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Posted 2017-03-25T00:12:00Z

Pressing On

Hello our beloved friends. Thank you so much for all you are doing in this fight with us. We will be eternally grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support (both financial and countless other ways) coming our way. We are so blessed by you and please know that not a day goes by without us feeling your love and thanking God for what He has given us in you.

I cannot believe it is almost the end of March. Tomorrow it will be nine months since we found out about Brian's tumor. March 28th we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.  On March 1st,  Brian had an MRI and received mostly good news from his neurooncologist. The MRI showed that the tumor had appeared to shrink in size from the December MRI and the swelling was way, way down.馃檹馃徏  We are grateful and joyful at that news!

Brian's liver enzymes, however, were very elevated and they have keeping a close watch on them to avoid liver failure. Last month, they trended down after chemo and we were hoping for the same this month. They did go down some, but he was supposed to have started his third chemo cycle this past Monday and was unable to because they had not come down enough. So we will have some lab tests Sunday and hopefully can start the next round of chemo on Monday. 

The Optune is going well. They say that he should have it on 75% of each day, and Brian's compliance has been between 91% and 94%. It is not really conducive to taking off and reapplying frequently. It now takes me about 25 minutes total to place the arrays and we change them every three days. He is such a trooper. We are praying that it is doing what it is meant to do - preventing cancer growth - while at the same time buying us the time until some amazing cure comes along. We are hitting this from every angle!

Last weekend, I was able to attend a two day brain tumor conference held at UCLA. It was a very intensive two days and very intellectually and emotionally challenging; but I am very glad I went. It really highlighted areas of hope and I was able to interact other warriors and caregivers in this fight. Brain cancer is really such an evil beast. The brain is amazing, with it's blood brain barrier protecting it from harm, but that barrier also thwarts some of the amazing immunotherapy and other cancer treatments from getting to the cancer at time. There is much hope, however, with incredible techniques for finding genetic markers and for workarounds that would boggle your mind. It's fascinating and terrifying. 

Brian is my hero and is doing well in spirit. Your prayers and love are felt daily and though he has some down days, his spirits are up most of the time. He is extremely fatigued now, and he is having a hard time with his speech and cognition, but he presses on. You can definitely tell we have been married for 19 years and dating for 24. I am able to capture things that would be very tough without years of being so intimately connected. Since his speech was comparatively above average before this, however, it doesn't really appear very off to anyone who didn't know him prior to his diagnosis. 

We just went in for an Avastin infusion today, which we do every three weeks. We are tapering him off his steroids VERY slowly. He has ended up in the ER twice while tapering and we do not want that to happen again. But the steroids are really messing with his body and he is ready to kiss them goodbye. I know if he were writing this he would tell you to never, ever get on them if you possibly could help it and if you had to, get off of them fast. We pray that he will be able to taper completely off with no side effects. 

So that is the latest update on our amazing Brian. Thank you again for everything in your support of us through this. When I get your letters and read them to Brian, tears stream down my face. I love the way you express your love for my husband, your friend. Your words highlight the beautiful man that he is and how he has touched your lives. He is also moved to tears and tells me such sweet stories about how he knows you. He gives me details about how special YOU are and it fills me with joy. He is so moved by your compassion and it blesses us immensely to hear how knowing Brian has touched you, because you have touched us in so many wonderful ways. 

We give glory to the Lord for bringing us through this and showing us love always. 

The Lord bless you and keep you; 

the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-25

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Comments (16)

  • Teresa Zucchet
    Teresa Zucchet

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this update Lisa. I am thrilled to hear that Brian's tumor is shrinking and will pray that his liver enzymes go down. Sending much love to you and your entire family! xoxo, Teresa

    3 years agoReply
  • Jeffrey Firestone
    Jeffrey Firestone

    It's great to hear of Brian's progress. While it may seem at times like it's "two steps, forward, one step back" that's still coming out ahead! :) Praying for your families' and Brian's continued strength and for Brian's continued healing.

    3 years agoReply
  • Ward Campbell
    Ward Campbell

    I think you should say that you are hitting it from every angel! Because it sounds like that is the case. Very good report!

    3 years agoReply
  • Jeff Spellman
    Jeff Spellman

    Thank you so much for the update. Please tell Brian we are thinking of you all and won't stop praying 🙏

    3 years agoReply
  • Brett and Kim
    Brett and Kim

    Amazing man and woman! It has been quite a full month for you two. Joy to you as you celebrate 19 years of marriage. Your faithfulness and devotion to each other in the Lord through all these years is a beautiful love story that inspires us all. With love and prayers.

    3 years agoReply
  • debbie chernoff
    debbie chernoff

    Thank you for the continual updates and information....I keep thinking about the words of Paul in 2 cor2:14, "Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere." "Always" seems so out of place at times like this..and yet there it is. And as one looking in, I know I'm not alone, as I stand in awe of you and your family's courage and steadfastness. His fragrance is truly emanating from you all. And the prayers continue for healing, strength, provision and all that God has yet for you all. Much love and gratitude. debbie chernoff

    3 years agoReply
  • Lois Spellman
    Lois Spellman

    Thank you so much for keeping us updated. The two of you are amazing. You are an inspiration. Thank you. Brian I so wish we were at Calico. I miss my gang of kids and all of the marvelous times we had camping. Love you.

    3 years agoReply
  • Shannon Pell
    Shannon Pell

    Smiling for the Smileys.

    3 years agoReply
  • Janice L Lalley
    Janice L Lalley

    Praying Brian is able to get off the steroids soon. May God bless and care for your family.

    3 years agoReply
  • Catherine Nieto
    Catherine Nieto

    Your posts always make my day because they are filled with so much love! Love right back to you and your beautiful family. You and Brian are teaching me so much by the way you are handling this. I am grateful!!

    3 years agoReply
  • Lynne (camera)Hamilton
    Lynne (camera)Hamilton

    Thank you so much for the update I am praying for you and your family daily Gods got this

    3 years agoReply
  • Manuel Medeiros
    Manuel Medeiros

    Thank you so much for posting these updates, Lisa. Brian is clearly a very courageous man, and he has a lovely, remarkable family. He's frequently in my thoughts, as is the rest of you.

    3 years agoReply
  • Sheryl Drobny
    Sheryl Drobny

    Lisa, thank you for the update. Your thoughts are encouraging and beautiful in spite of your struggles. I am praying. Be strong and courageous . . .

    3 years agoReply
  • Kristi LaBonte Roggensack
    Kristi LaBonte Roggensack

    You really are both fighting cancer and in prayer. I am honored to join you and others in lifting Brian up before God. We all appreciate you letting us join you on this journey. Thank you for keeping us updated and informed. And happy belated anniversary. You make a great team.

    3 years agoReply
  • Chris Crawford
    Chris Crawford

    I was just at dinner with my good friend Randy Duarte and we were talking about how neither of us had been able to track down our old friend Brian Smiley from our days at Guin Foss. So today I decided I'd google Brian and this page came up. I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis and your battle with cancer. Randy and I both have such fond memories of what turned out to be both our 'best friend' at different times...Mr. Brian Smiley. Oddly, many years later at Foothill High, Randy and I became best buds. Anyways, I just wanted to touch base and say hello. And I'll keep you and your battle in my prayers. Keep fighting Brian!

    3 years agoReply
  • Jeffrey Firestone
    Jeffrey Firestone

    Wishing you a Happy Easter as you continue to heal and stay strong on your journey. :)

    3 years agoReply