Friday, November 30, 2007

The Aftershock

It has been two days since the big bang and unfortunately the reality is setting in. I am sure that having only one car isn't going to be too big of a problem. I am sure there will be times when it becomes a hassle, but for the most part we have done this before and know how to get around with only one vehicle.

The car will go to a good cause. We will be donating it to the Kidney Foundation. Right now the car sits outside our house, parked the wrong way on the street and snow is threatening for this weekend. We will need to get the dead dinosaur off the streets for the snow plows to come through. And our homeowners association freaks out at any vehicle parked for more than 24 hours in one spot.

I told Harold that this situation is funny in every way, except financially. And right before Christmas too. But, it won't effect Christmas because actually we will be able to drop the car from our insurance and be $15 richer this month as a result, however the van is more of a gas hog so that $15 will probably go to the gas tank. So all in all, a wash.

I guess what I am trying to get to here is that I am not too worried about us, but I am a bit bummed out, and I know Harold is too.

Do you ever feel that when you pray for something that you have no right to pray for it? There are children suffering all over the world from hunger and disease and here I am, sitting pretty, never hungry-not really-and can afford to make my copay when someone gets sick. I haven't really talked to the Lord about our current problem because I feel like it is so trivial, so materialistic. I am embarassed really to bring it up. So I haven't. But I have thought about it.

Then last night during our missionary meeting when I was supposed to be paying attention my selective attention deficit disorder kicked in and I grabbed Harold's scriptures to take a look. The book opened to 3rd Ne 13:31-34.

"Therefore take no thought, saying "What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore take no thought for the morrow , for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Here is what I got from this scripture: I have what I need, the Lord sees to that. So, if he feels we need another car, there will be a way. If not, then we make do with one. And that's okay.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kabang!!!

Have you ever met anyone in your life who has had two cars blow up while they are inside the car?

Well, you have now. He is the one on the right. Yes, our Geo Prizm blew up today while Harold was on his way to work. This happened once before when we had the Honda CRX, so this is officially the second time this has happened to him.

Dang, that thing was paid for too! Our friend Steve looked at the car and there are two holes in the engine block. Well, at least we have another car (the van). We are now a one-car family, again.

I just want to dedicate this post to my loving husband. He called to tell me this happened and we just laughed and laughed. Thank you Harold for being such a wonderful man. I love you and I wish better things for your future (no more cars blowing and possibly finding out we have inherited a fortune from a long lost relative who has always admired you!) All my love and big hugs to the man who survived.

p.s. I chose this picture because this is what I imagine Harold looked like when he heard the first "bad noises" coming from the car.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Steppin' it up a notch

I have been thinking a lot lately about why my Weight Watcher motivation has taken a huge nose dive, this despite the fact that I have come to a complete standstill on weight loss, my left knee is in chronic pain and I just plain feel lousy due to overeating most of the time.

So, in an effort to ramp things up, before they get completely out of control for the holidays, I have a plan.

How many of you out there are either on a diet program, exercise program or want to be on one?

I am going to keep this blog as my daily ramblings site, but I would like to start a new blog just for those of us who need some extra motivation/support. This will not be a guilt site, but a sharing site. A place to go wherein you can share tips, recipes, food journals, motivational ideas, etc.

If you need help starting an exercise program, someone to be accountable to for what you eat each day, or you need some sweet low-points/low-cal recipes this new blog site will be for you.

If you are interested, leave a comment telling me about it. I will start a new blog, get everyone who is interested signed up as a user to that site, so that we can all log in and post what we need to.

I am looking forward to a new motivating adventure!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One Turkey Day Ago....


Last Thanksgiving Harold and I hosted the dinner in our town. Our house wasn't big enough (or cat-free dander enough) to have the whole clan.

I had just been given the news that I would need surgery to remove what was probable cancer. I was stressed out and completely on edge. The dinner was nice, we held it at our church's Relief Society room. Everyone from the Johnson side was there. After dinner was over and the dishes were done, it was starting to look like everyone might be heading out. I knew I wanted a blessing before everyone took off. I had been laboring over who to ask for the blessing. Harold had given me a blessing already the first or second night after we got the news, but I thought I should ask him to give it. But for some reason I really felt like it should be my father who was voice to this particular blessing. I was very worried about offending Harold. I didn't want to send a message that his blessing wasn't good enough, or that I trusted my father more. I just felt like my father should be the one. Looking back I can see that it was a good thing my father gave the blessing, for both Harold and I. We needed someone with more objectivity than either of us. Granted, he is my dad, so I am not sure just how objective you can get when your daughter asks for a blessing of comfort and hopefully healing.

I asked my father to be voice, Harold to participate, Paul, David and Matt (my brothers) and Jeff and Justin (my brothers-in-law)to join in the circle.

The blessing was very specific. During surgery the doctor would find the cancer, it would be in a specific place and it would be completely removed.

From that moment on I knew I would be cured, 100%. I felt really guilty all during the coming month before surgery when people would look at me with sadness in their eyes to ask how I was doing because I really felt great. I knew it would be over soon, that I was off the hook and for some reason I was given a second chance. I knew there were others, even within my own family and ward, who were suffering more than I would ever suffer from cancer.

The picture above is of the men in my life who were part of that amazing day. Thanksgiving has always been a great day for me, for the opportunity for to count my blessings, but for me it will now forever be the day that my Heavenly Father communed with me through His power, through my father, through my husband and through the hands of the worthy priesthood holders whom I love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gobble Contest 2007

video
This is Mackson doing his best turkey impersonation. He was voted by his class as their #1 turkey. Today he competed in front of the whole school against all the other turkeys. This video doesn't do his turkey sounds justice, he really did sound like a turkey based on what we heard online this morning when we were looking for turkey videos. He got a large candy bar just for participating, the grand prize was a turkey (cannabilism at its best, yum!) He is introduced under a pseudonym: Orville Koocher. Apparently this was for anonymity.


Here's our little turkey!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surprise!


Yesterday Harold got home from his meeting and said the 2nd counselor wanted to see us at 11:15. What? Why? We both have callings already. So we traipse on down and I was called to be the primary pianist. I am extremely excited about this new adventure, as well as extremely nervous. I have never had a pianist calling before, don't know how to follow a chorister, and have to practice like a mad woman for hours before I can get through the songs without major mistakes. I had all of 15 minutes to prepare for yesterday but I said a prayer and made it through without too many mistakes. I have been wanting a piano calling so that I would be forced to practice and get better, now I need to prove to the Lord that I mean what I say.

We had a great time with the Smith Family last night and I took tons of pics, but I will have to post those later as I am on my way out the door for school this morning. I have my big biology presentation to do today. I am nervous and excited. I am hoping my mouth doesn't go completely dry like it did when I taught R.S.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Answers

1. When Abraham Smoot died it was discovered that his personal fortune was gone. Why?
He spent it trying to keep BYU's doors open.

2. Kimberly Clark can be found where on campus?
In the bathroom, on the TP and paper towel dispensers.

3. Where does a picture of Emma Hale Smith reside?
South side of the library, all RS president pics are there.

4. The basement of the Joseph F. Smith Building has Wifi capability. T/F
True on the east side, false on the west. I have no idea why.

5. The Clark building just south of the library is a.) The Herald Clark Building, or b.) The Harold Clark Building.
The answer is A. I just noticed because when people mispell my Harold's name they do it that way.

6. The Twilight Zone sells spiral binders. T/F
Nope. Tried to buy one yesterday and had to tromp all the downstairs in the bookstore to get one.

7. During her Short Story class Jeanna was found to be in the library today. T/F
True. Although I wrote the quiz before I did this. I had to get some other stuff done and had to cut out of class.

8. The Eyring Science Center has a cafe. Which days are the cafe open?
Mon-Thurs only.

9. What team is playing against BYU this weekend?
Wyoming.

10. In 2006 BYU defeated UofU. T/F
True. I saw a clip of it in Biology today, in reference to pickle juice alleviating muscle cramps. (student presentation).

I have to say I am disappointed that no BYU students tried to answer the ??s. Maybe I didn't give enough time, but I can't come back later today to give answers because of the big Par-Tay. Wish all us fairy-loving humans good luck.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pop Quiz

Since I have been subject to the ever popular Pop Quiz, I decided that it was time for me to give my fair readers a pop quiz of their own. So, get your brains working...This quiz is about BYU. So, if you consider yourself a fan, an alumni, or a current student you better get a good grade! I will post the answers later today (or tomorrow). You may answer in the comments section. The person with the highest score gets (drum roll please) THE GLORY!

1. When Abraham Smoot died it was discovered that his personal fortune was gone. Why?
2. Kimberly Clark can be found where on campus?
3. Where does a picture of Emma Hale Smith reside?
4. The basement of the Joseph F. Smith Building has Wifi capability. T/F
5. The Clark building just south of the library is a.) The Herald Clark Building, or b.) The Harold Clark Building.
6. The Twilight Zone sells spiral binders. T/F
7. During her Short Story class Jeanna was found to be in the library today. T/F
8. The Eyring Science Center has a cafe. Which days are the cafe open?
9. What team is playing against BYU this weekend?
10. In 2006 BYU defeated UofU. T/F

Good luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

First Oncology Appointment

One year ago today Harold and I had an appointment to see Dr. Andrew Soisson. He works mainly in SLC but has a clinic within the women's clinic in Provo once a week. As I mentioned before, I knew that an appointment with this particular doctor meant cancer but when I told Harold we were seeing an oncologist he didn't know what that meant.

The appointment was in the afternoon. The doc was in surgery and we had to wait sooooo long. Eventually the nurse came in and offered us Fast Bucks which is Intermountain's money that you can use at the gift shop, cafeteria, and cafe. We took the Fast Bucks but we didn't use them because we were fasting. The entire Nichols and Johnson clans had been contacted and asked if they would fast with us.

Harold and I walked across the street to Big Lots and perused the aisles. We ended up buying some kind of Christmas decoration. While standing in line we had one of those instances where there are a bunch of people so a new sales associate comes up and opens another register. Then, from behind me, some obnoxious woman darts to the other register, completely ignoring us and the fact that we have been standing there for a while, waiting. I was ticked. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate when this happens and I get super angry and sometimes even start loudly telling the person who did this what I really think of them. I didn't do that, but I turned to Harold and said (with a mischevious grin), "Doesn't that lady know I have cancer? Would she have been so rude if she did?" Harold didn't think it was as funny as I did, but for me humor is the best medicine.

We went back to the doc's office and he finally showed up. Up to this point no one had actually said cancer. Funny how you can get a referral to an oncologist, but they won't say CANCER! I guess they just weren't sure. There was proliferative hyperplasia (excess of cells), that we knew for sure. The doc offered us a couple of options.

1. He knew we were wanting more children so he could send us to a fertility specialist to see what the chances were of getting pregnant. If the chances were good the doc would put me on some kind of medication for a few months that had a 50/50 chance of working. I would be monitored after a few months to see if the medication worked. If so, great. If not, we go to option #2.

2. Complete hysterectomy. I told the doc if I did have a hyst that I wanted it done laparoscopically, which is using instruments through small incisions in the stomach instead of a large incision. The doc said if I wanted it done that way that I would need a referral to a doc up at the Huntsman Center in SLC because that doc was the only one who could do a laparoscopic hysterectomy and still do lymph node sampling.

The doc wanted us to think about this for a couple of days and let him know. I knew right then that #2 was the right option for me/us. But, I felt that Harold might need some time to talk about it alone. We left the exam room and as we were walking down the hall Harold and I started talking and both felt very strongly that we needed to do the complete hysterectomy right away.

We turned around, found the nurse that the doc had told us to contact and started making arrangements immediately. We got an appointment with Dr. Karen Zempolich up at the Huntsman Cancer Institue in SLC.

I later found out through reading my medical records that the doctor didn't feel that our chances at fertility were very good and that his offering of option #1 was basically to put our minds at rest concerning the issue.

The thing is, we didn't need the fertility specialist to tell us anything. Through the fasting and prayers of both of our families, we knew what needed to be done and felt it very strongly.

There are times in my life that I can say with 100% certainty that the Lord's hand was there and that the spirit was speaking to me. This was one of those times. I don't think I ever thanked my family (Nichols and Johnson) for their fasting and prayers on that day, November 15, 2006. Thank you, your efforts made all the difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random thoughts

1. I saw a shirt today that said, "I refuse to advertise for any brand." I liked it.

2. Cow bells rock.

3. My English professor said he spotted two youngsters in an embrace in the hall. "They were pecking each other like a chicken picking up seed. I wanted to tell the boy to grab that girl and give her a decent kiss." He may be old, but he rocks.

4. My major midterm that I took yesterday went fine. Not as well as last time, but okay. I forgot a major event in India's history (the All-Indian Conference) and the name of the Taiping Revolt in China's history. Considering all the details I had to remember, I consider forgetting those two events a minor infraction.

5. The other day my history professor yelled and swore at the class. Well, mostly it was at a guy who was asleep.

6. Matt and Julie started blogging, and I could not be happier. By the way Matt, that pic of your car on fire may have been your best day, but I have to say that one of my best days was when I saw that picture.

7. I spent a better part of this afternoon contemplating quitting Weight Watchers. Karen made me go. I actually lost 2 of the pounds I had gained back. Shocker.

8. I went to quilt night tonight at the old ward building, with the ladies from the old ward, and Karen. I asked about defecting back to the old ward.

9. Throwing a fairy party for a 12 year old isn't as easy as it originally looked.

10. Are we really one week away from Thanksgiving? I actually have two friends who are done with Christmas shopping and one of those friends also has all her presents wrapped. How did I get such over achiever friends anyway?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12 Years Ago Today


From Humble Beginnings.....


Sav and Jer


Swinging along


Halloween: Anakin Skywalker


Our Beautiful Girl


The Birthday Girl with the woman who knows.

On that day at about 7:00 a.m. I got into the shower and felt a weird spurt. I was pretty sure it was my water, but it had not broken. Harold was set to fly out that day, he was working as a flight attendant for Reno Air at the time. He went to my doc appt with me and the doc did three nitrazine tests, two of which came back positive for fluid. Harold called his work and said he wouldn't be coming in. The doc admitted me at 12:00 or so and the pitocin started at about 2:00. At 9:00 p.m. the doc came in looking like she had just come from dinner on the town. She said I looked "fresh as a daisy" (which isn't exactly how I felt) and she broke my water and said she would be back at 5 a.m. the next morning. The first contraction that hit after the water broke was insane and I knew I needed an epidural, especially if this was going to go on for another 8 hours. I started requesting one and the anesthesiologist was busy, so they gave me a shot of Nubain until he could get there. I later found out that the nurse told Harold I was moving along pretty quickly and that an epidural might slow things down. Together they made the decision NOT to give the the drugs. (I won't go into that now, because this isn't supposed to be about me.) Two hours later, at 11:11 p.m., which you will note wasn't the 5 a.m. the doc said it would be, our sweet daughter was born. 7 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long. She spent the first night crying out as if in pain every 1 minute or so, all night long. I didn't care. The adrenalin was pumping and was completely thrilled. Savannah Quinn, you are a blessing. We love you. Happy, happy birthday!

Monday, November 12, 2007

One year ago tomorrow....

I didn't want to post this on the actual anniversary because I didn't want to overshadow Sav's birthday. But I wanted to take the opportunity to remember what happened one year ago, tomorrow.

I was bustling around trying to find the ice cream that Sav wanted to make her ice cream pie/cake for her 11th birthday. I had to stop at three different stores to find the right kind, but it was worth it because it was the exact kind that she wanted.

I stopped at my friend's house so that I could assemble the ice cream pie/cake and then put it into my friend's freezer, I didn't have room in mine.

As I was talking to my friend she asked me if I had received a phone call from my doctor's office yet on the results of my biopsy. I had had an endometrial biopsy about 10 days before. I hadn't heard from them yet and my friend encouraged me to call. I was still at my friend's house and used her telephone. I reached the doc's office and told the office staff that I needed to get the results of my biopsy. While I was waiting for the results, one of the medical assistant's got on the line and said to wait a little longer, and I didn't even realize that there might be a problem. I even got disconnected from their office once and had to call back. I sat on the line waiting when my PA came on the line. Her name is Sue, and I love her. As soon as Sue came on the line I knew something was up because you never get the PA or the Doc on the line when results are normal.

Sue read me the lab report and said I had endometrial hyperplasia. I knew immediately that this was bad. She said that she had talked to the doc in the office and they weren't going to mess around, they were referring me to Andrew Soisson. I knew from my work at the hospital in transcription that Dr. Soisson was a gynecologic oncologist.

(An interesting thing about the biopsy is that when I was in Sue's office and she was trying to get the tissue for the biopsy, she was struggling to obtain the tissue. She said that it was a quick, simple procedure, and really it was, but apparently this time it was more difficult than normal. Sue was saying to me that maybe we wouldn't get the sample after all, and I was fine with that so I said, Okay, don't worry about it then. Right at that moment, the instrument slipped into where it needed to go and she got the sample.)

I sat, stunned, at my friend's kitchen table listening to the results. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I thanked her for the information and hung up. I told my friend what Sue had said and my friend knew also that this was not good. I quickly left because I had to get home.

At home my kids had arrived home from school and were with my sister Amy. Amy and her husband and kids were living with us temporarily as they had just moved to Utah a couple of weeks before.

I was shaken and trying not to cry. This was Sav's birthday and I could barely hold it together long enough to ask her how her day had been, it being her birthday. She was visibly worried and I excused myself to go upstairs.

Amy came up and I wept on her shoulder. I was sure I had cancer. I called Harold and unintelligibly told him about my conversation with Sue and told him to come home immediately.

The caller ID on the phone showed that the doc's office had tried to call me earlier that day, but I had been too busy running around for the birthday celebration and wasn't home for the call.

When Harold arrived he was asking a lot of questions that I didn't have the answers to. I called Sue back up and asked all kinds of questions, and asked her to email me a copy of my lab report. I asked her directly if I had cancer. She didn't ever answer me directly. She did say that if it was cancer, that endometrial cancer is the "best" to get.

Harold was stoic. It's interesting how when I am completely losing it he can really hold it together.

We had to get downstairs so that we could finish getting Sav's birthday dinner ready.

I can't remember when I called the rest of my family, I am pretty sure it was the same night because I am the kind of person that needs the support of family immediately. I don't hold anything back and share all the information I can to rally my family around me.

My appt with the oncologist was for two days later, it was a long wait.

(This story goes on until December 22, with stops along the way at the oncologists office, the referral to Huntsman Cancer Center, at Thanksgiving, surgery and the final call about pathology. I will write about those events when those days arrive.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. McDonald's for 1 hour.
2. Orange Julius.
3. Things Remembered.
4. DiMattia's Pizza.

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Sense and Sensibility.
2. Pride and Prejudice, A&E version or the new hollywood version.
3. M:I3
4. Sabrina.

C) Four Places I have lived:
1. SJ, CA
2. Pleasant Grove,UT
3. Banff, Scotland.
4. Orem, UT.

D) Four TV shows that I watch:
1. Lost.
2. What Not to Wear.
3. Brothers and Sisters.
4. The Office.
(All these are via the web.)

E) Four places I have been on vacation
1. London, England.
2. Paris, France.
3. San Diego, CA.
4. Seattle, WA.

F) People who e-mail me regularly:
1. Mom.
2. Fellow students, wanting notes.
3. Ebay Motors (thx to Harold ordering a part long ago).
4. Fragrance.net, because I looked at their site once. HOW CAN I GET MYSELF OFF THIS LIST?

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Tacos.
2. Raspberry Filled Donuts from Hostess.
3. Chocolate chip peanut butter bar from Hickory Kist.
4. Anything with Cheese.
(Is it any wonder why I need Weight Watchers?)

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Anywhere but here (at work, supposedly).
2. In bed, sleeping in, where Harold is.
3. Sunny California.
4. Having a Saturday night family date night, sandwiches and a movie.

I) Four friends (fellow bloggers) I think will respond:
1. Abbie.
2. Holley.
3. Katie.
4. Julie.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Poverty....

Today in Biology we talked about poverty. Our professor showed an amazing CD and after class a young man showed this video to the professor. I had not seen this before and felt like I should share it.

Remember: Fast Offerings and Perpetual Education Fund. As well as any other charity you feel so inclined to support.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoNInZ2ClQ

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Productivity

Today, since I didn't have to work (see my last post) I spent the day doing homework, okay and a little online television (yes Dale, I did watch our show, and it was great, except that stupid Lena, I am hating her). I completed my take-home test for biology which had to do with energy and photosynthesis. I am soooooo glad my prof made this a take-home test. It was open book of course, just not open friend. If I had to take that test at the testing center you would have seen my great attitude about going back to school take a serious nosedive. Even with my book and the internet (hello wikipedia) wide open I struggled. But I did learn and that was what the professor wanted from us, so mission accomplished.

Tonight Sav and I made invitations for her birthday party next week. She has been telling me for about a year that she wanted a Tinkerbell party. I talked her into "fairies" so that it would seem a little more tweenager instead of juvenile. Here is a copy of the pic we used for her invitation:


Cute huh? I am excited about her party and as I think about it, being at her party will mean that my history midterm has already been taken, which means I will really be having a good time!

Believe it or not, chaste pictures of fairies are kinda hard to come by. You wouldn't believe the half nude pics we had to endure to find this pretty one. And here I was sitting there with Sav going, "Um, not that one." To which she replied, "Um, no." Like mother like daughter.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Quickie updates

1. I am currently getting an A in both my history and biology classes. Yippee. Funny how my grades in my major classes are both B's. Hmmm. But if I can keep up the momentum, I can get the best GPA I have ever had in my entire life.

1B. I got a 95/100 on my 1st history midterm. Nice!!!

2. Several people asked about the doc appt the other day. Everything is fine and I will save all the juicy details of that for next week, as I have an anniversary of sorts and will post about it then. I can say though that my doctor is moving to a different hospital, which presents insurance challenges that I have neither the time nor inclination to handle right now.

3. My daughter is now 1 week away from turning 12. Holy crap.

4. Britty-The birthday card was great!

5. Thanks to all who wished me happy birthday.

6. Weight Watchers is still stinky, only because I have no self control lately. Shocker.

7. Happy Birthday Kelly and Gary, my Irish Twin Cousins.

8. I have to work from 7:45 to 12:00 tonight and I am BITTER.

9. I have recently discovered that my jeans are way too short, I look like an old woman with no fashion sense. I have to buy some new jeans soon, so I can look less out of date on campus.

10. I got my classes lined up for next semester, only 9 credit hours and at the end of April I will be, as they say in France, FINIS!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Day After

Not my best picture ever, but here is the birthday girl in all her 38-year-old glory. It doesn't look too bad, at least I don't think so and Harold still thinks I'm gorgeous!
Here is my cake, it doesn't have the waxy pumpkin candies like when I was a kid, but I loved it.

Here are the kiddos in the costumes. These pics were taken before school. Mackson actually looked better at night due to the fact that I got better with the makeup as the day went on. I did some great eyeliner action and he looked terrific. Savannah ended up trick-or-treating with some large purple colored shades on and we had someone ask if she was dressed as Paris Hilton. Yikes. Not exactly the look we were going for. But she loved that wig and had a great time.