Katie's Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer

Three weeks ago, our daughter Katie came home from school with a severe chest pain on her left side that went from her front to her back. We took her to the walk-in at the hospital where they diagnosed her with pneumonia and sent us home with antibiotics.  After two weeks she was seen by our family doctor and she requested a CT scan done. The results came back showing a large mass in her chest along with blood clots. We were immediately sent down to the American Family Children’s hospital which was 2 ½ hours from home. There they did an additional CT scan, blood tests, started her on blood thinners and took a biopsy of the mass.

The result of the biopsy was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. During our time waiting for the results, multiple doctors, counselors and nurses talked with us and prepared us for the worst.  Due to the change of insurance providers through my work that will take place on January 1st, 2018 we were unable to continue to receive treatment at that hospital. We were sent home with an appointment at a different hospital which is about 1 1/2 hours from home.

This new appointment is scheduled for the day after Christmas where they will perform a PET scan to determine if there are any more cancerous cells anywhere else in her body. They will also be inserting a port for the chemotherapy treatments. We were told she will need to undergo 4 to 5 months of chemotherapy as well as continuing with the blood thinners for the next 3 to 6 months.

Katie is described by many as a sweet, kind and lovable person. She always has a great attitude and is a joy to be around. She has not had the best of luck in life however. 

At the beginning of her freshman year of high school, she joined the cheerleading team and was as proud as could be. A couple months in while cheering at a football game, she turned the wrong way and dislocated her knee cap. Turns out she has weak ligaments that support her knee caps so she will be prone to this occurring again. She was out of cheer for the rest of the season.  At the beginning of her sophomore year she joined cheer again, this time wearing a knee brace. The first month in, she tripped on an exercise mat and fractured her other knee cap. This put her in another knee brace and out of cheer for that season as well.

Katie was born with a wide smile but small teeth. Once she became a teenager she wanted to improve her smile. She went through the pain of braces to arrange her teeth so they could add material to them to make them wider and reduce the large gaps. To make the teeth look proportionate she had to have her gum lines raised by means of laser surgery to burn them back. Her two center bottom teeth never had permanent ones to take their place so they are slowing dwindling away. At some point she will need implants and possible jaw bone reconstruction to support the implants.

Katie has worked hard at school and has earned honors for her good grades. She continues working hard and now as a junior is set to graduate early at the spring of her senior year. Her plan is to get a job and start saving for college. She wants to attend a technical college to get into the medical field so she can help others. Currently she is looking at becoming a radiologist.

Unfortunately, the hardest times are coming soon. Katie is going to go through some really tough days during the chemotherapy. She will need to be extra careful being on blood thinners as well as having her immune system broken down during the treatments. Her mom will most likely need to be tending to her instead of at work. Traveling back and forth to the hospital multiple times a week will add up fast. Because this started at the end of one insurance year and is going into another insurance year the out of pocket costs are doubling in a short period of time. Because there is really no way to determine what the next few months hold, we would appreciate any little bit that you can give to help us through this tough situation.

We can only imagine the tears that will run down her face when she finds out that someone has donated to help her out. She is currently looking online for different types of hats she can wear for when her hair falls out. We know she is scared of everything that is coming but she is taking it like a trooper and making the best of it. Unfortunately, we don’t have a good answer for when she asks us why these things have to happen to her. All we can do is love her and support her through this.

Thank you all for your support and please keep her in your prayers.
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Bill Donat 
Birnamwood, WI
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