Regaining Strength

Wow, thank you all for all of the kind words and encouragement…it has taken me so far!  Last Wednesday, with the new tumor penetrating the bone in my spine, Dr. O’Keefe recommended a Reclast infusion to help strengthen my bones.  This is something given to osteoporosis patients so Dr. O’Keefe thought this may help slow down the damage to my spine.  I was hesitant because it would mean another IV and potentially several undesirable side effects: muscle and joint aches, nausea, chills, headache, fatigue, and fever.  However, I couldn’t go against the advice of my doctor.  Other than the minor pinching from the IV, the infusion went well.  But the next day, Thursday, I was hit head on with fatigue and severe sore joints like I’ve never experienced before.  I felt as if I woke up 50 years older.  Just the excuse I needed to stay in bed and continue my video lessons in American history.  Other than a few visits with family, I spent the rest of the week in bed trying to regain my strength.  I made several attempts to blog, but just couldn’t find the strength to type, let alone put my thoughts together.  By Sunday, I had improved, but I was still sleeping most of the day and could barely stand up from a seated position because of the pain in my knee.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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58 Responses to Regaining Strength

  1. nanci bogan says:

    So relieved to hear from you!! Sorry to hear that the reclast caused you such side effects, hopefully it will be worth it though to keep your spine stronger against the d**n ENEMY CCS. I think of you and Shannon often, and keeping you both in my prayers! with love from Batavia……….nanci

  2. Phil, Liz & Belen says:

    Glad to see your post this morning!
    A lot of folks have been missing you!

    We are sorry to hear about the side effects, but we are happy to see that you are getting stronger. We think of you often and check the blog most days.

    Take care friend,
    Phil, Liz and Belen

  3. ginger johannes says:

    I am also relieved to see you posting again, and looking forward to reading about another adventure with you and Shannon. I hope you are feeling better now.
    My Moms first use of Reclast did the same thing to her, only it lasted 2 weeks. I was getting worried something else was going on.She has had 3 infusions
    since and never had a reaction like the first time again.


  4. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Welcome back! And nice Harley shirt by the way!!! Sorry its been a rough week. You give us all strength through your blog and I hope we all give you strength as well!
    Have a great visit with Aaron!

  5. Tracy says:

    Good Morning and welcome back! What a pleasant surprise to see your posting! May you gain strength each day, day by day.

    Wishing you your best day. Tracy

  6. Christine says:

    Welcome back. We missed you sooooo much. Each day after work, checking up on you is the first thing we do! We think about you and your family all the time.
    Sending you love and good wishes.

    George & Christine

  7. Ellen Edmond says:

    Even when you take a few days “off,” you always come back ready to fight for another day. So good to hear you’re still moving in the right direction. I’ve had two doses of Reclast and it took me from full blown osteo back to osteopenia. And my jaw joints were immobile the first couple of days. Noone told me there might be side effects. So with my second IV, I drank lots of water ahead of time and it really helped. Just want you to know Dan, Mark, Jason and I think of you often and wish you many more days of sunshine and rainbows.

  8. Makiko says:

    Man, Bret! You are one resilient guy. Those side effects must be tough to get through, especially with everything else that you are experiencing. Thank so much for putting up a blog post. We are relieved to see it… and just brightened my morning with inspiration once again.

  9. Mandy Lindsey Cayouette says:

    Thank you so much for keeping us posted! It’s great just to see an update. Stay strong, Bret – we’ve got your back!

  10. Mom says:

    Yahoo! Love you!

  11. Kristen Brown-Greisch says:

    It’s so nice to see you back… I know I’m not the only one that has missed you.

    Be strong. Keep your faith and remember you are heading in a better direction today than yesterday.


  12. Jamie L says:

    So happy to see you back again, and with a smile!! Keep the positive thoughts as we are all doing as well.

  13. Laurie Sherner says:

    Ah, yes, Reclast (I have osteoporosis)!

    So very happy to see you posting. I wish you renewed strength, sunny days and trip planning!! Thank you for blogging — you were this morning’s “bright spot” ! Sending you good wishes, positive energy and may you have a good Memorial Day Weekend, Bret!

  14. Carol burke says:

    I was getting “DT’s” not hearing from you! Hope you are feeling better and have a peaceful and fun weekend for the both of you! Welcome Back!

  15. Durham Brew says:

    Welcome back Bret! Glad to see you again this morning, brotha. Question for you. Where did you all vacation at? I see sun and blue skies, and it’s not July 3rd yet, so I know you’re not in upstate NY! Just curious.

    Hope you, your fam, and everybody reading has a great Memorial Day weekend.


  16. Nanette Hance says:

    Welcome back Bret! Love your beautiful smile in the photo with your Grandma. May you keep gaining a little new strength each day. Again, we have missed you more than you can imagine. And, just as an FYI, many of us check in on you before reaching for the morning newspaper! You are “our” most important news!

  17. Linda V. says:

    I was so thrilled when I read that you had blogged. I’ve missed my daily dose of Bret as have many many others. You truly are AMAZING. Continue to rest and regain your strength with the support of your loving and caring family and many dear friends.

  18. Teri Cotter says:

    So glad and relieved to see your blog!!!! Have been checking all week and was very worried for you and Shannon. Glad you are regaining some strength!!!!! Thoughts and prayers with you!!!!

  19. Michelle Lindsey Piedmonte says:

    Yay! Glad your back on the grid. Sorry to hear about the side effects, but looks like your coming through it well. Stay strong, and keep moving in a good direction!

  20. Chrissy Kid says:

    wb, WB, W B!!!!! Just great to hear from you and see the pictures of the lovely sunny and and YOU soaking in the vitamin D! Take care of yourself and I hope to hear from you again soon. Going to a pig roast out at my brother’s on Sunday! I hear it should be a very nice day then………..EXCEPT FOR THE PIG! LOL Keep on keepin on Brett.

    And Shannon, keep that boy in line! Love you both!

    Chrissy Kid

  21. Cuzin Katie says:

    Hey Cuz 🙂 Hope you’re feeling better today! I wish I could send some Louisiana sunshine because it is a beautiful morning to sip coffee and sit in my backyard.
    xoxo, kt

  22. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    What a wonderful and welcome sight to see you back on the blog this morning, Bret. We all second your Mom’s “YAHOO”! I think probably this dreary, rainy day just turned bright and sunny for all your blog followers!!!! 🙂 Can I get another “YAHOO”!?

    Glad you’re starting to regain some strength after those nasty side effects from the Reclast. So sorry it made you feel so lousy but hopefully it will do its job to strengthen your bones. Praying everyday that you’re feeling better and it will be effective. On a side note, we may have to start quizzing you about all this American History you’ve been taking in! Hope you were really paying attention and not just dozing through it! 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend with Aaron and the family and may your days be brightened by all the love and hope we’re all sending your way. Sending big, big hugs to all three of you too! Love you!

  23. Dawn DeBadts says:

    There is our sunshine and our rainbow!!!!!

  24. Lisa (Moore) Boomhower says:

    So wonderful to hear from you 🙂

  25. Yvonne M Sellers says:

    I am on my way to Boston with the 6th grade class & a couple of your regular readers. One woman pulled up her blackberry after we had talked about you and how worried we were becoming by your inactivity on the blog.. We were all relieved to see your latest post.
    Thank you for sharing your latest and will continue to hold you in our prayers.

  26. Maryann Gilbert says:

    YEAH, I missed you! You are an inspiration; you can do it Bret!

    Your Grandma, Mrs. Hoefen to me, great to see her picture. Takes me back to St. Agnes High, where she taught me typing (yes typing, not keyboarding – dating myself). Who’d ever think after all these years I’d discover a connection, give her my best!


  27. Cousin Nancy says:

    I am so glad that you are feeling better now. The last few days must have been rough. I hope I get to meet you in July if you are in town.

  28. Zeke and Mary Lou says:

    Bret, it is good to see u up and, I would say running but that would not be the right word. It is just good to see u back and blogging again. Mary Lou said to tell u that she has been missing ur blog. I have never had reclast, but Mary Lou says I have alot of relax. I just have enough energy to only play golf tree or fore times each week, then my energy starts down hill again. Its great to hear that u are doing better and out on the move. Take care of that daughter of mine and we are praying for the both of you.
    Love u
    Zeke and Mary Lou

  29. Bree Miller says:

    So glad to hear from you! Sending all my love to you and Shannon!

  30. jean loughran says:

    hey Bret, there will probably come a time when you’re closest loved ones are what you need and the blog can’t be your priority. You’ll still have lots of good thoughts, prayers, love, and energy coming from your cyber family. It’s kind of like nuclear energy, you can’t see it, but it’s really there, and powerful stuff.

  31. Wendy says:

    Now I understand – you needed a “refueling” outage. 🙂

  32. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Thank you Bret for blogging! We have all been concerned about you. Get back in that saddle and keep riding….

  33. Elisa says:

    So happy to hear from you. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday.

  34. Reggie & Mary Lee says:

    That was a long wait Bret – checking every day, praying some more, checking again, praying again – just missed knowing what was going on. What an ordeal – that drug does not sound like a fun one at all – sure hope it does strengthen your bones. You will be able to lecture us on American History! That series sounds great. Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend with a giant hamburg and all the fixins!
    Love, Reg & Mary Lee

  35. Debbie says:

    There he is!

    Yep! A lot of folks that I know who follow your blog were asking me “How’s Bret? He’s not blogged in quite a while!” That was when I realized just how many of my friends here in Roanoke were following you. It’s amazing how far and wide your inspirational story and blogging has reached!

    But of further consideration and amazement–is my own father using online “slang verbiage”in his posts. How are u? Ur up? Really Dad? REALLY? Wow–he sounds like a 16 year old chatting about going to the prom, LOL!

    Seriously–so good to see that smile on your face and that seeing from those pics that you’re feeling better and stronger. Not going to lie-you had us all worried. Shannon had told me about the toil the reclast had taken on you but hopefully all the pain and suffering will be well worth it. 🙂

    Please give all your family a huge hug from me in thanks for all the support you’ve been getting and to Shannon as well. We wish we could give those hugs in person.

    Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and know how much we love and adore you.

    Keep on riding in the good direction!



  36. JoEllen Fahy Schubmehl says:

    Hi Bret! In case you haven’t seen it, the History Channel is showing the series “America, The Story Of Us”. It is awesome!

  37. Ray Ferran says:

    Obviously you’re going through another transition stage and either too tired or just not feeling chatty. I just wanted to mention something you probably already know…
    there are hundreds if not thousands of people pulling for you. You have shared your journey in a way thats uplifting to me and I’m sure many others. Your blog was a daily adventure in life and all it has to offer. It became so regular, it seems like a void with these gaps in entries.
    However you’re doing if you feel like writing do it; if you’re not up to it give it another day…just know everyone out here is in your corner and try to feel the love.

  38. Judy Lynd says:

    Bret…great to get back to my computer after the long weekend and see you’re turning another corner with the same determination you always have…you were missed.

  39. Timpla says:

    Sorry it’s taken so long to leave another comment!

    Can’t wait to see what you post about Memorial Day!

    We thought about you this weekend when we were at the coast.
    We really hope you might be able to come down to Porter’s Dad’s place sometime in the near future. It is so peaceful…a really great place to get away from it all!
    They even have kayaks, that I know you and Shan would LOVE!

    Also, tell that lady of yours I really want to hear from her!

    Please know that we are sending all our love and positive thoughts!

    Porter and Timpla

  40. terry conessi says:

    praying for you everyday. Missing your posts.

  41. Rhiannon says:

    My family back in western NY and my family out here in California are praying for you every single day!!!! And thank you for being so gracious and sharing your story with us. Your words are powerful and they are teaching all of us to live our lives by “riding in a good direction”

  42. Sally Leeson says:

    Just had to let you know that we are thinking of you, praying for you, wondering how you and your family are doing. Your bracelet reminds us every day to ride in a good direction and have our best days. If we could wish away the pain that you are probably experiencing, we would certainly do that in a heartbeat. I guess you know that is true of any and all of your blog followers, friends and family. I didn’t know what else to do so I figured I’d remind you of that for the millionth time. We are all pulling for you, wishing and hoping for you to have your best day today, tomorrow, and on and on!

    Sally and Charlie

  43. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Something’s missing on here….YOU!! Praying for you everyday. Hope to hear from you soon.

  44. Kathi Hoffman says:

    Missing your postings, sending thoughts and prayers for better days your way! Stay strong, you are one incredible dude!

  45. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Thinking of you and sending prayers your way everyday, Bret. You know much love is with you and Shanny always. Big hugs to you both!

  46. Julie says:

    Bret and family,
    Thank you for this blog. I will always appreciate your wit and wisdom. I am praying for you and your family. Even if you don’t post again, your wonderful blog lives on by all who appreciated it and learned from you! Thanks again, Julie

  47. Peggy says:

    Sending special prayers for you and your family. Miss your posts….

  48. terry says:

    thinking of you and your family and missing your post like crazy. So worried about you. Now i seem to check several times a day for any post. prayers are with you.

  49. Bob and Rosie Hughes says:

    Missing your posts. You have such a talent for writing! Sending you prayers and positive thoughts. God Bless you and yours, Bret.

  50. Aunt Judy & Uncle Kevin says:

    Hi Bret & Shannie, Thinking of you always and hoping you know that you are with us everyday all day long. Hope you are enjoying some sunny days for a change! I’ll bet it’s beautiful at the lake. We are finally getting a little bit of planting done on the farm, so hopefully you’ll have some corn this summer 🙂 See you both soon.
    Love, UK & AJ

  51. nanci bogan says:

    Just wanted to let you know I have been thinking of you both, and keeping you in my prayers!! Looking forward to your next post! with love, nanci

  52. Darryl says:


    I have been following you blog for a couple of months. I think your spirit and openness to share your struggle with CCS is extremely courageous. I always dream of or pictured myself a hero or courageous person. Your blog has given me new insight into what that is. I always though of people running into a burning building to save lives or soldiers in battlefield fighting for their lives has being courageous. I have climbed mountains, chased bears away with noting more than my voice, stood my ground when a mother bear charged stopping only three feet away, twice. None of this compares to your courage.

    I was diagnosed with CCS seven years ago. Couple of months ago I found a small tumor on baby finger. I was sacred and told no one for a few weeks. I was searching the Internet for CCS when I found your blog. Seeing and reading about your struggle while I was keeping my newfound tumor to myself afraid to tell anyone.
    I have a large family starting with my mother, five brothers and sisters, two kids, one wife and a black standard poodle, just for starters. You had your leg remove and shared it with the world while I was too sacred to tell anyone. I finally mustard up the courage to call the doc, tell the wife and one of my sisters. At the same time I did use your blog to scare a friend. She had this small growth on her shoulder was told by her doctor its just fatty tissue. I forward your blog to her to try and scare her into getting the lump removed. She got the lump remove the same week and did come back benign. I have since had my tumor remove and it came back benign. Because of your blog I started contacting others with CCS. I still have not had the courage to share your blog with my family. I did shared Carolina DeHond video with my family and some friends.

    Your blog has had a profound impact on my life! I see courage differently now. Sharing your story with the world is one of the most courageous act’s I have ever witnessed.


  53. Anne says:

    It’s strange to have never met you but to worry so much about you and your family. I can’t imagine what you are going through. Stay strong. Give us an update.

  54. Sherry Patterson says:

    Bret, you continue to be in my prayers. I’m wishing you strength to endure the trials and hope for treatments that will help you. I hope you will be back and feeling better soon. Be strong.

    Sherry (CCS friend/mom had CCS for 23+ years)

  55. Michelle Lindsey Piedmonte says:

    Your flair for the dramatic suspense is killing me. I’m afraid you’ve gone to Alaska already I missed it! Either way, I can’t wait to hear from you again soon. Much love and prayers to all of you.

  56. Danielle P. West-Chuhta says:

    Thinking of you and your family. Miss your posts! You are all in my prayers.

  57. Bret & Shannon,
    While I can only speak for myself, I am sorry to be so selfish, but I miss your posts. This being said, I pray for you and your Family daily. You need to do what is best for you, in your reality, in your Ride. Be it in a Good Direction, the one you chose, not chosen by us all. Yes, your posts are missed, but if you chose not to post again, that is for us to deal with. Please know that you have a huge pack of followers, all wishing & praying for the best outcome for you. Be safe Bret, and know that you are loved by many many people.

  58. Jack and Anita Sheehan says:

    Simply sending loving thoughts and prayers your way.

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