Once again, my children have beaten me to the punch!! I have been thinking about how GRATEFUL I am for the many blessings that have been poured out on our family and I went to add my thoughts to the blog only to find that Sean had already done that!! RATS! He DEFINITELY said it better than I could, but I guess since it has been rattling around in my head, I will put a few thoughts down and give an "official" update on Dean's ongoing progress!! I say "official" because I am actually at the Doctor visits with Dean and so I hear the results from the horse's mouth...hmmm, should I have said that?? Did I just insult our AMAZING Doctors??? Well, anyway, you will hear it firsthand from someone who was there!!!
To begin with, Dean had another MRI on November 26th. I never give those MRI's a second thought until the night before they happen and then for some reason my "stress" button gets pushed and my mind starts heading down roads that I do NOT want to travel down! Maybe that is normal, but I am trying to reel all those emotions in and keep things positive. I know it sounds like I am living with my head buried in the sand, but I sort of like it there!! OOPS...I think I veered off course a bit, better get back to the update! So, Dean's MRI came back as clean as it could possibly be. The bright spots that were in the last scan have diminished significantly, which the Dr. says means those spots were probably caused by surgery and are now healing. That is GREAT news. There are no new spots or tumor growth, so the chemo is doing its job. Because Dean has tolerated the chemo well, they are upping the dose. I am not sure when they put a cap on that, but for now they are going to keep using the "big guns" to keep things stable for as long as possible. I am totally on board with that idea! Dean just takes it all in stride and doesn't make much of a "to do" about any of this. He is of the opinion that if you ignore it, it won't bother you and so far, so good!! Dean hasn't had many side effects, but seems to be a bit colder than usual. He wears a beanie around the house and wraps up in a blanket, which keeps him warm (see picture below)...I am taking advantage of this because usually Dean has us keep the heater turned down WAY too low, now I can turn it up and he can't even tell!!! So, other than cold fingers, toes, head and nose, Dean's side effects are minimal!! It is hard to put into words how blessed we all feel as Dean continues to respond in such a remarkable way to all that is going on. Heavenly Father has blessed and strengthened us in wonderful and unexpected ways.
As I have been reflecting on how grateful I am for the blessings that have been poured down on our family, President Uchtdorf's talk from the October conference came to my mind. It is entitled, Of Regrets and Resolutions. I LOVE what he said and have read and re-read his talk in hopes of imprinting his words on my heart permanently. He reminds us that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. The circumstances we find ourselves in do NOT determine our happiness...WE DO!! I have discovered, to my great pleasure, that Joy and Laughter, Love and Happiness do not disappear just because cancer knocks on your door. In fact, I have found that those things become sweeter and deeper and more appreciated than they ever were before. Elder Uchtdorf says "...there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it." I know that to be true...there is SO much to be grateful for, so much to "embrace and cherish." Happiness and joy are available to us ALL the time...not just when the skies are sunny and the road is smooth. I am learning to look at each day as a wonderful gift, to be lived and enjoyed with the ones you love. At this time of year, when our hearts turn to the Savior, I am filled with gratitude for His beautiful life and the gift of His atonement that makes it possible for us to face hard things with joy in our hearts, knowing that he has felt what we feel and that he will not leave us alone. He is there, I know he is. He offers us happiness that surpasses understanding...that happiness is ours for the taking. I think I'll have a double helping!!