My pink ribbon story

imageLike pretty much everything in life I’m either all the way in or all the way out. Well, except when it comes to religion. But that’s a whole other story! Like I’ve previously stated that goes for TV too. I don’t watch many shows, but the ones I do watch I am very loyal to.

NBC aired this little medical drama between the years of 1994 to 2009. You may have heard of it. It was called…..ER. Okay, I know how big is was! George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, John Stamos, etc, etc, etc. It also starred Maura Tierney as Abby in the mid to later episodes. I loved Abby! I loved her wit, I loved her attitude, I loved her bad luck! And as we all know I have a tendency to name kids after beloved TV favorites (Don’t judge, we all gain inspirations in different ways!), we discussed the name Abigail for a girl. But after 3 valiant attempts at getting pregnant with a girl we have been blessed with 3 healthy, intelligent, beyond beautiful boys. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world or the next, but Abby just didn’t seem like a fitting name for any of them! So last fall when we adopted the sweetest little girl cat, Abby was an easy choice for a name. And because this mommy has 3 little boys who stole every brain cell in her head, I forgot to get her fixed in time and Abby got pregnant with a litter of 4 little babies. I allowed my older kids to name 2 of them, and I went on to name the other 2 Neela and Luca. I thought I was hilarious!

ANYWAY…..where was I? (Remember, crazy intelligent kids have resumed ownership of all remaining brain cells, including the ones that help me stay on one subject!) What I didn’t know about loving this character for so many years was is that it would someday come in handy for saving my life. A year after ER ended, back in 2010, Maura Tierney appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about her battle with breast cancer. (I was going to add the youtube link of the interview so everyone can see it for themselves, but I can’t seem to find it. I did, however, add a link I found of the end of the interview. Which I will reference to later) I was very taken back by her interview. She was young and healthy. She didn’t fit any “breast cancer category” so to speak. But there she was talking about her terrifying ordeal. I was pregnant with our 2nd son at the time and asked a nurse a my next prenatal exam about getting a mammogram done. She told me that because of my age and since I had no risk factors my insurance would probably not cover a mammogram at that point in my life. She also told me that I shouldn’t worry to much because my breasts would been naturally more dense and lumpy feeling at my age. So I stopped worrying and moved on. 2 years later, in the summer of 2012, I found a lump in my breast. But of course my 1st instinct was to ignore it and go on believing what I was told by that nurse. But then that interview popped in my head. And it kept popping in my head over and over. So I went to my doctor and had my first mammogram. I remember so well sitting in the waiting room in my little pink gown with all the other women who seemed so much older than me. A lump was detected and I immediately had an ultrasound. The ultrasound led to a biopsy, which holy hell did that hurt! The biopsy was inconclusive. So I had a lumpectomy which led to the diagnosis of a rare rapidly forming tumor. I had just turned 31 years old. The months after are a blur of medications, treatments, and surgeries. (A mastectomy and a full reconstruction.) I spent so many sleepless nights worrying. I was scared for my future, worried for my kids. My father passed away when I was 7. I know how difficult it is to grow up without a parent and  I would never wish that on any child. But I had an amazing group of doctors, family, and friends rooting for me. Even my Grandmother, who was 95 at the time, helped out with the kids. The best was the day my 18 month old came home wearing a depend! I had my late night Mike and Molly reruns and my Katy Perry music. And I had that interview. Today I am healthy thanks to that interview. I’m so grateful for it.

Naturally after I was better I wrote to tell The Ellen DeGeneres Show my whole story. In fact, I wrote a lot of times! And 2 years ago, when  I was pregnant with Micah, I got a call from a producer! We chatted over the phone and skype for several days and I’ll admit I was getting pretty excited about the possibility of getting to share this extraordinary story with so many people. I imagined all the women my age who could be inspired to listen to the instincts and get a mammogram. And of course there was also the chance to get to say thank you to Ellen in person. But one day the phone calls stopped. And suddenly no one would return my calls or emails. Todd and I were both so sad. So we took a chance and did something crazy. I flew to LA, 7 months pregnant, to try and get stand by Ellen tickets. I knew if I could get in the door someone would listen to this story. Unfortunately, I never got in the door. The trip wasn’t all bad. I went to a Mike and Molly taping and let Reno Wilson and Katy Mixon feel my belly! And I got to hang out with my sister from another mother Ashley! But I was pretty broken hearted about not getting my chance to share this story.

I’ve moved on obviously! I’m raising my boys and driving car pools and breaking up fights! And I’m in school now studying with the BYU pathways program. My life isn’t glamourous, although its never dull! But every night I thank God for it. And I hope someday I get the chance to thank Maura Tierney and Ellen in person. But until then I know the best thing I can do is keep on keeping on!


For Marie…..I’ll never forget you.

What’s in a name

I have 3 sons. Like every other child born, we chose names for them based on reasons that were important or sentimental to us. But over the years there has been speculation on where my boys names came from. Mainly because my husband likes to tell them and other people incorrect reasons for their names. So once and for all, as the person who gave birth to these children and ultimately decided on these names, I’m clearing up the questions!

Benson Timothy: Benson is our oldest son. He’s our miracle. He was born after years of tears and prayers. When I found out I was pregnant with him I knew there was a strong little soul in me. He fought to be here as much as we fought to get him here. And he needed the perfect name to go along with that soul. His middle name, Timothy, was easy. I always knew if I ever had a son his middle name would be Timothy after my father. My father was one of the strongest, hard working, most passionate people I’ve ever known. Even if I only knew him for 7 years of my life. But coming up with a first name was harder. Contrary to popular belief, mainly because my husband thinks its funny to tell people, Benson was NOT named after LDS Prophet Ezra Taft Benson. Don’t get me wrong, I loved President Benson. He was a wonderful man and the first Prophet I really remember listening to growing up. But its not why I chose the name. Also I didn’t name him after the town Benson, UT.  I always loved the name Ben. But it seemed like more of a nickname. I was going through a major Law and Order: SVU phase at the time. Well, I’m still going through it! I just love Olivia and the strong woman she is. One night after watching an episode it hit me. Benson! Benson after Olivia Benson. Yes, I named my son after a fictional female detective! But fictional or not, she is so strong and a hero of mine. And Benson fits him. He’s strong willed, tough, determined. Benson was the perfect name for him.

Kaleb Scott: Kaleb is our middle son. He was our surprise baby. After it took us 7 years to get his older brother here, we did not think we had to be careful. If you know what I mean! So Kaleb came 21 months after Benson. Kaleb is quirky, very artistic, and independent. Todd and I went back and forth with the name Kaleb when I was pregnant with Benson. So choosing Kaleb wasn’t easy. The spelling was more of a challenge. But why did we choose to name him Kaleb with a K? Because I’m a jerk! Seriously! I chose to use a K instead of a C because I didn’t want him to have the same initials as my brother. Pregnancy did not bring the kindest person out of me and I was being a jerk! BUT….I do believe now the K fits him. He does not fit a mold so to speak. He is absolutely an individual. So maybe it was divine intervention…..but probably I’m just mean! I really was a raging maniac while pregnant! We chose the middle name Scott for 2 reasons. 1st Scott is Todd’s dad’s middle name. And since Benson is named after my dad it was really only fair! But Scott meant something to me too. When I was in high school Jeremy came into my life. He had already graduated and often helped out with the marching band. We would sing Green Day songs on the way to competitions. When I think of him I still smile. I was so in love with him, I was sure I’d marry him someday! But just a few months after I graduated Jeremy was killed in a car accident. I was devastated. It broke my heart. A few months after Jeremy died I met Todd. The day Todd asked me out for the first time I struggled with saying yes. Not because I didn’t like him, but because my heart was so broken still. But driving home that night mine and Jeremy’s favorite song, Good Riddence, came on the radio. I knew Jeremy was giving me a little nudge. And the rest is history! Jeremy’s middle name was Scott. So giving Kaleb the same middle name is my tribute and thank you to Jeremy. So Scott is a special name!

Micah Andrew: Micah is our rainbow baby. He is our baby we had after breast cancer and 2 miscarriages. And boy is he a firery one with bright red hair to match! I was sure he was my girl and chose the name Molly Kate pretty early on. But when I was about 10 weeks along a friend of mine came by. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness and stops by every once in a while to share a scripture. That day she asked me to a verse out of the book of Micah. The name Micah hit me like a punch in the face! I knew that was our boy name….if it was a boy! A week later I had a dream we had a son and named Micah and when I told Todd about it he loved the name. And obviously he came out a boy! We decided to not continue using family names as middle names. Todd didn’t want to use his first name and I refused to use his middle name. The guy’s middle name is Ferris, can you really blame me? So we decided to just come up with an alternative. When I was just about ready to deliver Kaleb one of my favorite actors, John Dye, passed away. I really admired him. I always dreamed I’d get to meet him someday.  He was a Christian actor, mostly known for his role of Andrew on Touched by an Angel. Can you see where this is going? But we had already chosen Kaleb’s name and I didn’t want to change it. But Andrew just seemed perfect for little Micah. Yet again I named a baby after a fictional TV character. But its a good name and I love it!

There you go folks! Those are the REAL reasons my sons have the names they do. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s on the internet now, so it’s set in stone!