Monday, July 28, 2008

My Daddy and Me

Some of you may know this already, but most of you don't. I just wanted to share with you what has been happening since July 9th.

My Dad, Philip Ray Brown, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Multiple Myeloma (MM) also known as plasma cell cancer. MM is a type of cancer of plasma cells which are immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Myeloma is incurable, but remissions may be induced with various treatments.

We have been waiting for over two weeks to get this diagnosis. It might seem strange to hear that this is actually good news, but it is. Originally we thought it was terminal. We thought this was the end. We were saying our goodbyes. Then we took more and more tests, saw a few more doctors, waited more, and then received a hopeful prognosis. The doctor said that he could probably live a few more years with treatments. Years. Not days. That is really good news, considering. It's not curable, but it is controllable. Treatments will include radiation on the 2 largest tumors on his chest and pelvis, and various pills for the 6 smaller tumors in his ribs, spine, and upper back. He is in a lot of pain and can barely walk, but the doctor assures us that the treatments will help to subside this by shrinking the tumors. He has a long hard road ahead of him with radiation and treatments, but he is still here with us. Here for longer than we thought. And that in itself is so comforting.

It's strange how much a day can mean to you when it could be the last day. A year seems like an eternity and I'm so grateful that I have the possibility of more time with him. I love my Dad very much. He makes my life better because he's in it.

Thank you to my family and dear friends for all of the love, support, flowers, and prayers. For more information on my Dad and updates on his health, check out the Philip Ray Brown Updates link in my family section.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I love me some red, white, and blue!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays! Here are the top reasons why I go crazy for Independence Day:

Celebration. Casey and I celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary on July 1st. It's so nice having our anniversary by the 4th because there is always a guaranteed day off of work and so many fun things to do. And our anniversary always ends in fireworks! I love Casey very much. He is so good to me and I'm very grateful for him in my life. Happy 3-year anniversary kid!

Concerts. Casey surprised me with tickets to watch the firework spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl. I was super excited because I have always wanted to go ever since watching Bette Midler perform there on "Beaches". It was inspiring to sit in the hills of Hollywood and listen to the great patriotic songs of our nation played by the LA philharmonic. The production ended with an incredible firework show right behind the Bowl. We loved every minute of it. Casey did a great job of planning a romantic and fun anniversary weekend for us!

Competition. This year I was excited for the annual 4th of July Huntington Beach 5K race and breakfast. I made it to the race but I had crazy shin splints from preparing for the run all week, so I biked the 5K on my beach cruiser. I'm pathetic, but still patriotic!

BBQ's. Casey was out of town for a beach volleyball tournament on the 4th, so I went with the Morphy's to a ward BBQ. It was so fun to sit around and talk to the ward members and eat all day long. Then I came back from that BBQ and my apartment complex was having another BBQ, so I sat around with them and enjoyed it all over again! My neighbor, Diana West, sang us the most beautiful a cappella version of "God Bless America". It was the perfect theme to a perfect day.

Parades. The HB parade ran down main street where we were having our BBQ, so we sat on the lawn and watched the parade as it passed by. It was so fun and inspiring to see the little kids perform and the veterans walk with pride. The parade was so fun, all 3 hours of it!!

Patriotism. Everywhere I went and everywhere I looked in HB there were flags, banners, and the bold freedom colors of red, white, and blue declaring our independence. As members of the armed forces passed by, there was silence and thanksgiving. This holiday reminds me what it is to be a citizen of the United States of America. We are so blessed and fortunate.

Relaxing in the Sun. One of the best things about this holiday is that there is a lot of sitting, talking, relaxing, and enjoying the beautiful weather. I went to the beach with some of the families from my apartment complex and it was so fun to just sit there in the sun and talk. My whole weekend was spent hanging out with family and friends in the sun. That for me is the best time there is.

Music. What's a 4th of July without a stake church production? The Huntington Beach Stake put on a patriotic production that was filled with families all singing and dancing to our Nation's favorite songs. Watching the little children sing about peace, love, and freedom brought tears to my eyes. They were so bright-eyed and ready for the future. And we all stood with our hands on our hearts as we listened to "The Star Spangled Banner" and watched the men and women of the armed forces in our stake conduct the American Flag ceremony. I love our flag; what it represents, and what it has witnessed.

Fireworks! I ended my Independence Day celebration with the Morphy's at the HB pier where we watched another incredible firework show. The fireworks were shot off the pier and it was magical to see the lights dance across the ocean. It felt like you could reach out and touch them!

Remember that there is no time like the present to share memories and laughter with those you love. It was beautiful to sit and watch the simple joy of a child's first firework show. The 4th of July is such a happy occasion. I feel like a little girl full of wonder and awe each time it comes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To blog or not to blog...

So, I guess the answer is: to blog. I have had a blog address for quite some time now, but I've been delaying the inevitable. Mostly because we don't have Internet at our apartment and I keep forgetting to bring pictures to work. The other reason is probably because I didn't really feel like I had anything of interest to share. I don't have any children and I didn't just get married, and those seem to be the reasons people start blogging. Then of course there is the issue of being so behind that you feel like there is no place to start. I wish I would have started blogging as soon as I got married and then I could have a journal of the past three wonderful years with my husband. But I didn't. And now I feel overwhelmed like I have to post about everything that has ever happened to me and I have no idea where to begin. I guess these are the exact same reasons that I don't write in my journal anymore. I get too busy, fall behind on entries, get overwhelmed, try to make up for lost time, and then decide to just forget about it. Who would want to read about me and my random stories/thoughts anyway?

The answer to that question made me start this post. I would give anything to have a journal or documented stories and writings from my Mom. She passed away 7 years ago this past February. And the only thing I have is a few pictures and my memories of her. I wish I could open up her journal or blog and read about her experiences and see who she was before she became my Mom. Seeing how we are related, I'm pretty sure she had the same overwhelmed feeling I did about journals and was just too busy for it (with eleven kids who could blame her? What's my excuse again?). That got me thinking. I am starting this blog so that I will have a record of the stories and small moments that make up my life right now. And who knows, maybe one day my children will want to read about who I was before they became my life. And the final reason that I started this post today is because lately I have become a blog stalker. I read everyone's blog I can find and search for more to read. So I thought I would share with all of you since you have been sharing your lives with me, possibly unbeknown to you. Here you go...this is the first of many. Welcome to the lives of Lexi and Casey Patterson: A Tall Tale. Enjoy.