- current news updates

Tempe, Arizona
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences; all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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current news updates

15-November-08 - Pics from the UNDY 5000

Team Lizzy showed up to mark the FIRST annual Arizona UNDY 5000. Attendance broke records for a first-time UNDY 5000 event - 1,250 came to make a difference. Every 9 minutes a balloon was released to draw attention to the statistic--that every 9 minutes someone dies of colon cancer! Click here to see the pictures of Team Lizzy at the UNDY5000

12-September-08 - Join the UNDY team, update from the Oncologist, Norway pics

I am kicking off my promotion of UNDY 5000 for Colorectal Cancer Arizona this weekend and here is the link to register for Team Lizzy as a runner and that can be virtual if you live out of state or just donate to me. And how it works if you register to be a walker/runner you will get a pair of really cool boxers, if you raise $100 you will get the boxers and a Really cool T-shirt! I am reaching for the stars, and stating this race will be as big as Komen Race for the Cure in a few years!!!!

So when you go to the above link on the left side of the screen you can register and be sure and sign up for Team Lizzy or you can donate to ME and just look for me on the list. If you need help just e-mail and ask! And if you really want to help BIG TIME forward this e-mail to friends and family and help me raise awareness and funds! The Phoenix UNDY 5000 is one of three test cities doing this race Philly and Dallas are the other cities so since this is a “Test” I want to be sure the powers to be know we want this race to stay!!!! The race is November 15th and if you are out of state and wanna come we have plenty of room at Morningstar Lane

I met with my oncologist today and I graduated again to 6 month visits and every 3 month blood tests, Yahoo!!!! He was very glad to admit he was wrong and that I was his first patient in 30 years at Stage III to refuse post surgical Chemo, the Chemo I had before surgery did me in enough and I knew I could beat the Beast without the additional Chemo! My decision was/is not for everyone but it is working for me! Still have my kidney stint surgeries though and another next week on the 17th of September, so say a little prayer for me on that day!

Oh - one more thing - Pictures of my hike in Norway can be seen by clicking here, then clicking on "Norway 2008". Don't miss it!

10-August-08 - Liz updates her Cancer Journey

Test results and an upcoming trip to NORWAY!!

Read more from Liz and her latest update on her Cancer Journey: Click here.

1-Jun-07 - Update from Liz

Greetings to all my family and friends!

Yes it is "me" Lizzy.........I have been in a very dark tunnel and I see the light now! I can't believe I have only been home from the hospital just over 2 weeks, I feel 500% better then I did the day I came home. I know the trip to the mountains for fresh clean air and this past weekend in San Diego helped tremendously!

Family and friends at The Beach Cottages in San Diego. (L to R): Liz, Jen (Jessica friend), Jessica, Cousin Christopher, Elva, Stacy, Joyce Anne (Mom)

Liz and her daughter Jessica

A Rose Between Two Thorns - Liz with long time running buddies Bill Hermann (L) and Ken Myers (R).

I had my post-op appointment today with my surgeon. The visit went fairly well. I finally discussed in depth what happened in surgery. I have a frozen pelvis cause by excessive scar tissue. The scar tissue is/was growing like cancer, hence the reason they thought the cancer was back. It is rare to have such excessive build up scar tissue, I just love hearing how "rare" my case is. The scar tissue has closed off both of my ureters and I have stints in them that will need to be replaced every 3-4 months for the rest of my life. I also have diminished bladder capacity due to the scar tissue. Other than that no other organs seem to be effected at this point. They will watch the scar tissue on future scans and we will always be told that I have a pelvic mass because the scar tissue looks like a pelvic mass, it will be troubling to hear that I have a pelvic mass because that is what my cancer was called. I do also have some issues with my ostomy that I have to work around, but it is working well overall. The overall prognosis seemed to be good, I just have some physical challenges to deal with on a daily basis.

All the blood work I had done on Tuesday came back, and all the tumor markers were below normal, very good, no indication of cancer growing. I will also be having a Petscan in June just to be sure no cancer is growing and to look at my Thymus Gland, if you remember that was swollen in March for some unknown reason.

I received a work release today and will start some work at home next week and back in the office on June 11th. I am ready and excited!

I am starting to answer the phone again, I know so many of you have called, e-mailed or texted and I apologize if I have not gotten back to you yet. As many of you know I am normally an extrovert, but my coping has been this past year to go deep inside of myself to survive, and become an extreme introvert during my healing times. But my ole personality is coming back again and I am feeling so much better. Don't all call at once though. LOL

Words cannot express how grateful I am for each and every one of you, over this past year you all have prayed for me, sent me cards, e-mails, and gifts. The month in the hospital was so long and at times I felt no hope, but I would look at my wall of cards and know that I was loved and I have so much to live for, THANK YOU!!!!!!

God Bless,


"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1

16-May-07 - Update from Mom

The candle on the altar in my bedroom is still burning. Like the Olympic torch I made sure that the fire from one candle ignited the next wick and so on. I will let its glow fade naturally. The dancing shadows on the ceiling kept me company these past nights that I have been sleeping in my own bed. I imagined that it was Liz’s essence reminding me that her soul is full of life and eager to get up and move. I have no doubt that all of the candles burning across the country and world penetrated the darkness of fear that Tom wrote about. Eternal flames. Symbols of an athlete’s burning desire to cross the finish line—no matter what. She did it!

Liz and I cried together this week when I bathed her one day. She looked down at her scarred tummy and cried. I could only imagine what she was thinking. Feeling. I said “Let’s cry together now then later let’s bless these new roadmaps on your body; they saved your life.”

There is much to ponder. There is much to be thankful for. Gratitude. Gratitude. Go Gratitude.

Joyce Anne

16-May-07 - Update Part 2 (from Tom)

Liz is home! It's official. I wouldn't believe it either (I am named Thomas), but I've witnessed it myself, seen it with my own eyes, kissed her cheek as she sat in her own "comfy chair", fed her cheese cake off my own fork in her living room (cause she only wanted a bite), yelled good bye to her as I walked out her door, at her house. Did I say it would be soon? Well . . . . I can safely report that it's true. The end of camp Desert Sam, as we knew it, has come to pass. Liz is now home - more progress!

The hospital's wall of cards had to come down when we moved camp, but I got a picture of most of the wall before the move. Thanks to all of you that contributed to that wonderful expression of care.
There is, of course, more work to be done, still. Those of you who live in Arizona, give Liz or Mark a call and ask what you can do. I know the fridge is stocked right now, but later, it will not be, and later still, and later still. this is a long term project for Liz and the family.

But today is the day to acknowledge the end of a long, difficult time. Was it really 35 days ago that Liz had her reversal surgery. We were so happy when things seemed to go so well on April 11. That seems a century ago, so much has happened between then and now.

To all of you that lit candles, sent cards and emails, prayed, or lifted a hand toward Arizona, we can't thank you enough for all that you have done to help keep Liz moving in a positive direction.

The journey now continues
Liz has just started to walk her next thousand miles.

15-May-07 - Update Part 1 of 2 (from Tom)

Well, it seems these days that nothing presented in a serial fashion can end in just one sitting -- it seems there must always be a two-part season finale, or a sequel, or a prequel. So, in keeping with that great American tradition, here is part one of what we believe will be the season ending episode to "Recovery at Camp Desert Sam." Sorry we can't be more certain, but it's been just too difficult to predict from day to day where this is going.

So, let me just say these few things, and you'll have to tune in to part 2 to find out if the ending is as advertised, or if there is an added twist.

Liz has continued her progress -- at times it seems like one big step backwards with a blockage and all the pain that comes with it for a couple of days last week; and then a little more of the same one day this weekend. But, then she will take two steps forward. Overall, we're still seeing progress.

So, it seems that there is a chance, at least as of this moment that I am writing, that Liz will be released back into the real world soon, and returning home to continue her recovery. Did I mention it should be soon?

Note the ambiguity, the noncommittal words; how we don't give away too much. Just pretend as you read this that this is being read by that deep deep voice that tells you about all the other season finales.

We told you it would be special . ..
But its much much more than that.
It can't be missed.
Coming soon, in part 2 of the finale
What was muddy (or muddled) will become clear?

Oh, and those of you in Arizona, be prepared
Be very prepared,
to begin cooking low residue, high protein meals for a certain family in Tempe.

And for the not-so distant future, start recounting those tax deductions to make sure you made no mistakes.
Because soon, very soon,
Your favorite CPA will be back to an audit near you.

Ok, OK, stay tuned, and all will be revealed . . . soon.

8-May-07 - Progress (from Tom)

Sorry for the delay. I know it's been a few days since the last update.

The word for this update is "Progress!" When I last wrote Liz was still getting over the worst part of her surgery. Every day since then she has made progress. We have thought about temporarily changing her website to "WalkLizWalk." Every day she takes a few steps more. I didn't get too many moans about the "baby steps" comment in my last update, but my Mom thought about it and said she liked this one better . . . "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step." Another one was shared with me years ago by a colleague, (who also happens to be a nun):

Pilgrim, Pilgrim, Pilgrim. (maybe for this group, "Penguin, Penguin, Penguin")
There is no way
You make the way
By walking, walking, walking.

And, Liz is walking! Every chance she gets.
Moreover, as of Saturday she was drinking. No, not what you're thinking. It was Cinco de Mayo and I did offer to sneak her in a beer, but it was only broth and Gaterade.
More still, on Sunday she got her chocolate shake. She didn't drink much of it, (nausea) but it was a start.
And more still, today she ate real food. Ok, it was hospital food, not real food, so you'll have to understand if she only ate a few bites. But at least it was something that did not have to be sipped through a straw.

So, we have progress! The body is making slow progress toward healing. (Did I mention there was progress?)
Of course, the spirit still has some catching up to do. Liz hasn't really been much in the mood for visitors. Mmm, I can't imagine why after being stuck in an indoor campsite for 3 over weeks, can you? But, even when your not in the mood to dance, if you just get the feet moving, the spirit will find you. And Liz is moving, as best she can.

The doctors plan to keep Liz in the hospital until she is on a regular diet and functioning completely normal. I hesitate to say when that will be, but we can almost feel it! Liz has a long-planned trip to the Beach Cottages in San Diego coming up in three weeks -- a Memorial Day tradition for her and her family. I think she will make it - I know she knows she will. More progress to look forward to.

Thank you all for the most recent burst of care over the past few days. The wall of cards was almost full when I was last there yesterday. It's so fun to is read them all - some of them are funny, some are sweet, all are full of love and dear to Liz. I caught her grinning on Sunday as she read one she had just received. I can't remember what Seinfeld said about the rule for holding on to cards after you receive them, but I think these will all find their way to a very special place for posterity, marking the start of Liz's next thousand mile journey.

Hopefully, the next update will be to announce the closing of the not-ready-for-national parksite Desert Sam.
Until then, keep those candles lit against the darkness of Fear. Trusting in Love, however you conceive it, keep one palm toward the Light, wherever it is that you find it, and the other toward Liz.

3-May-07 - Very quick update (from Tom)

The last 36 hours since the surgery have been tough for Liz. This one has taken much more out of our girl. For just a taste of how that first night went, here is a brief message from an email my mom sent me in the morning.

"Liz had a marginally smooth night. This surgery is being rougher than any of the previous. When I hear her call "Mommie" I know she is speaking from a very different place. All night she said, "Mommie help me." Talk about feeling helpless! We made it through the dark hours. She is resting peacefully."

Liz had a fever in the 102 range all day yesterday (Wednesday). Her heart rate was accelerated to over 100, which is no doubt due to the infection. It jumped up to 120 when she decided to take the initiative and sit up in bed while I was there. She is also trying her best to breathe into that meter-thingy with the little ball. The doctors are unsure of the source of the infection (other than the obvious), so did some tests to rule out any lung problems and also to search for any embolisms. They were negative. So, we wait for the time and antibiotics (and prayer) to heal her.

Mom reports this morning that Liz's temp is down to around 100. Also, Liz made it to a chair so they could change her sheets and wash her up a bit. That is a good step in the right direction. The next one will be a walk around a block. You see, my Mom bought me an exercise kit once, with a little wooden building block in it. The instructions said to walk around the block. LOL. Then, perhaps today, a little further, and a then, a little more. Isn't it funny how anything worthwhile always starts that way, dare I say it - baby steps. (Oh, he didn't really use that overused cliche did he, ugh; we need to invent another equally descriptive metaphor for grown ups, don't we). I just know that eventually, she will be joining you across the nation walking 5 K's, at your side with her face toward the sun, smiling at the thought of that first walk around the block.

Right now, Liz has an immediate mission - to get that tube out of her nose! Hopefully by tomorrow.

Thanks again for all your prayers. Keep those candles lit against the darkness of Fear. Trusting in Love, however you conceive it, keep one palm toward the Light, wherever it is that you find it, and the other toward Liz.


1-May-07 - Surgery update (from Tom)

Liz had her surgery tonight and she is back in her room. The surgery started a bit later than expected at 6:00 p.m. Everyone was doing ok and thinking about ordering in some dinner when the doctor had a nurse call out after only 45 minutes of a planned 2 1/2 hour surgery. Mom took the call; the doctor was saying that there were some complications and the surgery could not go as planned. And, (you think I wouldn't be surprised anymore), no further details were given.

So, those of us there in the waiting room spent the rest of our time speculating about what that cryptic message could mean. I won't go into details, but we were all pretty upset as our imaginations took over about what that message meant. And, of course, we all expressed our fear in our own unique ways resulting in some fall out among the more over-anxious of us in the waiting room. (moi?)

We waited and waited, until about 8:30 or so when the doctor emerged. He reported that he was able to successfully create the permanent colostomy. However, there was so much scar tissue in Liz's abdomen that the parts of the colon (and other parts) that he had planned to remove were basically fused to essential organs (e.g. the bladder) and bone. So, he was not able to remove everything that he wanted. He apparently saw that early on, and that was the reason for the earlier call.

Otherwise, the surgery went about as well as it could have gone under the circumstances. My mother is with Liz now and I am sure that, exept for the nurse's hourly watch, she will sleep tonight.

Mom thought it might be nice to fill up a wall with cards for Liz to get through this (hopefully) last week in the hospital. So, she asked me to pass on a request to send not only your thoughts and prayers, but maybe a Hallmark as well. Probably best to send it to Liz's home and Mark can bring it to her.

If you don't have Liz's home address, you can send it here:

Liz Itter
c/o Childrens Dental Village
7360 S. McClintock
Tempe, AZ 85283

We may have other such requests as she transitions back home, hopefully sooner than later.

We thank you all again for your out pouring of care. Sometimes the pessimist in me takes over and I think, well, the outcome was not the best possible, so what's this prayer/energy/support thing really all about. But as soon as I think that, I also think of a conversation I had with my Grandma Ware one New Years day.

Her tradition was to eat black eyed peas for good luck in the year to come (a tradition my mother carries on still). One year, I said to Grandma, "you know what; I'm going to skip those black eyed peas this year." Grandma asked "why," and I explained, "Well, I ate them last year and I didn't have such a good year. In fact, it was a terrible year. I don't think those work for me." Grandma just looked at me and smiled, saying, "Well, honey, just think of how much worse it would have been if you had not eaten them."

The surgery did not go perfectly. But, as Grandma Ware would have said, I can't imagine what the outcome for Liz would have been, or will be in the future to come, without all of your thoughts, intentions, and prayers.

So, once again, keep those candles lit against the darkness of Fear. Trusting in Love, however you conceive it, keep one palm toward the Light, wherever it is that you find it, and the other toward Liz.




April 2007 and earlier news updates