Saturday, July 19, 2008

KATIE REIDER and the Awful, Awful Disease

Warren Zevon sang, "Some get the awful, awful diseases..." and Katie Reider was one of those. You'll find more details at Timeline and katiereider blog , with links for donations to her family.

Katie was an indie artist, touring, putting out albums via CD Baby, hoping to make music a paying profession. She ended up in a two-year struggle with a disease that was so obscure doctors and dentists (and even a psychologist) couldn't diagnose it. She endured headaches, jaw pain and vomiting. Her career was shattered, her finances destroyed, and she was suffer facial damage and the inability to speak articulately. She was finally diagnosed as having a myofibroblastic inflammatory tumor, and in August of 2007 she began radiation treatment. There was hope, but...

More medical maladies hit her...a lesion on her esophagus, shingles, and the destruction of half of the roof of her mouth. She was down to 90 pounds, blind in one eye. Doctors worked to repair her upper palate and do some cosmetic surgery. In what seemed like a miracle, the tumor that started all of this was shrinking via chemotherapy.

That's when more complications set in, more months of agony and frustration. In July a brain hemorrhage led doctors to induce a coma-like condition so they could airlift her to a hospital for three hours of surgery. Amazingly Katie recovered, and doctors were forecasting further operations for August, including cosmetic efforts to repair the roof of her mouth and the hole in her cheek. But on July 13th, she began to bleed and cough, and her condition deteriorated. At this point, she lost hope. Friends recalled, "when she wasn’t sleeping she was crying," and though she could barely articulate anything, with the tracheotomy and her broken palate, someone heard her say, "I'm done."

Many were inspired both by her live performances and her life-struggle (she appeared at The Stupid Cancer Gala in New York and her story did much to publicize the importance of diagnosing and treating tumors).

The song below is "Lucky Boy," which was posted at, evidently the only full length song Katie or her family released as a free download. But plenty of samples of her other songs are on iTunes, Amazon, and the official websites. You can also hear her at

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