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Kate’s Story

Thank you for following our daughter Kate's journey. We ask for your prayers during this incredibly difficult time.

Monday June 29th, 2009 was supposed to be a day filled with summer fun. The kids and I were going to the water park to celebrate summer. However, I noticed that a slight tremor in her right hand that had developed over the past few days had notably worsened. We decided to take her to her Pediatrician, just for safe measure. A CT of Kate's head was ordered. We proceeded to Phoenix Childrens Hospital for a stat CT of her head. That evening I, Kate's mom, was taken into a room alone and told Kate had a large tumor on the left temporal lobe of her brain. The world seemed to stopped for us that day, but our long journey had just began. Kate was directly admitted to the PICU. One minute thoughts of the water park the next our child is critically ill in the intensive care unit awaiting emergent brain surgery within a matter of days.  We would have never chosen to be a part of this journey with childhood cancer, but it was chosen for us, and our sweet Kate. She is now in the Phoneix Children's Hospital undergoing treatment for this disease.

Kate underwent a craniotomy with tumor resection on July 3rd, 2009. They unfortunately were only able to remove 50% of the tumor due to it's location in the left temporal lobe of her brain and the fact that the tumor had wrapped itself around the left middle cerebral artery to her brain. Kate experienced right sided paralysis immediately following surgery along with the loss of her speech. She has since regained much of this, however her right sided weakness still continues. 

After a few days of intense waiting the pathology report was in, Kate was diagnosed with a very malignant, aggressive brain tumor called a supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor or sPNET. Our hearts felt broken. Long term prognosis and outcomes weren't encouraging so Kate has been put on a study that is showing a little more promising outcomes, hopefully a better chance at survival and less long term side effects. She is currently undergoing the Head Start 3 Study out of Los Angeles but doing it at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The study involves the initial brain surgery, 5 round of very intense chemotherapy with possibility of a subsequent brain surgery and then another round of chemo with a stem cell transplant. We are hoping to avoid radiation after transplant. Kate is also in physical therapy and occupational therapy and has been released from speech therapy.

We believe strongly in the power of prayer and the ability of Jesus to heal our precious daughter. We are asking others to join us on this journey and fervently pray for our Kate. The road is long and unbelievably hard. We have 3 children, all who are intensely affected. Olivia is now 7, Kate is 5 and Will is 4. Please keep all of us in your prayers as we try to walk this journey of childhood cancer. Thank you. 

As of September 29th Kate was readmitted to begin her 3rd round of chemo. She will be hospitalized for the entire round.

January of 2010 Kate finished her 5th round of chemotherapy. Her subsequent MRI showed there was still residual cancer remaining. She was then admitted on February 8th for her "consolidation" phase of chemotherapy with an autologous stem cell transplant. This equated to 1 years worth of chemotherapy in 6 days.

Due to the residual cancer prior to transplant Kate then needed to undergo brain radiation. We temporarily moved to Houton, Texas for 2 months so Kate could undergo 31 treatments of proton beam radiation to the tumor bed.

Kate finished radiation on May 24th, 2010 which finished her treatment for the Head Start 3 Study. June 29th, exactly one year from her diagnosis, Kate had her first MRI post treatment which was inconclusive. She followed it with a PET scan one month later which showed no definitive signs of cancer! 13 months of prayers. And one scan showing no cancer!

Kate had another scan early September 2010 which again left us guessing. There was a new spot that appeared on the MRI. We are currently waiting for another MRI to see if this is merely treatment changes, vascular changes etc, or the return of cancer.

On February 1st, 2011 a routine MRI discovered that the brain cancer had indeed returned and metastasized. Options for treatment were few. And the prognosis was awful at best. Few ever survive its return. And yet.... we continue to pray for healing. 

Please continue to pray as we journey alongside our daughter.

Latest Journal Update

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We have made another adjustment to Kate's treatment. Not simply because we desired to, rather out of necessity. The new treatment seemed tougher on Kate's body than any of us anticipated. Targeted therapy is to have less in the terms of side effects due to its ability to be more "targeted" in what its fighting. However, after 6 days on treatment Kate's platelets plummeted to a critical level and she developed mouth sores which we think spread down her throat. So Thursday found us in the hospital for a much needed platelet transfusion, meanwhile Kate had stopped eating and mostly stopped talking due to the pain. Friday brought a fever which requires a visit to the ER because of her port. A fever can indicate infection in her line which can be quite dangerous if not treated efficiently. We talked with her oncologist that day about possibly admitting her for hydration and pain control, which Kate actually agreed to consider, so we then knew she felt quite miserable. 

Antibiotics were started in the ER after labs and blood cultures were drawn. The only reason for the fevers we can see were either related to the sores or an infection in her port. So after the antibiotics we were able to go home that night. I am assuming we will hear the initial report on her blood cultures tomorrow. Thankfully her fevers have resolved for now and the sores are beginning to heal, we are assuming by the fact she is beginning to eat again. And talk. And even laugh a little. 

The new drug she started was actually to be taken daily, indefinitely. After the last week, it was clear this will not be possible, nor beneficial for her. So her dose has been cut in half. Relief and disappointment. We will have Kate's blood drawn again this week to see how her platelets are holding up. If she is continuously requiring transfusions we will once again need to reconsider what we eliminate or reduce. 

And her spirits, well she has asked a bit more of the "why?" lately. Why hasn't God healed me? Why do things keep on happening? Why can't I just be a kid? I wonder the same and ache out of the same disappointment. And yet I ask her if in all the disappointment she still knows Jesus loves her and hears her. Even though things are so very different than we had hoped. Her face softens and she just quietly says "oh yeah mom. I know He loves me. And I still love Him, even when I'm frustrated with Him." I wonder if sweeter words have left her lips. She trusts He loves even when it hurts, and she believes even when answers are hard to come by. The faith of a child. It is precious and so sweet. At times painfully so.

Continue joining us in praying for her next scans, Monday the 19th. 




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Comments

486 Comments

Bethany Lovegrove
By Bethany Lovegrove
I'm still praying for Kate and your family. Your heartache and testimony. I came to see if there any updates. And I wonder about last scans.

Just saw in comments you apparently were on Dr. Phil!! I wonder if I can somehow watch that.

But rereading your latest post on here is the most amazing testimony of all, so it is good to have here when watchers come. Jesus does love us through the pain. Sweet Kate.
Donna Pasik
By Donna Pasik
Your story on Dr. Phil moved me beyond words. Keep on fighting Kate! You are all in the thoughts and and prayers of so many people. May you have continued strength and courage in the days ahead.
Jolie satterlee
By Jolie S.
Dear Mcrae Family~
I just saw your story on Dr. Phil and had to immediately find out how Kate is doing. I have never commented on any blog, etc but felt compelled to do so today. You are a remarkable family from everything I could see. I have such admiration for your strength and obvious faith in the face of unimaginable tribulation. I will pray for you all. I know from experience that the power of prayer is incredible, only God has the power to show you who is God...
mechelle williams
By Mechelle Williams
I just watched the show this morning, then I noticed that it was from 2009, I quickly go up and got my iPad to try to find
an updated report on kate. I was happy and elated to find that she Is still fighting a Winning Fight...GOD LOVES YOU KATE,I SEND MY PRAYERS TO YOU AND THE FAMILY, KEEP FIGHTING, GOD'S GOT YOU....
Tina Cline
By Tina Cline Eastern Shore of Maryland
Dear Holly and family, I just watched the 2009 story on Dr. Phil. I was so moved, that I needed to find an update on your family. I can't imagine a 6 year fight again cancer. I'm sure you never thought you could be as strong as you are to have gotten this far. It brought joy and sorrow to my heart to see that Kate's fight has continued to 2015. Joy that God has spared her, and sorrow that she continues to suffer through this terrible disease. I'm not the most religious person in the world, but I do pray that Kate and your family will soon see an end to this and all of you can go back to the life you had in 2009 before all of this started. Sincere love, thoughts and prayers to you all.
Tracey Britt
By Tracey B
Kate you are such an inspiration... I have two girls n we are going through some things right now... N I'm getting ready to go into surgery and was watching an old Dr.Phil and saw your story....you have Blessed me n my girls by your amazing faith and hope and trust in Jesus . he never leaves us nor forsakes us ! Your are truly an angel from God above . you and your family are truly prayed for and thought about everyday with tons of hugs n prayers always ! Your are beautiful in every aspect !! God Bless you Kate and your whole family ! Xoxo from my family to yours !
0: )
Deanne Vlcek
By Deanne Vlcek, Westchester IL.
Kate I pray for your complete healing in Jesus' name! You are HIS precious and beautiful child. You will be in my prayers every day!
Lisa Patrick
By Lisa in TN
Praying for Kate and ALL of you . God bless.
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Andrea Spriggs
By Andrea Spriggs
The Lord has enlisted some more prayer warriors to fight for your baby. The re-airing of your story on Dr Phil touched my heart. I pray your sweet girl is blessed with a notable and complete miracle healing. May God also continue to strengthen your beautiful family. God is able.
Jenny Ellis
By Jenny
I, like Heidi, am seeing your story as I type .... What a beautiful child and spirit she is! My prayers are with you and your family - may God keep and bless you all