Briana Stephen

I had an epiphany today while sitting in the oncologist's office. There's so much talk and paraphernalia about finding cures for cancer. There's bitter talk about why Heavenly Father would allow such suffering. I sat there thinking to myself, No. My heart tells me it's not like that at all! ... Think of the communities and families that have come together to love, serve, and mourn with one another.

Our Father in heaven provides opportunities every day for us to keep his commandments, to follow His ultimate example of serving, loving, caring for His spirit children, our spirit brothers and sisters. I get to experience firsthand on a daily basis how beautiful the hearts of mankind really are.

Turn off the news of contentious politics, crime, and adultery for a bit. You'll find a world of compassion. PLEASE ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE to all those who uplift and show me what leading a Christ-like life is really all about. Loads and loads of LOVE!!!

-Bri, March 2010

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kami goes Circus

Have a look at the link for Kami's Trapeze act. She had an opportunity in May to do trapeze lessons at the Santa Monica Pier and the class culminated in "the catch" with Spidey. Great job Kami!

Kami chilling to Utah

Can a dad brag about how beautiful his little girl is?

What to do?

Summer is here and the kids are out of school. Kids love summer, parents struggle with it. So much free time to occupy the kids and boy, do I wish we had a pool to pass the time. Last Saturday Dad drove all four kids up to Utah and left the van, and four kids, behind! Aunt April has a house up in Midway for the next four weeks and invited everyone to come up. Cousin time with more kids than you can imagine.

All the kids were so excited to see their cousins and after day one they have already gone fishing, hiking, and swimming. I think the kids will fair well together but I'm concerned about myself. I'm home all alone in this quiet, big house and I can't remember the last time its been like this? Never? I'm excited to get some things done around the house and do some journaling of Bri's last couple months, but I already miss the kids more than I could have imagined. They're my little partners in life and I can't wait to get them back.

Hope everyone's ready for summer and has great trips planned. Keep in touch!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Service Update!!

We have changed the Saturday, May 14th service start time to 10 A.M. to accommodate those who will be traveling in to Simi valley. We are excited to see family and friends!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Memorial Service Information

Roseville/Sacramento Area:

Wednesday, May 11th @ 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. open house at the Stephen residence located at 1400 Barnwood Ln in Roseville. This will be an informal gathering for the Stephen family to thank local friends and family.

Main Service, Simi Valley CA:

Saturday, May 14th @ 9 A.M. service held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building located at 480 Sinaloa Rd Simi Valley CA.

For anyone traveling from out of town and requiring accomodations, local families have made homes available. Please contact Kim Fortuna at 805-732-8709 or .

Friday, May 6, 2011

Briana Shuri Boulter Stephen
September 9, 1979-May 6, 2011

Briana passed away on Friday, May 6, 2011. Because of her determination and strong will she fought a valiant fight against cancer. When doctors said she would only live 3-6 months she fought and lived a life filled with joy and service for others for 2 ½ years. However, due to her never failing faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ she knew that she was needed on the other side. She never hesitated to answer yes to the call.

Her heart broke to leave her amazing children and wonderful husband but she knew that the Lord would take care of them here. Briana was a great example of a Christ-like person. She was someone that we all strive to be like and we can’t wait until the day that we are able to hold her in our arms again. We are grateful for the blessing of eternal families and are so excited that she finally has the healthy and whole body that she has been longing to have. Briana will live forever in all of our memories.

Final details for memorial services will be posted in the coming days:

For those in Roseville, an open house will be held at the Stephen residence 1400 Barnwood Ln., Roseville, CA 95747 this Wednesday, May 11th from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. Anyone is welcome.

A memorial service in her honor will be held in Simi Valley, CA on the morning of May 14, 2011 at a time and location to be posted later.

We will remember you always Bri ... Mother, Wife, and an example to us all.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Update

Buenos Dias Amigos,

Here we are a week later and many developments have occurred with Bri. I wanted to give a quick update on her status. First, I want to share that Bri is comfortable, well taken care of, and receiving lots of attention and love from the family. Every day this week Bri has experienced heavy declines in health that have led her to a non-responsive state. Unfortunately we are not able to communicate with her but she is in peace and we know she can feel our presence. We pray for the miracle that she'll be able to quickly and peacefully return to her Father in Heaven.

We will continue to post immediate updates on the site and are always thankful to those families and individuals who steadfastly support us in this challenging time.

Love the SixStephens

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27th Update

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! We appreciate all those who continue to follow the blog and inquire on Bri's current condition.

We have a decorative statement in our living room that says "Don't count the days but make the days count." Unfortunately we feel our days grow short in having Mom around the house with us and we fight to bring her comfort and peace each day. We have been successful in stabilizing her pain through the care of hospice and her Mom Teri, who has been a stalwart caretaker in even the most difficult days. There are many undesirable errands and preparations we have been working through and Teri has not hesitated to carry out many of these tasks for me and the family, along with many other responsibilities.

Last Sunday we decided to place Bri on a scale to monitor her weight loss. She tipped the scales at 76 lbs. She is now 100% bedridden, heavily sedated, and her favorite past time is dreaming. I just put her in bed from a bathroom break and she said, “Why are the cops after us?” We get a lot of good laughs at some of the things she says. However her speech and mental processing are heavily degraded at this point and conversations are something that have found their horizons. Her communications are limited to pain and bathroom breaks. She also has no appetite and is no longer eating any food, just water.

One trait that caught my eye when I met Bri is her unrivaled ‘resolve.’ Only Leyna can match it! With the stroke spasticity and muscle weakness she cannot get herself out of bed or ambulate, yet she refuses to accept this fact. For example, yesterday she tried to get out of bed on her own and took a tumble that resulted in a cut to the bridge of her nose. We try to explain that she cannot get up due to her weakness but her resolve and will are two character traits she has not given up … and in a weird way it makes me proud of her.

This journey has been equally long for our family and friends as it has been for the Stephen Family. Monday, November 3rd, 2008 is when this story began. Thank YOU for enduring this story of faith with us. If you stand against your measuring stick, Bri and I hope you find yourself a little taller after knowing her story.

The Stephens

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bri Update

Hello friends and family! We continue to receive overwhelming support and well wishes in all different ways from so many people. The past couple weeks we have focussed on addressing Bri's pain management, nausea, and constipation in order to find her the most comfort as possible. We could probably open a small pharmacy with all the product we have in the home. Somehow Bri's Marinol seems to be a 'guest favorite' and disappears quicker than the rest of her drugs (Dad is not guilty!).

Bri sleeps most of the day while laying in bed or the couch due to the pelvic pain and sedation from pain medications. Though her speech and vision are slowly deteriorating, we still find some good times during the day where we can spend quality time with her.

Losing some of her independency has been one of her biggest challenges, and for those of you that know her feisty personality, you can certainly understand this. She overestimates her physical and cognitive abilities and we have to keep a close eye on her. But the kids, Teri, and other wonderful friends have all been fantastic caretakers with love and patience for the situation. We carry on and thank everyone for their continued support and well wishes.

(Photo below: 4/4 Kami's B-Day with Mom)

Kids Go to Reno to Win Big!!

Last weekend Dad took the kids to Reno to play for the weekend at the Sierra Grand Resort. Though the pool was still closed for the season, on the agenda was bowling, outdoor slick track cars, RC dirt cars, bull riding, arcade, laser tag, etc. Kids did not appreciate when Dad wanted to head back to the room for a Saturday nap as Leyna proclaimed that as "boring." Exactly Leyna! Sometimes boring is exactly what is needed. Nonetheless, everyone survived and had a good time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kade 'Rocks'

Kaden has always had an astounding attention span for a kid and has been putting that to good use over the past couple of weeks.  He has used YouTube and books to give himself guitar lessons and learn how to write some sheet music.  Click on the link to hear a demo clip and see if you can follow along with the songs. 

Thank You ... Again!

Recently we have had many people inquire as to how they can financially give to help Briana and her medical needs.  An account has been established if someone wishes to donate or contribute in this way.  I was hesitant to place such a posting as this is not a solicitation for funds but rather a place to where we can refer people when information is requested.

Bank:: Wells Fargo
Acct #:: 6175041471

The support in so many ways continues to pour in.  Between meals, cards, flowers, and so much more, we are continually uplifted.  Contrary to what anyone might share, there is much good in the world today, and much has come to us through complete strangers.  Many friends from my old company at Takeda recently rallied together to help our family and that was a special thing for us.  Thank you so much!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Visitors :: Bateman's!!

This weekend the Bateman's took the six hour plunge to drive up to Roseville for a family visit.  Leyna couldn't wait to have a make-up party with their two little girls, Crystal and Ashlyn.  We had a wonderful time catching up with their family who has been very close with us in the cancer battle the past two years. We also appreciate all the families from Simi that sent items for Bri, including two loaves of Papa Lowe's fresh baked bread.  Score!Thursday, March 31, 2011 – Visitors, Visitors - I am at the point of embarrassing myself because my speech is slower, I am dragging my words, constantly walking into walls, dragging my feet…it’s miserable. After the Stephen party left, it was nice for us to have the company of Bishop Bateman and his family. Then April and Heather came to visit. They are always funny! They left and the following day, Margaret and Marcella drove in from Simi Valley. Wouldn’t you know it, the very day Margaret left, Serena flew in from Oklahoma. Let the fun continue!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Walking In The Unknown

Hi Everyone!  Bri and I are sitting on the bed together and wanted to update the blog with the recent events.  I'm gun-shy to blog since I know how well my wife writes. I'm a B or B- English student so work with me! Nevertheless, she no longer has the ability to update the blog due to her condition but it remains the best communication tool to family and friends.

We've enjoyed the last month seeing a variety of family and friends who have visited.  We have certainly been the recipients of delicious and beautiful gifts. The goodness of people continues to amaze our family.

The last two Fridays have been eventful for us.  On March 4th, Teri had to rush Bri into Sutter Emergency Room after she started experiencing a loss of faculties such as speech, memory, and awareness.  It looks like Bri experienced another T.I.A. (mini-stroke) but nothing was conlcusive. After some tests at the hospital, they decided nothing could be done and she was sent back home.  We were greatful that Mark and Gary were traveling up to Roseville and were able to make it to the hospital to help Teri in the ER. 

Then, this past Friday we had an appointment with Dr. Tanaka to review the lastest scans.  We had a hunch about the results due to the increased pain over the past couple weeks.  The doctor walked us through the scans and compared them side by side to scans from December which showed a "marked increase in tumor growth."  Cancer continues to spread in the brain, lungs, liver, pelvic area, sternum, and intestines.  Unfortunately, its becoming simpler to state where the cancer is not.  Most of our time with the physician was spent on strategizing how to manage pain, nausea, and constipation.  We have become mindful on how and when to use the proper pain medications to balance relief, yet preserve some alertness so Bri can still have interaction with the family.

With the heavy pain medications needed, Bri sleeps the majority of the day.  She is able to awake for an hour here and there to eat, medicate, and be with the kids.  Then she weakens and we force her back to bed.  She tells me most of her thoughts are clear but she has difficulty in speaking them and her clarity is becoming more challenged.  We are continued to be blessed with wonderful family and friends who help in a variety of ways and feel like we have the needed resources to properly care for her.

As we walk into the unknown in these coming weeks and months, we continue to have faith in our Lord and his plan for our family.  One of the most humbling experiences for me this weekend was when I individually sat down and talked with Kaden and Kambria about Mom's condition and our latest scan results.  Kaden was quick to tell me that he wants to be an example to the other kids in how he reacts to Mom's situation.  Then I observe him scratching Mom's back, getting her small comforts, and being so gentle with her.  The most common question I receive is "how are the kids doing."  Well, as heaven would have it, the children are teaching Dad how to deal with things.  Their little spirits are full of love, acceptance, and more understanding of faith and trust than we give them credit for.  But what else would you expect from kids with such an amazing Mother.  Their strength and understanding is amazing.

Thank you again to all those who have contributed to our family in any way.  We love you all and will continue to keep you posted.    -Eric