MaeLynn's Final Resting Place

MaeLynn's Final Resting Place
I went over to the cemetery the day after Memorial Day. You can tell she was so loved...and still is.

MaeLynn's Hummingbird Box

MaeLynn's Hummingbird Box
MaeLynn and Andy have been having a lot of fun getting into their artistic sides lately. This is one of MaeLynn's projects from this fall.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010

MaeLynn has wanted to post some words of wisdom for a long time. We finally have it in writing! Here it is, straight from MaeLynn's mouth/pen:

We all learn different things on our life's journeys. I feel that perhaps the biggest thing I have learned since being diagnosed with cancer is to love myself. It is so very important to know who you are and know why you do the things you do.

I love people. You all know that! I've been called a "social butterfly" since third grade! However, one of the awarenesses I have had is that I use the details of others' lives to fill up the space in my life. Whether my insides were truly empty doesn't matter---that's the way I perceived them to be. Thus I actually became afraid to be alone! The last few months I've really had to work on being alone, and have found it's not that bad.

If I could change the world in one way, it would be to help you all love yourselves more unconditionally. That love will naturally be passed on to others. Thank you for being a part of my life.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25th: Andy's updates from Facebook

From Monday July 19th: Yesterday Mae went to sacrament mtg., she is doing well, but frustrated that she "can't go home yet" I think it would be Ok if we all prayed for her quick release... God's will be done of course!

And: Mae had another massive anxiety attack today! We are going to adjust her meds and see if we can't get her a bit less anxious... Hope tomorrow goes better! On a positive note, I got to take the kids up the canyon to watch the heli crew fight a small fire, and do some rock climbing!!!!

From Wednesday July 21st: Mae had a decent day today... I think we have her meds adjusted closer, to help with the anxiety side affects! She still sleeps all but 2-3 hours a day. Things are going OK.

From Friday July 23rd: Life is still chaotic... Today Mae has had mild anxiety since 3:00, I finally gave her a benadryl to "knock" her out! She is sleeping peacfully now thank goodness!! Hope tonight isn't too long.

From Saturday July 24th: This is Andrew in behalf of Mae again... She is having a lot of anxiety again. We aren't sure bit think it may have a lot to do with her new medicine. If that is the case she wants to get off it, which means a close end on sight. She wants to thank all of you for your prayers, well wishes, and beautiful notes! She wants to go home, and I don't blame her one bit!!! I love you MaeLynn!

Sunday July 25th: No comments on Facebook today, but I (Laura) just talked to Andy and MaeLynn for a minute. Things are going a tiny bit better today. Hopefully the lower dose of medicine decreases the anxiety attacks....but that probably means she'll start having more delirium. Who knows. What a mess to be in....keep praying that everything will be okay. Here's a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"In my ninety-plus years, I have learned a secret. I have learned that when good men and good women face challenges with optimism, things will always work out! Truly, things always work out! Despite how difficult circumstances may look at the moment, those who have faith and move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Late Post from July 8th

I just realized I thought I posted this on MaeLynn's blog two weeks ago, but I accidentally posted it on my own. Here it is...a little late, but thought I'd post it anyway:

So we've made it through one more day. Yesterday MaeLynn's dad and sister came to stay for a little while. They were able to get MaeLynn up off the couch and out onto the front porch for a little Vitamin D.:)

She's still doing about the same.Andrew says they just keep her pain and anxiety meds a-coming. She's now on a 75 mcg/hr patch of fentanyl. When her mother asked her the other day if something felt okay, she said really frustratedly, "I don't know HOW I'm supposed to feel!?!"

When she's "with" it she's really frustrated...who wouldn't be. Andy said a nurse's aid came to help MaeLynn shower and get cleaned up yesterday. That was frustrating for MaeLynn. She felt like she was naked in front of a whole bunch of people, even though there was only Andy and the nurse's aid.

It could be MaeLynn seeing things, or there's got to be tons of spirits around encouraging her and waiting to help.She's still taking sips of Smoothies throughout the day, but I don't think she's eating anything besides that. Until next time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 20 2010

I haven't made a post in over a week, but there's not much to report. MaeLynn seems like she's reached a plateau. Who knows how long it will last, but we're grateful for every second she has here. She sleeps a lot, but is able to get around when she's awake.

She went to Sizzler last Saturday night with her parents and family! She said it tasted SO good. She said she ate a ton, which was probably about 8 ounces of food....but it was good to get out. She thought it was hilarious to watch Ellie try to eat steak....she's missing a bunch of front teeth, so she'd gnaw and gnaw and gnaw.

MaeLynn's mother, dad, and sister have been coming and going throughout each week to help MaeLynn and the kids and Andy. This is kind of a hard place/time to be at, just waiting.

MaeLynn continues to be positive, although sometimes very overcome with anxiety and emotion. Keep praying for her and her family.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still kicking

MaeLynn is about the same. When I called today, Andrew said, "She's doing okay. Unfortunately, she's not doing anything funny..." He got quite a kick out of some of the things she said and did last week. FORTUNATELY for the rest of us, she's doing about the same as Sunday and Monday. Very tired, but able to talk to us.

I called their house Monday morning and MaeLynn answered and it almost brought tears to my eyes. I was sure I would never hear her normal voice again. The Haldol seems to be doing wonders for her, though. It's the new medication she's taking that helps control delirium. It doesn't affect the cancer or the course that it's taking, but BOY are we glad to have Mae back to herself for the little time she has left.

MaeLynn was really glad to visit with an old college roommate today that she hadn't seen for years. I know I've said this before, but MaeLynn has seen so many friendships rekindled through this trauma, and she's grateful for it. She is always seeing the positive side of this sad story.

Keep praying for her and remember:

"The answer to your prayer may be the face of an old friend, one you have not seen in years but whose needs suddenly come into your mind and heart and feel as if they are your own. Old friends have reached out to me across the miles and the years to offer encouragement when only God could have told them of my burden." ---Henry B. Eyring

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful Baptism

So MaeLynn made it through the week! She was pretty incoherent all week until Friday. Her nurse changed her medication to see if it would help make her less "loopy", and Hallelujah it worked!

She was able to sit up to the kitchen table on Saturday and eat more than she had all week. (Which means two bites of breadstick, one bite of lettuce and some smoothie) This doesn't change the course of things, but it does help her communicate while she's in this stage of life.

She's still on oxygen, and can still say and do some crazy things, but for the most part is back to her normal self mentally. Andy said the other morning at 4 a.m. she wanted to get up and take a shower, then wanted to go outside....forgetting to put a shirt on. Sounds entertaining!

Friday night and Saturday were an incredible 24 hours for those who helped with the Cancer Walk. I wasn't the greatest liaison for that...didn't even realize it was happening until Friday. But THANK YOU to everyone who came and helped with that....for the walkers and the donators...I heard it was really neat. All of MaeLynn's kids went to it and "helped" Nana and Papa. There were also lots of Andy's extended family that came, MaeLynn's entire biological family walked, also friends and neighbors. Andy's parents do it every year, so if you missed out this year, maybe you can get set up to help next year.

Today was MaeLynn's little girl, Kendall's, baptism. It was really beautiful. MaeLynn was in good enough shape to make it to the baptism and the dinner afterwards. She was able to visit with people and have a really good day. When I left her tonight she said, "Today was a dream come true."

People she loves came together. Her little girl is baptized. MaeLynn was able to really appreciate the day. She was exhausted by the end, but I think a lot of hopes, prayers, and wishes were granted in these last few hours.

Hopefully I'll get some pictures up of the baptism day, soon. Love goes out to everyone from MaeLynn. She is one happy lady tonight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday July 6th

Hello everyone! Sorry about the two days' silence. Hopefully Andy's been keeping people updated on facebook. Just for everybody's information again, if you want to send letters, MaeLynn's address is:

784 N 300 E
Logan UT 84321.

If you want to call, her phone # is 435-787-4127.

She really is not able to talk any more. She whispers things but most of the time they don't make sense. I don't know how else to say this, but she really does look like death warmed over. She is very dehydrated and has no appetite. Smoothies do taste good to her, but it takes her over 24 hours to drink a small one.

Visitors have been aplenty, which I'm sure MaeLynn appreciates...even if she's not coherent. Her mother would like to remind people to keep visits short, though...around 15 minutes or less. It's very very hard for MaeLynn to concentrate on what is going on especially when there is more than one person in the room.

She is leaving us quickly. She is much weaker today than on Saturday and needs help getting up and moving wherever she goes...which is not very far. The bathroom or the bed. She vacilates between being really hot and sweaty and too cold.

I asked her mother if she thought they'd get a catheter for her so she doesn't have to get up, but I don't think they will. She's so dry that there's really no need.

MaeLynn is not truly herself anymore. Andrew said the two oldest girls, Kendall and Ellie, feel like she's kind of already gone. I kind of feel the same. I almost picture her spirit sitting on the other side of the couch as her body. I want to turn that way and talk to her because she isn't really "there" on the first side. She IS still physically present, though, and I know once she's gone it will make a HUGE difference to those kids.

She has been EVERYTHING to them. Andrew told me that the littlest girl, Abby, has just started to ask him to do everything. It used to be, "NO! Mama do it!" for everything. It makes you grateful that he is a good guy and is there and is willing to take on added responsibility.

This Sunday, July 11th, Kendall will turn 8. For anyone who's LDS, that means she could be baptized. MaeLynn really wanted to be at Kendall's baptism, so we all wonder if that's what she's waiting for. I'm pretty sure they'll have the baptism Sunday night. Although at this point I don't know how MaeLynn will even know what's going on. We shall see.

Everything is happening so fast. It feels like there are so many unfinished things, and it will probably feel that way for a long time. We love MaeLynn and she appreciates all the prayers and thoughts going out for her. Till tomorrow....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday July 3

Today has been pretty uneventful. MaeLynn continues in her sleepy stupor. She keeps saying things about things that aren't on the wall, messages on the phone. You can tell she's a multi-tasking mother, huh?

Andrew took the kids up Logan Canyon for a reunion on his side of the family. MaeLynn's parents and sister, Jamie, came to spend the day with her while everyone was gone.

I stopped by this evening for a few minutes and MaeLynn's mother, Marie, told me that she was really "not-with-it." Wonderfully enough, though, when I went in to talk to her for a few minutes, she sat up and we had a really nice conversation. She was super tired and weak, but willing to talk about hot showers and cold smoothies and okay enough to tell my little boy where to look for his lost Matchbox car (which he really was looking for).

It's so crazy that just over a week ago she was up till midnight scrubbing spots off her floor and having Andy move the couch so she could vacuum behind it. Now she can hardly sit up or talk or think straight. She has the oxygen all day, I think, which may or may not help. She said it's hard to remember to shut her mouth to breathe in the oxygen through her nose. She's also having a hard time focusing on things that she's looking at. She says everything looks fuzzy. But through it all, of course, MaeLynn's so sweet about everything.

That's about it for an update. Not any better than yesterday, but not worse.

"The past is behind--we must learn from it. The future is ahead--we must prepare for it. The present is now—we must live in it."----Thomas S. Monson

This earth life is a journey....not a final destination.---Spencer J. Condie

Friday, July 2, 2010

Not Good

So here we are at the first of July 2010. The last report I said that MaeLynn was doing pretty good. Last weekend MaeLynn got to go to a cousin's wedding reception and a family reunion in Salt Lake/Draper. She wasn't real up to it....but she really wanted to do it. So she did. It was a lot of fun to visit with relatives she hadn't seen for quite a while, and she was really glad she went.

Monday, however, she felt extreme anxiety about returning home, and started going downhill. She took an Atavan to help with the anxiety...which helped. But, she usually goes into what I call "zombie mode" when she takes Atavan. She wants to sleep all day and when she's awake, she seems like she's stoned. I called her Wednesday to chat, and it was a very loopy conversation. Later, talking to Andy, he told me that, Yes she had taken an Atavan on Monday, but that its effects usually only last 5-6 hours after she takes one. This loopiness had been going on all week. She also has had an extreme dip in appetite and hasn't eaten hardly anything or been awake all week.

I was finally able to visit them today and things look pretty grim. When I first got there, MaeLynn needed to go to the bathroom, but Andy had to lift her out of bed. She is so weak and shaky. She can walk to where she needs to go, but getting up is really a chore.

This afternoon an oxygen machine (or whatever the technical term is) came. The hospice nurse thought it might perk MaeLynn up, since she's been so tired. MaeLynn's oxygen levels are really low. I was there for two hours after they put her on oxygen today and her perkiness did not change at all.

MaeLynn has also been saying some really crazy, random things. Like, "Triston (one of her four-year-olds) just needs to beat that boy up." Andy asked, "Which boy?" "That boy in the picture right there." Andy's thinking, "Okaaaaay? There's no picture." The hospice nurse told us today that as her liver quits functioning, the toxins are building up in MaeLynn's body and making her see/say/think crazy things. It's frustrating to see, but I must admit--morbidly funny.

She also is having a really hard time speaking and comprehending anything. She'll get the first two words of a sentence out, and then just zone out...or fall asleep. She tried reading a paper I brought to her today and couldn't concentrate long enough to read anything.

Her hospice nurse says she's really seen a change in the last two days. Her coloring is getting worse. Her vitals are going downhill. She said that MaeLynn is definitely beginning the transition into death. The veil is getting thin. Who knows how much longer she's got here with us.

MaeLynn seems very calm, albeit, not with-it. She received a beautiful blessing while I was there this afternoon, and things are just in the Lord's hands now. The hospice nurse told me that everything is up to Andrew now. MaeLynn does not need to worry about housework or helping with the kids. Just be.

It is so hard. So hard. The kids seem to be doing okay, but I know they can tell things are not right. While I was there, they would keep coming in from playing outside and just watch MaeLynn.

Andy and MaeLynn appreciate all the help that has been given, and I'm sure will be given in the future. If you're wondering how in the world you can help, one of the only things that sounds good to MaeLynn to eat is Jamba Juice. So anyone who wants to drop one by, she likes peach, pomegranate, strawberry....or she says, "pretty much anything." She really has no desire to eat, but feels like she has cotton-mouth all the smoothies help a little.

I'm sure Andy would appreciate offers on taking the kids for an hour or two each day as the transition continues. He also appreciates meals brought in, but remember the kids are small and very not huge amounts of food.

I can't remember if I've used this scripture before, but it's really with me tonight--D&C 122:7:

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

And also the words of this song:

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.