Meet Your Buddy Bryen!

"Hi, my name is Bryen. I am 15 years old now and love ALL food!

My favorite place to eat is Soup Plantation but I'm not supposed to eat there right now (but I can't wait to eat there now that chemo is almost done). I hate mouth sores especially when I am starving! I love to cook my own recipes which I still do when I feel well enough to. I am very creative. I love Country music and playing my guitar and piano. I am still taking guitar lessons and I practice piano even though my mom hasn't had the time to teach me since I've gotten sick. When I am not playing outside, I like to play with my awesome Star Trek Legos or read books. My favorite types of books are mysteries, Star Wars or historical/historical fiction. My favorite school subject is History but I especially love the Civil War Era! I am very intrigued by military strategy so much so that I joined the Civil Air Patrol (Squadron 47) and my favorite board-game is "Risk." When I'm allowed to, I like to play video games. My favorite x-box games are "Minecraft" and "Lego Star Wars." I hate being sick and wish life could be normal but I am still a vivid child and try to make the best of things!

I know God has a plan for my life, and I know that includes me beating cancer!"

-Bryen Wood



Here is the beginning of Bryen's Journey with Cancer...

Bryen found a "lump that feels like a mushroom" at the beginning of February 2014 and shared it with his dad. We made the drs. appt. to see his primary physician and he confirmed that, yes, the lump was abnormal and he'd like some blood tests run and a sonogram performed.  Luckily all the blood tests came back normal. However we knew the easy stuff had been ruled out and it was most likely a "mass." This was confirmed when the sonogram showed a hyper-echoic mass. We were told a "probably benign mass" had been found and needed to be further evaluated by a specialist. We had already learned that a sonogram cannot determine if a mass is benign or not...

The specialist ordered an exploratory surgery & more tests.  Everything was stat: new blood tests, chest x-ray, CT scan, even the surgery (one week from the appt.) The Dr. gave the run-down on side-effects of surgery as well as possible need to be referred to oncology. Bryen completed all those tests.  A week later on March 3rd, 2014, the exploratory surgery removed a tumor that was less than 5 cm.  Bryen went through surgery like a trouper with no complications!  He healed nicely from surgery with the hopes that he'd never have another one! We had to wait 2 weeks before we learned if the tumor was cancerous.  March 14th, 2014, finally the diagnosis came: stage 1 clinical group 2 embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.

After we were referred to oncology, Bryen DID have more surgeries.  He had a power medi-port placed to help with blood draws and prepare for chemotherapy.  He also had a peritoneal lymphadenectomy.  Some of the lymphnodes removed were cancerous so a treatment plan was urgently arranged.  Bryen began a new, specialized treatment protocol that would be 48 weeks long.  His journey through 39 sessions of chemotherapy was not easy!  He had numerous complications including liver issues.  We figured out about 2/3 the way through that Bryen was better able to handle chemo if he was hooked up to IV fluids before, during & after his chemo.  That's when he started voluntarily staying in the hospital for every chemo session.  For the first time EVER he began NOT vomiting after chemo!  He would come home after 2-3 days in the hospital and be practically normal!  THIS was how Bryen finished treatment.  His last chemotherapy was March 9, 2015.

All of Bryen's scans so far have been clean!  Bryen still has to complete his last set of scans and have his medi-port surgically removed BUT then he's hopefully finished with cancer!   THEN he gets to move on to his awesome WISH to "pan for gold in Alaska!"  :o)

Some interesting facts about Bryen's cancer journey...

1.  It took just over 5 weeks from the time that Bryen found the lump to his diagnosis of cancer.  

2. Bryen will finish chemo just shy of a year from diagnosis!

3. He's had 3 surgeries which have totaled 9 hours.

4. He's had 3 RBC blood transfusions.

5. By the time this last chemo session is over, he will have spent 106 days sitting in a hospital bed in the pediatric unit during the year of treatment; that's not including the out patient treatments when he was in a hospital bed for a few hours at a time! That's almost 1/3 of his year!

6. He spent his Spring Break of 2014 undergoing his 1st surgery and recovering from it. He was in the hospital for April Fool's Day, Halloween & Thanksgiving 2014.

7. Over the course of his 48 weeks of treatment he gained a baby brother & lost a doggy pet (to adoption, don't worry!)  :o)