Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sitting at her Feet

I'm sitting at her feet.

And words cannot express how comforting it is to be next to my mom's hospital bed.

She is sleeping. Sleeping and Snoring.

Her breathing is labored.

I waited 14 days to place my bum in this rigid chair. 14 days too long.

Surrounding my chair is the bare space mom studied not long ago. It's chillingly familiar but I'm comforted by the fact that I'm only an arm's reach away rather than the alternative - hundred's of miles away.

I am thankful for this moment.
Thankful that I am here.
Thankful that I can just be.

Be with my mom, sitting at her feet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

D Day

Wednesday was Decision Day. The weight on my mom Sharon's shoulders determining what her treatment would be was very heavy.

When she met with Dr. V the test results were conclusive. Leukemic cells were found in 90% of the bone marrow. Mom is not only fighting Acute Myelogenous Leukemia but also features of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia . With these findings Dr. V recommended one course of action.

The drug of choice is Clofarabine. It has been an effective treatment for patients with AML and/or ALL who have relapsed after remission. The drug is aggressive and it is her best option lest she desire the alternative...which she doesn't. We have high hopes that this drug will kill all of the bad cells and do it quickly.

Dr. V estimates that her hospital stay will be about 30 days. (we're hoping it's less!)

And I'm hoping that she will achieve remission again.

It was Jesus who gave my mom the gift of life these past 14 months. And anyone who knows her can give affirm that her life has been a testimony of God's goodness.

I know that God could choose to heal my mom completely. God has the power to erase her cancer and align all of her blood counts. It could be that He plans to and it could be that he doesn't plan to. Either way I know that my faith is being stretched and that God desires for me to trust Him during this time of trouble.

P.S. A remission report will definitely make headlines. Instead of 'D Day' it will be 'V Day' = Victory Day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Devastating News

I have bad news about my Mom's health.

Devastating news.

So devastating that it has taken me an entire week to actually sit down and share the news of my mom Sharon's relapse with you. Each day I've had the goal of writing a post but I've found myself tired and void of extra time and energy.

This morning isn't much different but I'm finding it helpful to click the keys and share what's going on - what's on my heart.

Here's the bottom line.

My mothers leukemia has returned. It doesn't look good.

Relapse in Acute Myleogenous Leukemia is common however we were hoping Sharon would fall outside statistical lines and have many more years of living. She responded favorably to treatment and has rebuilt her system with nutritional supplements. She looks great and she feels great. If you saw her you would never guess that she is a terminal patient. (picture taken with Carissa Christmas Day 2009)

If you want to understand Sharon's disease here is a short tutorial from
  • "Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In AML, the bone marrow makes many unformed cells called blasts. Blasts normally develop into white blood cells that fight infection. However, the blasts are abnormal in AML. They do not develop and cannot fight infections. The bone marrow may also make abnormal red blood cells and platelets. The number of abnormal cells (or leukemia cells) grows quickly. They crowd out the normal red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets the body needs
The devastating news of Mom's relapse came shortly after her monthly doctor's visit. During the appointment Dr. V expressed minimal concern over her blood work but it was understood that he was going to send her labs in for further testing. When she received a call two days later Dr. V told her that the labs showed a return of leukemic cells and that she is out of remission.

Hours later my brother sat by her side while Dr. V shared the harrowing realities and outlined her options.

Unfortunately options are limited.

Sharon has also consulted with the head physician at City of Hope, the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center in Phoenix, AZ. His assessment, while delivered with honest professionalism, was sobering.

A sobering confirmation of the devastating news.

For now we are awaiting extensive test results from a lab in California. Also, on Tuesday (January 26th) Sharon will have a bone marrow biopsy. The combination of these test results will better equip her Doctor about her condition. In light of this information my mom will evaluate and ultimately decide her treatment plan.

Her decision is pivotal. We all agree that her decision about treatment is hers. No one can make this decision for her. She has to own the decision and live and die the decision. literally.

So, along with our family, will you please join us in praying for my Mom Sharon?Please Pray:
  • Sharon is able to discern God's voice and direction well.
  • That Sharon experiences peace about her decision and treatment plan.
  • For clear test results and wisdom for Dr. V and the medical team
  • That our family would know how to best love and support Sharon through this health crisis
  • That our family, in the bigger sense would walk through this trial well
  • For Sharon's dreams to be made possible - for her wish to be to travel with our family to Disneyland, for a family reunion and for other special memory trips
Thank you for your prayers and for walking this road alongside me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fa la la la la la la

Our annual 'Caroling Party' was a wonderful time celebrating the season with those close to our hearts. It was a time of sweet fellowship, sharing yummy food together and singing the carols of Advent by piano, hammered dulcimer, oboe, and violin.
(Angie with Nancy)
(Steph, Angie, Stephanie, Teresa, Tammy)
(and special mom!)

Until next year,
Fa la la la la la la

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Token Rudolf

Apparently Rudolf the red nosed reindeer made a smashing appearance at the staff Christmas party in Dec.
So smashing that he won 1st place in the 'crazy Christmas hat contest'. I'm telling you, I would have totally won if I would have known that there was going to be such a contest. I simply found out minutes before leaving the party when my sweet husband showed me what he had rigged up. After many giggles and me helping him to find a 'red nose' he simply handed me a traditional Santa hat to wear. It all turned out though because Rudolf's prize included a little Starbucks love!Brian (our youth pastor) and his wife Lori got 2nd and 3rd places.And Doug (counselor) and his teaching wife Jan just looked too cute for words.
Here's some of use ladies simultaneously stirring 4 pots of cheese fondue.
Bon Apetite!
A memorable evening!
I so appreciate and enjoy hanging out with our church staff!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Muffin Man Song

Nana made these wholesome muffins with Caleb and Carissa yesterday.Muffins must have still been on the brain because when Carissa got up from her nap today she insisted on putting on her chef's hat and apron and making me some cookies while singing the 'Muffin Man' song.

Don't you love the key change midway through the song?

But seriously, listening to her sing made my grrrr day all better.


Its been one of those days.

Not a bad day but kind of a grrrrrr day.

Woke up this morning and severely stubbed my left pinky toe on a wood shelf awaiting hanging in our bathroom. I gasped so loud that even Caleb ran to my side and said "I'm sorry mommy" "that hurt!".


Got the kids off to preschool without a glitch and then headed to the Denver airport to drop my mom off for her departing flight to AZ.

Just as I was pulling to a stop at her airline entrance I see red and blue flashing lights in my rear view mirror. I thought, surely those lights are not for me, the officer must be pulling over for something else.

In line with the grrrr-ness I look to my left and the officer was at my drivers window asking for my license and registration.

Apparently, my license tags had expired. In August!

So along with the news flash came a $90 fine. And the consolation that the fee won't go on my record. Thank you very much.

After getting my stupid yellow ticket I was grrrrr (again) and then became weepy over having to say such a quick goodbye to my mom. Since my mom's leukemia diagnosis goodbye's are more difficult.

While driving South I remembered that there was a great Japanese take out so I stopped and ordered two spring rolls - 2 chilled white paper wraps with white chicken, basil, avocado, cucumber, carrots and peanut dipping sauce. Yum.

Because I got them 'to go' I practically salivated the entire way home.

When arriving at the DMV to up-date my tags I was alerted by a sign that they had relocated.


And when I got to the new location and told the DMV lady that I never received a post card reminding me to pay for my new tags she said that the postcard reminders were nixed when funding was cut. So, in case you live in El Paso County don't just assume you'll get a reminder notice, just pay online the month that the tags expire.


And just when I sat down to enjoy my two spring rolls I spilled the coveted peanut sauce on my desk. Don't think I wasted it after driving miles to enjoy it though. I just dipped my spring roll in the sauce on my desk. (my mom would die - what if it was a little dirty?)

And now? My son is crying because he doesn't want to take a nap. He says "its so hard" and that "he is waiting patiently to play". Maybe he thinks naps are grrrrr.

Thankfully, its not a bad day. Just grrrrr.

No more grrrrr tomorrow. It will be a new day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Catching Up

I'm planning to catch up on Dec. events so you can expect some new posts coming soon!

It was a festive month of parties, hanging out, and celebrating the season with friends and family.

Also, prior to Dec. I missed announcing my new nephew born to my brother Brian and his wife Angela. They are proud parents (as they should be!)and are adjusting well to a new baby.

*************Kyle Scott Koontz**************
born Nov. 7, 2009a first smile at DaddyAnd a proud Nana!

Cookie Houses

The kids made these Cookie Houses at preschool and got to bring them home for break. Their teacher, Ms. Vicki does not assist the children when making their projects so this is their own personal masterpiece!Caleb was especially excited about eating the candy! And truth be told, I was especially excited when the candy was about gone and we got it out of sight, out of mind.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our Getaway

Today is my day to kick up my heals and celebrate 11 years of marriage to my life companion.

I love him!

Here's pictures (finally!) of our vacation in Mexico celebrating us. It was truly spectacular!
We took many walks on this beach everyday. I love the feeling of the hard sand underfoot.
On a recommendation we stayed at the Barcelo Maya about 1 hour south of Cancun, Mexico.The resort was beautiful. Our room was located about one hundred steps from the pool (which extends forever!)The food and drinks were all inclusive.
It was a continuous 'party in our mouth'.
The Teppanyaki restaurant was a highlight. The Surf and Turf was soooo yummy!This is what my breakfast looked like on many mornings. I couldn't get enough of the papaya. It was delicious!One day we took an adventure by public bus to the Tulum Ruins. Tulum is considered one of the most beautiful of the Mayan Ruins. It is relatively small and poised on the fifteen-meter-high cliffs above the blue Caribbean Sea.After Tulum we went to Akumal Bay (place of the turtles in Mayan). The beaches of Akumal, Mexico are nesting grounds for two endangered species of sea turtles. We snorkeled off of this beach and swam with huge sea turtles, sting rays and a huge school of Sargent major fish (huge school = too many to count. maybe 5,000?).It was thrilling.
me and my Hubby, the love of my lifethis trip. to 'us'...a worthy investmentworth shouting for
Here's to walking another 11 years together.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.