Brady's Powers

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The Story

In February 2013 Brady started to get sick to his stomach. At first, we thought it was a stomach bug...

This continued until Brady was admitted to Greenbrier Valley Medical Center at the beginning of March. Six days into his stay at GVMC and things were still not getting better. A good friend made a phone call and on March 12th Brady and his family travelled to Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Here he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and began a six-month series of chemotherapy treatments. As of December 24, 2013, Brady has undergone 46 weeks of chemo with three more months scheduled.

Friends of the Mickey's coordinated this fund-raising event to help with medical and travel-related expenses and to show their support for a family who is much loved.

As of May 2014, Brady was doing REALLY well. Exceeding all of the Doctors original expectations. Cancer markers dropping to almost nothing. Scans look "beautiful " say the doctors.

In August 2014, Brady's scans were "clean" but recent scans show that he needs more chemo. So, Brady, Peri & Mick are again back on the road to Cincinnati quite often.

So put them in your prayers and think on how hard financially it would be to quit your job to take care of your child and then pay for the week long trips to Cincinnati every two weeks. If you can please make a donation to continue to help the Mickeys in this marathon because the wonderful donations raised in 2013 are all gone.

Please take a minute out of your very busy day to send a check to them. Or it can be dropped at First National bank to be put in Brady's savings. Please pause. We know and understand how hard it is to break routine on crazy schedules but think it is really why we are here. Bless all of you throughout your day.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 25, 2015 by Powers for Brady

Sweet 16

Posted Aug 12, 2015 4:46pm

Sixteen is the minimum age for getting an adult job in most states and provinces across the globe.

Sixteen is the minimum age that one can drop out of school in many states of the United States.

In the Netherlands, 16 is the age when all adult rights are granted.

Sixteen is the minimum age at which one can donate blood with parental consent in many states.

Sixteen is the legal drinking age in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Portugal.

Sixteen is the minimum age to get married with parental consent in many countries and without parental consent in Scotland.

A sweet sixteen is a coming of age party celebrating a female's sixteenth birthday.

Well, luckily for Peri and I Brady is way to lazy to want a job, he likes school, we don’t live in the Netherlands, Brady hates needles and giving blood, he doesn’t like beer or booze and he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Most importantly he is not female so we didn’t have to throw a big Sweet 16 party. BUT Brady did turn SWEET 16 on July 31, 2015. Happy Birthday Brady!

On to the updates; Peri had her check up with her plastic surgeon on August 4th and all is well. She looks great and we have both been watching our diet and trying to do some exercise. She says she is going to take up the game of golf. We shall see about that, her putting isn’t bad, but her swing looks something like a cross between a ballet dancer doing a Fouetté (for those of you that don’t know that’s when the ballerina spins around on one leg) and a rabid raccoon trying to fight its way out of a cloth sack. Don’t worry we will get her some lessons and she will be beating me in no time. Keegan heads back to Marshall University on August 22nd and Brady started his sophomore year of high school on August 6th.

We were in Cincinnati for scans and test on August 10th and 11th and the news was good, but not great. Brady’s cancer markers continue to head in the right direction and are at or below normal levels. However, the radiologists are stilled concerned with things that they see on the MRIs. The wording that they use is that several lesions in the liver continue to grow slightly in size and there appear to be some new lesions; “this is concerning in a case of metastatic disease”. They don’t know if the spots are cancer or scar tissue all they can confirm is that they are there and they appear to be changing. The cancer markers in Brady’s blood work say they are not cancer, but we need to find out for sure. So we will do another month of the chemo treatment we are on beginning August 13th and return to Cincinnati some time in the first week of September for a PET scan and possible biopsy so we can better understand what we are dealing with. It’s just one more step in the journey. Brady seemed to take everything in stride and although he isn’t thrilled about heading back to Children’s Hospital so soon he understands it is the right thing to do. He was in good spirits as we drove home, but when we got home he headed straight to his room and closed the door. Brady spends a lot of time in his room. We would like him to get out more, be more active, do things and I have really never understood why he doesn’t. I mean for the most part he feels fine. He certainly has the strength and energy to do things when he feels like it. I just don’t understand why he spends so much time alone in his room.

Maybe today I understand a little better. As I was driving to work this morning listening to an oldies station on the radio a song by The Beach Boys came on; not one of their big hits and not one of their songs that I am particularly fond of, but for some reason (probably God) I really listened to the words this time.

“There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to, In my room, In my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears, In my room, In my room
Do my dreaming and my scheming lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing laugh at yesterday
Now it's dark and I'm alone, but I won't be afraid, In my room, In my room”

Maybe when Brady is in his room on his computer by himself playing what I consider to be mindless video games maybe, just maybe, that is really the time he is locking out any worries or fears, he is dreaming, scheming, praying, crying and laughing. Most importantly that’s the safe place, the place he won’t be afraid. Wow, who knew a Beach Boy song could be so heavy or maybe it’s just me and my crazy imagination.

Peri and I are taking a few days next week and heading to Stonewall Jackson Resort just to spend a little mommy and daddy time together. I am sure that Keegan and Brady can survive a few days without us! PS boys…NO PARTIES!

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we will give you an update in September.

Posted on July 18, 2015 by Powers for Brady

The River

Posted Jul 6, 2015 12:52pm

I suppose that you have all been waiting anxiously to hear the news of the Mickey Boys outing on The Greenbrier River. So here is a recap of the trip. We left the Mickey home at about 5:00pm on Sunday and headed north to Renick, West Virginia where we decided to start our trip. Now this part of the river can be to low to canoe and kayak at this time of the year, but as luck would have it the rain fell hard on Saturday night so the river was actually up a few feet out of its banks. That is great for floating, but bad for the fishing so we did not do any fishing on this trip. We put in at Renick around 6:00pm; four boys in Kayaks and Dad in a canoe. This will make sense later, but canoes for the most part are best if operated by two people, but none of the boys wanted to ride with old Dad so I was left to fend for myself. It really wasn’t that bad though; I grew up in Wisconsin and remember paddling canoes before I started kindergarten. In fact, at one point on the river Patrick cracked a joke saying, “Hey guys look at Daddy he thinks he is Sacagawea!” as I swiftly paddled past of all of the youngins in my trusty canoe.

We stayed that night at the camp of the McClung family in Spring Creek and had a wonderful time! We put up the tents and started a camp-fire. The boys handled dinner and made Hobo Packs with venison, potatoes, carrots, etc. and roasted them on the fire. They were awesome. The boys stayed up late, but I crawled into the tent fairly early only to be awoken in the middle of the night by a pounding rain. I mean it rained hard, but the tents we had are pretty good ones and we stayed dry. Well most of us stayed dry; Patrick and Keegan had decided they were going to sleep under the stars in their hammocks. I think they ended up on the porch of the McClung cabin for most of the night.

We woke up the next morning, got our stuff together and headed back down the river. The plan was for Mommy to pick us up at Anthony later in the day. Because of the rain the night before the river was flowing pretty high and what can be a four hour trip was probably only going to take about two. There also is a solid Class III rapid a little above our take out point at Anthony that had me a little concerned because of the amount of water that was flowing down the river. The morning was pretty uneventful and the day started clearing, the sun came out and we were all having a fun time. As we started to approach that Class III I was telling you about it quickly became apparent that on this day it was closer to a Class IV than a Class III. For minute I thought about telling the boys to pull over and we would go around, but by the time I had that common sense thought it was to late the boys were already in it. I came down last. Now remember I am in the canoe by myself and for a brief second I had a wise thought of moving to the middle of the canoe to help balance it, but by the time I had this brilliant idea it was too late and I was into the rapid. There were a few scary seconds, but we all came through the rapid with no problems and it was pretty much an easy float the rest of the way to Anthony or at least I thought it would be.

Ryan reminded me that there was one more little rapid before we got to Anthony it was usually just a Class II, but it was most likely going to be a Class III on this day. I wasn’t to worried though, we had all just come through a Class IV with no problem. Patrick went though the last rapid first and it really didn’t look that difficult, in fact it wasn’t. I went next. This is where the part about being only one person in a canoe really comes into play. As you are going through the waves and rolls of a rapid the front of the canoe will pop up fairly high because there is no weight in the front. I did have some camping stuff and a cooler in the front, but not enough to balance out my 215 lbs that was in the back. So when the front of the canoe pops up for a brief second you can not see the water directly in front of you, all you see is the empty front seat of the canoe. When the front drops back down you can see the river again. Well as my luck would have it I picked a bad line through this last little rapid and about a third of the way into it the front of the canoe popped up and as it dropped back down I noticed that the rock I thought was deep enough underwater to float over was not! With no weight in the front of the canoe I ran right up onto the rock until my fat butt in the back of the canoe caused it to bottom out. For a fraction of a second I thought about jumping forward to help the back of the canoe clear the rock, but it was too late. The last possible rock I could have hit, the last possible spot in the river that I could have tipped got me. The river got the better of me and I went for a swim.

I don’t know how many of you have went for a swim in whitewater, but when you get to Class III and above you better keep your wits and pay attention. If you get stuck between the canoe and rock it can end badly, if you get your foot hung in rock it can end badly, hit your head on a rock…anyway you get the picture. The first thing I thought as I came up for the first time was, “WOW I didn’t touch bottom the river is deeper than I thought”. The second thing was about shoving the canoe away from me down river. You might think trying to grab hold of the canoe would have been better, but that is not a good idea. An upside down canoe in a rapid is not your friend. After all it just tossed you into the river! The third thing I thought was, “MY FOOT JUST TOUCHED A ROCK, BAD”! So, I quickly got my feet up and pointed down river and back stroked on my back. This is the safest way to float through a rapid (well that’s not exactly right; the safest way would be to stay in the canoe in the first place.) the only problem with this method is every time you hit a wave in the rapid you go under, but only for a little while, if you remember to hold your breath when this happens your OK.

Luckily Patrick caught the canoe before it floated away down the river and after a few hundred yards I made it to shore with my paddle still in my hand and my ball cap still on my head. I still wonder how in the world that cap stayed on my head. Patrick had managed to pull the canoe over to the side of the river another couple of hundred yards down river. As I started trekking down to meet up with him and the others I was taking inventory of what was probably floating down the river, cooler, the extra paddle, (That's why I held onto my paddle. Haven't you ever heard the expression, “up the creek without a paddle”!), camping stuff, water bottle, life jacket. Yes, I said life jacket. You don’t think I would actually be smart enough to wear the darn thing! To my surprise when we flipped the canoe back over everything was still in it! I can only assume that the canoe flipped so quickly that when it did everything just floated up underneath and stayed there nicely for us. Nothing was lost. Well actually one thing was lost, the pictures of the trip. The digital camera was in my shirt pocket and although the camera made it, it and the pictures on it did not survive the dunking.

We straightened everything up and I got back in the canoe and we headed down to Anthony all joking about Daddy going for a swim and laughing. However, we all knew that what had just happened could have gone bad really quickly. I had a few seconds where I thought this might not end well. When the river is up like that and the water is moving through the rapid faster than an Olympic sprinter can run things can go wrong quickly. It wasn’t until I was out of the rapid and swimming towards the shore that I relaxed a little. For a few seconds there was fear, there was that little voice in my head, “I could die”. But, then I was out of the river and the boys were safe and everything was fine and my fear quickly went away.

I have spent a long time telling you about a river trip to make the following comparison. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about that fear I felt for a few seconds. It was real and it was scary, but it only lasted a few seconds. I have watched Brady have good days and bad days over the last two and half years. I know that there are times when he doesn’t think about the cancer and he just enjoys life, but I know there are also times that he can’t help think about his cancer. I am going to be more patient and understanding when Brady has those days where he doesn’t want to talk much and doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything. Maybe, just maybe, those are the days when he is dealing with his own “rapids”. And no matter how much you know that everything is going to be OK when you are in the “rapids” it is impossible not to be scared. You’re my hero Brady and I pray your river is nothing but calm water from here on.

Medical report: all continues to be good, counts, numbers, etc. and chemo continues to go smoothly. One little funny story that Peri will kill me for telling; on the first day Brady started to take his oral chemo again Peri had a “Peri moment”. They left early that day for Roanoke because Brady also had infusion chemo scheduled on that day as well. Peri took the oral chemo with them so she could give it Brady later in the day. This is the funny part, she only took ONE PILL! Seriously, I’m not kidding after I joked about it in the last post it came true! Don’t worry we are getting it right now and Brady is doing fine! We travel to Cincinnati on August 10th for scans and tests and meet with Dr. Geller on the 11th.

God Bless!

Posted on June 26, 2015 by Powers for Brady

It was flat…

Posted Jun 18, 2015 4:54pm

That was Brady’s response when I asked him how Texas was. However, all the pictures that were sent to us over the past week tell a different story. I would say Texas was bubbling, effervescent, full of spark and energy… Of course Brady was referring to the geography; Austin, Texas is considered to be in the Texas Hill Country. Brady said, “They obviously don’t know what a hill is”. Other than that Brady has not said a whole lot about his trip other than he had fun and there was plenty of good food. I posted a few pictures, but there are way too many to post them all. Mommy survived as well. I was a little worried about the Momma Bear being away from her Cub for a week, but upon his return she gave him a few quick sniffs and a lick behind the ear it was just like they had never been apart. OK… you might need to understand bear behavior to get that last reference, but that was pretty much how it went.

So after a week of meeting whales at Sea World, being sworn in as a junior deputy, riding in fancy sports cars and on horses, motorcycles and wake-boards…catching toads and making friends, visiting water-parks and the Texas State Capital…switching planes in Atlanta and Chicago O’Hara Brady informed us that this week we should expect him to do nothing but sleep and eat. Fair enough, we’ll give you a few days to rest up Brady.

Today was a little bit of getting back to reality. In fact it started yesterday with blood work. All of Brady’s numbers and counts looked good, really good and so this morning it was back to taking the pill... I MEAN PILLS, PILLS!! IT’S TWO PILLS!! Come on you gotta laugh about it, right? And then Peri and Brady headed for Roanoke for his once a week, one-hour chemo session. We will do another cycle of this treatment for the next month and then it should be time to visit Cincinnati again for scans and discussion of what to do next. I need to share one more important medical fact with you; Brady’s CA 19-9 marker is 25. The streak continues with this number being in the normal range and just a few points lower (better) than the last time we checked it.

I look back sometimes to past posts and remember good times and bad. Two years ago on June 17, 2013 I posted about Brady kayaking with me down The Greenbrier River for the first time. That was a good day. Last year on June 16, 2014 I posted about Zip-Lining…trust me that was a bad day; at least it was for me! Brady, he had a blast! This Monday and Tuesday all of the Mickey boys, Patrick, Ryan, Keegan, Brady and Daddy will spend a few days together on the Greenbrier River. I am sure that Momma Bear will be pacing the floors until we all return safe and sound. Brady going to Texas was one thing, but trusting all of her Cubs with me for a few days is another story. Hopefully Momma Bear will give me a few quick sniffs and a lick behind the ear when we return.

Sometimes you just have to remember your blessings. For three years in a row June has been a pretty good month for the Mickey Family and even with all he has had to face and deal with Brady can still find time to just be a teenage kid.

God Bless and a few prayers that we all survive the river trip without incident couldn’t hurt!

Posted on June 8, 2015 by Powers for Brady

To everything turn, turn, turn

Posted May 29, 2015 4:09pm

To everything turn, turn, turn
There is a season turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

Some people only know these words as lyrics to a number one hit by The Byrds in 1965, but the original song actually comes from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes (KJV), just minus the turn, turn, turn part. I have always found it strange that so many people know this song, but don’t recognize where the lyrics come from. I wasn’t exactly dialing in the radio to hear this song in 1965; it was just a little before my time. However, I have always liked it and agreed that yes, there is a time to every purpose under heaven. I alluded to this in my last post on May 7th and now much like Paul Harvey (for you youngsters he comes from back in the 1960s too!) you get to know the rest of the story.

Before I go one about heaven and purpose, let me share with you how Brady is doing. Early this week Brady and I along with a friend spent two days in the wilderness of Cranberry Glades trout fishing in one of the best if not the best trout stream in the eastern United States. You can not drive there. You have three choices, walk, bike or ride a horse. We choose the bike option. So we rode bikes on a gravel access road that followed the general route of the Cranberry River for a total of 25 miles in two days. Now you may not think that 25 miles on a bike is much, but remember this is West Virginia and it was a gravel road. Trust me it took some muscle power. Brady handled it with flying colors and had a great time. He cleaned his first trout, ate his first trout cooked on a camp fire and slept under the stars. If he can handle all that with a smile he is doing pretty darn well. If you would prefer a medical diagnosis we check his CA19-9 every two weeks and today it was 27, two weeks ago it was 27 and so the streak continues with his CA19-9 being in the normal range (36 and under) for three months now. Your prayers continue to work… Oh yea and don’t forget June 8, Brady leaves on his trip to Austin and San Antonio.

Now for the rest of the story; you might have asked yourself what was the last Bradypowers post all about? A lot of talk about unanswered questions, what ifs and God’s will is not always our will? Back on March 19 Brady began this new chemo plan that he is currently on; you all know by now that involves taking an oral chemo and an infusion chemo once a week. Some of you might recall that I said Brady would take the pill once in the morning and once in the evening for two weeks and then not take the pill for two weeks and we would do this for two months. Well that is exactly what we did. Here’s the kicker, the rest of the story… We, Peri and I, misunderstood the doctors and we didn’t pay close enough attention to the prescription on the bottle. The proper dosage was TWO pills in the morning and TWO pills in the evening. For two months we only gave Brady half the dosage of his oral chemo! We discovered our mistake on May 6 the day before Brady’s last update on Carepages, but remember what I said then….God doesn’t say “Oops!” There is a reason and there is a season; there is a God and we are not Him. For the past month every time we checked Brady’s CA19-9 there was that fear that we might have to face the questions, “What if we had given Brady the full does…?” “What if we, What if they, Why did…” You see all those questions I talked about rolled through our heads, but God and your prayers watched over Brady.

Enough of that heavy stuff, now for something a little funny… Dad (me) was concerned about how we tell Brady he now had to take four pills a day instead of two. I didn’t want him to worry about the cancer, mommy, me or anything. I just wanted everything to be alright and for him to start taking the proper dosage. I am a genius… I come up with a plan to tell Brady that the drug company has started making the pills in 25mg instead of 50mg so he will now have to take four pills instead of two per day. HE BUYS IT and all is good… no, not so good. I am an idiot. The first day Brady starts the pill again Peri gives him two in the morning and Brady looks at them and says, “Mommy something is wrong with these pills. Daddy said there were 25mg now, but these say 50mg”. Peri of course said, “Well Brady your Daddy thought he was doing the right thing, he kind of fibbed about that. We were giving you the wrong dose, but everything is fine”. Brady responds with, “Well that was stupid. Daddy can be an idiot” Peri’s response, “Yep”.

We are blessed, Brady goes on his trip to Texas next week, we still have the Kayak and fishing trip planned for the end of the month and Brady has been nominated as a candidate for an adventure called “Hunt of a Lifetime”. Hunt of a Lifetime is a non-profit that helps young people battling life threatening illnesses go on big game hunts all across North America. What does Brady want to hunt? Grizzly Bears…

God bless.

Posted on May 14, 2015 by Powers for Brady

Faith is about trusting God

Posted May 8, 2015 3:34pm

“Faith is about trusting God when you have unanswered questions.”
Joel Osteen

Who, what, where, when, why and how; these are the words that usually begin our questions and many times we ask questions that just can not be answered. When Peri and I were first told that Brady had cancer Peri’s first question was, “How did this happen?” She knew as she asked that it was a question only God knew the answer too. Since that time we have had countless other questions that have began with words that begin with a “W”. They have also been impossible to answer and no matter what the question was or which “W” word the question began with they all really came down to the same question. “What if ________ (fill in the blank)?”

What if we had _______? What if we hadn’t________? What if they ________? What if we_________? What if this ________? What if I ________? What if, what if, what if….

No one can answer, “What if” because none of us ever get a chance to go back in time and try the other options. We make a choice or we make a mistake and that is that. It can not be undone. We can spend all the time we want thinking, “If only I had _______?”, “What if I _________?” None of this second guessing, wringing of our hands or just plain worrying will do us any good or change what has already been done. What we can do is to remember that God doesn’t say, “Oops!” We may not always understand why God allows certain things to happen, but we can be certain that God is not making any mistakes! We just have to have faith that God knows what He is doing.

Now, here is the part that can be really difficult for most of us to accept, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. It is natural for us to want our choices or mistakes to always turn out the way we want them to, the way we hope they will, but who are we to think that we know better than the Creator of the universe and everything in it. At the end of the day, it comes down to a simple truth and I think a quote from the movie RUDY says it best, “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.”, Father Cavanaugh, RUDY. In others words, yes there is a God and we must have faith that He has a plan even if for the moment we have more questions than answers.

Without further delay here are some answers about Brady. We traveled to Cincinnati on May 4th and 5th for Blood Tests, MRI, CAT scan and the normal three month check up. Brady’s cancer markers (all three of them) remain in or very, very close to normal ranges. This is now two months in a row and very good news. There were a few spots in Brady’s liver on the MRI that we need to continue to watch, but with the markers being where they are Dr Geller was not overly concerned. Our plan is to keep moving forward with the current treatment of the pills and chemo at Roanoke Carilion Memorial for the next three months. Brady will start this process again on Thursday, May 14th.

It appears that Brady is going to have a very busy June! June 8th through the 14th he will traveling to Austin and San Antonio, Texas with a group called the Sunshine Kids (a nonprofit that helps children and teens with cancer forget about cancer for a while and enjoy being a kid again). It is an all expense paid trip and we are quite sure Brady will have a ball. We picked out a suitcase for him the other day (his first) and talked about getting an ID so he would be able to take his first airplane trip! It will be the first time since, since, I can’t remember when, that he will not have Mom and Dad hovering over him. There will be a nurse from Roanoke Carilion hospital traveling with the group and there will be chaperones, but no Mom and Dad…who knows he might not want to come back home! Then in late June we are still planning the three night Kayak trip down The Greenbrier River. I think Peri is about to burn my credit card because of all the gear I am buying for this trip. I have even started to get in a little better shape for the trip; I can’t have my four sons making fun of their fat, out of shape Dad for 72 hours straight! We are in the beginning stages of planning some other adventures for later this year, but we will share more of that as the plans come together.

To wrap this up let me share with you with Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.” In other words, He’s got you covered!

God bless,
The Mickey Clan

Posted on April 21, 2015 by Powers for Brady

It’s a New Season …

Posted Apr 16, 2015 3:21pm

One of Brady’s favorite shows started its 5th season on April 12th, Game of Thrones. For those of you that have never heard of Game of Thrones it is an HBO series based on Novels by George R. R. Martin. By the way, Brady has read all of the novels as well and he likes those better than the HBO series. For those of you that know about Game of Thrones, you might think it is somewhat of a rated “R” show and rather mature for a 15 year old and I would agree with you. However, Brady has had to grow up much faster than most teenagers and is already mature beyond his years so we allow him some leeway in this regard.

I don’t think Brady enjoys all of the fantasy aspects of the Novels as much as he enjoys the fact that you need to pay attention to keep up with what is going on and nothing is predictable. I also think he enjoys that some of the quotes from the Novels and the show make you stop and think, like this one, “Bran thought about it. “Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?” “That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him. Or “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness.” Now maybe it is just me and Brady but these are the type of quotes that cause us to stop and ponder. You can only be brave when you are afraid? Your weakness can be your strength?

When I was Brady’s age one of my favorite Novelists was the famous Jack London. I remember rereading The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, White Fang and his short stories such as To Build a Fire over and over again. I would try to understand passages like this one from To Build a Fire, “The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances.” It has taken a lot of years, but I think I have come to understand what Jack London was trying to say with this line. In the story Jack London is really referring to fact that the main character knows that it is 50 below zero, but he doesn’t imagine or understand the significance of that fact. Being outdoors in weather that cold can kill you.

If we take Jack London’s passage outside the context of the story it applies to life in general; I think there is a bigger meaning that Jack London was also touching on. Imagination takes some time, time to stop and think about the things that we experience in life and understand their significance. If we don’t do that then moments spent with friends and family is just one of the things of life.

Now… take a moment and imagine that we didn’t have those moments with friends or family and suddenly the significance of life becomes crystal clear.

The last report that I gave you for Brady’s CA 19-9 count was 57. That was back on March 20th. Two weeks ago it had dropped to 37 (back in the normal range) and today it is 36. So we are blessed that the new treatment appears to be working and Brady’s cancer markers have been in the normal range for the past month now. Brady started back on his two week cycle of taking the pill today and he began his three week cycle of chemo today as well. We continued to be blessed. Brady will have his blood markers checked again in two weeks and in mid May we will travel to Cincinnati for scans and plans.

Let me leave you these three thoughts from the stories that Brady and I have read.

You can only be brave when you are afraid, your weakness can be your strength and always take a little time to imagine and understand the significance of life.

God Bless

Posted on March 23, 2015 by Powers for Brady

A short trip, a Dragonfly and the River

Posted Mar 20, 2015 12:35pm

Yesterday, March 19, 2015 Brady began his new chemotherapy consisting of the Gemcitabine and the pill, Olaparib. He got up at 8:00am took the pill. Then Peri and Brady drove the short 90 minute trip to Memorial Hospital in Roanoke. Brady’s appointment was for 10:30am and at 11:50am Peri sent me a text that said “DONE”. Wow! Amazing, no six hour drive to Cincinnati, no four or five days in the hospital, no six hour drive home. Most importantly, I WON’T BE LONELY! After leaving Memorial Hospital, they headed to lunch, then to Sam’s Club and then some shopping at the Mall. Peri said Brady was having a really great day and they both seemed very happy about how things went at Memorial. Almost two years ago a doctor in Cincinnati told me, “Home is where we are meant to be”. It was great that Brady and Peri were home last night instead of in Cincinnati.

We had some more great news yesterday. Brady’s CA19-9 marker is back down to 57; 20 points away from being normal again! It basically tells us that the last six cycles of chemo that we did in Cincinnati produced the results we had hoped for. Now we continue to pray that the combination of the Gemcitabine and the pill, Olaparib will be the knock out combination we need. More great news, Brady also managed to make the honor roll for the first semester and was recognized at The Greenbrier East awards assembly.

What’s the plan? For the foreseeable future, Brady will travel to Roanoke three weeks out of four for the Gemcitabine and he will take the Olaparib twice a day for 14 days straight and then two weeks off. This routine will continue from month to month and we will most likely do scans again in mid May. The scans will be done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and they are still running the show and will be watching Brady’s progress at Memorial Hospital very closely.

Peri and I actually visited the Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Clinic at Memorial last week when she went for her check up on her foobies. While visiting the clinic I saw a photo of a dragonfly in on of the treatment rooms. Some of you may remember that there is a fantastic non-profit organization at CCHMC called The Dragonfly Foundation. They do wonderful things to help support families and kids battling cancer at CCHMC. I sent a picture of the dragonfly to the co-founder of The Dragonfly Foundation, Ria, who has really become a dear friend. I let her know that finding that picture of a dragonfly in the treatment room at Memorial told me that all of our fellow dragonflies would be watching over us and this was the place to be. It was like God was reminding me, “I got this!”. Peri’s check up with her Foobies doctor went fine and things are looking very good (literally!). Peri did comment to the nurse that she thought, “they would look bigger, more like her real ones”. I loved the nurse’s response, “Honey God made the other ones; nothing we do can be as good as what he created.” Peri…you look great!

I have decided that this spring sometime hopefully in May that the Mickey boys and Dad will spend a few days kayaking, fishing and camping on The Greenbrier River. We have started to put together our equipment. I am reviewing maps of the river; planning where we will camp and noting places for someone to pick us up if for any reason we have to cut our trip short. I want to do four nights and Peri keeps pushing me for two…I think she just doesn’t want Brady to be out of her sight for any longer than that! You might recall that I posted a photo of Brady on the river two years ago in June. That was a half day trip and at the end he was wiped out, no way he could have handled a multiple day trip. This year is a different story he is looking forward to spending a few days on the river with his brothers!

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!

The Mickey Family

Posted on March 6, 2015 by Powers for Brady

Happy Life Day Brady

Posted Mar 2, 2015 4:42pm

It will soon be March 6th, 2015. March 6, 2013 was 104 weeks ago. 104 weeks ago Brady was admitted to the hospital for the first time. This date will always be one that we remember and last year I decided to call March 6th Life Day (If you don’t remember; Life Day is a Star Wars Holiday) in honor of Brady because this date more than any other symbolizes the first step of our journey that we are still on. That is what life is, a journey. Yes, life is a journey and it is true that life is about the journey not the destination. No matter how we get there; our journey here on earth will eventually end for all us in the same way. “You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.” Genesis 3:19. Yep, none of us can beat or cheat that verse; what matters is the journey and how we live our lives before we return to dust.

At the 2014 ESPYs legendary ESPN anchor, Stuart Scott, accepted the Jimmy V award. (I hope you all know Jimmy Valvano, Jimmy V, and what a great basketball coach and person he was!) During his acceptance speech Stuart Scott who was battling cancer at the time said, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live". That quote is extremely inspirational to me and I think it ties together perfectly with a famous quote by Jimmy V. himself, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that for seven days, a week, and you're going to have something special.” I believe that Brady and we have had something VERY special for the past 104 weeks and we will continue to have many more in the years ahead! So on March 6th, Brady’s Life Day, celebrate how you live, why you live, the manner in which you live and have a day that is full.

What a week it was here in Greenbrier County! Two feet of snow! Forecast was for 5 to 11 inches and we ended up with two feet. Peri and Brady were snowed in from Saturday until Wednesday and I hiked in and out of the neighborhood about ¾ of a mile for three and half days and I am not as young or fit as I once was. On Saturday during the storm my good friend Jim Rohan and I drove to Beckley and back because over a year ago we had volunteered to assist with the Regional III AAA State Wrestling Tournament. Although our wives wanted to kill us we did make it back home safely, even though snow plows where running off the road on Interstate 64. Unfortunately, after dropping Jim off I could not get any closer than ¾ of mile to our home without risking getting stuck. I guess that was blessing in disguise otherwise both of the Mickey vehicles would have been stuck at the house.

Tuesday evening our very good friend Chris Hanna came over in his huge 4 wheel drive Jeep and cut a path for us to be able to keep our tires in and he helped pull my truck out where I had gotten stuck at the end of our drive way. Hurray for Chris we were freed from cabin fever! Wednesday morning Peri and Brady loaded up in my truck and I shuttled them out to Peri’s Expedition and they hit the road to Cincinnati for the last cycle of chemo that Brady has been on over the past two years. The spot in Brady’s liver is still there, but smaller and lighter on the scans and his CA19-9 is not quite normal, but it is close.

Currently the plan is to change to the new chemo (Gemcitabine) and the pill (Olaparib) within the next three weeks. Brady’s body needs time to recover from the chemo he just had and we need some time to set up where we will do this “outpatient” type chemo close to home. Brady’s lead Doctor, Dr. Geller, shared with me a paper that was just published on January 7, 2015 and the combination of these two drugs could be the knock out punch we are looking for. The Yale School of Medicine, The University of Oxford and The Rubenstein Center for Pancreas Cancer Research are just a few of the big names that were involved in the clinical trials for this knock out combination.

We will still closely monitor the lesion in Brady’s liver with scans and blood marker checks. If for any reason it becomes of a concern we still have the Radio Frequency Ablation as an option in our back pocket as well as some other tools. That one spot is the only place showing up on the CAT and MRI scans so if it causes us concern it would be worth the risk of possible infection to go after it while it is small. It is currently about 7mm in size. To put that in perspective for you that is about the size of an aspirin. Brady’s original pancreatic tumor was larger than a baseball when he was first diagnosed so I am pretty sure we can handle a lesion that is now the size an aspirin.

Peri goes back to her plastic surgeon concerning her Foobies on March 10th for a check up and we will be looking into hopefully doing Brady’s new outpatient chemo at the same hospital in Roanoke at that time as well. Of course, Cincinnati Children’s will still be monitoring and giving all the directions; this will just save us driving to Cincinnati every week for a three hour chemo treatment.

God Bless and don’t forget, live a full day on March 6th!

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Powers for Brady

How to make impossible possible

Posted Feb 15, 2015 2:51pm

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! Peri, Brady and I spent Valentine’s Day driving home from Cincinnati. It wasn’t the most romantic way to spend the Holiday, but it’s not like Peri has had many romantic Valentine Days in the last 25 years. Some of you may remember my post of September 25, 2013 when I described my first Valentine’s Day with Peri. If you don’t remember you should go back and check it out. It describes how Peri accepted a card, some flowers, a teddy bear and a six pack of beer. It’s been pretty much downhill ever since that first Valentine’s Day back in 1990. All joking aside 25 years of me saying Happy Valentine’s Day in some shape or form to the same person is something that I would have thought impossible for me, but Peri made it possible.

Luke 18-27

“What is impossible with man is possible with God”.

Back in the late 60’s there was the TV show “Mission Impossible” that always started with a voice on a tape recorder saying, “Your mission Jim, should you decide to accept it…” Of course he always accepted I don’t recall any episodes were they didn’t complete their mission; so they must have made the impossible missions, the possible missions.

Impossible: felt to be incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled, insuperably difficult.

Possible: able to be done, within the power or capacity of someone or something.

It was around Valentine’s Day in 2013 that we had first noticed Brady was looking tired and he began vomiting here and there. Well here we are two years later and Brady continues to make the impossible possible. We had a good week in Cincinnati last week. His scans looked better, the spot on his lung is shrinking and his CA19-9 marker continues to improve. The doctors were all very positive and we spent a lot of time discussing what the plan is moving forward. Brady will do one more cycle of the chemo he is currently on some time around the end of February. That will make 35 complete cycles. We will then wait two more weeks and in mid March (around the date he was diagnosed two years ago) we will have another set of scans. If we are still concerned about the spot or lesion on Brady’s liver we will use Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) to burn this spot away. RFA is used frequently for liver tumors and any risk is slight. Besides, the doctor that will perform the procedure (if needed) just joined the team at Cincinnati Children’s. Not to worry…she is coming from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Even if you never heard of CCHMC before Brady, I am fairly confident you have heard of Sloan Kettering…

Then Brady will begin a regime of Olaparib and Gemcitabine. If anyone of you is going, “OH YEA great idea I know what those are” congratulations on being a Jeopardy Champion or earning your medical degree. For the rest of us here is a little breakdown. Olaparib is a pill; it is an inhibitor of poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP), an enzyme involved in DNA repair. It acts against cancers in people with hereditary BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which includes many ovarian, breast, prostate cancers and pancreatic cancers. This drug did not even go into clinical trails until 2009. God Bless cancer research! The drug has little side effects and Brady will probably take the pills one to two times per day. Gemcitabine is used in various carcinomas: non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer. It has been around for some time; it was first licensed in 1995. However it is only recently that it has been used in clinical trails in partnership with Oloparib. Did I say GOD BLESS cancer research! This drug would be administered by the intravenous route (IE Brady’s ports stay). However, the good news is it would be done as outpatient and would only be once a week for a few hours. We would do it some where around here, close to home with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital doing all of the follow up and testing down the road. Gemcitabine also has very little side effects.

So what in the world does all that mean? Don’t ask me, how in the world should I know! The best I can make of it is to use a couple of quotes from Dr. Keller this weekend. One, “The chemo we are using now will keep things in check, but will probably not give us the knock out punch we are looking for”. Two, “I really think this will help us mop up what’s left and give us the knock out punch we are looking for”. Well Doc, that’s good enough for me. Brady is upbeat and ready for this course of action as well. Oh I almost forgot, Peri is doing well; she had her “Foobies” (short for false boobies) put in last Wednesday and all went well. Her bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy went very well also. If you don’t know what that is Google away…I am tired of medical terms for now.

How do you turn impossible into possible? I think Brady has found the easiest way. He told me to put a space between the “m” and the “p” and put an apostrophe between the “i” and the “m”. What?

Try it…."impossible" becomes "I’m possible". Beating stage IV pancreatic cancer might be impossible…might be, but Brady has always believed that he is POSSIBLE. Check out the definition of possible one more time…

God bless and keep the prayers going!

The Mickeys

Posted on January 21, 2015 by Powers for Brady

Only the lonely

Posted Jan 16, 2015 4:51pm

Only the lonely… Know the way I feel tonight… Only the lonely…Know this feeling ain't right.
Roy Orbison

Just four weeks ago all the boys were home, half of the time their friends from around Greenbrier County and beyond were at the house. Every morning it seemed I found someone new sleeping on the floor, the couch, spare bedroom. Dirty dishes every where all the time; Peri would clean the house and the next morning it looked like the same tornado came through again the night before. I would go out the front door in the morning to go to work and the first thing I would have to do is figure which delinquent I had to wake up because they parked behind me in the driveway. Most mornings the driveway looked like a used car lot and I was always the one blocked in! Oh and the frig! I forgot about the frig! It was like a black hole! We would fill it with food and 24 hours later it was empty! One night I made a four gallon pot of venison stew and the very next morning they finished off the last of it for breakfast! I got one 8oz. bowl and I don’t think Peri got any! So by the time the first of January rolled around, I was telling Peri that they better all go home and back to school soon or she was going to see me starring in an upcoming episode of SNAPPED…

Well, everyone went home and back to school a few weeks ago. Peri and Brady have been in Cincinnati since Tuesday. For approximately 97 hours. 33 minutes and 42 seconds I have been alone. What joy! All that peace and quiet! Nobody bugging me, nobody hollering, “Dad we need milk!” Heaven pure heaven… at least that is what I thought it would be like. In reality it’s been lonely, I’ve been lonely. I even had the audacity to start feeling a little sorry for myself. Everyone has gone back to or onward with their lives and I am left here at home, alone, holding down the fort, going to work, paying the bills, this stinks!

When you are alone, I mean really alone for long periods of time the voices in your head tend to get louder. It is hard to shut them out and not hear them when there is nothing to distract you from listening to them. Yes, I am crazy, but just a little. The loudest voice finally rose above all the others last night and it told me,

“Lonely, lonely? Do you realize how lucky you are to be lonely?” “You’re lonely because you miss the people you love.” You’re lonely, because you know what it is like not to be alone.” “Feeling sorry for yourself, really?” “ Imagine what it would be like if none of these people had ever been a part of your life?” “Man you don’t realize how blessed you are.”

What if I had never met Peri? What if we never had the boys? I don’t even want to think another second about how that would have turned out. I would be spending a lot of time alone, that’s for sure (no else, but Peri and the boys would put up with me!). Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad because I wouldn’t be lonely, I just be alone. I think I learned this week to really be lonely you have to have someone you really wish were with you…instead of where they are.

Now that I have cleared my soul, a little update on Brady and Peri. Chemo went well. Brady’s doctors are very impressed about how well he is responding to the same type of chemo he had before. Of course, there is a worry that some times the cancer cells get smart; they adapt and the same type of chemo will not work on them any longer. We are blessed that Brady’s cancer cells are apparently remaining DUMB for the time being. Brady’s CA 19-9 was 180 this time…only 145 to go to get back to normal again! CAT scan and MRI are set for February 10th, but there will be chemo after that for sure. These scans will just gauge how we are doing, but everything is looking very positive for now. Peri will have her final reconstructive surgery on February 4th. That’s when they will replace her expanders, “bricks” (we call them the “bricks” because they are as hard as bricks and are similar in shape) with the silicone implants. Peri and Brady will be home tomorrow, yea!

Peri and boys I leave you with this quote, “My heart never knew loneliness until you went away”.

God Bless and we will keep posted as to Peri and Brady’s progress!

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