Saturday, February 28, 2009

What a difference a day makes!

When Whitney & I visited Forester last night, he slept and only woke up enough to cry because of his pain. He looked like himself but was so, so sleepy. He didn't really communicate or answer Pete & Whitney when they spoke to him.

But today... WOW! He ate an entire hamburger and some applesauce (and of course, some chocolate donut holes), played in the playroom, and briefly answered questions. Tonight, Whitney is holding him and reading to him. The Lord has answered our prayers in amazing ways!!! How awesome is He!!!

I have yet to delete Whitney's text message from 8:54am on Tuesday February 24th that reads, "There is a tumor." I just can't bring myself to delete it. Now, a mere 4 days later, Forester has had surgery to remove that cancerous brain tumor, has left PICU and may soon leave the hospital. What a miracle! Truly.

As we all rejoice with the Bradburns, let us remember that Forester still has a long way to go. The surgery that rid his body of the tumor also shocked his little body. His neck hurts. He faces 8 months of radiation and chemotherapy and he has no idea. Everything has happened so quickly that Whitney & Pete haven't even had time to grieve. Micah has had a blast with friends and grandparents over the last few days, but he has to come home sometime too. Sweet little Slade has been such a trooper. When Forester leaves the hosptial and life slows down, the reality of Forester's diagnosis and his new life will hit their family all over again.

The Bradburns will need our prayers more than ever! Please continue to rally around them and love and support them as you have so graciously done these last 4 days. Most importantly, please pray! As we have all seen so clearly, God is good and powerful and unbelievably loving! His people are pretty unbelievable too! I've been blown away by all of you, and I know Pete & Whitney have been too.

Thanks to some very special friends of the Bradburns here in Charleston I will soon post detailed information about how you can help in concrete and practical ways over the next 10 months or so. Please check back soon. Oh, I'm working on a CaringBridge website too. Thanks to all of you who suggested it.

May God bless you all!
Much love,

It gets even better!!!!!!!!

Pete just called. Forester might come home tomorrow afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD! He cannot come home on morphine, so please pray that he doesn't need any today and that he gains strength minute by minute.

The oncologist met with Pete this morning who confirmed Forester definitely has medulloblastoma. However, they sent samples to the world authority on medulloblastoma at Johns Hopkins to determine whether or not it's a specific sub-type of medulloblastoma. They should receive his report Monday or Tuesday. This information will help the doctors give him the exact treatment he needs.

I'll keep you posted.

Whitney just said, "Jesus is rockin my socks!" I love this girl! :o)

Good morning!

Because Forester slept 85-90% of the day yesterday and had not spoken much, the doctors planned another CT scan for today to check for fluid and swelling. Pete just called, though, to let Whitney know that Forester will NOT have the scan because he has been sitting up and talking. In fact, he sent Pop (Whitney's Dad) out to find some chocolate donut holes. Apparently, Pop is taking too long. :o) Forester even stood up for a few minutes. His last IV will be removed today too. Praise the Lord!

I'll work on a longer post now to let you know about our visit last night but thought you all needed an update ASAP.


Friday, February 27, 2009

A Quick Update

When I spoke to Whitney around noon today, she shared great news! Forester had eaten, had watched a little Scooby Doo, and had even read a birthday party invitation - out loud, with no slurred speech and with no hesitation! Praise God for new mercies every day!

Please remain in prayer for Whitney. The reality and enormity of Forester's illness is hitting her anew over and over again. Although we may not know exactly what she and Pete and their family are thinking, feeling and experiencing, the Lord does. Please pray that His strength & power is perfected in their weakness. Please pray that they feel His arms wrapped around them every second of the day.

I will see Whitney and Forester in a little while and will post more later.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A gift for the Bradburns

Oops - I lied. One more post tonight...

One of the Bradburn's dear friends in Charleston had a wonderful idea! We have begun collecting and compiling Bible verses for a scripture "book" for Whitney and Pete to refer to during this journey with Forester. Please share with us specific verses as you feel led by the Holy Spirit, and we will reference both the verse(s) and your name(s) in this special book. If you would like to contribute, please email your verse(s) and name(s) to by Monday, March 2. Thank you so much for your help with this, and most of all, thank you for your prayers!!!

(Thanks Lauren!)

The CT scan is clear!

Thank you for your prayers! The CT scan is clear!!! Praise God! Please pray now for wisdom for Forester's doctors and nurses re: the proper pain medications for him and how to keep him comfortable without causing too much sedation. Although he is quite groggy, he has been able to communicate when he is in pain. He even asked to watch tv once today, although propping him up in bed caused him pain. Poor baby. :o(

Forester's surgeon explained that it's normal for his condition to seem worse the first few days after surgery. Because he didn't really seem sick before surgery, though, this has been especially hard for Whitney and Pete. He had basketball practice a few days ago, and now he's lying helpless in a hospital bed after brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Whitney especially asked for prayer against anxiety, as this is her automatic response to illness. As I'm sure you can imagine, seeing her baby this way has caused her serious anxiety. Please pray for supernatural peace for Whitney and for her to physically feel the Lord carrying her through this time.

Finally, please pray for communicative and compassionate doctors and nurses and for restful and restorative sleep for Forester and his entire family.

Unless something comes up late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, I will not post again until tomorrow afternoon. Don't worry! I'm headed to Charleston first thing in the morning! I cannot wait! Once there, I will give you a first hand update on my beloved Bradburns.


A New Prayer Request

I just received a text from Whitney:

"Forester is very groggy, so they are going to do a CT scan to see if there is fluid build-up. He hasn't had morphine since 10am."

They are taking him for the CT scan now. Please pray!!!


One more thing...

Please remember to be praying against all possible side effects & complications from the surgery. Forester is talking a little and is trying to eat (without getting sick), but it's still too early to know about side effects.



When I spoke with Whitney a little after 12:30pm EST (forgive me for the delay in posting), Forester had already been moved out of PICU and into his room in the Pediatric Medical/Surgical Unit! Praise the Lord!!! The PICU nurses fell in love with Forester and bragged that he was the best patient they had had in years. His arterial line had been removed, and he and Pete were having some quiet father & son time. Forester made it through the night only on tylenol but did need a little morphine for the pain right before he changed rooms. Forester's new room overlooks the playroom, and hopefully, he will join the other children there in just a few days.

Although we're still waiting for the official MRI results, a close friend of the Bradburns in Radiology/Oncology looked at the films for them and said they look awesome! Whit said he was so excited by what he saw: a complete resection of the tumor!

Before you plan a visit to the hospital, please check the blog for additional information & details. Whitney & Pete need to find a place to meet visitors since they no longer have a waiting room nearby Forester's room. We don't want to overwhelm Forester with visitors in his room. Thank you all for your amazing expressions of love and support!


A New Day

A text from Whitney this morning:

"We slept. MRI was at 9:30 last night. No results yet. FJB (Forester James Bradburn) slept quietly through the night. Vitals are good. Praying all is well enough for him to move out of PICU today."

Praise God for sleep and good vitals! Believe with me that no MRI results yet = great MRI results!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sleep well, sweet Bradburns

Whitney and Pete are at home with Micah and Slade, while Whitney's Dad (Pop) and Pete's Mom (Grandma) stay with Forester overnight. Please pray for peaceful and restorative sleep for everyone, so they wake renewed in the morning.

At some point tonight, Forester will have another MRI to confirm that the entire tumor - about the size of a golf ball! - was removed. If any part of the tumor remains, they will immediately take Forester back to surgery. Please pray that the MRI is clear!

Although Forester is on morphine and "out of it," he is responding well postoperatively. He will leave the PICU tomorrow afternoon if all continues to go so well!

Sleep well, sweet Bradburns!

Thank you, Father, for Forester. Thank you that he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for holding him and his family so lovingly in Your Hands. Thank you for using Your people to so clearly, so tenderly, so mercifully care for Forester and his family in their greatest time of need. May You be glorified and may Your sufficient grace and power be made known to all. In Jesus' name I pray.


Pete & Whitney saw Forester in the PICU. He did not have a breathing tube (yay!), but it was still really hard. The poor little guy was vomiting. He's resting now.


Forester is out of surgery!

Whitney & I spoke just a little while ago. Forester's surgery went well, and he is now in recovery. Praise the Lord that the surgeons were able to remove the entire tumor!!!

In about an hour, Pete & Whitney will see him in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Please pray that this time goes quickly for them but that the Lord uses it to strengthen them and build them up for what lies ahead. As you can imagine, it will be incredibly difficult for them to see Forester with a breathing tube and hooked up to all sorts of machines. He will likely be "out of it" for the rest of today. When he does wake up, however, he will begin to face a life that is vastly different from the one he's known. Whitney specifically requested prayers for Forester's comfort and for peace for him as he begins to understand what his future holds. Pray too that the Lord gives Pete & Whitney wisdom as they explain to their 7 year old child why he must stay in the hospital for a week, what chemotherapy and radiation are and why he must have them, why he cannot go back to school, etc, etc.

Although they will not know definitively until Friday at the earliest, it still appears that Forester has medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumors in children. Praise the Lord, though, that he falls into the "average risk" rather than "high risk" category! (The following website provides some basic information about medulloblastoma.

Following his hospital stay, Forester will go home to rest and recover for a few weeks before he has a spinal tap and then begins chemotherapy and radiation. The spinal tap will help determine whether he has any abnormal cells in his spinal fluid. Because the MRI indicated no tumors in his spine, it is most likely that his spinal fluid will also be clear. Please pray that this is so. It is at this time that Forester will also receive the port for radiation.

Micah is having a wonderful time with friends and remains unaffected so far. Please pray that the Lord protects both Micah's and Forester's hearts and childhoods.

The Lord has showered this family with His blessings and mercies through prayers and the lovingkindness of so many friends and family members. Pete & Whitney have been surrounded by those who love them (and lots & lots of food) at the hospital today. Thank you all for your outpouring of love and support!!! What a blessing you are! Please keep those prayers coming! (And, if you visit them at the hospital, please make sure Whitney keeps eating for me!)

Love to all of you in Jesus' name!

Surgery Update

Hi again! I spoke to Whitney at about 12:20pm EST. She & Pete had just received word that the surgeons were closing Forester up and that everything had gone as planned. Hopefully, he will be in recovery soon. As soon as Whitney & Pete talk with the surgeons and get more details, I will pass them on to you.

Praise God for He is good ALL of the time!

Keep praying against complications and side effects from the surgery too.

Thanks again and love to all!

Forester update from Tuesday night

Hi everyone! I talked to Whitney tonight. All things considered, she sounded good. She said God has obviously been with them in so many ways today. They all have a long road ahead of them, but they know the Lord will walk with them every step of the way. Here's what I know:

-The MRI showed only the tumor they originally saw on the CT scan. Praise God that Forester's spinal cord was completely clear!
-Forester will be taken from his room at 6:45am for a 7:30am surgery.
-The surgery itself will last 4-5 hours, and he will be away from Pete and Whitney for about 7 hours.
-From the scans, the doctors do believe they will be able to remove the entire tumor. Please pray that this is true.
-He will be in ICU for a few days following surgery and in the hospital for at least a week.
-He will need to have both radiation and chemotherapy, and the full treatment will last about 8 months. No more school for Forester this year.
-If he does not have radiation & chemotherapy, there is a 70% chance the tumor will come back. If he does complete the treatment, there is a 70-80% chance it will NOT.
-He may have a temporary (any where from a day to a year) loss of speech, coordination, etc from the surgery itself since the tumor is in the cerebellum.
-He also may have side effects from the radiation, including cancer in another part of his body. Please pray against all side effects!
-There is a very, very small chance that this is actually another type of tumor that would not require radiation and chemotherapy. Please pray that the doctors are surprised to find out that he does not have medulloblastoma after all!
-Please pray for peace and strength for all of them and that they rest in the Lord's presence in truly supernatural ways.

Thank you!!!