Archive for September, 2011

This is ‘Mom Payback’ Week!

   What an amazing week we have had!  Last Wednesday, Elder Smith returned home from the Houston, Texas Spanish-speaking Mission!  When we saw him riding down the escalator at the airport, my heart felt complete again…it has had a piece or two missing from it since the day he left and since Tyler was diagnosed.  Just to have us all together there at the airport was heavenly.  Taylor had never met little Caleb – he was born a week before Taylor left in 2009, but was sick and in NICU, so they would never let Taylor in to meet him, or even see him.  We’ve been doing our best to train Caleb to know Taylor, but when Taylor took him at the airport, it didn’t work quite as well as planned.  Luckily, within two days, and a bunch of toy cars and play time – Caleb and Taylor have become good buddies!

    We went to dinner at Café Rio, one of Taylor’s favorites before his mission, and he ordered our meals in Spanish-fun to hear him speak another language so well!  When we got home and settled for the night, the best part of all was to kneel down as a family and have Taylor offer our family prayer…what a sweet experience to hear him give such a heart-felt prayer for our family.  Big ‘Mom payback’.

   We had Taylor’s mission report in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and the place was packed!  I am SO grateful for such a wonderful family and so many wonderful friends who love and support us!  Taylor did an AMAZING job on his talk and gave such a powerful testimony.  I saw his outline before the meeting, and I have to admit, I was worried.  I think there were ten lines written on it.  Before his mission that would have taken him 30 seconds to get through.  He gave a completely eloquent talk on service and charity and how the ultimate act of charity was the Atonement.  Wow…another ‘Mom payback’.

   I am so happy to have him home and so grateful for his choice to serve a mission.  Our family was so blessed while he was serving…we are so blessed to have him home too.  He has grown from a boy to a man in two short years and we are so proud of him!  Now it’s just up to me to decide how to let him grow up.  I still want him to have a 10:00 curfew and drive around in the car with me…is that asking too much?!?  I think sometimes he is already ready to head back to Houston for some space!

   Thanks to all those who came to support him, and to those who helped with the lunch afterward.  I had a houseful and could have never have fed them if not for all the help.  Thank you so much!!  Now, on to our next adventure…Disneyworld in three weeks!!

Do You Know Who These Men Are?

   Okay, all you 40-something year olds and older….do you know who these two men are?  Tyler was invited to Soldier Hollow last week to a dinner/fundraiser up there.  The keynote speakers were…Johnny Miller and Billy Casper.  When I told Tyler all about it, he said, “Who’s that?”  Wow, I didn’t even like golf back then, and I know who they are.  I feel old.  Johnny Miller and Billy Casper were amazing golfers back in the seventies and eighties – right up there with Jack and Arnold.  In fact, I believe Johnny Miller beat Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino in the U.S. Open in 1973.  So, you get the picture – great golfers!

     Anyway, Tyler was the guest of honor at this banquet – pretty cool!  Darren was out of town and I felt like it would mean more to Coach Jenkins, who has been so great with Tyler, so I sent them up there to the dinner.  They had hors d’oeuvres, prime rib and salmon for dinner – pretty swanky.  While Billy Casper was speaking, he called Tyler up to the front of the room with him and had him give a short little speech on “F2TF – Fight to the Finish” and what it meant to him, both in golf, and in life.  I’m told Tyler gave a great little speech – maybe the beginning of a new career for him!  Billy Casper was so touched, he was crying and kissed Tyler right on the top of his little bald head! 

   The boys sat at the table with Ron Boone and compared bald heads – I think Tyler finally has more hair than him!  They got to rub shoulders all night with famous people and had a wonderful time!  Thanks Coach Jenkins for taking them up there and taking such good care of them! 

   Ty continues to feel pretty good.  He still has his days of nausea and sickness, but it doesn’t last too long and he’s back ready to go.  He’s back to school for a half-day – he is taking online classes in the afternoon. 

   We are looking forward to this week where Taylor comes home from his mission and our family can be together again.  I have been waiting for this day for a long time!  This is going to be a great week!

Scan results

   Tyler had his third scan on Thursday, September 1st.  Instead of waiting there in the hospital to find out the results, we decided to high-tail it home and head up to Island Park for the Labor Day weekend and find out the results when we got home.  If you read the last post, you can see that it was a great decision for us.  We had a great time and honestly, didn’t even worry about what the scan might show.

   Dr. Barnette (Tyler’s oncologist) called on Tuesday morning and let us know that the scans were virtually exactly the same as the scan the first of July.  The tumors had not shrunk, but they had not grown or spread either.  While we would have loved hearing that the tumors had disappeared, hearing that they had not grown or spread was good news to us.  The recommendation of the doctor was that we discontinue chemotherapy and scan again in late November.  He will keep taking the Sorafenib, a pill shown to stop the progression of liver cancer, twice a day. 

   We will now work to strengthen Tyler’s immune system and get him back into ‘fighting shape’ again.  He feels quite well and is ready for some hair again!  He is growing little fuzz on his head now and his eyebrows and eyelashes, which stayed in until the last week of the last round, are now starting to grow little fuzzy patches again.  He is happy about this!  He had the most beautiful, long eyelashes and we were a little sad to see them stay so long through the therapy, only to fall out after almost four months!

   Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Tyler!  We know that ‘stable disease’, which is what they call the stage he is in now, is better than to have it spreading…his scans have really not changed since the night of his diagnosis.  Who knows how long the cancer was in this exact state before it was discovered?  If only there were a crystal ball to tell us the future…but since there is not, we will once again, rely on hope and faith.  We feel hope for great things to come!

   Okay, quote time.  I told a friend this week I’m starting to sound like Stuart Smalley from SNL back in the eighties.  I have quotes all over the house and I read them all the time…”I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog- gonnit, people like me!” … If you don’t get it, you’re too young! (or you did more important things with your life than watch SNL)

   A dear friend from Reno sent me this quote this past week on having strength to face whatever comes our way:

“Anyone can give up.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart…that’s true strength.”     ~Zig Ziglar

  I truly don’t know of anyone with more strength than Tyler.  I am constantly in awe of his physical, mental, and spiritual strength.   We all have challenges, in one form or another.  We don’t have to look too far to see someone who has it harder than we do.  The key is to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going forward, trying to find out what it is we’re supposed to learn from it, then truly learn from it, and keep forging on.  It’s all about the journey….

This is what hope looks like….

Labor Day weekend fun!

We spent Labor Day weekend up in Island Park this year! We don’t normally go up to the cabin during Labor Day because of little league football. But… since nobody is coaching or playing this year, we decided to pack our bags and head North! And let me tell you, it was one of the funnest weekends we have had in a long time! Here’s the proof:

Taking the rhino for a spin!

We had the privilege of competing in the annual Erikson “Labor Day Cup”. This was our team photo. And this…….

was Tyler’s outfit of choice for the  tournament…. He is so funny!

The Labor Day Cup consisted of multiple “Minute to Win it”  type of games, a volleyball tournament, and an egg toss. Tyler told us that if we lost any of the challenges we were officially kicked off the team and uninvited to Disney World. It was pretty intense!

cute Jace :)

And the egg toss….. Look at Tyler threatening Erika about dropping it! 

Several people commented about how suprised they were that Tyler had so much energy and they would never know Ty was sick. It’s true…. Ty is still the loudest and most energetic kid despite his health issues. It was good for everyone to see how normal and active he is! Tyler was able to do just about anything he wanted at the cabin- he rode 4 wheelers, wave runners, went boating, and played just as hard or harder than the rest of us!

We hope everyone had a wonderful and happy holiday weekend!

When you wish upon a star…..

Tyler had some special visitors come to his golf tournament last Thursday…… The Make A Wish Foundation! Tyler got to make a wish a few months ago and wished for a family vacation to Disney World. Well guess what? His wish was granted and we will be off to Disney World next month!

Tyler’s coach gave a very touching speech that night about him and even dedicated that day’s tournament to Ty. The golf team has even taken on the F2TF motto.  Tyler has some amazing teammates, including his brother Tanner, that take very good care of him and love him just as much as we do.

Also….. check out this article about Ty that was in the Standard Examiner on Sunday! Pretty cool :) http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/09/03/14-year-old-high-school-golfer-facing-stage-iv-cancer#.TmOW2uvGUC4.facebook