Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update written by Kristen Baumgarten and posted onto this blog by her friend K Baldwin

http://my-3-sons-kmb.blogspot.com/2012/02/look-for-evidence.html (This is the link to the post below taken from Kristen's family blog.)

Look For Evidence
This post has been a long time coming. It has been a nearly 3 month work-in-progress; written, rewritten, edited and deleted. Hopefully I can make the point I need to make. I have had the impression repeatedly that I should post, but have struggled with the whole making-myself-more-vulnerable issue.
I will start with a little background:
I am not sure if I ever mentioned that Josh made the decision to go on long-term disability. We weren't sure exactly how it would work out for him to be working the long hours he needed to work. We prayed. We went to the temple. We talked to his doctor. We talked to his boss. We made the decision, felt good about it and went forward with it. We weren't necessarily happy with the circumstance, because let's be honest: living on a fraction of a regular income is not ideal. But we felt like Heavenly Father was directing us, and we were extending our faith. 
The Lord's hand was again manifest in our decision quickly. Josh started having seizures more frequently. About mid-November he had a seizure last for over 20 minutes. Just after Thanksgiving he had another one that lasted for over 30 minutes. He was taken by ambulance to the Huntsman Hospital where we stayed for three days. The main purpose for his stay was to ensure that 1: he didn't continue to have seizures and 2: that he would regain the strength and coordination he lost during the seizure. 
During that stay, we found out that his tumor was growing. They decided to put him back on Temodar (the oral chemotherapy he had taken before). He completed one five-day cycle. A month later, we went back for more tests. The tumor was still progressing. They decided to change the Temodar cycle to 21 days on 7 off. Another month later, more progression. They decided to add an Avastin infusion every other week. After two infusions they expect to see tumor response. The good news was that there was no new tumor growth, but the bad news was that they expected to see less enhancement in the MRI and it was unchanged (suggesting that the tumor response to the Avastin is minor). Still, the plan is to continue with the 21-day Temodar cycle and Avastin infusions. We have another appointment with the neuro-oncology team on March 15.  Before that appointment, Josh will finish one round of Temodar, start another, and travel to Salt Lake twice for Avastin infusions. 
Just before Josh went on diability, I had been struggling with the Multiple Sclerosis therapy I was taking called Avonex. I was literally sick in bed for 1-2 days every week with flu-like symptoms (including a fever that often went to 104 degrees). I felt like new MS symptoms crept up every 4-6 weeks. I was so tired of being sick. I didn't feel like I had time to be sick. My job is to take care of my family of four small children and a husband with stage IV brain cancer. Who can do that from bed? I made the decision to try something new. I went to Mexico for alternative treatment and as an answer to my constant pleading to Heavenly Father:  I found relief.  I also ended up having three surgeries at the end of the year. One surgery involved three procedures that can stand alone as their own surgeries, and the other two were pretty intense, major surgeries. They were medically necessary, and at this point I am much better having had them. I am convinced the treatment I received in Mexico helped me keep my head above water and to not completely crash with an MS relapse. Many MS patients spiral out of control after having one surgery, let alone three. Then, in January, I started to experience some new symptoms but quickly underwent IV steroid therapy to buy me time until I can go to Mexico again. (Judge me if you will, but I am telling you-- I COULD NOT function before I went to see Dr. Calzada in Mexico). 
Now, having said all that we have experienced all the feelings you might expect and maybe more. I have had moments where I felt so exhausted from worry about what might happen to my husband that I   literally feel like there is nothing left. I realize the reason why people list all the things cancer cannot take away is because there are times when it feels like it takes EVERYTHING else.  Everything.
It probably sounds like I am complaining. I am not. The very experiences that break me down take me to my knees in prayer. I know that this life was meant to be a test. It is a probationary period for each of us to experience heartache and joy. I am not so naive to believe that we are the only people experiencing adversity. I know that each of us are children of the same Heavenly Father who loves us and watches over us.
He prepares the way for us to do hard things. The way may not be clear. Sometimes I feel like we are walking in the dark. But if I have found that if I really take the time to look at what is around us, I can find the beauty and joy in the journey. I see the Christlike compassion all around us, I see the small and tender mercies that I may have otherwise overlooked. Evidences of our Father's love is all around us. I have been thinking about this a lot, especially when I get down. I have a few minutes or maybe hours or even days of being upset, but every time I start looking for my blessings I am overwhelmed by the way I can feel His arms around me. I feel it in the sunrise, the giggles and wiggles in my four children, the rise and fall of my husband's chest when he holds me in his arms, the quiet reassurances reminding me that He is in charge.
Just today I got news that really upset me. I was mad, scared, sad and then exhausted again. Exhausted because it is just something new to worry about and that is completely out of our hands. I felt edgy and every little thing just made me want to go crazy. Josh, in his calmer and more rational perspective reminded me that Satan's goal is to keep us angry and upset because then we are not open to recognizing the Spirit or the Lord's hand guiding us through this test. I will be honest. I didn't want to hear it at first. I just wanted him to validate my feelings.
But, Josh is right. In order to make it through this life, we can't afford to waste our time and energy on anger over something that cannot be changed. It is alright to be upset and to admit that it is hard and that we, in our imperfect state don't want to wade through our adversity. But ultimately, we can't afford to let fear overshadow our faith. Our Father will not leave any of us comfortless. Not one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Come Run (or walk) With Me!!

Something EXCITING is happening this Saturday, October 8th. Click on this link http://www.bluebellcornmaze.com/ to get the details quick or you can read through my rambling post below. :)

Kristin the friend here. I know, I know it has been forever since there was a post or tiny bit of an update. That is part not having any fundraisers to share, part my own neglect, and part respect for Josh and Kristen. I don't really think it's even possible for Kristen to make writing updates a priority right now. The Baumgartens continue forward in their struggles and always with an attitude I know I personally could not possess if the tables were turned. Their beautiful family continues on and that does not mean things have been easy or getting easier. I wouldn't say that at all but no matter what they move forward as a strong and loving family unit. Sorry none of that provides any kind of actual update. The next time I talk with Kristen I'll ask about an update for this blog and if there is any update she wants shared. But until then I have something I hope you'll do with me....

Come to the Bluebell Corn Maze this Saturday, October 8th and have a great time. So the amazing family who owns the Bluebell Corn Maze decided to start an annual 5K benefit run (this is the first year) and at the last minute has organized what I know will be an amazing 5K run/walk. I've done the 5K thing before and I KNOW this will trump running the streets of Vernal. I mean we'll be running through fields, around gorgeous old barns, and around the corn maze! I think it sounds one of a kind and I can't wait. Obviously I should have posted about this ages ago. I'm so sorry!! But it is not too late for you to join the fun with me. The registration is $15. All of that amount will go to the Baumgartens for medical expenses and you'll get a t-shirt and ticket to the corn maze!!! There is all kinds of fun things going on there from the pumpkins, hay bales, goodies, and obviously the maze.

Okay who is with me??? This will be a blast for you're whole family whether you participate in the 5k or not. Click on this link http://www.bluebellcornmaze.com/ for registration, directions, and more details.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On my mind...

New blog post about the 5K... click here

Sunday, July 24, 2011

JULY 30th!! Amazing Raffle Items!! (posted by Kristin the friend)

Derby for Donations is coming up this weekend!

$1 = 1 ticket
$5 = 6 tickets

Buy tickets NOW at Subway in Vernal
until July 30th when tickets will be
for sale at the fair booth 9am-3pm.

Derby for Donations Raffle Items:

Signed Jazz Basketball
Al Jefferson Jersey
Signed CJ Miles Picture
Signed Ronnie Price Picture

Signed Al Jefferson Picture

Remember the AMAZING quilt donated by Helen
Smith last year and raffled at the 2010 fair??
This year she made 2 and
they are GORGEOUS!
Thank you Helen!!!

Professional made quilt for girl, size 44" x 52"

Professional made quilt for boy, size 44" x 52"

Nicole Smith (Helen Smith's daughter-in-law) also
wanted to help. These women have HUGE hearts!
She owns a jewely business Darling Gems and
donated this handcrafted necklace, earrings set.
Look up Darling Gems on facebook!
Thank you Nicole for caring about people
you've never met.
It is a Turquoise Jasper necklace with a hand
wired pendant, beads and clasp
Matching Earrings!

GORGEOUS! Look Nicole up on
Facebook! "Darling Gems"

Drawing will be held July 30th at 6:00pm
during the Derby as part of the
fair at Western Park.

Buy some tickets!!
All $$ will go to the Baumgarten and
Parslow families of Vernal.
Do not need to be present to win.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Life is an Adventure: Helping and Healing

I know that I said I wouldn't be posting on this blog anymore, but this is Kristen Baumgarten. The Kristen married to the Josh that this blog was created for. I wanted to share a new blog that I started in memory of a friend who lost his battle with cancer two years ago. There is a scholarship benefit 5K run/walk being held in his honor.

Just to spread the word: I started a new blog: click here: Life is an Adventure. Check it out and you won't be disappointed. (Especially if you have been affected by cancer in one way or another.) 

This is what I posted:

I am starting this blog in honor of my good friend Josh Graham.  I want to promote a 5K run/walk in his honor. He was my bishop, my boss and most importantly a friend (like an older brother).

I looked up to the advice he was always willing to give and inspired by is unwavering faith and positive outlook on life. I admired the way he spoke of his sweet wife and children. I admired his ambition and perseverance.

(By the way, just as some little fun facst: his oldest son, Keaton has turned into more than just his father's son. It makes me feel nostalgic to watch Keaton's personality, features, and passion for life. Christian carries his moral and sense of righteousness that he so gently teaches my own sons, and Celesta carries her father's love for the Lord. Lizzy, well, they don't get much cuter than that and that sweet two-year-old knows that her daddy is with Jesus. What an amazing knowledge for such a young baby. It says a lot about their mother, right?)

Even after a complicated cancer diagnosis, he was willing to offer his time and talents to the Lord as a bishop. His time was relatively short but had a huge impact on the members of the Vernal 9th Ward. He gave his every energy to the Church and magnified his calling.

This man was outstanding in the community as he worked as the director for the Can Do Crew teaching and training those with special needs to develop the skills they need in order to find opportunities to contribute and work in the community. Two years after his passing, the members of the crew still love Josh and affectionately refer to him as “Boss.” They watch down the street where his sweet family lives to look for his truck and to just remember and hold on to the relationships they had developed with him.

His motto as he began his journey with cancer was “Life is an Adventure.”

That passion and spirit is being spread to others through scholarship opportunities offered in the “Life is an Adventure 5K run/walk.”

This year is the second annual event and will be held at a larger scale with sponsors and the Utah State University Extension here in the basin to enable new adventures to those just embarking on them.

The not-for-profit event is being held in Josh’s memory during the month of his birthday. The event last year was healing and inspiring to say the least.

To the many of you who have experienced the devastating diagnosis of cancer through a family member or friend, I promise that this event is an opportunity to turn a challenge into a blessing. It is an event for the whole family that gives back to the community in a way that is unique from other events.

The preceding words are not in vain. They are from personal experience, and I want to reiterate with all sincerity that I know Josh is watching over and pleased with what is being done in his honor. He truly believed that our lives were each their own adventure and that we should take whatever came our way and face it head on with the attitude that it was just that: an adventure. A new opportunity to learn and grow and experience something new in life: something to draw us closer to our friends, family and Heavenly Father.

This year the event is much more ambitious than last year, and we plan to start a committee to help with the particulars. If you are interested in helping in any way, please contact me at jbaumgarten@ubtanet.com.

So many of you have asked what you can do for us in our particular situation. (Which I hope you don't take in the wrong way, I am certainly not trying to exploit our own trials, only trying to express my sincerity.) Right now, this is my passion. This is what I want help with. I want this event to be successful to help someone new embrace life’s adventure through education.

Life really is and adventure.

P.S. You can register for the event at:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Subway Uintah County Fair Events and Raffle!

has teamed up with the

Uintah County Fair & the Utah Jazz to bring you the

Jazz Bear and Jazz Dancers
Subway's 1st annual

"Big Foot Eating Contest"

Uintah County Fair

July 30th, 1:00 pm

Western Park Amphitheater

to see official rules and regulations.
Come get up close and personal with the Jazz Bear and Dancers
for a photo and signature session.

Uintah County Fair Derby

July 30th, 6:00 pm

Western Park Arena

Come watch the Derby and the

"Beat the Bear Race"

The Bear will be handing out the prizes for the

"Subway Derby for Donations" Raffle!!

on this raffle to benefit the Baumgartens
and Parslow families of Vernal.

- Posted by Kristin the friend

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quilt Winner and Successful Rodeo Weekend Fundraising

Kristin the friend posting. :)
Mary Hatch Gata of Vernal was the lucky winner of this beautiful quilt raffled as part of the booth for the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo. Isn't it gorgeous!! Congrats to Mary and her family. :)

There were many other quilts, items, and baked goods also sold and raffled as part of this fundraiser. I want to say THANK YOU to all the amazing people in Josh and Kristen's ward who organized, participated in and executed such an amazing fundraiser. What wonderful people we have here in Vernal!! If I receive any other pictures from the event I'll be sure to post them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo Booth July 6 - 9th

Kristin (the friend) here sharing fundraising info on behalf of the Baumgarten's friend Kassi Luck.

If you've never been to Vernal during Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo you are missing out!! Come this year and I hope to see you there. :) http://www.vernalrodeo.com/

WHAT: Fundraising booth during the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo

WHEN: July 6 - 9th

WHERE: Booth on the County's lawn, 150 East Highway 40

CONTACT: Kassi Luck 435-790-3111, kassi_ray@yahoo.com or leave a comment on here with your contact information

HOW YOU CAN HELP: There are a few ways:
(1). We need lots of delicious goodies to sell as "Bake Sale" items. Please sign up to donate something!!
(2). Any items(blankets, crafts, etc) donated can be sold/auctioned/raffled at the booth.
(3). We still need volunteers to help run the booth. Kassi has a sign up sheet so contact her.
(4). And of course it would be wonderful to have any and everyone visit the booth to show your support and get a few goodies!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thanks to the Amazing Price for Life Foundation

I(Kristin the friend) attended the Restless Heart concert last Thursday night and learned about an amazing foundation set up here in Vernal called the Price for Life Foundation.

This foundation was set up just recently by the family of Dale Price who lost his battle to cancer this year. In his memory a charity golf tournament was held last Thursday June 9th at the Dinaland Golf Course. They generously chose the Baumgartens as a recipient of the money raised during the golf tournament. The Price family plan to make this an annual event to benefit other local families suffering from cancer. Thank you does not say enough to this loving and oustanding family. I am humbled and amazed by their example. Thank you Price family!

Donations were also received during the Restless Heart concert that night and Restless Heart committed a portion of their sales that night to Josh's family as well. The music and show was beautiful and I'm so glad my husband made me go. :)

Thanks to everyone who participated and showed their support during these events. I wish I knew more to share about these amazing events and the generousity of those involved. Again I say thank you and I pray you are abundantly blessed for all you do and continue to do for those affected by cancer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The day that Eliza was born Kristin, the friend, and I(Sha) went up to the hospital to see the little angel.  I almost felt like I was intruding, it felt like sacred ground.  Every birth feels that way to me.  Babies are so newly sent from our Father's arms and the veil is thin.  This was different.  Josh had had surgery just a few weeks before.  He was sick and seemed so fragile.  The uncertainty of his diagnosis and treatment was scary, making their emotions fragile as well.  As I walked into the room, I felt love.  When I looked at baby Eliza and held her I fell in love with her too, as was clearly written on Kristen, Josh and Grammy's faces already.  As Kristen held her I saw peace.  As Josh held her I saw joy.  That is what Eliza has brought, love, peace, and joy. 

Even though this year has been one of difficulty and trial, there has been a bright ray of sunshine in the Baumgarten's daily lives-Eliza!  (Not to say that the boys haven't been also, but this post is about her)  As Kristen was getting ready to have Eliza I asked her if she was excited. She said that she was excited for her to come but thought that the timing was way off and wished she could have her without all the chaos and uncertainty of Josh's diagnosis and treatment.  I remember thinking the same thing and my heart broke for them.

But now, at least for me, and I think Kristen would also agree, the Lord's timing of bringing Eliza was perfect.  Crazy to think that He would have known huh?;)  This little girl has brought so much love, peace, and pure joy into her family's life and those around her.  I have been privileged to witness the special bond that she has with each member of her family.  When she is around they light up and love eminates into the room.  It is precious to say the least.

A week ago we celebrated Eliza's first birthday.  Again, I felt privileged to be there, to capture it, to witness the love that she brings and that all have for her.