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My Story

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

www.karengberger.blogspot.com

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Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Happy May Day! "Because of Katie," the story of Katie's journey (and ours with her) is now available in Kindle format, in addition to paperback. You can find it ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Happy May Day! "Because of Katie," the story of Katie's journey (and ours with her) is now available in Kindle format, in addition to paperback. You can find it ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry, "My book, "Because of Katie" is here".

It's been nearly a year since I've updated here, knowing that most of you know about my blog (www.karengberger.blogspot.com) for the most current news and information, as ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Greetings to you, friends and family! Because of facebook and blogging, I don't often come here with an update now, figuring that most of you will catch up with us in ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

The Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research just topped $120,000 due to the generosity of our family and friends - THANK YOU SO MUCH! The income will be used to ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Today is a big day for our family: David is graduating from high school! While this is Katie's caringbridge site, I want to acknowledge what would have been a big day ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Our dear friend, Paul Dudley (the photographer, auctioneer, Argosy Captain and Camp Goodtimes/Seattle Children's Hospital volunteer) made a video with David and me in ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

A bit of news: Redbook Magazine published a small piece that I wrote, on the last page of its April, 2010 issue. It's about writing and grieving, and I was able to ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

Greetings! To those of you who are wondering, we had a wonderful time at the Hope & Empowerment Event in Indianapolis, Indiana, hosted by the Henry Tucker ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

HAPPY 15TH BIRTHDAY, KATIE!It's such fun to recall the joy of that day. I thank God that you were sent to our family. I wish we'd had many more years with you, but I thank ... Read more

Karen Gerstenberger posted a new journal entry.

The Henry Tucker Foundation (www.henrytuckerfoundation.org and www.caringbridge.org/visit/henrytucker ) is hosting the Hope and Empowerment Event in Indianapolis on ... Read more

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