Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas and my dad

We had the most amazing Christmas. It was just SOOO good to be with family and all the people I love so much. Being with all the kids every day just fills me up like nothing else does, and my family members all bring something to our family equation that I love. Here are some of the fun pictures (thanks to Tiff for the best ones!):

Elise loved the big kids

The kids' favorite thing was to lie on the floor in a row and take turns having this gorgeous baby sit on their backs!

Jake climbing the pole

Sword fighting - all the kids against Pa - what a good sport!

All of this was made more exquisite because of some news we got in the last couple months. My dad has cancer. He has had immune system problems his whole life and things were getting so much worse with not being able to fight anything off and then keeping it colds/sinus infections for months, that he insisted on more immune system testing. I'm glad he did. They showed that his IgG was way too high, and the other immunoglobulins were all very low. That is indicative of a rare cancer called multiple myeloma. This was confirmed with test after test. He needs to start treatment right away, and the treatment for this is extremely aggressive. He will do a 96 hour full-time heavy duty chemo cocktail the first time and then they will give him six weeks to recover, and then do it all over again. He will have stem cell transplants of his own stem cells to start fresh and hopefully build a new immune system. Then he will be on chemo drugs for about 1-2 years after the initial 5 months of heavy chemo. He is in very strong health otherwise and is quite proud of his low cholesterol and 117% lung capacity! Because of this, the doctors have high hopes that he could live for years after this treatment, and this helps us to cope with the fear of what is coming with the chemo.

I love my dad so much. "Beyond amazing" doesn't even describe him. He has been the greatest second dad Jake could ever have. He has given us so much I could never list it all. Most of all, family and the gospel are first priorities for him, and he and my wonderful mom have built our family on these precepts which have made all the difference in my life.


Kathi said...

Such memories!! We're lucky to have Tiff and her camera! These fun times will carry us a long way. We'll make it!

JoAnna said...

Great post, Nans. I love your writing.

Kristen said...

Natalie--so sorry to hear about your dad and am glad he found out early and is starting treatment. Hugs to you and we will be thinking and praying for your dad. I know he has been your hero and an amazing man.

Jana said...

Your family is extremely strong to go thru what is ahead of all of you! You will all be in my prayers!!
I love these pictures of your holiday! So much fun!!

Elizabeth Fry said...

I'm just checking out different blogs and wanted to tell you that your kids are absolutely adorable! I was a single mother too. Now I'm a grandma . . . who woulda thunk it?