Thursday, September 29, 2011

Before and After

I like before and after pictures. Throughout Bronson's journey I made sure I took lots of pictures to document his journey so we could look back and see how much progress he made! 

I've been meaning to add these picture for a while but just haven't got around to doing it until now! Both Bronson and Sarah Beth (my sister, who was the live liver donor) had AMAZING surgeons and, as you can see in the pictures, their scars are very minimal! Bronson's goes across his entire abdomen and is shaped like a frown, and SB's is a straight line (the circles around her incision are from a reaction to the tape they used). 
       
The day before the transplant surgery
6 weeks post transplant

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Picking!

This past weekend we went apple picking at a local orchard and the weather couldn't have been any nicer! I'm kind of hoping the warm summer-like weather stays well into October and the cold Canadian winter doesn't come until mid December! But, who am I kidding? We live in Ontario, Canada and I'm pretty sure (but very sad) that we'll be getting cold weather in no time. Booo cold weather! 

 Kallie had fun picking stealing apples that were already picked! I also caught her throwing rotton apples that had been on the ground into the bag! I'm pretty sure I got rid of all the bad ones before we left though!

 Whenever I post pictures I feel like any pictures of Bronson are of him in his stroller. So I was determined to get some of him out of it!

Looking around at everyone! His neck muscles are slowly getting stronger and stronger and he's able to lift his head for longer periods every day! I should mention that the gorgeous blanket he's laying on was made for him by my cousin! I love it!
 Not a care in the world! Although, shortly after I took this picture the boys (my husband and brother in law) started chucking apples at each other so I had to move Bronson to safety! 

 Kallie loved all the pumpkins... or "umpins" as she was calling them!

 I love my kids! :)

 There was a market at the orchard and it was a pretty busy place! As I looked behind me I saw that Kallie had decided to sit down in the middle of a walkway to eat her snack and talk to the pig and frog decorations in front of her! 

I TOTALLY forgot to take Bronson's 4 months pictures! So, these are more like 4.5 months but at least I remembered to take them! He pulled his NG tube out during his nap this morning and since it's only used first thing each morning for medications, I decided to leave it out until tomorrow morning! I love looking at this little guy without any tubes or tape on his face! I really don't want to have to put it back in tomorrow morning but, he needs his medications. Oh, if you're wondering why his cheek is red, the tape that was holding his NG tube in place left a little bit of a mark :(

 My cutie pie! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Miracle Boy

It's been a very busy week! I've FINALLY caught up with all the organization that needed to be done after basically living out of a suitcase for 3 months while Bronson was in the hospital. This week I also started back to work doing home daycare but with all of Bronson's appointments (checkups, blood work etc) that are needed I started back only doing afternoons. It's nice to get back into a routine with everything!

Yesterday my husband took Bronson up to Sick Kids for a checkup with our Oncologist. I love our oncologist and he is absolutely amazing at what he does! I can't remember if I've wrote about this before or not, but, after Bronson's transplant our oncologist told us that had we have been in the States Bronson would NOT have qualified for a liver transplant. First of all, there have only been 45 recorded cases of Bilateral Adrenal Neuroblastoma so there isn't much research/case studies to compare outcomes to and, secondly, the Dr's in the States (who our oncologist was talking with about Bronson's case) thought that if Bronson received a liver transplant the cancer might spread into the new liver as well. But, our oncologist kept telling them that the cancer was no longer the issue, the liver failure was the problem. So, thankfully, we are in Canada and Bronson got his liver transplant and he is a healthy little boy! Yesterday the oncologist was very happy with everything and the ultrasound still looked great with no concerns!

Bronson truly is a miracle! I was reading my bible yesterday afternoon and came across a verse that couldn't have summed up how I was feeling any better:

"The end of a matter is better than the beginning, 
and patience is better than pride....when times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other."
Ecclesiastes 7:8,14

I think when we're in the middle of a situation sometimes we forget that God is still with us and won't let us go through it alone. It's easy for me to say that now since Bronson is home and healthy, but through his battle with cancer and liver transplant surgery the only thing I could do was trust in God. If I didn't have God to trust I don't know how I would have kept myself held together. Looking back at our journey I now see so many different things that God did for us in order for everything to work out perfectly. I may not have seen them clearly at the time but I certainly see so many miracles now! 

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the god of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Romans 8:28

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Changing My Web Address

I've been wanting a MUCH shorter web address for a while because, honestly, right now it's quite a mouthful! So, in the next couple of days I will be changing the current www.journeyagainstneuroblastoma.blogspot.com to www.theanthonycrew.com. However, if you type in the old address it should redirect you to the new one so there shouldn't be any problem finding me! I tried changing it tonight but I had some technical problems... so once I figure those out the new web address will be up and running!

Just thought I'd give you a heads up! :)

Bronson's 1st Time Away

Last week we were able to get away for 2 days to visit Jon's parents. It was Bronson's first time overnight anywhere and he had a great time (at least I think he did!). I think Bronson took more luggage than I did! All of his IV supplies (I run an IV med through his PICC line everyday), extra NG supplies, medications and the "normal" baby necessities (bouncy seat, stroller, playpen etc) ended up taking up more room than what I thought they would but thank goodness for  our van! Oh, and we also took our 2 dogs with us (golden doodle and a bich-poo)!

Here are a few pictures from our short time away!

Jon, Kallie, Dupree (golden doodle) and Georgia (bich-poo) on the dock 

Bronson relaxing in his stroller.

Mmmm... Corn on the cob!
 An apple.... and a cookie... this girl loves to eat!!

I didn't bring warm enough clothes (or a hat) for any of us because I didn't think that the weather was going to cool down soo much! I ended up wrapping a blanket around Bronson's head to keep him warm!

 Ready for a bonfire!



 The bonfire tuckered him out!

 Bronson and Daddy's Ninja Turtle from when he was little.



There were a lot more pictures from our time away but none of them turned out very well because I had my camera on the wrong pixel size and all of them are sooo fuzzy! :( It was my own fault for playing with the camera settings... I'm never changing my settings again!

Here are a few pictures from Kallie and Bronson hanging out this morning in Kallie's crib:


 Kallie has a kissing Elmo that makes a kissing sound when you put his hand up to his mouth, so she thinks that Bronson is like her Elmo and forces his hand to his mouth to blow kisses! She then makes the "mmmuuuaahh" Kissing sound when she gets Bronson's hand to his lips! It's so cute to watch!

Starting to move his hand to blow a kiss...

Trying to get his hand to his lips....

Missed his lips... but she still made the "mmmuuaahh" sound!


Friday, September 16, 2011

CN Tower goes GOLD!

Childhood Cancer may not be as common as cancer in adults but it doesn't mean that it's less important or should be put off to the side. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and tonight, Friday September 16, the CN Tower is helping raise awareness by lighting it up GOLD! Unfortunately, we are away for a couple of days visiting family and won't be able to attend but for anyone who is in the area should check it out here!

There was also an article in a paper today that talked about some of the hardships/troubles children with cancer face in schools and with peers. You can read it here.

I wish we were in the area to be able to attend this great cause tonight but I encourage you to try and attend if you can!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time Flies...4 Months Old Already!

It's such a blessing, and a miracle, to have Bronson home. Each and every day I feel so blessed to be the one who was given the task to be his Mom. I love watching him smile and start to laugh. I love watching my daughter, Kallie, talk with Bronson and pat his bum gently and say "shh shh shh" when he's crying. I love the little grunts he makes for no apparent reason (although they can be annoying hearing them through the baby monitor constantly in the middle of the night!). I love how the tv can calm him down (typical male). I love how sometimes he just wants his Mommy and no one else seems to have "the touch". I love watching him laugh and smile at Kallie. I guess I just love my family!

Bronson is doing GREAT! I was at Sick Kids with him this past Monday for a check up and his blood work was wonderful. His incision looks amazing and, I think in a year or two it will hardly be noticeable! He's been eating like crazy and has started to gain quite a bit of weight and is up to 10.5 lbs. I know that doesn't sound like a good weight for a 4 month old, but he was VERY under weight because of how sick he was and is now finally starting to pack on the pounds!  He's getting better at holding his head up by himself... still a little bit wobbly but he'll get there! A couple of times in the past week I've even seen Bronson roll over all by himself!!  He's being seen by a physiotherapist because of how much his health issues put him behind, but as I said before, he is making progress and he'll be up to where he should be in no time!

Next week Bronson goes for an ultrasound and then a check up at the Oncology clinic. Even though a month ago the scan showed that there was no trace of cancer in his body I still get a little nervous before he has these check ups. But, I'm sure everything will still be cancer free!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bronson's Journey in a Nutshell

From the day Bronson was born I have been taking a weekly photo of him. I wanted to be able to look back and see how much progress he made from the time he was born until the day he left the hospital.

About a month ago I had a problem with my memory card and I thought I had lost the first 10 weeks of all of my pictures BUT thanks to Henry's Photography they were able to recover most of my pictures! The only picture I'm missing is Week 10, which was the week of his transplant, but I found a picture that was taken the same week and inserted it where it should go. 

I finally got around to picking up my pictures from Henry's today, so here you go! 

Bronson only hours old








This is how much fluid (ascites) he was holding in his abdomen. The ascites got worse and worse closer to his transplant. 5 days before his surgery an ultrasound showed 1.5 litres of fluid in his abdomen. 




 The day before surgery - Bronson and his Auntie Sarah Beth who was his liver donor







July 22, 2011 - 2 hours before he went into the OR for his Liver Transplant

4 weeks after his liver transplant

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer's Over and Only 110 Sleeps 'till Christmas!

I can't believe it's already September! Where has the summer gone? Now that Bronson's home I feel like I'm trying to pack in as much outdoor time as we can before the cold weather is here. This past weekend we went to the Toronto Zoo with my brother and his girlfriend and I don't think we could have picked a hotter day to go. By 1pm we were ready to leave due to the heat... but at least we had already managed to see most of the animals. Today's weather is the total opposite of Saturday... we had to wear pants and sweaters on our walk tonight and I was still freezing! Well, I guess that's Canada for you!

In the past two weeks, since Bronson's been home, I don't think I've been able to relax yet. After a crazy 3.5 months it's unreal how unorganized my house has become. With the busyness of two kids, plus all of Bronson's medications/other needs, I've barely made a dent in my cleaning/organization/laundry. I wish I could snap my fingers like Mary Poppins and have everything taken care of.... if only it were that simple!

Until mid October Bronson will have to be at Sick Kids every other week for his clinic check up as well as for a medication that has to be given in the hospital and run over 3 hours. Last Monday I got there at 9am and thought they would be able to start the medication right away and I could be out of there by 12:30pm at the latest... boy was I wrong! They didn't get around to starting his IV med until 12:25pm, so I didn't get to leave until 3:30. But, I think because that was Bronson's first time there they didn't have the orders from the Doctor and had to call to get them and then they had to wait for it to be sent up from pharmacy. All of which takes time. I'm really hoping next week goes much faster. The Doctor at the clinic was very impressed with Bronson's liver numbers and everything is still looking wonderful! There haven't been any signs of rejection or complications and we're praying things stay like that! Bronson has a check up with his Oncologist in a couple of weeks, but as far as we know everything is still good from a cancer perspective.

Here are a few pictures from our week! :)







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