Sunday, June 12, 2016


April, May and June are full of celebratory events in our family!

MOTHER'S DAY - ever a favorite of mine.  I had such a special, wonderful mother of my own, and I always wanted to grow up and be a mommy. And by golly, I did it!  When we first got married, we had trouble conceiving, and the Dr. said we may not be able to have children.  Two years later, the little ones started coming - times seven!!  Each one was a precious treasure to us - and they continue to be!  I am SO grateful to be a mother!!

Cards & flowers - my favorites!!
These are some of the names I am known by:):)

We were able to pay a visit to Lothaire's mom - one of the sweetest angels on the earth!
Here he is with her and his brother Curtis and sister Antoinette.

I also got to witness our grandson, Parker, receive his Arrow of Light for Cub Scouts - good work Parker!!  Now on to Life and Eagle, right??!!

And just 3 days ago, our son-in-law, Alex, walked across the stage at UCDavis and received his PhD in Statistics.  And we were able to live stream it and watch from our kitchen here in Arizona - sometimes I truly love technology:). (other times, not so much!)  So proud of you Alex!!!


We had a gathering to celebrate Jordan, Layton, and Adelynn who have birthdays in late April and May.  Somebody is watching those cupcakes pretty seriously:)!!

It was fun to watch little miss Addy enjoy her birthday cupcake!
Cute little one year old!!

She loved her new little pink sports car, and we loved
being here for her first birthday!

Mae and Eva share the first week of June for their birthdays - born just four days apart!
They won't always be in the same state for their birthdays, but they were this year, 
so what's a Grandma to do except have a Princess Party??!!

So much cuteness all in one room!  
(With cute little sister Daphne looking on longingly - don't worry Daph - your turn will come!)

Calvin turned 8 just yesterday!  Since his mom & dad were participating as "ma & pa" on their stake trek outing, Grandma got to pick him up and take him out for birthday breakfast - just the two of us!

Followed by - - - - a little outing to the Dinosaur Museum, of course!

I told Calvin that my favorite book when I was his age was "The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek" -
so this picture was a must!
I loved sharing your birthday with you, Cal!!!

NOW - if you happen to be stuck in the hospital on your birthday, party planners have to be a little creative!

These folks sang a great rendition of Happy Birthday for Lothaire!!

And kids under the age of 13 aren't allowed on the oncology floor.
BUT - there is a little family waiting area just outside of the floor, and they allowed us to have a little celebration in there.  (of course he had to bring his IV pole with him!)
It was a happy surprise for Lothaire!!


Visiting Angels

Since my last post in the middle of April, we have had so many wonderful visitors that have helped to lift our spirits!  I didn't get a photo of all of them, but here are some that I did:

Here is Lothaire surrounded by his Aunt Sylvia Lunt Heywood (sister of his mother) and Uncle Evans Heywood.
They have always been a very special part of our lives.
They served as Mission President and wife of the Chile Concepcion Mission from 1992-1995 and gave us so many insightful tips before we left for Chile!
The four of us share a deep love for Chile and her people and her missionaries!!

This is Lothaire's brother Barry, who lives in Wyoming.
It was such a sweet and pleasant surprise to have him show up on our doorstep -
complete with a freshly shaved head in honor of his big (I should say older!) brother:):):)

Our "foster" son, Rick, was deployed to the Naval ship USNS MERCY, for a 5 month mission in the Pacific.
In early May, he was in San Diego receiving training prior to departure.  He had leave on Mother's Day weekend and drove over to spend it with us. It was so wonderful to have him here.  He is now having quite an adventure at sea!

And look at these 2 little cutie pie visitors!  Eva & Daphne came over from California for a few days with mommy (Meagan).  They are trying out Grandma's new circle bench in the back yard:).

And, of course, it is ALWAYS special to have our missionaries drop by!!

Hermana Riggs home from UVU for a weekend full of weddings!

Elder Woods & Elder Cupello - we knew that Elder Cupello was coming for a visit - he lives and works here in AZ.
But Elder Woods' presence was a BIG and AWESOME surprise!!
He then went home and got married to the love of his life:).

We were also delighted and surprised when Elder Povar (from Oregon) called last week and said he was
in town visiting some family!  We had SUCH a great visit together!!!

A Little Update

I was shocked to sit down and see that my last post was nearly two months ago!  How does that happen??  So often??:)

So here is a little update on Lothaire - and then I will post a couple of other catch ups after this one.

Round 4 of chemo has been completed - something to celebrate for sure!  That means there are only 2 more rounds to go.  As miserable as it is to be in the hospital for 5 days straight every 3 weeks, being pumped full of medicinal poison, Lothaire has carried on like a champ.  The first week home is always the hardest and we keep a pretty low profile.  But then his blood starts to rebuild and he gets a little more energy, and life seems a little bit normal again - right when it is time to go back in for more poison!!

The grandkids are quite enchanted by grandpas shiny head!  

He finished round 4 on June 3rd (the day after his birthday) and was so happy to come home again - and I was so happy to HAVE him come home again!  But he didn't seem to be bouncing back as well as he did the previous times.  This last Friday evening (June 10th) he started having chills and fever, and we knew that was not a good thing.  We spent that night in the ER and they admitted him back into the hospital in the wee hours of Saturday morning (yesterday).  Over the last two days they have been pumping him full of liquids and IV antibiotics.  They also gave him a unit of blood.  He has become neutropenic, which means that he has very few white blood cells to fight infection.  It can be a very serious condition should an infection present itself, so we are appreciative of the proactive steps they are taking.  Even if it means a few more "boring" days in the hospital!!

He was feeling quite a bit better by the end of today, and we are hopeful that he can come back home tomorrow!!

Thank you all over and over again for your care and concern, your love and your prayers, your calls, visits and emails.  We feel abundantly blessed and we know that the Lord is watching over us. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch!

Hard times aside and accounted for, there has been SO much joy at the same time!

Hugs with Bud and Gus - wearing a crazy clown nose!

And backyard chats with some of the grandsons -
Celyn and Treavor here.

Grandma got to take a zoo trip with some of the little ones.
Jack loved his icee as much as Grandma!

Mae couldn't wait to ride the

Buddy loved petting the sting rays!

Chelsea & Amy & little Bud

And some crazy cousin time at Aunt Chelsea's - yep folks from the colder climates, THIS is what we do in Arizona in the springtime:)

And while all of this fun was going on, our son-in-law, Alex, successfully defended his thesis and is now officially Dr. Alexander Petersen!
Many years of being "starving students" have finally paid off for Alex and Bee and their three little boys!  Dr. Petersen will begin his position as Associate Professor of Statistics at UCSanta Barbara in July!!

And just in case any of you think I might be bored at home when I'm not visiting Lothaire in the hospital . . . . . .

These just arrived from Chile!!  Our incredible friends, Ingrid, Kent & Michele Arrington, and Terry & Lynda Lee, went to the Mission Home and helped me sort what needed to come home to us via FaceTime.  Friendship doesn't get much truer than that!!!


April 14th came mighty fast!

That first week home, after his March 31st release, Lothaire was a little queasy and pretty low on energy. But then his cells began to rebuild, and he became stronger and stronger.

We felt blessed to be able to see every session of General Conference in the comfort of our own home.  We were reminded of the purpose of adversity in our lives - yes it IS a part of Heavenly Father's plan for our growth and development!   We were also reminded of the deep love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us.  We were strengthened once again.

We were also able to enjoy eating out a bit, and we even made it to a movie!
Plus some great family time - the best!!

Just about the time he was starting to get his energy back and feel pretty good, it was time to go in for round two!  Two days before, on the 12th of April (exactly 46 years from the day we met for the first time - a story for another time!), he went in as an outpatient and had a central port installed under the skin in his upper left chest - just under the collarbone.  The port is a quarter sized rubber device that has 3 raised bumps on it (which you can see and feel from the outside of the skin!), and the needle for chemo and blood draws and whatever else is needed, is inserted right in the center of these bumps.  There is a tube (catheter) that goes from the port to the jugular vein (still under the skin - don't get queasy on me!), then goes down to the vena cava where it dumps the medications for the best dilution and distribution.  This way, the veins on his arms and hands will not be poked and damaged over and over again.  I know that it is a good thing but I just can't dwell on it very long or I get a little light headed!!

He did not have the same shaking reaction to the first medication - the Rituxan - and he has handled the chemo quite well, even though they bumped up the strength to the next level.

As bored as he is, it does give him time to read which is something he LOVES to do and has not had much time to do in the last 40 years or so:).

And he has a lovely view from his window:).
For those of you from verdant areas, this may just look like ugly desert.  To us, it has it's own beauty:).  The mountains in the background are the famous Superstitions - often hiked, and occasionally explored for the Lost Dutchman's Goldmine!

There have been many wonderful visitors to help pass the time - I didn't always have my camera at the ready.  But here is Lothaire's sweet mom, LaRee, and her husband, Dale.  They are both 88 years young!!

And just this afternoon, these 5 amazing missionaries popped in for a great visit with their President!  Hermana DeGroff and Elder Cupello - far left - live in the area and have been a great support.  Elder Faas - center, striped shirt - recently returned from the mission and gave his "homecoming" report in his Sacrament Meeting today.  I was able to attend, and he gave SUCH a fine talk on how the Holy Ghost provides safety, guidance, and comfort in our lives!  Thank you for your great service as a missionary and your great testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Faas!  The two awesome young men flanking Lothaire live in Utah and drove down especially to support Elder Faas today!  Elder Casperson (left) and Elder Clay have been home a little longer than Elder Faas and are getting readjusted to "normal" life, whatever that is!  I need to practice calling them all by their first names, now that they are home.  But to President and I they will always be Elders and Hermanas!

Our sweet kids in Hawaii  - Jonas, Priscila, Apollo & Adonis (5 year old twins) sent a chemo care package to Grandpa!    Some reading material, some dry mouth care, some body lotion, and some anti nausea ginger candies - Grandpa loved it all!!

Hang in there Grandpa - you will be back home on Tuesday!!!

Hair is Overrated !!

They mentioned that his hair would begin to fall out between 2-4 weeks after the onset of treatment.
Sure enough!  About 2 1/2 after the beginning of the chemo, Lothaire's hair began coming out by the handfuls.  We decided to go for it:)




I think he has a great shaped head!

And now he has an excuse to wear his Chile hat everyday:)


Son, Jordan, was the first to jump on board!

Followed by son, Jonas, who lives in Hawaii.
Better break out that sunscreen!

Surprise visit from cousin, Oscar - joining the club!

I just love all of these handsome bald men -
Especially the one in the red shirt!!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Aftermath

We were able to leave the hospital and come home the afternoon of Easter Sunday.  Such a blessing for us - especially Lothaire, who had been "caged" and poked and prodded for nine straight days!       Here is how he felt about coming home:

That's a Happy Face!!!

Some of the kids popped over to visit that evening and we enjoyed a pie fest, thanks to the sweet mom of one of our returned missionaries!

The last four days at home have had their share of fatigue and upset stomach for Lothaire, but that is to be expected.  We have met with his oncologist and it has been determined that Lothaire will go in for five more treatments.  There may or may not be radiation at the end - depending on the results.  Lothaire was SO hoping to be able to have the infusion as an outpatient, but this particular regimen must be administered as a continual drip over 5 days.  It is the optimal treatment for his particular lymphoma - so that is what we will do!  He will go in every 21 days - with the next treatment beginning April 14th.  They removed the PICC line before he came home, and will "install" a central port two days before he goes back in.  Good thing he isn't needle shy like someone else I know :)!

The prognosis is very good - and the lump on his neck has already reduced significantly.  His vocal chords are still compromised and he can only speak in a whisper - we are hopeful that his voice will return as the treatments continue.

The Saturday before Easter, I was able to slip away to our family gathering for a couple of hours.  That is usually held at our home, but this year one of our daughters hosted, and everyone pitched in with the preparations.  Our kids have been so amazing and supportive!!  Here is a glimpse:

Everyone waiting inside for the Easter Bunny to finish hiding the eggs out front!