Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So, what's going on with Abby?

First of all, our trip to Hawaii during spring break was awesome of course!  We love it there, the beach never gets old!  It's always good to spend some time as a family, this is going to get harder and harder to do the next few years with Brock and Britt getting older.  We were able to spend time with friends while we were there as well, in fact, both Brock and Britt went on dates with some friends from home!  Mostly we just hung out having fun.  One really great thing, Abby's legs and feet didn't swell up at all on the flight!  I'm so grateful that we got that problem taken care of.  A couple of really weird things happened with Abby while we were there were that:  we did a really good job keeping sunscreen on her, she didn't even turn red at all, but the third day we were there, she broke out in little blisters all along her chin and her mouth.  It was very painful.  The other weird thing is that after the second day, she had a very strong sensitivity to sun, so much that just walking from the car to the beach in the direct sunlight would physically hurt her.  It was so strange.  She had never had anything like this before, not even when we went to Hawaii last June.  It really stunk because for the rest of the trip she would either have to be in the shade, or in the water, or else she hurt, a lot.  We still haven't figured that one out.  For the most part, we loved our trip and can't wait to go back!

hanging out at Laie point.  I love how happy we all are!

Spending time at the Laie temple

This is one of the beaches right by our house

It was when we got home that Abby started feeling sick, and now, 4 weeks later, she still feels crappy.  She's had a lot of GI issues, stomach cramping, throwing up, diarrhea as well as migraines and she's been exhausted, lots and lots of naps.  The other problem she's having is that her arms and legs keep falling asleep, this would happen 3-5 times every day! The first couple of weeks we thought she just had a virus, and we were just waiting it out.  Then things didn't change, so we talked to the transplant team and they suggested we see our pediatrician and have some labs done.  So we did, and the lab results came back negative.  We thought she had CMV again, and one of the lab results for CMV came back positive, but when we retested, it was negative.  She continued to feel awful, for 4 weeks, some days worse than others, so that's when the transplant team decided they needed to see her to make sure that her heart was okay and to rule rejection and to figure out what's going on!  We went up to Primary Children's on Monday.  Thankfully, the echo and ekg looked perfect, so that ruled out any issues with her heart.  Her blood pressure has been running a little high, so they're changing the dose on that, and they're taking her off one of her medications that after taking for a while can cause numbness in the arms and legs.  Hopefully this will fix that problem.  Because Abby has been having frequent migraines and headaches, we're scheduled to see a neurologist when we go back up the end of May for Abby's annual biopsy.  Hopefully they'll be able to help with this.  Right now we are still waiting for her lab results.  I think it's her eosinophilic colitis again, she had this back in April a couple of years ago.  Here's the link to that post 2 years ago:    They've also talked about her possibly having an autoimmune disorder, if that's the case, we'll deal with that too.  We're almost to the point that we don't even care what it is, we just want to know so that we can help her start feeling better.  Hopefully we'll hear later today and we can start a new plan!

One good thing that has been going on at our house that has definitely made us happy is our new puppy Murphy.  We new that our old shih tzu Rebel was sick and getting sicker and that he wasn't going to make it much longer, so I started looking for a new dog.  Murphy is our new English Cream Golden Retriever and he is the perfect puppy.  He is so stinking cute and hilarious.  We miss Rebel, but we now have our little shih tzu Marli, and our new Golden, Murphy. Murphy is going to be big, we're thinking around 60 pounds.  So far, he's the perfect dog, let's hope it stays that way.

The last exciting thing that is happening at our house is that Brock has decided to go on his mission before playing football at Weber State.  His coaches told him that he should get his papers done and in as soon as possible so that he'll be back for spring ball in 2 years, so Brock and I sat down and filled out all of his papers and submitted them all last Saturday. I think we probably set a new record for fastest time ever!  He thinks he could get his call as soon as next week and that he'll leave the first part of June.  I have mixed emotions about all of this.  Brock will be an excellent missionary, I've always known this, but I don't like to think about not seeing him for 2 years, that's too hard.  With Britt being in nursing school starting in August and being gone all day, and Brock on his mission, I'm going to be lonely!  I guess it's time, but it doesn't make it any easier. For some reason, Brock's thinking he's going to England, I'm thinking South America....but we'll probably both be wrong!

For right now, we just want Abby to start feeling better!  Hopefully they'll find something today that is easy to fix and she can get back to feeling good right away.  A month is a long time to feel sick and not to be able to go to school or anything.  Lots happening, but summer is just around the corner!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Clinic Day!!!

     Clinic day today.  We had to postpone it last week because somehow, even though I got my flu shot, I still ended up with h1n1.  So after two weeks of being sick and missing school, I was finally feeling well enough to get Abby up there.  I do have to say that I'm pretty impressed that Abby didn't catch the flu, we are feeling pretty good about that.  As soon as I was diagnosed, Abby and I both started on Tamiflu and then I went and stayed at my parents for a week to keep Abby safe, I think it far, so good.  Thank you to everyone that brought my kids dinner while I was staying at my parent's house, they were well taken care of! Even though it's been two weeks, I still don't have a voice, but I'm back to work anyway.  Hopefully it will continue to get better.

     Now for clinic day.  When we first walked in, we were grabbed by a lady that wanted to know if we'd be interested in participating in a study they were doing on finding another genetic link to cardiomyopathy.  Of course we said yes, we will always do anything that could potentially help determine the cause of cardiomyopathy.  Brock was with us, which they loved because they wanted siblings of the carrier as well.  So, all 3 of us had a lab draw today.  Brock thought it was sweet because after they took our blood, they gave us each a $25 Visa gift card.  Good day for Brock to come to clinic!  Abby had her echo and then we talked to the transplant team.  The good news is that her heart is  as beautiful as ever, no problems whatsoever.  The not so good news is that her kidneys are not functioning in the normal range, her creatinine is too high.  This is the 3rd time this year that her level has been a too high, and because of that, Abby's going to have to start seeing a pediatric kidney doctor.  We knew this eventually could be a problem, her anti-rejection meds are just so toxic and bad for the kidneys, but I didn't think we'd be dealing with it this soon.  Hopefully, we can do some things now that will save her kidneys for as long as possible. We'll see what the doc says after our first visit.  The other good news is that ever since Abby went off of her med, Amlodopine, about 6 weeks ago, she hasn't had any swelling in her feet and legs, not even once!  I think we finally figured that problem out and it is taken care of now!  Thank goodness, because that was not good. Abby's next clinic visit will be the end of May when we do her annual biopsy again, until then, she just needs to stay healthy, especially through March and our trip to Hawaii!  Also, in May, Abby's going to have some neurological testing done.  Ever since Abby's collapse, when she was not breathing or alive for 15 minutes, she's had some memory problems, and we're starting to see it more and more.  We're going to try and find some things that we can do to help her, school can be frustrating for her sometimes.  Dr. Molina told us today that this is a quite common problem with people that have suffered a cardiac arrest like Abby.  Even though we can't "fix" the problem, we can discover what the best ways are for Abby to learn and store new information.  It just might not be the same as the rest of us.  Abby's excited for this, it should be helpful.  Although clinic wasn't perfect, it was okay.  We know better than to expect perfection anymore.

As for the other two Doman kids.....Britt has her nursing test next week and she has her nursing school application complete and ready to submit.  Then it will be a waiting game.  If she gets in her first attempt, it will be awesome.  But, if she doesn't, that's alright too, she'll just have to decide what her next move is.  She's definitely put the work in!  And Brock, after going through the exciting, yet frustrating recruiting process, has signed to play football for Weber State next year.  It's a little farther away than I wanted him to go, but he is so excited, and I feel like it's going to be a good thing for him.  We spent some time yesterday with the coaches and looking around at the campus.  The coaches that we did meet were great, I know they'll be good to Brock.  I felt a lot more confident about things after talking to them.  It was not an easy decision for Brock, but we both feel like he made the right choice. He's still debating whether or not he'll go on a mission this summer, but I think that right now he's leaning towards going to school for a while first.  Hopefully, he won't be criticized for this choice.  The decision isn't always as cut and dry and some people think, not every kid is the same.  Brock will need support with whatever he chooses to do right now, and I have complete confidence in the choices he makes, he knows what he's doing.  Anyone that knows Brock knows that he's got his head on straight and he's mature enough to do what's best at this time in his life.

Lots of fun and exciting things are going to be happening around here in the next few months, I need to get myself ready for some changes to take place. that's not always easy, I kind of like things how they are right now.  Going through the past 2 years with Abby has made me appreciate the little, easy things and life as it is, I think it will be hard for me to give some of those things up.

Brock visiting the coaches and campus yesterday
Signing his letter of intent to play for Weber State

Best friends forever!  It will be sad to see them all go their different ways next year!

The shadows are bad, it looks like Britt has a disease, but the faces are cute!!  I love these kids!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections and Predictions

2013.....One thing I can say is that it was definitely easier than 2011 and 2012!  Things settled down for us a little bit this last year and we were able to start finding our new "normal."  That doesn't mean that we are normal in any way, we're definitely not, but we've found a place that can seem normal, for right now anyway.

Things I learned in 2013:

Sometimes when you think you have a new boy puppy named Milo, you really have a new girl puppy named Marli.

There's nothing sweeter than seeing one of your kids succeed at something they've worked so hard at and care so much about.  Watching Brock's reaction to winning the state championship was something I'll never forget.  Pure joy.

Sometimes, when you've taken on too much, it's okay to say no or to give something up.  I had to do this recently and it wasn't easy.  I was feeling too overloaded and like I was drowning, something had to go.   I backed out of something I was supposed to do.  I felt guilty for a long time, but I know it needed to be done, it was the right choice.  I'm okay with it now, I think that sometimes you need to say enough is enough.

People are weird.  Okay, I already knew this, but I relearned it this past year.  Some of the people that were the most involved and concerned with Abby during her transplant, are the same people that now never ask me about how she's doing, her name is rarely brought up; But some of the people that stayed in the background when things were crazy are now the ones that are the most concerned with her and continue to ask about her and how she's feeling.  It's strange.  This isn't true for everybody, just a few.  I  haven't been able to figure it out yet.  I don't think it's because they don't care or don't want to know,  but I'm not sure why.  Like I said, people are weird.

Never count on anything.  A month ago, we were pretty sure that Brock was going to be playing football on a scholarship at SUU next year.  The coaches had even asked him if there was anyway he could graduate early and come up to play spring ball with them.  But, a couple of weeks ago, 3 of the coaches, including the one that had been recruiting Brock, left SUU and went to Weber.  Now things are up in the air again.  We'll just have to wait and see how things play out.  I think that signing day is the first week in February.  It will be so nice to have things settled and not worry about it.  We are lucky though, if nothing else works out, Brock can always play at Dixie State, they've been interested in him and in contact with him for a long time.  I'm sure that things will work out just as they should.

You can't lose weight with just good intentions, dang it.  I wanted to get back in shape and work hard, I wanted to really badly, but it didn't happen.  I guess I have to act on those good intentions.

Abby and holidays don't mix.  She was sick on Christmas this year too.  For some reason, Abby is always sick on holidays.  It breaks my heart, it really stinks.

I love it when my family is all home and together at the same time.  I know these days are numbered, my kids are getting old and are going to be doing other things soon, but for now I'll just enjoy it as much as possible.

There's no better, more peaceful and relaxing place, then the beach in Hawaii.  I love it there, it's heaven for me.  I wish I could live there.

It's really hard not to properly be able to say thank you for a gift.  Especially a gift that saved the life of your child.  We hope and pray that someday, we'll be able to meet Abby's donor family to let them know how grateful for we are for the decision that they made back on July 12th, 2011.  Without them deciding to donate their loved one's heart, Abby might not be with us today.  I just want to thank them in person.  Maybe it will happen this year.

Probably the most important thing that I learned in 2013 is that I can survive anything and come out okay.  We had 2 really hard years, really hard and I'm still here and I'm doing well. It didn't beat me, in fact, I'm better for what we went through.  I'm stronger than I thought.

Shell's 2014 Predictions (I'm sure that some of them will be way off, but I'm going to try anyway):

Britt will apply to and get into nursing school at Dixie State.  She'll be applying soon, keep your fingers crossed for her, she deserves it.

Brock will be playing football at SUU on a full-ride scholarship.

Abby will be a sophomore at Desert Hills and will pass the driving test and get her learner's permit in May.  Scary, I know.

I will get in shape and lose weight.  I'll get back on my bike and back in the pool.  This is the year that I have time to take care of myself again.

Abby will have a hospital stay.  I'm not being negative, I've just been feeling it.  Hopefully, this is the one that I'm wrong about!

I'll still be in medical debt!  Ha!  I can predict this for a long time :)

We will have trials, I don't expect things to be easy, but we'll be okay next December 31st too.

There you go, my predictions.  I actually am not a real fan of New Year's.  It just means that the gym is going to be crowded for a couple weeks, but it is a good time to reflect and refocus.  I know that most people look forward to adventure and excitement, but I'm looking forward to peace and normalcy, that's what I'm hoping that our new year brings.  I've heard people say that for the new year they choose one word to focus on and to live by, a one-word resolution.  My word for 2014 is contentment.  "The acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity,"  "A source of satisfaction," "ease of mind." I want to be content with where we are today and where I am at the end of this year.  I want to be content with the decisions that I'm making.  I want to have a life full of contentment in 2014.  What's your one-word resolution?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crappy Halloween, clinic, changes in meds, and a championship!!!

     My last post was on October 14th, since then, we've had lots of ups and downs around here!  I can't believe that I didn't even post about Abby's clinic either, but I've been busy just trying to keep up.

Things started out great in October, and then, in a typical Abby and October manner,  she got sick, really sick.  She was feeling awful.  So crappy that we ended up calling the transplant team and getting her in to see our pediatrician.  Abby wouldn't eat or drink anything and she was feeling so tired, she was sleeping all day long.  She ended up going in to the hospital twice to get fluids and lab draws to find out what was wrong.  The first time was a fiasco!  The nurse tried 4 times to get blood and didn't have any luck, so she had to call up backup to help her.  It wouldn't have been so bad, but Abby also had a serious migraine at the time.  The one funny thing that happened, was that after about 45 minutes of the nurse poking and searching for blood and Abby crying, Britt called to talk to Abby to try to make her feel better.  Abby was too upset to even talk to her, so Britt said to put her on speaker phone.  Then she said, out loud so everyone in the room could hear her, including the nurse, "Abby, just because you have an idiot nurse, doesn't mean you have to be a butthole!"  Yep, out loud for everyone to hear, it was awesome.  I hurried and turned the phone off speakerphone.  I got a good laugh out of it, Abby not so much, and I think that Britt was just embarrassed...and the nurse didn't know what to say!  A few days later it was back for more fluids, this time we tried the ER and we had a lot more luck.  The bad thing was that it was on Halloween....Abby's 3rd year in a row being in the hospital on Halloween.  What a bummer!  Thankfully the labs all came back negative and after almost 2 weeks Abby started feeling better.  I guess it was just a nasty virus and she has been feeling better since then.

Right after Abby got feeling better, she had clinic.  We went 10 weeks without a clinic visit!  The transplant team told us that her heart, as well as everything else, looked perfect and that we wouldn't have to go back for another 3 months, that was good news!  We made it into a fun weekend while we were there.  We celebrated by going shopping and out to lunch with Abby's transplant friend Miabella and her mom. It's always fun to see our friends from up north!  Then we got to watch Brock win his quarterfinal football game, and I was able to spend some much needed, quality time with some good friends as well.  All in all it was a good weekend.
But, to keep us on our toes, about a week and a half ago, Abby started getting the swelling and redness that's usually in her legs and feet, in her arms too.  One day, it was even in her cheeks.  This is something that has been hard for Abby since transplant.  Sometimes we think that it's something that she can just live with if necessary, but then it flares up and we think that we need to figure out what's causing it, this was one of those times.  We heard from some other transplant recipients that it could possible be from one of her blood pressure medications, so I called the transplant team to see if we could make some changes to see if we could finally get to the bottom of this.  They have always been extremely reluctant to make any changes to Abby's meds because every time they've made a change, it throws everything off.  But after talking to the doctors, they came up with a plan, this was just last Wednesday.  The plan was for one week, to lower her dose of Amlodopine, which regulates her blood pressure, but also helps with her pulmonary hypertension, that's why they didn't want to take her completely off of it.  We have been tracking her blood pressure, morning and night during this time to make sure that it doesn't raise too much.  They really didn't think that this would help her swelling, but it was worth a try.  The funny thing is that since Wednesday, her swelling has actually been worse, not better!  She had to leave school early on Thursday, and she had major problems yesterday after our drive up north too.  I'm supposed to call again on Wednesday and let them know how things go.  If we don't see an improvement, we're going to be referred to a vascular specialist to see if that's where the problem is.  If they can't figure out, we're going to keep searching.  Something is causing this, and for some reason it seems to be getting worse.  I don't think it's something that Abby can just live with anymore.  We've got to figure it out and do whatever is necessary to fix it.  Thankfully her blood pressure has remained steady even going half off of one of her meds.  I just feel good that we are finally trying to do something about it!  I will keep you posted, but I have a feeling we'll be making a trip up north this month to see another group of doctors.

.......and now to the "up" part of our past month.  We've spent the last 3 weeks traveling up north every weekend to watch Brock and the Thunder play football!  They just kept winning, and last night they won the state championship!  I've never seen Brock happier than he was last night after the game.  He couldn't stop smiling and crying and yelling and hugging everyone, it was just too awesome.  I know that many of you have already seen the pictures and read the Facebook posts, but I have to put it in our blog too for when I print up our blog book again.  It's our family record of what's going on.  The game last night came down to the last second.  It was the perfect ending to a sweet high school career.
Brock had an incredible season this year, he played really well.  Brock loves football, he loves to work hard, and he loves the game.  He's been very blessed to play for Desert Hills, he's played at Rice Eccles each year since he was a sophomore, finally, this year, they took home the trophy.  The senior class that he plays with is full of talent and good kids as well.  The coaches are amazing.  They've always been good to Brock both on and off the field.  I've always been grateful for the coaches in Brock's life because his dad doesn't want to be a part of his life.  It's good for him to have some positive role models to look up too.  Brock is also lucky because he has the shape and size of a football player, but he also has the desire and motivation, he knows how to work.  It isn't official yet, but there's a pretty good chance that he'll be playing football for SUU next year, we'll just have to see how things play out from here.
Brock and Coach Franke, I love how happy they both look!

Britt.....nice earmuffs!

The captains heading out for the coin toss.

Brock and some of the greatest kids ever!  It will be hard to see all of these boys head their separate ways after this year, I hope they'll remain friends forever.

This is the crew at the semi-final game, it was much colder at the championship.

Abby and  Britt with their Thunder gear and ready to go!

The Game!

Brock after the semi-final game, already looking forward to the state championship.

Crazy, but proud mom at the game!!!  I will truly miss watching Brock play high school football, I think I love it as much as he does!

It's been quite the month at my house.  I always think that things will settle down, but I'm starting to realize that they never will.  I feel stretched pretty thin most of the time, but mostly I'm just so thankful for where we are today.  I've been blessed with the greatest kids, they're amazing in every way, what more could I ask for??  I'm the luckiest and most blessed mom ever!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Doman update!

I can't believe it's almost 2 months since my last post!  Either I'm slacking, or I just don't have too much say, or maybe a little of both.  This will be a catch up post, I really don't have too many updates.  But, to start with, here's some humor.  We've been looking at some old pictures and slides and movies at my parent's house, and we came across a few old family favorites.
I had to wear this on my head after my mom put my pink, foam curlers in my hair.

Pretty cute, I know. 
I love my brother's leather vests.  We always joke that they were made out of old couches.
I don't know what my mom was thinking.  Nice Polygamous dresses on me and Meri, and my brother's collars are so stylish.

 And now for the more current news.........

Britt-I don't have any pics of Britt, and not a whole lot of new stuff to talk about either.  Nursing school applications start after this trimester.  We're hoping and praying that she's accepted to Dixie State's nursing school.  She's done everything that she can, so it should happen.  Lots of school and night shifts as a CNA is what Britt is up to.

Brock-Football, football, and more football.  The Thunder has lost their last 2 games, but will rebound this week against Snow Canyon on Wednesday.  Brock has been playing really well and gets emails, texts, facebook messages, and postcards for schools all around the US.  But, we'll see what scholarship offers he gets after the season ends.  I can't believe it will all be over in about one month.  They only have 2 more regular season games, and then it's playoff time.
We did have a big scare last month with Brock at the West High game.  A player on West did a total cheap shot at Brock's leg during a play at the end of the game.  Brock heard a loud popping noise and couldn't walk on his leg at all.  He was carried off the field.  When I saw that happening, I knew it was serious, Brock has never been hurt so much that he missed any playing time.  After being checked out on the sidelines, we thought Brock had torn his ACL and would be missing the rest of the season.  He was devastated.  I was so impressed with the outpouring of love and support that we got, not only from the players on the team but the parents and our friends as well.  I think that everyone was thinking, "are you kidding me?  this cannot happen to the Doman's, they've had their share!"  The boys on team were especially amazing.  I could truly see the love they had for Brock, not only as a player, but as a brother.  They were all crying right along with Brock, some of them even more than Brock was!    No matter what happens the rest of this season, I know in my heart who the greatest team in Utah is.  We went straight to the ER in Salt Lake and thankfully, my cousin was the doctor working that night.  It was good to have him be there, he was in on the blessing that Brock was given along with some coaches and my dad too.   The xray showed that nothing was broken, so that was good.  We spent the rest of the weekend waiting for an MRI and believing that Brock's season was over, not only his season, but potentially his college scholarship as well.  I know that I was in a very dark place.  It kind of scared me that I was that close to being in a place I never want to be in again.  I think I had given up on my life being easy and trouble free and I wasn't willing to try to climb out of that hole again, I've had to too many times this past 2 years.  Finally, on Sunday afternoon, and thanks to some serious help from a friend, Brock had his MRI.  It came back showing no tears in either his ACL or his MCL.  What a relief!!!  After visiting with his doctor the next day, we found out that he tore his gastrocnemius muscle.  We were also told that it's a good thing that Brock is as strong as he is, or his knee would have been blown out for sure.  The hit was cheap, very cheap.  Brock missed about 3 weeks of football and is now feeling good again.  The biggest problem with this injury is that that muscle has a tendency to tear again after it's been torn once, so I now sit on the sidelines just praying that it doesn't happen again or his season will be over.  But, it's not going to hold him back from winning the state championship this year.  I think it will be as sad for me as it is for Brock when it ends, I love watching him play football!

Abby-Abby has been doing pretty good since we made a few changes in her schedule.  For the first month and a half of school Abby got sick.......a lot.  Nothing major, just stomach bugs, then sore throats, then coughs, etc.  etc.  She finally came to me one day and told me that she was sick of feeling crappy and being sick too tired to do anything fun after school and that she wanted to try online school.  At first, I was completely against it, school and friends is where the fun is!  But, after lots of conversations (and arguments) we decided to compromise and it's been perfect.  Abby does her core classes online, and her electives at the school.  She only has to go to school every other day for just the afternoon.  Abby has loved it!  She is very self-motivated, so the online courses work well for her, and she still gets to have the social with her friends at school.  Abby said that she has learned more this past month then she learned the past couple of years because she's had to miss so much school.  For this year, we're sticking with it and then we'll re-evealuate again next year.  This is Abby after her choir concert last week.  It's always awesome to see Abby do anything.
We haven't gone to clinic since August 19th and aren't scheduled to go until November 6th.  I can't believe we're going to make it almost 3 months.  In fact, I've only missed 1 day of school all year!  We're both nervous about making it through October because the past 2 years Abby has been in rejection in October both years.  We're hoping it's not a curse and that we miss it this year!  Abby does feel pretty good most of the time.  She's been having some stomach issues lately, but after chatting with other transplant parent's tonight, it seems like the majority of these kids are having issues with one of the anti-rejection med levels being too high for some reason.  I might request a blood draw just to make sure that all of her levels are where they're supposed to be.  We don't need any shockers at clinic in November.

Me-I've been good.  The hardest thing I'm dealing with is trying to stay on top of medical bills, they're never ending.  My insurance deductibles just started over in August too, so I'm right back where I started plus what I didn't pay off last year.  I sometimes feel like I will always be in medical debt, in fact, I know I will be.  I just got Brock's new MRI bill today and I still haven't paid off his surgery and MRI's from last year!  ughhhhh, it's never ending, but I can deal with it.  I'm going to be selling my book at the Dicken's Festival down here in St. George in November and hopefully that will help.  OTher than that, things are good.  School is hard, but fun.  I love teaching, it's just what I do.  It's been nice to be able just focus on the regular for a while.

I saw this on Facebook today and I like it.  If you ever start thinking that I'm crazy or find yourself asking, "What is wrong with Michelle???" just remember this saying.  And someday you might find me acting like this again, it's not that far off, some of you have seen it already (I'm the one on the bed in the glasses and bandana, singing Guns and Roses, Sweet Child O' Mine......I remember it so well!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lots to talk about!

I know, I know, it's been a very long time and a lot has happened.  Thankfully, none of it has been medical, Abby had a very healthy summer; In fact, she didn't get sick once!  I'm just going to update on a few things that have happened since my last post.

I talked in our last post about our new puppy "Milo."  Later that week, when we took Milo to the vet for the first time, we had a great surprise!  We found out that we didn't have a boy puppy, we had a girl puppy.  You'd think it would be obvious, but really, we were told it was a boy and we never checked. Why would we?  The dogs legs were only about an inch long so we just couldn't see it, we would have had to intentionally check it out, and we just never did.  Anyway, Abby and I had a good laugh over that one!  We now own a girl puppy and her name is Marli. She's probably the funniest puppy I've ever seen, great personality.  She's the cutest puppy too!  I think she's already doubled in size since when we first got her.  Rebel still thinks she's annoying, but she'll grow up eventually.

One fun thing that Abby got to do this summer was that she got to go to our church's girl's camp.  This was the first year that Abby's really been able to go.  Obviously 2 summers ago she couln't go, and last summer she only was able to make it for one day.  So, she was pretty excited to go this year.  I'm also in the young women's so I got to go too.  We had a blast!  It was fun to be able to see Abby do one of those things that most girls probably take for granted.  This was our group and what a great group it was!  We spent the days hanging out and playing games and the the nights were spent laughing by the fire!  We can't wait for next year.

The week before we went back to school, my dad decided that he wanted to take us on a trip to SanFrancisco.  Unfortunately, Britt and Brock couldn't go because of work and football, so my mom and dad, me, Abby and my niece Mina, spent 5 days hanging out and school shopping in San Fran.  We had a great time.  The girls loved riding the cable cars everywhere and trying on every article of clothing in the stores.  We ate delicious food, spent time at the Wharf and Pier 39, and the girls got completely spoiled!!!!  It was the perfect get-away to end the summer.  The only problem was that we walked so much that by the time we got back to the hotel, Abby's ankles were swollen bigger than her thighs.  But, she would get up the next day and be ready to go again.  Thanks dad!

After our trip, it was back to school!  School started on Wednesday, the 14th, and on the next Monday, Abby had clinic, so we had to miss the 4th day of school.  But, it actually ended up being perfect timing.  My sweet Grandma Lambert passed away that same week and her funeral was on the Saturday before clinic, which was perfect for us because we were already going to be in Salt Lake.  Her funeral was so perfect.  All of my cousins and their families were there.  I can't remember the last time we were all together.  It was fun to catch up with all of them.  During the funeral each one of the grandkids stood up and told a short memory of my grandma.  It was so interesting to hear each of the things that stood out to us......It ranged from her obsession with Aloe Vera, to being a Ute fan, to stories about the cabin in Midway, to just the times we were able to sit and chat with her.  My favorite part of her funeral was when the grandkids and great grandkids all stood up and sang the closing song,"Families can be together Forever."  I know my grandma loved seeing that, it must have made her proud.  Hopefully, it won't take a funeral to get us all together again.

Abby and I stayed in salt Lake all weekend, but Brock and Britt had to go home after the funeral.  Britt was starting school again and Brock couldn't miss football.  Clinic for Abby couldn't have gone any better.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING looked perfect!  Her kidney function looks great, her heart is perfect, even her med levels were right on.  Absolutely no problems.  We don't have to go back for 3 months!  The longest stretch ever.  We also delivered another letter for Abby's donor family to our social worker.  Maybe now, they'll be ready to make contact.  We're not going to push it too hard, when they're ready, we'll be ready.  We all feel like if it's supposed to happen, it will.  We will continue to send them occasional cards and letters thanking them and letting them know of Abby's continued health, but we know that they'll contact us when the time is right.

Later that night, Abby was lucky enough to be able to speak at the Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation golf fundraiser at Jeremy Ranch.  What a great opportunity for Abby!  We thought that there would be other speakers there too, but when we got to the dinner we saw that Abby was the featured guest!  We had written her talk together the day before.  She was supposed to tell her story and talk about all of the things that she's been able to do since her transplant.  There were about 60 + people there, most of the them were men.  Most of them had tears in their eyes as Abby talked about what happened to her and how thankful she was for her donor family's decision to donate their loved one's organs.  When she was done talking, they all stood up and gave her a standing ovation, it was awesome.  I was extremely proud of Abby!  She was confident, yet humble, and so sincere.  I'm so grateful she was able to do this and we both hope she has even more opportunities to share her story.
To be honest with you, I've had probably the busiest start to any school year that I ever remember.  In the last 2 weeks I've helped both Abby and Brock write talks for church, helped Abby write her fundraiser talk, taught 2 young women's lessons, given a short talk at my grandma's funeral, written a letter to Abby's donor family (this is one of the hardest things to do!!), had back to school night, and started back to school.  I'm officially beat up already.  I decided that it got so busy so fast that when things slow down again, it will seem easy.  Even though it's so much busier than our summer was!

To update what Britt and Brock are doing:  Britt just started her 2nd year at Dixie State.  She'll be applying for nursing school after this semester.  We're hoping she gets into the nursing school at Dixie State, but this won't be easy.  She's been working almost full time as a CNA at the Cliff View care center.  I'm so thankful every day that she worked so hard in school and got a scholarship.  We haven't had to pay a penny for her schooling yet, and we shouldn't have to for her first 4 years.  I love it when hard work pays off!

Brock is a senior this year.  They had their first football game last Friday and won 12-0.  Brock played great.  He's going to be fun to watch this year.  I think the team is capable of winning the state championship this year, how sweet would that be for his senior year?  For our friends up north, they'll be playing at West High on September 6th at 7:00 if you want to come watch.  He won't play up there again until the state games in November.  We're still not sure where he'll be going to school, we'll just have to see how he plays this season.  Once again, his hard work should pay off when it comes time to go to college.

Game Night.  Desert Hills 12, Stansbury 0
My favorite part of the game....Brock is #77!

Although things are busy, they are good.  We'll get back in the swing of things again here very fast.  We're hoping and praying for a school year full of good health for everyone in the family and maybe even a little bit of peace and down time :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Milo and Derek

**Notice the link on the right side of the blog now that you can click on to buy "Abby's Miracle."  Thanks for the help Britt, and if you still need a copy of the book, you can buy it on the link or email me and I'll get it to you:

I can't believe summer is halfway over already!  The first 5 weeks was the craziest for us.  Not only did we go to Hawaii for a week, but we always made 4 trips to Salt Lake, that's right, 4 trips in 4 weeks!  But, as far as I know, we won't be going up again until August.   Coming home from Hawaii was extremely depressing, I had no worries there, it was perfect; But, life goes on and we've had a couple of exciting things happen since we got home.

First, we've had two little Shih Tzu dogs for about 4 years.  They were twins and looked almost exactly the same.  Well, one of them, Gus, was having some skin problems that the vet was having a hard time figuring out.  We had tried many things, even Prednisone, but we couldn't determine the cause or the cure.  It was making Gus miserable, he was scratching all the time and was sick too.  I finally decided that we weren't being good owners if we continued to make him suffer like he was.  It was not easy, but I took him to the vet to be put to sleep.  I hated it, Gus was my buddy, but it needed to happen.

Our other dog, Rebel, followed Gus everywhere and we were afraid he was going to be lonely, so we decided to get him a new friend.  We got another little, 6-week-old Shih Tzu puppy, and after a lot of arguing and debating, we decided to name him Milo (or should I say that Abby decided to name him Milo.)  Brock's top choice was Zeus, and when you see the puppy, you'll understand why that wouldn't work, and Britt wanted to name him Kevin, I don't think we even need an explanation about why we didn't choose that name. Nobody really cared what I wanted to name him, so Milo was the name.  He's adorable.  I don't know if I've ever seen a cuter puppy.  He's Abby's dog and she just can't get enough of him, actually, none of us can.  He's a lot of work though, but I think we can handle it.  We sure miss Gus, but we love our new Milo.

He's actually pretty smart too.  He's now only 7 weeks old and he's already using our doggie door.  Our goal is to have him completely house trained by the time we go back to school in August.  Milo mostly just annoys Rebel and tries to bite his tail, but I bet they'll be friends when he gets a little older.

Last week I also got an email from the foundation director at Primary Children's.  We had been in contact the past few weeks because they had asked if Abby would be willing to be a speaker at their big golf fundraiser coming up in August, which she is going to do.  But, this time they wanted to invite her to the new music therapy room ribbon cutting at Primary Children's.  Of course that meant another 600 miles of driving, but Abby really wanted to go.....and good thing we did!  As we were standing out in the hall waiting to go into the ceremony, Abby and Britt's biggest, most famous heartthrob walked by. It was so funny, Abby's cheeks turned bright red and she couldn't even talk.  I couldn't figure out who he was, but finally Abby whispered, "It's Derek!!! Derek from Dancing With the Stars!"  How could I not know that?????  As soon as he walked by again, and after Abby wiped the drool from her chin, we were able to get a picture, and Abby was set for the day!  When we sent the picture to Britt, she was so mad that she didn't come with us!  She was so jealous, I think she maybe even shed a tear or two :)

When we got home, I had to make the picture memorable, so thanks to Costco, Abby now has a poster of her and Derek hanging in her room.

The rest of the day at Primary Children's was also fun and we were able to spend the day with some of heart friends too.  Abby and the other kids had a front row seat to listen to both Linkin Park and the Stone Temple Pilots perform some of their songs.  We were able to tour the new Forever Young zone and the new music therapy room too, they are both amazing.  Abby actually said that she'll be excited to spend some time in there next time she's admitted, which is hopefully never!!!  It was a good day and I think it was even worth the drive.  Here's a link to the story that was on KUTV:

Linkin Park
Stone Temple Pilots

Matthew Sperry, a heart transplant friend,  cutting the ribbon!
Abby and Steve Young

Last thing....This Friday, the 12th,  is Abby's 2-year heart anniversary!  We are going to do the same thing that we did last year and make in the 2nd annual "Pay if Forward for Abby" Day!  If you're on Facebook, go to the page and see what we did last year.  Or, you can click this link and see what we did last year:
To honor Abby's donor family and to show how thankful we are for her new heart, we ask everyone to do something for someone else on July 12th, Pay it Forward for Abby!