Kathy’s Story

Site created on January 23, 2019

Hi there! Thanks for following me on this journey.  Means a lot to me-your interest and support. And of course, your prayers.

CATCH UP:    Here’s a catch up on what has happened so far. 

I had a nagging cough that wouldn’t go away since early summer of 2018. Didn’t really bother me--just irritating.  One of my good friends, Betty, kept nagging me to go to the doctor. I decided just to wait until I got my annual physical which was in early November. My physical--blood tests and exam--showed me healthy as a horse. My primary care doc was thinking maybe the cough was due to allergies since it was like a tickle in the top of my throat.  

Independent of all that, she ordered a coronary calcium score exam which checks on potential plaque build-up in the heart. Since I was getting old--it might be nice to see if future risks. Had the scan done on December 7. Got a call from my doc within the hour--(never a sign of good news) and told me my heart was perfect--not a trace of plaque but the tech saw I had walking pneumonia. She said it definitely looked like walking pneumonia and not cancer.  I was thanking God for his protection--without that scan I would never have known. My doc ordered an antibiotic horse pill. I finished the antibiotic and called her back because I was still coughing. She said sometimes it takes a while to get rid of the cough and she would take an x-ray in about a month to make sure the pneumonia was gone.  

Fast forward--made it through Christmas and was flying to DC to see son and grandson and daughter-in-law. I noticed I was feeling a little short of breath walking the airport.  That was new. 

When I got back in town--called my doc--something wrong--she saw me same day and ordered a CT scan. Had the scan on Jan 11, 2019. Got another call back within an hour and my doc said I had fluid buildup on my lung and clearly still had an infection. Obviously not walking pneumonia. She said it looked like it might be a fungal infection. Got me into a lung doc on 1/15 and he said he didn’t know what it was--possible fungal--didn’t have the usual pattern of cancer. I needed to get the fluid drained off my lungs. He thought I might have 300 cc of fluid--that seemed like a lot to me. Both he and my primary care doc said I’d feel so much better after the fluid got drained. 1100 cc of fluid was drained off 1/16. Felt some pretty bad pain. Was glad my sister was with me. Not sure I’d have been able to get myself home. 
And by the next day I didn’t feel any better at all. In fact, felt worse. Called both docs. Lung doc gave me another antibiotic. Said it would take about a week to grow cultures in the fluid hoping it would give a diagnosis of what type of infection I had. He called me 1/21 to tell me they had found cancer cells in the fluid, specifically adenocarcinoma. I didn’t need him anymore I needed to find an oncologist.  Everything changed in that moment. 

Here’s my journal entry 1/21/19 6:00 pm
Lord, OK--here we go!
Cancer cells in the liquid from my lung.
New adventure. Everything just changed again.
What’s your plan for me? 
Did you just say, “This is my protection?” 
I praise you. You are a good, good Father. I trust you.

How I need you! Your wisdom your strength-
This will be my anthem God.   ( Crossroads folks know this song) 
"There’s a table you have prepared for me in the presence of my enemies
It’s your body and your blood you have shed for me
This is how I fight my battles
And God I believe you’ve overcome
And I will lift my song in praise for what you’ve done.
In the valley I know you are with me and surely your goodness and your mercy follow me
This is how I fight my battles!"

Jesus--we trust you.
"It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you."

I wanted to get an oncologist at UC Health  because I believe the best concentration of expertise in the city is there. I called my friend Nick and Medical Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center. (I chair the Community Advisory Board to the UC Brain Tumor Center) He was in Stockholm and it was -15 there! And he was on vacation. (oh my) He told me Dr John Morris was the guy to see. He was the best lung guy. While I was “googlin” Morris--got a text from Nick and said he had called John and John would see me Wednesday. First miracle. I could feel God’s favor. 
Thought it would be smart to check out Morris with at least one other source--so called the former head of the UC Brain Tumor Center, Ron and he agreed with Nick. Ron also agreed to be my “bench coach” through this journey--help me with any questions or translate medicalese.  Second miracle--so generous of him! Then I got a call from Dr Morris. It was a holiday he said and nobody was in his office. He called to encourage me. A diagnosis like I just got feels dire, but he called to say a lot of progress in therapies and treatments had been made in the last 5 years. He then took my history on the phone. Third miracle. A call from a doc on a holiday to encourage me! 

Wednesday Jan 23, 2019
Here’s my journal entry:
Father I am not entitled to a longer life. In fact, I have given you thanks for years--each day-for the gift of the day you are giving me. Each day a gift. You alone sustain me. I remind myself each day--and now again today-that you are the source of my life.

I cry out to you for deliverance from this disease and healing. I am remembering all the people I have seen you heal in our church community. You have been so faithful!  And I ask you now to heal me. 

I thank you for the favor I am already receiving from you. And I thank you for your presence. Your presence is enough. And I think I just heard you say--look for me in the journey--don’t fixate on the outcome. AND don’t run ahead of my guidance. Receive and accept this illness, trust me, and I will show you the next step.

Jan 23. 2019 Doctor Morris visit
Dr Morris and all the staff at the Barrett Center were fantastic. Efficient, competent and caring. The gist of his message: 
All the treatment of lung cancer is done at the molecular level. It would take 10 days to get any answer on the molecular make up of my cancer cells. About 20% of all lung cancers are caused by a genetic change called a driver mutation. He was suspicious that I might have this one type of driver mutation-EGFR--based on looking at my scan and the pathology report. If so, my treatment and therapy could be relatively easy.  YAY! But 80% of the lung cancer tumors are not caused by a driver. He will have a decision and treatment plan when I see him next on 2/6/19.

In the meantime, he wants me to get a brain MRI and a PET scan to make sure the cancer cells have not spread anywhere else.

Pray for God to show off here--and heal me! he is THE physician. Pray  for the wisdom of the lab staff who will be studying my cells and for Dr. Morris ability to interpret and treat.  And  pray that the rest of my body is protected and cancer free.







Newest Update

Journal entry by Michael Whelan

Here are a few links to things about Kathy that might be interesting to you:

1.  Here is the official obituary. 

http://www.springgrove.org/obituary.aspx?id=4271

2.  Here is a nice story about Kathy in the Cincinnati Business Courier. 

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/03/14/kathy-beechem-crossroads-church-leader-author-and.html 

3.  Here is a video of Kathy's pastor Chuck Mingo talking about mourning the loss of Kathy.   

https://www.facebook.com/crdschurch/videos/2002598226700701/

Also, just a reminder about the schedule in the coming days:

-  The visitation is Friday from 5-8 PM at Crossroads Oakley.
-  The funeral service is Saturday at 10 AM at Crossroads Oakley.
-  Immediately following the service on Saturday there will be a public reception at Crossroads Oakley.
-  The burial service will be private.

If you have any questions about the schedule, you can email me at mwhelan@crossroads.net.

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