Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Mask

Some of you have asked what I mean by the mask that Forester will have to wear during radiation treatments each day. I found a drawing and a brief description which conveys it much better than my confusing attempts. And, you'll be able to "picture" Forester each day during treatment. His mask has been made and he didn't seem too freaked out about it. I think I would freak out so...Goooooo GOD! (insert visual hurkie here)

Pete

So far, today has been pretty normal except for the fact that Pete's visit to the dentist this morning for a crown, has turned into a root canal. Not fun and another setback that keeps him from working. Please pray for him. I know he is stressed about keeping up with work. It's not a good time to be "away" from your job as we all know! Forester's treatment will start on Monday. I'll share more details later but it will require chemo and radiation everyday resulting in a 6 hour day at the hospital, Mon-Fri, for 6 weeks. So, Pete will not be able to be there. Also, Pete has had a business trip come up today which will require him to be gone next Wed-Fri. I'm sure it's the last place he wants to be while his son is in his first week of treatment. So, just pray for him. He has been our rock the last 3 weeks. He keeps Forester calm and keeps me from falling apart....I am amazed by him and more in love with him than ever. He won't ask for it but he needs your prayers. Thank you. Cyber hugs to all. ~ Whitney


*I love this picture collage of Forester. Thank you, Heather, for making it!! I wanted to share it with all of you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Video of the kids

SO! Before this day went downhill I took a little video of all the kids cuddling in the bed. (Lord, if it's a stomach bug please protect the rest of the family!) Anyway, it's cute and happy and we all need a little happy right now so I thought I'd share. Pray that the night is peaceful for all of us!! All my thanks and love for your prayers!!!!!! - Whitney
(scroll to the bottom of the page to turn off music so you can hear the audio)

video

Home!

After some blood work, a bag of IV fluids, graham crackers, and a little Shrek, Pete & Forester are home. The doctors took blood to look for signs of a stomach bug but apparently found none.

Forester is in good spirits and just said to Whitney, "Mom, I can eat stuff now!" What a trooper he is!

Thanks again for your faithfulness!
April

To the ER

Per the doctor's request, Pete is taking Forester to the ER. He's vomiting again, has a low grade temperature and is complaining of his second headache today.

Please pray for this sweet boy and this precious family!
April

New Prayer Request

Forester has vomited more than once today. Please pray for a settled tummy for him. Also, in case this is a bug, please pray that it does not spread through the family. Whitney is worried about Forester and has always struggled with a vomiting phobia. This is just too much for her today. This is supposed to be their "normal" week before treatment starts on Monday. Please pray for health and rest and peace for all of them!

After talking with a great physician friend, who was so excited to hear about Forester's selection for the 2 additional chemotherapy drugs, Pete feels much better about it. Apparently, the world's leading oncologist developed these clinical trials. (I hope I got that right.)

Thank you!
April

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Randomized Clinical Trials

Pete and Whitney learned this afternoon that Forester was selected to receive the 2 additional chemotherapy drugs, so he will receive 4 drugs in total. Initially, Pete was upset because he had hoped Forester would only have the 2 standard drugs. Whitney did not know what to think, but Pop thought it was a good thing. My heart aches for them for being in this position. Let's just continue to pray that the Lord has Forester exactly where He wants him and that Pete & Whitney have peace about it.

Please also continue to pray against all side effects from radiation therapy and chemotherapy. I realize that we never posted the possible chemotherapy side effects. We may do so a little later this week.

Please pray that, as planned, the entire family has a "normal" rest of the week with no doctors appointments, no hospital visits, no fevers, etc. Pray that they have peace and quiet and are fully restored for the 6 straight weeks (and 5 days a week) of radiation therapy and chemotherapy that will begin Monday.

Blessings to you!
April

Thankful

For those of you who are not on Facebook, below is Whitney's status update this morning:

"Whitney is thankful for today!! God is good in all circumstances ALL the time. It's WHO He is. He IS good!!"

:o)
April

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.

Chemotherapy

  • 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,

April