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Twenty years ago, Kathleen and Katie’s lives first intersected via their children, a bond sparked at school committee meetings and on the sidelines of the soccer field and volleyball court. Both tall in stature and sharing a quick and slightly irreverent sense of humor, they quickly became good friends.
Kathleen is a mother of four and has been married to her husband Mike for 22 years. She has spent the last two decades organizing and managing her busy family’s life, volunteering, and dropping off forgotten lunches. Exceptionally accomplished at driving carpools and running errands, she is creative, generous and has a knack for seeing the humor in just about every circumstance, a gift that has served her well through the many hours she has spent in hospitals, doctors’ offices and recovery rooms for herself, her daughters and several of her siblings.
Personal Insight into Recovery Needs…
Kathleen’s mother died at age 48, the fifth member of her family to contract terminal stomach cancer. In 2004, Kathleen learned that she had inherited the life threatening gene mutation that had killed her mother, grandfather, two aunts and an uncle. Then 37 years old with children aged 4, 6, 8 and 10, Kathleen and Mike worked with a medical team compiled by her genetics counselor to better understand the implications of this finding for both Kathleen and their children.
Advised that Kathleen’s immediate health was their priority, Kathleen and Mike began what would be a very long and difficult journey to ensure Kathleen’s health and recovery. The first step would be a total gastrectomy (complete removal of the stomach), the only viable option due to the type of stomach cancer associated with Kathleen’s gene mutation.
Prior to her surgery, Kathleen created the first Recovery Bound Journal™ as a means of managing the overwhelming amounts of information, stress and anxiety associated with her serious diagnosis.
Over the next ten years following the gastrectomy, an appendectomy, bilateral mastectomy (with reconstruction), oophorectomy and a hysterectomy followed. Today, the self-proclaimed Ectomy Queen, leads a very healthy, active life.
A Personal Testimony
The Recovery Bound Journal was a Godsend from the start. Accompanying Kathleen and family to every appointment she quickly realized that a bag for the Journal and other necessities was essential. The Journal organized follow-up appointments, medications, equipment and the enormous volume of day-to-day information imparted during an extended hospital stay and recovery.
Several years ago, Kathleen and Mike learned that teen-aged daughters Audrey and Perry both have the gene mutation. Based on family history, medical experts advised that both girls undergo gastrectomies.
As mother and primary caregiver throughout her girls’ procedures, Kathleen has developed even further insight into what both patients and their loved ones experience during an extended period of medical crisis and recovery. Channeling that knowledge into Send Well Wishes has been cathartic and life-giving.
Katie has her MBA from St. Louis University, was a marketing director for a global corporation and ran her own consulting business for 11 years before accepting the position of Advancement Director at a private Catholic, girls’ high school. Mother of four, Katie has mastered the art of multi-tasking—juggling among family, work and a wide variety of outside interests. As of this fall she and Brian, her husband of 28 years, are empty nesters.
Katie is fortunate to have both parents—age 83—still in her life and, along with her three siblings, has cared for them through multiple extensive recoveries over the past decade—an incredible blessing which also poses practical challenges to balancing life’s other demands. The Recovery Bound Journal has allowed Katie, her two brothers and sister to care for their parents as a unified team, communicating effectively and working efficiently to ensure quality, compassionate care and advocacy for their parents.
Beyond the Journal
Katie and Kathleen have designed Send Well Wishes gift packages to offer a thoughtful alternative to the traditional, but not always practical, gifts of food or flowers for recovering loved ones. Choose from a variety of adult or child, male or female packages, to provide a combination of uniquely personal and practical items that extend comfort and care to those experiencing an extended medical stay. Optional add-on items allow you to personalize your gift even more.
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