The “Scary Adventure”

This blog is intended to share updates on Brennen’s journey with family and friends so as to better help them know how to be praying for him.

When beginning this journey Brennen said, “I’m starting my scary adventure.” Though it is scary and there are a lot of unknowns, we do know the God who formed Brennen in Jenny’s womb and know that He is in complete control over everything that happens in our lives.

Our prayer is that God would be glorified through this journey that He has placed us on.

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Finished!

1,209 days ago we officially began this journey of treatment for Brennen’s leukemia. Thanks be to God, Brennen took his last chemotherapy tonight and his treatment is officially over.

I can’t begin to imagine how many spoonfuls of applesauce, baby food (don’t tell Brennen), or whatever we could use to get him to take his medicine have been taken over the past 3 1/2 years. There have been many nights where Brennen has fallen asleep and I’ve had to give him his medicine while he’s not very coherent. There’s been times when he did not want to take it but ended up doing it. To think that this phase is over feels a bit surreal right now.

Thank you for praying for Brennen and our entire family. This has been a long journey but we are grateful for God’s kindness to give Brennen good health and our family strength.

Please continue to pray as the Lord brings him to your mind. There are many potential long-term side effects of the chemo including secondary cancers that we pray will never be an issue.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!      – Romans 11:33

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend!

Yesterday, Brennen went in for his last in-clinic chemotherapy and to have surgery to remove his mediport. The mediport has been a huge help throughout his treatment because it has allowed them to easily access him to give his medications and fluids while not having to poke his arm continuously for an iv.

The surgery went smoothly to remove the mediport and we were able to come home last night. He is much sorer than he had anticipated but pain medication is helping. After almost 3 1/2  years of having the mediport just under his skin in his upper chest it feels a bit strange for him.

He had asked the surgeon if he could see his mediport after the removed it. They weren’t able to give it to him but they did give him a picture of it (which he loved seeing). Jenny and I were able to enjoy some good laughs when Brennen was a bit loopy due to the medications before and after surgery.

We still a few more days left of treatment. This is steroid week (oh fun!) but it is exciting to see this chapter coming to a close! Please pray that Brennen will not have any issues with infections from the surgery and that he will not need pain medications for very long.

4 days until end of treatment!!!!  Soli Deo Gloria!

The Countdown is On!

March 31, 2018. – The date when Brennen’s treatment is scheduled to end.

When we officially began this “Scary Adventure” with Brennen 1,180 days ago, March 31, 2018 felt like so far in the future that it was hard to even imagine. God never promised, and still hasn’t, that we can be assured that Brennen’s leukemia would stay in remission and treatment would end on March 31. Each day, we have trusted God for the health of Brennen and that He would use the means of medicine to remove and keep the cancer away.

At his appointment on Monday, the doctor asked Brennen, “What are you looking forward to the most [when treatment is done]?” He loudly exclaimed in response, “Not having to take medicine every night!!!” He went on to say he didn’t even remember a time when he wasn’t taking medicine every night.

Another thing that Brennen is excited about is the removal of his Mediport which they have been using to give him treatments in the clinic. On March 26th he will be having one more treatment in clinic as well as having a surgery to remove the Mediport.

Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for Brennen and supporting our family. Please join us in continuing to pray for Brennen and counting down the days!

The Gold Hope Project

Going through cancer treatments with a child is challenging. I am thankful for the many different organizations out there that help support children and families going through the challenges.

One great organization is The Gold Hope Project. TGHP is an organization of photographers that seeks to bring awareness, research funding, and support for children undergoing childhood cancer through providing free photography sessions.

We were blessed a couple months ago with a photo session taken by Ann Mirek of Dillybar Photography. Ann was great to work with and our kids couldn’t stop talking about how we had our photos taken in the rain. 🙂

CLICK HERE to check out some of the photos from that session! You might just recognize the photos if you’ve seen our Christmas letter or card.

Christmas Letter: 2017

Law_101417-50.jpgNo, we are not going green by putting our letter online in trying to save paper. This happened because one of the kids so kindly stuffed all our Christmas cards in envelopes and decided to sealed them before the letter went in! 🙂 So, we thought we would just post it here for everyone to read.


This year brought far too much to put into a few words but we wanted to share just a couple highlights.

In February, we were able to got on Brennen’s Make-A-Wish cruise as a family. It was a wonderful time to spend as family and to set aside the realities of cancer treatments back home.

This Summer we had the opportunity to visit the life-sized Ark in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It is amazing to see the biblical dimensions brought to life. Answers in Genesis, the creators of the Ark Encounter, have created an amazing place to show and teach about the historical account of the biblical ark.

We had a couple chances to spend time with our extended family. There are a lot of miles that separate us but we love to take advantage of times we have to see them and enjoy making new memories.

Life in our family is usually full of activity. The four boys keep our home filled with youthful energy and busyness. We are thankful for having a big yard and long driveway for the kids to run, ride bikes, and play sports to work off some of that energy.

At Christmas we are reminded of the amazing birth of Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us).  He was not just a man, He was truly God come to earth

The question becomes, “Why did Jesus have to come?” It was because of sin breaking the perfect relationship between God and man God humbled Himself and left heaven to come in flesh to live and give His life as a payment for sin.

It is by grace through faith that we accept His gift of forgiveness by repenting (acknowledging and turning away) of our sin and following His lead in our lives.

It is for this cause that we give our lives to serve Him here in Wisconsin and wherever God has us. We pray that this Christmas you would receive the most amazing gift in the world has ever been given: God’s forgiveness.


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Chris & Jenny – We are blessed to have been married 18 years. This year Chris celebrated his 40th birthday when Jenny put on a surprise party. Jenny homeschools the three oldest and finds time to decorate and create some beautiful projects.

Law_101417-32Isabella (13) – This Spring Isabella started her first garden and did an amazing job watering, weeding, and enjoying the huge harvest. She loves learning about gardening and hopes to have some chickens next year.

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Brennen (9) – 
Brennen is willing to play any sport with any person who will join him. Lord willing, he has 3 more months of treatment and then will have to go back once a month for blood labs to ensure the leukemia hasn’t returned.

law_101417-28.jpgEddie (7) – Eddie is “Mr. Giggles.” His laugh is infectious and he genuinely cares about everyone he meets. He is often found striking up conversations with random people and he loves to hear their stories.

law_101417-24.jpgElijah (5) – Elijah marches at the beat of his own drum. Sometimes that is slow. Sometimes it is fast. He often has a serious face on but when he smiles, he lights up the room. There’s not a tractor or truck that he doesn’t’ want to play with.

law_101417-25.jpgHolden (4) – Holden keeps the family laughing with his funny faces and comments. He is always trying to keep up with his big brothers on their bikes or climbing trees.

law_101417-34.jpgAynsLeigh (22 months) – She has her big brothers and sister wrapped around her finger. There’s hardly a moment when one of them isn’t wanting to play with her or carry her around.

 

3 Years

This morning, as I was driving to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee with Brennen and Eddie for Brennen’s treatment, I realized that it was three years ago today that we received word of his diagnosis.

I’ll never forget sitting in the room with Dr. Gates as he shared the results of Brennen’s labs. It was clear that his labs had turned for the worse and it would be clear that he had leukemia after another bone marrow biopsy.

We spent the following day with Mariano Friginal in Yosemite. He captured some amazing photos that will forever be some of our family favorites.

A lot has transpired over the past three years. In some ways, a lot has changed. We know more medical terms than we’d prefer to. The little boy that sat on that exam table is not so little any more. We’ve added another member of our family, and, oh, we have moved to Wisconsin. 🙂 In other ways, life has stood still. Much of our family’s life has been focused on making sure Brennen gets the care he needs. I am thankful for how his siblings have been such a support. They have traveled countless miles, sat countless hours in the van waiting, and even had the opportunity to join him in his treatments.

Through it all, we can testify that God has given us the strength to make it through each day. Many of the days have been good but there have been those days in which we have grieved over the physical state of Brennen. I am so grateful for the good health that Brennen has and we pray that he continues to stay cancer free for the rest of his life.

IMG_5978.JPGLord willing, we have 117 more days of treatment, 117 more doses of medications, 4 more weeks of steroids, 3 more regular clinic visits, 1 more spinal tap visit, and 1 surgery to have Brennen’s mediport removed.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray that Brennen stays cancer free and that there will be no long-term side effects of treatment.

 

Thankful For Change

Brennen went back to Children’s Hospital for blood labs to see if his immune system was gaining strength. We are grateful that his ANC (a picture of how strong your immune system is) came back at 400. It’s a great number compared to the 32 he had on Tuesday but we pray that it will continue to rise.

During this phase of treatment the doctors want to see it between 500-1500 (a typical person’s ANC would be somewhere between 4000-6000). He will continue to hold off on taking his daily chemo until his ANC is over 750. We will be taking more labs sometime next week to ensure he is continuing to strengthen.

Thank you for praying for Brennen. Please pray that we continue to see his ANC rise and that he would stay free of any sicknesses that could easily tear down his immune system when it’s so weak.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”             — James 1:2-4