Monday, June 11, 2012

I Feel the Love- Kate McRae

Welcome to Funky Cards

I Feel the Love Project
One Year Anniversary

Today we continue our journey back to the beginning by looking back at our recipient for the month of August 2011.

Kate's parents first learned that their daughter had a massive tumor on the left temporal lobe of her brain on June 29, 2009.  Kate was directly admitted to the PICU and their journey began.  Life with a child battling brain cancer.  Fast forward to 2012 and read the most recent news regarding Kate from her Caring Bridge website.

"The results of Kate's last MRI looked great! There were no visible changes on the MRI. There have been changes from the surgery, the tumors and the treatments over the past 3 years, but all of that continues to look the same. There are no signs of additional recurrences of cancer. A sweet and utter relief. Thank you Jesus!... So as we talked with her Dr we discussed the days ahead. There was little detail, as we are in quite uncharted waters. As we talked, I was quick to realize we sat in the same room we had 15 months prior. Kate in my arms, me barely able to control the body shaking sobs from the devastating news. Now she was standing right in her Dr's face, hands clenched, smiling contagiously, begging for it to be the last dose. She survived 15 months.... remarkable. And now she is thriving in school, recently only missing days for appointments and therapy. Her energy is increasing and right sided strength very slowly returning.

So our temporary plan is to do another MRI on May 22nd. And then her care will be transferred to CHLA. Her port will most likely stay in for awhile, because of the nature of the beast. 

In few words, we feel incredibly blessed. We believe God has been gracious in giving Kate more time despite this deadly cancer she fights. And this mama will take every single moment I can, and continue to pray for a lifetime of more tomorrows with her. The complicating part of the journey is the grief that continues. The finality of treatment, although wonderful, has come with its own trouble. The reality is that everyone wants to see what will happen with Kate off treatment. Meaning, will it come back yet again. So as we celebrate the finality of chemo, we realize Kate continues to fight its effects. She doesn't get to leave the brace and splints, the thyroid and blood pressure medicine, the every 2 months MRI's, the visual loss, the hemiparesis, the hair loss and many other things behind with treatment. She continues to fight each day for a quality of life that it threatened to steal. That is hard. Even to watch. Having had to proceed with the radiation, we realize that fight is just beginning. It's effects are cumulative, each year its effects can intensify. So some days, even the final doesn't feel quite so.

The last few weeks have been a barrage of emotions. Deep gratitude for her life. And sorrow for the uphill battles she now faces. With a dismal prognosis still of a survival of 0-5%, you can do the math of the statistical likelihood of relapse. Feels like a kick to the face. 

So that is the ugly reality of the disease. Even with last doses of drugs, there is the not so subtle angst of the unknown. I could leave it there, ask for pity and forever morn that life will never be the same. Because it won't. But here is what I am painstakingly finding. Joy can come again. Jesus can interlace moments of peace and deep joy amidst our biggest heartaches. I still struggle with this journey we are on. Don't know that I ever wont. But it reminds me to live a little more reckless for the things I believe in, and to hold loosely that which can't last. And to realize that our journey might look altogether different than someones else's. And rather than look enviously at theirs, find how we can live fully in ours. 

We are beyond grateful for your prayers and support over the nearly 3 years. To hear that so many have prayed since that first day, it encourages us greatly! Thank you... thank you. We would love the continued prayers in the days ahead, especially with another MRI, and then the transitioning of healthcare and school."

We love you Kate!!  Welcome to California.  We will continue to pray for you and your family.

Join me this Friday as we look back at the  fourth recipient of the I Feel the Love Project cards, Pediatric Specialty Care.

Have  wonderful day.

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