Monday, January 25, 2010

My Story

I had a bit of an emotional reaction today that came to me by surprise. I was getting ready to head out to the gym... and as I did I threw on my 'cancer really sucks' shirt as I have a million times before. For some reason as I did this today I was flooded by feelings and emotions from my personal experience with ovarian cancer over 5 years ago.

I feel so much detachment from that time in my life. Did that really happen? Was that actually me? It feels so long ago.

As I thought back to that time, I felt extreme sadness for that young woman who had to face the thought of death at age 25. And I was even more sad for her because what she feared more than surgeries, chemo, the thought of not having any more children, or even death itself... was that of losing what she held most precious to her... her husband and her two year old little boy. Her worst fear was that that little boy would feel lost and abandoned by his mother... not being able to understand at that tender age that she did not desert him. Just the memory of the thought is almost too much for me to bare.

And then, I felt oddly STRONG! Yes, that woman did have to have a couple of surgeries and spent some time in the hospital. But she recovered quickly, did not have to have chemo, has been able to have two more children, and she is still here with her loving husband and now THREE little boys. That woman didn't just stare down any cancer in the face...but OVARIAN cancer... which is known as the "SILENT cancer" because almost no one knows they have it until it is too late. She stared it down and WON! The thought of it made me feel powerful. The thought of anything else felt trivial and small. I felt like I could up and run a marathon if I needed to... like I could move mountains... and that there was nothing I could not conquer.

And then I felt humility. Because as quickly as I had felt strong... I felt weak. I was quick to remember that it could easily come back. I realized that I didn't actually personally beat anything. If it had not been the Lord's will for me to live... then I would clearly not be here today. I certainly wasn't in charge and most honestly had nothing to do with my outcome whatsoever. Let's be honest... I couldn't actually run a marathon... or even move a small boulder if I tried with all my might!

And then the guilt set in. Guilt for not being quicker to remember the Lord.

And then more guilt.

A certain guilt that particular young woman felt the day she came out of surgery... and has felt most every day since. Why me? Why did I survive and not the others? Why when it was all said and done... was I only going to get exams and blood tests ... while I could hear the poor people on the other side of the wall getting chemo treatments and puking their guts out?
And then there was the waiting room. As I sat there to await routine "clear" checks from the oncologist... those dear people sat there next to me waiting to take their very sick, possibly dying, loved ones home. More guilt.

That young woman is still haunted by a very clear memory of a slightly older woman who laid next to her awaiting surgery that same day. The older woman cried out in horror that she had never had the chance to be a mother... and now never would as they were having to remove everything. I remember crying with her, and feeling horribly guilty for having a child. I remember feeling guilty for the possibility of having more children as the doctor's goal was to only remove one ovary. And that certain guilt has plagued me (to an extent) with the birth of each new child.

That young woman remembers the fear. As the Doctor's last words were, "Remember, we are going to do our best to only remove one ovary and Fallopian tube. But there are no promises or guarantees. Depending on how far it has spread- there is the possibility we might have to remove it all." She did not know if she would be able to bear children when she awoke. She would not know how far the cancer had spread and if she would need chemo or radiation until after she awoke, or if she had much time left with her family until after she awoke.

But then I was suddenly flooded with gratitude. I am grateful for life! I am so grateful to be here today! I am grateful I only had to have one ovary removed. I am forever grateful for the lives of those two other beautiful boys I have been able to bare! I am grateful for this second chance I have been given (for whatever reason...) to raise my children and to learn what it truly means to be a wife and mother. I am grateful to my Savior for not abandoning me during one of my darkest hours. That young woman prayed a lot during that time. One night as she knelt in prayer alone until the early hours of morning... she received her answer. It was an overwhelming feeling of peace. She didn't know what it meant... if she would live, or if she would die. But that woman knew that whatever it was that was in store for her and her family... it would somehow be okay.

And that is how that particular 25 year old woman survived ovarian cancer.

Our little family at the time-- December 2004


Did the title of this blog entry shock you? Well then it is only fitting. Eli has discovered the power of the word "penis" and is using it every chance he gets to make little boys (and grown men) laugh alike and to get raised eyebrows out of anyone and everyone else. He does it in public or in private... at church, at the store, or in our home. No where is safe. What to do with my little 3.5 year old boy and his "potty" humor?!?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The other day I left Eli to paint... I came back and found him getting creative and painting with his feet! Please don't hate because we have so much talent in this family! ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Everyone was so worked up over trying to make Lizzy smile... but I think her face is priceless!

Grandma and Grandpa Washburn with all ten of their grandchildren!
(left to right, back to front)
Joshua, Connor, Grandpa
Grandma, Lydia, Elijah, Benjamin, Caleb, Elizabeth, and Dallin
Eve and Barak

Isaac, Katrina, Ephraim
Tiffany, Seth, Eliza, Esther, Kimm
Mom, Miriam, Bekah, Dad

Crazy Washburns!

Miriam cracks me up in this picture. What is she doing... a dead puppet!?! ;)

New Years Eve

A tired grandma lovingly played Life with the boys as they waited for midnight!
Ben, Grandma, Connor, and Josh

(Go Blue Hens!.. Grandma is wearing her U. of DE sweatshirt!)

Caleb crashed about 11pm. I was not going to let Connor stay up until midnight for New Years. But I had to let him since Kimm and Ephraim felt Caleb was old enough (10) to stay up. Needless to say... he didn't even make it. Thanks for nothin! ;)

The Washburn family by nature seems to not be night owls. I think this is the first year that I have been there for New Years... where I am not the only one up to see the ball drop! :) I had to record it! Esther and Eliza made a fabulous dinner complete with hor 'doeuvres and sparkling cider. Yummm!

Besides Caleb... my husband was the only other exception of falling asleep early. However, Seth only made it until 9:30pm! He awoke when he heard us all counting down and came down stairs just in time to see the ball drop and get his New Years kiss! No sooner he was back in his bed. :)

Happy New Year 2010!!!

Swimming in Winter?

Connor was so amazed that when we showed up at the pool.... that there was WARM water! Who knew there was such things as heated pools and indoor waterparks? Not in Texas! :)
This is how we roll in CO. Swim trunks and snow boots!

Connor and Tiff wipe out on the inner tube. Yes, I'm the nerdy one plugging my nose!

Dallin loved this slide!

Connor, Lizzy and Isaac on the lazy river.

Eli wiping out on the water slide!

Lazy Days

The thing I enjoyed most this trip to Colorado was that for the most part we could stay up late reading, sleep in, lounge in our Pj's til noon, no schedule, no appointments, if it weren't for Dallin I would have hardly even known I had kids! Connor and Eli ran free with their cousins and aunts and occasionally checked in for a snack or meal-- it was great! :)
Enjoy some of the random shots taken on our trip!
Lizzy (2.5yrs), Eli (3.5 yrs), and Lydia (4.5 yrs) watching Snow White.
I don't think Eli minds being the only boy in between girl cousins even a bit. He seems to fit right in with his love of pink and princesses! :)
Dallin was obsessed with Jesse (the cat). Jesse was eating her food when I took this picture. I wanted her to look at me so I barked like a dog. She turned and hissed at me. Cats are so FREAKY!

Uncle Isaac has an ingenious game if you ask me. He rolls up the kids in blankets as tight as he can... and lets them squirm and struggle to try and get out. For some reason they seemed to think it was great fun and it kept them occupied and out of trouble!
(Lizzy and Eli)

The "older" cousins (minus Ben). Caleb, Josh, and Connor

Eli giving Bear a good love.

Eli LOVES his aunts.
(Caleb, Bekah, Esther, and Eli)

Seriously, don't grow up. You are perfect the way you are!

Connor was pretty psyched about his GI Joe and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days' book from Grandma and Grandpa Washburn.

The sibling rivalry between Seth and Esther seems to continue from the old days. With 22 people in the house we had to label cups. Seth had the biggest cup... that is until Esther got out the pitcher. HA! :)

When I see these two together it just makes me happy inside. They are almost the exact same size (only a couple weeks apart) both have their blond hair and bright blue eyes... if they weren't cousins I think I just might demand an arranged marriage! :)

Colorado Snow!

Christmas night we flew out to spend a week with all of Seth's family in Colorado. (Minus Ammon who is serving a mission). There were 22 of us all under one roof! It was so fun to see everyone, play in the snow, eat yummy food, relax, and enjoy good company!
Nothing stops these kids, especially not snow! Eve riding her bike with Kimm.

Cousins + Snow = Heaven!

Katrina and Barak. How she got Bear (who is already a big boy) to fit in that Bijorn with that huge snow suit is beyond me! ;)

The snow cave the boys built (with maybe a little help from the Uncle Isaac :).

Dallin all geared up to go sledding. However, we took his screaming and crying to mean that he did not want to go. Instead he spent the day with me inside tasting treats, sipping hot chocolate and reading. If you ask me, he chose right! :) I gave the camera to Seth to take pictures when they went sledding. He came bath three hours later... and with not a single shot. Typical! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Morning

Eli and Connor awoke at 5:22am and were ready to open presents!

I had to wake poor sleeping Dallin just so he didn't miss out on all the madness.

I love this sleepy face! What a trooper to go along with it all!

But wait! Before presents... you have to eat your Christmas breakfast! (Seth grew up with this tradition) So Seth made a big yummy Christmas breakfast of french toast, bacon, and strawberry milk...

while I sat and waited still mostly asleep. :)

Connor gave out these coupons as Christmas presents to everyone. They made me chuckle. They read:
To Dad, I will not mess around. From Connor
To Eli, I will not hit you. From Connor
To Dallin, I will protect your from Eli. From Connor
To Mom, I will give you a bear hug. From Connor
Connor got Rock Band 2 from Santa! He was pretty excited about it!

Eli loved his Elefun game from Santa!

And Dallin still has yet to play with his Mega Blocks from Santa... you win some, you lose some?

The aftermath of Christmas morning.

After presents we proceeded with several family jam sessions. It was the perfect ending to a great morning!

Saving the Earth... one Christmas card at a time!

I received a darling Christmas card from my Aunt with a great quote from Emerson on it. I really liked it and flipped it over to see where it was from and happened to read this printed on the back. I am not sure why it affected me the way it did... but I could not stop laughing. It read:
"100% post consumer recycled paper
carbon neutral, acid-free and chlorine-free.
Printed in the USA with certified wind power using vegetable based inks."
All for a great cause... but maybe just a little overkill? Call me old school, but plain old recycled paper would have been sufficient for me! ;)