Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry No More Cancer Christmas! :)

Hey everybody. It's Maddie. My mom thought that I should update the blog. She is better with writing than I am because I can never think of things to say but I guess I will just start off that I went in and had my first scans last week and I am cancer FREE! Which makes me very happy!

I'm pretty bummed though because now that I'm done with chemo I have to push physical therapy on my knee really hard. Its going to be difficult but I am grateful I still have my knee. Once I start physical therapy it will be easier for me to walk and I will eventually lose my limp. I just want to be able to do the simple things, like climbing up the stairs, going down the stairs, walking at a normal speed, riding a bike and dancing. It's getting better, but if I walk too much it will buckle and I hyper-extend it ALL the time; which can get very painful. :/

I haven't really done much since I got out of chemo. I'm starting to feel good enough to hang out with friends again, which is good because I missed that the most when I was going through chemo! It was really hard on me...
December 10th I got a boyfriend. ;) His name is Jaden Abbott, we have been good friends since 7th grade. He is a great kid and has always been there for me. We have hung out like every weekend since Dec 2nd, haha. My mom likes to tease me about us. She makes me laugh.
He has an amazing family and I have a great love for them.
Sticking out our tongues :P
Brandon Winger's Fundraiser
Jazz Game :)
Isn't he a cutie? :)
Love this boy!
Olivia Sue
I'm really looking forward to Christmas! I can't believe it is in like 2 days!! I have NO idea what my parents(SANTA) got me! I don't really care what it is but I'm still curious. This year I am more excited about spending time with my family/extended family.♥ It has been a while since we've all been together. I don't even remember the last time. Abbie and Rory aren't in Hawaii this year so it will feel like a normal Christmas again. Last year without them was weird! And it's little Livi girl's first Christmas! She is getting so big its crazy. I swear she gets bigger everytime I see her. Before I know it she will be walking and calling me "Auntie Maddie". :| That's weird to even think about!

I finally feel like my life is heading back to 'Normalcy'. It's aBOUT time! I start school January 17th. I'm a little nervous, but excited at the same time. HIGH SCHOOL! Everyone has told me that it's so much better than Jr. High. I guess I will find out soon enough...
Well... not much else to say. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! (P.S. The world is NOT going to end. Just sayin'.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ringing the "Bell"

My heart is really full tonight as I sit here waiting for the last time for Maddie to clear her Methotrexate chemo.. I have very mixed emotions. I'm so excited to walk out that door tomorrow knowing that we are done with chemo and that I won't have to watch that wicked stuff drip into her tiny body anymore. I'm excited to sleep in my own bed for more than 2 weeks at a time. I'm excited to start running again and excited to spend more time with my older girls and their families. I'm excited to cook my own meals and not rely on fast food or the cafeteria, so tired of that. I'm so excited to put away the mattress pad and the overnight bags. I'm excited to go to church every Sunday:) I'm excited to see my daughter get her hair back and her eyebrows and her eyelashes. I'm excited to put away the saline flushes, heparin flushes, IV pumps, emla cream, alcohol pads, etc. I'm just darn excited about a lot of things.

But along with all this excitement comes a sense of sorrow as we leave the people that we have grown to love and so much appreciate. When we first arrived at Primary Childrens I watched other moms talking with the nurses at each nurses station and wondered if I would ever fit in, if I would ever rely on them to get me through a really tough night or if we could laugh and cry together. Well that happened and there are many of these people that I will never forget, they are like family now and they all hold a special place in my heart. It takes a really special person to work with cancer kids, it can't be an easy job.

In the past 9 months I've learned so much about myself, about life and about what really matters most in life. I don't have expensive clothes, I don't have a huge house, I don't drive expensive cars and I'm perfectly fine with that. I have 3 great kids, a loving husband, two awesome son-in-laws, one beautiful grand daughter, one on the way, 2 parents that love me regardless of my short comings and 6 siblings that I know have my back, and the knowledge that God lives and here's our prayers if we would just get down on our knees. What else really matters????? We just never know what life is going to bring at us. When I heard a doctor tell me 10 months ago, "it's cancer" I thought my world had come to an end, I really didn't know how I was going to make it through the next day. But I soon learned my life had only just begun and the journey I was about to go on would teach me more than any classroom or professor could ever teach me. I hope that I can be a better person because of this, that I will find myself looking out for others before myself. I hope I can be the person that I have seen so many around be. I hope I will be the first person to sign up for a meal when one needs to be offered. I hope I will be the one to put a little extra money in my tithing slip just because I can. I hope I can be less judgmental when I see a child that looks a little different than most. I hope I can always try to look for the good in everyone. I know life is going to go on after cancer and that soon this will only be a memory. I hope that if I was supposed to learn something from this that I have.

To the many people that have helped us through this I can't say thank you enough. I wish I could have kept up with the thank you cards but it just got to be too overwhelming. To Dr. Holly Spraker and the staff on the ICS floor at Primary Childrens, thank you for taking such good care of Maddie. To my family,friends,co-workers,community,and those of you who want to stay anonymous I love you all and pray that you all will be blessed because of the love you have shown our family. To my adult children, I love you more than life itself and can't wait to see what the next chapter of our life

brings. To my sweet husband who has put up with me for 26 plus years, I love you more every day and look forward to many more together. To my best friend and hero Maddie: you have taught me true strength, unwavering patience and true grit!!! I hope we can always stay as close as we have become over that last 10 months. I love you sweetheart and am proud to be your mother. I love you all!!! The journey long lived:)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Counting our blessings

So many wonderful things have happened since Halloween. It's been a crazy few weeks. Halloween was way different this year. I usually dress up for work and our ward part and just because I love Halloween. I think Maddie was really dissappointed that I didn't, but I just didn't have time to put anything together after her stay in the ICU and the week that followed that, but we did put Maddie's costume together before all that happened. She was "FLO" the Progressive Insurance gal for Halloween, I loved it, my all time favorite Halloween costume. Wish I was 3 sizes smaller and I would have borrowed it for work. Anyway unfortunately she was too sick to go anywhere that night so we hung out at Grandma Burton's, ate the traditional soup, homemade bread and watched the grandkids empty their bags of candy. It was a lot of fun.

On November 2nd we had the opportunity to meet with Elder Jeffrey Holland. It was such a neat experience. Ann Smith arranged for Maddie, her son Tyler, Brandon Winger and Dylan Shaw's mom to meet with him and just talk. All of the kids have cancer and actually Dylan passed away 4 months ago from a brain tumor so his brother and mom went in his place.  We spent about an hour just listening to him give them mostly encouragement and unconditional love. I wish I could remember everything he said that day, but most important I guess is how I felt in his presence. It would take me way too long to write about what we talked about. There where many lessons taught in just a short period of time.  I will never forget the spirit I felt that day and the peace that came to my heart as he talked about trials and how we can cope with them if we continue to stay strong in the gospel. Both Maddie and I commented later that we felt like we were talking to our grandpa, he's a pretty amazing man. This will be an experience I will never forget. When we went to leave he told the kids to keep in touch that he wants to know how they are doing, and that if they ever need to just talk the door is always open. Wow I haven't ever had an apostle tell me that. After we left his office, Maddie wanted to take some pictures of the temple and luckily the boys were willing to take a picture with Maddie. Interesting how the light on the temple is directly over their heads, like an angel?? They are just that in my eyes, (angels) After we took pictures we decided to go to the Gateway and do some shopping, it was cold but we didn't care we had a blast. I hope that after this is over Maddie will still invite me to hang out with her at the mall:)

The very next morning we got a call from Kevin's brother Val that we should probably come over, that his mom was not doing well and that she slipping away. At 8:30 that morning Maddie's grandma Cook passed from this life and returned to her sweetheart. As much as we are all going to miss Mom she is in a better place, free from the physical struggles she endured with so much patience. I can't say enough about how much she influenced my childrens lives. She babysat them while I worked, up until the time they were too old to be baby-sat. I owe much of how they become to her and the lessons she taught them while in her care. She wasn't just my mother-in-law, she was my friend and never treated me with nothing but love. Until we meet again mom, we will all miss you so much.  I believe that part of the reason Maddie was blessed to meet with Elder Holland was in preparation for the passing of her grandma, I was so impressed with how she handled it, she loved her grandma so much and I know it was hard for her to lose her. I think some of the lessons she was taught the day before really helped her get through it. 

The day of grandmas viewing was little Olivia's blessing. Tom did such a great job giving her a name and blessing. I know Lindsay was worried she would freak out because she was wide awake when Tom took her up there, but no she just looked around like, what are you guys doing? she's just so sweet!!! Olivia is just another blessing that we revceived just at the right time in our lives. She definately brings a light into lives that we just can't explain. Maddie just adores her and it's funny she seems to like Maddie more with her little bald head, then when she has a wig on, it kind of throws her off a little.  We love her and can't get enough of her sweetness:) Being a grandma is the best!!!

I really should have updated this sooner then it wouldn't be such a long post. I took Maddie to the high school football game that next Friday.  Principal Davis gave us tickets that were in the skybox at the Rice Eccles Stadium, Maddie had never been to a real football game, she had no clue what was going on, but once we explained the game to her, I really think she had fun. We sat with some of the teachers from her high school, a mom of one of the coaches, some of the coaches wives and 2 administators from the district, one of them just happen to be my 6th grade teacher, Craig Poll, how ironic that we would meet some 30 years later at a high school football game. I'm sure I contributed to his grey hair, it was good to see him.

Our next adventure came that evening. The Syracuse Police and Fire departments put on a fundraiser basketball game for our family. It was so much fun. Maddie wasn't thrilled about being in the spotlight again but once we got her there, I think she had a lot of fun. They had the jazz bear, the jazz dancers, the jazz announcer and entertained us with a great basketball game. They gave Maddie a Jimmer Ferdette Jersey signed personally to her by him, a jazz basketball and a basketball signed by all the police officers and firemen. She was hoisted to the net at the end of the game and made the last shot. I couldn't believe how many people were there to support us, it was really overwhelming and touching, people we didn't even know and people we know and love. I will never be able to thank the many people that have helped us get through this year. I will post pictures of all the many things that have happened over the past few weeks. We definitely have a reason to count our many blessings and as Thanksgiving approaches we will definately have many reasons to be thankful, we are almost done!!!! I have waited so long to say this, "We only have ONE more treatment and then she gets to ring the bell!!!!! Thank you to all who have touched our lives over the past 9 months.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins!


Hey everybody! It's Halloween! I'm so excited! My costume is going to be
FANTASTIC!! It's pretty awesome, not gonna lie.
I'm not going trick or treating or anything, but I might go up to PCMC. I haven't
decided if I want to go or not yet... My mom has to work so I'd have to have
Abbie take me up there. There is a guy nurse down there named Irish and I
guess he dresses up like Dorothy every Halloween and he goes all out with it.
When I left on Saturday I told a few people I'd be down there today to show
them my costume... 

Ruby and Lilly are taking a nap on me. :P They are funny.
I love them.

Alright well I'm gonna go!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Kristen our sweet nurse:)

what saved her life:)

"Our little family"
Wow what a long week this has been. I don't even know where to start but here it goes. Sunday evening Maddie went to bed complaining of a sore throat, so being the paranoid mother I am, I kept checking her for a fever and when I went to bed she didn't have one. When I got up the next morning I jumped in the shower and started getting ready for work. I looked into her room and noticed she was sleeping pretty sound but something told me to go check her and my worst fears were realized, she was burning up. Her fever was 103.5 and she was really congested. Needless to say we panic with a fever because it doesn't take a cancer kid long to go septic once a fever starts. We have to call oncology as soon as she gets to 100.4 so with that we were way past that. I was still dripping wet from a shower and took 5 minutes to dry my hair, get dressed and then I put her in the car and headed down. By the time we got there the clinic was open, thank heavens, because we are not a fan of the emergency room. Once in clinc they took her vitals and the nurse mentioned how low her blood pressure was and I said well it's usually low but not that low. It took them about an hour to realize that her blood pressure was not coming up anytime soon and kept trying to push fluids in hopes of it going up. She was admitted and they continued to try and get her blood pressure up but every time they gave her the heavy doses of antibiotic it dropped lower, then they tried a new antibiotic called Vancomycin, and it all went down hill from there, she had a horrible reaction to that antibiotic and had what they call red man's syndrome, her whole body went bright red, her eyes were almost swollen shut and she said she just burned all over. It was horrible to watch, at that point they decided to send her to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) a place I don't care to be anytime soon. We were welcomed by about 5 docs and 4 nurses and they started hooking her up to anything and everything, she had so many lines going to her I don't know how they kept track of it all. All the while myself and Kevin just sat there in shock and just felt helpless. I can't remember a time when I ever felt so afraid. It took about 2 hours for her to stabilize and settle down, she was so scared and who wouldn't be, but never once did she complain. We stayed in the ICU for 2 days until they could give the antibiotics without the blood pressure dropping. I'm just so grateful that there are people that spend so much time learning all this, so they can help our kids. I'm at awe at how much they know and have to learn. We had two awesome nurses, Mandy and Kristen who we can't thank enough for taking such good care of Maddie. We found out today that when she was down there she was in Septic shock and that it could have been really bad. I'm glad they decided to not tell me that when we were down there.. She's doing much better now but her counts dropped this morning and it's too dangerous to send her home, so we are here until they come back up. That's ok, I am relieved about that.
We are now back to ICS and very grateful she pulled out of it. We have no idea what bug invaded her body the only thing she tested positive for was the Rhino Virus (common cold) but they are confident is what a bug that they didn't have a test for and a bad one.

I found out there was another cancer kid down there that also had gone in with a fever and I actually walked by his room several times. I see his dad on the 4th floor all the time. I can't remember his name but I know he was 13. Unfortunately he passed away yesterday morning and that just makes me sad. I sat in the waiting room with his parents the night before for the hour that they kick you out for reports and I just feel so bad that I didn't even ask how he was doing. I looked at his dad several times and he justed smiled at me cause I knew he knew me from the ICS floor.  I wish I could find out who they are so I could at least send a condolense.

 One thing I have learned this week is this:  I look at Maddie a little different now, hug her a little tighter and thank my Heavenly Father daily that he heard our prayers. I know that there were a lot of people praying and concerned for her and for that we are grateful. One thing about Cancer is you just never know what to expect from day to day. I could go on and on about the many tender mercies that we continue to receive and wonder why things have to be the way they are. Why do these kids have to suffer and die? Questions that only one person knows. I know the plan and I accept it but I don't always know why. I hope that the family that lost their child this week will have peace in the days to come. I've met many a good family through this whole ordeal and know that they will be in my heart forever. Thanks again to all those who support and love us through this we couldn't do it without you. All I can say now is go give your kids a big hug and tell them you love them, you just never know what the next day will bring. I love you Maddie, Lindsay, Abbie, Tom, Rory and Olivia you all complete me!!! and of course Kevin:) love to all.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chemo... once again.

Hellllllooooo everybody. :)
I'm super bored in my hospital bed watching my mom do some halloween crafts. They are super cute but its getting to the hard part and so i gave up :}

How do you like the new background and stuff? :) I think its very festive. Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. ♥ Hmmmm... dont know what to talk about. My hair is growing back... slowly. Ha. Oh and I got a new wig :} Here's a picture
Haley and I
I love her :) ♥
Well.. I'm not sure what else to write for now... I'm not very good at this. Goodnight.
Love Ya,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Maddie's New Room

I redecorated my room this weekend with my mom and I'm really excited about it so I thought I'd show you :)
The Curtains

the bedspread

side wall. i LOVE the picture :)

Cute pillows :)

I am in LOVE with the wall stickers

my lamp :)
I don't have to go in for chemo until Friday. This will be round 4. I hope it goes by FAST!
I have mouth sores a little bit from the last treatment and my tongue hurts pretty bad so I have to numb it to eat anything. /:

Many Thank You's

All of us :)
Rachelle and Maddie

Becky and Maddie

2 girls that put it together and the $$$ ;)

Us girls

I love babysitting :)


Ruby and I <3
To all of the wonderful people that have touched our lives in the last two weeks with your acts of kindness and charity, we say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I can't ever remember a time when I have ever felt so much love. I have no doubt now we will make it through these last few month of Maddie's chemo and hospital stays. To the Second Ward, my home ward, you guys are awesome!!!The yard sale was so cool. Many hands worked very hard that day to help our family, we love you all. To the Scentsy Super Star Directors, I don't even have words to thank you enough, what a great group of people. Thank you Lindsay and Casie for putting it together, you definitely have some serious business skills:) and last but not least, thank you Steve and Kathy Gift and Kona Ice for your fundraiser!!! Love you guys so much!!! I hope someday I can give back and somehow pay it forward after this is all over. Maddie goes back this week for the Methotrexate chemo, 2 weeks straight and then doxorubicin the following week. Then 2 more methotrexate and we are done, yay!! We are on the countdown!! We received the good news 2 weeks ago that we have another grandbaby on the way, congratulations Abbie and Rory we can't wait!!! :)
Here are some pictures from the yard sale: