Hello from St. Jude’s,

The facts: Kevin has returned to PA. Catie is back at Target House. Catie is eating, riding her bike and doing her school work. Catie is no longer Sleepy-Radiation-Catie. Catie is no longer ChemoCatie. However, Catie is still not 100% Catie.

The hurdles: Tracking Catie’s blood counts everyday. Counting Catie’s calories everyday. Medicating Catie everyday. Future rounds 2-4.

The help that is in place: Aunt Lynn has joined us for the next 6 days. Maggie is coming for a week on 10/25. Max will be arriving for a week on Halloween.

Is that enough? I have no idea. Much of what is happening these next few weeks has been described to us as “boring”. Considering that Catie is immune compromised, she is to avoid crowds and germs. OK. It should not be a problem to avoid crowds. They can be seen and in many cases heard. Germs are a bit different. You can’t see them. In many cases the germs exist even before you can smell them – so are there any warnings? I have spent that last 11 years of parenting protecting my children from the known and visible things that can harm them. Now I am part of a new battle – the invisible. I was speaking to the husband of a dear friend of mine the other night and when I expressed my concern over the invisible – he offered that that is where faith fills in the gap. Craig you are right. I can spend the next several months battling the invisible. Wiping every surface with Clorox. Washing my hands raw. Never allowing Catie to take off her mask. Never eating any food that I have not prepared. No matter how much time and effort I put into this not one of my efforts will ever do as much as putting all of my faith in GOD and knowing with confidence the He will protect Catie.

God will protect Catie. God was protecting Catie throughout Radiation. God was protecting Catie during her Radiation Slumber. God was protecting Catie during Round 1. God will continue to protect Catie. God will fill me up with hope whenever I am running on empty. God will open my eyes to notice the differences that might indicate what Catie needs or desires. God is the difference. God is the way. Faith in God is the answer.

Catie is not herself. We have mentioned that before. She is no longer sleeping 20 hours each day. She has begun to eat again. She is chatting and engaging and that is all good. When we see her smile I could fly – it lifts me up that high. Jennifer, our new nurse practitioner in Bone Marrow Transplant (B Clinic), coined the phrase on Friday “ChemoCatie”. It is sad but true. Catie has changed – how? The best way I can describe it is Catie lacks a desire for anything. Catie was always able to entertain herself – regardless of the number of toys in her vicinity. Even when she was in pain due to her tumor – she could “keep herself busy”. Now you can ask Catie what she would lie to eat – no response. You can make suggestions – she shakes her head no to everything. You can ask Catie what she would like to do – she shrugs her shoulders. She simply reacts to things – if she doesn’t want something she shakes her head no or starts to cry. She is making improvements in every area of her life and yet she seems to take no real interest.

I don’t miss much – I have very keen observation skills and they are all being put to the test. Please pray us through this.

Meanwhile after I flew into Philly and caught a ride to Malvern Retreat House, I caught up with the fab 5 who had been brought to the family retreat on Friday and had been taken care of by the Matours who had graciously offered to watch them so that they could go to this retreat which has meant so much to us as a family for so many years now. Sue and Dave and their kids Dan and Sarah had done a great job with them and I was able to spend the day that I was with them enjoying our kids, our friends and our Lord. We will return to the retreat next year and there will be eight of us.

Thank you and God Bless,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, M.E. and Megan

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