Sunday, September 25, 2011

But, he used to be...

 Hello, my friends! Forester had another MRI brain scan last month and the results look great with no evidence of disease.  My heart soars every time I hear those wonderful words. Thank you, God!

We were also able to get more clarification about Forester's thyroid and need for synthroid. His level is only slightly low and therefore the amount of synthroid is teeny tiny. It's not near enough to throw him off balance and just brings him up to the normal level.

Also, we have not started growth hormone shots. It turns out that Forester is not "allowed" to have growth hormone shots until he is a full two years out of treatment. His oncologists explained that we don't want these shots to stimulate anything that shouldn't be growing to start to grow. That makes sense and we surely don't want that either.  Pete and I have been angered and disappointed that an Endocrinologist at MUSC who supposedly deals with cancer kids frequently wouldn't know this timeline. If these decisions hadn't had to pass through Forester's oncology doctors we could have jeopardized his treatment. Scary.  I was also a little bit sad that we have to wait a year. I don't want Forester to have to take shots everyday but I also want him to be as normal as possible.  He'll be 3 years behind in growth. Thankfully, since he was a baby he's always been the biggest and tallest kid among others his age so right now he's evened out and looks like everyone else.

On to prayer requests for Forester....or maybe more for me.  The last month or so I have found an anger and sadness rising up in me. While in the midst of Forester's treatment all I really cared about was his survival. I would hear the list of possible problems and difficulties due to the side effects of chemo and radiation and I cried. But, in the grand scheme of things he would be alive and those things were minor in comparison. Well, now he is starting to live out those side effects and I'm really really sad. I'm mad about what's been stolen from him because of cancer.  Forester is back to playing soccer for the first time since he was 6 years old. This is a huge praise in itself since at one time we weren't sure if he would ever be able to run normally again. But, he used to be so naturally athletic.  The last time he played this game it was on a tiny field, 3 against 3. Now it's a big field with a bunch of 10 year olds with offense & defense positions.  He doesn't run as fast or kick with the same amount of ease. I can tell when he gets tired because his left leg can't keep up with his right. My heart tightens up every time his coach yells his name trying to direct him. Now, in complete fairness there are other kids on the team who are getting "verbal direction" too and aren't sure about what they're supposed to be doing either. There are other kids on the team that aren't athletically gifted.  I think I would be ok with that if that had been the case for Forester but it didn't used to be before cancer.  Would he have been a soccer star before? I don't think so. It's just that now he struggles where he didn't used to.
Another area where this is playing out is in school. Radiation to the brain causes learning delays and challenges. When your child has brain cancer and radiation is the best chance to get rid of it for good, having a tougher time in school is on the level of "not a big deal", he'll be alive. But, now that we're watching that play out I'm just mad. Learning/school had always come easily for him.  All subjects easily clicked. Straight A's, no sweat. Math used to be his favorite subject.  Math is now his most difficult subject and he hates it.  In all subjects things are just tougher. I can see how his brain has a hard time "getting it" and I know he's giving it his best effort.  And I'm just sad. I'm grieving the loss of what was or what could have been.  I have learning disabilities and I struggled in school. I don't want that for him! I know this is the beginning of many small losses I will grieve.  And though they are small it still hurts deeply. When Forester was in daily treatment I had a hard conversation with another mom about these types of things. We both concluded that treatment ends, cancer can be beaten but cancer never really goes away.

In the midst of my own sadness I am also thankful because Forester is not aware of any of these things. He doesn't know there is a difference on the soccer field or in school. He doesn't relate any of this stuff to cancer or treatment. He still has no idea the magnitude of what he's gone through or overcome. Ultimately, I know all of this is part of his story. I know God will use all of these things to mold him and shape him into an amazing man who can share the miraculous healing of Christ and the victory we can have in our struggles.  But, as a one wants to offer up their child to be the one who has to take the hard road.

Please continue to pray for our Forester, our family and my aching heart.

Thank you doesn't say enough,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Endocrinologist Results

Last week Forester had an extensive Endocrinology appointment testing his thyroid function as well as his growth hormone levels.  This included getting IV drugs and several blood draws. Unfortunately it was a very rough day for Forester since his little veins weren't cooperating.  Once they would finally get an IV going his vein would collapse and they would have to try again in a different spot. The same thing would happen when they tried to draw blood. :(  After 5 sticks he was really missing his port!

Though his thyroid numbers are still in the normal range now his doctor believes that hypothyroidism is inevitable and wants to go ahead and start him on Synthroid. I don't understand this at all. If his number isn't low yet then why would they want to start a med to raise the number? Wouldn't that throw him into hyperthyroidism? As you can see , I have questions and would like a 2nd opinion on that.
A normal growth hormone level for a boy Forester's age is between 7-10. Forester's is 1.8. In a couple of weeks we will begin administering daily growth hormone shots to Forester that will continue through his 18th year.  Not news we wanted to hear but we knew it was coming. Forester is still at the height of a 7 1/2 year old which is when he started his chemo treatment. He'll be 10 in early November.  He doesn't know about the shots yet and we won't tell him until the day before the nurse comes out to show us the ropes. We've been reassured by others who have gone through this that it is a very simple shot and just a pinch of pain. We look forward to watching him grow!

In other news, Forester and Micah start their first year in a big public school on Tuesday!  They are so excited and we are too. I think they will love 1st and 4th grade at Drayton Hall Elementary. We are praying for the very best teachers for them and new wonderful friends.

My sister and I still have our loser blog going.  There has been some BIG news as of late.  If you haven't checked the site, I highly recommend doing it now to find out what the BIG news is!! Click here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New posts are up on! Make sure you enter your email address on that blog site if you want to follow our progress and get email alerts. :-) Thank you, friends!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Blog

There is a new post on my new blog!  Have you checked out my new blog yet?   It's called "My Sister's A Loser". Follow the link to see what it's about.


Monday, July 11, 2011

So... it's finally here! Initially I thought this blog, "The Bradburns", was about to take a turn in another direction but over the past couple of weeks I've decided to launch a new blog. I am so excited about this and it's purpose and I need you to check it out! I will continue to update this blog as needed with posts about Forester and the kiddos -albeit not as regularly because we are officially in the stage of life after cancer. Woo-hooo!  PLEASE go HERE to check out my new blog site. GO NOW!  :-) :-)

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Did I say next week? I mean to say Monday, July 11th! Ok, so I got a little distracted but I promise, Monday is the day! STAY TUNED for the changes that are coming!  :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



It's been a long time since my last blog post. Four months actually. Since then Forester has had another brain MRI and he continues to be cancer free! We're transitioning into a new phase of post treatment care.  Forester continues to get hearing tests and blood work and physical therapy but he is now also meeting with an Endocrinologist. Due to radiation to his brain and spine it is expected that he will not grow as he should and his hormone levels may not function properly.  We have already seen a drop in his height percentage as he used to be in the 60th percentile and has dropped to the 30th. Growth hormone shots may be in his future but not yet.

We've also seen some struggles in school this past year also due to radiation therapy slowing down his brain's processing center. Some of the struggles are also due to missing an entire year of school & trying to make it up within four months. There are some learning gaps that we need to make up for. Overall, he ended 3rd grade with A's and B's and we are extremely proud of him.  He worked hard for it. Unfortunately, school is not as fun as it used to be and we had quite a few homework battles at home. As our children transition out of their small private Christian school into public school next year, we're praying for: 1) the right school - as we are still undecided on where we will be living (in Charleston) in the fall. 2) Compassionate and passionate teachers & staff who are willing to work with Forester's needs. 3) A renewed love for school for Forester and peace at home when working on it.  We would love your prayers as well! Thank you.

Since this blog has been mainly focused on Forester's cancer journey, the posts have waned because life has returned to normal around here. Praise God for no news! So, I think I'll begin to transition back to blogging about "life as we know it", my internal thoughts and know, awesome cancer-free boring stuff! I'm actually thinking this blog is about to have a new purpose but... we'll talk about that next week.  Anyway, I tell you all of this to give you permission to unsubscribe without guilt if you don't want to continue to receive my blog updates. My feelings won't be hurt, I promise. Just send an email to: with "Unsubscribe" in the title.  But, I hope most of you will stay with me on this journey. I'll need your help in the challenges that lie ahead. More about that next week....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Two years ago today...

Can you believe it? Two years. It was 2 years ago today that our little 7 year old firstborn was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and our lives changed forever.  I didn't think my heart would survive to make it to this day much less consider it a day of celebration! But it is! Praise God, Forester James Bradburn is on the other side of his battle with cancer and is CANCER FREE! Once again I am reminded of God's goodness to us in the midst of the most devastating time in our lives. Not only did he pour out his peace upon us but he raised up the body of Christ from all over the world (literally) to pray for our child and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am humbled and in awe at the thought of it. We are just a speck in the sea of people on this earth, but we are special to God and cared for by him! And so are you! Isn't that truly amazing?
Once again we thank you for praying for us, loving us and walking beside us. Today is a day to celebrate LIFE. Glory to God!

*if you're viewing this by email I uploaded a picture collage to the blog. Check it out!  :-)