Posted on December 22, 2017
Posted on December 22, 2017I realize this update is way overdue. I’m still not entirely sure why I’ve grown a bit quiet about Selah and her journey. Sometimes I like to keep certain things to myself or only with close friends. Sharing glimpses of Selah’s journey on the internet has always felt vulnerable for me. Yet, my family has felt so loved and encouraged by everyone’s support from social media.
Selah is still receiving chemotherapy on Oahu at Kapiolani hospital. She is currently in the maintenance stage of her treatment plan. She goes to Oahu once a month. In addition to her monthly chemo she also takes medication at home each night. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood so it’s technically considered stage 4 cancer since blood is everywhere in the body. There’s no accurate way to measure if the chemotherapy is knocking out the leukemia cells because it’s impossible for doctors to evaluate every single cell in Selah’s body. Thankfully, Selah continues to show NO signs of leukemia being in her body which means that the medicine is doing its job.
For the last year and a half, Davidson has be the parent taking Selah to her appointments on Oahu. Selah got sick when Seven (baby #4) was 9 months old. I got pregnant again shortly after Seven turned 1. I’ve been pregnant and/or nursing an infant since Selah has been sick making it a bit more of a challenge for me to go to Oahu with her. I also find the hospital to be a bit overwhelming. Our routine has been that Davidson and Selah go to Oahu together and have their special time together while I stay in Kona with the other kids.
Davidson recently broke his foot and wasn’t able to travel with Selah to her monthly appointment on Oahu. So this meant that I had to put my big girl pants on and take her. I hadn’t been to an appointment with her for over a year. The last time I was with Selah at Kapiolani she was unconscious, with a tube down her nose in ICU. The memories make me shudder. I gave myself a few good pep talks and my amazing friends cheered me on.
Selah, Saint (baby #5) and I woke up at 4 AM and headed to the airport. While we sat and waited to board our flight I watched airport workers greet Selah with huge hugs. They asked her how she was feeling and about her brothers and sisters. A few of them said, “Oh is this your mom, Selah? We only ever see Dad!” I smiled and watched my precious girl interact with them. (Shout out to Hawaiian Airlines workers. You guys truly live the Aloha Spirit) **Selah has been taking these flights since April 2016. For the first 7 months of Selah’s treatment she took weekly flights to Oahu so she has seen the same familiar faces each time**
When we arrived at the hospital my heart began beating really fast. I focused on my breathing and prayed silently in my mind. I looked over at Selah and she was smiling. She didn’t look scared or nervous. We checked in and the nurses started the routine check up. Selah answered each of their questions with so much confidence. Selah knew exactly what to do, what was coming next and helped the nurses with her check up. She had the routine down to a T. There was a lot of laughing, joking and warmth in the room. When her Dr came in to start the chemotherapy, Selah’s whole face lit up. Selah receives many different types of chemotherapy. Selah was due for a lumbar puncture (LP) the day I took her. During an LP Selah is put to sleep and methotrexate is injected into her cerebrospinal fluid through her spine. I clearly remember Selah’s first LP at the very beginning of treatment. Selah was so scared. We were both crying. It was hectic and emotional. This time Selah didn’t show an ounce of fear. Selah and her Dr we’re exchanging jokes with another up until she gently dozed off.
I learned that Selah doesn’t see the hospital as a big, scary place anymore. She has embraced the hospital routine as a normal part of her life. I paid attention to how calm and relaxed she was. That day at the hospital was filled with such redemption for my heart. I’m really thankful that I was able to go with Selah to see first hand how much things have changed for the better.
Selah will be done with treatment in June. Once she’s done she will continue to go to Kapiolani for a few more years of tests and checkups. Selah is highly intuitive and she has a huge heart. She is full of empathy and loves her family with a fiery love. Her questions are always deep. Her hair is growing out beautifully and she is growing so tall. She loves creating things, selling things, writing songs and drawing.
Some days I hardly think about Selah being sick and other days my heart aches for what was and about the journey she is on. I’ve learned a lot about grief, about anger and about surrender. I’ve learned not to busy myself in hopes to avoid dealing with my pain or my emotions. I continue to practice gratitude every day. Gratitude helps me stay present and keeps my heart happy and full.
Please don’t stop praying for Selah. Please continue to pray for her complete healing. I will try to update here as much as I can. If anyone has questions, please let me know. We are so thankful for you all.
- That Selah would continue to thrive and stay healthy.
- That leukemia would be gone once and for all from her body.
- Protection from side effects from chemotherapy-even long term side effects that we won’t know about till later (being able to have babies etc)
- No set backs.
Posted on October 2, 2016
Posted on October 2, 2016To know the Brooks Ohana is to know an authentic expression of the Gospel of Jesus lived out. Long before Selah’s diagnosis, the Brooks were committed to trusting Jesus in the good and bad times. I have had the honor of living in proximity to them in this season and can attest that they have proven this family value every single day since Selah was diagnosed. Strength of character and unshakable faith expressed through gratitude have been their daily bread.
I have watched Davidson and Tiff press in to loving and caring for their family, to joy, to hard work, to worship and when they have felt like crumbling or shrinking away, they have remained steady and solid. They quietly work hard to attend to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of their whole family with such fierce love and strategic care.
I can speak first hand to Tiff’s motherly intuition and the way she seeks and obeys Jesus in the day to day being so spot on. Last week I listened as she explained that she just felt like the whole family should be near Selah on Oahu for her upcoming treatment. It was meant to be a routine treatment week for Selah but Tiff felt strongly that she needed to be close by. She courageously went with Selah and Davidson to Selah’s treatment day at the hospital for the first time since the beginning of Selah’s treatment. On the way to the hospital Selah unexpectedly became unresponsive and it became an emergency situation. Because of Tiff and Davidson being tuned into God’s direction they were both able to be there at the hospital with Selah for the most scary day they have ever lived. God has been so faithful to provide for their every need in this season and even as they have poured themselves out daily, there are unexpected logistical factors that have come up with Selah’s unexpected health setback.
When I asked Tiff if they had any practical or financial needs right now, she said with so much positivity, as she always does, “we have needs but it’s OK, it will work out!” There are so many of us in their corner cheering them on as they head toward complete healing and celebrating victory with them every day. I know they have been so grateful and blown away by the generosity of those who have given financially since Selah’s diagnosis. If you are able to give financially right now, I am asking you to join me again in surrounding this family in practical love to lift the unnecessary stress with Davidson unexpectedly missing work, renting a car on Oahu etc. and for any future unexpected setbacks that may arise. I am not going to cap it at a certain amount, let’s just give as extravagantly as we are able so that they can look back at this season and see God’s faithfulness expressed through His body.
Posted on August 9, 2016
Posted on August 9, 2016I haven't updated this page for awhile. But, really, no news is good news. My family had an awesome summer. We stayed busy! There were a lot of long beach days, trips to the park and lots of fun to be had with friends. I still can't believe that Selahs chemo journey gets to be filled with so much fun and such a deep sense of normalcy. I know we're only a few months in and that we have quite a ways to go but, I'm so in awe that Selah is able to do all the things she can. She is truly thriving despite her circumstances.
Selah has been able to stay on her chemo schedule with no set backs. She recently got done with a double dose of chemo that was every 10 days for 6ish weeks. Right now she has a 17 day break as she gears up for an intense chemo round. She will be receiving chemo everyday for two weeks. This round will begin early September. From what we have discussed with her Dr and what we have researched this particular round is pretty rough. We are asking for a lot of prayer over Selahs body as she endures this. We will keep you all updated on this leg of her journey once it begins.
My original plan was to homeschool Selah for first grade but, after observing the dynamics between Selah and Samson over the summer it became apparent to Davidson and I that each time Samson would head out for karate, soccer etc. Selah would say, "I can't go and do that because I'm sick." Selah still has some pain in her legs and some days it's hard for her to run which makes taking part in sports a bit of a challenge. I was beginning to notice some tension within their relationship. Samson is in school for the first time ever this year and I didn't want Selah to associate her being at home with me was because of sickness. Davidson and I both feel that being around other kids is what Selah needs right now. We decided to have her repeat kindergarten with her same teacher from last year. Both Selah and Samson are in school till noon each day which is great for Selah since she gets tired so easily now.
Other than that we are trekking along and trying to live as we always have. I find that I don't think about the future. It's too overwhelming and feels too out of reach. I literally have take each day as it comes. But, I think thats what we are suppose to do, right? Be present. My weak point is reminiscing on the past. I have to remind myself to not live there. Yet, my heart sometimes aches for it and somehow my mind always wanders to certain places. I find myself thinking about when Selah was a baby, before her body was ever touched by cancer.
But then I resume to my safe place within my heart where I'm able to catch my breath and gain good perspective. It's there that I am reminded about the power of my choices. I can choose to live in the past and ache for things I'll never get back or I can create something beautiful and new. Surrender truly feels peaceful. When everything is out of your control you can either resist it, be bitter and become a victim or accept it, be at peace and daily celebrate all the good in your life.
We are so thankful for each one of you. I still get messages on a daily basis with people letting me know that they are praying for Selah. It fills my family with so much ease and peace knowing that she is being covered! We are SO grateful. Thank you for praying. Thank you for loving us and standing with us. Thank you for financially giving to our family during this time. Your love and support is so appreciated by us!!!