Kyla McCullough

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Day That I Will Never Forget

Forever a day etched in my mind. I do not remember much about Kyla's illness, as in a detailed list of the every day life we had with her throughout the sickness. I do, however, remember this day very well. I woke up from a very bad dream with Kyla tapping my shoulder, once again complaining of her headache that she just can't seem to shake. I get up from my bed a little alarmed, so much so, that I call the doctor
right away. The last time I called about her headaches I was told to feed her more and make sure she takes in enough iron...this time I was determined for her to be seen. Her normal doctor, Dr. Barsotti, was not in so she had to see Dr. Hamel. I didn't really care who she saw at this point, I just wanted her seen. Her appointment was late enough in the day that I could still get my brakes fixed on the car, and make it for her softball game that started at 6:30pm. As my dad and I were driving back to my parents house after dropping the car off my mom called me; she was watching the girls for me. She told me Kyla needed to be seen sooner then 1pm, "Honey, I think you need to take her right now." I get off the phone and call the doctor's office right away and demand for her to be seen, they were great and got her in as soon as I could get her there. On my way I called Bret from my mom's car and let him know we were going in now.... he was gone from his office before we hung up the phone.

As we were in the little 4x6 room at the pediatricians office I looked at Bret who had fear in his eyes. Dr. Hamel had Kyla do a lot of tests..."Can you close your eyes and touch your nose? How about lifting your arms in the air?" She could do none of these things with her left side, but he told her she did great as he passed on a referral for us to go to Emanuel right away to get an MRI. When I wanted more answers from him all he could say is, "Go and get more tests done and then you will know more." Kyla wanted to ride with Bret in his truck, as I followed to Emanuel Children's Hospital. I carried Kyla for as long as I could from the truck to the hospital, she knew I was nervous which made her a bit uneasy as well. After we got checked in we had a very young doctor come in and examine Kyla the same way Dr. Hamel did a few hours ago. I looked at this young doctor, "So is there something wrong with her heart?" He told me he didn't know for sure what was wrong with her. I fired back, "Yes I know that you don't know for sure, that's not what I'm asking. Just by seeing what you are seeing right now and with the information we've given you...what do you think is wrong with her?" He just shook his head and told me to wait for the MRI to give me the answers I was looking for. UGH!

An hour later Bret and I are in another waiting room fixating on the giant fish tank wondering if our daughter was alright while she was getting her MRI taken. It was only twenty minutes later when an older doctor with an assistant came up to us. He looked at us, "Are you Kyla's parents?" Not being able to speak we both just shook our heads. He asked us to come with him into another room. My legs were shaking,
I don't know much about doctors and the lingo they use, but I know enough that when they ask you to go to another room it can only mean one thing....bad news.

He said, "Your daughter has been experiencing headaches because there is a high grade glioma tumor growing at the tip of her brain stem. Because of it's size the brain is trying to compensate for it which is causing massive swelling, which is in turn making her head hurt. Now, because of the glioma's size and placement it is unfortunately inoperable." Bret starts crying, as I look at the assistant in shock...she can only look at me with sorrow in her eyes. I look back at the doctor as he continues, "I'm very sorry but she isn't going to make it. You will most likely have only a few more months with her, if it stays the size that it is. If it grows any more, which it looks like it will, it could be as little as a few weeks. I'm very sorry...".

I put up my hand to stop him from speaking as I say, "Please stop....please....just wait a minute." I find myself not being able to breathe, I can't talk, I can't see straight. My vision is cloudy all of a sudden and I feel sick to my stomach. Bret grabs my hands and tells me he's sorry, "God, Brettie, I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry... it's Kyla... it's Kyla...I'm so sorry!"

Yes...June 20, 2005...a day that I will never forget.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Am Humbled To Be Her Mom

This last Saturday, June 9th, we celebrated our first annual Dinner and Silent Auction for the Kyla McCullough Gift Fund. A group of us came early and set up the auction room, the ballroom, and dressed up the billiard room just a bit with a few balloons. Our group helped set up the band, as well as arranged the tables in such a way that a dance floor could be visible. I looked down at my watch and realized I had about ten minutes to get myself ready. The group of women went into the bathroom, because you know we women travel together, and we started talking about small things in order to relieve the nerves from our minds. I got into my outfit and as I looked into the mirror to make sure all the tags were in and there were no loose strings, I had to take a deep breath. I had talked to God for so many days about this very night, and all of a sudden here I am. My hopes for the night had taken me so high, I was afraid to look down for fear of falling without a safety net.

I was now out in the ballroom talking to the band making sure everything was in place, the nerves still making their presence known, when I made my way to the back of the room. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my husband, he was dressed for the evening as well, with that smile on his face and I knew no matter what happened for the rest of the night... everything would be okay. The nerves were gone, I was at peace. The upstairs to the Black Point Inn, started to get full and before I knew it there were so many people that I didn't know where to begin to say hello. I tried to get to everyone as well as trying to make sure everything was going smoothly... I know I missed saying hi to a ton of people.


Seven o'clock rolled around which meant it was time for Bret and I to make our quick speech to the 120 people who were in the ballroom waiting for the evening to officially start. As Bret and I were trying to make sure we had our piece of paper which held an outline of what we were going to say, I asked Bret if I could chicken out. He looked at me and said, "NO!" So I turned around and started in with my speech... I welcomed everyone and told them that we were happy to have them there. I know I said some other things, but I honestly can't remember what I said, and no, I didn't follow my piece of paper. Bret then spoke and did all the thank you's to Lisa and Matt Ramage, Kelly Gettel, Stephanie Sisul, and my parents Curt and Yvonne Thies. Nathan Schmidt was called up to say a prayer to guide this night and our time together. He then did the 'shark' children's prayer, which was one of Kyla's favorite table prayers, and it was absolutely perfect. Bret and I thought it was time to tell everyone to have a great night and enjoy themselves as we escorted the first two tables to get their meals.

The food was great, the company was wonderful, and the atmosphere was just divine. The auction was a hit, the band was on point, and the bar was slammed. Bret and I did our best to keep up with all the different options thrown to us... do we sit and talk to more people, do we go into the auction room and bid on items, do we eat a little more food, do we take a moment to dance with each other, do we help with the bid numbers, do we take money for the wristbands, do we take photos of our friends? Nine o'clock was knocking so Bret introduced Wayne Harvey, who was our Make-A-Wish wish granter with Kyla. He was able to come and share some of his experiences with our group and tell him that there are so many other ways to make a difference in children's lives other then money. Shawna Peters was then asked to come to the stage and talk about her experiences with Make-A-Wish. She did a great job in letting people know that even though you may think being a wish granter would take up a lot of your time, it really doesn't. She let people know the reason she became involved with the organization is because of Kyla and wanting to help children who are like Kyla was.

After some tears were shed, the auction room opened up again so people could pick up their item that they won. The band started up again, and people went back to having a great time. The night ended early, well not early, just on time as a matter of fact. We were able to take everything down, stay and chat, and be out of there right when we wanted to... eleven-thirty. The night was perfect...for our first time doing this dinner and silent auction, it couldn't have gone any better.

As the next day came I woke up not really realizing what had just happened the night before. I got to thinking about Kyla, about her spirit, and about her strength. I thought about the night before and how I can see her being so proud of what we accomplished. Everyone who came, came for her. Bret, Lisa, Matt, Kelly, Stephanie, Curt, Yvonne, and I.... we put on this fundraiser for Kyla. She drove this function, through us... she was the one who gave us the strength at one in the morning when we wanted to go to bed, but didn't because we had to organize the booklets we had to give to people. Or the afternoons when I would look into our den and want to give up because there were so many auction items I could hardly walk to my computer. Kyla gave all of us the motivation to succeed.

Our goal for the night was to raise enough money for one wish, for one child to get his/her wish granted, which is $5,000. That night we raised over $16,500 total! We will be able to not only give one child a wish... but two. God is good all the time! Thank you to all who came to help these children find peace in their life, even if it's just for a week. Look at what people can accomplish when their hearts are in the right place. My daughter, Kyla, is smiling with joy... my daughter, Kyla, is proud of all of you... and I truly hope that my daughter, Kyla, knows that it's because of her that this has happened. I am humbled to be her mom...I would want no other job.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I Miss My Kyla

Hi my name is Kora, I am 5 years old, and I am Kyla's sister. My birthday is coming up so my sister Kyla used to play with me a lot. Even we had fun together, we played hide and seek we even played game boards together. She knew about me a lot, she knew my favorite color was blue, what I like to eat... oh she let me have a bite of her food all the time. When I was three and it was my birthday I got a blow up SpongeBob chair... it was really big. Kyla kept wanting to sit in it but I didn't like her to. She didn't listen so I kicked her and she started laughing. She gave me the seat and my mom told me I had to share with Kyla so I did. But then Kyla taught me how to jump on the chair and onto the couch so I did. But then I popped it and Kyla laughed again. I was sad.

We also rode rides together in Disneyland. There was this one ride where you fly over California and it was super fun! My uncle Joey was sitting by me and Kyla and our legs were dangling. I also liked to ride It's A Small World, we road in a boat and it was so big we could all get in it.

I miss my Kyla but I know she is with me all the time. She is up in Heaven but when I need her she will be coming here with me and if I want her at night in the dark she can see me even though I can't see her.

Love- Kora