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Mary Catherine’s Story

Through adversity we grow, our growth maybe in tight rings like the tree that faces a drought, but those trees have the strongest core and will withstand the winds of the hurricane when they ar older.

It all started out when Mary went in for her college cross country phyiscal on July 28. Her doctor felt a mass in her pelvis and sent her to get a CT scan that day. The scan showed what was thought to be a large ovarian cyst. So then she was referred to the University of Minnesota Gynocology department. They also thought it was a cyst and scheduled surgery for August 8. It was supposed to be a 2-3 hour surgery and 2-3 day hospital stay. It turned into a 11 hour surgery which she recieved 7 pints of blood and 2 units of plasma. What they had found was a ganglioneuroblastoma tumor which was roughly 11cm by 11cm though at the time they weren't sure what it was. She was in ICU for a day and recieved 2 more pints of blood post-op. She had 35 staples starting an inch sbove her belly button, down around her belly button and down 6 inches. She was in the hospital for a total of 9 days. During those 9 days we heard bad news then good news. There were various tests and scans donewhile she was there and we left feeling cautiously optimistic. Then on Monday Aug. 21 we went back down for the results of the test. What was found was that the tumor had spread to her bone marrow in her left hip and femur. Also the tumor that was left was cancerous. So now she is starting chemotherapy on Monday Aug. 28 at the University of Minnesota Hospital. She will be there for 3-5 days every month for the next 4-6 months. She will probably have all of the common sypmtoms of chemo - hair loss, nasea, tiredness. Her tumor is rare - .15%. 50% of these tumors are found by the age of 1, another 45% by the age of 10, another 3% by the age of 16. Also only 5% of these tumors are found in the pelvis. Thank you all for all of your support - we love you all.

Latest Journal Update

One of the things when Mary and I sat in her room one day we read about two dad's who were riding across the U.S. to raise money to battle childhood cancer.  Mary looked at me and said Dad you could do that, maybe when I get better I could be your support team and we'll do it together.  Mary really never liked biking that much although she did give me credit for making her a powerful hill climber in cross country from riding.  I have struggled because it is hard when you finally finish your personal battle with childhood cancer you say yes I am going to go out and fight this battle for every other child out there, but you know what you are exhausted.  When you loose your battle you, you are beaten you are not ready to go back after it , you need to take care of your other children, you need to take care of your other children, you have to get back to your career.  
Then I came across the Great Cycle Challenge Riding to Fight Kid's Cancer my goal will be to ride 600 miles in the month of June.  During this month I will ride at least one day a week with our tandem, only the stoker saddle will be empty, to remind people that for some of us there are empty seats in our families for the rest of our lives, please go to the cycling challenge site and pledge money for cancer research.  I will recruit the help my tech savy children to add pictures.  Arden

19 people hearted this



Russ Johnson
By Russ Johnson
What a powerful and loving statement you will be making Arden. I think of Mary and all of you often. I am now sitting in a room on 5C at the U of M as Kathy fights her battle with cancer. I have been re-reading Mary's cb journal, such a brave warrior you raised. I will never ever forget her. Kind regards, Russ
PS Please tell Patti that Kathy could use one of her awesome prayers. Kathy believes in the power of prayer.
Michelle Lammers
By Michelle Hansen Lammers
Mary will be right there with you on your rides! And she will be so proud!!
Jane trok
By Jane Trok
Arden, That is such a great tribute to Mary Catherine! I wish you much luck! Love, Jane
Michelle Litke
By Michelle Litke
Mary would be so proud of you and will be smiling and encouraging you from heaven (especially on the hills!)
Sally Detlefsen
By Sally
Good luck Arden. I think of your family often and can't imagine the loss of a child. May God be with you on your journey and give you wings.
2 people hearted this
Juanita Reed-Boniface
By Juanita Reed-Boniface
Arden--A great challenge!! My son-in-law has diabetes and for the past several years he has ridden in the Diabetes Bike-a-Thon in the Twin Cities. This event was last week-end. He usually rides the 100 mile distance, but due to a family wedding that day this year he only did 60 miles. His daughter, wife and son have also ridden the course. Good luck to you!!