About Brennan

This site was set up to help Brennan’s family and friends keep tabs on his whereabouts as he undergoes treatment for primary osteosarcoma of the spine.

Email Brennan and family at bhoughton at ozemail put-a-dot-here com put-a-dot-there au.

Thanks, Bren, for tarting up this site!

Condensed timeline

Date Event
August 2007 Rib pain.
October 2007 Rib pain continues. Began screaming at night. Bloods and x-rays clear except for slight scoliosis. Stiff spine. Can’t touch chin to chest.
November 2007 Suspected spondyloarthropathy (spinal arthritis). Diagnosis changed to costochondritis (inflammation of rib cartilage)
December 2007-March 2008 Pain persists, but appears to be improving. Unusual sleepiness during the day we explained away by Brennan not sleeping at night
early April 2008 Pain worsens, unusual stiffness of spine, weird way of running/walking (think Road Runner – legs pumping away, but arms and rest of body straight and stiff). Falling over and down stairs several times per day
15 April 2008 So it begins. An MRI at Geelong Hospital revealed a spinal tumour. Sent to Royal Children’s Hospital. Starting weight: 33kg
late evening 17 April 2008 Osteosarcoma of thoracic spine at T4 diagnosed
early hours of 18 April 2008 Chemo started
18 April 2008 Hickmann’s line inserted
late April-mid May 2008 Deterioration of walking and reduced sensation in legs/lower body. Eventually, Brennan could no longer walk or stand. Could move his feet, but not his legs
16 May 2008 Emergency operation to remove tumour. Titanium rods and screws inserted, and bone graft created from hip bone.
end May-Christmas 2008 Chemo continued. Various complications, including collapsed lung, infections, fevers, ulcers, mucositis, blood noses. Much time spent in Geelong Hospital, as well as Royal Children’s
29 August 2008 Nasogastric tube inserted. Lowest weight point: 26.4kg
29 December 2008-3 February 2009 Radiotherapy at Peter MacCallum
17 February 2009 Nasogastric tube removed. Weight: 32.8 kg
10 March 2009 Hickmann’s removed
26 May 2009 Latest CT clear. Off all medication
9 March 2010 New tumour identified at junction of 5th right rib and adjacent vertebra
20 March 2010 Chemo begun (VETOPEC II protocol). Weight 42.3kg
22-23 April 2010 Autologous (self) stem cell harvest
29 April-3 May 2010 High dose component of chemo, including transplant of stem cells, begun
June 2010 Chemo ceased due to non-response
27 July 2010 Operation to remove new tumour at T5 and attached rib
5 April 2011 Reappearance of tumours. In “watch and wait” mode
16 May 2011 Slight increase in size. “Watch and wait” continues
16 September 2011 New tumour and hairline fracture in right tibia
3-18 October 2011 Radiation to right tibia
10 November 2011 New tumour at T10 vertebra
24 November- 8 December 2011 Radiation of T4 and T10
11 February 2012 Right tibia encased in plaster due to bowing of leg
21 February 2012 ORIF procedure on right tibia, viz. rod, screws and cement to reinforce bone
5 April 2012 Off crutches
24 October 2012 Suspected fracture in right tibia; back on crutches
5-18 December 2012 Radiation to right tibia begins
31 January 2013 Spread of back tumours and progressively worsening leg weakness
3 February 2013 Leptomeningeal metastases
25 February 2013 Debulking of tumour at T6/7
1-14May 2013 Radiation to spine
12-18 September 2013 Radiation to left femur and pelvis
11 February 2014 Passed away

We are on a journey

We are on a journey;
We walk it on our own.
People all around us,
Yet we remain alone.

Our journey is a long one;
It goes for years and years.
The road is hard and bumpy,
And we shed many tears.

Our journey is not over;
It never will be done.
Once you start this journey,
It never can be done.

No one thinks they’ll make this trek;
What person ever should?
But life is full of things that
You never thought you would.

Our journey is a sad one,
Yet with lots of laughs and smiles.
When you know that life is precious,
You make each inch last miles.

The simple things like cuddles;
The fiery, brotherly spat;
The normal grind of daily life;
We now so appreciate that.

Hands reach out to help us,
To make the way seem light.
But the road ahead is long
And continues day and night.

Just looking at your dear one,
And just knowing he is here.
If only there was something
That would take away that fear.

The fear that’s ever-present
So you cannot sleep at night.
The fear that makes you tremble
So you have to hold him tight.

The cancer that invades him;
That cancer we so hate.
We pray to God to heal him,
To make cancer ‘vaporate.

This journey we are walking
On this long and lonely track
Is a lifetime journey
From which we can’t go back.


9 thoughts on “About Brennan

  1. Pat Casey in Ohio, USA says:

    Hi Brennan and family,
    I have just learned about you from your wonderful Mom.. We are becoming internet friends, since we both have children with Osteosarcoma. I think this blog is going to be great for all of you. It will be fun to learn more about you, besides that you are about the toughest kid I know and your family is sure proud of you! Isn’t it great to be sending these emails to the other side of the world in just split seconds? One day I hope to visit “down under” to see your beautiful country. Meanwhile, just get well soon!
    Sending hugs from Ohio, in the U.S.
    Pat Casey

  2. Yvette McDonald says:

    Hi Brennan, Bernadette and family,
    It was great to meet you over the weekend Bernadette!! Your a very brave boy Brennan. I have read your article and your mum told me all about you at our weekend away. Keep up your wonderful strength to fight, we will be thinking of you and sending you our love and best wishes. All the best from Yvette and Family xox

  3. Hi Brennan,
    Greetings from Houston Tx. I enjoyed visiting your website and reading your story. You have come a long way so keep fighting! My niece was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma of the right distal femur on May 08, 2009. She is 9 years old and receiving treatment at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston. I will show her your website so you can be an inspiration to her. She will probably get a Gastric tube for feeding and medications in the upcoming days. Her name is Keilah and you can visit her website at caringbridge. org. Just type in visit Keilah and it should come up. Best wishes to your family!
    God speed,

  4. sue morgan says:

    Hi Brendan,

    I just saw that you had another op Tuesday 27/7, I hope you’re feeling better and things are looking up. You are such an inspiration to so many young and old. I hope one day I get to meet you in person,
    keep up the good work and continue fighting. We often think of you at DoCare.


    Sue Morgan and the DoCare Gang.

  5. Hi Brennan and family. Thanks for dropping by my blog today. Events like footy results pale into insignificance compared with the mighty challenges you’ve taken on. You’re one helluva fighter, Brennan and we Slatterys wish you all the best in your treatment. Fight like a Magpie!

  6. Iggy says:

    Hey Brennan,
    Hope all is well. When will we be seeing you next in Chem?? The more we get in Chem, the more jokes Hobbsy rolls out and the less work we do. Whether they’re funny jokes or not is a different story!! Thinkin’ of ya mate.


  7. Chris Valmadre says:

    The Melbourne trip looked like a lot of fun. Paddy was probably disappointed about missing IT but I see you managed to put a smile on his dial – as you do for all of us.

  8. Rosemary Friend says:

    Good to see you are not spending ALL your time doing Psych work !! 🙂

  9. heather says:

    hi brennan, hope ur feeling ok, love you, xxx

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