Saturday, July 11, 2009

Latest photos

We got some new photos of Kurt. Above is Chino's baptism. Below is a photo of the kind of roads they get to walk on every day. Kurt says it is blistering hot. He says it is nothing like he has every experienced with the hot sun and then the intense humidity. He just moved into a new apartment and then he and his companion have been really sick, so he has felt a little frustrated lately. Hopefully he is doing much better.
Below are some photos from Thursday, July 9th when Rakel brought the kids over to swim. Casey hadn't gone to work yet, so the boys were having fun swimming with Austin & Alayna.

We even had Brent, Nichole & Todd come and joing us for lunch after the swimming. It was a fun summer July day.

Here are Austin & Cade using about any flotation device they could find! Austin had swimming lessons a few weeks ago and he is really swimming well and getting maybe a little too brave!

I told Austin to "cheez-it" for the camera and he did! This was his Sunday evening snack while hanging out at Granma & Grandpa's house. We love it when they come over!

Alayna's Brownie Face after dessert on Sunday dinner. I love her little smile she does...I call it her "mole face".

Friday, June 26, 2009

More celebrations!

Yesterday was my birthday (yes Brent & I are both 53) and I am grateful for 1 more birthday! I received so many gifts and I say thank you to everyone. I tried to put the word out that we were going to ignore my birthday, but it didn't work very well. One of the best gifts was that I had a really good day and felt well. The day before I was not feeling well, so I was happy to have a good day. I even got dressed in real clothes, put on make-up and my wig because I had to renew my driver's license. It was expiring and they wouldn't extend it anymore. I called and told them my situation but they said sorry you have to come to the DMV and pay your fee and fill out your application and have a photo taken. So I did it. Brent bought me a shaved ice on the way home and that was my birthday treat for the day! It did taste good! Thanks again for all of the phone calls, emails, facebook messages, visits, and gifts!! It meant a lot to me! Love to you all!

Father's Day was fun! Here Brent is opening his presents with of course Austin helping! He is wearing his new shirt from Troy & Amy and checking out his new wind up flashlight from Todd & Rakel. He also got another shirt from Cade & Neil, a movie from Chad & Melinda, and coupons from Casey & Nichole for dinner and a night off from worrying about the boys (she & Casey took them to the new Transformers movie). Brent is a wonderful dad and I love him so much for that! He has been amazing during this cancer trial taking good care of me. He has to give me my medicine 4 times a day and he keeps my food tube pump working. It has not been easy with everything else he has going on in his life, but he keeps working hard to do it all!

This is a little Mazda 6 that we bought for Neil to drive in a few months...also, Brent & I will use it as a smaller car to run around in. Neil is very excited. He has had his driving permit since he turned 15, so it is nice he can practice driving a smaller car. He turns 16 Sept. 20th.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back in the hospital & Back home again!

This is a photo of me in better days gone by! A week after my last chemo I got really sick again and ended up going to the Emergency Room again on May 31st. My lovely cdiff bacteria returned again. I was ICU for a few hours and then ended up down on the 3rd floor again. (A lot of the nurses and CNAs are getting to know me by first name.) I was there for a week and I was neutropenic again and was in isolation again. My doctor called in 2 specialists to figure out what to do with me, since now I was on my 3rd time and Dr. Cobb decided I had contracted a superbug that is resistant to antibiotics. They ended up doing a rare procedure which I won't describe here, and we are hoping that now I will be healed! I came home June 7th with great hope to do better but feeling very tired. In fact, that whole next week I did a lot of sleeping!! Then when this last weekend hit I started feeling sick again! It really scared us and that is why poor Brent's birthday was so lame! We made arrangements to delay my PET scan because I am just not getting well enough to get my feeding tube out. Today I finally feel a little better so we are feeling more hopeful. Another sad thing is my hair is falling out...yes...I actually was getting a good head of 1/2 - 1 inch long hair, but 2 weeks exactly after my last chemo it started falling out. Hopefully I won't loose it all!
Here are more photos from Memorial Weekend when we were together.

Memorial weekend we all gathered together for Austin's 3rd birthday. It was Memorial Weekend and so Chad & Melinda & Mikell was there to help celebrate too with us here in St. George.

Happy 53rd Birthday to Brent (he doesn't look a day over 25). I was so sick that day he had to make his own birthday dinner, however, I did have Baskin & Robbins make him an ice cream cake. Our umbrella on our outdoor patio broke in the crazy wind while I was in the hospital so Brent went out and bought us a new exciting birthday. Luckily his kids all remembered to give him some gifts!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun-packed Memorial Weekend

It was a fun Memorial Weekend having lots of family around and lots of fun activities. It wasn't really as fun for Kristine because she can't do much, but she enjoyed watching everyone. I had my last chemo on Friday and it went okay. I slept during it and after. Saturday I had a pretty good day, but for some reason on Sunday I had some kind of an anxiety attack and it was pretty hard on me. I haven't felt well the last few days either. This chemo treatment definitely has been my hardest to deal with. I have been pretty sick, but I am trying to fight my way through it! Being with family made my weekend happier. Austin blowing out the candles on his birthday cake. It was a yummy layered ice cream cake that Rakel made. She also brought cupcakes for share.
Sunday Dinner and Austin's 3rd Birthday. Here they are celebrating, Austin, Todd, Rakel & Alayna.

Casey & Nichole join the party too!

Chad, Melinda & Mikell eating Sunday Dinner.

I love this photo of Austin getting his free Birthday ice cream treat! What joy! Cade & Alayna watch from behind. Friday they had a party at Pirates Pizza and I had to add this darling photo with Austin & Mikell with their Pirates' hats on.

Sunday we all got together to celebrate Austin's birthday. He already opened his presents at his house but had a few here at Grandma & Grandpa's house. We can't believe he is 3 years old!

Mikell also had fun swimming in Grandma & Grandpa's swiming pool. Mikell loved her first boating trip and didn't want to get off the boat when the day was over. Grandpa Gardner was her good buddy on the boat.

Cade & Neil tubing on Saturday, the weather was windy so they were mostly only able to go tubing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Kurt!

How could I dare post on my blog today and not mention the importance of the day!!! Kurt Wayne Gardner was born this day 20 years ago!! I don't know if Kurt ever looks at my blog, but if he does ...Kurt we are thinking about you today and hoping you are having a great birthday out their in the Dominican Republic. We love you!!

Father & Sons Outing '09

Here is Cade swimming in the pool fed by the natural spring water.
Neil & Stockton play in the river that goes through the property. They boys said that playing in the river was the most fun.

This last weekend was Father & Sons Outing and our Ward went to a really cool place down by Moapa, Nevada called Warm Springs. The Church owns the property and I guess a misionary couple oversees the area. Brent said it was this little valley oasis out in the middle of the desert. There is a natural spring that empties into a swimming pool. They had a nice grassy area to pitch their tents. They had a great time! Above is a photo of Neil and his friend Stockton and the background is a snapshot of the area.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Found some photos finally!

Casey has a birthday May 1st. Nichole has a fun party for him in their basement apartment. Doesn't he look thrilled!?!
Nichole graduates with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education Magna Cum Laude from Dixie College. I missed the graduation (sadly) but Casey & Brent were there to support her.

Above: Neil playing in the Church Regional Basketball Tournament. Unfortunately it is blurry but their team did really well and barely lost in the final championship game.

Above: You can see Troy, Amy, and Nichole in background and Neil & Casey mugging for the camera.

Below: Fun night out at Pirate Island Pizza. Here is Casey, Neil & Cade...they found video games!

When Troy & Amy came to visit, Amy promised her brother they would go check out Pirate Island Pizza (a client of his). So Brent, Troy, Amy, Casey, Nichole, Neil, & Cade met Todd and Austin there. Rakel stayed home with Alayna because she was sick, and of course I had to stay home. Anyway, they had a great time!

Here is Cade playing the chimes in the 6th grade Band Concert. The song is the theme song from Halo.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oops I messed up!

I meant to just preview my last post and totally didn't know what I was doing and got all messed up and so I ended up posting my post instead of editing it, so it doesn't make any sense with the title because all I talked about was Kurt and not about the hospital but now I will do that!

My post before I was so happy about being home and hoping to be on the mend, however on Saturday May 1st I started getting sick again and ended up in the Emergency room on Sunday May 2nd. The cdif bactieria came back and luckily we got over to the hospital early enough this time and so they only had me in the hospital until Wednesday May 6th. I was pretty discouraged to have to go back again, but it did help to get me well quicker. In fact, I wasn't feeling really great on Thursday after I came home and wondered if I had come home a little too early. Slowly I am doing better. I am really tired this time and so spending a lot more time in bed, but able to get up to do laundry, ironing and a little housework. The doctor put me on a much stronger antibiotic and so hopefully it will kill that bacteria for good! Also, the nutritionist has me drinking Danactive 3 times a day (which is really hard because it hurts so bad to swallow, but I am doing it). The Danactive is supposed to be building the good bacteria in my digestive tract.

I had a great Mother's Day! I actually slept in until almost noon while the family went to church. Brent fixed a big Turkey Dinner for the family and we had Todd, Rakel, Austin & Alayna over for dinner and the evening. Casey & Nichole spent part of the day with us and part with the Nuttalls. The kids all gave me wonderful and fun gifts and we had fun visiting and talking to Kurt. I still can't believe I didn't even think once to take a photo of any of the day. I feel bad about that.

I am happy I can enjoy Mother's Day...I didn't always like Mother's Day because I had insecurities about my ability as a mother and didn't always feel deserving of it all. So my perspective has changed...blame it on the cancer, or blame it on my age! I am so happy to be a mother! I love it and hope I can still mother my children for many more years! I am so grateful for the wonderful mother who gave birth to me and she was such a great example of motherhood for me. I miss her dearly. I am also grateful for Mom Gardner (Brent's mom). She is an amazing lady, so full of love for everyone and so giving...I feel lucky to have such a great mother-in-law. Also, I love to think about my awesome daughter-in-laws! Rakel and Melinda are such great moms and I love to watch them with those beautiful grandchildren! (I know Amy & Nichole will be great moms too when they get the chance.) It was a great day, what would have made it perfect is if I could have attended church and if I could have eaten the great meal Brent made...all I got was Danactive and water! Oh year!

Back from the Hospital Again

The power goes off and on for hours at a time. Here is Kurt trying to schedule their next day by candlelight. They also have to have mosquito netting over their beds and their study areas or they get bit like crazy. We loved talking to Kurt on Mother's Day!! He sounds great and is very happy! We talked longer than we were supposed to, but it is so hard because our family is so big and everyone wants to talk to him and Kurt wants to talk to everybody...and Kurt loves to talk! He said in his email to day that it really helped to buoy him up and it made him feel really ready to work hard again!

This is a photo of Kurt and his companion Elder Ogando (he is his first Dominican companion) at the baptism of Josefa. They have had quite a few baptisms lately, but it has taken a lot of work. So many of their investigators need to get married first and they had to help take care of that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am Finally updating my Blog!!

Okay so it has been over 2 months since I posted and a lot has happened in my life. I took a photo that I will add here somewhere of Marilyn visiting me and I am actually all going to let you see me bald...I guess a lot of you have already. Here is an update on what has been happening:

I had my 4th Chemo on Feb. 23rd and also started Radiation on the same day. That was the plan of the doctors to do it simulanteously and end both at the same time. That weekend Melinda and her friend came to St. George for the Home Show and it was fun having them here. She announced she was expecting a baby that weekend which made it even more exciting!!

Steve dropped Marilyn in St. George as he had business in Salt Lake (hence the photo of her visit here) and she knew it was after my chemo and I may not feel great but we still. However, I was doing fairly well and we had some fun. Then Saturday hit and I wasn't feeling very well and as the day prgressed I got much worse with a high temperature. Brent took me to the Emergency room and after several tests I found out I had diverticulitus, and I spent several days in the hospital. I was having a pretty rough time (couldn't stop throwing up) until they slowed down the antibiotic they had me on. After that I started to feel like a human being. Ater several days they let me go home and told me to eat a low residue that was kind of interesting. However, my throat was really starting to hurt from all of the radiation treatments, so I kind of was living on yogurt, ice cream & really soft food.

Troy & Amy came for their Spring Break and it was fun having them here. They took Neil and Cade on a fun mountain bike trail and the boys are now hooked (since Brent went out and bought all of us new bikes so we can have a new hobby). Chad, Melinda & Mikell came down during our Spring Break for a few days. Todd, Rakel, Austin & Alayna came and hung out with us as the different family members came to visit and it was so much fun to be togeher! I was soon having a hard time eating anything. I was sent to the IV Center to get some nutrition via IV, however, by March 23rd I was feeling pretty rotten and we just decided to walk into Dr. Te's office and talk to him. He admitted me into the hospital. I was by chance put into a specail cancer neutrapenic room, which after they ran tests found out I was nuetrapenic, along with a bladder infection and possibly other problems. I had decided I couldn't eat anymore and I was so dehydrated I wanted a stomach feeding tube. They wouldn't give me the surgery until I got healthier. They ended up putting a pick line in my arm that will stay long term. The first one failed and so I had a blood clot and very sore arm for a week or two. By Wednesday March 25th they decided I was healthy enough for my surgery. I stayed in the hospital a few more days and then sent home. I felt pretty good the day I came home, but honestly by Sunday I was not feeling well. Actually, looking back now, I think I came home sick from the hospital! I rarely got out of bed that next week. They had home health coming in to check on me but now very often.
Brent was doing his best to help me and even Rakel was sweet enough to come over and help me.

So, by Easter weekend I was feeling pretty rotten. Luckily Nichole took care of a lot ot the Easter duties (along with Brent), but I don't remember much of the day at all. That night I fell twice trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I now hardly remember what happened. Brent took me to the Emergency room Monday morning (I had a fever of 103). I don't remember him taking me or even being there. Brent said when he took me in they took my blood pressure and it was only 60/40 so they rushed my straight back to triage and he said he sat there helplessly watching 5 people work on me and by 11:30 a.m. I guess I was in a room in ICU. I was in ICU for 4 days and I don't remember a lot of it. Brent tried to stay with me as much as possible. I guess I was saying a lot of crazy things and he recorded some of them. I also tried to get out of bed by myself and fell. It was some rough days and honestly pretty scary. They finally gave me a blood transfusion and we believe that once they did that I started to do better. I had a cdif bacterial infection that had gone into my blood. Marilyn had planned to come to stay again to help, but didn't know she was going to end up spending a lot of her time sitting with me in the hospital. By Thursday they sent me down to the 3rd floor to a regular room. They even moved me after one day to another room because I was in Isolation and a man next dooor to me was having heavy duty chemo and they didn't want be by him. Everyone who came to visit had to put on a robe and gloves. Brent sent a message to our Relief Society President to discourage visitors, so I didn't have to many...but it was a fun surprise to have Clifton and Steven drop by on separate days for visits.

Finally I started to do better and after 11 days of being in bed at the hospital they let me come home. I wasn't sure I wanted to come home!?! At first I wanted to go to rehab where they could keep a close eye on me and keep me healthy so I could finish my last 6 days of radiation and by last (the 6th) Chemo treatment. But, I missed my family so much and really did want to be in my own home. Actually, the day I came home Brent had to be out of town so Marilyn & Steve ( - he had come into town to drive Marilyn up north and then home) brought my home from the hospital. I have a home health nurse coming to check on me a couple of days a week. I am feeling better but I am still quite weak. I am trying to do laundry and a little housework. I need to try to keep myself somewhat busy or I go crazy. You can only lay around so much and watch so much T.V. I had my 2nd of 6 Radiation treatments that I have left. So far they are going okay. I am getting axious about finishing because I can't wait until my esphogas is healed so I can have my feeding tube removed and I can once again eat REAL FOOD!! It has been hard, but I am trying so hard to be patient.

So, that was a lot to write, and maybe way too much for anyone to read, but it is a quick review of my life the last few months. I am hoping and praying for for the next few months to be much, much better! I appreciate so much all of the kind letters, cards, food, phone calls, prayers, fasting, and names at the temple!! Everyone is so wonderful and I feel bad that I have not written thank you notes to everyone and maybe not even acknowleged them, but please know they are appreciated and we really feel the love from everyone!!

(OOps! NO Photo to be found of Marilyn & I with my bald head I guess I lost it somewhere...I will add photos next post. Sorry!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Good News

I thought I would add another photo of Kurt. Here he is enjoying some coconut milk. This photo was taken in Consuelo. This security guard had a machete and just hacked the top off for the Elders to enjoy.
Austin & Rakel made this cute "Get Well" arrangement for Grandma! It was so fun to get it and I had to get a photo. Anyway, I am better today!! I had a doctor appointment yesterday and found out I am not neutropenic anymore! I was at the doctor's office for 2 hours and when I left I headed straight to pick up Brent and made him take me to lunch so I could eat a big 'ol huge salad! It tasted so good! I will enjoy life as long as I can until it knocks me down again!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Catching up

Brent, Neil & Cade went up to the Draper Temple Open House with the Ward young men and young women. For some reason Brent didn't take any photos at the temple, but he did take one of his granddaughter Mikell because they came over to meet them when they were eating lunch at Chuck-A-Rama. Mikell went right to Cade but wasn't quite sure about Neil or Brent. They did have a great trip and they enjoyed seeing the new temple (and of course Chad, Melinda & Mikell). The drive home was a little dicey when they drove through a blizzard in the Cedar City area.
Here we are posing in front of the Universal Studios sign. We took the boys down for a quick trip to California for New Year's. We decided to have a little vacation before we were tied down for long with all of my cancer treatments. The weather was a little cold our 2 days in L.A. but by the time we got to Palm Springs it turned really nice and warm.

This is a photo from our little trip to Palm Springs...and yes the kids (this is Neil) were swimming the first part of January. The weather was great while we were there.

I haven't put a photo of Kurt on my blog for a while and here is one of Kurt for one of his baptisms. He is doing great and was just transferred to an area called Los Molinos in the D.R.
Thanks for all of your sweet comments on my blog. I had a blood test today and should find out soon the results. I have my 4th Chemo treatment and my first Radiation Treatment on Monday, February 23rd. Then I have radiation treatments every weekday for 6 weeks. Fun & Games!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Hate Cancer

Okay! It has been like almost 4 months since I posted. When I learned about my Cancer diagnosis I told a lot of people to check out my blog and I would keep you all updated on what was going on...well, I didn't do it! Sorry! I think I am in a bit of denial. If I have to talk about it or write about it then it is true, and I really don't want it to be true and so I guess I like living in my happy little world called "Denial". I started chemo treatments in December the week before Christmas and just finished my third treatment as of Jan. 31st. I have been tolerating it fairly well, I have a few bad days and then after about a week I feel almost back to normal, so then I have 2 good weeks. I started losing my hair about 2 weeks after my first treatment. My sister Marilyn shaved my head while we were on a trip to Palm Springs (I guess I will be brave and add a photo of it). Then my daughter-in-law Melinda shaved it even closer the next week. So I have been bald since the middle of January (I wear lots of warm beanies). I did purchase a wig however I don't even think I have a photo of me with it on. I really have been able to just carry on with a fairly normal life.

I found out today that I am neutropenic (my white blood cell count is too low). That means I have to stay away from crowds and anyone who is sick. I am not allowed to eat raw fresh fruits or vegetables (I am not happy about that!!!!!). So...I figured now is the time to catch up on my blog because I basically will really be stuck at home (unless I want to walk around wearing a funny looking mask). I also guess that I can now do some much needed deep house cleaning (that is if I have the energy). We shall see about that!

I wish I had great and amazing inspirational thoughts to add to this post, but I really don't get those in my weak brain very often! Anyway, I am not really feeling very inspired tonight! So, I will write more at a later time when I feel a little more positive.
However, I do want to thank all of you for your cards, letters, kind words, food, flowers, plants, prayers, fasting, and faith in my behalf! You don't know how much I appreciate it because I can't express my feelings sufficiently! Please know that I feel your love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Love - Kristine