30 December 2015

Refried Bean to End 2015

The last week has seen significant improvement in my eating.  I have a particular fondness for the runny refried beans at Mexican restaurants.  I've also continued to graze on leftover spiral ham from Christmas....oh, and Simply Orange orange juice!  I have gotten enough calories from food the last few days that I haven't had a yucky drink since Friday.

I am enjoying this little period of eating as I'm not super optimistic about what my appetite will be once the chemo starts again.  But until then......it's a very welcome change.

Half a pastrami sandwich I ate in San Francisco.  Nice to eat real food!

26 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

It's been a week since I've updated.....It's been a lot of the same ups and downs.  I am surrounded by so much love and support as I slowly but steadily heal from the crazy, gigantic surgery!

I am both encouraged and frustrated by the speed of recovery.  I made it seamlessly to California, where the Dibbs are patiently waiting on me.  Nourishing my skinny little body continues to be an ordeal, but we are finding some foods that work out well so I am not so dependent on the yucky drink.

My walking is getting a little better every few days.  I am quite slow, but I think I'm going a little further each day.  I feel so much support, and hope you will continue to keep me in your prayers.

18 December 2015

Trying So Hard

I'm trying so hard to do what I'm supposed to do to get stronger.  Eating is probably my biggest challenge, as I still have absolutely no appetite but a body that needs protein and calories to get stronger.  It is a daily battle.

Every day I try to walk a little more than the day before.  Sometimes I will only make it from the car door to the door of the store before I end up in a wheelchair, but each day I am doing a little bit more.

I've got to get these little stick figure legs strong again so that I can walk like a normal person.

My days and nights are extremely long, and seem to run into each other.  I am trying so hard to figure out how to manage this new life.  It's not easy.

I'm frequently asked what my Christmas plans are.  I'm actually flying to San Francisco to spend a week with my sister's family.  I'm not sure what we're all thinking, carting me off to California, but I'm so grateful that Mindy's willing to give it a try.

I'm so grateful for all of the people who do so much for me every single day.  It is certainly not for lack of support that I'm struggling with this new normal.

15 December 2015

Post-Op Follow-Up

This morning I had my first follow-up with my surgeon.  I had the staples removed from my incision.  The PA who removed the staples said that my incision was the longest one she'd ever seen, which is not surprising give the fact that the doctor said that he used two full staple guns worth of staples on me!

I also learned more about my upcoming chemotherapy, which will begin the first week of January.  It sounds like the treatment is going to be pretty crazy.  After hearing more about the treatment plan, I decided to just cross that bridge when I come to it and enjoy the next couple of weeks.

Day-to-day necessities are getting a little easier each day.  I had my best night's sleep last night since returning from the hospital.

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement.  I never stop needing them!

13 December 2015

Being Home

Being home is definitely better than being in the hospital.

It is still very challenging and I am so grateful for all of the help I am receiving with day-to-day necessities like showering, walking, moving from one spot to another, staying on top of shots and medications, finding ways to fill the long hours of the day, settling in to sleep...

So far, there haven't seemed to be any setbacks or complications for which I am extremely grateful.

I am also grateful for pain medication, a fireplace, comfortable blankets and pillows, hot water for showering, an army of helpful family and friends, peace when I pray.

I know this healing requires patience and work and strength beyond my own.  Thank you for your sustaining prayers and faith.  I feel them.  I need them as much as ever.  This is tough stuff.

I know that there were many miracles involved in my surgery.  Sometime, I will share some of them...when the time is right.  Please know that your prayers and fasting for miracles have blessed me beyond reason.

I love you all.  Thank you for hanging in there with me.

11 December 2015

Home Sweet Home

Michelle had a big day today as she left the hospital and came home!  Now starts a whole new set of challenges as she continues to heal.  So many little things that we take for granted are slow and painful processes for her....like walking, sitting in a chair, using the restroom, or eating real food.

She said to make sure to thank everyone for the support, love, faith and prayers you have unselfishly provided.  She wouldn't be here if not for you.  Thank you thank you thank you!

And now....onward!  This whole experience is a marathon, not a sprint.  Regardless, it's nice to be moving.

08 December 2015

Starting and Stopping

In short, things are moving quickly to try and get me strong and independent enough to go home.  It's hard to know what to think of all of this, particularly because of the speed in which it is all taking place.

06 December 2015

Countless Acts of Service

I'm so grateful for these two young men who today brought the sacrament to my sister and me at the hospital, and for the countless other acts of service on my behalf.  It's been a lovely, peaceful, grateful Sabbath day.

Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning

Michelle had a good night, and as of 9:50 AM this Sabbath morning, she has walked to and from the bathroom twice (using a walker and some assistance), as well as walked a combined total of about 30 feet.  She is now drinking a strawberry yucky drink and sitting in her chair watching her favorite band sing her favorite music (MoTab and Christmas).

The surgeon stopped by this morning as well, and he was very positive.  He said Michelle is doing fantastic.  He used the words "unbelievable" and "miraculous."  He said, "You're amazing.  Truly amazing.  I know it's hard to tell from your side, but from our side, you're way ahead of schedule."

There's no way to express the gratitude for the faith, prayers, fasting, love, encouragement, kind words, faith-filled thoughts, and every good thing coming her way.  There's no logical explanation for what is happening here.  Just no words.  Thank you

04 December 2015

Today's Chart

Onward and Upward

Michelle had a great night and continues to improve!  Her body is recovering, and all the functions are starting to rev up again.  The nurses were pleased that she is urinating better, and that her lungs are doing well.  Everything is looking really good right now!

Yesterday, when Michelle's surgeon visited, he mentioned that how well the surgery went and how well she's doing right now are nothing short of miracles.  He felt that there were definitely powers beyond his own helping in this situation.  This conversation really stood out to Michelle, and she wanted to be sure that you knew and thank you for your part in the faith and prayers that made this possible.

There is a possibility that Michelle may be transferred out of the ICU today, but for now we need to continue to hold off with visitors outside of family.

Onward and upward!

03 December 2015

No Cheating

Not much new to report...Michelle is doing a lot of good sleeping, and her doctors and nurses are all being very upbeat and positive about her progress so far.

When the respiratory therapist was here just a few minutes ago, she had Michelle do some breathing exercises to keep her lungs nice and strong.  They were supposed to do the exercise 10 times.  The therapist eventually lost track of what number they were on, saying, "I think this is number six?   Or maybe it's seven...."

Michelle chimed in in her little raspy voice, "This is number six."

"Thanks," the therapist told her.  "You know, you could have cheated just then and not done the whole set!"

"Oh no," Michelle replied, very seriously.  "I wouldn't do that.  Cause I really want to get better."

One of my favorite moments of the day.

Tough as Nails

Just a quick update...Michelle is doing well today!  The doctors took out the breathing tube, so she can communicate without sign language, which is much easier for everyone.  She is doing a lot of sleeping and likes it quiet, but she did ask us to make sure we're updating the blog on a regular basis. I know she would love to talk to you personally if she could!

Michelle's anesthesiologist and surgeon both stopped by separately this afternoon to check on her.  They both seemed very pleased.  Her surgeon told her that she's a lot better off today than she was 24 hours ago!  In response to her gratitude for helping her he said it was an honor, followed by, "You're not totally out of the woods yet, but you're tough as nails."

Tough as nails and surrounded by love and faith...that's got to be the best combination out there for getting better!

The Night

Update from Melissa:

Her night was good.. She slept ok.. Awake a lot... Wanting ET tube out. We did a lot of signing alphabet.. I'm horrible at it!
Very poor urine output .. That they are moderately concerned about. Other than that... Ok

One of the first things she signed was, "I'm alive!!"  (I'm sure there were exclamation points at the end of that sentence).

02 December 2015

Thank You

Michelle is resting tonight in the ICU.  She is still sedated and intubated and hooked up to a million and one machines, but she should steadily improve as time goes on.  The ICU is very small, and they have different rules than the rest of the hospital.  The staff has limited visitors due to space and the need for the environment to be very sterile, so we would just ask that everyone hold off visiting Michelle for a day or two until she is more stabilized.

We will keep you updated about her progress and when would be a good time to visit our little trooper!  Thank you so much for your love, faith, fasting, and prayers today....they truly made a difference.

(Some good luck kisses before the surgery...gotta love love!)

Surgery Success

While warning us that we are not out of the woods yet and not to be intimidated by how she looks, the surgeon passed on great news about Michelle's surgery today! The surgery went well, even better than he expected.  Michelle's stomach is (quote), "nice and flat now" with the removal of all those pesky tumors, over three gallons of excess fluid, and many nonessential organs.

Michelle is currently having a filter put in to help protect her from blood clots as she heals.  She will head to the ICU in about an hour or so.  She will be sedated and intubated tonight, and pretty drugged up for the next few days.  We anticipate that she will be in the hospital for probably 7 to 10 more days.

There is definitely a long road of recovery ahead, but today was a surgery success!




Going Well So Far

Michelle's surgeon just came out to personally give us an update.  She is doing great so far!  They removed almost 9 liters of excess fluid in her belly, and the tumor removal is going well.   The doctor estimates about two more hours.

Keep the prayers coming!

It Has Begun!

The wait is over!  Michelle has officially been taken back for the surgery to start as of about 11:50 am.  All the doctors and nurses have been very positive and helpful.  We have also gotten compliments for our huge group taking over the waiting room.

"Are you all one group here for the same person?" one nurse asked.  Then, "I love love."

So do we.


Michelle is in pre-op as of about 9:35 getting all prepped for surgery!  She was a little bit nervous this morning, but in good spirits.  She said several times how grateful she felt for the many people showing her love and support.

The surgery is supposed to start at 11, and we will post updates as we get information.

Thank you so much for your support and love!

A little morning family scripture study.  Note the t-shirt...Go Team Michelle!

01 December 2015


My entourage and I arrived at St. Luke's this morning about 8:30 am to do all the preliminary stuff.  I got a new PICC line in a special room at the hospital, did some paperwork, and started a Heparin drip as part of my pre-surgery preparation.

Bulgy is making a reappearance, but other than that it's been a great day!  I have loved the avalanche of visitors, both in person and in spirit.  My heart is full of gratitude for the fasting and prayers in my behalf.  Tomorrow's surgery begins officially at 11 am.

Will keep you posted--keep the prayers coming!  I love you all.