Wednesday, October 23, 2013


1999 - 2013

Despite a valiant and courageous battle with cancer, Brynn Joelle Lund, passed away with loving family by her side on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at the Rotary Flames House in Calgary at the tender age of 14 years. 

Relatives and friends are invited to meet with the family at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Barnwell Chapel, Barnwell on Friday, October 25, 2013 between 7:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M.
The Funeral Service will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Taber Stake Centre, 4709 - 50 Avenue, Taber, on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. with Bishop Tyler Johnson conducting. Burial to follow at the Barnwell Cemetery.

Supported and strengthened throughout her journey by loving parents Kevin and Christy Lund, sisters Sadie and Reese, brother Kade and pets Zoe and Suri. Brynn will be anxiously waiting for her Great Grandma Ivy Lund, and will be forever loved by her Grandma Carma Anderson, Grandy Patty Lund and all of her aunts, uncles and cousins.

Brynn was predeceased by both of her Grandpas Ken Anderson and Darwin Lund.
Always a considerate, mild, polite and obedient child of God, Brynn had a quiet confidence that allowed her to connect, inspire and change people’s lives for the better. She was able to do this at her school, community and church. Brynn did it at the hospitals in Calgary, Lethbridge and Taber where she would receive her treatments and care. Most importantly she brought her sweet spirit into our life and home that helped us to become an eternal family. Brynn was a natural peacemaker; she did not like contention or conflict and had a very innocent sense of humour, which made her everyone’s favourite sister. Brynn’s smile was infectious and her outward beauty was the same whether she had long hair, or a shiny bald head! She was so beautiful either way. 

Brynn loved going to Barnwell School and missed it when she became sick. She excelled in school, always on the honour roll and loved English and Art the most. Brynn inherited her Grandpa Darwin’s ability to draw and create. She really enjoyed swimming, animals and babies. Brynn always wanted so many pets; we had dogs, cats, rabbits, fish and 4-H calves. She was so warm and kind that animals and babies were naturally drawn to her, and she loved every minute of it.

Brynn was diagnosed with cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma) in July of 2010. She was a perfect example of enduring to the end. Brynn was continually asking for more and better treatment. Near the end of her life when her body could not take any more, she still would not quit and she never lost hope that she would beat her disease.

If friends so desire in lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Brynn’s name may be made directly to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation - Oncology Research, 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary, Alberta T3B 6A8 (

We would like to thank the community we live in for supporting Brynn. Your love for our family has strengthened us. You have shared not only our pain, but our love for Brynn. A special thanks to Dr. Lewis, Dr. Mala, Dr. Torrie, Primary Nurse JoJo, the Nurses and staff at the Oncology Unit and Clinic at The Children’s Hospital, Rotary Flames House, Taber and Lethbridge Hospitals and Ronald McDonald House. Your special care of our sweet girl, gave us three extra years with Brynn and you are part of our family now.


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Day to Honor Our Sweet Brynn

Brynn Lund


Brynn Joelle Lund, beloved daughter of Kevin and Christy Lund, and beloved sister of Sadie, Kade and Reese, passed away in Calgary on Saturday October 19, 2013 at the age of 14 years.
Relatives and friends are invited to meet with the family at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Barnwell Chapel, on Friday, October 25, 2013 between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
The Funeral Service will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Taber Stake Centre, 4709-50 Avenue, Taber, on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. with Bishop Tyler Johnson officiating.  Burial to follow at the Barnwell Cemetery.  Condolences may be forwarded by visiting our website at
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Brynn's name may be made directly to the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation- Oncology Research.
Arrangements in care of Southland Funeral Chapel, Taber.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20, 2013 Our Sweet Angel Brynn

On October 19th, 2013 our sweet angelic Brynn went home to live with her Father in Heaven.  This past week we had the privelage of sharing many tender moments with her.  A couple of weeks ago I thought to myself- the only other day in October that I can think has any special meaning would be the 19th because that was my due date when I was expecting Brynn and then she came 2 weeks early!  The days all run together and I never know what day of the week it is- let alone the actual date.  A couple of days ago  I told Kevin that and wouldn't that be strange if that was the day she went.  We both thought there is no way that will happen- she's going to go longer than that.  On the 18th things drastically changed with her.  We were still giving her MANY baths a day because they helped with the pain in her back.  Usually I could just have a hold of her arm and it was starting to take 2 of us to hold onto her getiing in the tub.  The morning of the 18th she woke up and wanted to move to the lazyboy chair.  Kevin and I had ahold of both arms when her legs completly buckled underneath her and she had no strength in her legs.  She told us later that day that her legs were knumb.  Her one eye where her lump was on her temple was sagging that day and she didn't seem to be using it and it would stay mostly shut.  That evening her nose started bleeding out of the blue and they said it was probably the tumor in her head pressing on vessels.  She had another meal of crab with her dad- the only thing she has been eating the entire week is crab legs and coke!  We kept telling the doctors it was the 2 main food groups!  We had a nice bath in the big tub with the nurses help and she would smile in complete relaxation.  That night was the roughtest we had- Kevin and I were up with her until 5:30 or so and she was throwing up and not able to get it out.  She was having a hard time breathing and it was extremely hard to watch.  For the first time we didn't see death as the worst thing possible for her.  Kevin told her that both her grandpas were waiting for her and that she had fought long and hard but she didn't need to fight anymore.  We couldn't tell her enough how extremely proud we were of her and she has taught us so much.  Brynn waited until everyone woke up the in morning.  Her sister Sadie was able to hold her hand and spend some time with her.  Suddenly her breathing changed and we were able to all be with her holding her hands- telling her how much we love her when she took her final breath.  I couldn't believe it happened that quickly after thinking through the night that I really couldn't watch her suffer like that anymore. 
Kade had gone home the night before with my sister to play football and we felt so bad her wasn't there.  We didn't want him to find out before we got home and could tell him.  Packing up and driving home was so hard. I just felt numb and empty inside without her.  I was going to type this last night but I layed on Brynn's bed and wept- trying to smell her on her pillow and hold on to her as tight as I can.  We have been inseparable for the last 3 years.  Last night I felt like I didn't know what to do with myself without taking temperatures, giving pills at exact times throughout the day, silencing beeping med pumps, and just caring for her in general.  It's going to be a huge adjustment.
Sadie is going to have an extremely hard time.  "Sadie and Brynn" has been just one word since she was 2.  The two of them have been inseparable and the best of friends.  They had a special bond and it's going to be a lonely time for her.  I know she will feel Brynn with her- there is no way that Brynn wouldn't continue being there for her as she always has been.
I feel the need to pay special tribute to my husband Kevin.  I don't think there is a more devoted and amazing dad out there.  Kevin comes across as a tough guy, but Brynn had him wrapped around her little finger.  He was so soft and gentle with her.  He was her hero who would never give up and would do anything to make what she wanted happen.  He would run to Red Lobster all the time for her but then started buying frozen crab.  He would cook it every day and sit by her and shell it for her and feed it to her.  She would always have a smile on her face and the doctors couldn't believe she was able to eat it!  The last couple of weeks it was Daddy that Brynn would call out for.  She wanted us both there with her but if Kevin was even in the next room she would call for him.  She felt safe with him close by and he was truly her protector and hero.  I will forever be grateful to him for his tender care with her.  I will never wonder how he will be if I get sick because I know how nurturing he is and that he will always take care of his family.
Brynn kept her sense of humor right to the end.  She was calling the shots and when she asked for gravol and the nurse would say how about we wait for bed- she would quickly and politely say- could I please have it right now?  She would bob her head to the music while she lay in the tub.  The other day she was getting out of the tub and I asked where she wanted to move to?  There were a couple different chairs or her bed that were options.  She said could I go in the magenta chair?  I burst out laughing- only Brynn would call the color of chair magenta! Everyone called her a sweetheart.  We had all new nurses at the rotary flames house and they quickly came to love Brynn and say the same things the nurses at Unit one would say.  She is so polite, such a sweetie, there is something about this girl that makes us just love her.  Even when we thought she was sound asleep she would whisper a thank you when the nurses changed her med bag or fixed her beeping pump.  Always so polite.
Brynn truly has changed everyone she has met for good.  She rubs off on anyone that comes in contact with her.  She was such an easy child, so willing to help out, always likes things neat and tidy and didn't want any contention.  I see know that she has always been our angel on earth and that was preparing for her to be our angel in heaven.  I feel honored to be her mother and to have the privilege of having her in our family and home for 14 years.  I'm so grateful for all the quality time alone we have spent together for the last 3 years that she has been sick.  She has always been by my side and we enjoy doing so many similar things together.  I will miss her more than I can explain and truly have a hole in my heart with her gone.  I know she is running, swimming, with her dog Zoe and her two grandpas as well as many friends that have passed before her.  I hope and pray that our family can continue feeling her presence with us.  I know we will be together forever and am so grateful that she helped get our family to the temple.  I love you  Brynn.  Families Are Forever<3

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 14, 2013

I know I just wrote a couple days ago but I'm trying to write more often especially to remember those small amazing moments that I'm afraid I'll forget!  On Saturday we had a small but meaningful "tender mercy" happen here that just makes me remember that Heavenly Father is aware and cares about us whether it's big or small.  I know that he answers prayers through other people alot of the time and we just need to recognize it and where our blessings are coming from.  For the last week or so Brynn has been talking about getting her nails done and wanting gel polish on them. I thought we would do it for her birthday and last weekend we were home and I was going to take her to Lethbridge to get them done. She didn't feel the best and just wanted to get them done when we were back in Calgary and going on a pass. Little did we know that things would change to a point that we wouldn't be able to take her out on passes this week.  She was asking nearly everyday about it and the doctors didn't think it was a good idea.  They considered letting her go with a nurse assisting us on Thursday but she would have to be off her one pain med and they thought she might not be comfortable enough. She also ended up sleeping all day and was then disappointed when it was evening and too late to go.  We then decided maybe someone could come and do them here. Brynn said that was fine even though she really wanted gel- but thats Brynn- just going along with things!  They found someone from Ronald McDonald house and said she could come Saturday afternoon.  I was happy but sad for Brynn that it wasn't exactly what she was hoping for.  When the girl arrived I told her Brynn's favorite color was this light bluish green ( the color of her new room) and that I had polish that was similar.  She said she had gel polish and her led light with her. I was excited and then she pulled out the exact color of gel that Brynn wanted!  It sounds stupid but I just started crying!  We went to the sunroom and the nurses had it all set up like a spa with music playing and everything.  Brynn got to sit in a comfy lazy boy that is heated and is a massage chair.  The girl gave her a fantastic 2 hour mani pedi and Brynn enjoyed every minute of it!  She was so comfortable that she fell asleep!  It was such a special afternoon for Brynn and anything that brings a smile to her face just warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes.  I'm sure no one really new how much it meant to me that Brynn was able to have it done- but a loving Heavenly Father did and made sure that it happened and it was even better than taking her out.  There are many sad and low points to our days but this was one high moment that helped us smile for a bit.  Thanks to kind people that volunteer their time and talents to help someone they don't even know.  I will be eternally grateful<3

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013

Well, following Brynn's birthday the nights got harder at home- we were hardly sleeping at all and her pain was getting harder to control. We were spending alot of time on the phone with Calgary and increasing the fentanyl that she was on continuously.  They decided we better come up on tuesday since she needed her port changed anyway and they would switch her from fentanyl to hydro morphine. They would do this for a couple of reasons. One is that there is a shortage of fentanyl right now and they were having a very hard time searching all of Calgary to find enough for us at home. We even had a pharmacist in Lethbridge that was kind enough to drive up Sunday night to Calgary and bring more back for us!  The other reason is that she could be getting resistant to the fentanyl and therefore requiring more and more to get on top the pain. We drove up with the whole family and had one extra bag of fentanyl left.  She was going through it pretty quick and I was prepared to change the IV bag on the way if we ran out but she was surprisingly pretty comfortable and we got to the hospital before her bag ran dry.  Usually changing her port is a pretty quick process but lately with the steroids she is on its getting harder and harder for them to access her.  They took her off her fentanyl and then it took quite a few attempts to access her so her pain was getting pretty bad. They switched her to the hydro morph and they were trying to figure out the dose she needed.  That was one of the hardest days we have ever had.  She was in so much pain the rest of the day and we were trying to catch up to it.  It literally feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest when I have to watch her suffer and can do nothing but console as she endures.  We got literally no sleep that night and each day since then has slowly got a bit better pain wise but she is definitely not doing well.
It's probably a blessing that when we left on Tuesday to come up here that we assumed we would change meds and be back in a couple days for thanksgiving weekend. Yesterday as we talked with the doctors here at Rotary Flames house we asked about that possibility and was told that we were here to stay now.
Last week when Brynn was having a very hard time mentally I had her write one blessing down at the end of each day.  It was amazing to me how easy it was for her to come up with something even when she was having a hard time smiling.  I have to remind myself of that and follow her example as I'm trying to not be mad that we aren't home with our family for thanksgiving weekend and counting all our blessings together.  I know the Lord is blessing us with little miracles everyday.  The big miracles that I'm asking for may not be the ones I'm receiving but I know he is aware.  I feel very numb right now as we are in survival mode to get through each day.  Yesterday I felt guilty that I hadn't cried yet that day and then I realized that I'm so aware of giving Brynn everything she desires right now. She asks constantly for us to not shed any tears and somehow I'm being blessed to be able to do that for her- in front of her.  However this morning as I was in the shower I couldn't stop crying. It's the one place I can just uncontrollably sob- get it out and then try to get through another day.  I'm realizing how precious our time is and am so grateful to have our family all together up here- even when Reese is driving us crazy!  I feel her slipping away and it's impossible not to want to hold on as tight as I can- even though I know it's probably not the best thing for her.  Sometimes I'm selfish like that.....I just love her way too much<3

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 5, 2013 HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYNN!!!

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet- mostly because I can hardly keep my eyes open.  I just tucked Brynn into her own bed- yes we got to bring her home again for the weekend!  It's 12:30 a.m. and I want to be the first to wish this amazing girl a Happy 14th Birthday!!!! My heart is incredibly full as I wonder why I of all people was blessed to be her mother.  She has taught me so much and I truly believe that she was sent to me for a specific purpose- to help me be a better person.  We had some cake and opened a couple of presents a day early and then Brynn wanted to watch some home videos.  We watched the day she was born and then a few more as she was a toddler and a little girl.  I'm reminded again what a joy she is in our family and how she has made parenting her extremely easy!  She has always been so quick to smile and make me laugh.  She's got such a witty humor and charm about her that just makes everyone want to be around her.  Most of all she is the sweetest, kindest girl I know.  She is so sensitive to others feelings and she never requires much discipline.  Just saying you were disappointed in her would make her go to her room and cry.  I hope she knows how much we love her and look up to her.  She is honestly my hero and has made such a huge impact on me and our family. 
This last week she had radiation on her head.  It was a little scary watching them make the mask and I couldn't believe we were radiating a 4th area on her.  Brynn met with us and the radiation doctor and she asked him if he could radiate her liver too.  He was a little taken back as this hasn't been discussed but he said he would look into it for her.  She never stops thinking of what else we can do and absolutely refuses to give up.  Sometimes she gets upset with me because I'm not always sure that what she wants to do is the best thing.  I don't want more side effects or to make her more uncomfortable and have the same outcome.  It's the mother in me that wants to save her from any pain or suffering.  She is so determined though and keeps us all continuing to hope and believe that there is something that can make a difference.  Her pain has increased a bit but we are managing it with a pump and having it run constantly.  She just called me and I rubbed her back for a bit so I'm going to finish before she needs me again.  We hope to be home for a couple more days and then go back up to Calgary as a family again.  So far we are still getting passes everyday as long as Brynn is feeling up for it.  Her favorite place is Red Lobster and Kevin and I sit and crack open crab legs for her as she eats as much as they want.  This week the manager came and told us that they had a staff meeting and they would pay for her to come whenever we can as often as we like.  They had Kevin and I in tears.  People are so amazing- almost everyday I'm taken back by the generosity of others.  It has really taught me to be more empathetic in my life and look outside my own problems. 
Well time for bed- I never know what kind of night it's going to be and have to catch sleep when I can.  I just have to say what an amazing girl we have- pushing on and continuing to fight no matter what they tell us.  She is unbelievable and inspires me.  Happy Birthday Brynn!!!!! You are my hero and have been our angel on earth since the day you were born.  Love you<3

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

I know I keep saying we had a rough week and I'm sorry for the repetition but each week just seems to get tougher.  Brynn had high hopes when we went back to Calgary last Monday that her liver function numbers would be improving as well as her bilirubin so that we could begin chemo.  It was just another blow for her to find out that they were not getting better and chemo was still not an option.  She woke up early Monday morning at 4am and called me and said she felt a bump on the side of her head- right on her left temple.  I told her it was probably nothing to worry about even though I worry about everything.  We showed them and they tried not to look to concerned because they know how Brynn worries.  She's too perceptive though and she knew that it wasn't good.  They told us that her last scans they had seen some lesions in the bones on that side of her head and that now they were probably growing.  It is so disturbing to Brynn every time she looks in the mirror and is worrying about a lump that is visible and that she thinks is growing. 
We took all the kids out of school and brought them to Calgary with us.  They said it would be a good idea.  We were staying in the Oncology Unit (Unit 1) which has become a second home to us.  They brought up again that it would be better for our family to be at Rotary Flames House.  Three years ago Brynn asked me what that place was and I told her that is was for people that weren't getting better.  It is also used for respite care and other things that I didn't know about.  I wasn't worried at the time that we would ever be there or need to go there.  How in the world was I to bring up going over there to Brynn without upsetting her?  They didn't want us at Ronald McDonald House without nurses there and Unit One wasn't set up for families of 6 to stay there- even though they were bending over backwards for us and putting mats on the floor to accommodate us as best they can.  The hospital was at 114% capacity and they really needed the beds if we could be somewhere else.  Rotary Flames House only had one really large room for our family and they were holding it for us but couldn't do that indefinitely.  They also mentioned that we could bring our dog Suri there to stay as well..  We had lots of reasons so it was discussed.  Brynn didn't even want a tour of it and so the decision was made for her mostly by her doctors and nurses.  It felt so yucky to walk over there with all our belongings- a place that I never wanted to set foot in but  knew it was probably the best place to be. Her nurses were so incredible and bought matching sweaters with Brynn and they all wore them as we walked over to Rotary Flames House together.  We love them and they are so good to us and Brynn!
 I was feeling very guilty the first night there and was ready to check back into unit one when Brynn said she hated it there and felt like she was kicked out of the hospital and forced to go there against her will.  Her and I both hate change and would rather stay with what we know.  By day two however we were feeling more comfortable there and could see the benefits there was with more space for our family and being able to come and go as we please with no passes.  They have a chef there and he made a few of Brynn's favorites already- salmon and BBQ ribs with mashed potatoes.  Brynn really enjoyed that!
We really have tried to go out and do something fun each day as a family.  We all went to build a bear which the kids loved.  We went to Chucky Cheese and they played games, went to the mall and are hoping to go to the Science Center this week.  We were surprised when Brynn said she was up for going home for the weekend.  We got home last night about supper time.  We had such an amazing surprise as the outside of our home was all decorated for fall and my sister and family surprised Sadie by completely redoing her room this week.  It was so nice for her as we did Brynn's room this spring and our plan was to do hers this summer - but things have been crazy and it hasn't happened yet.  Brynn went to church this morning and has been doing pretty good.  We had friends bring her favorite thing- Cafe Rio tonight and Grandy brought her favorite strawberry pie.  She started feeling sick a few hours ago and was throwing up and had a headache.  We called and talked to Calgary but things have settled down and she is comfortable and watching Christmas movies with her sister Sadie.  It's so nice to be home- but also we are more nervous to take care of her on our own.  We are heading back tomorrow and have an appointment to talk to the radiation oncologist on Tuesday morning.  They might do one or two treatments on Brynn's head to relieve the pressure and hopefully make the bump go down.  It literally breaks my heart when she sees herself in the mirror and starts crying because the bump and her yellowish eyes bother her so much.  She's as beautiful as always to us but I'm sure it would be distressing to me as well.  We continue to pray for strength and comfort and for the doctors to be inspired to do the right thing with her care.  We pray that we can get all the benefit we can from radiation and with as little side effects as possible.  Brynn is still hoping for her liver counts to regulate and we are praying for that too.  I was asked recently if there was still any hope.  My reply was that there is always hope and we refuse to believe any different.  You have to keep having hope- it's the only way you can get through each day. 
This coming Saturday- October 5th is our beautiful Brynn's 14th birthday.  We pray that she can feel well and we can enjoy spending this special day with our incredible girl<3<3<3

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013

We got to come home yesterday from the hospital after an emotionally exhausting week in Calgary.  We went up to start chemo again on Tuesday and they discovered that her ALT and AST numbers were through the roof which shows your liver functions.  They decided to do an ultrasound the next day and I went up to be there with them when we got the results.  They were not good.  There is a blockage coming from her liver and there is also inflammation of her pancreas.  They put her on higher amounts of steroids and said we would watch her numbers but right now chemo is not an option.  She is having abdominal pain because of the obstruction and it is making her jaundice.  Her skin and her whites of her eyes are turning yellow and Brynn doesn't like how her cheeks get puffy being on the steroids.  Calling her in and talking to her with the doctors was one of the hardest things we have done yet.  She is so perceptive and she knew the news was not good.  When they called us all into the room I just held her tight on my lap and prayed for the peace and comfort we would need.  First Brynn was hysterical and saying- " Your just going to let me die???"  But in true Brynn nature about an hour later she was calm and asking questions that a 13 year old girl should never have to ask.  She blows me away!  It was just like when I got the call when she was diagnosed and she was crying and asking about chemo and then she stopped and asked " Can I get a blonde wig?" and then went out to play on the trampoline while I watched out the window in tears.  She teaches me so much by her example and she always has such a sweet spirit with her. I know that she is being blessed and comforted to be able to handle all that she can.  We are doing are best to help her through everything and to keep hope that her numbers will come down to where they need to be to start chemo again. She is a figher and said tonight that all she wants for her birthday in two weeks is to be getthing chemo.  As much as we try to do what we can for her- she is comforting and blessing us much more.  We are heading back tomorrow (Monday) to Calgary and taking the whole family with us to enjoy spending time together.  We will continue to have hope- even though the things we hope for are changing as our journey changes.  I read a story of some people building wells in Africa and they had to carry trucks of supplies over the bridges.  The bridge was only supposed to hold a certain weight and their load was twice the limit.  They would bring extra lumber and reinforce the bridge and strengthen it so they could drive over it- then take their lumber with them and do the same thing with the next bridge.   At the end of the story it said "In any heartbreak there is just so much hurt, so much pain, so much loneliness.  Those are part of human experience and God does not always deaden them or take them away.  But though He does not always lighten the load, He does reinforce the bridge."
That is exactly how I'm feeling - My heart is aching and this is the hardest thing I can imagine..... but He is reinforcing our bridge.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2013

Once again I have been thinking about posting on the blog for the last 2 weeks but couldn't make myself do it when I would actually find the time to sit down.  First of all our trip to Connecticut was amazing!  We flew into New York City and my brother only lives about an hour from the airport right on the border of New York and Connecticut.  The flight there made me nervous as Brynn was having nerve pain down her right arm and I had to squeeze her elbow for alot of the flight.  She discovered it helped to hold there I guess on a pressure point or something.  I was a little teary because I was so nervous to be that far away- but Brynn insisted we were going no matter what so I was just constantly saying a prayer that things would work out.  Amazingly they did!
We did so many things that I really can't believe it now!  We went shopping to a huge outlet mall, went to New York City and Time Square and even went and got her first pedicure all together!
 We went to the Broadway show Wicked and got to meet the cast after.  Brynn was so excited to go backstage and they even took us on the stage!  We went in the main actresses dressing rooms and even got to try on their tiaras!  We went to the American Girl Store which has been on Brynn's list for a few years now.  It was huge- 3 stories tall and she had so much fun there.  I told her I would buy her an outfit for her doll there- then my brother did too and his in laws sent money with him to get something for Brynn as well.  Of course Brynn felt guilty and didn't want to be spoiled (true Brynn) but I told her I think you deserve it!  We enjoyed just hanging out at my brother's house with his outdoor pool and his golden retriever.  I told him those two things are all Brynn needs to be happy!  The end of the week we went to a Yankee game.  We got to go early and go down on the field.  The players started warming up and Derek Jeter was right in front of us!  We were pretty excited when he came over to sign our stuff.  He said "Nice hat" to Brynn.  I asked if I could get a picture of them and he was happy to do it!
We did so many things in the day- Brynn's nights were not good there.  She would have alot of pain trying to lie down and her nerve pain in her arm was getting worse.  I called Calgary a few times and we had to up her morphine while we were there.  I wondered many times if we would make it the whole week and I can honestly say it is a miracle that we were able too!  I know our prayers were answered and that Brynn was blessed to have that trip before things got worse.
When we flew into Calgary coming home we were staying over night because she had an appointment the next morning.  She was very excited they had a hot tub at the hotel because it felt good on her sore back.  We went early in the morning to go to the hot tub and Brynn took one step on the carpeted stairs and her feet went out from under her.  I've never heard her scream in pain that hard in my life and it scared me so bad!  I didn't know if she would even be able to get up but in a few minutes she wanted to still go sit in the water and she said she was fine.  We went to the appointment and they were a little concerned that something might be in her neck so we were already getting an MRI the next day and they said let's just see what it shows.  Kevin came up with all the kids to see us and to be there for the MRI which was such a good thing. 
The next day was a hard one.  We had her MRI and it took alot of pain medication to make Brynn comfortable enough to be able to lie flat on her back for the scan.  It was hard watching her and knowing that they were probably going to find something we wouldn't like.  It took her a long time in recovery to be able to wake up.  We were waiting there with her when her nurse called my cell and said Dr. Lewis wanted Kevin and I to come meet with him.  We left Brynn with Sadie and she was in tears because she wanted to come too.  She hates it when we talk to the Dr without her but we told her this time it was necessary.  The news from the scan were not what we expected at all- in fact the doctors were all surprised and said it was worse than they thought.  There was a growth that was compressing her spinal cord and it could snap at any time which would leave her paralyzed.  They said we needed to do emergency radiation that day.  Usually it takes a while to do all the prep work for radiation but not today.  We explained things to Brynn and then took her right over to Foothills where she had to do more scans to get her set up for radiation.  They started the first treatment about an hour later.  Usually they only do radiation Mon- Fri but they said we would be going right through the weekend.  The poor girl was already having symptoms from her last radiation treatment from 2 weeks before and now we were doing the back of the neck which would effect her throat as well. 
The last 3 weeks have been the hardest both physically and emotionally for our sweet girl.  I've never seen her so scared in her life and she's never had so much pain swallowing- even from her high dose chemo.  She has not been able to eat or drink and has had to be on TPN which is all her nutrition and fat through IV.  The doctors wanted to get her to our cabin because that's all Brynn said she wanted so they sent us home for the weekend and she woke up the next morning with a fever and we went by ambulance back to Calgary.  Last weekend we thought things were improving and they sent us home.  She lasted 2 nights and then was nauseated and was throwing up.  There was blood in her vomit probably from her irritated throat and the throwing up just made it alot worse.  She had meds she needed to take orally and she was in tears and just couldn't do it- the pain was too bad- so back we went to Calgary Sunday afternoon.
Because Brynn has always been so positive and kept us all hoping and believing it is crushing to see when she is getting down.  I have never felt so helpless in my life and I would do anything to take all her pains on myself and let her be free of it all.  She says how lucky everyone is that they get to go to school and be normal and she would do anything to be like them.  How that makes my heart break and it's hard not to say- Why Her?  She doesn't deserve any of this but then there are alot of kids going through this and none of them deserve it. 
Brynn is honestly my HERO!  I'm not sure what any of us would do if we were in her situation but she is absolutely not willing to give up- even though she is so sick of living like this.  We made it very clear to her that the cancer is becoming resistant again and we don't know if it will respond to anything.  She is adamant that she wants to try new chemo and do anything she can- even if it makes her more sick or she has to be in the hospital.  Back in October she said she would rather die from chemo than from cancer- that's a pretty profound thing to say at age 13!  We continue to HOPE for a response to the new chemo she started last week.  We are praying for her pain to be controlled and for her to be able to be home with family and friends.  We have amazing doctors and nurses that are taking care of her and they have the same goals we do and will do anything to make it happen.  As long as Brynn wants to keep fighting we will be right there with her.  We know miracles happen everyday- we experienced our own being able to do that trip.  What's to say we won't get another one?  We can never give up HOPE<3

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

I can't believe summer is half over!  It makes me so sad because I love just having the kids at home and having no schedules or sports right now- just together time!  The last few weeks have been both tough and amazing!  Brynn has been managing quite well except for some nerve pain that comes and goes.  Her back is feeling better but this pain shoots down her right arm and is pretty intense- and then goes as quickly as it came.  She is sleeping better the last week or so.  For a while we were up with her until anywhere from 2-4am every night.  Glad that everyone is getting a little more rest now!  We all look less zombish:)
One of the highlights was getting to go to her cousin Raegan's wedding!  My brother and part of his family flew from Phoenix and it was great to spend time with them!  Raegan looks so beautiful and we are so happy for her and Kalin!  Brynn was so excited to go down to our cabin the following Monday after the wedding.  My sister and her family had booked time off work and were coming with us.  Then the doctors called and wanted us to come to the hospital Tuesday and possible start radiation right away.  Brynn was so upset because she was looking forward to our trip so much.  We met with them Tuesday and met with radiation as well.  They said we would start Thursday for 5 days so since they don't do radiation on weekends it would end on Wednesday.  I asked if there was any harm to waiting until Monday and doing it all next week.  They said they had to have time to plan it but checked into it.  We were so happy when they said we could come earlier Monday to plan and then start later that afternoon and that would work fine!  Tender mercies!  We left the next day to the cabin with my sisters family.  Brynn had alot of pain driving and the first night there but then fully enjoyed the rest of the weekend!  We shopped, kayaked, boat and tube rides and just relaxed.  We had fires every night, made smores and it was just what she needed to gear her up for the next part of her battle plan.  Sometimes the mental break is the most needed thing!
Before we left to go- Brynn was upset that her hair was falling out on the new chemo she was on.  It bothered her much more this time after finally growing it back. The first time not one tear was shed.  It is quite disturbing to have hair all over your shirt and pillow all the time!  We had an incredibly kind sweet girl-my nieces sister in law Kaylee Ralph send me a message a while back and offer to take pictures for us anytime!  She had no idea that I am getting obsessed with pictures and what a treasure they are to me!  We talked and decided to do them after the cabin and when she was back from holidays.  When I saw how much hair Brynn was losing I called her and we didn't know when would work.  I called her on the weekend and we were supposed to go to Calgary on Monday and possible be starting radiation.  Then Calgary called and said they had to change it to Tuesday and thank goodness Kaylee said let's do them tomorrow (Monday) then!  It was a perfect evening and I'm so glad we got them done that night!  She did an amazing job and I'm so grateful to her!
Now back to the cabin.... Brynn was in tears when she tried to brush her hair out one morning and a huge clump came out showing her scalp.  I had promised her when she first relapsed that I would shave my head if she lost her hair again.  I told her whenever she was ready we would do it.  Then my sister had said she would shave her head too- so we sat outside at the cabin and had a head shave!  There was lots of laughs as Brynn cut off my long ponytail, then cut super short bangs, then a mullet, and finally all of it!  It was so nice that a traumatic thing turned into alot of laughing and some big smiles!  I was so proud of my sister for doing it too and Brynn loves that the three of us are bald! 
Today is her last day of radiation this time around- YAY!  This Sunday we are leaving to go to my brother's in Conneticut with Sadie, my sister Julie and her daughter Paige and my mom.  I wasn't sure if Brynn and I would be going and bought cancellation insurance but she's feeling well enough and the doctors have given the go ahead and think it will be really good for her!  Yet another tender mercy. 
We live in such an amazing community.  We came home to find the our house and yard and all of main street we live on all tied with purple bows and ribbons in support of Brynn.  At the school on the chain link fence is a big Team Brynn sign with a felt pen for every one to sign.  This Sunday our ward is having a fast on Brynn's behalf and I don't think people realize how much we feel supported and carried as we carry on and do what we must do.  It really gives us the strength to carry on when we have those days where we really don't want to anymore.  Thanks everyone from the bottom of our hearts- and please continue to pray for more miracles and tender mercies on our daughter's behalf<3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

This last month we have had some of our biggest highlights and then some of our lowest lows.  It's strange how things happen and it feels like we have come a full circle- I will try to explain!  At the end of school this year Brynn wanted very badly to be present at the year end assembly on the very last day of school.  Her chemo was scheduled for Calgary that day but they are so accommodating to let us do it in Lethbridge whenever we feel is necessary.  We made her appt earlier than usual that day so we could race back for the assembly.  As they give the award they go grade by grade.  For grade 8 they called the awards and Brynn's name was called for the Citizenship Award- for always being kind to everyone.  I had tears well up in my eyes as I remembered us racing back from Brynn's first MRI  three years ago when she was just getting diagnosed.  We barely made it back before her grade 5 class was called and she won the Citizenship Award then too.  This year her brother Kade and cousin Abby received the same award as well.
The week after school was out on June 25th we had tickets to see Taylor Swift in Edmonton.  My girls were SOOO excited- she is their absolute favorite singer.  Kevin's brother Corb said he would try to get his manager who is friends with Taylor's manager to hook us up with something.  I didn't hear any more the month before we went and then Corb called the day of the concert and said we were to go at 4:30 and pick something up from Rexall Place.  I thought he must had got her to sign something for the girls so we went to pick it up and they handed me an envelope.  We opened it up and it said we were invited to the "Meet and Greet"!!!!  The girls could not believe we were going to meet her!  It was pretty surreal as they took the three of us into a curtain and we were standing in there alone with Taylor Swift!  She was very gracious and even told Brynn she loved her hair.  She had no idea that Brynn had been bald and grown her hair out!  We were only allowed the one picture that they took of us and she is even more stunning in person!
After the high of the concert we were on our way to have scans in Calgary before returning home.  It has took me almost 2 weeks to even write this blog post because I can hardly put it into words.  It feels like if I actually write it down then I can't pretend it is all a bad dream.  Brynn has been complaining of pain in her shoulder blades lately and so even though we were praying with all that we had- I was scared.  Exactly 3 years to the day since we got the horrible phone call with Brynn's diagnosis- we got another call that was worse than any other sucker punch to the stomach that we have received so far.  The cancer is in several new areas that it has never been in before.  So I feel like here we are- three years later right back to where we started except for this time we are starting to feel burned out.  We want to be done- it's hard to keep the fighting spirit up when as Brynn says- I'm just sick of being sick and I just want to be normal!  Nothing breaks my heart more. 
I'm trying to not get mad because I hate this disease sooo much and it has took so much away from us.  It is so sneaky and frustrating!  We had good response and you have so much hope- then it becomes resistant and finds somewhere new to go.  It hasn't grown back in any of the areas it has been so far- and not in her foot where it all began- so so frustrating! 
So here we are - getting our armor back on for battle once again.  Brynn said she absolutely wants to keep fighting and I told her she is my hero no matter what.  I would understand if she was done but she for sure wants to keep fighting.  We will take each day as it comes and enjoy every moment.  So grateful that we have summer holidays right now and can just enjoy being together as a family and have no schedules to do whatever we want.  Thank you for all your prayers and support.  Everyone askes what they can do and really that is the best thing right now!  Pray for our little girl<3

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16, 2013

I can't even believe what the date is as I type it!!!  We have had such a crazy busy couple of months and I am truly amazed at how well Brynn continues to do!  We finally had the opportunity to do something that Brynn has been begging to do for years now!  That is have a litter of puppies....that is why I haven't blogged for so long!  Just kidding but it was a very busy time between 4 kids and their sports and activities, 6 puppies, and the store that has been busy.  Brynn was so excited to have Suri bred and we were so lucky to have the breeder let us enjoy the puppies at our own home- since she usually keeps them with her until they are sold.  Brynn would call at noon since all her core classes were in the morning and ask to come home so she could just hang out with the pups.  We had 4 boys and 2 girls and all different colors.  Brynn is so responsible and it doesn't wear off with her.  She continues to completely take care of her bunny that she got for Christmas and she was so dedicated in cleaning up after the puppies and taking care of them every day.  When the breeder took them for their shots it was perfect timing as we had Brynn's surgery that week.  She had a lump on her leg that was growing, even though everything else was shrinking.  Brynn was just wanting it gone and we were lucky enough to have her same surgeon be available to squeeze her in and do this surgery for her.  He knows her well and knew that mentally it was what Brynn needed to do- to just have that lump gone- even if it does grow back - which we are praying does not happen!
Brynn's class was planning on an exchange trip in the fall when she first relapsed so we said we were not going to be able to participate in it.  As it grew closer her teacher said she talked to the YMCA and they would be happy to book her and a parent a flight with cancellation insurance in case she was able to go with her class.  We were thrilled but not sure if it would be possible.  The day she came home from surgery was the day the Toronto kids were coming here for their week.  She wanted to hurry and go straight to the school to be there when their bus arrived!  I was amazed she didn't want to just go home to bed.  She ended up doing most of the activities the whole week they were here.  She even wanted to go to Waterton with them for the day.  I told her dad would go with her but she probably couldn't stay the whole day because she would be too tired.  I couldn't believe my eyes when Kevin texted me a picture of Brynn hiking with the group to the top of Bear's Hump.  That is a very steep hike up a mountain in Waterton National Park.  She was bound and determined- even with her leg still bandaged from surgery- that she was going to do it- and that she wasn't going to be the last one to the top!  She ended up beating about a third of the kids and the teachers were saying they better not here any complaining from anyone else if Brynn was doing it!  She truly inspires me!
We have continued doing oral and IV chemo and were waiting to start radiation.  We were told it would probably be the end of May.  I was sure that we would not be able to go to Toronto- but the radiation Dr didn't have things ready so we were able to go!  I went with her and we had so much fun together.  We went tree trekking and zip lining one day and I could barely keep up with her.  I kept thinking she would be done after this run and then she would be eager to keep going.  We went to Toronto one day and went to the Wizard of Oz play-which was amazing!  We saw the CN Tower and were able to walk around Kensington Market downtown.  We went on a boat ride, saw a cranberry farm, had a school dance and the last day went to Canada's Wonderland.  She was able to stay with me at a bed and breakfast since I needed to give her meds and shots.  Her temperature was up and down while we were there.  We had one trip to emergency with a fever and a few phone calls to Calgary but we were able to stay there and do all the fun things with her class.  It really was a miracle the way things all worked out. 
Since we have been home we have learned that now radiation is on hold until our next set of scans which are on June 28th.  He wants to see if there have been any changes first and then we will make a plan.  Brynn was ecstatic when the breeder who had all the puppies presold asked if we would like to be guardians of a second dog for her since she decided to keep one of the males back to breed.  Of course we said yes and it has been so fun for the kids.  It has been the best "pet therapy" for Brynn and it helps her to keep happy and positive and have fun.  She would rather stay home with her puppy then go to a party.... which is saying alot for a teenager!
Brynn had a rough week last week.  She was having some abdominal pain and some pain in her lower back.  She was panicking and she was starting to say things that she usually doesn't think about.  She was scared she was dying and saying even though she knows heaven is real- she is not ready to go there yet.  It made my heart literally ache in my chest and I did my best to help her continue to have hope and not give up.  We are so grateful that for several days now the pain has been gone and she has been feeling fine again and is just worrying about normal things like finishing her last week of school and her test coming up.  She mentioned again how lucky everyone at school are and they don't even know it.  She always says she just wants to be normal and feel normal.  It's unbelievable that it is coming up 3 years in a few weeks since she was first diagnosed.  She has literally grown up from a child to a teenager in the hospital. 
It really isn't fair- but I know there are lots of things in life that aren't and we just have to do our best to get through the difficult things we have to face in life. 
Last Sunday we had General Conference in church which is when we have many congregations of our church all gather together and have leader come and speak to us.  Our Stake President called me and asked if the visiting leader (Seventy) could come and meet us.  We were going to be gone to Calgary to Sadie's last basketball tournament and I felt so bad that we wouldn't meet him.  The next day he asked if we could come an hour early to church because he still wanted to meet us and Brynn.  It was wonderful to sit and talk with him.  He visited with Brynn and had some amazing words of wisdom for us.  He then joined Kevin in giving Brynn a beautiful Priesthood blessing.  After that we went in to the service which was full to the back of the gym.  Near the end of the meeting, they said that they were going to ask a few people to come up and share their testimony and say a few words.  I was scared to death that he was going to say my name.  I was shocked when the first name he said  was Brynn Lund.  They don't usually do that at church and Brynn was leaning on my shoulder- kind of dozing.  I told her they just called her name to come to the pulpit.  She stood up and walked right up there and told a bit of her story and then shared a sweet testimony of what she knew to be true.  There weren't too many dry eyes in there!
I'm so grateful for the things my children teach me every day.  I truly feel blessed in so many ways- even when I wish things were different and we could go back to the way things used to be.  I know that our kids come to us to teach us things and my kids have taught me more than I have being their parent.  I continue to hope and pray and trust that things are in Heavenly Father's hands and he knows what is best.  I will try to keep up on the blog more as we have scans coming up and most exciting of all my girls and I are going to Tayler Swift in Edmonton on June 25th!!!  Please keep Brynn in your prayers as we head into scans again soon..... we have to have hope and believe!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6, 2013

Wow, I can't believe how time flies!  We have had an amazing last month or so.  Brynn continues to amaze us and seems to be feeling very good.  She is at school full time except for chemo days and is thriving.  She amazes us with the grades she is getting with all the school she has missed!  She was a trooper as we travelled alot to watch basketball games many times during the week from November to March.   She always wanted to come and cheer on her sister Sadie- never wanting to miss out on anything.  Brynn is sooo excited because something she has wanted for a long time- ever since we had our dog Zoe- is to have a litter of puppies!  Well,  Suri was bred and is going to have puppies sometime this week!  Brynn and the other kids are going to have a blast having the puppies around- even though they won't be ours but the breeders.  We are going to have alot of tears I'm afraid when the day comes that they are all gone.  It will be a great experience for them though. 

We had scans on March 26th and 27th and were extremely nervous even though Brynn is feeling so good, needing no morphine for pain, and we just about can pretend to be normal except for the pills, shots, and chemo IV once a week:) It is the most unreal feeling watching your child going into all these scans and tests and knowing that you can't change a darn thing- the outcome will be what it will be and you just have to deal with the reality of it.  I prayed and prayed in every scan, giving her words of encouragement, joking and laughing together, meanwhile having knots in my stomach.  We always have a deal that mom and dad fast along with her- we only eat when she can eat.  Usually my stomach is hurting so much from nerves I couldn't eat anything anyways.  Right before scans Brynn started worrying about her leg and scared that a lump there was bigger.  When Dr. Lewis her oncologist called with the results her fears were confirmed.  Everything in every other area was shrinking- some places that were diseased before didn't even show on scans.  Everything was very positive except this one area in her leg.  We were scared and a little mad- like come on- cut this sweet girl a break already!  So now we are waiting to find out what plan of action is next.  We are going to Calgary this Monday and meeting with some surgeons to find out what our options are there and then waiting to hear if we are going to add radiation treatments to this area.  Nothing breaks my heart more than to have to calm Brynn's worst fears- usually at night in bed.  She asks some tough questions and I know she is scared to death. 

Right after scans we were so glad to have Easter break for the kids and we took off to our cabin to get away from it all.  It's so nice to be in nature with no internet or cell phones and to just be together, and with no other distractions! 

 Brynn said on the way down that she just wanted to cut her leg off.  When Brynn first got diagnosed that was what she was scared of the most- having an amputation.  Now she is asking for one just to get rid of this disease and live a normal life!  Our week away was awesome!  We went skiing one day and had such a great time all together and got some great video footage!  We had the Jensen family come down there with us and the kids had so much fun together.  It was so great to see Brynn and Kaylee just being kids and building forts together and finding a frog down at the beach.  One of the highlights of our whole trip was going dog sledding!  When I heard about it I knew the kids would absolutely love it and I was right.  It was seriously one of the most fun things I have ever done! 

I just want to say again how much everyones support and prayers and words of comfort mean to us.  I know some people wonder why we put things on facebook and I am careful what goes on there.  Brynn actually asked me to post about her results when we got back from our trip.  She really loves reading the comments and she is amazed at how many people care about her.  We feel really helpless right now as parents- just waiting and doing whatever the specialists tell us to do.  The only thing we can do is pray, be positive, and never stop hoping and believing that miracles do happen every day and we continue to see many blessing poured down on our little family<3<3<3

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 2013

I have been meaning to write about our trip ever since we got back and life has been so crazy busy- a good normal busy that I took for granted before and didn't know if it would be like that again!  We have been running to Sadie's basketball games and all the school activities and are so grateful for 4 children that are doing so many good things. 

Our trip to Phoenix was absolutely amazing!  My brother Mark and his wife Alanna made so many plans and did so many fun things with us there that Brynn said she felt like it was another "wish trip".  We are so grateful that things fell into place and we were able to go.  Once again there were many little miracles- Brynn had low counts and was very worried about leaving the country.  The doctors said we could check on Monday morning before we flew but the counts would probably be even lower because we had chemo again.  We checked anyways and were thrilled when we heard they were on the way up and she wasn't neutrapenic anymore!  We flew out that night and worried alot less!  While we were there we went to a Phoenix Suns game and got the VIP treatment- went early and got to be down on the floor- sit on the team bench and even met Charles Barkley backstage!  We had a private box with lots of food and it was a really fun night for all of us!  We swam, went shopping, went to a Phoenix Coyote game in another box seat and Kade even got to ride the Zamboni at the period break!  (Brynn was asked to but was too shy!")  We are so grateful for that amazing trip and that Brynn was feeling up to going on it.  It's been amazing how her chemo treatments have worked out perfectly for our schedules to fit everything in!  Her week off in December was the week of Christmas, then her week off in January was Sadie's semester break and we could go to Phoenix, and now she has this week off for family day and teacher convention week so we were able to go down to our cabin in Kalispell.  Everyone was going skiing and Brynn didn't think she wanted to ski so I was staying with her.  Well, she changed her mind so I bought her a ticket and explained to the lady that she would try but might be tired after one run.  Well, she shocked us again as she skiied all afternoon and kept wanting to go again and again.  I was skiing behind her at one point- it was beautiful outside and she had her arms out like she was flying.  Tears came to my eyes and I said a little prayer of thanks- truly amazed that I was even seeing what I was seeing!  Blessings are pouring in! 

We were extremely nervous to get her scan results back and were scared when our oncologist called the next day.  We cried together on the phone as he told us that they were amazed how things were shrinking and how much smaller the tumors were.  He said that the radiologist reading her scans thought they had done surgery and that was why he couldn't see her one tumor anymore.  We don't know which treatment is working or if it's a combination of the two but we are just going to continue doing what we are doing because it is working and she is feeling good.  She is such a trooper taking her pills and letting us give her the shots 3 times a week- but she knows things are responding which makes it easier to continue the fight. 

Kevin took Brynn to Nashville again right from Phoenix because flight were so much cheaper than coming back to Canada and flying from here.  Her doctor there received her scan results as well and was so thrilled to see how well she is doing and that things are shrinking.  We are going to see him in three months again and in the meantime just keep doing the treatments here.  The doctors are so excited at how she is doing that they are letting her do some of her treatments in Lethbridge and just come to Calgary once a month.  She has literally had no pain the last 3 months so we are now weaning her off her morphine and seeing how she feels.  So far she is doing great with that too. 

I know I say this over and over but blessings continue to pour down on this sweet little girl and our whole family and I know that alot of prayers are being said and answered on our behalf.  We can never thank everyone enough and we continue to consider each day a blessing and not take the little things for granted!