About Me

Kathryn Bradley was born on 2/5/91 and given a Hawaiian name Kahiwalani meaning "Gift From Heaven" She has been a special gift from the day she was born.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Dream from Kathryn – In the dream she told me I needed to let her friend from way back know that she died. I know what friend it is but I don’t remember his name. In elementary school somewhere from Kindergarten to 2nd grade her class rode the ferry to Anderson Island. This boy who I’m supposed to let know of her passing is the son of the captain who piloted the ferry that day. I really don’t know how to get hold of him. His name is… I may have to call one of Kathryn’s old teachers to figure out his name. I want to say Shane or Joey but it’s just not hitting me as the right name.

First day of school. Well people have been posting the first day of school pictures of their children. I certainly have a bunch of those photos. We always took pictures of Richard and Kathryn as they headed out. My first day with students (9-3-14) and great kids. I shared about Kathryn and when I read that part of the letter you can hear a little noise that sounds like “oh my gosh.” I don’t mean to send fear but I need my students to know my story so they understand who I am and where I come from or even better, where I have been.

This is pediatric cancer awareness month. There is so little funding for research for pediatric cancer. Parents of kids with cancer have to learn quickly and learn to trust the wisdom of the doctors yet still have enough knowledge to know when to question the doctors. Sometimes the parents know more about their child and can make a better decision than the doctor. That was our case many times. Siblings have to learn patients and understanding while parents try to deal with this tragic diagnosed. Life becomes hell and yet you find times that are so wonderful and rewarding that would have never come without this disease attacking your family. There is good in every situation if you take a moment to recognize it.

On Friday 9/5 my friend told me that her cousin (also a friend of mine) had just lost her husband. She had gone shopping and when she returned he was sitting in his chair dead. How horrifying. No reason, no illness. She called 911 and the firemen came and pronounced him dead but they couldn’t take his body. She had to wait for the coroner and this took hours. The firemen left and there she was with her dead husbands body. This is exactly why Scott made arrangements for Kathryn the day before she died. He didn’t want her to have to lie there waiting. His Mom laid on the kitchen floor for four hours until they finally took her away. We had a choice of how long we would keep her here. We weren’t waiting on someone else to get to our home. We had all said our good-byes and her little body was getting cold and firm. Her soul had left and it was time. The guys from the funeral home were so gentle and careful. They explained to me that the law requires them to cover her completely when they go out of the house. They warned me as the zipping up of the bag can cause a little distress. I was glad we had the arrangements to ease a horrible and difficult situation. For that I will be forever grateful to Scott and Bee. Yes, Bee went with Scott for moral support. She is a wonderful young woman.

On Monday 9/8 I walked into my school building and felt a heaviness. As I went into the library for our morning meeting there was a sadness. I could feel it. I even asked one of my collegues, why is everyone so sad. She relied, “There’s some bad news.” Our principal came in and announced that one of our teachers had passed away over the weekend. I was so shocked. I actually shouted something like, No Way. I didn’t think it would affect me like it did. I really had a hard time telling my students. I broke down a couple of times with the kids. My students in my yearbook class want to do a memorial page and we will. Thank goodness we are a family here at Fife. We were the ones that had the police go to his house because we knew something had to be wrong. His only family around is his Mom who is in a care facility. Someone finally tracked down some relatives down south and they will be coming to Washington to make arrangements and deal with his belongings.

On Tuesday 9/9 I read about a lady who is a 5+ year survivor of GBM. Of course I am happy for her but it brings me back to the question of why Kathryn isn’t one of these survivors. I cried when I was messaging back and fourth with her. We talked about how there is a plan for everyone and how my friend said she had a vision of God telling her Kathryn had a duty and her duty was done. I was pretty upset with all of this talk and the passing of our teacher. On my way up to bed Kathryn gave me that little signal of her being near. The front entry light flickered as Scott and I walked up the stairs. We both said, Thank you Kathryn and good night sweetheart. We know it is her. The light never flickered before her passing and now it flickers on nights that I think of her strongly and am upset. It is like a little reminder, I’m here Mommy, don’t cry.”

I found a bright shinny penny at school on Friday. I found another one a few days later too.

A Panda bear showed up in my school mailbox. I sent out a thank you to the staff and asked who gave me that Panda. I thought it was sweet and wanted to be sure to thank the person who gave it to me. No one has come forward. I asked the one person who I thought it might be and said it wasn’t her. So now I think it may be a student. Our mailboxes are open so someone could just drop something in my box. Panda sits on my desk and watches over the kids.

Speaking of my students. One of my boys said he might not have his assignment done the next day as he was going to visit his Mom. He told me she is homeless. The next day I asked how it went. He didn’t say too much about his visit. It went ok. I feel so bad for him. He is a great kid. It must be hard to have a Mom who is absent in your life. My Mom was always there. I think she wasn’t home one day when I came home from school. but it wasn’t long before she got home.

I read this story a Mom wrote about her son and their cancer experience. Her son passed away. She talked about the dual life. I can’t remember it well enough to share it now but I will find it. It was really good. I could relate to everything she said. Part of it was about the death of her son and wanting him to live but yet glad his suffering was over. The mixed emotions that go with being the parent of a child with cancer.

On the second of October my cell phone rang in class. I usually have it off just so this doesn’t happen. I said, “It’s mine but I will ignore it.” One of my students said, “It could be your daughter”. I said, “No it couldn’t because she lives up there now.” The girl next to her said, “You shouldn’t have said that.” The other girl said, “I forgot.” The other girl said, “You don’t for get things like that.” I said, “It’s ok.” I knew she was embarrassed and I didn’t want her to feel bad. After I said it was ok several times she said maybe it is your son. I said, “No, he is doing the same thing as me right now, Teaching math, so he wouldn’t be calling”. I thought it was funny how the other girl was all over the other one for forgetting about Kathryn and how important it is to remember. Their little side conversation was sweet.

We finally made the hard decision to lay Princess our dog to rest on October 3rd after 15 years 8 months. She was the dog who helped Kathryn get better and come home from the hospital when she was 8. Princess more than likely had a brain tumor the vet said. We let her go as long as she was still able to enjoy her walks. She finally got to the point where her walks were not fun and doing things on her own were very difficult. It was time. We knew things would only get worse for her and we didn’t want her to get so bad that she hurt and was terribly uncomfortable. We wanted to save her from all of that. So, she is now with Kathryn. We are pretty sure she was looking at Kathryn on our last walk. She kept stopping and staring like she was looking at someone. Both Scott and I thought it was Kathryn. They are together now.

Over the 10th and 11th of October we had the Drive-A-Thon for Camp Goodtimes. The kids all got to ride in different cars at lunch time. The rode in Porsches, Nascars, BMWs, and a Lamborghini. They had so much fun. Even the parents were able to take rides around the track. We had a silent auction too. We raised over $40,000.

After school I found a quarter on the floor. I happened to have a student in my room and I told her that I found my quarter from Kathryn. I told her about pennies from Heaven. I told her how Scott and I find pennies all the time. Then I told her how my friend said I should ask Kathryn to leave quarters instead of pennies. She laughed when I told her he said I would make more money that way.

On the 17th Scott and I were laying in bed and all of a sudden the printer started running and making noise. It was really strange. We both figured it was Kathryn making noise for us to let us know she is around. Of course we were both thinking about her and then the printer starts acting up. It’s the printer we don’t even use.

A friend of ours died recently (October 11th). He was stable and then he was gone. The family, his wife and daughters have taken it very hard. My friend Robyn, his niece also took this very hard too. We stopped by to see all of on them on the 18th. They seem to be doing better and over the anger or at least the part of blaming others. It was good to see all of them. We also stopped by and saw an elderly woman (Erma). She will be 90 in April. She lives alone and takes care of herself and her house. She walks to the store. I think she is finally comfortable enough with us to call if she needs something. She just lights up when we stop by. It’s so great to see her happy.

The truth is that I have been a bit down. I just haven’t been full of energy. I have a hard time getting going over the weekend. It really stinks. I guess I may be a little depressed. I think about Kathryn and just feel sorry for myself. It took me forever to put up the Halloween decorations this weekend (Oct 18th and 19th). It’s just hard to get started as I would decorate with Kathryn. We loved to decorate together. It’s hard looking at the things we bought together and would put up together and remember the time we shared. It really stinks that she isn’t here to do this with me. It would be ok if she were living somewhere else and I was decorating on my own because just lived somewhere else. But she’s not here and never will be again. We can’t compare decorations or buy them together. Shopping alone is no fun. Decorating alone is not fun either.

I keep smelling these smells too. I’m not sure if it’s from Kathryn or what. It’s the same smell again and again. I just hope it is Kathryn. I’m always looking for signs and asking for signs.

Well, Halloween is up and it looks good!

Take care,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Spring/Summer 2014

Spring and Summer 2014

In May I had a chat with my friend at work and he asked me if I still feel Kathryn. I don’t feel her but I know she is here. I told him about pennies from Heaven and he didn’t know what it was. I told him that we find pennies all the time especially when we are thinking about or missing Kathryn. He said I should ask her to send quarters instead of pennies and I could actually make some money. We laughed about it. Wouldn’t you know that the next day I went into the bank and on the way back to my car there was a shinny new quarter right by the passenger’s door. I couldn’t believe it! You know, I was the only one in the parking lot so there wasn’t anyone who could have dropped the quarter. And I don’t carry change so it didn’t drop out of a pocket. My friend and I talked for a while. I told him how Kathryn was the silly one in the family. Any of those Christmas cards of silly poses were her idea. She had me paint the one bedroom in polka-dots. I had a formal design in mind but we did polka-dots instead. I also shared the book “Closer Than You Think” with my friend. It is an easy read and a great book about our loved ones being with us in spirit.

Shortly after this chat with my friend I was home and feeling a little, maybe a lot, down. I was missing Kathryn and crying. When I got up from the loveseat there was a penny on the floor. No way was it there prior. This blows me away every time.

I was also thinking about her and tearing up when the entry way light flickered. I thanked her for that. She gives me signs just at the right time.

I was asked about mother’s day by a student and asked if I have a daughter or son or what. This is always a tough question. I had to say I had a daughter and now I only have a son. Explaining my loss is coming place now. Sometimes I do it just fine and other times I tear up. Mother’s day was a good day. Oh how I wish it were complete. I have asked to see Kathryn and maybe I will someday soon. I regularly ask God to let me see her or hear her sweet voice.

I was out walking Princess and my neighbor Duane asked me if that was the same dog I have been walking for years. I don’t know this neighbor real well so this was the first time that we really had a long conversation. I told him that yes this is the same dog and how she came to be our dog. I told him about Kathryn’s passing and this led into a conversation about his wife. She died of ALS just before Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. We talked about the progression of the disease (ALS) and how it was similar to Kathryn’s. We were fortunate that Kathryn did not have a long time of not having abilities to walk and communicate. ALS brings on these disabilities an they linger for years. I think we both felt good about sharing our stories and we both had great losses and we could really understand each other’s suffering. I gave him a big hug; he really looked like he needed one.

I have been looking and looking for the glass babies that Rowan’s Mom sent me. I know I put them safely in a box at Christmas time. But our house was in such mess because of the remodel stuff I was afraid they disappeared. So I finally gave up on my own search and asked Kathryn to help me find the glass babies. Sure enough, I was given the vision of where to look. When I came home from work that day I immediately had Scott get the ladder and I pointed to the box that he needed to take down in the garage. I went through the box and there they were. It’s so fantastic that I can ask Kathryn for help and she responds to me. I love it!

Richard’s grad party was this weekend (May 17th). We had 45 people over. One of Richard’s friends announced that he and his wife are having a baby and the due date is December 1st and they are having a girl. This is so exciting! We had a beautiful afternoon that went way into the early morning hours. We had a bond fire and fire works. Oh, the Bradley traditions! We had 9 people spend the night. Richard and I put together a big breakfast. I cried when Richard gave me a great big hug good bye. I haven’t done that for a long time. I just love him so much.

Today, May 18th, is one year now for Rowan’s passing. I sent Rebecca a message. Tomorrow they should receive our card and gift. I sure hope their lives change for the better. I hope I hear from them soon that they are expecting a baby. This would be so good for them. A few weeks later I did hear from them and they are expecting a baby. She told me when she was only two weeks along. Then she let me know a few weeks after that they are expecting twins. I had a feeling that they were going to have twins. She a little worried about two at one time but I know they can do it just fine. They are awesome parents.

As you have read before the Jahova Witness ladies come to visit with me now and than. I actually love visiting with them even though I am Lutheran. There was a new lady this time. She lost her 28 year old daughter. It was nice to chat with someone who really understood my situation.

We ( Scott, Richard, Bee and Myself) went to the cabin the 31st of May to tear off the deck. Richard told Bee that I would be really mad if she didn’t work hard. The poor dear worked so hard she had blisters on her hands. Richard and Bee did most of the work and fast! Richard brought his thank you cards with him and I helped him by doing the addresses. It was fun and funny that I had to keep him on track to get them done. He is such a little boy sometimes. So, when we came home from the cabin Princess had a seizer that night. I think this was the first one we had witnessed. She recovered just fine but had another a few days later. Once again she recovered just fine. Very scary!

Have you heard this new story about a 3 year old boy who says he lived before? He said he was murdered and he took the police to the place where his body was and also led them to his killer. There was a little boy murdered and there was a man now arrested for the murder.

Scott and I headed to Monterey California on June 13th for the Porsche Club Parade. We met a lot of good people. Over 1200 Porsches were there. We shared our story about Kathryn and Camp Goodtimes with so many people. One lady lost her first husband at 42 years old to a GBM just like Kathryn. She also lost a sister early in life to cancer. She said her mother never got over this loss. I can tell you that you never do! We also had Griots Garage offer to donate products to our Drive-A-Thon for the auction. It was 9 days of tours, events, dinners and just good times. Everyone was super nice. One of the tours was to the Hearst Castle. That place is amazing and the story behind it is really something. While we were there a butterfly came up to me and hung out for a while. Longer than a butterfly usually does. I thought it may be a sign from Kathryn but not too sure until later. That story will come.

Once we got home form California I was on the 9:20 ferry to Vashon Island to go to camp. I volunteered in the Arts and Crafts area all week. I met a young man who went by the camp name (Bunkbed). His story gave me goose bumps. He was diagnosed with a GBM like Kathryn. He is young like Kathryn. When he was diagnosed he was only given 3 months to live. They were expecting him to go fast. His family prayed and prayed and in two weeks his tumor started to shrink. He is now cancer free. I told him he was a walking talking miracle. He truly is a miracle. There is no way to explain how his tumor went away other than it being a miracle. I told him that people wonder if God answers our prayers. I know that it was difficult to believe that God didn’t answer our prayers in the way we would have liked him to. I told Bunkbed that his story shows us that God does answer prayers as we asked for them to be answered (sometimes). Maybe this young man was at this camp this week for me to meet. Maybe I needed to hear this story to strengthen my own faith. I never stopped believing and still do believe that Kathryn could be brought back if it is God’s will.

Another young man that was at camp was there because of Kathryn. He had met Kathryn at the clinic and now I’m wondering which clinic. It may have been up in Bellingham. But Kathryn had told him about camp and he wasn’t able to work it into his life until this year. He wished that he could have been at camp with Kathryn as several of her friends have said. I’m so glad Kathryn had such a positive influence on people. To have so many at camp that are there because of her is amazing.

At camp I was talking with a couple of ladies one evening and I told them it doesn’t get any easier. In fact I told them that it is harder than ever right now. I cried. I don’t know how to explain the emotions that goes with this loss. It’s always there and some days it is so hard to even function.

After camp I was in Kathryn’s room (a hard place to be) and I noticed this small container with little lanyards in it. I thought, how could I have missed this? I didn’t know Kathryn had made these. They were made for the staff at the Mary Bridge clinic. I didn’t think she had even started them. I was planning on taking her list and making them myself but there they were. I never saw her make them and I was constantly with her. Any how soon (by the end of September) I will take them to the clinic. They do need the hooks put on them.

Now some really big news if you don’t already know. On the 4th of July we got a call from Richard and he told us that he proposed to Bee. He is engaged!!! He bought her a beautiful ring with white and blue sapphires. We are extremely happy. But with this wonderful news comes a little sadness. We are a little sad that Kathryn will not be there. She would have loved to be part of Richard’s special day. I know she will be there in spirit. She wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Worked at Cabin for a week to rebuild the decks we had torn down (7 days of hard labor). While there Princess had three seizers in 12 hours between July 12th and 13th. Not the same dog after those, but spurts of the real Princess sometimes show. The vet believes she has a brain tumor. We bought her for Kathryn to help her do better with her treatment when she was 8. It got her out of the hospital. Kathryn said, “If you didn’t get me Princess I don’t think I would have ever come home.” This was after she spent a week in the hospital after a bad reaction to chemo and radiation. So the dog for the girl with a brain tumor develops her own brain tumor.
We finished two decks and replaced beams under the house. Jacking a house up and replacing beams is a big job. We also spread a truck load of gravel and finished burning the old deck as well as building a new fire pit. It all looks good.

So I started working on the yard and one day before I headed out I asked for a sign. I asked Kathryn to give me a sign that she was around while I worked in the yard. I said, send a butterfly and have it flutter in my face and around me. Well, there I am in the yard and here comes this white butterfly. It flutters right in my face and around me. Then I said, “That’s not a real butterfly, send one like a Monarch.” Holy Moly!!! A few minutes later there was a beautiful Monarch fluttering in my face and just hanging out with me. I was so excited that I started to laugh and cry all at the same time. I couldn’t wait to tell someone. I called my Mom right away.

Just before the second session of camp started one of our campers learned he had relapsed. All he asked for was to be able to go to camp. He relapsed last year and his family found out while he was at camp. This boy has had two bone marrow transplants, a stem cell transplant and t-cell therapy and who knows how many rounds or radiation and doses of chemotherapy. Yet, he keeps a smile on his face and he and his family do not give up hope. Camp does that for kids and parents.

I went up to Children’s Hospital to visit with Nick and his Mom. Nick is on his third diagnoses of cancer and his second bone marrow transplant. He will also receive t-cell therapy. Nick was not in a good mood that day. I think he was just sick and tired of being in the hospital. He was on day 40 or 50 something that he’d been there.. ICK! His Dad was there too. I looked as his Dad as he sat quietly. I thought about what he might be thinking and feeling. He knows that I represent death to this disease. He looks at me and I can only imaging him thinking, how can she even function. I can see the pain in his eyes. I can see that he fears what I have faced. His son is his buddy and they have a bond that only a Dad has with his boy. As I left that day I also noticed the mom’s there with there own children. The worn out Mom’s. The Mom’s spending every moment with their sick child and creating a bond that is special but not the way you want to create a bond with your child. The Mom’s who have learned so much about cancer and the treatment. The Mom’s who know all of the numbers and what they should be and what is done to fix them when they are out of line. The Mom’s who watch and make sure every dose of medicine is the right dose and given at the right time. And as I was getting in my car I watched this Mom as she pulled her rolling suitcase behind her as she walked toward the entrance of the hospital. It was a very humbling day. I was seeing things from the other side.

Princess had 6 seizers in 25 hours over August 5th and 6th. We didn’t think she was going to survive. We have her on anti-seizer medication and then we had to bump it up after this episode. Then we asked about the tremors that she was having constantly. They would make her fall down and also made it hard for her to walk. Scott had called the Vet about putting her to sleep as he quality of life was not what she deserved. So in addition to her seizure meds she was placed on phenobarbital to stop the tremors and it worked. We are giving her half the dose and splitting it up to two times a day and it seems to be giving us back Princess. As we prepared for the Bradley Backyard Benefit (August 16th) she was right there all day following us around. This is the normal Princess. And during the event she was her normal snoopy, begging self. She did great. That night she slept like a rock!

We had the Bradley Backyard Benefit (BBB) and raised $4553 and more on the way. It was on the 16th of August. We had 60 people plus the guys from the band. The music was awesome and everyone had a great time. I had so many people say, “I will see you next year.” So, I guess this will be an annual event. I’m happy to do it too.

One of our friends that attended the (BBB) had just come from a funeral. He said he had been crying all day. He and his family had known this young lady since she was 4 or 5 and a long time friend of his son. She died at 18 and they still don’t know why. I told him that the parents need to find something that will keep their daughter’s spirit alive. We support Camp Goodtimes in our effort to keep Kathryn’s spirit alive. It also brings us closer to Richard. He loves camp and wants to see it continue too. So we are all working on it and this helps mend our hearts too.

We finally gave Richard his College Graduation present. He was so excited. Scott had bought this 1975 Porsche 914 just 5 days after Kathryn’s passing. He had been trading his electrical work and supplies with two body shops on getting it restored. Slowly but surely and now here it is. He couldn’t believe it when we walked him down a neighbors driveway and he saw it. He could not believe it! He still has a few little things left to do on it but it gives Richard a project too. He was so surprised and he beamed from ear to ear. What a great addition to the BBB.

On my birthday (August 24th) we went to Crystal Mountain and road the gondola to the top. It was just the three of us (Scott, Richard and myself). I was a perfect day! The weather was nice and the food was delicious and the company was wonderful. That evening Scott and I were out walking Princess and there was my gift from Kathryn, a shinny quarter.

Princess is doing great. She wasn’t able to eat without falling over or face first into her food. She couldn’t go to the bathroom without falling over. She wouldn’t go on a walk or walk up or down the stairs. She does all of this just fine now. She even runs up the driveway and looks back at us as if to say, “What’s taking you so long?” She is pretty much normal. We are amazed! Scott and I both feel there has been some kind of spiritual intervention. We know the vet thought she wouldn’t recover like she has. In fact she was so bad that we were planning on having her put down on the 11th . But then she came a live for the party and has only gotten better and better.

Well, life continues. School will be starting on the 3rd. Richard will be teaching full time in Mount Vernon at Mt Baker Middle school. He will be teaching 7th grade math. He is excited about this new adventure. As you may have read our superintendent of the Fife School District passed away from cancer on August 27th. I think most of us new this was coming. He was a good guy and always did his best at every job he had. I had one of his sons in my math class a few years ago. A good kid. His two sons are about Richard’s age or a bit younger. They are going to miss their Dad. I see how Richard and Scott interact now. They are really getting closer. Scott had some troubling times every since Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. He has finally overcome these troubles which have allowed him and Richard to develop a better relationship. I makes my heart so happy! A boy needs his Dad and a Dad needs to feel needed by his son. I feel this is all happening for the two of them I couldn’t be more pleased.

Life is Good!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heaven is for Real 5-4-14

Heaven is for Real 5-4-14 I found a resume on my computer at school. This was by chance and it must be a sign. I was thinking about applying for the position of camp director but was a little uneasy about it. I haven’t really applied for a job for over 30 years. I have changed jobs but they were all guarantees. Nerves have helped me make excuses for not putting in an application. I wrote my letters that they asked for but I didn’t put together a resume. I was putting that off because it would take so much time and effort and the closing date is drawing near. But, as I was working on my computer at work and organizing some files I ran across one that said, Carol’s res. I opened it and found this resume all written. I forgot that I had to put one together to teach those night classes through SPU. Is this a sign that I should indeed apply? Did I find it so I would get going on my application? Was Kathryn there helping me find it and leading me there? I did ask her to help me make a decision on whether or not to apply. I guess I got the answer. Kathryn did tell me one time that I lacked confidence. She was right. She had more confidence than anyone I have ever met. She believed in herself and she believed in all of us. She was amazing, strong and confident! Long Island medium – Sure wish I could find a way to connect with Kathryn. Never ever gets easier! It just doesn’t. Time does not heal the pain that I feel. I do however stay busy enough to keep my mind preoccupied so I don’t think about my loss all of the time. Kathryn had started an avocado tree as a seed. She had put toothpicks through it and had it suspended in a small bowl of water. It sat in the window for a long time. I thought it would be one of those things that we just discarded after a while, but no! Scott has been taking care of it with such love. It is now a 5 foot tall tree. What happens when it reaches the ceiling? It actually has branches too. It is really something else. He started a second one and it is growing too. They are both in Kathryn’s room. Grandma teased and said the tree was reaching for the sun. That would be the sun I painted on the ceiling. Silly grandma! I was looking to see if I had saved my last blog and ran across one I titled “Ashes.” I wrote about Scott picking up Kathryn’s ashes and the tears just started to flow. How could this little blue box be our daughter? How could this beautiful joyful girl become a box of ashes? All is changed forever. A huge part of me has gone. A huge part of my joy and life has gone. The pleasure I had being with Kathryn is gone. Her death took so much. It took joy, love and beauty from my life. The Chris Elliott Foundation had a fundraiser at Glass Babies in Seattle. Alli met me there. They had some refreshments and wine. I met Chris’ wife Delann. Chris is a man who died of the same brain tumor Kathryn died from. I don’t know how I came into contact with this foundation. They raise money to help families who are battling brain cancer. I also met a lady who works in the field of neuroscience. That was interesting. I was hoping they would have a speaker but they didn’t. But then I met Jason, Becky’s Dad. Becky is a 28 year old with a GBM. Her friend contacted me through Alli a year or two ago. She was looking for someone who knew something about GBM and possible treatments. She went to the Burzynski clinic and she was doing very well on that treatment and then it was like it stopped working. She also picked up Hep-C somewhere so her kidneys and liver are failing. I sure feel for her and her family. I know the final outcome and by the look on Jason’s face he does too. He told me to call her or text her and I did. But no return. She doesn’t know me so I wasn’t surprised. There are more brain tumors in this region than anywhere. Alli has plans to get a tatoo. It will be along the back of her neck so if she needs to hide it for a job her hair will cover it. But it will be a cross with Kathryn’s initials KMB. She loved Kathryn so much. Kathryn introduced to her camp. Kathryn was the first person she went to when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Kathryn gave her comfort and assurance that everything would be alright. Rebecca’s news – no baby. Her eggs that were expressed didn’t work out and the ones that were left have expired. They are only good for so long. They are going to try another method. Of course it is costing them a ton and it is very emotionally draining. So, if you believe in prayer please pray that this new method works so Chuck and Rebecca can have a baby. They are warm loving people who are awesome parents. Rowan was a lucky girl to have such wonderful parents. I was on the internet the other day and this notice read something like, “Girl’s Deadly Brain Tumor Eradicated With The Polio Virus.” This caught my eye. She was 20 when diagnosed with a GBM and at Duke University they injected the Polio Virus into her brain. She was the first human they tried it on. Well, when you are diagnosed with a GBM you have nothing to lose so you should try whatever. It worked. This was done in May of 2012. This is just 3 months after Kathryn died. I cried to think that we could have been that close to saving her. This young lady is now 23 and cancer free! She is the same age as Kathryn. She wants to help people in the medical field like Kathryn. She is a lot like Kathryn. I’m glad they are getting these new ideas out there. The T-Cell therapies are working too. I heard they can match the T-Cells to the type of cancer. Amazing but too late for us. My Mom and Scott and I all went to the movie “Heaven is for Real”. We all confessed that we cried. It was a tear jerker for anyone who has lost a child that is for sure. It’s a good movie and confirms my belief. My Mom said, “I wonder if my baby that I lost is in Heaven like that little girl?” My Mom had a miscarriage just before she had me. She never found out if it was a boy or a girl. Probably too painful to ask much about it. I had an incomplete pregnancy and that tore me apart. I couldn’t talk about it without breaking into tears until I had Richard. Having a miscarriage would be so much harder. My mom hasn’t talked about it much at all. I think she has mentioned it maybe 3 or 4 times and that’s it. When we got home from the movie we were went to sit down in the family room and I noticed on the floor right by the couch there was a penny. It definitely was not there before we left for the movie. We all decided it was from Kathryn. We decided she was telling us she was here and that she knows that we believe she is in Heaven. Speaking of my Mom, Monday will mark 3 years since we lost my Dad. I know my Mom misses him so much. I miss him too but he gave me the words to make it easier to accept. He told me not to cry when he died. He told me he had a good life. He had good friends and family that loved him and that he would be ok. I’m so glad he told me that. I also wanted to mention that I love seeing and hearing from Kathryn’s friends. When I saw Cody and Ryan at The Swiss a couple of weeks ago it was fantastic. They both gave me a long tight hug. It really felt good. They are both very special boys who have had a hard time with Kathryn’s passing. I hope to stay in touch with her friends forever! They all make me happy and keep Kathryn’s spirit alive!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20th 2014

It is Easter Sunday 4/20/14. Did you know that every 40 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer? Scott and I attended the wine auction on April 5th for Camp Goodtimes. It is the biggest fundraiser for camp. $191,000 was brought in. That is the gross amount and I’m not sure what the net will be. Many of the people have been coming for years. They truly have a passion for camp. This year was a really big deal since the American Cancer Society dropped funding for all of its pediatric camps. We spent Friday night in Seattle so we could just chill and go to the Washington Athletic Club early on Saturday and help set up. Richard and Bee joined us there too. My friend Julyn and her two beautiful daughters volunteered that night. While we were eating dinner and listening to the speaker Scott had a drip land on his arm. It happened a couple of times. I don’t know where the drip came from or what it was but he said it was a tear from Kathryn. During the speakers there were some slides of Katie. She is a young lady from camp who is terminal. I had to get up and leave. It just hit me wrong and I became very upset. I guess I just can’t stand thinking of another child dying from this shitty disease. The doctor (Dr. Olson) who spoke was amazing. I personally went over to him and thanked him for the work he does. He researches other ways to treat cancer like t-cell therapy. He knew Kathryn. He had seen her scans. He actually met her at camp so he knew her as Panda too. Scott and Richard both thanked him on their own as well. I also found out that the Barry’s who I had met at the grapevine earlier had also lost a daughter. She died in an accident. She was about 20. But as we discussed it, it doesn’t matter how you lose your child it is still a tragedy. And it never goes away. The people I sat next to are from Vashon Island, Doug and Erin. They have the Kayak Center. They have donated time and the use of their Kayaks to camp for a few years now. Doug had a bad form of cancer that affected his tissue. He understands what the children go through and really wants to help. He also told me about Dr. Chopp. I said I had talked to him. When I was researching different treatment options for Kathryn he was one of the doctors with a new idea for GBM. He is still working on it and getting a trial going. He also has moved to Seattle. When I talked to him he was back East. It was a great night! Yes, we spent way too much money but it was for a great cause. While on a walk, Scott felt another tear. No clouds, no rain but another drop on his arm. He also found 4 pennies all in one spot. He had gotten out of his van and went to the door of his worker’s house. He talked with the girlfriend of his worker and she thanked him for employing her boyfriend and how much it helps them. She actually said, “God bless you.” When he returned to his van, there were the four pennies. Pennies from heaven! During my spring break I was working at my Mom’s house. A lady drove by and asked about the house since there was a” for rent or for sale sign “ out front. As we talked I must have asked her what she did for work. She was in scrubs. She is a shower lady. The one who comes to your house and gives you a shower by either helping you into the shower or bathes you in bed. I told her that she is doing a wonderful thing. I explained how much we appreciated the shower lady for my Dad and for Kathryn. We talked about how a shower makes you feel so good. I told her about Kathryn taking that first bath after coming home from the ICU and having me shave her legs. How she was in heaven having her legs feel silky smooth and soft again. I also talked to my Mom’s neighbor. She is a very cool lady who helps so many people. She runs a program to help women who get out of prison get back into the real world. They need that you know. You can’t take a person and just throw them out into the world with no connections to find work or a place to stay. I had a nice long talk with her about what I might do with my future. She encouraged me to do something I have been a little unsure of. She said I would be great at it. So, I might just go for it! I recently had a dream about Richard. He was sobbing and curled up in my dream. He was crying and saying, “Why her? Why her?” He was talking about Kathryn. Why did she die? Why was it her? He was truly upset in my dream. I hope he is ok. It is hard to tell with some people. You never know the depth of their pain We went to the last camp planning meeting. I had to picked up 30 mailboxes at McClendins. Scott and I took them to the meeting. They are for a project for each cabin. It should be a great week. We are encouraging writing notes to each other and each cabin through the week. As a staff member I will make sure I write to kids that I know are not getting mail and such. Little cards that acknowledge each child. Gypsy also informed me that she sold over $250 in Panda t-shirts. I had given her a box of them at the last meeting. Go Gypsy! April 10th was Scott’s birthday. Richard sent a card that was a reminder of the past. About 10 years ago. It is still funny to this day. He wrote a beautiful message in it about how Kathryn would be proud of the work Scott is doing for camp. It brought tears to both of us. I saw a cute story about a basketball player Adreian Payne and a tiny little girl Princess Lacey Holsworth. I don’t remember how they became friends but this huge black man has this little 8 year old girl as his best friend. She goes to all of his games that she can and he visits her in the hospital. It is an amazing connection. Lacey died on April 8th. Here is the story EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An 8-year-old Michigan State basketball fan whose battle with cancer inspired the team's players, coaches and many more beyond the hardwood was honored by thousands of her closest friends at a memorial service in East Lansing. Lacey Holsworth's family wanted those attending the event Thursday night at the Breslin Center basketball arena to wear bright colors and smiles in celebration of her life. And, many did. Many also wiped away tears, especially when they heard Heather Holsworth's recorded message about her daughter while her pictures were shown on video boards. "I can't wait to see you again, save a dance for me," she said at the end of a composed, recorded message. Lacey died at her home in nearby St. Johns on April 8. The little girl affectionately known as "Princess Lacey" had neuroblastoma, a nerve-cell cancer. She wore a blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair. Lacey met Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne during one of her hospital stays, and their friendship quickly blossomed. She became a valued member of the Spartan family. Payne, perhaps because he thought he would be too emotional to speak, was not scheduled to address the crowd at the celebration. Travis Trice, a junior guard, represented the team on a raised stage in front of nearly 1,000 chairs — most of them filled — on the covered court and perhaps 2,000 more people seated in the lower section of the arena. "Her smile would change your day and have an impact on you," Trice said. Truly an amazing story. While I was working out in my yard a lady came to the bottom of the driveway with a stroller and two small children in it. I started talking to her not realizing at first who she was. She is my neighbor’s mother and the two children are her grandchildren. She was out here from South Carolina watching the grandchildren because her daughter was asked to be in a fitness video. So, she was helping Adam with the kids so he could go to work. As we talked she said something about the little flowers (primroses). She asked if I just planted them. I said I was given them over two years ago by the neighbors when Kathryn died. They aren’t supposed to come back each year but they have. She asked about Kathryn’s cancer. Her Dad died of a GBM just like Kathryn. She also knew of a survivor. He was treated by the same doctor I contacted at Duke University, Dr. Henry Friedman. She said this man lived at Duke for over two years while getting treatment. She said she is still mad at God for taking her Dad and her brother at the age of 15. She went on the say that there are so many horrible people who get to live and live long. Why, would a beautiful person like her brother, father or Kathryn be taken and those horrible people get to live? All I could think of is, “This is Hell on Earth.” We have all heard that saying but heaven will be so wonderful. People who are taken early, maybe they are the lucky ones and we are left here living in hell. That’s all I could think of. Kathryn is in a better place. A place of peace, love and happiness. I know I hurt and everyone who misses her hurts but she is safe from pain. I went to a friend’s birthday party at the Swiss in downtown Tacoma. It was a lot of fun. But what was great about it, I saw Cody. Cody was Kathryn’s best friend forever. I haven’t seen him since Kathryn passed. I know it was hard on him and he took a nose dive in the game of life but he seemed happy. It was good to see him and get that great big, tight, long, hug from him. He has avoided our house since Kathryn passed. He was invited to her two birthday celebrations and we thought he was going to make the second one but he just couldn’t do it. There are a lot of memories here in our house for him. So many parties since they were 5 or 6. So many good times that they had. So many times we told Cody to be quiet and go to sleep. All good memories. But Cody promised to see me this summer and dance with me then. This should be at our house. I also asked my principal how his Mom is doing. She still is not doing well. They do have a therapist coming to the house a couple of times each week. I don’t think she has left the house yet. I offered to talk to her if she would be willing to talk to me. Talking about Kathryn helps me. He said that his Mom will take a step forward and then two steps back. There are those good days and those bad days for me too. Today is a young lady’s birthday (Sarah). She passed away from Ewings Sarcoma not too long before Kathryn passed away. She was a bit younger too. Her Mom has become an internet friend. She made a comment about my work with Camp Goodtimes and how she hopes to be a strong as me someday. I told her to ask her Sarah for help. She will give her strength. I know that Kathryn helps me and gives me strength. I couldn’t do what I do without her help. In Dear Abby today a woman wrote about the month of February. Her mother died in February and her mother’s birthday was also in February. I thought about how I felt in February. Not so good! But I also have Richard’s birthday in February to cheer me. This woman wrote about how hard mother’s day will be for her without her mother here. Many things are hard but you can’t resent or hold it against others who have what you wish you had. I see Kathryn’s friend’s having boyfriends and getting engaged. I see my friends with grandchildren or doing special things with their daughters. I don’t resent their joy. Richard is so good at recognizing special days for me and sharing his life with me that I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Scott is good at making me feel special. I have a wonderful life as it is. I have many special memories of times with Kathryn and I cherish those memories. But I would never resent some ones joy they have that I can’t have because Kathryn is not here. I’m so lucky to have thoughtful people in my life. A couple of last minute thoughts. Did you know that every 8 minutes a young adult 18-35 is diagnosed with cancer. And finally, Today is Easter. It is not about the Easter Bunny! It is about love and forgiveness so we can have eternal life. For that I give thanks. Thanks to Jesus for giving his life so that we could all have eternal life. I will see Kathryn one day again in a wonderful place called heaven. Enjoy your day and family.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29th 2014

March 29th 2014 I should write more often so my blog doesn’t get so long. But I just can’t find the time to sit and write. Our friend Nick who is a senior this year is going to have a bone marrow transplant and do t-cell therapy along with it. It is his third bout with cancer and once you have had Leukemia you have to take a different route to get rid of it. He had the chemo and radiation and that is probably what caused his second and third cancers because it actually started with a brain tumor like Kathryn. Nick had a bone marrow transplant years ago when he was first diagnosed with Leukemia. We are with him and his family. His friends are very supportive and he and his family are positive people which all helps. Scott and I went to a piano concert the a few Friday nights ago. The choir and band teacher gave me the tickets. It was a religious concert that I was really glad we went. The pianist is about 62 and can really rock the piano. He was a child prodigy at 10. He is amazing. But his story is even more amazing. One song was about thanking God for closing doors. We all think about doors opening for us and giving us opportunity but he was thanking God for closing doors. I get it! The doors that closed would have changed our lives and not always for the better. I couldn’t think of changing any thing in my life. It is mine and if I had walked through another door I wouldn’t have had Kathryn and wouldn’t have Richard and of course that would mean not having Scott either. My children are who I am and they are part of me and I love what I see. This man also talked about the power of our words. Words are stronger than we think and they can never be taken back. You can’t undo what you have said. Once those words come out and are heard they are there forever. My dentist had a poster on the ceiling that read, “I chose my words to be soft and sweet, for I don’t know the ones I may have to eat.” This piano man talked about the last two words his Dad ever said to him. His Dad was a mean drunk and had threatened to kill his mother and siblings many times. One night he missed the garage and drove the car right through the wall of the bedroom he and his brother were sleeping in. His Dad looked at him and glared into his eyes and told him “You’re Worthless.” Then his dad put the clip into his handgun and put it between the boys eyes and said he was going to kill him. That night and those words were with him for years. He felt and lived his life as though he was never good enough. Even though he was and accomplished piano player and songwriter and one of the best, he never felt good enough. He found God and prayed to be able to forgive his father. Instead he was given an image of a little boy who was crying and scared. It was his father and at that moment he was not able to forgive but to love his father. To love him as he was just a child himself who was not given a happy loving home. His father who was never good enough. Now he understood his father and was able to love him. As I child I was always taught that sticks and stones may brake my bones but words could never hurt me. Not so true. Words had caused this man a great deal of suffering for years and years. As cruel words hurt many people everyday. I also had a dream about Kathryn. It must have been when she was first diagnosed with cancer. We were in the locker room of the “Y” and I was getting her dressed after swim lessons. There was another Mom there too and we were discussing the girls throwing up and getting sick from chemo and what would help them feel better. Even though we were having this conversation I was brushing Kathryn’s long blonde hair. She never had that long blonde hair after cancer. Back to words hurting or not understanding a person’s situation. At a conference I was at in one of the classes this teacher shared a story with us. There was a boy in her class who stopped doing his homework and she inquired about it. Well, he said it is getting darker outside and we don’t have any electricity so I can’t see to do my work. She also shared about a woman who was always just a little late to work. Every day she was 15 minutes late to work. Everyone in the office just couldn’t understand why she was always late but had the time to go by Starbusks to get her morning coffee. When asked she explained that she and her husband only had one car that they shared. He would pick up the coffee on his way home. It was the only time they had to talk to each other since they worked opposite shifts. She was late because she didn’t’ have her own way to work and had to wait for her husband to pick her up. The piano man also had a story about misunderstanding. He and his siblings would sometimes have to escape from his drunk father. His mother actually left the keys in the car and had a code word for the kids, which meant to get to the car. They would take off long enough for the drunk man to pass out. Sometimes they would just sleep in the car all night. So, the next day when Mom dropped them off at school they had no supplies, no books, no homework and were wearing their dirty play clothes. Of course they got in trouble and were marked a problem children at school. But, no one at the school knew the truth. They were told never to tell anyone about the problems they had at home. So, the children kept quiet and took the punishment at school. Last Sunday I went to Michaels to learn how to make these new rubberband bracelets. There were 5 or 6 little kids there with me. I was having a good time. The little boy who made the big long chain of these for cancer awareness came up in conversation by one of the boys. He told me he had a friend who was dying from cancer. I told him my daughter had died from cancer. We made a little connection. It was sweet. He said he was so sorry to hear about my daughter. He was a great kid. Well, they all were. We were helping each other and comparing where we were in our process. What a fun couple of hours. I really smelt Kathryn that day. It was amazing! Our cabin is rented by two families over the winter. They have been a blessing and they love the cabin. Of course one room is Kathryn’s and has her touches in it. They are so respectful. They wrote us a note telling us how much they enjoy the cabin. They have done this a few times. Most recently Scott talked to one of them and it made Scott comment that “It is a happy cabin.” It is! We have had some great times there. Just a few facts. Did you know that only 3.8% of funding for cancer research goes to pediatric research? Sad – that it is such a low amount. It is only because kids don’t have the access or knowledge of how to voice their concerns. One in every 285 children get cancer. That is so high. It isn’t rare. That means it happens a lot. That sucks! I had heard of pediatric cancer before Kathryn was diagnosed but I never knew how close it could get. I actually did fundraisers with my math classes at Mason for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Not knowing what was to happen in just a few years. Richard’s graduation ceremony was Saturday the 22nd. We went up on Friday night (to Bellingham). They (Richard and Bee) had prepared a beautiful dinner for us (Scott, Myself and My Mom). The ceremony was very nice. I didn’t think I would be taken by emotion but I was. I cried! I’m so proud of Richard. I also watched one of Kathryn’s friend walk across that stage. Kathryn should have been there. She would have graduated at this time too. I’m so sorry that the world will be missing out on such a beautiful person. She added so much to all of the lives she touched. After the ceremony we took a few pictures and then went to lunch at a cute place. It had a Marti Gras theme. The food was different but really good too! I had another dream about Kathryn. It was so real. It was her in the present time. We had our house all decked out for Christmas. Of course I would dream it was Christmas – her favorite time of year. She was decorating her bedroom door. I was probably dreaming this because I was thinking about her door with all the stuff on it. What to do with all of it someday. Whenever. Well, she was asking me about a second door and if it would work putting it on hinges like this and that. We tried it and it was like a secret door because you had to open one to get to the next. She had it all decorated with stripes of ribbon. Different ribbons that went across horizontally and stuck out away from the door. they didn’t lay flat. Beautiful and colorful ribbon. She was talking to me and it was so real. I told Mooselips about it at a Wine Auction meeting. He said, “You must hate waking up from dreams like that.” I do hate waking up to the reality. But in the same time I love having those dreams. It keeps her close and alive. Friday the 28th – In my 6th period class one of my students commented on my t-shirt. I was wearing the rain cloud one that says “Let a cure rain down.” I said Kathryn had designed it. They were impressed. I said the new ones have a printed statement of her dates and that she designed the shirt. Then we got off on the cancer talk. We talked about how there are different types of cancer. Some are very easy to cure and people go on living. Others are a death sentence the moment they are found. One girl shared how her Dad gets cancer every year. She said his body secretes something that causes cancer to grow but they are able to get rid of it each year. I never heard of this. I told them how Kathryn’s first cancer now has a 90 to 95% cure rate. But, her second was incurable. They actually told us that they were only doing paliatative care and I explained to them what that meant. I also told them how we were told we would be lucky to have her a year and we almost had her two years. One girl said, You showed them. Her reaction was just like mine. I appreciated her feeling the same as I did. We did show them. But in the end they were right. There are only a hand full of people (if that) that have survived this beast. We went on to how doctors have to be so emotionless when talking to patients. We discussed how they have to. They couldn’t possibly handle getting emotional about every case they work on. I then started to tell about Kathryn’s doctor and could not hold back my own emotions. They asked if they could give me a hug? I said, “No, It’s ok I can do this.” I choked out the story of her oncologist breaking down after seeing Kathryn in the ICU. He had to go into another room and just cry and cry. The nurse said she had never seen anything like it. No doctor had ever cried like this. It had to be hard for him. He loved her so much. His daughter was Kathryn’s friend. Kathryn talked him into volunteering at Camp Goodtimes. He had to tell her she was dying. He had to tell her she only had 3 to 6 months left to live. That must have torn this man apart. Scott and I were talking about it and he said that Dr. Morris’s PA also cried. She cried the day we knew what it was. Why, because everyone knew what it meant. Then we talked about Dr. Morris. I said he was always so cute with Kathryn. After her surgery she had to stop driving for 6 weeks –regular protocol. At the 6 week visit she asked him if she could drive. He asked her, “Well, do you think you can drive?” She said, “Yes.” and he responded with, “Then you can drive.” It was the same type of question and tone when she asked him when she was 8 years old, “Do you have to shave my head?” He responded with, “Do you want me to shave your head?” of course she said NO! He said, “Well then I won’t shave your head.” You couldn’t even tell she had surgery. He took out a very tiny sliver of hair. She had very long beautiful hair that was all gone in just a few weeks after starting chemo and radiation. I thought he handled her so well. She took a liking to him as he did to her. He is a very serious kind of guy but our family got him to smile several times. The class discussion had to go back to math. We probably could have shared cancer stories for an hour or two. The kids had a lot to say. It was good for me and good for them to share. So after school I went to visit Nick. He was part of our school conversation too. He is into cars or should I say his truck. He showed me a video of doing a burn out in his truck. I just saw dollar signs as I thought of his tires burning the rubber off of them. I also thought of how he has found such joy in such a simple act. When I went into his hospital room it was decorated with posters from his friends and he had three friends there. The two boys were something else. They were joking the entire time. They are good for Nick. He was on an IV pump just getting fluids at the time. His chemo was coming shortly. Five days of intense Chemo. He is a senior and I was wondering how this is going to work for him as far as school goes. He will be getting a bone marrow transplant and will need to move to Seattle to be close to the hospital. He has three months that will put him into July that he will either be hospitalized or living in Seattle. He didn’t look too happy about that. But when this three months saves his life, it will all worth it and the time is just a blip of time. He has a bone marrow donor all lined up. He will also have t-cells taken at the same time as the blood or bone marrow is taken. I didn’t really get that part completely straight. He is taking it as something he just has to do. As do all of the kids and many adults do when they have cancer. You just have to do what you have to do. It was a good visit. I think Nick will be coming back to camp in 2015. He wants to bring his two friends too. We even talked about camp names. It would be great to have the three of them at camp together. That’s it. I am off to try to find discounted flowers or even better, free flowers for the wine auction. I’m also going to see if I can get a sponsor and some free pens. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A couple of Surprises 3-9-14

A couple of little surprises March 9, 2014 During the last couple of weeks we each had a nice surprise from Kathryn. I was telling Scott just how bad I was feeling and how much I missed Kathryn. I think this second year has been harder that the immediate and the first year anniversary. It is more real and really makes it sink in that Kathryn will not be with us as a person ever again. Scott told me he was really thinking about Kathryn and there it was for him, a penny. He finds pennies when he thinks alot about Kathryn and needs some comfort. In the book I read the author said that pennies can be a sign from our loved ones. Now I know what that doll I have is all about. The title of the doll is pennies from Heaven and she has her little hand out and has several little pennies in her hand. One day the last week of February I walked into the school building at the same time as my friend Sue. We started to talk and of course cancer came up. Her husband had a bought with throat cancer and she was telling me how a couple of other friends of theirs had the same thing too. I was telling her how I was told that Kathryn’s type of brain tumor GBM was usually found in 40 to 50 year old men and found in the frontal lobe. I have recently found or fallen upon a few young girls with GBMs and I told her that one of them was really ill and probably wouldn’t make it another week or two. She did pass away on the 4th of March at 18 years old. Her name was Amber and a beautiful girl full of love, spirit and life. Cancer is such a bad deal. There is also the 16 year old girl with the GBM (Catherine). I emailed her Mom about the T-Cell treatment. I didn’t hear from her for a couple of days but she finally responded and said she was looking into it. I’m glad to hear that. When we were in Houston this was just beginning and they would not use it on Patients like Kathryn. I’m very excited to say that our house is pretty much back in order. The kitchen is beautiful and I just got my couch and love seat back all recovered. They look beautiful. Simple like I am trying to make things here. Last weekend I spent the weekend pulling wallpaper and painting at my Mom’s house. It was fun because two of my three brothers were there. We had some good memories to share and some good laughs. My other brother had some serious foot surgery so he can’t help but he called to see how things were going and sent us some girl-scout cookies “Yum.” Scott’s been a big help too. When I first walked in it was pretty overwhelming but now it seems that it is coming together. Last Sunday, 3/2/14 I was given a sign from Kathryn. I had been feeling very down and asking for a sign from Kathryn. I asked God if I could please see her or have something that would let me know she was near. Well, My Mom and my brother Pat were all getting ready to leave my Mom’s house and we were in the garage. Now, I have been in the garage the last two weekends and even swept the garage and picked up down there. This day after asking for a sign there it was. On one of the hinges of the garage door was a green ribbon. I had not seen it before and I had looked at the garage door several times. I went over to it and said, “Do you know what this is?” I said, “This is from Kathryn’s 18th birthday party.” When my Mom and Dad moved out the house was empty around Kathryn’s birthday 2/9/09 and she asked my Mom if she and Cody (her BFFE) could have their 18th birthday party at her house. Well, of course she said yes. Kathryn and Cody decorated the garage and used those green ribbons to tie up balloons and such. As I was touching the ribbon my brother Pat came up to me and held the ribbon in his hand and said, “ You mean Kathryn’s little hands were the ones that tied this ribbon here. She was the last one to touch this ribbon. Then he held me as I broke into tears. Then I spotted another one and pointed it out. But Kathryn probably didn’t tie this one because it was up too high. We all laughed. The ribbons were either put there after I asked for a sign or they have been there for 5 years and through three different renters. I don’t know which is more believable. March is an interesting month. This is when cancer started for us. On March third 1999 I took Kathryn in for the second time and they did the cat-scan and found the tumor. On March 5th we met her surgeon and on the 8th she had her first brain surgery. Cancer has filled our lives every since then but it hasn’t taken our love or the life we still live. We still have so much and I know Kathryn is here. Not only did I find the green ribbon but I also went into her room and I could smell her so strong. I said, I know you are here Kathryn. I was borrowing some of her items for our spirit week. I knew she would love to know that I could use her things to have fun. Scott and I went to a camp-planning meeting on the 4th. There were many good ideas to make camp super fun this summer for the kids. On our way home we just missed a big accident. There was a jack-knifed semi in the middle of I-5. It just happened and I was able to drive around it and the other truck in the HOV lane. When we got home we saw it one the news and a huge back up of miles and miles. On the 5th we attended the Grapevine Event. This was also in Seattle. This is a meeting to invite new and old people who might want to or have attended the Wine Auction which is a big fundraiser for Camp. Every time I have attended one of these I meet new people who I just fall in love with. This time the speaker was a Mom of a little boy who attended the Drive-a Thon that Scott started. It was a track day that raised money for camp. This Mom spoke about how cancer changed their lives forever. They had to move from Alaska to Seattle to be closer to doctors and hospitals. Colin was diagnosed with a terrible form of Leukemia when he was 2. He has side effects that have made it so his joints don’t move. His growth is obviously stunted. He is 10 and his brother who is 3 years younger is taller than Colin. He still takes a huge amounts of meds and is watched by doctors all the time. She talked about the financial part of cancer too. The million dollar limit was reached the first 2 months of Colin’s treatment. Every year they spend 10’s of thousands of dollars out of pocket for Colin’s treatments that he still under goes. She mentioned this because she appreciates a camp for her kids that is free of charge. She understands the value of a dollar and would never be able to send her kids to camp if Camp Goodtimes was not around. She also talked about how wonderful it is for her boys to have a week of fun and she doesn’t have to worry about her sons and she is given a break. She has not been far from Colin every since he was diagnosed. She has been by his side and always watching over him. She is a full time caretaker of a very sick child. But for this one week she gets to be a woman without the worries. She knows her boys are in a safe place with nurses and doctors right there and a fun and loving staff. She gets to relax this one week. I never thought about how this week was for me until she mentioned it. It was my week to do a big project. It was my week to surprise my kids with something that I had created. I made them furniture, painted their bedrooms or maybe it was a project around that house for the family. They got to the point where they would come home and ask, “What did you do this time Mom?” I loved surprising them. It was a week for me too! This weekend Richard and Bee came down to visit. I love seeing the two of them. Richard made a delicious breakfast Saturday morning for all of us. My Mom was here too. Richard and I had a talk about feeling bitter and feeling sorry for yourself when you lose someone, meaning Kathryn. We all have those feelings but we both agreed that we can’t let those feelings take over your life. I have had those feelings and sometimes you do feel sorry for yourself but you are not alone. There are other people who have lost children and I feel sorry for them. I thought many times that I must have been a bad Mom and I was being punished for something and losing Kathryn was my punishment. But then I realize that there are so many wonderful people who have lost their children and wouldn’t deserve punishment. In fact it seems like the best parents are the ones that lose their children. I just don’t get it. So it really doesn’t have anything to do with being a good or bad parent or good or bad person. It just happens. We can’t go on feeling sorry for ourselves or being bitter because it has happened and we need to live life. Richard and I agreed that there are those sad times and when you do fee sorry for yourself but we just can’t let them be who we are. We choose to live the way we were and the way Kathryn would want us to live as best as we can. Richard, Bee and I all went over to my Mom’s house. Richard was excited to show Bee as she has heard a lot about the house. It was fun to hear him talk about how much he liked the house and I talked about how wonderful it was to grow up in this house. Then I shared with him and Bee my story about the green ribbon. I think they were a little stunned. I’m not sure how Richard takes it but I know Kathryn gave me that sign. I asked as I have before and I received just like I have before. I think if you believe you will see that the ones who have gone before us are really still here in spirit. So, tonight is the first night of the TV show “Resurrection.” Richard said it looked creepy and so did Bee. I’m curious to see how they do this show. How many of us have thought about someone coming back from the dead. You know I have. I would make it work if Kathryn were to come back. It could be complicated but I would make it work. It may be too late and I may fall asleep but Scott and I are going to try to watch it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tough Days! 2-18-14

Tough Days! 2-18-14 Super Bowl Sunday 2/2/14 was amazing. It really kept me distracted from the day it truly represents for us. It did mark 2 years since Kathryn passed away. It was a gorgeous day just like the day she passed. I really appreciate it being sunny on that day as it helps to sooth the mood. I was busy most of they day cleaning and preparing for Richard and Bee to come over and watch the game with us. The game was really something. We had a great time watching it but it was almost embarrassing to watch the other team get pounded. We are a family that likes good competition and there was very little competition in that game. Once it was over and Richard and Bee headed back to Bellingham, it hit. I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. My head felt like it was going to blow up. I was so down and my body felt like it was going to fall apart. I thought I was going to get the way I have been two other times. The last time I went to the ER after 15 hours of extreme pain and no sleep. Luckily I have a husband that knows how to help. He said I needed to get out and walk. Get some fresh air and so we went for a walk and it helped. I had cried all morning and my eyes were sore and I was a little off but Richard and Bee helped me pull it together. But once they were gone my guard was let down and my body just gave in. Kathryn’s death hit me hard this year. I also gained about 7 pounds because of emotions. Hopefully I can shed it and some before summer. Tuesday the 4th was a trip up to Seattle for a camp-planning meeting. It is always fun to be with our camp family. This summer is our first summer without the support of the American Cancer society so even finding a place to have meetings can be a challenge. Wednesday the 5th was Kathryn’s 23rd birthday. It pleases me so when people remember her. Whether it is on the 2nd or for her birthday the 5th it doesn’t matter. I just love it when people acknowledge that she once lived her on this Earth and brought love and joy to everyone. This year we didn’t do anything but remember her for her birthday. Our kitchen was wrapped in plastic for the most part as our cabinets were getting done. My neighbor brought flowers and a card. My good friend Robyn made a beautiful Panda picture. People sent good wishes. I appreciate all comments and wishes. Rowan’s Mom Rebecca sent me a necklace of angel wings. It arrived right on Kathryn’s birthday. On Wednesday (Kathryn’s birthday) my students in my yearbook class asked me if I believed in spirits. I told them I did and how we know Kathryn has been around. The blender going off, finding things after asking Kathryn for help and then my neighbors having a ghost in their house. A little girl, Kathryn’s size and hair color that appeared just days after Kathryn died. It was an interesting conversation. Wednesday night we had a grapevine event. This is an evening that is used to give potential donors for the wine auction a chance to get acquainted with camp. We have snacks, wine and beer, there is a speaker, which I have done in the past, and just a chance for them to met us and get to hear our story and what camp means to us. I met Louise at the grapevine. She was in the Air Force and her Husband is retired from the Air Force. I think he was high up in rank. Anyhow they lost their 25 year old daughter to brain cancer. That was years ago but as she spoke you could see in her eyes and hear in her voice that is was just like yesterday to her. I could see that it won’t ever stop. The pain of losing a child never goes away. At the grapevine event I also made sure I thanked the two board members that were there. They are two of the people who said, “Well if the ACS isn’t going to sponsor or support camp for these kids with cancer any more we need to get going and do something to make sure it keeps going.” They did! They put together the paper work to get a project together that has 501-C3 status (nonprofit) so we could start fundraising. They named it “The Goodtimes Project.” They couldn’t call it Camp Goodtimes at the time because we didn’t have clearance from the ACS yet. To this date we still don’t have the money from the ACS that was designated for Camp Goodtimes. Thank goodness we started fundraising immediately because we wouldn’t have camp this summer 2014 without the funds we have been raising. Any how I thank Bacon and Puck for their efforts. While talking to Puck she shared that her sister just passed away 1 ½ years ago from cancer. Wow! She deals with this all the time since she is a nurse in the oncology department at Children’s. She is an amazing woman. She gives her vacation time to volunteer at camp to work once again with her patients. I’m sure it is also rewarding for her to see her patients having fun at camp. I was so glad I made the effort to talk to Puck and Bacon. They were both so appreciative that I came up and thank them for their time and effort to keep camp going. Puck said that camp gives her a mission in life as it has for Scott and myself. She said, you need something to focus on and to keep you going. She is right. Having Camp has helped our entire family. Scott, Richard and myself have all reaped the benefits of camp. Being volunteers have given us all purpose and a special way to honor Kathryn. The kitchen is getting done. When they offered this week (Feb 3rd through the 7th) for us and a 15% discount; I really had to think about it. I didn’t want to have the kitchen out of commission as we usually would have a party for Kathryn but we did it. It all worked out. They didn’t finish until Saturday and actually still have a couple of things to do. But for the most part it is done and looks great!!!! Ziggy, a young lady from camp that was a good friend of Kathryn wrote to me this week. She is writing a book about cancer and wants to include a part about Kathryn. She loved Kathryn and was inspired by her strength and consideration for others. She had heard that Kathryn had relapsed and asked Kathryn about it while at camp in July of 2011. Kathryn told her that she had relapsed but didn’t want to talk it about it because she was here (at camp) for the kids and wanted to make it their best camp ever. Ziggy wanted to make sure it was ok with our family to mention Kathryn in the book. I told her since her book was to help young people with cancer I think Kathryn would be happy to be part of the book. She would want to give others hope and peace in their time of need. This will be a book that I will read. Some of you will understand that comment. Cancer strikes our friend Nick for the 3rd time. This young man is turning 17 in April. He was just re-diagnosed with Leukemia. He started with a brain tumor and his treatment gave him Leukemia. At that time he could not have any more radiation and chemo is not considered affective. He had a bone marrow transplant and it was successful. Well, for almost 6 years. Just when you think you are out of the woods this beast comes back. It appears to be the same type of Leukemia (it’s sad that I can now spell that word) but in only on chromosome instead of two. I’m not sure what that means but I think it is better than two. I don’t know what treatment they will seek out but radiation and chemo are not in the picture. They will use chemo but knowing it will not cure him. Our little friend Colton is doing well on the T-Cell treatment. Remember he went to Philly and received his T-Cells around Thanksgiving or Christmas. So far so good! Yeah! There is also another little girl who received this same type of treatment who is also doing well. So I suggested to Nick’s Mom to ask about this treatment for Nick. You get low on options after a while. The T-Cell treatment is very new and there are only a few children to have ever received this treatment. They have only used it for Leukemia and only in the past year or so. Maybe it is the one! Nick is the little boy Kathryn told us about from camp. He had a crush on her and brought her flowers and asked her to the dance her third year there. We became friends from camp. The other day one of the men on the wine auction committee made a comment about camp. He had been taking photos at Children’s in the oncology department. One of the girls has been to camp and the other has not. The one was sharing her joys of camp and they were planning what week they would both go. He shared some other stories too. When I was at the camp planning meeting Beef (the director) said that February is like Wednesday at camp. Wednesday is the half way mark where some people are burned out and need a break but still looking forward to each day. Oh, I remember February like this: Christmas is over; Birthdays are over so now we focus on camp. We need to make sure we get our applications in so we don’t miss out. We think and talk about camp and our friends at camp until that day we get on the ferry. Richard and Kathryn would start thinking about songs and skits and when old enough what position they would have at camp. Every year it was the same. Once birthdays were over talk of Camp would begin! Camp is big for these kids. They talk about it all year long. They call each other to see what week they are going. They get excited to see their camp friends who they may not have seen in a year. Camp is a family and it creates bonds that last a lifetime. There is a new man involved with camp this year. It is kind of funny how he came in too. He was inquiring about a job and accidently sent his message back about not taking the job on the wrong email address. Well, That email address got the attention of one of the wine auction committee members and asked him if he would like to see what camp and the wine auction are all about. Well, George said he would like to check it out and is now onboard. He gets it! He understands the bond that is formed by these kids. He understands the family and the commitment that is there. He is going to volunteer at camp too. The 9th was Richard’s birthday. Of course I thought about how I would make cakes for Richard and Kathryn. For the family birthday party I always make a cake that was half Richard and half Kathryn. The last one I made was for their 20th and 24th birthday. I took the cake to Bellingham. We had a small little family birthday there. This year we went to my Mom’s house in Eatonville. Richard and Bee were at the cabin in Packwood so it was nice to have us all meet at my Mom’s. My brother Mike was there and my brother Pat and his wife Gin. Bee’s Mom and Grandma even drove down from Seattle. The kid is special. It was a nice little gathering and I think Richard appreciated it. It’s nice to be acknowledged on your birthday. I know I am very happy that little guy arrived on that Monday morning. The 10th was my principal’s brother’s birthday. He lost his brother in October. I knew it was a hard day for him. There isn’t much you can do but let someone know that you are thinking about them. I really worry about his Mom. That had to be a very hard day for her. I feel really bad because they have really been pounded. I mean just one special day after another. Wedding anniversary, Thankgiving, Christmas, Birthday and they all came in a very short period of time. Father’s day will be tough for the kids. I remember after my Dad died it was a day that just seemed so hard to even think about. It’s not special when your Dad isn’t there anymore. What is Father’s day without a Dad? I know my Mom is having a hard time with being alone. She really misses my Dad. He was a good man that loved her so much. They did so much together even if it was just sitting around having coffee. It is hard to lose a loved on and special days are hard to face. Hell the whole month of February has been difficult for me. Maybe we should have had a birthday party for Kathryn. Maybe that is what’s missing. I don’t know but this year is tough. On the 14th I donated blood. I was reading the poster on the wall and found more interesting things about blood donations. First, only 35% of the population can donate blood but only 5% of them actually donate. Did you know that a pint of blood only has 2 ounces of platelets in it? That may only be one ounce I can’t remember for sure. That’s not a lot. I remember Kathryn getting two bags of platelets at one time. It had to take a lot to get two bags. The platelets help your blood clot. Any how they draw blood from people and spin out the platelets, put the blood back in and draw more blood and spin out more platelets and continue this process until they have a bag full which takes an hour or two. I thought we were so lucky to have people that are willing to donate. I remember when Scott’s Dad was really sick we had friends and family go to the hospital and donate platelets because he needed so much. His leukemia seemed to just suck up the platelets as fast as they were given. On the 15th I went to a cross fit session that was a benefit for camp. We sold $265 in Panda shirts that day. That made me feel really good! It was cold but a lot of fun. Camp events just bring so many good people and you just can’t help but feel good about life and others when you attend these events. Speaking of camp events, we are having a benefit on August 16th at our house for camp. We will be selling tickets for $50. Of course there will be things to buy the day of the event, donations can be made and you will also be able to win prizes during the raffle. We will have food, drinks and live music! It will be a fabulous event. Today, the 18th of February I am getting Richard’s graduation announcements ready to send out. It’s funny how life is. I received in the mail a week or so ago, information for graduation announcements for Kathryn. It didn’t hurt. It actually made me smile. How great it would have been to have both of them graduating in March from the school I graduated from in December of 1982. I would have been so proud to watch both of them probably arm in arm walk down that isle together. I know they would have worked it out that they would have walked together. Just the same I am so proud of Richard. I always knew he was a good boy and smart as all get out but I didn’t really know if he would go to college or not. He has made us very proud and I know he is an amazing teacher. He loves others and has the compassion and understanding that it takes for this job. He will do well and inspire some young people to make positive changes in their lives. I also watched the news last night and they featured a boy from Puyallup who is dying from a brain tumor. They are having a special graduation for him next month since he will probably not make it to the regular graduation. He may be too ill by then or not around. He only has three months to live. But he has a good attitude. He said he is not mad because you are not guaranteed tomorrow. He said that God has him now. I think it is great that the school is doing this graduation for him. It is kind of like Kathryn’s Christmas party. It is a great way to say good-bye in a happy time. A time where the person dying can enjoy your company and is feeling well enough to enjoy the time themselves. Everyone should have a send off like this. I hope we all remember that tomorrow is not promised to us and we can look at today as a gift to cherish. Love you all, Carol

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The 2nd Anniversary of Kathryn's Passing

The 2nd Anniversary of Kathryn’s Passing I have new students for my publications class this semester. They are all 8th graders and none of them are in any of my math classes so they don’t know me at all. One little girl and I were talking after school about how the use the camera and taking pictures that evening at the high school. She noticed my pictures on the wall and asked if I do Relay for Life. I told her that I did it for years. And then she said she does it here in Fife. Something was said and I told her that Kathryn had passed away two years ago. Then she looked at me again and asked, “Did you speak at the first Fife Relay? Did you speak during the Luminaria Ceremony?” I said, that I was the one. She told me that I was a great public speaker and that she cried as I spoke. She was amazed that I was the one that she heard that night. Yep, I did speak and I will do more as life goes on I’m sure. I remember telling Kathryn one time that she was hope for others and she was there inspiration. I told her that when people with cancer saw her and her beautiful smile she gave them hope and encouragement. She said, “I know Mom.” That is why she did everything she could to face her cancer with a smile and be so brave. She knew others were watching and she knew she needed to give them hope and encouragement. She did just that. The other patients in the radiation waiting room told me that her smile and cheerful attitude helped them realize that they could do this. Still funny to this day, Kathryn felt the same about them. She noticed all of the “Old People” (little old ladies and little old men) and she said if they could do it so can I. We never know the affect we have on others. Last night was the eve of Kathryn’s passing and weird things were going on. We were watching TV and an orb appeared on the screen. A yellowish green orb that was reflecting like a glass prism. Then the show went off for a moment and back on. We were watching it through Netflex. It did this about three times. Not all the same but it stopped and reloaded one time. The first time it happened I told Scott to stop touching the button. The remote was across the room. We both decided Kathryn was here. I didn’t say this to Scott last night but I could smell her. He said he could feel her presence. She was here! We were watching the last three episodes of Dexter. When his sister Debra was put on the breathing machine it brought back memories and really made me think. I thought about how Kathryn was on the breathing machine and then how they took her off. When they took her off she immediately sat up and held her throat while turning purple and blue and said, “I can’t breathe.” They immediately bagged her and re-inserted the tube. She wasn’t able to breathe on her own. The tumor had grown and stopped her ability to make air come in and out. Then I thought, how could that have ever improved so that she could come home. I would imagine that once a tumor does this there is no returning. But Kathryn was taken off of the breathing machine and able to come home. Was this a small miracle created for her and us so she could come home? Was this God’s way of letting us share one last Christmas together. It must have been some kind of small miracle because they only talked about her being on that breathing machine forever. Then finally we had a Doctor who realized that we should try letting her breath on her own. She did have a trac put in. Why not? She is in the safest place she could be. She was monitored in several ways. If anything went wrong they would be there in a second. We already witnessed how fast they move in the ICU and with definite moments that are so right on and perfect. The fact is that they worked on getting her home. They worked on getting enough information that would say she would be safe to go home without a breathing machine. As an adult they would not send her home on a breathing machine. She would have been sent to some care facility, not home. I have never thought about how it all had to play out to get her home. We were lucky to have her come home. I know she didn’t like hospitals at all. Scott and I had always promised her (since she was 8) that we would never put her in the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. In Houston we left the hospital at 11pm and even 2 am after her transfusions were done. She didn’t want to stay there and we told the nurses that we were not going to stay. Last night was a difficult night. I had a hard time getting to sleep. I cried and watched TV until my eyes were so sore and heavy I had to close them. I was just awake enough to turn the TV off and then I was out. All I could think about was two years ago I was laying next to Kathryn and I knew it was coming. I told her that if Jesus came to take her tonight, please tell him you don’t want to go. This morning I woke about the time that I realized that something was going on with Kathryn. The sign was her blood pressure. I had watched go up ever morning starting about 5am. This morning it wasn’t going up. I knew something was changing. There was either going to be a miracle and she was going to be getting better or she was slowing down and the end was soon. I lay there for a bit with her just hoping it was the better of the two. And then her oxygen got low. I called Richard in as he was just across the hall. We talked about the situation and cleared her airway with the suction machine. It helped a little. We both knew this was it. He said he would not bag her and I agreed. This made me think of our friend who told me in love not to try to save her but to let her die in peace and with dignity. Don’t’ put her through a bunch of stuff for yourself. And so, here it was that time. I had Richard get Scott and Grandma. It is 7:55 right now as I write and we were all with her at this time. She took her last little breath at about 8:17. She was amazing! She was beautiful inside and out. I was the luckiest Mom ever to have such a wonderful daughter. She made me proud! Speaking of proud. Richard makes me so proud. I was telling my students about his different hairstyles he has had and one student said in jest “You must be so proud of him.” I said, I am proud of him. He is a wonderful young man. Friday (1/31/14) Richard had a student in his class have a severe asthma attack. He was walking the kid to the nurse and he went down because he couldn’t breath. Richard knew exactly what to do. He got 911 and the boy was fine. Someone said that the boy had a seizer and Richard was quick to give the correct information. He didn’t have a seizer. They asked how he was so certain. He said his sister had brain cancer and had a seizer and he was there throughout all of it. Nobody knew about Kathryn expect the teacher he had done his student teaching under. They were probably really taken back. But he had the experience to handle this situation. I am proud of him. He is an amazing young man. He and Bee will be here this afternoon to watch the Super Bowl with us. I’m so glad they are coming over. This day is just too hard to do without being surrounded by loved ones. It never gets easier. The pain spreads out more but the loss and pain are still there. I fear that people even myself will forget Kathryn. I never want that to happen. I want her to live in our hearts forever. Hugs those around you and tell them you love them. Go Hawks!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pushing Through Life 1/26/14

It is hard to believe what this little list that just jumped onto my computer has to say. All children all have died or are dying of cancer. All have parents wondering why this is happening to their child. One thing that they all have in common and even in common with Kathryn is that they all have a strong spirit that they are wiling to fight this disease and all fight it with such grace and enthusiasm. All of them have others say they are an inspiration to them. Others have commented how they are so brave and so up beat. It is amazing how the young handle bad situations like dying. I know Kathryn wanted to protect us from pain in our hearts so she did keep her cheerful ways through all of this. She also didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her as she had a good life. 14 year old from camp died on buried on Dec 20th 8 year old died on Dec 25th 17 year old diagnosed with GBM (Catherine) about one year ago in November 19 year old diagnosed with GBM now 21 but it is back (Amber) re-growth after 2 years not good. She was two years out in November. Sounds like the doctors have given up. Unfortunately they have seen it over and over again and could tell you what you expect. They try to give you hope and do their best but … Chelsea still a child but around 17 also has a GBM and was diagnosed in June of 2013 . Ryan in his early 20’s GBM Diagnosed Dec 17th 2012 What I noticed about this list is the Websites that I looked at seemed to tell just the opposite about the GBM. It says that it is usually found in men that are 40 and up. But Kathryn, Catherine, Chelsea and Amber are all girls in their teens. Ryan may be a guy but he too is very young. What is going on? And Amber came home on Wednesday 1/22 to die. They are to that point. Still she is taking her oral chemo to try to stay alive. Again I am amazed by her strength and willingness to try to keep fighting this beast within her. Through Amber’s site I met a Mom who lost her daughter two years ago in October. She was 16 and was diagnosed at 11. She had Ewing’s Sarcoma. After she wrote to me telling me what she had I just wanted to hug her. It is a horrible cancer that causes tumors in the bones and is extremely painful. I can’t imagine watching your child suffer with this pain like she must have. You have heard people say, “If I can just make it through this day.” Or maybe you have said or thought, “I just want this day to be over.” I heard phrases like this from a couple of people dealing with death. My principal, when I asked how the holidays went said, “He was just glad to have them over.” It wasn’t easy going through the holidays without his brother who should have been there with his family sharing joy and laughter. No, our loved ones are gone and we don’t get to sit with them and hear their voices. We don’t’ get to laugh with them and enjoy their silly ways. Jeff’s Mom is still having a very difficult time. She met with some specialist to help her get over this deep depression. They need to sort out the medications so she can have a clear mind. It must be so difficult to watch as your mother goes through this. I hope I didn’t put my loved ones through too much as I wasted days crying and lying on the couch. I would like to offer her my viewpoint and maybe she can see that life can go on even when you lose a child. The quote from my last blog said something like when you help others heal you also help yourself heal. This is so true. Another person who lost a close relative made the comment, “I just want this day to end.” There are those days that need to just get over. I thought about when I might have felt that way. You may think someone like me would have felt that way on the day of Kathryn’s service but it was just the opposite. It went too fast and I didn’t want it to be over. That in a way meant Kathryn was over. I didn’t want this closer that is suppose to happen. I didn’t want an end to her life. However the thought of, I just want this life to get over has crossed my mind so many times. I’m sure it has for many Moms and Dads that have lost a child. Don’t worry I would never take my life but the thought of the world just ending so I could be with Kathryn sounds pretty good at times. I have Richard, Scott and others that keep me alive and well. Richard is my son and brings us so much joy. He has made us proud beyond what we ever thought would be possible. I live to see him grow. I live to see what life brings and it is good. Some amazing things have happened too. You know Scott and I both believe that Kathryn is around. Or at least her spirit is here and she helps us with things from time to time. Well her friend that she met up at college, Allie had lost her rings. She took them off and couldn’t find them. I sent a message to her telling her I hope she finds them. She then replied that one of them was a ring she had engraved for Kathryn. Then within a minute or two she sent another message to me saying she was thinking strongly about Kathryn and immediately found the ring. Yes, only one ring and it was the one she had engraved for Kathryn. She and I both know that Kathryn helped her find that ring. On Monday the 20th we had the owner of the cabinet company come over to go over the job one last time. He wanted to make sure they had everything just right. He was the kind of guy who liked to joke with you. He was teasing me the whole time. I kind of found it weird that a total stranger would tease me like this. I was ok with it and we laughed a lot. Then he said something about my computer. Well, it is Kathryn’s computer. It has a purple cover and is covered in stickers. He said it looked like some college student’s computer. I told him that it was a college student’s computer. It was my daughter’s computer. In my mind I was thinking do I tell him why I use her computer? Is this something I want to share with this man that I just met? And then for some reason I told him about her. You could see his heart break into a million pieces right then and there. As we talked I told him about Camp Goodtimes. He said he would like to help. I was wearing a Panda t-shirt and I told him he could order one. Then he said, “Wait, I have something.” He pulled a $100 bill from his wallet to donate to Camp Goodtimes. I was in awe. He didn’t really know me and he just handed me $100. He had won it the day before in a Seahawk bet. I said, “Good thing they won.” He was thinking of his two children in their teens. He just couldn’t imagine….. We talked for a long time and when he left I wish I would have given him a hug rather than a hand shake. I could tell he wanted one or wanted to give one but the handshake happened too quickly. If he comes over to check out the job I will definately give him that hug. Have you seen the ads for the new show resurrection? Wow, this will hit a bunch of people. You have no idea how many times I have asked for Kathryn to be returned. The thoughts that go with it. How do we reintroduce her into the world? How do we have her find her way back into a life that has moved on? What about legal things. How do you explain how this person that was given a death certificate is now alive and well. I know I have gone through all of these thoughts in my mind and figured each and everyone of them out. I have explained to God that I would tell everyone about the miracle. I would make his name known again. I would get people back to believing. It will be interesting how the writers of this show deal with all of the issues that I have thought about. I think it comes out in March. I told Scott that I had asked God many times for her return. I told him that I also think about this and wonder if I am selfish. Would I really want her to return to this place when she is with God and in a place without hate, hurt, disease or suffering? How could I even ask for her to leave a place that would be so wonderful? Yes, I am selfish but I am also human. Maybe I don’t ask for this as I used to knowing that it is a selfish request. Now that I think about it I have changed this request for just a moment to see her. A moment with her to talk to her. When we were in California I talked with a man by the pool who said he saw his dad after his death. He and his dad sat and talked and talked for hours one night. His wife confirmed that she witnessed this happening. I have asked for this to happen to me. I would love to have a chance to talk to Kathryn. To hear her sweet voice. Last night we went to the Firemen’s Ball. It was a benefit for Camp Goodtimes as well as raising money for Coats for Kids. I ran into my old soccer buddy (Faith) there. She is basically like my little brother’s boss. She isn’t chief but the next step down. She said she was sorry to hear about Kathryn and said it never gets easier does it? I didn’t know that she really knew. A bit later she told me about her son. When he was 23 he had just graduated from college and he and a few buddies were out cliff jumping. He landed wrong and it killed him. He did get to the hospital but he died there. I could tell it was killing her to tell me about him. She didn’t want to talk about it so I asked about her other son. She knew. She really knew. I told her how sorry I was for her too. She is different from when I knew her. I don’t know if she is different because of this loss 5 years ago or if her position in life has changed her. She was one of the goofiest girls on the team. She was always laughing and silly. Now she is very serious and it was hard to get a smile from her. But she did smile. She said you just push through life. I think she hurts so much from her loss that she lost part of herself. I watched her and she did smile and even laugh a little here and there during the evening but still not the Faith I once knew. The benefit went well for Camp. One of the firemen had started a project to fix the golf carts that we use at camp. We use them to move things around and to transport kids who can’t get around well. Some of the kids have difficulties with balance and/or sight. Some are on treatment and just weak and need a ride. Well, the fireman found some guys that took on this project and wow did they make these golf carts over the top. They did them up in red, black and silver. They made them like little fire trucks. One has lights on top, a stereo, a hand bell, and lights that shine underneath. It also has Camp Goodtimes cut out of the steel and it lights up. The other one has a flat bed that is wood and metal. The sides of this one are shortened ladders. The work and attention to detail is amazing. One of the guys was talking to us and really, really wants to be there when the carts are shown to the kids. He is so excited to be part of a project that will help children with cancer. The family that spoke that night were great. The two boys shared their love of camp. One a sibling and one a survivor. The mom spoke about their battle with this disease. Her son was sent home on palitative care. Which means, they were going to make him comfortable as his life comes to an end. I hate that word. But they found a doctor that could do the surgery and save their son. Andrew is now a young man and wants to be a camp counselor. He did his training last year but has to take this year off. That is the camp policy. Their father did not get up to speak. He told me he was just too emotional. He has heard a lot about Panda and just meeting us and talking to us made him emotional. Well, emotions are good. I too get very emotional. As I watched the video and listened to his family speak I got emotional. I get very emotional every time I write this blog. In fact this morning I told myself that I wasn’t going to cry as I wrote this one. Well, I had tears running down my face after typing the second line. My emotions take over. I just don’t know how it happens but it does. Now some fantastic news. Richard finished his student teaching on Friday 1/24. He is now a certificated teacher. He also landed a teaching job at the same school he did his student teaching. It is only one class a day but he will be able to sub or work at the tutoring center at Whatcom Community College. He is very excited. And his girlfriend Bee just received a killer raise at her job. She has only been there two months and her raise was very significant. She must be doing a great job. So life is good and worth living through the pain of loss. Scott and I are planning a huge Backyard Benefit for Camp. I reached out to a friend for music and he said it is done. He is family and so very willing to help. I love his attitude and how he didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Super Bowl is Sunday February 2nd. We are all excited about the Seahawks going. Kathryn hated when Super Bowl fell on her birthday 2/5 or close to it. Well this year it is on the 2nd anniversary on her death. Yes, it will be two years exactly one week from today. I remember thinking last year around October or November how I never wanted that one year anniversary to come and now it is two years. It never gets easier and you do push through life. Some of us push through a little easier than others. Promise me you will think of Kathryn (Panda) on Super Bowl Sunday. As we all cheer our team she will be watching us. In a funny way she will be cursing the idea that Super Bowl has interrupted her Birthday weekend. Her birthday is the 5th and she would have had a party on the 1st more than likely. We will be taking apart our kitchen that weekend to have the cabinets redone. We usually have had a birthday party for her the last three years but will not this year. So, All of you will need to wish her a happy birthday in your own way on the 5th. I was just thinking about Faith. She said something about me having Camp to support and work for. I think I am lucky to have this as a purpose in life. It is a way to direct our love of Kathryn in a way that helps others. It is a way to keep her alive. I think Faith may have had a little envy in her voice not in a bad way but in a way that she needs something like I have that keeps me going in a positive direction while pushing through life. She noticed that it helps me. Love to all – Pushing through life with the most positive attitude that I can.