Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sand Dunes

We spent Sunday at the Sand Dunes with Afton, Matt, and kiddos galore. The weather was absolutely perfect! Really by far the warmest day this year. Madi and Ellie rode round and round on Ellie's pink little 4-wheeler. The others rode to their hearts content on the bigger toys. Chris, once again, had me squealing and hanging onto dear life as we rode across the giant waves of sand. Will I ever NOT be afraid of steep hills? Gadfrey! Best of all, time was spent with Afton and holding sweet, tiny, darlin' Shelby. What a doll! She pooped on me I guess I have some good blackmail to use on her in the future. :) HA!

Dad's diagnosis

My doorbell rang a little while ago...I thought it was those pesky deacons going door-to-door. :) Me in my jammies and messy hair, I debated on answering it or not. Chris and Brandon had gone fishing, Lauren and Trevor were at Jana's house for a sleepover. Basically it was me and Madi, so I had no helpers to save me from the embarrassment of answering the door in my scary appearance. I reluctantly answered it...and standing there was my dad. Behind him was his mountain bike. I gasped...literally...and then hugged him. It has been a long week for him...for us. To see that he had rode his bike from Payson to Santaquin, I was pleasantly surprised, especially knowing the issues and emotions he had been dealing with over the past few weeks. To see him as happy as he was at his accomplishment was wonderful! At that point, he whipped out my mom's cell phone and clumsily (Yep, dad has used a cell phone about 3 times in his lifetime) dials home to let mom know he had arrived and is just fine.

Our news came late afternoon on April 1: Multiple myeloma, stage II. The oncologist said he wanted my dad to start chemo right away, not the radiation they had previously talked about. The cancer was found in the bones that produce marrow - sternum, both upper arms, hips, and both femurs with the left showing 'moth eaten' areas where the bone had deteriorated (he's been limping on it lately). The chemo treatment is a drug cocktail called TZD - Thalidomide (a med that was banned in the 60's after pregnant women using it delivered babies without arms/legs), Zometa ('bone juice' which infuses bones to make them stronger), and Dexamethasone (a high-dose steroid). The cost for the meds is astronomical - my only guess is as a result of lawsuit settlements for the families that were affected by Thalidomide. The initial $ estimate for his monthly meds was quite high and devastated my dad, thinking the cost (even with insurance) would eat up all their savings, leaving my mom with nothing to live on after he had passed. It was painful to see my dad so broken up...all he could think about was mom and she being okay financially, not even worrying about what he was up against. Mom was just the opposite and, in tears, saying she would spend any amount to keep him well and by her side. My dad's mood was somber. Every time he thought about it, he would get choked up. On Thursday, we received a call from the oncologist's office - incredible news!! - DMBA (BYU's insurance) is practically paying for everything and his co pay will be peanuts compared to what they originally estimated. A complete shock - yes - and the best news for my dad to hear. Now he can concentrate on chemo without worrying about the cost. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to see him toss that burden aside, a burden that only he felt he should carry. I just can't tell you...

So to see him ride out to my house, a change has taken place, a good change. He really needed to hear that good news. It seems like things are falling into place now: He was able to get his spring semester taken care of with plans to teach this fall, retiring in January. He has a consultation on Monday/surgery on Tues. to repair the hernia he developed while trying to stifle his chest pain that initially landed him in the hospital last month (oh that makes me heartsick!). His chemo meds are being shipped from Fort Knox (joking) and he basically has to take a pregnancy test every month to keep getting them (not joking). The treatment is affordable and the best out there for multiple myeloma.
Some bad news, but a lot of good news as well.
Hold your loved ones closer...tighter.
Love to all, Brenda