Saturday, June 20, 2009

Treatment and home

Sorry I haven't posted sooner. Forester was able to come home Thursday morning! We had no complications during his 3 day treatment. I wouldn't say Forester enjoyed it...he was very ready to come home, but he did get to play in the atrium playroom and that helped pass the time quickly. So far, we've been able to stay on top of the nausea and vomiting with medication and we haven't had any episodes. Yippee! We are continuing to give him drugs every 3 hours to stave off those side effects. To be honest, it's been a lot smoother and easier than I was anticipating. Forester has been pretty tired and weak and has had some aches but isn't in any way feeling bad. He's even done some swimming. Thank you, Lord! Our prayers are working -keep praying!

Our church is hosting a conference this weekend called, New Wine, and I have been so fortunate not only to attend this conference but also help lead worship with Robin Mark from Belfast! What a stellar guy. And, the teaching from Kenny Borthwick has been amazing. I can't wait to hear him today. It's been so good for me to be with my church family and in God's presence! Last night, Pete and Forester were able to be there and many sweet prayers of healing were prayed over Forester. Especially for his ears and hearing. As was mentioned in a previous post, many children who take Cisplatin, which Forester will take for the next 6 months, end up with permanent hearing loss and hearing aids. This is a very common side effect. I am not willing to accept this and I believe God wants Forester to not only be cancer free but whole. So, we will continue to pray blessing upon every cell in his body and protection from all side effects!
(Forester's temporary bed in the corner of our bedroom. His favorite place these days.)

So.... since I tell you guys just about everything going on with me, I have a selfish prayer request. Tomorrow I am beginning a new workout routine (P90X) and eating plan. I must, must, get in shape and lose weight. Not only am I still carrying around baby weight but now I'm also carrying around a few extra "feel sorry for myself" pounds. I look and feel awful. It's ridiculous but this consumes 80% of my thoughts. Just getting dressed in the morning is so depressing and a horrible way to start the day each day. One should not focus on themselves this much! YUCK! But, I honestly just want to be healthy. Most moms know that making yourself a priority can be a challenge when you're taking care of your little ones. Of course my situation is magnified. There are some days where it seems so trivial to even be thinking about exercise or spending time making a healthy meal when my son is miserable fighting cancer. And then there are other days where I know I have to do this to be the best mom I can be! Blah.... Will you please pray for me? Seriously. Pray that I can discipline myself each day to make the right food choices and also find a hour a day to exercise. Be my friend and keep me accountable! :-) I want to feel good about myself again and be HEALTHY.

Thanks for listening to me and praying for all of us,

Monday, June 15, 2009


Today, the doctors informed the Bradburns that Forester faces a much more difficult road during the next 6 months of treatment than he did over the first 6 weeks. As you can imagine, this news hit hard. We all had hoped and expected that the first 6 weeks, now behind the Bradburns, would be the hardest. Please pray that the entire family feels the Lord's arms wrapped tightly around them and that His peace and strength and grace surrounds them in tangible ways. Please pray specifically for protection for Forester's hearing. Hearing loss is a very common - as common as nausea & vomiting - side effect of this next phase of treatment. Also, please pray that, although it's extremely likely, Forester does not experience increased nausea and vomiting.

Thank you for faithfully walking this road with the Bradburns!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Next Chapter Begins...

Today is the last day of no chemo for the next 12 months. What a yucky sentence to write. But, I have to remind myself that chemo equals cure and the sooner we get there the better. Forester's next regimen is a bit confusing so I will try to spell it out as best I can. It's been hard for us to remember it! Forester is about to begin 6, 28 day cycles. So, this is what the next 6 months will look like for us.

Forester will be receiving 4 separate chemotherapy drugs. On day 1 (of 28) Forester will be admitted to the hospital and he will receive Isotretinoin (chemo) by mouth, Cisplatin (chemo) via port for 6 hours, and Vincristine(chemo) via port for 2 minutes. On Day 2 and 3 he will receive Cyclophosphamide (chemo) via port for over an hour. On day 4 he will receive GCSF for 10 days via port or shot which helps his white blood cell count recover. On day 5 (Friday) he gets to go home. On day 8 (Monday) we return to Hem-Oc clinic where he will receive Vincristine via port and return home later in the day. On days 16-28 he will take Isotretinoin by mouth 2 times a day, completing the 28 day cycle. Then we will repeat this cycle 5 more times.

I am once again going to list all the possible side effects from these drugs so that you can be praying specifically against them - please!! But, before I do that, I have to PRAISE GOD and thank you for your prayers. These are the side effects from Carboplatin that Forester did NOT encounter: abdominal pain, mouth sores, damage to his ears/hearing loss, change in vision, damage to his liver or kidneys! He only experienced the common side effects. He is done with that drug (and radiation) and we thank you for praying!!

Possible side effects from Isotretinoin:

Common: Dry skin, dry, cracked, bleeding lips, increased tendency to sunburn, bloody nose from dry membranes, aches and pains in the joints, back pain, increase in calcium in the blood.

Less likely: Rash and itching, increase in cholesterol, red eyes, elevation in the blood of certain enzymes which may cause liver damage, Lower red & white blood cells, too many platelets in the blood, hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, darkening or lightening of the skin, increase in blood sugar levels, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, numbness & tingling in the fingers and toes, changes in vision, swelling, chest pain, inflammation of the gums, slowed growth, dry throat, mild kidney damage, extra bone growth - deposits.

Rare but serious: severe allergic reaction which can be life threatening, irritation of the airways making you cough and wheeze, skin breakdown, convulsions. brain swelling, severe headache, changes in vision, depression, osteoporosis, inflammation of the pancreas & severe abdominal pain; possibly life threatening, diarrhea & bleeding.

Possible side effects of Cisplatin:

Common: nausea & vomiting, lower red & white blood cells, abnormal amounts of magnesium in the body, loss of appetite, damage to the ear causing difficulty in hearing high pitched sounds, temporary mild increases in certain chemicals in the blood because the kidneys are not working as well as normal.

Less likely: abnormal body salts, Metallic taste, rash, numbness & tingling in fingers and toes, temporary vision changes, damage to the ears causing balance problems and ringing in the ears, increased enzyme levels in the liver, inflammation of the port/vein.

Rare but serious: Allergic reaction that could be life threatening, permanent damage to the kidneys, deafness, seizures, blurred vision & color blindness, decrease in muscle & nerve function that may affect normal functions such as walking, Leukemia later in life.

Possible side effects of Cyclophosphamide:

Common: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, low white blood cell count, hair loss, decreased ability to fight infection, decrease in the number of sperm which could decrease the ability to have children.

Less likely: Abnormal hormone function, abdominal pain, diarrhea, low red blood cell count, bleeding & inflammation of the urinary bladder, temporary blurred vision, nasal stuffiness, skin rash, darkening areas of the skin, slow healing and infections.

Rare but serious: Heart muscle damage which could be fatal, abnormal heart rhythms, damage and scarring to the lungs making you short of breath, Leukemia, damage or scarring to the bladder, Allergic reaction which could be life threatening, infertility.

Possible side effects of Vincristine: (this is one of the drugs Forester has already been on)

Likely: hair loss, reversible nerve problems that may affect the way you walk and the feelings in your fingers and toes (neuropathy), constipation (Forester has experienced all of these - only mild neuropathy though).

Less likely: Jaw pain, headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, numbness & tingling, wrist or foot drop, drooping eyelids, double vision, abnormal walk with foot slapping, difficulty with urination, dizziness, abnormal hormone function, drop in white cells. (so far, Forester has only had the drooping eyelids).

Rare but serious: Intestinal blockage, nearby damage of tissue near port site, vocal cord paralysis, difficulty breathing, inability to walk, decreased ability to hear, damage to the optic nerve, damage to the liver (Forester hasn't experienced ANY of these -PTL!).

If you don't mind, PLEASE print this out, stick it on your fridge and pray specifically that Forester will not experience these side effects. If that is too overwhelming, please pray protection over his EARS & HEARING, his EYES & VISION, his LIVER, his KIDNEYS and BLADDER and protection from exposure to illness and infection. It seems all these drugs could affect those areas. Also, Forester has had such a hard time with the vomiting. He's been off of chemo/radiation for 7 weeks and yet he vomited yesterday morning. His system is just not normal and I am praying & ask you to pray, in spite of what is supposed to happen, that Forester's nausea & vomiting will at least remain the same and not get worse. Ugh, Lord, please protect Forester's little body!

In spite of all that yuckiness written above, I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe He is interceding for us at the right hand of God. I KNOW my God can heal. I KNOW my God can do the impossible. I choose to believe this no matter the circumstance. Will you join me? We will pray our way through this fight together! We couldn't do it without you.

All my gratitude and love,