Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Well, apparently I am going to have to buy more storage for pictures to be uploaded to the blog. I will work on that later today and then post lots.  :-)
 Thanks for continuing to check on Brian Robert.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Update 11/27/12

Thanks to all of you that keep checking on the blog for updates on Brian. We appreciate your thoughtfulness, prayers, concern and love for us.
   We have enjoyed the last three weeks of a break and even traveled over to Panama City for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful time and the first time we had all  been together in a year. We even managed a family photo of all twenty of us.

Yesterday we went in an hour before Brian's appointment to do his blood work. While his counts were up to 750, and he is able to receive chemo, they are a little concerned that his counts have remained very low the last three months. Some blood was taken before he received chemo yesterday and we are guessing we will hear soon if he will need another IVIG. He has had three of them in the last three years of chemo. Actually, he managed to do just fine the first go around of chemo, it's the second round that he started having things happened that required more treatment or IVIG's. So, he has had three IVIG's in the last two years.
   Yesterday was really hard. I think Brian really enjoyed playing with his cousins and shooting guns with his daddy, uncles and cousin. He longs for the day when he has "no more chemo". (As he says in his prayers all the time)  In addition to transitioning back into chemo week, they sprung a surprise on us and gave Brian a flu shot. While that may not sound like a big deal to most of you, it was MAJOR for Brian. He is constantly asking for reassurance and making sure he knows what to expect. It is very difficult when he gets hit with something outside of what he was expecting. We can tell it has had its consequences because Brian will somberly come near us and lay his head down on one of our shoulders and ask, "What is tomorrow? What is the next day? What is the day after that? And then, what's the day after that?"

    Today is the sick day. Day two. Always. Right now, Brian is in bed with Fred watching a movie. He hasn't eaten and doesn't want to. Because he doesn't eat or drink anything we don't give him his DDAVP pills for his Diabetes Insipidus until he starts to urinate and drink again. The whole day is just off and Brian feels so ill. We hate it for him.
   Just to sprinkle some more stress in our life, our van is messed up again. Fortunately it's the same problem so it shouldn't cost us anything to repair. However, we don't want to have to keep repairing a van every couple of months. When we do have to take it in for repairs we are out of transportation. Given our situation with Brian we don't really like the idea of not having some wheels in an emergency situation. So, something to pray about.
      I would type more and I have some great pictures but for some reason Blogger is giving me fits. I might scream if I sit here longer and fool with more. :-) I will try again tomorrow. Thanks so much for praying for our sweet Brian Robert and all our kiddos.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update Nov. 2 2012

Thank you to everyone that prayed for us this week. It was a rough one!!! Not only was it a chemo week, but Brian had his MRI on Wednesday. They always do that with sedation, so it's kind of a big deal. We also had some home problems that included plumbing issues backed up into our shower, bathtub, and bathroom floors and some termites. It got ugly. We ended up calling roto rooter and using a lot of bleach. :-) That, of course, happened on Tuesday, Brian's day two of treatment. Ya know, the dreaded day that Brian always gets sick. Ahh...glad the week is over. (well, the termite drama started two weeks before.)
Here's Brian's next couple of months of chemo calendars. I didn't circle the week in December b/c he is technically suppose to receive chemo the week of Christmas. Brian will not, but we aren't sure if it will be the week before or the week after.

Here are some pictures from the week. Friday (10/26) we did bloodwork. The Saturday before chemo we carved our pumpkins as a family. It's always a big deal in our house because Fred is kinda the world's best pumpkin carver. The kids always get excited to choose what Daddy will carve into their pumpkin. I believe Brian was attempting to pick the most complicated thing he could. He finally settled on Darth Vadar and he was happy with it.

Here is a picture of the pumpkins in the dark. Super cool!

Monday we went to school, then headed to Nemours for Brian's doctor appointment and chemo. I know I had mentioned that Brian wasn't going to participate in CC this year, but about week 6 or 7 he decided that he did want to be in a class. Fortunately there was room for Brian to join Olivia's class.

Sweet Brian doing his presentation on the Lego Company. Oh, how he LOVES Legos!

    Monday we found out that Brian's counts from Friday were at 620. The doctor wanted to redo labs to see where Brian's counts were. They were at 650 so we went ahead with chemo. The kids were tired after our morning at school so we all just watched a TV show while Brian got his chemo. Olivia always has a smile! We ended up being there for over three hours because of the extra lab work and the pharmacy was behind or not informed we were there. Not sure what was going on.
Tuesday was HORRIBLE. In the midst of all the mess, a sweet family from our CC group came over and delivered a surprise for the kids. We didn't believe we were going to get to do anything for Halloween. So, the Duncan family brought over enough candy for the entire neighborhood!! It was so thoughtful and generous and sweet. Very creative too. I totally teared up b/c I was on the edge emotionally. They delivered the surprise as the Roto Rooter man was doing his thing. When he knocked on the door to tell me what was up and to collect payment, I totally said goodbye to the Duncan's without realizing I was basically throwing them out of the house. When it dawned on me (after they left) I was so upset and embarrassed. Tuesday was not a good day.

Wednesday was an early morning as Brian was scheduled for his MRI at 7:00 AM. Fred dropped the other three off at a friends house while Brian and I headed to the hospital. I had to call Fred for back up because the lady checking me in at MRI was giving me some problems. They had the wrong doctor listed as the ordering physician and I wanted them to correct it. I am talking totally wrong. Not a different doctor in the practice, but a combination of Brian's name and Brian's doctors name. I told her that there must have been a mistake and would she please correct it. She wouldn't. So, I scratched out the name and wrote the correct one in. The lady was frustrated with me. She took my papers away and printed off another copy with the incorrect name still on it. I told her that I wouldn't sign it until she corrected it. She was firm that it was right and I was mistaken. She was sure that I just didn't know all the pediatric hem/onc doctors. I firmly reassured her that we have been playing this game for three years and, yes, we do know all the doctors. Brian Schwartz may be a real doctor, but he is not our real doctor and he is not in pediatric hem/onc at Nemours. Fred was frustrated and told me to tell them that it is wrong and we don't care if the name Brian Schwartz is a real doctor or a mistake of Brian's name and his doctors name being combined. But, what we do care about is please correct the error so that our doctor gets the results of the imaging. We dont' want to have to track it down b/c the wrong doctor got sent the results or delay the process of finding out the results ourselves.
Unnecessary drama.  
The anesthesiologist that was taking care of Brian, Dr. Cutrone, is a tall Italian man. He's hard to forget. This is the third MRI he has done with Brian. He remembered us and was very friendly to Brian. Before taking Brian back he sat down next to Brian and drew something on his hand. Then he asked Brian to guess. It was super sweet. I took a great picture of Dr. Cutrone holding Brian's hand and drawing on it, but for some reason my phone didn't save it. I was pretty bummed. Here's Brian's hand.
They gave Brian some versed, then immediately took him back. They didn't really give the Versed a chance to take effect, so Brian remembers and was sad that we were separated. However, you can tell in the picture that he was a little drugged.
 and pushing him on back...
After he woke up we stayed in recovery for thirty minutes. Then we headed over to Nemours for chemo. Brian was still a little out of it. Since it was Halloween they handed out treats. Apparently some of the local elementary schools put together some gift baskets. It was really sweet.
Brian was too out of it to care about his gift basket of candy.
I thought this one was pretty creative.  
Thursday we were the first chemo appointment of the day so we had to wait a couple of hours again. Same problem on Friday. It has been taking several hours to get the chemo upstairs so we end up waiting for two and three hours. We were told on Friday that they are coming up with a new system so that chemo is ready for each patient as they arrive, rather than waiting on three or four patients and making the chemo in bulk. I don't understand any of this as all the kids are on different meds and doses based on their weight, illness, etc. So, I have no clue what is really going on. I just know that Friday was not a good day. We had all four kids with us and we were all zapped. It had been a long, bad week. Brian was really upset. He fought a whole bunch and accidentally kicked his nurse as she was trying to take the port needle out. We are very thankful the week is over and look forward to having three weeks of a break.
  Thank you for your prayers. We know that God using you all to lift us up and encourage us. God reminds us of His presence through each of you loving on us and caring for us. We are tired and so sick of doing this. Three years has really worn on us. Especially Brian. It just tears our parents hearts to see his spirit down and broken when he knows chemo is coming.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I found these pictures that I meant to post from two weeks ago. I never got to it, so here they are now.
Wednesday we didn't get a room. We were out in the open area with a curtain drawn around Brian's chair. The kids were a bit wild and cranky. And, yes, I let Brian wear his PJ pants and white undershirt out in public!! I am going to blame that fashion choice on the fact that we were headed to chemo and I didn't care what he looked like or what anyone thought. That was the day that Fred had to drive to Orlando and back for a one hour and ten minute meeting. I think his day was worse than ours because he hated to miss Brian's chemo appointment.
We were ALL super tired and grumpy on Thursday. Here we are piled up on the bed watching Disney Jr. (Fred was sitting in the chair beside the bed.)  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another Week Complete

 Another week of chemo is behind us. It was a rough one. Brian fought a lot on Monday when they had to access his port and today when the needle was taken out. Brian got sick on Tuesday, day two of chemo, and Fred had to drive to Orlando (and back) on Wednesday for a required one hour training. We've had a long week.
 We also learned on Monday that Brian's counts were at 720. They are suppose to be at 750 to receive chemo but the doctor said it was close enough, so we went ahead with treatment. However, we can expect Brian to be neutropenic in the coming days as the chemo starts to take it's toll. (Remember below 500 is neutropenic.) Because of this we will not be doing much outside of the home the next few weeks.
These things have become a part of our norm. I'm afraid that we have gotten "too good" at juggling all we have going on. Perhaps we don't let everyone see the pain and difficulty as often as we should. Or perhaps we don't even know how to answer questions like, "what do you need?"  
I had a whole long post typed up but just deleted it. All I will say is that God has been working mightily in our marriage and in our parenting as a result of all we have going on. For that we are thankful and we do see the good (Rom 8: 28). Just because we see the good, and we are blessed by God's work in our life, that doesn't mean that we don't struggle and have difficult days. This week has been difficult. 
Please keep praying for our family and for precious Brian Robert. He has a MRI on Wednesday of next week. Those are always done with sedation.
Here are some pictures of Brian from Tuesday when he got sick. We are thankful that it is just day two that completely knocks him out.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

At it again

We're at it again this week. Brian started chemo yesterday. His appointment wasn't until 1:30 PM, so we did some school work in the morning. (Typically we don't do too much during a chemo week.) While I was working with Ansley and William, Brian and Liv were drawing and coloring. I took a picture of Brian's art work because it made me super sad. He spent the entire morning consumed with thoughts of chemotherapy. The picture on the left is Brian sitting on the hospital bed playing with the iPad. The picture on the right is the pump on a pole. The huge thing coming out of the pole on the right side is the tubing that attaches to Brian. He drew it huge because, in his mind, lots of medicine goes into him.
But you can see, even though he was describing chemo and saying, "I'm scared", he has a huge smile on his face. He's such a sweet boy!
Yesterday was draining. Brian fought a bunch more than typical and he cried and screamed. We ended up having to physically restrain him. Brian has a look of terror and disappointment right after his port is accessed that just crushes us.
Please pray for Brian this week as he receives his chemo treatments. We pray every day that these treatments and this protocol would work. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Indiana Jones

Brian LOVES Legos and gets fixed on one set. He plays with that theme over and over all day long. He uses all the Legos that he and William share to build whatever the story may be for his favorite theme. Brian has loved Indiana Jones since February. In fact when he was interviewed for his Make A Wish trip he said he wanted to meet Indiana Jones. They granted his wish and Brian had a great experience. (I still need to post all the pics). I was reminded to post the following picture of Brian and Indiana Jones when I found this drawing on my computer desk last week. Our kids draw pictures everyday and everyone is their new favorite. But this one, yes, this one IS a new favorite.  Brian drew Indiana Jones.

Brian and Indiana Jones.
When Indiana Jones found out Brian was on his Make A Wish Trip he gave Brian a hat. It's special, you can't go buy it in the gift shop. It is the hat the actor wears in the stunt show. Brian felt like a king. It was great. So of course for Brian's birthday he wanted Indiana Jones Legos. We searched and realized they no longer sell them in the stores. We had to search on E-bay and my, oh my, are they pricey. I must say though, he is one sweet and grateful boy.

Chemo Calendar

This is Brian's second September calendar. The hurricane kinda messed up his schedule. Remember I said he would be having chemo next week? Well, scratch that. He will have it the week of October the first. If you remember we even asked why they were scheduling Brian with a two week break instead of the usual three. Anywho...we got a call that somehow the scheduling was overlooked and he was pushed back to the week of October 1st. So, here are Brian's chemo calendars for Sept. and October.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All is Well

 Thanks for praying for Brian last week. He did get sick on day two (as always), however, we didn't have to go to the ER. That's a huge blessing.
   We had our AC on our van repaired. We are so thankful that Fred knows a good mechanic that we trust.  We aren't out an outrageous amount of money. I am pretty sure he gave us a break on labor costs because he ended up having to repair a part he replaced last summer. The warranty expired at 12 months, but the mechanic still felt bad that it went out so quickly. Very awesome. God provides.
    Brian's counts will drop over this coming week and a half. Instead of having three weeks to recover he will only have two. I guess they are trying to get him back on track after missing a week b/c of the hurricane. Plus, if they didn't try to "make that time up" he would be due to receive chemo the week of Christmas. That's not cool, so we are thankful that they are looking at things like that. We are concerned about his little body so please pray that he is able to handle chemo sooner than his body is used to.
  All is well in the Schreiber house. Thank you for loving us and praying for us.

Here are some cute pictures of Mr. Brian and his bestie and older brother, William.

These two always have tons of fun together, but when it comes to school I typically have to separate them. They are only a year apart, so there are some things that they do together. William gets SO mad if I am asking him a question and Brian yells out the answer. God has just gifted Brian with some smarts. He has never really "done" school, but he has just absorbed everything he hears Ansley and William learning. This year Brian is in Kindergarten. Yesterday I attempted to be fun Mom and we did our spelling and phonics outside. I made boys sit back to back so they couldn't see what the other was writing.
   For those of you that are curious what we are doing, we are using our All About Spelling curriculum. I LOVE it. In this picture you see me reviewing with the boys. I say a sound and they write down what they heard. Then we mix it up and I say a letter and they tell me the sounds that letter makes. For exampe, C says /k/ and /s/. They then say the rule that C says /s/ before e, i or y.

These boys are just too cute!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chemo 9-5-12

Brian started his chemo week yesterday. In true Schreiber fashion the week is not without some drama.
 We started the day early as we had to get Brian's blood work done before we headed to Classical Conversations at 9:00. Because of the holiday, our Monday school met on Tuesday this week. We typically do blood work the Friday before a chemo week, however, this past Friday, in an effort to complete school assignments before we headed to the lab, we ended up not getting blood work done. I didn't realize the lab closed early on Fridays. Oops. That's what I get for making school a priority.  :-)
So, Tuesday we headed to the clinic at 8:00 AM to get some blood work done, then went to our CC day. After school we headed back to the hospital for Brian's doctor appointment and chemo at 1:30. Several days ago William was sick and his cough has lingered (mostly at night), so we made an appointment with his pediatrician for 3:30. We wanted to make sure there wasn't anything we should be doing for William and didn't want to put it off another day. As it was, we had already put it off thinking he would get rid of that cough soon enough. William hadn't been sick the last few days, but Sunday night and Monday night were not good nights of sleep for William as he was constantly hacking and coughing.
Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 we saw the oncologist, got Brian checked in on the infusion side, had his port accessed, then waited. When the chemo drugs still had not arrived by 3:00, William, Olivia and I left Fred, Ansley and Brian at the hospital and headed to the pediatrician's office.
Olivia was a goof and having a great time in the waiting room. William was having a good time taking pictures. I felt silly sitting in the sick waiting area because clearly my kids were not sick. :-)

When we got back to our room we waited a while. The doctor was busy and since they were working us in I didn't mind the wait. Olivia, William and I had read about seven books when Olivia wanted to sit on my lap. She sat quietly at first. I assumed she was tired from the long day. Then she started getting whiny and fussy. She felt like dead weight and was hot.
That's when the pediatrician came in.  I told her we were there for William's lingering cough, but in the last thirty minutes of waiting Olivia had gotten sick! Sure enough, Olivia had a temp of almost 102. I am sure she has whatever William had.

We love our pediatrician and she took good care of both kiddos. We got home just a few minutes after the other three. Brian did well through chemo and was excited for us all to be home.
With sick kiddos, Fred worked from home while I took Brian to chemo at 8:00 this morning. The pharmacy didn't have the chemo ready so we played until it was ready a little after 9:00. We were home by 10:00 and Fred went off to work. The drama of today is that I have come to grips with the fact that my AC in my van is out. It has been faulty for the last several weeks, working off and on at random times. For some reason it decided to bite the bullet and quit putting out cold air altogether. We will take it in and get it fixed soon, but this week we need our transportation. Thankfully it isn't too hot. It was kinda nice to drive around with our windows down today.  
One of the things that Brian did this morning to pass some time while waiting on the pharmacy to get the chemo ready was draw pictures. There is a golf tournament next week and I believe it is to raise funds for Nemours. I was told they like to give pictures drawn by the patients to those individuals that donate money. Brian was asked to draw a picture about golf and to write his name and age on it.
This is what he came up with:
It was so adorable. I was so proud. When I told Brian that Miss Erin (the Sacred Heart employee that asked him to do it) would love the picture he looked at me and said, "Nope. This isn't for her, this is for Daddy."
We're going to have to get it framed for Daddy. It's a special picture. So, I asked Brian to draw a different picture we could give to Miss Erin for the fund raiser and he drew the picture below.

Sweet boy!!!

Please keep praying for him. This is the dreaded day two that always makes him sick. We are praying that if he is going to get sick it will be in the next few hours so we can go back to the clinic rather than the ER.  :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

Thank you to all our friends that have been concerned and texted to check on us. This is a chemo week for Brian, but because of the storm headed this way they delayed his treatments until next week. Since next Monday is a holiday he will have chemo Tuesday- Friday with the higher dosing.

Right now we are just hanging out at home and doing some school work before the bad weather comes.

We didn't do too much extra to prepare for the storm. We live pretty prepared. We have a generator and a window AC unit, so we went and got some gas for those. We always have a stock pile of food because of the way I shop with coupons and sales. I did go buy a huge dog bone so the dog will have something to do when the bad weather forces her to be in the house all day long. :-) We also put the cats in the garage with a litter box so that they don't have to be outside in the wind and rain. We went ahead and brought them in last night because I was fearful they wouldn't come out of hiding if the weather was starting to get bad. One of our outdoor cats is always in our yard. The second one only comes around at meal times. That's the one Miss Ansley is really attached to. So, with the animals secure we are set.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School

We homeschool our children, but we are also a part of a homeschool community that meets once a week at a local church. This is our fourth school year with Classical Conversations. We have LOVED our community in Pace. So much so, that our CC community has become some of our closest friends here in P'cola. The group has grown so much that a second location was opened here in Pensacola this fall. We prayed, cried and discussed what to do b/c we didn't want to leave our Pace group, but it just made so much sense for our family to move to the Pensacola location. So, today we started our first day with a new group of people in a new location. We do know a handful of families that made the move too.
We got everything ready for school the night before so that we were not late. I was so proud of myself on the way to school for all we had accomplished by 8:30 AM. (Spoiler alert...look out ahead for the train wreck!)
The night before...we are ready!!

I woke up at 6:30 AM and started making eggs for breakfast. (both scrambled and hard boiled b/c I have one that doesn't eat scrambled and two that if they see hard boiled want that kind too, and one that only eats scrambled.) As I am getting breakfast underway, Brian comes out of his room upset that he had wet the bed. He had only had two DDAVP pills the night before and, apparently, he really needs three or he will wet the bed. Brian was totally upset about it. I put breakfast on pause and quick started a bath. Once B was in the bath I ran to his room and started stripping his bed to wash the linens. It smelled like a urinal. It was beyond gross. I am pretty sure he slept in pee for a few hours b/c it wasn't completely wet. (Remember he can't help it...he has Diabetes Insipidus.)

By that point I have laundry going, I have breakfast going, I am getting lunches finished up and I happily decide I will go ahead and scrub everyone in the bath myself. Three of the four had bathed themselves the night before, but I hadn't scrubbed them since Friday, and they still need mama to wash their hair every now and again. I figured for the first day of school we would be squeaky clean.

Everything is rockin' along and I feel like wonder woman. It didn't even fluster me when twenty minutes before we needed to leave, Brian came in without shorts, shoes and underwear, announcing he had an accident because he couldn't get his pants down in time. He, who was already bathed that morning, got cleaned up a second time and we put new unders, shorts and shoes on him. At this point Fred jumped in and made the boys PBJ's for their lunch boxes so I had time to squeeze in a shower. (b/c I spent a good five to seven minutes attempting to get a cute picture of the four.)
We were working together as a family and I was feeling awesome. Super mom, that's me!

Olivia wasn't up for pictures. She busted her chin open last night. She probably could have used a stitch or three, but we cleaned her up and steri stripped at home. We used one of our left over sterile packages from Brian's home health care weeks. It would have been WAY more traumatic to take her to the ER. All our kids know of hospitals is what they see with Brian. I am confident she will be fine or we would have taken her in, but needless to say it was a bad wound.

A couple more pictures at the church before we went inside.

Brian wanted to showcase his lunch box.

We arrive with three minutes to spare. I am pretty sure I called my sister, Jess, on the way to school to tell her how awesome I am.
We found some seats and my friend and neighbor, April Morgan (the director of our new CC community), came up to me and said, "I am going to go up in about a minute and welcome everybody. I will make a couple of announcements..."
As she is saying all this I look at her with a goofy "you got it, girl" smile, thinking she is just chatting with me. I am sure I gave her the thumbs up or something dorky to encourage her. She then says, "and then I will call you guys up to the stage."

Umm, excuse me...WHAT?!

April then looks at me and said, "Oh, did you forget? It's your day for family presentation."

OK, as a matter of fact, I totally don't remember that AT ALL!!!

So, right after April walks away I gave Ansley and William a panicked look and and said, "We have family presentation! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SAY?!!!" William said he would tell everyone that Bigdaddy was coming home from Africa today. I said awesome!

We got up front and I introduced us and prayed. Then we had to lead the pledges to the Christian Flag, Bible and American Flag. I know all three by heart, but I was so flustered I stared down at the page and read them word for word. I am sure I looked real intelligent. :-) My kids just played with the flags.

Then William stated, "Bigdaddy gets home from Africa tonight." That's it. William was done. Nothing further. So, I jumped in and said why our Bigdaddy was in Africa and a little bit about the ministry there. I then ended our "family presentation" with a quick disclaimer. I think I said, "Hello lots of people we don't know...we just bombed family presentation. Hopefully this shows you that you don't have to do anything awesome. It can't get any worse then this." :-)

After morning assembly the kids broke up into their classes to head to their rooms. I didn't know any of my kids schedules and or where to find them for art or science. I had Brian in tow because he isn't going to be in CC this year. He missed several weeks last year and just doesn't want to participate. So, we are not going to have him in a class of his own, but today he didn't want to miss out on the fun of the first day. He has stated that he will stay home every Monday with Daddy who will just have to work from home. :-)
After a good 40 minutes of dragging Brian all around the campus, and yet another emergency trip to the bathroom AND downing an 8 ounce water bottle in two sips, it occurred to me that I forgot to give Brian his DDAVP this morning!! I felt horrible.The poor boy!!! Yes, that completely deflated my super mom ego.

So, our first day of school was memorable. We had a great time and all four kids have lots of stories to share. Hopefully we encouraged some of the families that perfect is no where to be found. :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

And Now He Is SIX!

(These are poor quality b/c these are pictures of pictures. I didn't want to tear our scrapbook apart to scan the pictures.) 
The newborn Brian Robert with excited Daddy and Mommy.

The Schreiber crew on Aug 10, 2006.
Ansley, 31 months old, William, just 10 days shy of 14 months, and Brian, a brand new babe.

 One day old and heading home.

One Year Old

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

Four Years Old

Five Years Old

Six Years Old

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Year

These are some pictures from three years ago. Just a little blast from the past to show you guys some pictures and try to share some of the emotions and thoughts that Fred and I experience when Brian has a birthday and the month that follows. Brian's birthday's are kind of the mile marker in my mind when I really contemplate everything he is going through for so many reasons. I think Fred would agree. It's a bittersweet time.

  All summer 2009 we dealt with some curious little issues with Brian. (You can read about that with our road to diagnosis post HERE.) August 10, 2009 was Brian's third birthday and just one short month later he was diagnosed. That first weekend we spent the entire three days not knowing what our future held. We could not imagine life without our special gift from God. Because Brian truly is our special gift from God. For those of you that don't know us well, Brian was born when our first child was 2 1/2 and our second child was 13 months. So, rewind six months and I had my hands full with a newly turned 2 year old and almost seven month old. I was tired, gaining weight and lacked desire to anything other than survive. One of my girlfriends suggested that maybe I had a thyroid problem and perhaps I should get that checked out. I made an appointment with my doctor but took a pregnancy test before hand, just in case, although I knew I wasn't pregnant. Without revealing too much personal information Fred had his first back surgery in February 2006. We knew that I was not pregnant. The test was negative. My doctor checked me out and drew some blood. Everything came back fine and he told me that I wasn't 18 years old anymore and I needed to join Weight Watchers. I was so upset. A couple more weeks went by and I had been watching what I was eating. Fred commented that maybe I was pregnant after all. I took another test and low and behold it was positive. We were floored. Assuming that I was newly pregnant and that's why the last test was negative I waited a couple of weeks before going back to the doctor. When I finally went in the doctor, as he was feeling my abdomen, he asked me how far along I thought I was. I said "maybe six weeks." He then said, "Well, you might be having multiples because you feel much larger than six weeks. Let me go get the ultrasound machine." For the next seven to ten minutes I was holding back tears as I imagined life with four littles under the age of three. When the ultrasound machine showed an image of one big baby I was so happy. But I was in shock to hear that the baby looked to be about 14 weeks along. That was a fun phone call to make to Fred. We knew this little one was straight from God. So, fast forward three years from then and we were devastated at the thought of our unexpected surprise being taken from us. I wanted so badly to really mean it when I said, "the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21 b) But honestly, the thought of looking in my rear view mirror and seeing only three car seats instead of four absolutely paralyzed me.
I have spent the last three years learning to let go and cling to Christ. I am sure I will continue to learn that the rest of my life.

 September 23, 2009 Brian had a port surgically implanted and started chemo. I remember when we were handed the large "your child and cancer" binder I wanted to throw it back at the nurse and scream, "We don't need this!!" Brian was just a baby. He had just turned three!!
He completed chemo round one and we had his port removed. Brian's fourth birthday was celebrated port and chemo free, but in the back of our minds we knew something was going on as he was starting to present some of his original symptoms. September 23, 2010 we got the phone call that the pathology report from the biopsy reveled that Brian's Histiocytosis was back. The next day, when Brian had his new port implanted he woke up from surgery extremely mad, and the first thing he said was "What's in me?!" He knew what having a port meant. He knew he hated chemo and steroids. He was just a new four year old. It broke our hearts.
   From that point forward Brian prayed almost daily that he would have "no more chemo when I am five."(his exact words)  We knew that his protocol was going to complete just a few weeks after he turned five so we explained to him that he would be five, but hopefully shortly after that he would be all done. When we noticed his new drugs were not working and his symptoms were presenting again, we were devastated to tell him that he would be doing chemo well into five years old. He switched his prayer to "please let me have no more chemo when I am six." So, in April of this year when we started his new protocol and his third/fourth round of treatment, we explained to him that he will be doing chemo while he is six too. It was really a blow.

When William turned seven a few weeks ago we asked Brian to start thinking about his birthday and what kind of theme he wanted. We talked about his first, second and third birthday's and their themes as he did not remember. He told us that he wanted a chemo birthday party when he turned six because "I will always have to do chemo." That was devastating. Brian does not remember anything other than chemo and doctors and surgeries and medicine. He is so ready to be done. He will frequently make comments about not needing chemo when he is with Jesus in heaven. While it makes our parents heart soar that Brian trusts Jesus and has such a deep faith at such a young age (which is further evidence of God's grace and that everything is from HIM) it also makes us sad that our almost six year old has so much pain.

Please continue to be in prayer for our Brian Robert. He is treasure and it is a pleasure to parent him. We are so thankful to God for His gift to us in Brian Robert. Brian has made his mark and God has used him as an instrument of change in our lives, our marriage and our parenting.

Pray that his sixth birthday tomorrow and the season of remembering is spent with great joy. We have much to be thankful for.

Here are some pictures of our kids a couple of months before Brian was diagnosed. (Yes, we had some aggressive kitty lovin'.)