Brooks' Story

On December 28, 2009, Brooks Call was diagnosed with acute Myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia. AML is a very aggressive cancer that starts in the bone marrow and keeps the blood cells from maturing the way they should. Brooks is 13 years old and is the son of Greg and Lisa Call. He has two younger brothers, Ethan and Nic.

Along with our prayers, well wishes, and positive thoughts for Brooks, what can we do to help Brooks and his family? Our goal is to allow all family and friends to assist Greg and Lisa with any funding we can donate for the many expenses that will be involved in keeping Brooks going strong. Not only would we like to contribute to help with the mounting medical bills, but also for gas, babysitting, food while staying with Brooks at the hospital, and many other expenses.

Please look at the "Please Help Brooks" section on how-to-donate. We have made it very easy for all family and friends to help out – where ever you are! Please donate, and pass along this notice to all of your family and friends. Have them go to this blog to find out more information on how to donate and get updates on Brooks!
Thanks, from all Brooks’ Family!

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kia Kaha

Back at the hospital. What are we doing here? It's like going back to a nightmare that I just thought I woke up from. At least that's how I feel today. The first thing the doctor said to me this morning was, "our first concern here is having Brooks respond to the chemo, (which he is), our second concern is keeping him alive while his ANC is low. We do loose kids from infections." I know the doc had good intentions but what?? It's really hard to stay positive around here, I don't need to be reminded about how serious this is. It's all that I think about. Every day we hear about what's happening to the other kids on the unit and hold our breath that Brooks can somehow avoid all of it. Last week Brooks watched the movie Forever Strong for the first time. He loved it. It reminded him of his brothers and what he is going through. Now whenever he gets scared he looks at me and says "Kia Kaha mom". So I guess today I should listen to him and remember . . . Kia kaha.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brooks goes "Online"!!!!!!

Brooks got his laptop tonight and was having too much fun video conferencing with Grandma and Grandpa Call (Doc popped-in the video for a cameo too).  I am not sure who had more fun - Brooks or David and Claire :-)  
Thanks so much for the generous laptop donation from Mark and Sheri's friend in Washington.  This will lift his spirits as Brooks starts another month of hospitalization tomorrow.  Carson purchased a new WebCam for the laptop and we set Brooks up with a Window Live Messenger account (  This will help Brooks stay connected with family and friends.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Air Hugs

This is a picture of Syd and Brooks giving each other an air hug. There is no touching allowed because we all have lots of an air hug is as good as it gets!

My Bro

Today Brooks had surgery. Everything went really well and he is back home tonight. They needed to take some bone marrow to find out how much cancer is left in his body. He will be back in the hospital on Friday for round two...but we are so glad that he was able to spend some time at home with the family. Nic has loved having Brooks at home. Every night when it gets quiet around the house, Nic says, "Brooks, I am so glad that you are home." It is so sweet. Lisa has caught Nic watching Brooks while he sleeps. I imagine that Nic feels like he needs to be the big, strong protector of his older brother. How ironic that Nic was such a tiny little thing when he was born and he had to be protected, and now he is doing the same for Brooks. Seriously, brothers rock!

Head Shaving Party

All of the boys in the family have joined in and shaved their heads to support Brooks. There was a big head shaving party at Grandma's house on Monday night and Brooks shaved just about everyone. We all love you Brooks and are glad that you are doing so well!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good news

Brooks has been doing really well the past few days. On Friday, the doctors allowed him to go home until the next chemo treatment. He has been able to produce a few good blood cells on his own. Yeah! He is so strong! He is home, but he is still unable to have visits from friends or family because his immune system is still very low. As long as he doesn't run a fever, he can be at home. Ethan and Nic have been so happy to see their brother. As far as I know, the next round of chemo for Brooks starts on Friday of this week. Our family is praying that he does just as well with the second round as he did with the first. Stay tough buckaroo! We love you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

AML Leukemia 101

Every morning the doctor comes in to see Brooks and reviews his labs with us. Right now, because of the chemotherapy, Brooks doesn't have any of the blood cells that would normally protect him from infection. So he has no "immune system". We are watching his labs to see when those blood cells start rebuilding. We are being told that won't happen for about another week. We also watch his red blood cell and platelet count. If those are really low, Brooks will get a transfusion that day. The chemotherapy kills the good and bad blood cells so he has been getting transfusions quite a bit since we have been here. Once his blood counts rebuild, we will start the next round of chemotherapy. Because Ethan and Nic were not a bone marrow match, Brooks won't get a bone marrow transplant (as long as he responds to chemo). We will keep repeating this process 4 more times over the next 6 to 9 months. There are many things that could happen while his body is so fragile. We are hoping and praying he will continue to be strong.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just chillin'

Brooks has been doing well the past few days. He is just kickin' back and playing lots of XBox. Brooks is teaching Lisa how to play Call of Duty. His plan is to teach her how to play really well so that she can beat all of his friends by the time they are through with his hospital stay.

Lisa wears a mask at night when she is in the room with Brooks. It is hard for him to tell if she is smiling, so he always asks, "Are you smiling?" (typical Brooks). I really think that Lisa needs to find some masks with facial expressions. Then he can always know how she is feeling.

Several people have asked about getting tested to see if they are a match with Brooks bone marrow. Because Ethan and Nic aren't a match, the plan is to continue with the chemo treatments and to monitor how Brooks body responds. If the doctors decide that a bone marrow transplant is still needed after the chemo, we will send all of you the information about being tested. We are hopeful that he will do well with the chemo. : )

Moving Day

Thank you to everyone for helping move the family this weekend! It was so touching to see all of the work that had been done in the home in St. George before we arrived. We appreciate the huge amount of time that was contributed by so many people. Thanks to the family and friends who were ready to move all of the boxes into the new home when the trucks arrived. We are so blessed!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Losing it...

I was able to hang out with Brooks today, and I have to say, that kid is so freakin' amazing! Brooks looks at every day as an opportunity to experience and learn new things. He rocks! The pictures I am posting tonight look a little sad, but don't be sad. Brooks wasn't. He didn't want to shave his head right away, because he thought it was cool to pull out his own hair...only a boy would think like that. This afternoon, he finally told the nurse to shave it all off. All of the uncles and cousins are ready to shave their heads in support of Brooks. We are hoping that Grandpa Palmer and Grandpa Call join in. ; ) Brooks has been playing XBox non stop for the past few days and Lisa is so happy that he has the energy to do it. We love you bud!

Note from Lisa

I told myself when I agreed to do this blog that I would stick to the facts and not allow emotions to be involved. Thanks to my sister who I love dearly, that idea didn't last very long. I cried when I read her blog last night. I'm glad that she is brave enough to say what I couldn't. I hate this....

It is so hard to talk about what is going on with out my heart feeling like it is going to crack. I am sorry for all of the unreturned calls and texts.... Please know that we feel like we are being carried through this with all of your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate everything you are all doing and all of the well wishes. Thank you!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cancer sucks

Brooks started losing his hair today. We also found out that Nic and Ethan aren't a match for the bone marrow. Dang! More chemo. They told Lisa that Brooks has type M2 AML, which has a little better outlook than other types of AML. Hopefully that will bring the odds over 50/50. All in, it has been a pretty tough day.

P.S. Cancer sucks and we hate it!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Pizza Day

Brooks has been craving cheese pizza for a while. On Thursday night, Brooks ordered a feast of food from the cafeteria (cheese pizza, chicken soup, a lime slush, a fruit punch gatoraid, and I think a few other items). That boy was ready to eat! The food came, he ate a few bites, and he was finished. He has really had a hard time eating more than a few bites. Tonight, Lisa was able to bring him cheese pizza from Little Caesars, and he ate a full slice and a half! It is so fun to see him feeling as good as he does today.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Dance

From Lisa (Brooks Mom) - January 10, 2010

I left the hospital Friday night and Greg took over. It is hard to leave worrying about what might happen while I'm away. Greg is such an amazing father and a lot of fun. I know that they will have a party while I'm away if they can. Brooks has had some good days this week. To my surprise, he didn't get nauseous from the chemo at all. He has had a few severe headaches though. We have found out that when his platelets get low he gets nose bleeds and bleeding in the back of his throat. For some reason it has been worse at night and it keeps him awake trying to get the blood out instead of swallowing it. When he finally has a minute for sleep, the nurses are back in the room doing something else to take care of him. He is so tired but he hasn't complained once. So many people have asked me how Brooks is doing, you know, how he is handling all of this mentally. He is doing better than I would have ever thought. I am so amazed by how he has responded to everything. So, yes, he has always been laid back and easy going, and this hasn't changed that about him. He has such a big heart. He is looking after me too (shouldn't it be the other way around??) He told me the other night that I should leave for a little while and take some time for myself. He said, "Mom, you deserve it, you've been doing so much for me." What?! It caught me by surprise. It shouldn't, because this is Brooks, but it does because I don't know how he can be so strong. Last night I got a text from him. It was Homer Simpson dancing to some music. It said, "I got this text when I first got sick and it made me smile, I hope it makes you smile now too." I don't know if he sent this to just me or his friends too. He is amazing for thinking about how he can cheer other people up and make them happy at this time in his life. He is teaching me so much.

Yesterday was Brooks last day of chemotherapy for this round. Wheew... One down. Last night they disconnected him from all of the IV lines they had going in him and now he won't be attached to that pole for the next few weeks. He was really excited and had some energy when I talked to him last night. We all did the happy dance for him and had a good laugh. I love times like this.

Take a breath

From Lisa (Brooks mom) Jan. 7, 2009
Wow, it's hard to know where to start. I’m still trying to process everything. We brought Brooks to the emergency room at Primary Children’s Hospital on Monday afternoon (the 28th). We had barely been admitted when the doctor here dropped the "L" word. What a shock. Brooks spent the first night in ICU really struggling. Tuesday, the doctors officially told us that Brooks has AML Leukemia. (A good site for information is, look for children’s AML). We were told that he would need to stay in the hospital for the duration of his treatments which will be around six months. If we are lucky, he may be able to go home for a few days in between treatment phases. Wednesday they took him in for surgery. They checked his spinal fluid for leukemia and put chemotherapy into his spinal fluid at the same time. They did a bone marrow biopsy and then placed a central line so that he could start chemotherapy. He is now on his 8th day of chemotherapy. It has actually been helping him feel better than he did. He has been eating a little better every day. He had lost 10 lbs before going to the hospital. The doctors say he is responding well to the chemotherapy. It's doing its job and killing the cancer cells so far. At the end of the month we will have another bone marrow biopsy to see how well it's working for sure. We found out today that he will be getting a bone marrow transplant if Ethan or Nic are a match for him. We will know more next week about that. Today he is doing as good as can be expected maybe even better than that. We are just taking it all in, day by day, and hoping and praying that each day is good and that we can all stay positive.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Diagnosis

December 28, 2009: The family of Brooks Call was told Brooks has leukemia. He is at Primary Children’s hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah … his white blood count was so high they are starting chemotherapy immediately. They took him for surgery for a spinal tap to see how far it has spread. Chemo started right then as they inject the areas tapped first … at least that is what we understand. The family did not see this coming, he just took sick all of a sudden, laid around the house all day Christmas and they thought he possibly had the flu. They thought maybe Mono, but, after family doctor saw his blood sample and the super high white blood count they immediately rushed him to Primary Children’s hospital. All family and friends are all emotionally stunned and in shock. Brooks is a fun loving 13 year old teen.

Lisa and Brooks