Thursday, May 28, 2009

Carter's Prognosis Since Re-Admission

Well, as much as we all would have liked to see Carter Man remain at home, he is much more safe and very well cared for at the hospital - especially in the PICU where there is typically TWO nurses to every ONE patient.

Carter had a particularly difficult time breathing on Tuesday (5/26). The ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor scheduled a scope of his throat (inserting a small camera into his airways to evaluate his condition). The Scope procedure showed that his vocal cords were partially paralyzed (meaning they weren't moving the way they should in order to allow normal airflow through his throat - OR - blocking his airway). Courtney and Skip, after the initial consultation, had given the doctor carte blanche to use his "gut feeling" on whether or not Carter needed a Tracheotomy [A tracheostomy is a hole in the neck that allows people to breathe. The hole goes directly into the trachea (windpipe) and connects to the lungs]. The two different terms Tracheotomy and Tracheostomy are often used in the same way, but the term Tracheotomy refers to the actual surgery, while the term Tracheostomy refers to the actual hole in the neck, post-surgery.

So, Carter Man left for the scope and returned with a Tracheostomy. The ENT doctor said that the partial paralysis of his vocal cords could be for a number of reasons, but most likely due to either heavy sedation, or pressure (caused by the tumor) on a cranial nerve. Paralysis of the vocal cords is not a permanent condition. Once the tumor is reduced in size and at Carter's 3-4 week check-up with the ENT, if they see that his vocal cords are again moving the way God designed them to, then the Tracheostomy will be removed. This is quite a painful recovery once the Trache is removed, but generally speaking, a child Carter's age will be heavily sedated for up to 7 days to help him get through the healing process.

Courtney and family are amazed at his ability to withstand all of this. He even offered up some smiles today, especially when "Mom" Karate chopped "Dad" in good fun to solicit laughs and was successful!

Carter's blood cell counts are remaining stable. He may need a red blood cell transfusion tomorrow, but it's still a "wait & see" scenario at this point. His white blood cell counts are great! His little lips are CLEAR!! WooHoooo!!! - no more sores on his lips!

There was a concern of slight Hydrocephalus when reviewing the MRI of the brain. Hydrocephalus is more commonly known as "water on the brain" or an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Myseros (Carter's Nuerosurgeon) was not concerned enough to immediately schedule surgery, so he is going to wait to see how he does with the Tracheostomy before going ahead with surgery. In cases of hydrocephalus, a one-way valve (called a shunt) is used to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain and carry it to other parts of the body. This valve usually sits outside the skull, but beneath the skin, somewhere behind the ear.

The results of the spinal MRI a few days ago showed no growth and minimal shrinkage, but in Courtney's exact words... "We Will Take THAT!!"

The next step in Carter's treatment is to get him back on the Chemotherapy (2 different types) as well as adding in a new drug called Avastin. Avastin® (bevacizumab) is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved therapy designed to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop and carry vital nutrients to a tumor. So it is our hope that this EVIL tumor will no longer be fed and will get outta Dodge for good!

Carter-Man will be in the PICU for at least another week due to normal procedure following a pediatric tracheotomy.

Please continue your prayers for Carter-Man and his ENTIRE family! This has renewed a great deal of Faith in a lot of us, but also taken a toll on many. Any and all thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than you can imagine!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Special Thanks To....

Mike Herman of FULL MOON RACING!! Ever since Carter became ill, Mike has been "racing for Carter" at each of his Motorcyle races. He hasn't lost a race since!! Congratulations Mike! For each of the races that Mike has won, he has donated 50% of his earnings to the Harris family. To this date, he has donated $1750 to the family! He has a very big race coming up soon, so GOOD LUCK, MIKE!!! And thanks, again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just A Reminder....

Mark your calendars for the following events:

Friday, June 5th 6pm-8pm
Steak Dinner ($12) @
11317 Cherry Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Includes marinated NY Strip Steak, Baked Potato, Texas Toast and a salad.

Saturday, June 6th 2pm-6pm
Family Fun Day BBQ @
56 Well Lane
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
Smoked BBQ and all the trimmings
Tons of fun stuff for the kids
Live bands
Silent Auction
Raffles, Raffles and more Raffles!!

I'm hoping this will be just as successful as the Golf Outing which raised over $16K for the Harris family!! The medical bills aren't going to stop anytime soon, so I don't think we should either!! Thanks again to Chuck Harris, Chad Sale and Lee's Hill Golf Club for organizing such a successful event!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Please Turn Your Prayer Buttons to HIGH....

After a celebratory homecoming last Tuesday, Carter Man and family tried very hard to wrap their heads around what was to come now that he no longer "lived" in the hospital. Carter was home from Tuesday until Friday and never really was able to fully settle in. Just as was the case in the hospital, he continued to experience difficulty with his breathing even while getting the same treatments at home that he was receiving in the hospital. He had a routine checkup on Friday (5/22/09), at which time it was decided that he would better off being readmitted to the hospital to be monitored more closely.

He was admitted Friday and had a "post-treatment" MRI to see where we are with this tumor and the intricate makeup of it all. The MRI showed that the most dangerous part of the tumor (located on or around the PONS of the brain) has shrunk considerably. The part located in the mid-brain showed a minimal increase in size, but this could just be due to general swelling from the radiation.

After continued issues with Carter Man's breathing, he was transferred to the PICU yesterday afternoon in order to have a breathing tube (respirator) inserted to aid in his breathing. He appeared to breathe more peacefully almost immediately, allowing his heart rate to return to normal.

Today, a second MRI of his spine was administered. The family is still awaiting the results of the scan. The plan is to try to wean Carter off the respirator as soon as possible.

Your prayers and concerns have not gone unheard and the family is eternally grateful for the outpouring of support from each and every one of you. Please join us in continuing to pray for Carter Man and his road to recovery from this whole situation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Okay, so we've heard this phrase before many years ago in reference to Elvis, himself...but I think another Elvis has just been born in FredVegas!!

Little Carter-Man came home today!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if I could type enough exclamation marks to truly express my emotions of excitement at this point - I can't, I've just decided!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I heard the great news earlier this afternoon and rushed to the school to pull Madison and Kaelan out of class early to come to Carter's house and help us all celebrate his homecoming. Needless to say, their excitement was squeal-worthy! They worked diligently on poster boards for "welcome home" signs and helped to blow up balloons to hang on the trees in the front yard. Several different friends and family members were there to get the celebration started (Jenny Romack worked it with some recreations of Carter's favorite cartoon characters on some of the signs/posters that awaited his return home!!) It was quite a sight to be seen, and I saw many of you "slow to 20" to check it out :).

After a little trepidation upon his initial pulling into the driveway and seeing all the ado that was awaiting him, he experienced a bit of anxiety - this is all a HUGE adjustment after spending 4 weeks in the hospital. Imagine having to get used to your own house again! Once he was carried inside and repositioned into his favorite spot on the couch, he began to settle in and wanted to see his friends and family that had been so patiently awaiting his arrival. One by one, we all slowly greeted, kissed, touched and loved him at as slow a pace as we could all muster. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we all wanted to tackle him with love and hugs, but had to play our obedient roles, when it comes to the health and safety of our Carter-Man!!

His home nurses visited him shortly after his homecoming and very diligently went over any and ALL duties that now fall upon Courtney and Skip after Carter's discharge from the hospital. It is overwhelming what they now have to undertake after having it be an automatic provision during his constant care at the hospital. No matter how daunting it is, it is still better to have your baby boy back under his own roof! Look at the smile on that sweet face in the above picture!!

We are as happy to have you home as you are to be home! WELCOME HOME CARTER HARRIS!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Keep Your Fingers Crossed!!...

There is a chance that Carter will be coming home from the hospital in the next day or so!! He has been doing much better now that they have started an anti-mucus breathing treatment. They did culture the junk coming up from his chest and determined that it is bacterial, so he will be going back on an antibiotic to treat it.

Carter's right side is still very weak, so he will be super busy with physical therapy in the coming weeks to try to rebuild the strength of his right side.

Courtney has wanted to get on this blog spot and personally address all of you, but has been very busy and hasn't had a chance to do so. Stay tuned for a special message from her in the coming days!

Please say your prayers and keep your fingers crossed that CarterMan will soon be bound for the "Burg"!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Carter's Carnival"

The Learn and Serve team at Stafford High School has organized a Carnival to benefit Carter and his family. It will be held this Saturday, May 16th from 10AM - 3PM on the Football Field. There will be all sorts of fun and games for you, your family and friends (moon bounce, dunk tank and much more)!! There is also a special “Kiss the llama” event. Teachers have been collecting money for the last couple of weeks. For the teacher who gets the most money in their classroom jar, they will WIN and get to kiss the llama at the Carnival!! Sounds interesting, to me!

Please bring your family and friends to a fun-filled day at SHS's Football Field this Saturday to benefit the Harris Family!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cash Cow Car Wash ~WOW~

Thank you Mikayla Bonner for the fabulous idea to host a Car Wash For Carter!! We washed countless vehicles this past Saturday from 12pm-4pm and were able to raise a little over $580!! A big thanks to all who stopped by to support this event. I know Mikayla and her friends had fun all while raising a super amount of money for Carter and his family!

Drink Donations Needed For The Golf Tournament

We are in the final stages of planning and preparation for the Golf Tournament at Lee's Hill Golf Club on Thursday, May 21st. We are all very excited about the success of this event and cannot wait to see it unfold!!

We are asking all of you to consider donating a case of soda or Gatorade to the cause. I would be happy to house them here at my home until the tournament should you wish to bring them to me. If that's too much, I can arrange for myself or someone else to pick the drinks up from the location of your choice. If you are interested in helping us out, please email me at or you can call me at (703)371-7765.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Dearest Courtney.....

About 30 minutes premature...BUT--I know I speak for a LOT of people when I say.....


You have made me so, so, so proud!! In the past, we've spoken briefly about the "What Ifs" in our lives.....many things were discussed in our multiple conversations, including the "drastic scenarios" that we now find ourselves in (I say WE, because I have taken this journey with you every step of the way even when you may not see/feel me there). You have exemplified the true meaning of motherhood in the total sense of the word. I know you thought you'd never get through this, and I know there are days you think may break you. You are a true hero and a mother that we all honor, respect and aspire to be. I want to wish you a VERY HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, COURTIE!

You may not be where you intended to be for Mother's Day this year, but you will be exactly where you have ultimately been put on this great Earth to be, and that is with your beautiful son, CarterMan....Your dedicated husband, Skip (who recognizes that you are better than any Mother he could have dreamt up for his kids), your determined and electric daughter, Caroline....and the many family members and friends that will surround you when the sun comes up in the morning. Please know that beyond your physical company tomorrow, there are hundreds of people by your side in celebration of tomorrow's Mother's Day and always!

I love you today, and always :) HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Have a toddler and want out of the house to forget all this rain???

Here is a perfect way to do just that....GET OUTTA YOUR HOUSE and help CarterMan while fulfilling your own needs!

Toddlin' Time of Fredericksburg, located not far from Carl's - don't even try to tell me you don't know where CARL'S is, you silly!! having a SPECIAL 2-HOUR FUNDRAISER on Monday, May 18th from 10AM until NOON!!

"Miss Tricia" and "Miss Caroline" (CarterMan's former teachers when he attended Toddlin' Time of Fredericksburg in his younger years) are putting on this fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds will go to Carter Harris and his family!

*Snacks will be provided for your little ones
*Lots of Singing and PlayTime!

Please click HERE as soon as possible for more contact information as the response to this event has been overwhelming and there are only a few spots left!

Carter's going to eat one way or another!

CarterMan had surgery yesterday to have a Feeding Tube put into his stomach in order to be sure that he is getting proper nutrition. It is referred to as a G-Tube but is more affectionately referred to as his second belly button by his family! :)

He is a bit sore today, but is doing relatively well. His sugar levels have somewhat stabilized for the moment. He did get his Neupogen shot again today because his white blood cell count dipped down a little bit. This could be due to the final radiation treatment he recently underwent.

After a little bit of a trying morning, he was playing the Wii again today! He also colored for the first time in a very long time this afternoon! You go, Carter!!

He told his Dad, for the first time in a about a month now, that he felt hungry!!! He didn't actually eat anything, but it's a promising sign that good things are to come!!

Please continue to pray for Carter and his family. Don't forget to pray for Baby Noah who rests just a few doors down from CarterMan. To learn more about Noah's story, please click HERE.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Car Wash for Carter!

If I told you that my car wasn't covered in pollen, I would be lying!! Now is that time of year when our cars need a good scrub down at least once a week. Give your local car wash a break and come take advantage of a good, old fashioned hand washing of your car!! Here are the details:

When: Saturday, May 9th from 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Where: Behind Steamers Restaurant/Bar in Chatham Heights
Why: Because it's a fundraiser for Carter!!
Who: 5th grade students at Grafton Village Elementary (organized by Mikayla Bonner)
How: FREE CAR WASH (donations greatly appreciated)


We hope to see you and all your pollen covered cars on Saturday!!

Carter's Weekend...

Carter's overall health picked up dramatically on Thursday and Friday. He was playing the Wii, playing with toys, talking more, smiling and laughing. He was having great physical therapy sessions and it was determined that he did NOT have a clot in his PICC line!!

Saturday morning, things changed a bit. Carter woke up to very "junky" sounding lungs and breathing. His chest was retracting, causing his heart rate to severely elevate and his oxygen levels to drop drastically. This seemed to progressively get worse throughout the day. He was eventually moved back into the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) so that he could be monitored more closely.

They orders a STAT CT scan of his chest which showed absolutely no signs of pneumonia. In fact, the doctor said that his lungs looked healthier than most healthy patients. The PICU doctor felt that Carter may have been retracting his chest on purpose (meaning he wasn't letting his lungs completely fill up with air before releasing). The same doctor said that he needed to be deep suctioned regardless of his platelet count. This procedure consists of two tubes being place in each nostril and one down his throat. "Pete", the respiratory therapist in the PICU did the deep suction and was able to clear Carter's chest/nose/throat of all kinds of JUNK!! As soon as the deep suction was complete, Carter's respiratory and heart rates both returned to normal and his oxygen levels shot back up. It was believed that he would need another deep suction around midnight that night, but Carter slept peacefully from about 9:15pm that night until the next morning!!

Carter has been deep suctioned a couple more times since then, but he was able to be moved out of the PICU and put back in his normal room yesterday.

His sugar levels are still a little high (hovering between 160-209), but this could just be a result of all the medication he has been taking. There is an infection on his finger, but it is being treated. Carter receives a dose of Morphine every 4 hours to help him deal with the pain he is experiencing from the mouth sores. The sores are coming loose, which is a promising sign that his mouth will be back in working order soon!

Last night, after being discharged from the PICU to be put back on the floor, Carter was back to his smiling, laughing self playing with some toys that "Pete" from the PICU gave him.

We are hopeful that Carter will be home by Friday, but this is contingent upon some additional testing he will undergo to see what needs to be done to improve his ability to swallow properly. His epiglottis is not functioning properly due to the side effects of the radiation. This, of course effects his eating. He may have to have a GI tube put into his stomach (same-day procedure and easily removable) in order to ensure he has proper nutrition. This is imperative for so many different reasons, but primarily to get him strong enough to be able to restart his Chemotherapy treatment, which will most likely cause him to lose his appetite once again.

Best news of all??? TODAY WAS CARTERMAN'S LAST RADIATION TREATMENT!!!! No sedation was needed, only a mild relaxant to help him stay still. There will be no MRI performed for another 2 to 3 weeks in order to let the radiation "marinate" a little while and see where we are with this whole tumor business.

The family has been staying at the Ronald McDonald House for the past few days. We hope to see them and CarterMan back in the 'Burg sooner than later!!

Save the Date!! ***JUNE 6TH FAMILY FUN DAY PICNIC***

We are happy to announce that our biggest fundraiser is in its final stages of preparation and we are really excited to give you the following details:

June 6, 2009
2:00pm - 6:00pm
56 Well Lane (PBM Property off 218/White Oak Rd)
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

VERY Family Friendly
Smoked BBQ
Steamed Shrimp
Live Entertainment
FREE Admission (donations greatly appreciated)
Silent Auction
Tons of Kiddie Fun (Fire Truck/Ambulance appearance, Moon bounce, etc)

Please save the date and join us for a day full of Family Fun all to benefit Carter Harris and his family!! We truly hope to see each and every one of you on Saturday, June 6th - spread the word!!