Sunday, May 1, 2016

Thomas birthday

My dear husband turned another year older. Life keeps ticking by, one year after the next. Some days it goes so slow but then we are celebrating another birthday.

This guy. He is my world. He is my light. My joy. My hope. My love. My Everything!

He is kind, helpful, loving, considerate, selfless, giving, sacrificing, thoughtful, humble, caring, and a million other wonderful qualities.

He is my joy! He makes me smile every single day. He keeps me laughing. He keeps life fun and exciting.

He also takes care of me. He makes me breakfast in bed every single morning of my life. He gets me a diet coke in the morning from Circle K. He works hard. He comes home and cleans and cooks and grocery shops and handles the bank account and works with my medical issues and so much more.

He is an amazing father. The absolute best! He is so great to Hayden. And he loves Hayden with all his heart. Not only does he love doing things with Hayden and playing with him. But he is always praying for him, trying to be a better example and better dad.

We love you, Thomas! You are our world.! Happy Birthday and year and everything. You are precious and dear to us.

Nuclear bins and strategic missile strikes

My Doctor appointment at the end of March was eventful. We discussed new seizure medications, new medications to ease the myclonic seizures, we talked of options for trying to ease the neuropathic nerve pain that has me absolutely wanting to crawl into a ball and nerve leave, it is getting so intense., we discussed a couple of different clinical trials, genetic testing and then increasing my current chemo and adding a second to it. I was overwhelmed and confused!

After 3 pages of notes, I asked for clarification on a few things. My neurologist, a great guy, distinguished and top notch in his field, leaned back and started to use his hands.

He explained it this way...Right now, we have you on a chemo medication that is like a nuclear bomb. It goes in and destroys everything. Our hope is that it will kill or destroy everything in its path, therefore taking out the bad with the good. The second chemo medication we want to put you on is more like an assault strike. It goes in and targets only the lymphoma cells. Leaving the rest of the cells in tact.

So right now we are hitting you with one nuclear bomb a week. We need to up the chemo to five nukes per week and then send a strategic missile attack right behind in case the nuclear bomb missed anything.

We are hoping that this will kill all the bad stuff in you because we are not sure what else to do. It is multiplying and reproducing faster than we can stop it.

I see a huge smile stretched across Thomas' face and he begins to laugh. Seriously, in my doctor appointment, he starts to laugh.

I asked him why after. He said that one, our lives have turned into nuclear bomb attacks and two, I could see you starting to get upset. I knew our choice was to laugh or cry. I knew there would be plenty of time to cry later, so why not laugh.

So, my world has come down to being nuked and then missiles trying to defeat my body.

I pray this works. Because the medicines are making me so incredibly sick.

I am so grateful for Thomas. He helps me to laugh when it seems like the only option is to cry. He makes my world a better place.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Most helpful

What is a girl to do when life just keeps going down hill? Pray, plead for help and ask friends to support you.

Yesterday, as I was unsure how to move forward, I tried to find solutions to my dilemmas that were plaguing my mind.

All of a sudden, the walls began to cave in, and Sherri Dove, my neighbor's mind came to mind. I texted to see if I could come over and didn't hear back. I remembered her saying to drop by anytime. So, for the first time in years, I went somewhere without an appointment.

Sherri was excited to see me. Genuinely happy that I was there.

We sat and talked for a long time. We talked of miracles. We talked of how to get the activity rate at church higher. We talked of prayer. We talked of being an answer to someone's prayer. We talked of showing kindness and love in the littlest ways.

Sherri asked me what some of my greatest kindnesses have been during this ordeal. I told her that of course, I appreciated the meals, the flowers, the gifts brought over, the yummy deserts and other grand gestures. But the ones that really made all the difference in the world were the small texts that came when I struggled the most.

I gave examples to explain my heart...

I told of yesterday, while sitting in the orthopedic surgeon's office that I received a text from one of my beloved mission companions. It simply said, "Jerlyn, are you okay? I am so worried about you." I responded that no, I was not okay. I had been told I needed surgery yet with my illness, surgery was not an option. And I told her that I would call her later. She responded. "I love you. I am here for you." My heart melted. My tears watered. In that small moment, I was broken and scared and all alone. I felt abandoned by all. Then, as quickly as those feelings came, they were replaced with those of love and appreciation for my dear friend. I was reminded that not only was she aware of me, my needs and my struggles, but so was my Savior. He was reminding me that he stood next to me, he sent someone to my aid and he would walk this new journey with me. Tears continued but for different reasons. I was not alone. My Savior was aware of my needs and sent an earthly friend to show his presence in my life.

Another was a few weeks back. Again, I was at a doctor's office and received horrible news. I was told to get dressed and meet the doctor in another room. I was scared and alone. I was frightened. I prayed for an answer. My phone immediately received a text from my visiting teacher. "Hi! I made you a loaf of homemade bread this morning. When can I drop it by?" Again, I was comforted knowing that I was not alone. My Savior again prompted those around me to come to my aid and comfort me.

There was another day that Hayden was gone, I was alone and I was so frightened. I was questioning if this disease was worth fighting. Ultimately, I would lose, so why not now. I was so overwhelmed with grief and uncertainty. Then a text came. "Jerlyn, I just want you to know how much I look up to you. I am going through my own set of challenges right now and am struggling to hold on. I watch you as you face really hard challenges that are meant to take your life. Yet you keep fighting. You love the Savior. You trust him. You give your all and just keep going. I want you to know that because you are continuing to fight, so will I. Thank you for your example of trusting our Savior and never giving up."  Tears fell as I realized that in this dear soul reaching out, they gave me and answer to my own struggles. Simply to keep trying.

The list goes on and on of how those have come to my aid with a text or simple phone call. The little texts offer as much power as the huge gestures, especially when combined with the message from my Savior that he is aware of my needs. The simple, "I thought of you this morning and wanted to let you know that I care" or "I just want you to know that I pray for you every day. I wish I could do more to help." Or, "I found myself thinking of you this morning and all the ways you have touched my life."

It took someone a few seconds or only a minute to type those text messages. It didn't require them to cook or clean or provide some huge, over the top, gesture. Simply a message reassuring me that I do not walk alone. That my Savior is aware of me and my needs. And that I am not alone. That I do have people around me that still care about me.

Those messages and countless others that I have received have made all the difference. They have given me hope. They have given me the courage to keep fight. They have re-issued my strength and have revived my will to fight. They have reminded me that my Savior is aware of my needs. And that he loves me. He sends others here to my aid to reassure me of his love and the love of those around me. What a priceless gift.

 In my opinion, it is the heartfelt and little gestures that have the most bang for the buck. They carry the message that my Savior lives, loves me and is aware of my needs. To me, that is the greatest gift anyone can give me.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Simonton gang

Simonton cousins have tons of fun together. We love getting together once a month.We love that our children our friends. We love the smiles and laughter and jokes and antics that get played when they are together. I love the silliness. I love the fun. I love the games. I love the huge plans that they make. I love everything about the friendship that these sweet cousins share. Each hold a precious place in my heart. And I know that Hayden loves and adores each precious one.

Crazy pups

Each morning, these crazy dogs, yawn and stretch and attack Thomas before he leaves for work. They try sitting on him so he will stay home. They try pulling the cuteness cards. They bark at him and try to talk and tell him not to go. They try to get him distracted by what he is doing. They pull out all of their tricks and all of their cuteness and all their love to try to get him to stay.

When he eventually leaves, they climb under the covers and mope for at least an hour.

I love these cute puppies and the ultimate joy that they bring to our lives. They are our precious and exactly the little boost I needed to make it through each and every day. They need me and are relient on me and I oh so need them to pull me through the day in and day out.

We are a perfect little family, puppies and all, we love one another and are grateful for the gift of these two little baby puppies in our lives.

Priesthood Blessing

Tonight, the depression and heartache continued. I was struggling with all of the heartache that I buried deep inside.

The blessing offered many ways of hope and encouragement.

Most of all, it assured me that my Savior knew my insecurities, my heartaches and the deep emotions I let no one see...and even try to hide from him.

He told me I was enough and he loved me.

 Those words spoke to my broken and tired soul. What beautiful words that were uttered. Simply.... I AM ENOUGH! I matter. I am worthy. I am scared and hurt and miserable. But in my dear Savior's eyes, I am enough.

I am grateful for the insight that is given is the most precious blessings.

Then, words that are most heart breaking that you do not want to hear, but need to be said. There are many who will talk bad of you. Many who will still walk away. That will continue to make your life more miserable. There are those that seek to destroy you.

Every day that you walk on this earth will be a trial. Each and every day will require you to push to greater depths and hold on. Each day will require all of your strength, all of your will power and a fight to thwart the fiery darts of the adversary.

My job is simply to fight! And fight I will. Because my marriage is worth it. My sweet husband is worth it. My beloved and cherished son that I love and adore is worth it. My little puppies that have brought so much joy and love into my life are worth it. I have many family and friends and supporters that love me. And, my Savior has blessed me so very much. He deserves that I do not quit his plan but continue to give my all, day in and day out.

I may not be able to do much, but I can give my all each and every day. And when the fiery darts become too much or the disappointments of life become too real. I just need to remember the precious words that were spoken... I AM ENOUGH! I matter. My Savior and Redeemer love me.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lost and alone

This is a blog post that I have struggled with. I so badly want to show the bad times, along with the good, but also do no want to sound negative or hurt anyone. Here goes my attempt to explain to Hayden and my posterity the truth of life and how to survive the moments you feel completely lost and alone, as inevitably, all will pass down this road. Not one of us is free from the low times that bring us to our knees and have us questioning all we know and love. We rarely speak of those lows, as we feel we should be stronger or more in control. Here goes my raw and unedited emotions.

Lately, my world has felt very lonely. The situation has not necessarily changed but how I am coping definitely has.

l have struggled so very much. I have felt completely alone and abandoned by those around me.All except my sweet son and beloved husband.

As it has felt like every single friendship has let me down and/or betrayed me, I have had the desire to begin to shut each one out of my life. Why? Because the effort to keep struggling friendships around, is simply too painful.

The downward spiral started several weeks ago. One little thing after the next. Each one on its own, probably not significant to even mention because, hello, I am not perfect and I make tons of mistakes.

However, the stakes began getting higher and I found myself consulting more and more with Thomas and my beloved Savior over these events and how to cope.

Little things that really tore at my soul began to happen. Things that I hoped were an oversight and not an intentional hurtful act.

Then came a point that I could no longer see all these little events as trivial or insignificant but they started making a significant impact on my life. What was really worrisome was how they weren't coming from one particular person, but from most every person in my life that I was close to. Oh did my little heart hurt. Not only did my physical pain try and test me to the last nerve, but now, I was losing all I loved and held dear in the process, except for my husband and son. I was completely broken. I knelt down and asked how much more I could endure. And why, since I was suffering so much in the physical areas of my life, couldn't he soften hearts, including mine, and help ease the emotional torment I was experiencing.

The answer apparently was NO. Instead, I heard the scripture in D&C spoken to our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith. "All these things shall give thee experience...thou is not yet as Job.." and there the verse of scripture was modified to fit my needs..."Jerlyn, thy friends may abandon you. But unlike Job, you have the love and support of your husband and son. They will not forsake you. And I will not leave you comfortless. I will love and comfort you."

I am not sure if the answer helped or confused me more. My loving Savior knew exactly what is going on. He knew exactly what was happening, not only to my body to the heavy arsenal attack that was being placed on my soul. Yet, easing of my pain did not come. I was told not only was this happening but it would continue. I needed to understand that few would continue to stand by me.

I sought further knowledge, understanding and peace through prayer and scripture study. I slept with headphones on as I listened to general conference talks and church hymns, as I was trying to force out the pain and loneliness. While I was studying, I could sometimes escape momentary heartache but it quickly returned.

I just wondered how I was not enough. I realized that I couldn't help on a physical level. I realized that my needs were greater than others but I also felt like the life I had lived prior to my illness counted for something. I had put lots of service and love into bank accounts and prayed that was enough. Only to know that since my illness had lasted so long that the good I did prior to this illness was null and void. And it no longer counted.

I so struggled. I cried and cried and cried. I didn't sleep. I couldn't get out of bed. I hit a depression so hard and deep. I wasn't sure that I could go on living. I wasn't convinced that it was even the smart thing to do. I thought of all that Thomas and Hayden were missing out on because of me. I was at a low of lows.

I reached out for a hand to lift me.... no one came. I pleaded each day for someone to come knock on that door and hug me and tell me I was enough. It was silent. Completely silent.

The phone calls ceased. Those that did come around were different. The calls that came, I felt like were out of obligation and duty, not friendship.

What was i supposed to do? How was I supposed to carry on? How can I possibly do this alone? I need help.

Then the dreaded phone call results are getting worse. Even more aggressive treatment than thought was needed to combat the latest round of invaders. Chemo infusions were necessary. I had been asking without directly asking for help over the past week or two, feeling deep inside me that something was coming and I needed to prepare emotionally for the battle and physically line up help.

One by one, I got the standard....if you can't find anyone else or my life is so crazy or I just don't know how I can squeeze it in.....I cannot possibly do one more thing....Well, when you get your schedule, if I am not doing anything else those days, then I am happy to help yet I help so many others already... my schedule is already pretty full helping so many....and the excuses and responses went on.

Okay, message loud and clear..... no help is coming.

I kept asking and cried to another friend. The response was... well I guess I could drop you and Hayden off in the mornings, I could pick you up after work or someone else could get you and bring you home. Anger set off. Really! My only solution was my fourteen year old son. How had my life come to this? How is it possible that I am going through chemo and no one is coming to my aid?

So how in the world was I supposed to now got to an infusion center all day? I thought of a taxi taking me and Hayden and Thomas said absolutely no. He thought of trying to take Family Leave & Medical Act but he would probably lose his job, not to mention we cannot go without the pay. I made the call to the doctor to tell him that oral medications or shots were necessary. .

Instead, we opted for the chemo that makes you sicker but you can get at home. The shots that are starting, we arranged for an early morning dose so that Thomas can take me, stay with me, take me home, and head into work a little late, each week. We are hoping this schedule and arrangement will be approved. If so, Hayden will be trained in what to do to help his mom. He can work on school work while laying there beside me to watch my symptoms. During the required adjustment period that someone over 18 has to be there, Thomas will have to take off work. So much for the beach this year.

Yet, I have to fight. I have to keep going. I have to win this battle. I cannot die. I must hold on and fight and endure at least until Hayden leaves on a mission. Of course, I would love to stick around longer, but for now, I just have to hold on for him. I never want him to experience what it is like to feel this alone. 

My heart is broken. I am exhausted.... worn out.... in pain.... hurting. Yet, I am learning to continue to fight. I am learning that I am strong. I can do this. I am learning the strength of my son. He is a fighter and is fiercely loyal. He loves his mom. As we sat down and talked to him, he is up for the challenge. He is up for the fight. He says he can handle mom vomiting and being ill. He just wants me to keep fighting and to live. I am grateful that my husband and son still think I am worth the heartache this disease is causing. I am grateful that my husband is loyal and loving and caring and a saint. He treats me like  queen, even in the midst of my greatest struggles. I cannot imagine a better man to walk this journey with. He is my strength, my protector and my true love.

So, my prayers for someone to come to my rescue happened. I was reminded that my husband, my son and my Savior are what I need to fight this fight. I pray this journey will teach Hayden love and endurance, long-suffering and dedication, Hard-work and moving forward in faith. I pray this journey brings you closer to our Savior, not farther away. I love you, Thomas and Hayden. Thank you for coming to my rescue. And, all my love and devotion to my Savior who carries me, strengthens me and gives me hope. Without him, this fight would be simply impossible.