As many of you know, Katie Stolebarger was our assistant in the summers through her college years and then as our licensed assistant for years following her graduation. Through the years, she has gone out on her own and become a realtor at Windermere, gotten married, had a beautiful little boy Jackson, and then gone through some trials in her life. She is now a single mom and just found out that she has stage 4 cancer at the very early age of 32. It is so unbelievable because she was ALWAYS so diligent in eating correctly, exercising, etc. and yet she has CANCER. She is in for the fight of her life and will have MANY challenges ahead. Above all else, she needs your PRAYERS! Also, Windermere has opened an account for her:
Windermere Foundation/Katie Stolebarger, 1000 Northwest Blvd, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814. (All funds go directly to Katie)
Here is an excerpt from Katie of the beginning of her new journey:
“The start of my journey….
By Katie Stolebarger— Nov 21, 2014 11:46am
My world just got turned up side down this past week….
About a month and a half ago I noticed a swollen lymph node pop up under my arm pit. I didn’t think anything of it as I’ve had swollen lymph nodes in the past that usually go away on their own. I thought to myself that I would go have it checked out if it doesn’t go away in a month or so. I ended up at the doctor about 2 weeks ago for something unrelated and the doctor asked me if I had any unusual lumps in my female region or armpit and I told her that I did have a swollen lymph node under my arm pit. She thought it would be a good thing to have a biopsy on just in case.
I went in for a biopsy at the beginning of November. A very painful procedure by the way, as younger women’s tissue is much denser! The sound of the drill didn’t help things either. At this time I still thought in my mind that I just had a swollen lymph node and went on with my life as normal.
November 13th I went in to the surgeons office to receive the worst news of my life. The doctor walks in and hands me the kleenex box and says that he has bad news. “You have breast cancer that has spread to the lymph node and it is Stage 2-3”. It will be treated with Chemo, surgery and radiation.
The thoughts going through my mind are…. I’m only 32 years old, I’ve never smoked, I work out 3-4 times a week, I eat 90% organic, I drink green smoothies nearly every morning, I haven’t had a soda pop since 2007 and I don’t eat fast food. This CAN’T be possible!!
The past week has been test after test. It started with a mammogram in which I was the youngest woman in the room by about 20 years. I clearly didn’t belong there.
The next test was the MRI…. I was in to the hospital and they take me back. The woman was about to give me and IV with the fabulous mix that makes MRI’s possible and she notices that I’ve been coughing. I told her that I’ve had a cough for the last 2 weeks. She told me that once I’m in the MRI machine I won’t be able to cough for 30 minutes straight. I’m thinking to myself, is this a funny joke? It is not physically possible for me to not cough when I have a cough!!! I was about ready to get up and walk out of the hospital since I wasn’t going to be able to take the test. Instead, I decided to trust God for the first time on this journey. I said a prayer asking God to please calm my cough so I could take this test. We walk over to the MRI machine and she slides me in face down and I don’t cough or even have a tickle in my throat for a full 30 minutes. The moment she slides me out of the machine I start my coughing again. Nothing can explain that one other than God was with me!!!
Next test on November 19th was the PET scan. This test went nice and smoothly as I could leave my yoga pants and tank top on. They even gave me a heated blanket! After the PET scan my surgeon wanted me to swing by his office to discuss the test results. I walked into his office and we started chatting… a few minutes later they bring in the test results from the PET scan and he just starts shaking his head and says, “I have more bad news. The cancer has spread to two more sites. It is now in your hip within the bone and a vertebrae on your spine. It is Stage 4”. I immediately start sobbing and still can’t believe such a thing could be happening to me.
Next was the Oncologist meeting across the hall. I’m still thinking to myself, I’m the youngest person sitting in this waiting room. I should not be here! The next few hours were with the Oncologist discussing diagnosis and treatment plan. He said I will probably lose my hair. I said, “don’t worry my girlfriends, Alicia and Jill are going with me to pick out a wig”. One of the biggest questions I had for him was…. will I ever be able to have kids again? He said, “maybe, maybe not”. I’m having to let go of all of my dreams for my life and just let God be in control of my destiny. It just makes me love Jackson that much more!!!
Next meeting was with the social worker at the Oncologist office. She is helping me with dealing with insurance and meeting financial obligations. I’ve never once been worried about the money because I know that God has to take care of it and he already has. I do have health insurance but the deductible is $10,000 and the max out of pocket is $17,000. Sue, the social worker already had grant applications available for me to sign to help me meet my deductible and copay cards for some of my chemo drugs. I had no clue that there were foundations available for this sort of thing.
I’m scheduled to get a port installed and I will be starting Chemo the first week of December.
I just want to say thank you for all of your prayers, love and support. I would not be able to go through this without all of my friends and family supporting me. Thank you in advance and I love you all!!! Sorry in advance if I don’t return your messages/texts/calls, I’m already very overwhelmed. Do know that I appreciate them and they do not go un-noticed!”
We love you Katie dear and will be praying for you and little Jackson diligently. You have been a true blessing to us!
Caring for Katie and Little Jackson