A new year brings new hope for Cat Davis, who is fighting for her life against the terminal disease Scleroderma.
Cat has spent the last month in Chicago, getting the stem-cell transplant they hope will save her life. She's back in Spokane, before the most difficult medical treatments begin.
It doesn't matter how sick or tired or bald she gets, Cat rarely lets on just how sick she really is.
But, with every step of this life-saving process, one thing is always clear: Cat is hopeful that all the pain she's going through now is worth it.
"You have to do what you have to do. I keep telling myself, no pain no gain ... it seems to work," she said.
That pain has been strong in recent weeks -- much worse than she ever expected. For more than a month, Cat and her mom have been in Chicago, preparing for the stem-cell transplant they will cure her Scleroderma. It's her last chance and it's certainly not easy.
As Cat explains in one of the video blogs she's been posting throughout her journey, the process takes weeks. First, doctors harvest her stem cells, which she thought would be the easy part.
"To actually harvest the cells, they went through my neck," Cat explained. "The actual insertion of the tubes through my neck wasn't bad -- I didn't mind it. But, the 11 hours with the tube in my neck, not being numb anymore was torture."
Cat is getting a break in Spokane right now. When she returns to Chicago in a couple of weeks, doctors will make her sicker than ever.
"When I get back, I'll have six days of chemo first off. They'll kill my immune system, they say bring me to deaths door. And right before that point, that's when I'll get the transplant with all my baby stem cells that I harvested," she said.
Then, she'll be in virtual isolation until her immune system regains strength. So, she's enjoying every moment she can before that happens.
"So good to be home. I've been home for like two weeks. Got home a week before Christmas," Cat explained. "It's been nice to hang out with friends and family."
It's giving Cat and her mom Sally the strength they need to go back to Chicago and finish the job. She may have lost her hair, but she has not lost hope. And, she has not forgotten everyone in Spokane who has prayed for her and donated money to pay for this procedure.
"Everyone has been so great," Cat says. "I cant believe how much the Cure for Cat campaign is still going on. We still have fundraisers, which is great. Just keep doing what you're doing - the encouragement, support and prayers its awesome. I couldn't do without it - I really appreciate it all."