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.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 2013

October 2013 After the guys left with all their fans and heaters from our flooded downstairs, I ventured under the stairs only to find it soaking wet. You would think that 6 days of 96-99 degrees in the house would have dried everything but not. I found a note under that stairs that Kathryn had written. Kathryn was writing notes about her cancer. I think she was gathering information for a paper. I just can’t imagine what she was thinking as she wrote I was clear of cancer until 2010, lack of strength, Look up Camp Goodtimes, Glioblastoma and Tumor was possibly caused by from radiation to treat the first one. No 19 year old should ever have to write notes like this. Looking down at my socks today I noticed they had KB on them - actually Kathryn’s socks. I remember the KB is what sold me on them. Having her initials on the socks just by chance was a nice surprise. Socks are about the only thing of Kathryn’s that I can wear. Her closet is still full. I looked through a few things the other day. Never to be worn by her again. Well, maybe I will give them away or sell them at a garage sale so some other little girl can wear them. Monday – my trainer looks at me as I stood on tippy toes to reach something and said, “Just how tall are you?” Last week we had an issue of me not having a long enough torso to be able to use a machine correctly. I told her I was 5 foot and then said my daughter was only 4ft 8 in. I probably look taller because I actually have large bones not little skinny petite bones like Kathryn did. She was definitely child size not adult size. There is a lady I work with who is built a lot like Kathryn only a bit taller. Her feet are little like Kathryn’s short, skinny and thin. Tiny little feet. My Principal’s brother died. He is in his 48. It was a heart attack. It’s so hard to lose someone you love and enjoy life with. Nothing ever seems the same once a loved one leaves this world. Faith in the everlasting life helps. Faith that you will be together again gives peace. I really thought about this today. I thought about how I still feel as if Kathryn is with me and alive in my life. I know she isn’t here but I don’t feel like she really left me. Oh, I cry but I have so many hours of peace and not feeling like she is gone. It’s like I feel her with me. I thought about how she and I slept together every night since Houston. We would hold hands and fall asleep. I would wake up in the night and my fingers would hurt. I would have to take my hand out of hers and rub my fingers. I think she was holding my hand so tight or maybe our bones just touched in such a way that it hurt after a while. That first night without her made me panic to go into my dark bedroom. It took a while before I could get into my own bed and once there I had to get up and leave and then have the light on. The first night without her was terrifying. Wednesday – Visit with Irma. Irma who is a 90 something year old woman who lives by my Mom and Dad’s house in Tacoma. The house I grew up in. She is all by herself and doesn’t drive. I wanted to go there with my Mom and offer her a ride to the store any time she needs one. She actually walks to the store (over a mile one way). I wanted to go with my Mom because my Mom is the only person in the world that Irma will trust. She trusts me too but I have a hard time communicating with her. Her hearing is shot and her eyesight is terrible. Anyhow we had a wonderful visit and laughed a lot. My Mom first became friends with her during a tragic moment in Irma’s life(1990). My Mom saw the medic truck at her house and police so she went over to see what was wrong. Irma’s son who was diagnosed with terminal cancer had fatally shot himself in one of the bedrooms. This was her only son. My Mom not only gave her comfort that night but also helped her make the funeral arrangements. She also asked our minister to do a little service for her son. Only Irma and my parents were at that service but it meant the world to her. Since then my Mom has helped Irma with anything she needs and also send away bothersome real-estate agents who want to steel her house from her. It has a great view! My Mom is a wonderful person and has set a beautiful example of how to love and give to others. I put up my picture of Rowan and me in my classroom. I was asked who she was. I told the young girl that she was Rowan and this was at her 4th birthday party at Disneyland. She said she looked so happy and so did I. I was happy and Rowan was having the time of her life. I was happy because Rowan was doing so well. She was walking and talking just fine. She was smart as a whip and so loving. I was so happy that Rowan seemed to be beating this beast with in her. I told the young girl that we met Rowan and her Mom and Dad in Houston when we were there for Kathryn’s treatment. And how Rowan passed away at 4 ½ in May of 2013. Jeff’s (my principal) brother’s funeral was on Friday and I think 7 or 8 of us went to it from school. You could tell he was a well-liked man with a good sense of humor. I held together even when they played Brother Iz “Over the Rainbow.” I talked to my principal about talking with someone about his grief. I told him that it helped me. Just to have someone who is separate from the situation listen to how pissed off you are is good. He said he was pissed and I certainly understand. When someone leaves us who we loved so much we get pissed off. Life just doesn’t seem fair sometimes. We talked about his brother’s children and coping. He had written them both letters and what he said in them was perfect. To the son he told him to be himself and not feel like he needs to be the man of the house. To the daughter he told her that her Dad showed her how she should be treated with love and respect and that is what she should always expect. Don’t let anyone treat you less. This is not the exact writing but the idea is there. We also discussed counseling for the children and he said they were already getting it. The minister has been their rock. I really thought he was wonderful. I told Richard how I had talked to him about counseling and how Scott has finally sought out a counselor. He said he may talk to a counselor someday. I hope so. He needs to bust open and let it out. Richard and I also talked about Bee. Her Dad’s 10th anniversary is coming up on October 27th. Richard said she is already feeling it. I know I lost a very dear person in my life and people wonder how I can go on, but Bee and her Mom lost her Dad and her sister just a year and a half later. I can’t imagine that. Like Richard said, Bee helped with her sister’s care for a long time. We only had to care heavily for Kathryn for a little while. I know we lost a lot but there is always something to be grateful for. I’m grateful I didn’t lose more. I’m grateful Kathryn didn’t suffer or was real bad off for a long time. I would say it was really hard but for short period. I received a nice note form one of Kathryn’s elementary school friends. He attached a video about a young man who has cancer and is posting his progress. He is only in his 20’s. Erik wanted to know about Kathryn’s tumor and what we were given as a prognosis. He sent me another note the next day apologizing for having me watch that video. I told him that it didn’t bother me at all. I look up cancer stuff all of the time. I’m very curious to know how the research is going. How close were we to saving Kathryn. There are things in the works but Glioblastomas still have only a 15 month survival rate. Not too good but an increase from 6 months only about 5 years ago. Today 10/9 one of my students asked how old Kathryn was. She said, “She is so pretty.” Of course I added that she was the sweetest person on the Earth. She never said anything bad about anyone. She always said good things about people. She always tried to help others better themselves. Of course I teared up! “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. I don’t know if you saw the news about this 15-year-old boy who has invented a test for pancreatic cancer. Hearing you have pancreatic cancer is just about as bad as hearing you have a Glioblastoma. The boy’s name is Jack and he lost a friend to pancreatic cancer. The deal with it is that it is usually caught late in the stage and then it can’t be stopped because it has already spread to other places in the body. My friend is living with it now. She lost two of her family members to it. But she is a fighter. I will be calling her today. Anyhow, Jack found a way to detect the occurrence of pancreatic cancer with a simple blood test and it catches it in the early stages. How great it that? Kids are amazing! There was a track day on the 11th. We have been working on a huge fundraiser to have at the track on the 19th for Camp Goodtimes. On the 11th we had two of the campers go out with their Mom, Grandma and family friend to raise awareness of Camp and the Fundraiser. Well, the guys treated these kids like royalty. They took the kids and the ladies for rides around the track. They had a great time. I didn’t know exactly everything about Connor (the one who had cancer). His grandma wrote about it. Oh my, Connor is short because of his radiation and chemo at such a young age. He was diagnosed at two and is now a foot shorter than his 7 year old brother. Connor is 9. His joints are fused from his treatment. That means he can’t bend his wrists, ankles and has a stiff walk. He is being tested constantly to see what is happening to his little body. They are hoping it will not cause problems with his organs and such. His brother is concerned about him being shorter than him. It’s nice that he only knows enough to be concerned that his older brother is so short. I shared the picture of Connor in a race car with is huge smile. My students were interested because we had just talked about t-cells, chemo and cancer as a problem in our math book prompted these ideas. I also shared with them about Colton. He is another boy who is a Camper from Camp Goodtimes. Unfortunately he is in the middle of his battle. He has had chemo and radiation for years. He has had two bone marrow transplants and one stem cell transplant. None have fought off his cancer. Now he is a test child, I think he is #22. He is receiving t-cells. He received them on the 15th and 16th of October. He has had high fevers since but they control them with Tylenol in the hospital. He is in Philadelphia for this. Here in Washington they are doing the same type of treatment and had their first success story just this week with a young girl. The deal is that they don’t know how long this treatment will last. The question is will the body continue to fight off cancer like it should? Even though this girl shows that she is cancer free there could be cancer floating around and will the t-cells continue to do their job. They are also thinking that if this young lady stays cancer free (which we should all pray for) then maybe bone marrow transplants can be thrown out and t-cell treatments put in their place. Bone marrow transplants are really a 50/50 deal. I don’t even know if they work 50% of the time. It’s a lot of risk. I read an interesting article about t-cells. They are the ones that fight cancer. What they found is that the t-cells kill cancer quickly and efficiently in the lab. But in the human body the cancer cells form a coating that keeps the t-cells out. They are now coming up with a drug that will break down this coating. If they get it to work then the body can kill cancer with its own t-cells. Of course they say that fighting brain tumors and solid tumors is more difficult. The brain tumors are very difficult to fight. They have a good grasp on a couple but not so lucky with others. On the 16th I had a young lady in after school taking a test. We talked about cancer as her Grandpa is dying of pancreatic cancer. I told her about Kathryn asking me if she was dying and how I said, “I don’t know and nobody really know but God.” I told her how I knew people that were told they were going to die and are still alive today and they were told this 40 years ago. I told my student that she just needed to make every moment with her Grandpa count. Make it special. I know I did everything in my power to be with Kathryn as much as possible and to make ever moment with her good. We shared happiness. The track day on the 19th was a huge success. We raised over $40,000. It was cold but no rain. Everyone had a fabulous time! After we went to Eatonville to have dinner with my Mom and visit my brother. Mike just had foot surgery. He did find someone to keep his business going while he is mending. We had a great time. I let Richard drive my car from the track to Mom’s and then back to our house. I think he enjoyed it. He thanked me for letting him drive it. We have been working with the Wine Auction committee too. Richard, Bee, Scott and I have all been working hard to get things going to raise money for camp. It has been a lot. I think that is why I just lost it on Monday night. I fell apart and just cried hard. My emotions just get too high sometimes. One of Kathryn’s friends posted a picture of her on Facebook. It is a photo that I love. She is wearing her big bright smile. I love to see her photos or anything in remembrance of her posted on Facebook. I enjoy getting notes or whatever. It is nice to know her friends think of her and remember her in special ways. Keep the memories. One of my students asked me Thursday (10/24), “Mrs. Bradley, If you could have anything what would it be? I looked at him and instantly said, “I would want my daughter back.” I smiled and said, “That was an easy one.” His eyes got big and he quickly moved them to look at my pictures. I think I took him by surprise. If I could have anything that is exactly what it would be. Thursday morning we woke to fire trucks in our road. There were 7 different fire vehicles. Scott went up to investigate. Our neighbor’s house had caught on fire. They had a portable heater in the back room that started the fire. Didn’t’ think I would get to work on time but they left just as I needed to leave. Not a ton of damage to the house but enough. I don’t think anyone was home at the time. They weren’t there that night either as Scott and I snooped around. On this same day one of the high school teachers lost his house to a fire. I was just talking to him at the soccer game on Tuesday. We were talking about retirement and such. His house burned to the ground. They lost two dogs and one is running around missing. I couldn’t imagine this happening. I would be so mad. I have all those memories in my house. I have pictures and Richard and Kathryn’s artwork. I would feel defeated. On Friday I had a bunch of girls in my room waiting to go to the dance. They didn’t want to wait in the hall so they rather hang out in my room. They commented on Kathryn’s beautiful smile. Yulissa said she loves to look at her picture because she has such a big beautiful smile. I said it was so beautiful because it comes from with in her. She was such a beautiful person. We also talked about her room, the clouds on the ceiling, the clothes still hanging in her closet, and how it is still the same as when she was alive. They said to leave it. I said I would but some day I will change it, just not yet. There’s no reason for change at this time and I don’t like change. They also commented on my Panda necklace and then asked about Panda. I told them that was her camp name and explained about camp and how her name came to be. I also told them that her room was full of Panda’s. They proceeded to write things like “Panda Love” on my board. I was touched by their sincere love for Kathryn and me. It was a great afternoon. I had noticed feeling a bit down in the past couple of weeks. Then Scott asked about some dates and made a statement about October. It was a tragic month. October 13th MRI there is something but what? October 17th spectroscopy there is definitely new tumor growth October 19th given 3 to 6 months to live. October 26th or so head to Bellingham to gather Kathryn’s clothes and things October 30th Carve Pumpkins for the last time with Kathryn October 31st Fly to Houston Now I get it! Well, I am a survivor and will continue. We are carving pumpkins tonight. The day is on the right track and I will keep it that way. I still have my memories and the feeling of her constant companionship. I have my faith that will keep me strong knowing we will reunite again some day. I have beautiful photos of that beautiful smile. All is good. Take care, Carol

1 comment:

  1. Sending hugs to you and your family, Carol. So much of what you write, I can feel and relate to, as well. You are wise to process it all, here and with people who open up to you - writing and talking can really help to lighten that tight feeling inside. God bless you and your family!