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

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


  1. Thank you for the update, Eric. Our love and prayers continue to be with your family.

  2. You are a better writer than you give yourself credit for! Even though I was only blessed to have one Stephen in my class, I found myself drawn to you and your family. Bri, you are a wonderful example of what God wanted when HE made Eve. Please give Kade a hug from me. My prayers are with all of you.

  3. Thanks for the update. I pray for your family everyday and know that the Lord will take care of all of you. Briana has always been a sweetheart and I am glad she is able to have such a loving family around her. Thank you for always being so kind to me in high school. Love your heart.

  4. Oh Eric.... My heart goes out to you and your family, the only words I can even formulate is that the am so sorry. Bri is a inspriation to us all as a mother, spouse, friend..... the list goes on and on..... I remember when we were submitting our favorite songs for our team CD, and your choices were from Sublime (which I though was odd at the time).. Because it reminded you of your amazing vacation you and your wife just took, which I think it was the caribbean. Your family has such wonderful memories and a amazing future led by a beautiful shining star.

  5. Eric- thank you for updating us. I was wondering if Bri was going to speak to us again. I know you've got some tough weeks ahead, but they pale in comparison to the weeks Bri has ahead. These are the toughest, but the most sacred. I am amazed at the perfectness of God's pairing. You have chapters upon chapters of memories, the best of the best. I dont think it gets any better than you and Bri and your perfect family :)
    The kids have an awesome example to follow. And your sons wives have some mighty big shoes to fill if they are compared to Briana. She has a blog that is quite long, she will speak forever, her words will echo.

    Don't ever lose touch with all of us. I want to be with your family forever :)

  6. Thank you so much for the updates, Eric. Bri, we love you so much. I am SO SO happy that you let us spend time with you. You are an amazing woman.

  7. Thank you so much for the update Eric. Your entire family is in my thoughts and prayers every day! Children are so amazing, and it sounds like you have been blessed with some of our Father's choicest spirits. We love you guys!

  8. you don't know me, but I'm your sister-in-law's cousin. My husband is cousins with christy, and she mentioned your family's blog a while back. I've been praying and watching your family for 6 months now, and I have to tell you i've been so uplifted. I've been so touched by your wife's testimony and her desires to do the lord's will. I have felt peace as she has articulated her own peace...and I've been more mindful of my own reactions to trials and hardships. I can't even begin to imagine what you are all going through, but I do know that you've been an example to more people that you even realize. You and bri are a team...and I know she must have such amazing support from you and your children. We are praying for you that the next part of the journey is sweet and sacred.
    Thanks again for your posts....and please tell bri that she is loved even by people who have never met her!

  9. Eric and Bri- Thank you for the updates. Every time we read them we are spiritually lifted by your faith and testimonies. We are so grateful for your willingness to share. We so appreciate your examples of what it means to be a mother, a wife, a husband and a father. When we read your blog, we strive to follow your examples and try to be a little better. Thank you for that. Our hearts and prays go out to you both and your beautiful family. Kristina and Trevor Lords

  10. Eric,
    Thanks for the update. We pray for your family daily, and most recently that Bri's pain will be minimal. We have always prayed for our own strength and understanding as we follow her tremendous example as she follows the Savior. Give our love to Teri also. You have a gem of a mother-in-law.

    Marlund & Shelly Hale

  11. Eric and Bri,
    My husband and I went to school with Briana, and have been deeply touched as we've read your blog describing your journey. Briana always had such strong convictions and a desire to uplift others. She has inspired me to be a better mother,to cherish special moments, to be upbeat and to laugh more, despite the circumstances.
    Your family has been an example on how a family loves and serves one another. We keep your family in our hearts and prayers and hope your family continues to feel peace through then next step.
    Thanks again for your posts!
    Dan & Jana (Barnette) Scarbrough

  12. I read this post a few days ago and just haven't figured out how to express the feelings in my heart. I cannot begin to know what you are feeling in this time. I just hope that Briana knows that she has forever changed my life and her spirit will live on through the memories I have of our friendship. There is so much more that I want to say, but I cannot put it into words right now. I love you Bri and I look forward to the day that I can tell my children about you and your amazing spirit.

  13. Hi! My name is Kaela. I am SOO grateful for all you guys do! I have been reading this with my mom for the past little bit, and I continue to be amazed by the strength of your family. Your family is such an inspiration and I hope that someday my family can be as unified as yours.
    Bri and Eric, thank you for all you do, and you will continue to be in my prayers.
    Thank you for everything!