Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thanks for all your prayers....Shelley was able to come home today!!!! I know that we are not out of the woods, but just the same it is nice to have her home. She has been losing more and more of her hair. It was nice to have Sue Martinez come over to the hospital before she left. Sue has several wigs that Shelley likes. They did hair, nails, make up and had a good laugh when Shelley almost fell in the toilet with Sue. As Shelley said later you just have to have a good laugh at those things. Big thanks to my sisters Carol, Connie, Sandra, Cindy, Tina, Nikki, Janeen and the many volunteers that helped to make over our Master Bedroom. The time and materials that everyone donated was truly amazing. Shelley cried for a good half hour when she saw it and every time she opens her eyes she can hardly believe the room that she is in. She said she feels like she is in the presidential suite of a 5 star hotel. Thanks again, I know that it will make a difference on how she feels. We are watching over her almost every min since she came home. Infection is the biggest problem, if she gets one she'll be back in the hospital. We will have an in-home nurse come 2 times a week. Shelley is looking forward to having visitors come over but the doctors have warned us to only have people that are healthy. Sorry no sickies, ha ha.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shelley has asked me to give everyone the details on what has happened over the last couple of weeks. Shelley has had some good days and then bad days. Unfortunately the bad days have been outweighing the good. For the first 2 days after chemo she felt pretty good and was eating great. After that its been a roller coaster ride. Everyday for the first week Shelley's white blood cells were down and it was necessary for her to be on multiple antibiotics as well as having a shot of something to her stomach. Everyday since the chemo she has experienced high fevers and cold chills. She is either very hot or very cold. For the first week to 10 days her body just ached. She has been on Morphine and a drug that calms her down every 2 to 4 hrs. Her breathing has been labored and it is necessary to have respiratory every 4 hours. On Monday last week she started bleeding vaginally and also from her nose. The bleeding was so bad that it was necessary to change her bedding 4 times a day for 2 days. She went through 8 transfusions and 4 units of plasma in that 2 or 3 day period. As she slept the blood from her nose would drain to her stomach and when I got there in the morning she would be throwing up blood, this gave me a big scare. They have been cautious not to give her plasma because of her cloating problem. As a result of the bleeding there was no choice. As soon as she received the plasma her leg got a large blood clot and swelled twice its size. At that point we were thankful that they had put in the filter the week before. Once the bleeding had slowed they had her OBGYN come in to see if he had any suggestions. On Saturday he did an operation to stop the vaginal bleeding and we will find out today if there is cancer in her uterus. This has been a debate with the doctors on weather she does or does not have cancer there. While he was stopping the bleeding he sent a sample to pathology to know for positive what it is. If there is cancer she may need to have a hysterectomy. On Friday last week we were informed by the pulmonary doctor that she has something else in her lung and he wanted to do another bronc. We didn't feel good about it at all. The procedure would need to go through the nose and scrub the lung with saline. This would have a good chance to cause pneumonia which she is barely getting over. Instead of the bronc they went in yesterday and put a needle into her back and removed about 600ml (about 36oz) of fluid from her lungs. They are saying that the fluid is caused by the cancer and depending on the person she may need to have it drained from once every day to once a month. Shelley is still having a great deal of pain with her head and her left eye is drooping at times. With all this Shelley has been a great trooper and I have been rendered breathless by her valiante courage.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun shot with the family

It is possible to jam 14 people into a hospital bed. Smelser and Conway family over to the hospital after church. Shelley was smiling but I just missed the shot and didn't have the heart to ask her for another try.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our 3rd son Colter (17 year old senior)needed to see his Mother just before his football game. Yes they won, go Higley

Friday, October 24, 2008

My favorite girls

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shelley thought it would be nice to post a picture of our family. She was thinking that many of our friends around the world have not seen our family for many years. This was taken just before Gannon left for the Dominican Republic June 10, 2008
I am finding it very difficult to express in words how I feel with all the love and friendship that has been poured out upon Shelley and our family, thank you so much. It has been a new experience to be on the receiving end and I have been humbled. I have now been at the bedside of Shelley everyday for 4 weeks. She is my best friend and I truly love her. I see that this is also true by many of you through your visits, email, call, comments on this site, and service. This past month has given Shelley and I an opportunity to talk about so many things. Its amazing how much communication two people can have when they are locked away in a 100 square foot room. Everyone should try it, just without the cancer. I wish that the news about Shelley would be better. She received the Chemo 8 days ago. We weren't sure how her body would react to the Chemo. Those of you that don't know, Chemo kills all the good that you have in your body while trying to kill what is bad (cancer). So far Shelley has not lost her hair. They are telling us that could still happen. The list of problems that she is experiencing are just to long to write. It almost seems that there is a new set of problems everyday. I started to list all of the things that have happen this last week but for me it was just to difficult to write let alone read. I hope you all understand. I have had to be hard on Shelley this week to make sure she eats enough. She has added Essiac tea, Frequinsea, and Sunrider to her diet which we hope will increase her strength . They have her on so many medications and drugs I can't even list them let alone pronounce them. Our hope and prayer is that she will be able to return home next week. Please help us with your prayers that Shelley will be able to return home next week.

Thanks again for all the nice comments everyone has put on the Blog. It does make Shelley smile, cry, laugh and say wow I was wondering how they were doing. Its been amazing to see the many people around the world that have been praying for and are concerned about Shelley.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The Conway Brothers and Sisters would like to thank everyone in Mike and Shelley's stake, family, friends, and those who came from far distances, who supported our car wash today. It was more successful than we ever imagined it to be! We will post pictures soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I just got done reading all the wonderful comments to Shelley (she just came out of a long drug nap). Shelley says that if anyone wants to visit she said between 6 and 9 is best. She said if she closes her eyes, while you are here, she not asleep. She still can hear you, so be careful what you say. This I know from experience.
Shelley with new style days before it all falls out
Shelley says that time is flying when you're having fun, ha ha. Thanks to everyone that has included Shelley in your prayers. Our testimony and faith in prayer has been strengthen this week with some of the miracles that we have seen. Shelley had a very difficult Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. By Monday she had developed blood clots in her legs and right lung, it felt like an emergency room when they found out. They put in whats called a filter in one of her veins to prevent anymore clots going to her lungs. The filter is kind of like an umbrella that traps the clots. What I understand now is that because of the cancer her blood does some kind of thickening. They needed to draw blood 3 times before that were able to test it because it coagulated so fast. They can not use a blood thinner because of the mets/infection that she has in her brain. They said there would be to much risk of bleeding in the brain. On Monday she was also told that if she was not having all these other problems that she would be on the operating table right now fixing her heart value. The doctors were split on a decision to start chemo. A couple wanted to wait and see what the antibiotics were going to do but Calvacant pretty much said we can't wait. They compromised and started chemo Wednesday afternoon. I think that because of prayer and a blessing that she received that the chemo so far has had very little side effects. Calvacant has said that within a week she should loss all of her hair. For that reason we had Candis, her niece, come over and cut her hair. See picture. She figured if it was going to fall out anyhow we might as well make it shorter. I thought it looked awesome. Because of the other complications that she has had they will not even think about releasing her until next week. They have moved her back to the cancer floor of the hospital. She has now been in 5 different rooms in 11 days. Because of her heart they wanted her on the cardio floor. For those that were wondering about her heart, a majority of the doctors believe that cancer has spread to her heart which has caused a valve problem. This is very hard to diagnose due to the heart moving when imaging tries to take a picture.

Shelley wanted me to give everyone her love and thanks. Especially to Haley McCall (she is like our 3rd daughter that we never had) she has spent almost every night with Shelley. Shelley says that she is one of those people that you just feel comfortable going the bathroom in front of. I know that doesn't sound like a compliment but it is. She truly loves her. Also thanks to Marie Chase for coming down from Utah. Sometimes it is not just about the body but also emotion, spirit, and mental that can put this thing all together. That is what Marie does for Shelley. She and her family have been very close and dear to us. It is hard to tell about all the little things that people have done. When I come home and the clothes have been washed, folded and put away; I wake up and someone has dropped off muffins for breakfast; the lawn cut and seeded and landscape trimmed (thanks M. Jensen); when the kids get home from school they have fresh bread out of the oven waiting for them; women that leave their family to make sure Coleen hair is ready for school, and many many more thank you all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Monday, October 13, 2008

The Conway brothers and sisters are holding a donation car wash in behalf of Shelley. The proceeds of the car wash will help with medical costs in fighting this terrible cancer. We also felt this would be a great way for everyone to get involved in showing love and support for Shelley and her awesome family. The car wash is this Saturday, October 18th from 7:00 a.m. until the cars stop coming!!!! Location is 3470 E. Mayberry, Gilbert (this is Mike and Shelley's cul-de-sac)., Northeast corner of Higley and Queen Creek Rd. Thank you to Coronado Ranch for allowing us to have it there. If you have any questions you can contact: Carol Smelser at 602.309.7052 or 480.988.9557 or Connie Shumway at 602.628.8101 or 480.988.3073.
Thank you to everyone,
Carol Smelser

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shelley wanted you all to know how overwhelmed she is by the friendship that everyone has shown her over the last couple of weeks. I can tell that it has helped her to not feel so alone. Being that said the last couple of days have been difficult at best. They have put her on so many new antibiotics that it has made her sick. She has also developed a large blood clot in her arm that has been giving her a lot of pain. The doctor's can not give her any blood thinners for her arm as a result of the cancer and in fear that the clot will travel else where. The team of Doctors here have been awesome. Such a difference between Mercy and Banner. Here they all work together to help solve the problem. As we thought they would, they are re-doing pretty much most of the tests that they ran over at Gilbert Mercy. They have postponed the Chemo for another week due to what is going on with her heart and brain.

I read all the comments that have been posted on this site to Shelley. It does make her feel good. I was reading the comment that Mark Foree (Shelley's cousin) had sent about "old red". As I read it to my oldest daughter (Britney) we both looked at each other and said I don't think that that is so funny. When I got at the hospital later that day Shelley was on Morphine and half awake, you know eyes shut could only response with grunts. I asked Shelley would you like me to read the comments. She grunted yes. I said here is one from Mark and read the one about old red. Even though she was only partly there she laughed all the way through. It cracked me up that she was laughing and asleep at the same time.

I know that a lot of you want to come and see her. The doctors have asked that we limit visitors so Shelley can rest more. Anyone that wants to visit can visit between 6 and 8 every night. That was a little disappointing for her but I let her know that this way it may be like a party.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know you're pretty important when the wife of the Presidential Candidate hears that you are sick and comes to see you. (yes, it really is Cindy McCain)
Shelley wanted me to start by thanking everyone for the kind and loving comments to her blog not counting all the flowers, cards, visitors, phone calls, and selfless service and prayers on her and our family's behalf. I have been truly amazed at how much of a difference it makes. Thank you all.

Thursday morning we met with the Dr Calvacant (cancer). It has been difficult for Shelley to hear what she has to go through let alone the possibility that it won't work. Calvacant let her know on Thursday that she has a 50/50 chance that the chemo will be effective. This was a very emotional thing for her to hear because of the experience that she had gone through with her mother some years ago with the same thing. Calvacant scheduled the chemo for 3pm. After he left we felt uneasy about the chemo that had just been scheduled. We called the Dr and asked him to postpone it for a day to give us time to bring our older kids in to discuss and pray about what we should do. It was a very spiritual meeting with our children. Shelley and I cried after the meeting because we have been blessed with such wonderful children. The decision was to move forward the following day with Chemo. By 10am this morning we understood why we were prompted to postpone. Calvacant with the other doctors had been going over the various tests that had been run and were concerned with Shelley because she has been experiencing problem with her sight, hearing and speech. Today they found something called vegetation on her heart. Calvacant said if we had done the Chemo he would have not been able to treat it and that the problem would have worsened. I am so thankful that the spirit had prompted us and many other to have us wait. They are now treating her for the problem with her heart and will schedule the chemo to start next wed or Thurs. Being that it is fast Sunday this week for many of you she has asked if we could fast for her and maybe more specific for the spots that they have found on her brain. Thank you

Again thanks for all of you that have kept Shelley in your prayers I know that it has made a difference. This weekend I will try to answer some of you questions that some of you have been asking.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It has been a very emotional couple of days. Shelley and I met when Dr Calvacant (cancer) and Dr Taylor (radiologist) today. They have both been going over the tests that were run at Gilbert Mercy Hospital. They have been very detailed in helping us understand the options that Shelley is facing. I have not been able to sleep since Shelley has been diagnosed (as you can tell with the time that I am writing this blog). It's amazing how much information there is on the Internet about this cancer. She has been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer that has metastasis to the brain and other part of her body. There is no cure for this cancer but with treatment it can be slowed from growing and even reduced in size. Chemo is ineffective in treating the spots on the brain but is effective for all the other parts of the body. Dr Calvacant feels the best approach is to start chemo tomorrow and later see what can be done with the brain. The best treatment for the brain is radiation. He will start that in the next 3 to 4 weeks. If anyone is interested in reading more it can be found at

It was nice to see Lynn and Eldonna (shelley sisters) drive down from Utah. All the visitors have helped with Shelley's spirit. Dad and Bobby(eldon's wife) had just left on a mission for the church in Mexico when Shelley got sick. I guess the Lord knew they needed to come back because when they got their visa's they were issued only tourist visa and needed to return to the border. When Shelley was in ICU on Monday Bobby's daughters Shauna, Doris, and Karen came in and did hair, make-up and shaved her legs (oh and yes the pits, if you know what I mean, she was starting to look a little European) it did made her feel good as you can tell from the picture. Sue Steele has also come down to the hospital several times and has given Shelley a very relaxing and stress releasing massage. I think one time it lasted over 2 hours. All of the visitors, massages, hairdressing, and of course shaving(ha ha) have made her hospital experience bearable.

I think that the older kids have a pretty good understanding on what is going on. I have sat down with all of them as a group and individually. When we came home from the hospital Monday night Coleen, our 8 yr old, was fast asleep on the couch. It was 12:30am. She had put on Shelley robe. I woke her up and took her to bed and said lets take off the robe. She said "no it's mommy's. Can I sleep with it, because when I wear it I can feel mom", how could I say no to that. She then asked me to say her prayers with her. yes I cried

Well that's just about it. I have to say thanks to the ward sisters that have made meals every night. They have kept us well feed. In fact because I have been coming home late from the hospital I try with all my will power not to eat at 12 midnight but when I see what was made I can't help myself-----thanks for helping me get fat----again. ha ha

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Shelley was transferred to Banner Desert last night, thanks to everyone for their prayers to help make this happen. They have a wonderful oncology department with one of the best oncology doctors in the state. Tomorrow we will find out if we can do radiation on the tumor in her brain, then do chemo on the rest of the areas in her body. Please keep Shelley in your prayers that they will be able to do this Radiation. There is some good news. Gilbert Mercy misdiagnosed the tumors in her uterus. There are none. The bleeding she was experiencing actually was caused because of the cancer to her liver, which caused a extra long menstrual cycle. The bleeding does appear to be slowing which is good news. The doctor will be giving us his final options tomorrow and I will post his prognosis. Shelley has become more stable and we should find out tomorrow if she may be able to come home soon. If the doctor sees that the leasions to her brain can be helped by radiation she should start that as well as chemo next week. When this does happen she will need a lot of help.

They are saying that more than likely the cancer started in her lung. There are basically 3 ways you can get this kind of cancer. 1. smoking, 2. being exposed to 2nd hand smoke, and 3. being exposed to nuclear testing. I have read that the last nuclear testing was done in July of 1962. It is amazing that Shelley woud have only been 1 year old and that it has taken this long to manifest itself.

We thank everyone for all of their kind words and for all the visits to the hospital. We do plan to fight this thing. I was talking to a Sis in our Stake that is going through the same thing but 3 months in front of us. I agree with her on our fight with this thing. 1st have faith, 2nd Radiation, 3rd Chemo, 4th Nutrition. Thanks again to everyone for their Love and Concern it has truly helped Shelley. Also the comments to this blog has been uplifting as well as giving her a few chuckles.

Monday, October 6, 2008


We got the pathology report back today. Unfortunately the news is not encouraging. The Oncologist says it is Stage 4 and in its final stage. The cancer is everywhere, including 3 tumors in her uterus....which is why she is bleeding. We did get a hold of the Oncologist at Banner Desert and he is reviewing all of the test results before he decides if it is in Shelley's best interest to transfer her.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Shelley has had every conceiveable exam possible, MRI, EKG,CT Scans. She currently has a mass in her lung and a biopsy has been done. We are currently waiting on the results of that biopsy, which should be here on Monday. The Oncologist is fairly certain that it is a malignant tumor that has possilby spread to her brain, liver, spleen, kidney, and uterus. There is no diagnosis yet until we have the results back from the biopsy. We're hoping to change hospitals and be with a team of oncologists at Banner Desert. We tried to make this happen on Sunday, but because Shelley is menstruating, currently no hospital will admit her. Our hope is that if the oncologist at Desert will take her, they will admit her.

We were able to call Gannon's mission president with the help of Giovanni Buendia, being that the mission president only speaks spanish. He thought it would be o.k. that I talk to Gannon personally. Gannon has been praying for Shelley all week, and understands that Shelley can receive more blessings with him diligently serving the Lord. His mission president also told me that in the short 6 weeks he's been in the field, his spanish is every bit as good as a missionary that has been out for 6 months.

We are hoping to update this blog on a day to day basis so that everyone can keep her in their prayers.

Thank you all for your love and support and all the wonderful service that has been done for our family. The kids have eaten very well this week and also thanks to the sisters in the ward that understand that men have no idea how to use curling iron to do a little girl's hair!!