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Katie’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated about Katie. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story.

Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook.

On Wednesday, January 19, Katie was taking pictures of the sky ( her passion!) with unusual cloud formations our on our front steps, when she lost her balance and fell down the steps.  She was having a seizure when I found her.  She was taken by ambulance to VCU Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, the best trauma center in the area, where they determined that she had a left cranial bleed, contusions on the front of her brain, a skull fracture behind her right ear and a contusion on the back of her scalp.  She went right into surgery to remove the blood clot in her brain.  By God's grace she didn't receive any other bodily injuries and is able to move all extremities.

The first day after surgery, Katie responded perfectly to all the neurological tests and told each of us (Joe and me) that she loved us. I asked her if she remembered falling down the steps and she said she did.

On the second day after Katie's surgery, she stopped responding, and they put her into an induced coma by reducing her body temperature, put her in a paralytic state and heavily sedated her.  Her brain started to swell and they had to do a ventriloscopy, which is where they insert a pump between the ventricles in her brain which did two things: measured the innercranial pressure and relieve the pressure by draining the spinal fluid off of her brain into a container.

Katie remained in the coma state for 22 days. As soon as they could, they did an MRI on her head and found that she had had several strokes.

Kate remained in MCV until July 13, when she was moved to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia. We were so thrilled that she was able to go there and were amazed at what they were able to accomplish in therapy.

On February 16, Katie was admitted to MCV Hospital again to received a Baclofen Pump (implant). Following surgery, we welcomed Katie home after 399 days, on Feburary 22, 2012. We are thrilled to have her home with us and she is doing very well. We continue to try our very best to take it one day at a time. God is in control.

Latest Journal Update


Dear Katie,

It's been a long time since we updated your journal here on CaringBridge, so for those who don't get to see you or us on a regular basis, I thought I would just let people know how your days are going now. I think the last journal was about three months ago. Fortunately, you haven't been to the hospital for a stay, and the only time you went to the Emergency Department was because your feeding tube was clogged with your Calcium pill. Fortunately, all the doctor had to do was use a unique tool which has the tiniest little brush on it and the tubing is as skinny as heavy duty fishing line and she put it down your feeding tube and just kept working it and pushing and twisting it until the clog was resolved. When we got home, Dad promptly ordered one online so that we wouldn't have to make that trip again! We have used it about three times since!

You had an infusion of Reclast to help with your bone density, which is very low. Unfortunately, you had bad side effects from it, with flu-like symptoms that weekend which caused your breathing spasms to increase. So we spent the next month trying to get them under control again, adding more medication. For the most part, you seem to be feeling better, but you still have days that are difficult for you. Last week you seemed to have sinus trouble from allergies, but that is resolving now.

You keep reminding us that you still understand much of what is going on around you and being said to you. Yesterday when I came in from shopping, I told you that I bought you some clothes and you opened your eyes, turned your head to the center and gave me a big smile! I was so happy that you understood what I told you. Tonight, Dad was talking to your caregiver about football (she is really into the game) while you were listening to Jeopardy (or so he thought), and he said to you, "Kate sorry we are making so much noise! You probably can't hear the TV!" and you laughed out loud! He was so surprised!

We took you to the church picnic two weekends ago. It was a beautiful day and everyone seemed to be glad to see you. Lots of people came over to say, "Hello." It was so nice to have you with us! It was so hot this summer, but Dad still managed to get you out for a walk most mornings. Other than your doctor visits though, you enjoyed staying inside where it was nice and cool and you could listen to music in your nice room. You haven't spent much time in the standing frame due to your frequent spasms, and Dad found it too difficult for you at the gym, but he still gets you on the balance ball at home. He read a couple of books to you which you both enjoyed.

Our church made a new pictorial directory this summer so we had a new family picture taken, which is part of this journal. You look so pretty and you have a beautiful smile on your face! We were glad your brother could join us!

We will try to continue to update your journal when we can, so people can keep up with your story. As always, we ask for continuing prayers from everyone, specifically to ease your spasticity. 

- Thanks to all who express your love and care for Katie and us!  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Philippians 4:13 - 

We love you, Katie!
Mom and Dad

5 people hearted this



Ann Long
Katie, Great picture of all of you. I'll see you on Thurs.

Love, Ann
Terry Lynn Smith
A beautiful family picture. Glad to get an update on everyone. Keep on keeping on...Blessings and Love, Terry :+)
Char and Guy Vaughan
By Char Vaughan — last edited
You continue to inspire me! God continues to reveal Himself through your whole family. Prayers continue despite being in southwest Florida. Sending some sunshine your way.
1 person hearted this
Cindy Slade
By Cindy Slade
What a beautiful family! I think of all of you often. Thoughts & Prayers with you always. I hope I can visit soon, my Goddaughter Sarah is actually moving to VA, not sure what area, as soon as I know I will check if it's close to you. Love and Friendship
1 person hearted this
Jessica Oglesby
Beautiful family picture! I miss you, Katie. I hope to visit when I am in town over the holidays. Until then...sending my love and prayers from Durham!
1 person hearted this
Katie Gilbert
By Katie Gilbert
Aww love your family photo 😄 I need to come visit soon! Love you all and thinking and praying for you all always. Xoxo
1 person hearted this
Mike Harton
By Mike
Prayers , indeed. Thanks for the update. You all are amazing!
1 person hearted this
Jacqui Sweigart
By Jacqui
What a beautiful picture great idea to take a family photo!! And happy to hear Katie giggling, one of my all time favorite sounds. So much love for you all. See you soon!
1 person hearted this