Friday, June 12, 2009

Last Day

   I had a fun last day of school but it was very sad.It was my last day of 5th grade and my teacher is retirering.It is very sad she was my favorite teacher ever she was also my brother's teacher too.On the last day we got awards then we watched a slide show and sighned autoghraphs it was very fun i got every kids in the class except for two because they were sick. After that we had a snack potluck were everyone brings there favorite snack and most of it was junk food. Every one ate a lot of stuff.After school me and my mom and my two brothers went to Abby's pizza for lunch but i only ate one slice because i was so full of all the junk i ate.I am really sad that 5th grade is over and i am really going to miss Mrs.Bailey my teacher.But luckily most of my friends are going to the ridges so i will see them next year.I cant wait for 6th grade it will be so much fun!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Still on Meds./Feeling under the weather

So, an update on Allison is in order.  In our last post we told you we were going to take her off her meds. and see how she does.  After much thinking, praying and discussing we decided to wait a bit.  The three of us (Allison, Mom & Dad) weren't convinced we were ready for that extreme of a jump.  So, she has continued to take her methotrexate as normal the last two weeks.  We need to make the decision on if we are going to try and wean her off, take her off completely or continue status quo with taking the medication.  When we did research we found most often kids are weaned off this medication not taken off cold turkey and that usually they go longer symptom free before even weaning them.  We still have full confidence in our doctor and when the decision was made to take her off he wanted our complete agreement.  But, we have some concerns and so does Allison.  We decided it is better to take our time and not feel rushed and pressured.  So, we will keep you updated on her status.

Allison has also been sick this week.  She has missed school all week and I don't see her being able to make it on Friday. Missing school is a huge deal for her since she missed so much last year.  She seems to have a flu bug.  ( No, we are not concerned about Swine Flu at this time as she is not running a fever.)  I am concerned because the medication she takes suppresses her immune system and with being sick her immune system is compromised even more.  So, we will keep an eye on her closely even when she starts getting better.  With her depleted immune system I fear she could be very vulnerable if exposed to the swine flu.  Lots of hand washing and use of sanitizer around our house right now.  

The Arthritis Walk in Salem is coming up May 9th.  Allison has currently met her personal goal of $500 but we need to keep working on the team goal.  She is now thinking of raising her personal goal.  We currently have 11 members on her team ( Mitch has yet to register-slow poke.) If you would like to take a nice stroll along the river in Salem with us on Saturday May 9th feel free to sign up for Allison's team. 

 Check out the website at     and click on Allison or Team Lightning.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Going off Medication??

Allison had her pediatric rheumatologist appointment yesterday ( Tuesday) in Portland.  Dr. Kingsbury checked her all out and thought she looked great.  So, where do we go from here?  After much discussion we came to the decision to take Allison completely off the Methotrexate.  This will allow us to see if the remission she is having is a drug induced remission or a "true remission."  We could continue to slowly wean but Dr. K. feels it would be better for us to try and know for certain how her body is going to react without medication.  It could take 3-6 months before we would see any issues if she was going to have any.  He seems to feel it is most likely that she will be fine and but there are no certainties.  

If she did begin to have symptoms (fever, rash, inflamed joints) we would then put her back on medication to get her immune system back under control.  This is a hard decision because Allison is doing so well and we hate to mess with that but we do not want her having to take medication if she doesn't need to be taking it.  On the way home from Portland, John and I  talked more and we are going to do some more talking, praying and research before we discontinue her meds. on Friday.  

While in Portland we visited some friends whose daughter (Courtney) was burned terribly in an accident over the weekend.  Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as she will be in the hospital in Portland for possibly a few months.  Her dad works with John at the fire department. It never fails to amaze me how lucky we are to be associated with The Albany Fire Department.  The people who work there are quick to rally around each other in times of crisis and need and once again have stepped up for this family.   It is a hard thing to understand unless you are a part of it.  Makes me proud and thankful to be part of this fire department family.  

Have a great day and hug your kids a little closer today.


*** Almost forgot, Allison's blood work was excellent.  No issues at all. Whew!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Salem Arthritis Walk-May 9th, 2009

Come and join the fun.  May 9th is the Arthritis Foundation Walk in Salem, Oregon.  Allison has her team page up and again this year we will be called Team Lightning.  (She is very excited this year since she is the youth grand marshal.) Allison is hoping to get a good sized team together to walk and try and exceed the amount we raised last year.  If you would like to join us on the team we would all love that and it is easy to register on-line.  If you would like to donate you can do that on-line too.  You can donate directly to the team, to Allison or any team member.  

Tonight is the Kick-off party for the walk in Salem.  We will be heading up to attend the party. 
(John has to miss as he has two already scheduled meetings tonight.) I am speaking about how arthritis has effected us.  This will be the first time I have spoke about this in a public forum so hopefully it goes well.  (prayers are appreciated if you feel so inclined)

Here is the link to the Salem Walk page and be sure to look at the pictures, Allison is on there.

As far as how Allison is doing, she is doing pretty well.  She has had  joint aches and pains over the last week or so and a little swelling in her left knee.  We go back up to see Dr. Kingsbury (pediatric rheumatologist) on  April 14th and will have blood work done before that.  It will be good to see how her levels are doing and if they indicate any issues for her.  Generally, she feels good but at times seems to have some isolated issues. ( arm popping when throwing a softball, joint aches, stomach aches)

We will let you know how the party goes tonight.  


Friday, February 27, 2009

Arthritis Awareness Walk

Hello All!!
Big news around here.  We recently found out that Allison has been selected to be the Youth Grand Marshal at the Arthritis Awareness Walk May 9th in Salem.  Allison formed and had a team that participated in the walk last year and now she will be a Grand Marshal.  She is very excited about this opportunity.  If you would like to donate, we will be getting her team registered this weekend and better yet, if you would like to join the team, walk and help raise money for arthritis awareness we would love to have you come and join us.  You can become a member on her site once we get registered.  I will post the link here.  

An update on her condition is she is doing great.  After getting over her illness she bounced back and seems to be feeling good.  She recently complained of her shoulder popping when throwing a softball so we will talk with her rheumy about that when we go for her next appt.  Life is good for her and we are so pleased and feel very blessed.  


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Illness

Hey all.  I thought I would update you a little.  Allison and Mitch have both been sick.  Mitch was sick all last week with a terrible cold but suffered through and made it to school last week.  Over the weekend he ran a fever and a sore throat developed.  The sore throat has gotten increasingly worse and I took both of them to Urgent Care on Monday ( our doctor is out on Mondays) thinking they probably both had strep, but it came back negative.  So they both missed school again today.  We will wait to see what the week holds.  

Now, for Allison specifically, she became ill on Saturday ( first time since jra diagnosis)  and ran a low grade fever with congestion, runny nose, sore throat and the typical cold stuff. She had her methotrexate dose Friday night so her immune system was at its lowest. We became a little more concerned on Sunday when she started walking stiff legged on the stairs because it hurt to bend her knees.  Since then she is experiencing a lot of aches and pains. ( Yes, in her joints too)  Yesterday, it looked as though she had a rash for a while on her leg.  ( another of her jra symptoms.)  She has been back to taking 2 Aleve a day the last two days for the aches and pains.  She hasn't had to take an anti-inflammatory drug in months.  So.... we are a little concerned and are watching her closely.  This is very normal for her to have symptoms come back somewhat when she is ill.  Her immune system is trying to fight the virus in her so it becomes more active and that can result in it becoming over active.  We are just hoping not too overactive.  

It is very common for kids with jra to have a "flare up" when they get sick with a virus or something.  That confused immune system just isn't sure what to do. Good news is, her fever has not gone up over 100!! Joint aches are not too bad and come and go.  She is in good spirits and determined not to miss more school this week. ( we will see- Valentine's Day is approaching so she has to be there for the party Friday.)  

It is comforting to know this is all normal, but it could also be a signal to us that she isn't done with jra yet.  That the remission she is having is from the medication and not because she has outgrown the disease.  So, we wait and see how things develop and keep our thoughts positive and keep the prayers strong.  I will keep you posted on how Allison is doing over the next few days.  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sad day for the Bradner Family

Hello All:  This is our cat Lucky who has been with us for almost 10 years.  We are sad to share that yesterday we had to have her put to sleep.  We had taken her to vet earlier this month and she was diagnosed with kidney failure.  We changed her diet and gave her meds. to try and help.  She perked up for awhile and seemed to improve. But over the last few days she stopped eating and drinking and would howl pitifully.  Unfortunately, we knew it was time and did not want her to suffer.  

Lucky adopted us in Feb. of '99.  I had just had gallbladder surgery and was laid up. Allison was a little baby and John and Mitch noticed her outside around the house.  I told them, "Do not feed her or she will stay!" (not really wanting a cat right then) Well, they fed her and by the time I was up and around she was ours.  Lucky was a great hunter and always kept the mice at bay.  She was self-sufficient and would be happy roaming outside and then coming inside to snuggle.  As Allison became a toddler she would call Lucky, "My Kee-Kee Baby." Which was a nickname that stuck with her. Lucky easily moved with us from our house on Laura Lane to our present house and quickly established her authority in the neighborhood with all the other cats.  Even though she was a petite  she was strong and the other cats did not mess with her.  

She will be greatly missed for her hunting abilities, cuddling and love she shared with us for so long. 

*** Above is a favorite picture of her cuddling in a basket.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Photos of Allison lookin' better

Here are pictures of Allison when she is looking better.  One is from September and the other from December when we had snow.  She missed the snow last year because she was in bed and sick so it was especially special to her.  

Here is Allison in December just before Christmas.  She is off the prednisone and has lost some of her puffiness.  So nice to see color in her cheeks.  
Here is Allison in September on the first day of school. She was on Predisone at this time. You might notice how she has filled out from some of the other pictures. 

Photos of Allison last spring.

Allison in late May when she received the quilt made by fifth graders at her elementary school. She was pretty thin and not eating much at this time.   

This is Allison's 10th Birthday cake on May 19th.  She felt so badly this day she barely got up of the couch and only had a bite or cake and opened gifts quickly.  She wouldn't let us take her picture so this is the only one we have of just her cake.  :(

Here is Allison at Easter visiting her Grandma & Grandpa Lane.  She was determined to go for Grandpa's Easter Egg hunt.  She made it through but was very tired and spent most of the day on the couch watching movies.  

This is Allison in early March lookin' pretty pale and eating popcorn.  We went through a week or two where popcorn was about the only thing we could get her to eat.  
Here is Allison just before Easter coloring eggs while she felt good enough to be up. 

** You can see how pale and thin she looked in some of these pictures.  

It has been 1 Year!!!!

Today is the one year anniversary of when Allison started running the fever and getting ill with Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA).  Seems crazy that a year has already past by but then I think back to when she was first sick and it seems like so many things have happened since then.  One year ago it was a beautiful sunny winter weekend too.  We all remember working out in the yard and Allison not feeling well on Saturday so she stayed inside and rested on the couch.  This Saturday we found ourselves outside working in the yard and Allison was inside doing something.  John quickly stopped and went in and brought her outside.  We didn't want to create the same situation as a year ago.  :) (funny aren't we)  Well, we all worked outside and enjoyed the sunshine this year and no issues.  

Allison looks and feels great.  We are all glad the past year is behind us and ready to move forward.  I do have to say among all the stress, anxiety, fear and emotional upheaval there were so many rays of sunshine that people brought into Allison and into all of our lives, things we will all treasure for a life time.  It is these things that made our lives happier even on the worst and scariest days.  
 *Friends and family sending countless cards, emails, gifts, prayers and well wishes. 
 *People dropping by to visit after being stuck in the house for days on end.  
 *Our Valentine's Day to remember thanks to our family at the fire department.  
   (No other Valentine's Day could ever compare to the all day visits and constant gifts. ) 
 *So many meals brought to us by our church family and friends.
 *Allison's introduction to the world of Webkins: Thanks Andersons & Wootens!! 
 *Allison's Sunday School class visiting with gifts, well wishes and prayers.  
 *Discovery the world of blogging!  :)
 *Oh, and the Wooten family introduced Allison to the book Peter and the Starcatchers and she became hooked. I read it to her daily especially when she was in pain.  We ended up reading      the other two because she liked them so much.  Go read them if you haven't.  They are Great!
 *My discovery of the online support board for moms whose kids have jra.  I couldn't have made it through especially those initial months without there support and guidance.  
  * The wonderful quilt that Mrs. Bailey's fifth graders last year made for Allison with such love and caring.  What a treasure. 
  * The fire department surprising Allison just before her birthday with a Wii, so many games, and accessories.  What a surprise and great idea to get her up and moving her muscles.   Boxing made her arms sore but she says it was so much fun.
  *Being able to go to the family JRA camp in Washington.  
  *Taking the trip to Disneyland and the national jra convention.  What a great opportunity for our whole family.  An adventure we will always remember and treasure. 

Again, we want to thank all of you who have come around our family in this past year to support and care for us.  We are hoping and praying the worst is behind Allison.  We will continue to update as things happen or don't. :)

Blessings to all of you,
The Bradner Family 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Visiting Dr. Kingsbury today!!

Whoo-Hoo!!! We are all excited to report Dr. Kingsbury could find no evidence of arthritis, swelling or..... anything.  He did throw us a bit of a curve ball in that he said he wanted to start to wean her off the methotrexate (mtx.) !!! We couldn't believe it.  He had previously told us ( I think I have shared this) that he wanted her to be off the prednisone a year and symptom free before considering weaning.  She is doing so well he wants to go ahead and start lowering her dosage even though she has only been off the prednisone since November 5th.  The other curve ball is he said if we wanted, we could try taking her completely off the mtx and see what happens.  (Yikes) After some discussion we decided we did not wish to push it and would try weaning her down and see how that goes.  No reason to jump into anything.  So, on Friday she will go down from 20 mg. to 15 mg. weekly.  We will see how she does and then at her next appt. in April we will decide what the next step will be.  

We asked him about side effects of taking mtx long term and there are none.  This drug has been used for over 20 years treating jra and he didn't know of any long term concerns so that was a relief to us.  

So, as she is weaning we will be watching her for breakthrough symptoms and if she catches a cold or virus to see if she has a flare up of arthritis with it on the lower dose of mtx.  If she should flare that will tell us the mtx. is controlling the jra not that she has out grown it.  Dr. Kingsbury was quick to point out even if we find it is the mtx. that is controlling the jra that is still a good thing and no reason to be discouraged.  So, we continue the wait and see.  Allison is excited at the possibility she might have out grown this disease that at first seemed like it would be something she would have to deal with life long.  

 Systemic jra is so scary at the beginning ( not that the other types aren't) with the rashes and high fevers but then it also is the one where after a year some kids just out grown it.  I find that interesting.  

As we drove to Portland we looked over the huge notebook of info we had documented on Allison over the last year and it was emotional to look at where we started, what we have gone through and were we are today.  We recognize we were so blessed to have wonderful, wise doctors here in Albany that reacted quickly to her symptoms and started thinking jra early so that Allison could get to a specialist in Portland quickly.  We had wonderful angels that were put into our path that intercepted and reached out to us to guide us to the Pediatric Rheumy. Doctor in Portland that we need to get Allison to so she could get symptom relief.  Looking back I can see clearly how God placed people along our journey to lead and guide us through this forest called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. We also know that with out our family and friends and especially church family who so many have spent hours praying for Allison we would not be in this good place we are today. I only hope we can return the favor to others whose kids are effected by this disease. 

Jump for Joy for Allison tonight!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Laundry Mishap

I just have to take a minute and post this.  Allison being the responsible child she is decided to do her laundry last night on her own.  This morning when she pulled the clothes (darks, jeans, pants and favorite dark shirts) they had white on them.  Upon first inspection of a pair of pant I thought she just put in too much detergent and it didn't all dissolve.  When I looked closer and realized the whole load had white I questioned her made the discovery.  Instead of putting detergent she put in Clorax Bleach!!!!!!!!!! Yikes!!!!!  All her favorites are completely ruined.  Only one pair of jeans capris escaped the bleaching.  Poor thing.  She has no dark clothes that are not completely dyed with bleach.  I see a shopping trip in her near future and maybe some extra laundry duty.  

Hope you have a great day.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year

Wow, I can't believe it has been so long since we have update Allison's blog.  We have had lots of people ask about it and yes, no news is good news.  Life turned very hectic in November and December.  So, without turning this into a book I will try and update you on our activites in November.  

Allison: First and foremost, we are so thankful that Allison is doing so well.  Unfortunately we missed her pediatric rheumatologist appt. December 23rd because of all the snow and ice in Portland.  She is rescheduled to go January 15th.  That will be just a few days before the one year anniversary of Allison's illness beginning.  It is amazing and a true blessing that she is doing so well.  When she was first diagnosed we had little hope that she would be symptom free and never in our dreams would it happen so quickly.  God continues to work miracles.  After her appt. we will update  on what the doctor says.  

*Allison's Lego robotics team won the teamwork award at the regional competition in Salem.  We were all thrilled but none more than the girls on the team.  They worked so hard and it is their first time participating so it was extra special to be able to take a trophy home for their school.   

Sad News: John's mom, Evie Bradner passed away November 19th.  We miss her, but also rejoice that she is now in Heaven and free from pain and illness.  Thanks so much to all of you who sent cards and reached out to us during this time.  

Thanksgiving: We had my family come and celebrate with us and then the next day John's Dad, sister and brother came down to celebrate.  Lots of good food to eat.  

Christmas:  Leading up to Christmas we had the great surprise of snow (not as much as Portland or some other places in Oregon) but the kids did miss 3 days of school the week before vacation.  We had a relaxing, quiet Christmas day at home.  It was wonderful.  We then visited with family and friends over the holiday.  

Weight loss over the holidays? Hard to imagine isn't it? Well, on Christmas Eve I was eating a caramel and out popped a crown off a tooth.  I was left with a gaping hole.  My dentist unfortunately was gone until January 5th.  John tried without success to find a dentist to take me after Christmas but no luck.  So, I was left to chew on one side and eat soft foods until I could get in and have it repaired today.  The good news, I lost weight.  A tough way to do it, but I don't think I have ever lost weight over the holidays. I wouldn't recommend it as a New Years weight loss program.  

John and I escape:  We took a much needed break for ourselves.  My sister Steph and her family kindly took the three kids for a night and we spent the night in Portland at a boutique hotel down town.  We saw the musical group Pink Martini at the Crystal Ballroom, saw the movie Frost/Nixon(it is a real treat to see a movie that is not a cartoon), shopped, ate and enjoyed some time without the kids.  It had been over a year since we had been away from them for a night.  It was definitely time.  :)

Big News: We learned just before Christmas that my sister, Steph and her husband Chris are expecting a baby.  We are all excited and thrilled.  Mitch and Jacob are, of course, pulling for a boy and Allison wants another girl cousin.  Mitch is really hoping this is his chance to finally get a boy cousin on the Lane's side of the family.  We will have to wait and see.  

New Years Eve: We toasted in the New Year (with sparkling cider) with our good friends the Smiths.  We had a great dinner Kristi prepared and just hung out all evening.  Before we knew it mid-night had arrived and we all raced to see the ball drop in Time's Square.  
Back to School: So the kids are back to school and now we have to adjust to the early rising and early to bed which is tough in our household.  Jacob and I are enjoying some quiet during the day.  I will soon be back to working and doing my Tree Talks in the schools.  

We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and were able to enjoy some time with family and friends. We will try to keep the blog updated more regularly, but with Allison doing so well (thankfully) I am sometimes at a loss to what to write or if people will want to read this.  Enjoy 2009 and thanks again to all of you who check in and support us with your love and prayers. 

The Bradners