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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Zach woke up last Friday morning with upper back pain but he attributed it to a long night of sitting at the TranSiberian Orchestra.  We tried massages and a heating pad for a couple of days but they offered only temporary relief and the pain worsened.  This was an eerily similar experience to the one in August when we learned his cancer had metastasized.  Both times the pain stuck up on him rather quickly, it was in his back, and we kept trying to "work out" the knots and pain with massage and heat; nothing had a lasting effect.  I spoke to our nurse on Sunday because I was so concerned.  We moved scans up to Monday (yesterday) and met with a nurse practitioner later in the afternoon for results.  

We learned yesterday that Zach has not responded to the treatments these past 6 weeks.  (There are not yet any definitive answers as to why he has such intense new pain--it could be a blood clot or pneumonia but likely the spread of the cancer.)  He is now on an antibiotic for pneumonia and further tests for a possible blood clot are being run.

Zach is having a hard time keeping anything down.  He went in to the hospital today for fluids and liquid morphine.  He also got a prescription for stronger medication to get him through the rest of the week until we meet with Dr. Dan on Friday.  My guess is that instead of treating Zach's cancer as we've done in the past, we will now make it a priority to treat his pain and offer as much comfort as possible.  

We are looking forward to Thanksgiving at Kris' house with family and incredibly thankful for all of you.  

These are a few of the sweet kids from the Eagle Middle School National Junior Honor Society who brought us an early Thanksgiving dinner last week.  What a special treat for my crew!  Max loves his cuddle time with Ellie (in pink) in the church nursery.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Seattle Updates

We made the decision last month to continue with treatment with the hope it would buy us time before a spot became available this month. The research coordinator from Seattle called yesterday afternoon.  They offered Zach a spot in their clinical trial that would begin next week.  However, the trial protocol requires that Zach has a 4 week chemo break before he begins the trial.  Although he had his last treatment 2 1/2 weeks ago, he has been taking a daily chemo pill.  This disqualifies him from beginning the trial next week.  Zach will loose his spot in the trial and be put back on the waiting list.  Regardless of what scans tell us next week Zach wants to take a break from the chemo.  Even if the treatment IS working and scans come back looking good, it has come at a high price; Zach is worn out and and tired of being sick.  Another spot in the trial might open up in January.

Those who know me understand that I ask TONS of questions (to the point that Zach usually offers those in the room a sympathetic smile as I rattle them all off.)  When we visited Seattle in September I gathered all of the information I thought we needed.  We were told at that time that Zach could continue with chemo until a spot became available.  Never once did anyone mention he would need to be chemo free for 4 weeks before he took part in the trial.  I was livid when I learned this yesterday.  I continue to be incredibly disappointed with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the oncologist.  

A couple of weeks ago I asked Oliver what he learned in the children's program at church.  He told me, "God's got it!"  I nearly broke down in tears because he is right!  I have been reminding myself these past 18 hours that God's got it.  I can't put my trust in the doctors and research staff at the SCCA.  But I can and will put my trust in God.  He has always made things abundantly clear to us during this journey.  The door to begin the trial next week closed for a reason.  I have to believe that in order to function and continue on.  

Thank you to those who have shared a video with me.  I have received 4 via email.  A wonderful friend at Eagle High School spent time at both schools yesterday to interview a few kids and I am so grateful for that.  He is also helping me format everyone and put the video together after Thanksgiving.  If you'd like to share something for Zach's surprise Christmas gift please email it to me at: by November 30th.  

 My brown-eyed snow bunny!

 No free ride around here--he has got to earn his keep!

 Zach and Max snuggling at The Little Gym during a birthday party for a friend.

Thank goodness there was a car cart available at Fred Meyer--Oliver is less than pleased when there isn't one.  

 Sweet Max!

 Max helped me organize his room.

Zach and I went to see the Transiberian Orchestera last night, a wonderful gift from my mom. I have wanted to see them for years!  It was an amazing show.  



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Final Round Before Scans

Zach had his second and final treatment today before scans.  His first round with the new treatment 3 weeks ago was very rough; he battled fatigue, extreme nausea and hand/feet neuropathy. He is noticing more pain as time goes on...always a concern.  But he has managed to avoid mouth sores.  Scans are scheduled the day before Thanksgiving and we will have results the day after Thanksgiving. 

Many people have reached out over the last 11 months and offered their help.  Prayers have always been our biggest request.  However there is something you can help with!  This Christmas "things" are less important than ever.  So, I would like to make a tribute DVD for Zach where people share their memories of him.  I would love to include as many family members, friends, colleagues, current/former students and athletes as possible.  If you'd like to contribute, I would LOVE that.  Please email me video of a memory, funny story, lesson he taught you, etc.  In addition to it being a touching gift for Zach, it is my hope that Oliver and Max will be able to learn so much about their dad.   Your tribute does not need to be long or fancy.  Email your video to me at: If it is too large to email we can use Dropbox.  Let me know what works best for you. The sooner I have it, the better.  I will need time to format and compile the videos so it will help to have plenty of time before Christmas to do so.  It is a surprise for Zach!

Thanks in advance!

 Uncle Nate and the boys!

 Oliver checking out Uncle Nate's beard.  

Zach's cousin Alexis flew in for a few days.  We really enjoyed our time with her and she kept our spirits up during Zach's treatment today.  

 Max spent his Halloween with the stomach flu.  

 Poor Max was so tired and sick but we did manage a quick family picture.  

Oliver was the cutest trick-or-treater ever!  Each time he was given a piece of candy he asked the neighbor: "Can I eat it?" 

 Daddy and Oliver.

My race car driver and me.  

Nate and I ran the Zeitgeist half marathon the day after Halloween.  The 13.1 miles loomed over my head like a dark cloud but kept me from eating too much Halloween candy the night before :) A tough race but my fastest so far!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Zach's Decision, Disneyland and a Birthday Boy!

Seattle finally called this week--Zach is not a candidate for clinical trail #1 because he doesn't carry the necessary protein.  We continue to wait for a spot in clinical trail #2.  

Zach and I spent the past week and a half to trying decide our next steps--continue with a different treatment in Boise or do nothing.  I was torn with the decision. Beginning a new treatment would offer Zach peace of mind because he was doing something, but it meant the possibility of pretty awful side effects (mouth sores, hand/feet neuropathy and blisters, nausea and fatigue) and the high likelihood it won't make much of a difference in his cancer.  Doing nothing meant palliative care would begin (which is disheartening) but keeping Zach's pain under control would be a top priority.  God remained pretty silent during this time of decisions. We finally realized that instead of praying for a sign and direction, we would pray for Him to bless our decision--regardless of what we chose.  

We met with Dr. Dan Wednesday morning.  Zach chose to continue receiving treatment.  He receives 2 IV drugs every 3 weeks and takes an oral medication twice daily.  The side effects are similar to the ones he faced at the beginning of the year and it has been a difficult few days since treatment.  Instead of spending the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping with the rest of the crazies (as has been our tradition) Zach will be getting early morning scans and results.  So we have 6 weeks to wait before we have answers.  This treatment is our final option in Boise. 

The likelihood of this drug making a dent in his cancer is pretty bleak.  But we continue to pray for the time we have with him.  He has started the tough journey of legacies things for the boys and family members.  I can't even begin to share how difficult that has been for both of us.  But I am so thankful he has the opportunity to do it.  We've had time to prepare for a lot of this, unlike many families who lose a loved one in an instant. I think it is human nature for us to reach out to people when they are not doing well--I certainly have done this too.  But I want to encourage people not to wait to reach out and spend time with Zach.  Hopefully the side effects let up a bit between treatments which will allow him to live a bit more normally.  I want Zach to enjoy the time he has with family and friends on his good days.

Last weekend we took an incredible family trip to Disneyland, courtesy of Ryan DeLuca.  Ryan graduated a year ahead of Zach from Capital and is the founder and CEO of  He reached out to me in January with his offer.  Several times over the past 10 months I have wondered if Zach's health and our schedules would ever allow us to go.  Thankfully everything worked out and the time away gave us a chance to remove ourselves from the tough decisions here at home.  Ryan flew us down in his private plane (that he piloted!) and treated the 7 of us to a wonderful 3 days in California.  Zach and I took our moms, brothers and Jessica. Oliver and Max stayed at home with Grandma and Grandpa Ingersoll and had far more fun here than they would have had missing naps in a hot amusement park.  I don't think Ryan will ever know what it meant to Zach, me and our families to take a trip like this.  He blessed us so much with his gift and we are incredibly thankful.  

In closing, my precious little boy Max turned 1 on Thursday.  October 16, 2013 is a memorable day (for obvious reasons) but also because this was the day that Zach could no longer deny something was wrong.  He didn't feel right and the pressure in his chest was too heavy to ignore.  Strange what a difference a year makes.  

Zach was honored last week as one of Idaho's District Three Assistant Coach of the Year.  Mike Hirano (principal) and Troy Rice (AD) joined us to celebrate.  

That plaque is shiny!

Hanging out in the airport, awaiting our pilot!

Mitch and Jessica.

Our Disneyland crew! 

Private plane is the only way to go...I highly recommend it :)  What an amazing treat!

Zach as co-pilot.

Kris and me.

Zach giving the thumbs up--all engines are a go!

My mom and me.  

I ensured a safe landing into Los Angeles.  I know Ryan was glad I was his co-pilot for this leg.  

Loved stepping off the plane into the warm California air!


Breakfast in hand.  The day can commence.

The brothers at California Adventure!

Ben, my mom Kathi, Jenny and Nate awaiting the Cars ride.  

The end of a long, but wonderful day.

Ready for day #2 at Disneyland!

Kris and Zach.

He's a catch ladies!

Spent our last day at the beaches in Laguna and Huntington.

Rented a 4-person surrey and cruised up and down the beach.  Broke nearly every rule while riding it including the one not to ride faster than 5 mph.  

No family vacation is complete without a broken down vehicle, right?  We had planned to spend the evening in Santa Monica but a dead car battery kept us from leaving the hotel.  Never could get it fully charged.  3 hours later a new car was delivered.  Had a nice dinner within walking distance of the hotel despite the set back.   

 It is tradition for me to take a picture of each sleeping boy the night before their birthday.

Birthday Breakfast!

Birthday Lunch!

 Hooray for 4 teeth and turning 1!

 Uncle Mitch, Max and Jessica

 Rachel, Nate and Jared

 My dad, Pat and Zach's dad, Mark

Yes they do!!

 Max was a bit shell shocked in the beginning by the whole affair.

He quickly found solace in the decorations.  

 One is crying, the other is distracted--yup pretty typical.

 Max was ready to give up on the night before birthday cake...

 ...but changed his mind when we saw his delicious carrot cake.

 Max was SO upset that I blew out the candle.

Zach taught Max how to eat his birthday cake.

 Uncle Mitch and Max!

 Pictures with the birthday boy!

 Max quickly grew comfortable with making a mess and soon carrot cake was flying everywhere :)

 Zach and Nate (and someone desperately needs to clean handprints off the back window...)

The boys with their great, great grandma Laura

 Zach, Grandpa Jay and Nate

The entire crew!  We loved having everyone over to celebrate with Max.  Oliver woke up this morning to a very quiet house and spent the rest of the day wandering around asking, "Where did all the people go?  What happened to all the persons?" The boys went to bed hours past their bedtime.  And in typical fashion awoke at 6:30 a.m. this morning ready to begin their day.