Latest Update on Alec – 4/3/2016

Alec UnsickerI started this Cancer Sucks blog in December of 2014. That was almost a year and half ago. It has been a long year, he put up with a lot of pain and sucky stuff. But, he has had a lot of fun too. In that time, he has had two brothers get engaged. One of them got married and the other one is making plans. He got a new nephew who is crazy cute. He has visited some of the funnest places in the world like New York, California, Idaho, Spain, London, and loads of other places on mini vacations with his parents.

He did chemo treatments for about a year and then did radiation treatments for a few months. It was actually just a couple weeks ago when Alec finished his last radiation treatment. We had some things worth celebrating during his treatments when some of his MRI’s looked like his tumor was beginning to shrink. However, it never appeared that the treatments were completely solving the problem.  Earlier this week he had another MRI to see how everything was looking after the radiation treatments.

I got a call from my dad last Tuesday to hear about the results of the MRI. That call turned out to be a moment I will never forget. I can still remember when and where I was when I found out Alec had a cancerous brain tumor during his first bout he had with cancer several years ago and then again when I found out the cancer came back in December of 2014. But, both of those calls pale in comparison to this one. My dad called me in the evening while I was sitting at a kitchen table doing some homework for one of my classes. I was in the zone and had my phone on silent and didn’t realize that I had missed a couple calls from my dad. When I finally picked up, what I believe was his third try calling me, he told me that they got Alec’s MRI results and they didn’t look very good. During the time Alec was doing his radiation treatments he had developed new tumors up and down his spine. The doctors told us that he would have about 3 months until these new tumors would start compromising things until his body couldn’t take it anymore.

It is so difficult for me to think and write about this. Alec is my hero, I have and will always look up to him and his nerdy lifestyle. This blog post is not a death sentence. We aren’t giving up and are still trying other things to help slow down the tumors. However, in the meantime we are going to have a lot of fun. Alec is a huge nerd and one of the things he loves is Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings films were all filmed in New Zealand and Alec has always wanted to go there and check out that whole scene. So, that is what we are going to do. Over the last week our whole family has been scrambling to get passports and flights to New Zealand. About 20 of us are going to New Zealand at the end of the month to hit up the sites there and hang out with each other. We are all pretty stoked about it.

Although this whole situation sucks, you can read an old blog post I wrote called Triumph to see how I feel about it.

You can expect to get a blog post soon that is written by Alec so he can tell everyone what he thinks about this and how he is handling it.

Alec Finished Chemo…Time for a New Plan

I haven’t written a blog post since last May, sorry I haven’t been keeping it up. It’s okay though, you’ll get over it. This post will catch you up on everything.

Finished With Chemo!

Last Chemo TreatmentAl started his first chemo treatment in December of last year, and last week he finished his 12th and final treatment. The treatments were awful and he hated them, but he sucked it up and did what he had to do. The chemo shrunk the tumor a little, but it didn’t do enough and we can’t stop here. After meeting with doctors over the last few weeks they came up with a new treatment plan that is going to start at the end of January.

1208151336Although he has been doing the chemo thing for the past year, he still had a lot of fun. My parents have been spoiling him and they have traveled all over the place. Over the last year, he and my parents have been to Spain, London, Italy, New York, Florida, and bunch of other fun places that I will probably never get to see.

 

The New Plan

Alec will spend the next 6 weeks recovering from his last chemo treatment in preparation  for radiation. His radiation oncologist is confident he can put Alec’s tumors into remission. But, of course he is going to say that. Radiation consists of a daily visit to the LDS Hospital in North Salt Lake. The whole ordeal takes about 3 hours. He will make these daily visits for 4 1/2 weeks.

1204151425After radiation is complete, Alec will move to Boynton Beach Florida for 6 weeks where he will receive treatments to correct his damaged immune system. He will literally be right next to the beach! When he is not on the beach he will do a series of stem cell treatments and bunch of other stuff that I can’t explain. The reason they are doing this is so Alec’s immune system will be strong enough to fight off the cancer cells when they reemerge from their dormant state that the chemo treatments have put them into.

And Now A Word From Al Pal Himself

“I am extremely grateful for all your prayers on my behalf, I have felt the blessings. I am also grateful for all the people who have come over and visited me. Thank you for all the well wishes and delicious treats. I am glad I can be done with the stupid chemo now, I do believe that the worst is behind me. Because of the radiation I have to do every day and the month I’ll spend in Florida, I have decided to drop out of school for the semester. So, I will be home and bored all the time now. If you are ever home and bored, come over and we can chill and play video games, in fact, I would love it! Thanks again and Merry Christmas!!”

Finished Another Week of Chemo

Chemo Week 6

Last week Alec finished his 6th round of chemo. It’s crazy to think that we have been doing this for six months now. This was the first time I have been home during a week that Alec was going through the actual treatment. I didn’t really know how it worked until now.

This Is How It Works

Administrating the ChemoOn Monday, we go to the hospital to get his port accessed. At the hospital they hook up a tube to his port that stays there all week. Once his port is accessed, he can’t get anything in that area wet until we take out the tube they connected to him. So, he can’t take showers or go cliff jumping while his port is accessed. Once his port is accessed, we can give him is chemo treatments from home. Everyday for the rest of the week at around 2 or 3 o’clock, or whenever he wakes up, my dad connects a small cylinder full of chemo that transfers the stuff through the tubes and port into his blood stream. It usually takes about 4 hours until the cylinder is empty.

Chemo Weeks Are Long And Painful

Like I mentioned before, this was my first time being home with Alec while he did all this stuff. I didn’t realize how much these weeks sucked for him. It was a really rough week, he felt super nauseous all week and didn’t have much energy to do anything but read, play video games, and lose to me in Uno. He doesn’t sleep well at all, especially during chemo weeks, so he is usually up till around 3am either reading or hanging out with dad. I don’t know how my dad does it, he doesn’t get to sleep in and take the naps that Al does. Anyway, that week was no fun, so I am glad it is over.

We have another MRI coming up soon, so we will see where we stand when that comes around.

Interview With Alec

Alec’s First of Possibly Many Interviews

I decided to take a break from writing and created a video instead. It took us three tries to get it right. The first one lasted about 10 seconds before we restarted. The second take was going well until Riley, our camera guy, realized he wasn’t actually taking a video. Then we stuck with the third try. The video is an interview with Alec. He looks good on screen! Comment below with questions you want me to ask Alec in future interviews. I forgot to turn on the fire in the background though :/ I think that would have been a good touch, right?

Braydon Is Back Home!!

I Am Back From Rexburg

It’s good to be home. It’s good to be around my family, and to be hanging out with Alec again. It sucked being away from Al and knowing all the treatments and crud he had to deal with while I was gone. It was difficult to think about what he was going through and only being able to hear about it without being able to do anything to help. I am not even afraid to say that I cried sometimes. Let me tell you guys something though. Since I have been home, it has been a lot easier to deal with this stuff. Yeah, Alec feels like crap most the time, but I rarely see him without a smile on his face. Sometimes he will give you a tired worn out face, but it is never a face of discouragement or a face that looks like he has conceded. Alec is the strongest and happiest kid I know. When I see him and am with him I am a stronger person. I feel like I can overcome anything with him around. I love hanging out with that kid!

On another note. Al’s brother, Riley, is getting married in a few weeks. We are excited for him, but it will be tough to have him move out of the house. He has been super good to have around for Alec. He spoils him with gifts, because he is rich, and loses to Al in video games all the time.

One More Round Of Chemo

We have one more round of chemo at the beginning of next month and then one more MRI before they decide if they are going to switch from chemo treatments to radiation treatments. The next round of chemo is going to fall on Al’s b-day :/ So, we are trying to come up with something fun to do on his birthday while he is doing the chemo thing. WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are open to some ideas for what we should do for him on his b-day! Comment below if you have any suggestions for us.

MRI Number Two

Results For The 2nd MRI

Last Friday Al went in for his second MRI to see what his tumor has been up too. We got the same stupid results as last time. It has neither grown or shrunk. We are at a stalemate right now. We are going to go one more month continuing the same chemo treatment while the docs cook up a new plan. They may add some radiation treatments to the mix next month. It is a major bummer that it didn’t shrink, but at least it didn’t grow. We still have a long battle ahead of us.

The Fundraiser Was A Huge Success

Alec’s sister did this fundraiser gig for Al and my parents. The money raised for him was presented to him last Monday. They were given a lot of money, and they want to thank everyone for being so generous and awesome! It is will help them loads with the financial burdens. Below is a pic of Alec and Lyndee by the tree that the fundraiser people presented to Alec along with the money that was raised. I am not really sure why, but they tied some of the money that was raised to the tree, and then gave Al the tree. Kinda weird, but whatever.

Lyndee and Alec

My Weekend With Alec

SuperherosI went home last weekend and hung out with Al and family. Whenever I ask Al how he is doing he always tells me that he is just exhausted and weak. But, when I went home I forced him off his butt and made him do stuff with me. I dragged him along with me wherever I went  and he did just fine. I think he is lying to us, he isn’t really tired all the time, he is just milking the situation. Sorry little bro, but you aren’t getting any sympathy from this guy 😉 We had fun, we went to the temple, walked around Walmart and took fun photos. We bought him a sweet new suit, so he can look fresh for the ladies. We went out to eat. We watched some of his favorite anime shows and I beat him in a bunch of games.

Braydon and Alec in bowtiesI like this picture for some reason. We got me modeling the bow tie while Alec is looking at me like I’m a crazy person. He looks at me like that a lot. I love this kid, I only wear bow ties because he wears bow ties. And yes, we tied those bow ties ourselves. We don’t do the clip on thing.

 

 

Fundraiser Event For Al

Latest News on Al

Alec's FaceIt has been a few weeks since my last post. Al has had two more treatments and is getting ready for another MRI soon. The chemo has started to catch up to him and he has been feeling super tired. But, he is a champ and handles it all well. I haven’t seen him in a while, but I am coming home this weekend! I am stoked to see him and beat him in all the games we play.

“Anything For A Friend” Fundraiser

My second favorite sister and fourth favorite sibling, Lyndee, put together a fundraiser for Al. Lyndee is incredible and I have always looked up to her. We received donations from many family members and friends. We went through a foundation called “Anything For A Friend.” The foundation they gave us a tree which we tied the donated money too and then the foundation would match up to $500 that we raised. The foundation called us and asked if we would present the tree to Alec at their upcoming fundraiser event that will be this Monday night  on the 16th at the Weber State Ballroom. They will give Alec his tree along with telling everyone his story. They are planning to release balloons in honor of Alec which represent hope and love. Dinner will be provided along with a comedy show. If anyone would like to come support Alec and this wonderful foundation, we would love for you to come. You do need to register before you come, you can sign up HERE. 

Fundraiser Details

Nerd Heaven

Alec at Comic Con

Written by Breanne Evans because Braydon wasn’t worthy to write about the topic.

As has been mentioned before, Alec loves all things awesome and fantastic. People also for some reason refer to these people as being  a “nerd”.  Well, the nerd train rolled in this last weekend, and Al got his fill.Doctor Who Picture

Comic Con PicComic Con is in its 3rd year of coming to Salt Lake, and it’s getting better every time. Luckily they brought in some pretty high profile guests including some folks from his favorite BBC show, DOCTOR WHO! He also got to attend several panels with topics such as, Harry Potter, Avatar, Adventure time, Lord of the Rings, a poetry slam contest,  Star Wars,  and several other celebrity guests panels. Alec was in heaven, and he deserved it!!! I was lucky enough to stand in line with him while we waited to meet “the Doctor Who people” and he was just LOSING it (well I was too, but he amped up my energy).

Alec also attended his Sister and Brother in Laws AWESOME ANIME panel 😉 I am pretty sure it was his 8th favorite thing. Check out our anime reviews at fragglepuss.com.

Anime Panel

When I asked Alec about what his favorite part was, this is what he had to say:

“My favorite part about comic con was meeting THE DOCTOR, ROSE, and AMY!!!!” They also put on the BEST Panel. I thought Carrie Fisher was amazing, and Christopher Lloyd, and Studio C. I loved the voice actors of Yakko and Wakko Warner, we even got a video of them singing the Nations song. There was just so much cool stuff.”

Here is Al at “Amy Ponds” panel, and other pictures.

Alec and Mom     Amy Pond     Al & Ry        yes

 

MRI Results & Epic Jazz Game

Results are Positive…Sort of

MRI MachineIt has been two months since Alec has started his chemo treatments, and today he went in for his first MRI checkup. If the results showed that the tumor is the same size or smaller then they would continue his current chemo treatment. If the tumor had grown any then they would start a radiation treatment plan . I have been very nervous about this day for the last little while. We weren’t originally supposed to know the results until next Monday, but because my dad is the best swindler of information in the world, he worked the Rad Tech to get the results. The tech said that the tumor looked like it was the same size as before. We will get all the official deets on Monday, but for right now it appears it hasn’t grown any! But, it still isn’t good that it isn’t shrinking. If we get the same results on Monday that the tech dude gave us today, then Al will continue the same treatment for the next two more months until his next MRI checkup. I really like this picture though ha my dad just gets all up in there with all the action.

Alec Chilled With The Jazz Players

Yesterday the Utah Jazz played the Boston Celtics, and because of our good friend, Kent Streuling, Alec got to hang out with the Jazz players while they warmed up for the game. Kent has worked with America First for a long time, and has a lot of influence there. Because of America First’s ties with the Jazz he hooked Al up with this fun gift! Although Kent had all the best intentions, if he really wanted to do Alec a favor he would have hooked him up to meet the Utah Jazz dancers! Ha just kidding Kent, you’re the best! They had a really good time. The first picture here is of Alec stretching it out with the Jazz center Enes Kanter. That dude is like 7 feet tall.  The other picture on the right is of Al with the point guard Trey Burke.

Al and EnesAlec and Trey Burke

Meet Jake!

Watch This Video, it Says it All!

I’m super tired and little frustrated today, so I don’t feel like writing much. But, Jake is the most adorable dog in northern Utah. He is super chill, but will also run around and have fun with you. The training is going pretty well, my parents have probably watched several hours of training videos ha. We think he is pretty cool.

Some Big Things are Coming Up

On January 26th Alec is getting a spinal tap to see if any cancer cells are hanging out in his spinal fluid. Then on the 27th he is getting an MRI, and we will get on update on how the chemo is working. This is a big big day. If the MRI shows that the tumor is the same size or has shrunk any, then they will continue with the same chemo treatment he is currently on. If the tumor has grown any, then they will begin a radiation treatment plan.