Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Time To Celebrate!!! The Scans are CLEAR!!

Hi to all our favorite VP's ...remember me? The Nurse? I's just been way too long but actually that's a good sign since Brenda has done nothing but make slow and steady progress toward rebuilding herself after those last nasty rounds of chemo.

Many of you know that this past Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, we had to go back to Houston for Brenda's PET-CT scans to see if she was winning the battle again that horrible disease. To say that we were really nervous would be an understatement! Actually Brenda didn't get nervous until Sunday morning when we had to leave, but she felt really confident that the scans would come back CLEAR. Having come from a very long line of worriers, I, on the other hand, have been nervous for about 2 weeks. By Sunday when we were ready to leave, I should have been on medication!! Ha! There's just something about going back to the place that caused all that trauma...

Anyway, we maneuvered the halls of MD Anderson like pros and got the scans done by 10:30 am on Monday. Dr. Gillenwater, her surgeon, was running late so we had to wait for an additional hour but when we did get in to see her the scans were already in the computer and had been read and the report written...amazing! Why it takes 7 to 10 days in most other locations really baffles me. Anyway...we looked at the scans and the report...I was holding my breath and ready for the air to get sucked out of the room again...when they informed us that the SCANS WERE CLEAR!!! Thank you Jesus and all our dear, dear friends who have prayed and sent us all the healing moe-joes!! There was no sign of the disease. LORD!!! You just have no idea how happy we both were. Maybe now the horrible memories of Houston could begin to be reframed.

Dr. Gillenwater said that the minute she walked in the door and looked at Brenda she knew that she had diligently been working on regaining movement and strength in her shoulders, arms, head and neck. She said that whatever she was doing...keep it up. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to Scott, our trainer, for all his work in helping to rebuild our gal. He's doing a fabulous job. The doc said that it was excellent that Brenda was able to continue her workouts even while going through these last rounds of chemo because that kept her from freezing up with all the scar tissue. Way to go Brenda...what a trooper.

So then we went to see Mary, Dr. Hong's assistant. We found out that Dr. Hong had been called away on a family emergency but he told Mary to send the scans to him in an e-mail (amazing!!) and he would look at them but he said that he really wasn't worried because he KNEW that Brenda's scans would be CLEAR...doubly amazing! The level of care at MD Anderson is unequaled!!

Both Mary and Rita told Brenda she looked fantastic and said that they were talking about her the other day and said that of all of Dr. Hong's patients Brenda was absolutely, hands down, the best. She never complained, she never gave up, she never said she couldn't take any more, she just kept going. Everyone is convinced that's why she has done so well. Brenda has truly been an inspiration to us all. So they said that we would need to come back in another 3 months. Everyone was so happy...we just had a nice visit with them.

So what do you do when this enormous weight has been lifted from your shoulders and your future looks really, really bright? go SHOPPING!!! Yep! We left MD...went to Starbucks (of course!! The Nurse needs her "juice of life,") and then went over to Whole Earth Provisions, a really cool outdoor store, and did our part to stimulate the economy. YEP! We had to buy some "LIFE IS GOOD" shirts!!

That evening we went out to dinner with Paula and caught up on all the things happening in our lives. It's always wonderful to see her...she is so positive and just brightens up the room. We flew out of Houston yesterday and now we're getting ready to go up to our cabin in Strawberry for the holiday weekend.

And speaking of our wonderful little cabin...if anyone would like to buy's up for sale. We just bought an acre and a quarter of beautifully wooded property in Pinetop, AZ in the White Mountains. Once we sell the cabin, we are going to build on this piece of land. We would like a bigger place for entertaining and we just couldn't pass up the great deal we got. Brenda said she has a whole new life now and wants to build new memories...PERFECT!!

So dear friends...I think that has you up to date on the important stuff. Hope you'll go out and do a little celebrating on your own for us. You will never know what a huge part of Brenda's healing process you all have been.

Thanks from the bottom of our hearts...
Dee and Brenda


  1. Simply amazing, fantastic, brilliant, etc. Brenda - you are truly an inspiration. Keep up the good work. I am sure this news will kick up your drive a determination to rebuild your strength and stamina.
    Nurse Dee - you deserve a promotion. As you articulated in your update, this has been a roller coaster ride for you both. Makes me think of a lesson I learned a few years back from a teacher - Teams WIn.
    Go have a blast and celebrate a true independence day!!

    Michele and Karen

  2. Fantastic news! If someone could beat cancer I knew it would be you. You are the most positive couple I've ever met! Enjoy your new life!

  3. Absolutely fabulous news... was there ever any doubt!!! Hope to catch up with you both this week-end when you are up here in the high country! Will be so sad to see you leave our neck of the woods!

    Lots of Love & Blessings to you both as always
    Cathie & Evelyn

  4. Let the fireworks begin! Independence Day has a new meaning! What a relief to read your words of joy and gratitude. I love Michele's analogy that 'teams win'. You two are definitely a winning team and have inspired all of us. Thanks for the uplifting update!

    Bonnie and Jackie

  5. Lot's to celebrate this Independence Day! Absolutely the best news. Congratualtions is not enough - you have beat it! Big celebration on the Amsterdam trip next year for sure!!!!!!!
    Love, Jill

  6. This is just wonderful news - Kirt and I have arranged fireworks in your honor on the 4th (yes all over the country). You both have worked so hard and been through so much I just can't imagine how you did it.

    Jeannie and Kirt

  7. Brenda and Dee so glad to hear the good news. Brenda unsure if you know but my good friend Dee O'Leary (Lee's wife) has a rare form of cancer please keep her in your prayers. Have a great time in the mountains. Karen Wolf

  8. To my awesome sister Brenda......
    You just amaze me with your strength and stamina through this whole ordeal. WOW... You have been a stud since you were born I swear. Loved your excitement in your phone call it was sooooo good to hear. I had to share it with everyone :) So So proud of you ! oxoxo Hugs to you !

    Peeker, ditto sista.... love you to pieces.

    We are celebrating for you both.
    Love ya
    Rhonda, Paul and family

  9. Simply awesome ! We have been privileged to have been able to stand on the sidelines and observe all that was 'the journey' and we are so pleased to be able to share with you in the best news ever.

    The Tumor Be Gone Party set the scene of the battle to come, you accepted the challenges that were laid down and you can now feel the exhilaration of victory !

    Our thoughts are with you both. Enjoy the next phase of life !

    The Aussies...

  10. There are just no words adequate to describe the feelings after hearing your good news. I know in my heart that you have beaten this monster. No one can really understand what you have gone through. We saw film clips and sound bites but you had hundreds of days in a row with no breaks from this disease. The good days have now begun. You look great and you sound great. Our prayers are still with you. The new journey, good health and moving forward with that gift will continue and will be all be there to celebrate with you.

    Love to you both,


    PS: Dee, you need to post some photos or video to show how great Brenda looks. Maybe a birthday video next week. This time without Mr. BoJangles

  11. Brenda, I can't express how happy I am for you and Dee with this wonderful news. All the prayers and support truly worked, but it couldn't have happened without your strength and determination. You now have a second birthday . . . . the day you got this great news. Celebrate both birthdays in a BIG way! We love you! Joan & Andy