For the Kueck family of Tyler, life has been pretty normal. Three children, doing well in school and extracurricular activities. Steve and Sue Ellen, deeply involved in their community and church. But five months ago that all changed. One Friday night Sue Ellen began to feel sick. By the next morning... "She was not doing any better, still just kind of curled up in pain and I said let's go," remembers Steve Kueck, "and about nine o'clock we went to the emergency room at Mother Frances Hospital and I want to say by 9:45 we knew there was a mass."
That mass was on the front of Sue Ellen's brain. It was the size of a lemon. Sue Ellen doesn't remember much of what happened that week. But in a matter of six days she underwent three brain surgeries to remove the tumor. A fourth was needed two weeks later. Near death more times than this family wants to remember. "You get by on faith and prayer and believing," says Steve, "and its for me that's the way you have to do it. It can get depressing or worrisome at times but its also interesting to waking up in the morning knowing that your sitting next to someone or hugging someone that has actually been blessed by God."
Keeping things "normal" for their children was and is a priority. Even days before her last surgery they were at a baseball game. Even there a special moment.
"Before we went to M.D. Anderson, my son had a baseball, an all-star game, "remembers Sue Ellen. "We, the team came out on the field after it was over and prayed and gave me a ball, its up there on the mantel, with all their names signed on it. I thought about that a lot."
This family thinks a lot about the prayers of hundreds of others this summer and even today. While only microscopic traces of the tumor remain, Doctors say Sue Ellen's tumor could re-appear any day. Even with all they have been through this family says they have never asked why this has happened. Rather they remain humbled and grateful for what has happened and what they pray will happen in the days to come.
"Its been overwhelming," says Sue Ellen. "So many people have told us that they are praying for us and that give comfort. Their prayers have been answered."
"I think prayers from other people are the reason Sue is here," says Steve. "I don't think you can underestimate the power of prayer and what its done."
"Well we still kind of prayer day to day to get through day to day. That the chemotherapy that I'm on it works that I just have more days," says Sue Ellen.
"Really medically from where she was, to where she is...I mean she almost died twice in the hospital to where she is now is just remarkable. Its a miracle. And doctors call her their miracle patient," says Steve.