It breaks my heart to post another update of a BYU fan passing away.
After the emotional post yesterday about the passing of a faithful Cougar fan, it is with great sadness that I am here to tell about my wife's passing last night. She was a big BYU fan. We went to games when we were dating and married at BYU. We would stay up late and watch them while we were going to dental school in Maryland. We would attend the games whenever we could, even going on road trips to attend games. I have many fond memories of her jumping for joy over BYU football. Like when Beck hit Harline at the back of the endzone. We jumped and cheered for about 5 minutes straight in our friends apartment. Same thing this last fall when we watched Mangum hit Matthews at the back of the endzone to beat Nebraska. We were at fellow Cougar fan John Haddow's house enjoying the game with other fans. We jumped and cheered over the unbelievable. What a great day that was. I have had season tickets the past 3 years and she has attended many games with me. Even some of the cold ones, which was quite the chore for her. After her first tumor surgery, she was always cold. I mean always. She struggled to stay warm. I remember packing her warmest coat, gloves, hat, blankets and anything else that would keep her warm in the stands. I would make her day when I would go get her a hot chocolate to warm her up. She loved BYU as a university and what it stands for and loved cheering her Cougars on.
I've been updating the board at times about her progress, and I've gone into more detail on my FO posts due to some sacred and special experiences along the way. It's been a long battle. One that has brought me to my knees and made me very painfully aware of my shortcomings and my limited mortal abilities. I think sometimes the Lord puts us in these situations where there is no possible way for us to overcome the challenge on our own will, strength, wit or talent and as a result we have no recourse but to turn to Him that is all powerful. It is in those moments I have had my testimony strengthened tremendously. I have completed some really difficult tasks in my life, but they all pale in comparison to these past four years, in particular the past three months of caring for my wife. I am reminded of the scripture in Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I'm still waiting for the moment where I feel strong. I've definitely been humbled, and I am trying to put my faith in the Lord. My wife Lisa was a warrior. From the very moment she was diagnosed with her first brain tumor back in January of 2012, she was a fighter. She always had a positive attitude and a smile to share with others, despite her pain and discomfort. Even when she was brought to the lowest of lows during her chemo and radiation treatments, she never complained publicly. She would vent privately to me sometimes, but that's what I am here for. Publicly though, she was a role model and a hero.
We both knew from the beginning that the tumors would eventually take her life. We believe in miracles, and knew that if it were the Lord's will, that she could be healed. But, we also have faith in the plan of salvation and that God is in charge. Many times when I was at the end of my rope, running on fumes, I had to recite to myself this verse in Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." I believe in God, and even though I couldn't see the 'why' in all of this, and even while we were in what felt like the depths of despair with no end in sight, I believed that God was there for me and would lift me up and not let me crash and burn.
Lisa's third tumor was detected this past December, the week before Christmas. The doctors put her on chemotherapy immediately for the newly discovered glioblastoma. She had already undergone surgery, chemo, and radiation for two previous tumors. One in January of 2012 that was in her right frontal and temporal lobe. One in March of 2015 that was in her cerebellum, and now this one in her left lobe. Her cancer team at Huntsman Cancer Institute decided that it was inoperable this time due to its depth and due to the fact that we were turning her brain into swiss cheese with all of these surgeries. After six weeks of chemo she went back in for a follow up MRI. We were hit with the bad news that the tumor was still exploding in size despite the treatment. We knew at that moment that this was it. Thankfully we had always tried to be prepared for this outcome so it wasn't as crushing to hear the news as it otherwise would have been.
As she deteriorated both physically and mentally things got harder and harder for me. She got to the point where she was homebound and someone had to be with her 24-7 because she had lost her cognitive function. She didn't know what day it was, what time it was, where she was, and started to even forget our kids. Her short term memory was non-existant, and her long term memory was fading with each passing day. As her condition got worse and worse, she still stayed happy and positive. Whenever someone would ask her how she was doing she would smile and say, "Great!" Her mentaly faculties went first, then she began to lose her phsyically abilities. It got to the point where she was pretty much stuck in bed or in a recliner all day and needed help with even the most simple of tasks like getting dressed, going to the bathroom, eating, or brushing her teeth. She didn't watch tv and didn't talk much the final few weeks. She would just stare out the window or stare at a wall. Even in her deepest, darkest fog when nothing else would get a smile or a reaction from her, just seeing my come home from work would always put a smile on her face and she would say to whoever had been sitting with her all day, "That's my Cody!" I was the one person she never forgot. It warmed my heart to see that my sweetheart loved me so, and it makes me so grateful for eternal marriage and the covenants we made in the temple.
She finally slipped into a coma this past Saturday morning. I sat by her side holding her hand for three days and nights until she took her final breath last night at 9:00. It was incredibly painful to be so helpless throughout this whole process, but especially while she was in her coma. You could see her body shutting down. Breathing became very difficult for her. Sunday night she was foaming from the mouth and I would sit next to her with a towel and wipe it away so she didn't choke on it. Man, this has been so hard. I often asked the Lord to end the suffering. I felt like the Savior in Gethsemene when he asked the Father to remove this cup. I know this doesn't compare to our Savior's atoement, but I was done. All this time of fighting and pushing on, being her rock and her shoulder to lean on had taken it's toll. Sunday and Monday were incredibly hard. But at the same time, I had moments where I felt the spirit so strong it brought me to tears. I know that I am weak, but in God I can do all things.
Through all of this I am so incredibly grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, for a loving Heavenly Father, and for my eternal family. I love my wife so much. I'm going to miss her dearly. It hurts right now to be without her. But I'm so glad her suffering is over and that she has graduated life. She is done with her mortal concerns and can now rejoice in Heaven.
Here's the obituary I wrote for her with the funeral info. I feel it is a fitting tribute for the angel she was: