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In Honor of Katie

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Katie’s Story

Prayers are being answered! Above all...continue to pray!Catherine (Katie) Hawley is a happy, outgoing, athletic and very spiritual 9 year old girl. She has always been able to comfortably walk into a room of strangers and ask the first person she sees if they would like to play. At a very young age she led our family in prayer at the dinner table.

At age 4 she started playing AYSO soccer with me (her dad) coaching her. Coaching my daughters was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a father. Katie excelled, so at age 6 we decided to enroll her in a competitive club soccer program with the Southern California Blues.

In Jan/Feb of 09 during the Blues run for the California State Championship, we noticed a slight difference in her energy level but dismissed it as her just needing a break for a few weeks. During that time I also noticed her struggling to keep her feet under her. She appeared to labor to get up to speed and she seemed to have lost some of her quickness. Again, I dismissed it due to her recent growth spurt.

In the spring of 09 her club team took a much needed 2+ month break after they lost in the GU9 State Championship game. In this "off-season" period for the Blues, she continued to play soccer for the Ladera Ranch AYSO GU10 Plus team. That team won the championship for south Orange County and the end of season Area Tournament. At the same time, Katie worked out at an indoor conditioning facility.

During the early summer months her club team played in several soccer tournaments. Before the first Surf Cup tournament game on Saturday morning July 25th Katie threw up. About 2 days prior, Katie had complained about some minor but persistent abdomen pain. We thought she might have the flu, but she felt better after throwing up so we let her play. She was just not herself. She sat out during the 2nd game Saturday afternoon only to wake up on Sunday morning feeling better and wanting to play again.

Then the following Monday, July 27th, I decided to take her in to the local Urgent Care facility to get examined. Thank God for the perceptive Physicians Assistant that saw Katie named Michelle B. She just didn't think things seemed right and ordered an abdominal x-ray and ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a "mass" near Katie's stomach area so a CT scan was ordered for the next day. The result was further confirmation of the existence of the tumor.

This was the most shocking and devastating news MaryKay and I had ever heard. We cried during and in between making the calls to our family to tell them. At this point we did not know if the tumor was cancerous.

Another parent on Katie's soccer team had connections into the medical community.  That parent's name is Curt Wasserman and I will forever be in debt to him. Through his actions, and those of our new friend Len Shulman, we were immediately connected to Dr. Cairo in NY. Dr. Cairo is a world renowned leader in Oncology. He was on a speaking engagement in
Texas but offered his contact information to us, perfect strangers to him, so he could assist. He guided us to Dr. Marcio at CHLA, who is also a widely recognized "world expert" in Pediatric solid tumors. Dr. Marcio agreed to see Katie the next day, Friday, July 31st. That day, we were introduced to Dr. Stein, the leading pediatric surgeon at CHLA.

On August 5th, 2009, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor that was causing her abdominal pain. During surgery, it was determined that the tumor was malignant. Katie was diagnosed with Stage 3, High Risk, GanglioNeuroblastoma, nodular cancer. The egg-sized tumor growing from her right adrenal gland and the adrenal gland itself were removed as were 2 of Katie's lymph nodes. Cancer remained in her abdomen and she began chemotherapy treatments at CHLA on August 11th under the care of Dr. Araz Marachelian who we have the utmost confidence in.

In all, Katie has had 4 surgeries, 6 cycles of Chemotherapy, Stem Cell Chemotherapy, 12 rounds of Radiation, 5 rounds of ch14.18 and high doses of Accutane. She was declared N.E.D. (no evidence of disease) in December of 2009 and remains that way today.

Life has dealt us this unexpected and incredible challenge.  With your prayers, and God's Good Grace, we will continue to overcome this.  Please keep Katie in your prayers.

Latest Journal Update

Home and happy

Katie got in safely late yesterday afternoon. Time enough to take her and older sister to Souplantation.. for a play by play of her week. 
 
Despite the bladder infection, the stomach issues, and two girls in her cabin getting lice, she had an amazing time!!
 
To see her grow in her faith, is amazing. As all parents, you look into the eyes of your teenager and see a five year old, you don't really know how or when.. but all of a sudden they are growing up??  

Katie shared how she really took a hold of the meaning of repentance. That she needs to take responsibility for her actions and not make excuses. WOOOOO - how many adults do you know, who still need to figure that one out. Remember how I was moaning, and complaining about her 'loosing that FIGHT" she used to have, she said there were times "drama" broke out among some of the girls.. (normal silly teen stuff) and she bit her tongue. Katie who would normally engage and perhaps fuel the fire, instead she sat quietly, and 'let the dust settle' ~ she was aware of them trying to 'push her buttons', but would pray under her breath, breathe and let it go. So this 'loosing her fight' at least in this circumstance is another sign of maturity. ... and you all didn't trust God was working? ha!!
 
Lastly, we sat outside for an hour or so, talking about trusting God. She did tear up and tell me she didn't understand why she has to have so many medical problems. "I prayed mom for the pain to go away, and it didn't." I knew this when she told me, many times she was in a stall in the bathroom, telling her friends she was 'fine' when she wasn't. As the talk continued. I had to examine my own understanding of how Jesus answers prayers. I re read my last few post and sometimes I actually cringe! I told Katie, I was surprised at myself thinking when everything was 'FUN' that God answered my prayers, and when everything seemed in complete turmoil, I thought He had turned His back on me.
 
Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance,long suffering( patienceresignationendurancefortitude) kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit isn't just joy and peace.. but long suffering. It is a part of His plan to perfect us into becoming more like Him. Suffering isn't fun. But He promises some amazing results when it is over.

James 1:2-4

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 
Didn't mean to turn this into a bible study... but through her suffering I have learned as well to put my faith and trust in a living God who sees the bigger picture. At least as of today.. ha, I am really surprised ~ ok NOT really, really surprised... but a little at how much I fluctuate from trust to panic. 
 
Thank you again for the prayers, you all are such a huge part of my daughters journey. You may never how much until one day we meet face to face.
 
Until my next melt down - hey I'm only human.
 
Katie and her dad leave next week for New York for vaccine number four. Prayers as she continues on this path!!
 
Love you all,
 
TO KNOW HIM AND TO MAKE HIM KNOWN!! The only reason we're still here!!
 
MKay
 
Mary and Pastor Ron, we have supplies for the kids, but totally over slept this morning. I will try to bring them next week, not sure what time Katie is leaving for New York.




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Comments

2 Comments

Eileen Gibson
By Eileen
Yep. God is good!
mary rellez
By Mary Rellez
You both inspire me. Keeping Miss Katie in my prayers. Mom and Dad also
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1 person hearted this