As you all know today has been quite an eventful day. I really wish I could have been at the bake sales, they sounded like a huge success and a lot of fun. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that so much is being done for me. Family members, friends, nurses, and doctors; everyone is in this together, everyone is on my team, and that is so comforting.
I will be honest with you all, being diagnosed with leukemia is not in the least bit easy. I have my days where I cry, and I try and figure out why everything had to be taken from me. Why did this have to happen to me? It shouldn't have to happen to anyone. I miss going to school, I miss being at home, playing volleyball, being with my friends, and just being a teenager. There are days when I simply don't want to try anymore, when I think 'What's the point?' But the point is, is that life may not always be what we expect it to be, but it is still worth living in and of itself.
Now, I also have days like today. Where the whole picture becomes clearer to me, and I realize how truly blessed I am. Because the truth is, I'm not in this alone. Not at all. I have my family, my friends, neighbors, people I don't even know, rallying with me. It is amazing to see people coming together united in one cause and one purpose. That is love, and I am so crazy lucky to be loved by so many people. It has been such an example to me. I know I am a changed person because of this. I want to give more, and to help others like me. Especially with all the crap that is out there in this world, it is so good to see that there really are great people in this world. And as my beautiful cousin Elizabeth said to me "The trials that we are facing have a purpose." She made me a card that says that, and it hangs on my wall so I can see it everyday. I know I am meant to go through this, so that I can be strengthened, so that my family can grow closer together, and so a lot of good can come of it. I still have a mountain to climb, but I know that I have my orange army climbing right beside me.
So thank you, to everyone. I cannot express my gratitude enough. Thank you for helping me stay Steele Strong, because I couldn't do it without you. Your prayers and support have helped this experience to bless my life and the lives of others. I will forever be grateful.
Today was an incredible day for our family. As has been mentioned in previous posts, September 25th was the date of the SteeleStrong BakeSale. Countless people spent many hours planning and organizing these events that took place i
n Utah, Colorado, California and Florida. We had all been looking forward to this day for a while now, and today, it was finally here.
I will admit, after driving home from Park City from my super fun job as a night security officer, I was quite tired when I arrived a
t the Bake Sale this morning. I was feeling a little loopy, which might explain my somewhat emotional reaction.
What a sight it was. Almost the whole Rite Aid parking lot was full. The tables were overflowing with delicious looking confections, and generously donated items. Family members, Ward members, and great friends of all ages were everywhere, working to make this
happen. And of course, there was orange. Lot's of orange.
I stood in amazement seeing first hand the overwhelming amount of support and generosity that was on full display. It was extremely humbling to say the least, to know that all of these great people had come together to support our family, and more importantly, my beautiful little sister.
It was humbling to the point that- I will be honest - I started to ask "Why us? Surely there is someone in even more need than our little family..." I mentioned this to my Uncle Erwin, who had an interesting thought to share. He said:
" Adam, THIS is Service. And sometimes we all have to take our turn to be served. "
Well, let me just say on behalf of my parents, myself, Rachel, Emily and Tanner...We got served today. In a huge way. We have been served in so many ways over the last few months. We have been carried. We have been lifted up by your kindness and strength, and made more capable to cope with the challenges we face.
To all those who were involved today, from the planning stages, down to the last cupcake sold...Thank you. You really have made a difference in our lives, and the service and love you have shown our family is greatly appreciated.
Here are some pictures from different Bake Sales that took place today! Check back for updates as there will surely be more to come from all of the different locations.
Also Check out the official SteeleStrong BakeSale blog by clicking their logo below:
Today has been really good (hence the title). I am really lucky and I got a visit from olympic gold medalist volleyball player Ryan Millar!!! Talk about perks right? He brought me some really neat gifts from the USA volleyball team-- I got one of his jerseys, and one of Nicole Davis's jerseys who plays for the women's USA team. I also got a really cool signed volleyball, and some skull candy headphones. (he happens to be sponsored by skull candy) Not gonna lie, this was the highlight of my week... it will probably be the highlight of my whole stay here haha It was great for someone like him to take the time to come and see me, let alone come bearing gifts :P
So thank you, thank you, thank you to Ryan!! It's things like this that really inspire me to keep going. To top it off, I got some really nice mail and a package today. Lots of cool pictures drawn by little kids, and some nice letters. It blows my mind how kind and generous people can be. Even when they don't know me, they are quick to lend their love and support. It has been such an example to me, and I hope I come out of this a better person. Thanks to everyone who follows the blog, and has done so much for me. I truly have the greatest support system, and I couldn't do it without you guys. You make me realize how blessed I really am.
Tomorrow is day 10 in the sanctum, hopefully the rest of the days will fly by. And I think its worth mentioning that my hair is continuing to grow back, I have a fuzzy head now. It's crazy how excited I get when I realize it's growing. Definitely grateful for hair. Anways, that's all for tonight. I finally managed to have something to talk about!! Yayyy
Sorry it has been a while. It hasn't been exactly eventful here, but Thats to be expected. I fill my days with doing school every now and then, watching tv, and.. Haha that's about it. Sorry there really isn't much to write about, I'm struggling to find something interesting to enlighten you with. My ANC is officially at 0 again so I am not allowed to leave my cave. I might whip out the scooter again, although I think my little brother has now claimed it and stArted riding it to school. And I don't think I am quite ready for rollerblades. I am excited for the new fall seasons on tv to come out haha something to look forward to right? Oooook I think I will sign out for now, thank you everyone for your prayers and support. I will rack my brains to come up with something good for the blog. Until next time,
After waiting anxiously the last few days for Rachel's results on her last bone marrow aspiration, we got good news. The doctor said that there is no evidence of malignancy in her marrow...and that her marrow looks healthy! Hooray! Basically, this means that the oral chemo that she has been taking at home for a week before coming back to the hospital did it's job targeting the gene in her cancer cells that tends to be resistant to treatment.
We will continue her IV chemo through Friday and then resume the oral chemo here in the hospital while we wait for her white counts to come back up. Even though Rach has been pretty miserable on the current chemo, she was very excited about today's good news! Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?
We feel so blessed with recent support from our family, friends and the community. During difficult times in our lives we look around and see so many who are spreading sunshine! Today Rachel received a package from a family whose 5 year old daughter just got diagnosed with leukemia. She opened it and found pictures of this darling girl, words of encouragement, pictures she'd drawn, and lots of fun surprises for Rachel! Since Rachel's packages lately consist of syringes and medical supplies, you can imagine how exciting it was to receive something like this....and it was from someone she doesn't even know! Thanks to this amazing family and so many others of you who have quietly been rendering acts of service these past few months. We will be forever grateful!
Tonight there is one mom who will be sleeping just a little better...
I am officially back in the hospital. I am in my new room and I have a great view of the salt lake valley. Chemo will probably start sometime today, so I thought I would post before I am totally out of it. Thank you for all of your love and support!
The Mountain View vs. Orem Game tonight was a huge success. Rachel was able to join her teammates on the bench for the game, and had a great time. BIG Thanks to all who helped to organize the event, and to all those who attended! It was great to see all that Orange on the court, and in the crowd!
"SteeleStrong" has turned into a catchy name, and it does say a lot about the strength and pride we Steele's feel for our family. Rachel gets her "SteeleStrength" from two great families though, one of them being the fantastic Doug & Rhea Merkley clan. Tonight we Merkley's gathered as a family to support Rachel, and another member of our extended family currently fighting cancer. We had a great time, and wanted to share some pictures of this great group of "Merkley Strong" people. Thanks for all the support!
p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Grandpa Doug! The big 8-FIVE! Congrats!
Well..I got my new medicine today. It came in a ups package. I have learned not to get too excited when I receive packages with my name on them, because usually they are syringes or medicine haha but it is nice to have my name on the box I guess.
But the real reason as to why I am posting, is very important. Well not exactly, but I thought it was worth a try.
I have been trying to convince my parents to let me have a puppy, to keep me company and to let me take care of it.
I think this is a wonderful idea, and the companionship of a cute little puppy is priceless. Anyways, they seem to be pretty opposed to the idea. Maybe some encouragement from their peers and comrades will help them :P just a thought
Well...where to begin. Rachel asked me if I would post for her today and I thought it would be good to ghost write pretending to be Rachel. I tried that once earlier without her permission, but she thought I failed in my attempts to show her (Rachel's) personality. You can go back throught the blogs now and try to find which one I wrote!
Rachel was scheduled to go back into the hospital today for her third round of chemo. We received a call from her doctor today asking us to come in and talk. Rachel's bone marrow result from last week came in at still 12% blasts (or cancer cells). This was the same amount we saw after the first round. She has a mutation in her marrow cells called flt3. This makes it more difficult to cure with the traditional treatment methods, so the doctor suggested we try a new somewhat experimental medication which she will be able to take orally at home...so therefore the glass half full. She will be home for another week or two taking this medication and then be readmitted to the hospital to get followup chemo to this new medication she will be on. We pray that it will be successful and lower her blast count below 5% which is what is required to go to bone marrow transplant.
It was kind of a blow to all of us, but we are trying to remain positive and keep Rachel's spirits up. The good side of it is she will be home much closer to friends and family and always open for visits and calls of support.