Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just Imagine

When I stop and listen to all of the questions and concerns asked about my cancer, I have to wonder how much everyone really knows about cancer. Obviously, there are millions of people directly in contact with cancer fighters across the world. My goal through this blog is to share some of my journey- my interaction with this nightmarish disease. 

Today I'd like to take your mind on a tour. I know that there are thousands of readers spread out across the planet- so a real-life tour is a bit far fetched! ;) On this tour, you will have to dig deep in your busy mind and just imagine. 

Imagine if you had cancer. Imagine if all normality in your life immediately ceased and a new lifestyle was forced upon you. Imagine if your life goals were paused and your dreams stripped away. Imagine the amount of grief that is quickly instilled on all those that know you- the pain of possibly of losing you. Imagine if everyone you love and care for tries helplessly to aid you on your new journey.

(Sleep- the one escape from the onslaught of nausea)

Imagine if you had to start treatment: unknowns from every angle. Imagine the fear of subjecting your body to hazardous drugs that are now your lifeline. Imagine traveling to the hospital, knowing that for days your body will continually be fighting not only cancer but also the life-saving drugs. Imagine laying in a hospital for an entire week with constant waves of sickness flooding your body. Imagine being so sick to the point that knocking yourself out is the best option. Imagine the heaviness of these treatments for months on end. 

Imagine yearning for normality: a simple breath of relief. Imagine the waves of sadness as you watch your fellow cancer fighters fall victim to their disease. Imagine the weight of death that is present in every day. Imagine being submerged in a world with the statistical odds always stacked against you. Imagine your future looking so bright, yet so clouded by uncertainty. 

(P4's Tree of hope for all the cancer fighting heros!)

Imagine life and family being all you fight for. Where every day is a battle against your body and mind. Imagine watching the world go on while you fight a battle so few can truly understand. 

Though many try, few can truly grasp the enormity of cancer. Those who fight this battle realize that the most precious thing in life is not made of a certain material, but rather is the time we are given.

It seems that the greatest gift one could truly give is acknowledging that you cannot truly grasp where a cancer-fighter is. Knowing that it's not about saying the perfect words, but rather investing the gift that God only gives- our time together.

Throughout this holiday season, I am looking forward to making that investment - our time together. Though the past is constructed of happy memories, I find it important that we create only happier memories now. In all honesty, none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow! The smartest investment we can make is in each other.

Try and give the gift of being together! That is one gift that you can't mess up. :) 

(Rolling with the family, getting out of the house is an incredible break from the monotony of treatment!)

Monday, November 16, 2015


I know I have posted before about thankfulness, however, there are a few reasons to write on this topic. First off, writing these blogs is just one way that I can cope with all the incredible emotions that cancer offers. That being said, why not reflect on the positives of my cancer? Also, seeing that Thanksgiving is next weekend, how could I not reflect on thankfulness?

First of all, I am thankful for my primary support group- my family. Through these past seven months of treatment, my family has carried me through both painful treatments and dark days. Without these anchors in my life, I know that I would be tossed, battered, and beaten without any sense of direction or hope. I would also like to express thanks to my incredible Aunt Jenny! Yet again she was able to help spread our story by lining up an interview with the Janesville Gazette. (click HERE for link) Through the past seven months, I have seen our family draw closer together while facing most people's greatest fear. 

(Jordyn and I "personalizing" her masks) 

Secondly, I am thankful for my second family. The nurses at American Family Children's Hospital have been nothing short of amazing. Every other week I get the privilege to pack my bags and move back to my second home. Though my body is subjected to chemotherapy, my spirits are always lifted by the time spent coloring masks, singing, or hanging out at the Nurse's Station! 

Finally, I am incredibly thankful for all of you! I know this may seem a bit "general", but your constant prayers, love, and support has continually upheld my family and I through this. Wether it be our neighbors love-infused meals or your daily prayers, I could not be more thankful for all that you have done! I am truly blessed to have such an amazing crew! :) 

(A perfect thought for this Thanksgiving Season)

In conclusion, this Thanksgiving I have learned that though life may be far from what I want- I can still thank God for all that He has given. Cancer has shed light on the fact that what means the most to me is not in material objects- but in my family and friends!  

Thursday, October 29, 2015


As I sit here trying to force the "perfectly enlightening" blogpost, I struggle with the reality of where I am. Though many would consider the halfway point to be the "breakthrough" I seem to dread what is still to come. 

 I would like to break down the halfway point into two sets of realities. 

First off, the reality of what lies ahead.

Though I have fought through seven months of treatment, it seems to only get harder. Instead of my body adapting to chemo, it is only breaking down. My cell counts continue to plunge with no sense of urgency when it comes to bouncing back. Mentally, I am growing to despise treatment. Sometimes, the more you do something- the better it gets. However, with chemotherapy it is the polar opposite. With every treatment the nausea worsens. It's like my body knows what is coming, and "throws a fit" before I even begin.

With the harsh realities that chemo brings, it seems best to ignore myself and just press on. Though I could sit here and wallow in the grief and pain of it all, I'd like to move on to the second reality.

The reality of what I have gained.

Through this journey, I have been incredibly humbled at the support that has been shown. Whether meals from our neighbors, letters in the mail, messages on Facebook, or the thousands of prayers- you all have been there from the beginning. I cannot thank you enough! I have come to know many other cancer fighters, nurses, and friends along this pathway. You all alone are priceless!

Secondly, the memories that have been created are amazing! When you live with a disease that steadily claims 70% of those effected, you learn to cherish every day. I owe an incredible thank you to my family who has supported, cared, and loved me through every step of this journey. Whether going to a Josh Groban concert in Chicago, or simply working for my brother's business, I have found that being thankful for every day God gives brings more happiness than the cancer can take away!

(An incredible supper before our concert!)

For myself, cancer has taught me to cherish the moments that God gives to me. Learning to live like there is no tomorrow isn't necessarily a bad thing. Though cancer would like to strip normalcy from me, I have found that doing the "most normal" things will help to get me through this.

(Josh Groban in the Chicago Theatre!)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Warped Normalcy

Hello my dear friends and family. 

As many of you know, our family has been hit (yet again) with another major diagnosis. 

(My beautiful, always protective and caring Princess)

This past week we found out that the youngest Type One Trio member has been diagnosed with JME (Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy). For the fifth time in five years we have been blindsided. Normality continues to be warped into a jumbled mess of grief and hardship. I look at our life and momentarily wonder if there is any control in the chaos? If there is any relief in the pain? 

Obviously, epilepsy is even more complicated with Type One Diabetes. Low blood sugars alone can send Hannah into a seizure. Complications come with this new diagnosis as well. It's not just "simply" Type One. It is now fighting the reality that every night we watch Hannah head to bed, there are two diseases with the ability to send her young body into danger.

I live for hope. 
It's what I must do. Without it, I drown. 
Within the harsh and overbearing realities that overwhelm and flood our lives, a light stands bright. In darkness, light shines the brightest.

Is this life easy? Is this life comfortable? Is life convenient? Not at all. 
However, the wisest move to be made is that of trusting that this isn't what we live for. 
YOLO - you only live once. A popular statement, no? 
But afterwards... our destination arrives. Only security in eternity provides security in this life.

Due to the fact I haven't had chemo in three weeks (bad blood counts), I have had the opportunity to show my face in public. The most common statement I hear is, "Wow! You look way better than I imagined! I can't believe you are out!" I always respond with a kind "thank you" and resume enjoying the freedom. However, please understand. Though I present myself in an alive manner, it is because I fight for that. I fight to remain myself. At the beginning of this journey, I found that without consciously working towards a state of normality, cancer would beat me down. It would strip me of who I am and the personality that defines me. So simply, thanks for the kind remark - but if you were able to enter my body for one hour you would be overrun with a flood of physical and mental pain. This is what cancer is and does. Yet, I plan to withhold the opportunity for cancer to steal the show! ;) 

I want to thank everyone for the amazing support that you have given. Letters, meals, and kind gestures of love have flooded the Hatchett home!

 (Friend and neighbor Sheriff Otterbacher took me for an awesome day of radiation!)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

To Only Know

I've taken the task of writing this blog to both inform, advocate, and share our journey through both cancer and Type One Diabetes. I've taken the time to be honest and kind while dealing in a world of raw emotion. I've taken the responsibility of fighting this ominous battle, whether I "feel like it" or not.

That being said, this past week evolved into a monster of a situation. 

To only know what cancer can do - is powerful 
To only know the sickness and challenges that flood those who walk cancer - is even more powerful.
To only know what you have in life - is the most powerful.

(Please excuse my face: I'm not photogenic, when I'm sick of course)

I was admitted last Wednesday (only two days after spending five in for inpatient chemo) for mucositis, vomiting, and dehydration. What was to be a two-day stay turned quickly into an easy seven. In my view, the mucositis was a hefty enough blow for me. My white counts and neutrophils (immune system) quickly began to tank. Frankly, this is how you do not want a sick stay to go. Within two days, the colitis took the spotlight. Between high fevers, urinary retention, and other various problems, the colitis was masked and showing up as a possible narcotic side effect. Due to the fevers, I was immediately put on antibiotics. This proved to be helpful once we found that my main issue was the colitis, due to the fact it was started by infection in the colon walls. In the end, they upped the antibiotics and finally got the pain in control. Though they wanted me to stay longer, I could not (mentally) bear to be there. They let me go home as long as I will hook myself up for IV antibiotics every day. (This is not so much of a problem since I love being my own nurse)

(My lovely set up for IV antibiotics. Looks cool- tastes terrible!)

So why expound on this lovely "story," "scenario," or "event?"

Here's my point: if everyone truly knew what they had, you would live life differently!

I didn't understand it before cancer. I don't expect anyone to get it. That is unless I can accurately portray the reality of a life-altering disease; if I can accurately assist you in seeing what life is like living every day in the shadow of death.

The colitis is worse than even I thought. In the words of my medical team, it was a "life-threatening complication of chemotherapy".
This is my reality. This is what I know.

I know you are smart. (I mean hey, you read this blog - big bonus points!) I know many of you have lived longer and have a better grip on what life is like.

However, the vast majority (if not everyone) do not know what it's like to live with metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma. To live with numerous side effects. To live on the edge.
After being confined to my room, the return to "normality" means so much more! Waking up in my own bed, breathing fresh air, and even appearing somewhat normal helps me realize the worth of the little things. With or without cancer life is hard. In my case, enjoying every minute of life helps me heal and shows me what is truly valuable.

I this blog to both enlighten and inspire.
This isn't supposed to be a sad post. . . just needed to be an enlightening one! ;)

(Jordyn and I lighting up P4. Nothing like a good bit of neon!)

Friday, August 28, 2015

A "Thank You" to You!

It has been almost five months since I was diagnosed. With the many events that have transpired during this time, it makes me feel like it has been much longer. Through thick and thin, there has always been a steady component of this journey that has not wavered- our support. I know I have used the word support in past entries, which makes me feel like "support" is a weak word. So let me break it down.

For myself, support is a multifaceted.
Whether a simple letter of encouragement or a helping gesture, the key to support is the love that fuels it. I feel that words are unfair when trying to thank the multitudes of people that have given in both time and resources. However, seeing that I am tied down in the hospital or recovering from the hospital- it seems that words will have to do. 


Though sometimes this may seem small, it is a direct access to the One who holds me in His hands. Thank you all for the countless times you have upheld my family and I up in prayer. I know there are friends and families all across the world that are constantly praying. Your prayers do not go unnoticed and are cherished. 

P4/ Second Home

I still don't understand how so many amazing people can be found in one place. I could easily sit down and write a statement describing the incredible, astonishing, and selfless love shown by each of them, however I may have to save that for a later post. It seems unfair that they are the unsung heroes to so many stories, when they are the frontline to beating cancer. I dream of one day being with them all, curing kids and being . . . well, awesome!! 

Thank you for the embarrassing/exciting Birthday surprise you al threw for me. You all are the best! :-) 


I have a one-gallon bag that holds at least 800-1000 letters. Cards that so many of you have taken the time to write. Cards that are infused with love, inspiration, and hope. Thank you all for the love you have sent my way. Thank you also for the many financial gifts of support, whether through letters or GoFundMe! Your kindness is truly humbling.

(It was nothing short of amazing getting to connect with my buddy before he heads back to college)

 Whether traveling from other states (Alabama, Michigan, South Carolina), cooking meals, helping with construction, calling to check on us, visiting at the hospital, or providing space- the selfless support that everyone has provided is such an encouragement. Thank you for giving your time and love to help us right now. You all have given so much to lighten the load. (You know who you are) :)

(Pre-Birthday Celebrations with family)

Every day, every hour, and every minute my family has been by my side. Whether good days or bad, they have never stopped helping and loving me. I owe so much to each one of them. Thank you to my Dad for supporting our family and grounding us in truth and love. Thank you to my Mom for constantly caring me- unconditionally. Thank you to Ben- my thinker, steady-head, and singing buddy! Thank you to Samuel for being our "Steadifier: someone who steadies things" (in many aspects of life). Thank you to Daniel for keeping things together and our lives in order. Thank you to Hannah, our treasured princess who constantly radiates love and beauty. 

(Chilling before heading out to this past 5Day chemo)

In the end, you all have touched my life through many different avenues.
Please know that we could not manage without you all!

Much Love

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Blindsided: "to catch someone unprepared; to be attack from an unexpected position"

("It's not about what you have in life, but who you have in your lives that really matter")

We entered the UW Hospital this morning with an ample amount of anxiousness. The "firsts" of anything proves to be fairly unnerving when dealing in the realm of cancer. After a lovely run in with one of my favorite AFCH nurses (picture above), we entered our radiation consult room to prepare for my first radiation treatment.


It is a feeling that takes your breath away; that leaves one motionless and quiet. A feeling that makes one pinch themselves to confirm reality.

Today we found that the Ewing's has also spread to my lymph nodes. 

As I sit here and ponder how to adequately explain this, I find my mind racing. Cancer is very multi-faceted. Nothing is simple within this battlefield- everything is complex. I wish that this draining feeling would stop. That the barrage of new issues would cease. I just want the war to be over, the pain to be gone, and normality restored.

This  war is far from over. The demoralizing issues continue to come, whether I am prepared or not. These are moments where one either succumbs to the overwhelming situations, or turns the tables to see the glorious grace that is hidden beneath.  

So where does treatment go from here? 
Nothing changes. I am currently receiving the most amount of chemo that is used to take this cancer out. If I had one tumor- or ten, the chemotherapy treatment plan wouldn't change.
Radiation, however, is a different story.
Though the cancerous nodules in my lungs resolved, we will have to still radiate. The radiation field is quite large. Because this is a one time deal, the plan is to be as aggressive as possible. I will be receiving the maximum dosage allowed over the course of 40 radiation treatments. (2 months) Radiation treatment alone is not too terrible- the side effects are the nightmare. With the amount, field size, and potency of this radiation- the chances for lung scarring, throat issues, and other sizable problems is almost certain. Please pray that these would be minimized. I don't care to describe the pages of side effects, but when your doctor talks about "possible oxygen for life"- it leaves a mark. Trust me, I understand many of the side effects are rare. I just realize that the burning in my feet were also an "extremely rare" side effect. I seem to have a knack for falling victim to such side effects. 

I still feel breathless,
I still want this to be over,
I still want to wake up from this nightmare,
I still want a normal life- 
yet the Creator of this universe has chosen me for this war. He has chose me for this path, and He has equipped me with my incredible family, friends, and support.

Thank you for your love and prayers.

Much love,


(A very kind but random kid gave this to me. . . Love straight from her heart)