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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mom’s Birthday 5-31-12

Mom’s Birthday 5-31-12

The garden is completely done.  Scott added zucchini, planted the tomatoes, planted the lettuce, and took out the corn seeds and replaced them with starts.  It should produce a fair amount of goodies.  That’s if the deer stay out of it.

One of the Ladies from Jehovah Witness came by on Wednesday.  She had moved to Oregon in 2008 but heard about Kathryn and was up here for a funeral for a friend and just had to stop by.  I thought that was a very thoughtful thing of her to do.  She told me one time when she was here she turned around and there were two deer right in front of her.  They leaped down the bank and then they were gone.  We talked about seeing our loved ones again as God has promised.  And that faith in God’s word is what we all need to get through times like this.  She also said that there is a grieving process and each stage is needed and it’s just fine to cry.  I was constantly wiping my tears as I talked to her.  She remembered Kathryn and Richard.  She talked to Richard one time for over an hour because I wasn’t home that day.  Richard read the entire bible after talking to her.  We had a nice conversation and her daughter joined us too. 

On Tuesday Scott told me that one of Kathryn’s shoes was next to the fish tank.  He said it is one of the striped shoes.  This was so odd.  The mate was on the top shelf of   where her shoes are in her closet with clothes kind of hanging over them, which would hold them in place on the shelf.  The fish tank is on the opposite side of the room.  Now you tell me how this shoe jumped off the shelf and walked across the room to the other side.  I don’t believe one of the animals jumped up and grabbed this shoe hidden behind the clothes.  It is a very strange thing.  I just have accepted this kind of thing as Kathryn letting us know she is around.  What can I say?  There is no explanation to how this shoe moved all that distance.  I have also been smelling that sweet smell pretty regularly. 

I also had a dream about Kathryn last night (5-30).  She was looking for her pink blanket.  That’s her little baby blanket that she took everywhere with her.  In my dream I handed it to her and she smuggled it up to her face.  She loved the smell of it.  It wasn’t a long dream but it was a dream with Kathryn in it.

So today I’m working on the dinosaur costumes.  It’s a good day to work on an indoor project.  I can’t wait to give the costumes to the new owners.  I’m going to add some special details.  Fun!

I almost forgot.  Today is Rowan’s MRI.  I’m looking forward to positive results.  It must be good because she is doing so well.  If that tumor had grown they would be seeing changes since it sits on the brain stem.  Pray for positive results.  Shrinking tumor or clear areas would be the best things to hear.  Rowan is our 3 year old friend from the clinic in Houston. 

And finally as the title states – It is my Mom’s Birthday today.  I called and we chatted for well over an hour.  Maybe even two hours.  I sang happy birthday to her and she said I even sang on key.  We had dinner with her on Sunday for her birthday too.  Next year will be a special one and we will have a BIG party.  Well, every birthday is special actually but you know what I mean.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Team Work 5-28-12

Team Work 5-28-12

Scott and I spent time at our cabin in Packwood this weekend.  I cleaned the inside for a while until Scott realized I was having a hard time dealing with working in Kathryn’s room.  Yep, she has a room in the cabin.  She decorated it.  There are many things in the room that are special little things of hers.  I went through all of these things.  One by one I looked at each item as I dusted.  I thought over and over, Oh this is so Kathryn.  It is hard to do these things but they must be done. 

So, I worked outside with Scott.  It made me feel better.  Dealing with Kathryn’s things can only be done for a while.  If I work on it too long I get too depressed.

We went to the usual Swap meet places.  For those of you who don’t know there is a huge swap meet every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend in Packwood.  This was fun to go to.  Scott and I also enjoyed sitting by the bond fire on Saturday night.  We talked a bit about Kathryn and how she loved bond fires.  We cried a little too.  On Sunday we did a lot of yard work.  When we left the inside and outside both looked really great!

We stopped by my Mom’s house on the way home on Sunday.  We had dinner with her and a very nice visit.  Too short of a visit but and nice visit. 

Today, Monday, Scott and I finish the garden.  Well, almost all of it.  There are still three boxes to fill with dirt.  There are two tomato plants to plant and lettuce to plant.  I would also like to plant some potatoes.  I planted Pumpkins, Watermelons, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Corn, Peas, Beans, Carrots, and Broccoli.  A bunch of these were starts that Richard grew.  I’m really excited to see how it all goes.  Oh, I also planted dill to go with the Rosemary.  We also have 4 Artichokes plants that are doing great.  They are beautiful plants.

While I worked in the garden I thought about what Kathryn may have been doing this weekend.  Just two years ago we were all at the cabin together along with some friends of Richard’s and Kathryn’s.  We had a wonderful time.  I love those times where we were all together sharing time and just hanging out.  Those are good times. 

I hear my neighbor’s voice saying, “Remember the good times – just remember the good times.”  I try to keep this in my mind when I get down.  I need to remember the good times. 

I hope you all had a nice weekend creating good memories.

Good Night

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 5-24-12

Memorial Day Weekend 5-24-12

The day started off with my head still hurting but not as bad.  I went to breakfast with my friend.  The sweet little waitress had such a wonderful personality.  I had ordered hot chocolate.  When I said I didn’t want any whip cream on it she gave me the sad face.  She said, “No Happy.”  I had to add a little “happy” to my hot chocolate.  So she did.  All of this would have been something Kathryn would have said.  Calling the whip cream “Happy” would be something she would have said.  I was really taken by this.

I got home and started trans planting plants.  Before I went out side I sat and cried.  I thought about my little sweet pea.  I sure do miss her.  I wonder how we will all remember her years down the road.  Will she still be so clear in our hearts and minds.  I hope so.

I was asked by my friend to speak at the Tacoma Relay Luminary Ceremony.  I also received a call from Becky and she asked me to also speak at the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Relay Luminary Ceremony.  Of course I said yes.  I hope I can pull it all together a really deliver. 

I started feeling better and my headache was now gone so I got to work on transplanting those plants.  I also got one of my garden boxes in the ground and filled with dirt.  I’m excited to get them all in and all of my little plants in the ground.  I hope to impress Richard and our friend Dash. 

I had also mentioned about my cousin’s husband passing away the other yesterday.  Kathryn was the flower girl in their wedding when she was about 4.  A friend emailed me and said she was sure that Kathryn greeted him with open arms.  You know, that would be her way.  She would have her big beautiful smile on and arms open to give him a big hug.  The page is caringbridge not cainbridge  I don’t know why I keep trying to call it something that it is not.

I will be without internet for a couple of days.  So I will not post probably until Monday. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Remember it is to remember those we have lost.  We usually go visit the family graves at Mountain View Cemetery.  We will probably do this on Monday.  Both Scott and I have grandparents there.  They took care of Kathryn and did a beautiful job. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good News - Bad News 5-24-12

Good News/Bad News 5-24-12

I guess I couldn’t bring myself to write this bad news yesterday or last night.  I opened my cousin Lori’s Husband’s Cainbridge page yesterday to get some terrible news.  For those of you who don’t know what a Cainbridge page is – It is a webpage that is free to post what is going on with your health.  It makes it easy to share without having to repeat yourself over and over.  Anyhow I opened it to read that her husband, Rafer, had passed away just a few hours earlier.  The tears just flowed.  I just couldn’t believe it.  Yet, I could.  I had written about him before and I was praying for him.  They have two small boys under 12 and older than 5.  His cancer started in the sinuses and was a very rare form.  He died at MD Anderson in Houston.  I feel so bad for my cousin as now she is left to raise the two boys on her own.  She has lost her partner and friend.  Rafer will be ok as he had a strong connection with God.  He will watch over Lori and I know she will be ok too.  I don’t know if she will stay in Texas as her family is here and Rafer’s is in Idaho and Seattle.  They moved down there for his work as a sports psychologist.

I also talked with the lady at the lab in my doctor’s office.  She had known my family forever and her hubby went to school with me.  She has had nine family members die in the past few years.  Recently (2 weeks ago) her father and now she has no family left but a cousin who she only sees once in a while but they are determined to stay in touch.  Her husband’s brother died just 2 months or so ago.  They have had too much loss in their family.

Now for the good news.  First my friend and I are finally meeting up for breakfast.  It will be so nice to see her.  She has such a positive attitude.  This is her 6th round with cancer.  She believes in seeking out and finding new methods to treat and distinguish this disease.  She knows a cure could be just around the corner for her.  She doesn’t let cancer defeat her.  She faces it head on and continues to live as Kathryn chose to do as well.

Kathryn has also been selected to be the recipient of the Tom Mosich spirit award at the Tacoma Relay for Life.  I don't know if I'm supposed to tell this or not.  It will be presented to us on Saturday the 9th around 2:30.  We are all honored to be able to accept this award on behalf of Kathryn.  I only wish she would have won it last year when she was here and she could have been on stage herself.  This is special to us because we knew Tom and Richard is close friends with his son Tommy.  Kathryn made several luminary bags for Tom over the years.  Tommy is the one who invited Kathryn to be a committee member for Western’s Relay.  All three of us will be there and I have asked my Mom to be there as well.  You are all invited of course.

I have also been asked to speak at the luminary ceremony for the Tacoma Relay.   With both Scott and Richard there I should do fine.  Kathryn will also be there to comfort me and give me courage.

Breakfast was perfect.  My friend goes in next week for her radiation set up.  The mask, the measurements, and the tattoos.  They are all part of the package.  I wished her well and asked her to please keep me informed.  I know it is easy to say you will but hard to actually do it when you are in this position.  I will make sure I contact others who would know if she doesn’t’ give me a call.

Today also marks 17 weeks since Kathryn passed away.  It is crazy to count but every Thursday is a day to remember that quiet morning.  Some Thursdays go by just fine and others…  well they are more tearful.  For today I feel tearful but my own health is almost normal so I will take it and run.  I will be productive starting now.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Nice Surprise 5-23-12

A Nice Surprise 5-23-12

Today in the mail we received another nice surprise.  In it was a rubber stamp of a Panda chasing a butterfly.  Also several papers with the stamp on it and Kathryn “Panda” Bradley February 5, 1999 - February 2, 2012.  They are beautiful but even more beautiful were the words about Kathryn that were writing in the letter.  This young lady had attended camp with Kathryn from the very first year Kathryn had ever attended (2001).  We also, strange enough, bought a car from her father some years ago.   We didn’t know what our daughter’s had in common until we were talking when we looked at the car.  In her words she wrote about how Kathryn never made fun of her when others did.  She wrote about Kathryn had become a natural leader and a calming force.  I guess that is what the parents of her best friend Cody saw too.  They always referred to Kathryn as Cody’s Llama.  Meaning she calmed him.  She said, “Kathryn was honestly one of the most selfless people I had the pleasure of knowing.”

Then she wrote about how Kathryn said something about her treatment at dinner.  This was at Camp Goodtimes 2011.  So she asked if Kathryn had relapsed.  Kathryn filled this young lady in on what was going on.  Kathryn also said she wasn’t concerned.  She said, “Whatever happened would go ahead and happen and she was only focusing on giving the kids their best summer fever.”  That was who she was.  She was more concerned about others than herself.  She wanted to give those little cancer kids the best summer ever. 

Upon her being told she only had 3 to 6 months left to live she focused on us.  That is her family and friends.  She asked me (her Mom), “What can we give to Richard? We already gave him skiing.  I want him to be ok.”  She also wanted each of us to seek out help through a head doctor (heart doctor).  She planned that Christmas Party to say good-bye to everyone.  I’m so glad she was well enough for this party.  She just wanted one last party for her family and friends.  She knew it would be the last one.

Another thing happened today.  We have been members of a points system of vacations for years and years.  I think be bought into it in 1994. We booked a cruise for our young friend with cancer and her mother.  I’m so happy that we were able to use our points to give this young lady and her Mom a trip that will be so meaningful to them.  They are going to Alaska on a 2012 ship!  I hope they have the time of their lives.  They are so grateful and excited.

I also received a call from the Principal from my school.  The brick is done that was purchased in honor of Kathryn by the staff.  There is a wall outside of the performing arts center where they put these bricks.  My dear friend from school then sent me a picture of it on the wall.  It looks wonderful!

As far as my health goes.   I did go see my primary physician.  He is a wonderful man.  He always hugs and kisses me and tells me he loves me.  He truly cares!  He is the best doctor ever!  Anyhow he mentioned a sinus infection and it is starting to feel like one.  I did consider that myself.  He also mentioned something related to meningitis.  I thought of that of meningitis but he said not full-blown meningitis but something related to it like a baby meningitis.  I guess the ladies at the hospital had said they thought I had meningitis too.  He also agreed it could be stress.  So they did several more blood tests.  I should know tomorrow.  I just hope to wake up feeling fine tomorrow and have this behind me.  I have too much to do to waste my time hurting like this.  I do feel somewhat better.  Oh, he also suggested seeing my chiropractor.  This could be part of the problem too.  I do think I may be a bit out of alignment.  He also thought the massage was a good idea.

Good Night!

Good Mail 5-22-12

Good Mail 5-22-12

My head is still killing me and I finally read though the papers that came home with me on the 19th.  I’m a bad patient.  It says to get a follow-up check up with your primary physician.  It also says to come back in or get in to your Primary Physician if the pain is not gone the first day.  So I called today and maybe they will get me in today or tomorrow.  I have another massage tomorrow and maybe that will help.  It did help a little but I think I’m so tight it will take a few.

The other day I received a beautiful card from the staff of the middle school in the Fife school district in which I teach.  It was so nice to get that card with all of the individual notes on it.  They also made a generous donation to our family fund.  This has been a life savor for us.  The generosity of the people in this district is amazing.  I’m so blessed to have this family.  I just don’t know where we would be without all of the support that we have been given by family and friends.  When you have a tragedy it seems that kindness just seeps out of people.  I know my little friend Rowan is having some financial difficulties.  I’m racking my brain in how I can help.  The amount they are spending monthly on medical care is probably far more than they are making. 

I also received an invite in the mail the other day.  It is a cute pink castle invite for Rowan’s 4th birthday.  This birthday party will be in October on the 27th.  It is sponsored by Make-A-Wish.  She will be having her Birthday in Disneyland.  One of Kathryn’s favorite places.  We will have to go!  I was so pleased that her Mom has sent out early invites, which suggests a good positive attitude for Rowan’s future.  Her latest pictures are beautiful and she looks wonderful.  You know Make-A-Wish is only for children with life threatening diseases.  They must be recommended by a doctor.  Kathryn had a Make-A-Wish when she was 9.  It was perfect timing as she was getting tired of treatment and this Wish revitalized her and got her through the rest.  This too will be perfect for Rowan.  Remember she is the little one we met in Houston and is under going the same treatment Kathryn was on.  Rowan’s body has taking the treatment well and her tumor is under control.  We told Richard that Rowan is doing well and about her birthday party; you could hear the excitement in his voice.  Rowan is like a little extension of our family and we wish her a long and happy life.

I just received a call from the doc for a 3:20 appointment.  Yeah!  Probably nothing they can do but I need to follow the orders, especially since the pain is still here.

Take care and have a good day.  Treasure each and every one.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Heavenly Show 5-21-12

Heavenly Show 5-21-12

I woke up to the sound of rain coming down hard.  I don’t mind the rain.  I don’t feel guilty working inside or feeling like I do and doing nothing when it rains.  I’m still hurting in my head, neck and upper back.  I’m trying to get in for a message today.  I really think this will help.  Kathryn was with me a lot yesterday.  I could smell that sweet smell over and over like she was trying to comfort me.  I would smile and talk to her every time I smelt that sweet smell.

Some one also wrote to me about maybe God knew there would be a man in the crowd at the relay who needed to hear from another Father.  This could be.  I just know that Scott is happy that he went and for whatever reason he was supposed to deliver the speech he did it and did an excellent job.

Last night I was watching a show that I randomly stumbled upon.  It was all about Heaven and people who have had real death experiences or near death experiences.  This show even disproved the idea that people who have these experiences are having them because of drugs or seizers.  This one man had a brain aneurism and had this very difficult surgery.  They drained all of the blood out of his brain, cooled his body to 65 degrees and did one more things.  Basically they killed him to do the surgery.  He had a real death experience.  With the lack of brain activity there was no scientific explanation for his experience.  Some people were able to tell of things that they saw happen way far away from the hospital.  So they had to be out of their bodies.  I’m sure Kathryn left her body the day before she was pronounced dead.  Maybe she was asking Jesus to let her stay or maybe just having a conversation with him.  I don’t know but her sweet smell started before the morning of her death and this show talked about this too.  It was a great show but I kept falling asleep.  I will have to see if they have it on On demand.

Have a good day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hospital 5-20-12

Hospital 5-20-12

I hadn’t been feeling real good on Friday.  My body was hurting all over and my head felt like it was going to explode.  I tried Tylenol all day and into the night and it didn’t even touch the pain.  The hot tub stopped some of it but not all.

Then I tried to sleep.  Now I was in great pain.  My head a neck were the worse but then my lower back and all the way down my legs started to get really bad too.  I tried to sleep in our bed and I couldn’t get comfortable so I moved down stairs to the couch, then the love seat, then the other couch, then the recliner, then Richard’s bed, then the floor and I kept working at it but nothing worked.  I was hoping to go to sleep and wake pain free.  I took my temp (100.3).  I started throwing up around 3:30. This business didn’t last all that long.  I’m glad about that because the cough that sometimes goes with it would take my head pain and make it 10 times worse.  Around 4:30 am I went in and asked Scott to rub my back and legs. I couldn’t lie down.  I had to stand.  He said, “You need to go to the hospital.”  Off to the ER we went.

One lady asked if I wanted a wheel chair.  I said, “no thank you” and the other lady said, “You can’t sit can you?”  I just shook my head yes.  I tossed around on that little bed and stood as much as I could.  Finally drugs were put into my body and the pain in my legs and lower back went away.  One of the drugs is what they use for people with kidney stones. So it was a strong one.  They ran every test and even did an EKG and a Chest x-ray.  All of those came out fine even the two tests for the flu. Scott had called my Mom and she was there in a flash (from Eatonville).  The nurse (Kris) alluded to my pain being from all the stuff going on in my life.  Maybe it is true.  I always think I am tougher than that.  As we talked she had also mentioned that a nurse friend of hers has a daughter who is involved in the Western Relay for Life.  And her name was Courtney Price. 

I went home and since my lower back and legs were better I could at least lie down.  My head and neck still hurt and are still hurting now.  My Mom and Scott took really good care of me.  I started feeling better and better and was able to get good nights sleep. 

So, Scott went to Bellingham for me.  He took the tri-fold and some luminaries to set up a backdrop for his speech.  A group of Kathryn’s friend had made luminaries for her and Richard or Scott took pictures for me.  Richard video taped Scott giving the speech and said, “Dad did a real good job.”

When he first arrived he went to the tent to find whom he needed to talk to.  He met up with the girl who he was directed to see and it was Courtney and her Dad.  The one the nurse talked about in the hospital.  He also met Mrs. Price.  The committee presented Scott with a framed committee member t-shirt signed by all of the committee members.  That was very thoughtful of them.

As the clock rolled around to 10 pm my Mom and I thought about Scott and how he was doing.  We knew he would do a good job.

As I got ready for bed I thought about my illness.  I thought that maybe it was God’s way of having Scott do the speech.  Scott likes to be involved and sometimes doesn’t feel like he is involved enough.  So I got sick.  Just sick enough to not be able to go to Bellingham but not so sick that Scott wouldn’t go.  If I felt any better I would have gone.  If I had to stay in the hospital or was continuing to throw up Scott would not have left me.  He had called my Mom so I wouldn’t be alone. 

I just listened to his speech and he did do a very good job.  Everything happens for a reason.

Another take it easy day as I still don’t feel 100%. 

Have a Great Day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hot tub talk 5-18-12

Hot tub talk 5-18-12

Last night Scott and I sat in the hot tub and we were discussing the book “Closer Than You Think”.  As we talked about the book Scott said a bunch of things that I sore were word for word from the book.  He kept talking and he had such insight.  He reminded me that he did die once and he saw the light.  He really did.  It was a wonderful and comforting conversation. 

My day today was one of pain.  Call me stupid for lifting those bags of dirt yesterday.  I believe that is what caused all of this pain.  The pain made it hard to function.  I only got a few things done.  Sitting things like sending out some emails and cards, paying bills and not much else.  I sure hope tomorrow is a better day because it is a big day.  Oh yes, I did make a trifold display for the relay so people who listen to my speech which has a lot to do with Kathryn will have a face to the name.

I also made a few changes in the speech to make it flow better.  I added a couple of little things too. 

So tonight Scott and I talked again in the hot tub.  Hopefully the hot tub loosens my muscles up.  Scott also massaged my neck too.  Any how I said I wanted to talk to Nathan the healer who came to hospital.  I was thinking may he could also gets some answers from God for me.  Like why did you send Nathan and then not let him heal Kathryn.  Well, Scott said it wasn’t for us it was for Kathryn.  He went on to say it was to give Kathryn peace.  It was to let her know that she was going to be ok.  I believe he is right.  Kathryn lit up when she saw Nathan in the hospital and listened to ever word he said.  On our Christmas (Jan 22) Nathan came by our home with his family and our friend Dennis and his family.  We asked Kathryn if she wanted to see Nathan and it was a definate yes.  She also allowed the family to come into the living room with her.  She stayed focused on Nathan as if she was hearing the voice of God.  She smiled a big smile and clapped for Nathan when he finished his song.  If was for Kathryn.  It gave her peace and strengthened her faith.  She knew she would be ok.  Pastor Foege and Pastor Shaw had made visits too.  She loved Pastor Foege so much.  She has known him all of her life.  She said on day “I love that man.”  Of course speaking of Pastor Foege.  Our Hot tub talk was another good one.

Well I need to try and sleep off this pain.  Good Night!  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Fulfilling Day 5-17-12

A Fulfilling Day 5-17-12

I started the day by going through some mail and looking at the paper.  I received a nice surprise.  A friend had suggested I read this book called, “Closer Than You Think.”  It’s about how the people who have gone before us are watching us and how we can communicate to them.  We just need to be open.  I was giggling with excitement.  I read the intro and was so involved in the book I almost missed my appointment. 

I headed out around 8:10 to give blood.  They lady who was leading me to the back where they hook you up to the blood sucking tube said,  “Oh I didn’t notice, you are one of our special ones.”  Yep – the baby blood.  It feels good to give.

I then ran by the local Lowe’s store to get my garden dirt.  I chatted with some older gentleman for a little bit.  And then I moved on to grab a cart and some help.  I had a young boy help me and not a very big guy.  Twelve bags of dirt at 2 Cu Ft per bag gets heavy.  Then we went for two smaller bags of potting soil.  I helped him with a few bags.  I told him he wouldn’t need a gym workout after this.  He agreed.  Then we had to load all of this into the truck.  I jumped in the bed of the truck and pulled the bags forward as he lifted them up to the truck.  Part way through I said, “Wow, I’m tired.”  One bag later he said, “I’m really tired.”  It was work! He headed back to the store as I shut the tailgate and realized there is a reason those people at the blood bank tell you not to do any strenuous exercise for 24 hours after giving blood.  My heart was racing and my breathing was very heavy.  I was so thirsty.  I stood by the tailgate for a minute or two.  I saw the man I had chatted with in the store and thought about asking him if he had any water but didn’t.  Scott usually has water in the cab but not this time.  Once I was in the cab I was still not feeling so good. Lightheaded and really thirsty.  I sat for a little bit and just waited for everything to calm and then drove home.  I fixed myself a big glass of juice and sat down for a while.  Then I felt good.

Now I had planned to vacuum the house before I left for an appointment and I had only ½ hour left.  I did what I could and left every lie.  I never do this but had to. 

My appointment was lunch with my young friend (28 yrs old) who was diagnosed with incurable cancer in October of 2011.  I also had the pleasure of meeting her Mom and having lunch with not one amazing woman but two.  We shared stories and talked very openly and honestly about cancer and death.  We talked about the terrible side effects of chemo and radiation.  The secondary cancers that come of it many times and other things like mental illnesses, seizers, heart disease and on and on.  Poison to save us from cancer but this poison can cause other cancers and diseases.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  It’s crazy but it is all that we have.  I know they are making strides in finding new methods that don’t involve radiation or chemotherapy.  Things need to change!  We had talked for a long time and we probably could have talked even longer.  When I got to the car it was 3:00 and we met for lunch at 12:30.  It was a very good time.
Oh I didn’t say that I was going to drive my nice car but Scott had talked me out of it.  I drove our mountain car the old Audi.  It has a cracked windshield and scratches.  So I was driving to Tukwila where we were having lunch and boom a rock nails the windshield and adds another huge crack.  So glad I wasn’t driving my nice car.  I told Scott and he said that was Kathryn. 

So I got home just behind Scott and just in time to finish the vacuum job of the rest of the house.  You see, we had someone coming over at 4:00.  Thank goodness they were late.  Everything was done before they arrived.  I even had time to read some more of the book.  In chapter one she mentioned smells.  Like the smell I talk about.  The smell I smell right now and how it gives me peace because I know it is Kathryn giving me comfort.  I have such a hard time sitting and reading because I always have so many things I could be doing.  I have two books to finish now.  Sun bathing will be reading time. 

I also received a beautiful card with a note stating that a donation was made in Kathryn’s honor from the middle school in Fife (Surprise Lake).  This is such a great school district.  I told Scott’s friend who came over today about the staff in the district donating enough days for me to not have to work until next year.  He said, “Wow, What a family.”  He is so very right.  The Fife district is a family and an amazing one at that.

It was a very good day!  Off to sit in the hot tub to ease my back muscles and worm Scott up. 

Good Night!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bump in the Night 5-16-12

Bump in the Night 5-16-12

First off I would like to say thank you to those of you who made a comment or sent me an email about my speech.

Last night something crashed during the night.  A bump in the night.  That was at 1:57 am.  It scared me and I kind of looked around in my room and just peeked out our bedroom door.  I didn’t want to wake Scott so I just locked the bedroom door.  I figured if it was a person I would hear the door and be able to do something in the time I gave myself.  I couldn’t sleep well the rest of the night.  But one wonderful thing did happen.  I finally had a dream about Kathryn.  The only thing I remember about it is that we were giving each other hugs.  Long tight hugs. It was so real.  It made me feel peaceful just like her sweet hug would always do.  This is the first dream I have had about Kathryn.  I have been praying for this. 

When I got up I checked all around the house for something that may have fallen or something the cat may have knocked over in the night.  Nothing!  There was nothing out of place and I know where everything is in the house.  Scott said the noise was probably Kathryn letting us know she is here. 

The other day a friend wrote me a nice email about loss.  She talked about her divorce and how it changed the course of her life. The plans she had for herself and her family were now all changed.  The dreams she had were gone.  The future she had planned had no future at all.  It is much like the loss of Kathryn.  The vacations Scott and I put together for our children and their spouses will not happen the same way.  The wedding dress I was going to make will never be sown.  The babies I hoped to spoil will never be.  A big chunk of our future is now an empty hole.  Any loss must feel similar.  Change as I have always said is something I don’t really like.  This has been a big change.

I went to the fabric store to buy a few more things for the dinosaur costume.  While there a young woman came up to me and said, “I noticed your shirt.”  I was wearing a shirt from the City of Hope Walk that raises money for breast cancer.  Then she said, “I was wondering if you know of any support groups for people with breast cancer, I have breast cancer.”  She went on to tell how she has called a person on base and they have not called back.  I told her about the City of Hope and the American Cancer Society of which both should be able to give her the name of a support group.  I wished her well as I left.

Scott and I worked on building my garden boxes today.  Success!  We made 12 of them and tomorrow I will finish a couple of sprinklers and then dig out the dirt to get the boxes in place.  Then I will get a yard of garden dirt.  I will get some of the plants from Richard this weekend.  We are also going to the Farmer’s Market in Bellingham to maybe buy some plants as well.  I may get a few plants tomorrow and plant them since I have more space than Richard has plants.  I’m excited to get it all started.  I tried a garden a couple of years ago.  That was the year that nobody had luck with their gardens because of the large amounts of rain and lack of sun.   This time I am better prepared too.

All in all a good day!

To bed early as I give blood in Tacoma at 8:30.  Yep, I could sleep in but remember I schedule things so I have to get up and moving.  But not too early!

Good Night – Sweet Dreams (Maybe I will see Kathryn in mine again)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garden Prep/Speech Prep 5-15-12

Garden Prep/Speech Prep 5-15-12

I jumped in the shower before Scott had to leave for work.  I don’t like having that morning time to myself because it makes me think of sad things.  If I’m alone the thoughts come creeping in.  So I try to get all that stuff done before Scott leaves.

In our conversation this morning I did tell Scott that I will stop crying the day I lay on my deathbed.  Because that day will be the day I know that I will soon be reunited with Kathryn.  Until then I will continue to cry but I will be crying in between many glorious and happy times.  My life is good and I am happy.  I don’t want you to believe that I am just down all of the time because I am not.   

I have the garden area all ready to go.  I took out all but three rose bushes.  I have to also add 5 little tiny sprinklers.  I did two of them.   So tomorrow  I will do the rest. 

I wrote my speech for the Relay at Western.  I thought I would include it here.  Yes of course it was hard to write and I cried like a baby.  I just hope to read it enough times so when I do read it at the relay I can do it without crying. 

Hope – My daughter (Kathryn) was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma (a type of brain tumor) back in 1999.  At that time she was given a 70% survival rate now because of research and the sharing of information there is a 90-95% survival rate with this same tumor.

When Kathryn was diagnosed back in 1999 I heard horror stories of children never being the same after the treatment.  I heard story after story of children losing their cognitive abilities as well as their physical abilities.  I don’t know how many times I was told about gifted students who had undergone treatment for brain tumors and were no longer able to function at grade level. 

For us the research had already found that the amount of radiation was far more than needed and we missed the high doses by months and maybe only weeks.  Kathryn sailed through school as a straight A student.  She earned many awards and was even recognized here at Western with an academic scholarship as she entered her freshman year. 

The research allowed us to have Kathryn in her entirety.  She was a whole person mind, body and soul.  Her cancer didn’t take anything from her.  She went on to live a very happy life.  She even wrote that she felt it was her obligation to share her joy with everyone.  She did just that.  She had a smile that never dimmed.  She went to the School of Arts in down town Tacoma where they would ride the bus from class to class because the classes could be several blocks apart.  One day as she sat on the bus she noticed a boy.  She went over to him and held his hand.  She must have known he was feeling down and just needed a friend.  There she was to comfort him.

She also attended Relay for Life starting in 2000.  In 2005 she joined a friends team and from 2006-2009 she captained her own team.  It was called CAKE, which stood for Kids against cancer everywhere.  When she came to Western she was honored by being asked to serve on the Relay committee.  She had a very full life.

The money raised here tonight not only supports research but many other things one of which is Camp Goodtimes.  This is a camp for kids who have or had cancer.  They are allowed to take one sibling.  Camp Goodtimes is the happiest place on earth as Kathryn would say.  It is a full week of fun.  They go fishing, swimming, bike riding, do arts and crafts and just play around.  They do skits and have campfires.  They have a dance and a huge carnival.  They get their hair done up with different colors and wacky designs.  They go on the Boata to Seattle and get French fries thrown at them from Red Robin.  I can’t imagine how my two children would have gone through life without Camp Goodtimes.  Everyone is equal.  Some have feeding tubes and some have no hair.  No one cares because it isn’t about cancer – it’s about living it up.  You have helped create this very special place for kids who need it so badly.  That one week means more than you will ever know to these kids.  Kathryn and my son Richard have attended since 2001.  They started as campers and have dedicated every summer as staff as soon as they could. 

Cancer gave Kathryn and our family appreciation for life, family and friends.  She lived life to the very fullest because of cancer.  Her dream was to become a childlife specialist in the oncology department to help kids get through their treatments.  She figured she could be their example of success and give them hope.  She did this already before she earned any degree.  She gave many people hope.  She brought joy to everyone she met.  Cancer also gave us another family.  The one we found at Camp Goodtimes.  What an amazing gift that was.  Cancer never beat us – we have received so much in terms of love and support because of cancer.

So, the research had come along far enough to give us a wonderful life with Kathryn but it hadn’t come far enough.  Back in 1999 they also did what is called a full brain boost.  This is radiation through out the entire brain.  They don’t so this anymore.  They have found out it is not needed and can cause secondary brain cancer.  In our case that is what it did.  Eleven years after her first diagnose Kathryn was once again diagnosed with a brain tumor on April 17th 2010.  Our worst fears were confirmed on April 27th when her surgery took place and they told us it was a Glioblastoma Multiforma.  A GBM is the most deadly form of brain cancer.  The survival rate…  well it doesn’t exist.  She tried to come back and finish the year but it wasn’t going to happen.  She did come back and participate as a committee member in the relay. Kathryn, was able to complete the 2010-2011 school year here at Western and also attend the relay as a committee member.  This is because of research.  Normally a person with a GBM dies within 6 months of diagnoses.  It is unusually to live beyond a year.  That last year of college was a wonderful year for Kathryn.  She was a normal college student and that is just what she wanted to be.  Even though her brother drove her home every two weeks for treatment she was able to enjoy the college life.  I’m so thankful.  The treatment had improved and she had fewer side effects than she had the first time. 

Research has come a long ways.  More Birthdays are celebrated.  More children are living.  But we still have a ways to go.  My beautiful daughter was finally taken by cancer on February 2nd 2012 just three days short of her 21st birthday. 

We must continue the fight and look to methods that don’t cause secondary cancers as radiation and chemotherapy can.  We need to support research for gene therapy, immune therapy and vaccines.  The work is in the process and some day -  some day it will all come together and all cancers will have high success rates.  No one will be told you have 3 to 6 months to live.  No doctor will have to say we are only doing palliatative care because there is no cure.  It will happen and with every passing year our scientist are learning how to control and cure different types of cancer. 

So keep up the good work that you are doing.  The support of patients and the support for research depends on people like you.

Thank you

Let me know what you think.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Day After 5-14-12

The Day After 5-14-12

The day after Mother’s Day…  It was harder than Mother’s Day itself.  Last night I became really sick feeling.  All hot and yuck.  So getting up this morning was hard.  I was so tired and just exhausted.  I just felt very down and icky.

Then we realized that Kathryn’s cat (Klyde) hadn’t come home.  He had been out all night and it was now 10 am or so and not here.  So, Scott and I took a little walk to go look for him.  We ran into our neighbor Young and asked her if she had seen Klyde.  She saw him last night and this morning.  I was so relieved.  That Klyde can’t get hurt or go missing.  I would feel so bad.  When we came home form our walk there he was waiting for us.  Thank goodness!

I started working in the yard and this is when I just broke down and cried.  It was uncontrollable.  I just cried loudly and couldn’t pull myself together.  So I just sat in the chair with a towel over my face and cried into it.  This crying fit came over me a couple of times.  I just couldn’t get myself together.  I guess I need time to cry. 

I think today was so hard because I saw and read about Mom’s and daughters.  I saw beautiful photos of Mothers with their daughters and I don’t have mine here.  I miss Kathryn so much.  She was such a huge part of my life. 

The yard work will continue tomorrow as I prepare for my garden that Richard has grown starts for.  I’m excited to see him this weekend and getting my garden starts and going to the Farmer’s Market with him. 

This is still like it is a big bad dream.  When reality hits it hits hard.

Hopefully I can work in the yard tomorrow without any tears.