S: France & Lindsay Nielson 2011
FC: The Nielson's 2011
1: San Francisco, Anaheim, Napa Valley, Suriname, Spokane, Salt Lake City and a move to Mountain Home, Idaho! | 2011 brought us Samuel France Nielson, our little boy, and a full-year of cancer fighting for mom. We know that Heavenly Father is always looking out for us.
2: January We finally made the announcement to the world that Baby Nielson was on his way! 1/2/11 "Yes, this is a real baby announcement. Baby Nielson is healthy and BIG and coming May 20th, 2011. WE ARE SO EXCITED!" Brett and I had fun designing the "Tron"- looking movie poster to announce. France was a doll for letting me do it. :)
3: France and I were still spending most of our time apart as I continued to take care of Mom in Spokane as she battled brain cancer. I love these photos, we had gone to the Sacramento Temple and France likes to ride his bike to work so we needed to pick it up on the way home. France got to have a 'missionary moment,' riding it back to the house in his suit. | Here I am at 24 weeks. I had a nasty sinus infection going on and I am not breathing properly in this pic, that's why it looks like a forced/posed bad beauty pageant shot with a hint of rudolph nose. (I couldn't fly cuz I was so sick and I HAD to stay with France for a few more days....oh darn! Hehe.) Love it. | Oh, he's so sweet, building me my new desk!
4: Update from SheriBird.com Friday, January 28, 2011 Well, this is the longest we've gone without a post and it's time for an update! Since our last post we have had bad days and okay days. We love okay days. But in reality, everyday is a great day because it's another day we get to have. We are sooo thankful for any progress and for your constant prayers. Seriously. We wouldn't be here without you and all your faith! Since the beginning of January, Mom has recovered from gall bladder surgery and continued on a course to heal her digestive system. Her nausea and headaches haven't subsided much, but she has been able to keep down some chicken noodle soup once in a while. Mom has been existing on clinical grade nutrition shakes that she drinks 4-6 times a day (thank you Trotters!). She really would like to just eat a pizza, that will be a great day :). She healed up quickly enough from the surgery to start her maintenance round of chemotherapy last Thursday. She takes it for 5 days and then gets 3 weeks off. This will go on for a number of months. She was also able to start up on the study again YAY! So as far as cancer treatment goes, she is back on track. In order to start the trial drug she needed to get another MRI and it came back totally clean! YAY! I write this post today from the Cancer center in the Chemotherapy Suite, mom has been in getting fluids for dehydration. She's doing fine. We are just hanging out talking about life. :) It takes about 2.5 hours to get a full 'hydration' treatment. I just want to thank all of you who have taken care of mom the last two weeks. I was able to go home and see France in CA and be a wife! To those of you who spent the night, took her to appointments, fed Kelsey and just kept mom company, thank you. You'll never know what it means to our family to have your help. Again, thank you for your prayers. I cannot describe adequately in the English language (or any language!) what it means to our family. We love you and thank you so much.
5: Sunday, January 9, 2011 After the last post, much has happened. The euphoria we have felt from the tumor being gone has not been replaced, it has though, been dimmed a bit. In the next 48 hours we completed two more Gastronomical tests (totaling 5) and went into another surgery, this time to remove her "icky" gallbladder. The surgery went well and we were in and out in one day, and France was there to help (he is such a lovely trooper). We thought this would help, and it did to some extent, she had color in her face again and her stomach shrunk just a bit, but the symptoms and the burning in her stomach have remained. Mom has not eaten properly in almost 6 weeks. She is existing on clinical grade nutrition shakes. 1 scoop, 6x's a day. If we are lucky she makes it to six. Once in a while she'll have a few bites of toast or maybe an 1/8 of a can of chicken noodle soup, but that's it. Eating is very painful and the progress we thought we would be making by now has been pushed back. She still is in bed, still in much pain. I don't mean to be a downer, but sometimes life is much harder than other times and though we are having tough times, we count our blessings daily. She is alive. Her tumor is no longer present. Her family is doing well and we have our faith and our testimonies. So we may be a little cloudy here at the bird house and it seems when it rains it pours, but there's always a rainbow to look forward too. Please rainbow! Come quick!!!!! If we could ask, yet again, for prayers and fasting, we would be eternally grateful. We have 5 different doctors working on the case, 7 bajillion prescriptions and homeopathic treatments we are working through and we are recognizing that we need one more thing, another miracle. We are discouraged, but hopeful, frustrated, but optimistic, but most importantly, we are continually grateful to our Father in Heaven for giving us the opportunity to pray and to ask for help. Thank you for the love. -The Birds
7: France and I delayed Valentines Day till he got to Spokane a week later and we got to check off one of the things we have always wanted to do here.....stay at the Davenport Hotel! It was awesome! Thank the goodness for Costco deals.
8: I am still cooking! Promise! I had two of my buddies in the ward come over and I forced them to make Valentines Candy with me just because I wanted to make candy. Specifically homemade Peppermint Patties and Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls. YUM! We made a complete disaster of my mom's house. Yep. | 27 Weeks! Feeling good, clothes not fitting very well, appetite increased. Cake and cookies are especially yummy. :)
9: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 February!!!! Hello all! Mom is eating. Her inspired nurse Mary had the genius idea to get mom some seasickness patches to help with the nausea! They work like a charm! She was able to start keeping food down. Mom currently has more energy then she has since last fall! She is slowing expanding her stomach, which has shrunk from the lack of food and the energy she is getting from eating is helping her at physical therapy. Mom goes to PT three times a week and does an aquatic program. She is so cute in the pool. The temperature is 94 and she walks back and forth and does leg exercises. We were wondering if it would help and goodness, we see a difference after just three weeks! She can now stay in the pool for up to 45 minutes, she started out at 20. Her physical therapist started her in the pool because her current physical ability was classified as 'overall deconditioned.' Yep, we knew that! She loves the pool too and could hang out in it all day. She still has lots of nausea and stomach pain and we had another scope at the hospital yesterday to see if there has been any progress in healing and she still has gastritis in her esophagus and stomach lining. Her doctors think that the chemo is causing all the ruckus. Mom has just finished her second round of maintenance chemo, where she takes a high dosage of Temodar (chemo) for five days and then gets a three week break. During those three weeks her stomach can recuperate some before it gets torn up again with the Temodar. So we won't see her tummy return to normal for a while. BUT we are so grateful she is eating! She did get to have a few bites of pizza the other night, and though it tasted good, it made her nice and sick. So we are sticking to the basic bland foods for awhile longer. :) France was able to come up for the weekend (three day weekends are amazing!) and hang out with us. He's so amazing and mom and I just love him (me especially!). FAQ's: We have been getting a lot of the same questions asked to us in emails, texts and phone calls and I will attempt to answer them here, 1. When will she be done with chemo? Mom's maintenance chemo is determined by her oncologist. We don't know how long she will be on it. We just follow orders. :) 2. Can I come visit? Mom's white blood cell count has been compromised by the chemo and therefore her immune system is very weak and we have been cautioned about having visitors. Plus, it tires her out very quickly as most people want to know 'exactly how she is doing' and rehashing her cancer battle isn't an easy conversation to have. :)
10: 3. (For lack of a better phrase) Are you ignoring me? Ok, we are HORRIBLE at getting back to people. Yes we do screen phone calls, we turn phones off and send you away when you come to the door sometimes. Mom sleeps a lot. Sorry. We couldn't appreciate your support more, and we have needed it every step of the way...and still do! It's simply the fact that moms health is the priority. 4. Is there anything I can do to help? Yes. Pray! Also, Kelsey is a little bored with us (as I am sure you can imagine) and he loves spending time with anyone! If anybody wants to have him over for dinner or family night or anything it makes his day! He loves it and mom loves hearing about all the fun he is having! He is a good kid and his Aspergers can be difficult to understand at times, but he means well and is very polite. :) 5. How are YOU doing Lindsay? I get asked this one a lot. It's true. Being a caretaker is one of the most difficult things to go through. Watching someone that you love go from perfectly happy and spunky to having a life threatening disease and watch them suffer is horrible. I am being blunt here. I am here every step of the way with her, yet I can't make it better, I can't fix her. I can only help get her to the people who can and make sure she is taking any one of the 10 medications she is on properly and I can be her cheerleader. That being said, I tell her all the time that this is the place I want to be, at her side and fighting with her. France and I are on the same page and I couldn't do this without him. Also, as many of you know, I am 6 months pregnant, which makes things a bit more interesting and emotional. :). I will be having our little boy down in California and that does make my time here limited as I need to be going to the doctor in CA for at least 6 weeks before he comes. This has given us the motivation she needs to get better so she can be there when he is born. We sure are trying. So, all in all, I am doing great. Ok, if I have offended anyone, I am so sorry! The last thing we want you to think is we are devoid of gratitude. We are not. We talk daily about the miracles of prayer and fasting and how thankful we are to have the most amazing friends and family in the world. We still love all your cards and emails and notes of encouragement!!!! Seriously! They brighten her day in ways that you wouldn't believe! We love you all SOOO much! And mom can't wait to have you all over to party someday. :) Again, we are just so grateful. You'll never know what you mean to us. All our love, Lindsay (& Sheri)
11: I turned 26. My neighbors put up some cute decorations and got me my FAVORITE cake from Just American Desserts. Thanks Winstons! Also, 30 weeks and counting! Our little guy kicked like crazy and France was sure he'd be buff from all the working out. :)
12: Angela McLaws & Tami Winston threw me a baby shower on March 25th! It was so fun! Megan Roberts flew in for the festivities and France & I were spoiled rotten by the lovely ladies of Spokane! | Baby Shower!
13: Last week I was able to co-host a baby shower for a darling mom-to-be and friend, Lindsay Bird Nielson. She is the daughter of our dear friends, Keith and Sheri Bird. They were the first family we really got to know when we moved to Spokane over 15 years ago, and have since really become part of our family. Lindsay and her husband France are having a baby boy in May. She has been here a whole lot this winter taking care of her Mom. Sheri is one amazing lady. She is fighting a valiant battle with cancer. Lindsay has been by her side so much of the time, so why wouldn't we have a party to welcome the little guy? She will be heading back to Travis AFB in California soon to be with her hubby who is in a dental residency program there. I knew it would be the inaugural party of the spring season here, and a mini reunion for so many of us former Little Spokane River Ward friends. -Angela McLaws
14: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 The Merry Month of March This last month has just FLOWN by and we are thrilled! The days and months preceding March were slow and painful and every small victory was something to celebrate! Food and pain management became our top priority...our day in and day out consisted of keeping mom healthy enough to get to doctors appointments and back home. This is no longer the case. Mom is on her way back. :) She is spending over an hour in the pool at physical therapy and getting stronger everyday. Her white blood cell count, though low with chemo, jumps back up pretty quickly and she has been given permission to fly to California when our baby is due! It's still over 7 weeks away, which should give her enough time to build up some more endurance. Mom still sleeps quite a bit, especially if I wear her out, which is just about everyday. :) It has been exactly sixth months since her surgery, and it has been, quite honestly, the hardest sixth months in memory, but we have been extremely blessed. We never wish to relive January of 2011 ever again (it was the hardest month), yikes, and we are so glad to be on the other side. She still has a long way to go, but the days are better (and getting warmer!) and we are excited for this new chapter. This weekend will be my last weekend here in Spokane before I head home to be with France and get ready for the baby. Mom and I are excited to relax and watch General Conference, it has always brought us such peace. It has been 6 years since dad passed away and it happened to be the weekend before the spring General Conference of 2005. The timing was not coincidental, we were reminded of how blessed we are that we have been sealed as a family and will be reunited after this life; in short, that we get to be a family forever. I firmly believe that. Easter soon followed and the reminder of Christ's resurrection had never been so poignant. For the blessings of peace in my life I am truly thankful. We know that not only is our Heavenly Father looking out for us, but so is my mom's sweetheart, our dad. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and though times get downright tough and seemingly unbearable, we are never alone. I just want to thank all our friends and family again for all your help, we couldn't have made it this far without you, and I know she will be in amazing hands when I go. As I tell both France and my mom, I am EXCITED OUT OF MY MIND TO GO HOME and be a full-time WIFE again and a new mother :) But I will always be grateful for the time I have spent with my own mother, she is an amazing example of faith and endurance and the girl is tough as nails. Thank you for all your support and your prayers, I will still keep up the blog and will post pictures soon, mom is looking amazing!
15: April | When April came, it was time to come home! I was almost 36 weeks pregnant and you're not supposed to fly after that! France and I no longer had to say goodbye for weeks at a time. I was home. We set up baby stuff, visited Napa, went to the Temple and just loved being back together!
16: One of the greatest things about living here is the citrus fruit trees in all our friends yards! Grapefruits! Lemons! Limes! Oranges! ALL FRESH! I made from scratch some lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting and a lemon meringue pie! (I also juggled some). :) | France and I have certainly enjoyed Northern California. Beautiful (albeit windy) weather, having fun and getting ready for Baby Nielson. And as you can see, France is having a blast sliding down the stairs on a kids mattress, hahaha. We may look like adults...but it's all an illusion. :)
17: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 Hmm...April was a mixed bag! A Blessing In Disguise? Well, to quote my mom who had to write Elder Bird on his mission about some news we got..."Please don't freak out," and I ask you to do the same :). That being said, let's get down to business, I know my monthly blog is three days over due, sorry!!!! We had to write this one when we were nice and ready. So without further ado, Mom's MRI from 2.5 weeks ago did NOT come back clear, that's right, that dang little tumor is trying to grow back. The doctors knew it would happen and rather than saying 'if' it grows back it's a matter of 'when.' SO after some pretty upsetting phone calls back and forth, Mom and I realized that we were too exhausted to tell people just yet and that when questions came we wanted to be armed with correct and positive answers. So the next step was to pray out guts out and hang on for dear life. Here is a breakdown of what happened that crazzzy day. 1. Mom's MRI reading appt is at 9:30 am. 2. I wait for a text during the appt from Angela McLaws letting me know all is peachy. 3. I don't get the text, I start calling too many times. Angela tells me she'll call me back as soon as she can. 4. Mom calls back a while later and tells me the really uncool news, that the lining of where the tumor was is thicker indicating a grow back. 5. Total peace an calm come over us (WHAt!?!?! HOW!?!?!) Oh, yeah. Realizing that we are still on Heavenly Father's time table. 6. Okay what's next Mom? 7. Well they are going to 'unblind' my study to see if I really am on the experimental drug Avastin, this is supposed to take 2-3 days. -So at this point we are just praying that mom HAS NOT been on the drug for the last 6 months, because if she was, then it hasn't been working.- 8. 2:40pm same day I get a phone call with Mom screaming into the phone that she has been on the PLACEBO for 6 months!!! Mom and I have been sitting at the doctors office getting sugar water drips since last fall!!!! (Her doctors didn't have the patience to wait 2-3 days and found out as fast as they could, about 3 hours). Never have we been so grateful to sugar water. :) 9. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS we could have gotten. Avastin has just recently been FDA approved to give patients with GBM's straight up....so two Thursdays ago mom got her first official Avastin Drip and her second one is this Thursday. What does this all mean you ask? Well in the words of her doctors, Mom has been fighting the tumor off for 6 months pretty much on her own, which never happens, it usually only takes a few weeks to start coming back. Way to go MOM! Also, these doctors know that Avastin WORKS. It works!!!!! This is the miracle we have been looking for and we know now that mom is on it FOR SURE. It's just amazing. We know that miracles happen and when we ask God to move mountains, we have to pick up a shovel and help, and this Avastin will be our shovel (along with prayers and fasting and everything else we can think of). :) So now we wait and pray SOME MORE! Lots and lots! All the time! And we THANK YOU forever for your prayers, we still feel them constantly and your words of encouragement boost her spirits like you wouldn't believe. We think France said it best when he said "Well, what we thought was going to be a half marathon has now turned into a full marathon." She has a LONG ways to go, but she has also come so far. Thank you again, we love you all. So yes, this bump in the road, this set-back, is a blessing in disguise, she is on a treatment that works. Here we go!
18: Napa Valley
19: Mom came to visit while France had to be away! I was due in less than two weeks and a little nervous... | We ate up in Napa! Toured the Jelly Belly Factory and went to the Outlets, we wore ourselves right out.
20: Meanwhile, France was in Anaheim at the dental conference.... | France presented his table clinic topic on Sodium Hypochlorite Misadventures. He also made it to Disneyland with the other residents. I was nine months pregnant and home. :)
21: Okay! The first picture! Look how cute she is! Her hat has hair attached to it so it's not an itchy and scratchy wig! Most people have no idea that she lost a ton of hair and think her straight hair is normal. Hilarious! Mom has the curliest hair and it's growing back in just as curly. You go girl. (This was the first picture since mom's surgery that I posted on the blog.)
22: Samuel France Nielson Fairfield, California health, happy, very loved
24: Getting ready! | The aftermath :) | MommyTime
27: Daddy Time
28: First day home. | We love his little personality already! | Grandma Sheri & Uncle Kelsey came to visit right away, Sammy was 5 days old! | Grandma gave Sammy his first bath. :)
29: *the announcement we sent out*
30: 6 day old photoshoot | by great friend Mindy Cone
32: 52. Take that tumor!!!! So it's been way too long since we've had an update. Right at the end of May, the day I had a hair appointment scheduled and the intent of writing on the blog, I (thankfully) went into labor. In the month since, we've been a little busy. :) Mom came to visit in May a few weeks before we had Sam as France was going out of town. That picture I posted of her and the suitcase was at my house in California. I was so thankful she made it! The day she flew down was really hard on her and she couldn't find some meds she needed and was surprised at how hard it was to travel, but she TRAVELED (and we became acquainted with the Walgreen's in Vacaville, thanks cancer center for all the RX's you sent our way!!!). It was her first 'trip' since that stinky tumor showed up! We had some beautiful weather and seeing as I was over 9 months pregnant we didn't do much but sleep (and take a pretty drive through Napa!). She was such a trooper. The trip fell exactly in between Chemo and Avastin treatments and I am so thankful to her doctors and our neighbors Ken & Tami Winston and Angela McLaws for getting her packed, to the airport and back again and giving her the encouragement that she could go! Sadly, the last few days she was here she got really sick and had to post pone getting home, when she finally made it back to Spokane it took her a good while to recover before she started her next round of medications. The great thing is, mom can go to church and some parties once in a while, but then she spends the next few days 'recovering' from them. BUT she loves getting out and seeing all her friends and feeling human again! SO then little Sam came, her first grandson, third grandbaby. She had a round of Avastin scheduled to take during the week after Sammy was born and we all decided that getting her Avastin and seeing Sammy grow up was more important than getting to California immediately and seeing Sammy as a brand newborn and that's it, it was our way of making the situation okay. :) So she waited to come till she had a break in between treatments.
33: With Kelsey, lot's of prayers and more than a little help from the same neighbors, mom descended again to CA and got to hold her first grandson. I don't know who fell in love first, Sam or mom. :) They had a good week together, napping and smiling at eachother on the couch. We are so thankful for everyone's help in making that happen! THANK YOU! While here, SHE TURNED 52! Wahoo (or 29 again, either way.) She says she wasn't sure if she'd make it to 52, psh, whatever. We all knew she would, and I think she's got 52 more in her. Oh yes. She's been back in Spokane now for a few weeks and has had some good days and some rather bad days. PLEASE keep her in your prayers, they are STILL WORKING. Brett is with her today getting fluids at the cancer center as she throws up a lot (TMI, I know) but this tends to happen after chemo. She won't be traveling again for awhile and we know it was totally a blessing that she got to come in the first place. So yes, she looks great, amazing even, and has days where she feels pretty great and for that we are truly thankful. There are also many rough days that no one (besides those living with/around her) sees. Cancer sucks, I don't mean to paint a rosy picture of it, we just really try to focus on the positive ya know! As I have said before, we are all fighting battles every day. We don't always win every fight, but we sure can try, right? Faith gets us through and thankfully our life on earth will be but a moment when we get to the other side and see the big picture (I just don't want mom to see it QUITE yet). The Lord has His timing for everything. PS When mom was in the ICU the doctors asked her if there was anyone she wanted to see in particular as the ICU is not a great place to have visitors, and mom replied "I just don't wanna see Keith!". It made us all laugh and know that she was gonna be a fighter. We all miss dad, but it's true, we can wait a while to see him again, and that's because we know we will. :) Thanks everyone. We love you.
34: 1st day of church @ two weeks old! BF Jessica Mains came to visit from Pennsylvania!
36: France's graduation from the residency! He worked so hard! I don't know who was more excited for it to be over, me or him! | One month! Time flies! We were sleepy most of the time. Ha!
37: BATH TIME!
38: Happy Fourth of July!
39: Surprise! We had Sammy's blessing yesterday! We just decided to do it in our ward of record to make it easy on everybody. France did great and Sam stayed perfectly still...cause he was totally asleep, perfect. :) Grandma Sheri got his little suit for him in March and we were praying it would fit, and it did-ish! Yay! So here's a picture for you Grandma Sheri! What a cutie!
42: Two months and already handsome like daddy. We made some personalized thank you cards for some friends, Sam was a great sport!
45: SOooo Sam has the cutest frowny face, but it sure makes me sad! :(
46: Hanging with Grandma Sheri! Sam had his first plane ride to Spokane at five weeks old!
49: The crew. Left to right. Tyson Chung Brian Bragassa France Lt Col Chol Chong Lt Col Martin Hamilton Kollin Stiner Amanda Braun Randall Cone | We stayed at the Bergendal Eco & Cultural River Resort - Brokopondo. Way nice and right on the Suriname River, which flows into the Amazon.
50: The whole crew. We did a lot of dentistry on the village population. They mostly needed extractions and fillings. Some root canals and dentures were done as well.
51: San Francisco to Miami, Aruba and then onto Suriname.
52: Six AEGD-1 Residents Participate in New Horizons- Suriname 2011 It took twenty-six USAF dental volunteers, truckloads of supplies, and two weeks in July of this year to complete a volunteer training and goodwill mission to Brokopondo, Suriname. Six of us residents finishing up our AEGD-1 program at Travis AFB, CA, jumped at the chance to participate. Suriname is a remarkable country on the northern coast of South America, bordering French Guiana, Guyana, and Brazil. We were privileged to be part of the DENTRETE (dental readiness training exercises) portion of the Operation New Horizons- Suriname 2011. Lt. Col. John Blackwell, the New Horizons 2011 task force commander portrayed the intent of the mission was to maximize training of deployed military U.S. personnel in a safe environment, while providing the people of Suriname needed civic assistance through quality construction and medical services (taken from a briefing by the 12 AF Mr Chris Donavan 22 Feb 2011). The DENTRETE group leader Dr. Chol Chong, Lt Col, 60 DS, USAF confirmed the mission, "The primary goal is for training. We want to train our dentists to be proficient in comprehensive dentistry in austere environments. In the process, the host nation benefits as their local community receives a world class dentistry for 2 weeks. Through this mutually beneficial endeavor, the local individuals receive much needed humanitarian relief, and we get to project a positive view of US military to the world." The dental team included six residents, six staff dentists, nine dental assistants, two prophylaxis technicians, and one lab technician from Travis AFB. Two dental assistants from Scott AFB also joined our team. We turned the Brokopondo Nucleus Center into a comprehensive care dental clinic for a full ten days. Our typical daily schedule consisted of breakfast, mostly crepes, at 6:30am, loading the bus at 6:50am, patients from 7:30am to 5pm with a 20 minute lunch break which usually included a meat and rice dish, daily clean up, bussing back to the hotel, debriefing meeting at 6:30pm, dinner (also a meat and rice dish) at 7pm, and then nightly activities with the mission team. To aid our mission, we brought dental units fully equipped with air driven hand pieces and water and air syringes. We also came prepared with dental chairs and all the dental supplies considered necessary for comprehensive dental treatment. The dental services we rendered in ten days included: 448 restorative treatment procedures, 156 sealants, 1370 extractions, 214 prophys, 14 endodontic procedures, 74 transitional dentures, and 1151 fluoride treatments. We also provided patient education to the mainly Dutch speaking people of Suriname through the provided military and local police force translators. We saw a total of 1955 patients for a total of 3406 procedures. The event was well publicized and with no age restrictions, hundreds of enthusiastic people lined up for dental care each day. Some citizens traveled up to 3 hours by motorboat on the Surinamese river to receive treatment. Having received excellent dental care, many patients returned for additional treatment. Being deployed to Suriname presented us a unique experience to apply and hone our skills in various procedures, especially in surgical extractions. Being supplied with the proper hand instruments and hand pieces, we could effectively treat even the toughest of extractions. Upon leaving Brokopondo we all felt confident in extracting almost any tooth no matter how non-restorable, carious, or broken down. When asked about the performance of his residents, the Travis AFB AEGD-1 flight commander, Lt Col Martin Hamilton commented, “My residents used all their knowledge and training to provide the people of Suriname compassionate quality dental care.” For us as residents, our first deployment was in many ways the culmination and last hurrah of our residency. However, this deployment wasn’t about us. It is about serving in the USAF and being able to accomplish our mission. The deployment was part of our training, so that in the future we will have the experience and capability to do dentistry anywhere when called upon by the USAF.
54: Suriname River Tour
55: Highlights of the trip included a Jaguar sighting and playing kickball with all the residents and staff.
58: Sam turned into a frequent flyer with all the comings and goings between Boise and Spokane, I got pretty good at it too. ;) Four months old! We can't kiss him enough! What a giggler! | These two, just too cute.
59: Five months old and a total ham! | Dinner with friends. It was nice to see mom enjoy herself and eat a little.
60: Thursday, August 18, 2011 July and some August I have been avoiding this post for a while now.......don't worry! It's good. Amazing actually. The stuff of miracles. I just couldn't figure out what to say and after receiving some news this past weekend I now know why. We have some wonderful news and some sad news. It seems as if GBM stage 4 cancer is popping up allover the country. We have met quite a few people who are fighting it, one in particular is someone we consider part of the family, (family, though not technically related, can be made up of people you choose for yourselves). We have known the McLaws family pretty much our whole lives, ever since Camille rode up on her purple bicycle to say 'hi'. We have been through a lot with them...good times, and bad. We love them. I hardly have a memory of Spokane without them in it. As we have gotten to know them, we have also had the pleasure of meeting their huge and wonderful extended family who was fighting our same fight. Angela's sister-in-law Lisa was diagnosed with GBM Stage 4 about four months before our mom was. I remember hearing the news and being so saddened by it, she was so young! You never think things like this will happen to your family, and then it does. | 3 Generations
61: This past weekend, Lisa's fight came to an end. She fought and so did her family. She and my mom had been keeping track of each other's progress. It was good to get updates, to know that other people knew what we were going through. But the updates gradually tapered off and we were told it was to protect us, to keep us going strong. Thank you for that. Lisa's battle was much harder than we would ever know. The chemo regimen was too hard on her body. I don't know the specifics. I want the Forsey family to know that your courage and faith with Lisa's fight helped ours and still does. We love you, think about you constantly and and know that Heavenly Father is in charge. We know what it is like to lose a parent, and with the utter devastation comes an overwhelming understanding of the Plan of Salvation that you can only learn through an experience like this. As we always say in our family about losing our dad, you never move on, you only move forward. Prayers and love are being sent your way. Mom and I received the news on Saturday. It was awful. We too are fighting this fight. We immediately put ourselves in their situation and it was just awful. Mom is fighting hard on her own, her faith her attitude and her desire to kick cancer's butt is amazing, but so was Lisa's. It's hard to write this, and out of respect for Lisa's family I will be short. Mom's Avastin is working. Her last MRI showed that the tumor is shrinking, that it's hardly visible. The tumor is being starved of it's blood supply and mom is responding incredibly to the treatment. Her white blood cells are perfect, her health is stable. Her chemo treatments aren't going as well and her body is kinda rejecting the 'poison' that is chemo. She breaks out in MAJOR hives allover her body after treatment, but her doctors are working with the research team to get that under control. The doctors are learning so much through mom's expirience and we hope they can help others with that knowledge. The lady who schedules mom's avastin drips has this stuffed bear on her desk and it says 'Cancer Sucks'. So true little bear, so true. There is joy to be found in the world, even during trials and tribulations. Life truly is beautiful.Thank you for your prayers, They keep us going. Heavenly Father hears every single one of them. Lindsay
62: Chillin' in the Fall!
63: Growing too fast!
64: On his birthday, France had to work at the Air Show! Sammy and I joined him for a while and saw the Thunderbirds! Sammy hated every minute of it. We will get a babysitter next time. Thunderbirds less than 500 ft away are verrry loud. Oops. Anyhoo! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! I even made him the Maglebys Chocolate cake to celebrate. :)
67: We made a super fun card for Elder Bird!
68: Autumn in Spokane! Kelsey's Birthday, France came for a visit, and Gramma Sheri and Sam had some good bonding time.
69: Halloween as Jackie O. With mom's wig. She loved it. | Also, Sam's 1st Halloween! Little Monkey :)
70: She, is my hero.
71: SheriBird.com Update Thursday, October 13, 2011 Well Crud.... We found out yesterday that mom's tumor is a persistent little turd, and has decided to show up again. It goes without saying that this is not what we wanted or anticipated. We are now onto plan B. Plan A was the chemo/radiation and Avastin. We think the chemo stopped working, but Mom hasn't....so we are off the study and onto new things. Plan B is a combination of gamma knife and a different chemo and hopefully more Avastin soon (it's now FDA approved). We do not know the schedule, nor do we know when or where this new regimen will begin. All we know is that the doctors were sad to give us the news, but just as excited to try out the gamma knife. The gamma knife is precise, we've heard that it eradicates tumors for years. Mom couldn't have it the first time because her tumor was too large and needed surgically removed. The second time her regrowth was barely visible and so it also didn't qualify, now her tumor regrowth is just right (really it's just wrong). Mom and I were talking today and compared it to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Her tumor is now mama bear size and the gamma knife can obliterate it. Yes, obliterate. Somehow that word is more awesome than it should be right now. So don't be sad. We're sad enough for everyone, trust us. Somehow though, we are still hopeful, the initial shock wore off quickly this time. No more time for tears (okay maybe a few). So she's tightening her laces, and putting on her armor and is ready for battle, again. There is so much to tell and yet with how much we have been on the phone and talking to our little family, I don't have it in me to rehash. I know we have ALL been there. Thank you for reading and keeping us in your prayers, we still get email and cards and phone calls and FB messages reminding us that you still pray for her. Thank you thank you thank you. Heavenly Father knows the plan and we are discovering it, step by step, little by little. Our faith and trust in Him has increased yet again. Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer and He knows better than anyone the pain and suffering we are all going through, that mom's going through, that we, her children are going through. My parents would have been married 32 years this month, we celebrate it as we always do, and it's just a lovely reminder that families will and can be together forever. Do not doubt that promise, it will change your life. I will have an update sooner this time. xoxo Lindsay
72: November | This cute kid loves to hang out in the carrier! He rolls over all the time now and is desperately trying to crawl. Chillin' with dad when he gets home from work is totally our favorite time of day. :)
73: Sammy's First Bite! Peas and Carrots. Delicious... not! :)
74: SheriBird.com Update Wednesday, October 19, 2011 She's done with the Gamma Knife! Mom's not gonna like this picture, but she's done! The bandages are to keep her incisions from bleeding and can come off tomorrow! She is so thankful for all you support! We ALL are! Thank YOU! Love, The Bird Kids. | Mama Bird is currently undergoing Gamma Knife Radiation for that lame tumor. Cross you fingers! Say your prayers! :) Thanks all!
75: At six months Sam began teething! He was rolling allover like a champ and he was getting ready to crawl everywhere! (Look lower left, he worked so hard to move around...he pushed a boogie out!)
77: Thanksgiving with the Bird's. We went to Tucanos! Yay! Getting mom here was a miracle! A wonderful one!
78: Brett turned '24' and the Winston's stopped by to say hello!
80: Mom started another round of chemo, this time her hair fell out a lot faster. So, when she came to visit for Thanksgiving, France did the honors while Sam looked on. Mom was such a good sport. We laughed and cried, as usual.
81: This is our 'Mission-Impossible Baby'. I sure miss it! | Such an innocent face... such a blowout! | Total football buds!
82: We've got a here a Christmas greeting from the White House, from my days as a volunteer I guess!
83: At the stake live Creche, we got to be Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, at six-months. :) | He's just a pretty baby!
84: SAMMY SANDWICH! | Our first visit to Temple Square since we were married here!
85: Nielson Family Christmas Party!
86: More Nielson Fun!
87: McLaws Christmas Eve Dinner Tradition
88: This was Samuel's first Christmas, and as it turned out, my mother's last. Christmas will never be the same without her, Christmas was her favorite...
89: Grandma Gay's traditional box of See's. A moment with her 'Bretty'. The blanket France and I got her to celebrate her family and mom in a humorous and very tired moment...
90: Sam totally dug Christmas...kind of. :)
91: Sam crawled! On December 16th. Woot! | Hanging with Grampa Brent and jumping downtown Spokane. | Sorry Sam, your little bum is just too cute.
92: SheriBird.com Update Thursday, December 22, 2011 Big Changes! Mom is officially moving to Idaho next week to come live with us! We appreciate all your continual love and support, you're all beyond incredible. Angels walk amongst us everywhere we go. ;)
94: The Richman's and cousin Shelby came for short and way sweet visits.
95: Sam reached 7 months! We moved mom to Mountain Home and celebrated her last New Year's Eve. Brett and Kira Winston came too, they were so helpful!