Archive for May, 2012

Funeral arrangements

Arrangements have finally been made to celebrate Tyler’s life.  There will be a viewing at the Lindquist Layton Mortuary, 1867 North Fairfield Road on Thursday, May 24 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  The funeral will be held at the Layton North Stake Center, 1954 E Antelope Drive on Friday, May 25 at 11:00 a.m. with a viewing from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

You can view Tyler’s obituary here.

Our hearts were so full today as we drove downtown making arrangements and found “F2TF” signs on billboards, shirts, and so many messages have come through our phones that we cannot even keep up with them!  Tyler was a loved boy!!!  Thank you to all for your love and support!

Families are Forever

Tyler returned home early this morning to his loving Father in Heaven after courageously battling liver cancer.  He fought valiantly to stay here and we are relieved that he is not trapped in his diseased body any longer.  We know he is free of pain of suffering and is happy to begin his new work in heaven.

As I was laying there last night watching Tyler struggle to leave, or to stay, I’m not sure which he was fighting for, I remembered a quote that my friend Ashley posted when her sweet Preslee passed away.  I knew there was one thing we had not completely given to Heavenly Father – our will.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell rightly said: “The
submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we
have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ … are
actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.”

Tyler was never ours to keep here.  He was a gift to our family to bless us for a short time.  As soon as Darren and I let Heavenly Father know we had accepted His will and it was okay for Tyler to go, he was finally able to have peace.  We know the promise of peace is ours because of the Savior’s gift to us and that we will someday be reunited with our sweet boy and see his amazing smile when he greets us.

We are overwhelmed with the love we feel from friends, family, and community.  Please know that our family has accepted the plan for Tyler, and although our hearts are broken and the pain is more than we can explain, Heavenly Father has sent the Comforter to help us get through this.  Tyler, we love you with all our hearts.  Thanks for teaching so many what it really means to “Fight To The Finish”.

One Brave Boy

Wow!  What a week it has been…I can’t even remember where my last post ended and this one began.  Last week, we came home from the hospital at the beginning of the week (I think!), and had a pretty great week.  Ty golfed with his dad and brother and friends every day that he was home.  Saturday, he was doing so well – spent three hours walking the mall shopping with Erika (he has never done that on his best day!), golfed with his dad (and beat him, I might add!).  Darren, Tyler and I went to Training Table that night to grab a bite to eat.  Halfway through his dinner, he got a strange look on his face, and said, “We need to go now…I’m not feeling good”.  We headed out of there, and he threw up in the car – lots of fresh blood.  It’s such a horrifying feeling when that happens. We hurried home and packed a quick bag and headed for the hospital.  When we talked to them on the way down, they were hoping that maybe we could just ‘tank’ him up with blood and plasma to help his blood clot, and send him home by morning.  We checked into the hospital about nine Saturday night and were hoping to be home by three in the morning.

As the night progressed, things were not getting any better.  Tyler was continuing to vomit blood and not just small amounts.  It was actually coming out of him as fast or faster than they were transfusing it into him.  His hematocrit levels were dropping quickly.  Tyler was looking worse and worse by the minute, and Darren and I were terrified.

Early Sunday morning, they had called the oncology team, the GI team, and a surgery team together to discuss a solution, if any.  They called Darren and I out into the hallway to discuss their options with us.  The GI team said if they tried to go in with a scope there was just too high a risk of perforating the stomach.  He pretty much refused to do that procedure.  The surgery team said they could open Tyler up and try to find the problem, but he probably would not survive the surgery, and whatever they fixed still wouldn’t fix the cancer.  The radiation oncologist said that they could try to go in through an artery in his leg and find the bleed and burn it, but the risks far outweighed the benefits.  When I asked what he would do if it was his son, he said, “take him home.”  We went into the room and told Tyler what the doctors had just shared with us.  He took a deep breath and said, “Let’s go home, I’m not afraid.”  My most difficult day as a mother.  Right after they told us, someone brought in chocolates for Mother’s Day – not a holiday I want to remember this year.

The doctors got us ready in a hurry to go home.  They did not think Tyler would make it through the night Sunday night.  We brought Tyler home Sunday night to be here with the family and not just in a dark, cold hospital room.  The doctors had called hospice and they were here to meet us when we got home.  It was the most surreal feeling I have ever experienced, thinking I knew what lay in store for us that night.  When Tyler woke up on Monday morning, he wanted to go golfing.  The whole family packed up and headed to Davis Golf Course and played nine holes.  It was very hard to watch – Tyler could hardly swing the club.  I didnt know if we were going to have to call an ambulance out on the golf course.  But I don’t know how he does it.  He still could hit the ball better than most on their best day!  After seven holes, he was too worn out to play anymore.  We came home, got ready for a family picture, and had some friends come visit Tyler, and went to bed again.  I cannot describe at all how it is to try and rest when one you love has health like this.  Every move Tyler made had us jumping up and making sure he was still breathing.

Tuesday morning, Tyler decided he wanted to finish the radiation treatments he started and see if it could make a difference.  He is not done fighting…Long story short, Tyler was not expected to make it through the night Sunday night.  It is Tuesday night now and he is still here and ready to fight more.  We know that Tyler will be with us for as long as the Lord has planned for him.  We are grateful for every second we have with him, as we are with every one of our children.  We have had some conversations with him and our other children that I never imagined I would have to have.  Tyler is not afraid – he knows where he is going and that what is in store for him there is wonderful.  He knows that Heavenly Father is in charge and he will leave this earth when his appointed time is here, whether it is tomorrow, next year, or in fifty years.  We still have great hope for his future.  The bleeding has stopped and he seems to be feeling a bit better.  I have to believe it is because the Lord hears the prayers of those who love Tyler.   We cannot express how grateful we are for the love and support of family, friends, and the community.  I am so sorry that I cannot answer all of the emails, texts, and messages.  I love hearing from you and I love your words of support!  Thank you for keeping our family in your thoughts and prayers.  Tyler is truly Fighting to the Finish – thanks for helping him!

Tyler - Fighting to the Finish

 

Warriors…

In the hospital at the same time - again!

I know there are so many families with Cancer Cuties that spend months and months on end up here, so I feel guilty for feeling picked on for being up here again one more weekend!  Once more, Tyler made it through a great week, golfing and enjoying time with his friends and hanging out with family.  Sunday morning rolled around and it was time to go back into the hospital.  Tyler’s blood counts were once again at ‘record lows’ and he needed another transfusion.  This time, we knew that the only way to get real answers was to get a scan.  We have really avoided those since January – they are not usually our friends.. So about two in the morning on Monday, after some pretty traumatic procedures (have you ever heard of an Anderson tube? – no fun), we headed downstairs for a CT scan.  I know every person reading this who has had experience with cancer knows the terror that grips hearts when you or someone you love is in that tube.  I can’t think of anything in life I’ve done up till now to compare to it.  We came back up and tried to get a little bit of sleep – Darren in a rocking chair and me in a ‘recliner’ – yes, that’s what they call it!

When the doctors came in the next morning, they had okay news, and not-so-okay news.  Tyler’s tumors have hardly changed – small amounts of growth in a few of the tumors, but no new metastases. We were so relieved to hear that.  We knew that GI had to also look at the scans so were waiting on them.  When they got around to us, they informed us that the larger tumor on the upper side of Tyler’s liver has now pressed up against the stomach wall, and that pressure is causing the bleeding.  If they were to go in and scope to see more, they were quite sure that they would perforate the stomach wall. Things did not sound so great then…they were going to put their heads together with the oncology team and see what the best options were.  We needed to wait another half day to see what they decided.  After calling an interventional radiology team, they decided that they need to try and shrink the tumor that is pressing on the stomach. The only way to do this is by radiating it.  I, along with many others, wondered why they didn’t radiate it in the first place – I finally learned why today.  The liver is very sensitive to radiation, andwhere Ty has so much disease in his liver, if they were to radiate each tumor, they would destroy the whole liver.  They do feel that they can localize the radiation to this one tumor and shrink it enough to take the pressure off the stomach wall.  To make a long story short, we just got back from LDS Hospital, where the radiation will be done.  I loved our new doctor there.  He was kind and gentle, and completely willing to answer all of Tyler’s questions.  He got some new ‘tats’ today, not the kind he was hoping for – he would have liked a barbed-wire around his bicep, or maybe Superman along his back.  Instead, he has four beautiful little black dots around his chest to help make sure the radiation hits exactly where they want it!

We begin the actual treatment tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.  Our family asks once again for your pleadings with the Lord on Tyler’s behalf.  We need this procedure to shrink that tumor and stop the bleeding inside Tyler.  We should know in three weeks if it will be effective.  I would also ask that if you can donate blood, do it today!  Not only in Tyler’s behalf, but I watch these little cancer cuties getting this life-saving blood and know that without healthy people being willing to donate, these little lives would be lost.  I believe that probably 20 people had to donate blood and plasma to keep Ty alive at this point.  So, so grateful to those who do this regularly.  Thank you!

I also am grateful for your prayers for the warriors in this picture below.  They are all fighting valiantly to stay alive and I am honored to be able to be able to call them ‘friends’.  These four kids know more about courage and spirit in their short lives than most learn in a lifetime.  Thank you for being willing to share your journeys with me.  I love you Tyler, Brandon, Josh and Maddie.  You will always be my heroes!

I love you Tyler, Josh, Brandon and Maddie!