Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Roller Coaster of Emotions!!

Well, I wanted to give everyone the latest on my Carter-Man! He is still proving to be a fighter!! Thank the Lord for that:) Sunday was another roller coaster of a day for Carter. He had been off of the vent for almost 3 days. There was mention of him moving back to HEM/ONC. As soon as that was mentioned, BOOM, another hill to climb. His breathing was fast again so...back to pressure support on the vent. After that, all was calm! Sunday afternoon, Caroline and I came up after being at home. Carter was so very thrilled to see us. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House that night. Monday was good as he came off of the vent in the morning and seemed to be doing good. We took him outside for a walk and to the playroom (where his sister piled all kinds of toys on top of him). He stayed in his chair for about 3 hours watching movies. That was his longest stretch yet! That afternoon, we watched movies and he laughed so hard. We were watching Home Alone and I could not stop laughing and neither could he. It was GREAT!!!! Caroline and I went to the Ronald McDonald House to stay. Soon after we arrived, Skip called to say that Carter's heart rate was VERY elevated and his blood pressure was low. I WAS SHOCKED! He was so good when I left. As time went on, his heart rate slowed (after bolus's of saline water) and his blood pressure stabilized. He also had a high temperature. They told Skip there was obviously an infection and Carter had become septic- meaning something had affected his blood stream! Carter's heart rate remained ok but his blood pressure was on the lower side so they gave him a medicine to bring that up. Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day he slept most of the day and his color slowly returned to normal, as did his blood pressure. His blood counts showed his white blood cells were very high which means he was definitely fighting something- that is great for a child who is on chemo!!! His body reacted the way it was designed to do!! He received red blood cells yesterday because his were low. He had an episode last night where his heart rate was lower than normal and showed some irregularity. That has happened before when his heart rate was low. They did do an EKG (waiting on results) and a chest x-ray (that was fine). Last night he slept until about 4 am when he woke up wide awake! The nurse was very glad to see him awake and his color was great! They have taken him off of the medicine for his blood pressure and are going to wean him from the vent today. Hopefully, we are in the right direction!!! His blood counts are good this morning and we are hoping when he wakes again he will be his happy little self! Please say extra prayers for the Carter-Man today!!! He needs them:) I will post again when I know about the blood cultures that were drawn and the EKG results!!

Love to you all,


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reminder: Auction Event at Brock's Friday Night!

Please remember that the Auction Event at Brock's is set for this Friday night at 7:00pm. It is not too late to get your ticket(s)! Please contact Jennifer Romack at (540) 379-2109 or for more information! For the latest version of the Auction Items Catalog, please click HERE!

REMINDER: UPS Car & Bike Show This Saturday

When: Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where: UPS
11500 Shannon Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Registration: 9-11am
Judging starts @ 11:30am
Showtimes: 11am-3pm
Sponsor setup: 8am

All Proceeds are split to benefit Carter's Crusaders and The Rappahannock Area United Way.

There will be raffles, food, games, music, entertainment and FUN!!

Please click HERE for more information on how you can enter, attend or contribute! Or you can contact Teresa or Mac at (540) 891-0051.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Special Note & Thank You from Grandma Harris....

My dear friend Sue, besides being the awesome left fullback for Kickback has great organizational talents that were put to work this past weekend hosting a fundraiser yard sale. A very big thank you to Sue, her family, her West Springfield Village neighbors and the Kickback team who brought all kinds of stuff to sell and raised $1,300.00 for Carters Crusaders. Thanks to the yard sale shoppers; all who stopped to ask about Carter’s progress, the thoughts and prayers pledged and for donations received.
Love, Grandma (Elaine) Harris

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fundraiser by Goldenshill Papercrafts- A HUGE SUCCESS

The fundraiser done by GoldensHill Papercrafts was a HUGE success for the Harris Family. Ronnie Martinez, the owner, who is a friend of Carter's Grandma Harris, heard about Carter's story from a very longtime friend of Grandma Harris's, Shelly, as Shelly was so graciously making earrings for the FWSA fundraiser for Carter. Ronnie felt she wanted to do something to help. Not only did she ask her customers to make "Cards for Carter" to sell at the FWSA fundraiser (which were a huge success there), but she felt the need to do more. She dedicated the entire month of June to help Carter. She offered to give half of her total sales for the month of June to the Carter's Crusaders fund- WHAT GENEROSITY!!!! A huge thank you is sent to Ronnie for her generosity and support of the Harris Family- she graciously gave a check to Grandma Harris for $3150.00, half of her sales in the month of June, which was given to Carter's Dad, Skip!! Needless to say, he was speechless. The Harris Family is so thankful for not only Ronnie's generosity, but for the love from the community which provides energy to the effort and is a huge boost for them. Also, thank you to all of the customers of GoldensHill Papercrafts who helped in this effort!!! The Harris Family is so grateful to Ronnie and all of her customers! Below is the link to Ronnie's website for all of you scrapbookers out there!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just a Quick Update

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on Carter-Man. His day yesterday did not start off all that great. His breathing was somewhat erratic and he was not in the best of moods. His trache had to be changed and he needed a bathe because he had thrown up a little. He got a GREAT bath and a great back rub from his nurse (he LOVED it)!!! After that he felt a little better although he was still breathing fast. Even after an eventful morning, he wanted OUT OF THE BED!!! So he did it yet again, and WELL!!! The day before he did not want to leave the room but yesterday he did. Barbara, the nurse, and I took him for a walk around the PICU and boy the staff was amazed. They were all soo happy! Dr. Futterman let out a WAHOOOOOO, Carter-Man!!! He was overly pleased to see him out of bed and moving! We took him over to see the HEM/ONC nurses and they too were elated. He visited with our little friend, Eddy, we took him to see where the helicopters land, and to see the playroom. He loved it! He only had to go on the vent for 7 hours last night. HALLELUJAH! Today has been even better. His breathing is better and he was determined yet again to get out of bed so WE DID!!! He got to go outside today for the first time in a LONG time....he was soo happy and so were all of the staff. We are all so proud of him. He loved watching Mommy shoot some hoops outside (as did all the PICU staff-little did I know they were watching me out the windows during rounds)and enjoyed the fresh air on his precious face!!! I must say it was the most heart warming moment of my life, other than the birth of my children! I am overly joyed for all of his accomplishments- he is truly my hero and inspiration:) He has decided that he wants to get up again later and we are going to do it. The doctors think that it is great!!! On another note...
His second part of his second cycle of Irinotecan and Avastin starts today... PLEASE, PLEASE say extra prayers focused on these treatments and that they continue to destroy the evil within my baby! He starts treatment around 3:30 pm. Again, thank you to everyone for your continued support and prayers. We could not do this alone!!!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SAVE THE DATE!! **September 5th**

There will be a $5.00 Pancake Breakfast fundraiser that Saturday at the Applebee’s Restaurant on Rt.3. Breakfast will start at 8AM. Proceeds will be split between The Harris Family and The Cavlovic Family (for more information on their story, click HERE). Any and all donations are welcome! Hope to see you all there! If you have any questions, you can contact Kelly Stevenson at or (540) 368-1468.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"We give praise and thanks to You, O God; Your wondrous works declare that Your Name is near" Psalms 75:1

And boy is Carter one of God's wondrous works!!! We feel his presence everyday and especially today as we conquered yet another hurdle!! I am sorry I have not posted but the last week has not been our best. It had lots of ups and downs with belly issues, fever, and breathing issues. He did have a fun afternoon on Saturday with Memaw and Lissa. Memaw tried to rest her head on Carter's pillow and he would hit her and try and move was pretty funny to see (Lissa sent me a video) and reassuring that his limbs are moving so well. On Sunday, Grandma CeCee and Barbara came to visit and Carter slept a lot because he was up late the night before and then Gagee came up Sunday afternoon. Skip and I are so thankful for those in our family who continuously come to see Carter and stay so Daddy can rest and I can try to maintain some normalcy in Caroline's life. Thank you to Grandma CeCee, Gagee (who does whatever we need), Bubbie (he stays every Wednesday night), Memaw, Lissa, G-Dad (He stay Thursdays- his ONLY night off),Grandma and Grandad Harris, Aunt Susan (who drops whatever if we need her), Barbara (who does whatever we need), and Jenny (she is a lifesaver for Miss Caroline). Grandma Cecee, Memaw, and Lissa pick up the days in between and do whatever is needed, helping us soo much:) Also, a big thank you to both of Skip's jobs (Spotsylvania County and Town of Orange)for their understanding through all of this!! And now onto Carter's progress......Today, has been MUCH better. Carter's breathing got significantly better yesterday and continues to be great. It has been determined that Carter has pretty bad reflux, thus causing stomach issues. He has been put on two new medicines to help with this and it seems to be working. The largest event today was getting Carter-Man out of the bed...AND HE DID IT AND DID IT WELL!! He never got upset and was determined to get out of that bed. He sat in his "new" wheelchair for an hour. Lora (his Occupational Therapist) determined he needed a better wheelchair that had a reclining back and one that was a bit larger and it was much more comfortable for Carter-man. You would have thought that something was going on in Carter's room...every doctor, nurse, secretary, case manager came to see was a pretty big deal here in the PICU!!! I know I shed tears and it looked as though many others were teary eyed!! WHAT A GREAT DAY:) Our nurse today was so helpful and proud. Dad and I are thrilled with his progress. Carter is now resting. He will be having Speech Therapy later today. We are praying that we can hear that sweet voice of his! Please continue to pray for Carter's continued progress. We are slowly getting closer to going home, although still aways to go. One step at a time!!! But, I cannot wait to have my family all under the same roof again...ahhh the small things that Skip and I used to take for granted! Thank you for all of the positive thoughts and prayers.......KEEP THEM COMING:)

Love to All,

The Harris Family

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 31st Auction Event @ Brock's

This is just a reminder for those of you that have not already contacted Jennifer Romack at to express your interest in attending the event at Brock's Riverside Grill on July 31st! The auction catalog is available for your viewing pleasure by clicking HERE. If you have any additional questions, you may contact Jennifer Romack at (540) 379-2109.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Just A Reminder:

Tomorrow is the Orient Expressed trunk show at Sheryl Sparks's house (feel free to call her for directions). Keep in mind, even if you don't have little ones, there are some great linens as well. I like to buy the Christmas linen kitchen towels as Teachers' gifts once the kids go back to school and that way you're not fighting the mall for a last minute gift during the holidays! They are only about $6 each and are really pretty! Sheryl can be reached at (540) 220-2295 to place an order or to get directions to her home for tomorrow's open house (1pm-4pm).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jumping Hurdles..the name of the game

Just a quick update for everyone..Carter has not had the best of weekends. He has had severe stomach pains and a fever, both of which the doctors believe are chemo related. They are changing his pain medicine to one that has less side effects related to the GI area and later today they are doing an ultrasound to be sure his stomach area looks good. This is yet just another hurdle we have to jump and we will, successfully. He is resting peacefully right now and breathing great. He has still been going on the vent at night and basically that will continue to be a "game time" decision. He continues to move great and had a great physical therapy session this morning. His blood counts are still doing great! I will keep everyone posted regarding the belly issues. Thank you again to everyone. KEEP THOSE PRAYERS GOING UP:)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I am really going to try and update the blog as frequently as possible. I have a chance this morning so I figured I would! Carter had another great day yesterday! Physical Therapy went awesome and he was even stronger than the day before! He got a little down after his chemo but other than that he was great. He had a great nights sleep and woke up as happy as apple pie!!! Right now he is watching his sister misbehave(SHOCKER)and trying to watch a movie. The nurse just brought the blood counts to me and yes, yet again, His Blood Counts are rising!!! DIVINE INTERVENTION!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!! Carter is breathing wonderfully and there was another question as to if they should put him back on the vent last night but they decided to go ahead and do it! We will see how the day goes to see if we need to put it on tonight. I will keep everyone posted!! Again, keep those prayers going!!!

Love to you all,

The Harris Family

Friday, July 10, 2009

"If you put your trust in him, you will not be disappointed" Romans 10:8-13 UPDATE FROM COURTNEY

Hello all! First of all I want to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers. Skip and I are so very thankful for the outpouring of support we continue to receive. We truly feel that God continues to bless us both through Carter, doctors, nurses, and the "army of angels" he has put together for us!! We apologize for the lack of thank you notes that have not been sent and wish we could send everyone something for all of the help. Please take this as a huge THANK YOU to everyone!!! Now onto our precious Carter-Man..............

Can I just say that Carter is a true hero!!! He is such a fighter and we are so very proud of him! He has been through more than any 5 year old should ever have to go through but throughout everything he continues to laugh and smile. He has especially loved the fact that he is actually able to move again. For a long time, he had absolutely NO movement of his right side (he is right handed) and limited movement of his left side but in the last week and a half he has been moving EVERYTHING!!! It is amazing to watch and we are so happy. He has been arm wrestling with Daddy, Mag (his favorite respiratory therapist), his nurses, and his Bubbie (my brother, Chad)!!! On Wednesday night (the night Bubbie stays here at the hospital with he and Daddy), they were having an arm wrestling competition in the room and our "angel" doctor, Dr. Futterman, came in the room to make sure all was okay because it was almost 11 o'clock at night and there was so much commotion (typically this means something is not going right for Carter). He was thrilled to see that Carter was having fun and that his staff was, too! There are so many good things going on and we are over the moon. Carter has come so far and we continue to see daily improvement. He is definitely much stronger, his eyes look wonderful, and slowly but surely his breathing is getting better. As most know, Carter has a trache. We have gone back to a regimen of having him on pressure support from the ventilator at night, hence why we are still in the PICU. He can breathe on his own but the ventilator provides extra pressure. It has been discovered that Carter's airway is "floppy" when the pressure support is taken off. There are a multitude of reasons that this can happen and it should strengthen again on its own. He did wonderful yesterday and we were almost tempted to leave the vent off last night but Dad and the Doctor decided to put it on. As we speak, we are waiting on the respiratory therapist to come and take it off. Oh, they just arrived...YAY! Anyhow, Carter's physical therapy sessions are going wonderfully and according to his therapist, Lora (who we LOVE), it will be no time before he is ready to stand again:) He was so happy when she told him this. Personally, I cannot wait to hear my baby's voice again. When one has a trache, in order for them to talk, they must have on a speaking valve. Carter did great the first time we tried it but there have been so many issues since then that we have not been able to try again....I pray every night that God will touch the hands of these doctors and allow Skip and I to hear that sweet, sweet voice of our Carter-Man's. Boy do we miss it! But we will get there...we have FAITH and that is enough to carry us through! Now onto the MRI results.......

Let me start by explaining some things as best as I can (I am by no means a doctor so pardon my use of terminology). Carter started a new treatment on June 8, 2009. That included Avastin, Irinotecan, and Temodar on Day 1. Day 2-5 he received only the Temodar. Day 15, he received Avastin and Irinotecan. This was the end of one cycle. Typically, an MRI is not done until after 2 full cycles. Because of some issues, Carter's team decided to do one before the start of the second cycle. The MRI was originally scheduled for Monday, July 6th and then was moved to the previous Thursday and then moved back to Monday, July 6th. We were told after the MRI that we would not received the results until the following day, July 7th. This is a very special day to my family. It is my dad's birthday (as most of you know he passed away when I was 10). I truly believe that he wanted to celebrate his birthday in heaven with the good results and allow us to celebrate his birthday here on earth with good news. My family was, once again, blessed on July 7th. I have always told my children that he is our angel and I truly believe that. Now onto the results....Carter's doctor, Dr. Horn, was very pleased with the results of this MRI. Basically, in order for the radiologist and doctors to consider "shrinkage" it has to be 25% or more. Carter's was not quite there but had gotten smaller. There was less enhancement. When Dr. Horn showed me the MRI, she showed me the difference in the current scan and the previous one. She showed me on the current one where part of the tumor appeared less dense. meaning it is DEAD!!!!!! Those words were music to my ears:) The MRI of the spine appeared to have less enhancement as well. Basically to the doctors, radiologist, etc, Carter's tumor is stable. To me, 25% or not, it is moving in the right direction. And this is all after only one cycle!!! We (I say we because Carter is receiving the treatment but Daddy and I are feeling the emotional side of it as we watch poison enter our son's body to try and control the monster within)started the 2nd cycle on Wednesday. He received Avastin, Irinotecan, and Temodar. He will continue to receive Temodar until Sunday. Then he gets a break until July 22nd and then he only receives the Avastin and Irinotecan. That will complete 2 full cycles. Unless we see a need, another MRI will not be done until after cycle 3. We anticipate that Carter will be in the hospital for at least another month. We want to make sure that when we go home, he is ready. We also need to make sure his blood counts do not drop terribly low. On a good note, I received his counts this morning and even after all the treatment he has received this week, HIS COUNTS ARE HIGHER! Divine Intervention, I do believe!!!! We also need to resolve the respiratory issues and allow him to continue to get stronger so that he can feel comfortable in his wheelchair. And he is definitely getting there. Also, per a request from one of our favorite nurses mother's, we will be putting pictures up very soon!!! Please continue to lift Carter up in prayer, as I truly believe our prayers are being heard and answered.

I want to end with this that I read in the book "Become a Better You", by Joel Osteen.

"Remember, we are called overcomers. That means we're going to have obstacles to overcome. You can't have great victories without having difficult battles. You'll never have a great testimony without
going through a few tests. The enemy always fights the hardest when he knows God has something great in store for you".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


A preliminary reading of the MRI showed that the new treatment plan is working!!! I don't have all the details as of yet, but Carter's tumor is shrinking!! Hallelujah! Thank you to everyone who took park in the Prayer Hour yesterday and for all those unsolicited prayers that are constantly streaming in. I am confident that Carter-Man's "Army of Angels" is growing still today! God Bless you all!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Orient Expressed Fundraiser Today through July 19th

It's not too early to start "back to school" clothes shopping for your little ones! The new Fall/Winter 2009 line of Orient Expressed is now available for purchase! Orient Expressed is a very cute line of children's clothing that is available at in-home trunk shows. Sheryl Sparks, a friend of Courtney's, is a rep for Orient Expressed and has offered to donate 100% of her commission to the Harris family for all her sales this season.

Sheryl has already received her trunk for the season and is inviting anyone who is interested to attend her open house on Sunday, July 19th from 1pm-4pm.

120 Doe Way
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
(540) 752-2595

If you are unable to attend the open house, you can call or email Sheryl directly to set up a private viewing. Online purchasing is not yet available, but will be very soon. You can preview the Fall/Winter 2009 line by clicking HERE. HOWEVER, in order for Courtney to get credit for the show, you MUST order through Sheryl directly. For this fundraiser, every customer gets FREE SHIPPING!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

All Together Now...."Thinkin' Shrinkin'.....Thinkin' Shrinkin'....."

Tomorrow afternoon, Carter-Man will have an MRI to see if the new treatment(s) have done what they were intended to do in the way of shrinking Carter's tumor and sending him on his way toward peaceful recovery and healing. Only God knows the answer at this point and we can ALL do our part tomorrow during a Universal Prayer Hour from 11am to Noon (7/6/09). You are all invited to join us in a time of celebration and praise for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon Carter and his family and to also pray that these miracles never cease!

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20

Friday, July 3, 2009

UPS 3rd Annual Car & Bike Show To Benefit Carter Harris, et al

When: Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where: UPS
11500 Shannon Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Registration: 9-11am
Judging starts @ 11:30am
Showtimes: 11am-3pm
Sponsor setup: 8am

All Proceeds are split to benefit Carter's Crusaders and The Rappahannock Area United Way.

There will be raffles, food, games, music, entertainment and FUN!!

Please click HERE for more information on how you can enter, attend or contribute! Or you can contact Teresa or Mac at (540) 891-0051.

FOOD WITH A PURPOSE Concession Stand Brings in $5201!!

A concession stand June 27/28 at an FWSA (Fairfax Women's Soccer Association) Pine Ridge Tournament brought in over $5,201.00 to the Carter's Crusaders fund. The blog address was widely distributed , so more will be raised via the new "Donate Online button". A big thank you to everyone for their donations of time/money/food/drink/family members help/moral support and just best wishes for the success of the concession stand.

It was a fun time and very heartwarming. The FWSA board members, players and their families and referees were very supportive and generous. Many expressed concern for Carter and family, and many more donated directly to the cause via our "donations jar .

Grandma and Granddad Harris were in attendance with the "Kickback" team (Grandma Harris' soccer team) to serve hungry and thirsty patrons. The Pediatric nursing staff at Fairfax Hospital ordered lunch both days, and team members happily delivered it to them.

There were 4 raffles thanks to Goldenshill Papercrafts, Meadows Farm Nursery, Matt Godaks Sports, and dbJAFRA. The person who won the beautiful Crape Myrtle tree donated it back to Skip and Courtney to have a "Carter's Tree" in their yard.

Many took advantage of beautiful handmade cards and jewelry items for sale donated by patrons of Goldenshill Papercrafts, and there were several large signs donated by Drafting & Survey Supplies in Fredericksburg.

As you can see, Carter's story is touching many it forward!

If anyone has any other venues for this type of event, please contact Diane at

Thursday, July 2, 2009


At the end of this month (Friday, July 31st to be exact), Carter's Crusaders will be hosting a silent auction at Brock's Riverside Grill in the upstairs ballroom from 7:00pm - 11:00 pm. Food and entertainment will be provided. There will also be a Cash bar.

Tickets are on sale now....

$25.00 per person or $40.00 for a couple.

If you are interested in receiving an invitation please forward your mailing address to:

There are a limited number of seats for the live auction, so PLEASE RSVP ASAP!!