Friday, July 25, 2008

Good news!

Some may think it is strange to entitle the post - Good News!, especially since we are talking about Dad's cancer. But we know what we are dealing with: Multiple Myeloma/Plasmacytoma.

What is important is that the doctor believes that this is very treatable. We are hoping for good results and Dad is starting treatment today. He still needs to do more tests (of course) but Phew. Grateful to know and grateful for modern medicine.

Thank you for your prayers - they helped!

If you want to follow Dad's progress, we are updating his blog daily:

Phil Brown Updates

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dad Update

So we know, kind of. Dad has stage 4 cancer and it has spread to his bones but apparently it is not terminal until we have:

1) discovered what type of cancer he has
2) exhausted all treatment options available

We are hoping for the best, but we are currently waiting. Again....Did I mention that I hate waiting?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Father's Day - A Little Late

I love blogging. More specifically I love "blog stalking" others blogs. I am constantly checking various family members blogs ( Stephanie - I read your blog over and over :)). It is such a simple way to keep in touch with people. Okay, it is borderline lazy. I will say this though, there are some ways in which the blog is a form of therapy. My sister in law Stephanie writes the most amazing entries on her blog everyday, describing her emotions. She has said that it is a form of therapy for her, but it is therapy for us too.

There are other uses for blogs. My Dad has been going to a lot of Dr. appointments lately. And I have been calling up there almost every day. With 11 kids in the family, they almost need a calling service. One of my sisters suggested creating a private blog to keep the family updated. It would also be a way to update his medications, appointments and any news from the doctor. I jumped on blogger to register his name and was surprised to find out that the name philipraybrown (Philip Ray Brown) was already taken. Curious, I clicked on it and found this:

It seems that 4 years ago, Lexi (little sister) interviewed my Dad for a school project. It was pretty concise history of my Dad. And it was so fun to read. He is a tad older. He is 72, not 73 as I was telling people - oops! When I called to wish him happy 73 - he asked why I was trying to add years to his life?

Dad in front of his favorite place. Whataburger. Have you ever seen a smile like that?

Since I missed Father's Day and his birthday (both within a few days of each other), I want to make a post about my Dad. Just share a little bit with you about him. I always loved my Dad but I didn't really appreciate him until I was older. He is a kind soul and the term "without guile" frequently comes to mind. I don't think that it occurs to him to do bad things. And his needs and wants are simple (a quality I wish I had). His favorite thing to eat is a japeleno burger form Whataburger! Like I said, his needs are very simple.

I am not the only person to see these qualities. My Mom's first impression of my Dad was that he was "so good." He takes after Grandma Brown as a natural storyteller and has a large supply of jokes. He has an amazing memory and I doubt if I have ever caught him without a book in his back pocket or his hands.

His most valuable possession is his testimony. His belief in his Savior is one of the guiding forces in his life and it was such a great example to his children. I remember him once telling me that he put the Savior first in his life, even over my Mom. When I first heard it, I was immature and in love with the idea of romance, so that was disappointing to hear. How unromantic. When I was older and wise enough to ask him to expand, he did so simply, "By putting the Savior first in my life, I am capable of loving your Mother more deeply than I ever would by myself." Wow. I can't tell you the impact that statement had on me and the qualities I sought after in a companion shifted to be more eternal, someone with a desire to do what is right. (Which I would like to say, I found :)) As I get older, I find myself seeking Dad's counsel more and more in my life, regretting I haven't used this valuable resource more.

In the end, I am more like my Mom. I am proud of that. She was a bright, energetic and fun woman. But I really wish I was more like my Dad, possessing all of the goodness that guarantees eternal blessings. I love you Dad!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Moving Forward But Not Moving On

I struggle with posting on my blog in general but this post was hard to make for so many different reasons. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. From the accident, the ensuing sorrow, to the planning the service - everything came in a steady stream and it culminated with a beautiful service. The service was truly beautiful, Jon, Stephanie and their bishop were the only speakers and seeing how they were the two people who knew Camille best, it was perfect. It was brief (just over 30 minutes) but I came away in awe of Jon and Stephanie. Their faith throughout this trial has been a huge example to all of us. As far as Camille is concerned, I have no doubt as to her place in heaven. In Stephanie's talk she said that, "Camille will watch over her sisters throughout their lives to make sure they return to live with her again." I believe that our loved ones that pass on before us are a huge part of our lives and Camille will be no exception.

Let's talk about the title. In the aftermath of the memorial service, we have all had to return to our lives. I didn't really want to leave. I couldn't live in Vegas forever (although that would be great) because I have a life in California. But getting back in the swing of things has been difficult for me, I can't even wrap my mind around how hard it is for Stephanie and Jon. I didn't want to return to everything with the attitude of moving on. Because I am not. There is still a little ache. Although Camille was so young and little, her absence is huge. And there will always be an absence, until she is reunited with her family in the eternities. So because I can't keep things the way they were, I have to move forward. Things are happening all around that force my life to move forward. So I am moving forward but not moving on. Not forgetting but remembering. Reminding myself that is okay to cry sometimes and to take things at my own speed.

I find that more often than not, I am grateful. Grateful for sisters, especially Buffy (seriously Buff - thank you!) for dropping everything in her life to ensure that Stephanie had Camille's baby book completed by the funeral. I am grateful to all of my sisters who watched Buffy's kids so she could work and those who worked with her (I have a LOT of sisters). I am grateful to the Harris sisters and all of the work they did to make the service beautiful. Grateful for the Harris and Waite families. I have felt so much closer to my Harris family throughout this ordeal. Grateful to my husband for teaching me about faith. Grateful to the example he is to me. Grateful that Stephanie so eloquently posts everyday on her blog. Grateful to the friends and family that have expressed their condolences and shared similar experiences of loss. And mostly I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through Him that we are sealed together as a family and through His Atonement we will see Camille again.