Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feeling Better!

Slade has been moving around a bit today and eating and drinking a little bit more.  I am feeling much better than I was last night and am going to attempt to sing tonight! No matter how it sounds, to God be the glory.  Thanks so much for your prayers for all of us.  Blessings to you all!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Whitney

Keep Praying

Slade is making progress, drinking some and having a few cheerios, she is crying a lot in her sleep and very restless.  It's almost midnight now and she is crying. Poor girl.
I seem to be close to miserable with tons of pressure in my head, sneezing, aches, chills and even jaw pain - huh?  Anyway.  Pray that tomorrow is a brand new day.  It's CHRISTMAS EVE!  Unless a miracle happens overnight I don't think I'll be singing tomorrow.  Sad. :-(  I was looking forward to being with my worship team family tomorrow night.

Ultimately though, this is a praise report!  As of now no other family members have come down with anything.  Keep praying that coverage.  THANK YOU!

Goodnight!
Whit

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Little Prayer Please


Slade and I came down with a stomach bug yesterday and while I am feeling much better, poor Slade still can't keep anything down and has had a consistent fever of 100.  She is pitiful! Please pray for protection over the rest of our family.  All the Browns(my parents & sibs & kids) have been together here in Charleston since the weekend.  There are 16 of us!  Please pray no one else gets this nasty bug, especially Forester! I also seem to have come down with a cold as of last night.  I know!  !?!?  I'm supposed to be singing at church tomorrow night and a cold seriously complicates things.  Pray that this cold does not get in the way! Or better yet, just goes away!
I still have so much to do before Christmas morning and I so want it to be Forester's best Christmas ever after the year he's had.  Sickness was not part of my plan! Please also pray for me, that I can keep what really matters in perspective and not get too anxious about all of this.  I am really good at getting anxious...
Thank you for your prayers.  May God bless you!

Whitney

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yesterday's Labs & Hearing Test

Forester's labs were pretty good.  Everything is almost in the normal range except for his hemoglobin.  It continues to hover just under 9.  They usually transfuse if it goes under 9 but since it's not continuing to go down they want his body to recover on it's own. We don't have to go back for 2 weeks which is nice.

The results of Forester's hearing test showed that he has lost a little bit more in the higher tones.  I was told yesterday it's possible for him to lose even more as a residual effect from the chemo.  What can I say.  It's very disappointing and I'm sad.  I'm praying the hearing loss stops.  I really don't want him to have to have hearing aids on top of everything else he's endured.  I'm discouraged so I would really appreciate you praying in faith on my behalf.  My faith in this area feels a bit deflated.

Love,
Whitney

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Every one slept great last night! Thank you for your prayers!
-Whit

Monday, December 14, 2009

Transition

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post.  The wonderful Christmas craziness has begun and I haven't had a chance to update you. I never did finish a slideshow of Slade's first year.  After the New Year, I guess...

There isn't a whole lot to report.  Things have been going smoothly and Forester is doing well. We're still trying to adjust to this new schedule of normalcy!  After so much this year, I find it a little bit difficult to transition back into our old life.  Of course, it will never be our old life because that was a life without a child with cancer.  I was talking with another cancer-kid mom the other day and I said something like It's hard to imagine what life will be like when this is over.  And she posed the question: "Is cancer ever really over?"  I wasn't sure how to answer that.  Forester will have MRI scans for the rest of his life.  How do I not live in fear that his cancer will come back every time he gets a scan? Will it always define him?  Will it always define us?  I don't know. 

Right now, we're working on transitioning Forester back into school by sometime in January.  He has a lot of progress to make between now and then but I think we can do it.  The biggest challenges for him will be stamina and schedule.  He's used to taking a 2 hour nap everyday,  eating whatever he wants whenever he wants, and in general, a whole lot of flexibility.  We've started to cut out the naps and as of this evening Forester will finally be sleeping in his own room - not on the floor in our room like he has the last 10 months.  Kinda sounds like I'm transitioning an infant doesn't it?  All 3 kids in their beds by 8pm tonight sounds like a dream!  Pray that it goes well.  Forester wasn't too excited about leaving our bedside.  He's become quite attached to his little space in the corner.

Forester continues to go to the hospital clinic once a week for blood labs and this week he'll have another hearing test.  He'll have another MRI of his brain at the end of this month.  He still takes a handful of pills 3x times a day but hopefully as time goes on the amount of pills that he needs will decrease. Accutane will start back up after Christmas.

Hard to believe it's less than 2 weeks till Christmas!  Remember when you were a kid and it took forever for the month of December to go by?  We've really enjoyed getting ready.  We have a beautiful tree, lots of other decorations up and several Advent calendars.  The boys love counting down the days until Jesus' birthday and Santa's visit! Forester keeps reminding me that we really need to move all of the stuff that's in front of the fireplace because it will be in Santa's way.  They've even been a little nicer to one another as the Elf on the Shelf is watching... 

We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas.  I hope during all the busyness of this month, you have a chance to stop, look around and truly be thankful for all the blessings in your life. 

Love to all,
Whitney

Monday, November 30, 2009

One Year Ago Today...





One year ago today, I was extremely uncomfortable and anxiously awaiting the following morning so it would finally be the day my daughter would be born.  Some of you remember I was hugely pregnant and measured 6 or 7 weeks ahead for the last 12 weeks or so of my pregnancy due to extra fluid.  Plus, there was a big baby in there (9.2)! I couldn't wait to meet my baby girl. I was also a little apprehensive about being a mommy to 3 kids. Could I juggle it all? Especially with Pete's travel schedule? I definitely thought that adjusting to being a mother of three would be the biggest challenge I would face this year.  Who knew only a few short months later all that would change. What a year it's been! I am so thankful for my beautiful, sweet sunshine, Slade Katherine, who has been a constant source of joy in the midst of such a trying year.  Thank you, Lord for blessing our lives with her!


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We had a lovely low key Thanksgiving here in Charleston. Forester had to go to the ER for blood labs on Friday because the clinic was closed but it was a relatively short trip and he didn't need any transfusions. Right now we are getting close to the end of his Accutane cycle so he's starting his monthly peel.  His head and face, hands and a few other spots peel as if he had a bad sunburn and his lips get very raw and chapped. He'll stop Accutane on the 4th and thankfully his skin recovers within days of stopping the medicine. This will be the first time we won't be in the hospital for chemo during his last Accutane dose.  It feels weird. We head back to the clinic on Wednesday to check blood counts again.
We got our Christmas tree on Saturday and I've been busy decorating.  Last year I was so pregnant and then had a newborn so my family did most of the decorating for me.  I'm really enjoying it this year. I love Christmas!

I'm working on a picture slide show of Slade's first year and I will post it tomorrow on her 1st Birthday!  Sadly, Pete has to be out of town on business so we're postponing a party until Sunday. :-(

Got to get back to decking the halls!

Whitney

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Round 6, Week 2


Sorry it's been so long since my last update.  I've just been procrastinating.  I'm really good at procrastination.  Seriously, I could win awards.
Anyway, Forester has been doing really well the last week or so.  He's had only 2 vomiting episodes and for the most part has felt pretty normal.  He received a blood transfusion and his very last Vincristine dose on Friday. Woo-hoo!  And, guess what? (What?) We  have another reason to be thankful!  We were told a while back when Forester's legs were getting so bad and thought we would have to stop the Vincristine, that we shouldn't be too concerned because no one ever gets all of the doses of Vincristine.  The side effects are just too taxing and at some point everyone has to skip doses or back off of it altogether.  Well, Forester got all the doses of Vincristine!  And, not only that, he still has reflexes in his legs, he's walking more normally than before and even doing some dancing on a regular basis!  Can I get a Woot in the name of Jesus?  God is rockin and working miracles all over the place. How can we not praise Him?  How can we not fall on our knees and be thankful? My God is so good!!

Forester had another long day today at the clinic.  He had to receive a blood transfusion again today and also a platelet transfusion.  His ANC count is really low at .030 (normal is 2,000-5,000).  Hopefully the GCSF Neupogen shots will do their job and his count will pop back up by his next appointment on Friday.  It's so strange that these things have become normal and in comparison to other months this one is going very smoothly. We are excited about the fact that once his counts pop back up that they shouldn't go back down again.  They're going to stay up!  His hair is going to start growing back! Yippee!  We really are approaching the finish line.

I want to thank you so much for your prayers.  I believe with my whole heart that your prayers are reason our family and Forester has stayed relatively germ free through all of this (and so many other answered prayers!). Seriously.  Think about it.  Think about the last 9 months and how much funk has been going around.  Think about how low Forester's counts have been and how susceptible he's been to picking up any illness.  God is at work! YOU are witnessing miracles! You are a part of it! PLEASE do not stop praying for us!  Sickness changes everything and we need to continue to pray protection over all of us from any illness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I wish I could hug each and every one of you right now.  God has blessed me through you. You have blessed our sweet Forester! I will be praying for you, thanking God for you tonight as I always do. 

Love,
Whitney

**sorry to those who got a double delivery of this post in their inbox.  I had to fix a typo! I always miss at least one...

Forester's 8th Birthday Slideshow

Forester's 8th Birthday Highlights

Monday, November 9, 2009

HOME!!

Forester is HOME!  He had a wonderful birthday in the hospital with lots of visitors and attention from the docs and nurses.  The rest of his stay was uneventful (which is great!).  He arrived back home about 11:30 am and you should have seen the smile on his face!  He has spent most of the day putting together one of his birthday bionicles - his favorite thing!  He is resting now and in a couple hours we will have a family celebration including some birthday presents he wanted to wait and open tonight.  We have much to CELEBRATE!! Praise the Lord!

We're so thankful the hospital stay is OVER but we still have the roughest part of the month ahead of us. Tomorrow we start the GCSF shots.  Forester's  blood counts are going to go down.  He will get one more dose of Vincristine on Friday and if trends continue, also a blood transfusion.  Please continue to pray for us!  Pray for me as Pete is now out of town on business until Friday.  Please pray for protection over all of us against any illness.  Thank you! 
I will upload pictures soon.

We love you,
Whitney for the Bradburn 5

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let's Rock and Roll

Forester's ANC jumped from .730 to 1300 in 2 DAYS! Miraculous! Am I surprised? No. Cause my God does stuff like that!  Am I excited?  YES! Let's get this last round over with! Prayers please for the smoothest treatment yet.

I'll keep you posted - tomorrow is the big birthday! 

 

**HUGE thank you to our family inside our church family, the St. Andrews Worship Team.  Pete and I were able to go downtown for a date last night thanks to them.  We had a great time and it was a much needed.  Thank you Grandma, for babysitting!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

6th treatment is delayed

**Several of you told me the link the the Halloween slideshow didn't work.  So, I re-uploaded it and you can view it by clicking here.


Today we were all geared up to start the LAST in patient treatment for Forester.  When his blood counts came back this morning his ANC (absolute neutraphil count - white cells) was only .730.  Normal is around 5,000.  It has to be at least .750 in order to be admitted to start chemo.  So, no chemo today.  There isn't anything we can do at this point to increase his count so we just have to wait for it to go up on it's own.  The higher his blood count when he starts the better.  So, we'll just pray it really goes up! We return Friday morning to check his count again and hopefully it will be high enough for him to be admitted.  They only downside to this, besides all of us being ready for this to be over now, is Forester's 8th birthday is on Saturday.  We had really hoped he would be able to be home on his birthday and so did he.  But, as I reflect on this, maybe it will be more fun in the hospital...minus the chemo part.  Maybe he'll get lots of birthday wishes and special treatment from the nurses and doctors?  I think I will make giant posters to put on his hospital room door and do my best to be obnoxious and tell everyone, IT'S FORESTER'S BIRTHDAY!  ;-0   Hey, there is a positive side to every situation, right? Right.  Forester seems to be fine with this change in plans which is pretty miraculous!  Thank you, Lord. My little fighter rolls with the punches.

A few moments ago I was looking at some pictures from Forester's birthday last year.  Ugh. It made my heartache to look into that happy face.  He's been through so much since then. He's lost so much innocence, had to be so brave, had to endure so much pain and sickness and change.  It seems like yesterday and forever ago.  It seems like forever ago that he had hair! But yet, I believe with every fiber of my being that God has a greater purpose in all of this.  Forester's story is just beginning.  God is just in the beginning stages of doing miraculous things through the life of Forester James Bradburn.

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  


Romans 5:2b-4 



(one year ago)


I'll keep you posted.
Love,
Whitney

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Update: Round 5 Week 3

It's been a week since my last post and it's been quite uneventful. Yahoo! Forester's counts were back up on Thursday and we were able to stop the GCSF shots.  As of yesterday his platelets were still on the low side but not low enough for a transfusion.  We go back on Friday to check his counts again and then round 6 (FINAL!) is scheduled for the following Wednesday, Nov. 4th.  So we have another week of feeling pretty good and just being together before we start all over again.  Thank you, Lord!  Thursday is Micah's 5th birthday.  Because of our situation we are have a very small family party which Micah seems completely fine with.  He's chosen a Super Mario Brothers theme with a Pumpkin cake. Interesting...  I have a couple crafts planned so it should be fun.  I can't believe he's going to be FIVE!http://stevereenie.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/super-mario-bros.jpg

We're trying to stay indoors as much as possible but please continue to pray protection over our family against any illnesses - especially the flu! Forester is in the high risk category and as I've said before we don't want anything to prolong his treatment! Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement.

Love,
Whitney

Monday, October 19, 2009

More blood, please.

As you know, Forester recieved a blood transfusion on Thursday.  I knew this wouldn't help too much because his white count hasn't bottomed out.  It's taken us a while to understand how all of this works but it generally takes 10-12 days for Forester's white blood cell count to hit rock bottom.  Until this happens, it continues to pull all of his other counts down with it.  So, even though Forester received blood on Thursday, his white cell count is still pulling that red cell count down.  Make sense?  It's not as low as it was on Thursday but it's still low. All that's to say is it's 4 days later and Forester will be getting another blood transfusion and also a platelet transfusion today.  Our hope is that his white cell count will bottom out soon and all his counts will start to recover.  Meanwhile,  we have to continue doing daily shots until his next appt (Thursday).  This is the first time we've had to do more than 10 days in a row of shots.  Blah.
I'm so ready for all of this to be over for Forester and our family.  Though I admit I can hardly imagine it!   Really.  It's so hard to picture a life without the hospital, chemo and shots, pills and analyzing blood counts and worry...but we'll get there. As we continue to run this marathon, we are all so weary and tired.   I have to remind myself daily, keep one foot in front of the other, just keep going......
The end is in sight.  Please keep praying for us.

Praying for all of you today who pray for us!
Whitney

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Round 5, Week 2 Begins


This week has been pretty uneventful, thank God! Forester arrived home from treatment on Saturday night which was earlier than we thought.  He was thrilled!  So far he's only had one vomiting episode which is a big difference from last month.  He was still scared to eat for a couple of days but is now back to his hungry self.  He's still eating lots of pickles, cheese and popcorn!  He's been able to do school each day this week and keeping up pretty well. 

Micah came down with a croupy sounding cough on Monday night, so Pete took him to Muzzy & Pop's for the day to keep him away from Forester.  He never ran a fever but definitely has a cold.  Slade woke up with a really yucky nose and cough yesterday morning.  So far, Forester hasn't caught it. Pray he doesn't!! We're trying to keep the boys separated but it's hard to do these days.  They really enjoy playing together.  So, all day yesterday they wore masks just so they could play "Bionicles" and watch TV together!  Very sweet.

Today Forester is at the hospital with Muzzy getting Vincristine (chemo) and also a blood transfusion.  His hemoglobin is 5.9.  That's low! 11-16 is normal.  When he woke up yesterday he was so pale I just knew he needed blood.  He's also been extremely emotional, crying several times a day over small things.  I'm hoping maybe the blood will help with that too. So, it will be a long hospital day but he should feel much better by the end of today.  We're still waiting for his white blood cell count to bottom out before it starts to recover again.  I'm guessing it will bottom out on Monday.

Guess who is on the way here RIGHT NOW?  Aunt Katie (my sis) and Jack (my neph)!! We can't wait to see them!!  Forester just loves Aunt Katie and adores little Jack.  It will help the next week go by fast. :-) Thank you, Lord, for sisters that rock!

Please pray for safe travels for Katie, quick recovery for Micah and Slade, and no more illness in the house!  We are taking every precaution to protect Forester from the flu but I confess it still scares me.  BUT, God is protecting him and us...  I just need to TRUST Him.  Pray that I will trust God in all things concerning Forester's care.

Thanks for all of your prayers for us.  More soon.
Love,
Whitney

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Round 5 starts off with a blow




April made it safely here on Tuesday morning, and we've had a great visit together.  She was able to go to Micah's soccer game with us and see Muzzy & Pop and Grand Do Do, as well as witness Micah scoring 3 goals!  Then Grandma Kathie was so kind to watch the kids so Ape and I could go out.  We had a wonderful dinner downtown at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) and relaxed on the Vendue Inn Roof Top Bar.  The weather was perfect, and the company was even better!  I am so thankful to have her here and sad that she has to fly back home today.

Forester's round 5  began yesterday.  As always, he had a hearing test first.  The results this time were not what we hoped.  Forester has had significant high frequency hearing loss as a direct result of the crucial chemotherapy drug, Cisplatin. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this loss is permanent - not temporary.  As you can imagine, we were devastated by this news.  If we have to make a choice between returning cancer or hearing loss, of course we would choose hearing loss.  But who wants to "choose" either one at all?? Who doesn't want their child to be completely whole?  He's been through so much already, he's endured so much already....not this too.  I think I am particularly heartbroken over this because I have prayed constantly that God would protect him from this.  I have asked all of you to pray, and I constantly remind my closest friends to pray about his hearing.  We had several people pray over him at church specifically asking God to protect him from this.  These sad results are common, but I truly believe that God is bigger than that.  I do!  So, why didn't He do it?  Why didn't He answer my prayer and protect him from this?  My sweet boy, who feels music in his bones, who loves to sing and dance, who wants to play the piano and drums.  Hearing is important to us all but especially so for this musical family and this musical boy.  I know that God's ways are higher than our ways.  I know we cannot understand the mind of God, but to be honest, I feel heartbroken by Him.  I feel like I put myself out there, believing wholeheartedly in His protection, and He broke my heart. I truly believed this wouldn't happen.  I feel the fool.   Do I love my Jesus any less?  No.  Do I believe that God IS who He says He is? Yes.  Do I still trust Him? Yes.  Do I believe that God can restore Forester's hearing?  Absolutely. But, am I hurting? Yes. Do I understand it all?  Never.

Forester's Cisplatin dose was reduced by 25% in hopes of preventing any more damage to his hearing.  We asked about the ramifications of stopping Cisplatin altogether, but we were told by his doctors it is crucial for treating Medulloblastomas and especially crucial in Forester's case since his tumor was anaplastic.  I will continue to beg you for your prayers.  That this 25% reduction will keep him from having any more hearing loss.  Pray that the amount that he has lost will be restored.  That he won't need hearing aids. Pray for my broken heart and for the strength to continue to watch my child endure this horror for the next 2 months.

Due to Forester's specific gravity in his urine (too concentrated) they had to have him on fluids all day yesterday and chemo didn't start until midnight.  This means an additional 12 hours or so in the hospital.  This made Forester very sad as he is always anxious to get home as soon as possible.  We hope he will be discharged by Sunday night.  Please pray for Forester's spirits and that the time will go by fast for him.  Pray that he won't have severe vomiting like he did last month.   Ugh.  Just pray.

Thankful for another day in spite of my tears,
Whitney

(pictures from yesterday)


Friday, October 2, 2009

Prayer Request

First of all I shouldn't be writing this after taking Ambien so forgive me.
But, I am so excited that April  is coming for a short visit next Tuesday-Thursday!!  (Forester enters treatment on Wed)  Please pray that everyone in April's household will remain COMPLETELY HEALTHY.  Since March, that poor family has been one giant walking germ.  Seriously! 3 kids under 5 and the oldest started Kindergarten this year = illness.  Plus you know about April's Spinal Meningitis!  It's been a trying year for them too.  We both could use some time together.   I haven't seen April since Forester's brain surgery back in Feb.!!  So please pray that nothing interferes and that God will continue to put a hedge of protection around us to keep us from anything that could compromise Forester's treatment.
THANK YOU!
Forester had a great day today.  He has some laughing gas at the dentist while getting some preventative sealants put on his teeth.  It wasn't a problem at all. Smooth and easy.  Then came home and has a short school lesson with Mrs. Weston.  They were unable to get to Bible today due to time so Forester stayed at the table and read and explained his Bible stories to Micah.  It was a precious moment.  He loves Bible time! 


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead.  It's going to be a tough game for our Georgia Bulldogs playing LSU.  GO DAWGS!
Love - Whitney

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Doing Well




Sorry that it's been a few days since my last update.

Forester's body has recovered from the chemo and all of his counts are almost in the normal range. His platelet count is still really low but not low enough for another transfusion. We just have to be careful about bumps and falling (bleeding essentially). The last several days have been really great. Forester seems more like his old self and it's been a long time since we've seen that guy. He was kicking the soccer ball this weekend, going up and down the stairs without holding on and even jumping around a bit. All of these things are signs of great improvement in his legs. He even said "Mom, I'm getting my balance back! Yay!". So, your prayers are working! He's also been getting along very well with Micah and they have spent hours together building Bionicles and playing. This is unheard of! I mean, they're brothers!! It's been a precious gift to me to over hear my boys being nice to one another and enjoying each other's company. SO, in all things, God is good and has been giving us little gifts along the way.

Round 5 (We're reaching the homestretch!!) will begin on Wednesday, October 8th, 8 days from now. Thankfully we don't even have to go back to the hospital for a check up before then! Forester will have a hearing test at 8:30 on the 8th (PRAY) and then they will check his counts and get him admitted into a room. Once again it will be the same 4 chemo drugs and a 4 day stay in the hospital.

So... have any of you heard of this thing called the Swine Flu? Ha ha. Yeah, it's going around and it's everywhere! Pete and I talked about it the other night and though it may seem to be extreme we are going to take every precaution necessary to keep our family healthy and avoid any illness that could delay Forester's treatment. We REALLY want him to be done by December and maybe even have a little hair by Christmas! So, we're going to be hermits for the next couple of months. And please, keep praying for God's protection over us. I know it's His protection that has kept Forester from illness thus far. Thank you, Lord!

Thanks as always for thinking and praying for us. We thank God for you! We pray that this week will be full of uneventful, boring days in the Bradburn house before the next round starts back up.
Here are a few short videos for you to enjoy. Don't forget to pause the playlist at the bottom or if you received this by email you will have to go to the actual blog site to view the videos.

Love,
Whitney




Monday, September 21, 2009

Motorcycles, Pills, Transfusions & Cheese


First of all, thank you so much to Molly Meekins who worked so hard for MONTHS to organize an amazing fundraiser for us on Sunday. 50 or so bikers (these are Harley dudes, not cyclists) came out for the poker run and gave so generously to help us with our medical bills. THANK YOU to all who participated and volunteered for this event. Pete really wants a Harley now! :-)

Forester had another long day today. His platelet count was very low (3, normal is 140-440) so he had to get a transfusion of those. His hemoglobin count was low (7.5, normal is 11-15) so he had to get another blood transfusion. His white blood cell count is 27 (normal is 2,000-6000) so we need to continue neupogen shots. Unfortunately, I gave him the last one we had this morning. We were told today by hospital staff that more would be ordered & delivered. When I called to follow up on that this evening it had not been done. SO frustrating. It usually takes at least a day to receive a home shipment so we may have to go back to the hospital tomorrow just for a shot. Blech. It seems that Forester's little body is having a harder time recovering from the chemo than the first couple of months. He had 2 blood transfusions last month and this month as opposed to just one per month. He's had to get platelets the last 2 months where he has only needed platelets one other time in the last 8 months. His white cell count is taking longer to recover....it all really stinks. We're tired of our boy being sick and cannot wait for this to be behind us and see him healthy again. Keep praying for all of us.

The good news we received today is that Forester's weight is up from 61 lbs. to 66lbs., thanks to starting the Megace again. He is back to eating lots and lots of cheese cubes, pickles, and cheese quesadillas & cheese dip from the local Mexican restaurant. Something about the Megace and cheese...but we're thankful he's eating again. He's also been able to take his pills with a lot more ease. Prayers answered. It's amazing the amount of pills he takes a day. The picture posted is of one week's worth of pills. The horse pills we break up into 6-8 pieces. It makes for about 20 swallows of pills, 3x a day. He is a trooper.

I am sorry this is a disjointed post. I'm tired and have more chores before bed. Just wanted to keep you all updated. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Praising Him for another day,
Whitney

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Hospital Day


Another long day at the hospital today for Forester. When they drew his labs this morning his potassium is still very low so he has to get a bolus of that before leaving. It takes 2 hours to drip. Also, even though he just had a blood transfusion his level only went up from 7 to 8. Anything under 11 is low. So, I fully expect him to have to get another blood transfusion on Monday. His platelets are going down too so he may need those too by the time Monday gets here. His white count is still in the 2,000's which means it will probably tank over the weekend or by Monday. So, no going out and no visitors this weekend. At least there's football. :-)


Prayer request: Over the last week Forester has really struggled to take his pills. It's understandable. He has so many to take I wouldn't want to do it either! When we break up the large potassium & magnesium & septra into smaller pieces it ends up to be about 20 pills, 3 times a day. We were doing most of them in applesauce which has been fine until recently. It seems to be a mental struggle and he's so afraid of vomiting. Please pray for him! He has to take these pills. And starting Tuesday we add 4 accutane a day into his regimen. It has become quite stressful for me - pressure from the doctors to get them down him - trying to force him to take them...trying every different way possible...and without success. Poor guy. I wish I didn't have to make him do this. So, if you would, just pray about the pills. Also pray for my general attitude. I think I have become very weary in this marathon. I'm so tired of my baby being sick. More of the things that we have been used to as the new normal have started to upset me all over again. I need to regain my balance & keep focused on the finish line. *sigh*


A quick reminder about the motorcycle ride for Forester on Sunday - ANYONE is welcome with any kind of transportation. I wish Forester could be there & so does he!! A Bradburn will be out there to represent though!
Love,
Whitney

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HOME

It was a long day but we arrived home at 10pm and I was able to get all three kids in bed and asleep by 11:00. I am completely exhausted but have so much to be thankful for. Slade was an angel all day and even took a pretty good nap in the stroller. Forester was able to get blood & chemo, potassium & zofran. All of which will help his little body tremendously. Though it was a taxing day, I am thankful we have the resources that Forester needs available to us and such a wonderful hospital in the town we live in. So many families have hours to drive home after treatment. We have 20 minutes! God is good! And, on top of all that precious Lauren Fortney watched Micah for me all day and night in addition to her own two (and pregnant!). Thank you, Lauren! And thank you , Rebeccah for bringing me some food and a hug today. It was a great pick me up. I am blessed!...and sleepy. Thank you for your prayers! Goodnight...or I guess it is now morning...whew.

Praising Him,
Whitney

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's going to be a long day.

We came to clinic this morning to get Forester's blood labs & Vincristine chemo done with hopes that we would be back home in time for school at 1:00. No such luck. The first sign that this day wasn't going to go how we had hoped is that Forester was very winded after getting in the car. Then, he did not want to walk to clinic and we had to request a wheelchair escort. This type of tiredness we have come to learn is directly related to his hemoglobin/red blood cell count. And, as I suspected his red count is low and he needs a blood transfusion today. This transfusion takes 3 hours to complete. Forester's Potassium and Magnesium (electrolytes) are also low which can cause the same type of symptoms of fatigue & issues with heart and kidney function. As I type, Forester is currently getting a bolus of Potassium which takes 2 hours, then he'll get his chemo which takes about 15 minutes. We will then go over to the hospital (because the clinic closes @ 5:30) and he will get his blood. So we will probably be here until 9pm tonight. Please pray for me & Slade & Forester and that this long day will go smoothly. Also pray for Micah and my sweet friends who are passing him around today. I'll keep you posted. Thanks. ~Whitney

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ride For Forester - Fundraiser!

Attention Carolina Bikers! Biker fans! Or, just fans of Forester and fundraisers! Please join us on Sunday (this Sunday) at 11am!!




It is late for me to be posting about this (so sorry Molly) but my trainer and friend, Molly Meekins, has put together a fundraiser for Forester happening THIS Sunday. It is a motorcycle poker ride! If you don't know what that is (I didn't), you pay a registration fee, then all bikes start at one location and travel to 4 more stops, ending at the 5th. At each stop you receive a playing card, but there will also be other fun things happening at each stop. At the final and 5th stop you show your "poker hand". Prizes will be given to the best hand and the worst. There will also be tons of stuff being raffled off as well as a band playing, a fish fry, and some dude who does cool tricks on his bike! CARS are also welcome! You don't have to have a bike to join the fun. All proceeds will go to help pay Forester's medical bills!! Hopefully Forester will be feeling good enough to be there for all the fun, too.

It's hard to see the details on the flyer above so here are the details I have:

Sep 20: Ride for Forester!
Registration @ 11am @ Clydes Place (5245 Dorchester Rd, N. Charleston),

$15/Bike $5/Passenger.

Last Bike Out: 12:30pm.
Last Bike In: 4:30pm. @ Checkered Flag (2366 Ashley River Rd. W. Ashley)

Live Band (Numb909) starts @ 4pm. 50/50, Raffles!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reminder...

Please take less than a minute to log in and vote 10x for MUSC Children's hospital to get the Xbox upgrade! THANKS!

So far so good today. Forester is having a little snack & watching a disney movie.


http://xbox.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/default.aspx

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feeling better!


Forester returned home with a smile and a request for steak. What a difference an ER visit can make! He's been giggling and generally in great spirits which is a huge contrast from the weepy, tired, sick, little boy he was this afternoon. We had to say no on the steak..maybe not the best choice for tonight. But, he's having some Gatorade and some crackers and watching a little TV. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray that this will be the beginning of managing his symptoms and that tomorrow will be a good day. Pete leaves before sunrise. Forester is always sad when daddy isn't here so please also pray for his little heart and that I can be the comfort he needs while Pete is away. Oh yeah, and pray for my sanity. :-) Love to you all & goodnight!
~Whitney

Still at the ER




Forester and Pete are still at the ER. Forester is getting some color back thanks to the bags of fluid, and is getting ready to try some pretzels. We're praying those go down ok. Tests are being run to make sure he isn't fighting anything else and we're still waiting on results. I'm hoping they'll be home in the next hour or so. Keep praying & thanks so much for doing so! ~Whitney

Headed to the ER...again.

Forester has been home since early Friday evening. Round 4 went ok. He had some vomiting in the hospital but otherwise things went fine. In the last several months we've been able to manage the vomiting pretty well with all of the drugs he's on. For some reason, this month the meds don't seem to be doing the job. Forester has been unable to keep much down since he got home & today he cannot even tolerate a small amount of liquid. This is a vicious cycle because his nausea medicines aren't staying down either... So, per doctor's request we'll be heading to the ER when Forester awakes from a nap. He'll get some fluids via his port and hopefully this will help the dehydration and in general help his body to return to "normal". Please pray for him! He is scared to eat or drink anything now...so tired of being sick. I just feel so bad for him.
Pete is leaving town for the week on business. He was supposed to leave tonight but was able to change his flight to tomorrow morning. Please pray for all of us as the timing of this trip is not great. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for your prayers!

Whitney

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One way you can help!


As you know, Forester's hospital stays are tough and to be honest, quite boring for him. One thing that really helps pass the time and is something to look forward to is the Atrium Playroom at MUSC Children's Hospital. One of Forester's favorite things to do in the Atrium is play Xbox. Unfortunately, it was broken this week. Children's Miracle Network and Microsoft are teaming up to provide an gaming upgrade to a Children's Hospital playroom but it will be determined by VOTERS. We need this upgrade! Please follow this link, and take the short little steps to vote for MUSC Children's. You can vote 10 times per day! If each of you from this blog would vote 10x each day, I'm sure that MUSC would win this upgrade. We are currently in 6th place. The top 3 win! Please take a moment and VOTE! THANK YOU!!! (more details from this week and future happenings to be posted soon!!)

Here is the official info and link: (thanks Betsy!)

The Children's Miracle Network has partnered with Microsoft to award an upgraded game room to the three CMN children's hospitals that receive the highest number of votes in a national contest among pediatric hospitals.

YOU can help us win this amazing opportunity for the children at MUSC Children’s Hospital.

People who vote also have an opportunity to win one of several Xbox 360 game systems. Each person may submit a maximum of 10 votes per day.

It only takes a few minutes to sign up (heck, it took me 47 seconds, but your results may vary). Register and vote here: http://xbox.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/default.aspx

Please vote 10 times EVERY day and pass this email along to others!

p.s. The contest runs until 16 OCTOBER.

p.s.s. MUSC Children’s Hospital is currently sixth on the list. Remember: we only need to reach the top THREE~!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hearing Test

Forester's hearing is still PERFECT! PRAISE GOD!! Woo-hoo!

BRAVES GAME!

We had the very best day at the Braves game! It truly was a boys' dream come true. Forester was given his own jersey, ball and glove all signed by the players. Coach Glenn Hubbard took Forester into the clubhouse and he was able to meet all the players. He said it "was so cool"! Coach Glenn is an amazing man. We just can't express our appreciation to him for making all of this happen. Forester even got to say "Play Ball" to start the game! Thank you sooo much to all of you who came out to support Forester and love on us. I am sorry most of you didn't get to see Forester. He was so wiped out from the heat, the walking and pre-game festivities, he took a 2 hour nap on the couch in the suite & missed half of the game! I am also sorry we weren't able to see and talk to each one of you who came out. :-( It was a crazy day, but PERFECT (minus the loss in the 12th inning!).

A lot has been going on the last couple of weeks and I haven't had a chance to blog. I'm limited on time today too as Forester's 4th round of chemo starts today. He will have a hearing test today (PRAY) and then the 4 chemo drugs will start this evening (PRAY!) Remember all those yucky side effects and keep praying against them. Also, Micah apparently bumped his front tooth a few months back and it has died and become infected. He has to have his 2 front teeth extracted today at 2:30. Please pray that everything goes smoothly. As always, please continue to pray protection over our family from any illness as germs are our biggest enemy these days. It is obvious these prayers are working!! Please keep it up. More very soon. We love you all and thank you so much for your love and prayers for us.


*A professional photographer was taking lots of pictures on Sunday and I know some of you have some that are much better than mine, but I wanted to get something on the blog right away. Here's a little snapshot of our day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

12 Years Ago Today...



This post is dedicated to my sweet, Pete, whom I married 12 years ago today. I still honestly can't believe this man wanted to marry me. He was and IS my dream come true. I love you, baby. We've been through quite a lot over the last 12 years...working in ministry in Atlanta, surviving seminary, leaving all our closest friends in Birmingham and moving to Charleston where we didn't have friend (minus my mom and dad) or a job! We've endured a lot of change as we've grown our family. And this year, enduring the biggest challenge of our life...a daughter. (hee hee.) Of course I mean Forester and cancer. You have been, and continue to be, the rock of our family. You are an amazing husband, a wonderful, completely involved and fun father, you are a hard worker and a dedicated provider. You love God, you love me, you love our children. And, you are so fun and funny! I truly enjoy being with you and feel so blessed to be the lucky girl who gets to call you her husband. I know others are jealous and they should be. :-) Thank you for loving me so well these last 12 years. Thank you for giving me the gift of our three children even though you were really apprehensive about the third one. Thank you for being understanding about my short comings and patient with me. I know I'm not easy to live with. I know I test your limits and you extend grace to me over and over again. You motivate me to be a better wife, a better mom and better person. I want to be someone you'll be proud of and brings you joy. I hope I succeed at least some of the time. You are the one I try to dress to impress. You are the one I hope and pray still thinks I'm cute after all these years....even though I wear the battle scars of carrying our children. There is no one else I desire to please other than my God. I am so thankful you serve Him and love him as I do. More than anything, that is the greatest blessing to me. Your love for Him. I pray we will have many more wonderful years together, that we will see each child leave our nest, and enjoy many years after as best friends. I love you, now and always.

Happy Anniversary!

Whit

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Updates on Braves Game

Hey, friends! It's Katie (Whit's sister). I just wanted to mention a few of things about the upcoming Braves game on September 6th:
  1. We have almost 100 people in the Friends of Forester section - woo hoo!
  2. Our seats are in the upper level in Section 402, Rows 17-25. This is straight back from home plate, so we should have a great view. I THINK these seats are covered (but don't hold me to that), so we might have some good shade.
  3. As mentioned before, Forester and immediate family will be visiting our section, but they will have some special seating that Glenn Hubbard has provided that's a little closer to the field.
  4. If you have paid me for your tickets and t-shirts, thank you!! I will be mailing your tickets tomorrow. If not, I'm holding them ransom until you do :) You can either pay my via PayPal (swaneyrox@gmail.com) or mail a check to Katie Swaney at 4020 Andover Circle McDonough, GA 30252. Each ticket is $10 and each t-shirt is $7. One payment for everything is fine. No need for separate checks or transactions.
  5. The plan is to wear our t-shirts at the game, so I'll be distributing them as you get to your seats. Please don't feel like you HAVE to wear your t-shirt, though. No pressure.
  6. A God thing....A Christian singer, Matthew West, will be performing after the game. I've downloaded his top two songs and I really like them. Check him out.
  7. Email me at fofbraves@yahoo.com if you have ANY questions. I'm happy to help.
  8. THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!!! We're so excited. I think Forester is going to have a blast and all of you are going to be to blame for that. Hee hee. Thank you, again, for the support! See you Sept 6th.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just Another Long Monday





We made it through hospital week and had a very low key weekend.  I'm here at the hospital clinic now with Forester and Slade.  Forester's red blood cell count is already low so he's getting a transfusion now.  He will also be getting another dose of vincristine today.  This may be his last dose of vincristine for a while because his legs are getting so bad.  I'm posting two videos below (if you received this via email, you usually have to go to the actual blog site to view the videos).  One is Forester walking through the hospital today - just trying to show you how much his legs/gait have changed.  I was trying to be subtle about it so I'm walking too - sorry if it's shaky.  The other video was taken moments ago - I was trying to whisper since everyone is asleep in here so I'm sorry if you can't hear my commentary very well.  I'll write more soon.
*don't forget to scroll down and pause the playlist songs

oh, and a HAPPY 41st Anniversary MOM and DAD (muzzy & pop)!!  I LOVE YOU!

~Whit




Monday, August 10, 2009

BRAVES GAME INFO

Hi, Friends of Forester!

I’m Katie, Whit’s little sister, and I’m attempting to organize all the details for the September 6th Braves game. We’re so excited that so many of you want to enjoy this day with our family and I want to make sure everyone knows the plan and has all questions answered. If you still have ANY questions after you read through this information, please contact me at FOFBraves@yahoo.com or 678-485-9950. Whit and Pete have enough on their plates this week with Forester's next round of chemo, so I'd like to help with any issues regarding this game.

Here are some of the details everyone should know:
  • This game is LABOR DAY weekend (Sun, 1:35pm). We brought that up last night to some friends and they hadn't realized they were going to be out of town. Just wanted to mention that, in case anyone discovers a conflict.
  • As mentioned before, this day isn't any sort of official event sponsored by the Braves. Forester will just be meeting the team, getting to see the dugout, and they will give him his own jersey and glove that's been signed by the players. This will all happen before the game and there won't be any special Forester happenings after. It's just a fun day for us all to get together in one place and let Forester know we love him.
  • Though not confirmed, Forester (and probably the immediate family) may be sitting in box seats or some type of reserved seating, courtesy of Glenn Hubbard . Forester will not be sitting with the rest of us in the "Friends of Forester" section, but we’ll get him up there at some point so he can say hi to everyone and you can all get a chance to meet him.
  • The tickets I will be ordering are located in the Upper Box, (most likely in the 413 section), near the top of the stadium. To improve the seating as much as possible, we've decided to go with $10 tickets. If you'd prefer seats closer to the field, please let me know so I can remove your name from the ticket list. I'll be ordering the tickets the morning of Wed, 8/12, so let me know of your decision by then. Below is a seating chart to give you a better idea of the exact location.
  • Children under the age of 3 are FREE, if they are sitting on your lap.
  • The T-shirt design is shown below and is available in adult sizes of XXXL, XXL, XL, L, M, S and youth sizes of L, M and S. If you have not let me know your shirt sizes, please email those to me now.
  • Review the list below (double click to enlarge) and make sure I have the right number of tickets, the right number of t-shirts and the correct sizes listed. I will need to order the shirts by Friday, 8/14 and they will be $7 each. The $7 is strictly for the cost of the shirt and does not include any sort of donation to the Forester Medical Fund. If you would like to make a donation, just email me and let me know that and we can work that out separately. We just don't want to mix donations in with the cost of the shirts and the tickets b/c it will get too confusing.
  • I will be paying for the tickets and t-shirts, so all payments can be sent to me. You can either mail me a check (Katie Swaney, 4020 Andover Circle, McDonough, GA 30252) or send payment through PayPal to swaneyrox@gmail.com. Please indicate very clearly, either on the check or through your online transaction who you are paying for, # of tickets and # of t-shirts so I can make sure everything matches up with my master list. Please make sure I have a return address also so I can mail you the tickets.I will distribute t-shirts at the game. Ideally, I would like to receive all payments by Sun, 8/23.
I hope I've answered most of your questions. If not, just shoot me an email at FOFBraves@yahoo.com. As always, thank you for continuing to pray for Forester and being such supportive friends of the family!!

See you September 6th! We'll put our shirts on when we get there and maybe we can figure out a way to get on TV - woo hoo!

Katie Swaney

Round 3 starts off with a breakdown



It's been a long day and I am finally home which feels so wrong. It just can't be right to sleep in your own bed when your son is in a hospital getting chemo. But, I've tortured myself with these thoughts before so I won't continue to do it again.
I have great news to report! Forester had his hearing test today and his hearing is still perfect. Woo-Hoo! Thank you, Jesus just doesn't cover it! 2 down and 4 more to go. Tonight he gets Cisplatin for 6 hours which is the drug that can cause hearing loss. Please continue to pray protection over his ears and every healthy cell in his body. He'll be getting chemo for the next 4 days.
Today was particularly hard. After a long day on the Hem/Onc floor, we finally got a room on 7B. We moved into the hospital "suite" (it's a huge room!) and Forester got settled. Once in his bed and all snuggled down he became very sad. I asked him what was wrong and he began to cry. It was heartbreaking. As I talked with him he said he's just tired of having to do this stuff. Tired of the IV pole, of random people taking his vitals constantly, sleeping away from home, the shots that will start up again soon... Can you blame him? He has been so brave and sweet through all of this. Polite and rarely complaining. He definitely deserves a breakdown. He cried himself to sleep. I felt so inadequate in that moment. Somehow I felt like I was failing as a mom. I felt like I should have had the perfect mom thing to say to make him feel better but there wasn't anything. All I could say was it's ok to be sad. I'm sad too. As I lay next to him in the bed I was wishing I could switch places with him - that I could take it all away. I know that if I feel this way, my God feels that even more. His heart is breaking too. And yet, He is allowing Forester to go through this. His purpose in this must be great! These days are refining us. Ugh. Refining is painful but the result is beautiful.
This weekend April said "I can't believe it's time for Forester to go back in the hospital again. It's going by so fast." It reminded me of being pregnant. It goes by fast for everyone around you but each day seems to creep by when you're the one waddling around with back pain and swollen feet. I'm so glad we're in round 3 but we still have a month before we're half way done with this 6 month cycle. The days seem long. The end seems far away. But, we'll get there.
Thank you, as always, for all your love and prayers for us. Your encouraging words keep us going. God is using you to bless us. And we are so blessed.

All my love,
Whitneywaiting for our room assignment
Slade, happy as usual!

the big roomview of Charleston from the hospital room - it helps!sad but asleep - my sweet baby.

Chemo Round 3 Begins...


Chemo round 3 starts today (ha! it's 1am), Monday.  Please pray for Forester and those nasty side effects.  He has a hearing test today too so keep praying for those eardrums!  Also, the vincristine is taking it's toll on his poor little legs.  They just don't work right anymore.  He can't walk in a straight line and has a hard time climbing the steps...he tends to walk wide-legged and with a foot-slap motion.  It's no fun to watch - breaks my heart.  The solution is to back off of the vincristine.  But we're dealing with cancer here.  It makes it so difficult.  Do we want them to back off the vincristine or hope we can take every dose to give us the best chance that the cancer doesn't come back?  I don't know...  So, just pray as God leads you.  I'll be posting updates from the hospital the next few days and hopefully with pictures too.  Thanks for walking through this with us.
Our love,
Whitney

Monday, August 3, 2009

Check out CROWFIELD


Pete and I were very fortunate to be able to go out on a DATE  this past weekend.  We headed to the Windjammer to see CROWFIELD. It was such a great night.  Great music and we got to catch up with a wonderful old friend.  It felt very normal and just plain nice.  I have to say.. & I know this is a shameless plug, but our dear friend, Micah (far right in the pic) plays in Crowfield and it truly was an amazing show.  Micah is like a little brother to us  and I'm so proud of him but I truly believe you will be seeing more of Crowfield VERY soon.  Please go to iTunes and download the album.  You won't regret it.  Promise.  You'll be saying "I knew them when..."

http://www.myspace.com/crowfieldmusic

http://www.apple.com/search/ipoditunes/?q=crowfield

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Longing for Spring



















Amazing how we have found a new normal around here.  6 months ago, the world we now live in, a child fighting cancer, didn't exsist.  6 months ago I would have told you that would be something I couldn't survive much less get a handle on. And yet, God gives us what we need when we need it.  Not a moment before.  It is impossible to store up courage, or peace, or even true grief.  It happens when it happens and God provides in the moment. Somedays really feel normal around here.  We've gotten used to the schedule, the hospital stuff, the pills, the shots.  And somedays it just hits me and I absolutely hate our new normal.  Yesterday was one of those days.  It was time to get Slade's portraits done and I wanted some with the boys too.  Looking at the proofs of the pictures, it just didn't look like my Forester.  He's swollen from the steroids and he's not as athletic looking like he's always been.  It just made me miss him.  Even though he's right in front of me, (thank you Lord!) I began to miss my "old" guy.  I was kindly reminded today by my sweet friend to remember that this time in our lives is just a season.  She's right.  Forester has already beaten cancer as far as I'm concerned & we're just dealing with the crappy side effects of chemo.  But, one day this will be in our past.  These days will be a memory.  He may miss 2nd grade but he'll be a "normal" kid in 3rd grade.  This too shall pass.  I'm doing my best to embrace the current season that we're in.  But somedays I just long for the new season to come like you would long for spring after a long, cold winter.  It will come.  I just miss my guy.
Above is a slideshow of Forester. I tried to put it in the sidebar but after hours of trying I just couldn't make it work.  It's also supposed to be in chronological order but it's randomizing.  Oh well.  Grrr..  I'll keep trying.  

I love him so much.  My first born, my baby.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Two posts in two days?  Whoa!! Just I thought I would share a few little happy things.  

This morning Forester & I were playing with Slade on my bed and my timex watch alarm, which was on the stairs in the other room, started going off.  After a couple seconds Forester asked"what is that noise?".  HE HEARD IT! It's a high pitched noise & rather quiet from the other room and he heard it!  As you well know I am always praying protection over his ears from permanent hearing loss. I know you are too.  We still have four more rounds to go but I really want to give God the glory for His protection over his ears.  At the end of these 6 months I want Forester to have perfect hearing.  I want to hear people say, "you're so lucky" so I can say "no, we prayed and prayed and God answered"!  Let's keep praying!  I know there are some of you who read this blog who are not Christians and you think I'm acting a little freaky. You're right, I'm freaky!  I have seen and witnessed what God can do.  He has proved Himself to be faithful and trustworthy over and over again.  Will everything turn out just like I want it?  Maybe, and most likely not.  Will God take care of us and continue to give us joy and peace in every circumstance regardless of any outcome?  YES.  Does He desire for us to be healthy and whole?  I believe He does.  I'm going to keep praying and keep giving Him the glory for every good report that comes my way.

Now for a really human moment....I find myself thinking if I post what I just wrote above will that mean that Forester will lose some hearing? Just so I have to eat my words?  Such a dumb way to think but you know how you might say, "that will never happen" and then it happens so you don't want to say "that will never happen".  Basically it comes down to some silly superstition, right?  I also want this so badly and I want others to see what God can do - if it doesn't happen does that cause someone else to doubt God? Those are my thoughts. But this is the truth.  I am not responsible for TRYING to make God look good.  He doesn't need my help by any means.  So that's why I'm ignoring those silly thoughts and posting this!  (Now my non-Christian friends really think I'm crazy!)

Okay, for more happiness here are a few cute videos of Slade waving Bye Bye and giggling at Micah being silly.  She'll be 8 months old tomorrow! 

*Remember to scroll down and pause the playlist so you can listen to the video.

HAVE A WONDERFUL  WEEKEND MY FRIENDS! ~Whit





Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sorry it's been so long...


My apologies to all of you who have been wondering what the heck has been going on with us the last week or so. I decided that family is family and regardless of Forester's counts we would stay the week out at Seabrook Island with Mom & Dad, Paris & the kids. I took a mini vacation from life at home & the computer. It was a great week! We had to take a few 6 hour long trips to the hospital but Sam went with us which made it more fun for Forester. We had a wonderful time just being together.
Foresters counts bottomed out last Friday & he had to get a blood transfusion which was expected. His white blood cell count bounced back up from 40 to 24,000 on Monday. Thank you Neupogen shots! So we made it through round 2 without an additional hospital stay or fever. Forester seems to be doing pretty well except for the neuropathy in his hands and legs as a side effect from the Vincristine. He struggles to walk normally and has some pain. He is now on Neurontin 3 times a day to help with these side effects. So far, we haven't seen much change & it really ups his daily pill count! It also makes him very sleepy so he's taking more naps each day. We hope the benefits will kick in soon. Amazingly, his weight is up to 74 pounds so we were able to stop the Megace liquid (so nasty!) which is an appetite stimulant. Forester was very happy about that! Round 3 begins on August 10th.
Many of you have been asking about Pete. And once again I'm sorry I haven't updated you sooner. There really hasn't been much to tell until this week. We have no concrete conclusions but all tests have come back with good results. Including the sleep study. No sleep apnea. What has been discovered and confirmed 3 times now is that Pete does have an arrhythmia in his heart called ventricular bigeminy. It's a very consistent arrhythmia and doesn't seem to be cause for concern but he's going to follow up with a cardiologist in August. The last "non-breathing" episode happened almost a week ago & Pete seems to be feeling better with each passing day. It seems whatever was happening was related to some kind of virus that was in his chest & possibly in his heart. Don't know if we'll ever have an official diagnosis but the closest one we have is Myocarditis.
I know there is more to post but this is all I have the energy for today. I've been feeling pretty worn out emotionally...I'm not sleeping much these days as I tend to be so worried about my guys during the night. My brain is suffering the consequences!


*Still trying to work out details on the Braves game on Sept. 6th. More on that soon! Thanks as always for your love and prayers. ~ Whitney



*pictures from last week at Seabrook & the hospital.

Bald Stud

Micah - loving every moment! He's like this all the time. He loves life!

Maddie & Forester ....Forester could only get his feet wet which was sad & then I found out later we should avoid the ocean altogether for a while. Boo.

Sam & Forester at the hospital. Waiting for blood to arrive so the transfusion can start.



With a transfusion comes Benedryl so Forester sleeps through most of it.






A beautiful night at Seabrook Island's Pelican's Nest. I declared this day my birthday since it was so much better than my actual birthday.






Forester & Madison. Forester has a blue mouth from a blow pop.




Slade being adorable as always.



Having fun while waiting for the food to arrive.

Pete & Forester - always close together.

Me & Slade.



Pop & Slade



Pop showing the boys something cool on the computer.



Cousins! Baby Nicholas & Slade (she looks huge! sniff sniff)