Archive for August, 2011

Hope -The Best Medicine

07 Light Of Hope  (Click here to hear the song)

    I have thought a lot about ‘hope’ the last few weeks.  It seems I have read and studied through the course of this journey about faith and how to increase it.  I am learning that the two go hand in hand.  I have always felt great hope through this process.  My testimony of the plan of salvation has not waivered.  In fact, it has become more apparent to me that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, and He is in control.  That gives me so much hope.  He knows my family and He knows what is best for us.

   I have been looking up talks on hope on the church website, and found some profound thoughts (for me, anyway).  Sister Chieko Okasaki said “We can choose to feed the darkness in our lives, or we can choose to feed the brightness of hope in our lives. . . But if we choose, if we even desire to choose, if we even hope for the desire to choose, we set in motion powerful forces for life that are led by Jesus Christ himself.  He responds to those tender tendrils of crippled life with the force and energy that will bring them to flowering.  Listen to these promises of love and yearning desire for us.  Feel the hope they bring that with Him we can overcome the world.”

   Our family has great hope for a miracle for Tyler.  Truly, we have seen countless miracles already!  We have not been forgotten by Him.  Just the fact that Tyler is so active and feels so good is a complete miracle.  Those in the medical profession who look at his scans would not believe what this kid can do.  I just got home today, and found out that he and his dad had just completed 27 holes of golf.  Not typically what someone with Stage IV liver cancer undergoing chemotherapy can do!

   President Dieter F. Uchdorf gave a talk on the “Infinite Power of Hope” in October 2008.  I distinctly remember sitting in my car, purposely missing the first half of Tyler’s football game, while I listened intently to his talk.  It struck a deep chord in me then.  Again, I’m sure that was no coincidence.  I felt great hope in life then and the reality of how much my Savior loved me.

  As I read through it again this week, the part that stuck with me this time was that hope was a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and we have a responsibility to make it an ‘active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope.’  Have you ever thought of having hope as being a commandment?  Whether it is a life threatening illness, financial struggles, marriage difficulties, wayward children, depression…there are a myriad of trials to discourage and bring us to our knees.  Hope is the ‘foundation of our faith and an anchor to our souls.’

   I bought a CD called ‘Women of Hope’ and when I heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes, reminding me that I have great hope in my Savior and His plan for me and for my family.  How grateful I am that I have been given this knowledge!  I also know that through faith and prayers, He can give Tyler his miracle, and Tyler can be healed.  Thank you so much for your unwavering faith and prayers!  Once again, we feel them and lean on them always!  I hope listening to this beautiful song will bring hope to you, whatever the challenges are that you are facing. 

Finally!

It’s been almost exactly one month since the big day…. Ty’s fundraiser! We still can’t get over how incredible it was and how amazing our friends, family, and complete strangers are. The Anything For A Friend organization has changed our lives forever and we hope to become more involved in helping others through difficult times. Our family will never forget the moment when hundreds of you applauded for Ty that evening. We knew at that moment, that these events are more than just raising money for people in need. It’s about love. The amount of emotional healing that occurred that night and the amount of love that we have felt is beyond words! Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support Tyler. He sure is a special boy and we love him with all our hearts.

   

Don’t forget that sweet little Samantha’s event is this Saturday!!!! We are so excited for her to experience this and pray for her continually as she battles cancer. For more details about her event visit www.anythingforafriend.com

Fourth Round – Finished!

   I haven’t written much on the blog anymore because I have felt like there was nothing too newsworthy to report about, or what there was wasn’t great news, so I just have avoided it. I have had some feelings this week, and felt like I should maybe share them.  I feel uncomfortable getting too personal – sometimes it feels like I’m writing in a journal, but sharing it with so many – it feels strange.  I’m new to the ‘blog’ world.  Nevertheless, I want to let you know how grateful I am for the myriad of blessings we have received through this challenging time.

   We have sent Tyler’s medical records to a few other children’s hospitals in the United States, hoping that they have a few other options besides chemotherapy to treat Tyler’s type of cancer. Unfortunately, they have all decided that, for one reason or another, he is not a candidate for the procedures they do.  This has been a particularly hard blow to me, who likes to have control of everything, and find someone who can ‘fix it now’.  As a few weeks have gone by, and the sting of being told ‘no’ is gone, I am realizing once again, that I’m not in control.  This situation isn’t a ‘fix it now’ one.  I am learning once again, that if I don’t have faith, I really have nothing.  I know I’ve written about faith in previous posts, and you probably think that I have such great faith – the truth is out – I struggle with faith in the unknown probably more than anyone.  It is a constant effort for me to keep looking forward and trusting in the Lord.  Even though I know I need it, I also know that it does not come naturally or without work.  I am always trying to find quotes, talks, and other things to keep me looking forward.

   I gave the lesson in Relief Society this past Sunday on “Sustaining our Faith in Times of Trial”.  As I was giving the lesson, I read a quote by Elder Richard G. Scott.  “As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise.”  As I read it outloud, I felt with new understanding, that I’ve been trying to walk in ‘certainty’ this whole journey.  I have to step into the unknown places and trust that the Lord will guide me through it.  This is what faith is – if I know the outcome and I know what we are getting into, I don’t need faith to get through it. Our family has never been so much “at the boundary of our understanding and into the twilight of uncertainty” before.  It is not a very comfortable place to be!   Elder Scott also said, “The Lord knows your needs.  When you ask with honesty and real intent, He will prompt you to do that which will increase your ability to act in faith.  With consistent practice, faith will become a vibrant, powerful, uplifting, inspiring force in your life.” 

   I am grateful for this new glimpse of knowledge.  As we keep forging through this cancer business, I will try to leave no stone unturned as far as treatments and options for Tyler are concerned, but I will ultimately put this in the Lord’s hands and know that He will put in our path what needs to happen in order for Tyler to fulfill his purposes here.

   As for Tyler, he does not act like a typical cancer patient.  The day he came home from the hospital this week from the fourth round of chemo, he cleaned up and went straight to the golf course for a few hours.  He has been there every day, most all day since.  He made the high school golf team, and plans to golf with them all that he can.  Our home health care nurse says she has never seen a cancer patient who has better blood work than him, stays out of the hospital between chemo treatments, and accomplishes more than him.  Except for his cute little bald head, I don’t think anyone would know he had cancer.  Well, maybe his weight.  :)   His Uncle Shane said it best – “Seventy-nine pounds of pure fighting machine”.   On Wednesday morning this week, he had been in the bathroom pretty sick.  When he was done, he just poked his head out of the bathroom, smiled and said, “Can I go golfing now?”  The kid is amazing.  He will always be my hero!

   Thank you so much for the prayers!  We know this is why Tyler is able to do all he does.  What a tender mercy to be able to be so active!  If he were to have to stay in his bed all day, I don’t know where we’d be.   His next scan is scheduled for the end of the month, and we are anxiously awaiting great news!  Thanks for your part in his journey!  We couldn’t do it without the legions of prayers that go up in our behalf every day!

The Trip of a Lifetime!

   It’s been quite a while since I have posted and I apologize.  It’s been a busy few weeks and we have enjoyed the last week while Tyler’s counts are rebounding and he’s been able to go back out and enjoy life.

   And, speaking of life, he had a great one last weekend, thanks to the generosity of dear friends.  At the fundraiser, Shane Baldwin donated a golf trip to a course he owns in Flagstaff, Arizona, including a private flight down there and accommodations at an amazing golf course, The Pine Canyon Golf Resort.  Erika’s father-in law, Mike Kusuda purchased the trip and we were so excited that he and his family would be able to go on a trip like this.  Mike, being the kind, generous person that he has always been, invited Tyler, Darren, and Tanner to go with him and his boys on the golf ‘trip of a lifetime’.  I cannot explain what kind of excitement just the invitation generated at our house!

   Just to preface the trip, Tyler had been invited by Primary Children’s Medical to participate in a putting tournament at the Homestead Resort the morning before the trip.  Smith’s Food and Drug puts on a huge fundraiser and invites a few patients to come putt with their executives.  When Tyler woke up Friday morning, once again, he was pretty sick.  We headed up to Midway anyway, and by the time Tyler got there, the nausea had really gotten a hold of him and we didn’t think there was any way that he would be able to go out there and golf.  It was a really hot day and between the nausea and the heat, he would really be a mess.  Once again, he rose to the occasion and putted like a champion!  He and his partner took second place in the tournament.  We hurried home and knew the boys were supposed to board the planes at five that evening.  He still was struggling with pretty extreme nausea and Darren was ready to back out of the trip and postpone.  Tyler wouldn’t have any of it – he was going and that was that!

   So, I loaded Darren up with medicine and instructions, and prayed like crazy once they left.  They made it to the resort, and Tyler was still struggling a bit….more prayers from Erika and I at home!

   The next morning we heard nothing for the longest time.  Erika and I decided to ‘run away’ while we were here without the boys and we took off to go someplace where we didn’t have to think about cancer for a day.  We were both dying to hear from the boys.  Finally, Darren sent a text that said, “This place is amazing…Tyler is having the time of his life.” 

   Well, to make a long story short, they all golfed 36 holes and came back with nothing but smiles.  No nausea all day, no problems all day.  The only complaints I heard about were from the dads, who I think were exhausted from golfing for 10 hours straight and their bodies didn’t hold up as well as they thought!  Tyler got spoiled beyond belief, and has talked about it constantly since he got home. 

   Thank you, thank you to the Kusudas  and the Baldwins for their extreme generosity!  Tyler will NEVER forget this trip (I don’t think ANY of the boys will) and we are so grateful for the memories made there!  Here are a few pictures from the amazing resort!