Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the Mend!

Okay people, I'm on the mend and feeling like a million bucks!  The surgery was a huge success and I'm officially tumorless...Yay :)
So here are the updates:  The tumor was much bigger than expected (6 cm) and the darn thing had wrapped itself around my vocal cord nerve.  So the doctor had to cut the nerve to get the tumor out.  As a result, I'm pretty hoarse which is a significant trial for a chatterbox such as myself but I'm learning to deal. And the doctor says in time my voice will return but I'll probably never sing in the Mo Tab.  I guess that's fine.  My soprano career is over, but you better believe I'll rock the alto section in the ward choir!  I'll take a little bit of a hoarse voice though, if it means I get to be cancer free, and I know there are lots of cancer patients who have it much worse than me, so I feel pretty lucky.
Oh and additional good news, my doctor called a few days after the surgery and said that even though the tumor was large, it was encapsulated in the thyroid and hadn't spread to the lymph nodes or other tissues...What a relief.  So after radiation, I'll be cancer free!
So now what?  Well, I'm seeing a speech therapist to help strengthen my voice and waiting to have radiation in October!
But I just have to say that everyone has been so helpful and supportive through this whole thing.  It hasn't been the best news of my life, but I have been overwhelmed by the love and prayers people have sent my way.  Thank you really just doesn't seem adequate.  Y'all are wonderful :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rumor has it

So the rumors are true...I have cancer. Thyroid Cancer. Papillary Carcinoma to be exact.  There, I said it! I'll be honest, it's not the best news I've ever had, and I'm relatively certain that there is nothing that can prepare you to hear the big "C" word.

So for all those inquiring minds, here's the story. The middle of May, I was chatting with one of my coworkers (Wendy) across the table.  She looked at me funny and said, "What's that on your neck?"  I felt the lump and played it off like it was nothing.  After all, I'm 25 and healthy.  It's nothing!  So I forgot about it for a few days till I worked with Wendy again.  Luckily, Wendy is like a mom to me and kept pestering me to have it looked at (she's relentless).  So I had a doctor that was rounding on one of my patients take a look just so I could get Wendy off my back!  I casually asked Dr. Harrison to take a look, and she was concerned too.  She recommended making an appointment soon, and it's history from there!  The following are important dates in this whole process.

June 11: 1st appointment with Dr. Harrison.  She ordered blood work and an ultrasound.  About 4 hours after I left the office, she called and said it was a "solid mass" that needed to have a biopsy ASAP.
June 13:  Biopsy
June 18: The biopsy results were in.  The verdict: Papillary Carcinoma :(
June 20: Consulation with endocrinologist
June 27: Consulation with ENT surgeon to schedule tumor and thyroid removal (yikes)
July 12: CT scan to check lymph node involvement
July 19: Surgery day!

So today's the big surgery day (they're removing my tumor, thyroid, and surrounding lymph nodes) and as I lay here sleepless, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I know it sounds cliche and it's really not my thing to be all mushy and sensitive, but it's all I can think about.  Thank you really just doesn't seem enough for all the love, prayers, support, texts, calls, notes, smiles, and encouragement I have received from this whole ordeal.  People are so nice!  Words really can't even say how thankful I am for the people in my life, and I will spend the rest of my life figuring out why I have been so blessed.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Heavenly Father certainly works in mysterious ways!

Stay tuned for more updates as they come!  Oh, and PS...Cancer Sucks :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance

 I always get nostalgic around this time of year, and maybe this year is even more exaggerated as I have just attended the commencement of my nephew at my alma mater...Good old North Sanpete High!  As another school year comes to a close, I can't help but reminisce about my great memories there and the wonderful people who made such a difference in my life.  It's funny how time flies. 

It feels like just yesterday I was feverishly studying for one of Mr. Staker's hand written biology tests or hopping in the back of his old truck to head up the canyon for "shrub patrol."  It feels like just yesterday Jess and I were skipping Mr. Butler's class to go to Maverik for a macadamia nut cookie and hot chocolate!  It feels like just yesterday my friends and I were all buying our prom dresses, living in the tanning bed, and whitening our teeth until they were practically transparent in order to look perfect for that long awaited weekend.  And it feels like just yesterday I was the one wearing the red and white cap and gown!

My Besties

The crew

We wore light-up flip flops to commencement and Dr. Ellefsen was less than impressed!

Jess and I completed our goal of being able to do the splits by graduation.  One of our biggest accomplisments!
 But it wasn't just yesterday....It was SEVEN years ago to be exact. SEVEN years? Yep. And now I'm the auntie of a NSHS graduate and I couldn't be more proud of him! I'll always be a Hawk at heart and bleed red and white.  Congratulations B. Here's to the beginning of the rest of your life :)

My cute little grad!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

February Wrap-Up

So I have never really been a winter lover.  In fact, I'm quite sure that I have post traumatic stress from a horrible winter in Ogden while I was in nursing school!  Or maybe I just have PTSD from nursing school in general.  But I'm working through it :)  What I'm saying is that winter just isn't my season.  But because I'm a Utah lover and I never want to leave, and winter will continue to come every year as long as I live here, I have decided to embrace it.  So to support my new goal of being positive about winter and embracing everything about it, my parents bought me a brand spanking new beautiful snowboard for Christmas, along with all the corresponding equipment (and trust me people, that stuff is not cheap).  But I must tell you, I have never been snowboarding in my life.  Okay, I went one time in 7th grade but that's only because I wanted to ride the bus with my friends and get out of school.  So needless to say, I didn't learn much and I haven't been since.
But I love to wakeboard, and I caught on pretty fast with that so I figured, "how hard can snowboarding be?  I'm sure I'll be fine after a few runs."  WRONG!  Talk about sore quads, wet bum, and bruised pride!  Geez, the five-year-olds were zooming passed me like I was standing still.  Well okay, I was standing still or rather I was sitting still wishing a small avalanche would break loose and put me out of my misery!  I literally couldn't stay on my feet for longer than 5 seconds and Kacee, the boy I was with, had to keep pulling me up only to have me crash and burn again.  I'm telling you, it was a disaster!  And yes, my sassy-baby-of-the-family colors came out like never before...I had a snowboarding meltdown.  But Kacee was very patient and kept giving me encouragement to which I would discount with a sassy frustrated remark (don't worry, I apologized profusely later)!  Anyway, I got a little better as the night progressed, but not much and I was left with a sore tailbone, sore quads, and absolutely ZERO dignity.  And no, I haven't been back, but I hear that it takes three or four times to really get the hang of it.  I'm just not sure I'm willing to expose myself to such cruel and unusual punishment all in the name of optimism toward winter!  Anyone looking to buy a brand new snowboard?! :)

This is me during a meltdown...I happend to muster up a smile!

Perfect form?
Okay, so on a lighter note, another February highlight was the Valentine dinner that Tania and I hosted with all of our friends.  We sent out pink polka dot festive invitations and asked everyone to dress in formal attire so it would be a little different than our usual dinners.  We hung white lights and filled the house with rose petals and we even bought a disco ball and and turned our kitchen into a dance floor (nobody wanted to dance except us, but we forced the boys to slow dance with us to the classic Martina McBride song "Valentine".)  And even though true love wasn't in the air, it was still a magical night with good friends and good food!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Top 11 of 2011

Last January, I created a blog post about the highlights of 2010.  And since I'm such a creature of habit (and because 2011 treated me very well), I have decided to make it a tradition. So without further adieu, I present to you the Top 11 of my 2011.  Drumroll please....

11.  The First Annual Omni Awards:  The last place I lived was called the Omni and we had such a fun ward.  And last January, all of our FHE groups were assigned a film genre and we each made a movie.  Then we had a black tie event (Omni Awards) complete with a red carpet, mocktails, and a surprise appearance from Justin Bieber himself.  It was such a magical night and I literally felt like a star.  I was even asked to present the "Best Actor" award which was so fun.  And the best part about it, our group won "Best Picture" for the night with our hit thriller "Omni Nightmare!"  Such a great memory. 

The talented cast of "Omni Nightmare"

10.  Moved to Orem:  Yep, I did it.  Made the big transition from P-town to the thriving metropolis of Orem, Utah! I bit the bullet and moved into "non-student housing" which meant I had to buy my own bed and sofa.  Who would have thought? And I will say that is has been one of the best decisions ever.  And besides living in a wonderful place with a pool, I have met some of the greatest people in the whole world and have made many lifelong friends.  Don't you dare quote me on this, but I might actually be starting to like living in Utah County...(Did I really just say that?)

9.  Graduated from WSU with my Bachelor's Degree:  I am officially upgraded from Melanie RN to Melanie RN, BSN.  Another bucket listing adventure crossed off.  I don't have any pics of this because I didn't walk at commencement for various reasons but mostly because bright purple really just isn't my color...Just take my word for it!

8.  Disneyland:  At the end of April, my whole family packed up and headed to California for a trip of a lifetime.  Everyone in the family came and it was literally a fairlytale and something we'll talk about for years to come!
And this is where mom fainted on California Screamin'...Funny now, not too funny then!

We love Tower of Terror

 7.  Girl's Camp Nurse:  So I know it's not really kosher to wish for callings in the church, but I have secretly always wanted to be a girl's camp leader which is pretty hard considering I haven't lived in a ward with a Young Women's program for nearly 7 years.  Anyway, in August my dream came true.  My wonderful cousin Melissa asked me to come to camp with her ward to be the onsite nurse.  It was so fun to be around the young women and feel of their spirit (and have a lot of fun in the mean time)!  Thanks Melissa and Bailey for giving me the chance to be a part of your ward for a few days!

6.  Trip to Cozumel:  Since I'm the baby of the family (by a long way), I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time alone with my parents throughout my life which I consider a huge blessing.  Anyway, this past fall I got to spend a week with them in paradise.  We went to Cozumel Mexico and it was magical. The place looks just like the postcards with white sand and aqua blue water. We met some great people from the south and I was also able to fulfill several bucket listing adventures including: singing karaoke, snorkeling, parasailing, and ziplining!  And you better believe I drank my fair share of virgin Miami Vices...Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. 

5.  Murdery Mystery Dinner:  As I mentioned above, since I moved to Orem I have met some of the best friends ever and we have become like a little family.  Anyway, in October my friends Mike and Sarah planned a murder mystery dinner which was super fun.  We were all assigned characters and were able to dress up as such.  I got to be Miss White and wear bright red lipstick!

4.  Thanksgiving:  I love everything about Thanksgiving because it consists of eating way more good food than should be humanly possible and then shopping my brains out the next day!  Two of my favorite hobbies.  This year was no exception.  I experienced the magic of Thanksgiving and the mayhem of black friday!  What a rush.  And this year, black friday was even more wild than other years.  On our walk into Wal Mart a car was full blown up in flames and to add to the madness, all the shoppers started revolting at 9:30 pm.  They couldn't even wait till ten.  I guess the $9.99 griddles were worth the risk of possibly getting arrested.  It was certainly an experience.  I'm just relieved we didn't get pepper sprayed.  Oh yeah, and speaking of Thanksgiving dinner, I made my first apple pie this year...totally from scratch.  And it even had a lattice top!  You should probably be impressed :)

Yep, that's the car in flames at Wal Mart

3.  25th Birthday:  I have officially completed the first quarter of my life and I've never been happier!  I celebrated my birthday with all my closest friends at my favorite restaurant...The Family Tree in Santaquin.  I feel right at home there and I also love to show my city slicker friends what it's like to hang out in the country!
2.  Tim McGraw Concert:  I know I've mentioned this before but I am not lying, standing in the pit at the Tim McGraw concert will go down in history as one of the best memories of my life because I'll tell you what...That man drives me wild!
1.  Luke was born:  I became an aunt for the 12th time and it never gets old!  Lukas Ted DeWitt arrived on August 6, 2011 and I fell in love instantly and he continues to melt my heart even though he barfs on me every single time I hold him...without fail! Anyway, I really think being an auntie is the best job ever and I feel so blessed to live so close to all my nieces and nephews and be a part of their lives.

Well enough about 2011...Here's to 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Different Perspective

I may be a little bias, but I just have to say that I really feel like I have the best job ever. I get to take care of new moms and babies everyday and get paid for it!  I'm telling you, it's wonderful.  I mean don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of hard days, but really for the most part, I love what I do.  And one of my favorite parts of my job is being the one who gets to hand a brand new baby to his/her mother for the very first time!  There is nothing like it.  I love to stand aside and watch how enamored parents are with their newest addition, and I'm always amazed at how much of an affect someone so tiny can have on a family.
The past couple of weeks as Christmas has come and gone, and I've handed many new babies to many new mothers, I have thought a lot about the humble birth of our Savior and how Mary must have felt that first Christmas night as she held her newborn son.  I'm sure she felt a little fearful and overwhelmed as she thought about raising the Savior of the World.  And despite all of her feelings of anxiety and inadequacy (as I'm sure all parents feel when they bring a new spirit into this wicked world), I'd like to think that in a lowly stable on that first Christmas night, the young mother Mary unwrapped her baby from his swaddling clothes and counted his ten tiny toes, smiled at his wrinkly skin, let him wrap his little hand around her finger and just adored him not only has the man who she knew would ultimately save her, but simply as her tiny baby boy whom God had sent for her to raise.  And I also believe (as I'm sure all mothers do) she offered a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for trusting her enough to raise one of His children and plead for His help in doing so.
I'm not a mother yet, and maybe I'm not qualified to be making such assumptions but I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with new babies and mothers, and although people come from different backgrounds and cultures, from my perspective, the reactions of parents when they meet their perfect little baby for the first time is universal, and I feel so grateful to be a part of it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Country Music Speaks to My Soul...

Okay folks. I'm back and I've made a personal goal to update this blog at least once a month. However, I'm not making any promises, because this blogging goal might go over just about as well as my budgeting and not-eating-sugar-only-on-Sundays goals, which to say the least have not been going well at all! But I guess it's a step in the right direction.

Anyway, I've been dying to post pics and tell all about my magical summer of country music concerts and about how I actually got to touch Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw (not even kidding). I have pics to prove it!

BRAD PAISLEY:  Our summer concert series started with Brad Paisley at the Stadium of Fire. And I can't go without giving a little background on how we scored such perfect seats. To make a long story short, I bought a few nosebleed tickets on KSL for super cheap and we were super excited that we got such a great deal, even though the seats weren't stellar. Anyway, about two hours before the show started, we got a text from our friends (who work for the freedom festival) saying they had six second row seats for six super fans! Needless to say, we were beyond thrilled to accept his offer and even more thrilled to receive a personal wink from Mr. Paisley himself! Oh and by the way, these pics are not zoomed in. We were actually this close!

We may or may not have trampled a few toddlers and knocked over a chair or two to obtain this picture!

KENNY CHESNEY:  Concert number two of the summer concert series was Mr. Kenny Chesney. I don't have any wild stories to share about this one, but I will say that the man can sport a denim cutoff shirt with skin tight denim jeans (typically a fashion no-no) and look like a total knockout!  I love Kenny :)

TIM MCGRAW:  The peak of our country loving summer was when Tania and I got to stand in "The Pit" at the Tim McGraw concert...A dream come true for both of us.  Not kidding, if I were to be on a the Make a Wish Foundation, that's what I would choose!  But that's beside the point.  The point is, we got to touch Tim (multiple times) and I'm 98% sure we made legit eye contact at one point in the show!  And can I just say the man is even better looking in person.  He is 44 years old, and doesn't look a day over 30.  And when he goes down on his knees and dances around in those skin tight jeans...Be still my soul!  Anyway, all that being said, August 6, 2011 will go down in history as one of the best days of our lives!

We were leaning on the stage!

RASCAL FLATTS:  About a month after Tim, we celebrated Flatts Fest, and thanks to Tania's cousin who works for USANA, we scored VIP passes complete with a pre-concert dinner and tickets in a suite next to two cute Idaho country boys!  The show was fabulous.  However I will say that Gary's (the lead singer) stylist should be fired.  A man of his stature should never wear sparkly jeans and a maternity looking shirt.  It does nothing for him.  That's all.

See what I mean about the horrifying outfit?  Maybe the pic doesn't do it justice but believe me, it was bad!

JASON ALDEAN:  The series ended with our favorite country boy Jason Aldean!  He makes me proud to have redneck country roots, and makes driving a tractor and shooting a gun sound glamorous.  He's my kind of man!

Don't you love our shirts? We're true fans

Well needless to say, Summer 2011 was one of the best ones yet!