Grace of God

Hello from Memphis

Tonight we again have news! Some is good and we are thrilled to share with you. Some was expected and we are sad to share with you. Before I begin please allow me to share an e-mail I received by way of my mother with one sentence that truly touched me. Realize that Kevin is here in Memphis, Molly and Catie are tucked into bed and I am typing away. Why? Read this sentence and I think that you will understand.

‘To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did’ When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence….. ‘The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.’ Carol Kissane (Prayer Group

So I felt I needed to reach out to all of you…besides Kevin is amusing himself with his laptop playing around with photos of Catie. He has learned how to draw a mustache on my favorite photo of Catie. As he attempts to erase this I am thankful that digital photography exists.

The thrilling news…Catie has Flanagan genes running through her like crazy. Why do I say that? On Friday, Catie who had joined me during the night, woke me up because she was laughing in her sleep. What a delightful sound! Now remember, last Saturday, she was sobbing and that woke me up? Maybe I’m a light sleeper or she is just a very vivid dreamer. Upon marrying me, Kevin realized that I laugh in my sleep. The first time I was laughing he woke me up. I asked him why he would do such a thing to someone who was sleeping. He simply shook his head and said he had never known anyone to laugh out loud in their sleep. I answered my mother, the Flanagan, does. Was this a great way to start a day that would end with Kevin and Molly visiting for the weekend? YES, it was

More thrilling news…Catie had another MRI on Friday. This was only of her spine. The doctor wanted to determine if a clearer picture, post-operative was possible to ensure radiation was being delivered to the most exact location. The GOOD NEWS the area of the MRI is VERY CLEAR. NO EVIDENT TUMOR can been seen in the images taken. That doesn’t mean the cancer cells don’t exist. All it means is that no tumor has re-grown in the original tumor site. It was an absolute that the tumor would re-grow in the original site if NO TREATMENT WAS GIVEN. Catie also passed another milestone with Friday’s MRI. She went through the MRI without sedation. She simply watched a movie. (Thank you Aunt MaryBeth and Uncle Bobby for sending Madeline to Memphis)

The expected news…the radiation clinic told us on Tuesday that Catie’s hair would begin falling out soon. It has begun. There are hairs on her pillow each morning. Her brush is filled whenever she brushes her hair. Today in the car she ran her fingers through her hair and clumps fell out. She has a bald spot in the back by her hairline – she can’t see this and I think that helps. This is upsetting more so because it is so upsetting to her. I know it is only hair. So does Catie. She did adjust well to having her ponytail cut off but that was a choice. Pray for her. I am thankful that Kevin was here to offer her comfort. It is good for both of them. He misses many of the opportunities because he is not here. They need each other

There was a new piece of information from today. Every July Catie and I will return to Memphis for testing. The testing will be both physical tests to ensure that the tumor is gone and the cancer has not come back, and that no new cancers have shown up. There will also be IQ, vision, hearing, neurological, strength – physical and occupational therapy assessments, and testing to see the effects based on Catie’s treatments for a cure. It sounds like quite a fun time.

Actually that is part of the reason that we choose St. Jude’s. This is a horrible ordeal for any family to go through at any time. If there was anything we could do to help these researches stop pediatric cancers and spare even one other family from working this path, we want to, we need to and we owe it to Catie to leave behind her story. So I signed up for every clinical study there was.

This week we will have a lot of visitors. Kevin and Molly leave tomorrow evening. Molly was here to celebrate her fourth birthday. We took her downtown, out to eat, to the mall (to get new clothes for Catie mostly pants with no zippers or metal on them) and all the way to Arkansas (across the bridge). Monday morning Uncle John, Aunt Lynn, Austin, Douglas and Anna (from SC) arrive. They re-worked their vacation to visit with Catie. Thank you. They leave on Wednesday. On Thursday, Megan Connolly (who is running everything at our house) is coming and bringing Mia, Catie’s 6 year old sister and roommate. Catie’s absence is very difficult for Mia as she is reminded that Catie is missing every time she goes into her room and Catie is not there. Mia is so sweet that she even turns down Catie’s bed each night to help her fall asleep without Catie and then she makes two beds every morning. Mia also turned 6 while Catie and I have been away and we have some surprises to celebrate with them. Finally on Saturday, my parents are flying in from New Jersey to round out the visitors. Catie told me that it would be easier to eat with her family – well she should be eating up a storm this weekend.

May you all gather often with those you love. May you laugh together, cry together and share what is most precious to each other with each other. May you break bread and give thanks for each other.

Know that you are in our prayers and that we are grateful for your prayers.


Christine, Kevin, Maggie (10), Max (9), Catie (7), Mia (6), Molly (now 4), and M.E.(2)

P.S. The long awaited photos of the Jonas Brothers.

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