Monday, March 16, 2009

The Next Chapter

First, I have to report the most excellent news: Forester's spinal tap results show no malignant cells! Thank you Jesus!!!

Pete and Whitney met with both the radiologist and oncologist today and received a TON of information. Please bear with me as I try to accurately pass it on to you.

Radiation Therapy
  • They really liked the head of the radiology department. He was very hopeful.
  • Forester's radiation treatments will begin next Monday. We should know the time of his appointments tomorrow.
  • He may have the following "minor" immediate side effects: Sunburn-like redness on his ears and the back of his head, sore throat, nausea and hair loss. Typically, children do not experience the same level of fatigue as adults.
  • In the long term, he could develop cataracts because the radiation will hit the back of his eye sockets.
  • There is also a 15% chance he will have damage to his pituitary gland. This, in turn, could affect his thyroid function, his growth hormone and his testosterone levels.
  • Although it's hard to quantify, the radiation could affect his IQ.
  • It most likely will stunt his growth because he will receive direct radiation to the spine.
  • Please pray against all of these side effects - especially the ones with more long term impact.
  • Because he has a more aggressive subtype of medulloblastoma, he will receive a more aggressive form of radiation. However, until recently, this was the standard treatment for all types of medulloblastoma. Whitney felt better knowing the doctor had years of experience with it.
  • Medulloblastoma is not a common form of brain tumor, so the statistics are somewhat skewed. Overall, this encouraged Whitney about the statistics in general. And - We all know God is bigger than any statistics, right? :o)
  • Forester had a CT scan today and had a mask made of his face for the radiation therapy. He did okay with both.


  • They had a 2pm appointment with the oncology department but were not seen until 4pm. Because they had arrived at the hospital at 11am, by this point, Forester was exhausted and crying and more than ready to go home.
  • Forester will definitely receive 2 standard chemotherapy drugs. For 6 weeks, he will receive 1 of them 1x per week. He will have to stay in the hospital 4 days per month for 6 months for the other. Since he is also part of a randomized clinical trial, he may also receive 1 or 2 other chemotherapy drugs. Pete & Whitney will find out tomorrow if he will participate in the trials for 1 or both of these drugs.
  • Please pray that the Lord will direct this "randomized" trial and that Forester will receive the absolute best treatment for his body, whatever that may be.
  • He would receive 1 of the additional drugs every day for 6 weeks along with the radiation, which would equal about 6 hours in the hospital Monday through Friday for 6 weeks.
  • He would take the other additional drug for an extra 6 months following the standard treatment, but since it's taken orally, he could go back to school, etc.

As you can imagine, the Bradburns are exhausted tonight. Forester did not sleep well last night, (so no one slept well last night), and then they had a very long day at the hospital. Forester had trouble keeping up with Pete & Whitney as they walked back to the car. This caused him to panic and start wheezing. He then vomited tonight. Maybe because he ate too quickly? Anyway, the oncologist started explaining more about his illness to him today, and it seems he may have anxiety - quite understandably - about all of this. Please pray for Forester to have peace that passes understanding about all he's already endured and all that lies before him and to have as little physical pain and discomfort as possible. The oncologist did say she could prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for him to take before each treatment if needed. Please pray for all of the doctors and nurses and medical personnel involved in Forester's care. Pray that they will be tender and compassionate and kind. Pray that they have wisdom and discernment.

Please pray that the Lord builds Pete, Whitney & Forester and their entire family up with His strength and His peace for this next chapter in their lives. Pray that they continue to feel Him carrying them through this time. Pray that Pete & Whitney have wisdom and discernment in making decisions regarding Forester's medical care and then peace about those decisions once they are made. The radiologist told Whitney today that total gross resection (aka total removal) of the tumor without subsequent radiation therapy and chemotherapy = 100% recurrence. So... As scary as all of the possible side effects are, they know they have made the right decision in seeking this treatment.

Thank you for your continued prayers! Praise the Lord for all He's already done and all He will do!

Sleep well,


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