An Unplanned Road

Good evening dear friends

This is a road I never saw myself traveling. Yet, here I am. When Catie first came out of surgery I was shocked and grief-stricken at the shape she was in, completely physically dependent on us. Four days later that was gone and she was as independent as before surgery. Now we are 1/3 of the way through radiation. Looking back on her first day of treatment, seeing her getting sick and her not knowing what to do – seems like a lifetime ago. In reality only ten days have passed. With time you gain perspective, peace and understanding.

The key is trusting in God. Focusing on God and not the situation or the moment of “how am I going to deal with this?” is the key. While I want to rush forward to the moment when all of this is over, I need the perspective that I will receive as I experience all of this. I also want my sweet girl to know that I am going to be there for her and that I love her. I want the cards to keep coming everyday so I can say to her this many people love you and are praying for you. Even though I don’t want to open all of the packages and figure out what to do with everything I have to realize that to a 7 year old “everything” represents love. I don’t want to take that from Catie even for a minute.

So if you want to send something would you mind running it past Kevin or I first? Catie does make suggestions sometimes. She mostly asks for her brother and sisters (who don’t Fedex real well) but if I listen closely every once in a while there is something else.

You all will never know how much you have impacted our lives and we will never know how much we have impacted yours if we don’t share the impact with each other. Last night we featured a note that came from my sister, KC (we received permission didn’t we Kevin?) many of you that share yourselves with us and requested that your notes remain private. We will respect your privacy. I will offer this, sharing Catie’s Story helps me to understand it, helps me to share the pain and not feel all of it myself (can you imagine if I didn’t have all of you I’d still be crying from the first issue when we realized she had a tumor and it needed to be removed), helps me to search out my God and strengthen my faith in my God, helps me to be a disciple of God without fear or reservations (I have time for neither) and most importantly not to take this all too seriously.

Kevin’s sister Beth (an ER nurse) called tonight she asked how I was doing and told me that she was there for me. She eventually asked how long it was taking me to flush Catie’s lines. I said I was doing really well, I can flush the lines in less than 30 minutes. Beth laughed. I told her proudly that I didn’t need to read the instruction book any longer as I was changing the caps and that the cap change only took me 15 minutes. Beth really laughed. When I change the dressing, caps and flush the line all together I could do it much faster if I didn’t have to wash my hands thirty times. Beth was LHAO (I don’t use that kind of language but given enough time I am sure you can figure it out.) Ah, perspective do you remember the e-mail when I was crying that Catie even had a line into her heart. Now I can laugh about it, well not about it, but about how funny it is that I am so ill suited for this and yet I am here to do this with very clean hands. I maybe needing a care package myself of hand lotion. Time will tell.

Yesterday was bad. Today was worse and better. I yelled at Catie. She is not being herself and she won’t tell me why or what is going on she is actually being intentionally difficult and rude. So I yelled at her. An amazing thing happened, my Catie emerged. She said that when I handle everything and don’t get upset around her she would get worried that there is more going on that I am not telling her. OK, good to know. We went out to dinner and she ate great I didn’t have to plead, beg or feed her. She sat down at the restaurant, put her napkin on her lap, read the menu and ordered. She ate and enjoyed herself. She looked around, laughed and ate some more. Even when the kitchen messed up her meal, she rolled with it and kept on eating. Then she asked to go for ice cream. I realize that this doesn’t mean all of the battles are over. This evening was a good one and I will sleep easy knowing that.

Max received an invitation to a birthday party from Mary Sherman from St Joseph’s School. Mary is turning 9. Happy Birthday Mary ! In the invitation, Mary asks that in lieu of presents, to please make a donation to the Catie Fund. A nine year old foregoing presents. What a beautiful expression of selflessness. Catie’s story, through God’s influence, is bringing out the best in people and we are overwhelmed with the ways in which it is manifesting itself. Thank you Mary.

A year from now many of you will look at your computer screens and wonder if anyone writes any good e-mails anymore. We will have stopped sending our broadcast because through our faith and trust in God everything will have worked out according to HIS will. I offer you this, if in a year you are looking for a good e-mail to read, write one to all the people in your life and share with them what they mean to you. Know that you can always write to us and we will always share where we are on our journey with you.

God Bless,

The O’Brien’s, Christine, Kevin, Maggie (10), Max (9), Catie (7), Mia (6), Molly (4) and M.E. (2)

We pray that you don’t feel helpless in this situation. Help us by praying. Help us by loving your family. Help us by hugging your kids and your spouse everyday. Help us by spreading Catie’s Story to the most faithfilled people you know and to those that need more faith. Help us by writing to us, even if you don’t know us, and telling us how Catie’s Story has come to you and impacted you.

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