Brennen was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 2.
His mother tells his story in her own words.
"Just the word “Leukemia” was scary to me at the time. I had no idea everything that went along with it and the journey we were about to be on as a family. I guess the story really starts the first week of June. I had to be admitted to the hospital to be monitored for a week before I could deliver Brennen’s little sister, Brooklyn. It was the first time I had been away from Brennen overnight. He started to be extremely cranky, not eating well and waking up at night. We contributed it all to the fact he was away from his mommy for the first time. I finally delivered my baby girl on June 11, 2010. That day, my parents brought Brennen up to the hospital to see me and his new sister. I immediately asked them if they thought his face looked puffy. Everyone told me he looked fine and nothing was wrong. However, when we got home, the crying, not eating well, etc. continued. I called his pediatrician and got a same day appointment. Verdict- ear infection. Ok, no big deal. He had several before this one. But two days later and he was not improving and now his little lymph nodes were swollen. Took him back to pediatrician and they explained the infection was just really bad and gave a stronger antibiotic. Next morning, his little neck looked like he swallowed a golf ball. Once again, back to the pediatrician. This time, they decided to run labs. Nurse came back in the room and explained the sample didn’t work and they needed to get another sample. I didn’t think much of it. About 10 minutes later, the pediatrician came in and started crying. Instinctively, I started crying and I didn’t even know anything yet! The fact the doctor was crying was a very bad sign! She explained to me that her machine wouldn’t even read Brennen’s white blood count due to it being high and that she was certain he has either Lymphoma or Leukemia. My heart sunk but a part of me thought she could be wrong. She called Texas Children’s Hospital and told them we were on our way.
When we arrived, they were indeed waiting for us. They instantly took us back to a room, ran labs, did an echocardiogram, x-rays- you name it. Within a few hours, on June 22, 2010, they confirmed he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. His WBC was so high they were afraid his little organs were going to shut down and he had a large mass around his heart and trachea. He would have literally suffocated if I had not taken him in when I did and the mass continued to grow. Due to his high counts, he was admitted to the ICU. That day and the days to follow for the next 3 ½ years have left memories a mother should never have. Watching what he had to go through was heartbreaking.
Brennen is truly my hero. He would wear a smile even when in pain. He endured 26 Lumbar punctures, 10 days of radiation, 6 cancer center hospital stays, 1 ICU stay, 7 blood transfusions, 2 bone marrow aspirations and 3 years, 3 months and 27 days of chemotherapy!!
I thank God every day for Brennen’s strength and courage to get through. I am so grateful! I pray for a cure so others do not have to go through this."