Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Real Quick Update....

Unfortunately, CarterMan is back on the Morphine drip due to the pain he is experiencing from the sores in his mouth. The sores make it difficult for him to talk, so he is communicating through head shaking and head nods with very brief moments of one-word answers or requests.

Eating is still something Carter isn't real interested in. With all those mouth sores, I'm sure eating isn't as fun as it used to be! He did have four bites of applesauce and a bite of a PB&J sandwich yesterday.

He's not his usual happy self, but I don't think I would be either!! He did, however have a fun bath time again yesterday! He actually got into the bathtub and loved it! He is smiling a little more each day :)

The results of the EKG showed everything to be okay with his "ticker"!! There is a possibility of a blood clot in his PICC line, so they did an ultrasound but the family does not have the results of that yet. All of his blood cultures are good.

Carter is breathing much better and sounds clearer like the pneumonia is backing off a bit! This is good!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Carter Is Still Rollin' In The Right Direction!!

CarterMan is off his pain meds and off his Oxygen. There is still an oxygen "option" available to him at any given moment, but he wants nothing to do with it, and will toss it off his chest when he can! His vitals are fine, and in the words of his own Doctors, his white blood cell counts are better than yours and mine!!!

After a CT scan in hopes of figuring out what was keeping Carter from achieving a fair chance at breathing normally, it was determined that he has a blood clot in his lung and the doctors are doing what they need to do in order to dissolve this clot. Ultrasounds have already been done on his legs to make sure that no other clots exist in that region. He will undergo an ECG (ElectroCardioGram) on his heart tomorrow to make sure he doesn't have any clots in his heart, but the doctors are assuring the family that this is nothing to be concerned with - simply routine.

CarterMan was reading books with his Mom and sister today and LAUGHING!!! He started back to his radiation today and was able to get through almost all of it without sedation. This is okay, though - because it's another testament to how much more alert he is today than he has been in some time! Wiggle some, CarterMan - It gives us all a smile of appreciation for your sprite, your stamina, and your persistence!!

Carter will remain in the hospital for the time being until the Doctors are sure they have cleared him of this blood clot and helped him regain his strength to go home and tell us all what it is like to be a true hero! We're all waiting to hear your stories, baby boy!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention....

Courtney, Skip and family have had many hours to make friends with others in the waiting areas of the hospital and have taken to a family that shares similar values to their own and are in a very serious fight to try to save their son, "Baby Noah". They have entrusted the care of their injured son (just 5 months old) into the hands of the same Doctors/Nurses that have helped CarterMan take huge strides toward recovery and health/strength. Please keep Baby Noah in your prayers as you pray for Carter (Noah's family has requested, after hearing the Harris family's story and realizing that faith in numbers really does seem to impact any given family and their individual circumstances/needs, that we all include him in our prayers while also praying for CarterMan). Baby Noah is a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome due to the irresponsible actions of his babysitter (who now rests behind bars) and is currently fighting for his life not far from where CarterMan rests his head. Courtney wanted me to extend Carter's prayer circle to include "Baby Noah".

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baby Steps In The Right Direction!

Carter had a wonderful night's sleep last night (even better than he had been sleeping at home)! There was a little hiccup in the middle of the night when his IV stopped working, but other than that, he caught many quality zzzz's.

He was moved out of the PICU yesterday!! He is currently on Oxygen, but they are hoping to take him off by tomorrow. His oxygen levels have improved but still need a little TLC. Carter is receiving respiratory therapy by way of a "Cough Assist" machine that pounds on his chest to make him cough, while wearing a mask that helps to bring up the "junk" and clear his airways. The chest XRays came back showing no signs of pneumonia, but just a little bit hazy from the congestion.

The Neupogen did the trick and brought his white blood cell count back to levels that are even ABOVE what they wanted to see in a week!! These are the cells that will help fight the bacterial infection. His platelets and red blood cells are both stable.

Before this whole roller coaster began, CarterMan weighed 68 lbs. He recently weighed in at 57 lbs. He has now gained 4 lbs back! I only wish people were as excited when I gained 4 lbs!! Due to how weak he is at the moment, the weighing process goes a little something like this... The nurse weighs "Daddy" (Skip) and then Daddy picks CarterMan up, then the nurse weighs Daddy again. Unfortunately, during one of these transitions, someone stepped on Carter's PICC line and pulled it out. It is considered a minor surgical procedure to reinsert it. Typically, anyone under the age of 10 is sedated for this process. Well, being the stellar patient that Carter has been, he allowed them to do the procedure this afternoon while fully awake!

The physical therapist was happy to see Carter moving cooperatively yesterday and was looking forward to working with him again today. Even though he has been experiencing major anxiety through all of this, he has been extremely cooperative with any and all medical personnel.

Courtney and Skip have been surrounded by family/friends in the waiting area through this entire stay in the hospital. Carter will not be discharged until Monday (at the earliest). We wish him a speedy recovery from these setbacks and look forward to seeing him regain his strength a little bit more each day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Save The Date!!! June 5th Family Steak Dinner

There will be a dinner for Carter on Friday, June 5th from 6-8pm. Cost is $12 and includes:

Marinated NY Strip Steak
Baked Potato
Texas Toast
Dessert (TBD)

The dinner will be held at the address below:

11317 Cherry Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Take a left at the light once you pass Meadows Nursery on Route 3. Left at stop sign and it is the second building on the left.

This dinner is open to the public! So come on out and enjoy the cheapest steak dinner in town while helping Carter in his fight for wellness!

Please feel free to contact the following ladies with any questions.
Shelley Seay:
540-907-6228 CELL
540-786-6812 HOME

Lisa Heflin

A Rocky Start To The Final Stretch

When I last updated, I told you all that this week would be Carter's FINAL week of radiation. Unfortunately, this week got off to a rocky start and things have changed a bit.

Carter has managed five full weeks of radiation without ever being sedated. For some reason, he requested to be put to sleep on Monday but there was no one available to perform the sedation, so Monday's treatment was a bust. When they arrived for radiation on Tuesday, sedation was available but Carter's blood pressure was too high and his oxygen levels too low to be able to safely put him to sleep. So, again - a bust.

Carter has, among many other side effects of his various treatments, been suffering from severe congestion. This is the reason his oxygen levels were so low - he was unable to get sufficient airflow due to the large buildup of phlegm in his throat and chest. The doctors took him over to the ER so that he could have this addressed and start receiving breathing treatments. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning (Fairfax INOVA, where he receives his daily radiation).

After running some routine blood tests, it was determined that Carter's blood cell count and his platelets were VERY low, so he was set up for a blood transfusion. They transfused the red blood cells last night and waited to recheck the platelets this morning. They went ahead and transfused the platelets today. They have also found that he has a bacterial infection in his blood. The doctors said that you and I also have bacterial infections in our blood from time to time, but that we're never aware of it because our white blood cells automatically correct the imbalance. Unfortunately, Carter's white blood cells decided to take an unscheduled leave of absence and weren't there to help the little guy out. So, he is taking a drug called Neupogen which will boost his body's ability to produce large quantities of white blood cells.

Even though they cannot do a deep suction to help Carter's congestion for the risk of bleeding, he is breathing much better than he has in quite some time. He hasn't had a breathing treatment since 6:30am this morning. Courtney told me this afternoon that he looks better today than he has in about two weeks!

The doctors and nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) are shocked that Carter hadn't been admitted earlier. The family is lucky to have made it this far in the treatment process. According to the staff in the PICU, many children spend the majority of their treatment time in the hospital. Just goes to show you how strong willed CarterMan really is!

He is supposed to be moved from the PICU into a "normal" room within the next 24hrs or so. Courtney and family have requested many prayers and know that so many have already been answered. Had Carter not asked to be sedated on Monday, they would not have known of the other issues going on. So, for that, I am thankful!! Carter will remain in the hospital until at least Sunday. I will update as soon as I know more.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two more weeks to go!

Carter is pretty far into his radiation treatment and now has just about 2 weeks left before moving on to the next form of treatment. His blood counts were right where they should have been at his checkup on Thursday!! At this stage in the process, he is experiencing any and all possible side effects of the radiation, chemotherapy, and steroid treatments. He's experiencing hair loss, skin irritation/itching, he is HIGHLY emotional and moody. Overall, he just doesn't feel very well. He has good days and he has bad days. It's difficult to tell, even hour by hour how Carter will be feeling. That's just the truth of the matter right now.

He was in quite a bit of discomfort recently due to a condition called espophagitis. It causes a horrible stinging sensation in his throat and chest that feels like a severe sunburn. He was given some "magic mouthwash" that wasn't really doing the trick. So, just a day or two ago, he was prescribed a pain medicine that, although makes him very drowsy, has quelled the pain and allows for a full night's GOOD sleep - something he has been deprived of for some time now.

Despite everything that is going on, Carter will be dying Easter eggs today with his family and looking forward to the Easter Bunny's arrival tomorrow! Happy Easter everyone!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Welcome Spring by Teeing up for Carter!!!!

Let's be honest, folks. There are a lot of things that come to mind when we talk of Spring......"April Showers Bring May Flowers", unintentional sunburns, Easter baskets/eggs, Ballet Recitals.....and GOLF - YES, GOLF!!!! I can hear the men out there having irregular heartbeats just thinking of the possibility of teeing off with friends while the birds chirp in harmony to the beat of their clubs - AHHHH!

Well, here's your chance to welcome Spring 2009 while also welcoming the chance to benefit CarterMan and his family. Do you like to golf? Does your wife/husband like to kick you outta the house for a few hours (I'm just sayin')?? This is your chance to make EVERYONE happy while supporting an excellent cause!

Lee's Hill Golf Club is hosting a Golf Outing on May 21st to benefit the Harris Family. Shotgun is at 9AM. Spots are filling VERY quickly, so please CLICK HERE for additional information!! There is a $5 discount PER player if you register before May 1st!! Get your checkbooks out because Carter's Crusaders would LOVE to have you on Carter's team for this very special and FUN day in the Sun!!!

Who Knew??.....

....That a Bake Sale could raise $844.40?? Well, it DID! This past weekend, at the Craft Show held at Stafford Senior High School, Debbie and Melissa Taylor held a bake sale that was to beat all bake sales!!

Thank you to all friends, family and neighbors who contributed to this yummy affair! It was well worth it, indeed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


...said CarterMan....and stronger he is!! He seems very intent on shortening his recovery and rehabilitation time frame! There is NO amount of Kryptonite around that is going to keep CarterMan down!! No complaints here!!

He recently had a buzz-cut on his sweet, little head and - OMGosh!! Sooo flippin' cute - you have no idea! (Well, look at the picture and you WILL!)

He is on a fast track to being able to RUN and play and enjoy the sunshine that is soon to settle into our backyards for some time to come! I am very much looking forward to seeing his beautiful, blue eyes glistening in the Spring sun!

I'm not saying you should stop praying (not even suggesting that), I'm just asking that you celebrate in a moment of praise with Carter and his family/friends for the miraculous progress he has made and the amazing things to come as a result of his courageous efforts!!