Tipping Our Hat to TopHAT

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In my last update on Brennen I shared about his wish and how Make-A-Wish of Wisconsin was helping make it become a reality. Recently, we learned that a local company, TopHAT, that takes care of delivery for many stores around the United States, was working with Make-A-Wish to help fundraise. What was even more personal about it was they were fundraising within their company to help underwrite some of the costs of Brennen’s Disney cruise!

When we found out about it we asked if there may be a chance that we could meet some of the people from the company and say, “Thank You” for their generosity. Yesterday, we were able to do just that!

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Everyone was so welcoming to each of us. It felt like they rolled out the red carpet for us with some tasty treats, gift bags for all the kids, and they even arranged a visit from Mickey Mouse (with theme music). We were able to share a bit of Brennen’s story with the TopHAT staff while Brennen and a couple of the boys played some indoor volleyball with Steve and Brian. 🙂 We were so thankful for their support of Brennen. It is humbling to see all that they did in promoting it within their company in the photos on their Facebook page. They actually raised over their goal and the extra will go to help other wish recipients. The photo above is Brennen with two of the owners Brian and Steve along with Courtney, who helped coordinate the fundraiser.

As they days get closer to Brennen’s trip (67 and counting) we continue to thank God for the health that He has given Brennen. Even with the daily chemo and other medicines he takes we don’t ever see him slow down. If he could have his way, he would be outside playing every moment of the day.

Brennen goes on Monday for his monthly treatment in the clinic and it will be one in which they put him to sleep to put chemo in his spine. We appreciate your prayers for Brennen as he does not like the “falling asleep” part.

This Thanksgiving, as with each day, we have so many blessings to thank God for. We pray that this Thanksgiving each one of us can say with the wise King Solomon, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”” Lamentations 3:22-24

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Wishes Coming True!

The last few months have brought a bit of normalcy in the rhythm of Brennen’s treatments. He takes his usual medications daily and every 28 days goes in to Children’s for a treatment. We are thankful that he has been very active this summer doing the things 8-year old boys love to do. He and some friends even took a 21-mile hike around Lake Geneva!

Over a year ago Brennen sat down with Make-A-Wish volunteers in San Luis Obispo, CA. When they asked him if he could do anything his answer was, “a Disney cruise to DisneyWorld.” He had seen magazines talking about how you could do a short cruise and then spend a couple days at DisneyWorld. The volunteers said that sounded like a lot of fun but Make-A-Wish let him know that it is a policy between them and Disney that they can’t do the combined trip but could do one or the other. Brennen thought about it and decided to wish for a Disney Cruise!  (keep reading below photos)

Fast-forward a year. I was contacted and asked to make a “little visit” to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s offices. Upon our arrival they surprised Brennen with a scavenger hunt around their office. As Brennen and the rest of the kids hunted around their offices for clues, each clue contained a piece of a puzzle that when he put together and found out that they were granting his wish. He is going on a 5-day cruise to the Caribbean at the end of January and the rest of the family gets to go too! We will be stopping in Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited he was to find out about the cruise. From time to time he’s asked me if I’ve heard anything or if I think his wish might be able to be granted. He understood that a wish is something special and we never know if it’s possible to have it happen. To see the amazing staff at Make-A-Wish work so hard to make it happen makes me so grateful and humbled.

As Jenny and I have talked about the cruise we thought how amazing it would be to try to do the part that Make-A-Wish is not able to. We have spoken with Make-A-Wish and they have said we can extend our flights to allow us to go from Miami up to DisneyWorld. We are excited to start saving and fundraising to make this “surprise” part of the trip happen!

Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we trust our gracious God’s plan for our lives!

A Long Overdue Update

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Isabella practicing her camera skills making sure to pose Brennen just right
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“CHEESE!” (Wisconsin cheese that is)

We have been grateful that there hasn’t been much to update you on regarding Brennen’s health and treatment. We thank God for His kindness in providing amazing health and strength as Brennen continues His treatment. As you can see by the photos in this post Brennen is a very active 7-year old. He loves spending time playing ultimate frisbee and other sports with all the boys in our church.

Though there hasn’t been much to report I don’t want my silence to give the feeling we don’t need or appreciate your support and prayers. We believe that God has blessed us through your faithful prayers and our journey is anything but done. Brennen’s body is in a constant state of being compromised due to the chemotherapy and any infection could be a big hit to his body.

Brennen continues his treatment at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee once a month and takes at least one medication each day at home. Since Brennen’s treatment last week was a shorter one Eddie was able to go into the hospital and see what happens. We want our other children to be involved and see the benefits for Brennen and them to be going through things together.

Recently, our local Costco was doing a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Brennen enjoyed telling them thanks when we were shopping there and seeing all the paper balloons on the wall that represented donations.

In just a couple weeks our entire family is doing a 3K walk in downtown Chicago for the Leukemia Research Foundation. The kids have enjoyed “practicing” for the walk around Williams Bay where we live.

Again, thank you for your continued support through your words of encouragement and prayer.

 

A Small Reminder of Reality

IMG_1360Last Monday Brennen had his monthly treatment at Children’s in Milwaukee. It was a short visit because he didn’t do the procedure where they put him to sleep. He only has to do it once every three months now. With his short treatment it allowed us to take AynsLeigh to the zoo for the first time and enjoy the day.

On our way home from Milwaukee I called Children’s to see what his blood labs looked like and asked if we needed to modify his medications at all. The nurse I spoke with said she didn’t have his ANC (number that gives a picture of his immune system’s strength) but said it was okay to keep his medications the same.

Tuesday morning I received a call from our Nurse Practitioner at Children’s and she said that Brennen’s ANC was 153 and we needed to hold chemo. Those words came as a shock to Jenny and I. Any ANC below 500 means his immune system is not able to fight off any infection that he may pick up. A normal person’s ANC is usually between 4,000-6,000. He has not had an ANC that low in well over 6 months! We were instructed to hold chemo and to try to keep him rested for his body to recover.

Hearing his ANC number that low brought back a lot of memories of a year ago. Memories of needing to keep Brennen away from public places and regularly checking his temperature to ensure he didn’t have a fever. Life was consumed with thinking about his health every moment of every day. Over the past few months Brennen’s hair has grown back, he has had a lot of energy, treatment at the hospital is once a month, and it has even felt a bit like “normal,” even if we can’t define what normal means. 🙂 With the drop in his ANC this week it has reminded me that the battle with leukemia is long from over. We still have over 2 more years of treatment and that means over 2 more years of living with the possibilities of hospitalization due to fever/infection.

This morning we went to our local lab for blood work and we praise God that his ANC is back up to 966! We are thankful his counts are back up and it seems, by God’s kindness, that we are out of the woods this time. We will continue to monitor him and the goal of this phase of treatment is to keep his ANC between 500-1500.

This week has been a reminder of how much we continue to need your prayers for Brennen. While he may not be hospitalized or in the beginning stages of treatment our dependence upon the Lord in prayer for healing and strength is continually needed.

As a family we were reading in Psalm 10 this morning and it was speaking of how we can tend to be prideful and say, “There is no God!” (Psalm 10:4) and we can fail to acknowledge Him  when things are going well. We can easily think that our lives are in our control and we don’t need God. Yet, Psalm 54:4 reminds us, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder [sustainer] of my life.” God is the giver of life (1 Timothy 6:13). He  orders our steps (Proverbs 16:9). He has numbered our days (Psalm 139:16). May we in response pray Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Thank you for continuing to pray for Brennen and our family. May God continue to grow our faith in Him as we pray He does in your lives.

An Exciting and Unexpected Delay

The word “delayed” is not usually what you want to hear when you are in the middle of treatments for cancer. Last Monday, February 1st, Brennen was to have his next round of chemo at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. As we were getting ready for bed the night before Jenny looked at me and said, “I think the baby is coming very soon.” After a short night’s sleep Jenny and I were not on our way to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee but headed to a different hospital for Jenny to deliver our new baby girl!

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IMG_1145AynsLeigh Dawn Law was born at 9:08a and weighing in at 9lb, 15oz and 22” long. She is well loved by all her siblings and we are settling into a new and fun phase of life. It’s been a while since we have seen pink baby clothes around our home!

Brennen is a wonderful big brother. He loves to hold her and rock her to sleep. If he had it his way, he would just hold her all day and not do his school work. 🙂

The doctors and staff at Children’s were excited when they called to reschedule Brennen’s treatment for this Monday (2/8). With AynsLeigh’s birth, Jenny decided to stay home with the kids and I just took Brennen up to Children’s. We had a fun drive through a snow storm to get there but we made it safely and his treatments went very smoothly.

IMG_1158As any proud Denver Bronco fan would do, Brennen wore his Payton Manning jersey to the hospital on Monday. Living here in Wisconsin it’s considered by many a mortal sin to not be a Green Bay Packer’s fan but we sure enjoyed being Bronco fans this year. Papa & Nana gave all the kids Carolina Panthers sweatshirts/jerseys for Christmas but we only rooted for the Broncos during the Super Bowl. All the doctors and nurses made comments about Brennen wearing his jersey and he loved telling them about the big game (even though he fell asleep with 5 minutes left in the game).

Brennen continues to stay very healthy and we are very thankful we don’t see any of the side effects that often accompany the chemo. His next treatment in on Leap Day (2/29) and he will only have a short chemo that day.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Brennen. It is only by God’s sovereign grace and kindness that Brennen remains strong during his treatment. Unless he has a relapse, we have 779 days left of treatment.

Make-A-Wish

IMG_0337It’s been a while since I last wrote an update on Brennen. In God’s kindness, he continues to do really well. Life has begun to get a bit more “normal” with school, family, and our new life here in Wisconsin. Most people walking by him would have no idea that he is battling cancer and has over 2 years left of treatment. Today he even had to get a haircut because he no longer takes the chemo that causes hair loss. His hair has come back incredibly soft and he gets annoyed when I try to rub it.

As far as treatment goes, he visits Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin every 28 days for treatment and takes at least one medication each day at home. Some days, unfortunately, he has to take up to 13 pills. I’m thankful he does a great job of not complaining and swallows them easily with a spoonful of applesauce. Occasionally we will forget and have to wake him up late at night. One of these days I’ll have to post a video of him taking his medicine half asleep. 🙂

Each Friday night we usually have pizza and a family movie. Last night we watched “Batkid Begins.” It is a documentary of a 5-year old boy who had just finished his leukemia treatments. His “wish” was to be Batman for a day. The story went viral and thousands of people showed up to San Francisco to help his wish come true. As the parents shared the backstory tears began to flow from Jenny and my eyes because of how similar we felt as this journey began. It was a great documentary and I would recommend anyone watching it to see a unique wish being granted.

It’s funny that we were planning on watching “Batkid Begins” last night because I needed up speaking with the Wisconsin chapter of Make-A-Wish yesterday. We began the wish process while in California and were transferred here. I won’t spill the beans as to what it is yet but Make-A-Wish has said they are happy to grant a modified version of his wish! It looks like we need to wait until late this fall to see his wish be granted. The hardest part is that Jenny and I have to keep it a secret from Brennen until there’s a Make-A-Wish party to reveal his wish.

I am thankful for the many Make-A-Wish volunteers and staff around the U.S. and the world. As a family who has a child battling an illness it is a blessing to have an organization such as Make-A-Wish.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Brennen and our family. We are not out of the woods and there is still a long road ahead. Most days are good but discouragement can settle in when we least expect it. We need your prayers. Please also pray for Jenny as our new baby girl is due in the next couple weeks. We are excited to welcome her to our family!