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April has been a month to remember, but one that we would all like to forget. It started out like any other month in Wisconsin with 60+ degree days down to 30 degrees. There was lots of rain and even some flurries, yet. Kaitlin had been struggling with her pneumonia and was working on getting over that. By the time the middle of April rolled around, Kaitlin was experiencing a lot of pain in her side and even a fever. At the time, these symptoms appeared to be complications from that pesky pneumonia. On April 20, 2017, Tina, Kaitlin's mom, brought Kaitlin into Bellin due to these symptoms (a lot of pain in her right side rib cage and her pneumonia was getting worse in her left lung) that didn't seem to be improving. After drinking contrast, three xrays, blood work, two scans, the two of them were still waiting for answers... No one was prepared for the news that would come with these results. That night, doctors told Kaitlin that she had a mass on her lung the size of a baseball. On April 21, Kaitlin went to a specialist and a biopsy appointment was scheduled for Monday to verify if the mass was benign or malignant. Kaitlin was sent home with nothing more than scary results and a biopsy appointment. Everyone was hoping for the best, but unfortunately, preparing for the worst.
Over that weekend, Kaitlin kept busy trying to keep her mind off her medical concerns. She went to work and was there to support Rhean for Ashwaubenon's Prom. When Monday, April 24th rolled around, Kaitlin was admitted to the hospital where a needle was inserted into her chest to gather some cells off the mass on her lung. She was able to leave a couple hours after this procedure and rest comfortably at home, although the incision site was very tender. Again, waiting for results is the most anxiety provoking time for any and all involved that know and love Kaitlin. No one wanted to see her suffer or be in pain any longer. The results were to come back on Wednesday or Thursday.
Finally, and unfortunately, the results of Kaitlin's biopsy were in. On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Kaitlin Robbin's life (and those around her) was changed forever. Just like that, in the blink of an eye, common pneumonia complications were actually the cancer demon trying mess with Kaitlin. Cancer should know better because we all know that Kaitlin is one stubborn b!t&$ and she isn't not going to let cancer win! Thursday morning she had an EKG to ensure that the tumor on the lung wasn't pushing on any major arteries or blocking blood flow too or from the heart. She also had a primary meeting with her doctors and the Cancer Team that would be providing care and treatment during the duration. At this meeting, a specific diagnosis of Primary Mediastinal Large B Cell Lymphoma was provided. This is a form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Treatment would begin immediately and be aggressive to ensure that it doesn't grow anymore. Kaitlin's doctor was very optimistic in regards to treatment and the curability of this cancer! The treatment of this cancer would consist of five sequential days of chemotherapy, where Kaitlin would have to be admitted into the hospital. After these five days, she would be able to rest at home for three weeks before returning to the hospital for another round of five days of treatment. This process would take place six to eight times depending on the diminished size of the mass.
Friday April 28, 2017, Kaitlin, Tina and Kaitlin's boyfriend, Brock, who has been her rock throughout this entire journey, attended a chemotherapy education class. After this class, Kaitlin was admitted to Bellin Hospital where she was received a PET scan to determine the stage and growth rate of this cancer. She was also given fluids and anticipated the placement of her port. This port will be placed just under the skin, in her chest, and be the manner in which her chemotherapy and any other medications will be administered, as opposed to having an IV. Of course the hospitals are never on time, so there was a lot of waiting and waiting for this to be put in. Friday night, Kaitlin was in an extreme amount of pain from the placement of the port. It was difficult for her to even turn her head. Friday night, Kaitlin had a bad reaction to the medications and fainted while on her way to the bathroom. Luckily, Brock was there to catch her, sit her up, and call for the nurses.
After a painful, sleepless, and scary night, Saturday began without missing a beat! Kaitlin was able to eat some french toast, in which she stated that the food actually wasn't bad! Kaitlin and Brock also met with her doctor to discuss the results from the PET scan. The doctor told them that the scan results were as he expected and discovered, but is not worried about lesions on her kidneys. Saturday was the day we can begin to say goodbye to the cancer! Saturday was the new beginning of a new chapter in Kaitlin's life. She received her first round of chemotherapy treatment which is called Dose Adjusted EPOCH-R. This treatment is a mixture of five medications (Etoposide, Prednisone, Vincristine, Cyclosphosphamide, Doxorubicin, and rituximab). Side effects from this treatment include being tired, loss of hair, and increased risk of infection (HAND WASHING IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT). Unfortunately, she broke out in hives as a side effect from the medication, but doctors were able to provide Benadryl and Tylenol to help combat these side effects. Over the next five days, Kaitlin will receive chemotherapy, via her port, to stop the growth and decrease the size of the mass.
Today marks day two of standing up to cancer and Kaitlin kicking its A$$!!! This website is to make updates and notifications easier on Kaitlin, family, and friends. We respectfully ask that you view this website for updates in order to eliminate the abundance of texts and phone calls during this sensitive and stressful time for Kaitlin and her family! It will be updated as often as possible and when any new revelations arise. Please feel free to leave words of encouragement as Kaitlin will be checking often during this journey!