Nelson Family

Nelson Family

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Doing whatever it takes!

So I haven't wrote for a while. Our little family has been very busy making some life changing decisions. We are moving to be with our family in Idaho. Seth and I decided in May that he would start looking for a job up north and that I would leave with the boys when school got out. However, everything has gone more smoothly than we could have hoped for. Seth's work is letting him work remote from the Salt Lake City office and we have sold our house already with no hiccups so far (knock on wood). We close next week and will all get to leave our wonderful life that we have had here in Texas together to go start a new adventure in Idaho/Utah. We have met amazing friends in Texas that have helped us to mature into the parents that we want to be and the kind of people that we want to be. I will be forever grateful for the sisters that I have gained and plan to stay in touch with and see all of them again (Girl's Weekend Out!).
So me and the boys will be living with my mom and dad in Idaho and Seth will be roomating it up with my brother Trevor in Salt Lake City temporarily until we know that my mom has kicked this things ass!

So on the ass kicking front, my mom is doing fantastic! She is finishing up her treatments this week and totally rocking her new buzz cut. She'll hopefully let me post pictures of her beautiful face when we get there. Great news is that she qualifies for a clinical trial at the Huntsman Center and starts getting injections June 26th. She will also be getting an exam done with an MRI to see if the tumor has shrunk at all. Keep you posted.....

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mom started her radiation and chemo treatments 2 weeks ago on Wednesday May, 2. She was so excited to get them started. I would have been so scared. She is so amazing and strong. So far she feels great. And since last weekend my dad and brothers had a rib and ramp building party, she has been able to get out of the house easier to get to her treatments. They built ramps of the deck in the backyard all the way to the garage. My dad smoked some ribs (wish I was there, I love ribs).
Every week she is gaining more movement in her left leg and arm, however, they still use a wheel chair to get her in and out of the house. It is so hard to imagine because talking to her on the phone she sounds fantastic.
Carter only has a couple more weeks of school and we should be on our way to spend the summer with her. Can't wait.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Everyone was on pins and needles waiting to get results on Wednesday April 4, however they don't show up until Friday April 6. My dad calls and tells me it is glioblastoma. damn it. Good news, mom moved her leg for the first time in over a month!

Easter April, 8, 2012

I guess mom got to go home for a few hours, however, she lost mobility in her left arm and had pounding headaches. She has also caught a really bad cold. Not a good day. She was really run down.

I spent to much time on the Internet reading about glioblastoma this weekend. No good news to be found. Trying to be hopeful, but would rather just keep crying at this point.

Monday April 9, 2012

I called mom because I just wanted to hear her voice. She was trying to eat her breakfast, however, she kept falling asleep and spilling it on her. As we kept talking she continued to drift to sleep and drop the phone. I say good bye and start to freak out. Is this how it is going to go? Is she just going to start shutting down? Do I need to get on a plane right now? I called dad and he says that she did the same thing to him. He was at work. Now we are both worried and neither of us are in Pocatello. He calls the hospital and I call my aunt Jackie. Thank Heavens, Jackie was already there with my mom. They had a very productive day. She wasn't getting enough oxygen because of her cold, so they gave her breathing treatments. The doctors had lowered her meds and that was causing the swelling and the headaches, so they upped them again. By Wednesday April 11, she is able to flip my dad the bird with her left hand!

Thursday April 12, 2012

Everyone wanted to know what was going on. What was the diagnosis? I could hardly talk about it. I am very broken hearted and not really sure what to pray for. The boys now know what it going on and we pray, but I don't know what I am suppose to pray for. I was scared that since I didn't know Heavenly Father's plan, I would have to just pray for him to comfort us while we lost her. My visiting teachers, Chris Meager and Adrianna Martinez, brought over some Jimmy Johns and visited with me for a while. It was good. It forced me to ask my questions out loud and they had great advice.
I decided that I do know that Heavenly Father can heal her and take this away and that I am going to pray and ask for him to do so. I am not the only one praying for her. She has tons of people of many faiths sending their prayers to God to heal her. Since then, I have been able to remain hopeful and not break down every 10 minutes. If anyone can physically beat it, she can.

The news gets out. I am finally capable of talking with people about it. I am amazed at how incredibly loving people are. Peyton's preschool teacher and the school director call and offer their sorrow for us. Friends send flowers and a journal. Phone calls pour in.  My wonderful friends in Texas bring meals.

Tuesday April 17, 2012

Mom, dad, Jackie and Cori all traveled to Salt Lake today to meet with Dr. Jensen at the Huntsman Center. Dad was worried about my mom having to go to the restroom and him not being able to go in and help her. So aunt Jackie and Cori happily agreed to go along for the ride. The appointment went well. Dr. Jensen said that my mom was young and had a good fighting chance. (And little does he know what a fighter she is!) He told her to set up radiation and chemo treatments with her doctors in Pocatello.

Friday April 20, 2012

The boys got to talk on the phone with Gram today. They were so honest and so adorable. Hayden is taking his turn telling Gram that next time mom flies to Idaho, he is sneaking in the bag and coming and see Gram. Carter is yelling, "Hayden, ask Gram how she is doing with her cancer!" Finally Carter gets his turn and that is the first question out of his mouth, "Gram, how are you doing with your cancer?" She laughs and tells him that she is doing great with her cancer. That she is going to get rid of it. And we all believe her.

Monday April 23, 2012

Mom was released from the hospital today. She has been kicking butt in rehab. The physical therapists have had her walking with a special brace on her ankle that holds her foot up, going up stairs and riding on a stationery bike. They will continue to come to the house and work with her three times a week. She still can't lift her left arm.

Tuesday April 24, 2012

Mom and dad meet with Dr. Francisco and Dr. Callahan in Pocatello. They want her to start right away with getting a MRI first thing in the morning. They will get a mask made for her treatments.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Surgery

March 29, 2012

Cody and I woke up early. Not as early as mom and dad. They had to drive from Pocatello, Idaho  to Salt Lake. City Utah. They woke up at 3:00 that morning. We were hoping to meet them as they were getting to the University of Utah hospital, however we were a few minutes early. So I waited in the front waiting area while Cody got a wheel chair and went out front to greet them. It felt weird. Not only to be in a hospital, but to be here for my mom to go into brain surgery. What if she didn't come out remembering anything or not being able to move anything. I was in Utah 1,500 miles away from my little family back in Texas. How did this all happen so fast. I was glad Cody was there with me, which reassured me that my mom and dad would feel the same comfort. I couldn't wait for them to see me.
After my dad ran back from parking the car, all three came through the large spinning glass door. When Cody wheeled mom over to me it didn't hit her at first. Then her face broke. Broke into tears. Again I was able to completely surprise her. It was amazing.

We took her up to the third floor and she had to get an MRI done so the doctors could create the map they would use during the brain surgery. When she come back she had white life saver like patches all over her face. She had come totally prepared to shave her head and didn't need to. So instead she got life savers on her face.
They wheeled us thru the waiting area where me, Cody and Dad would be spending a good part of our day and onto a room that we would hang out in with mom until they came and got her for surgery. Uncle Kennon texts her, "Be there soon. Love ya tons!" My dad reads it and says, "Well that is rude of him to call you tons." We laughed really hard. To hard. My mom still didn't have anything along the lines of bladder control.  No big deal we were in a hospital, it was better than if we were at say a public library!
Nurses came in and explained things. The resident surgeons came in and explained things. The anesthesiologist came in and explained things. We felt well informed. A pathologist would be there during the surgery and if the tumor looked removable, they would go ahead and take it out. They wheeled her out just after noon. I watched as they took her down the hallway, hoping they would bring her back just the same (except for the incision in her scalp, hole in her skull and without the damn little thing growing in her head).

The wait was not as long and miserable as expected. My dad's friend Mark and his wife Debbie were in the waiting room when we came out. They had gotten lost and drove all over Salt Lake. It was so sweet of them to be there for my dad. We all decided to go find some lunch and while up there we found Bones (my dad's brother), Granny and Gramps. Perfect timing. We all ate lunch in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I think it was called The Point Restaurant. It had two long glass walls that came to a point and outside of them was an above view of Salt Lake City and it's surrounding mountains, which have become so wondrous to me since I moved to Texas. Back at the waiting room we found Kennon, Cheri, Grandma Verdeen and aunt Donna. I hugged my grandma and thanked her dearly for the airplane tickets. Derek, Kennon and Cheri's son was also able to make it up. We filled the waiting room up. We even rearranged it a little. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who love my mom. The waiting room had a large board or tv that showed the progress of the surgery and we also got reports coming from the surgery room as well. Towards the end we are all standing beneath the board arguing a little. It says that she should be in the recovery room now, but we want to know more. The surgeons come up behind us and say, "That board is a little confusing isn't it." I recognize the voice and turn around excited to get the report. They usher us into a little room. They say that everything went well. In fact when they were finished and my mom came out of it they said that she said, "Sweet, what a great nap!" They also said that her left arm and hand were still pretty strong. However, because of the location they weren't able to remove the tumor. Also according to the pathologist the tumor looked high grade so they took out only what they would need for a biopsy.
So we still have a long road, but for now my mom made it through the surgery. My dad and I were the first to go see her. She looked great and was grinning from ear to ear. For the last few years she has not been able to sleep at night, so to be knocked out for 4 hours felt so good to her. She just kept saying, "I feel great!" I didn't expect her to even be able to talk to us. Two at a time everyone was able to come see her and later that night my dad and I were able to bring her pad Thai to eat. She devoured it.
The following day her head was more swollen and she was really upset because her meds had kept her up all night. She said that she wanted to get up and run a marathon in the hallways. She continued to do well so they moved her to the naacu where she stayed until Cody was able to take her home on Wednesday April 4, 2012. Her room filled with flowers and visitors Jackie and Curtis, Beth's mom and dad Camille and Duane and one of my best friends Andrea. Trevor made it and spent the weekend with us. Dad and I got a room at the University Marriot. It was a really wonderful weekend until my dad let me in on the diagnoses that they had gotten the week before the surgery. He said that the doctor they had met with in Idaho Falls told them that the brain tumor looked like glioblastoma, a very aggressive fast growing cancer. Unfortunately, my plane was delayed and them grounded in Albuquerque because of a security issue at Love Field in Dallas. They were evacuating the airport and not letting any planes land. I had way to much time to think and was a mess by the time Seth and the boys picked me up from the airport.

Mom & Dad
(Chad & Arvilla)

Chad & Arvilla with their grandson's:
Hayden 6, Peyton 3, Tayt 2 & Carter 8.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


March 15, 2012

The next phone call that I get is a bad one. They had an MRI done this week. The MRI showed not just one tumor but four. The doctors are now worried that they are MET, or metastasized from somewhere else in her body. Flashbacks start flowing from not too far back. We had just lost Seth's mom the previous month, Monday, February 6th. The funeral was on February 11th, Seth's dad's birthday. It felt like we had just got home from the long three day drive. They had found cancer in her lungs on Christmas Eve and she passed just over a month later. This weekend was my mom's 51st birthday. I would make it there again if I had to drive all night. My brain comes back to my dad on the other end of the line. He says that they will do a PET scan of her body to find where the main source of cancer is located. I can only say good-bye knowing that I will have to find a flight there that night.

Seth is already on the computer looking. A miracle happens and he finds something for $440. Everything else is around $1,000. It was on Delta and I would be in Salt Lake City tomorrow around 2:30. Seth had just sold his tv and speakers for $400. We booked it. I call Cody to make sure he could pick me up. He generously says that he will get off early and we'll take off for Idaho then. I call Tyson to make sure that him, Cassi and Tayt will be there and we cry for a little while. Again I wouldn't have been able to get off the phone unless I knew that I would see him tomorrow.

Fortunately, the flight was non-stop so it went quickly. My eyes were puffy and swollen. I think the guy next to me notices because he is extra kind. We talk about our kids and trail races. I want to sleep but there is no where to put my head. Thank heavens Cody is always right on time. He had even text me, "Crownburger?" as we landed. It gave me something to look forward to. It was dark before we got to my parent's house in Idaho. From all the cars outside, we can tell that Curtis, Jackie, Cassi Jo, Jonathan and Gabby were there. Tyson, Cassi and Tayt were there also but I can't tell because of the new bug they are driving. Cody goes in thru the front and I go in thru the open garage. I here Cody go in and say hi to everyone, so I wander into the kitchen. My dad does a double take and Tyson and Jonathan just start laughing. I go into the living room and my mom and aunt Jackie loose it. I know they are happy but they are crying. My mom is in the chair. She looks perfectly normal except for the the purple cane Dannyel had loaned her. That makes me really happy. So I go give her a hug and she squeezes me so tight. My dad comes in and says, " I don't know if I should give you a hug or beat ya!"

Despite the incredibly depressing news, we have a fantastic weekend. My aunt Jackie (mom's sister) threw a great party on Saturday night out at her house in Blackfoot, Idaho. She cut up lots of yummy fruit, made rolls and some delicious soups. Dad taught me how to make jambalaya. We played 31, listened to my brothers and uncle Jeffery be swamp people, played games and laughed all night. It was so healing for all of us to be together and laugh until our stomachs hurt. The only problem we run into is that mom can't hold her bladder very well!

The following day was mom and Cassi's birthday. We work together to get mom's zoning room all finished and family pictures put up on the walls. On his Traeger, dad smokes some prime rib and chicken thighs. I make a hot fudge cake for the birthday girls. After dinner is cleaned up and the gifts have been opened Beth and Trev take off for Salt Lake and Tyson, Cassi and Tayters head home to Shoshone. Cody and I go get Crazy Stupid Love and even dad stays awake for most of it.

Mom puts me and Cody to work the following day. We wash sheets and rugs and steam mop the floors. Then we ran some quick errands while Barb (my mom's good friend) came to zone my mom. It took us half the time it would have taken mom. She made the comment, "I watch people get out of their cars and run into the store quick and I miss being able to do such simple things." We had decided that if there was cancer somewhere in my mom's body that we could help get rid of it by eencouraging her to eat a mostly fruit and veggie diet with little to no sugar. So we place an order with Bountiful Baskets for her and my dad to pick up on Saturday. Then Cody and I give her hugs and say good bye until the next time. It is really hard to leave.

Tuesday March 20, 2012

I fly home. Uncle Kennon takes mom to get her PET scan.

Wednesday March 21, 2012

Results say NO cancer anywhere in body. Doctors are confused and want to get another MRI to rule out MS.

Friday March 23, 2012

Results show it's not MS, however, whatever it is has grown 10 to 20% bigger since last MRI. Doctor will call on Sunday to refer us to Dr. Jensen at the Hunstman Cancer Center. Possibly need biopsy done. I can't think straight for two days. Matt and Julianna Crownover are helping me get the information I need to get mom down here to Dallas. Mom and dad don't want to leave if they don't have to.

Sunday March 25, 2012

Doctor calls and has made the referral, but needs to call tomorrow to set up an appointment. Hopes that we can get in this week. Me too!

Monday March 26, 2012

An appointment has been made for tomorrow afternoon at 3:45. Also, Matt has made great contact with doctors here in Dallas and has got her on the schedule to come down if needed.

Tuesday March 27, 2012

Doctor doesn't say much just schedules a brain surgery for 11:00 Thursday morning. Mom and Dad like Dr. Jensen. They decide to go with it. I wish that I could be there.

Wednesday March 28, 2012

I do the best I can to plan my weekend here with my family so that I don't think to much about not being there for my mom's brain surgery. Starting with Carter's first pine wood derby tonight. He made a tank with a turret made of legos.
Kwinnae calls and asks if I am planning to come to Utah for the surgery. I regretfully tell her that I can't and she says that I am coming and that Grandma Verdeen is buying my airplane ticket. They just wanted to make sure that Seth could take care of the kids.
The next few hours are a blur. Between the sobbing and thank you's I find a flight and quickly pack. Maren takes me and my kids to the airport. Drops me off and gets the kids to Seth just in time for them to get to the church for the derby, which De Hoyo's thankfully recorded for me. I am very nervous about getting on all my flights since it it so last minute. No problems getting on the first one to Tulsa, OK. I have an hour wait. I call Cody again to see if he can pick me up from the airport at midnight. He sweetly agrees. Seth texts me that Carter won his first two races. I call and get a full report. Then I call my mom to see how she is doing. She doesn't seem nervous at all. She is going in the morning to get her brain cut into and she is still calm, positive and laughing. She hears the girl next to me with a baby. I lie and tell her that I am at Carter's pine wood derby and can distract her by telling her all about it. I tell her good luck and again can only say good bye because I know that I will be able to hug her in the morning before she goes in Thanks to Grandma Verdeen!

I have one more stop in Denver, CO. Then arrive in Salt Lake City at 11:25 pm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It All Started

It all started late on the night of March 8th (for me anyway, my mom and dad had already been 2 1/2 weeks into this nightmare). The boys were already in bed and I was whoopin Seth in Doctor Mario. My mom called - first warning flag, it was way to late for her to be calling. Seth and I frequently get playing Dr. and we can't stop until our eyes begin to shut down on us. Second warning flag, she starts out by saying, "Now please don't cry, everything is going to be okay." She had been to the ER in Las Vegas and they had found a brain tumor. "Funny story," she says,"One night I was zoning your dad (February 19) and I got a really bad cramp all throughout my left leg. It went away after about 15 minutes, but I started to loose the ability to move it. Within two weeks it literally dragged as I tried to walk." So she went to her chiropractor and says, "Hey Doctor Jessie, Chad and I are going to Vegas this weekend for a Nascar race. Will you adjust me and fix this leg so that I can walk?" He takes a look at her ice cold leg and asks, "Have you been icing this?" She told him no. He said, "Arvilla, you need to go straight to the ER."

So my mom hobbled her way into the ER at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho where the doctor poked her feet and said that he didn't feel the difference in temperature. She tells him that she can't walk and is also loosing bladder control. He recommends a UA for a bladder infection and after waiting 20 more minutes gives her a name of someone that she should call and try to get into see in 2 weeks. She gets furious, tells him where to go, and leaves letting the nurse know that she will not be paying for this ER visit. I love how feisty she is! What an angel (another funny story that you"ll maybe hear about later).

My mom, dad, aunt Nila and uncle Bob headed for Vegas to watch Nascar on Tuesday March 6th. After an exhausting day of trying to keep up, my dad took her to the ER on Thursday, March 8th. They spent the day doing CT scans and didn't come up with anything until my dad says, "I wonder if she stroked." They do one more scan of her head and find a brain tumor right on the motor strip. The neurologist tells them that it looks benign and they just need to get a MRI and a good surgeon to look at it when they get back to Idaho. Her only concern was where it was located. So they all go back to the hotel, make phone calls and joke about how at least they found a brain in my mom's head. Unfortunately, I couldn't laugh. All I could do was cry.

Without getting to go the Nascar race, they start their 9 hour drive home on Sunday March 12th listening to Alice Cooper, Schools Out For Summer.