We are heading into a difficult season, for me. It's early October, the time when Katie was first admitted to the hospital, one year ago.
year at this time, Katie was sick with what we (and her doctor) thought
was a virus. Mono was going around our area, and her symptoms resembled
mono symptoms, except that she tested negative for it, twice. She was
weak and tired, and had dark circles under her eyes. She slept alot. I
kept her home from school due to her lack of energy and her low-grade
fever. I took her to the doctor for blood tests and other tests. This
went on for 3 weeks. We did the online homework drill, with me going
back and forth to her school for books, and to turn in the homework that
she was able to do.
Finally, we noticed a slight
swelling in her zyphoid process (sternum area), and the doctor ordered
an ultrasound. Beginning of nightmare...October 9th, 2006. I got a call
from our doctor that same day, after the ultrasound results came in,
telling me that there was a large growth in Katie's abdomen, around her
kidney and heading up towards her heart. I found it hard to breathe. I
told the doctor, "You have to stop talking." I set the phone down on the
kitchen table, and lay my head down as I tried to breathe. After a few
moments, I told her she could continue. I was told to get Katie to a CT
scan, that afternoon.
Wouldn't you know it, that day
David had a friend over. We got in touch with his mom, and she came to
take him home. I called Gregg & told him to come home as soon as
possible. I called my mom and asked her to accompany us to the CT scan.
I took Katie and my mom and we went for her first-ever CT. After the
scan, Grandma bought Katie a stuffed animal at the hospital's gift shop,
and we took her out to her favorite restaurant for dinner; her choice: a
cheeseburger and fries. Then we went home, and the next blow fell. The
CT revealed more of the tumor, and we were to go to Children's Hospital
in Seattle first thing in the morning, as soon as we could get copies of the CT in our hands.
October 10th, we entered via the emergency room, and the nightmare
began to unfold before our unbelieving eyes. Katie was tested,
questioned, and examined for hours, and finally, admitted to the
Hematology-Oncology floor (affectionately known as SCCA, the Seattle
Cancer Care Alliance).
Let me just say here that the feeling we had over and over, and still have is: there must be some mistake.
We don't HAVE cancer in our family. To this day, I think: maybe I was
hit by a truck, and I am in a hospital somewhere, out of my mind, and
dreaming this. I wish it were so, instead of what is instead true: this
cancer took 10 months to kill Katie. We tried to shrink it, kill it,
have it cut out, and again to keep it at bay with drugs. But no, it was
going to do its thing in her body.
At first, I felt as
if a rapist had got into my house and into my daughter. I just felt that
she had been violated by a silent, unseen assailant. How DARE this
thing sneak in like that? Where were the signs? Where were the symptoms,
when it was tiny enough to fix it? Why not a peep, not a bump, not a
bulge, not a blood marker, until it was encasing her adrenal gland,
kidney, in a lobe of her liver, filling her inferior vena cava and IN
her HEART? I was filled with rage, and terrified.
now, one year after her diagnosis (and nearly 2 months after her
passing), I'm having some bad memories, flashbacks, of this time last
year. Remembering fear, trauma, the desire to protect my girl from
something completely out of the blue, out of my control; I've got some
simmering anger about it, too. It is what it is, and there it is, today.