Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brain Cancer Today

Today was a normal day. What you first need to know is that I've been sick since around June 28th. (Headaches, Dizziness, Numbness, Tingling, Etc.)

Last Thursday, the 9th of August, I was babysitting for the cutest family EVER! I was watering the back yard flowers and got locked out. (big house=big drop onto concrete) After 20 minutes of thinking I was in a horrible nightmare, hanging off the deck (keep in mind that there was a baby in the house about to wake up) and telling myself repeatedly I lived the worst/most unlucky life ever, I called a runner--50-ish year old man in gray spandex and a clashing gray tank top--from the road over to hoist me down the wall. Luckily, the front door was unlocked. I had my twin Jordyn come and fill in for me because I'd been having doctor appointments and had a neurologist appointment this particular morning. 

After telling the doctor my symptoms while feeling ridiculous, (my fingers are tingly, and also bloody from the deck at this point) we went in for an MRI. At first he told me to come back in about a week, to get an IV. (I detest needles) But there he was, waiting when I got out to tell me to come look at the results then and there. Not expecting ANYTHING, me and my mom (Diane) were sitting in his office when he and his nurse came in and he said, "I have a bit of bad news, you have a brain stem glioma." I sat there for a while. Not able to comprehend what that was. After what seemed to be 20 minutes, (which in reality was probably 5) I asked, "Do I have cancer?" he replied "Yes" and that was that. He told me I'd need surgery asap. Well, they sent me to primary children's that night where they told me it was inoperable and they currently have 3 patients who have survived what I have. For this cancer, 75% of the patients are 6 year old boys, I'm a 17 year old girl, and twin. Emotional day. 

Props to Dr. Liu for saving my life! She came and visited me while I was staying in Primary Children's that night. I love her! If anyone needs a pediatrician. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Oh, and Dr. Bradley Anderson, I love him too. (Provo) He has been my doctor my entire life and cares so much. He was out of town, but gave me a call as soon as he found out to see how I was doing. 

They've started me on a steroid, that I swear makes me go insane. I have temper tantrums over nothing like crazy now! I'm going to retain water, and I have senior pictures this Thursday. It was by far the scariest day of my life. I'm still scared, but I know that God's got my back. I've felt the prayers and fasting so much, it's incredible. Anywho, after a couple days of thinking I was starting treatment this Thursday, my awesome cousins (who gave me an ipad on Sunday) are friends with a family who has a 14 year old son with brain cancer being studied at St. Judes. Not knowing if I'd even be accepted, it got me excited to think about and makes me feel peaceful still when I think or talk about it. Lots of tender mercies have occurred and today I was officially accepted into the program. So I'll be relocating to Tennessee on Sunday at 2:30 for 6 weeks. That's basically all I know. I'm scared but really excited. I've felt so much peace and prayers, I honestly don't know how I would've made it through this week (I wouldn't have) without the comfort of spirit, good friends, and an amazing family. 

As for now I feel extremely blessed that things have been working out for our benefit, and can't wait to start this short little vacation with Diane. ((Mom) she hates when I call her Diane but I do anyways)

Anyways, this is where I'll be posting to keep y'all updated. (I've been told I'd get an accent, so I'm getting an early start) 


  1. Rachel. you're amazing and I'm so excited to follow your blog! You are so incredible. You'll scare the cancer away. You are so funny and you have a great attitude. Lunch was fun today. I"ll miss you a ton, have a great time in Tennessee! I'm so glad you were accepted into the program. I'm praying for you! You'll totally make it. Rachel & Diane Forever :) Haha Love you! -Moses
    PS- Why ya wanna show up in an old T shirt that I love?

  2. you are so cute :) i don't know if you remember this, but you actually came and visited me with Taylor Camp, after i got my tailbone removed. i feel like now i should repay you and bring you a treat :) guess i'll have to do that before Sunday!

    i am glad yo have such a great attitude about this, you sound like you are doing well! i am so sorry about it though, and just know that you are in my prayers. have a good time in Tennessee! and good luck :)

    XO Keena

  3. Where the heck do my comments keep disappearing to... Hahaha rachel I love your blog. It's so perfect. You're amazing writer. When I read the part about you throwing those tantrums I thought about when you had knew surgery and you were crazy. Good times;) and that babysitting storry is crazy. Haha and really funny. I love how your personality comes out in your writing. Love ya! Cya soon!

  4. Bonjour, my queen! I can't even tell you how hopeful/excited I am to come visit you in Tennessee. I talked to my Dad about it and he said he's pretty certain we'll be able to come see you. I hope you're doing well. You're the best. I love you so much.

    xx Katie

  5. I love you cuz. Cody sends his love. Keep your head up. A positive attitude can go a long way...
    Luv ya

  6. I'll miss you at school baby girl!! I'll be praying for you back here :) I love you and I know you can make it!!

  7. I am so thrilled you have a blog so I can follow you! I am Allison, mother to Matthew (the 14 year old boy also treated at St.Jude, and Ryan and Kadee's friend). I am so happy you have been feeling the peace that comes from making a decision that is right for you. I wonder if Dr.Wetmore will also be your doctor? You'll have to let us know! Call me if you want to ever talk about Memphis or St.Jude (435-213-3294 or 617-335-6252). I really think you will have some amazing support there, and the quality of care is absolutely unbelievable. You will be taken care of in every way. Know that our family is thinking of you and praying for you. And KEEP THIS BLOG UPDATED!!!! Honestly, the only way I remember any part of Matt's journey is through my blog. I'll go back and read it and am blown away by the things I would have forgotten otherwise. You can check our story out here, if you want. This links to the first cancer post and you can go backwards from there: http://www.lifewithlittleboys.blogspot.com/2007/08/blink.html

  8. What a great way to keep us all updated! You have a great attitude ! Score on the iPad :) we will continue to pray. My 13 yr old has a post it on his ladder that he climbs to go to bed and it says "pray for Rachel every night! " just thought that was cute and had to share.

  9. Rachel, you are amazing! I love your sense of humor. Don't loose that, you will need it for hard times ahead. Thanks for sharing this blog with us, so we can all watch your amazing journey. We love you and will continue to pray for you and Diane (I mean Mom). Love the accent too!

  10. Can't wait to follow your amazing journey, Rachel!! :-) lots of love and prayers. Love, Morgan and Maddy barksdale

  11. Rachel,
    So glad to see you are making a blog. You are an amazing, strong young woman. I knew if form when you first came into the computer lab at Foothill Elementary! You have made a great impact on my life as well as KayLeigh's. She was so welcomed by you and Jordan and your family when she was having her surgeries on her hip. She felt like she had a few sisters she could claim as her own! I know the Lord provides a way for miracles to happen. KayLeigh is one of them. Everyday I count my blessings that she is here with us. I know the power of prayer and that you will feel the strength from them. Please know that we will continue to pray for you and your Dr.'s and those who are there to help you. We will look forward to your updates! :)

  12. Hi Rachel! Just wanted you to know we're praying for you here in Boston. Love Lisa (Stratton) Sorenson (I'm Richard/Teddy's daughter)

  13. Hi neighbor. Miss seeing you going by each day and especially at church. Life sure does throw a curve ball once in awhile. I'm sure you will hit each one out of the park. Remember, you are never alone. Prayers and love

  14. Hi, I linked to your blog from cute girls hairstyles! I am so sorry for your diagnosis, but I wanted to let you know that people out there are thinking of you! Be strong and have a positive attitude! We will be praying for you!!

  15. Sweet girl! Learned of your illness on your cousin Mindy's page. (not positive of the relation so I figure saying "cousin" is safe ). My children, husband and I will be saying prayers for you and your family. Phillipians 4:13 <3

  16. I am strengthened to handle the challenges in my own life by reading of your courage and attitude. May God continue to bless you as you watch for the tender mercies in your life.

  17. I learned of your story when browsing on Pinterest for new ways to do my hair and there was a link on a Blog to yours. Thoughts and prayers always go out to you, I know this will be a difficult road for you but try to stay as active in your mind and as positive in your spirit as you can!
    Always remember that it could be worse, you could be alone in this fight and you most definetly are not!!
    Always on your team over here! Stay strong and keep smiling :)

  18. Oh, this story really is amazing.
    You have a lot of courage, we admire how strong and confident you are. It takes a lot to be able to come out and accept that you have cancer.
    We will keep you in my prayers!
    Stay strong,
    Love Lotta, Esme, Briony, Lori, Macy, Halle, Piper and Ava. Xx

  19. Sweet Rachel,
    I just stumbled on your blog and have been very touched by your positive attitude and cheery outlook on life. What a beautiful example you are. And yay! The gospel is very apparent in your life!
    I will keep you and yours in my prayers.
    Here's a scripture that has always brought me comfort:
    D&C 38:7 But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me;"
    Isn't it lovely to know that our Father in Heaven is watching over us, and that we have angels on both sides of the veil lifting us up?