Friday, February 15, 2013

Round 1 Chemo - 0, Bri - 1!

Hello lovely people!

I'm a couple days late on this, but my internet is down at home and I haven't really had a chance to update, but I wanted to fill y'all in on Day 29.

Ginny hung out with Bri most of the day and Nan was planning on going, but she's been sick, so she had to stay away. When they found out her Lumbar Puncture and Bone Marrow Biopsy would be at 3:00, I decided to go because Ginny had an appointment at 2:00 and I didn't want Bri to be alone. At around 2:00, I got a text from Bri saying they had to move it up because they needed to be able to get the bone marrow samples in by a certain time and they were getting ready to do it. Sooooo... I left work and rushed down Colfax (always an interesting drive) to the hospital. I got there just in time and there was a new Dr and a Nurse Practictioner there that I'd never met. Our future BFF, Dr. Green, was no longer there (sad faces all around), so we had to accept the new ones. Dr. Green was really gentle with the procedures before and made her feel really comfortable. This new Dr. was smacking her gum and when I tried to make jokes, she didn't seem impressed (the nerve! Does she not know who I think I am?! I am HILARIOUS!) But, Bri was a trooper and SHE laughed at my jokes.

They did the Bone Marrow Biopsy first. This is the one where they literally use a drill to get core samples of her bone and try to get "juice" out. I mean, it's not like a Black & Decker that you'd use to hang pictures or put together an entertainment center, it was sterile and much smaller, but it was a drill nonetheless. So, they numb her up, and this doctor stuck a needle in and was tapping on her bone and scraping it, and it completely grossed Bri out because you could just hear her tapping and scraping bone. I, on the other hand, found it kinda cool. Then she grabs this thing that literally looks like a box cutter that you push the blade up and she just poked it into Bri's hip and then jabbed the big needle with the drill bit (it wasn't really a drill bit, but close enough) in it and started poking around with that until she could find a good solid place to anchor it in there. She definitely wasn't as gentle as Dr. Green was and my protective little sister instincts were kicking in and I wanted to be like "TAKE IT EASY JERK!", but Bri didn't seem to be in pain or anything, so I figured I'd just let her do her thang. So, once they get it anchored in, they snap the drill on and start drilling for oil. Similar to fracking, except for the chemicals and rocks and all that. Maybe it's not like fracking at all, but anyway... Once they get it into a spot they try to get her juice. She's always been pretty stingy with her aspirite (or gravy as Bri called it), so they've never been able to get any, so they have to take more core samples from her bone. This time, something went into the syringe and I was like.. whoa! It worked, but they didn't seem satisfied and when she pulled the syringe off and looked at it, it turned out to be a blood clot and it jiggled around like jelly. I didn't think that was as cool. I was kinda grossed out, and then she squirt it onto the sterile pad thing and I almost gagged. and then I sang "I don't think they're ready for Bri's jelly, I don't think they're ready for Bri's jelly" (like the Beyonce song) and we giggled. And again, the Dr. continued smacking her gum, unimpressed. Whatevs.
They ended up having to go in 4 different times to get what they needed. The last time, this dude Glen (the nurse practitioner) gave it a shot and he was even less gentle than the doctor. Then he basically left. Rude.

After they let her rest for a few minutes, they went ahead and went for the Lumbar Puncture and inject her chemo into her spine. This went much smoother and she was able to get it right into the spinal fluid and it came out quickly again. The first time she had this done it came dripping out like a faucet and mom got all queasy and had to go sit down and put her head between her knees. hahaha Then the second time, she must have been dehydrated and it was barely coming out and it took like a half an hour. So, luckily this time she got right into the spinal fluid and was able to get her 4 vials of spinal fluid and then the chemo took 5 minutes to go in and we just all kinda chatted while it was going in. Then she was done and had to lay flat for about an hour.

I had to run and get my tire changed, so I left and on my way back, picked up some Chinese food that Bri wanted and some Chocoflan from this Mexican place down the street. When I came back we started eating dinner, but after a little bit, she started feeling really nauseous. She started having a hard time and was having hot flashes and stuff so we called for the nurse to get her some medicine. Then her back started really hurting where they did the biopsy. She hadn't really had pain after the biopsies before, but I know it's cause that gum smackin lady was so rough and then let GLEN get all aggressive all up in her hip. Rude. So she was in a lot of pain. They're trying to not give her things intravenously because they want her to be taking oral medication since she's going to be going home soon and she won't be able to have pain meds through her line. So, they gave her oral meds for the time being and nausea medication. She ended up getting sleepy and fell asleep for a little bit. Round 1 of chemo... DUNZO!!! WOOHOO!!

It was getting late and she had said she wanted to shave her head, so I woke her up and told her if we were gonna do it, we'd better get to it! So, we called the nurse and she got us some clippers. I've never used clippers before in my life, but I was excited! haha We went into the bathroom, took a before shot, and I got the scissors and I just started chopping.. I was like a little girl with a barbie. Bri was a good sport. Then I got the clippers out and didn't even know where to start.. I wanted to cut a really sweet mullet or something, but we just got down to it. She has a great shaped head! hahaha You know that's always what people worry about when it comes to shaving their head. But she had a perfect little head. I knew it was going to be an emotional thing for her. I can't even imagine being a 33 year old woman having to deal with this. She's so brave though. When she looked in the mirror she just started crying. I'll admit, I did too. We just hugged and cried like big crybabies for a little while. Then she was still in a lot of pain from the biopsy, so we called for her nurse and she laid down. I know it had to be hard and she probably had a lot going through her mind, worrying about what the girls will think, thinking about what people in public would think. Her face is puffy from the Prednisone (or The 'sone as our brother and I call it.. he just experienced what The 'sone is capable of recently while he was taking it because of HIS cancer), and I wanted to take an after picture, but she's not quite ready. She said, "I look like a boy" and cried a little more. I sat next to her and loved on her a bit and told her that she's still beautiful. It was a tough night. I HATE leaving her, especially on nights like that. I cried pretty much the whole way home because my heart just breaks for her. It's so unfair and I hate that she has to go through this. I wish I could take it, but I know that God is still in control and has a plan for all of this. I'm confident in that.

The GREAT news is... she gets to go home today!!!! YAYYYY!!!! Ted and the girls are headed up here and she's waiting to hear the results from the biopsy and what the next step is! I know she's looking forward to being home with her family. I'm so excited for her! I know it will help a lot to be in her own home, with her family, and get their lives back to somewhat normal.

As I was getting ready to leave last night, I was sitting on the bed and telling her I had to leave and we kinda sat there in silence for a minute and she quietly said, "What am I gonna do without you?" and I said... "Oh please! You'll have your husband and girls now and all of your church family!" It's been a crazy past 6 weeks for all of us, with ups and downs.. good news and not so good news. But we've all been amazed at the amount of love and support from all over the place! She is loved big time and I appreciate everyone letting her know it. So, in that moment of silence before she asked what she's gonna do without me, and while I was reassuring her that she's gonna be fine without me, in all reality, I was sitting there wondering to myself what I was going to do without her.


  1. I am simply in awe of the love you and Bri share, makes me feel so happy she has such a great support system, your entire family rocks!!! When I grow up I wanna be just like you Brooke;-) God Bless you all~~ ML

  2. Oh my gosh! I cannot express the joy my heart is feeling right now. My heat truly goes out to you all. As i was reading this blog for today i was feeling (at least trying too) what you/Bri were feeling, then i got to the part SHE GETS TO GO HOME TODAY. and i balled like a baby. I am so very happy for this bitter sweet moment. The bitter part is you both feel like what am i going to do without her, the sweet part is home sweet home. A goal has been reached and God is still in the business of miracles. He was given something horrible and ugly by you all and He turned it in to something beautiful a closer closeness in sisters, between a mother and daughter, a stronger family unit, a husband and his wife. Give God something and watch what He will do.

  3. Oh that was so touching! What an incredible bonding moment between sisters. You are blessed to have eachtother. praise God that she gets to come home today...our prayers have been answered!