Monday, December 30, 2013

Win Rachel a 4 Wheeler

Hi,  This is Diane and Rachel has no idea that I am posting this but my brother built a Bunk House and the company that supplied the lumber is having a contest and the prize is a New 4 Wheeler (IF HE WINS, HE IS GIVING IT TO RACHEL).  Please follow this link and vote, 1 vote per email is allowed so if you have more than 1 email, you can vote a second time.  Rachel is currently in her MRI and will get the results this Friday when we go to PCMC for her Dr. appointment.  Thank you for your prayers, your love and your support.  Here is the link.  Be sure to vote for the Christensen cabin and share this information with anyone willing to vote in hopes that Rachel can win a 4 wheeler which will certainly not cure her cancer but it can bring some days of happiness and joy.  VOTING ENDS DEC 31st at MIDNIGHT.  We are in the Mountain Standard Time Zone.  Please vote before te new year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Open eyes

When doing some research on the perks of having cancer, I came across a comment that basically said, if you think there are perks to having cancer you are absolutely wrong. There are NO perks to having cancer and if you think that there are, well then you probably have brain cancer.

# 1 I'm highly offended. Just cause someone has brain cancer does not mean they are insane.
#2 If you don't think there are perks to having cancer or any other trial life might throw at you, you are arrogant selfish and blind.
Open your eyes, there are blessings everywhere, if you weren't busy feeling sorry for yourself maybe you could recognise that your life is just one big perk

Nobody wants to be told they have cancer, or 9 months to live. But we learn to deal with it. And even though we may never be able to completely overcome it, we learn to find blessings (perks) along the way.

I've been through Hell and back this last year. But I've also been to Hawaii, made it 7 months past when I was supposed to die, been indoor skydiving, Disneyland, in a hot air balloon, in magazines, on tv, had my own race, met amazing people, been to multiple new states. Lost a lot of friends, family and hair. But I've learned a lot more than I have lost and that is what matters. And if you were to open your eyes for a second, you would realize those are perks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanks and Christ

I've been thinking a lot lately how we need to be grateful and always showing gratitude for Christ and the sacrificeS He has made. I think that I've always had the mind set that Christ made a huge sacrifice for us. SacriFICE as in singular. But I believe he still makes big sacrificeS for us that hurt. Like when we don't realize how much He has blessed us.
These last 16ish months have been  pure Hell, but pure happiness at the same time. That's why I'm grateful for my life, and I don't always act like I am. I'm grateful that I have every opportunity to be happy. Today I made a promise to myself to keep my eyes peeled for blessings, because sometimes the little things really are the big things (cliche I know,) but as a wise company (Charmin Ultra) so wisely stated, sometimes less is more. (HAHA) But sometimes I think we stare at what seem to us to be the "big things" so intensely that when we take a second to think our mind is all out of proportion, and our perspective is distorted.  (I know this is a very Thanksgiving way to think, but they always say to have the mindset all year, and I never do, so now I am!)
Anyways, Thanksgiving was amazing. I love being with my family, but what I love even more than I love Thanksgiving, is Christmas. I really can't display my love for Christmas through words. But I love it. I love the snow, and the way it crunches. I love hot chocolate (even though I'm don't eat sugar:/) And I love most of all the... music, but really, Mariah Carrey, am I right? Hahaha no, most of all I love the family and love the love. I'm grateful for everything everyone has done for me. I've been so blessed, and I am going to start acting like it!
There you have it. A crazy thought, out of my crazy tumor-ridden brain!
Thanks for reading and always checking in.
 Oh, and by the way I've been rock climbing and....

dun dun dun dun!!! On Thanksgiving I RAN A MILE. I usually run four in the turkey trot, but one made me unusually happy!

 Thanksgiving dinner with the Strattons!

I guess it's time for an actual update.. I am on day 5 of chemo, and like always, I hate Chemo. I started feeling a little dizzy today which is scary because those of you that have followed my blog for a while, would know that with the exception of being on rollercoasters, I have not been dizzy since 2012. So honestly I am scared, I think that's where my head got into the grateful phase. But yeah, I am scared, and I hope like crazy that I can live a normal, full length, life. But beggars can't be choosers, am I right!? Kidding. But for real. Whatever happens happens. And It's all for the best. Praying my hardest that this dizzy second will be nothing! But I have an MRI December 30th, so I will update when I have it because I decided I'm going to start writing on my blog more frequently again. And hopefully I can start writing even more often then that. I can't promise to write every day, mostly because I know that won't happen. But I WILL write more often! Thanks for all the emails and comments, I love to read them. Keep warm this week!
I can do hard things! (Do I even need to say it anymore? haha)

Also I was going to put up some pictures, but my laptop is being stubborn! So I'll add them later, thanks!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oh What a Day

I am so sorry I haven't posted in a while! I figured it's time for an update, since I've been receiving some frantic/worrying emails. So NO, I am not dead!;) I actually have an ounce of good news to share with you! But that will come later, as most good things in life do!
Rewind: back to the day when I still had long hair! I cut it, but don't yet have decent pictures to put on the world wide web.
 Okay, so my sister Lauren is at Notre Dame graduate school! WOOHOO! She's so talented and I love her! Therefore Diane and I went and visited her. We also drove to Washington DC! (It was a very spur of the moment thing we pulled off.)
 So here I am, looking hot as ever. 
 Just some random buildings I guess.
 The double decker tour bus decided to drive on the freeway while we were still on the top...?

 This was pretty cool.
 The temple out there is so so so beautiful!
 We went to Georgetown Cupcakes! I was pretty excited, but I make better;)
 Beautiful skies, and very long drives!
 Marble Head light house in Ohio. We went a few years ago, but decided to go back. We also went to Cedar Point!
Above the clouds. Floating sky high. 

So I guess it's time for my good news! The other day I had my Primary Children's appointment. Not only were my levels high enough to start chemo, they went way up from last time. And although they are not very good, I am still happy. So from Thursday til Monday I was on Chemotherapy, and I didn't throw up once or anything! Hooray!
My other good news is that my doctors said I looked so good and seemed good enough to go a month more than we had originally planned to get an MRI! I love love love that I have an extra month. Honestly a 3.5 hour MRI is not on my top 5 pass times. But who's to complain!? At least I can find out whether or not my tumor is doing what without having to take a knife to it. I'm very grateful that I live in a time where we have good machines, and medicine. 
Thanks for the support.
(It's obviously working)
ps. i can do hard things.
pps. thanks for the comments and emails. I seriously get so happy when people respond! Y'all are the best!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Today is mesothelioma day! (It's okay I had no clue what it was either). Anyways, this is straight from the dictionary: Mesotheiloma:a malignant tumor of the covering of the lung or the lining of thepleural and abdominal cavities, often associated with exposure to asbestos.
I recently heard about this through a blog follower, who has a wife that is a rare survivor of this awful and very life threatening tumor. And this is what he said:

"I wanted to reach back out to you and let you know about a campaign that my wife and I have put together with the help of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  September 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and we are trying to get 7200 voices talking and sharing about this rare cancer, to represent the 7200 hours that the average mesothelioma patient has to live. 

As my wife is a rare survivor of mesothelioma, this day obviously means a lot to us. We aren’t asking for time, money, or donations of any kind, just voices to spread the word about this awful, and sadly little known cancer.  I was hoping that you would help support our cause by posting a link to our campaign page, so that your readers can use their voices as well! 

Here is the link, please let me know what you think when you get a chance to take a look.  Your help would mean the world to us! "

I'm sure everyone that reads my blog, can agree that cancer is awful in general, but especially if it could be prevented. Please help these friends of mine by sharing the word of Mesothelioma, especially today, bein Mesothelioma day and all! 

GOOD LUCK HEATHER AND CAMERON. Prayers and good wishes are with you from me and followers of my blog!

Anyways, I haven't updated forever, and thought this would be the perfect opportunity as I had the night off! About two weeks ago I had my MRI:

They say everything looks normal in my back, BUT my brain tumor did grow, and needless to say, I am extremely scared. So please send a prayer my way. I started and finished my first round of Chemotherapy. It's an oral Chemo, which I take 5 out of every 28 days. It is called Temodar, or Temozolomide (or something like that). 

My thoughts:

Atleast it's oral, but any chemo stinks. I have 23 day breaks, but I still don't know if it is working or not, and the whole thing is just scary.

Anyways that is what is new with me. Besides cancer in my life, I still have dreams, goals and ambitions (shocking I know) So I do have three part time jobs, and I am doing online school through BYU and I am going to 2 Institute classes. I may have cancer, but I'm definitely not going to let it stop me. Thank you to everyone who is making this life possible for me, and who continues to support and cheer me on, even though it feels like this fight is everlasting. 

Oh and I am playing the piano at a benefit concert this weekend on Saturday for Teal's the Deal (a cervical cancer awareness group) everyone feel free to come support a good cause and see what should be an amazing performance. Thanks!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, at Teal's The Deal awareness is VERY important to us. So we are joining with several UTAH Dancers and Studios for a Benefit Concert!

This will be a show you do not want to miss! We will be featuring some of the very best talented dancers in the state of Utah!
These dancers are joining together for an evening of incredible talent to support a great cause!

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Ragan Theater - Utah Valley University 

Go ONLNE and get your tickets NOW!

Anyways, I can do hard things:

One of the first trees we saw in the park!
A Banana slug! They are actually really awesome!
Roots of a tree that fell, one that fell hit the ground so hard it registered on the rictor scale, and people actually thought there really was an earthquake!
They had some of the prettiest mushrooms I'd ever seen in Fern Valley!

  Of course I had to put a picture of us driving through the tree! Anyways, I promise I am done now! Thanks for your prayers and your help sharing the word about Mesothelioma! (and DIPG and Glioblastomas of course!;))

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Live Breathe Feel

Our caterpillars are now butterflies! It's been so fun and even therapeutic seeing them live, breathe and feel what this world has to offer them!

They go through phases just like teenagers! Fun to watch! Anyways! I'm all burnt from radiation! Oh and I finished my 27 rounds. I should be starting Chemo here shortly, so we'll see what happens! I have basically a full body MRI on September 11th. Hopefully it will show good results! Pray pray pray! 
 Stomach burn!

Don't mind my pajamas! Back burn!

We went to a family reunion in Idaho where my mom grew up in Shelley! I love it there, such a small Idaho town!

Although Diane was in Indiana with my sister Lauren all last week, we still went up and saw our family! It was fun, because last year, Diane and I missed it, and I remember my mom posting on Facebook that we'd be there next year for sure. I, being super skeptical with this diagnosis, thought, maybe you will! But it was awesome that I made it, and fun to see our family!

Anyways, I can do hard things!

Friday, August 9, 2013


As you may already know, today I hit the one year mark since my diagnosis of DIPG. A lot has changed this last year for me, too much in my opinion. But I MADE IT! (Sorry about all the Capitalized letters, I'm just trying to display my excitement through text)! Anyways, I wanted to thank everyone that's made this last year bearable for me and my family! It's weird think now that I have had cancer for a year. To tell me I would have made it to this point is even weirder!

Rachel's Timeline:
August 9th, 2012 Diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma on my Brain Stem
August 19th, 2012 Moved to Memphis, TN to be treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
August 28th, 2012 Started Chemotherapy and Irradiation-30 rounds of Irradiation, and 270 rounds of Chemo
October 9th, 2012 Moved home from St. Jude's
June 4th, 2013 Diagnosed with a Glioblastoma on my spine L4 L5 and S1
June 6th, 2013 Removal surgery of the Glioblastoma tumor they diagnosed me with
June 17th, 2013 Removal of 29 staples in my back
July 8th, 2013 Started 1/27 round of Radiation
August 9th, 2013 CANCERVERSARY and three radiation treatments left!
August 10th, 2013 WHO KNOWS!?

One of the child life specialists I met with when I was first diagnosed, after telling me what all about my life would change, and how life would be different, asked me if I had any questions for her. So naturally, me being my curious self I asked her "When I'm going to get my life back and be a normal kid again?" And she replied "Honey, life as you know it, is never going to be the same. Everything from now on is going to be very much different. You're going to have all your old problems that most kids your age have, but you're going to have it a lot harder with this on top of everything else. Nothing will be the same."
When she said that, it kind of hurt! Here I am trying to be a normal 17 year old, and she came in and rained on my parade! But I was looking for honesty!-Just not so brutal...

Anyways, what does that have to do with anything? Everything- today I marked 365 days of being cancerous off my calendar, and for some of it I have gotten to feel like a normal teenager, who still gets to do normal things, and that's only because the help I've so generously been given, between my friends, family, blog supporters, doctors, and many more.

I'm only three treatments away from finishing this round of radiation, and I haven't thrown up once or anything! Must be cause of my amazing doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Radiation Center in Provo! I will be starting chemotherapy soon, and will be doing it orally again (PRAISE THE HEAVENS!) it will be 5 days on 23 off!

So- to the Child Life Specialist who said I could never have my life back- you were very very wrong! And although my life has changed, and I have things hard, there are also so many blessings and opportunities that have come along with it.

ps my sister Heather got married! Here are some pics of the wedding! Welcome to the family Cody! WE LOVE YOU!

Oh and Diane and I are raising caterpillars! I'll post again soon! XOXO!