Friday, August 28, 2009

Almost 13,000 website visits since inception!

I know many probably just consider me some techy nerd, but I cannot believe what a modern miracle it is to have the internet to share information. Since the website started just a few months ago (April 4th to be exact), Brandon and his story has attracted close to 13,000 hits. Here is what I found out as a website administrator this

That is phenomenal and such an assurance that there are so many people out there that love you Brandon & Katie! I heard the chemo went well and I am looking forward to hear how the transplant went as well. WE ALL LOVE YOU GUYS!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Please Comment and/or Sign Up!

Hey everyone! So, everything is going well thus far with Doan's chemo. Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25th, he'll be having his second bone marrow transplant. No complications are anticipated, but as usual, we really appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. The next couple of weeks are going to be a little rough as his system makes it's way down to neutropenic, meaning he'll have no immune system, but he did it once already, so he can do it again! It is particularly encouraging for Brandon to be able to see all the people who are supporting him, so please take that extra moment, if you're willing and able to fast, to please sign up on the calendar! Or, you can leave a comment on the blog that you've got him and Katie in your prayers. Thank you all so much. The amount of love and support everyone has shown over the past few months really is amazing, and we are confident that Brandon wouldn't be where he is today without you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News and Chemo Schedule

I just got back from my appointment with Dr. Tricot (my oncologist who has been wonderful at the Huntsman cancer institute) and all my counts are looking really good! We had to do a bunch of tests on Monday and all of the test results came back with positive results. There is still a little bit of protein in my blood but we have drastically reduced the amounts since I started this whole process. This news has given us new resolve to hit this next round of chemo with even more energy and a positive attitude. We are so grateful that the treatment I have received has been so effective and we know that we couldn't have done this alone. Thank you so much for all of your thoughts, fasting and prayers- it makes a huge difference to know there are so many people we care about rooting for us. I am basically walking on my own these days, the cane is there usually but I don't really need it, and I have gained about 30 lbs. overall since my lowest weight (only 15 lbs. shy of my old weight)!
I start my next round of chemo therapy tomorrow, Friday, August 21. My transplant is on Tuesday, August 25. From there my immune system will gradually go down until it hits zero and then the transplant cells will kick in with the help of some red blood cell stimulants I will receive and boost my system back up again. The rough part of the chemo therapy is not when you receive the chemo, but its affect on you when it really gets into your body a little further down the road. For that reason, I should be sick within the next week or so, and it will last for a few weeks after that. Unfortunately with such a weak immune system I can't have visitors during this time, but I will be sure to let you know when I am feeling better. Another big advantage we have this round is we are doing it out patient. This means that we will go to the clinic to receive the chemo and do checkups, but I get to come home at night (much better than spending a month in the hospital). We aren't exactly looking forward to this next round, but it is nice to know what to expect and it will be even nicer to have it over with. We are so grateful to be where we are, and to have come so far so fast. My back is getter stronger and less sore every day, and at least for the time being my hair is growing like weeds. Thanks again for all of your prayers and support, we love you.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good R&R at the Beach

What a wonderful treat it was to get to see Brandon and Katie this past weekend in Newport Beach. Ryan and I haven't been able to get to UT to see them for a couple months, so it was AMAZING for us to finally get to see his progress first hand. He looks GREAT! As you can see, his hair is growing back in and his face has a nice, healthy shape and color. His arms and legs are showing muscle tone again and to witness him walk through the sand with very little need for the cane was amazing. When we last saw him in UT, Doan was just learning to manipulate a small set of stairs with his crutches. Now it's a whole other story...Katie's family was staying in a 3rd floor condo, and Brandon was going up and down them like they were nothing! I was so impressed with the fact that he didn't even have to bring both feet up to each stair, rather, just one foot and one stair after the other. Doan- you really are a walking miracle! And to see how loving, patient, and supportive Katie and all of her family are with him was particularly touching.

Brandon will be heading in for another intense round of chemo and another bone marrow transplant in the next couple of weeks, so let's keep climbing those stairs of progress together! I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of this family, immediate and extended, and this entire experience. That includes all of you who have left your comments, fasted, donated time and money, and kept Brandon and Katie in your prayers. Truly inspiring.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blog address =

Dear Friends & Blog Readers,

After doing some researching, I found out how to map to this blog. Originally I had it only URL forward to the real blog hosted at, but now that I have figured it out, please update your blog readers and Blogger "follows" to the new permanent blog address.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Run for Fun for Brandon -- A BIG SUCCESS

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday morning to our Run for Fun for Brandon event at Sugarhouse Park. We were all overwhelmed at the massive outcry of love and support for Brandon, Katie, and their families. It was a real fun event.... We had a lot of bikers, joggers, walkers, and runners. We had great weather, friendly faces, and tons of fun!

Congrats to our top 3 5K race winners who each received complimentary massages to Knead a Massage! They ran the 3.1 miles in under 20 minutes!! This event was so extremely successful! With all the race registrations, t-shirts sold, and other donations made day-of, we all helped to raise $22,962.07 for Brandon & Katie!!! It feels so good to have made such a big impact on Katie and Brandon's lives. So thank you everyone for participating, being so kind and generous with your donations, and for running for fun for Brandon!!

A HUGE thank you to our event sponsors:

for donating ALL our marketing materials (fliers, outside banners, etc).

for donating 3 full massages used as our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners

For a donation gift used to buy a lot of materials used for the race

For donating food, water, Creamies®, etc.

and Sugarhouse Park for helping to host the event!

Also a big thanks goes to all the many family, friends, and neighbors that lent a helping hand to make this event a BIG SUCCESS!!! We love you Brandon.....

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Hello everyone and thank you so much for all of your support at the fun run on Saturday! It was such a fun event and truly inspiring for Katie and I to see. I can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel for all the love, friendship, and dedication to help from every single person who participated in one way or another. We were totally shocked by the number of people who turned up to run, walk, and just be there to show how much they cared. Many people came up to me after the run and said how they were thinking if Brandon can do this, I can do this race. My response to that is how I keep thinking, if there are this many people out there praying and thinking of Katie and me then I can definitely get through one more round of chemo, no matter how bad it is. Just to give you the update on our next chemo schedule: I go in for tests on August 17 to do a bone marrow biopsy, PET scan (that gives us an idea how much cancer is left), and some blood work in preparation for chemo. Then after the test results come back I go in to see my oncologist, Dr. Tricot on Thursday and begin chemo on Friday, August 21. I am not sure just yet whether it will be an inpatient or outpatient procedure this time around but we are hoping for outpatient, but that is up to the Dr. at this point. The chemo will last for four days and I will have my transplant on August 25. In the following two or three weeks I will have my immune system go to zero until I am "neutropenic", and then slowly build itself back up again. During this period I will be very susceptible to disease just like before and won't be able to see any visitors. It is very nice knowing what to expect, having been through it now once before, and also knowing how many people out there are thinking of and praying for us. It really does make a difference, and we are so very grateful for everything that everyone has done for us. It makes those few weeks of discomfort and sickness seem more bearable, and much less daunting. After that, depending on how I respond to the treatment we may have one more round of a lighter chemo referred to as "depace" but other than that I should be primarily on chemo pills for the rest of the ordeal if everything goes as planned.
As many of you I am sure already realized I am doing much better as far as health and strength go. I have gained about 22 lbs. back of the 45 total that I have lost throughout my hospital stay, and my back although still sore is much stronger and not nearly as painful. Unfortunately I will never regain the 5 inches of height I lost when my spine collapsed, but I figure as long as I am still taller than Katie (which isn't too hard considering she is 5'2'') I am happy just being able to walk again. The path to walking has been a long and slow one, but it has taught me great patience. First, was the challenge of sitting up in bed, then standing up next to the bed. Next came the walker, the crutches, and now the cane! Hopefully soon I will be walking on my own.
I am constantly in awe from all of the overwhelming support we have continued to see over and over again throughout this struggle. We especially want to thank Jessica and Randy for all the work they put into planning the fun run. There were also many others who donated their time and their talents to help everything come together. It was such a wonderful day and reflection of how great everyone has been from the beginning. With the end in sight it is so comforting to remember all the strong arms willing to catch us if we ever stumble or fall, ready to help us get back up and keep fighting. We will never forget this special day, in this unique time in our lives to help us get through whatever lies ahead.