Good evening prayer warriors,

The O’Brien family is all in Memphis, soon to be joined by a host of Closkeys to share Thanksgiving. The fab 5 and I arrived right on time this morning after two early morning flights and the 8 of us had a small reunion in the hospital before Catie’s MRI. We sent the three youngest back for a nap with Mom-Mom and Da at the Marriott while Catie was coming out of recovery from her sedation. Maggie, Max, Catie, Christine and I then wheeled Catie around the hospital in her wheelchair while we awaited the results. The wheelchair is a new addition to Catie’s day as she has developed a drop foot that prevents her from being able to walk. The doctors surmise that this is a temporary condition resulting from the chemotherapy. How I wish now that they were correct in this initial diagnosis.

In reality, these new symptoms of neuropathy and pain in Catie’s hip, legs, and feet are a result of her tumor growing back. Despite the massive dose of radiation and the aggressive chemotherapy, it is back. Keeping with Catie’s track record of being a statistical anomaly, there have been 4 cases in the last 15 years of a tumor regrowing during a treatment plan this aggressive. There are few options left to her and us at this point. We could subject her to another surgery to remove the tumor again and perhaps prolong her life by a few months, but the risk of a second surgery, one that has no chance of being curative, is very high. There are other chemotherapy regimens that could slow the spread and growth of the tumor, and again might gain us a little time. However from a medical point of view, her care is now palliative, not curative. Medically speaking, the focus now changes to doing whatever we can to keep her comfortable and out of pain and make the time we have left with her as full and rich as we can.

Breaking the news to Catie was the most difficult moment I have ever had as a father. After crying for a moment and burying her face in my shirt, she looked up at me and said, “why daddy?” I hope and pray that the answer I gave her provided her with some comfort. I do know that within an hour of receiving the news and some medication that will hopefully keep the tissue surrounding the tumor from swelling, that beautiful, darling, innocent little girl was eating, playing with her sisters, and giggling. Thank you Catie for teaching me yet another lesson. Celebrate and live life while you can, it is too fragile and precious to waste.

I could keep writing this for hours and never tire of sharing what a wonderful, special little girl Catie is. Her battle with this tumor has taken its toll on her physically, and in some ways, the tumor got the best of her. But it never broke her spirit, it never took away her ability to gift any person that came in contact with her from coming away from the experience better for having spent time with her. We will continue to share our thoughts and prayers and Catie’s journey with you. For now, we want to offer you a prayer of Thanksgiving for the last 6 months that we have had with Catie and through her battle, with all of you. As each of you sit and share a meal with those you love, take the opportunity to forge new bonds and repair those that need mending. The people in our lives are gifts from a loving Father, and they do not come with gift receipts, we need to keep them. The key is to find a reason to thank God for each one of those gifts.

May you have a safe and restful holiday.

Love and God bless,

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

Discover more from Catie's Wish Foundation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Comments are closed.