Today I'm going to get serious because my college friend Sarah's little boy needs a whole lot of love.
Carter is two and a half. He has an older brother, Mason, and their parents love their sons to pieces. Here are Carter and Mason enjoying bath time last summer...just before Carter got really, really sick.
What started out as GI symptoms turned out to be an inoperable brain tumor. Instead of the Disney World trip the family had planned, Carter had surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, which alleviated his nausea, and Sarah and Carter moved from North Carolina to Memphis for treatment at St. Jude's. The family's strength through this ordeal has been incredible, supporting each other every way they can despite the distance. In addition to occasional weekends together, Carter has been able to have quality time with his big brother and his dad, Paul, on Skype:
That bald little noggin breaks my heart.
St. Jude's is an amazing hospital (actually several hospitals across the country), with top-notch medical care and wonderful activities for the kids. Sarah and Carter were able to stay at the Target House and were there for their over-the-top Christmas party:
The joy on Carter's face says it all:
After a magical Christmas season (interrupted only by the usual side effects from Carter's chemo), he had a scan to see how well the drugs were working. But instead of shrinking, the tumor had grown.
Sarah's faith is unwavering, and shortly after Carter's diagnosis she had created a Facebook group, Prayers for Carter. The 3,000 prayer warriors in the group shared in Sarah's heartbreak when she got the results.
At that point doctors would normally turn to radiation to try to shrink the tumor, but radiation isn't good for developing brains. They decided to try another round of chemo to buy some time until Carter turns three (and radiation isn't quite so risky).
Now Carter has finished his second round of chemo, and the family was finally able to take that trip to Disney World. And the Disney folks have been so nice to them. It was the perfect family vacation...until yesterday, when Carter couldn't stop vomiting. Sarah took him to the nearest hospital while Paul took Mason to the Magic Kingdom.
Another scan revealed that the tumor had grown even more. Presumably it was again pressing against his brain and making him nauseous, just like when he was first diagnosed. Doctors were able to make Carter comfortable enough to get some rest.
Sarah and Carter spent the night at the hospital and expect to fly back to St. Jude's sometime today, their dream vacation cut short by this nightmare.
Sarah said it best: This wasn't supposed to happen. Please keep this wonderful family in your thoughts, and if you're a pray-er, please pray for sweet Carter.