad note, after being seizure free for about 7 weeks, Lisa started having seizures again on this trip.  Her doctors have put her back on decadron, and that seems to have worked because she hasn't had any more seizures since Monday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Aubrey's Rainbow 5th Birthday

Cute Aubrey turned 5 last Friday on April 6th. She had preschool that morning and they had a Spring Party for Easter. She really wanted to wear a skirt, so we pulled out the pink skirt and her sparkly tights and snapped a photo before she left. If you ask Aubrey what her favorite color is she will tell you, pink, purple and sparkly rainbow. Not sure where that came from, but she loves her colors and things that glitter and sparkle of course. For having all brothers, this girl is all GIRL!
 Rose (woman who threw my pizza party) wanted to give Aubrey her girls old doll house, so my Mom and Rose drove up after lunch to surprise her. Cody didn't have to work that day either and we were able to pick her up from school. I haven't picked her up from school since before my surgery. She was super excited. This picture is of the doll house and her friend Bella.
 Can't believe that 5 years ago we were in dental school in Baltimore having her.
 Aubrey invited a bunch of her neighborhood and school friends to her party. We also invited our cute neighbor Maia over to help with the party (I didn't realize that my Mom, Rose and Cody would all be here at the time). Aubrey loves Maia and wanted to invite her anyway, although she is 11. I was able to convince them to sit on the stairs for a quick picture. From the bottom, Bella, Jordan, Jaycee, Kali, Ginger, Kate, Chezney, Morgan, Aubrey, Boston and Kailee.
 Blowing out her #5 birthday candle.
  Aubrey requested a rainbow birthday party. Easy enough. I spent an hour on  googling/pinterest one afternoon coming up with ideas. I made tissue paper flowers and hung them like a rainbow on our staircase (I'm too lazy to take pictures and upload them), and we tried to use colors as much as possible. I used this idea from pinterest for the goodie bags each girl took home. I also did a fruit rainbow that could have used more color, but it was all I had on hand.
The girls made fruit loop necklaces, opened presents, ate cupcakes (they got to decorate them with Skittles), ate fruit, drank squeezits (Aubrey's request) and danced around with paint stick ribbon wands. I kept it super simple, only an hour and the girls had fun. Aubrey received a lot of fun new toys and money so now we can go shopping and buy what she really wants. ; )
Later that night one of my best friends from Maryland came up to our house, Katie Leale, with her husband so that we could go to dinner. We took them to Tarahumara (the best Mexican restaurant around - and happens to be across from our backyard.) We spent the evening catching up and remembering our good ol' dental school days.

Monday, April 2, 2012

12 weeks post surgery and no more radiation!

I figured it was about time for another update. The great, exciting news is I am completely done with radiation. This morning was my last day! I am so ecstatic for this. I feel like I will be able to get back into a semi-normal routine for myself and my family. (Not sure what "normal" is.) But, no more having everybody ready by 9 am. Not that I want to be lazy and sit around in my pajamas all morning, but I can if I want to!  One goal that I have is to get Cole potty trained. We were so close before Christmas and before my surgery. Then I was in the hospital and he was shifted between so many different families that anything we had done was gone by the time I got home and then back from our trip to Mexico. The key is finding the motivator for him. He didn't care about any sort of treat/reward before. I've been searching for "Angry Birds" underwear and can't find any. I think that might do the trick. He loves Angry Birds and maybe, just maybe he won't want to pee in them. I did find some Angry Bird fruit snacks, so maybe he'll go potty for those. We already have Thomas the Train, Cars and Toy Story. If I can't find any, we will probably do the naked from the waste down that I was doing before. He was almost perfect going in the potty if he was naked. I know that he will get trained eventually, when he is ready. I just really want him to be ready now. He doesn't get to do swimming lessons or go to preschool until he is trained. I know that gives me 5 months until preschool, I just want it now! Is that too much to ask for?! I think not!

I've been seizure free for over 4.5 weeks now. That feels so great! My doctor cut me back on my steroid again to just 1/2 a pill a day instead of 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 at lunch. I just called and spoke to a neurologist office this afternoon to find out how I'll get myself off my anti-seizure medication. I have to be 6 months seizure free before I can cut my pills back to twice a day instead of 3 times. And then after a year I'll need to go into the doctor and I might be able to cut back to once a day or go completely off of it. Luckily my anti-seizure medications only cost me $10 for a copay when I have to refill.

I have my next MRI scheduled for June 20th. It's a ways out there, but if they were to do one before, my results would most likely show a worse picture than before I started treatment. It takes that long to get the radiation out of my system and for the swelling to go down. I have a follow up appointment with my neuro-oncologist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute on April 24th. I will then get a different chemo prescription for the year that I have to take following radiation. I've been told that I'll do chemo for a year, 7 days on, 21 off. Hopefully it will continue as a pill and I won't get sick. I've been extremely blessed that I haven't been sick at all through these past 6 weeks. Well, it's a lie if I say I've never been sick. Last Saturday I did get sick. I'm supposed to take Zofran (anti-nausea pill) 30 minutes before my chemo meds every night. Last Friday night Cody and I got home late and because I haven't been sick at all through this I thought I'd skip that step in my nightly medicine routine. Well, Saturday morning I woke up and felt sick to my stomach. I ended up throwing up. I learned my lesson. I don't skip the Zofran step. I only have to take my chemo medicine through Monday though, along with my antibiotic. I'll stay on the vitamins that I've been taking, but all my main meds, I get to stop taking except for the anti-seizure ones.
Last Saturday Cody and I went skiing at Deer Valley. I'm sure a couple of my doctors would not have recommended that I do that, but I like to ski, I'm not an aggressive skier (actually I'm not even that good), but I really wanted to go, so Cody and I went and his parents watched our kids. We bought myself a helmet at Sports Authority to protect my noggin, just in case and we went and had fun together. Cody was actually given free passes to Deer Valley last week, so it cost us nothing too. Oh except that we did splurge and ate at the lodge (typically we pack food in our coats to save money, but we figured it was OK to treat ourselves). It was spring skiing weather for sure. We didn't get on the slope until 10:30 and we left by 2:00pm. The snow was super slushy and soft and it just wasn't very fun to ski on anyway. I had a good time getting out doing something different, with Cody, but the conditions could have been better. Oh well. At least I can now say that I went skiing twice this winter, instead of just once.

My doctor has also told me that my drive/motivation should start coming back after I stop treatment. I was very excited to hear this as well. I've been a bit more productive the past couple weeks, but not nearly as close to what I was pretumor.

Tucker might not be thrilled about this, but we will start practicing the piano again, I'll probably open my Etsy shop back up and my goal is to start working out in the mornings again. This morning Cody and I actually got up at 6:45 and he lifted while I ran a couple miles on the treadmill. It felt good to be active and productive first thing in the morning. I used to get up everyday at 6:00 to run or bike. The steroids I've been on, plus my lack of exercise, and sitting around have caused me to gain about 10 pounds since the beginning of the year. I'm not worried about being fat, but I definitely can get back into shape. My 5K race is only 3 weeks away and I'm excited to see friends and family that are signed up to come run it with/for me. If you aren't signed up yet, do it soon! We need a good count so that we know how much food to prepare for the breakfast. Race day registration will also be more money, so hopefully that will motivate you to sign up sooner rather than later. Right now, registration is $15 a person or $40 a family. If you sign up the day of, it will be $20 a person or $50 a family. You can also buy raffle tickets online when you register. Go to

Our good friend is building a garden shed to raffle off. Actually the guy is so great that he is building our family one too and one for the raffle. Lucky us! Raffle tickets are $10 for one or $15 for two. You will be able to buy those the day of. Plus, I think that we'll throw in free raffle tickets for the winner of the race (even though it is not a timed event.)

As far as my auction is concerned, we will still have one, but it will not be the same day as my race. We are looking at dates in June for the auction. Sorry to those of you that have donated or are planning on it the day of. It's just too uncertain with the weather and the more time we have, the more items we can gather. If you've donated for the auction so far, your items will still get auctioned off, they are just being kept safe until the date is set and arrives.

Aubrey turns 5 next week and I'm going to attempt to throw her a party. She wants a rainbow party so I spent about an hour yesterday going through pinterest and other websites coming up with ideas for her party. It should be fun. We are inviting 10 little girls, and our cute neighbor girl/babysitter is going to help me with the party, so even if everyone shows up, it will be fun!

Along with the many donations that people have been so generous in giving to us, I was also given a free Blendtec Blender. It's awesome and works so much better than the one that Cody and I have had since we've been married. Companies are extremely giving when they hear of my situation. I love Jamba Juices and have been making green smoothies at home for a couple weeks. Last Friday I was given free tickets to the Timpanogos Valley Theater. I went and saw Forever in Plaid with my friend Jessica Ashurst. Cody went to the Jazz/Kings game with his Dad and brother. It was good Cody had other plans because musicals are not up his alley. It was a fun night out though and my cute babysitter even babysat for free.

Saturday, Cody was going to go skiing with Tucker, his Dad and brother at the Canyons. But, when Cody went to print off our free passes we received from going to the Warren Miller movie last fall, he realized that they were only good Monday through Friday. So, we changed our plans and drove down and met Cody's family at Sugarhouse park for a picnic lunch. The kids flew kites, played on the playground and we all enjoyed time in the sun, visiting. We watched afternoon conference at Cody's parents and then I went to my parents house during priesthood session to spend time with my Mom and sister. I actually wrote a bunch of thank you cards while I was there too. Unfortunately, thank you cards have been on the very bottom of my to-do lists the past couple months. I should have done them a long time ago, but just have had no desire too. I'm sorry for the delay for those of you receiving them now. My bad.
Cody, Carson, Kristin
Aubrey, Carson and cousin Aspen
I really enjoyed listening to general conference yesterday. I mainly only sat through and listened to morning session, but have everything DVR'd and plan on watching/listening to them throughout the week. There were a couple talks that I felt were directed towards me and gave me comfort. Especially Elder Rasbands talk. Check out to listen or read any talks from this weekend.
Thank you all for your continued love, prayers and support. My family and I are so appreciative and couldn't have done this without you.