Greetings from South Carolina

Dearest friends and prayer warriors,

Christine and I both take a crack at sending these updates, and sometimes we write them together. You will have probably noticed the differing writing styles.

Tonight as we began (after praying for guidance to write what God wants us to say and you to hear), we decided to “shoot it out” to see who would start tonight’s letter…I won by default as Christine CHEATED!!!! In my own defense I simply added some needed humor to the situation by shooting a three.

We are in South Carolina at my parents’ house, the kids are all asleep and peaceful. We went swimming, had a terrific meal, visited with Grammy and Poppy who were as welcoming as ever, and then sat down to let you all know what the latest is with Catie. Once again, she did not disappoint as we have even more news.

Christine and Catie will be getting on a plane Wednesday morning (July 9th) and flying to Memphis to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to repeat MRIs, bone scans, have spinal taps done and meet the team of neuro-oncologists who will be caring for Catie for the next 6 months. Unfortunately, this makes the prayer service and party for Catie on the 12th impossible, but we will reschedule something at a later date, perhaps during a break in her treatment. She and Christine will live in Memphis until Labor Day weekend when Catie will come home for 4-6 weeks of recuperation before beginning 4 months of high dose chemotherapy the first or second week of October. We spoke to the team at St Jude’s today and they are putting the plans in place to make all of this happen after a holiday weekend. Please pray that all of the necessary files, cds, records, etc. arrive on Monday or Tuesday of next week, and that all of the tests and Catie fulfill the requirements for the protocol so that she will be “accepted” as a patient.

I had the opportunity to speak to Dr.Gajjar, the director of NeuroOncology at St Jude’s, and he was wonderful on the phone, and despite saying that in his 19 years at St Jude’s he has never seen an ATRT tumor in the spine, (they usually occur in the brain), he did provide me with the best news since we learned about the tumor. He is planning on treating the whole brain and spine, which will subject Catie’s whole head and trunk to the radiation, but he will be using the high dose radiation on the spine, and will be using a lower dose on the brain, which should increase her chances at minimizing the side effects of cognitive loss, hearing impairment, memory loss, etc. If the tests they run next week confirm the diagnosis we are working with now, that will be his treatment plan; that would be a huge win as we had originally thought that the entire brain and spinal column would receive the high dose.

On the home front, we are still finalizing plans for the other five kids. We have received many generous offers to assist us in caring for them, and we are just figuring out what will be the best. Thank you for all of your offers, you are wonderful.

In the meantime, we are planning to enjoy the 4th, (and what a wonderful time to remember how blessed we are to live in a country where we have medical professionals who care about our children, and we are free to send emails and acknowledge that we believe in God and the power of prayer.) Jane and George, (a.k.a. Grammy and Poppy) have arranged for a healing mass and administration of the Sacrament of the Sick for Catie this Sunday, and a prayer with a relic from blessed Francis Xavier Seelos on Monday before we start the journey home. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the doctors at St Jude’s decided that Catie did not need treatment because she had miraculously been cured! We will see if that is God’s plan for Catie and for us, and we will walk the path that He has put us on.

Thank you for all of your continued prayers, your willingness to spread Catie’s story and your awe inspiring support. Below is a recent picture of Catie as we are not sure if some of you have seen her in a while.

Love and God bless, and have a great holiday weekend

God Bless America

Christine and Kevin

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