Monday, June 8, 2015

Rough Roads and Good Samaritans

Ronald McDonald House elevator door

Tuesday morning found us in the clinic for blood draws and port access.  CT scans followed - this time they needed oral contrast as well as IV contrast.  They asked River to put down 750 mls of contrast.  This kiddo has a sensitive stomach these days and half of that later - she was sick!  We managed to keep it down and they proceeded with only half instead of throw it up and have to try again.  

Oncologist pulled up the scans with us.  
*No new cancerous growth!
*Large fluid pocket in abdomen.   Not sure at this point what this is - normal fluid or bile build up.  
*2 spots in the liver don't look normal.  This isn't to say that they are cancerous - just not normal looking.  This could be swelling and trying to recover from surgery.  
*Left lung had one or two cancerous spots in it - that was 1/2 the size of spot before.  Two months ago there were around 8 spots.
We met with the surgeon the next day and asked what her AFP was.  She said that as of that morning there were no results yet, but let's look them up.  She pulled up AFP of 28!!  Tears started to roll down her face of how fantastic this is!!

She said that they would like us to stay in town until a good plan to move forward from here was made.  They have decided to put River on a maintenance chemo that she can do from home for the summer.  August 11th will be scans to check how lungs, liver and the fluid are doing.  

Friday we set out for home.  It was Elder Perry's funeral and traffic was stop-and-go from SLC south.  As I slowed to yet another stop my van started shaking and shut off.  It would not start!  River and I were completely stuck in freeway traffic.  4 lanes over.  No shoulders on either side of the road.  Traffic started to pick up and soon cars were whizzing by on either side of us.  The cars that were stuck behind us had a hard time getting around because the other lanes were moving so fast!
911 was fantastic and said that they had heard a police already radio in that he had seen me and was coming to the rescue.  Thousands of cars passed us, and all we could do was to put our hazard lights on and pray.  One car even pulled up ahead of us and then backed up down our lane and hopped out to see if he could help.  

He came right as our Highway Patrol rescuer was pulling up behind us. He made sure first the car couldn't start.  Then stopped all 4 lanes of traffic by going into the lanes to flag down the cars to stop.  Putting my van into neutral he was able to push me with his big truck to the nearest shoulder where a Highway Patrol just happened to be.  

New stickers on my van :)
Complete with full tank of gas, oil change 2 days before and 4 brand new tires.

I was questioned many times how I was?  
River and I were alive!  Safe!  Out of the Hospital!
Not nauseous!  It was a beautiful day with the perfect temperature- not too hot or too cold, with a breeze blowing past us and a gorgeous view of the rocky mountains, a temple on the hill and a flag blowing in the breeze.  

This sickness has brought a lot into perspective for me.  This is just a thing.  A thing that happens to not start and needs a completely new engine.  But just a thing.  We are okay.  And we have each other.  It will be okay.

 And I get to cross off vacuuming out the van off my to-do list this week!

We saw many tender mercies through this whole adventure.  But the biggest ones were miracles of the heart.  My heart was touched and others including tough mechanics were touched by River's journey, her vibrant spirit and sweet heart.

Tow trucks and mechanic shops, highway patrol officers.  Good friends and family helped drive us from mechanics to their home where we spent the night, got dinner, and borrowed a chitty (off of chitty chitty bang bang - what we call our cars) to get home.  

Words cannot describe how nice it is to all be home together.

River Saying see you later to Tanzi

Our stow-away.  Tanzi is NOT about to be left behind.  When duffel bags start getting packed, Tanzi packs herself in the van.  She crawls in her carseat and will not budge!  She is coming along too!

Glad to see Daddy!

River started to get fuzz up top!
We teased her that she looked just like her chick.  Cute Chicky Fuzz.

Making a treasure map with Susan!  
Our amazing crafting friend :)

When counts and energy are good we enjoy Zumba!

Silver's Report about Sea Otters.

This was such a great time to spend researching Silver's new favorite animal!
Sea Otters are super playful.  Did you know that they wrap their babies in sea weed to keep them in the same spot while hunting for food?  

She enjoyed it SO much!  We watched videos of them and spent several days researching.  
Fun, Fun, Fun!

Ronald McDonald House luggage cart.

Music Therapy in the hospital.

We have a new favorite nurse - Liz!
She was fantastic, and River got a matching scrub top!
Scrubs are my new favorite Mom outfit!
Pockets :)

Playing Cards!

"The Hand of God"
Yongsung Kim
  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God has done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
      [*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth can never buy]
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


  1. Glad she is getting better, and that your all safe. Praying she continues to get better. The otters also wrap them self's in sea weed when they go sleep so they do not float away

  2. Thank you for sharing your testimony. I am uplifted and strengthened everytime I read your posts. The world truly is blessed to have your dear sweet River teaching us all what life truly is about. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be lifted up by your testimony. Thank you! Sending love and prayers for continued good progress for your precious daughter

  3. My goodness. What faith & perspective you truly have. You are able to realize that even though your car trial was HUGE, it is small compared to many other things. So easy to say "why can't we catch a break?"... but knowing all things have purpose. I still think of you & sweet River constantly. Hope you are finding peace, love, and even joy along your difficult journey.

  4. So glad you got out safe! I love otters too.

  5. I shared River's journey with my family for FHE a few weeks back. They were so interested in learning about her. She is a great example of perseverance and faith. Love the Angle Family

  6. Stopped in to check on how you all are doing. I'm glad to read good news. Love you, sweet family. Liz

  7. You have such a sweet family. . I love that you call your car a chitty hahaha, so great. You, Colt, River and your whole beautiful family remain a part of my and Cody's thoughts and prayers. We have hardly been able to get to know each other but family is family and we are so glad that you all are a part of ours. We love you.
    Jessica Heimberger