2005-02-24 / Community
Moorpark girl with brain cancer writes of her fight with the disease
Moorpark 14-year-old Breanna Pflaumer was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer on Dec. 28, 2004. The Acorn will run updates twice a month on Breanna’s fight against the disease. We will also cover the community’s support and fundraising efforts on behalf of the family. The following is the first installment from Breanna’s journal combined with e-mail reports from her dad, Tom. The family, along with mom Terrie and friend Jody Duclos, left for Texas on Feb. 13 where Breanna is currently undergoing an experimental treatment for the cancer.
Tom: Howdy y’all from Tom, Terrie, Breanna and Jody Duclos here in Houston, Texas.
The weather has been wonderful with clear skies and temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees, but we have been focusing on cancer treatment rather than rodeos, shopping or even playing golf.
We arrived Sunday and got settled into our hotel room for a lengthy stay. Monday was an exhausting day starting at the clinic at 10:30 am consulting with doctors, blood tests, and physical exams. We were finally cleared for the insertion of a catheter and finally returned to the hotel after 9:00 pm.
Breanna, Mon., Feb. 14: Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! I went to the Burzynski Clinic and met all my doctors, who made me feel welcomed! In the early evening I set off to get my catheter put in, and was REALLY nervous. But, to my surprise the procedure only lasted 20 minutes
Tom: The actual treatment started Tuesday morning with Terrie, Jody, and Breanna being trained in the infusion process which is mechanically pumped into Breanna at different intervals and quantities over 24 hours. The infusion is computer programmed by a small pump carried around by Breanna in a hand bag and you wouldn’t even know that she’s hooked up, but the difficult part is the preparation of the bags that you connect to the pump and practicing many safety procedures for sterilization. I am particularly slow in learning this but Terrie and Jody have been aggressive in learning the idiosyncrasies of the process and programming of the computer. We have had problems along the way but that is to be expected over the course of the weeks we are here. When we return home we all should be masters of the computer and the procedure and willing to train all who are interested.
Breanna, Tue., Feb. 15: Guess what? I’m gaining weight! I started treatment today and it was as easy as 1-2-3! I was in heaven, in a recliner chair, playing games while getting fluids pumped into me.
Tom: This treatment under clinical trial has been an increasing alternative to chemotherapy and radiation treatment with little or no permanent side effects like the conventional practices. The original diagnosis from our group of physicians was that her tumor was a mixed glioma. The suggested treatment was a strong combination of chemo and radiation that has never been documented on success or failure making her case a clinical trial.
After reviewing all the long-term side effects and the immediate health issues we agreed that this treatment offered the best results while maintaining the quality of life. We can always fall back on the conventional method if there are no results 4 to 6 months down the road, but since we have been here we have seen many other patients with similar tumors that have traveled down that path with short-term results. Many have been continuously offered different chemotherapy treatments but with little or no success and expressed that the cons outweighed the pros ultimately bringing them to the Burzynski Clinic.
Breanna, Monday, February 21: Happy Birthday Grandma Carol! Today I had another quick treatment and then we went to another grocery store! This store had little stores inside which sold souvenirs, jewelry, clothes, and other stuff. I thought that was different. When we got back to the hotel the staff had hooked our TV up with a VCR and left a lot of VHS movies for me to watch. So, we watched the "Wizard of Oz" and "Annie"! The employees here at the Residence Inn are so sweet and treat me like a princess! Well, that sums up my week. I miss Moorpark, my friends and family. I look forward to seeing y’all soon! Hugs and Kisses, Breanna Pflaumer.
Tom: Before leaving for Texas, Breanna met the singer "Usher" through a close friend. He was practicing for the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and took time out to meet her and our family, which turned out to be the most exciting thing she has ever done in her life. There are some pictures on her website of her and the superstar. She personally invited him to join us at her golf tournament on March 14th at Moorpark Country Club. I can’t say for sure but he could be in the neighborhood.
I want to say a special thank you to John Spykerman and the Ventura County Firefighters who organized the Family Fun Run and the Pat & Oscar’s Restaurant fund raiser. Both were spectacular events with an awesome turnout of people, raising an enormous amount of money for the medical treatment of Breanna. Thanks again to all who were involved and hope to see you at the Golf tournament!
The Pflaumer Family
To help Breanna, visit http://www.hembree.us/Breanna.html.y