On January 27, 2011 Eric Merkley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. An aggressive cancer that we hope and the doctors to this point seem confident that is contained to one spot on his leg. Prognosis is good. Treatments and recovery will be long and painful.

Monday, December 26, 2011

1st Hair cut

Eric has been so excited for Tonya to come into town so that she could cut his hair.  This is a very big milestone, coming from no hair to having hair to cut!  It's all about the hair right? 5 minutes into the hair cut he said "Now I remember why I hate hair cuts!"  Can't please him :)  Well he is definitely putting on a show for the camera.  I should try to find the first hair cut when he was a toddler.  I bet the facial expression is the same!

I found the picture of Eric's first hair cut.  He no longer has the frowny face,... because he is being entertained.  I remember that Shelly had to work really fast.  Tonya was saying that his hair now was very hard to cut because it was fine, kind of like baby's hair.  :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Eric, Todd and I would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas.  With 2011 behind us our 2012 is shaping up to be a very very happy year.  We are grateful for all your prayers throughout the year.  Please know that we love and appreciate you, our dear friends!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The finished leg

This is a picture of Eric's finished leg.  It is 10 pounds, instead of 16.  It is actually lighter then his real leg!  As you can tell he is still a big flirt.  He is also starting to get his muscle definition back.  Eric and the basketball team are heading off to St George for a basketball tournament.  Good Luck Team.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Updated post from the Daily Herald

I was contacted by the Daily Herald to do an update on Eric, and they wanted to schedule an appointment to come take a picture of him.  I told them that they would be better off going to the gym during practice.  I love the article.  They did a really good job... Here you go

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stepping it up at Physical Therapy

Today we made it to Physical Therapy again.  Eric is ready to start to jog, and it is a huge learning curve.  Eric was strapped to a support system on the treadmill.   In the event that he may lose his balance and fall, the support will hold him up.  He did great at a slow pace and asked to speed it up.  Brett then wanted him to start to walk sideways.
When we first met with Brett, he explained to Eric what he will be doing to get his balance set and build muscles to support changes in his stride.  Knowing that Eric will be doing this, I was nervous.  Eric was excited to try it, but I was holding my breathe and Eric did great!  It is not that I don't think that he can do it, it is just that his center of gravity is so different now and his prosthetic leg is not as easy to manipulate as his own legs.

He was even running backwards!  I did not get a picture of it, because he still hates having cameras around snapping pictures.  It was a great day.  Eric is still gaining weight, building the muscle back, growing his hair back, regaining strength and endurance, and getting more color back into his skin!  He has changed so much from even Thanksgiving.

This is Eric congratulating Clint Bateman for a job well done at the Payson vs Salem Hills basketball game.  Eric and Clint have played basketball for many years together. When Eric decided that he was going to Salem Hills High (he decided while in 7th grade), he was no longer asked to play on the same team with Clint.  Even though they now played on opposite teams, they have always stayed good friends. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Date with Eric

Last Night Eric and I were going to do some Christmas shopping and as all plans go, they change.  We had some drama at the theater that ended up cutting our shopping short, but Eric was a trooper about it.  Well he is use to it, let's just say that.  Todd and I were in Vegas for the past 5 days cheering on our soon to be World Champion bareback rider Kaycee Feild, and Eric held down the fort at home.  So it was fun to spend some time with Eric last night... I really miss that guy!  After all the drama was worked out at the theater Eric previewed the movie New Years Eve with me.
Which was a great movie, lots of different stories going on.  You never get bored!  Eric leaned over to me and asked if I was looking forward to a new year.... Man oh Man am I ever.  This year still feels like a blurr and a really bad nightmare.  But there are many memories that I do not want to forget!  Bring on the New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The First Basketball game

Last night was the Salem Hills basketball game in the preseason. 

Eric wanted so bad to be on the court, and it was hard not to see him on the court.  But I kept telling myself  "all in good time!"  Right?!  He has been going to the gym and working out.  Now that he has his permanent socket (I will need to get a picture of it to show you what it looks like now) the prosthetic guy, Phil, told him he is free to start running on it. Eric will need to relearn how to run, because it is very different from what he learned as a toddler.  But he will get there...So the story goes on!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanks Giving

This Thanksgiving has taken a whole new meaning.  Things that use to matter are so small that we are just so grateful for life and our family.  We have our thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night for several reasons, 1.  Married kids do not need to alternate between our family and the in-laws. 2.  No need to alternate the holiday with Todd's kids. 3.  The theater is crazy busy and we generally end up working.  So it works for everyone.  :)  Here are a few pictures of our Thanks Giving dinner.

Missing from our little gathering is Tonya and Clint.  We sure missed them

That Turkey got to both Eric and Macklyn

Isn't she just the cutest?

Everyone teamed up and decorated gingerbread houses after dinner.  Ali ended up doing most of the work, because Daryl had to rest half way through decorating the house.  Well he is married with kids now.  His bed time is 9:00 pm.

We hope that everyone had a great time with family.  Because when it comes right down to it, Family is what matters most.  Todd and I are very grateful for ours.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rising of a Star

Make a Wish Foundation has an amazing building where kids with life threatening health challenges go to make their wish and once they have completed their wish, they have the opportunity to raise their star.  Eric had his opportunity to raise his star Tuesday night and I have to admit, I was very impressed and humbled at the many of volunteers and donations that are made to make this wonderful foundation work. 

We were all given a token to make a wish in the "Wishing pond".  The token was pretty cool that we all wanted to keep it, so I gave Eric a quarter to make his wish with.

Hey look, it is our friend Tim Wright.  They have a board with all the pictures of kids that are waiting for their wish to be fulfilled.

And there is Eric's picture, now he will make room for another wish.

We did not do the official request for a wish, so they allowed Eric make his wishes that night.  This building was designed by make a wish kids.  You are asked to write down your wishes on a paper.  You then enter into this room where the colors are constantly changing.  There is a water fall/fountain in the middle and Eric was asked to follow the lighted footprints around the water fall and insert his wish into a cone shaped unit.  He then walks around to the front of the water fall and puts his wish/cone on top of a "wish request".  It was pretty cool, and I can see where little kids would get such a kick out of this.

His wish has been submitted

Once a kid fulfills their wish they get to hang their star among all the other kids.  This is the most impressive part of the building. 

Eric was asked to "Decorate" his star.  He signed it and added #5

Then he was asked to raise his star

There it is

It was a very nice night and the many pictures/stories of previous kids that were hanging on the walls around the building were very, very humbling.  What a way to start Thanksgiving by being reminded about how truly blessed we are.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eric and Macklyn

Eric made it home from Washington DC Saturday night late. First thing Sunday morning, Daryl invited him to come meet Macklyn and have waffles. Who could turn down that offer? So before he left for a Missionary farewell, he was able to meet his new niece, Macklyn. She still has more hair then he does. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The cutest addition

So we just received an angel from Heaven!!  Macklyn arrived Thursday night at 8:50.  What a sweet, sweet addition to our family.  I was hoping that Eric had time yesterday to go and meet her, but between Basketball practice and packing for Washington DC's trip today, he had no time.... his loss!  But isn't she just beautiful?  I am sure there will be more to come. 

The funny thing was when Eric saw how much hair she had, he was so bummed out, because she has more then he does!.... His hair is coming in really good, but she has him beat!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Assembly

Eric was invited to speak at an assembly at North Sevier High School in Salina.  Mrs Burr (VP at Salem Hills) was there also and introduced Eric. 

Eric was showing off his new leg and explained how cool it was, because now he can hang pictures of his friends with magnetics on his leg. 

He did an amazing job again.  A part of the fund raiser the student body president explained was a "Penny War"  Where pennies are counted as a positive point, but dimes, nickels, dollar bills are counted as a negative points, depending on value,  against your total.  Of course all the money raised in the end is great, but when you have very competitive kids trying to help their class to win, it can get interesting with Seniors putting dollar bills into the freshman's collection jug etc.  Well The seniors did not waste any time and was adding pennies into their jug as we were walking out of the school, so Todd walked into the office and dropped a $100.00 BILL into the seniors jug.  When Eric and I realized what was going on and the seniors that saw what just happened started yelling, we took off really fast.  Todd was just laughing! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Man Hawk Assembly

Can you pick out Eric? HEE HEE

It does a mom proud!

Thank you Kristin for sending me these pictures!!  It made my day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New leg design

Eric was so excited to get his new "temporary" socket on Wednesday.  There was such a difference, I wanted to share.  I know this picture does not do it justice... But here you go.
The leg on the Left was the old one, it went up and covered most of his butt cheek.  If any one tried to "slap" his butt, they would end up with a sore hand.  It was too big.  It did not matter how tight he pulled the straps.  Actually on Eric's last Methotrexate treatment, he pinched his leg in the slats that are cut in the plastic liner, and it literally burned his skin (mainly from the methotrexate). 

 The new leg goes up to the top of this thigh.  He has a rubber sleeve that fits over his leg, then a sock with a rubber ring slides over the rubber sleeve.  When he slips his new leg on, the air is bled out through that valve at the bottom, and it is on tight.  He has to allow air into the socket, in order to start slipping out of the socket.  It was so good to see him walk on his new leg, he did so with more confidence.  His stride was more smooth.  I was thrilled to see the benefits of his new leg.  Eric said that it felt so much better also!! 

So he will try out this new socket for the next 2 weeks and if all is well, they will make his permanent socket, which will be even lighter this this one.  (His old socket weighed 5 pounds more than his new leg!). 

Last night at the "Man Hawk" assembly, Eric and Quinn had the opportunity to dress up like girls (in skirts) and show off their legs!  I don't have pictures and if there are some out there, I would love to see them!  But it sounds like it was a hit!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Make a Wish Assembly

Today at Salem Hills High School the students have kicked off their fund raiser for Make A Wish.  They introduced an 11 year guy, Quinton, who has a tumor in his spine.  My heart went out to the family and all the stress they have gone through and will go through.  But what an amazing thing the school is doing to raise the money for his "wish".  Close to the end of the assembly, Eric came up and told his story about his tumor and how he completed the 18 treatments and now is "Clean for 1month".  I had to chuckle because it kind of sounded like he has been sober for 1 month, I guess that fits also.  :) 
He then invited Q up on the stage and gave him a gift.  It was a skyhawk hat and told him that he was now an official Skyhawk.  He went on and spoke to Q about how the experiences he will go through and lessons he will learn is for him.  That no one can take that away from him.  Eric said that if he had the chance to redo this year and have a "normal life" playing basketball or go through cancer again.  He would choose Cancer, because of the lessons he learned.  Then the part that made me cry, was he told Q that he had another gift for him.  Eric took off his "Strength Endures" bracelet and told Q that he began wearing this bracelet before he started treatments and has never taken it off till now.  As he handed him the bracelet, he told him that it has special powers to make him stronger. 

This assembly was very inspiring.  I hope they are able to raise a lot of money for Make A Wish.  Good Luck Quinton

Sorry the picture is horrible.  I do not know how to work Eric's camera.  Todd is our camera man, and because of that I just don't take pictures any more.

Eric went back to school yesterday and is regaining his strength every day.  We go back to Hanger tomorrow to get his new "temporary" socket.  He is pretty excited about that.  So as you can tell, Life is going on.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Fun Continues

Yesterday we had the opportunity to take a helicopter ride with North Canyon Helicopters.  Jon was our pilot and we had a ball.  Eric got really excited about his Sky Diving trip next spring in Moab.

I am amazed at how small it is.

And we are off the ground!

Salem Hills High school.  Everything looks so different from up here!

Eric is loving every min of it!

Hey look it is our house!  Don't look at my weeds

Eric's new sunglasses have not arrived yet, but he was more than happy to wear his Aviator glasses.  I guess it fits.

Stadium Cinemas

Jon, Eric and myself.  It was so much fun.  I am not going to lie, it was nice to be back on the solid ground.  Thanks for a fun Ride Jon!