Last week Brennen only had to have a blood draw so it allowed us a break to enjoy the beginning of summer. Brennen was able to have swim lessons. He definitely slept well after a great workout in the hot sun in Paso Robles.
To finish off the week Brennen was asked to be part of a couple television commercial shoots for Valley Children’s Hospital with Derek Carr from the Oakland Raiders. While we really don’t care for the Raiders we are thankful for Derek’s outspoken faith and example in the NFL. Watch a video about it HERE Next week we are back into the regular routine again.
When grandparents are able to be around it makes everything special. Everyone seems to enjoy life a little bit more. Such was the case on Monday as went back to Fresno for Brennen to receive 2 different kinds of chemo. Brennen’s Nana from North Carolina was in town and was able to help him pass the time doing water colors and other fun stuff. It was a “short” 2 1/2-hour appointment for 25 minutes of chemo.
Brennen has been doing pretty well and it was nice to have a week off the steroids but we are back on them for another week now. The steroids increase mood swings and hunger and can bring some challenges. The strength of his immune system has dropped pretty significantly with the chemo he has been receiving.
We are thankful that next Monday (6/22) we only have to drive to San Luis Obispo (35 miles) to do blood work. The schedule of treatment gives the body breaks to try to recover a bit after getting hit hard with chemo.
The other day I was reviewing our mileage to and from doctor appointments and realized that God has graciously protected us as we have driven over 7,100 miles since January 5th. Most of those miles are on a 2-lane highway in the middle of nowhere.
We want to thank you for your continued prayers for Brennen and the rest of our family. We are thankful for the notes of encouragement and especially the passages of God’s Word that have been given. This has been a challenge on all of us, with a lot still ahead, but God has been gracious to give us strength. Life doesn’t stop when leukemia or any other crisis hits your family. Kids need fed, diapers need changed, potty training happens alongside the road, and school is wherever we happen to be. Each day we learn more of what it means to trust God’s plan he has for our life.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
I am glad that it is God who does it because I lack the wisdom and the ability to do anything in my own strength. Since it is He who is leading and providing strength we pray that He alone receives the glory.
Yesterday (June 1) Brennen started the next phase of his treatments. Having the last 17 days off was a great encouragement to Brennen and to us as a family but it also made going back into the clinic yesterday much more difficult. Last week, as Jenny and I were talking through our upcoming schedule she said, “The hard part about having time off is that it makes you think that your life is normal.” We thank the Lord for the scheduled break as it allowed us to catch our breath a bit.
Brennen was pretty nervous going back in and especially for the procedure that they have to put him to sleep to administer chemo in his spine. The weird sensation of falling asleep has always bothered him. Thankfully, he made it through like a champ. The previous phase of chemo was difficult on his organs. This phase is more difficult on his immune system.
The aspect of this phase of treatment that Jenny and I have been praying the most for is that he is on a steroid for 7 days, then off for 7, and then back on for another 7. The particular steroid he is on is significantly stronger than prednisone and the side effects are extreme irritability and hunger. It’s been 6 months since he had to be on them and we’ve been thankful for that. Please pray that God will give him the grace to control the range of emotions and that Jenny and I will know how to shepherd him through these challenges.
One fun thing that happened yesterday is that we had a new nurse in the hospital clinic. As we were talking to her we found out that she was from Seattle and happened to be a nurse for the daughter of a pastor that I know up there. He has been a huge encouragement to me as I’ve been able to talk through the challenges of a child with cancer and how to walk through it with your church. We look forward to the blessing of one of her nurses caring for Brennen in the future.