My name is Katie Blackdeer and I’m 30 years old. I grew up on a farm in rural Floyd, IA. I went to school at Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock and this is where I found my soulmate, Cody Blackdeer. We dated for 7 years before we wed on Aug. 16, 2008. We then moved to Rockwell where we currently reside. We started our family in 2011 with a beautiful girl named Olivia (6). A few years later we were blessed with spontaneous triplet girls, Maxine, Brycelynn and Katelynn, all 4. I am a happy stay at home mom while my husband works at Five Star Cooperative in Mason City as an Agronomy Operations Supervisor. My children are my life and I would do anything for them. I love spending my free time with family and friends shopping, going out to eat and going to movies.
January 2017 is when I started to become very sick with severe migraines along with nausea, vomiting, blurry vision and dizziness. This went on for two weeks and each week I was getting worse and not getting any better. I went to the ER at Mercy to see what was going on with me. At this time, I found out that I had an ear infection, which was causing my migraines and other symptoms, so they gave me medicine and I went on my way. Another two weeks went by and still no relief. I was puzzled and didn’t understand what was going on with me. I had called to get in to see my primary care doctor to get a second opinion on my situation. On February 14, I saw my doctor and explained to him my situation. He immediately scheduled an MRI for Mon Feb. 20th. A few days later, after seeing my doctor and feeling worse, I had my family take me to the ER in MC where we demanded to have an MRI or CT done. I knew something was wrong and I couldn’t wait any longer. I received a CT scan and I will never forget this day for it was then, that I found out that there was a mass on my brain. They immediately scheduled me to get an MRI done as well. The MRI imaging showed a large posterior fossa mass (grade 4 medulloblastoma tumor) centered around the left cerebellar hemisphere with obstruction of the 4th ventricle and early signs of obstructive hydrocephalus. Mercy had decided it was best for me to seek care somewhere else considering the type of tumor and its rarity in adults. They referred me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a second opinion. Feb. 20th, I checked in Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Mary’s Campus early morning and on the following day, Feb 21st, I underwent a sub occipital craniotomy with resection of the tumor. On Feb. 23rd I had a placement of a right frontal external ventricular drain for hydrocephalus. On Feb. 27th, I underwent a second surgery with an endoscopic third ventriculostomy procedure to treat hydrocephalus.
My road to recovery has been very long for both myself and my family. I had no idea the extent of what was going to happen after I had my surgeries. My mobility, speech, some memory and cognitive state was gone. I had to relearn everything all over again. My vision was worse, I was seeing double vision and could barely keep my eyes open. I started inpatient rehabilitation on March 2nd at St. Mary’s for 14 days. On March 23rd, I started proton beam radiation every day, five days a week for six weeks followed by outpatient rehab, during the six weeks I stayed in Rochester. I was able to come home on the weekends to see my family. I took a month off from radiation in May before I could start my chemotherapy. I started chemotherapy on June 13th in Rochester. I go four days out of each month for four months, followed by weekly labs. I am still currently undergoing chemotherapy at this time. I have been blessed so far with not being sick from radiation nor chemotherapy, but I did lose my hair during radiation and my vision is still no better. I have one more month of chemotherapy in September. Thereafter, I will continue labs and MRI’s. Everything is showing improvement and no signs of any recurrence. My mother has been with me every step of the way, never leaving my side and I am so forever grateful. I want to thank my husband Cody for being so patient and always being there for me and our children at a time like this. Thank you to My Happy Haven and everyone involved with redoing my bedroom for me, making me feel even more comfortable. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a great organization that gives to women who have had to face one of the hardest things in life…cancer.