In June, Katie, her big sister Melanie, and Bob and Mary Kay traveled to University of California, San Francisco so that Katie could undergo five days of radiation treatment for the second time in three months. Her first time was over Spring Break. So many miracles happened on that trip, but the most important was that she was declared NED, or No Evidence of Disease! Everyone, including the doctors, were in shock and awe. It wasn't expected, but miracles rarely are.
Since that fateful scan back in February, Katie has been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Good news and bad news all culminating in her final scans in August that still showed that no cancer was detectible. As such, she was able to travel to Hume Lake for a week with her church group from Crossline. A week of praising God with her friends did wonders for her spirit. She was able to take a two week trip to Maui with her family and her best friend, a wish of hers for a Hawaii summer vacation since being re-diagnosed. There, in paradise, another miracle occurred. The family met a man whose daughter had been through Neuroblastoma treatments three separate times since the age of nine. He was happy to report that she is now living a full life at the age of 32. Another ray of light shining down on them and giving them hope for the future.
Katie was voted ASB president for Ladera Ranch Middle School and is spending her 8th grade year planning activities and heading up committees to make it a year to remember. She will also spend this next year traveling to CHOC hospital in Los Angeles for chemo treatments each and every Tuesday. Her doctors believe that her chances of a healthy future depend on continuing the treatment that has been working so far. She has been chosen to participate in a study of Neuroblastoma and will be receiving a combined treatment of Vorinostat and Accutane. 10 pills in the morning and 3 at night. That story in itself is another miracle. Her parents had been praying for guidance and wisdom concerning the best next course of treatment to pursue. A new doctor that was unaware of the Hawley's history, randomly mentioned a study that a brilliant doctor was forming. The brilliant man he spoke of turned out to be one of Katie's other doctors. Her parents knew that his advice to become part of the study was the right move. Prayer answered.
Katie's school schedule can be revised so she doesn't miss out on important classes and knowing Katie, she won't let herself miss a thing. Her parents are worried that the extensive treatment will make her sick enough to want to miss school but as always, she is encouraging them, assuring them that she will be OK. Tutors are waiting to see if they are needed and teachers are more than willing to work with the family. Her friends have rallied around her once again and proclaimed that this will be the best year ever.
Mary Kay, Katie's mom, relies on prayers from her inner circle and takes it one day at a time. Katie is excited for this year. She is starting volleyball and can't wait to take on her responsibilities as ASB president. When I asked her what she wanted most for this year, she simply said "Straight A's. I really want to focus on my grades. Oh, and no drama." We're behind you all the way Kit Kat. Praying for health, fun and great memories! To follow Katie's story, please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/katiehawley.