Friday, October 1, 2010


I realized this week that there's a nip in the air, the leaves are turning colors in the mountains, and all the Halloween stuff is looking picked over in the stores (meaning it's been there awhile already!) The last few months have been kind of a blur and as I turned the calendar to October this morning, I realized that at the end of this month, Rachel will begin her bone marrow transplant!

We are now on day 19 of her 3rd round of chemo. I think most of you know that this has been her toughest round so far. Even though her chemo regimen was only 5 days, it really was tough on her body. She developed a skin rash on her face, arms, and legs which is now peeling like a sunburn. Last Monday she woke up with a high fever and chills. They started her on 3 new antibiotics and 2 anti-fungal medicines. Her blood pressure was doing some funky stuff too. It was a bit scary, but by the end of the day--thanks to many doctors and nurses working hard--the fever was gone, blood pressure was normal, and all she had left was a head ache.

Her cousin, Melissa, started a post card/cards/letters campaign for Rachel. So lately she's been hearing from people all over the world! So far she's heard from people in Iowa, Georgia, Utah, Austria, Norway, England, Alaska--just to name a few! Thanks Missy for keeping us connected!

Yesterday her new friend, Cami, and her mom, Chelsea, came to visit! Five-year-old Cami was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) a month after Rachel. It was so fun to visit with them! Both of these girls not only have a common disease, they both have lots of spunk and a sense of humor! We laughed a lot, ate cupcakes, and enjoyed just being together.

We are so blessed to have family, friends (both old and new), and our community supporting us during this journey. One of our anonymous friends sent a package to Rach this week. Amongst the treasures inside was a beautiful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"When it's darkest, men see stars."

How true that is...



  1. What a beautiful post, Marie. It is so good to check the blog and get updates. Reading this morning was like getting a hug. When we kneel in family prayer, even the youngest family members pray for Rachel. She is in our thoughts continually. We love you guys!

  2. Great post. I hope that things continue to improve. I hope Rachel can have a good birthday this month. We love you all and pray for you always. Love you Rachel. Stay strong and keep a good attitude. Love Coreyne

  3. Hey, hey, hey! I wish you could have heard Ellie's prayer this morning. Half way through breakfast, she reminded us that we forgot to say the prayer, then went straight into, "Heavy Fava, pwease bless my friend to be a princess, pwease bless my friend Rashle (you)..." and on and on she went refusing to listen to any prompts that I gave to to actually bless the food. We love you!!!

    p.s. We're having a boy, and Ellie wants to name him "Tanner" or "Camera". Dallin wants to name him "Dallin Steele Duncan"

    p.p.s. if you are bored, and if you haven't heard about my awesome driving skills and want a good laugh, go here:

  4. Rachel, I'm so sorry you got so sick - that is no fun at all. I hope that your stay ends soon and that your counts come up fast! We love to read about how you are doing.

    Jill & Erin

  5. I have a package for you! I've had it for a bit and I'm sorry it's taken so long to get up there. I got it the second Missy told me about the letter campaign. We were going to try to come this weekend, but Millie is still recovering for the stomach flu. I had to cancel her birthday party today :(, but we'll bring it by when she's all better.
    We love Missy and I'm glad she decided to do a postcard campaign. I was excited when she emailed us. It really helped Millie when we did it for her.
    Stay Strong
    Amanda and Millie

  6. Hi Rachel,
    I just heard about your story, read a bit of our blog, and want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. My daughter (who is almost a year) was at PCMC at the same time that you were diagnosed. She was in and out for a few months with 6 brain surgeries. Her last stay was for 3 weeks starting on Father's Day and was in the PICU for a week of that. I can only imagine what you and your family are going through! You are truly in the best hands, as I am sure you are well aware of. You are a strong woman! You are an example of faith, strength, and courage. I am a complete stranger to you, but know that I am cheering you on to beat this because you can!
    p.s. you are BEAUTIFUL!

  7. Cami (my g'daughter) was in awe of you & was SO excited to tell me all about visiting you & to show off her new STEELE, orange bracelet. I asked her, is Rachel just SO cool? She said, "NO G'ma she is AWESOME & awesome is way WAY better than cool!". I believe everyone who knows you....even if just through your blog agrees! All my best! ~ Grandma Di-Di

  8. It was way great to hop over and see you this week. It made my visit exponentially better, just so ya know. You are amazing. keep hangin in there!

  9. hey soul sister for people who dont know me i am Tanner Steele this is my first comment. well i call her soul sister. people call me STACY well i posted this for fun. aloha in the good bye way

  10. That quote made me cry! It's true! Fun that you andCami met! Hope this Sunday brings you some smiles and joy!

  11. Thanks for sharing Marie! I miss you so much!
    Soon we will find a way to spend time together, even if it is on a long phone call!
    Know that I think of you everyday! BE STRONG!
    I mailed out a little something that you guys should get any day now!
    Talk soon,
    The Walters and Faleaos love you all so so much!