A Milestone Reached

IMG_9016 September is Childhood Cancer Awareness so Eddie, Elijah, and I shaved our heads to support Brennen. Did you know that more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health related issue by the time they are 45 years of age? These health related issues are side-effects of either the cancer or more commonly, the result of its treatment.
▪ 1/3 will suffer severe and chronic side effects;
▪ 1/3 will suffer moderate to severe health problems;
▪ 1/3 will suffer slight to moderate side effects.

Last Monday Brennen finished another phase of his treatments. This phase was one that only kids with a very high risk group have to go through. Thankfully, he made it through pretty well and now we hope to start a new phase on Monday. This next phase is a milestone because he will enter what is called “Maintenance” for the next 2 1/2-3 years.

These first 10 months have been filled weekly treatments and high-doses of different chemotherapies to try to hit the leukemia hard. Now, the goal is to hit his body with low doses of chemo every day. The chemo will be in the form of pills and monthly treatments in the clinic. Doctors know if they were to stop treatment that the leukemia would come back.

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for Brennen. He continues to remain in good spirits and is excited that his hair is starting to grow back. It’s really blonde and fine but there is hair there. 🙂 I love these photos that Brennen took of him and his brothers. 🙂

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I hope the next time I post an update that I will be sharing the good news that he is starting Maintenance!

Amazing Love!

I just couldn’t help but to share this video. During Brennen’s treatment he does random things to help the time pass. The other day Jenny caught Brennen singing a great Hymn while doing homework during his treatment.

I love the part that he is singing because he is declaring how Jesus Christ, who is God, came to die for us as sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. Good works can’t pay for our sin. Our sin separates us from God and condemns us to hell. BUT, the good news is that Romans 6:23 says, “The wages (consequence) of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Forgiveness of sin is received when we admit we have sinned and ask God to forgive our sin. Then, out of thankfulness, we seek to live as He has commanded.

Charles Wesley wrote the entire hymn to recall the work that God did in his life to save him. I pray that this hymn can be true of each of you who watch this video and read this post. CLICK HERE to listen to our family’s favorite arrangement of the song by Enfield.

“And Can It Be” by Charles Wesley

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shoulds’t die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

One Step at a Time

Dr. Razzaqi

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Honestly, I didn’t know that until cancer hit my life last fall. As we were waiting for the diagnosis of Brennen we began to find out so much about childhood cancer and it was shocking. Did you know:

  • Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children.
  • 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer (10,450 ages 0 to 14, and 5,330 ages 15 to 19) (1)
  • The average age at diagnosis is 6 years old (Brennen’s age at diagnosis), while adults’ average age for cancer diagnosis is 66 (9)
  • Childhood cancer is not one disease – there are 16 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes.(1)
Sedation Services Nurses

Sadly, while these facts show how prevalent it is we also see . . .

  • For 2014, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) budget was $4.9 billion. It is anticipated that childhood cancer will receive only 4% of that sum or $195 million. (Who do you see on advertisements for them? . . . kids but not much money doesn’t go there.)
  • Since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer –-including those specifically for children and those for both children and adult–compared with hundreds of drugs that have been developed specifically for adults.
  • For many of the childhood cancers, the same treatments that existed in the 1970’s continue without change as of 2014.

I understand the challenges that researchers face trying to do trials on children but it’s shocking when you begin to understand how much cancer impacts.

IMG_6241Yesterday marked the 9 month mark of treatment for Brennen. We have be so thankful for all the nurses, doctors, and staff that have given of their time and energy to care for him. He had another treatment last Thursday (9/3) and we are scheduled to go back next Monday (9/14). Next Monday, if his counts are high enough to receive treatment, will be the last treatment before we enter into the maintenance phase two weeks later. This is a big milestone but also a reminder of the long road ahead.

Back in April & May we asked you to commit to praying for Brennen every day. Would you consider praying for 15 minutes each day over the next week? We know that God is all-powerful and we want to continue depending on Him for strength for each day.

  • Praise Him for using the treatments to take the leukemia away.
  • Pray He will keep the leukemia from reoccurring during maintenance.
  • Pray that He will keep the long-term side effects away.
  • Pray for Isabella, Eddie, Elijah, & Holden as they do a lot of extra traveling to and from appointments.
  • Pray for the transition from Children’s Hospital in Madera (Fresno) to Milwaukee.
  • Pray for our family as we move in October.

Thank you!

“Tackling an NFL Quarterback” – New Commercial Released

A while back Brennen had the opportunity to be involved in another commercial for Valley Children’s Hospital. The commercial was released this past week and features NFL quarterback Derek Carr. Even though he plays for a team that will remain unnamed in our family (Sorry Marcus & Phil), he is a great Christian man and it was fun to meet him and be part of the shoot. Brennen’s favorite part was trying to tackle him to the ground.

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CLICK HERE – to watch video.

You can hear the story of Derek Carr’s son Dallas who was treated at Valley Children’s Hospital here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjA4iQ6LInI 

Here’s some shots from behind the scenes at the commercial.