Archive for July, 2011

Zumbathon!

So I know that these are waaaaay past due…. We have taken the extra time since the fundraiser to relax and be with family :)

Here are a few pictures from our fun zumba night! Tyler was even able to participate and shake his “money maker” for all to see!

Looks like he had a fun time right????

Thanks to everyone who participated in this event! It was a blast!

Fundraiser pics coming next :)

One in a million

Here is a link to the slide show we played at Tyler’s event on Saturday.  As soon as I get all of my pictures organized from that night I will post them! Again, what an incredible night it was! I am still smiling over it and wish we could relive that night all over again! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support Ty.  Most of all, thank you to Becky Anderson for being the sweet angel behind Anything for a friend. The world is a better place because of you. YOU are one in a million!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgM1kXp4JKE

Also, our friend Allyson Lewis took some neat pictures and put them on her blog. Check out her website at www.ruggedrootsphotography.com

Wow….

What a night!

   How does one begin to say thank you after a night like last night?  There simply are no words.  Not a one of us could sleep last night, as tired as our bodies were, just thinking about the crowds of people who came to support our family.  Tyler laid in his bed and would be quiet for a few minutes, then he’d wake up and talk about something else amazing that happened.  It was so much fun for all of us!  As long as I live, I will never forget the thunderous applause when Becky asked the crowd to clap to show support for Tyler.  The power in that pavilion was more than overwhelming!  Tyler will need to draw from that strength often in the future, so to every one of you who was a part of that…thank you!

   I ran into someone at the event last night who shared something with me that stuck, so I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it.  She told me of a story in the news this past week about a young boy whose life was taken in a horrific manner.  She felt so much fear and despair that the world was wicked and not a place to raise her children and grandchildren.  Then, to walk into an event like Tyler’s last night and see that there is so much more good than evil in the world, she felt peace that it’s not the case.  When given the opportunity, people always rise to, and surpass anyone’s expectations.  My family and I have been the recipient of all this goodness, and know it is our opportunity and obligation to forever ‘pay it forward’ and make sure that the next person we see is suffering knows that there are armies of prayers and charity coming to them as well.

   I found this quote by Dr. Seuss, and I know I usually try to find spiritual quotes that help me through the week, but this one seemed completely appropriate.

 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

   With all our hearts, we thank you for ‘caring a whole awful lot’.  We have a battle ahead of us, and we know that with the army of prayers and support we have with us, we can’t lose!

We Need Your Prayers…

We headed back up to Primary Children’s Hospital on Monday to begin round three of chemotherapy.  As always, they did a hearing and a heart test on Tyler before they started the chemo.  The heart test turned out great – we always knew that Tyler had an amazing heart, and once again, the test showed that to be true!  We weren’t so lucky on the hearing test.  One of the side-effect of the Cisplatin, one of the chemo drugs they are using, is hearing loss.  Tyler’s test showed a significant change in his hearing from the beginning of treatment to now.  He has lost the upper end of his high frequency hearing, due to the chemotherapy.  This was a bit of a blow to all of us, but mostly to Tyler.  When the doctors came in to discuss the test results, they decided to only administer the Cisplatin at 50% strength this round.  We spoke about it, then they left and the orders went out to mix the chemo at half-strength.  I could tell immediately that something was truly bothering Tyler.  When I talked with him about it, he was not happy about changing the dosage on this.  His feeling was that at a lesser dosage, it would not be enough to shrink the tumors.  I went out to get our regular doctor back into the room before they got started.  When he got there, he was quite frank with Tyler about what continuing the same dosage would do to his hearing, but ultimately, the choice was up to Tyler.  Tyler chose to go with the higher dosage of Cisplatin, knowing full-well what the risks are to his hearing.

 They completed the full-dosage Cisplatin drip at 3:00 Tuesday morning.  We are asking all those that know and love Tyler, (and all those that don’t but read these posts!) to petition the Lord to spare his hearing.  I wrote in an earlier post about being more specific in my prayers.  I firmly believe that Heavenly Father is standing ready to answer our prayers, however small and specific they are.  We are asking many things in our prayers – for the tumors to shrink, for Tyler to have an appetite, and this round, for his hearing to be spared from any further damage.  When you pray for Tyler, please ask Heavenly Father for this.  We know he is ready to grant a miracle, if we ask, have faith, and believe.  We are forever grateful for your prayers, and know that with an army of them like we have had, we can watch a miracle unfold!  Thank you for all you do – both seen and unseen for our amazing son!

Families are Forever….

Today we received news that our sweet friend Dylan Shaw passed away. We are deeply saddened by this news and our hearts go out to his wonderful family. We feel so blessed that we were able to get to know Dylan and his family. What an amazing family they are! We know that it was not coincidence that Tyler and Dylan crossed paths. Dylan has touched our lives and we will always remember him and his valiant spirit.

I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I can’t imagine how it would feel to lose a loved one if you didn’t believe in life after death. We can be with our families for eternity! What an amazing gift that is….. No matter where our trials take us, we can find comfort in knowing that the people we love never truly leave us…. they are with us forever.

Dawson, Dylan, Mandy, and Ryan delivering the money tree to Tyler. We love you Shaw family and you will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.

Scan Results

Okay, I’ve been a slacker on updating the blog. To be honest, I was enough disappointed in Tyler’s scan results Thursday afternoon that I just didn’t want to talk about it anymore…but by the time I got over it and stopped feeling sorry for us all, I just got too busy this weekend. So, before I tell you about our fun event last Friday, here’s a quick rundown of the scan results…
The scan showed that Tyler’s tumors had not shrunk yet. They did, however, show some change in texture, which the doctors feel may be an indication of the blood supply being cut off to the tumors. They feel encouraged by the news, and scheduled the next round of chemotherapy for Monday, July 11th. We will probably be in the hospital by the time you get this post!!! Tyler was disappointed with the news, as we all were initially, but as we talked as a family that night, we decided it took these tumors 12-18 months to get there…what made us think it would only take two rounds of chemo to get rid of them?! No bad news is good news, right? So, on we go, ready to fight again with rounds three and four. Next scan should be the end of August. Keep praying!
Now, on to the good stuff! Tyler’s wonderful friends from school and some of their parents organized a car wash last Friday at Patriot Car Wash on Highway 193 in Layton. The wonderful owner there, Ken Golding, without knowing Tyler at all, generously donated his facilities to us from 11:00-3:00 that day and 100% of the proceeds went to Tyler’s ‘Anything for a Friend’ fundraiser. If you ever wash your car again, (I’m not so diligent at that) make sure you frequent Patriot. This guy is amazing.
When Ty got up to get ready for the car wash, once again, his stomach wasn’t cooperating fully with the rest of him. When we got to the car wash, he sat in the car for a bit trying to get a hold of it. It was fun to see that as the kids started coming to help, and the cars

started rolling in (and they truly were rolling in!), he started perking up and came out to sit in the shade and watch the kids. As the excitement continued and cars just kept coming, he got up and started washing cars in the bays with all the kids. As they laughed and washed cars together for hours, he couldn’t keep the smile off his face. It’s amazing how the state of mind can truly take over the body!  As you can see from the pictures, he grinned all day! I wasn’t going to stay there all day, but after watching these amazing kids show up, pitch in, and enjoy service, I wasn’t about to leave. I am so grateful to the parents and kids for their service to Tyler. This is what keeps him fighting and winning – the desire to be able to still hang out and laugh with his friends. Thank you is never enough for what you all have done. When Ty gets better, we are having the HUGEST pizza party ever at the Smith home! (Sorry neighbors, once again!)
Now, I have to share my latest inspirational quote. I love to look to these regularly to keep us all in the mindset we need to be in. Darren actually found this and put it on the fridge and the bathroom mirrors. I had read it before years ago, but was grateful to be reminded of President Hinckley’s wise words of counsel:

“It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”

I know that’s true and once again, grateful to be reminded that worry and fear get me nowhere. If my trust is where it’s supposed to be, everything will happen just as it is intended to. Thanks again, friends of Tyler! You put a grin on his face that lasted all weekend long!

Not just another Sunday!

Thank you again to those of you who are fasting and praying on our family’s behalf.  The Lord is aware of each of us and He hears your prayers.  I want to share what happened to our family Sunday evening, not to trivialize an amazing spiritual experience, but to share with you how your selfless prayers and purposeful fasting is blessing our family.

I got a phone call on my cell phone late Sunday afternoon from a number I didn’t recognize.  When I answered, he asked if this was Sister Smith.  This isn’t so unusual because with my church calling, I get called “Sister Smith” quite often.  When I answered that it was me, he said, “This is Hal Eyring.  I am the first counselor in the First Presidency…”  I think I may have interrupted him to tell him that he didn’t need to explain who he was…I already knew!  He laughed and asked how Tyler was doing.  We spoke for a few minutes, then he asked if he could come visit Tyler. 

President Eyring, his beautiful wife, and daughter and son-in-law came to our home on Sunday evening to visit with Tyler and our family.  I am still so touched that he would take the time to visit our family when I know his time with his own family is so limited and precious to him.  While he was here, he made us feel like it was his privilege to be with us, instead of the reverse.  That is how full of love and compassion he and his family are.  They genuinely were concerned and showed so much love to our family.  President Eyring and my dad were President and Vice-President of Ricks College in the 70s so it was fun to hear him and my dad reminisce about old times.  He sat next to Tyler and talked to him like a grandfather would talk with his grandson.  It was amazing.

We were privileged to have him give Tyler a beautiful blessing.  Darren, Brian, my dad, and President Eyring’s son-in-law Jacob all were able to stand in the circle.  What an incredible spirit there was in our house!  Words cannot express what a beautiful experience we were able to have.

As they were getting ready to leave, I asked if it was okay to take a picture with him and Tyler.  He pulled his camera out of his pocket and asked for a picture as well!  He told us that every evening, he writes an entry and sends it to each of his children, all over the country about his experiences of that day.  He looked Tyler in the eye and told him that Tyler was his gift for that day.  How amazing is that?

I know that this experience was a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father, as a direct result of the fasting and prayers of our loved ones.   What a comfort his blessing will be to our family in the weeks to come, when we have answers we need and another round of chemo to get through.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers!  Please never forget that they are being heard!

Paying it Forward!

I just thought I’d post an update on Tyler’s progress and the schedule for the next week. Tyler is feeling pretty well, considering his ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) is 0.1. This number means that his ability to fight infection is pretty much non-existent. We have to keep him in a safe, germ-free (well, as germ-free as possible) environment. He hates this week because he can’t hang out with friends. It’s no fun to hang out with your parents when you’re fourteen. I’m not too old to remember that! He is a pretty good sport, though, playing games here, going on lots of rides in the car, and lighting fireworks with just Darren and I in the yard. (Sorry neighbors!) Hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday he’ll be back up in the normal range and can see his friends again.
Tyler’s scan is set for Thursday at 10:00 a.m. He has not had one since his initial diagnosis, so this will tell us if and how the cancer is responding to the chemotherapy. We feel very hopeful about the results and are looking forward to having some answers on Thursday afternoon. We ask for your continued prayers, and for your fast tomorrow on Tyler’s behalf. We thank you so much for your prayers in his behalf so far! We know Heavenly Father is very aware of Tyler and our family, and we also know He hears and answers the prayers of His children. We are constantly in awe of the goodness and kindness of people we both know, and don’t know at all. We have a ‘prayer map’ in our family room to remind us how many people are praying for him. It is filled with yellow and green (temples and cities) dots and they are all over the map! It is hard to be discouraged when you look at the map and know that prayers are being uttered for Tyler all over the world!
We had fun ‘paying it forward’ today. Sweet Dylan Shaw and his family had given Tyler a tree filled with cash and gift cards to restaurants. (Those with cancer know what a blessing that is! To feed someone who has such a hard time finding something that tastes good is not easy!) This thoughtful gift has made Tyler smile over and over. Every time he is hungry, he looks through the cards and decides where to eat! We decided to replenish the tree with cards and cash and ‘pay it forward’ to a wonderful boy in Syracuse who is battling a rare cancer as well. Tyler and I drove all over yesterday and he chose restaurants that sounded good to him. What a great way to forget your own troubles for a while! I loved spending that time with him-driving, parking and running into restaurants. Today we spent the morning tying bills and cards to the tree. This afternoon, we drove out to his house and gave it to sweet Brandon. We hope this tree will make its rounds around the Northern Utah Area and brighten others’ days like it has ours! Thank you Dylan for such a selfless gift! There are wonderful families everywhere fighting the same battles we are and we are grateful for such amazing examples of faith and strength! Please keep Brandon and Dylan and their families in your prayers as well!

Dylan and Tyler

Brandon and Tyler