Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Long awaited update!

Ok, Ok, I know this post is WAY past due.  I can't believe how fast time is flying by - it's crazy!  I always wait, because it seems like we are waiting for one more answer or one more test to come back, but here is the scoop:
Mom:  Mom's doctors were so thrilled with the care she has been given - because she is doing better now than she was last year.  So now they have said that it could be another 2-3 years that she could be with us.  Mom had decided that she didn't want to live that long if it meant behaving (or living on a schedule and following food rules).  So she decided she wanted to take charge of her own schedule and eating again.  So this meant all we have to do is make sure she doesn't live alone, manage her medications, and take her to her appointments.  That being said, it is hard to watch her deteriorate as she makes her own living choices now, but nice to not have that fight anymore.  It has been quite cramped having 5 children in one bedroom, to accommodate Mom having her own room, so we decided that it would be better for everyone if Mom moved in with Tanya or Cheri.  In the meantime, Cheri's daughter and granddaughter moved up to Oregon, leaving her house empty.  Her house is a three bedroom, one story house - and Cheri, like Mom, is more of a night owl.  Also, with not having children at home, Cheri doesn't have to listen in her sleep for the pitter patter of little feet, allowing Mom the freedom to roam at night as she pleases.  And now that Cheri doesn't have to do anything, except give Mom her meds - it isn't too much for her to take on.  So a few months ago, Mom moved to Cheri's house in Citrus Heights.   Also, Mom had another chemo treatment - this time a double.  It was very successful, and the cancer is being destroyed.  Unfortunately, once you are kicked off the transplant list - you can never get back on again.  We knew that it wasn't the tumors that would kill Mom, but the liver disease - so the diagnosis remains terminal.  Mom has good days and bad days, but looks forward to my brother's wedding in August.
Lucy: Lucy's last MRI looked great!  The tumors that are active are remaining relatively the same size - so we don't have to do anything at this point.  She still has to wear her brace on her leg (which she doesn't like at all), but we let her leave it off at home and for church.
Emmie:  Emmie was diagnosed with yet another illness - which is terrible for her.  It is Erythromelalgia.  It causes her hands and feet to go from numb to burning like they are on fire.  It is very painful for her, and they are waiting insurance approval to do some further tests, to find out if it is primary or secondary.  Primary means it is its own illness - and secondary means it is a symptom of something else going on.
Everyone else is doing the same. :-)  Well, Debbie has been a crazy person - dieting and doing Insanity (the crazy workout advertised on TV) - and has lost 30 lbs!  YAY!  She is almost back to pre-wedding weight, and getting toned.  That is exciting! :-)
I think that covers everything physical that everyone asks about.  As always, thank you for your love, friendship and prayers! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Check it out

So Ryan just did a video for the Hulbert Ranch - check out his talent!  The link is:  www.hulbertranch.com  The video is on the home page - he is so amazing!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hulbert Ranch Assisted Living

OK - so I know I am not ready to retire (age wise at least - even though I sure feel ready physically sometimes!), but when I do retire - this is where I want to be.

This is a new facility, and I am trying to spread the word.  It is so beautiful there - with very nice rooms and common areas.  There are tons of amenities (housekeeping, yummy meals, indoor swimming, sports court, exercise room, genealogy computers, etc.).  It is designed for high standards (no foul language or media allowed), and is very family oriented.

Please check out their facebook page at:  hulbert ranch assisted living and "LIKE" it.

Also you can see more at their website at:  www.hulbertranch.com

They only have six residents at one time - so it is very individualized and personal.  It is a 6,000 square foot ranch style home resting on 150 beautiful rolling acres - with paved walking paths.  It was designed with active seniors in mind.

PLEASE SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE, you never know who is looking for themselves or a loved one, and this is WAY above anything else you could find.

Sad news

It is has been such a hard year for so many people, filled with all sorts of difficulties.  My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering from trials and loss.

It is with much sorrow that I add to my blog three more recent deaths.

On November 30, my dear friends father/grandfather passed away - Dick Luckow (this was only months after their mother/grandmother passed unexpectedly).

On December 15th, my Uncle Mike (on my Dad's side) passed away.  We are very sad that we won't be able to make it to the funeral tomorrow, since there is snow on the passes to Oregon.  We loved him and our love goes out to all those who loved and will miss him.

On December 22, my Grandpa Bill (on my Mom's side) passed away.  I am trying to figure out a way to go to the funeral for him.  It spans over three days next week, and is in So. Calif., so we will see if I can make it.  Grandpa used to take us out to Garage Sales when we would come visit, and keep us occupied while Mom visited with her Mom, my Nana (who passed in 1986).  He was a decorated war veteran, serving our country with honor.  He will be missed - but I know that he is with my Nana, who was the love of his life.

I am grateful for the gospel, which gives us answers and peace in times such as these.  We will mourn and shed tears for missing our loved ones - but we know they are in a better place, and we will see them again.  In the words of a beloved hymn, "God be with you till we meet again"!

Winning the PIston Cup!

So I found this old post, that somehow never got posted from May 25, 2011 (a year and a half ago).  Although it is late - it was too funny not to post:

So Nathan loves Cars. If you haven't seen the movie, do! In it, the cars are racing to win the Piston Cup. So whenever we want Nathan to hurry, we always tell him "Hurry, so you can win the Piston Cup!"

So the other day, Nathan decided to join Ryan in the restroom. They were both relieving themselves at the same time, and Nathan finishes and yells "I won the Piston Cup of Peeing!".

Holiday Greetings

Yes, I said Holiday.  I do get annoyed when they call it a Holiday Tree (come on now - it's a Christmas Tree), but I don't get annoyed when people say Happy Holidays, because it encompasses everything - Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc.  And having friends from all walks of life and a variety of religious beliefs (including Jewish and Athiest), I do say Happy Holidays when it is a vast greeting.  I wanted to share my Annual letter, even though it is not all inclusive, since it had to cover two years.   Here it is:

Dear Family and Friends,

Here’s what we’ve been up to these last two busy and CRAZY years (2011 & 2012).

Emeryl has become an expensive teenager.  She was a Student Ambassador to Australia for 17 days, got contacts, braces and an iPhone.  She pays for her iPhone by babysitting and doing office work.  She is currently homeschooling for 9th grade, and doing kickboxing with Debbie.  She still is an avid reader/writer; and loves swimming.

Lucy ended up having brain surgery in 2011 to remove one tumor, and had to undergo therapy to walk again after that.  She continues to see doctors in Utah, as well as regular MRI's to monitor the remaining tumors.  She had a growth spurt, lost several teeth, and continues to make new friends wherever she goes.  She is enjoying her first year of middle school in the 6th grade.  She is still a foodie, and loves animals, ladybugs, cooking and anything sweet.

Abigail continues to do amazingly in school, and had an exciting year turning 8, and being baptized.  She also started soccer, playing both outdoor, then indoor; and loving both!  Ryan has to tell her there is NO skipping in soccer.  She has a lean, athletic body, huge hazel eyes, and, like Lucy, has lost several teeth.  She is in 3rd grade now, and is always sharing her hugs with everyone around her.  She still skips around with a smile, humming as she goes.  She loves everything soccer, Barbie, princess and arts & crafts.

Nathan started “real” school with all day kindergarten this year.  He has an amazing ability in math and attention to detail.  He is currently OBSESSED with electronics (iPad, iPhone, DSi, etc.).  He loves to play with his friends and sisters, building and anything to do with transportation (cars, planes, trains, etc.). 

Esther was supposed to start preschool this year, but that didn’t work out – so instead she is attached to Debbie all the time (which makes getting anything done next to impossible).  She has no volume control, and talks all day.  She charms everyone around her, and loves to ask strangers “What’s your name”, then follows with “Nice to meet you (whatever their name is)”.  She loves her Boo Bear, Bubble Guppies, dancing, drawing, “helping” and getting into things, and everything must be PINK.

Debbie is very busy with working from home, taking care of her Mom and 5 kids, serving as 1st Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency at church (our women’s group), kickboxing, housework, laundry, errands, bills, temple work, etc.  She had a few skin cancer surgeries this year, and is now on their “frequent flier” program for biopsies.  She looks forward to the day she has a few free moments to possibly pick back up scrapbooking, do beading, organizing, baking, and having lunch occasionally with friends.

Ryan is constantly busy with work – doing video and assisting Gary with appraisals.  He plays pickle ball every Thursday, and might join a soccer team next year.  He still loves soda, anything MAC, soda, sleep, did we mention soda?

Debbie’s Mom broke her hip, and had surgery; then we found out she had liver disease and liver cancer.  We got her on the transplant list, then the cancer spread, and she was no longer eligible for transplant.  It has been two years of roller coaster emotions, fundraising, tons of trips to San Francisco, tests, etc.  She is terminal, and on limited time.  She moved in permanently with us, and also has a room at Tanya’s house which she visits often.  For details see our blog at:  (www.rynosherd.blogspot.com)

Our travels have included (but aren’t limited to), Disneyland, a Stokes Family Reunion in Utah (where Debbie also saw her friends Scobey and Carrianne – and Lucy saw her doctors), Oregon (to visit family and friends, and spend this Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa Cline – where Ryan cooked the traditional “Grandma” Thanksgiving meal), Australia (for Emmie), Hawaii, Palos Verdes and San Diego (for Ryan and Debbie), and more.

Our hearts and prayers go out to family and friends who have experienced loss these past few years (the passing of loved ones, jobs, storm damages etc.).  We know the value of time with loved ones and the difficulty of trails.  We are so grateful, beyond what mere words can convey, for loving family and friends, and the many blessings we enjoy daily.  We are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and this wonderful time of year to celebrate His birth.  For our friends of all faiths and walks of life, we love you and wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a blessed New Year.  You are forever in our thoughts, hearts and prayers.

With love,

Ryan, Debbie, Emmie, Lucy, Abigail, Nathan and Esther

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yes, no news was good news

Sorry it has been so long since my last post.  I have been so busy with travel, kids and Mom.  As I said before, no news is good news; and Mom has been doing great.  A year ago, we were told Mom had 6-12 months left, but plan closer to the 6 months.  Now, 1 year later, doctors are amazed at Mom's health.  She is doing better than she was a year ago.  They are attributing that to the strict care that Tanya and I are giving to Mom. 
This has been very difficult for all three of us, since Mom is an independent woman, night owl, and foodie.  There are many looking from the outside, who have thought that Tanya and I are harsh and too strict with enforcing Mom's diet and schedule.  They don't understand that Mom's mental capacity has become like a little child - yet she doesn't even realize it herself.  Her temperament and attitude also have changed (people with liver disease get very mean and stubborn), yet she doesn't behave that way around others; so people don't understand the situations we experience "behind the scenes" of what they see.
The results of our tough love, are that Mom is alive, not bedridden, and doing better than she was a year ago.  She is able to travel, visit with people she loves, and finish life long goals.  We have been able to have her with us longer than the doctors thought possible.  Unfortunately, it also means a lot of fighting and heartache to keep her on track.  Tanya nor I want to fight with her, but were willing to do what the doctor asked us to, to keep her healthy and alive.
When the doctor told Mom that due to our strict care, she now could live 2-3 years or more - this did not make Mom happy.  She did not want to live that long if she had to stay on a schedule and specific diet.  After much discussion and heartache, she has informed her doctor that she wants him to do all he can to keep her alive and mobile as long as possible; however, she is going to take back her control of eating what she wants, having her own sleeping schedule, etc.  The doctor was heartbroken and told her that she didn't have the mental clarity anymore to make her own decisions wisely, and it was a mistake that would come with severe consequences.  He also told her that he didn't feel that she should be making this decision due to the confusion and mental incapacity's that she experiences which come with the disease (she has memory loss, no sense of time, confusion, etc - but doesn't realize the extent of it herself), but that he had to leave that up her.
She says that depending on how it goes, she may go back to having Tanya and I control her schedule and diet again; but she will decide that.  She has decided that when she becomes bedridden from her choices, that she wants us to put her in a nursing home for the last little bit of her life.
It will be hard for Tanya and I to watch this, since we know that some of her wrong choices will be from lack of will power, while others will be due to lack of understanding (confusion).  While I am heartbroken that she will shorten her time with us, I also feel that I would rather have 3 months of enjoying her, than 3 years of fighting with her.  I wish I could have 3 years of her making the right choices on her own, keeping her quality of health and quantity of time - but I have to respect her wishes and choices.
Since she still wants the doctors to do all they can, we will still have trips to San Francisco, scans, treatments, etc.  She also wants to have surgery on her knee to remove that screw that is too long, which now causes her a lot of pain since there is no muscle, just skin rubbing against the screw on either side.
This has been a very difficult post for me, as I am NOT eloquent of speech or pen, and always seem to put my foot in my mouth, and offend without any desire or intention to do so.  It is such a touchy situation, and I mean no disrespect to my Mother, whom I love dearly.  I hope I have relayed the information in a sensitive way, with all the love I have for her.  One day I hope to have time to post the light and cute things my children do and say.  For example, the other day Emmie asked Esther what her favorite color was, and Esther said "Pink".  Emmie then asked what her other favorite color was, to which Esther replied "darker pink".  I love my Mom, my kidlings, and my husband!