Sunday, March 11, 2012

We finished the race!!

We finally did it!  Tenley FINALLY made it to the finish line!  I am so proud of her.  I am so unbelievably grateful for how smoothly this last round went for us.  Our very first night (Valentines day) starting this last round was the worst.  Tenley had a high fever, and I was so worried that we would be in for a very hard and long road.  Robbie had just left for Reno the day before, and I had forgotten to have him give her a priesthood blessing.  Thankfully our good friend, Doug Johnson, came to the rescue with his newly returned missionary son Austin.

They performed such an amazing blessing to my sweet girl.  It filled me with hope and peace.  He blessed Tenley with strength to endure this last treatment and that the previous problems she had faced in the past would not affect her.  He blessed her to live a long full life, and to grow and thrive.  He blessed her with so many wonderful powerful things... I know they are only capable through the Lord's will.

I know that blessing played a huge part in this last treatment.  The doctor had warned me that this would be very hard on Tenley, and she would most likely develop mouth sores, loose her appetite, become nauseous, and go through all the other awful things chemotherapy does to your body.

This was the one round Tenley never once needed any help with her nutrition.  She was such a good eater, and even on the days she wasn't up for much... she still ate enough to keep the docs pleased.  The only thing she didn't care for was drinking any fluids, besides her bottle before naps and bed time.  It was so funny... she never wanted to take a sip of anything!  Which wasn't a huge deal, they just had to run an IV with extra fluid at night and sometimes during the day.... but for the most part she was as free bird in that big room.  Running around, pushing her babies in the stroller, and climbing onto the couch to look out the window.

Man... I am SO glad we are out now!  I wonder how many hours in total I really spent in ICS.

There is no way I could have done all of this on my own.  With Robbie not being able to be here full time, I had to have some back up help.  Back up is not the right wording... the people who saved me gave up so much of their time and we became our own ICS cancer family.  I owe so much to them, and will never be able to thank them appropriately.

The people I will always be grateful to...
Mary Cox
Lisa Healey
Brett Healey
Amy Cox
Connor Johnson
Margo Wilson
Carrie Ross
Brooke Brady
Sydney Lindsley
Annie Lindsley
Nicole Davis Lindsley
Janice Sansom
Sara Bateman
Sara Christensen
Hannah Christensen
Becky Brown
Sandi Rice
Katie Pierce
Becky Erickson
Laura Miller
Brooke Storheim
Rhonda Fullmer
Candi Merrell
Jill Holt
Marylynn Olsen
Kris Kimball
Jeanette Soffe

Whether it was 2 hours or 100 hours, each and every one of you took the time to stay with my little Tenley. (and if I forgot anyone... please let me know!  I want to remember who helped forever!)

There are so many others that helped with Taryn, sent us meals, took care of Robbie, watched our dog, sent us money, took care of our payments, and kept us in their prayers daily.
I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you.

Now onto the celebration of our very last day!  I didn't even know it was going to happen this quick!  Sara Christensen was at the hospital Wednesday morning taking over after Robbie spent the night.  He came home and said, "the nurse (Emily) said she thinks today would be a great day to send Tenley home!"  Her ANC was at 200, and her other counts were rising.  Sure enough the doctors took her advice and I got a call from Sara saying... they said she can be discharged!

I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling and crying all at the same time.  The day had finally come... we were DONE!  Robbie and I celebrated right then and there by eating some delicious cheesecake we got the day before at Cheesecake Factory.  After getting my mom's house spick and span, then getting myself ready, and getting a cookie bouquet for the nurses and doctors, we made our way up to Primary's.

On that drive I made a mental note to look outside at the mountains.  They looked fresh and ready for spring, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was a bright blue.
I remember distinctly the day we were told to go straight back to Primary's to be admitted for what could possibly be leukemia.  Fall was all around us.  The mountains were covered in autumn colors.  As tears rushed down my cheeks, I had a very strong feeling that this drive would become a very routine everyday drive.
Now we were finally ending that routine.  It was such a relief.

I had sent texts out to our ICS family that Tenley was ready to come home and we would be having her ring the bell at 3pm.  I am so glad so many of them made it there to see.  I think the nurses and techs were shocked to see such a crowd... but they knew we had all been in this together. (and I think they want to hire my mom to start a scheduling program up there)

To some, this bell might seem a bit silly, but to me it meant the world.  I had heard it a hand full of times as I'd sit in our room holding Tenley, rocking.  This bell was a sound of accomplishment, of happiness, of gratitude, and to me it was the sound of life.  I have imagined this day for so long now.  I couldn't even make it through the "happy last chemo" song without crying.  I'm not one to cry a whole lot in front of a crowd, but this time was different.  This crowd was full of people who loved and cared for Tenley, including the nurses and techs.  

crying and squeezing this girl as everyone sang to her.

ringing that bell!!!

Even Taryn got a turn

That is one proud sister.

the ones I will forever be grateful for

and we couldn't leave without having some cake!

We do all love you Tenley!!!
You made it!


Whitney and Family said...

Best news in the whole world!!! I am so incredibly happy for you!! So you are moving to Salt Lake...or did you mean back to Reno!? Hopefully Salt Lake!!
Cute pictures of a wonderful day! Hooray for Tenley and your whole family!! You all amaze me!!

Natalie in Sparks said...

That is soooo wonderful! This post made me cry, and I feel like it is such a happy ending to a crazy story. I have been wearing my Tenley rally band this whole time (ok, i took it off ONCE for a spa treatment) but it's become such a part of me I will feel weird taking it off!.....really though, this is so awesome and I am so happy for you.
I am sad about you moving back though, but I totally understand. For the short time you were in Reno, I am really glad I met you and became your friend. Thanks!
Natalie Andelin

Wendy Burr said...

As usual, Shawna, you have brought me to tears. You have such a beautiful outlook on life. Thanks for sharing this in such detail. I'm so excited for little Tenley to be done! Good luck with everything - the move, the trip, the job search. You and your sweet little family deserve the best!

Cynthia said...

YEAH! I'm so happy for you and your sweet family. Big congrats my dear!

Abe and Lisa said...

Tenley is so loved and she did make it! What a great gal you have. You and your family amaze me! Of course your post brought me to tears. What a sense of relief that this chapter of your life is over.
Also, yay for the move back to Utah!!

Megan said...

This is wonderful news, and I am so thrilled for your family!!! Your post brought tears to my eyes, and happiness to my heart! I hope everything continues to go well with Tenley, and please keep us posted! I am so, so, SO happy for all of you, and will continue to keep you all in my thoughts! :)

Danny and Amelia said...

I also shed a few tears reading your post. I am so happy for your family and especially Tenley!

rae said...

This is such WONDERFUL news I can't stop crying! Congratulations and HOORAY! Tenley you made it! You are all amazing and I can't wait to hear about Disneyland! Sad to hear you are leaving Reno for good but SO SO happy you are where you need to be and have such a great support network. Lily and London will miss their buddies...!

Here's to a bright future!

Piano Mom said...

I love that you are home and that you posted these pictures of Tenley ringing the bell. It brings back so many memories of how it feels to be DONE! I hope that Tenley is FOREVER done with AML. It feels even better when she gets that broviac out and she can submerse herself in the bathtub and you can splash and play and be NORMAL again. We love you guys. Way to go! You did it....ALL OF YOU DID IT!

Amber said...

I am so glad to hear about this news, I am not even sure how I came about your blogg but I have been following it for months now and hearing what you and your family has touched my heart in so many ways. I am glad that your sweet little family is back together where you all belong now. I wish the best for your family in the days to come.

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

I am so glad to hear about this news, I am not even sure how I came about your blog but I have been following it for months now and hearing what you and your family have been going through has really touched my heart in so many ways. I am glad that your sweet little family is back together where you all belong now too. I wish the best for your family in the days to come

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