Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 12

The girls and I spent the weekend in Denver with Bri and the grandmas. Of course, the weekend went by way too fast.

For the first time, Bri had a CNA assigned to her that was less than professional. He clearly didn't like his job!  He was not rude to Bri at all, so we just let him do his thing.  His behavior actually provided some comic relief for us!

The girls visited with Bri for about an hour and nobody had to wear a mask, per doctor's orders!  This was a win!  Bri's doctor also told us that her blood levels are looking good and they will do some more testing this coming week.  Depending on the outcome of another biopsy, there is a chance that Bri could come home soon!  We will continue to trust God and know that He is making all of this happen on His time.  At the very beginning of all this, Bri said she wants to be the person who people say, "wow, she went through all this and was healed in record time."  What a testimony it will be!

On Saturday night, Bri really wanted Noodles and Company for dinner  We ate dinner, watched UFC fights and we both dozed off during the fights. Then we got our second winds around 9 p.m. and ate some junkfood. Good times!

Bri woke up Sunday morning with quite the appetite.  I believe this was her breakfast order:

Biscuits and Gravy
Egg, Cheese and Chorizo Burrito
French Toast
Orange Juice
Dazbog White Chocolate Mocha

I may have assisted with French Toast!  Bri and I just hung out and talked about what her first meal will be when she gets home, what kinds of snacks she will have, how the house should be sterilized, and the new recliner we are going to buy for her with my annual bonus.  She is pretty excited about this one and also said she should probably buy a new Northface jacket, as well.  In case you don't know, Bri has a thing for Northface jackets! 

Bri's hair is starting to thin out and we talked about the possibility of her losing most of it.  If it continues to thin, her and Brooke plan on cutting some of it and trying out different hairstyles.  From what I hear, they have some fun conversations about this!  So glad she can handle this possibility like a champ.  We talked about the type of head coverings she could wear.  I suggested the Under Armor head coverings that football players wear under their helmets, but that didn't go over well.

The girls visited about an hour again before we left today.  They are not allowed to go to Bri's room because the unit is separate from other rooms.  Most patients in the unit have very weak immune systems due to the chemotherapy, so we have to meet in the solarium.  There is something about that solarium that makes our youngest mess her pants.  5/6 times so far!  Strange but true!

It was hard to leave today.  Time went so fast and Bri may have some nights alone this week, for the first time since she has been hospitalized.  I encouraged her to get great rest, watch some netflix and pray, pray and pray some more.  More chemo on Wednesday, biopsy on Thursday, and we hope for her to be released by the end of the week.  Our God has been guiding us through this every step of the way and His favor has been mighty.  We will continue to be strong and encouraged by His Word.

This is a scripture that helped us to draw on God's strength and comfort during the first couple of days going through this.  We were nervous and scared.  We had to find it in ourselves to remember to put our trust fully in God's hands.  It is overwhelming to be given news like we were given, but GOD...

Psalms 31:14-15

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
God bless you all and thank you so much for the continued prayers, love and support. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 9 was a success!
I'll keep this short cause we are exhausted from slaving over a puzzle for HOURS!! Ok.. it was only like 3 hours, but still! :) 

Yesterday Bri got her chemo doses of Daunorubicin and Vincristine and did well with them. She got the ok to get food brought from outside of the hospital, which she hasn't had for over 2 weeks. So I went to Noodles & Co and got her some Japanese Pan Noodles and she couldn't eat it fast enough. Mom came over after work and brought her some rice krispy treats, so we have those stashed in a drawer for "emergencies". haha Bri started feeling a little bit nauseous for the first time through al of this, but mom got her a cold washcloth and she got some medicine and she did just fine. 

Today was a great day! She woke up and ate a good breakfast. She is neutropenic now, meaning her neutra.... something or others are... low.. or something. I can't keep track of what is too high and what is too low, but people have to wear masks and she's on a restricted diet. Her blood work is doing what it's supposed to though. 

She had another dose of chemo today, and this was one of the ones she dreads.. through her spine. When the doctor came in, she said that when they had done the Lumbar Puncture last time, they found what could be a mass of cancer cells in her spinal fluid, which travels to her brain. She said it could also just be some blood that leaked in there, so they ended up having to do another spinal tap and take more spinal fluid to make sure. This time it didn't go as fast as it did the first time. The first time it just dripped out like a faucet, but this time it took about 25 minutes to get the fluid they needed. She handled it like a champ though and we actually had a good chat with the doctor in the meantime. We really like Dr. Green and Bri and I talk about how we're all gonna be BFFs after this is all said and done and we're gonna hang out with Dr. Green cause she's cool. Code of Ethics shmode of shmethics! We're awesome.. she wants to be friends with us... but who wouldn't, really!? ;o) 

Bri took a little nap and I ran home to shower and stuff... when I got back, we had some dinner and put on some music and started a puzzle. She got to FaceTime with the kiddos and Ted and pray with them before they went to bed. She had a great attitude all day and was happy and very positive. It's great to see her like that! I friggin love her so stinkin much!!! :)

She's off from chemo until Tuesday, so she'll have a little break. They may have to do another bone marrow biopsy, just to see if things are doing what they're supposed to, but that's not for sure. So.. on that note.. I'm signing off! Thank you all for all the love and support! We can't tell you how much it's appreciated!!! You all are awesome!!! 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 8!

There has been a lot of talk about day 7 of chemotherapy.  We have been told that it is a low point or most people who undergo chemotherapy. That being said, we have relied on God to allow this day to come and pass just like the others, as Bri has done very well.  I am happy to share that this has been the case.  Thanks to all of you who have been standing shoulder to shoulder with us as God continues to be faithful to His word!  I recall at one point, while Bri was still in the Cheyenne hospital, her becoming very nervous about day 7.  We talked about what day 7 meant to God.  A day of rest!  What a blessing!

Genesis 2:2-3 AMP 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 And God blessed (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done.

We agreed to just stand on God's word that it would be a day of rest and a Holy day!

The girls and I left Monday afternoon to come home and are looking forward to getting back to Denver on Friday night.  Of course, the girls really miss their mama.  They are also looking forward to hanging out with their grandma and great-grandma, getting spoiled rotten and staying up all hours of the night.  Anzley, our two-year old, was all about her mama today.  She was texting her on the toy phone, pretending to talk to her.  Her Clifford stuffed dog even sent a text to Bri while we were in the grocery store!

I will close out by saying thank you to all of you who are praying and supporting Bri and our family as we go through this.  I cannot stress enough how big our God really is and the fingerprint He has all over this entire journey.  Bri and I have had several conversations on why we ended up in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  God placed us here to grow our faith in Him, this has become clear.  I cannot wait for the end result of Him turning this all to good and allowing us to be a blessing to many many people.  I have learned in bible training and at our church that what the enemy steals, God restores in even greater ways!  Bri's health, our family time, trying to rattle our faith; it is not happening.  It will all be restored!  We claim Victory over all of this in Jesus' mighty name!  God bless you!

Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV
                   1Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Howdy y'all! It's my first blog post..... like EVER! WHOOP!!!

Today was a pretty good day. Bri has a.... we'll call it a "healthy" appetite. Meaning, everything sounds good to her, and she wants to eat everything in sight... which is a good thing......... for her. Not so much for me. While she loses weight, I'm finding it! She had a good breakfast, while I had to do some running around for a couple hours. After I came back, the psychologist came in and we chatted for a bit.

We sat on the couch and looked out at all the people walking around and while Bri checked out all the nearby restaurants wishing she could order in, we made up life stories and dialogue for the people going about their busy lives 11 floors below us and laughed. Then we cut a sweet deal with the nurse and her doctor to get her unhooked from her stupid IV pole unless she's getting her antibiotics. So with her new found freedom, we took a stroll around the floor looking for some sweet old school VHS movies to watch. We ended up with Liar Liar and The complete 1st and 3rd season of Friends (DVDs). We even checked out a magazine that has hats, scarves, etc for cancer patients and picked out some cute "dome" covers for when she loses her hair. She's already noticing that her hair is thinning and she's starting to get worried about it, but says she hopes it comes back straight instead of curly. Erica and I teased her yesterday that it's gonna come back fiery red and she'd be a redhead. Poor thing. (Just kidding... shout out to the gingers in the room!)

Bri was supposed to get another dose of chemo, and this was one that goes in her spine and injected into her spinal fluid, but they ended up switching it to Thursday instead. So, she had another day off from chemo, but she'll get 2 doses tomorrow.

Our old buddy Josh Sosa graced us with his presence for a while. We chatted for a while and then Bri got in the shower and Josh and I caught up a bit. Josh is no stranger to visiting us in the hospital. When I was in the hospital for a month after I'd broken my back, Josh came and hung out pretty much every day and kept me company and kept me laughing. So here we were again, 10 years later, sharing laughs again, except Bri was the patient instead of me. (Which is still really weird for me).

Bri took a nap and I ran home to shower and do some things. I decided I was going to bring my XBox in and we're gonna play some games. All I have is shooting and war games, and Bri isn't too keen on those, so I stopped at Game Stop and got a couple more games that she might like. I'm looking forward to bringing down the house with our killer karaoke skills while we play my karaoke games! Bri is a little apprehensive about it, but I'm just plain excited! I also picked up some other games... card, dice, board... for us to do to pass some time.

I have to say, I'm so grateful for the time that I've gotten to spend with my big sister. It's been a long time since we've gotten to hang out, just the two of us. We've gotten a LOT of time, and while the circumstances aren't the best, I feel truly blessed to be able to be here with her. She's pretty stinkin awesome! While not having a job has been stressful, it's been a blessing to be able to have the time off to spend with her and going through this has put things into perspective for me. So, even though things aren't how we'd like them to be, good things are coming from it. I think we're all learning and growing. At least we better be! ;o)

I'll leave you beautiful people with my favorite verse, so important to me that I've had it tattooed on :o)
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 5

Day 5 was a day off of chemotherapy for Bri. The nurses and doctors were still talking about how well she did with the treatment on day 4.

Bri woke up with a big appetite and couldn't wait to get breakfast, which is another plus given the amount of chemotherapy she has received. In fact, she had a good appetite all day.

Her doctors told us that most of the test results from her biopsies were back and it appears that her ALL will be cured using only chemotherapy. Sometimes, bone marrow transplants become necessary but in her case, it doesn't appear that way. This was so great to hear! As soon as the doctors left the room we prayed and thanked God for His blessings and for the good report!

Emotionally, Bri had kind of a roller coaster of a day. She got real tired after breakfast. Dealing with medicine and doctors, beeping pumps, etc., she told me she just wants this to be over. We talked for awhile, decided to get lunch and watched football the rest of the day.

Tammy came over early evening and brought posters our girls made for Bri's room. Each made one with their own pictures, and one with pictures of our family. Tammy stuck them all on the wall for Bri to have right in front of her. They were the topic of discussion for the rest of the evening. Brooke came to visit, as well, and brought many laughs to share.

We are all super proud of Bri and her attitude and determination.

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A fun day with Nanny & Nama

We got up bright and early and the girls ordered waffles for breakfast.  Daddy came and got them at 9:00am to go see mama before she had her next chemo treatment.

I just spoke with Ted and he said she did amazingly well.  I guess usually people hate that drug and don't feel well but she is eating and watching a movie with her honey.

We've got movies to watch, the girls made posters to put on their mom's wall at the hospital.  Nanny showed each of the girls how to make their own cakes.  Here's the recipe.

1 box of angel food cake (one step kind)
1 box of any flavor cake
Mix both cake mixes together and store in an airtight container.
In a cereal bowl put 3 or 4 "globs" of frosting in the bottom of the bowl.
6 T of cake mixture
4 T water
Mix it gently and microwave for 1 min. 30 sec. and turn it upside down on your plate.  Yummy!

The girls thought it was really fun to mix together their own cakes.

If Bri is feeling up to it Ted will come get the girls and take them to the hospital for an hour or so tonight.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 3

Today Bri slept all day.  She was only awake for short periods of time.  Sleep is so essential in the healing process.  Her pain level was mostly at a 2 out of 10 and that's such a good thing.  She was able to take a shower by herself without help.  I am sure there are many stages of this process.  They said the first couple of days she'd feel like super woman which was true.  The first two days she was up and about, eating, laughing and in a great mood.  Day 3 she didn't receive any chemo but slept all day.  I know enough about cancer that it is an emotional roller coaster.

This morning she looked at herself in the mirror and started crying.  When she sat on her bed I sat with her and let her cry.  She hasn't really cried - wept.  Only a few times when I've been with her she's only cried a couple of tears but today she wept.  She said she was afraid her kids would be freaked out when they saw her with the IV and tubes.  I told her that she looked a million times better than the last time they saw her.  But with that mother's intuition she was sort of right.  Since she was hooked up to an IV and had to wear a mask little 2 year old Anzley was hesitant to approach her mom.  That seemed to crush Bri.  I held her and let her cry and tried to assure her that things with the girls would get easier.  I told Bri's Dr. that the baby didn't really want to be on her mom's lap and it was probably because of the mask.  The Dr. said Bri could take it off but just no kisses on the mouth with her kiddo's.  (We LOVE Dr. Green!)

It's such a conflict.  I'm sure Bri wants the girls to have their regular routine that Ted is trying so hard to provide them, and time is going by fast for them.  But on the other hand, time isn't going by so fast for Brianne and she has verbalized that she is afraid they won't miss her presence.  It's a delicate balance.  I feel helpless.  But I let her cry when she needs to and I try very hard to let Brianne feel her feelings.  I try to validate them and not try to cheer her up at those moments but to just be there for her while she is in that moment.

The girls are staying with me and mom for the weekend which is a huge treat of all of us!  Anzley ate popcorn like it was her job and she went to bed like a little champ.  We borrowed a playpen from a friend and she is in my room.  Siena is sleeping beside me as I type and Kambrya is sleeping in Nanny's room watching "Murder She Wrote" which is something she used to do when they all lived in Kalispell.  The girls are well taken care of.  Anzley sang herself to sleep.  I laid there and listened to a variety of songs, counting and even animal sounds.  She would say, "what does a monkey say - ooo ooo ooo.  What does a pig say - oink, oink."  It was absolutely precious and for sleeping here for the first time without her momma and daddy, she was a champ!

The Pacheco family is strong and full of love and the Lord is holding them gently in His arms during this time.  They will get through this, we all will, and we will be better for it.  I have to say that out of all the cards Brianne received she seemed most touched by the card signed from all of her Middle School teachers in Polson, Montana.  (Thank you Amy Knutson!  I know it was you who sent that card around and I also know it was you who called all the churches in Polson and put Bri on their prayer chains.  You are our angel and my whole family owes you a lifetime of gratitude and love.)

Tomorrow is a new day.  Brianne will get chemo again.  I think it's important for this blog that we be as honest as possible so that when there is a bad day we can look back and see how we got through it and how much support we got.  It's also important to remember the good days and how we have all been uplifted.

This journey is truly changing the face of our family.  It is bringing us closer, allowing us to trust each other and depend upon each other more.

Please keep praying for our family because we do feel your prayers and we do cherish them.

Good night, Tammy

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What an awesome day!

I started today off with an entry and it was such a great day that I wanted to end it with an entry.

Bri had her second day of treatment which was a lumbar puncture or spinal tap.  They took out 4 vials of spinal fluid so they could test to see if there were any cancer cells.  I actually watched.  The spinal fluid was clear, looked like water.  I must admit there was a point when I did have to sit down and put my head between my legs so as not to make a fool of myself by fainting.  (I know what you're thinking - Attention Seeker!)  After taking out the spinal fluid they pushed in 6cc's of the chemo over 6 minutes time.  Brooke offered her hand for Bri to hold but Bri ended up squeezing it instead.  I guess it's okay since she was getting a 4 inch needle put in her spine and all.

Bri said the only thing that hurt was the initial lidocaine that stung.  She was brave and day 2 of chemo is behind her.  Thankfully she didn't get a spinal headache.

Bri's pain level is so much lower already.  She's up and walking and sitting in a chair.  It was just a couple of days ago that she had to be under such heavy sedation you could barely have a conversation with her.  I can't begin to tell you how much seeing her improvement these last two day makes my heart soar!  Her Nan came to visit and that was really good for both of them.  It was a day of visitors, laughter and healing.

We're so thankful for the technology that allows her to be able to talk and see her kids each evening over FaceTime.  The girls were bouncing around and telling her they love her and they can't wait to see her tomorrow.  At the end of the conversation Ted encouraged her and said a prayer.

It was a great day.


Day 2 of Treatment

It's a gorgeous sunny morning here in Denver, Colorado.  The beginning of a new day and day 2 of chemo. Bri will get one drug today and that one will be given to her in her spine.  The nurse assured Bri that they numb the area very well and it won't be painful.  (Except for that first lidocaine shot to numb it, that stings.)  She had a great day yesterday; whether it was all the prayer or the relief of finally getting chemo underway or a combination of both, she had a great day.

Brooke was here and we watched movies, Brooke polished Bri's toenails, (clipped them too!) and we just enjoyed our time together.

The staff here really has been amazing.  For being in such a large hospital, the staff really cares and treats us all so well.  For instance, yesterday morning the CNA assigned to Bri asked if I wanted anything and I asked for some coffee with cream.  (Unlike other hospital wards I've been on you can't just go in the little kitchen and get things yourself like water or coffee, we aren't allowed in there due to germ issues.)  Anyway, this morning that same CNA (I can't remember her name!) popped in and brought me coffee with cream and she isn't even assigned to Bri today.  I was just a little bit blown away by her thoughtfulness and caring.  The staff has been so compassionate, encouraging and caring and it's the little things like the sweet girl bringing me coffee when she didn't have to that make me so grateful to be here and puts me at ease to know that when I'm not here I know my daughter is being well taken care of.

Psalms 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it."


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16th, 2013.

Good morning, everyone.  Bri starts her chemotherapy today.  We are standing in faith that the medicine is anointed by God and that it is like honey to her soul.  From the first drop to the last, we are praying that every moment it is rooting out the bad and restoring her to full health, in the name of Jesus! 

A good friend, Jeff Sandman, shared this verse with us:

Mark 16:17-18: 17 "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Emphasizing the portion where Jesus says, "...and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them..," Jeff encouraged us to pray for the possible side affects of chemotherapy to be minimized in the name of Jesus.  What a blessing, and we are standing on these principles!