Sunday, January 8, 2012

Make Today Count

Quick Recap of the holidays
  •  Round 4 or 13 of chemotherapy (depending how you count) the week before Christmas
  • Home Christmas Eve morning and William was so excited to be home, he called as he drove into the neighborhood to have everyone come outside to be his welcoming committee. Love it!
  • Relaxing Christmas day. Attended church, opened presents, ate good food.
  • Gift highlights were Legos. What else do boys want/need? And the tetherball that I’m proud to say Lisa and I made by pouring concrete in an old tire. Actually, I poured the concrete and she supervised and took pictures of who dressed in the ugliest grubbies. Everyone needs a friend with whom to pour concrete, right?
  • My parents and brother arrived the day after Christmas and stayed for a week. Wonderful. Filled our buckets.
  • Another brother and sister and their spouses and children came to party Thurs.-Sat. to make fun family memories and celebrate my mother’s 60th b-day. Good times!
  • Slept in. Got up early M-F for 2.5 weeks to be out the door by 7:20am for abdominal radiation.
  • Blood and platelet transfusion gave William an extra boost despite his ANC hitting 0, but it didn't stop him and all the uncles/grandpa and boy cousins from attending a Kings vs. Bulls NBA basketball game that same evening to watch Jimmer. He did go wearing a mask and hand sanitizer in his pockets. Hospital admit averted. Whew!
  • Celebrated my mother’s birthday on New Year’s Eve at a bounce house gym. Debateable whether the children or adults had more fun. The adults came away with more injuries (always the competitive Bennions). William engaged in more physical activity than I’ve seen in over a year. Bounce house jumping should be prescribed medicine for cancer kids!
We’re getting back into the swing of schedules and unpredictability. Last weekend, William experienced some intense abdominal pain, but a little morphine seemed to do the trick. This can be a radiation side effect, but in the back of my mind I always wonder if the tumors are growing. Tuesday, while at the clinic right after radiation, the pain started again. Of course I cleaned out my purse of his pain meds that morning. The nurse gave him some Tylenol and he promptly threw up all over himself and soaked everything he was wearing. Then he declared he felt much better! I hardly flinch at vomit anymore. Ahh, the things that change us.

The significant event was Wednesday's CT scans to assess the progress of tumor growth. Good news. The tumors appear to have responded and decreased in size. This gives us two options: 1) continue with the same chemo regimen of Etoposide (VP 16) and ifosfamide until the tumors stop responding or 2) switch to temozolomide and irinotecan, two chemotherapies his body hasn't been exposed to yet. The doctors will discuss the options and let us know what they recommend when we show up for admit on Monday morning. The upside to option 2 is the temozolomide is an oral pill and the irinotecan can be given outpatient. Otherwise, we’re just planning on a M-Sat hospital stay this week.

I recently read the following quote by Pres. Thomas S. Monson on another blog of a family dealing with cancer too: “Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.” Ryan and I have discussed at length how to create more meaningful relationships and memories as a family. We want to make each day count. Taking the idea from this other blog, I planned a Family Home Evening lesson last week on this topic, Make Today Count. We discussed and listed many things we can do as a family each day to make the days better. Some things are daily activities such as family prayer and scripture study, speaking kindly, serving one another, saying “I love you” often, and giving lots of hugs. Other things are activities we want to increase like going to the beach, family bike rides, playing board games. Some things are easy and are already part of our regular routine, but others will take daily reminders. Our hope is to strengthen our family through this trial. We know good comes from adversity, but it’s not always immediate or automatic. All things worthwhile take hard work and patience. But at the end of each day, no matter how stressed we feel, how cranky the boys are, or how physically and emotionally exhausted we are, I hope we love each other a little more because we made today count.


  1. Because we are away so much I try to keep up by reading your Blog. It is so inspiring. God bless all of you.
    Phyllis Lee

  2. You know how I am about maxims-here's one I think applies to all of us as we consider our mortality--"there are no perfect lives, just perfect moments.". So in the midst of trials and troubles, making memorable times filled with love will be the things that last. Know we love you SO much! Can't wait to hear how the twins celibate their birthday this week!

  3. Make that CELEBRATE. So much for typing without my glasses...

  4. So glad to hear that your Christmas went so well. We think of you all the time. I feel inspired to make moments count with my boys as well. Thank you for the post!
    Love, Don

  5. Sounds like your holidays were filled with happiness, love and FUN! Zack has scheduled Donut Dash 4 for March 24, and I'm planning to be there, running (and eating) my guts out in honor of your brave boy! Lots of love to all of you, and Happy New Year! <3

  6. Hi Julie and Ryan and boys - so glad to get back on your blog today. You are all always inspiring to this old lady!!! What great attitudes you have and the things you are doing are wonderful. You are an inspiration to so many people. I hope the year 2012 will bring lots of wonderful blessings to you all. Happy New Year....

    Love the Jones (Nancy and Jerry)

  7. I'm so glad to hear the tumors are responding to treatment. It sounds like you were able to enjoy Christmas and the season, too. Hugs to you all!

  8. thanks so much for the update!! yay for the news that the tumors are responding and best hopes for the next round!!

    also, so glad that William saw the kings play! we (don, amy, and i) were following jimmer over the christmas break--pretty fun. and kudos on the concrete pour--very impressive! loves to you all.

  9. so glad for an update. LOVE you all so much! i love your FHE idea...i'm gonna steal it.
    kisses and prayers from us to you.

  10. It is a lot of responsibility being the project engineer, someone has to stand around and hold the shovel. And I was the QC engineer (remember when I said to add more water). And I was the photographer because if there was no photo, it never happened. And now, as R & D, I have to figure out what we (you) will do next year to top that project.