5 Year Mark

Friday, January 24, 2020

Hi friends

I hope you feel the warmth of my greeting through the screen.
I am filled with lots of love and appreciation as I reflect and write
out this post to share an update on my health and my thoughts
on where we all stand at the moment. Today, this exact day, is
the 5 year mark of my cancer diagnosis. What a crazy ride it
has been.

The current status of my health is this; my cancer has progressed through essentially my whole lower abdomen. It’s everywhere. My ovaries, the pancreas yada yada yada. 
The main problem it’s causing at the moment is it’s presence throughout my peritoneum which is what’s causing a lot of fluid to fill into my belly.
This means every two weeks I’m traveling to California to have my stomach drained.
I had it done yesterday and they drained nearly 10 lbs (4.4 liters) and I already feel like the fluid is returning to my abdomen. My stomach gets big and uncomfortable and I struggle to eat, which is not great considering how generally weak I feel a lot of the time. 

I say and will continue to say that I still believe in miracles. But we’ve definitely experienced a shift in perspective the last few weeks and are taking steps. I’m still going
through this trial, though it was never meant to be a cure, but I’m hopeful it will prolong my life. We’re considering other hopeful treatments also. I am anxious to be there for Dane’s graduation this Spring and Gage’s white coat ceremony in the Fall. I want to vote. I love the summer. I want to spend more time on the boat, but also, mostly, just be with the people that I love. And I will keep it going as long as I’m able. 

But boy have I done A LOT in the last 5 years, people. I went through and collected photo highlights of the last half of a decade and I’m blown away at the life I’ve lived and the people I’ve been able to love. I’d love to share with you what is essentially my photo journal of these last few years..

The many family trips both Bebak and Lawler trips to:
the River and Lake, Newport Beach, Disneyland, Costa Rica



Traveling across the country visiting Scott's kids and grandkids.


Girls trips to New York City and Virginia,

DC for President Trump’s inauguration.

Traveling internationally to:
Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico

Being there for Madison when she served her mission in London

Madison and Rudger getting married

Gage and Sheree getting married


Gage's graduation

Watching Chase become a police officer

Being sealed to Scott in the Gilbert temple


Receiving an award from my dear friends at the WunderGlo foundation

Fun with Dane's friends and football teams


Celebrating Ashley's marriage in beautiful Nashville


Precious time with my boys and their families/ friends


Celebrating the lives, and mourning the losses of Scott's mom, Ilene, and my Dad, Al. 

Grandkids being born- 6 in the last 5 years and another on the

Zip-line adventures 
Riding quads on the beach
Taking backpacks and school supplies  to kids in Nicaragua

Riding horses on the beach in Costa Rica, seeing alligators, monkeys and running the horse as fast as I
can racing my sister 
Trips to Maui with Brigitte and George- seeing Scott in his true happy place

Being able to show Scott the places I lived, and the things I loved
when I lived on Maui

Being able to take Dane to get his license

Being here for Dane turning 18

Being here to find out Gage got into medical school

Being able to be here and see the true goodness in humanity every day.

Teaching teenage girls at church. Some of those girls were 12 and are now graduating high school
this year.

Having the BEST 50th Bowel-lywood party.
Able to raise to date about 20 thousand dollars for WunderGlo
Foundation for colon cancer research.  

Connecting with my birth father and gaining even more family

Stood up for Ivanka Trump because it was the right thing to do.
The good and the bad that came from it
made me strong. Taught me I will always have the guts to stand
up for what I believe in no matter what.
Always always always more time with the people that bring me joy.
Education weeks, lunches, visits after years apart, parties,
weddings, trips to the cabin- we've done it and seen it all!!



All the adventures and memories made with my loving and supportive hubby


Learning that my Savior is with me always, even when I am
awful to be around is priceless.
So much more, but the pictures are worth a thousand words.
This is the novel that is the last 5 years.

You know chemo gets a bad rap. It’s hard not to when you’re
essentially poison. But as I look over this list of all the amazing
things I’ve seen, done and experienced in the last 5 years,
I can truly attribute it to the amazing miracle that is chemotherapy.
And isn’t that such a metaphor for life?Chemo makes you sick as
anything, and literally kills your insides, yet it’s a gift. We cannot
as mortals experience joy without knowing sorrow, pleasure without
pain. For me, the beauty of life without the ugly
side affects of a life-saving medicine. 

I’ve experienced so much bad, so much pain and discomfort,
so much fatigue and frustration. But it pales in comparison to the
beauty of my life. The love of my people. 

I will keep you all updated as we know more. Thank you for
following along with me and lifting me with your words, your
shared experiences, and your love.

xo Mandy