For all those that do not know us, I'm the son of Claudia Boudreaux and the late Harold Simoneaux who died in 2000 with cancer. Bobby Boudreaux is now my stepfather. My wife Brandee is the daughter of Carla and Timmy Trosclair. We were both raised in Franklin and graduated from Hanson Memorial High School. Brandee is 32 yrs. old and was diagnosed with breast cancer 2013. We have 3 children, Evan (4), Connor (7) and Allyson (11).
Last year was a life changing year for us. 2013 had started out just like all other years. Connor and Allyson had a very good school year and baseball season. During July the family had the best vacation we have ever had as a family. August 2013 was approaching and the kids were getting ready to start the new school year. On July 31, 2013 Brandee’s Obgyn doctor felt something in her left breast that she thought was a cyst and told her that she need to have a mammogram done. On August 1st, Brandee had the mammogram performed and while there a doctor informed her that she had breast cancer. This was such a shock. I had asked Brandee if she wanted me to go with her to get the mammogram but she said no, it was no reason for me to miss work so she was there by herself when the doctor informed her. This was not what we expected. On August 5th she had a biopsy performed and on August 9th the results came back positive as being breast cancer. We did not know what we were going to do. As a young family with young children we were totally caught off guard. Things started moving very fast from then. The doctors were conducting more testing to see if the cancer was isolated to the breast or if it had spread to any other parts of her body. They found that the cancer had spread to four lymphnoids, she had them removed. They determined that she had stage IIIA Invasive Ductal Carcinoma cancer and that the tumor was 6cm which is about the size of a lemon. We along with the doctors determined a treatment plan. This plan would take over a year from beginning to end. This cancer would have to be treated aggressively.
On August 16, 2013 our 6 year old son Connor came to me and informed me that he felt his heart was racing and he wasn't feeling well. Being that I use to have an EMT certification my first reaction was to start checking his vitals. I checked his pulse and it was 225 beats per minuet, a normal pulse for his age should be 75 – 115 beats a minute. He was sitting on the couch watching TV when this started. I left immediately with him and headed to the ER. It was just him and I at the hospital. Brandee stayed home with other two kids. As a dad watching your son hooked to an EKG, IVs and the defibrillator knowing what was going on was hard especially by myself. He was looking at me with his big beautiful eyes aware of everything but not knowing what was going on. I had to be strong for him but I was scared as hell. All I could do at this time was pray to God that he would take care of my little boy. His heart was in SVT which is a very dangerous heart rhythm. There are three different drugs that are used to try to stop the heart from racing. The last drug actually stops the heart for a second so that it can restart. They had already tried the first two drugs and they did not work. In the process the vein they used for the first IV blew. They had to start the second IV and to try the third drug. I knew what was going on and if the drugs did not work I did not know how I was going to keep myself together for my young son! The next thing they would have had to do was shock him to get his heart into a normal rhythm. Thankfully the third drug worked. Right about that time Brandee made it to the hospital and rode with Connor when he was transported to Children's Hospital in New Orleans. He was diagnosed with a heart electrical rhythm condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. For over a year he had been complaining of his stomach hurting and he would get sick. We had taken him to several specialist doctors and they had conducted lots of test and determined he had a nervous stomach which was actually misdiagnosed. The fact was that he had been born with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and when was complaining of his stomach the whole time it was actually his heart going into SVT. Before he ended up in the ER we had set an appointment with a child cardiologist which was scheduled for the following week.
Connor's ride to Childrens Hospital
Connor checking into Children's Hospital
So time goes on, Brandee started her chemo in August 2013 and we were seeing heart doctors for Connor's heart condition. Brandee would get chemo treatments every other week for 16 weeks which would make her very sick. Three weeks after the first chemo treatment her hair fell out. Connor had to transfer to another school where our oldest child Allyson was going because of how difficult it was getting them to the different schools while all of this was going on. The doctors had put Connor on some medicine to help with the heart condition but it totally changed him. He could no longer do his school work. He would cry all the time and felt like no one loved him. He could not get along with his siblings or us. He no longer smiled or played like he used to. It was like he was a stranger to us. The doctors also said that he would have to watch what sports he played and he loved playing baseball. Connor wanted to play sports again and said he wanted the surgery to attempt to correct his heart condition, we agreed because of how difficult things had become with him and his school work.
Brandee's new wig because chemo made her hair fall out
In October 2013, we decided that he needed to have surgery to attempt to correct the heart condition. We had no other choice, this would be the only thing we could try because the medicine was causing too many problems. On October 7, 2013, he had the surgery which lasted 4 hours and to our great pleasure was successful. Praise God, now his heart is good as new. He immediately was his old self again. He was so happy and calm.
Recovering from surgery
Last day in Hospital
Connor was able to play baseball again, he takes playing so serious!
He never takes his eyes off the ball! His dream is to play shortstop in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals.
On October 17, 2013 Brandee was admitted in the hospital with a serious infection which was turning septic and could have been fatal. She ended up staying in hospital for 20 days and receiving a blood transfusion. She would go in and out of hospital two times due to complacitations during this time.
Brandee finished chemo on December 27, 2013.
2014 would start out with more family medical issues. In January 2014, our 3 year old son Evan had to have his adenoids removed and tubes put in his ears. In March our 11 year old daughter Allyson had to have tubes put in her ears and the rest of her adenoids removed. Thank you God for both of them not having anything very serious.
Evan before his surgery
Allyson before her surgery
In February 2014 Brandee had a bilateral mastectomy performed. The doctors said that this would give her the best survival rate. After about one month, radiation started and she had to take 33 treatments which were 5 days a week.
We are happy and thankful to say that now the doctors are saying Brandee is cancer free. We Thank God for this blessing. We are waiting for her breast reconstruction surgery on August 14,2014 which could take up to 12 hours. After the surgery she will be in ICU for 4 days. After that our breast cancer journey will finally almost be over! Praise the Lord! After reconstruction she may need one more surgery.
Having insurance has been a great help but because of all our children and Brandee having surgeries we had to meet our deductibles and out of pocket amounts in both years 2013 and 2014. We were forced to use in and out of network doctors at times also. Currently we have 47 different medical bills that we are responsible for.
To add more pain to injury I currently have a torn meniscus which the doctor is saying will need surgery to repair. Being the father of this family it is my job to provide for my family. The doctors are telling me that it may be 4 to 6 weeks before I have a full duty work release. I will end up having to go on disability insurance (which only pays 60% of my salary). I will try to have surgery about a week before Brandee. (Update I had surgery on Monday August 11th. The doctors did not find a meniscus tear; instead they found a tear in the cartilage. They removed part of my cartilage and I was released for work on Wednesday August 13th. I am very thankful that God has helped me with this because I was expecting to have to miss more time. Because of this we have lowered the amount of the campaign because I will not be missing work.)
We am truly thankful that God has helped us through this and continues to be with us. I know that the outcomes could have been much worse but I am thankful Connor and Brandee are doing well.
As a man and father I ask with a humble heart for any momentary donations that anyone may be able to make to help my family through this ordeal. Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated.
May God Bless you and your families for your support.
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