Monday, July 30, 2012

Good Things Are Happening

July has been a busy month, but you wouldn't know it from reading here - it's the LACK of postings that tells the story! Let me fill you in...

David had his wisdom teeth removed last week. This was his first surgery (two were impacted), his first IV (as he noted) and his first experience with general anaesthesia. I wondered if I would have any symptoms of PTSD when taking him in for the procedure or caring for him afterward, but it didn't happen. He did well, he was funny on drugs immediately following the surgery (reminded me of Katie on what they call "happy juice" in the hospital), and we had a quiet few days here.

The day after his surgery, I went to Camp Goodtimes West again to volunteer with the Arts and Crafts program on Carnival day. It is a perfect venue for me to help. As time goes by, my love for, understanding and appreciation of the magic of camp grows. I am so very thankful that Katie was touched by it, especially considering what awaited her just two months later. I like to think that it brought her back to some connection with her self as a KID after the horrific trauma of cancer treatment, and before the issues of facing her own mortality.
Carnival Day at Camp with a Rotary friend, Bunky, Mooselips, and me (Truffle)
Lunch on the deck with Camp staff and volunteers (some of their names: Gypsy, Yak, Leo, Flower and Loop)
Have I mentioned that Camp is on an island, and that Katie's ashes were scattered in that harbor? I think so.
I attended a class this month about blogging, and am planning to start a new, different blog. I feel called to write more about the spiritual journey, about the impact of Katie's life, but also about this new life, and perhaps a bit less about our own family/home life. I will keep up this blog in that vein, but will branch out further to new, exciting frontiers on the new blog. I plan to give it a name and announce it here soon.

Today, I met with the new person assigned to the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital's Foundation. I will be updating that blog with more information soon, but the big news is that Katie's endowment's income will now be funding research at the Ben Towne Center for Pediatric Cancer Research, under the guidance of Dr. Michael Jensen! This has been our goal and desire since we first heard about Dr. Jensen's work, and we are thrilled to say that, due to the generosity of our family and friends who have donated, her endowment is now contributing in a concrete ($$) way.

When Katie was on hospice care and knew that she was going to pass away, we broached the subject of creating an endowment in her memory. We asked if she had any special requests. Her reply was that she wanted the endowment to support research to cure the cancer she had (adrenocortical carcinoma). Since this illness is so very  rare, we expanded the mission to include research that will lead to cures for "all solid tumors." Dr. Jensen's work will do just that. Clinical trials for new therapies are set to commence this fall, perhaps as early as September!

I am creating a proposal to teach a class in our community, and am filling out an application to enroll in a program that is very near to my heart's desire. I will post here as the answers roll in.

We have hosted friends and family here, and have been to visit others.
At my parents' home with friends, just before digging into the trifle that I made for dessert.

Gregg took a 10-day trip to France and Spain for work. He was able to see new places, eat and drink well, and still accomplish what was needed for his firm. He enjoyed the fireworks in honor of Bastille Day in Biarritz, and was near the Tour de France route, but didn't intersect it.

There is guild news in the works, and that will be posted soon.

What's new with YOU?


Elizabeth said...

My goodness -- there is so much hear to celebrate and to exult in! I am most curious and excited about the new blogging adventure AND the endowment. Congrats on both!

You are, as always, an inspiration and a joy.

ChiTown Girl said...

WOW! No wonder you've been AWOL lately. As much as I've missed you, I'm so excited for all that is going on in your world. I can't wait to read all about each new adventure as it unfolds.

Robin Gaphni said...

Busy indeed! Wow, Karen. I can't wait to hear more about your new blogging adventures and the program you're enrolling in. I love hearing about everything you're doing. You're an inspiration!

kell said...

Hi Karen, have been busy and absent too, and just catching up on your news. Congratulations on Katie's endowment, you must be so proud of her and what the endowment entails. So inspiring. Would love to follow along on your new blog as well. Take care x PS: I love that photo of you dressed up with the flower in your hair, too cute!

AnnDeO said...

So exciting about everything opening up in your life. I jumped at seeing "Biarritz" I hitchhiked there as a young lady, spent the days surfing and hanging at the beach and then at the hostel watching videos and meeting other young ones from all over the world. Brought back good memories.

Kay said...

Wow...busy busy! You're amazing. Can't wait to hear all the details of the new blog and other ventures that are coming to be. : )

Leslie said...

Karen, what a wonderful and joyous blog to read (minus David going through surgery! Glad you and he are doing well.) Sounds like the month of July has been packed full!

I am incredibly happy Katie's endowment will go to the Ben Towne Foundation and Dr. Jensen's research. What an amazing thing. I can't even put into words. A bit emotional (the happy kind) when I read this!

I still need to meet him :)

What remarkable things are on the the horizon!

Much Love

Dawn ~ BJSMomma said... sure have been busy! It all sounds so fresh air (that we constantly need). I am excited for you in your new ventures. I am sure it will be quite the "ride". AND you will do quite well!
Thanks for sharing!

Karen said...

I am so excited about your new blog. I think the spiritual journey after a profound loss is a wide open field, and your thoughts will be eagerly anticipated. You are really branching out, Karen. So many new things in your life, and your cup is overflowing. I like seeing that.
Best wishes for deep joy in all your pursuits.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm so glad David made it through his surgery...and YOU too mama. You've been busy. I usually notice when you are not posting and think of all the things you are accomplishing! Usually it is a lot and this is no different.
Excited about the new blog, about you teaching, about everything! I love the photo of you at camp....How many times does someone think you are one of the cute camp kiddos??