Sunday, March 30, 2008

Go Maple Leafs

So I received a package 2 days ago from the Strategic Coach friends based out of Canada. I opened the package and was excited to see a hockey jersey inside of the package. I pulled it out and saw that it was a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, and after looking closer I could see that it was signed on the logo. It read, "Stay strong Nick! Your pal: (signature) #13". I was already going crazy, but I had to find out who was number 13 on the Leafs because I couldn't make out the signature. So my mom pulled up the internet and we looked up the roster for the Leafs, and there it was! Number 13 belongs to the one and only, Mats Sundin, who is the amazing captain for the Leafs. I went crazy for like 10 minutes and couldn't believe it had been sent to me. Canadians Rock! Thank you Caroline, Maria, Sandra, Marilyn, and Strategic Coach!
Finally after freaking out about the jersey, I started reading all the little notes from everyone at Strategic Coach. They all had nice things to say and words of encouragement. My favorite one was written by Amber, and what she wrote on the package to me was: "Storms make trees take deeper roots." I really liked that one.
I leave for Boston in 2 days and have surgery in 4. I believe we are scheduled to return on the 10th, just in time for me to watch my friends race in the first dirt bike race of the season. I am excited to see how they do. When I am fully healed I plan on joining them in the races. My mom talked to the surgeon in Boston and it seems that he will need to also make an incision on the outside my face. I will be about an inch underneath my eye on my cheek, starting from the side of my nose and across my cheek. Its hard to explain but I will put pictures after my surgery of my stitches or something. I am not to worried about it. I just hope the chicks will dig the scar, even though the surgeon says the scar will be hard to notice when fully healed. Either way I will be fine with it. Either I will look really tough or you wont even notice. Its a win win situation.
Lastly, I will probably not be able to talk or text on my phone after surgery, so if you wanted to know how I am doing after surgery, call my mom (her email is - she'll give you her cell phone #) or dad and they would love to talk to you. My mom will also update my blog the day of surgery and probably daily while I am in the hospital.
I want to thank Strategic Coach again! And thank everyone for there support. This could be my last hurdle through this fight, and it was so much easier with everyones support.
Thank you!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I still got game!

So I was able to shoot around at the Ice Sheet in Ogden today for the first time in a year. It was awesome and I did a lot better than I expected. I still have the skills! So after an hour of shooting, I was in the dressing room area where I ran into one of my hockey coaches from high school. He was happy to see me and to see how I was doing. We talked for a few minutes about hockey and my fight. Then before he had to go back into the locker room to make sure his team was ready to go, he told me to call him if I was ever interested in helping coach. I replied a long 3 seconds later with, "What..... Are you serious?". He said "Of course!". I was stunned, especially since I only played a year and a half of competitive hockey. But I am way stoked on the opportunity to help coach not only high school hockey team, but a decent one at that. So I will see how my schedule works out but I hope I can help out. It would be so cool.
I then finished off the night with a wonderful dinner with my family which included: My Aunt Chris, Uncle Stan, my cousin Jessica and her fiance Kris, Kelsey, Carly, and my Dad. We ate at The Mandarin, where Carly works. Its chinese food and Carly serves water and stuff there. HA
Also I had the pleasure of meeting Jay Paterson today. We had a good time talking about water skiing, hockey, Canada, and a bunch of stuff. He was even nice enough to buy me lunch! Thanks Jay!
Oh, and I met with some nurses today at Primary Children's Hospital to talk about some volunteer work that I will be able to do soon, so that was nice to get going. The nurses are really nice there and love to have fun. They seriously play games all day and shoot squirt guns. It will be way fun!
Alright well thats all I can think of now so I am going to shower and then to bed. Talk to you soon! Later...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Much is new...

Happy Easter!

Lots to update this time! Interesting month so far.

First, I spoke with the surgeon in NY and after he reviewed Nick's scans, he still wanted to do the major surgery by removing all of Nick's upper right jaw, but keeping his eye. We then spoke to Dr. Albritton (oncologist) and Dr. Rahbar (surgeon) out of Boston to discuss options. Both are willing to have Nick go through the extensive clean-up surgery without compromising his facial structure but we needed to decide how to proceed after surgery. As a family, we discussed everything - Nick's ultimate decision is:

1. Go ahead with biopsy and minor surgery; if there is a tumor found, he will then undergo the major surgery (with Dr. Rahbar).
2. If there are only residual viable cells found, he has declined to do further chemotherapy (there is no tumor to measure progress and the effectiveness of additional chemo is not that great). He will instead go towards alternative and complimentary therapy; acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, vegan diet (at least try), etc. Dr. Albritton said "why wait for the pathology results to go this route and get started right away?" I about fell over - she is the first oncologist to actually support alternative treatment out loud. We really, really like her.

Nick was scheduled to have his port removed for April 4th when he was invited to go to Lake Powell with a bunch of friends on April 3rd. I was able to work with his SLC surgeon's nurse and we rescheduled it and it was removed Friday, Mar 21st. Yes, his Hickman port has finally been removed and Nick had his first shower without any tape on his chest for the first time in almost a year!

After his port removal, we went up to the 4th floor to show all the nurses his new band aid. Nick has also been going stir-crazy; his friends are working, going to college or on missions. I suggested now would be the time to go volunteer at Primary Children's Hospital (PCH). One of Nick's favorite nurses, Jay, used to work at PCH. Jay was working on Friday and we talked to him about how Nick could help. Jay's best buddy works at PCH's oncology dept and he immediately called him. Nick will meet them both Monday morning to get his training started. Jay told Nick that kids with cancer don't ever say, "Why me?" or "What is going to happen to me later?" - just totally in the "now" and "when can I go play?" To see a big kid like Nick as a cancer survivor (we loved to hear that word) is a huge boost for them. My heart about burst when Jay told Nick, "I'm so proud of you!..." There is also a huge camp for cancer kids going through treatment that Jay hopes Nick will participate in - sounds fantastic and Nick said to count on him!

On our way home, we stopped by the office to show more people his new band aid. That's when we got the call from Dr. Rahbar's office - the ONLY day they can do the surgery is April 3rd, same day as going to Lake Powell. We had to take it. Nick was WAY bummed, but as always, rebounded pretty quick. Sounds like it will be a 5 hour surgery and a 7 day hospital stay. We fly out on April 1st. Surgery will be at the Children's Hospital of Boston; he will be the tallest patient there by far!

Whew! Other than that, Nick has been playing basketball, riding his motorcycle and finally went snow skiing yesterday. Feeling good and anxious to get his hair back. He is taking his vitamins, eating organic meat & veggies, no sugar and drinking MovaVi religiously.

Today is obviously a precious day to be grateful - so many prayers answered. The past has been grueling, the future still unknown, but today is an amazing, wonderful day!


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Done with chemo!

So as of last night I have been done with my final round of scheduled chemo. As soon as my bag of mesna runs through me I get to go home, which is in about 4 hours. It is a great feeling knowing you may never be given chemo again. I am so excited for the summer and to be able to do stuff this summer without chemo holding me back. Im going to be a mad man this summer I tell you!
Hopefully within the next couple weeks I will have my surgery scheduled, so that they can clean up my sinus and biopsy the area to make sure no living cancer cells are still "kickin". And if all goes well after that I will have scans a few weeks after that and thats when we will know if I am really done with treatments or not. I will also get my Hickman port out if the scans look good. I am sick of the Hickman. I haven't been swimming in a year!
I am now planning on taking my final shower at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, so I will post again when I know all the details of where my surgery will be done and when. (Im thinking Boston)
Thanks again for all the love and support, I am amazed of the support that is given to me through so many people. You make the fight a lot easier!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I met Lance Armstrong!

So yesterday a man came into my room who I have never met or seen before, but it was easy to tell he worked here at the Huntsman. After introducing himself and shaking my hand he was very delighted to let me know that there was a VIP visitor coming today. He then told me that this guest will only be seeing one patient with John Huntsman Sr. and that he had talked to all the nurses, and they had all recommended me as the one who should be able to meet the VIP. I was expecting him to tell me that another Utah Jazz player was coming to visit, but when I asked him who was coming the man raised his eyebrows and calmly said...... Lance Armstrong. I kind of just laid there for a second and looked at him with no expression before finally mumbling, "No Way!". The man then told me that he would be around at 4 the following day.

So I have spent this entire day in preparation for the arrival of the biggest cancer celebrity in the world to visit MY ROOM. My Mom, Sisters and Dad were all excited as well and were blown away at the opportunity coming. My Dad showed up with books, t-shirts and markers for Lance to sign all this stuff.
Around 2 in the afternoon, The Man finally arrived with John Huntsman, both wearing very nice suits and looking very presentable. I shook both of their hands and told them how much of an honor it was to meet them both. I towered over Lance in height, but not John. He was a tall man. We talked for about 2 whole minutes about the facility and each other, and that was about it. We then had a group picture taken in my room before they had to leave, but not before I gave both John and Lance a gratitude rock and my own wrist band (which Lance put on immediately, before giving me one of his own). My dad did not get one autograph. HA HA
So my visit with Lance Armstrong was very short, but I will always remember it and can say from this day forth that I met the man who beat cancer and won the Toure De France 7 times in a row. Can you say that? Not many can!
I have a couple pics here from our own camera that we took of him but the Huntsman Institute will send us the good ones in due time.

And last night, my Godmothers (GM's) came to visit in their stylish ways as always. They decorated my room like Marti Gra. It was a big party for my last round of chemo. They also presented me with a paper voucher for a 2 night stay at the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab for me and some buddies. It is the coolest place and there is tons of stuff to do there. I am way excited to go down there this summer and maybe do some dirt biking, river rafting, and some horseback riding! Thanks GM's!

Here are some more pics...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Number 12.... the last one

I started my 12 and hopefully last chemo yesterday and am so eager to get it over and done with. Yesterday I started my stay here at the Huntsman with an unexpected visit from my Uncle Bill (Uncle Willie to me). Its nice having him stop by, he always has funny stories and a good spirit. We are both into the health drink Mona Vie, so if your interested he is the man to talk to.
I am still eating well in the hospital, even though its only day 2. And lately I have been doing a little bible reading, since I know nothing about the bible and its teachings and stories. I have always been a big fan of the story of Moses though.
Anyways that is all that I have got for now, I will post again sometime soon.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Funny Pictures

So I was at a friends house the other day hanging out and they had an new iMac home computer. It was way cool and you can take the coolest pictures and videos. So we probably spent a good two hours taking pictures and videos of all of us. It was a good time. Anyways I thought I would just post a few of my best pictures to hopefully get a good laugh out of some of you.

p.s. I am wearing my new cowboy shirt in these pictures. Its awesome.