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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 has been quite a while since the last posting. The first thing to report on was your open house which was held on May 17th. You quietly greeted all of your guests who came to see you and your new living space. It was a beautiful day filled with love, laughter, good food, and wonderful fellowship! We are so grateful to Betty Minton and her sister, Linda, for planning the food, and coming Saturday to prepare and Sunday to serve, with the help of Sue Hurley, Shirley Wilson, Sara Keys, Beverly Beck, and other ladies from the church who provided cookies. You even had your portrait drawn thanks to Cecile Miller. It was great to have Aunt Jane, Aunt Patty, and cousin Patrick here, (all from Pennsylvania) too. We love it when family comes to visit and get to meet our friends. Cousin Patrick serenaded you by playing his Ukulele and singing to you in the evening. What a priceless time!

Your breathing spasms have continued to be a major issue over the past six weeks. The Baclofen Pump concentration was increased twice and is actually doing a wonderful job keeping you loose from the hips down. One thing we know is, that because they couldn't thread the catheter from the pump as far up your spine as the one they replaced, you are not getting enough Baclofen in the upper part of your body as before. We have increased a new medication, Tizanidine, which is helping to keep the breathing spasms in check, but not before you ended up in the Emergency Department twice, once at VCU Medical Center, and the second time at Johnston-Willis Hospital (to get a second set of eyes on you), within a week of each other. Each time you were admitted and more tests were run trying to figure out what is causing the spasms. They have ruled everything out including lung function or a blockage in your throat, and seizures (good news!). Thus, we are using medication to keep the spasms at bay. They also replaced your feeding tube at JW with one that has a balloon on the end of it which holds it in place. When you need this one replaced, all they have to do is deflate the balloon and pull it out...much less barbaric than the previous one!

You will be receiving your next round of Botox injections on July 17th. Dr. Kunz will be moving the injections from the calf of your leg to your neck and shoulder, in addition to your arms, face and thumb. We are hoping you will find relief from the spasms in your neck which turn your head to the left once you get the Botox there.
We thank God for the tremendous amount of patience and hope he fills us with continually. We can't imagine doing this without the support of our friends, family, and all who pray for us. We receive phone calls, cards and emails with daily reminders of your love and care. How blessed we all are...amazing...grace.

I have been focusing lately on something that M. Scott Peck wrote in "The Road Less Traveled." He says, "Life is difficult. This is a great truth; one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

I love you so much, Katie.

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4 Comentarios

Sue Katich
By Sue Katich
It sounds as though the open house was an awesome success! So glad family and friends were able to surround you and share in this special occasion. You all continue to inspire me with your patience, insight into living, and trust in our Lord.
God Bless you all!!!
Donna Rau
By Donna Merlino Rau — last edited
To Joe and Cathy: There are some pretty spectacular things to witness on that road less traveled.

To the spectacular Miss Kate: Congrats on your groovie apartment and prayers for you always.
Ann Long
I've missed you and hope to visit soon. Loved the pictures.
Love, Ann
carol ash
By Carol Ash
Many prayers for you Katie and your family. Hope the new medicine works for you