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Brooke’s Story

Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes.  God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.   
1 Peter 5: 6-7

Welcome to Brooke's CaringBridge page! Please visit often to read entries, view photos or write a guestbook note!  (or send a note: Want to send Brooke a note? Her home address is: P.O. Box 154, Chapman Ranch, TX 78347

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, your life stops, changes course, and begins instead toward a path to do anything & everything to help your baby.

Brooke is our baby; this is her story... Brooke is 6 years old and loves pink, ponies, cats and dogs, and dinosaurs. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Brooke was always a healthy child with ear infections as her biggest hurdle. She had a great summer in 2010 and even learned how to swim! By August, a few, sporadic things began to occur. First she had a couple of strange, unexplained fevers. We thought perhaps it was her ears, or a bladder infection, but those tests came back negative. Then she had a couple of intermittent times she made a "volcano" (what she calls getting sick to her stomach)...again with no real pattern or explanation. In late September, she started having a strange limp and her right knee was becoming swollen, and it was getting harder for her to walk. By the time she had stopped walking completely, and not even crawling because of the pain, the pediatrician's initial diagnosis was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and he immediately wanted her to stay home and wait to see a pediatric rheumatologist. Meanwhile, Brooke had begun rapidly losing weight with less appetite, and at 3, she was barely crawling, or pulling up and holding her back, but she only complained of knee and tummy pain. A sonogram, nuclear scans, MRI/MRU and later tests revealed a large mass in her abdomen pressing on her left kidney, spine, and internal organs. They told us it may be a kidney stone...

On November 18, 2010, our lives forever changed. Brooke was diagnosed with stage 4, high risk Neuroblastoma, which is a form of nervous system cancer that had spread to her bone marrow.

We have faced this battle armed with prayer warriors, friends and family ready to help pull her through. Financially it has been incredibly challenging as we have gone from a two income, one home family to a family separated by thousands of miles trying to maintain two places to live and receive health care for Brooke on one salary.  We spent an entire year living at the Ronald McDonald House in New York for the surgery of the mass and to battle the bone marrow cancer through clinical trials.  While daddy has been home most of the time working and maintaining insurance coverage, Brooke and her mom have been home for only a few weeks in the past two years as we now have Brooke at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan seeking new hope in a ground breaking NMTRC genomics trial and personalized medicine against her aggressive type of recurrent stage IV cancer.  We are still praying for remission daily!!

Although now she is 6 and a half, Brooke continues to bravely fight this battle and our family has set up a special charitable account, the "Brooke Hester Donation Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch. 

Our faith is strong and we BELIEVE in the power of prayer!

Thank you for supporting our Brooke through her journey!

http://www.BrookeFightsBack.org


To learn more about Brooke's foundation, please visit 

http://www.BrookesBlossoms.org

or find her on facebook at 

http://www.facebook.com/BrookesBlossoms

pinterest page

http://www.pinterest.com/BrookesBlossoms

or Twitter

@BrookesBlossoms

Latest Journal Update

Yesterday

I'm so sorry everyone my phone is on the fritz and dies often and will not work at all while plugged in. It has been overflowing with loving messages of faith and prayer and I am slowly going through each one (it takes a ridiculously long time sometimes just to get each word to type out on my phone) between caring for these babies.... SO beyond blessed to have Great Aunt Nancy here to help especially on such short notice at this very busy time of year. She is so loving and unselfish and caring to track thousands of miles on her own to a place she had never been to before just to help out - we love you Aunt Nancy.
















Prayers are coming through as Brooke is improving under the hands of the doctors and nurses each day and last night although it took her 3 hours she nibbled continuously at calorie rich Mac and Cheese. Her eating and drinking is improving and when very strong pain medication is on board she feels relaxed and chatty. When it wears off her left ear hurts very badly despite two courses of IV antibiotics. She has a scratch inside her ear and with low counts this is high risk for nasty infection which has happened to Brooke despite the fact that her nails are very short and still painted adorably. She is just in a delicate balance and it doesn't take much for her life to unravel quickly at times when her counts take a cliff dive like they did. Yesterday's counts were improved and we hope today will be too. Although Benjamin has been up and down all night like he has been doing with this teething for his first back teeth, Brooke has slept sound all night and I hope and pray she will wake up feeling better and better. It pains my heart to see her walk so stiff legged even with pain medication on board and we pray this is related to the way one of her drugs (Temador) causes a resurgence of radiation effects like re-amplifying them in the body again especially those places most recently treated - her upper arms and lower femurs were even hot to the touch yesterday. Her liver function tests that have been elevated for months are continuing to go down showing effects of therapy and her kidney function tests are still elevated but also were beginning to go down yesterday and her potassium was back in the normal range. It really was concerning how tired the low potassium made her and how she was shaky and barely able to keep her eyes open even for me to give the potassium to her the night before last. But she did it... and had a better day all around yesterday too although her eyes are very sensitive to light right now for some reason. I promise to write again soon, when I can, and when we know more about her healing. Please continue to hope and pray for more miracles for Brooke. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support surrounding her life and our family.
















PS The snowman Benjamin is holding in the photo was from a hospital volunteer... Brooke got to choose anything she wanted from the little bag of donated soft toys and as soon as Benjamin came to visit her she gave it to him. She won't say anything at all she wants for Christmas and when we do get the chance to go to the hospital gift shop or grocery store together all she wants to do is pick out ideas of things she wants him to have. Brooke has the biggest heart in the whole world. She just wants to feel better and maybe make it home for Christmas - I know she just wants the pain to go away.
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Comments

21 Comments

Alisha Rushing
By Alisha Rushing
Praying.
Vicki Lodden
By Your Michigan Friend, Vicki
I have so many hopes and prayers for you, but for right now, I will pray that you will be well enough to go home for Christmas <3
Dana Lopez
By Dana Lopez
Praying for you sweet girl!!!!
Julie Sharp
By Julie Sharp
What a precious picture of Brooke and Benjamin. Praying each day for her recovery.
Despina M
By Despina M
Praying for continued healing, Brooke your are simply amazing, you truly are the BEST Big Sister in the world and Benjamin is a very lucky boy,
Praying for you daily Princess,
God bless and be with you always,
Despina
Becky Pulley
By Becky Pulley
Brooke is such a special loving little girl with such a big heart! She is teaching us all. Love the picture of the two of them - we cover your entire family in prayer and last night she was held up special in Kenly, NC
Donna Aronne
By Donna Aronne
Love you guys! Surrounding Brooke with healing light and prayers.
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1 person hearted this
Marilyn Korhonen
By Marilyn
Brooke does have the biggest heart in the whole world. We love you Brooke and are so thrilled to hear you feel able to eat a bit more. Give Benjamin a hug and then he will give you one back from me.
Sara Bohan
By Sara
Praying with all my heart that Brooke continues to gain strength and becomes pain free! Prayers, love & hugs!!!
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1 person hearted this