Thursday, October 19, 2017

Elder Phippen hits his 1 year mark

 On October 26th Elder Riley Phippen will hit his 
one year mark in the Peru Arequipa Mission.

I don't think he had any idea how much he was 
going to love his mission when he left.  I am so happy that
 he is loving every minute of it.

 His e-mails are always very short and sweet, but
 you can feel the strength his testimony in them.

 He and his companions have met many stray pets 
along the road.  They have done what any boy would do...
Given them a name and
 treated them as their own. 

 When he found out the news about Daxon, he had a little bit of a rough week.  
Still, he was the one telling us I know everything will be okay. He must have been a little more sad than he let on because his Mission President let him go fishing on PDAY in honor of Daxon:).

 Elder Phippen and Elder Farley have been together for 3 transfers now.  They opened this new area.  The 2 of them get along so well and I think they will have a hard time when transfer day comes.
I think they will be lifelong friends.  The family in the background is one they have worked with a lot they have expressed a desire  in being baptized.  However they don't want to get married, so baptism becomes a problem:).

 I have loved watching Elder Phippen's testimony grow and develop over the last year.  The letters he has sent home are full of encouraging words to his siblings and love to his parents.
This year has been crazy busy and has gone by very fast.

He has developed some great friendships.  I met one of his fellow missionary's mom on Facebook.
She clued me in on the plans they have to hunt together one day when they return home and go to college:).

He has had a hard time leaving some of his areas because 
of the love he has for the people he has met.

 He has had baptisms.

 He has eaten MANY new and interesting things.

He has had a companion who made them ALL matching ties:)

 As a mom who LOVES birthdays and holidays, it did my 
heart so good when I looked at these pictures.

 I LOVE how much they LOVED my boy on his birthday!

 I really love the group baptism pictures:).


 It's wonderful how these boys have the biggest 
smiles even when they are cleaning up garbage:).

 It is clear they know how to have a good time.

In some areas of Peru, you lose weight.  The one Ry is in right know, he 
is actually gaining weight.  He said they eat carbs all the time.

I am so thankful for Elder Phippen.  I love him so much!
His example of love and faith has blessed our family in so many ways this year.  I love his radiant smile:).

Elder Uchtdorf said one time,
"As we lose ourselves in the service of others we 
discover our own lives and our own happiness."
I have witnessed this statement to be so true as Riley 
has loved and served the people of Peru over the last year.
I love you Elder Phippen. Congratulations on a FABULOUS first year!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I have found myself looking at this boy 
the last few months the same way I did the first day the Doctor put him in my arms.  I remember feeling so much overwhelming LOVE for him  that I thought my heart was going to burst. As with all of my children I found myself staring at him for hours on end humbled inside at the true miracle he
      was and feeling overwhelmingly blessed that I got to be his mother. 

Daxon has always loved the outdoors.  Keeping still is NOT a quality he possesses. He has always had a determination (at times arrogance) in him that he can do anything. He won't quit when he wants something, and TAKING ON THE WORLD has never been out of his reach.

 After the last 6 weeks of being in hospital beds, sitting in chairs to receive antibiotics, and being told his white blood cell count is not that great,  
he was looking forward to Monday, October 16th like a little boy at Christmas.  If his MRI was clean they would pull the PICC line and, other than driving (which he can't do for 4 more months), he could go back to his normal routine again.   
AS totally AWESOME and FUN to hang out with as his mom is,  LOL;), 
getting back to school,  leaving her side, and life as a normal senior was looking pretty darn FABULOUS to this boy!  

It was not to be:(.  They called on Tuesday and the MRI showed some improvements 
but inflammation and some other words I don't know:) .  
If this boy had a rough time sitting for 1 anti biotic treatment this new plan was really not going to be fun!!!  They put him back on the Vancomycin that he was on in the hospital in addition to the ertapenem .
That means almost 6 hours of anti-biotics going into him a day.  6AM, 8 AM, 2 PM, 10 PM for the next 6 weeks.  UGH!!

After the doctor called me I hung up the phone and cried my eyes out.  My heart broke into pieces for Daxon.  He was so excited to get back to school and normal life.  I DID NOT want to tell him, not only are you not getting your picc line out but you get 3 more of those medicine balls a day that you hate:).  Lucky You!!
is tough!!!  He will conquer this,  
(as he likes to say it).

It all started at the beginning of his Senior year when Daxon started to complain of headaches.  We started with the Ask a nurse hotline, bought him some Extra strength Tylenol. The bottle was gone by weeks end:0.
We decided to take him into urgent care where they did a CT scan which showed nothing.  They put him on antibiotics for a sinus infection.  However, the headaches got worse (this is my child who has NEVER been sick).  We took him back to urgent care where they told us he had a tension headache and set up an MRI for weeks away.  The following morning we went to the ER and demanded an MRI.  After which he was taken into emergency surgery for a craniotomy and some other surgery where they clean out infection through the nose .  

This road has been full of LOVE from others, prayers, blessings, tears, miracles, tender mercies, trials, and MUCH testing and developing of PATIENCE. 

One tender mercy happened when Jake the boy Alyssa was dating felt like he should  bring her to Iowa. They stepped right in and took care of everything at home.  Jake flew home and Alyssa stayed until her Grandma showed up to take over. 

Another tender mercy was how calm I felt during the surgery. 

2 days after the surgery the ENT doctor said "I am worried about THIS BOY."  That is when they transferred him to Iowa city. Upon arriving some friends of ours were passing through town and it was perfect timing.  Daxon started to have seizures and it scared me to death to see him that way. I don't know that I have ever felt so afraid.  His room went from empty to being full of health care providers.

It was indeed a tender mercy when the  friend that came to visit helped JD give Daxon a Priesthood Blessing.  I am telling you,  I felt the power of that blessing so strongly. 

 I don't remember most of what was said but I do remember the words "Please send down the powers of Heaven and Heal THIS BOY'S body."

From that day forward he slowly started to improve.  I believe Heavenly Father not only helps us from His side, but often it is from the ones we love on this side.  I believe both have played such a big part in Daxon's recovery so far.

Daxon then had to have a third surgery.  It went very well.  Following, they added his PICC line.  When he woke with this tube down his throat, he was NOT a happy boy.  They kept telling him "until you breathe on your own we can't take it out."  It took some time but he finally got it out:).

The next few days were rough!!!!  We were sucking blood and snot out of his mouth continually.  He had a catheter and THIS BOY HATED IT!!!!  He kept asking the nurse when can I get this out.  They told him you have to get out of bed first, THIS BOY became determined to get out of bed.  It was his main goal.

Another Tender Mercy  was my Dad and Jana coming.  Here is what I wrote in an email to Elder Phippen about that.

He couldn't swallow and we had to keep sucking his mouth with this thing and he couldn't speak very well but we had told him grandpa and Jana were coming and it put a spirit in him. A strength that he had not had until that moment. Every few minutes he would say when are they going to be here?  I would say it's only been five minutes they won't be here for hours but the second they got there his face lit up and his healing time from that moment on started to get faster and faster. Having them come and feeling of their love did something inside of him and it helped him to start healing so much faster it was a tender mercy for sure.  I am so thankful for the sacrifice they made to come. I KNOW it was a blessing and strength to Daxon and helped him recover faster. It also blessed me so much ♥️ family is so precious!

My cousin Mindi Nelson sent him a care package that was simply amazing and the Stubblefield's brought up a bouquet of candy bars and gift cards for him with their little kids, Scott and Rae sent him and out family the nicest care package and it saved us when we had to go back to the hospital!!!  So many letters sent, prayers offered fasts done, text messages and love expressed on Daxon's behalf . I know it brought a strength to him and Me that was undeniably coming from someone besides ourselves.

I LOVED having my Dad and Jana at the hospital with us.  They 
really helped HAPPY THIS BOY UP!!!

The day he finally was able to get out of bed and walk was such a blessing.  
That meant NO MORE ICU or Catheter for THIS BOY!!!
All of Daxon's friends were so good to make
 him signs to hang around his room.

How creative young minds are:).
What a blessing good  friends are!!!

Grandpa and Jana were on top of things when it came to
 keeping a smile on THIS BOY'S face and everyone knows...
HAPPINESS is the greatest medicine.
I loved how no matter what the task was in front of Daxon, no matter how easy it should have been .  Dax just laughed about it and kept going forward.
The first time he played with these blocks, he had the HARDEST time.  It was a very slow process.
This lady is trying to help him stand and keep his balance.
After about day 5 as long as he was using his right hand
 he didn't struggle at all using his phone.
The one day I put colored M&Ms in a little container and he had to pick 
out the right color using his left hand.  This was a HUGE challenge for him.
Crazy are the things we take for-granted!

He seemed to be doing well and so Jana and Grandpa
decided it was time to head home. 

This was a hard goodbye for everyone.  Jana and Grandpa had a 22 hour drive ahead of them so they had to be feeling some anxiety.  

When they stopped and got a hotel they were telling the check in person why they were traveling and they got all teary eyed and said I am so glad he is okay and gave them the room for free.

People are so good!!

The next day they sent Daxon home.
I had some reservations about it but Daxon said he felt great and he wanted to get home.

Ashlynn was very happy to have her brother and her mom home!!!

Upon our return home we had doctors appointments, staples removed, meals brought in, friends visit and many blessings,

One afternoon as Daxon was visiting with a friend I looked at him and thought he does not look right.  I told the friend, "Daxon is not feeling well I'm sorry you will need to leave."  JD had left to work, Ashlynn and Britton stayed home and I  took Daxon to the emergency room where they did a CT scan, found nothing and said we can't find anything really wrong, but just to be safe we can take you to Iowa city in the ambulance or you can go yourself.  I felt like I was going to need some things if I went so I choose to drive myself.

As this is going on a wonderful lady in my ward text me and I tell her the situation.  She goes to my house, takes my kids and gets them clothes and keeps them for me until JD'S wonderful mom came back to help us yet AGAIN!! Such a TENDER MERCY.  I would have NEVER caught back up on laundry  and housework without JD's mom.

 The friend taking my kids was another tender mercy.  I had all these thoughts in my head like "I guess Britton can get Ashlynn to school then JD will be home from work and he can take him."  I am so thankful these wonderful friends helped us out!!

 I got my medication that I have to take every day, some clothes, and headed to IOWA city.  At first that voice that second guesses yourself all the time kept thinking, "I will get to Iowa and they will tell me I over reacted, he is fine. I will be sent home and feel so dumb." But something inside me just kept driving the car to Iowa city:). 

 Part of it was I didn't want to mess up this time.  I have had overwhelming guilt for not getting him an MRI sooner the first time.  I just wish I would have got him the help he needed sooner, when the doctors kept telling me it was just a headache.   I should have thought NO, this is DAXON we are talking about. He has an insane amount of pain tolerance!!!  I should have made someone do something and not kept telling him to just drink water.  I will for sure never trust CT scan again for a headache!!! 
  We got to the Baxter exit and Daxon started throwing up in the car.  I pulled over and my brain started freaking out.  I thought, I should have taken the ambulance, what if he dies!!!  I called the ambulance and the sheriff showed up and told us They will have to take you to the Newton hospital until he is stable.  JD said to keep going, don't go to the Newton hospital.  That felt like the right decision. So we kept going!! 

 As I pulled into the Iowa city ER area 
 I was getting out of the car to rush Daxon in.
I felt tired,  and pretty scared for this boy. I looked down and noticed this 3 musketeers candy bar wrapper from the Stubblefields. I grabbed it to toss in the trash but noticed the writing on the front.  Those words were all I needed to make all those feelings go away.  They gave me the fortitude I needed at that moment not just for me but for him.
He is so tough!!
I kept it in my purse and looked at it every time I needed to feel strong.  It kept me together, oddly enough, the entire week !!!  

We arrived at Iowa city at 2AM, we did not have any info until 6 AM.  
After a spinal tap they said it was Meningitis and after an MRI they found the fluid in his head had built up again.  They took us to the 10th floor where he remained on heavy antibiotics for the next week.  
The next week as they tried to discover all that was going on with him they wore protective masks and gear into the room.  That kind of freaked me out.  I ask if you have that on, should I ???
No, its just precaution... Hmm?.?.

They did keep saying how lucky we were by his blood tests the day after we arrived, that we had time on our side and had got him in when we did.  He had a rash on his face and chest but nothing that ever got really bad.

Once his medication was working and he was feeling better he started eating like a horse.
Stuff like this came out of his nose daily!! 
Most the time he was happy and kept himself positive but one day he was really discouraged.  I didn't know how to help him .  We were sitting on the couch by the window and I text my sister please text everyone to send funny/happy text to Daxon he needs it right now.
She sent back "I'm ON IT"

During this same conversation he turned and look out the window and said At least Saturday is coming.  Then he snapped right out of it. He was so excited for the Hawkeyes game.
 Witnessing that wave and watching all the little kids faces light up was such a treat.  I love how that hospital loves the kids so much.  I love the joy that filled that 12th floor as the wave from the football stadium took place.

As Daxon said.  It truly is LIFE CHANGING!!

The day before we  came home from the hospital, him and I went up to the 12th floor and I made him do this selfie with me.  I don't know what it is about that 12th floor but it truly has a special spirit on it.  I think it is all the LOVE that went into designing it for the healing and care of the patients in this hospital.  Being able to be on it when the wave took place was as Daxon put it, life changing.  How great people are. 

I am so thankful Daxon is home.  I was starting to become a little ungrateful about cooking him food all the time (THIS BOY CAN EAT)  and having him at my side 24/7 .  He does not enjoy discussing Alyssa's wedding plans:).   We were both VERY happy for him to go back to school.  It shook us both a little when the results were not what we had hoped.  

He had been begging me for days to go fishing. I finally took him to his favorite ponds.  I worked on Super Saturday decorations while he fished.  JD finished up his homework then went to fish with him.   I waited until they were done fishing to break the news his picc line was going to be in a few more lovely weeks.  I wanted them to keep having a fun time fishing. 
The news went over about like I thought it would and all I  wanted to do was hug THIS BOY and make everything okay for him.
 When I looked at his face as I told him I decided I will
 cook him as many breakfast meals as he wants without complaining 
I am so thankful that Daxon is doing as well as he is. 
I had so much fear the first few days when he couldn't even move his toes. 
It is clear things could be SO MUCH worse!!
 I am thankful to be his mom and I am thankful for the
 lessons we are all learning one day at a time as we work at getting
 back to his full health so he can get back to taking 
on the world again!!