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.

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!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Make a Wish

Several months ago, Eric said that what he wanted to do for his Make-a-wish was to go to a UFC fight (they said they have never had this wish, but okay) But with several road blocks, Eric changed his wish to a Shopping spree. Last night he was able to complete his wish! This is Joel and Jeff explaining how the shopping spree will work. Eric was given (well Joel held onto the money) a set amount of cash and he had 5 hours to spend it!

Then a Limo came and picked us up. We had Daryl, Mckell, Todd, Joel, Jeff and myself riding in style in the back.

Our First Stop was Gladstan Golf Course for a punch card of several rounds of Golfing.

We even had cheering fans show up! (Cheryl Brown, MacLee Anderson, Me, Veronica Feild aka Dr Vee and Vee's grand babies)

Daryl & McKell getting comfy

Joel aka the Make a Wish volunteer and the rest of us

Everyone sneaking a peek before we took off.

McKell Really like being able to put her feet up before the "Shop till you drop" started.

First Stop was to Mr Mac, to purchase suits, shirts, ties, belts and shoes for a mission in a year.
The next stop was to Sports Authority for Golf Clubs and accessories. Todd really like this little kid golf club bag and was trying to convince Eric to buy it, because it was his size.

I had my handy dandy shopping list to consult so we can save time... I mean the clock was ticking and very fast, if I might add.

Joel was on the phone negotiating a Sky Diving trip for Eric. So next spring we will be heading to Moab to watch Eric sky dive, while the rest of us are safely on the ground.

Eric was checking the list

Next stop was at Zumiez. They were great and very helpful. We got to the point where Eric would say what he wanted, Joel would come up and pay with cash while Eric was already off to the next store.

I love the face! But I think this hat is a little big!

Because Eric has such big feet, we had to order the basketball shoes that Eric has had his eye on.

We are down to $17.00.

Loading up the Limo with the goods

After dinner and shopping, McKell was worn out. Can you believe she is due in just 6 days? We are way excited to Macklyn.

We made it home!

We were so grateful to all the stores that helped to make this night special. But we really are truly grateful to PF Chang. As we got there, they were ready for us and spoiled us rotten. They brought out speciality drinks and extra entrees for us to try. We had food everywhere and we tried out best to eat it all, but could not. We were so full we could not even fit desert, so they packed it up and sent it home for us. They did this all for Eric at no Charge!!! We were very humbled and grateful to their generosity. Not to mention the service was amazing! Thank You PF Chang!!!

Thank you Joel, Cassandra and Jeff for helping to make Eric's Wish come true. It was so much fun and incredibly generous. I have heard different stories through out the years of different kids getting their "Wish" and you always picture Disneyland. But they do so much more and it gives these kids something to look forward to as they face a deadly disease and a treatment that is awful. Salem Hills is doing a fund raiser for Make a wish, starting next week and it will go through out the month. I know I will be doing everything I can to help out! The Make a Wish volunteers are truly amazing people with only one goal in mind and that is to make an angel's wish come true.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Total Success

This morning Eric underwent his final surgery for his cancer treatment.  His port has been removed.  When the doctor came and spoke with us about what to expect and answer any questions.  I asked if we could get a picture of his port.  The port that has been the vehicle for chemo, pain medicines, anti-nausea medicines, fluids and blood testing.   Well the doctor said that he would try to bring it to us, that because of the bio-hazard regulations he may not be able to.  To my surprise he was able to bring it to me to show me what it looks like... Here you go

What surprised me the most was how big and heavy it was.  So this object sat in Eric's upper left hand chest.  You could feel it under his skin.  The center part of the port is where the nurses aimed to stick the needle in.  Then the tube was inserted into Eric vein.
I know that I am not doing it justice to how it works and I don't know the technical terms for it.  All I know is that I am SO SO Glad it is OUT!!  When he was in recovery and learned that if he needed to take some pain medication for any discomfort, that he would need to stay an additional hour.  He quickly said that he was okay and did not need any pain killers.  He was very anxious to get out of there and get food!  So we stopped by Arbys on the way home and I was impressed at how hungry he was after just waking up from surgery.

As soon as we drove into the garage at home, he jumped into his truck and was off to open court at the high school for basketball practice.  So all I can say is, All is well at the our home!
Tomorrow we have another appointment with Hanger/Spot who is doing Eric's new prosthetic socket and he is so excited to get rid of the old one.  We are also getting his school schedule all worked out... I have decided with all the things that continue to go on to accommodate Eric's schedule that my work will have to wait until next week when he is back in school.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Step off

Tomorrow morning we are heading back to Primaries for surgery, now before you get worried, this is the big final step off of the Cancer train.  He is having his port removed!!  We are both pretty excited to have it out.  He has had a lot of fun with his scar made from the port and the stories he has told about it.  (He has quite an imagination, not to mention he has really got a lot of sympathy for the gun shot wound.... :))  He has said that he hopes that when they remove the port it does not change how cool it looks.  Boys and their scars!  It will be a short operation and we should be home late afternoon.
It looks like Thursday he will be able to go on a shopping spree with Make a Wish.  I will post more as we can.
Eric is doing really well.  He is back to work and hanging out with friends.  Last night as Todd and I walked in the door, he was walking out.  I asked where he was going and as he was getting into his truck, he said out with friends. BYE Mom!  And he was gone.  Man I actually think I just dreamed this whole cancer thing because nothing has changed.  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eric's To Do List

Eric's To Do List:

1.  Fight CANCER and Win 

What a great day to have the confirmation from the doctors that Eric is Cancer Free!! 

First we met with Dr Spraker and she gave him a gift!  It was a T shirt with the saying "Respect the Mustache".  Eric got such a big kick out of that!!  He jumped up and gave her a hug! 

We went over all the scan results and then I got up the nerve to ask the chances of this beast coming back.  She explained that Eric had 3 major things in his court. 
1.  The cancer did not spread to his lungs.
2.  He was a good responder where 95% of the cancer was dead when they removed the tumor.
3.  The remaining tumor was completely removed during surgery.
Having said that, the chances of this cancer coming back is LESS than 20%.  What a relief!
We then went on to visit with Dr Randall.  He looked at his leg where the incision was made and asked to see him walk on his prosthetic leg.  He explained that if we tried to salvage his limb, that he would not be walking "normal".  He stood up and asked Eric to give him a hug, because he was so proud of him and that he wanted a picture of him dunking the basketball for Dr. Randal's Hall of Fame.  It brought tears to my eyes as he hugged Eric and then me, because it really hit me that we have come full circle with this.

If I may recap this journey and the many miracles that happened along the way to allow Eric to be Cancer Free and to have Eric's future very bright.
1.  I am truly grateful for Celesta, who had that strong feeling as she was working on Eric's "Strained muscle" that something was very wrong with his leg and insisted that an xray be taken.
2. I am Truly grateful that we were sent to Dr. Weenig, and that as he viewed the new xray of Eric's leg, he recognized it as a tumor and did not waste any time getting on the phone with Huntsman Cancer Center and also set up the appointment immediately with Dr Randal.
3. I am truly grateful that we were able to get into an appointment with Dr Randall and Dr Spraker for a quick diagnose and to get the treatment game plan into place.
4. I am truly grateful for the amazing team of Doctors and Nurses who were patient and willing to teach us what we needed to do and look for.  Not to mention they were willing to answer the many questions I had, in person and on the phone.  They understood the tears and there were some tears shed with me.
5.  I am truly grateful that Dr. Randal had the courage to offer the 2 options for surgery and the loving concern he had for all the emotions that came with those options.
6.  I am truly grateful to all the nurses that loved Eric and would come visit even if they had other patients.  The time they took to see how he was doing and to hear more "Eric Stories".
7.  I am truly grateful that Eric's body had endured the many poisons that were injected into his body to kill all those cancer cells.
8.  I am truly grateful that Eric had such an amazing attitude through out this whole thing.
9.  I am truly grateful to all the friends I met at the hospital, the moms and other angels fighting cancer.
10.  I am truly grateful to all my amazing friends and family who have worried, cried, prayed along with us.  I will always be eternally grateful for all your prayers.  I know I have said this before, but I have felt those prayers many times.  It has helped to give both Eric and myself the strength to endure this.
11.  I will always be eternally grateful to my amazing husband who had to endure an absentee wife without complaining, and still be my rock.  I don't know if I can even explain the feeling of comfort it was that I knew he was always there to keep me standing.  That when I was not sure I could find the strength to keep going, he was there helping me take the next step. 
12.  I will always be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father who's presence was always felt.  I don't know why Eric had to go through this, but I can say that our family is stronger because of it.  There were many prayers that have been answered.  Prayers were answered long before I even knew they were needed.  I have experience Tender mercies from Heavenly Father that I will never forget, times when I was trying to give Eric comfort, but instead it was I that was comforted.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day of Scans

Today we were at PMC bright and early.  Eric underwent a CT scan of his chest. Then he went directly in to be injected with a radioactive dye for the bone scan in 2 hours.  He was taken into the X ray room  and when we walked into the Xray room, the tech asked as he is looking around "Where's the patient?"  Eric raises his hand and said "Here I am!"  I had to chuckle. The tech than went on explain that we were there to get a Xray of his lower left leg.....  well ...Eric said  "It's not there!"  The technician had this blank look on his face and said "Let me get back to you!" The poor guy, we had him flustered... for a minute than he started laughing with us.
The Echo cardiogram was next and his heart has shown some more improvement!  YEAH!! 
Next we were off to get a hearing test... the high frequency sounds have lowered a little more, but nothing to worry about, which means he can still hear me tell him to clean his room!!!  Good news! 
Then we went back to finish the bone scan.  We asked if the tech could see any "Hot Spots" and he said no just a little concerned about the dark space in his skull. :)

When we stepped into the waiting room/playroom in the cardiology department, Eric was excited that the room was clear of all little girls who "Hog" the playroom!  Gotta love him.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Sundance pics

Today Eric went to his physical Therapist, Brett, and they have started him on some exercises.  Eric now needs to get a gym pass and Brett will put together a workout schedule for him.  He is so so so excited about exercising again.  Then we had to run back to Payson so he can get back to work at Stadium Cinemas.  I am cutting his allowance off.  He now has to work for a living again. :)


Footloose (2011) Poster  Last night we previewed Footloose and as I was dancing in my seat, Eric came into the movie and immediately took off his leg.  I had to laugh because he was truly "Foot Loose".  :) 

Eric attended open court with the Salem Hills High Basketball players and even though he knows that it will be a long hard row to get into shape to compete competitively, he has the determination to do so!  So off he goes.  Today we will be going back into the sports Physical therapist to help with this process.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Full moon ride at Sundance

We decided to show Aunt Theresa and Matthew just how much fun we have in Utah, by taking them for a ride on the ski lift at Sundance during the full moon!  It has become a tradition for Todd and myself and it was a lot of fun to take the Alaskans and Eric along for the adventure.

We are preparing to hop off the moving ski lift.  So Eric locked his leg into place and his plan was to grab the side and hop out the way.  Todd told him to just fall to the ground and let the chair go right over him.  When  the operators saw Eric's leg locked straight, they slowed the ride down for him.  So there were no injuries.  :)  It was a fun night, a little chilly, but fun!  Todd took some more pictures that I will post later.  Aunt Theresa took these pics with her phone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stronger Every Day

We have had a great week.  Eric continues to get stronger.  He has been such a trooper and a HUGE help to me as I run around trying to get business taken care of, baby shower for McKell taken care of, family coming in from out of state for the big family celebration dinner for Eric etc etc. Here are a few pics from this past week.
Eric is making Gourmet Popcorn for McKell's baby shower.  He is a great cook and made 95% of this.  It was also a rave at the shower!

As we were walking into Walmart, an older man asked Daryl if he would take this scooter back.  He was more than happy to do that for him.  :)  I have to admit that he was very slow.

Aunt Bug (Theresa), Tonya and myself took an afternoon and got a pedicure!  It was a great day of pampering until Theresa and Tonya hit the malls!  Eric decided that he would pass on this trip to get pedicure.  We truly missed McKell.  I think that all the excitement wore out our new soon to be Mommy.

Tonya is getting a back massage and waiting for her turn.

Tonya, Aunt Bug and Eric as we had to tell Tonya goodbye today.  We were sad to let her go.

Tonya, Aunt Bug and me

We all sang... well me and Daryl sang to Eric as we celebrated the end of his treatments on Sunday

Aunt Theresa showed me how to make an apple pie and it was really good!

So I tried to get some pics of the family right after we ate dinner, and Daryl ... as you can see... felt the need to steal the spotlight!

Nikki & Katy
Joan & Wayne (Todd's Parents from Preston ID)

Well at least we got Clint in this pic!

We were unable to get more pics of Todd's kids cause they had to hurry and get home, but here is everyone else waiting for the ice cream to freeze.

We had a great day!  Todd's parents came from Preston Idaho, Brandon, Nikki, Katy and Ali came to help celebrate along with Tonya, Clint, Aunt Bug and Matthew.  I don't think I mentioned that Aunt Bug and Matthew are from Soldotna Alaska.  So they came a long way to celebrate with us.  We have loved and appreciated the Aunt's and Uncles that have traveled great distances... like Alaska to give Eric their love.

Monday morning we will be heading back to PMC for all the scans.  On Tuesday we visit with the doctors concerning the results of the scans and if all is well a surgery will be schedule to take out the port in his chest!!  YEAH!!  Please keep him in your prayers for clean reports!  I am pretty sure it will, but I will breathe a little easier once the confirmation is in front of me.