July 28, 2011
Brittany started having headaches in June 2011, I called Dr. Olson, her
neurosurgeon at Emory and he said to take her to the emergency room in Calhoun.
Well, I didn't want to wait in the waiting room for hours, so I called (Dr
Brown) her primary care doctor and told her that I wanted to bring Brittany to
see her. Dr Brown checker her over and called the emergency room in Calhoun and
told them that we were coming right over.
Doctor at the emergency room ordered
a CT scan and called Dr. Olson. Dr. Olson wanted to see her that afternoon. At
Dr. Olson office they checked Brittany over and tried to drain the cyst from
both catheters, but, they were both blocked. He ordered a MRI for the next
The MRI showed only a slight increase in the cyst, no change in the tumors. He
wanted to replace one of the catheters and drain the cyst. Surgery was performed
on June 22 at Emory.
During the surgery, Dr. Olson said a small blood vessel was
attached to the catheter causing a bleed in her brain, this caused meningitis
and then she developed double pneumonia. She is paralyzed on her right side and
is very weak on her left side. She was put on a ventilator just to give her body
rest. A pic line was put in because of some of the powerful antibiotics and to
help with labs and other blood test. A feeding line was put in, because of the
pneumonia, and because she was having trouble swallowing. Her blood pressure ran
high, her heart rate was high, she ran high fevers then low grade fevers. They
took her off the ventilator after about a week and put in a trach.
Drs. at Emory said that it was time to send her to an LTAC facility,so after checking out The
Specialty Hospital in Rome we decided that was the place that God wanted us to
First Brittany had to be stable enough to travel. After 24 days at Emory she
was transferred to Rome. Here at The Specialty Hospital, after she is medically
stable they will work to get her off the trach, feeding tube and pic line. She
is paralyzed on her right side and very weak on her left, she is able to move
her left arm and leg. She has speech, physical and occupational therapy three
times a week for about 30 mins. When she is more stable she will be transfered
to Floyd for inpatient rehab. As of now we have been here at The Specialty
Hospital for two weeks. Please pray for Brittany and pray that she will
continue to heal.
July 19, 2000
Thanks to research and dedication from doctors, on July 19,2000,
Dr. Nelson Ousiku and Dr.Ian Crocker of Emory Hospital performed Stereo Tactic Radio Surgery.
This was a procedure that had never been performed on her type of tumors. In September,
Dr. O'Brien hospitalized her for what we thought was an infection from the surgery. No infection
was found, but the catheter had to be replaced. Only 5 cc's was drained from the cyst.
Brain Tumor Clinic was scheduled on November 16, where we were informed that the MRI showed that
the cyst had not filled since the last time that it was drained (about 2 months). This has been
the longest time period in 3 years that the cyst has not had to be drained. On December 27,
Dr. O'Brien scheduled another MRI. Again the cyst did not need to be drained.
March 29, 2001
Brain Tumor Clinic visit today, MRI scheduled for 11:30 then clinic at 1:30 Dr. O'Brien tells
us the cyst has NOT FILLED UP and the tumors are still the same. We sat there in stunned silence,
afraid that we did not hear him right. (Thank You Lord!) Then he tells us that something very tiny
showed up on the front of her brain stem, but they are not sure what it is. It could be a piece of
dying tumor or a cyst that has broken off or that it could be another cyst forming. We are so overjoyed
that the cyst has not refilled that we just can't think about another one forming. We are so glad that
everything is going so well. We pray that on her next clinic day that everything is gone. Dr. Lillian
Meacham, Brittany's endocrinologist will continue to keep her on her monthly Lupron enjections.
May 2, 2001
0n April 14, The Brittany Foundation's "Ride For A Miracle" raised over
$14,000.00. Christopher Rude, Beth Kepple, Southside Steve Rickman of 96rock lead over 500
bikers on the 82 mile route and Schlotzkys Deli fed over 700 people. We donated $10,000.00 to
The Brain Tumor Foundation For Children of Atlanta. What a great birthday present for Brittany.
We were amazed at the great turnout. What a great bunch of people. As we were returning to the
parking lot of Gordon Central High School, we were the first ones to get parked and when I
turned around to watch all of the bikers coming in, my eyes filled with uncontrollable tears
and my heart was so full of joy and pride. Everyone seemed to have a great time. The raffle
bags were a huge success. The 96rock BodSquad and the 96rock van were also there to help
provide live entertainment. 96rock had items to give away. The 96rock gang are all just a
great bunch of wonderful people. Thanks 96rock and Schlotzkys Deli for making this dream a
reality. Thank you to everyone that donated items for the raffle bags. Volunteers and bikers,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
December 17, 2001
Back for another MRI, Dr. O'Brien scheduled surgery. The catheter had
to be replaced (twice) then the cyst had to be drained. The small cyst that formed on the front
of her brainstem, drained at the same time the other cyst drained.
January 14, 2002
Another visit to Dr. O'Brien and everything looks good. We ask
Dr. O'Brien what Brittany's prognosis was, and he told us that usually within the first
16 months the tumor returns with a vengeance, but because of Brittany's attitude and her faith
and all of the prayers, he didn't need to say anything else. As a matter of fact I don't think
that he knew what else to say. We knew that the great heavenly physician was in charge. We don't have
to go back for 6 months. Pray!
April 13, 2002
The Brittany Foundation's second annual "Ride For A Miracle raised
over $15,000.00 and donated $ 10,000.00 to the Make A Wish Foundation of Greater Atlanta and
North Ga. Christopher Rude of 96rock led over 400 bikers on a 96 mile route and Williamson
Bros. Bar-B-Q fed over 600 people. It was an overcast day. Some of the bikers had to ride
through rain just to get to Calhoun. The 96rock BodSquad and the 96rock van helped provide
live entertainment. We are so glad to have them back with us again this year. Williamson Bros.
Bar-B-Que fed us the best bar-b-que lunch. We are so grateful to have such wonderful sponsors.
I really appreciate everyone coming out on a rainy day. That says a lot. Thank you everyone.
May 6, 2002
Complaining of being very tired, very unsteady, falling a lot.
DR. O'Brien sends us to have a MRI. Nothing has changed. Thank you Lord!
September 25, 2002
Brittany is very unsteady, falling a lot, very tired.
Complaining of headaches. Brittany thinks that the cyst has filled up. This is one of the
few times that Brittany ask me to call Dr.O'Brien and he sends us for a MRI. Great news,
nothing has changed.
January 16, 2003
Same symptoms as before. After a MRI and blood work we are sent
to the AFLAC floor to the Brain Tumor Clinic. We see only 5 of her doctors. Nothing has
changed with the tumors or cyst. Dr. Meacham, her endocrinologist (hormone Dr.) say's that
Brittany has grown just a little bit. (That's wonderful news) so she increases her monthly
April 12, 2003
The Brittany Foundation's "Ride For A Miracle" raised over
$17,000.00 and donated $12,500.00 to the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children to go
toward the purchase of a 5 million dollar Intra Operative MRI machine for the Children's
Health Care Systems of Atlanta. 96rock provided entertainment and the 96rock Bodsquad and
our local National Guard led over 650 bikers along the 90 mile route. Williamson Bros.
Bar-B-Que fed over 1100 people. Everyone was so generous to donate their time merchandise.
December 20, 2003
The Brittany Foundation teamed up with HOSA, a club from
Calhoun High School to collect stuffed animals to be given to sick children at Children's
Health Care Systems of Atlanta at Egleston and to children of Calhoun and Gordon Co who
are properly buckled up, and to needy children of Calhoun and Gordon Co. The H.O.S.A.
club and the students of Calhoun High School are a great bunch of caring and loving kids.
Their dedication to this project went far beyond anything that we ever imagined. We
collected over 300 stuffed animals what a great group of kids.
July 17, 2003
Brain Tumor Clinic, MRI looks great no changes in the tumors.
Dr .Meacham wants to put her on growth hormones. We will all have to talk things over
and pray that we do the right thing. When you put things in Gods hand it makes life so
much easier. We have decided to place Brittany on the Norditropin, (growth hormone
injection that looks like a fountain pen).She has to have an injection every night.
A nurse comes to our home to show us how to give Brittany the injections. I didn't
think that I could give Brittany the injection, but you do what you have to do. I
hate needles, I can still remember my doctor and his nurses and my poor momma having
to hold me down, while I kick and scream, just to give me a shot. Thank goodness
Brittany is better than I was-(am). Now Brittany gets an injection every night and
Don gives her another one every 28 days. The one Don gives her is in a syringe with
a regular needle. I just haven't worked past my own fear of needles to give that one
to her yet.
July 27, 2004
Brian Tumor Clinic. Dr. Janss, Brittany's Oncologist thinks
that one of the cysts looks larger. Comparing the MRI from last year to the new one, she
shows me that Brittany's head is not positioned in the same exact place. Maybe that is
why one of the cysts looks a little larger. But there are three cyst instead of one.
The tumors still look the same. Why did we not know about them? Dr. Janss wrote a
prescription for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and HIPPO Therapy.
Dr. Janss made an appointment for another MRI to be done on October 3rd.
Dr. Meacham is very pleased, Brittany has grown two cm. She reduces her
Norditropin .2 mgs. Dr. Meacham also wants to see Brittany back on October, 3rd.
April 10, 2004
The Brittany Foundation hosted the 4th Annual "Ride for a
Miracle.". Southside Steve Rickman of 96rock led over 672 bikes on the 68 mile route.
The 96rock Bodsquad and the 96rock van were there to entertain and help with the raffle bags.
Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Que fed over 1000 people. Sgt. Justin Bumgarder and Sgt. Jerry Waldrop
of the National Guard lead the route in Hummers with some very special children, Brandi,
Conor, Richard, Megan, Frederick. These children are very special because of a life
threatening illness. You can tell by the sparkle in their eyes how much they love life
and if we can make their life just a little happier, then that means the world to us.
The event raised over $20,000.00. $15.000.00 was donated to the Brain Tumor Foundation
For Children of Atlanta to go to the Children's Health Care of Atlanta toward the
Intra-Operative MRI machine.
Brittany celebrated her 15th birthday on April 14.
Every birthday is very special for us, because 60% of
children with brain tumors die within the first five years. She deals with her illness and all of the other
things that go along with it. She enjoys riding the motorcycle with her daddy and going shopping, going to
Camp Sunshine, which is a camp for kids with cancer. Camp Sunshine is held at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge Ga.
This camp is wonderful, they have nurses and doctors and counselors on staff at every camp. The great people
volunteer their time just to be with these kids. They have several different camps throughout the year for
kids with different illnesses or needs. Brittany always has a great time when she goes. Brittany also
sponsors two children, Aaron and his sister Mayreen from the Philippians, through Save The Children.
My daddy wanted me to send a copy of Brittany's Story to them. So I sent a copy to the director,
Mr. Mike Novell and they sent a package to Brittany with pictures of Aaron and Mayreen, their family,
and all of the staff at the Philippians location, along with a big banner that said, Brittany, Don't Ever
Give Up, We Love You. Every year Brittany sends two packages to Aaron and Mayreen just to say, I Love You.
Brittany had a wish granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The wish team from Dalton came to our home
to visit with Brittany. When they came in they put a crown and a cape on Brittany and she held a wand then
she made her wish. They granted her wish a couple of weeks later. My parents took Brittany out for a
little while and when she came back home the wish team put her crown and cape on her and she carried
her wand to the den and there was the computer that she had wished for. Not only a computer, but a
desk and everything that you could imagine to go with it. She had a Barbie cake and a Barbie doll
and a pizza party. What a surprise! The Make -A -Wish Foundation published a book called The Eyes
of a Wish, and featured pictures of wish kids. Brittany is in the book with several pictures including one with her computer. They have several parties throughout the year.
They had an autograph party for wish kids to meet Monica. I really appreciate Monica taking the time to
brighten these kids day.
The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children has featured Brittany in their newsletter
and features on the ride. They have a Christmas party every year that is awesome. The first year that we
went, I stood in the middle of the floor and cried. They had everything from clowns to animals from the zoo,
mascots from everywhere in Atlanta, Barbie, Cheerleaders from the Hawks, the Falcons, Ga, Tech, UGA, craft
tables everywhere, games, cotton candy popcorn, and Santa Clause was there to give every child a present
that they had ask for. This is held at the Shrine Temple and the Shriners cook hamburgers and hotdogs
with all of the trimmings. This is so great I ( I mean Brittany) can't wait to go back the next year.
They also have different outings throughout the year where kids can enjoy life. They are often at
Egleston on clinic day with refreshments and just a comforting shoulder to lean on. Mary Campbell
is the director and really cares about children, we are so honored to be able to help them, they are a
special group of compassionate people.
Brittany has been the princess of our local Relay For Life for
the American Cancer Society. Complete with a crown and leading the walk. She was asked to be on a video
that featured kids telling other kids about radiation treatments.
When Brittany had her last radiation
treatment, the techs gave her a graduating certificate and she gave them a framed picture of a giraffe
that she had drawn and colored. They still had the picture up the last time that we went over for a visit.
I thank God for Derrick, Brandi and Brittany and for the joy they bring into our lives. We are just waiting
for our miracle to happen. Please, before you go to sleep tonight, say a special prayer for my Hero,
Brittany and for all of the children who are going to win this fight and for the families that have suffered
the lose of a precious child. Because of one of my own selfish needs and weaknesses, one of the hardest
things for me to accept is that when God heals, he does it for his own reasons and in his own time. And
when God promises that someone will be healed, that healing does not necessarily mean here on earth, we
will all be made whole in heaven.
Thank you for letting us share Brittany's story. We want to share her story with the world. Because of
Brittany's faith and determination we are proud to announce," The Brittany Foundation Inc." Our goal is
to help pediatric brain tumor patients and children with life threatening illnesses. Please help us
promote Brain Tumor Awareness, so that a cure will be found and to honor Brittany and the other children
who are fighting this terrible disease and in memory of the children who have already lost their battle.
In time, we pray that a cure will be found for these children so that they will have a miracle in their
"Fear not, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."