Archive | December, 2013

Kathryn Gets a Horrific Diagnosis – and Needs a Miracle!

31 Dec

katheryn

Everyone –

Kathryn has had some major setbacks in treatment – Please pray with us.

-Colin

UPDATED 01.01.14 @ 2:06pm.

Kathryn started the chemo treatment late yesterday afternoon. It was suppose to take 9 hours for first treatment. 40 minutes into the treatment Kathryn had an adverse reaction. Her fever spiked, her hands and fingers turned purple and her heart rate went up to 230 beats per minute. She yelled out in pain which awakened Kathy. The doctors immediately stopped the treatment. They got her settled down and were about to restart the chemo, when some of the results came in from an earlier spinal tap, indicating that she had a fungus growing on her brain. The Doctors had to stop all chemo treatments and immediately and start her on a round of antibiotics, which took 1.5 hours. After the antibiotics were administered, they re-started the chemo treatment at a lower rate late last night. The problem with the lower rate is that it will take 22 hours to administer rather than the initial 9 hours. She will have to go through 5 days of this type of treatment in the hospital.

As for the fungus issue, the doctors think it was in very early stages and it has been rectified.

The doctors have decided to do a liver biopsy today to identify what is happening with the liver.

The family is VERY STRESSED!! It seems that there is an obstacle at every turn and it is getting to them. PLEASE PRAY FOR STRENGTH AND COURAGE FOR THE FAMILY!!

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Everyone,

Katheryn has a diagnosis. I have included the infor from the family below. The news is heartbreaking – but in Christ there is always hope. Please keep her in your prayers. Have masses offered, send cards or notes of support, include her in your rosaries and novenas, and/or stop to remember her and that she is fighting for her life each day. Even the smallest actions done with great love will have a positive effect. Please do not forget her family – I know in their position I my suffering would be just as great watching the child suffer (I have been the one suffering in the hospital). I promise that every prayer matters – even small short ones. For many of us Christmas is not over – please continue Christmas by remembering her each day and offering a prayer on behalf of Kathryn and her Family with great love and compassion. Pray for her doctors as well.

Mark Shea offered the most eloquent prayer I think I have seen yet, and I am reposting it here for everyone:

Father, hear our prayer for her complete healing in body, soul, and spirit.  Give her caregivers grace, peace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, skill, creativity, and the proper technology to assist in your healing work.  Give her and all who love her grace, peace, strength, consolation, faith, hope and love.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Mother Mary and St. Luke, pray for them all.

To everyone who has been praying, sent cards, notes, and even just kept her in their thoughts – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Please Share or Repost this anywhere you see fit, church bulletin boards, prayer groups on social media, facebook friends, etc…

Yours in Christ –

Colin

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REMINDER FOR EVERYONE THAT WANTED TO SEND CARDS:

All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

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UPDATE POSTED 12.31.13 @ 2:03 PM.

HELLO EVERYONE

The final diagnosis is that Kathryn has a very rare blood disorder. It is NOT Cancer, but it is treated in a similar matter.
She has Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Here is some info on HLH and a link for you to read more about the disorder:

“Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which certain white blood cells (histiocytes and lymphocytes) build up in organs including the skin, spleen, and liver, and destroy other blood cells. This causes fever and damages the liver and spleen, resulting in enlargement of these organs. HLH may be inherited or it may be caused by certain conditions or diseases including infections and immunodeficiency (inability of the body to fight infections). It most commonly affects young infants and children.[1][2] Treatment includes antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat or prevent infections, and chemotherapy and immunotherapy prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation”

LINK: http://www.histio.org/document.doc?id=243

The good news is that Kathryn’s doctor Dr.Rishikesh Chavan, MD was a resident in Houston and worked under two doctors that wrote the treatment protocol for HLH patients.He is the one that finally identified the disorder when all the other doctors were stumped.

Kyle and Kathy are seeing GOD’s hand in all of this, because if they had not gone to Tulane Hospital, they would never have had Dr. Chavan as Kathryn’s doctor.

Starting today, Kathryn will be treated with chemo over the course of the next eight weeks. The doctors will monitor her progress and how she handles this first treatment. then the decision will be made on how the following treatments will be handled. Whether they will require additional hospital stays or not during the eight weeks of treatment.

One of the biggest concerns, that the doctors have is that her liver enzmes are at 2,000 and they should be at 35.

SO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LIVER STARTS TO REPAIR ITSELF TO AVOID PERMANENT DAMAGE OR THE NEED FOR A TRANSPLANT.

Also, we have been asked by many people if they can send donations in for the family. I am currently setting up a special benefit account at a local bank for Kathryn. I will update everyone once I have this done.

PLEASE GOD, ALLOW YOUR HEALING MERCY TO FLOW THROUGHOUT KATHRYN’S BODY!!!

Kyle and Kathy Gardner have asked us to continue posting updates for them on this event page to answer the questions that many of us have. This allows them not to have to field so many phone calls.

So I will be posting updates as they call us with any new information. If you would like, please contact us directly via FACEBOOK messaging and we will answer any questions of their behalf for now.

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UPDATE*** POSTED ON 12.31.13 @ 8:56am,

The Gardner family is meeting with the Doctors this morning to go over the treatment plan.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR DISCERNMENT THIS MORNING!!

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Emergency Update on Kathryn 12/30 7:48 pm CDT

30 Dec

Kathryn

I Just received this. For everyone praying for Kathryn – thought you should know ASAP.

EMERGENCY UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!
POSTED ON 12.30.13 @ 7:48 pm

The Gardner’s received a call from the doctor about an hour ago and were told to immediately bring Kathryn back to the hospital. Her liver enzyme levels are elevated from the test they ran on some of the blood that was drawn earlier today. They want to get her back on IV medication and prep her for treatment immediately.

THE FAMILY IS VERY CONCERNED, PLEASE PRAY THAT KATHRYN WILL GET THROUGH THIS BATTLE!!!

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POSTED ON 12.30.13 @ 5:16 pm

Today the Gardner Family went back to the hospital to review the diagnosis and discuss the plan of action for Kathryn and here are the results of that meeting.

The doctor’s have identified want she has as:
Systemic Onset – Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SO-JIA).

This is the umbrella diagnosis under which they are classifying this disease. There are a spectrum of different symptoms and additional diseases under this diagnosis, so the doctors took more blood today and are sending it off to Cincinnati, Ohio for some additional testing to confirm their findings as to what phase/stage Kathryn is in to start the proper treatment. They want her to return in 10 days once those results are in.

This disease has attacked Kathryn’s immune system and muscular system making her weak and susceptible to sickness, therefore she will not be able to attend regular school, so the family is setting up a home study plan with the school system for Kathryn to continue her education, this maybe for approximately four weeks and then maybe she can start back to school on a part-time basis.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR KATHRYN!!

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REMINDER FOR EVERYONE THAT WANTED TO SEND CARDS:

All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

-Colin

Anniversaries and What They Mean

30 Dec

Anniversary Watch

Anniversaries. What do they really mean? Another year has passed and a sacrament has survived?

Let’s be honest we take great pride in hitting milestones like 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25 years. We do this because so many marriages do not make these numbers. Too often we place far too much stock in the celebration and recognition of these events – to the point that if one partner forgets the date or does not provide some token of affection a fight ensues and recriminations begin.

I love presents, a nice dinner out, and mind blowing sex as much as the next guy – and likely more. However, these things are not what an anniversary is about for me. Given they joyous effects of neurosurgery on long term memories – our early years are somewhat patchy. Please indulge me while I explain what I have thought of for the last 15 anniversaries.

Yesterday was our 22nd anniversary, and it’s funny that it is a gift I received on my 7th anniversary from my beloved wife that I still wear every day is a continual reminder of her selfless love. It’s a watch, that never needs batteries (Kinetic), like our love it is powered just by being ourselves. To understand I have to explain about me and watches – I kill them. Wind up or digital is no matter – on my wrist they all quit ticking and tocking or beeping in hours – days if I’m lucky. The wind up ones often ended up with hands bent inside the cases. Call it an occupational hazard of sorts. She wanted me so badly to have a watch that she searched high and low. She knew I had pinned a very small ad for this particular watch by the side of my desk among other papers for some years. Sapphire crystal, plain and simple – no “bling” at all, kinetic (No battery – powered by a slow leak capacitor), made of pure titanium (non-ferrous so no magnetic field issues), and more expensive than a used car. The Service Merchandise chain or Jewelers was still going in those days and she went in to look at after Christmas sales – they had one left and it was on clearance, cheap – under $1000 (This was 15 years ago!). It was still very expensive, but she was sure it was for me – her heart told her so. She carefully explained my history with watches, the salesman brought out that very watch and included a promise in writing that they would take it back unconditionally if I managed to kill it. She wanted to have it engraved but the back was sapphire crystal as well so the inner workings could be viewed if one desired and the crystal could not even be scratched by their engraver. She bought the watch and brought it to our dinner out that night.

While we waited for our food I could see fear or trepidation in her eyes. She was nervous and scared, I got nervous – it was the 7th year after all – and things had been rocky at times that year, but I thought we had really grown and bonded more deeply through the adversity. Now I wondered. She turned to me and said “I got you something special, I spent way too much money – please don’t be angry” and passed the box over. I about fell out of my chair when I opened it and the outrageously expensive watch I had admired, but never thought I would own, was in the box. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was speechless. She was worried and hurriedly explained that she had gotten it on super sale, she could take it back, that it couldn’t be engraved to her disappointment, and that it came with a money back guarantee my body could not kill it. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. They were truly windows to the soul for her that night. She had done something beyond selfless to make me feel loved and wanted, to let me know that she was not just listening to me – but noting and absorbing every detail of my being and though I had never said a word to anyone – she knew about the watch. She wanted more than anything to make me happy, to know that I was loved, and that she cared very deeply about those things I wanted in the depths of my heart that I had put aside to take care of her and our daughter. Tears welled up, I was touched in a place I had never been touched before – this feeling was new and joyous, and heartrending at the same time. I had no equivalent gift to offer. I looked into my heart, painfully aware that I was lacking and did not deserve this kind of love. I resolved that moment to keep trying to be the husband she deserved – not that I ever was, or have been successful in that endeavor.

I still keep trying. To this very day I still keep trying to match her in just that one moment. I know her moods, her body language, her smell, her eyes to the point I can often know whats she is thinking by a flash or glimmer in her eyes – and just as often as if by telepathy. I have tried my best to return that gift, but nothing will ever be enough. While the watch is a symbol as important to me as my wedding band because of the turning point in our marriage it represents – the gift was knowing unequivocally just how loved I was. Knowing that nobody deserves that kind of love, and that it is a gift to be accepted graciously and returned of the best of your ability. I am still trying to return a gift given 15 years ago – one that opened my eyes and my heart, everyday. She deserves it. In fact, she still deserves better.

That is what anniversaries mean to me. Like New Years they are an opportunity to reflect objectively on our marriages and identify those things we could do better – then resolve to make it so. That doesn’t mean that the other accoutrements are not nice or important – but that we should always use them to look ahead and not behind.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Latest on Kathryn (12/26/2013)

26 Dec

 

Kathryn and Santa Holding Hands

Kathryn and Santa Holding Hands

All,

My apologies for not getting this out yesterday. I left it sitting unsent in a browser window while I helped my wife finish up Christmas Dinner. Thinking I had already finished it, I didn’t get back to it until asked by a multitude of readers this morning. Thank ALL of you who reminded me, in doing so you also reminded me just how many people are following the plight of one little girl and her family at Christmas.

Kathryn and her family gave me a great gift this year in particular, especially for those struggling with the holidays. Christmas is not about YOU or ME, Christmas is that one short time each year when we celebrate the Birth of Christ – and in doing so try to emulate his love and compassion for all humanity in some way – with great love.

In answer to those who have asked, Cards and notes arriving late is not a problem – and NO she is not nearly out of the woods yet, the diagnosis has not been made nor has any long term treatment begun as yet. So continued prayers are very much appreciated. Here is the address for those who missed it earlier:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

Now onto the latest update approved by the family –

UPDATED INFO ON KATHRYN GARDNER !! SHE IS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

A PICTURE OF KATHRYN HOLDING SANTA’S HAND TODAY!

Okay, We have a lot of good information. First of all Kathryn was moved into her own room late yesterday evening. The Doctors have been monitoring she all night and this morning.

Kathryn had SANTA CLAUS visit her today with a huge bag of goodies.. THAT WAS AWESOME! But the best gift was that the Doctors gave the okay for her to go home tonight and spend CHRISTMAS AT HOME WITH HER FAMILY!!!

!!!!!!!!!! PRAISE GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The medicine she is on is stabling her enough that the doctors feel confident in allowing her to go home for Christmas. She will have to return on Monday, December 30,2013 to start the treatment plan to treat the autoimmune disease she is dealing with. The doctors are still waiting on a couple of results to come back before they label the disease, so we are not out of the woods yet, but this is a great set in the right direction.

Due to Kathryn’s immune system being so weak, the Doctors have asked that she not be exposed to many people, especially anyone that may have a fever or is sick. I know many of us want to go by the house and visit, but Kathryn is still sick and and NOT feeling 100%. She is still very weak and tired and sleeping a lot.

SO PLEASE, IF YOU WANT TO VISIT:
PLEASE CALL THE HOUSE IN ADVANCE! PLEASE DO NOT JUST SHOW UP! SHE MAY NOT BE UP TO SEEING VISITORS AND BECAUSE THE DOCTORS HAVE REQUESTED THAT HER EXPOSURE TO OTHERS BE AS LIMITED AS POSSIBLE.

Please allow the Gardner family to spend some quiet time together as a family during this Christmas season.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT THE TREATMENT WILL WORK AND PRAISE GOD THAT SHE IS ABLE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS WITH HER FAMILY!!!

I’d like to thank all those who have read about Kathryn, followed her plight, shared with their friends, and kept her in their thoughts or prayers. Each of us can make a difference in another persons life for the better.

Thank You and Bless You All!

Colin

St. Stephen, the First Martyr

26 Dec

On the feast of St. Stephen (On of my favorites) The First Deacon and Martyr of the Church, a short review of history and faith is always a good thing. I think Fr. Francis hit the nail so squarely on the head it went right on through the board. I hope this sings to your soul too 🙂

– Colin

By Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger

St. Stephen, whom Holy Scripture calls a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, full of grace and strength, was the first who had the happiness to give his blood and life for the Gospel of Christ; hence he is called “Proto-martyr.” He is also called Archdeacon, because he was the first of those seven men, who were chosen by the Christian community and ordained deacons by the Apostles.

All present at his martyrdom looked fixedly into the face of the accused to notice any change which fear or apprehension might work in it; but, contrary to their expectation, the countenance of the holy Archdeacon was so illuminated by God, as a sign of his innocence, that they deemed it the face of an Angel. And in truth, he might have been called an Angel, not only on account of his angelic…

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Miracle Please?

23 Dec

I think Bishop Tatro got his one dead on. Delighted to reblog him.
-Colin

Address for those Praying for and Thinking of Kathryn this Christmas Season

23 Dec

Kathryn

Many of you have been offering prayers for Kathryn over the last few days (See prior post). She is pumped being up on steroids to keep her stable right now and the Doctors are very much hopeful that test results expected this afternoon will enable them to make a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. That said, she is far from out of the woods. Her family is hoping very much that they will have her stable enough to move to a regular room by Christmas Morning. I have had more than a few requests for her address so that people can send cards and notes of support, encouragement, and prayer to help bolster her and her family in this difficult time – as well as to remind them of the grace of God – and that when any child suffers, we all feel it. Even those who do not believe as we do.

As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in her position, those prayers and especially the cards and notes mean more than most people will ever know. If you are one of those who would like to send Kathryn or her family a note, prayer card, letter, a childs art, or christmas card I have attached the address below (with their permission). Allow yourself to be a part of making a child feel valued and loved not just by her friends and family, but by all of humanity. When we lift one of us up – all of us are lifted with them.

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have and are praying, had masses said for her, who shared this blog or passed the word via social media, and all those of you who just took a moment out to remember her and/or her family during your day. Thank all of you in advance for sending her a note, card, picture, or other token of support.

This is a season for giving and I believe that it’s the small things done with great love, that have the most impact on other peoples lives.

God Bless and Keep you all,

Colin

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