Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

I wanted to do a post before Bree’s next round of chemotherapy...Our Christmas was wonderful. We spent Christmas Eve with my family and enjoyed a nice dinner and exchanged presents. Then Christmas morning was so relaxing. We had a great breakfast then opened presents with the kids. That afternoon we had Christmas dinner with Justin’s family. I couldn’t help but just feel completely GRATEFUL for a wonderful husband and our beautiful children. (Sorry for the lack of editing, my children don't normally have such red eyes!)
Just being TOGETHER enjoying the laughter, the excitement and love was the best part for me this year. I really didn’t want anything else than to be together. I love this time we have so that everyone can celebrate the birth of our Savior. This year has been especially important and everything has been put into proper perspective. The LOVE we share as a family is what is most important. Our children are little for such a short time and I’m just excited to be a part of their lives. (Sorry to sound so sappy, I really am just thankful for my little family and wanted to share!)
Here are a few highlights of Christmas and the past week:
Bree loved her first Christmas. She loved watching her brothers open their gifts and enjoyed her wrapping paper and boxes more than her actual toys.

Gunner loved opening presents this year…he didn’t care what he got, he just wanted to keep opening the presents!

Caleb loved playing around in the wrapping paper and loved his mini piano. This kiddo loves music! He’s also just thrilled his sister is home and that he can smooch on her again!

• Bree was successful in pulling her NG tube out a few times. I’ve put it back in and am slowly getting over my fear and anxiety of having to deal with this tube.
The look on her face in this picture is priceless. I’m sure she was so proud of herself that she got the tube out and probably felt so much better…it didn’t last long. I had to put it back in her an hour later. Poor baby! The good thing is, the supplemental feedings are working. She went to the doctor today and has gained a little over a pound in the 10 days that she’s had it. So, we are very happy that she’s gaining some weight!

Another highlight this past week was going to the zoo! We went outside! Can you believe it!? We all went to the zoo with my Mom and Justin’s sister and bro in law and their kids. It was great to spend some time outdoors instead of hiding inside from germs and sickness! All the kids loved seeing the animals and spending time with cousins!

As of today, Bree's scheduled for her 4th round of chemo on Friday. It should be another 3 day treatment. Thanks again for all the continued prayers, fasting and sweet thoughts and sentiments for our Breezy. We hope everyone has a wonderful new year and we look forward to this time next year when Bree is cancer free!! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Round 3

Merry Christmas! It has been so long since we have last posted. We have been so busy with everything we just haven’t had time. I will post more of my feelings and thoughts later but for now we know many have wanted to know how Bree is so hear it goes.

We were scheduled to go in for Bree’s 3rd round of chemo on Friday the 12th but they didn’t have room in the pediatric oncology wing so we had to wait until Saturday. Her treatment lasted Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Usually when Bree gets her chemo she does pretty well and usually gets sick a few days later but this time she seemed very nauseous and agitated. The doctors kept us an extra day because they wanted to make sure Bree was feeling better. She just wasn’t her cute happy self. So we went home on Tuesday. It was great to be home and we were excited to get ready for Christmas. Our stay at home was short…like a day and a half short. Thursday afternoon Bree spiked a fever so off to the hospital we went. Usually when she gets fevers the nurses can get it back down pretty quickly but this time her fever took a while to go away. The doctors were also concerned because her heart rate was way too high. This was scary for me. She was miserable and exhausted for most of the afternoon and night but thankfully her fever and heart rate came back down. The bacterial infection was very aggressive, usually it takes a few days to know if there was in infection in her system but they knew within hours because of how fast the bacterial culture grew. The doctors told us that had had we not came in right away that she could have gone into septic shock….scary. While in the hospital they decided that Bree needed to have a feeding tube because she was not gaining enough weight. They had mentioned this to us last week so we have been trying so hard to get her to eat solids or formula from the bottle but Bree has become very suspicious of people bringing food to her mouth from all of the medicine that she has been taking so she will only nurse and she just isn’t getting enough calories. Usually a woman doesn’t want to be called a cow but I wish I could produce milk like one☺. So on Saturday they placed a feeding tube into her nose, down her throat and right into her tummy. I still can nurse her but for 12-16 hours a day she will be hooked up to a machine that pumps a mixture of formula and breast milk into her body. I will post more about this later but the good thing is the tube will help Bree get stronger and help her fight off future infections. But I definitely have mixed feelings about the tube and am obsessed with getting her to eat solids so she can get rid of it but she still won’t. In times past Bree got infections when her Neutrophil counts dropped but this time they never dropped…yea! Since they never dropped and the infection was under control we got to come home on Monday afternoon. This was a blessing because the time we spent down there this time was harder than normal. So now we are back at home and loving it. It is so nice to be home and Bree loves having her brothers around to laugh at her and her Dad there to dote on her. The best part is it looks like we will all be together for Christmas..that truly was THE ONLY THING I wanted for Christmas! So, Christmas came early in the Cook household. Merry Christmas everyone!
(I’ll post pictures of this last round in our next post!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A taste of normal...

We've had tickets to the Polar Express in Williams, Az for almost a year. I’ve been so excited to go and take our kids so when we first found out about Bree's cancer I thought it wouldn't be possible to leave the valley for fear that Bree might get sick and we'd have to take her to the hospital. However, the doctors cleared her to go for a quick overnight trip (3 hours away) and we did it! We packed up our little family and headed to Flagstaff for lots of cold fun on Monday!

We bought the boys some cute jammies with matching robes so they were all ready to get on the train and head to the North Pole.We had the best seats on the whole train…the caboose! We heard the caboose was the least crowed place so we were able to change our seats and sit there. There weren’t many people there and we were the first to see Santa! My boys loved eating the cookies and having hot cocoa on the train. It was fun to see how cute the train was decorated and the “elves” did a great job running the show! I love Gunner's face here. This was moments before Santa entered the train.
The boys met Santa and received their Christmas bells. Caleb loved shaking his bell and making his own music.  
Gunner was so excited to meet Santa, he could hardly contain himself!

We went with my parents and siblings and had a great time. We came home the next day and literally were gone about 24 hours. Bree had lots of fun and enjoyed her first experience on a train. We hope to make it a tradition every year. We’ll celebrate next year when Breezy is cancer-FREE! It was also good to feel a bit normal for the time being.

Bree is feeling good this week and her counts good. She obviously has a sweet tooth! We continue to pray for this cancer to leave her body and ask for a miracle every day. Please continue to pray for her especially this weekend when she receives her 3rd round of chemo. Our thanks to all!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A wrench in the plans...

For those that keep up with Bree’s journey, my apologies for not keeping this more updated. The past 5 days she has been in the hospital; so I was unable to update like I would have hoped. This time she had a bacterial infection. Let me back up and get everything up to date.
We (Bree & I) spent a nice day at home for Thanksgiving. Justin took the boys to celebrate with his family and I stayed home with Bree because we anticipated her counts being low so we didn’t want to take her anywhere since she would be more susceptible to sickness & infections. Justin did bring me a plate of food so I did enjoy a yummy meal! Thanks babe! I actually came down with a nasty cold that lasted Wednesday and Thursday so it was nice to stay home and have some down time to recover.

Then, Friday night Bree spiked a fever… again. I told Justin that I think Heavenly Father helped me to heal from my cold just in time to send Bree back to the hospital and have the strength to take care of her. Certainly an answer to prayer right there.

I took her in to the hospital that night. Her fever started around 9pm so we decided to go in right then rather than wait it out because her fever would’ve just continued to climb. So we set up camp at the hospital. The nurses took her blood sample and we discovered on Saturday morning that she had a bacterial infection in her broviac iv line. It turned out that there were 3 different bacteria’s infecting her line. 2 of which were caused from her own bacterias on her skin (staph & strep) and another was some random rare bacteria (pantoea something). However, she has been treated with antibiotics during our lovely stay at the hospital and is continuing getting the meds here at home. The docs tell us that the reason her line got infected was probably because her white counts dropped so low and her body had no way of fighting off these bacterias.
This is me giving her the home antibiotic (cephapime).Check out the syringe. It's the same size as my hand!
Right now she is doing well. Her blood counts are on the way up and she has been resting so much better at home. I wish we could do all of this at home. She just sleeps and feels better when she’s in her house. She is able to laugh at her brothers, play with her Daddy and just get the rest she needs.

So, her next round of chemo is a week from today, December 12th. It will be 3 drugs over 3 days again. This round is the same as the first cycle. Justin and I have a running joke that I should just leave a bag at the hospital, as I will be there with Bree every other week. My good friend Stephanie told me we should be getting some kind of points for living in the hospital so much! I agree...I wish I could use all these "points" to go on another cruise!

We have felt so loved and both Justin and I have felt strengthened by the many many prayers around the world for our little Bree. Many people have asked us “what can we do?” I’m asking now if you will specifically pray for our little girl to make it through these rounds of chemo, one at a time. Her little body is just that…little. These treatments are very tough on her even though all her smiles make it look so easy. It’s hard for me as her Mom to watch her be weighed and have the scales start to slowly go down. I don’t like having her cry because she may feel sick or having to hold her down to give her medicine or shots. Truthfully it is agonizing and exhausting. But, I do know that I have never felt stronger in all my life than during this time. That is because of all the righteous prayers coming from all of you. Our Heavenly Father certainly answers the prayers of the righteous. Thank you again for taking the time to read these posts, pray for Bree and love our family. We will continue to try to keep this up to date as possible in the weeks ahead. Love to all!

Here's a few of the latest and greatest pictures...
A special visitor came to the hospital on Saturday night. The boys loved it!

Gunner and his good pal Santa!
Breezy had her first oreo cookie in the hospital. She doesnt like baby food too much so I caved and gave her a peppermint oreo. She loved every bite!
I am in LOVE with this picture...and the two cuties in it!