Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Excellent News!

As many of you know, today my handsome husband started his chemo-radiation treatments. If all goes as hoped for, the first few weeks should be relatively easy, with tiredness as the main potential symptom. We can do tiredness. We have a large comfy bed. I am glad to get the ball rolling, but today wasn't a day either Ryan and I have been waiting for like Christmas.  Imagine my great surprise when this somewhat stinky day became instantly fabulous.  I got a call late this afternoon from his genetic councilor informing me of the results of some of Ryan's lab tests.  Because he is so young (and hot) the doctors were naturally concerned that his cancer was caused by a genetic mutation known as "Lynch Syndrome." This is a nasty inheritance indeed, and would increase the odds to almost 50% that other family members who carried the syndrome would get colon cancer.  It really did look like a very plausible solution to the question "Why does such a young, attractive man have colon cancer?" However,  it officially turns out that Ryan's cancer is not the result of a syndrome, but is just an unlucky fluke of nature... and by this I mean that colon cancer is a chapter that God wants in our family's lives... but that it isn't something that every one of his siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and children will need to be tested for.  What a blessing!  Thanks for all of the prayers that have been offered for our family.  It's probably time time to dance.

Tonight some of my friends and I went out to celebrate 6 years of our neighborhood cooking group, known as Iron Chef Bountiful (ICB.) WE were scheduled to do this shin dig about three weeks ago, but my dear friends opted to reschedule the night, since I was knee deep in a shocking cancer diagnosis, and Ryan was still up at the ER.  I love my girlfriends!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pill Party

I picked up Ryan's chemo pills today at the pharmacist.  The bill was a little spendy and I asked, just making sure that my insurance had been processed with my payment, knowing that they would at least partially cover the cost of the pills.  The pharmacist replied that my insurance had actually covered several (actually several!) thousand dollars for this particular prescription.  Two thoughts came into my mind: 1. Mercy, I am so very glad that we have good insurance, and 2. What on Earth does someone without good insurance do?  My heart aches for any who would require the medication I bought today, and who have no way to fund it. Someone is responsible for a chemo-perscription racket.  Ryan's final radiation eval went well. The games begin tomorrow. Chemo pills in the morning and night, radiation in the afternoon. Hugs when he gets home. Prayers all day long.

I bought Ryan a pill organizer for his first gift of chemo/radiation.
We put all of his pills for the week inside. It was part of our Family Night:~)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Nurse and the Physician

 A dear friend in my congregation related this story to a group of us a few weeks ago.  As it's Sunday, I wanted to share something entirely inspirational.  I found the quotey and the picture below at a website which sells the painting, by Julie Rogers, of the woman featured in the story. Enjoy. I want to get the picture for Christmas. 
(Here's the link: http://www.tellmystorytoo.com/fine-arts/julie-rogers/the-temple-of-god)

"Amanda Barnes Smith moved with her husband and 5 children from Kirtland, Ohio, to Caldwell County, Missouri, in 1838. They stopped at Haun's Mill to camp on Oct. 30, where a mob with painted faces commenced a brutal massacre a few hours later. Amanda's husband, Warren Smith, and their young son, Sardis, were killed. Another son, 6-year-old Alma, lay close to death, one hip joint being entirely shot away. Amanda wrote:
"Yet was I there all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and wounded, and none but God as our physician and help. ‘Oh, my Heavenly Father,' I cried, ‘what shall I do? Oh, Heavenly Father, direct me what to do!' And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me. . . . as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me."
Amanda continued to pray and was shown exactly what to do to save her young son. The next day she said,
"‘Alma, my child, you believe that the Lord made your hip?' ‘Yes, Mother.' ‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don't you believe he can, Alma?' ‘Do you think that the Lord can, Mother?' . . . ‘Yes, my son, he has shown it all to me in a vision. . . . the Lord will make you another hip.'"
Alma did grow another hip and was not the least handicapped through his life, living to serve and preside in four foreign missions for over 11 years. During his second mission to Hawaii, he helped save the life of Lorenzo Snow, who would later become the President of the Church. When living in Quincy, Illinois, a few months after the Haun's Mill massacre, a board of doctors in St. Louis heard of Alma Smith's "Mormon Miracle" and sent a team of 5 physicians to investigate. They could not understand how Alma's leg, without any bone in the hip joint, was just as strong and active as the other one. They asked Amanda the name of the surgeon who had performed this wonderful piece of surgery. She replied, "Jesus Christ." One said, "Not the Savior of the World?" Amanda responded, "Yes, the same sir. He was the physician and I was the nurse." 

It's called "The Temple of God."
I love this story and the painting.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Onion Tears

Today I taught my Called to Serve Dinner Course to two young men who are headed out on Mormon missions in a few weeks.  One is off to Peru, the other is off to Germany, and both will leave knowing how to properly brown meat.  It was a great fun.  I would highly recommend this class to any and all teens, those heading off to college, or anyone who hates/loves to cook.  There is room for everyone at the Chipper Cher's table.

Getting ready to cook up some cuisine. 

The tears of onion cutting, or sadness that the class will eventually have to end.

Owen and Annie had a Chinese performance today.  This is Owen with his Chinese teacher.

Annie with her Chinese teacher.

Cool Face paint. A butterfly, I think.

Owen with a green dragon.

Dinner out after a lovely church Women's meeting.  Annie opted for Chinese (it's been that kind of a day.)  WE went with some pals.  The food was good, but the company was great.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blue Lemon

Ryan and I met in Tucson Arizona when we were both attending the U of A.  At the time, almost all of my immediate family were living in Tucson.  It was a very big deal when we finally made the 2 hour trip North to Mesa, Arizona to meet Ryan's family.  Ryan comes from a large, close extended family and I will never forget the warm welcome that I got from Ryan's Aunt, Marilyn.  At the time, Ryan's two sisters were living out of state and his younger brothers certainly didn't care enough about meeting Ryan's girlfriend to unroll any welcome mat, but his cousins... his glorious female cousins Hope, Amy, Jill, and Allison were so kind, so genuine, so fun, so awesome. Iv'e always said that I fell in love with Ryan's family as much as I fell in love with him.  Tonight we were so lucky to have many of his wonderful cousins in town.  They are here on a girl's trip to attend the General Women's Meeting that our church holds two times a year.  We were lucky enough to meet them in downtown SLC for dinner at the Blue Lemon. After a night of wonderful conversation and tasty food, I am reminded of the blessing of being a part of this wonderful family.  How lucky I am to call myself Lindsey Joy Smith. 

I know your'e all wondering, I ordered the Blue Cheese Burger.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


There is something so comforting about having a wonderful family dog.  Cricket has been with us just a few months, but I can't imagine life without her.  She is soft and gentle, she is so happy to see everyone when the return home. She loves to park herself right smack in the middle of the action. She is a darling grandma dog. Owen had some friends over after school.  As they walked in Cricket greeted each one of them. I told them that our amazing pet is named Cricket, but she is actually a dog.  The boys enjoyed the silliness of my comment, but we all enjoy Cricket.

I am making dinner in this pic. Cricket is between the sink, in front of the dishwasher and oven.
I simply step over her as I pass along the path to the fridge, where the dishes are, etc.  Sometimes during dinner, she will actually park it right under the table.  She's not after food. She never steals it, or begs for it.  She just wants to be with us, and we love it.

Chocolate chip cookies always make for a fun play date.
We have also had some wonderful neighbors drop off cookies from Parson's Bakery.
Mercy, those are amazing!  Many thanks to our dear friends for their love, generous food drop offs, and prayers.  Just a few more days till chemo and radiation begin... we're really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Tooth Fairy

In this house, Annie is the tooth Fairy, and today, I got to be the tooth puller. Owen finally lost his very first tooth.  For a few weeks now he has has shark teeth, the new one totally visible behind his old baby tooth. But today, around 7:52am this morning, we could no longer call him "Shark Tooth" (which we actually never did.) My little man is growing up, which works since in a few months, I will have another little man to baby.

*** My husband got three tattoos today. Three of them. Location un-disclosed. Just large dots. Booooooo! I wanted my initials, but there's always our Friday night date:~)***

Look closely.  Owen is holding his tooth.

Isn't he handsome?! Still in pajamas, shining with the joy of a boy turning into a man.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Family Ties

1)   Tonight Simon finished up his FHE lesson with the activity that we didn't have time to finish: tie dye t-shirts.  It was too dark and late to finish it last night, so the family was super excited to join in this family fun.

2)   After reviewing all of his tests, biopsies and procedures, Ryan and his medical team have an official colorectal cancer plan as of today.  If all goes according to schedule (what are the odds?!) Ryan will start chemo and radiation on Monday/ in 5 days.  That will last for about 6 weeks. Then he'll take a few weeks to recover, then he'll have some major surgery, and then a few weeks later I'll have a baby.  I like plans.

3)  I made rice krispy treats, randomly after the kids went to bed, because I couldn't resist and I love me some good rice kris pies.

Simon's tie dye shirt. I'm curious if those rubber bands were on tight enough.

It's hard to screw up anything that has a base of butter, marshmallows, and vanilla.

Simon Extrordinaire

Simon Stander Wright Smith is just an inch away from getting his "Arrow of Light" which is  a Boyscott award that signifies awesomeness.  Of of the the last items on his to do list is to learn a little bit about a religion and then teach it to someone. Being Mormon, this meant that he taught us a Family Home Evening about what we call "The Restoration." Think of the gospel as a mirror. We believe that after Christ and the apostles were crucified, God's church left the Earth, as in the mirror shattered.  People tried their best to do what they knew was right, they each grabbed a bit of the mirror, but it was impossible to piece together all of the shards.  Mormons believe that in the early 1800's, a boy/teen named Joseph Smith prayed to find out which church to join and was told that none of them on the earth contained God's whole truth and light. Eventually the truth was restored to him, who became the first prophet of this period in time.  Fast forward to today and our church is set up similarly as it was in the Bible, a Prophet (Thomas S. Monson) and we have apostles too. Interesting stuff. I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it. (p.s. if anyone ever wants to know more about what Mormons believe, or why on Earth I am one, give me a call/send me a message.  I'm game for churchy conversations, a along as there's food involved:~)

Simon started us off with a game. I love this pic because it's easy to see his dalmatian spot on his hair. He was born with a dark spot on his head/hair, but the rest of his hair is blonde.

Explaining something important to the group.

He had the lesson prepared. He asked great questions. He gave everyone a turn to participate. 
Basically, it was awesome.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pocatello and Preston!

A day in pictures:

A great crossroads in Pocatello, Idaho. My grandfather and Dad were builders developers.  They got to name two streets: Holman (my Maiden name) and Lavine (after my grandmother.) Pretty fab to have my crew standing there.

We are right in front of the home my Dad grew up in.
Three cheers for 351 Chapel St.

I remember the backyard looking much bigger.

I was always super impressed with my grandma's garden.

This is the chapel just across the street from their house.
All day I kept picturing my dad as a little boy, horsing around with his siblings, cousins, and friends.  What a wonderful childhood a place like Pocatello, Idaho must have provided. 

Another pic of the front of the house. Dad, I wanted to take loads of pics for you!

A big tower that says "Welcome to Pocatello."

I remember visiting this place as a child when we would drive up from Arizona for a visit.
They were closed but are still the home of the Space Burger!

After leaving Pocatello, we hit Preston, Idaho to check out a  bunch of the famous sites from the hit movie Napoleon Dynamite.  This is the high school. Simon is pretending to draw a liger.

Owen is jumping off the school's pride rock (I'm guessing that's what that is.) 
I just think the picture looks cool.

In front of Pedro's house. Simon is pretending to ride the bike over the ramp, just like the movie.

In front of the Trisha's house.

In front of Napoleon's House.

Ryan was there, he was just mostly playing camera man.

In front of Summer's House. 
Too many pics for this post, but they all seemed super important and I didn't want to cut any out.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We're in Pocatello!!!!

Ryan will begin treatment either late next week or the beginning of the following week, so we decided to get away for a short vacation in Idaho.  We hit Lava Hot Springs and are now hanging out in Pocatello, Id, which is where I was born.  Tomorrow we will visit some family history destinations.
Love my little family!

Ryan bought Little Ceasars Pizza for lunch, and while Owen waited for his turn to rotate in, he decided to sit in the box.

We stopped in Brigham City, talked about Opa (my Grandpa grew up here). 

We grabbed some shakes, onion rings and fries.

Lava Hot Springs!

Cooling off at the cold water sprayer.

Preston totally cut his toe. He tripped while entering one of the hot pools.

Totally gross, and painful.

Ryan got a little toasty and decided to cool off on the sidewalk.

His toe. My nail, which looks so good with my regnant hormones that are making them grow all pretty.

Playing at a park that was super close to the springs.
What a great day.

Friday, September 19, 2014

If you have to be treated for cancer...

Guest Post - Ryan Smith

I know that Lindsey has been posting about my situation.  I gave my privacy away 16 years ago when we were married.  I figured I would give a brief first hand perspective on what I have been feeling over the past couple of weeks after being diagnosed.

I woke up after a routine procedure ordered by my GP to a doctor telling me that I had cancer. I was shocked, scared, and then angry in that order.  Shock and being scared I think are understandable. I was angry because this came at a time in which things were really going well at work and this cancer jeopardizes some opportunities frankly.  My kids are chugging away at school as Lindsey and I help them with homework.  Lindsey is pregnant and working on her editorial position.  All of this came to a head emotionally and I was frustrated and angry.

I recalled scriptural passages that night including "Trust in the Lord in all they ways"and "Do not rely upon the arm of the flesh".  Then I remembered a talk by Elder Scott in which he stated,

"When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father."

After a few crying and praying sessions with Lindsey and thanks to the prayers and fasting of loved ones, I have come to terms with where things are at right now.  I accept this trial and I hope to bear it with patience, humility and grace.  I have already learned much about myself through this experience and I will hopefully learn ten fold more.  I see this as a learning experience to be more compassionate, forbearing, loving, forgiving, and hardworking.  To let others do for me (hard lesson to learn).  I trust that God has a plan for all of us and that need to work and expect much of this life but be willing to let go when it does not go our way.

If one has to be treated for cancer, then there is no better place than the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  It is beautiful, large and well staffed.  I have already been treated by numerous doctors who are meeting weekly to review my case and continually plan for my future. I thank them for their care.  My parents have been a huge help and source of strength and I thank my siblings and relatives from afar.  My colleagues at the college have pitched in and covered classes during appointments.  Chemo and radiation will likely start a week from Monday and I think I have had my blood pressure taken too many times to count.  I am sure I won't even notice when this is near ending.

Thanks to all the neighbors who have brought over goodies or just come to give us a hug.  It is tough, but we are not alone and many have fought this fight before us.  We know we will overcome.  My wife, Lindsey Joy, has been with me every step and I love and appreciate her humor, smile and inspired questions to the doctors when I am just trying to process it all.  

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

HCI interior renderings and build out.  Architectural Nexus did a fine job.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sears Parking Lot

After a fairly uneventful meeting with the radiation oncologist (and by that I mean waiting nearly two hours to see the doctor, who dispensed 5 minutes of information in a 45 minute conversation,) Ryan took me to get some street tacos at the Sears parking lot. I got a chicken taco, a steak taco and pork burrito, which was at least two pounds.  My eyes are way bigger than my stomach, but my meal cost only $4.50, which is simply incredible to me.  My kids polished off the rest of the burrito when they got home from school. In keeping with the delicious food for the day theme, a kind soul dropped off a pot roast dinner (mercy, it was soooo lovely!) and after getting the kids settled, Ryan took me on a hot date to see the movie "The 100 Foot Journey," which was fantastic.  I would absolutely recommend it, although now I'm craving Indian cuisine. FYI: Hoping to officially begin treatments by end of next week. Fingers crossed.

Food, family, food... loads of things I like.
I give it three Michelin stars.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

Today was a regular Smith family day. Ryan went to work. I made a grocery list and did some shopping. All the kids went to school. Basically it was the calm before the storm, or the day before colon cancer treatment starts.  Tomorrow,we meet with the radiologist. Word on the street is that Ryan is going to get a tattoo to mark exactly where the radiation is going to hit him (I explained to the kids it's like a lightsaber ...) I hope that he gets to have some say in the design, and that it isn't a boring dot or cross.  I like the following tattoo ideas in no particular order: a tiny turtle, my initials, a target, a pig, my initials, an eye, or my initials.  The anticipation is killing me.

Owen, Simon, Annie and I went swimming today after school.  
I simply love wearing a swimsuit when I'm pregnant.

Dessert after the kids went down. The strawberries have orange juice in them, which is simply delicious.