Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Laproscopy done!

Nick and I arrived at Huntsman a good 30 minutes late - thank goodness they didn't start without him! The fine medical staff still managed to get him wheeled in by 9:30 a.m. - right on time. The procedure took about an hour and they only needed to make 2 tiny incisions. Dr. Andtbacka met with us (the two fairy godmothers were with me in the waiting room) afterwards. All went well, as expected; they found about 100 seeds throughout his abdomen wall and lower intestines (about the size of peppercorns). He took a few of them to be biopsied to determine if they are alive and well or just dead pieces of cancerous scar tissue. There are also a couple of pockets of fluid again up near his liver, but not significant in size yet. The entire procedure was captured on video and will be fed x'd to Dr. Lambert in Massachusetts. We should have the biopsy results and Dr. Lambert's opinion by Friday.

If Dr. Lambert wants to go ahead with surgery, we'll schedule a conference call immediately. I couldn't get a read on if this a probability or not although Dr. A said it would happen sooner than later, definitely before Christmas. Hmm.

Soooooo, until then, Nick and I will catch a flight to Long Beach tonight. Lee is already in Newport Beach with Carly & Kelsey waiting for us to catch up. We will have some of nature's healing with the ocean, and Disneyland, of course. The plan is to drop off Nick in Las Vegas as we drive home on Sunday, so he can go with his cowboy buddies and attend the national rodeo finals Monday night. Thank goodness we have an awesome dog sitter (aka house sitter) to keep things on the homefront humming along.

I get many compliments on my ability to stay calm through this storm, managing it all with a wave of a hand, a smile on my face. So not true. Let me give you a glimpse of my reality; I have Lee scheduled to be in Chicago coaching on Dec 13th, 14th, & 15th. No worries, we have a whole WEEK to prepare. Lee received some questioning emails regarding his coaching classes on Dec 6th, 7th & 8th. What? Someone must've made a mistake. Hmm. My bad. I handle all of Lee's calendar and travel, etc. - so it's an obvious error on my part. I was up late last night rebooking his flights and hotel, rearranging how he will have to fly from Vegas to Salt Lake with enough time to race home, repack then go back to the airport to catch the last flight out of Salt Lake on Sunday night. Looks like the girls and I will be driving back home together. Catastrophe averted but I can't help but smile as Carly & Kelsey have Lee wrapped around their little fingers, dragging him to Universal Studios today with no lines, so they can go on each ride as many times as they want (just spoke to Lee and he is green, dripping in sweat, vowing not to let the girls know his nauseous predicament). Now there is a Prince Charming.

Also, one of Nick's fairy godmother's - Denise and her Prince Charming and best friend of 26 years, Jerry, finally made it official and got married yesterday. Congratulations, Denise & Jerry, we love you!

I'll post again once we get the results and opinion of surgery. Oh how I wish I had a picture of Lee at Universal Studios!!!!

With love,


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prayers for a local

Nick here....

As most of you know, the support I get from the people following my blog is amazing. Which is why i am posting tonight to ask for some prayers to be said for Christy Barnard. She is a local high school teacher who is deeply loved by her students and past students (a few good friends of mine say she was their favorite). She was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was hoping we could all say a big prayer for her and her family, which consists of her husband and two children.
I did not know Christy myself because I went to a different high school but I have only heard great things about her and thought posting this on my blog was the least I could do to help out a fellow cancer fighter. It is yet another reminder of how many families are affected by cancer in this world.

On a positive note I wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving this week. I plan on eating as much food as I can take and drinking as much cider as I can!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peace, Hope and Faith

I'm completely off the cancer topic and I'm not writing about Nick today, but this week has been impactful.

Starting with last Saturday when Lee, Nick and I attended the funeral for Rex Andersen, age 20. The hardest part for me was looking into the tear-filled eyes of Ralph, Rex's father, who was balancing precariously between the monumental sadness of having to say goodbye to his son and the joyful relief in knowing his son was free of his fragile human body to with his Heavenly Father. The wonderful part for me was when we told Ralph of Nick's latest amazing news, Ralph let his tears flow as he embraced Nick with a great big bear hug. The service had many special messages and I was grateful we were there to hear them.

On Monday morning, another young man - Blake Stromberg, age 22 - also passed away due to a form of leukemia. Blake's father, Mark, is a business associate and friend to Lee and I. Mark and I have shared hospital stories and followed our son's respective paths. The funeral is today and I am trying to find my perspective.

Tuesday, my cousin Rhiannon, gave birth to her 2nd son, Cole Daniel.
Thursday, our son, Bo and his wife Becky, welcomed their 2nd daughter, Saylor.
Both moms and both babies are perfectly healthy!

I completely believe that children bring with them knowledge from heaven, having a personal story about Carly to validate this belief for me. So I was wondering, did Cole & Saylor greet Rex & Blake, high-fiving them for the splendid work done and welcome them home? Did Rex & Blake share with Cole & Saylor the peace, hope and faith they brought with them from earth, so as little ones, they could continue to pass it on when they arrived? A spiritual tag team of sorts?

Rex, Blake, Cole & Saylor are all at home, surrounded by love, delivered with peace, hope and faith.

Today, I found my perspective. My faith is strengthened, my hope restored and I am comforted with peace.

With love,


Friday, November 12, 2010

Calling All Angels

As you all know, our family is very close to our softball community. The support we have received with Nick's battle has been phenomenal, especially with our annual charity softball tournaments. One umpire in particular has been extremely generous with his time and energy in making our tournaments a success - Ralph Andersen. It was Ralph, in fact, that organized all the umpires for our last tournament (Ralph is on the right).

He is a teacher at Bonneville High School and has also brought along his students from DECA to help volunteer and design and donate bottled water for the concession stands. Ralph has been amazingly supportive of Nick's efforts and it wasn't until this fall, we learned that Ralph's own 20-year old son, Rex, had his own life-long battle raging in his body with cystic fibrosis.

Rex was just approved last month to have a double lung and liver transplant done in St. Louis. Plane tickets were purchased and they were all ready to fly out this Sunday. I just received a phone call from Ralph this afternoon to tell me that God asked Rex to fly home to heaven instead this past Tuesday morning.

Here is a link to a recent newspaper article written about Rex:

He also has a Facebook page - "T-Rex Andersen" that has information as well.

Please say a prayer for the Andersen family - Ralph, his wife Carol and his son, James - whose broken hearts are finding comfort that their sweet boy can breathe again. We will be attending the funeral tomorrow in West Point. I am so, so sad.

Because of Ralph's efforts, I just mailed off checks to CureSearch and First Descents for $3,100 each, representing the funds raised at our 3rd annual charity softball tournament. Ralph epitomizes kindness, courage, strength, faith and friendship. We are all better for having him be part of our lives. I'm sure his son, Rex, was very proud of his dad, as Ralph was of his son. May blessings of comfort and peace find the Andersen family and that unconditional love from extended family and friends surround them always.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not so fast...

We met with Dr. Andtbacka this afternoon. He was grinning as he told us when he received the good news about Nick last week - it was in the middle of the night (in Australia) and he jumped out of bed to view the scans himself. He said they, as doctors, rarely see something so remarkable.

Nick has a nasty cold right now and having just come off 3 rounds of chemo, Dr. A. thought Nick might want to consider taking some time for his body to get stronger and postpone the laproscopy until the 30th - go ahead and enjoy Thanksgiving. Nick thought it sounded like a good idea.

If the laproscopy finds any tumor left, Dr. A. will snatch a bit to have biopsied, which will take a few days to get the results. At that time, Dr. A. will discuss the results with Dr. Lambert and determine what is the next step sometime in the first week of December. So basically, Nick has the next 2 1/2 weeks off for some R & R and we'll figure out the rest later.

Thanksgiving at home after all!!!!!! Sounds terrific!!!!!!!!!!!

With love,


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


"There is no measurable disease to be found in Nick." said Dr. Gouw. "The radiologist and I are stunned." This is what we heard after Nick's ct, mri and chest xray were done this morning. This news changes everything, to say the least, in a very good way. Dr. Gouw is off to an international conference in Paris - he'll be gone the rest of this week and next. Dr. Andtabacka is gone until next week. In-between, the doctors will try to determine a couple of things:

1. Will Nick still have the "shake & bake" chemo treatment? Probably, just won't be the 10 hour, open the entire abdomen, stay in hospital for 2 weeks surgery - but a much less invasive version where they will wash out the abdomen through small incisions.
2. When will this surgery take place? Nick will still have the laproscopy on Nov 15th. Dr. A will coordinate with Dr. Lambert at UMass to get all the ducks in order for our meeting on Nov 10th. Anticipate still going week of 15th.

We are still in shock with the good news. I cried most of the way home making Nick very uncomfortable, mainly because I tried to remind him to give thanks to the Big Guy upstairs, for it is because of Him, "all things are possible". He said it reminded him of the time I threw his hat at him one Sunday morning and yelled, "Get your ass out of bed - you are going to church and be grateful for God and all those that have prayed for you!!" He went. I've got some personal work to do, I see that...

We are still very cautious as Nick said "I've been told this before..." I think we are pretty good at this roller coaster ride and quietly rejoice with the good news and reject despair with the bad news. Whatever, today is a great day!

Thank you all for the prayers, thoughts, encouragement, meals, humor, patience, guidance, advice, ears and love. More news to follow one week from today.

With love,
Lori and Nick