On Oct. 10, 2006, Katie was admitted to Children's Hospital, after 3 weeks of sick days & doctor visits, with what looked like a virus (low-grade fever, extreme fatigue). She was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma tumor in her abdomen and heart. Later, the diagnosis was revised to undifferentiated carcinoma, and finally to adrenocortical carcinoma.
Pathology (electron microscope) led to new diagnosis; experts at St. Jude's Hospital were consulted. Chemo regimen was changed to address carcinoma.
In January, after 5 rounds of chemo, we went home to rest before Katie's surgery (Feb. 21-22, 2007). Drs. Waldhausen & Cohen were able to successfully remove the entire tumor, which had started on the adrenal gland, encased one of Katie's kidneys, filled her inferior vena cava and entered a lobe of her liver & her heart. It took 18 hrs. to remove the tumor; it was adrenocortical carcinoma. Thanks to Puget Sound Blood Bank & donors for the gift of life Katie received (70 units) during surgery!
Katie spent 3 weeks in CICU, recuperating (the incision couldn't be closed for 2 wks). She then moved to the surgery ward, & spent 3 more weeks getting stronger. On 4/1/07, we were allowed to go home for good!
In early May, Katie's PET scan showed a bit of cancer in her upper back (nothing emergent). Scans were scheduled every 3 months (it was called a slow-growing cancer).
In June, the kids went to Camp Goodtimes, & were starting summer activities when Katie began to have pain in her lower back & legs. She had massage & physical therapy, but the pain increased in strength and frequency.
CT scan revealed a new tumor, spread to Katie’s bones, spinal cord & liver. Dr. Park said there was nothing they could do to get Katie into remission. Hospice was called, mitotane (oral chemo) stopped, & we were given medicines to keep Katie comfortable. We went home to try to accept the news that she was going to pass away.
Katie had about two weeks of increasing weakness. During this time, she & David were attendants in their cousin's wedding. A week after the wedding, Katie lost the ability to move her legs. One week after that, August 16th, she passed away peacefully, with Gregg, David & me at her side.
Please accept our thanks for your love, prayers & support. We appreciate every one of you.
Love & blessings,
Karen, Gregg & David