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2014
The Year in Review



December 2014
Played racquetball in the Florida Senior Games. Came in third in my (even older) age group. Wanted to do better but came across a very good player in the semi-finals who went on to win the age group. Next year... Helped with my golf association's Christmas Party. We had long drive, chipping, putting, and bunker shot contests. Enjoyed by all. Also had a nice family vacation in Orlando that included a number of fun places to visit. Yes, I made my 5,000 words, but it was tough.

November 2014
In November Savanah continued with her softball, friends invited me to a Bucs game, I visited my mom and sister in Indianapolis, and most of the family gathered at Robert's for Thanksgiving. Yes, I made my 5,000 words but it was hard . . . Oh, yeah, with my birthday I moved up to the YELLOW tees on the golf course (for seniors). I'm not proud; I can use all the help I can get.

October 2014
The highlight of the month was Bonnie's Birthday Weekend. Understandably, we couldn't get the family all together so Sandra and her family and I traveled to and spent the weekend of October 17-20 in Orlando. Thanks to a friend we stayed in suite rooms at the Marriott World Center that overlooked the pool area and were magnificent in every respect. Our weekend included the Pirates Dinner Adventure, GatorLand, Disney Quest, and the Magic Kingdom. A great family outing. Other October activities included a Grandparents Bingo with Sydney and Halloween. Savanah attended her first Homecoming Dance and enjoyed it. In New Orleans, Rusty and Anne moved to a larger apartment. In Alabama, Everett turned three and Benjamin enjoyed Fall Soccer. Here a friend took me up to Crystal River to view the manatees, which would have been great if there were manatees to view. And I kept up with golf, racquetball, and Shower Ministry activities, and was only 400 words short - since made up - of my 5,000 word monthly goal for book #2.

September 2014
The great, wonderful, super, news for September was that Anne and Rusty are due to have a baby!!! They made the announcement when they came down for Anne's birthday celebration and Rusty's ordination party and church service. September was also the month for Sydney beginning hip-hop lessons; and she is good. Also, Savanah began playing fall Rec League softball for the second year and she is enjoying it. The end of the month was also eventful and joyful as I flew into New Orleans to join up with Rusty and Anne, and together we drove up to visit Robert and his family. There we visited the Wild Animal Safari park and the Pumpkin Farm and had a very good time at each location.

August 2014
August is a time for the last of summer vacation adventures, family birthdays, and getting the kids ready to go back to school. In the case for Sandra and Anne, it's also getting themselves ready to go back to school. For this August, it was also time for Bonnie's interment at Arlington National Cemetery and a concurrent trip to see and visit the museums and monuments and other attractions of Washington, DC. Later in the month my Mom flew in to visit and we took a four-night cruise to Nassau.

July 2014
July was a mostly quiet time around the Braden house. A lot of things had been put on hold or piled in stacks over the previous five months, and they had to be dealt with. Jay resumed his twice-a-week golf game with his Diamond Hill Menís Association (DHMA) and same with his three-times-a-week menís racquetball group at the nearby LA Fitness. Previously he had volunteered to create a Snapfish-like album of 2014 DHMA golfers, knowing that he would be the only picture-taker for the product. He turned the project into creating pages of laminated plastic comb binder sheets and currently has about 12 pages of activities bound together. He also resumed work on his ďStudy of IslamĒ project and agreed to move his homeowners association e-mail contacts into Constant Contact. He sees Sandraís family regularly and stays in touch with Robertís and Anneís through his iPhone. Rusty and Anne got away on a seven day cruise out of New Orleans to celebrate their first anniversary. They went to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica and had a good time. Robert worked to purchase a rental property near Point University. The soon-to-be landlord was negotiating a closing date as the month closed.

June 2014
Tuesday, June 10. Bonnie went to be with her Lord today. She jumped into the arms of Jesus at about 11 a.m. These last four months have been a difficult time for the Braden family, but we are amazed at the love and support from so many friends. Bonnie touched so many lives; we know she is no longer here on earth with us, but we see how much she impacted our lives with her joy and love. As you all know, she was a person who lit up the room when she came in. Her laugh was infectious. Her joy was unbounded. She loved her kids and grandkids and every person she met. Most important, she loved God just as God loves all of us. And she's with him now.
Hallelujah!!!       Hallelujah!!!!       Hallelujah!!!       Amen.

A Celebration of Life service was held at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida, on Friday, June 20.

For more on Bonnie click here.

In honor of Bonnie and her love of the beach, the family gathered for the next few days at the the Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach. There we had fun in her memory, as she would have wanted.

From June 26-30, Jay visited his Mother "Nanny" in Indianapolis. A nice time. She had injured her hip and was unable to make Bonnie's service.

May 2014.
Early in May Bonnie contracted a very painful mouth thrush, and it took most of the month to get over it. On May 17 Bonnie traveled to Moffitt to have an MRI to see the current state of her tumor. On May 19 we met with her neuro oncology team to learn the results. Happily we heard that the tumor size was reduced from the size measured February 1 when it was first diagnosed. But two days later Bonnie was back at Moffitt with a pulmonary embolism - blood clots in her lungs. She had emergency surgery to have a filter inserted to prevent further clots from damaging her vital organs. Over the next eight days she was treated for a variety of problems including bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, coronavirus, and bacteria in her blood. Bonnie was released from Moffitt on May 29 with a home treatment plan that included a number of pills and injections and transfusions of antibiotics. We worried about her weakened state but were hopeful that she would get stronger so, at some point, she could resume tumor treatments.

April 2014
The month started on the happiest possible note, all things considered: Bonnie completed her six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and the family gathered with her at the Moffitt Center to celebrate this event. We looked forward to the planned month break in the program to allow the treatment to do its work; her next Moffitt appointment was April 26th for an MRI to check the tumor. We hoped that being off radiation and chemo would help Bonnie regain her strength, but that didn't happen. She was weaker and weaker. On Saturday, April 12th, Bonnie had a seizure, fell to the floor, and was breathing but otherwise unresponsive for ten minutes. Sandra made the 9-1-1 call, but Bonnie was awake by the time the paramedics arrived. They took her to Tampa General where she had a CT scan and an MRI. The MRI revealed that the tumor had grown. Anne came in from New Orleans and Robert drove down from Alabama so the family was together during this crisis. After two days at Tampa General, Bonnie was released and immediately was seen by her Moffitt team who increased her steroid and anti-seizure meds and advanced the next phase of the treatment that included Avastin infusions and increased levels of the chemo drug Temodar. During April Bonnie had good days and not-so-good days. The family re-gathered for Easter Sunday - another flight for Anne and another long drive for Robert, this time with Natalie and boys along. It was a nice weekend. Bonnie did get out at times, watching Savanah play softball and Seth play baseball. The family prayed that the results of this next phase of treatment would be better than the first phase.

March 2014
Well, letís go back to February. Bonnie began her treatment plan at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, about a 35 minute drive from our house on the campus of the University of South Florida. Her six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy began February 19. The first three weeks were pretty easy, and we even had a family get-away at St. Pete Beach, so we could drive in for her treatment and return for sun and fun. Robert and Natalie and their boys were there and so were Anne and Rusty, so that was a special event and we also got some good beach pictures. Even with her treatment, she shushed me out the door on March 6 to play racquetball in the Polk County Senior Games, where I took first place in my age group. It was easy; I just put sugar in the gas tank of the participant bus coming from the countyís old folkís home. We continued to get out to watch the grandkids with their sports. Sandra took a leave of absence from her teaching job and was a great help taking care of Bonnie, especially as the treatment wore on, making her weak. As the month progressed Bonnie grew more tired and became more wheelchair bound. We ended March looking forward to finishing up the radiation, hoping that it worked to some extent, and profoundly thankful for all our friends who expressed their love and support for us.

February 2014
When you maintain a family website for nearly 14 years, you wonder about the day when you no longer want to make any posts. That happened this month. On February 1st Bonnie was found to have a brain tumor. She is now in a six month program of radiation and chemotherapy. This will be followed by more chemotherapy and other treatment as dictated by what happens during this initial phase. More on this can be found on the Website www.caringbridge.org. Once there type in Bonnie Braden. Thank you for your prayers.

January 2014
A nice month. We celebrated grandson Sethís birthday, which included buying Sumo wrestlingt outfits, and did family activities.



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