Thursday, March 15, 2012

Susan Jean Brewer 7/30/1955 - 3/9/2012

The following is a copy/paste of an email that I sent out on Sunday, March 11th:

Hi all,

As many of you have heard by now we come to you with the sad news that Susan Brewer passed away on Friday morning. She went quietly and peacefully in the comfort of her own home. While we are obviously incredibly sad, we are comforted that her suffering is over and know that she is now watching over us from Heaven. Words cannot express the loss that we are all dealing with. She is truly one of those people who will never, ever be forgotten. Everyone who knew her had their lives enriched simply by being in her presence.

She will be laid to rest in a small gathering of immediate family on Monday (3/12). The public memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 30th in Bellevue so please plan accordingly if you would like to attend. I will confirm the details with everyone as soon as we have them set in place. We are probably going to ask that you do not send flowers, and in lieu of flowers we will be identifying a charitable organization to which you can donate in Susan's name.

There is so much to say, yet words really can't do justice to the situation. What I can say is that my mom truly felt the power of all your prayer, love, and support and that's what helped her maintain the glowingly positive attitude and faith in God that she maintained since her brain cancer was first diagnosed in December 2010. It's been a very emotional 15-16 months as she bravely battled this crippling disease, but one of the blessings we have had throughout the whole thing is that we were given plenty of time and opportunity to properly say goodbye to her. We will forever cherish her memory and be thankful for God's gift of putting her in our lives.

With love,

Cory Brewer

PS - I'm sure I've missed many email addresses of Susan's loved ones, so please pass this message along as you see fit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Susan Brewer Update 2/11/12

Greetings all, it has been a little while since we shared an update about Susan and we continue to appreciate all your inquiries, thoughts, prayers, kind words, and well wishes.

Not a whole lot has changed since our last update in December. For a while there leading up to Christmas, we weren't sure if she was going to make it to the holiday and we considered celebrating a week early...but things eventually did stabilize and have been about the same now for several weeks.

Susan is confined to bed and has lost most of her motor function. With that being said, her positive attitude about everything still remains. She is sleeping more and more as the days go by, but when she is awake she can still hold a decent conversation with whoever she is talking to and she still has a pretty good memory. Her appetite is also still pretty good most of the time and one of her favorite things to do request a random meal (such as Indian food or a Big Mac) and send one of us off to retrieve it for her. Throughout this whole ordeal she has remained relatively pain free and hasn't had any major issues with nausea or anything like that, which is a blessing. Despite her health and weakness, she has remained relatively peaceful.

Without her being able to take care of her normal tasks around the house and at work, things have gotten a little hectic. Cory, Kelsey, and Ashley have been splitting time at the house as their schedules will allow to help spell Craig and give him a break from running the household and his business. We are forever grateful to friends, neighbors, and family who have helped out immensely by devoting their time to assisting with Susan. Grandpa (Larry) and Grandma (Nancy) visit on a very regular basis, and Aunt Debbie is here faithfully almost every single day. Aunt Julie and her daughters have made multiple trips over from Spokane, and several neighbors have helped keep watch over Susan so that the rest of the family can get to work or just get a break from being at the house, which can be exhausting.

Craig has been able to find a part-time doctor to see his patients at the office and that's been a huge blessing so he can spend more time at home. Ashley (who lives on a miniature farm of her own) took the miniature horse, Paladin, home to live with her and he seems very happy out in their "pasture."

We still have an 11 year old grey Cockatiel named Gwenivere that we are trying to find a good new home for. As far as we know she is healthy and current with her shots, and she will come along with a nice big white antique cage for anyone who is interested. Please spread the word. We are not looking to sell the bird and make any money - we just want to make sure she is well cared for.

We received some excellent news recently as Kelsey's husband, Parker, found a job in Seattle which means they will be able to move back up from Portland. He starts in mid-February and Kelsey will follow shortly behind once she gets things sorted out with their house down there. This will lift a huge burden as Kelsey has been driving up nearly every weekend now for over a year to visit.

The only constant, it seems, in life is change. This period of transition has been an extremely difficult one, but we've not had to do it without help. We have leaned on Faith, family and friends to get us through and we appreciate your continued prayers and support.

You may continue to contact Cory at with any inquiries or visitation requests. One thing we would ask is that no more flowers are sent. Susan's vision is escaping her and we feel that the money would be better spent via a charitable donation in her name. Cards, however, are very much appreciated as reading the thoughts and messages from loved ones to Susan is something that we cherish very much.

Wishing you Peace,

The Brewers

Craig's Christmas Letter 12/19/11

Two Thousand Eleven has been trying, at times rewarding, progressively spirit-filled, and now a sobering time for our family. After successful surgery to remove a brain tumor last Christmas season, Susan underwent a seven week period of daily radiation therapy. In addition, she was put on a regular chemotherapy plan in both pill and IV form.

Our family had a wonderful time together on a Caribbean cruise in the spring. Cory & Jen, Ashley & Thomas, and Kelsey & Parker joined us for a memorable trip. Susan returned to office manager & receptionist duties most of spring, summer, and fall.

We also had a wonderful time visiting Minnesota and Wisconsin to see friends and Susan got to re-visit her childhood home.

This past month or so Susan has lost much of her motor function (blurry vision, weakness, fatigue, etc.) and a recent MRI has shown her cancer is spreading with no viable treatment options. Blessedly she retains her vibrant & glowing personality but is now bed confined. Her faith and her fighting spirit have been nothing short of amazing...serving as a true inspiration to all those whose lives she has touched.

The outpouring of prayers and support from friends and family has been a true blessing, and we really believe that has been a major factor in keeping Susan so positive and upbeat throughout the year.

Throughout this ordeal, we have grown in our walk in faith with God which is now fortifying us with peace and strength to cope with our sadness. With heavy hearts we are coming to terms with the fact that this will almost certainly be Susan’s last Christmas with us in body, but she will always be with us in spirit.

We are thankful for the perspective we have all gained throughout this process, and we are also thankful for the time we have had to spend together as a family. We are thankful that we have the opportunity to cherish however much time she has left, and we are comforted by the knowledge that she will one day be watching over us from above.

Wishing you all peace this Christmas.

Love, Craig and Susan Brewer

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16th update

As a family we come to you from a strange's a mix of sadness and hope that is hard to describe. In the short time (12 days) since my last update, things have taken a pretty drastic turn.

The second-to-last MRI showed essentially a clear scan with two tumors. That was back in late summer. Since that time, Susan has been on the same chemotherapy regimen and had a CyberKnife treatment. The most recent MRI was taken about 2-3 weeks ago and there was both good and bad news. The good news was that those two tumors had decreased in size. The bad news was that the overall scan had gone from "clear" to "cloudy" which turned out to mean that microscopic cancer cells had spread throughout her entire brain. They haven't formed into new tumors (yet) but they have started to cause some pretty dramatic symptoms.

Over the past week or so, Susan's fatigue, left-side motor function, vision problems and disorientation have increased significantly to the point where she is extremely tired and wants to spend the whole day in bed. When she does get up, she needs help to walk without collapsing. At this point she still has a good appetite and is still able to have conversations. In a nutshell, the mind is willing but the body won't cooperate.

We really don't know how much time she has left and while we are still hopeful, we are preparing for the worst. As a family, we will all be around at my parents' house on Mercer Island for the immediate future and my mom would be happy to see those that she cares about and love her.

We are happy to have visitors for 10-15 minute visits. We are fully aware of Susan's current condition and find it difficult to discuss the symtoms she is having, nor are we able to receive much advice right now; we know that you all love and care about her. Her energy level is extremely low and we have to be careful about overwhelming her (and ourselves). If you would like to visit over the next week or so, please let me (Cory) know via email to and we'll be happy to try and coordinate a visit with you.

Please don't feel like we are rushing you in and out...just know that we're looking out for her best interest. We want her to see those that care about her, but we don't want to overwhelm her. We're trying not to schedule too many people per day.

I want to end by saying that WE CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THE AMAZING AMOUNT OF LOVE AND SUPPORT that you have all shown throughout this ordeal. Since we first found out about this a year ago, it has been an unbelievable roller coaster of emotions for everyone involved. Throughout it all, we have been thankful for the Lord's watching over the situation and helping Susan to beat the odds for a long time. By the grace of God she has been able to maintain an infectiously positive attitude that has really carried over to everyone who knows and loves her. Believe me when I say she can feels your arms around her...every day.

Again please contact me directly to coordinate a brief visit.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December 2011 Update

Susan continues to beat the odds and maintain an incredibly positive attitude, however it hasn't been easy. As of late she has been experiencing a lot of fatigue and a little trouble with her vision. She is going to Swedish again today for an update MRI to see if there may be swelling from her last (successful!) CyberKnife treatment...we do hope that's the case as they can give her something to help the swelling.

Last weekend we enjoyed a really nice Thanksgiving at Ashley's house in Tacoma...she was a fantastic hostess and we all are very thankful for the opportunity to celebrate with our mom. Miraculously she agreed to hand over turkey-baking duties to Ashley =)

We continue to appreciate all of your love and support and we look forward to continued celebration of the holiday season as a family.

Love, the Brewers

Friday, October 28, 2011

Susan Brewer's Story

The purpose of this website is to provide updates to Susan Brewer's loved ones on the progress of her fight against brain cancer.

Susan was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in December, 2010 (shortly before Christmas). While on vacation in Hawaii with Craig, she began to develop some strange symptoms and thankfully was able to fly home to Seattle, and was taken immediately to the ER upon their return. Over the next few days a large brain tumor (about the size of a golf ball) was discovered. Successful surgery to remove the tumor took place about a week later, and miraculously Susan recovered enough in a very short time in order to be able to go home for Christmas. It was the most blessed Christmas our family has had to date, knowing how close we came to losing our mom.

Over the course of the following days, weeks, and months there was a lot more testing and gameplanning for the treatment of Susan's cancer. There have been some major ups and downs throughout this whole ordeal, but her attitude simply could not be any better and the love and prayer that she has been surrounded with is nothing short of amazing. Susan is so thankful for every single day that God provides her, and we, too, are thankful for every day that the Lord blesses us with her presence.

Shortly after that first surgery, chemotheraphy began (and continues to this day in pill form). There were some big hiccups with insurance coverage at first, but we did finally get that all squared away. She went on radiation for about 2 months and did lose some hair, but it's growing back very nicely at this point. She also now goes in about once every 2-3 weeks for Avastin treatments (via IV) and routinely has follow-up MRI's to scan for any new tumors.

Fast forward to now, late October 2011, and a LOT has happened but by the grace of God, Susan just continues to beat the odds! There have been two seperate occasions where new (very small) tumors were detected and the doctors were able to remove them via at non-invasive treatment known as CyberKnife. The first round of this took place in the spring, and they sucessfully killed off the tumor at that time. Late in the summer, two new (small) tumors were detected and as of this week, after another CyberKnife treatment, the latest MRI showed that they had already shrunk by about 50% (fabulous news according to her chief Doctor, Greg Foltz).

We took a family vacation in April...a cruise to the Bahamas...and were able to enjoy a lot of quality time with eachother. Here is a picture of eveyone aboard the Celebrity Equinox:

About a month ago our family and about 25 friends gathered to support Susan in the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk at Seattle Center. The outpouring of support was amazing, and our team raised over $3,000 to support brain cancer research. Thank you all so very much!

We will continue to use this blog website to provide updates about Susan, and we welcome you to join and post any comments / thoughts / prayers that you see fit. We can't thank you enough for your love and support, and we speak for Susan when we say that she can feel your loving arms around her no matter where you are.

God Bless,

Cory - Kelsey - Ashley - and Craig