December 30, 2009

(edit)ancer sucks

Who would have thought that "sucks" wouldn't be the word that was edited? My mission president would be so disappointed. But the C word is on the top of my least favorite words of 2009 so it got the title edit.

A lot of you know that I was diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer a couple months ago in my leg. It's fine, I'm fine, it was in the very early stages and is fixed easily enough. If only the same could be said for my Grandpa who was diagnosed with an advanced stage of Melanoma and started Chemotherapy this month. I was tempted not to blog about it and not just because I'm a lazy blogger. I just didn't need any more people to bug me about putting on sunscreen. But it is one of the events that shape the future and deserves to be documented.

Back in May I saw a mole on my back that looked darker than it should be. I asked the following questions in my head "has that always been there? was it always that dark? did it change shapes?" And of course the answer to all those questions was "I have no freaking idea." So I called Beth in to look at it and she proceeded to ask the same three questions but I decided to answer questions with questions "how am I supposed to know? I mean, really? I've never measured and mapped and color coded my body, has anyone?"

I decided to at least bring it up with my doctor and set an appointment. He too walked through the same questions and I replied with the non-committing "maybe". He took an interest in the mole I pointed out but really focused on the birth mark on my leg. I wasn't even thinking about that because I see it all the time and no doctor has ever thought it a concern. But this time I knew that it had changed shape and color and it just never clicked. It looked like I scraped it on rose bush or something and left a little white scar in the middle. I didn't think anything of it until the doctor said it should be tested. So he laid me down, took off the mole and did a few stitches on my back, then did a punch biopsy from my leg with a single stitch . . . see photo.Those test results came back negative for cancer but were the ever popular "pre-cancer". The one on my back was moderately dysplastic and my leg was severely dysplastic. Both needed to have larger incisions and samples but since we were leaving soon for Asia for a couple weeks (continue staying tuned for those posts ;)) I didn't do it then. Then it was summer and I was busy and had races and didn't want stitches or holes. Plus I kept getting those annoying statements from insurance and the pathology lab "This is not a bill but you might get a bill so look out for a bill even though you shouldn't be billed but we might not be able to figure it out so this could be used as a bill."

September rolled around and I finally went to see the doc for more cutting. He took off a wider bit of skin on my back and then took off the discolored part of my birth mark on the leg. Each had 7-8 stitches but I didn't get those photo documented. When I went to get the stitches out the test results still hadn't come back. The doc said that was unusual but not necessarily bad. Two days later I got a call from his secretary saying the doc needed to see me and wanted me to come in on Monday. That was an annoying weekend. He broke the news that my back was fine but my leg was positive (which is actually negative) for melanoma, an invasive and aggressive form of skin cancer, but thankfully it was early and wouldn't require anything other than larger and deeper cutting. The lab originally diagnosed it as in Situ (stage 0) but further examination by a trained pigment pathology fellow said it was actually Clarks level II or stage 1a. More confusion found on Wikipedia.

My doctor referred me to a surgical oncologist in SLC that we went to see before Thanksgiving, Dr. Dirk Noyes. Apparently one of the differences between an oncologist and family doctor is not the questions they ask but the number of people they have asking them. First there was the secretary, then the nurse, then the nurse practitioner, and finally the doctor. The doctor looked at my leg and before he was done with the examination had me on my stomach and prepping my leg for more skin removal. I hardly knew what was going on other than the doctor rolled me over, give me a couple shots, broke out the scalpel, and then the blow torch. Beth was in the room and saw him remove the rest of my birth mark and then cauterize it. Since he knew he was going to have to eventually cut a larger amount he didn't close it up.
I often do or say something that makes me realize I'm turning into my dad. For example, I am always complimenting Jack on his haircut and asking who is awesome barber is months after the actual cut. But when I post gross photos of a surgery I feel like I'm turning into my Grandpa. You can see the horizontal scar on the bottom from the original removal. You can also see that it is the off season and my leg hair has grown back.

Further tests of the entire birth mark came back as good as we could hope, only the discolored white area was positive for melanoma. It has now been over 5 weeks and the wound has finally started to scab over. I go in to the Huntsman Cancer Center for surgery on the 8th so it should be close to healed at that point. Just in time for the doc to knock me out and cut a 1 X 3 inch area and go down a little deeper into the muscle but at least nothing to do with the lymph nodes. I don't think there will be any skin grafting going on but if so I'll be sure point out my problem areas as potential sources for skin.

I included this photo taken today of our sheets for context of how much this hole in my leg has been oozing. If you want you can look closely to see the mess I've been dealing with. I try to make frequent band aid changes to keep the mess down. The fact that my "owy" terrifies Jack and Lily is just a bonus. "Me no like yours owy! No take off your band aid!" Anyways these were spotless a couple days ago and like I said it has been 5 weeks and the oozing has drastically decreased, plus I wear band aids and sweats to bed.

I'll plan to update after the next and final surgery.

November 2, 2009

Howdyeen

Jack and Lily and their cousins Porter and Seth all went as Cowpeople this year. Unfortunately Seth was ill and couldn't join us for the trick or treating. Fortunately I was there to tell the various neighbors that we were also collecting additional candy for our brother/cousin who was home sick. This was much more successful than when I tried the same line as an 11 year old with my pillow case and rollerblades.


Can you tell who was the most photogenic of the evening? Lily just loves people paying attention to her clothes, shoes, and hair.


It wasn't very long before Lily's bag was just about as heavy as her.

Celebrating our haul. Just an hour later with a sick stomach of my own and two sugar high, sticky fingered, chocolate drool stained kids tearing it up as they ask for more I had a different opinion of the event.
Couldn't resist .... Check out how nicely I pull off the cowboy as an almost three year old.

October 27, 2009

Rivertrip October 2009

Yes that's right I limited this post to 26 photos. It's my blog and I'll do what I want to. For those not in the know the river is a strip of the Colorado just below Lake Havasu. Beth's family has been going to the river house on the California side for ever. We spent the first week in October down there.
Probably one of my favorite photos. Lily waves goodbye to the boat with her cousins in tow. We spent one day down at the Wagon Wheel, 20 miles or so down river, with Ruben Kathy and gang.
The gang: Sara, Tony, Jason, Heidi and Nick.
Nick was a super good sport to play and entertain the kids. He also introduced Jack to the Scooby Doo movies which I could not be more thrilled about.
Would somebody please potty train this kid. Diapers in general are a bust but really cramp your style with boats and swimming.
We all had to keep an eye out for Jack, Nick and their water cannons.
Highlight of the week was surfing. Tony's boat throws an awesome wave and we spent many an hour trolling up and down the river.
This trip was my first time trying wake surfing and I could ride without the rope but if I really wanted to carve it up I preferred using it. With any luck I'll grow up to be as good as Jason and pull off 360s etc. without it.
Just look at the water that waited for us at just about all times of the day.
She's so cute with her little hat. Now if we could just get her to ever keep a bow or a clip in her hair.
Jack rocking the gun, holster, and diaper look while checking the traps. He got those for his birthday and has barely let him out of his sight since.
Beth getting in on the surfing action. She picked it up fast and too had a lot of fun. She had the advantage of being goofy foot along with everyone else. I was basically the only regular and had to wait for all of them to take a turn. But I did have the advantage of the cleaner wave. So there! I guess the way the prop rotates helps one side more than the other.
We still got out to lay down some slalom ski turns. Once again Tony's boat was just too fun.
Lily was in heaven with all these adults around her to giver her squeeze its, capri suns, fruit snacks, etc. anytime she wanted.
Jack loves his mommy but can you blame him?
I spent most of the week trying to clear the wake on the wakeboard and consistently landing just short. Finally on the last day my coach, Jason, told me I was wimping out and needed to attack the wake. That made the difference and also created a lot less stress on my shoulder.
Jack and Lily playing on the dock. We had a few bandannas left over from the birthday celebration.
Some pretty sweet sunsets. The weather was actually on the cool side, hovering around 90 degrees instead of the usual 93.
Lily watching from the boat.
She's ready for a turn on the tube. Did not happen.
Bringing me sunscreen for her fair little legs and arms. You might notice the beginnings of the riverstache.

Lily did not want to be left out of the goggle fun. Here she is with her aunt Heidi. Nick didn't appreciate anyone trying to out-nerd him in a photo.
It took pretty much the whole week before Jack started to get as comfortable in the water as he was in the pool just a few weeks before. Finally by Friday he was jumping off the dock and diving head first off the swim deck. By head first I of course mean lowering your chin to your chest and jumping in feet first.
Blanket? Check. Cowboy hat? Check. Goggles? Check. Gun? Check. OK Jack's ready for the day.
Isn't this nice when the two boys gang up on the baby girl? Lily thought it was the best thing ever.
One of the standard activities for any successful river trip, reading. On the way home we stayed a night in Vegas to see BYU-UNLV and attend Will's baby blessing the next day. You might notice the riverstache really coming into it's own.

It was a great trip and could not have come at a more perfect time. The sun, water, friends, relaxation, mexican food, board shorts, good tunes, are all very therapeutic. And for the heck of it here's our theme song of the week. Must have listened to this two dozen times.

October 22, 2009

Adios Señor Stache

Just for an update since the poll closed. The mustache is gone and was actually gone while the poll was still tied at 18. Thanks goes to the last minute voter who pushed it over for not turning me into a liar.

In reality I was always to shave before my next customer meeting (two days ago) for one simple reason, I look like a jackass with a mustache. For that reason alone I wanted to shave before church on Sunday but in the end I decided I was having too much fun getting new reactions from people. And boy was it fun. My Sunday School class (14 and 15 year olds) never went better. They kept their eyes up front and couldn't stop smiling. The only off topic discussions were whether I made a better Mario or Luigi. They settled on Luigi because Mario was "too fat". I wasn't sure if it was because they think I'm skinny or just not Mario fat. EQ was also fun. Those that you know well enough have no problem laughing, or even asking "WTH(eck)?" It's those that you only sorta know that provide the most comedy as you can watch them debate "is this for real?"

This brings me to another problem that I've been struggling with. Are the people that voted to keep the stache really my friends? I mean really? Did you do it because it made you look like a better husband? Made you feel better about your man? Hey at least I don't grow a ridiculous mustache like Emmett. Or do you truly wish more non-firemen wore one? I'm curious because the only person I found that could stand looking at it for extended periods was Lily. She's so nice to me.

Now that I acknowledged I'm aware of how I look I should warn you not to be too surprised to see a return. Just for amusement's sake. Like the time I bought a fridge pack of Tab because I thought it was ridiculous. Every time I opened the fridge I would laugh. Much like I would laugh every time I looked the mirror. Christmas/New Year's is too soon. Maybe Hawaii in February. Who wants to go to Hawaii in February? We do.

October 20, 2009

Jack turns 3 proceeds to crash

Jack turned 3 on October 5 and before we left town on the 3rd we gathered at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. Thanks to all those that came. We got Jack his first bike and I can't rember the last time I was this excited for a birthday. Beth also found some cowboy gear in Jackson Hole that he just loves.
videoI'm glad Brian didn't listen to me and turn the video off after 38 seconds. Jack promptly grabbed his helmet and took his bike for his first spin, only to crash into the table. It was hilarious. Brian put more photos up here. WARNING: Chuck E. Cheese music playing in the background!

October 15, 2009

coming snail mail soon

In an effort to push that previous photo down the page we'll rewind to the last day I did shave.

Coming soon via Christmas card (assuming this is the photo Beth selects and you happen to be one of the six addresses we have):


This is when Jack announced "I already did one more" and stood up, pulled the smarties out of his shirt pocket, and walked away.

I like this one with Jack reaching to give his sister a hug.

With Michael paying us a visit from BYU-Hawaii over Conference Weekend and we used the opportunity to get some family photos. The conversation with Michael before this photo went something like this ...
Michael: Hey family good to see you, this is Tashina.
Family: Nice to meet you Tashina.
Michael: She's going to need to be in the picture because I asked her to marry me this afternoon.
Family: Oh great, that's fantastic!
Michael: yeah we are super excited. Well it's been real...see you guys in SLC January 2nd for the wedding.

October 14, 2009

The Riverstache Poll

Soon I'll post some pictures from our week at the river but first a matter of business. As is custom at the river I went a couple days without shaving, then as a joke I shaved everything but my stache to try and get a reaction from Beth. She went on to ignore it for several days hoping it would go away and not wanting to give me the pleasure of a reaction. Next thing you know it had been a week and I'm in too deep. I felt like I have to let this thing ride. Beth seems to think it has to go, and fast. So I told her we'd put it to a poll. What do think? Be sure to vote on the right.

Although I don't like the reactions I get from parents when I smile at them and their kids I do like the possibilities this creates for Halloween. I could be Magnum P.I., Mexican, Super Mario, Uncle Bill, and um uh lots of others I'm sure.

September 25, 2009

What am I missing?

I look at the length of this list and I feel like it's gotten out of control, I've turned into such a loser. Yet at the same time I can't help but feel like we are missing something. So with the Fall T.V. season kicking off I have to ask, what are we missing?

The Emmetts DVR series record list:

The Office
Monk
Chuck
Kath & Kim
30 Rock
The Simpsons
Burn Notice
24
Lost
Scrubs
Cycling
Better Off Ted
Desperate Housewives
Parks and Recreation
Southland
Psych
Phineas and Ferb
Royal Pains
The Mentalist
Glee
How I Met Your Mother

As far as I know these are all coming back at some point this year*. There's really only 5 shows that I would really care if they didn't (Lost, The Office, 24, 30 Rock, Psych). The bottom 4 shows are the newest additions based on buzz and recommendations. Each one shows promise, although I thought Glee was way overrated. Any other new shows worth a try? Community, The forgotten, etc? Any old shows that we missed the boat? We haven't ever really given House or Bones or The Amazing Race or the CSIs, etc. a chance. Let us know, we Emmetts take our T.V. very serious.

One show I will probably be adding shortly to the list is Curb Your Enthusiasm. I broke down last week and paid for premium cable just so I could see the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I kept reading about the Seinfeld sort-of 'reunion' on Curb this season. Well the season premiere had nothing to do with Seinfeld and I generally had no idea what was going on but I literally have not laughed that hard since Arrested Development went off the air and before that it was Seinfeld. Larry David is just as bad an actor as Jerry Seinfeld and the humor is right up my alley. There is some Adult Language and hopefully it doesn't turn any worse but I am really optimistic about it.

*R.I.P. Life. I found out this week Life would not be coming back (thanks NBC) and when I told Beth she was plunged into a deep depression. It's really too bad, he was one of the most likable characters on television.

September 18, 2009

Why not? trip to California

I just had to get this photo up. Look at that beautiful little girl.
Not sure what makes her look smaller, Uncle Morgan or the Pacific.
Possibly the three worst sand castle builder helpers ever. They got the sand castle destroyer role down.
Everyday and sometimes multiple times in a day swimming in the back yard while simultaneously enjoying a Beverly Hills apple from the tree.
They can't read yet.
A trip home wouldn't be complete without a flashback to the '70s visiting Grandpa McEuen in Oxnard.

Beth, Marci, Ann and the kids spent a week in and a half enjoying themselves in Palos Verdes. It's too bad things get in the way preventing me from being there the whole time, forcing me to fly in and out for part. I would really like to be there in the car with them for what they turn into a 14 hour day.