Journal

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Today, is Valentine's Day!! The day of love. Shouldn't we love who we love everyday of the year, not just because a day designed to "love" just this one day?! Today came, and I told Dyllen before he left for school, that I love him today and everyday for the rest of my life! Of course he is 10 now and yeah yeah love you too mom..

Today, is just a little different, than just Valentine's day.. you see, Dyllen is 5 Month's Cancer-Free today!! 5 months, 153 days, 3674 hours, 220,440 mins longer to love him in this world!! So many things are taken for granted. Like saying I love you. It becomes habit to anyone. I try to make every "I love you" count Because saying "I love you" to my medically fragile children means so much more. Life is full of love and appreciation, don't ever take it for granted because tomorrow you may not hear or get to say "I love you" again! So, here is to Valentine's Day but more importantly loving Dyllen 5 months longer!! 

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- I have loved you with an Everlasting love Jeremiah 31:3 -*-
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Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Good morning!! Wow I can't believe it has been 4 Months since we got the news Dyllen's Cancer is gone!! He has been doing so so good!!

Dyllen got a Make a wish granted to him back in November. Most kids, boys, want to go to the World Series or the Superbowl. Not my kid, Dyllen's Wish was to go to the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas!! And that we did! Dyllen, Hayden, Michelle, and I boarded a plane to see the most fantastic group of humans ever!! He got to walk on the black carpet with his Idol JB Mauney and 2017 World Finals winner Jess Lockwood, he got to play bean bags with Matt West and Jess, he got to meet Pearl Harbor's son Sky Harbor and Cochise, he got to go up onto the chutes before the 4th round, he got a personal glove from Cody Teel, there is so much more he got to do. I am forever grateful for the PBR and Mandi and her girls for making this all possible, along with Make A Wish Minnesota and Make A Wish Southern Nevada. Such an amazing time!!! To see Dyllen's face with a huge smile every second was priceless. We can't wait to go see them in April at the Denny Sanford Premier Center!!!

The holiday's, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and everyday for that matter, has been a blessing. Things could've been so different. We are blessed with amazing Dr.'s and nurses (Michelle included!!). 

On Monday, 4 Months to the day, he will have his first scan since the great news. To say I am nervous is an understatement. He has been doing good but still that fear is always there. Will it ever go away? Will it ever get easier? Will the anxiety ever stop? No probably not, but the Lord has it, as always!! We just have to have faith in Him!! So with that if you could say some prayers for Dyllen to have clear scans, I would greatly appreciate it!!

We are #dyllenstrong 

"Don't let your heart be troubled. John 14:1"

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Wow!! Can we say journey!? We all have grown so much in this journey. Our faith is first on our list. God was in control and he is still in control!! We gave it to God, and we trusted Him to work His miracles. And, that he did!!! 2 weeks ago today, Dyllen had his pet scan, he is Cancer-Free and in Remission!!!! All the prayers that were sent up, the Good Lord heard them all! Today, Dyllen gets his central line removed and boy is he excited (as an I)!!!! No more heprin flushes, no more dressing changes, no more doctor visits for 3 months. We are eternally grateful for everything the Lord has provided!! And, we Thank all of you for supporting us in this journey, in any way possible!! God bless each and everyone of you!!! 

Our God is an Awesome God!

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- His Will, His Way, My Faith Jeremiah 29:11 -*- 

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

The Cowboy is in route... 

Today is Petscan day!!! This will be short and sweet... we are asking for some Prayers for awesome results that this ugly cancer is gone!!! 

Thank you in advance!!

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- The Lord is bigger than the giants you face John 4:4-*- 

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

So many time's I have wanted to update, then something comes up, or Dyllen wants my attention or Hayden's needs come before posting and all of the sudden BOOM 1 Month hits!!! 1 Month since Dyllen had his last chemo treatment at home, that I administered. 1 Month of gaining weight, 1 month of more smiles and laughs that I hadn't heard in a very long time, 1 month of Dyllen making Hayden laugh hysterically to the point we have to remind Hayden to take a breath, 1 Month of hugs and snuggles, 1 month of stepping on bulls and cattle fencing in the living room or his room, most importantly 1 month more that the Lord gave me to be with my son and on Friday we find out if Dyllen's Cancer is gone.

I have not, or tried not to get overwhelmed or get anxious because we have been here
before, but how do you not?! How do you not have these feelings of anxiety?! This is your child's life in the balance!! You should, and it is completely normal to have these feelings. That is one thing I have learned throughout the last 11 years and even more so in the last 6 months. It is completely ok to have anxiety for your child health and well being, just don't let it control you. Live every day as tomorrow could be your last! And truly live!! Ask yourself what do you live for? Yes, you want to live for your kids and family and friends, but more importantly live for YOU!!! Don't go through the motions of everyday life just to get to the next day. Live and be the best you, you can be, because their is only YOU!! So, I challenge you do get out of your comfort zone, do something amazing, gratifying, challenging, something you will be proud of yourself for. Just Be Bigger!!! Find you, through all the stress and anxiety life throws at you, get back up and be you, find you, be a better YOU than you were before. Be Bigger!!

With all that said, Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. If you hadn't heard between my daily post on Facebook or the news/social media, it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!!! Definately trying to get out there and spread awareness. Cancer doesn't care about age, race, Male or female, religion, it doesn't care who you are as a person or where you are at in life. It strikes when it wants to. We are hear to fight!! I will be at Walmart in Marshall on Monday giving thanks to everyone who has/continues to donate to Sanford Children's Miracle Network. They are amazing, and have really gotten Dyllen's and other Cancer Warriors stories out there to help raise awareness of childhood cancer. It is very real and we live it everyday!!

Dyllen, he is so amazing and the impact he has had on kids in his school and out in the community warms my heart to no end. He is going to change the World one day. He got to start school on the 1st Day of School last week and all the high fives and we are #dyllenstrong chants just is unbelievable!! He is fighting this and he will overcome this "ride" with his head held high and his belt buckle on, he will ride! And, on Friday, I can't wait to hear that he rode the whole 8 seconds, and came out on top, a Survior of Cancer!! (Tears are rolling)

Thank you for your patience, guidance, love, hugs, meals, gifts of all sorts, but most of all your Prayers because God is in control and the amount of people praying for our bull rider is by the thousands, He has heard your prayers!!! God bless each and everyone of you!!! 

WE ARE #DYLLENSTRONG 

-*- We have the HoPE as an anchor for the soul Hebrews 6:19 -*-

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Hi Everyone!!

Man has the last few weeks gone by so so fast!! We have been enjoying being home and living life to the fullest. Makes you forget anything has ever happened!! It is so good to see him run and jump on the trampoline or his imagination running wild like horses in the wind when he plays with his farm animals, which have over taken his room. It's just so good to see him being a kid, not just the kid with cancer. He has spent some time out at the lake relaxing at Grandpa and Grandma Vollmer's, or helping Grandpa Christensen out on the farm with the sheep and checking on cattle and stealing cookies from Grandma Cheistensen's freezer, and a few days at Grandpa and Grandma Yockey's playing with his younger brothers. It has been a great few weeks. 

A few journals back I had talked about Hayden not being very excited to see me when we get home but lights up when he see's Dyllen. Well, we figured out a way for him not to be so '
"Mad" when we have to leave him. Forgetting that he had Skype on his tablet and Dyllen has Skype on his computer, it is making it easier on him when we are away. His and Dyllen's relationship is so sacred there will be nothing that compares to these 2 brothers. They can just look at eachother and smile and "Get it". You may think Hayden "doesn't understand " but by golly he totally does!!!! I could sit and watch them for years on end, God willing, I will!! Dyllen is so proud of Hayden, and Hayden is so proud of Dyllen!! There is no denying how special these boys are to eachother!! Make's my Momma heart so proud they are both mine!!

This weekend is Dyllen's benefit and we are all excited to share Dyllen's journey and have a lot of fun!!! Thank you to everyone who has donated this far and to everyone helping make this possible!! It truly is amazing how communities come together and partake in a young boys life!! We are forever greatful!!!! 

Dyllen starts chemo back up on Monday. He will have 5 days of chemo. Please pray that this may be his very last round and it all goes smoothly. He really wants the last few weeks of summer to do what he loves, ride horse and swim!!! 1 Day at a Time!! 

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- Be still and know that I am God Psalm 46:10 -*-

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

3 Day's... 3 Day's of Chemo this round. And we were home on day 4, Saturday!! He is such a trooper!!he hates taking his pills and unfortunately has to take them through Wednesday. He is eating me out of the house being on prednisone but it totally could be the opposite, not eating at all. Saturday night I took Dyllen and Matt to cheer on Uncle Aaron in Canby. His car was pretty sweet. Dyllen is so proud of his Uncle Aaron, we all are!! 171x for life!!! He has Hope 4 Hayden on one side and #dyllenstrong on the other with Cancer Sux on the hood!! How cool is that!? Aaron is so proud of all his nephews and nieces!

When Dyllen is inpatient at the Castle, he is known as the kiddo that says Hi and waves to everyone, patient or not. He wants to help make a video for kids who needs dressing changes and are scared. He told Child Life this on Tuesday last week. He will talk outside a patient's room and ask how they are doing and if they are ok?! Him and Baby Jeff also have such a special bond and they both light up when they see each other! One person/family that we met while being at the Castle is Carter. He was the one that Dyllen played Fort Night with that I had posted about in past journals. They came to visit us and Baby Jeff and Meg on Thursday night! One of the sweetest families you will ever meet!! All the kids were excited to see eachother and us, Cory and Micki!! Such a loving family with hearts of gold!!

We are home now until August 6th!!! Yes, that means Dyllen will be able to be at his #dyllenstrong benefit on August 4th and we are so excited and happy he gets to join in on celebrating his courageous fight against cancer!! We are very excited for everyone to join us!!

That is all for tonight!! I will post again towards the end of the week as I want to enjoy being home with my boys!!

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul Hebrews 6:19-*-

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Good evening!!! Dyllen rocked his chemo yesterday!! He did have some nausea towards the end of the night last night. Also, back to taking 9 pills a day between the prednisone, antacids, and Lukovoren (helps him get rid of his chemo), everything else is through his broviac lines. I forget how moody he gets on prednisone as he hasn't needed it the last 2 rounds.

Today, was busy to say the least. Today, was Dyllen's LAST spinal tap!!!!!! Yay!! We are getting down the "lasts"!! He did really good going to sleep. Waking up on the other hand was a lot of crying and screaming. They have 2 different chemo's through his spinal tap. We made it through. He came back to his room and started 2 more chemo meds all while he played racing on the playstation. 

Children's Miracle Network contacted me and wanted to do an interview with Keloland for their CMN special the beginning of August. I sat down with Dyllen and explained to him what CMN does for families and hospitals like The Castle. So, we can help them raise funds to help support other kiddo's and families. He immediately agreed that he wants to help. That interview was today at 1:30pm. My emotional child sobbed on camera which in turn made me cry. I hope it ends up being a good interview. But, these emotions we feel, him as the child with cancer and me the mother of a child with cancer, are raw and real. When we got back up to the 3rd floor Dyllen starts to cry again and says "I"m sorry I cried on camera!" All I could do was hold him as he sobbed and tell him "DO NOT to be sorry and it is totally ok to cry!!!" I cant tell you how proud and honored to have Dyllen as my son! I sit and watch him and become overjoyed knowing he is mine and he is a fighter!! There are no words that can be said when your child is getting pumped full of chemo. Cancer is not glorious, cancer is not fun, cancer doesn't care if you are 2 months old, 9 years old, 36 years old, 64 years old, or 90 years old. I can tell you one thing about cancer, it DOES NOT WIN!!!! Whether you ring that bell or walk through those pearly gates of Heaven, cancer does not win!!!! We are so happy and excited to help raise funds for Children's Miracle Network and other Families! I will keep you updated as to when the Keloland special will be on TV.

Hope you guys have had a wonderful day!

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- He will sustain you. Isaiah 46:4 -*-
 

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Good morning!! It was a nice 6 days spent at home. We did do much besides get the house back in order. Laundry caught up, which hardly happens now days (Thank you Adam!!). It was so nice to spend the weekend at home enjoying the nice summer weather. 

Yesterday, we came to Sioux Falls as we usually do the day before admission. Dyllen's anxiety runs high anyways so to make it easier we stay at the Ronald McDonald House the night before and we do something fun! We went to the Zoo to see the new bear exhibit. Pretty awesome, and we can't wait for the Lions in a few years. We also went to see Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Amazing movie, loud, very loud but oh so good. I enjoy these fun memories and trying to make "summer" fun for Dyllen when he can't do the typical "summer" stuff has been a challenge. Good thing he doesn't mind doing some of the same stuff. Plus, his body cant quite handle the heat for long periods of time. Next time, Skyzone is where I want to take him. 

Today, is the start of Round 5. It will hopefully only be 3-4 days long (YAY!!) Dr. Callaway hasn't been in yet so not sure on what his chemo regimen looks like. Tomorrow, is his very last spinal tap!! Yay!!! So, right now he is playing with his farm set he brings with every time we come. It keeps him busy and his imagination runs wild, like a horse in the wild, running free in the wind!! My point sized cowboy!!

We hope you have a fantastic day filled with love and sunshine!!

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11 -*-

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

What an awesome 4th of July!! We decided super last minute to go to the Marshall Fireworks and with great company, Dyllen's best friend Braeden and his Mom, Kate! Always a fun time with them!! Dyllen's whole summer of hoping to ride horse and go swimming wont happen. The cowboy can't have the summer he wanted, so why hold fireworks against him?? I just couldn't do it!! So, as little fun was had!! 

I know a lot of people have been asking if there will be a benefit for Dyllen. Yes, yes there is. I will only post it here once otherwise Miranda Deutz has set up a Facebook page for the benefit. August 4th, at the Tyler Gold Course. There will be fun kids stuff, a Golf Tournament,  Bean Bag Tournament, Silent Auction, and a BBQ sandwiches and fixings served for supper which will be free will donation. I am not any part of this so in the picture that I post at the bottom are the people to get ahold of if you want to be in the tourney's or give a silent auction item. There are plenty of people that would love to help you!! Also, if you plan on having a team for the Golf Tournament you need to sign up so they know how many golf carts to get!!

We really can't Thank family/friends for putting this on for our family!! My heart is going to explode little hearts all over!!! I can't even begin to describe the gratitude from all the communities of Marshall/Tyler/Lake Benton area's and to everyone doing other benefits for us! It's so wonderful to see everyone's generosity!! We will pay it forward!! 

We are #dyllenstrong 

-*- Give Thanks with a Greatful Heart 1 Thessalonians 5:18-*-

Journal entry by Brittany Christensen

Dyllen received his first Chemo treatment yesterday, April 8th, 2018. He took it like a champion bull rider would do on his first round of the PBR World finals!! This week is Pre-liminary week. Meaning he got his chemo yesterday, EEG today, and Prednisone, high doses, 2x a day. This means side effects. Not sleeping is 1 of them. 3 hours he slept last night, and a 2 hour nap today and he is sleeping again. Thank goodness! Daddy, Charity, and his little brother's headed home today for a few days. We will see them soon! Auntie Ashley came home on Sunday to spend the week here. We are happy to have her home even just for a little while. The visitors whether it be family or friends mean so much to us. His room is full of balloons, stuffed animals, Lego's, and PBR/farm stuff. It is so unexplainable for us to try and express how thankful we are for all the prayers, thoughts, love, and support our blended family is receiving. So again, Thank You from the bottom of our hearts!!!

Dyllen’s Story

Site created on April 10, 2018

Welcome to our little cowboy's journey!!

Dyllen, had been having stomach issues since January. After numerous times taking him into the Dr. I finally asked for a consult with a GI Specialist. His older brother see's one at Avera McKennan so right off the bat that is who we wanted to see.  They saw him right away, which is hard to do. And was scheduled for an Endoscopy a few day's later. The found that he has a virus attacking his tummy and living off the acid. His biopsy was sent to the Mayo and came back as H Pylori. 14 Day course of antibiotics he should hopefully be better. Not so much. We had a scheduled vacation to San Diego, CA during the last 7 days of the antibiotic and things seemed to be getting worse, NOT better! Easter weekend we flew home. Monday, April 2nd, he had to stay home from school as he was throwing up again, which was nothing new. That night he screamed in pain all night long. So, that next morning, Tuesday April 3rd I took him to the ER in Marshall, MN. He was severely dehydrated. They took X-rays and notices something wasn't quite right. So, they did a CT Scan and saw he had a bowel obstruction and intussusception (tunneling) of the large intestines and the colon. We were ambulanced to Avera McKennan. They tried different ways to release the bowel obstruction and intusesspetion but none of them worked. Surgery was scheduled for that next morning. Wednesday, April 4th 2018, our lives forever changed. Our brave cowboy went into surgery hoping it would make him better. About 30 min into surgery, the attendant comes to get us and brings us into a room and the surgeon was in right away. Thinking this was quick!! Unfortunately, not. He was still open on the operating table and the Dr. was telling us what they found. Cancer. A baseball size tumor, in our 9 year olds colon/large intestines. They had to remove 11 inches of his colon along with the tumor.  Burkett's Lymphoma a form on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Cancer. Forever changed our lives. Our little Cowboy's life.  April 4th, will always be etched into our minds and hearts. So, we begin the fight. We fight. Dyllen Fights. Cancer does not have a say in our little Cowboy's life! We are Dyllen Strong!!  #dyllenstrong

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