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, 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.