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, July 30, 2012

What a Nerd

This weekend as Todd and I were in Preston Idaho, I was going through some of my pictures on my phone and came across this one.  I guess I was living in such a fog that I totally forgot this picture.  As he was preparing for the Stake Presidency to come and set him apart as a missionary, he came up the stairs with his back pack and put on Daryl's Missionary name tag for the complete look.  I laughed and still do as I look at this picture, because he looks like a total NERD!  Gotta Love him.
He is doing well.   I think his P-Day is on Tuesday so I am looking forward to my email tomorrow.  He did say that he has already taught 3 lesson in Lao as of last Monday, with less than a week in the MTC, he has come a long way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I received my first  email from Eric today!!  WOHOO!!  His companion is from Idaho Falls.  He said that he is completely opposite of him, but is getting along fine with him. 

The interesting thing he learned was, not only is he learning Laotian, he will also be learning Thai.  Apparently there is not a Book of Mormon translation between English and Lao.  So in order to teach the Lao people, they must be able to translate the BOM for them into Lao from Thai.  ... interesting.
He also learned that there are only 6 missionaries that speak Lao in the whole world.  4 in the MTC.  When the 4 go out into the mission field, 4 will be coming home.  This surprised me.  I expected more Lao speaking missionaries out there. 

It is probably a good thing they did not tell him he would be learning 2 languages, I am sure that could be overwhelming.  He said that he is definitely praying for the gift of tongues.  :)

It sounds like all is well and he is adjusting.  He made it through the hardest part of the MTC, the first 4 days.

As for me, it feels weird in this house.  Less laundry, what to cook... if I cook, and the house seems so much more quieter.  I think the hardest part is, I am use to having a quiet home with Eric gone with friends all the time and Todd working a lot, but knowing that Eric will not be home later is what is hard to get use to.  But I am trying to adjust.  So all is well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

First Letter

Look what I got today!!

It is going to be a great day!  Everyone has asked how I am doing, and I have to admit I am doing better... of course the container of chocolate covered cinnamon bears that Daryl and McKell gave me helped... they are all gone.  :)

I laughed cause Eric said that he HAD to write this letter to tell me not to worry and that he was not homesick, because this was his first day... not enough time to get homesick yet.  :)

He has already started the language lessons.  So the adventure begins 

MTC Address:

Elder Eric Merkley

MTC mailbox #230

CA-SAC 1002

2005 N 900 E

Provo UT 84604

If I understood the address correctly, he will leave for CA on 10/02.  I still have not heard from Dr Spraker about his blood results (the doctors office did not send it to her, so I will call again today)  But I think all will be well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Missionary

 Where to start?? Well I knew that the time would come and come too quickly, but I have cherished the opportunity to help Eric get ready. Monday was a day full of running. We stopped by Mr Mack for more socks, sewing kit, alarm clock, laundry bag etc. Our next stop was to the doctor’s office for the missing immunization shot, the chance for his records to get updated with all the shots he has recently received and for a follow up blood draw.

When we were in PCMC the blood drawn on that day showed the levels of creatinine was elevated. So as a precaution Dr Spraker wanted to retest his blood. When I heard this my panic mode set in and the worry started. I knew that Methotrexate is extremely hard on your kidneys, so my radar has always been a little sensitive. As I was purging all my worry on my friend on our morning walk, she said that I needed to remember that the adversary does not want Eric to serve this mission and if he cannot sway Eric to stay home then he would work on me. Boy has he been working on me.

So when the Stake Presidency came to set Eric apart as a full time missionary, I cannot express the gratitude I had for the blessings that were given, to our home and family but also to Eric.

As Eric sat down in the chair and the men circled around him, there was a gap right in front of Eric, where I had a clear picture of him as they placed their hands on his head and then the gap was closed. I wish I had a picture of that, because it was powerful. It was also very comforting.

President Trevort had blessed that Eric would be able to serve his mission and that the prior health issues would not interfere in any way. He mentioned this 2 different times in 2 different ways. He went on to say the most comforting things a mom could hear. Unless you have had an opportunity to be a part of a young man getting set apart as a full time missionary, you cannot comprehend the power of not only the priesthood, but of the Heavenly feelings that are present.  I felt this when Daryl was set apart and I also felt it Tuesday night.  There is this peace that comes in your home that is amazingly beautiful.

After everyone left we had dinner and it was relaxing. Eric had pretty much packed his room up, but had not put anything in his suitcases. President Trevort told Eric to get some sleep that night, and we all chuckled, I mean who can sleep? Wise Counsel though. So as Eric was winding down and getting ready for bed, we had a few minutes to visit, just the two of us. When a knock came at the door and another friend wanted to say goodbye.

Sunday, when Eric was saying goodbye to Tonya, there were a lot of tears and he said he did not expect it to be that hard, and as he said goodbye to a lot of his friends, there have been a lot of tears. I was worried that if I am such a big baby all week long, how was I going to make it through Wednesday afternoon?

Wednesday morning.... Eric wanted Swedish Pancakes and as I have stated already, I hate making Swedish pancakes! But it was fun to enjoy breakfast with the family. I think everything started to hit Eric, because he did not eat a whole lot.  I have heard how he has eaten a large stack of Swedish Pancakes at the Simonsen’s home on several occasions.  He said that he lost his appetite this morning, or maybe I just can't make Swedish pancakes like mama Simonsen.  :) 

Macklyn was helping Eric pack..
 I mentioned that he would probably need to iron his shirts a little when he makes it to the MTC and Daryl started laughing... I guess that is not high on their priority list.

 Eric had planned on destroying his phone, so he had fun with this.

Daryl and Eric were inspecting the damage and wondering if it would still work, so to ensure that it would not, he did it again.

We had a family prayer and Daryl and McKell said their goodbyes. We were both pretty antsy, so we decided to leave a few minutes early and run a few errands for the theater. We also had to stop by Walmart to pick up a few bottles of Mio for the MTC.

We laughed when we pulled into the parking lot just below the Provo temple, it was definitely a staging area for Missionaries to say goodbye. So we were no different.

I have LOVED the many times we have laughed. He has asked several times "Mom, who are you going to take your weirdness out on when I am gone?" Then he would look at Todd... poor Todd.

I told him as we were driving away from the house that I was going to try to stay strong and keep it together. There have already been too many tears and this is truly a good thing he is doing. ... I am saying this as tears were coursing down my cheeks. Not off to a good start.

I love this kid! After I watched him walk away, I got into the car and could not stop myself. I cried.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Farewell - Sunday July 15

Where to begin....Eric was so calm all morning.  He has been looking forward to his speaking assignment and after he practiced it Sunday morning, he said that it took him about 30 mins.  I told him to remember that when you speak in front of people, you tend to talk faster.  But he decided to cut some of his talk out.  Dang!
As they were passing the sacrament, I asked Eric (well he read my lips) if the chapel was filling up.  He said that it was full, but he did not seem to get any more nervous.  He gave his talk like a pro.  He told of his story and the thoughts that went through his mind when he learned that he had cancer.  He spoke of being so scared that he was shaking and praying so hard to Heavenly Father for Help and he did receive help in the form of comfort and peace.  He related how it felt like a warm blanket that was wrapped around him, and he was able to calm down, breath normal and was comforted by the most amazing peace.  Experiences like this never leave your mind or heart. 
I can not say enough how proud I am of him.  He has conquered so much and is ready to face this new challenge he now faces in his mission.
Everyone has asked him several times if he was nervous about entering the MTC and his response was "Well the way I look at it is, I have wrestled a rattle snake, almost drowned twice, beat cancer.... why would the MTC scare me?"  Gotta love him!

Here are a few pictures from his open house with just a few of his friends!

I could not have pulled off this open house with a lot of helping hands!!  We have the greatest friends who are so willing to help at the drop of a hat.  THANK YOU!!
There were just a few people... :)

Steve Linford, Dennis Dunn, Tonya and me

More great friends who helped to feed to multitude...(it felt like feeding the multitude anyway)

Todd's parents even made it all the way down from Preston Idaho

Eric saying a few words
Dennis wrote a letter to Eric and was willing to share.  I understand that it was kind of hard to hear, but when he finished, within seconds the heavens opened up and it started to pour rain.  The point was well received by all.
Eric and 2 of his buddies.  Steven and Tim came down to share this day with us.  It meant so much to us that they did.
Of course they had to show off their hardware.  I believe it was Cory, Tim's Dad that said there is probably enough money in hardware between the 3 boys to buy a house... I believe it.  It was still so fun to watch them show off their cool legs, or jungle gyms and Macklyn believes that Eric's leg is.

I was very humbled by all the people who came to show their love and support for Eric.  Danee, from Shelly Idaho who was Eric's first cancer friend.  There are pictures of her in this blog when they were both bald and beautiful.  She has just blossomed and Maddie Cook was also there with her mom and dad.  Like Steven, Maddie's hair came in dark and curly when it was once blond and straight.  My heart was just bursting when I saw all these kids.  They have these amazing spirits about them and they all wear smiles.  Heavenly Father's Precious .... Precious children.  And last but not least Tristan and his family came.  When I turned around and saw Tiffany, Tristan mom, I wanted to start to cry again.  Because it was quite a trip for them to bring Tristan out.  I did not think they would make it and when I saw Eric talking to Tristan, I can not put into words the image of those two boys talking.  There was just love and respect between them and you could feel it.  Eric truly understands what Tristan is going through right now and we both are praying for him.  It had not even been 2 weeks since his surgery. Tristan was sporting his U of U blanket and pillow case and when Daryl was admiring all the U of U logos, Tristan had to show off his cast with more U of U drawings.  Not only is he recovering from a very major surgery, but when you have an immune compromised kid, it is always a worry to be around people.
I heard that there were no seats to be found and people had to stand around to wall to listen to Eric.  Very Humbling.

Calm before the storm - Saturday Night

After Family pictures, we came back to the house for pizza and Tonya's Birthday cake.  It was actually quite relaxing sitting in the back yard, before we got back to work on the open house preparations.

Daryl, Macklyn and McKell

Daryl had Eric come over to pick up some of his old missionary ties and apparently Macklyn was asleep and was not happy to be woke up.  (I don't blame her)  Eric came home with some of the ugliest ties ever.  There was also a large variety of width on each ties....Daryl's mission would have "Ugly Tie" days... I think he won a lot of those competitions. 

Full Heart

There is so much to report right now, with the news from the farewell and setting apart etc etc etc.  And I promise I will fill you in soon.  I will tell you that Eric is so calm cool and collected about leaving.  He is excited to start to learn the language and get to work.  Everything is done that needs to be done, except to give him our final hugs and love.  He had requested Swedish Pancakes for his final breakfast (I hate making Swedish Pancakes) but will do so with a smile.  Daryl, McKell and Macklyn will be here to eat with us also.  It will give Macklyn one last chance to climb on the "Uncle Eric Jungle gym" and Daryl to tease him one last time.  It will be a fun morning.... More to come along with pictures.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Eric will be speaking in Sacrament meeting July 15 at 11:00 at the Chapel on
 259 E Alpine Dr. 
 Elk Ridge UT 84651. 
As he is preparing to go to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Wednesday July 18, he is working hard to finish up all the loose ends.  Today is his last day of working for the almighty dollar.  Eric is actually excited not to have to deal with the digital projector "hick-ups".  We have given him a hard time saying that everything happens on "his" shift.  I think those awful forces are just trying to discourage him.  But as he gets closer to leaving, this peace has come over him. 
There are just a few items he still needs to do before entering into the MTC, like getting his last immunization that the Doctors office either gave the shot and did not record or overlooked the 3rd shot. (this is his family doctors office, not PCMC) He needs to have a follow up blood draw, he needs to extend his drivers license, pack up the items he is leaving behind, (then proceed to hide it in a secure place from all the scavengers, like his brother who is planning on going through his clothes)  pack his bags for the MTC AND clean the basement aka "his man cave".  Not to much, right?
Dr Spraker has  been in contact with a doctor at the Pediatric Oncology hospital in Sacramento.  She will coordinate scans and check ups every 4 months with this doctor in California.  This hospital is part of the oncology group that PCMC participates in.  So it is very comforting that the hospital follows the same protocol as PCMC. 
Bottom line is I think everything is falling into place and as hard as it is to admit, he is almost ready to go....As for me?  I know that as he gets set apart as a missionary, I will be turning my sweet boy over to the loving arms of our Heavenly Fathers care and I know that he will be watched over.  That is a comfort to me. 
I have been asked several times if I intend to continue to update this blog as Eric is in Sacramento.  And the answer is Yes!  I will do my best to relate how he is doing and update you on more "Eric" stories, including the spiritual experiences he is having. 
I was joking with him and told him that I would copy the blog and send him the updates so he knows what is going on his life.  His response is "Please do!"

Hopefully you will join us for Sacrament meeting Sunday.  I will post at a later date his mailing addresses.  As with all missionaries, they come to love the mailbox, I am sure Eric will also.  More to come!
Thank you for loving my boy.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Another check on the bucket list before the mission

There is a movie that Eric has been looking forward to that opens 2 day AFTER he enters the MTC. So he has made it perfectly clear that if we get an invitation to the screening of this movie that he WAS going with me. (Sorry Todd you just got replaced). I know that everyone feels bad that part of my job is to watch movies before they actually open. You have to do what you have to do, right? :) Well we did get the invitation to this movie and we watched it this morning… WOW it is good!!  I am not allowed to talk about it, but we were both impressed!  While we were in  SLC, we had to stop by and visit a pretty special kid, Tristan.
Tristan just had his life saving surgery yesterday and he has had an amazing attitude.  He was pretty excited to show Eric his cast on his leg.  What made me laugh was he was so tired from all the pain medication they have him on and he did not want to go to sleep that he kept asking for "Caffeine" so that he could stay awake.  Tristan told us how right before they put him under, he started to change his mind and told them to wait, well the medicine was already taking affect and he was asleep, but when he woke up he knew the surgery had already taken place and told them that he hated them.  It was so cute to hear him tell his story.  This has to be so frightening for these kids and yet they have such an amazing spirit about them.  It is very humbling to be around them.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy 19th Birthday to Eric

Okay you have heard that Chemo does some really weird things to your body, well it has totally messed Eric up.  He is no longer NORMAL!  He used to always ask for an apple pie for his "Birthday Cake".  Well when I asked him if that is what he wanted this year, he said NO!....WHAT???  He wanted a vegetable tray!  We could not have a birthday dinner without cake or dessert, so McKell got her delayed birthday cake instead (it's is perfectly okay to celebrate your birthday for 2 months... I think!)

Singing very off Key... :) to each other

Making a wish


Macklyn even loves celery sticks, something is definitely wrong with this picture.
Only 17 more days are left before he enters the MTC at 1:10 pm... but who is counting?  NOT ME!

Big difference from last year!

I am so glad the chemo killed the cancer cells, but sad that sugar now tastes bitter to Eric.  I can not understand living without sugar.