Katie (Kathryn)’s Story

Site created on January 4, 2019

Hi Family & friends - many of you already have learned that on December 19th I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer (Medullary thyroid cancer). This news has been very hard to accept because, statistically speaking this shouldn't be a possibility, but here we are with a diagnosis I am slowly learning to accept. Please know that I have the most incredible care at Mass General & I am blessed with my Aunt & Uncle (not only the most amazing people in their medical fields, but also the kindest people who have wrapped their arms around my family). My parents and brothers are constantly by my side and I don't know what I would do without them. My whole family (we are a large bunch full of love) have surrounded me along with so many friends (who I also consider family). Matt (my amazing husband) is not only doting on me at all hours of the day & night, but he is also holding up our little family & doing an amazing job being strong (even though I know he is scared). This is hard for us, but especially Flora and Zachary (my hearts). So, here we are. Staring cancer in the face. Those who know me well know my journey in life, perhaps even just recently getting a taste of the person I am over a cup of coffee. I fight for what I want! I make things happen! I want to live a very long, healthy, happy life. So, let's get started!!! I will be having surgery January 16th. Please (collectively) pray, send positive thoughts/energy/vibes for my family & the surgical team that will be working to rid my body of this cancer!!! Matt will provide updates when I can't. I love you all, and I am blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing people in the world.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Katie (Kathryn) Richardson

It's been about 6 weeks since my surgery! I am back to work, feeling tired, but acknowledging that I am definitely NOT Wonder Woman (no matter what I may have told you before). Every day (several times a day) I need to remind myself that I had MAJOR surgery. Recovery takes time, and after losing my thyroid, lymph nodes, a few parathyroids, and my mind at times, I'm realizing just how important all these things are for our bodies. Who knew a thyroid controlled so much!?!

I'm adjusting to my new medication (not easy). My calcium levels are not steady so, there are times when I lose feeling in my hands and lips (TUMS to the rescue...it's a thing, and it works). Hot & cold flashes (ugh...really)! Sleep is still a struggle due to pain, acid reflux (something new & I sympathize with those who suffer from this) which scares me in the middle of the night (imagine waking up unable to breath).

I wake up at 4am to take my medication and my neck is swollen. However, as soon as I start moving the fluid drains (yuck - I know - but it's what's happening). During the day my left arm & leg swell BUT there is this amazing yoga pose "legs-up-the-wall" that saves me!

Matt drives me to and from work when needed, but I'm pretty much driving on my own now (win, but the commute is longer than I remember).

I'm back to work!!! I LOVE my work, the people I work with (my other family), and the place I work (Arnold Arboretum = most amazing place)! I'm slow, in movement & energy, but I'm moving!

Forgive me when I get tired & suddenly need to sit (collapse on occasion...so embarrassing...my friends are amazingly kind when this happens). I don't look my best (my hair & skin are confused). I'm still staying positive...almost all the time (thank you heating pads, ice packs, and an amazing tribe who holds me up).

I'm heading for my next blood draw this week (I'm sorry veins...it has to happen). It will take 5-6 months for my body to heal from surgery. I'm not sure how long other adjustments will take. I'm hopeful & grateful. 

Luna (my crazy protector) is back (sorry friends...hugging was easy for a bit). She misses my parents, but is glad to be positioned back at my side.

I love my family & friends so much! In such dark times an amazingly bright light filled my world...and continues to shine bright every day!

I thank you all so very much! The support (hugs, calls, messages, emails, vibes, prayers, thoughts) is the medicine my family needed & we are blessed!!!
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