Day 9

Today, Catie, Christine, Mia and Aunt KC went to Graceland and had a private tour. They thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world’s tribute to Elvis and recommend the trip to any who have the opportunity to travel to Memphis. They would like to thank Robert Dye for taking many photos of Catie, showering her with Elvis gifts, and taking care of them all. Robert’s pictures will be on the website soon. Catie’s pain is continuing to “break-through” the pain medication. As fast as we adjust to her body’s demand, the tumor progresses, fills up more of the spinal column and squeezes the nerves, necessitating even more medication to keep her pain-free. Soon, Catie will be wearing a morphine pump which will release the medication directly into her bloodstream. Assisting in her pain management are Miss Mary’s cookies which she had the honor of making with Miss Mary this afternoon. She made the dough, rolled it out, and baked the cookies and they had a wonderful afternoon. They went to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse where Pete and Matt took excellent care of young Catie and her dinner party as they always do, thank you! The day was topped off with terrific news as Hunter, Catie’s friend and fellow protocol patient received the “all clear” on his scans and spinal fluid. Hunter begins chemo round 3 this week and looks to be in great shape for the conclusion of the protocol in January. Please join us in a prayer of thanksgiving for Hunter’s progress to this point and one of hope for his continued return to health. Martha, Hunter’s mom has been a terrific friend and confidant for Christine as they watched their children on their daily journey through the treatment plan.

In the meantime, we start the plans for the next month. Here in Mechanicsburg, we are straightening each room of the house and then we are locking the door and moving on. We have put up some Christmas decorations so that the house looks as inviting and warm to Catie and Christine as we can make it. Molly and M.E. will be coming with me to Basking Ridge on Friday and will stay with Mom-Mom and Da and I will fly out of Newark to Memphis and will be coming back with Catie and Christine sometime next week. We will pick up the girls on our way back. Meanwhile, Megan, Mia, Maggie, and Max will stay at the house, go to school, and make sure that all last minute preparations are taken care of at home.

Once I get to Memphis, Christine and I will pack, ship, donate and vacate Target House as quickly as we can while making sure that we have a handle on Catie’s medication while we are still at St. Jude and when we get home. The Quality of Life Team is arranging for a wheelchair, hospital bed, shower seat, etc. so that we are as ready as we can be to have Catie home. Once home, we will try to return to “normal”…the sensational six back under one roof, and a married couple sleeping in the same bed. Will there be challenges as we get used to all being together again? Of course, but being together is worth overcoming a few challenges. On Christmas Eve, we will all get on a plane and head to Charleston, SC. Catie, realizing that her 8th birthday might not be celebrated asked her Poppy if she could come down and celebrate his 80th with him. He gratefully accepted and so we will spend 4 days with Grammy and Poppy, Uncle John and Aunt Lynn, and Austin, Douglas, and Anna. Soon after we return, we hope to have the arrangements for our family trip to Lourdes in hand from the Make-a-Wish foundation. Lourdes is a sacred site of Marian apparitions where a wellspring of water with miraculous healing power has been visited since 1858 by young and old alike searching for the cures that eluded medical professionals. We will go there with Catie and bathe her in the water. Max, upon hearing that we would be going to Lourdes and that Catie wanted to see other sites in France while we were there remarked that we should go to Lourdes first because then Catie would enjoy the remainder of the trip after she was cured. The faith of a child, please God, may we all have it.

After France, our next goal will be to have Catie receive her First Holy Communion. Since she may not last until her class receives the Sacrament in April, we will ask for a dispensation to allow her to receive early. This weekend, we will look for a dress for her before she attends “The Nutcracker” at the Memphis Ballet House. It is her favorite ballet, and I know that her imagination will take her to a place where she can still dance and fly like the performers she will watch on stage that evening. It promises to be a busy couple of months, and our renewed mantra of “one day at a time” helps us keep focus on making sure that each night as Catie reflects on the day, she remembers it fondly and positively. Tomorrow will take care of itself. In the meantime, Catie continues to be so much like Bernadette the frail girl from Lourdes who simply inspired others by her faith, her simple piety, and her self-assurance which comes not from arrogance but from a wisdom granted by God.

May you all receive His wisdom, His blessing, and His favor as 2008 draws to a close and the birth of His Son is once again celebrated.


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

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