Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Alisa Linton

Alisa Johnson Linton, 36, passed away peacefully in her home in Lehi, Utah on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 on the morning of her 15th wedding anniversary to her middle school sweetheart, Joshua Linton.  Her three boys and beloved husband were by her side.  

Alisa was born in Mesa, Arizona on January 18, 1979.  She was the second of nine children born to Paul and Jill Johnson.  She spent much of her enchanted childhood in the country in Paradise, Utah.  Her family later moved to Sandy, Utah.  She was a successful and well-loved student at Jordan High School and later Ricks College where she earned her Associate of Science in Nursing.  After earning her degree, she worked as a Registered Nurse.  On May 19, 2000, Alisa married Joshua James Linton in the Salt Lake Temple.  She finished a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Brigham Young University.  
She accomplished many things in her short lifetime.  She was an excellent student, a dedicated nurse, a talented photographer, a poetic writer and a courageous cancer patient.  But her favorite role was mother.  The same bold determination that characterized all her pursuits also defined her commitment to her boys, James, Sam and Luke.  Of them she said, "I have given three wonderful children life, but I can't shake the feeling that in some strange ways, they have given me mine."
Alisa was an artist and everything she touched became beautiful.  She had a gift for photography and many of her friends and family own treasured images that she captured for them.  Alisa loved to travel and experience first hand the beauty of God's creations, but she didn't need to travel to find beauty.  Her idea of the perfect summer evening was to watch her kids and dog playing in the water hole in the park. She loved to decorate, garden, cook and entertain and did it all with ease, style and love. She could also see the good and beautiful in the people she loved as well as those she had just met.  She was compassionate and would draw upon experiences of her own hard times to know just how to help a friend in need.  She was a true disciple of Christ.
Cancer opened her eyes and then her inspiring writing opened ours.  On her blog, she reminded us to be grateful"to share more," to pray, to "appreciate now," and that "love is what makes us happy."  She showed us how to love life unconditionally, to trust, to share your life with someone.  She learned that "the way out is through," that "the world is kind and good," to believe in miracles and that sometimes miracles sing.
Alisa is survived by her loving husband; Joshua James Linton, and three sons; James Michael, Samuel Kent, Luke Joshua, her parents; Paul and Jill Johnson, siblings; Sonja (Robert), Jon Paul (Bryanna), Michael (Amy), Matthew (Brittany), AnneMarie (Nathan), Kari (Bryon), Mark (Amanda), Kirsten (Alex), and grandmother; Donna Washburn as well as many adoring in-laws, nephews and nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles.

The family wishes to thank all the people who have reached out in love and support to them throughout Alisa's fight.  They especially wish to thank the many doctors and nurses at the Huntsman Cancer Institute for their dedicated care.  Alisa had a special place in her heart for her nurses.  
Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Friday May 22, 2015 at the Lehi East Stake Center at 851 N 1200 E.  A viewing will be held on Thursday evening from 5:30-8:00pm at the same location as well as from 9:30 to 10:30 Friday morning.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Alisa's name.  https://donate.huntsmancancer.org/alisa-linton

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No more scans

It is sad that I am writing this post.  As you have all experienced Alisa is a talented writer and has a special ability to include us in her feelings and emotions through her words.  Alisa has gone down hill the last few days and is not really up to writing.

Two weeks ago Alisa's family fasted for Alisa so that she could feel well enough to attend Kirsten's wedding.  Prior to that day (May1st), Alisa had been in lots of pain and could barely get out of bed.  As she mentioned in her last post, Alisa was able to not only attend the wedding, but participated and helped the entire day. The day after the wedding I knew Alisa had been blessed with health to experience that day with her family, but I felt it might be the last miracle we would witness during her fight with cancer.

We went in for scans yesterday and followed up with a visit this morning.  When Carolyn came into the room she said, "Your scans don't look good, but you probably already knew that."  We did know, but it is still hard to see the proof.  Alisa started to be extremely tired and confused last Thursday.  I also noticed that her eyes had a yellow tint to them.  I finally broke down and googled what yellow eyes mean (besides the obvious fear of being a wolf).  Among other things, liver failure will cause yellow eyes.  I suspected something might be wrong with her liver. They showed us the scans and  the tumor has basically invaded where fluids get into the liver.  This means that instead of the liver filtering out the toxins, they are spreading throughout the body (this may not be medically accurate).  This causes the yellow eyes, swelling in the feet, and confusion.

We were scheduled for another round of chemotherapy today, and we had decided yesterday that we would not be doing it, but Carolyn confirmed and said that her body would not be able to handle the chemotherapy.

So, we are officially out of options.  We have experienced many miracles over the last 8 years and have been blessed to enjoy them with Alisa. 

We will start hospice today.  Carolyn said we are now talking about weeks left.  I selfishly hope that Alisa will somehow hang on a bit longer.  For her sake, I hope she gets to heaven quickly.  I hear heaven is a beautiful place, shortly it will be more beautiful than ever.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

It has been an interesting three weeks.  Full of good days and bad. 

My baby sister was married Friday.  We were very worried I was going to be too sck to be able to make it.  I had developed sever spasms shooting down my legs.  They hurt like crazy and scared me to death.  This is my parents 9th and last child to be married.  it was very important to me to be there.

They put me on some drugs used for MS and a couple days before the weeding the spasms suddenly stopped and I was able to enjoy time with my whole family.  My nausea also subsided for a few days, as well as the pain from my tumors. 

Right on queue, symptoms have returned.

We just had a thunderbolt hit near the house, and for the first time in our married life we have a child sleeping on the floor in our room.

I am scared, but not unprepared. My legs have started to swell.  I went to the doctor Wednesday and had 2.5 liters of fluid drained from my abdomen.  There may be need for a permanent drain there in the future, because it all seems to have come back.

We are working with Palliative HomeCare and will decide after our next scans if we want to move to Hospice.

We are grateful for all the help we have been receiving.  Truly the world is a kind place that will soften my children's blows. We wish we knew when this was going to happen, but the general consensus from the doctors is that there is no way to know. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


We had a wonderful Easter weekend.  I felt good.  After a few rough stomach days, it settled down.  My pain doctor adjusted my pain pump to a point where I have days that I don't use my bolus injections (the continuos amount of drug is enough).  They put me on steroids which has given me a burst of energy and a crazy appetite.  Sometimes I really feel good.

Easter is a reminder of all that I hope for for myself.  That some day I will be healed and some day I will be whole.  Some day I won't have any metal or plastic inside of me.  Some day my heart will be free of fear and my mind free of anxieties.  

I am not praying that this happens soon, but I am so glad I truly believe in a beautiful afterlife.  

I will try and keep the blog updated with medical changes, but right now maybe not much more than that.  I am working on some other computer projects for my kids and I am not loving time in front of a screen.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm terribly exhausted but I know so many are curious about how today went.  I went through with the chemotherapy (Carbo/Taxol I think, I will have to look it up).  The Dr. thinks he can get 30% of people to respond to it up to 6 months.  A response would possibly get my symptoms in control and we could move back over to the PD-1 or something.  These possibilities are low.  The Dr. said he is now focusing on quality of life more and this may give me some good months.

The chemo won't be bad.  It takes 6 hours to infuse, repeat every 3 weeks.  I think I'll be able to tell if it's working because guess what?  My belly button is a melanoma tumor now.  I've been watching it grow thinking it's becoming an outy because I was getting skinny.  It isn't the one causing pain.  The last couple of weeks we have watched what I thought was a rib tumor grow until it is easily seen and cupped with my hand.  This is where I feel the pain.  There are lots of nerve roots I guess under your ribs so it's a tender spot.  The doctor thinks this is my monster tumor we have been watching just pushing the rib of place.  Awesome.

Because of the pain we get to deal with pain medications.  My pain pump is wonderful, but comes with consequences.  Too tired to go into it, I will later.

I am so humbled by all the kind words written on my last blog entry.  I want to write back to all of you, but the computer makes me so sleepy.  I can't wait to hug and thank you.  It gave me a piece of courage and meaning that I needed today.  It seems like I am always saying "I'm not strong enough for that,"  or "I couldn't do that"  And it may be true, but at the very moment you need that strength, it will be given to us.

I said yes to another round today.  Fresh courage take.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yesterday our lives changed.  

I should have known it was coming, but something inside fights with ideas like these.  

The biggest indicator was pain.  Pain that came all of the sudden to my back and lingered through sleepless nights.  

It's a familiar pain.  We have always been able to get rid of this.  Nothing to see here, folks.

Except when they looked with an x-ray machine there was a lot to see.  Tumors all over the abdomen, in fact.

Carcinamatosis is what they wrote on my report.

My report.

So now what?  My oncologist called today with a treatment plan to start chemotherapy on Tuesday.  A relatively easy chemotherapy.  You get it at the hospital over a few hours then you go home to suffer the consequences.

Hospice was whispered around the room yesterday.  The word is a whisper. 

If I go that route I do not feel like I gave up.  To just be sicker longer may not be on my bucket list.  If the chemo doesn't offer a cure...I don't know.  We've blown through all my long term response options.

I am scared to suffer.  I don't remember much of my hospital stay this year, my family says I was indeed suffering, but I think my subconscious has details because I cry when I think of pain and uncontrolled nausea and other unpleasantries.  

The way out is through.  Isn't it crazy that everyone on this earth will have to die at some point?  You pray it happens while you sleep, but for the rest of us, we participate.

Miracles have happened on this journey.  Although I love the tumor melting kind of miracle we have been able to produce so far-the miracle of eternity and everlasting life lies before me just the same.  

Pray that I can somehow come to terms with the terms of my little life.  

Pray that I can endure to the end.  May it be miles and miles away, but if it finds me sooner...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This last week we had some dramatic changes to the norm.  Thursday I woke up and didn't need to barf.  I think it is the first day since coming home from the hospital that I didn't run into the bathroom as soon as I opened my eyes.  In fact, I didn't throw up once that day.  And then it happened again Friday.  Saturday I woke up feeling good just the same.  Man were we feeling confident.  So confident I ate a couple pieces of pizza Saturday night, and really regretted it.

We are back to barfing, but not as consistently.  We have our bad days, but can finally mix it in with some good ones.

It's hard to make sense of it all, but I'm doing good and bad.  It's difficult to make peace with your mix sometimes.  So far for me, I have been able to do this.  I pray it can continue.

One of the really good things that's happening right now all around is the valley dressed in Spring.  Another is the easy kids I've been blessed with (we now have a 14 year old in the house, which has had it's difficult moments).  The best thing I have is of course Josh.

One of the bad things that is really getting me down is the stomach issues I mentioned above.  I went the pain Dr. today to get my pain pump checked out and she said these issues are not due to the pain medicine because the pain medicine is just going to the spinal chord.  This was pretty discouraging.  I guess I hoped these were related and as soon as we could get rid of the pain meds the nausea would disappear.  Get rid of the pain pump?  They wouldn't even decrease the dose, even though I feel no pain ever whatsoever.  She says I'm not in pain because of the pump, and we know I had tons of pain, so why would we mess with things?

Another bummer is that we couldn't pull the feeding tube, we just exchanged it for a G tube and ordered a longer J tube should the need arise we can try, try again.  I think it was the right decision.  I am having a hard time keeping weight on and in the case of a couple days I couldn't keep anything down it would come in handy for feedings and medicine.  But a tube sticking out of your stomach is source of soreness and maintenance that is just no fun.

After losing 15 lbs, I think I'm down to 10.  It has been constant diligence to get that 5 lbs. on.  I have an appetite problem.  I just do not feel up to eating  much.  It looks good, but I just can't stomach a bunch of really good food.  I eat a little at a time and even then, there are no guarantees it will stick around.

I also take good long naps, and find myself falling asleep when I sit or lay down.

Although being sick is no fun, it is the worry of why I'm sick that has me down more than the actual illness.  I certainly am starting to look like a cancer patient.  None of my clothes fit in the right places.  My hair will probably need to be shaved (I just keep hoping it's just thinning, and because it's short, shedding is not too annoying) which will complete the look.

Friday I get another dose of antiPD-1.  Let us hope and pray that it is making a difference.  I'm not sure when I get scanned again, I see the doctor next week and I can find out then.  Thanks for your continued hope and prayers.  They mean the world to my little family.