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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

chemo resumes

Kate has had 12 days off chemo, and tomorrow starts the chemo cycle over again, for round 2. For now, the plan is to attempt 4 cycles and get MRI's every 2 months, or every 2 cycles. We haven't even talked past that. Evidence of the diseases unpredictability. 

We are grateful Kate has improved over the past few weeks. Each day is still mostly negotiating between the bed and couch, however seizures have been minimal to absent. And she has made it for a few outings... the picture being her first time at her brothers soccer game tonight. We continue to struggle with medication side effects and so we are ever so slowly attempting to change the doses. One of those effects has been on her eyes. It is scary for her and most often she has to sleep it off. We did meet with the neuro- ophthamologist to assess everything going on with her vision. I have always enjoyed him. He has seemed to thoroughly enjoy seeing Kate and sharing in her great strides against this disease. The appointment was mixed, serving up heartache and surprise. We were grateful to learn any of the eye symptoms she is having have not caused any damage, and he does believe them to be related to her cocktail of medications right now, not from tumor or surgery. The surprise came when he said her eyes actually looked better than they did a year ago.. good news we relish. Then came the but... but we are in a really tight place. Tight meaning incredibly dangerous. And so revisited the heartache along with the reminder.

So tomorrow we start back... praying that every single part of the chemo will only wipe out every last cancer cell. And it will spare everything else. I am nervous as everything took a fast downward turn last time a few days after the start of chemo, and so we weren't even able to do the full cycle. Praying this time proves differently if these are the drugs to help Kate. Please pray the nausea and vomiting will be minimal, seizures will not occur, and her blood counts will hold steady. Thank you... seeing her know she is loved blesses us greatly. 

Lamentations 2:19
Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children
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Comments

411 Comments

Lucile Elmore
By Lucile Elmore
What a beautiful picture of Kate. She is so precious with her sweet, sweet smile. We are continuing to uphold her, you and the rest of her family up in prayer.
Sandra Waters
By Sandra Waters from Magnolia,TX (Cindy Seay's Bible Study group)
Dear Kate and family,
It was so great to see you outside and smiling! May the chemo be used where needed and spare all vital things in your precious body.May the Lord wrap you in His loving arms day and night!
Continued prayers
Mary Pitner
By Mary in Birmingham, AL
Still loving and praying for Kate. She is a precious, brave, brave girl! And beautiful as the first day you posted her sweet picture!
Carol Stevenson
By Carol Stevenson
Praying, praying, praying!
Carol
Laurie Carlson
By Laurie Carlson
Praying for you, Aaron, Olivia, Will and Kate. For spiritual eyes to see God's undying devotion to all of you in the midst of this. Ps. 37 A gift only God can do --- in pain, loss, unknowns......
Brenda Strenge
By Brenda Strenge - www.caringbridge.org/visit/ethanstrenge
Prayers for Kate and your family.
diane mack
By Diane Mack
hugs, love, and continued prayers beautiful kate!!
Lia Gyore
By Lia Gyore
I watched Aaron's sermon from last Sunday last night as I lied in bed. I couldn't help but wonder how you listened to it - if you even could bring yourself to. In the Midst . . . I am in the midst of losing my mother, small stroke at a time, and the pain is great. Yet still, I cannot fathom what your journey feels like. I do know that, like Aaron said, we are walking through this together in communion with one another and with Christ. I pray that you feel my hand reaching out for yours and that your moments of feeling forsaken are few and far between. In Christ,
Genie Cowden
By
So encouraged by your report and will continue praying. Kate looks absolutely darling, as always. Bless you all in every way.
Annie E
By Annie from Oregon
You are a strong little girl, Kate. You are so loved and prayed for - all the time, day and night; by warriors fighting right along with you. I hope you can feel Jesus' arms around you and know He is holding you tightly!! He loves you more than your Mom and Dad and family do, more than we do...so much Love that we cannot imagine or understand - but it is for YOU. You are a strong, brave, beautiful little lady. Lots of love and prayers.