The last two weeks have been pretty challenging for Brennen and our family. He has had his usual Monday appointments but has also needed to go into the clinic Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as for chemotherapy. We love our van but it gets to be pretty small when we are spending this much time in it driving. We are thankful that there is a clinic in San Luis Obispo (45 minutes away) that we have been connected with that we can receive some basic chemo treatments and not have to drive the three hours to Fresno.
Last week Brennen had a day of sickness as a reaction to treatment. I cannot be more proud of how he handled being sick every 30 minutes. God has blessed Brennen with a great attitude of dealing with all the things that have come with the treatment of his leukemia. Jenny and I had panned on surprise trip into Yosemite for the day for the kids but we weren’t sure what to do since he was sick. Brennen didn’t want his sickness to keep us from going and seeing where the climbers on El Capitan had climbed. We were grateful that the sickness went away and we had a great time, though it ended up being shorter than we had originally planned.
We love Yosemite! As we were there we stood in awe of the amazing landscapes that God has created. Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, and Yosemite Falls. Standing at the base of the 3,000 foot rock wall that is El Capitan you realize how small you are. Yet, as we stood in wonder of the creation around us, we were reminded of how mankind is God’s ultimate creation. We are God’s ultimate creation because it was only us that God “breathed the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7) and made us in His image (Genesis 1:27). God has created 6 billion statues to show His glory. Do you see it? Sadly, Romans 1:25 shows what we can often do when seeing God’s creation, “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”
It is our prayer as a family that as we seek to know God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible that each one of you would know Him as not just creator, but also savior from our sins.
Thank you for continuing to remember Brennen and our family in prayer!
Today Brennen went back to Children’s Hospital to see if he could start the second round of chemotherapy. We needed his ANC (ability to fight off infection) to be 750+ to proceed. We were not very hopeful because his levels were only 340 last week and he had a cold this past week which would tend to keep them down. They drew blood and when the results came back it was 2550! We are praising God for that great news. Please keep praying that his number will stay above 750 so he can continue treatments each week.
So, today Brennen officially began the 2nd phase of his treatment. The doctors have told us that this phase will take about 8 treatments. The next few phases are the more intense phases where he has to avoid public places and is at a higher risk of infections, etc. In general, it will will be a busy time for him and all of our family.
We are overwhelmed by God’s provision and encouragement through many different People. He is truly faithful to provide exactly what we need each day.
Over the past week, Brennen has been so encouraged by people who have shaved their heads in support of him. Yesterday morning at church there were quite a few bald heads around the auditorium. 🙂 Today he said that he thinks #TeamBrennen is up to 20 people! Below are some of the more recent recruits to the team.
Thank you your prayers and support of our family. God is using you to encourage our hearts daily.
Brennen’s hair has been thinning over the last week or two and he was very excited to shave it.
There were mixed emotions while shaving it because it’s a visible reminder of his sickness.
Multiple people have encouraged Brennen by shaving their head too: His cousin Quinton, myself, his grandpa (although mostly bald already), Great-Uncle Dave (honorable mention since he’s already bald), cousin Jefferson, and cousin Boston. 🙂 He has been pretty quiet from being overwhelmed at everyone’s support. Check out the bottom of this post for photos of #TeamBrennen.
Now that we know the chemo has been effective in helping treat Brennen’s leukemia we move into the next stage of his treatment. In this stage, to receive chemo his ANC, which is his ability to fight off infection, must be at 750 or more.
Unfortunately, today when he went in his ANC was only at 340. At that level we have to wait until next week to check again and see if we can begin this next phase. This is just another thing that the Lord is teaching us to trust Him and to wait on His timing.
Since he wasn’t able to receive treatment today we had some extra time to visit great grandma Grace before heading back home to Cambria.
Some people have asked, “If the leukemia is gone, why continue chemotherapy?”
Brennen’s form of Leukemia (A.L.L-B) typically responds quickly to chemotherapy but if we were to stop treatment now it would come back. Studies have shown that for boys with Brennen’s type of leukemia the treatment is three or more years to keep it from coming back.
We continue praising God for answering our prayer last week in that the chemotherapy is working, and we don’t need to do a bone marrow transplant. We continue to ask Him for strength and patience to trust Him for the journey ahead.
It may sound like I’m contradicting myself except today we received that Brennen’s bone marrow biopsy results came back today testing NEGATIVE for any leukemia left in the bone marrow!
We praise God for His answer to our prayers and using the chemo treatments to rid Brennen’s body of leukemia.
We needed to be under .01% and the tests came back 0.0 and they can go as sensitive as .001%. The doctor was really excited to share the great news with us that he contacted me today. We were supposed to find out on Monday.
So, as of today, Brennen’s leukemia is officially in remission! That does not mean cured. We still have a long road of more chemo to ensure the leukemia doesn’t return If he is to stay leukemia free for 5 years he will be considered “cured.”
Please continue to pray that the chemo is effective, that the leukemia doesn’t reoccur, and that God will be our strength on this continuing journey as this next phase is said to be a hard 10 months on both Brennen’s body and our family.
Yesterday, I preached from Psalm 62 where the Psalmist writes, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (verses 5-8).
Waiting is difficult. From the first time Brennen went into the hospital we did several tests that took two months for us to get a diagnosis. Over the past month we’ve been waiting to see if the chemotherapy would work during long visits. And now this week we’re waiting to see the official results from the bone marrow biopsy taken today.
If the cancer levels in his body are low enough they will just continue the chemotherapy. If they are above the threshold chemotherapy will continue but we will have to be looking into a bone marrow transplant in the near future.
We are grateful that as we wait, we are waiting on a true and sovereign God. One who knows and controls the future and gives us grace as we walk this journey.
Please continue to pray for Brennen to continue to heal. Also remember the rest of the kids who are dealing with a lot of changes in our family life as we are driving back-and-forth to Fresno each Monday. It is 150 miles one way from our door to the hospital.
Today Brennen went back in for another visit in the clinic for chemo. It turned out to be a much longer day than we anticipated due to high volume of children and him needing a blood transfusion.
Brennen did really well again as they accessed his Mediport. One of the child life specialists named Joy was there and had distracted Brennen so much that he didn’t even know that they did it.
He was able to do a craft that Kary Klock from our church had given him. He was able to share an extra one with one of the girls having treatment as well.
We had a really nice visit from Michael Cox, a fellow pastor. We are so grateful for everybody who has been an encouragement to us.
As I was sitting in the clinic my heart was heavy for all of the other families that are going through treatment for different kinds of cancer. One little girl was just diagnosed today while another little girl has only 2 more treatments. It reminds me that cancer does not discriminate on race, sex, or age.
Please pray for Brennen as he will be having a bone marrow biopsy next week and we will know the results on January 12. Those results determine the next step in his treatment plan. We are praying that the chemotherapy is working and that he will not need a bone marrow transplant.
Soli Deo Gloria
I have always been grateful for the times to be together at Christmas but this Christmas is a little extra special.
After being a family divided a couple weeks ago when Brennen was in the hospital I’m thankful the Lord has protected him from any fevers or anything else that would send us back in the hospital.
Sometimes when I look at Brennan and see him laughing and playing with his siblings I’m grateful for the strength he has today.
2000 years ago Mary and Joseph knew the future of their son and yet continue to walk by faith and not by sight. Today, Jenny and I don’t know the future of our son and we seek to follow in Mary and Joseph’s footsteps and to trust our Lord’s good plan.