Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christmas to Remember

First, we hope you all had a great Christmas with your family and friends.  If you are in a part of the world that celebrates Christmas on January 7 instead of December 25 then we pray you have a blessed Christmas on that day.  We also pray God’s best for you all in the year ahead and wish everyone a Happy New Year.


As we close out 2010 it is both with joy and a bit of sadness we see it go.  We have learned much this year about our God, ourselves and family, our community of faith and the expansive network of friends we have worldwide.  We’ve also learned a lot about breast cancer, chemotherapy treatments, medical insurance, survivor networks and services, plastic surgery and the like.  In one way, since August 11, the headline of life has indeed been “CANCER” but in another deeper way the headline reads more like “HOPEFUL AND COURAGEOUS.”  While we anticipate being forever hopeful and courageous we do look forward to seeing the cancer focus shift out of the spotlight in the coming months.  Perhaps the most blatant headline has actually been the “FAITHFULNESS” of God to us and so many of you to us as well.  Again, thank you.


As for Christmas, Traci was able to take her 5th chemo treatment a day earlier than planned which ended up being a very wise thing to do as she was fully back to health by Christmas on the 25th.  Her hardest time of fatigue came on Christmas Eve and was far, far less than we anticipated or had experienced after her 4th treatment.  As we continue to experiment with different approaches to alleviate the side effects she tends to get better and better at dealing with them post treatment.  In time we will share what some of these approaches are in hopes that someone else might have the discomfort of chemotherapy minimized. 


For the first time in 3 years we were at home on Christmas Day and more than ever it was a joy to be.  Traci’s parents, grandmother and my mom came to join us for a wonderful breakfast and the opening of presents but not until 10.30 a.m.  Our kids somehow still allow themselves to be delayed each Christmas morning before attacking the bounty.  I thought it would end this year but even though Benjamin got up at 5 a.m. he stayed in his room reading and working on his, get this, putting stroke for an hour or two with an indoor green and ball return a friend gave us earlier this year.  Anna, Nate and Aidan slept until well after 7 a.m.  When I hear about other parents being dragged out of bed at some unholy hour I count myself as lucky (for another year at least).


We loaded up the family on Sunday just after the Atlanta “snow storm “of Christmas Day and relocated to Traci’s parent’s house where we have been since celebrating with Traci’s brother Allan and his family from Arizona.  It’s been a Christmas to remember all over again with all the Dunns, we Brownes (my mom included who celebrated her 66th bday this past Monday), and Traci’s grandmother all eating more food and drinking more coffee than I am proud to admit. 


Her chemo treatment is now down to a final one on either January 11 or 12.  We’ll know for sure today after she goes for her lab work.  Per the issue of radiation, God has given us favor in the eyes of the company that administers a next generation diagnostic exam called Oncotype DX in that the $4075 fee for the test has been waived in full!  They are conducting this test now on some of Traci’s post op pathology and the results of that will tell us once and for all if radiation will be needed.  We long to hear a resounding “NO, it is not necessary” but we won’t know till after New Year for sure. 


Until that time we pray, wait, do the next right thing right and say goodbye to family who returns to Arizona today as well as 2010 which now has just a few hours left in it.  Indeed, it has been a Christmas and a year to remember.


Thank you all and we do pray God’s best for all of you in the year to come,

Rob, Traci, Benjamin, Nate, Aidan and Anna



Rob Browne

Director of Russian Operations

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