Time for another update and I know I am late getting around to posting again. I’m sure you all are
sensing a pattern by now, when I don’t post for a while it’s normally because it isn’t good news or fun to share.
We traveled to MSK in NY City and met with the doctor leading the clinical trial (she is responsible for
writing all of the trials for sarcoma patients). We were extremely impressed by her and immediately hit it off. She was very open and honest with us and told us that this trial has not seen great success rates.
Also, I will be the first Ewing’s Sarcoma patient in the trial. We can choose to look at that one of two
ways, maybe because there haven’t been any Ewing’s patients, I have a chance at being a success story
or we can look at it as another shot in the dark. We are trying to look at it the first way and keep
ourselves positive. She said she has a trial she is currently working on writing up that she thinks I would
be a much better candidate for; however, she estimates at least 6 months until that trial is ready to
start. As you all know, 6 months is a long time when it comes to how fast this cancer grows and spreads.
That’s where Katie left off, and I (Stephen) will try to do my best to fill you all in on everything that has
happened. I will forget minor details, but the important ones are what matters. The last 2 months have
been quite a blur, and everything happened fast.
After meeting with the Dr in New York it was decided that Katie go through another round of chemo
while the ball got rolling on everything with the clinical trial. They didn’t want her going an extended
amount of time without any treatment. As you all know, this asshole cancer spreads like a wild fire when
given the chance.
After arriving home from New York, Katie started developing pains in her back and up near her neck and
shoulders. We were pretty sure she was just sore from everything we did in New York. We did a lot in
New York while we were there trying to soak up our mini vacation together. We both loved New York
and the awesome people with whom we stayed! Katie also started developing pain during deep inhales,
and would become lightheaded very easily. We ended up heading to the ER a day or so later due to
these symptoms. After all the tests, we found out she had blood clot in her lungs, fluid around one of
her lungs, fluid in her abdomen, and worst of all the cancer had progressed. After all of this shit-tastic
news, we ended up in the hospital for a few days while they sorted everything out. Katie was put on a
blood thinner, and they decided not to drain any fluid around her lung (better for her in the long run). At
the time, the fluid in her abdomen was minimal, and her Drs were hopeful chemo would get rid of the
fluid. All this happened the week of the 4 th of July.
While in the hospital, it was decided that since the chemo she was on wasn’t working, it would be
changed again. The new regimen was 8 days long, but she only received chemo on day 1 and day 8.
During all this, Katie’s pain was still there. She was taking a lot of Dilaudid for pain and Zofran for
nausea. She even tried a muscle relaxer for the pain, but it was still there. She also began to put on a lot
of weight, and her belly started to get bigger and bigger from the fluid.
On July 13th we went in to get Katie’s blood checked, and her belly was huge, she was in a lot of pain,
and could barely walk. It was a Friday (FRIDAY THE FRICKIN’ 13 th - GO FIGURE), so we were given an
option to wait ‘til Monday or go to the ER again to get the fluid drained. They ended up admitting her
again. The bad part about this is it was at the hospital we don’t particularly care for. I won’t say the
name, but they can’t touch the men and women at Virginia Beach General, 2 South Oncology unit! More
on them later.
The procedure to drain the fluid could not be done right away as hoped because Katie’s INR number was
too high. This is the number that tells them how well your blood clots. So they were doing everything to
get that number down so they could preform the procedure. The plan was to take out a max 1000ml
from Katie, however they could only get 450ml. This did little to nothing to help with her pain and
discomfort. It also became apparent that all the swelling in her stomach might not be fluid at all and that it might, in fact, be all cancer. Katie got real upset after the procedure. We seemed to just keep getting kicked down further and further. We were always getting bad news and nothing good. As we always did, we vented and got through it together, said F-U cancer, and got positive again. Later that day, we were discharged and went home to see our sweet boys and the rest of our family. We got home the evening of July 16. July 18th Katie started getting extreme pain in her lower abdomen. The pain was so bad that she was screaming in the bathroom. I told her that we needed to go the ER right away. She kept saying no, but I eventually made her go. Her dad, Harry, ended up taking her because I was home with what is now being described as an anxiety attack. Harry took Katie to the ER, they ran tests and found no obvious reason for the pain. Her blood counts were low, so they gave her platelets that night. The next day she was still in a lot of pain. Her brother, Scott, stopped by for a quick visit on his way into the office. Katie told him to get me up there, so when he got to the office he told me to go. When I got the hospital her Dr hadn’t been around to see her yet. Her dad left to go get a shower and change of clothes, and then it was just Katie and me. Dr. Bremmer came in and sat next to us, and I immediately could sense what she was going to tell us. She never sits down for one, and she looked sad, not happy like she always does.
She told us that her entire liver was taken over by cancer tumor and that more than half of her stomach
was now tumor. She said we could try another chemo, but it probably wouldn’t work and would do more harm than good. Katie and I knew exactly what that meant. That’s when it was decided to put Katie on hospice and to keep her comfortable.
I won’t go into detail about what happened next, but you can imagine. Katie was put on a pain pump
while in the hospital to control the pain and keep her comfy. We were stuck with the decision to either
stay in the hospital or go home for Katie’s remaining days. There were pros and cons for both, but I
decided I wanted my wife to be at home, the home we built together and love so much. I wanted her
with friends and family at our house, and most importantly, I wanted her to be around our two boys.
We love everyone in the 2 South Oncology Unit at Beach General. They are all amazing people and
nothing short of heroes. But we hated being at the hospital and away from our boys and family. We got
to go home that Friday the 20 th . What is pretty awesome about how we got home is that my brother,
Kevin, is a volunteer EMT with Courthouse Rescue Squad. He and his fellow EMT, Caitlyn, were able to
give us a personal ride home. I can’t thank them enough for what they did. Katie loved it, especially
because it was family taking her home. I’m not going to go into detail about Katie’s last days, but she
was surrounded by family, close friends, and our boys. Our first child, Riley (dog), was even there. Katie
passed in her sleep on July 28th around 6:00am.
To everyone who prayed, sent positive vibes, good thoughts, thank you.
To the men and women of 2 South, thank you. You were all great. Katie had her favorites, and you know
who you are!
To Abby Dalton, thank you for everything you did for Katie. You ALWAYS looked out for her. It didn’t
matter what time of night, day, or whatever you had going on. You dropped everything for Katie and did
so much for her during her final days.
To the nurses at VOA, thank you. Katie had her favorites, and you know who you are. To those who
came to help out at home during Katie’s final days, that meant the world to us and to Katie. (Eileen-tube
To all Katie’s Drs, thank you.
To Dr. Bremmer, thank you. You always looked after Katie and knew how to talk to her.
To Angie Maher, thank you. You were our sanity and comic relief during all of this. You kept it light and
fun for us during a shitty time in our life, and that’s exactly what we needed. You were always there for
Katie to text or talk to, you always had an answer for us, and you kept it real with no BS.
To everyone to donated, thank you.
To everyone who set up the fundraiser, thank you.
To everyone who helped with childcare, thank you. Your love and kindness toward the boys meant the
world to us.
To our families, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.
All of you are part of KATIE’S CREW.
Katie did not lose to cancer. She beat cancer’s punk ass every single day. This quote by the late Stuart
Scott says it all: “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live,
why you live, and the manner in which you live.“ Anyone who ever met Katie knew she was a light for
the world. She lifted up everyone around her, not because she had to but because she wanted to. We
should all strive to live they way Katie did.
Just because Katie has passed doesn’t mean that we should stop helping others in need. Go out and do
something for someone else, and do it often. It doesn’t have to be something big. The simple little things
are often what matter most to people. That’s what “Katie’s Crew” is all about: helping others like Katie
If you'd like to help out the Miller family in any way, here are some suggestions.
1. You may contribute to this page to help with upcoming child care expenses and whatever may come Stephen's way over the coming months and years.
2. Although meals are appreciated, when everyone gives at once, there ends up being a lot of spoilage. Gift cards to Chik-Fil-A, Whole Foods, and Harris Teeter are always a big help.
3. Reid wears Size 5 Pampers Swaddlers.
4. No flowers, please.
DonationsSee top donations
- Nancy Balchunas
Organizer and beneficiary
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more