Monday, May 27, 2013

Now it's mom's turn...

Oh where to begin.  This has been a difficult weekend for us.  I'm so grateful that we all have one another though.  We've all come together as a team and we're working together for the good of Bri and the little girlies.

I can't imagine what Ted goes through when he goes to bed at night after the girls are asleep and he finally has time to take a breath.  My heart breaks for him.  I worry about him but he's been such a rock.  I  know he's had his moments, just like I have, where we give in to the fear and despair, but he pulls himself up and gets on with it.  I'm so proud of him and so grateful that my daughter and granddaughters have him as their rock.  I love you Ted.

When I think about Brooke and her amazing love for her sister, well I just can't because I'd be a blubbering mess.  :-)  She has been completely and totally selfless in giving herself, her time and everything to her sister.  I'm so proud of you Brooke for the love and strength you show not that the family sees but that all the hospital staff witnesses as well.  You are a good sister, you are a wonderful Auntie and you are an amazing daughter.  I love you Brooke.

And last but not least is Brianne.  You've always placed your little family first in your life.  You've been patient, loving, selfless and fun!  I know every event that passes by on the calendar is difficult for you to miss.  You had never even spent one night away from your daughters much less all these weeks.  You've been brave with every scary new test, drug, set-back - you've been an inspiration.  There is a reason why you are all the nurses favorite at University Hospital - you are a wonderful spirit.  You shine, you are beautiful, you're funny, you've gone through so much and you're ready to keep going and so are we.  We will never give up on you Bri, we'll fight for you when you aren't strong enough to fight for yourself.  We will be there for your husband and daughters while you can't.  I love you Brianne.

Bri will most likely be flown out by a chartered jet to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX on Wednesday.  I don't have to tell any of you how expensive medical bills are even if you do have insurance.  Please find a way to help out, please pass it on to your friends and ask them to do the same.  We are having an online auction at:

If you don't have anything to donate or if you can't bid on an item please, please just pass the info along to your friends list so that we can get this information to people who can help this young family.  There is also the donate button on this blog for people who would rather contribute cash.  Please pass this ink on to your friends list as well.  If you use Twitter please tweet this info and let's help this family through the worst nightmare most of us could ever imagine.

Thank you,


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another step!

Hello, everyone!  I had every intention of jumping on here tonight to share the latest happenings in Bri's battle and victory over this nasty disease.  Brooke posted the latest, so I will keep my post short as to not be redundant! :)  Please, read Brooke's post, though!

I just want to say that this latest step with Bri going to Houston for further treatment is not the easiest thing any of us has had to deal with.  We have our moments of fear, discouragement, doubt and negativity.  While these feelings are normal, we also serve a God who does not operate on the principles we experience in the natural mindset.  You have all read, heard of someone, know someone, or maybe are the person who was given no hope but was restored and redeemed in a miraculous fashion.  We will continue to put our faith and trust in The Lord Almighty to line up everything for His Glory.  I pray that Bri's strength is an encouragement to all of you, because she is a fighter and just takes this with an attitude of victory.  I feel like the stage is set for something powerful that will bring people to know and experience Jesus in a mighty way!

A couple things come to mind and are a blessing to our family.  The Word of God tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 8.  Jesus also gave us the authority and the power over sickness and disease, as can be read in various scriptures.  Ephesians chapter 6 details the full armor of God.  The Book of Luke, chapter 9 verses 1 and 2 (thank you Pastor David Kibben for sharing) also discusses this fact.

I ask that you please stand with us in declaring that Bri is healed and set free from this disease.  Thank you all and God Bless you!

Surprise! and SURPRISE!!!!

Hello beautiful and wonderful people!
It's been a while since I've blogged! So here I am... And warning.. it's gonna be a long one! :)

So, as most of you know, I moved to California in the end of March. It was a super hard decision to make with everything going on with Bri. Back in around August, our brother Bill was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the blood plasma), and at THAT point, I said... I'm moving to California. So it had been the plan that once I was done with school in December, I would migrate out to California. Then Bri was diagnosed in January. So, I'm sure a lot of people are wondering... "Why the heck did you just up and move to another state while your sister is going through this?!" but I didn't plan on Bri having Leukemia. haha None of us did. BUT... it worked out that I wasn't working when Bri was diagnosed because I could stay with her and stuff. Then I got a temporary job and the timing worked for the job to be over around the time my lease was up, so I went with it. I've been out here in Long Beach for a couple months now and I LOVE it here, but it's been really hard not being with my sister after we had basically been glued to the hip. So, when we got the news that she was out of remission, Brudder Bill decided that I should go back and see her, so he sent me back to Denver to see Bri for the weekend (He's amazing).So, last weekend, I surprised Bri with a visit. I was so excited!
I text her when I was outside the hospital, to make sure she was gonna be in her room and stuff. I saw that she had started texting (love iPhone iMessage), but then it went away.. so at least I knew she was awake. So I made my way up to her room. I knocked on the door and slowly peeked my head in and walked in and she looked at me kinda strange and said, "What the HECK?" hahaha She was kinda out of it cause she'd just had some meds and was probably thinking she was seeing things.
So we got to hang out and it was so good to see her. She was in good spirits and handling everything so well. They had done a chest xray because she had a cough and they wanted to see if the blood clot was gone. Turned out, the blood clot was gone, but she had pneumonia. So they had her on a bunch of different antibiotics so she was hooked up to her IV pump pretty much at all times. She has a bacteria infection in her blood, so they took her PICC line (central line) out just to be safe. So, because they did that and that was the main source for giving her antibiotics and everything else, they had to put an IV in. Her veins are small and it's hard to get IVs in them, but after a few tries, got one in. But it caused a lot of problems with the IV pump because if she bent her arm or anything, it would make the thing beep constantly and drive her insane. Me too. Sometimes she'd be out of it or asleep and it wouldn't bother her, but I'd be like.. BRI! CALL YOUR NURSE! haha Those things are annoying. But anyway, they ended up putting in an additional IV so they could do two things at once. They needed to give her a bolus of fluid and still keep the antibiotics going. So, poor thing had two IVs. But she managed.
We had a few visitors come and hang out for a while. and then I had to leave on Monday evening to come back to Cali because I'm still looking for a job and was waiting to hear about a nanny job I'd interviewed for. It was hard to leave her again, especially knowing she has pneumonia, but she was doing so well and I know she's in good hands. I told her next time Bill and I will come visit over the summer. It was a good visit. :)

So, here we are almost a week after I've been home. They did a bone marrow biopsy on Bri to see if she was headed toward remission. Waiting is the hardest thing in the world! It's hard for us as her family, but I can't imagine how much harder it is for her. Especially when you're just sitting in a hospital day after day. We all have lives and things to do. I am constantly amazed at how strong and amazing my big sister is. She's handled this past round like a total champ. She's had a good attitude, smile on her face, and such a strong faith in God. She rocks my world.
Anyway.. the past 24 hours has been a tornado of craziness and a rollercoaster of emotions that has rolled through our lives. Yesterday the doctors came in to give Bri the results of the biopsy, and I'm not sure it was anything any of us were prepared to hear. The doctors said she's still not in remission, the cancer is still there, and that they're running out of options. They gave her a few options, but one of them was to send all of her stuff to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX to take a look at and see if they have some clinical trials that could work for her. I got the news from my mom and got on the phone with Ted to get the details and stuff. I've heard good things about that hospital and I have a couple friends in the medical field that both suggested that hospital, without me even telling them it was an option. So mom, Ted, and I started communicating back and forth and we all really felt like this was what we should do, and I offered to go to Houston to stay with Bri as long as it takes. There's obviously a reason why it's been so hard for me to find a job here after 2 months. I don't know how my monthly bills are going to be paid, but I have a huge God and know that it'll be taken care of somehow. I offered to just declare bankruptcy and go that route, but mom and Ted said not to and we'll figure it out. haha I just get in "Let's do this!" mode and want to just bulldoze through haha.

So when I woke up this morning I had two missed calls from Bri and one from mom, so I knew something was up, so I called Bri back. They made the decision to send Bri to Houston and she should be leaving Tuesday or Wednesday. She'll be flying a chartered plane with a nurse on board I guess. She'll probably be there a month or two and once they get her into remission, we'll go back to Denver and she'll get her transplant there. I've taken a break from packing my stuff up to write this, but I'm driving to Houston starting today. I'll stay in Phoenix with a good friend, and then see how far I can get tomorrow. It's 22 hours altogether... but if we're gonna be there for a month or two, I'd like to have my car out there.  When she gets the transplant, she won't have to be in the hospital the entire time, but she'll need to stay in Denver so she can be close to the hospital for appointments or if something happens and she needs to go to the hospital. So, I'll stay in Denver with her for that. Mom will be there, but she'll be working during the day, so she'll need someone to be available to her 24/7.
I know this is kinda all over the place, I'm sure, but my thoughts are all over the place. hahaha I am trying to get packed and get on the road and needed a break to write this all out. So much going on in all of our minds, I'm sure. I'm trying not to think about finances, I'm sure Ted feels the same. I know God will supply all our needs. I am just so grateful that God has allowed me, AGAIN, to be able to be with my sister during this.
Mom is going to be setting up an online auction to raise money for medical bills and whatnot because this is not going to be cheap. We're not really sure how it works, but she's going to figure it out. That's her project. haha So, if anyone knows how to start something like that, get in touch with my momma. Also, if anyone has anything they're willing to donate to be auctioned off, let my mom know. Whether it's art work you've done or something that you're willing to part with to be auctioned off to benefit this, whatever. Or if you don't have anything, but want to just donate, there's always the donate button on this blog. :) I hate asking for money, but this is sort of a time where we need to put our pride to the side and ask for help.

You guys are all so amazing and we are continually grateful for each and every one of you. We may never be able to tell you enough, but we feel all of your love and support and we appreciate it so much!!!!!
And while you guys are all amazing, incredible people... I just need to say... I have BY FAR THE BEST family in the entire world!!! I am continually amazed at how God put such an amazing group of people together :) He really outdid Himself! haha But seriously... the love and support and teamwork is amazing. When something comes up, everybody works together, there's no fighting, we're able to put our differences aside and just love. That is something I'm EXTREMELY grateful.
So, Ted, mom, the girlies, Bill, Nan, Spencer, Becky & Ciara, Ted's mom and family, our dad, the "Nudder Grammas", extended family.. cousins, etc. I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for being so amazing. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of this family!!!! I love you guys.

Sooooooo..... HEEEEEEEERE WE GO!!! Bri and Brooke, off to Houston, onto our next big adventure! I'll be keeping ya informed.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lifted in Prayer

Good evening, everyone.  Thanks for reading.  A lot has taken place since the last post on April 7th.  As many of you probably know, Bri is back in the hospital as of April 26th.  She was going through all the testing to prepare for a stem cell transplant and encountered several small roadblocks.  Originally, she was supposed to be home for two to three weeks and then back in for the transplant.  As I have said from the beginning, this is all on God's timing!  We got to keep her home for just shy of six weeks!  During week five of her being home, we went to Denver for a bone marrow biopsy, as the doctors like to have a sample just before the transplant.  The results came back and showed the Leukemia was back and Bri was out of remission.  During weeks four and five, Bri started to experience some pain in her left leg and there was a bit of wonder in our minds if this could be the disease trying to sneak back in.  Not what we expected.  Nonetheless, we really loved having her home longer than expected and she was able to spend some quality time with us, which I know we all needed.  Again, God has His own timeline and we trust whatever the purpose was for this!

This weekend, we resumed our routine of going to Denver on Friday night and spending the weekend.  Our girls were able to spend some time with great grandma, who is moving back to Montana in six days.  It might be a while before they get so much time with her, so it was a win!  Friday marked a week that Bri has been back in the hospital.  You would think our daughter are celebrities in that place!  When we arrived, nurses were scrambling to see them and tell them how cute they are.  They really have a way of making us feel welcome in a place where there could be nothing but negativity.  

Today, Bri finished up her current chemotherapy regiment, which consisted of six days of high dose chemo drugs to achieve a remission.  Once in remission, the plan is to roll right into the stem cell transplant.  I am so proud of her ability to withstand all the drugs and effects that it has on her body.  I tend to believe anyone who goes through this has moments of doubt.  Some of our conversations over the weekend were not the kind of conversations that I ever thought we would have, nor are they the type of conversations that are pleasing, frankly.  They hurt and they are scary but I suppose they are a reality.  Without Jesus, we would be hopeless.  I am not sure I have experienced the type of feelings that I felt when Bri told me that she sometimes fees like it would be better if she didn't have to go through this anymore.  In the flesh, I know this has to be a normal thought process.  I simply ask for all of you to lift her in prayer and ask God to continue to give her strength and perseverance.  We will get through this.  My girls and I need her to be home as soon as possible so we can share this story with everyone who will listen.  God has already shown us victory and these are steps in the process for a powerful testimony.  Satan has picked on the wrong group of people!

God has an amazing way of showing His presence and giving us encouragement.  Prior to this difficult conversation, I was sitting on the sofa while Bri was asleep reading  The scripture in Hebrews that discusses Jesus being the same yesterday, today and forever, popped into my mind and just kept repeating itself.  I love that still small voice of God.  Hebrews 13:8, to be specific.  Jesus healed all kinds of ailments and even raised Lazarus from death.  His word also tells us that we have access to all His power just by believing in Him and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.  All the miracles we read about and everything we see in the present can be expected to continue!  What a blessing and thank God for giving me this as a way to encourage my beautiful wife during a moment of uncertainty.

As you all can imagine, every second of my day is highly valuable these days!  I will do my best to keep you all updated in the weeks to come as we navigate through this process.  God Bless you all and thank you for the love and support of our family.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3, 4 NKJV)

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:15, 16 NKJV)