A Much Needed Break

The past couple months have been a challenging time for Brennen and our family. The inpatient treatments have been wearing on Brennen’s body and have caused us to be separated quite a bit. We are grateful for the strength the Lord has provided and praise Him that we are done with this phase.

We have a two-week break in Brennen’s treatments and decided to try to spend some intentional time as a family to try to regroup and relax. We were trying to think of what to do to take a break and the Lord provided a place for us to stay in Shaver Lake for a few days. What a blessing! We have been taking in the beautiful scenery, cool weather, and warm fires to make some more special memories as a family.

Please pray for us that we might be able to “re-boot” a bit as a family. Pray for Brennen as he has had a couple mouth sores and his appetite comes and goes. He starts the next round of chemo on June 1st.

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Homeward Bound!

There’s nothing better than hearing “You’re going home!” Please know, we are thankful the nurses and staff here at Valley Children’s but there’s nothing quite like being home and with those whom you love. 🙂

This officially marks the end of this 8-Week phase of treatment. We have the next two weeks off to allow Brennen’s body to recover from the heavy chemo he has received in this phase. Hopefully, we will be able to reconnect and recharge as a family. These past eight weeks have been stretching for our family because the inpatient treatments split us up.

There’s still a long road ahead of us but it is good to see another phase be completed. We are scheduled to begin the next phase (4-weeks) on June 1. Those treatments are weekly trips to the clinic here at Valley Children’s.

Thank you for everyone who has been praying around the clock. We are continually humbled by everyone’s support as we walk this path God has set for us. Please continue to pray that Brennen will be free from nauseousness, mouth sores, and that he will have a good appetite for eating and drinking.

Another Day Down

IMG_7411 IMG_7413 IMG_7418 IMG_7419-1 IMG_7421-1 IMG_7422-3 IMG_7433-2 IMG_7434Last night was a busy night in Room 1632! The Cox’s brought us dinner, Braun’s brought an after dinner Jamba Juice, and then the “Sanchi” (Sanchez’s) helped us close out the night. Needles to say, Brennen had a full day and ended up sleeping 2 hours past his normal wake up time this morning! 🙂 What a HUGE blessing everyone was to us.

Brennen finished his chemo at 10:20p last night and today was a day of just trying to get his body to flush the chemo out. Fortunately, we had a few more friends stop by and help the day go by. Someone asked me this evening if we were bored today and for this trip, it hasn’t been possible and for that, we are so grateful! The Hamilton’s stopped by this morning with scones, a ladies choir serenaded us, then Brennen putted on the green outside with Diane & Andrew Bohan.

Brennen had a hard time eating today. Nothing had smelled or seemed good to eat but then he started seriously craving Chipotle. Through a friend in Idaho (Gretchen Moldenhauer) contacting an old friend in Fresno, Brennen had Chipotle delivered and it never tasted better. Thank you Tami! Brennen began eating the burrito bowl like he hadn’t eaten in weeks. Finally, the night finished off with a visit from the Cheney’s.

Our hearts were full of love for everyone who has taken time out of their busy lives to bless us with a visit. The time has flown by!

We are trusting that Brennen’s chemo levels will be low enough to go home sometime tomorrow (Friday). Please pray that they will fall below 0.1. It is slightly slower dropping this time compared to last but the doctors have said there’s not really any consistency from one treatment to another. We are ready to finish off this phase of treatment and get back home with our family that we miss dearly!

Visitors Make It All Better

Brennen has been doing well today. He has about 5 more hours of the chemo left and then we wait for the chemo levels to drop from his bloodstream to go home. He is definitely ready for it to be done because he is not allowed to leave the wing while chemo is running.

IMG_0520IMG_7401-1We have been thankful for “virtual visitors” like Jenny and the kids back home (like our family photo?) and also visitors of the physical kind, even furry ones. Ginger, a Pomeranian care dog stopped by for a visit. Jenny’s cousin Becca and three of her kids (Tyler, Jordan, and Cooper) stopped by and played an exciting game of Sorry. They also brought a container of cookies that Brennen was able to share with Doctor Ti, nurses, and another patient on our wing. It was fun to be able to see the reaction of people as Brennen shared what had been given to him.

Have you ever spent much time in a hospital? I think it would be good for every one of us to spend a couple days in a hospital bed. I believe that my time with Brennen and times that I’ve visited people in the hospital/care facility as a pastor, have helped me to realize how many lonely people there are all around us. Brennen is fortunate to be able to get up and move around but there are many who are bedridden and have nobody coming by to even say hi to them.

I’ve been reminded that the enemy of relationships is busyness. Unfortunately, even good things can become bad when they begin to consume our time and cause us to lose sight of the people God has placed around us. Each person around us is an opportunity to share Christ.

Christ was a perfect example for us to see how He responded to people. Christmas is the celebration of His leaving heaven and coming to earth to save us from our sins. From the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry He was focused on people. Even in the midst of busy times of teaching and training His disciples He took time for those around Him. At the root of His desire to spend time with them was to share the truth of salvation: the truth that He had come to earth to  give His life as a sacrifice for their sins.

Maybe there is a neighbor who has no family around or is a shut in that you can stop by and visit with. Maybe there is a hospital that you can volunteer at. Take some time to see what positions God has put you in that you can serve others and share the hope of salvation in Christ.

While I write these words we should be reminded that Jesus also took time to get away to pray and rest. It is possible to be doing too much and not taking the time to rest and reflect. May God open our eyes to the needs of others around us. May we reflect His incarnation in the way we serve others each day.

Are We Done Yet?

IMG_7387No. We’re not done yet. We’ve actually just begun. After a long day, at about 10:30 tonight, Brennen started his final 24-hour chemo. If things go as they have the last three treatments we will be able to go home Friday.

There are a number of people who have been praying for Brennen at specific times and I’d ask you to pray again this week. We truly covet your prayers. God has used each of you to encourage us in ways it is hard to explain.

We are grateful for Valley Children’s Hospital and the staff here. It is a great place but a six-year-old boy gets pretty stir crazy after even a few hours of being in his room. I guess it rubs off on his dad as well. 🙂

Prayer Requests:
– Good appetite for good food
– No nauseousness from the chemo
– A thankful spirit towards the nurses and staff at the hospital

Delayed

Just a quick update! The hospital called and due to space issues needed to change Brennens admission date to tomorrow. This means he should begin his chemo treatment tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for your continued care for our family and prayers for Brennen. 

Catching Our Breath?

As the week began Jenny and I were thankful for the week ahead to catch our breath from the busyness of the last few weeks but the Lord has had a different plan in store for us.

It all began with Brennen not feeling well the past week and struggling to eat. Then, late Monday night Holden began throwing up. We then set up the quarantine 🙂 and thought we had it under control until this morning Eddie began throwing up.

This week God has reminded me of the following verse:

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

It can be discouraging when we have plans but we know that God’s ways are good and we trust the work He is doing to grow us through this. We also pray that none of the rest of us, especially Brennen, get this sickness.

Jenny has been an amazing mom, teacher, clean-up crew, in the midst of all the challenges. I wish this Mother’s Day week wasn’t turning out this way but it is just another testimony to the amazing wife that God has blessed me with (Proverbs 31:10) and the amazing mom our children have!

Yesterday we found out that Brennen’s counts are high enough to have this last inpatient treatment for this phase. We will travel over to Fresno on Monday to be admitted and begin the 24-hour treatment sometime later in the day.

Please pray:
– That Brennen’s appetite will return
– That Brennen and the rest of us will stay healthy
– That God will protect Brennen from the long term side effects of the chemotherapy (specifically cognitive function).
– Endurance for all the family as Brennen continues treatments.