Monday, August 31, 2009

Asking For Prayers.....

Tomorrow is Carter Man's follow-up MRI to see what these new treatments have done as far as the tumor is concerned. We are asking for a Universal Hour of Prayer tomorrow between 11AM and Noon (Tuesday 9/1/09). We've seen the power of prayer and want to tap into that please keep Carter and his family in your prayers tomorrow between 11am and Noon as the family will be awaiting his results (which will realistically not be available until Wednesday or Thursday).

I am sitting with Courtney as we speak watching Carter in his wheelchair enjoying some cartoons while my oldest daughter, Madison rubs his arm.....a beautiful sight! He has had a wonderful day today and even slept in his own bed last night!

Carter watched Courtney cook dinner tonight which started the ball rolling with introducing him to normalcy. He sat at the dinner table tonight and even ate a bite or two of spaghetti.....(Courtney says "sorry, Doc....Mom's in control here") The family did their normal "Highs/Lows" at the dinner table and Carter enjoyed listening to all of it and even showed signs of wanting to participate.

All-in-all, tomorrow is a very important day for all involved....and your participation is appreciated! Let us all gather together in prayer tomorrow and always!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to Carter-Man!!!!!

Today is Carter's 6th birthday!!! Happy, Happy Birthday to my baby:) Although last night was not the greatest of nights for Carter (he had trouble sleeping from 4 am on but he is now resting great), I reflected on the past 6 years and how much joy he has filled my life with. I thought back to this day 6 years ago. Carter was not ready to come out. I was induced on Wednesday the 27th and finally on Friday the 29th, after nothing was changing, they decided to take him via C-section. At 10:32 pm, the most precious baby boy was given to Skip and I from our Heavenly Father. As time has passed, I have realized more and more that that is exactly what children are...they are a gift from God. They are his children first. Six years ago, I never dreamed that we would be going through what we are going through now...I treasure each smile, each laugh, each moment more now than ever!! Usually around this time of year, I am frantically rushing around planning for his big birthday bash. Boy have times changed!! We are still having a very small birthday celebration for Carter but nothing even close to years passed! Although I long for the big birthday bashes again where Carter is running around and trying desperately to stick his finger in the icing on the cake (for those that truly know Carter, they know he does not really care for the cake part- just the icing), I am so thankful that we are celebrating his 6th birthday and the life that was given to us 6 years ago. I will treasure today more than ever! I will be sure to post pictures from today for all to see!!

As for an update on Carter- we are still thoroughly enjoying being home and trying to adjust to our new normal. Some days are great, others are not! This is just the nature of the roller coaster we are riding...we take each moment as it comes. We did have a scare this past week and had to take Carter to the local emergency room where the doctors there were under direct instruction from our wonderful pediatrician (who I am so thankful for) and our great Oncology team from CNMC. Carter was running a fever and was not breathing like he should have been. Blood work was done and cultures were taken and he was given a strong antibiotic that would cover most bacterial infections. It was deemed that Carter had an infection in his trache. It was later determined that this is the same bacteria that has grown before, probably meaning it has colonized. Carter will remain on this antibiotic for 7-10 days and then it may be necessary that he receives antibiotic breathing treatments. Other than that, Carter is doing well. His legs are stronger than they have been in months and he is able to move his fingers to pick up and stack blocks (although he really only cooperates with his physical therapist). His physical therapist said yesterday that that was the BEST session she has had with him:) Go, Carter, Go!! He still has a long way to go but we are determined that he will get there! With fervent prayers and faith, Carter will prevail. His net MRI is scheduled for this Tuesday. PLEASE, PLEASE SAY EXTRA PRAYERS FOR US THIS WEEK. Both Skip and I have major anxiety as this day approaches. Although clinically, he is better, we still get very nervous! We pray that this tumor is shrinking but at minimum we pray that it is stable. We appreciate all of the positive thoughts and prayers that come our way. We could not walk this journey alone so thank you for walking it with us!!!

Love to you all,


Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Quick Update....

I just wanted to let everyone know that Carter-Man is still doing well at home. We are all falling into a routine and it seems to be working well. Skip and I feel very comfortable with Carter's care, so much that we have gone down on the nursing hours. We are only going to have a nurse during the day and on the nights that Skip is at work. We are thankful for all of the well wishes and help we have received since we got home. Carter-Man has enjoyed all of the visitors. After his initial visit with Jenny and the Beggan girls, he was very anxious to see his Nanny (Grandma Marlene to me), Teeny, Beth, Chuck, and the girls. He enjoyed each of the visits. He thoroughly enjoys the butterfly that Nanny and Teeny brought him. It stands in our front flower bed. He sat in his wheelchair today and watched it for what seemed like hours. Finally, we took him outside and he LOVES it!! Thanks, Teeny and Nanny!!! He had a whole lot of fun last night watching Annabelle and Caroline run around. He REALLY liked watching Uncle Chuck ride his scooter on the sidewalk and!! It was a really fun evening! Skip, Caroline, Barbara, and the nurse took Carter on quite a walk today. It was a little longer than what they anticipated but Carter loved it. He was somewhat hot when they returned but he was still happy to be outside. All in all, today was a nice Sunday at home with our family. Carter always has down days after his treatment and it lasts for 3-4 days after. He has definitely perked up today and hopefully tomorrow he will perk up even more.

As I update on our Carter-Man and ask for your continued prayers, I also ask that you pray for a friend of mine's little girl, Lily. She has been in and out of the hospital since May and was doing very well. Unfortunately, she has been readmitted. Please keep Sweet Lily and her family in your prayers. Also, please pray for the family of a little girl named, Adeline. She was in the PICU with Carter for the entire time we were there. She left a week earlier than we did. Unfortunately, she passed away yesterday morning. Please pray that the Lord wraps his loving and faithful arms around her family and carries them through this most difficult time. Thank you to everyone for your continued love, support, and prayers. Also, thank you so much to those who have sent cards to Carter. He LOVES looking at them and having me read them to him.

Love to you all,


Friday, August 21, 2009

And Thanks be to you, O Lord......

Carter had his first outpatient checkup yesterday in 4 months. We went to Children's National Medical Center in Northern Virginia to see Carter's Oncologist, Dr. Horn. We were greeted with open arms and lots of smiles. The entire staff was so happy to see Carter in the clinic and out of the hospital. Dr. Lawlor (another oncologist that we saw at the hospital) even brought Carter a water balloon to throw at Dr. Horn and boy did he try. It was a laugh for us all. The staff sang Happy Birthday to him and gave him a movie for his birthday. They were simply amazing:) Dr. Horn was very happy to see Carter in the office. She was happy with his happy that she said he does not need to come back to the office for 2 weeks. YIIIPPPPEEEEE!! Yesterday was a very long day. We left the house at 7:45 am and did not get home until 6:45pm. Carter's treatments run over a 3 hour time period. At the beginning of the visit, his nurse, Kristin, could not get his PICC line to draw so they had to put TPA (AKA clot buster) in it and that has to sit for an hour. After that, it drew great- THANK THE LORD!! His blood counts were AWESOME! Dr. Horn has scheduled his MRI for September 1st at INOVA!!! Please start praying now for improvement or at least stability! Dr. Horn told us yesterday she did not expect any bad news because of how he looks clinically. That made my day!! Carter did great on the ride up (the first time he has been in a car since May 22nd)! The ride home was not so good- he was very tired and irritated. I must say, I was, too! It was a long day!!! On the way up, as we approached the Gallows Road exit he started crying. After some deliberation, we figured out that he knew this was the exit for the hospital (he is a smart boy) and thought we were going back. As we passed the hospital, his nurse Aisha and he waved as we passed and then he calmed. I am not sure how he will do when we go for the MRI. We will have to continually reassure him that WE ARE NOT STAYING!!!! When Carter arrived home, he was so happy- smiling and laughing:) Recently, he has been trying to mouth words to us (he has not learned to talk over the trache). This is a MAJOR improvement. It was witnessed 1st hand by his Aunt Melissa last night. He was mouthing "I want". I figured out that he wanted spaghettio. He is not really supposed to have any food by mouth yet but I did let him taste some and he was soo very happy. He is trying to learn to talk with something called a pass-a muir valve that gets placed over the trache. It is very hard to get used to. He gets better everyday with it. He was able to say "I" "Hi" and "No" last night!!!! We were over the moon:) Please continue to pray for our Carter-Man as this battle is continuous. We need all of the prayers we can get to get through this. We know that there is only one "Great Physician" and we pray that he places his healing hands on Carter and stops the devil within. Thank you to everyone again for your continued support!

Love to all,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're Doing It Again!!!

First off...this is Becca!! YAY!! (that's my own personal "wahooo") I haven't posted in quite some time because Courtney has really been enjoying being able to log in as me and do her thing by addressing you all personally. I have to admit ~ I have REALLY missed writing under the avenue of this blog! I had never really "written" ANYTHING before I started this blog unless the Dean of my University deemed it necessary depending on what class I was enrolled in at any given time in my collegiate career. Now, I find myself wondering...

I never knew I would fall in love with the art of writing until I started writing about something that was so close to my heart! All that being is the REAL reason for my post:

We are having another FUNdraiser (clever, I know...FUNd) - hehe. I witnessed, first-hand the success of the last "piggy-back" fundraiser at my house with the fine Sterling Jewelry and Kelly's Kids' combined efforts. It was Sooo successful for the Harris Family, that I've decided to open up my home and do it AGAIN! Those of you that attended can't tell me you didn't have a good time!! (just stop it...don't even try) Those of you that ordered can't tell me you haven't been enjoying your fabulous Sterling silver jewelry (pah-leez) or that your children haven't been getting admiration stares all over the place due to their adorable Kelly's Kids clothing (I've had people come close to offering to buy the clothing off my girls' backs ~ I'm not kidding)!

There are only two differences this time around: There is a NEW catalog that just launched for the 2009-2010 line of sterling silver fun-tastic jewelry!! AND I am personally the Jewelry Rep this time! Tracy Sullivan was the Rep last time we did this. She showed me how successful you can be in this business so I decided to start my OWN jewelry business!! Sooo, I too will be offering 100% of my commission to the Harris Family for this event! The last event at my home raised over $1800 for the Harris Family even before Courtney's Kelly's Kids commission was tallied. For those of you that don't know ~ Courtney is a local rep for Kelly's Kids boutique children's clothing. Courtney receives commission from any/all sales her trunk shows do this Fall. If you have little ones, little-ish ones or even nieces/nephews/grandkids....and don't want to dress them in what the local stores have to offer, you should visit!!

My trunk show with Courtney is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 12th at 6pm. We will also have a table set up displaying a great sample of the sterling silver jewelry as well as some of the newest pieces in the 2009-2010 line. Again ~ I want to remind you that we were able to collect over $1800 in funds for the Harris Family this last Spring. I would LOVE to try to BEAT that!! I KNOW you all will help me in helping Carter and his family, right?? I haven't been let down by any of you and I find it hard to believe it would happen now!!

THIS IS AN OPEN HOUSE FORUM JUST LIKE THE LAST TIME...CAN'T MAKE IT AT 6PM?? THEN COME AT 9PM!! I'm very easy to get along with :) If you are interested in taking part in this fundraiser, here are your options:

You can come Party With Me (I'm really fun, people have told me) I promise to have yummy snacks and adult beverages on hand (CHILDREN ARE WELCOME ~ I HAVE FOUR OF MY OWN, HOW CAN I TURN YOURS AWAY??)
Saturday, September 12th @ 6pm
9 Garner Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

You can contact me by:
(540)898-6406 H
(703)371-7765 C

If you are unable to come to the open house on September 12th, you can always view the Kelly's Kids Fall '09 collection at (but Courtney won't receive commission unless you specifically list her name). Please feel free to contact me anyway that works best for you!

I truly hope to see a LOT of new faces for those of you that were unable to attend my first open house and am looking forward to seeing those of you that were able to make it so we can do it all over again!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Here is a picture of Carter today....yesterday was a little shaky because of the anxiety that accompanied bringing Carter home but as the day has progressed we have all started to settle in!! We are so happy to have our baby home:) Thank you, Lord for all of the blessings!!!


I wanted to give a quick update that Carter-Man made it home just fine yesterday. He was transported by Physician's Support to make it easy for everyone and because he does have a trache and they wanted to make sure that he got into the house safely....AND HE DID!!! It was very obvious that although he was VERY happy to be home, he was nervous (thank goodness for medicine for that)!! He was very tired and seemed to take a great nap in his new bed. He was very excited to see his new Star Wars bedding that Grandma Cecee bought for him. We noticed he seemed sad so we tried for sometime to figure out what was wrong.....he was sad that Jenny and the Beggan girls were not here to greet him. I explained that I wanted it to be calm but that I would make one quick phone call and within a minute they would be here and sure enough, Jenny showed up within seconds and the Beggan girls were here within minutes (Becca actually yanked them out of the pool when she got my message)!!!! He was elated to see them and they were just as happy to see him. He had somewhat of a difficult evening and night getting settled. This is completely understandable considering he has been in the hospital for 4 months. He did get some sleep and was anxious this morning to get on the couch. It was the first time he sat on the couch since May and he was very comfortable. This will also help to get him sitting up alone again. He will start physical and occupational therapy 3 times a week tomorrow. He is sleeping comfortable now and hopefully will take a nice long nap so we can go for a walk later.Now onto the adjustment period...
As you can imagine, the care is very overwhelming. Carter is on 15 different medicines, most having to be given 2-3 times per day. He is also on a continuous feed (formula that we must prepare every night) and he gets bolus feeds of H20 4 times a day. I know that we will will just take time. I know that there are many of you that are super anxious to see him and we understand. We ask that you call before you come. If we do not answer, please just leave a message and we will call you back when we get a chance. We are doing our best to provide the best care to Carter while trying hard to maintain normalcy for Caroline. We also want to provide privacy for Carter as often as he needs it. No doubt, he loves visitors but there are times during the day that he is sleeping, doing physical therapy, or just relaxing. We are also going to try to put time aside in the day for family walks and movie time. Carter has his regular checkup and treatment this Thursday. We are sheduled to have transportation for that but Carter is very adamant that he wants to go in our truck. We are going to do a trial run and see how that goes. I think he will do just fine (so does Skip). We wish that we could have everyone here at once to celebrate his homecoming but right now we are trying so hard to adjust to our "new" normal. Thank you for understanding:) I will keep you all posted as the week progresses!

Love to you all,


Monday, August 10, 2009

A Big Thank You from Tom (Gagee) and Grandma Cecee

Dear Friends and Family,
Tom and I cannot begin to thank all of you for everything you have done to support our family during this time. From cleaning house, cutting grass, organizing dinners, organizing fundraisers, running errands, babysitting Caroline and most of all, for being you. This has broken our hearts into a million pieces, but as Carter heals, so do we. Because of your kindness, our journey has been easier. As we look towards Carter's homecoming our hearts are blessed with the unconditional love, support and prayers you have bestowed upon us. Right now it would be impossible to write the thousands of "thank you" notes that each of you deserve. Please accept this as our very, very gracious Thank You.

Tom and Cecee

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Birthday to Remember.....

As many of you know, August is a very busy month for the Harris family and our close network of friends. Everyone in my immediate family (Tommy, Caroline, Myself, Skip, and Carter) has a birthday in August!! Yes, very strange, I know, but nonetheless it is what it is. Our close network of friends also has many August birthdays.. Happy Birthday to all of you:) For obvious reasons, this year has been a little different. We have tried, for the other two children, to make it as special as we always do. Tommy was the big "16" on the 1st and our baby, Caroline, was 4 on the 3rd. That was a very hard day for me, as I cannot believe that my baby is 4. I turned 34 on the 4th. My birthday was very different from years past, although much more special this year. As I sat at INOVA with Carter-Man and Jenny on my 34th birthday, I did a lot of reflecting on years past. I remembered the pool parties I used to have at my Nanny and Papa's. Boy do I miss them...they were so very special to me and I was very special to them. My Papa was a very important man in my life and I miss him each day. I can see him peaking his head out of his window yelling to my mom, "Charlotte Carol, does she have sunscreen on her nose?" He was always worried about me getting sunburned on my nose...I am now obsessed with that on my own children. I love and miss you, Papa!!! I also reflected on how birthdays have changed over the years. I looked at my teenage birthdays and how I wanted to be with my friends and oh how I look back and wish I could change some of that. I remember my 16th was a Sunday at my house at Belle Meade Court was probably the most special birthday that I can remember..spent with family and friends. My wonderful parents got me a car (COURTIE- for those that remember)and I loved it:) My Papa took me the next day to get my driver's license. What an exciting day and spent with the most amazing man that I have ever known! He was very nervous that morning but he tried so hard not to show it. Then was my 21st birthday spent with some friends that were just friends for a season..although I still think of them often. My 30th birthday was the most meaningful- Caroline was just 1 day old. I spent it with her and my family at Mary Washington Hospital. I would not have wanted to be anywhere else. And my I will never, ever forget. I spent it with my "sister" and best friend, Jenny and my one true hero, Carter-Man. I was also blessed to spend it with some very special friends, ones that I have met along this journey. It is very ironic that they all just happened to come to Carter-Man's room at the same time..coincidence, I think not! It was so very special to me...thank you to Erin Whitmer, who brought me treats (they were sooo good) and some sparkling Lemonade that I love and that precious Baby Noah who gives us all hope, thank you to Sarah Knight for visiting with us in 520 and bringing your smile that provides hope and faith in all of us (her daughter, Sweet Julia Grace, had already been released but had come back for a minor surgery- it just so happened to be on my birthday), and thank you to Gisselle for coming by at the same time and bringing your optimism. This was definitely a birthday I will always hold near and dear to my heart, spent with people that God has brought together to provide each other with hope, faith, and strength through the most trying times. I love all of you and am so thankful that our paths have crossed:) I would not have wanted to be anywhere else but with my precious Carter-Man! Thank you to everyone for all of the gifts and the phone calls. Thank you to "my girls" for a nice dinner out..I had so much fun...I love all of you more than you will ever know. Thank you to Mom, Tom, Chad, and Skip for the gorgeous bracelet. And last but not least...thank you to my amazing husband for just being you. You are simply are the best husband and father EVER! The bracelet and the roses were more than thoughtful. I will never take the bracelet off.. I LOVE YOU!!! Now enough of this and onto the main attraction...the incredible, amazing, tough, handsome....CARTER-MAN!!!
Carter is doing AWESOME!!!! He is well on his way to getting better and better everyday. His breathing is still great and he is getting stronger and stronger everyday. We are now back to taking walks and going outside and he is so happy about that. His last 2 physical therapy sessions have been GREAT! His physical therapist says he is ready to stand and he is showing that he is definitely ready. He has attempted to for the last 2 days and he is well on his way to doing it:) Dr. Im (he gives medical advice to the Physical and Occupational Therapists) said that when he observed Carter's physical therapy session yesterday that it was the best session he has EVER seen with Carter-Man!! Go, Carter-Man, Go!!! I do not want to jinx us but our anticipated discharge date is the 17th...yes just a little over a week away!!! We are happy but nervous at the same time. We are going to have to adjust to a new kind of normal and that may take some time but we will get there. We have a long road ahead of us but we will get there! Carter-Man has proved that he is a hero and a fighter- HE WILL PREVAIL!!
Thank you to everyone for their continuous thoughts and prayers! Thank you to all who came out to the auction to support our family- we appreciate it more than you will ever know. Please pray for the following children as some are battling the same tumor as Carter and some different medical issues....Julia Grace, Eddie, Adeline, Andrew, Luke, Tyler, Christopher, Alexis, Ella, Lily, and Nicky. Please also pray for a friend of mine, Keeva, as she continues her battle with cancer (she is doing great and responding well to her treatments)- GO KEEVA!!!!!!

Love to you all,


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Roller Coaster ride continues......

Good Morning, All! I wanted to give everyone an update on Carter-Man. So.....he definitely had an infection. There was some bacteria in his sputum culture..the blood cultures were fine but the doctors believe that because the blood culture was done before the septic event, they did not do the culture at the right time. I did notice on Thursday afternoon that the area around his PICC line was red and inflamed. I showed the nurse and she had the resident and Attending look at it and sure enough it was infected. They took it out and placed another one. He has bounced back quicker than expected, which we are very thankful for..lots of prayer and positive thinking:) His blood counts are great!!! The EKG that was done did pick up on the irregularity of the heartbeat but it was a normal irregularity, whatever that may mean! We have not experienced that since that night. The doctor explained to us that it is like an unconditioned athlete running a marathon (which would be when Carter went septic) and then falling on the couch. The heart rate would drop and may beat irregularly. Thank goodness that his heart rate is better than it has been in weeks, his breathing is wonderful, and he has had no fever in days:) He is ready to get back to where we were before this event..going outside, taking walks, and happy! On a GREAT note, Skip and I and our team (Intensivist, Oncologist, Social Worker, Case Manager, Occupational Therapist, Head Nurse, Pulmonologist) here at INOVA had a meeting on Thursday to discuss going HOME....ahhhh......the sound of that makes my heart smile. There are some things that need to be ironed out and we need to finish this course of antibiotics (he is on 3 of them)to be sure the infection is long gone. We will have nursing at home for 16 hours per day in the beginning to help with his care. Skip and I have both learned how to change the trache and trache ties (Skip is a pro, I am still learning)!!! We have to iron out all of the medical equipment we will need and have it delivered. A HUGE thank you to Ellen and Al Sharpe for letting us use their hospital bed. We already have it placed in our family room! Gagee hung curtains to block out the sunlight in the family room so Carter can sleep and Barbara and Jenny helped me rearrange the room. We have organizers set up and are anxiously awaiting the Big Day!!! Carter is resting right now. He had a hard time getting settled last night..I truly believe that he has heard us talk about going home and now he is super anxious! WE ARE, TOO:)
As you have read, Skip and I see this journey as a roller coaster. There are twists and turns, ups and downs, long hills to climb, short hills to climb, some scary, some long, some fun, some short! We are taking each as they come. We enjoy the fun ones and dread the scary ones. We have been very blessed throughout this journey. Carter has been through some life-threatening events and each time, he pulls the Grace of God. He is a fighter..he is a true hero..he is an inspiration to us all....he is CARTER-MAN!!!!!!!!!!! He is the light of our life!!! We hope to bring him home in the next couple of weeks:) Please continue to pray for him and send positive thoughts!!!
By the way, Carter loves cards...he gets one several times a week from Belva and Jay Miller and Aunt Tina and Uncle Bill. HE LOVES THEM:) Thank you so much! Many have asked about sending them and just to let everyone know he loves when I bring them to him at the hospital.
His mailing address is
Carter-Man Harris
14 Glen Oak Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Love to you all,