I am sure that a lot of people would look at our current situation and wonder how we could say we are thankful.  Even though the past 7 months have been incredibly difficult, they have also taught us to be thankful for the little things.  We have the most amazing support group of friends and family.  Brianne is in so many people's daily prayers, and the prayers are all being answered.  God is good!  I am thankful that I was able to stop working to take care of Brianne.  There are so many children left at the hospital alone becuase their parents cannot afford to miss work.  I am thankful for strangers who have become friends.  The list could go on and on....

Now to catch up on all the fun stuff Brianne has been doing.  On the 15th we went to the hospital for a Children's Cancer Network event.  Brianne was excited to see her friends Grace and Bella there too.  They made scarecrows, pumpkins, and cards along with painting nails and getting makeup. 
Brianne, Bella, Grace

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Brianne had her appointment for chemo.  The nurses decided to give her the chemo VERY slowly in hopes that it would minimize the side effects.  IT WORKED!  Brianne did not feel horrible from her increased dose of methotrexate.  We gave her Zofran around the clock for the next two days to insure that she would not get nauseated. 

Brianne had a great Thanksgiving.  We were able to go to both side of the family to celebrate.  Brianne even ate some, which is pretty rare the day after chemo.  We went on a bike ride Thanksgiving morning, and guess who was at our door when we returned...Heidi (our Elf on a Shelf).  I wish I had my phone recording when Brianne saw the package at the front door, she was so excited. 
Heidi made Brianne an ornament out of perler beads.
Brianne may have had a little too much fun on Thanksgiving.  She ended up spiking a fever of 101.1 on Friday which landed us in the hospital.  When we arrived we realized that her hemoglobin had dropped to 8.3.  After receiving a blood transfusion on Friday night Brianne was back to her normal self on Saturday morning.  We were already planning on stopping by the hospital on Saturday to drop off all the toys we had collected from neighbors, friends, and family.  Brianne was so excited to help fill the toy closet.  She even sold some of her toys so she could purchase new toys for the hospital.  For those who do not know, any child at the hospital who has to have something painful done gets the reward of going to the toy closet.  It is a great way for children to not focus on the pain, but to get excited about a new toy.  We are very thankful to all those who donated.

4 carts full of toys filled the once bare toy closet to the brim.  Thank you Connor, Carli, and Dawson for all your help.

Brianne was excited to help The Purple Society with their bagel and cookie delivery.  The Puple Society was founded by a girl named Natalia with a brain tumor.  She earned her angel wings, but her family is continuing to follow her dreams.  Brianne was able to tell Natalia's parents that she had her Natalia bear in her hospital room that she received at one of the Purple Carpet events that they put on.

We were able to leave the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  Dr. Smith said Brianne was way too healthy to have to stay the normal three days.  We spent Sunday and Monday decorating the house.  Yesterday Brianne had to have her counts checked to make sure she hadn't dropped too far.  Her hemoglobin and platelets were great.  Her ANC dropped to 750.  We are praying it does not go any lower, because it needs to be 750 on Thursday in order for her to get her chemo on Friday.  We do not want any delays.  The way her chemo schedule looks now she should feel well enough to enjoy the North Pole Experience for a night and have the two weeks before Christmas completely off with no chemo. 

We had a lot of fun at the Botanical Gardens for Brianne's class field trip on Tuesday. We met them there to avoid the germy bus. It was hot and the kids were all cranky because they were hungry. The kids learned about life cycles and were able to go through the butterfly garden. The rest of the week was very uneventful.
On Saturday Charlie and Brianne went to see Wreck It Ralph in 3D while I stayed home to scrapbook with some friends. Brianne said that she really liked the movie. 

In the evening was the Light the Night Walk. It was very cold that evening. We bundled up along with around 40 more walkers for Brianne's Team. By the time the walk started Brianne had on four layers on top, two hats, and a blanket. She was nice and warm. We are so fortunate to have such a great group of supporters on Brianne's side.
Most of our Light the Night Team

Sunday morning Brianne played with her friend Kylee while her mom, Corey, and I did our physics lab together. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing Risk (Brianne's choice).
Monday morning Brianne had her second dose of chemo for this round. Unfortuantely she was nauseated as soon as the medication was being pushed in her port. She spent the whole day feeling pretty bad, but fortunately the Zofran kept her from vomiting.
This morning Brianne woke up feeling yucky. She has started to eat a little, so hopefully in the next day or two she will be feeling back to normal.
Brianne is scheduled for her next dose of chemo, which will be a higher dose than yesterday's, the day before Thanksgiving. We are praying that she will feel well enough to celebrate the holiday with friends and family, but we will also plan a backup meal for our house if needed.

Interim Maintenance 2

Last week was pretty uneventful, which was good, because the weekend was very busy.  Brianne was very excited to go to her school's Fright Fest on Saturday.  She had fun trick or treating, seeing some of her friends, and playing the carnival games. 
Brianne and Kylee at Fright Fest

We had to leave early because Brianne had another event to be at.  We went to the Hope Kids Movie Under the Stars to watch E.T.  It was so much fun to watch the movie on the 50' blow up screen. 

A friend from high school was there helping out at the event because her mom's work sponsored it.  It was great to catch up with The Everetts while we were there.  They brought Brianne a beautiful princess bag filled with tons of goodies to keep her busy while at the hospital.  She was so excited to keep pulling things out of the bag, it was so thoughtful of them.  On Sunday morning we woke up and went to our yearly Halloween pictures.  We are missing a few faces in our group picture this year thanks to a lovely stomach bug that is going around. 

Sunday morning Brianne woke up a with a little rash on her cheeks, but by Monday morning it had gotten worse.  I spoke with her nurse practitioner who told me to watch for it to spread.  It never spread, and by Wednesday it was almost completely gone.  On Wednesday, Halloween, Brianne started her day at the clinic.  She was so excited that the clinic staff was able to dress up.  We saw Goofy, cats, Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Bat Girl, a crayon, and even a cow.  Brianne's counts were great, so we were all set to start her next round of treatment. 
Bri with her nurses Mackenzie (Bat Girl) and Brianne (Crayon)
After her clinic visit we went to her class party.  Once again, she was very excited to see her friends.  She cannot wait to go back to school fulltime again.  The kids made a ghost craft, played a game, and ate a ton of sugar.  We went trick or treating in the evening with some friends and I think Brianne fell asleep before her head hit the pillow.  It was a very busy, fun day for her.  Thursday Brianne started Interim Maintenance 2.  This is her last round of front line treatment before starting maintenance.  Hopefully this round will go as smoothly as it did in the past.  She had spinal chemo on Thursday along with Vincristine and methotrexate in her port.  She will receive Vincristine and methotrexate every 10 days for the next 8 weeks.  She has had a few moments of not feeling well since her treatment on Thursday, but overall has done quite well.  Saturday we tried to go to the zoo, but it was packed.  Instead, we chose to go minature golfing at Golfland.  It was nice to do something different.  Sunday Brianne ran some errands with Charlie while I did homework.  Charlie and I took a hike while Brianne spent some time with her grandma. 

This week Brianne has no appointments scheduled.  She is excited to go on her class field trip to The Botanical Gardens on Tuesday if she is feeling well enough.  We also are excited for the Light the Night Walk on Saturday.  It is not too late to register if you would like to join us.