Wednesday, July 16, 2008

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. --Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

I hope you don't mind me starting out with one of my favorite classics to set a stage. Things often do seem like "the worst of times" but I hope this tale will show you otherwise. By taking the smallest and the largest donations from our recent fundraiser for Kira Middleton who is fighting Stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma, I hope to inspire you to the possibility that there is much good in our society, that people are basically good and generous, and that there is tremendous power in community.

One little girl came to the table taking money at the Sock Hop and gave a heavy envelope with Kira's name which was beautifully decorated with hearts. Carefully written on a heart was the grand total $1.30 so that it wouldn't need to be opened and could go to Kira directly. Don't you know, in your heart of hearts, that it was ALL the money this little girl had? Who knows how she earned it or how long she saved? If you happen to get this email and are her mother or father would you mind giving her a kiss and telling her that she taught a whole bunch of grownups the meaning of the "widow's mite?"

Another 11-year old girl works for Marianne Roetzheim of the Jamul Haven Bed and Breakfast. She makes $3 an hour cooking and cleaning and picking flowers from their lovely grounds. She went to Marianne and asked if she could work for 20 hours and get a gift certificate for the auction. Doing the math for you, that's $60 she offered to give up to help the cause. In her generosity and wisdom, Marianne told her she only had to work 10. This still allowed the girl to know the joy of sacrifice. The gift certificate had a value of $199 and the winning bid was $750. I never promised anyone anonymity :) so I will tell you that it was our good friend and financial mentor, Jacob Cooper of Total Wealth Management. He does not know Kira and yet bid almosts 3 times what it was worth. When I told Marianne, with tears in my eyes of the success of the evening, she was as happy as I was and promised she would take very good care of the Coopers during their stay! She'll take very good care of YOU as well should you need a romantic getaway!

Two little girls. A community of the Middleton's friends. A host of people who had never met them. Businesses and professionals offering their services. Youth finding ways to bring in some money with their skills (babysitting, lawn mowing, VHS to DVD conversions, house cleaning, jewelry making, etc.) It was "the best of times" and the power of community is real. Hearts have been touched in ways that never would have occurred without a dreadful diagnosis.

While the loose ends are not all tied together, we're estimating that the grand total raised will be $4500. Thank you for giving generously and for the many who helped make the event a success.

I just called Renee (Kira's mom) to get a phone number and she had miraculous news. The full body scan the doctors did last week found that all of her masses are GONE (one of them was 13 cm a few short months ago!!!) and that her lymph nodes are all clear of cancer. They had expected to see improvement but the fact that it was all gone?! Wow! Incredible! They will continue the chemotherapy and finish out the course to be sure that there aren't any remaining cells but the Middletons are so happy and feel that it is a new lease on life. This news, combined with this fundraiser, will allow Kira to return to school Winter semester and keep her health insurance in force! I can't think of any better way to end this very long email!

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each of you. It is the "spring of hope..." and we have "everything before us..."

Kathy Mellor
Honored Teller of the Tale

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 6,2008

Dear Friends and Family, we have some great friends who have planned a fundraiser for our Kira. As her mom, I'm a bit embarrassed by all of this, but I can honestly say we are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of so many! Thank you, Thank you!!! You will see at the end of this information to contact me, Renee. However, I have really done nothing for this evening! It is the doing of many wonderful friends of ours and at this time I want to thank Kathy Mellor who is coordinating the silent auction. However, since this is a public blog, I didn't want to just put her email address out there without asking her. So if you contact me, I will relay the message to her.

There will be a fundraiser for Kira Middleton on Friday, July 11th, 6:00-9:30pm. HRere’s the basic information:

Sock Hop Dance
Friday, July 11th 6:00-9:30 p.m
Evangelical Bible Church (the old La Mesa building on Lemon and Glenn)
Suggested donation $10 per person

Please spread the word to everyone you know! Every single cent raised will go directly to Kira Middleton to help with her medical costs.

There will also be a silent auction during the Dance as well. Here is a list of just some of the items up for auction:
Jamul Haven (5 Star) Bed & Breakfast ($199 value), Buy one mid-week night and get the second night free. Check it out at
Dr. Kenny Williams – Basket which includes an electric toothbrush and a coupon for a free teeth whitening ($400 value). He is a high-end cosmetic dentist, check him out at
Gift Basket – contains $30 Rubio’s gift certificates and several (5 or 6) tickets to the Belmont Rollercoaster as well as a stuffed animal, lotion and soap. (about $75.00 value)
Donations from Susan Taylor’s website: (samples will be displayed at the Sock Hop)
Three beginning Guitar Lessons from George Moorehead ($36.00 value in La Mesa)
Four Piano Lessons from Ruth Coleman ($80.00 value)
Lawn Mowing from Tyler Reyes (he is offering 2 mowings for 2 different people)
Haircut Gift Certificate
Three hours of Babysitting by Joan Moorehead ($15.00 value in La Mesa)

This information came from Kathy Mellor (used to be in La Mesa 2nd Ward). If you are interested in donating any items or services for the silent auction, please contact Renee Middleton @

Thank you!

Monday, June 30, 2008

June 29, 2008

I know people are anxious for updates and it is hard for my family to find the time to take care of the family, me, and keep up on updates so I thought I would take that job over a bit.
I am doing good. I go in for my 5th chemo in the morning. I am just so excited for that :) But number 5 is only 1 away from number 6 and number 6 means half way done!!! And that is something to be excited about!!! :)
Although my hair had not completely fallen out I decided it looked pathetic enough to take initiative so last sunday my Mom, Dad, Garrett, and I shaved my head. And I have to say a bald head is the best kept secret in the female world!!! :) And here are some of the reasons why:
1. It is SO much cooler
2. My showers take just a few minutes (yes even for me)
3. The breeze feels very nice
4. Hair doing time has decreased to about 5 seconds
5. I have a birth mark on my head I had never seen before
6. I can now rub my own head for good luck :)

It is still sinking in. I forget that I am bald as I walk around and then I will walk by a mirror and have a moment of shock. If I go out I usually wear a scarf or my wig so that is good.

I was suppose to have a PET scan this week to see if the chemo is working. That is a test where they shoot radioactive sugar into your body and then wait a few minutes. Then take a scan of your entire body. The cancer is greedy and will eat the sugar before anything else can so the spots with cancer will glow. I took one before I started and then this will show hopefully that it is decreasing. The nurse who was suppose to set up the PET scan took her time in getting the clearance from the insurance so it did not happen this week and next week I will be too sick from the chemo so hopefully in 2 weeks. The doctor says that it should be mostly gone and he thinks from other signs that that should be the case for me. If by some rarity it is not the case, then I will need a bone marrow transplant. Since it is only in one area however, I should be able to transplant bone marrow from myself if the need arises. But the odds are good the chemo is woking and all is going according to plan.

Many people ask how the chemo is affecting me so here is my week in a nutchell:

Monday: Get the chemo, I feel fine for a few hours then start to feel off. That is when I take my medicine which helps a lot! A bit after this I will start to feel sick.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: are the hardest days physically. I am sick and very tired on these days. But the meds help soooo much!!

Thursday and Friday: I ama usually starting to feel a bit better by these days. I am still very tired though. We have found that these are the hardest days emotionally. My mind returns to normal and is constantly on but my body is still wasted. They are not unbearable days but if I am going to get sad, it usually happens on these days.

Saturday: Is my first day of feeling ok. I can usually eat some real food by now and do a few things around the house.

Sunday: I am feeling much better and usually am not taking any medicine by now. I usually make it to church but on this Sunday I rarely make all 3 hours. I do my best though!

Monday: Is my mental breakthrough! Even if I am not feeling better I tell myself I am and that usually works! :) I am determined to have a full "good week" every week and that means Monday is a good day!

From then on it just gets better. I am very tired and my lack of exercise has reduced my muscles to a memory but they will come back. I am very grateful for what I can do! Some people can't get out of bed the whole time! That would be aweful!!

So long story short things are as good as they can be. I do not like this cancer but I am grateful for the opportunities it is giving me and the people it is helping me to meet. I have made so many new friends and strengthened so many old friendships. The love and support and outpouring of love has been truly overwhelming! It is working!!! Please don't stop!!!!! There are many hard days with this cancer but there are more great people! On days when I don't have enough to get through it, there is always someone there who does. It has been a truly remarkable experience.

I had a thought the other day as I was thinking about the difficulty of this trial I have been given that really has helped me through some hard times. I realized that in the preexistance I knew I would be given this cancer. I knew where I would be in life when it hit and the challenges that the cancer would bring even other than the disease itself. And even after all this knowledge. I said yes anyway. I knew I could handle it then because I knew I wouldn't be handeling it alone. And I am not! And for that I am eternally grateful to my heavenly father, family, friends, and even previous strangers who are helping me along the way. I have realized the importance of reaching out to everyone because you never know what another person is going through. I have learned the power that comes through thinking of others first, even to the point that I have been able to have moments when I forget that I have cancer. I cannot tell you what a blessing those moments are!!!

So thank you for everything you are doing for me and my family. It is all appreciated and all needed!!! I am doing great! My family is sticking it out with me, and only 3.5 months to go!!!