Caring for Kathryn

Before you start reading this I want you to know this isn't a story about cancer....this is a love story.  

I remember the day that my carefree single brother came home (he lived with my husband and I) and was very upset and started to cry telling me about a girl...I don't remember exactly what the scenario was, but I do remember that I knew at that moment he was in love. It wasn't too much later that I gained a funny, happy all the time, loved to have fun, caring, kind, beautiful like a sunny day, sister in law on June 28, 2003.  

Aaron worked hard wherever he was at, always knowing he wanted to provide for his wife and future kids.   They were always frugle and tried to make the best financial decisions so they could have their dream of a big family and Kathryn could be at home to raise their kids.  They both made many sacrifices to make that happen.

And wouldn't you know....along came Evangelyn (age 12) Arianna (age 10) Alexander (age 7) and Elias (age 3). Kathryn has always been a stay at home mom and one of the best!  I could go on and on about that, but let me just give you some highlights; she homeschools and her kids are SMART and creative, they eat organic and healthy, they ALL do chores like sweeping, mopping, dishes, folding laundry, music lessons, outdoor activities
, NO TV (what ?!?!) very involved in church and love God.  

Aaron and Kathryn love being parents together and love family and love each other.  Family is so important and brings them so much joy.  They just celebrated 14 years of happily ever after!

Now to the ugly....the part where cancer is stealing away parts of this love story.

A little over a year ago they both were so excited to announce baby number 5 was on the way!  But just a few weeks after that we were asked to pray for Kathryn because she had a cough that just didn't want to go away and something didn't seem right.  I am going to skip the details but it ended up being lung cancer in an otherwise perfectly healthy, active, young woman, in her mid-thirties who had never touched a cigarette in her life.

Not only having to start the fight of their lives, a huge heartbreak to Aaron and Kathryn was baby Isaac being born into heaven on June 21, 2016.

Her cancer in one with a genetic mutation
so her treatment was in the form of targeted therapy.  (not chemo or radiation)  So to make a long story shorter, over the last year they have gone through all of the approved drugs for her cancer without the results hoped for, she has had several surgeries, fractured a hip because of cancer in the bone, tried chemo without results and the cancer is basically reaching into all areas of her body.  

As of today, there is no treatment in place and her pain is off the charts.  They have been desperately
trying to keep her comfortable and find a good balance of pain meds to do so.  Regarding treatment, the only one left to try is in trial.  Pfizer wants her to be in the trial which is good but the problem is that Mayo is not one of the facilities in the trial.   (Which is where she has been getting her treatment)  They will work on getting in, but that will take at least three weeks, if not more. She can't wait that long so they have called Dr. Shaw in Boston, who is one of the two leading experts on Non Small Cell Lung Cancer with the ALK mutation. Her facility is one of the primary facilities in the trial.   They are waiting to hear from this doctor and have several messages in.  If for some reason she cannot get in the trial, they would try to get the drug on their own and pay for it out of pocket. Her previous targeted therapies were in the $15,000/month range. I would assume this one would be at least that, if not closer to $20,000 since it is still in trial.
 
As you can imagine this has taken quite a toll on the family over the last year emotionally, physically and financially.  So far they have been doing ok with the help of family and they certainly DO NOT like to ask for help  But going forward this is only going to get harder especially if they are going to have to pay out of pocket for the treatment that is in the trial stage.

You can follow in more detail at their Caring Bridge site:
https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kathrynhill2

I know we all struggle, but if you feel led to skip a meal out or sell something that is sitting in the garage you aren't using or just give from a little surplus blessing that has come your way, I know that there is no more a humble, deserving family as this one.  

No matter how this story ends....it will never be a story about cancer......it will always be a story about love.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Rebecca Hill Penner 
Organizer
Bakersfield, CA
Aaron Hill 
Beneficiary
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