Introducing Sara Bragiel
Sara was born on 07/24/01, she is our youngest and only daughter. Sara is as tough as her brothers because she had no choice and she bosses them around and truly believes she rules the house. Sara attended St. Rene Goupil Grammar School and is currently a freshman at Queen of Peace High School. Sara played softball, basketball, was a cheerleader and plays volleyball for Queen of Peace. In August of 2015, just as our son, her brother, was recovering from his access port infections we discovered a lump on her neck right below her ear. She had gotten this lump a couple months earlier but it had gone away so we attributed it to an infection after she was prescribed antibiotics. This time it wasn't going away. After consultation with yet more doctors it was determined that they would remove the mass and have a biopsy done. After the results came back we were devastated with the news that the mass tested positive for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was further learned that Sara had another mass behind her stomach which also contained Lymphoma cells. As long as I live, I will recall the day, sitting in the hospital bed adjacent to the bed Matthew was in and telling her the news. Her first words were, "Why? Why?" as she began to sob. She saw and had living proof from the young man laying in the bed next to her, the fight that she would be up against. Again we went through the process of learning of a plan on how to fight the ailment that was going to reduce our once vibrant daughter to a sick child. I couldn't help but silently think to myself, as I sat and watched her digest the horrible news, that she would lose all her beautiful long blonde hair. Sara herself even said to Kathy and I, "It took me 2 long years to grow this." Fortunately we learned that her treatment would not be as intense as Matt's. The diseases, although the same (Lymphoma), were uniquely different. Sara's protocol of treatment would be 6 cycles of 2 outpatient treatments each. We were also advised that possibly 2 rounds of radiation would be needed depending on how well she responded to chemotherapy. As it happened her struggle has not been as horrible as Matt's. After each cycle Sara would be sick to her stomach and tired for a few days after treatment but was able to attend most of her classes and find and maintain her "new normal." As parents there were moments that broke our hearts watching Sara go through her struggle. I recall looking in the garbage can of the bathroom one morning and saw what appeared to be her entire head of hair in the trash. It seemed like it waited and just fell out all at once. Another moment was a day that I picked her up from school. As all the students exited the school I saw my beautiful daughter come out wearing her beloved Blackhawks knit cap. It was then I noticed all the other girls with their long hair and Sara, the only student, wearing a hat, in the still warm days of September. Although Sara was stricken with this horrible disease and was not able to play volleyball, she attended almost every game and practice in support of her team, wearing her Blackhawks hat every single time. Sara just finished her last cycle of chemotherapy about 2 weeks ago and today (3/11/16) Sara went for her PET scan to determine if radiation or further cycles of chemotherapy would be needed. As with Matt, Sara has lasting effects, most notably, the scar on her neck where the lump was removed. I guess if that's the price we have to pay for a healthy daughter, consider it paid. Note: I have noticed other children going through this horrible and hard fight. I've noticed that parents update their websites regularly. I used to do that with Matt, on his webpage. It seemed though, that every time I updated with good news something horrible would soon follow. I'm not much into superstition however as desperate as we were, I was willing to try anything, to include remaining silent, to try and turn luck in our favor.
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