Brian’s Blog was created for all of his friends, family, fans, and community members who are cheering him on in his fight against leukemia. Brian graduated from HHS in May of this year. Many people know Brian due to his leadership, sportsmanship, and outstanding athletic achievements including three state championships in wrestling, a state football championship, state discus champion 2011 and varsity track and soccer teams. He had received a call to serve a full-time mission to Uruguay and was planning to start his mission at the end of the month. After completing his mission to Uruguay, Brian planned to play football at SUU where he has already received a full-ride scholarship. Brian was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) on Tuesday October 2nd. That very day he was taken to Salt Lake City for intensive inpatient care. He has been receiving chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and other treatments. We hope and pray that Brian will recover with the help of competent medical care. Doctors say that there is an 80% chance that Brian’s cancer will respond favorably to treatment. Thank you so much for your support. We will keep you updated regularly on Brian’s progress.
Update: On January 14, 2014, Brian passed away after a 15 1/2 month battle with leukemia. He was in remission following the first series of chemotherapy treatments for only 3 months, in spite of earlier optimism. Another harder hitting chemotherapy began in June with the intention of following with a bone marrow transplant but instead, alternative treatments in Colorado Springs and later Atlanta were chosen. Those also were unsuccessful, too little too late. In November he underwent yet more chemotherapy in Denver. The leukemia did not respond. Brian returned home to Southern Utah friends and family on December 12, 2013. Leukemia took his mortal life, but it can't touch his spirit.

Friday, August 16, 2013

In Colorado

On Wednesday, July 31st, Brian and I (Jane, mom) flew out to Colorado to stay for a long time... Brian has established his residency and has a comfortable apartment. He is receiving treatment here for his leukemia in the form of cannabis oil.  It is legal here. This is something that we had been reading about since October on the internet, but never thought it would be do-able with laws the way they are in Utah...and other states. Plus, getting the correct type of oil and so forth all put together seemed far fetched.  The last round of chemo was so destructive, and even though he has a 10/10 match for a bone marrow transplant, the odds are basically 50/50 with AML, and if he was lucky enough to live, the quality of life is questionable...not like an organ transplant. Brian did not want to do the transplant and thought it would all but kill him if it didn't, and I felt like he wouldn't make it either. His dad didn't feel good about it either. The transplant doctor looked at him during the chemo in June and said, "You know, I can give you 5 times what you're getting now." A gut feeling inside Brian said "NO".  It wasn't long after we returned home that we were looking to go in a different direction for a cure. In making that decision, we met with a naturopathic healer named Sophia, who helped Brian and us to know that whatever decision he made, that he needed to be comfortable with all possible outcomes.  She was very knowledgeable in natural ways of healing, and helped Brian recuperate from nearly a month of rarely eating, with  2-3 weeks of IV feeding due to stage 4 mucositis, which left his mouth and esophagus so raw he couldn't even eat the first week he was home.  He could drink with a straw, so took a lot of Boost and Ensure, then discovered he could eat watermelon! Very carefully. Glad to say that is behind him, although his tongue is still not totally healed. His counts are still low as the bone marrow is still trying to recover from the killer round of chemo that ended two months ago.  When the blood counts come up, his tongue will heal quickly.

A very thoughtful friend had mentioned a month or so earlier that she knew of a man in La Verkin who had taken some herbs which cured his AML, Don Halterman. I knew him, so I called him up. 8 years ago he underwent 2 rounds of chemo in Salt  Lake and was sent home to he's 72 years old and going strong. It's a great story...anyway, he told us where to get the herbs.  We also were told, and read about the importance of an alkaline diet. Cancer can't live in an alkaline environment.  So I had to make major diet changes for Brian...basically turned the kitchen upside down. I thought I cooked pretty healthy. So...for all my LDS friends, this is what confirmed my inspiration:
        I just happened to be reading in The Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi chapter 32, especially verse 7. Then I thought about the Word of Wisdom, Doctrine & Covenants section 89. Why is it over the years we make excuses for not following what is plainly written here? Because, it isn't the way we were raised, or the American diet. When 2Nephi 32:7 reads "And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be."  When I pondered these things, I knew we were headed in the right direction.  Now I believe in taking the Word of Wisdom at face value. And yes, Brian can still be strong eating like a vegetarian much of the time. Elephants don't eat any meat, and they are the strongest animals on the planet, right?  Brian is still planning on playing football for SUU! He just won't be eating out of the cafeteria. (No offense intended.)

It seemed as though day after day for a couple of weeks or so, we would receive more knowledge on the subject, from one place, person or other and it was clear to us what we should do. Brian was craving fresh air, and slept outside under the stars on a hammock loaned from his buddy Mike, every night it wasn't raining. He even would sit outside in the shade on the hot muggy days. He drank lots of good ph water and ate super healthy, with supplements and all he could do.

Then one day a mom, Sierra, posted on the Facebook page, "Utah Moms with Cancer Cuties"- a page for moms with kids with cancer. Most of our children have spent considerable time at the ICS Unit at Primary Children's Medical Center in SLC. I read a post and watched a CNN video about her son, Landon, and how he was taking cannabis oil in Colorado and was doing so well. I contacted her, and Brian and I met with them. We had an amazing visit. As we were heading home, I asked Brian what he thought.  He said he thought he should do it, and I felt the same way. A window had been opened to a way to get the cannabis oil that previously we had thought extremely hard at best to figure out.  It would require relocating to Colorado. It would not be easy.  But it would be worth it. We made a stop at a store, and then my cell phone rang.  It was Dr. Luke Maese, one of Brian's oncologists from Primary Children's. He was the closest to Brian of all of them, a young man in his 30's, and had become a good friend. He had grave news. The cancer was already back. The labs from that day, Monday, August 29, showed 3% blasts. Blasts are immature leukemia cells. We thanked him for the report, and assured him that if there was anything he could do, we would let him know...NOT!  We already had told him we weren't going the transplant route, to which he replied to Brian in all sincerity "You're going to die!" Brian's reply, "No, I'm not!".  But back to that sobering phone call and the bad news... It just re-affirmed what we had just decided. We were going to Colorado. A quick text to Sierra, and more miracles began to happen.  It seemed that people started calling up the suppliers/growers that Sierra told us about from all over the world after the video came out. There was now a waiting list. A longer one.  But Sierra helped us.  They would begin that very week to make the oil for Brian. Less than 2 days later, we were in Colorado, checking into doctors, finding an apartment, and moving in...with our suitcases! We spent some very busy days qualifying Brian for a red card, or Medical Marijuana Card.  We expect to be here a minimum of 6 months.  The doctor who we met with that advises people with this has an MD  and Phd from Stanford University, and has degrees from other universities as well. She worked in pharmaceuticals for 4 years, then quit because she didn't feel it was dedicated to what she believes will heal people.  She explained the science to us, which we already were familiar with, but about the two main chemicals in the oil, THC and CBD.  Both kill the cancer. You can study this on various websites.

The people who, along with our new friend, Sierra, are making this possible for us are non- profit MMJ supplier/growers who are growing the best plants in the world, so I've been told. They are called "Realm of Caring".  Amanda Stanley has been helping us, and making sure Brian gets what he needs.
Here is a link to their website. I think you will find it interesting.
They are on a mission, and very  intelligent, dedicated people.  They are saving lives!

Now this was a long story. As you know, I could never tell a long story short!  Brian is doing well, gradually upping his doses of the oil and that means he sleeps quite a bit, though he stays awake a good portion of the day as well. It can make him a little loopy, in fact he noticed himself being a bit slow this morning and found it quite amusing. :) ! But we have taken some lovely walks on the trails around here in Colorado Springs. It is a beautiful city.   

Last week Brian's brother, Matt drove out with Randy (dad) and flew back and now we don't need a rental car! They also brought some stuff we needed to set up the apartment, and helped us finish getting the major furnishings. So we are very comfortable here.  Our lives are changed, but we feel good about the path we are on, and so appreciate the support and prayers from our friends far away and our new friends near. Thank you.   And next time I won't wait so long to write. :)