"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did." Newt Gingrich

The good: We are still reeling about the fact that Brinley has probably not relapsed. We had gone over the situation a million times in our heads and to not have to face that is beyond a relief. We have not received the final results yet, we should have them by Monday afternoon. As long as they match the preliminary results....that is the good news. We went to a fun family place and celebrated prematurely. The kids rode rides and played games and had a blast. It was great to seem them smile and laugh so much. Brinley said her knees are feeling better now. Just her back and her pubic bone are giving her the most trouble now.

The bad: We still need to get to the bottom of the pain. She was on oxycodone yesterday and had a decent day. When we got home from Jungle Jim's, Brinley asked for some oxycodone because her back was hurting, but since it was right before bed, I distracted her enough to just get her to sleep. She can be so silly and giggly one minute, then crying in full on tears the next. That is usually the sign she is in pain, she melts down over very trivial things. Brinley is having an MRI on Monday at 6:30am, so I hope we will have some answers by Monday afternoon. Pray it goes well with no problems, she will be sedated yet again for the MRI.

The ugly: Oh, well, the ugly is pretty much me. The cold hard reality is I am sure struggling with the shoes I am supposed to fill. I can't even wrap my brain around the things that need to get done and my inability to get to anything. It is overwhelming. It is so difficult to deal with all of this, but what can I even do but put on a smile and persevere.

Except for my little meltdown this morning. Okay, not little meltdown, big meltdown. I don't often have meltdowns, but there was NO stopping the river that was built up behind my eyeballs. It was like someone released the dam and no matter how hard I tried, holding it back would have been like throwing up a stick against a river rapid, not gonna stop it....so I was quickly shooed out of the house by my wonderful husband to spend a couple hours alone. It is amazing what a couple of hours can do for the nerves. I wiped off my raccoon eyes so I didn't startle the rest of the world, and hit the town. Okay, I got myself a dress for church and some crafts for the kids that I have been meaning to stock up on, if you call that hitting the town. It felt marvelous, and I am pulling myself together for this next round against stupid cancer. What can I do, quit?? That quote in the beginning really hit home for me. I am in the second round of hard work, and it is wearing me down. I am getting to the point of asking the Lord to take this burden for me, and I know that He will. He did it in Induction, the first and most difficult month of her treatment. I would go to bed and cry every single night that I couldn't get up the next day and do it again. I was sure of it. And He helped me get up the next day and do what needed to be done.

I realize how selfish this part of the post sounds, and I am aware that this is not about me and my difficulties. It is most certainly about Brinley, but cripes, this woman's gotta vent. This is stinkin' hard. A year and a half of this has felt like an eternity. I can only imagine what it has been like for Brinley. She is the one hurting. I think much of the frustration comes from helplessness. When will science figure out a way to suck the pain out of your children to put it in you? Can we get on that please? My girl is hurting...

I will update on Monday when we have some more news. THANK YOU for checking in!!!

Test is done, our wonderful oncologists pushed through and snatched the slide right away to look at for themselves, and ran into our room to tell us that it does NOT look like a replase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We will have the final result in the next few days, but the preliminary gives us a pretty good idea, so we are so relieved. I will post when we know the final results, keep praying they are the same! In the meantime the oncologists decided we can move on with figuring out what is causing her pain. They are working on scheduling an MRI on her back, which soon be soon. They can really only do the MRI on a specific area, since it is such a long process to do a very small area, so we had to pick one we felt she was experiencing the most pain. There is a chance she has AVN (avascular necrosis), which would show up on the MRI. The other option is neuropathy, which would have to be tested by just trying the medication and seeing if that makes the pain go away. Now that we have ruled out the "big one" (with final results to come) we can move on and get to the bottom of this.

Good News #2 to follow when we get the final results. Keep praying it will match the preliminary results!!!!!! Thank you to our ward for doing a fast for Brinley this Sunday. We are so lucky to be around so many caring people. As of right now, we are breathing a HUGE sigh of relief....and gearing up for the next steps. Looks like we'll get to go back to our "season of difficulties" without adding a relapse to it.

Confession of the day was from Dr. Druzgal, AFTER the fact, confessing she could not sleep last night worrying about Brinley. See why we love her so much???

Brinley just finished up her last dose of steroids this morning. She has been very sick this time. On Friday, Brinley's cancer sister, Serenity, came to see us. Cancer families understand the fear that the word relapse brings, and they came over to visit us the very next day. It was so nice, Brinley played the entire time and was so happy to have friends over. It gave me a nice distraction and an understanding ear to listen to my ramblings. Thanks Burns family!

By that night the chemo was hitting her pretty hard, and the rest of the time has been really awful. She is certainly feeling worse this time than she normally does, which of course, makes me very nervous. I thought I would be distracted enough to wait this week out, but it has not worked out how I had planned. I am still busy, but I just can't get the thought of her cancer coming back out of my head. It's like one of those annoying creepy people who follow you around staring you in the face no matter what direction you turn. Everywhere I turn cancer is staring me down and I can't shake it. If that were literal, believe me, I would have punched that cowardly disease square between the eyes by now. And it would not be a girly punch, oh no.

We have been rocking nonstop, and anything and everything on her hurts. Her legs, her back, her tummy, her head. I can't wait until tomorrow, with her last dose of dex today, to see if she perks up a little. If she doesn't my already panicked heart will be in my throat until we get that test done and over with. I want the famous Brinley smile back, this is pretty much all we've gotten lately....it is so hard to watch it.

We were able to go visit my grandmother today too. There is something so calming about being at her house and talking with her. It was really lovely, she is an amazing woman who has had her share of heartache. I wish we could have stayed longer than we did.

The weather this week is going to be terrible and I am so frustrated. (Not just because of the stinky old weather.) I want my old life back. I was sitting outside the other day and overheard a conversation between a husband and wife about going to do something fun. They were holding hands and trying to decide when to do it. Then they started discussing a trip they had recently taken. Then I turned the other way and heard a conversation about planning a wedding, and getting invitations out on time. I tried to remember what it was like when I felt carefree like that. Jealousy is the wrong word for what I felt, because it gives the impression there were negative feelings towards these people. It was more like longing. I wanted so badly to be in that place again, to be in a place where my head doesn't feel like it is about to explode half the time. I was so happy for them, and wondered if they knew how lucky they were, and how badly I wanted to be in that happy place.

I had a heart to heart with the Lord on my knees after that, wanting so badly to not be sad anymore. These few days have been really hard. He answered my prayers with this understanding: This is my season to have difficulties. All the people I see around me who are in a good place right now, this is their season to have joy. I will be there again in due time, I know I will. I just need to get through the difficulties. I look at people in my life, and I know some of the trials they have faced. Oh, I imagine how their hearts ached when they went through those things. And then they moved on, with time, sometime with A LOT of time, to a happier place. I just have to be patient and keep my complaining to a minimum. It was kind of a "suck it up soldier, you'll get your chance!" answer to my prayers, in a more kind, gentle way, if that makes sense. On top of that, I got the reminder in my thoughts that there are some pretty amazing things in my life right now. I mean really, really amazing things I would not even recognize were it not for this experience. Oh, I love tender mercies. Bursts of joy in the hardest of times...

I will post as soon as I have any answers on Thursday. Her appointment to have the procedure to check her bone marrow is at 2:30, and I don't know how soon I will have any answers. Please keep us in your prayers that this is not a relapse....