Saturday, March 28, 2009

Slade

She's been fussy all day and messing with her ears. Her temp is 99.8 which is technically not a fever but it's not her norm. I'm guessing an ear infection. (They only happen on the weekends, you know.) Please pray for her and that she can sleep tonight otherwise it may be a long one for all of us. Poor thing is screaming right now. If you know her, you know she never screams.

MOMS - She's too young to have Motrin, right? She'll be 4 months on April 1st

The weekend



So far, a good weekend! I got to hang out with some great girls last night downtown. It was nice to have some time away. The margaritas were GREAT and so was the company!


Grandma (Pete's mom) arrived last night and will be staying this week. Katie and Jack return to Atl. tomorrow but will be back soon. If Forester is feeling good we hope to all make it to church tomorrow - yippee! I must run. Forester wants chips and salsa and cheese dip so we're headed out... Praise God for a craving!

Friday, March 27, 2009

One week down...

Whitney's text says it all: "1st week is done!!" Yay!

Please pray that Forester begins eating and drinking enough to maintain his weight, to keep his little body functioning properly, and to avoid medical intervention in this area. Since he stopped the steroid, he's lost about 6 pounds. Today, during treatment, he received an extra bolus of fluid because he hasn't had enough to drink. An extra bolus of fluid also means an extra hour spent at the hospital.

Please pray for a peaceful and restorative weekend for the Bradburns! Yippee for 2 days of no treatment!

Praise God for He is good!
April

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forester and Jack Video

All in all a great day...minus the flat tire I got today. Thank you Kevin G for coming to my rescue, AGAIN! Why do these things always happen when Pete is out of town?? Also, I want to say a general "thanks" to all of you who have sent cards and gifts and gift cards and meals...all amazing and we SO appreciate it! I have a list and I will start thank-you notes soon but I just wanted to say thank you here cause it may have been a while since you sent something and I'm feeling so bad that I haven't sent a thank you yet! YOU HAVE BLESSED US LIKE CRAAAZY!! Praying for a peaceful night for us Bradburns and for you!

Here is a video of Forester entertaining his cousin, Jack. So sweet!


video

Day 4

Whitney just sent me a text to say they're done for the day! Already! Wow! It's been a good day except for vomiting in the morning.

April

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh, Happy Day

Just wanted to tell you that I love and appreciate you...yes, you, reading this post. We may have never met, you may be one of my closest friends...but you have prayed for and thought about my sweet Forester and I love you for it. Thank you. Today was a great and painless day for all and my guy was being his silly old self. It was a joy to see. If you have children, hug them tight, let the meaningless annoying things go and just appreciate the smiles and the silly. It's an amazing gift. It's been a long day! I'm tired and THANKFUL. God is so good. Wish Pete was here tonight...



Love and thanks to all!

Headed home

Forester has another day of treament behind him, and it went smoothly too! Praise the Lord!

April

Day 3

The Bradburns had a peaceful night last night (praise the Lord!) and were ready to face day 3 this morning. By about 12:30pm, Forester had finished chemotherapy and was about to move on to radiation. Another good day so far...

Don't you just love these dimples?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oops!

I forgot to mention one more thing:

Pete REALLY did not feel comfortable leaving town for work without answers about Forester's headaches and considered not going at all. Praise the Lord that they received answers in time for Pete to leave as scheduled and with a lighter heart!

April

Much better!

Today was a much better day! Praise the Lord! No headaches, no serious nausea, no major miscommunications, no scheduling snafus!!! Yippee! Like I said earlier, Forester is seriously the bravest boy I know. He even flushed his port himself following chemotherapy. Wow. Thankfully, it was a much shorter day as well. Forester was on his way home by 1:30pm. When I spoke to Whitney around 3pm, she said Forester had just asked to go to the playground. :o)

The Lord answered prayers in mighty ways today! Not only did He give them a shorter and much smoother day at the hospital, he also provided answers about Forester's headaches and worked on those communication issues I mentioned last night!!!

The neurology resident spent 30 minutes with Forester today and then left to consult with the attending physician. When the resident returned, he brought Dr. Maria, a HIGHLY respected neurologist, with him. Dr. Maria gave Whitney great reassurance about Forester's headaches. He is extremely confident that, based on family history, Forester is predisposed to headaches and that they were triggered by trauma to his brain, ie the brain surgery he had last month. Although this doesn't sound that great, he assured Whitney that headaches of this nature usually resolve within a few months. He gave her 2 prescriptions for Forester to help relieve & prevent his headaches on a daily basis. AND - He knew how different medications would affect or interact with his chemotherapy and made sure to prescribe medications that would not also go through his liver, etc. YAY for communication!!!

It gets even better: Whitney also found out that ALL of the physicians involved in Forester's care - his neurosurgeon, neurologist, radiologist, oncologist, etc - will meet together regularly in one room with Pete & Whitney to discuss all aspects of Forester's health and care. Could there be a more direct answer to prayer? I don't think so! Go God, and thank you Jesus!

:o)
April

The bravest boy I know

Slade agrees. :o)

Today - so far

Forester slept fine last night, and it sounds as if Pete & Whitney slept but not quite as well as Forester. When Forester woke up this morning, his tummy hurt. Thankfully, he took a Zofran, AND it stayed down. He ate some peanut crackers and grape juice too. Praise the Lord!

His blood work is normal, and he's receiving chemotherapy now. He just saw a neurology resident who will consult with the attending physician. Praise the Lord for this, and keep praying about this! Last night, the Bradburns got an automated call saying Forester's neurology consult had been scheduled for FRIDAY!!!! Unbelievable and completely unacceptable. (Yes, I'm still angry about it.) Please pray that the Lord continues to intervene in Forester's care and gives him the right doctors and nurses who have wisdom and discernment about these headaches!

Thank you!
April

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Daily Routine

Forester, Pete, Whitney, Slade, Muzzy & Pop spent about 8 hours at the hospital today. What a long day! Although Forester was understandably nervous in the morning, he was such a trooper! Over and over again, his courage amazes me. What a brave boy he is! Per Whitney, Forester's headache pre-chemotherapy was definitely the worst part of the day at the hospital. More on the headaches later... They waited around a lot today, but Pete brought his laptop with him and was able to work while waiting.

The daily routine for the 5 days per week 6 weeks of treatment will look something like this:
  • First, Forester will have blood drawn via his port after he arrives at the hospital at 8:30am everyday to verify that his platelet count, WBC, RBC, etc are within normal limits. They should receive results in about an hour. He will receive IV fluids while waiting. Thankfully, the nurses left a line in his port today, so they won't have to poke him again this week. Whitney & Forester joked about silly names for the line. :o)
  • Once they receive normal blood work results, this "approval letter" will be used to order Forester's chemotherapy drugs from the pharmacy. Mondays are especially busy days for the pharmacy since so many patients receive chemotherapy on Mondays. We hope this means Forester will not have to wait so long for his drugs on other days.
  • Forester will receive both Vincristine and Carboplatin on Mondays but just Carboplatin Tuesdays through Fridays. Hopefully, this will also reduce the amount of time spent in the hospital those days.
  • After he receives the chemotherapy drug(s) via his port, he will receive another bag of IV fluids. The nurses will then flush out his port, give him Heparin, and send him down for radiation therapy. Because today was Monday, because it was Forester's 1st day of treatment, because of his headache, etc, he missed his 1pm radiology appointment, and there was confusion between the chemotherapy clinic and radiology. He had radiation therapy and then returned to the chemotherapy clinic to have his port flushed today.
  • Before radiation therapy actually began today, the doctors had to make sure Forester's mask fit properly. This meant he was in radiology for 1 hour versus hopefully just 30 minutes per day from here on out. For radiation therapy, Forester is strapped to a table and into his mask and is then left alone in a very noisy room. Whitney said it almost sounds like you're inside an air conditioning unit. The mask is so tight that Forester cannot open his eyes, his eyelashes poke through the mask, and he has a waffle-like pattern on his face once the mask is removed. Can you imagine??? Anyway, today he was completely calm about the whole thing. The nurses/doctors can see Forester via cameras and communicate with him via microphones and speakers, which is good.
  • Because of the way Carboplatin and radiation therapy work so well together, Forester must have radiation therapy within 1 to 2 hours of receiving Carboplatin. So... Hopefully, this will seriously reduce the amount of time he waits between the 2.
  • Whitney just found out today that Forester can listen to CDs while receiving radiation. When she asked the nurse if she had any children's music, the nurse pulled out a children's worship CD. The volume must be very loud to compete with the other noise, so every time someone opened the door, worship music blared down the hospital hall. :o) Forester told her he'd like to listen to stories during treatment, so she's hoping to borrow Adventures in Odyssey (from Focus on the Family) from a friend. If you have any other ideas/suggestions, please let us know.
  • Pete & Whitney can give Forester Zofran every 8 hours and Atarax every 4-6 hours as needed to treat the nausea he's experienced recently as well as to control nausea caused by his treatments. As I mentioned in my last post, though, he's afraid to take it. :o(
  • A nurse mentioned to them today that children usually experience some relief from fatigue and nausea by the 2nd week of treatment.

Forester did not see a neurologist today about his headaches but will hopefully do so tomorrow. A neurologist friend, however, said it sounds as if Forester is experiencing classic lumbar puncture headaches, which can last up to 3 weeks. It makes Whitney (and me) mad that no one involved in Forester's care has even mentioned such a thing! Please continue to pray for answers re: his headaches and for relief for our sweet boy.

Also, please pray that all medical personnel involved in Forester's care COMMUNICATE clearly and effectively and compassionately with the Bradburns. There has been an obvious lack of communication in some areas, and it is frustrating and potentially problematic.

Thank you all! Keep lifting those prayers!

April

Prayer Requests

At 5:20pm, Forester had another horrible headache. Pete & Whitney gave him Oxycodone for pain and Zofran for nausea. He fell asleep for a little bit but woke in pain and vomited at 6:45pm. Thankfully, he has been asleep since then. Because he also vomited after taking Zofran this weekend, he doesn't trust it. He's afraid to take it for fear of vomiting again. So... He has no medication in his body now. Please pray away his headache and nausea. Please pray for a peaceful night sleep for the entire family. On top of all of this, Pete & Whitney have to care for Micah and Slade, Slade is screaming at the moment, and Pete has to fly out of town for work early tomorrow afternoon. Please pray for peace that passes understanding for the entire family and that the Lord gives them His strength for every moment.

Details of the day to follow in another post...
April

Home!

Forester is home. I'll post details of the rest of the day soon. I'm talking to Whitney now.

April

The latest

A 2pm update from Whitney: "Chemo is done. Now 1 hour of fluids while the nurses watch him for a small chance of anaphylactic shock. Then down to radiation."

Keep praying!
April

A brief update

Just received 2 texts from Whit:

"Dr will consult with a neurologist to see how best to deal with headaches & why they're happening. Zofran is dripping & chemo is on its way."

"We're going to miss our 1pm radiation appointment. They will be waiting for us when we're done here."

What a long day they've had already, and it's really just starting! Pray for peace and comfort for all of them, while you pray against all side effects.

April

Waiting...



As of 12:25pm, Forester had not yet started chemotherapy and radiation. He had blood taken this morning, and when that came back normal, the doctor ordered the chemotherapy from the pharmacy. He played Nintendo DS and ate a Subway cheese sandwich while waiting for the blood work results. He's been on a saline IV drip for several hours.

Right now he is suffering from another horrible headache, which Whitney said is as bad as the headache he had right after the spinal tap. He was screaming and crying in pain until he was given morphine just a few minutes ago. His nurse moved him to a private room and contacted his doctor. Whitney just doesn't think these intense headaches can be normal. Please pray for relief for sweet Forester and for wisdom for the doctors re: these headaches!

I'll keep you updated.
April

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Treatment Journey Begins





The time has come. The next leg of this race is upon us and starts bright and early tomorrow morning. For the next 6 weeks, Forester will receive daily chemo treatments and daily radiation treatments Monday through Friday. This is called chemoradiotherapy. He will also receive an additional chemo drug once a week. We have been told to expect a 6 hour day at the hospital each day. Anticipation of this regimen has created some anxiety in all of us, but the Lord has given us His peace, and we know that it's also just fear of the unknown. We look forward to tomorrow. The sooner we start, the sooner we'll be done! :o)


So, some details and prayer requests... I will list the drugs he will be taking and the side effects for the purpose of asking you to be specifically praying against these side effects - PLEASE!!


  • During the next 6 weeks, Forester will receive Carboplatin, the experimental drug, everyday. Likely side effects from this drug are nausea & vomiting, fewer red and white blood cells and platelets resulting in fatigue, weakness, and lowered immunity to fight infections. Also likely are abnormal levels of certain salts like potassium & sodium. Less likely side effects are rash, metallic taste, numbness in fingers and toes, hair loss, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, temporary change in vision, permanent hearing loss & balance problems, and mouth sores. Rare but serious side effects are liver damage, kidney damage, and Leukemia later in life.


  • The chemo drug Forester will receive once a week is called Vincristine. Likely side effects are hair loss, reversible nerve problems that may affect the way he walks or feelings in his fingers and toes, and constipation. Less likely side effects are jaw pain, headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, wrist or foot drop, double vision, abnormal walk with foot slap, difficulty with urination or increased desire to urinate, dizziness, and drop in white blood cells and platelets. The rare side effects are horrible, but I will mention them for the purpose of praying against them!! Rare side effects are intestinal blockage, tissue damage, seizures, vocal cord paralysis, difficulty breathing, inability to walk, decreased ability to hear (like hearing through water), damage to the optic nerve and possible blindness, and damage to the liver.


  • Forester will have radiation everyday, and the likely side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sunburned-like skin, hair loss and the others that were mentioned in a previous post.

Forester will take 3 other drugs over the course of the next 15 months, but we'll take it one regimen at a time. After this 6 weeks passes, he will have a period of rest for 6 weeks before starting the next regimen which will require hospital stays.


You may now better understand why it was a very bad day when I first heard of all these possible side effects. No one wants their child to experience hardship or sickness or lack any ability. BUT - the Lord God Almighty created Forester James Bradburn. This cancer was not created by Him but allowed by Him for reasons beyond our understanding. He is not surprised by anything, and He is certainly much bigger than cancer and any of these side effects of these cancer killing drugs. I believe with all my heart that God is the Healer and that He is healing Forester. I believe God is a protector and He is protecting Forester. I believe He can protect him from these side effects. Will you please pray with me? Print out this post, go down the list and ask God to spare Forester from these side effects and ask the Lord to protect the cells that HE created and kill any cell that is not supposed to be there.



Thank you for continuing on this journey with us. Thank you for praying for us and praying for our sweet boy, Forester. I promise to be in contact with April all day tomorrow and have her post updates about our first day of treatment.

Love,
Whitney