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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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Unpredictable. Maybe thats what the days are. Good days and those that are far less than desirable. The emotional pain has trumped the physical pain this month... of which I'm not sure one is worse. Her spirit willing and able to resume life as once was, her body less inclined to do so. The fatigue is still intense some days, which she hates because she feels like she is missing out on the world. But most days she concedes to the fact that fighting cancer requires sleep. Some days a lot. And seizure medications well they just make rest not an option. They are really quite horrible drugs. But in light of that, she has also not had a seizure in 3 months. Incredible considering there was a period of time we truly wondered if that would ever be possible. We love the reprieve the medication has brought, but hate the cost. So we have pushed to wean her off of them. And ever so slowly we are. And now even her neurologist is hopeful to eliminate one of the drugs in the next few months. If we are able, Im sure we will keep pushing after that. Pushing the boundaries of this disease. 

We are on the later half of this chemo cycle. Decreasing one drug has proved beneficial in keeping us out of the ER. She has continued to need platelets but not nearly as frequent. Her blood work has been difficult to follow this month. The pattern we thought would now be predictable, no longer so. So we get excited when we are pleasantly surprised and her blood work is better than anticipated. And we try not to sweat it when we have to go into the hospital on days like today, when we weren't expecting to need a transfusion. 

Kate asked me one day when she could start looking forward to getting off of chemo again. She wanted a goal. Something to aim for. I have thought about her treatment so much. Read and studied what I could. Asked questions until I couldn't possibly ask the same question a different way. And yet, somehow I had forgotten that this would seem the same to her as the two times before. A possible end date in the future. Hope of a countertop not covered in medications. And so I choked up, and she knew. No one has talked end dates. Or we have, but they mean years, not months. And many years not a few. I see her shoulders buckle and she says she needs time alone. I hate these realities. And yet for now they are. My heart breaks not being able to insulate her from this. She is old enough to ask the right questions, and seasoned enough to understand implications. But then later she walks out of her room. She isn't hateful, she is just hurt. She isn't really even angry, more just deeply disappointed. I marvel at her. She talks about if she would die, like most kids talk about their sports. She is no stranger to grief. She assures me she isn't scared. But she also isn't ready. She hopes Jesus will give her more time for living. 

And soon she's laughing. And I'm not sure if she's forgetting or simply still hoping. Or simply trusting. Or just living in today. Whatever it is. She is often the teacher and I'm the student. 

With having exhausted many of the traditional ways to treat this cancer, our Dr's are helping us add some other therapies to the mix. Kate's a champ at trying new things and just shrugs when I tell her we are adding something unusual. Her oncologist told us again today, this is the best time for us to try, when the disease isn't visible. When we are talking cells not tumors. And so our hearts hope. Hope against the statistics. Hope that she will get her day off chemo again. It may be a long time coming. But we can hope. And pray. And I'm reminded of the prayer we prayed from the first day we found out she had cancer, 5 years, 7 months and 19 days ago. It came from the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace. Their reply to the imminent danger and death was that our God is able to deliver us, and He will deliver us... but even if He doesn't. And so we continue to pray to a God who is able to rescue our girl once and for all from this disease. And in the meantime we attempt to learn how to trust regardless. 


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Comments

349 Comments

Beth Kline
By Beth Kline
Praying for Kate! Our God is awesome and I know he will deliver Kate from this awful disease🌈
Janet Mudrak
By Jan Mudrak
We just had this same message given to us this week. Our God is able to deliver. And we are praying this for Kate. God can do anything but fail. Thanks for keeping on keeping on in Jesus Name.
Jan from Michigan
susan preston
By susan
Prayers for Kate, and the entire McRae family, continue daily. Happy to hear any little bit of good news, or hopeful news. Jesus please hold sweet Kate and make her not hurt and be well.
KELLY MILES
By KELLY MILES
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1 person hearted this
Michelle Tiderman
By Michelle Tiderman
Wow, she is beautiful. We are continuing to intercede for Kate and your family as you walk in trust down a path that is so so hard. Oh Jesus, please come.
debbie hillyer
By The Hillyers from Cedaredge, CO
Praying for Kate- for hope, for healing, for love to envelop you and your family- for joy in the mundane moments...for God to be present in amazing ways that no one understands until they have walked your journey. So grateful He is walking it with you.
DJ Herc
By
Kate and Holly, I pray for you every day and every night. I hope that you can laugh and smile your beautiful smile when this is all over and you are well again. Please stay strong and never ever give up. We love you all.
Dale and John
Nancy Peloquin
By Nancy
Please trust in the Lord with all of your heart and soul and he will always always deliver you from all of this evil and pain. Keep your chins up kiddos because there are alot of us praying for you and your family. What a Beautiful girl she is turning into I love the picture absolutely Beautiful inside and out. Our God is so Great. XXOO
Julia P
By Julia P
I am praying for all of you. Our God is so able, and He loves you. May He give strength to your hearts and bodies. Amen.
David R Kennedy
By David R Kennedy
Perhaps she might enjoy some humor, Abbot and Costello, "Who's on first?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_gSWTQKE-0