Spring Fun!!

I realized that I hadn’t posted in a long time so here’s a bit of an update.

Since this was Carson’s grade six year, he missed out on Ridgeview’s annual legislature tour.  We were all interested so we made a field trip out of it one day and went for the official tour.  That is an incredible building.  Carson, Emery and I even sat in for the session time for a bit.

 

This past weekend, we took a quick trip to Calgary, to visit some family and friends. We drove down on the Friday afternoon and stopped at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.  Coincidentally, it was the induction ceremony day and the ceremony was set to start about 20 minutes after we arrived.  One of the inductees was Ryan Smyth, whom we actually got to meet and get some things “scribbled on” as Tucker put it.  His wife and kids were there too, so it was really neat to meet them all.

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Ryan Smyth addressing the audience.

 

We saw my sister Ann and her family Friday evening and enjoyed a great visit and meal with them.  Saturday morning we just swam at the hotel pool.  Saturday afternoon, we headed to Okotoks, where Lenora’s sister Alana and her husband are living in their holiday trailer while Bobby works there.  Together with Alana, we went to see the Okotoks Erratic Rock, which is a humongous rock that caught a ride on a glacier and was left out in the open when the glacier melted.

Saturday for supper and the evening we spent with Lenora’s cousin, Arlene and her family.  I must say it was a real blessing to visit with all these great people.

On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at the Discovery Wildlife Park near Innisfail.

Tomorrow, I’m excited to celebrate one of the most significant events of my life. Tomorrow will be 15 years since I married my lovely wife. We plan to celebrate with the boys tomorrow by going out for supper.

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Contact Information

So I’ve been tagging many of my posts with words mainly other patients might be googling looking for some information and/or comfort and advice.  I had such a person comment the other day, and I replied. Sadly, I don’t think people are notified when I reply to their comments. So, if you’ve commented, I would encourage you to go back to see if I’ve said anything back.

If you happen to be a fellow brain tumour patient and would like to connect with someone who has been there, you may email me at plwbraun@gmail.com. That way, I’ll get your questions directly.

MRI

This past Thursday, Lenora and I went in to the Cross Cancer Institute for the results of my MRI.  Praise the Lord, there was still no growth and again the Doctor was pleased with the pictures, two of which you can see below:MRI - 02-Mar-17

I always like to get my MRI as well as the report, because all those years with Dr. Chow, the surgeon, I always got to see the pictures and he gave me and oral report in person.  So, I enjoy seeing the progression, or in this case the  lack of progression, of my tumors.

So we are now mostly looking forward to the summer, not only for moving back to La Crete, but now also to go visit some dear friends on Vancouver Island.  We have been saving our Aeroplan points for a long time and only now do we have enough for a “short-haul” flight for our whole family.

 

 

I am so thankful to the Lord for how amazingly He has provided for my family.  A year ago or so, Lenora was already counting down the days until treatment was over and to be honest, it looked quite overwhelming.  But now I am done and just praise God for carrying us through.  There were certainly many times where there were only “one set of tracks in the sand”.

I have now applied to volunteer at the Cross Cancer Institute to help others find their way.  There are often volunteers available at the front desk for those who don’t know how to find where they need to go.  I hope to share the love of Christ with others in this way and also to give me a bit something to do.

 

The End! (of Chemotherapy)

As of today, I’m officially done with chemotherapy. And it feels amazing! My very last treatment was this morning.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me. Thank you to my lovely wife and four awesome sons for standing by me through these last 14 months or so.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  I feel truly blessed and privileged to have all of you on my team.

I must admit, at times I did feel a bit like Moses in Exodus 14:22: “and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” However, God also separated the waters for me and my family, so that we did not drown.

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I’m thinking I will probably continue with updates while we’re in Edmonton as long as I keep having people read, so let me know if you are into pictures and more “boring” updates.

The Home Stretch

Several people have indicated lately that they’re waiting for another update on here, so I’ll try to give you the latest. I did my second last treatment on Monday. The last one will be around February 20, then another MRI in early March, meet with the Dr. one last time and then relax for a bit. These treatments don’t necessarily make me sick, but they make me incredibly tired.  We are super thankful for the end being in sight and that the Lord has and is continuing to sustain us. “Thus far the Lord has brought us…..” (from 1 Samuel 7:12). That will have been roughly 14 months of active treatment. 2016 is a year we are not likely to forget.

I fought off one of the worst colds I can remember this January.  From around the 12th until the 28th,  I was so incredibly stuffy nosed and coughing.  I think with my immune system so down, my body just couldn’t fight it off very well.  The rest of my family had it in December and it only lasted about 4 days or so, mine was about 17 days.  I’m still coughing a bit, but I think it’s on its way out now too.

Right in the midst of that cold, it eased for a couple of days right surrounding the 20th of January.  Maybe I willed it away (or maybe because I was about as far from active treatment as I could be right then) because I had booked a wood turning workshop at Lee Valley that I was super excited for.  The workshop ran from 9:30-4:00 and I made this pepper mill:

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I sure was tired by the end, but it was well worth it.  Now I’m even more excited to move back to La Crete so I can work with my lathe some more.  Our boys also started swimming lessons on January 13 and it goes every Friday until March 24.

Our Church, East Parkland Bible Church held an event called “Walk Thru the Bible” on January 14. It was really interesting and we all learned a lot.  I would highly recommend it.  Check it out more at www.walkthru.org.  It’s basically a series of  hand symbols and memory aids to help you remember themes in the Bible.  The presenter did a great job teaching it so that it really stuck.  Lenora, Emery, Carson and I all took part while Owen and Tucker stayed with some good friends for the day.

 

Christmas 2016 – New Year 2017

So my blood work numbers are still a bit too low to carry on with my last cycle of chemotherapy.  Now I’m just waiting for that to correct itself a bit and then we can proceed.

We have some very selfless friends who are keeping Tucker and Owen on Saturday while the older two boys and Lenora and I can attend a seminar at church called Walk Thru the Bible.  We are very much looking forward to that and hoping to gain in a spiritual sense some good knowledge to go along with the Wisdom we’re hoping to “slowly” gain from that book that Lenora’s Dad lent us.;-)

Some pictures of our regular life days, and yes that’s me sewing Tucker’s “cone” back onto his toque.

Some pictures of our home schooling days.  Owen’s spelling words on a scrabble board for practice and Emery working on a science project in the basement.

 

 

 

 

 

Most Recent MRI

So a few of you have asked about if I’m still doing updates to this blog, that must mean it’s been too long since my last one, but it’s good to know there are still people reading.

Here is a picture from my most recent MRI, performed on October 19.  The large black areas in the middle are where they already removed tumor and those areas are now just fluid. As you can see, I now have a reasonable excuse for being a bit slow, there’s a lot of brain cells missing.

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My Doctor at the Cross Cancer Institute was quite pleased with this image.  The report says “Relatively stable appearance-no adverse change seen. There may be minimal decrease in FLAIR signal abnormality at the site of bifrontal craniotomy/resection.” Pretty wordy statement that translates pretty much to “looks good”.

They are also considering taking me off Procarbazine entirely because of some side effect issues.  I would then be on only the two other medications, which would suit me just fine as this one is the one with the annoying dietary restrictions no one quite knows about. As of today, my Neutrofils were too low to start again, so we wait another week.

We’ve also been richly blessed by some visitors from La Crete.  Thank you so much for coming, it’s appreciated.

Home School is a real challenge lately.  Please pray for our entire family in that regard.

Otherwise, Lenora and the boys are doing well.  We were really encouraged at our church’s Mission Conference last weekend.  Les Peters, serving with Impact Ministries in Guatemala, was the speaker and he really challenged us to live missionally.  Always keeping in mind that every person is an eternal soul, created by God for a purpose.

Praise the Lord for His wonderful Goodness!!!