Sunday, April 22, 2018

How We're Feeling / Surgery Info

With Caroline's pending surgery on Friday, we wanted to give everyone an update on how we're doing as a family.  We've had almost 2 months without intense treatment, fever or sickness, and unless God has other plans, we have 5 more days together as a family before we get back into the thick of treatment...we're facing 70+ nights in the hospital over the next few months.

From Mark:
Five months in and I'm not "ok" - as I often get asked- no one could be in this situation.  I struggle every day.  I am able to stay busy during the day and I don't really slow down enough to think about what's going on.  I stay mostly positive around the kids, friends, and family...that's my job.  Things are often different when I am alone. I'm awake in the middle of the night most of the time...thinking about how this all could play out. I often focus on the sadness of the situation itself.  I have anxiety about what Caroline (and Margaret/our family) is/are about to experience over the coming months (surgery, 2 rounds of high-dose chemo, 2 transplants, radiation, immunotherapy).  I am not looking forward to being 30 minutes away from Margaret and Caroline for weeks at a time.  I'm sad that Andrew won't be able to see his whole family every day.  I'm upset that Margaret and Caroline will most likely be quarantined to a small hospital room for days or weeks at a time.  This whole thing is awful really, but we can't focus on that all the time - we have to be productive and keep moving forward like #carolinestrong does. Caroline is a warrior and an angel, and Margaret should qualify for sainthood for what she is doing for our family.  I appreciate their hard work and sacrifices every day.  I appreciate the care and love the Vanderbilt team gives to our daughter.  Those folks are amazing and always go above and beyond for our family. We have received an enormous amount of support from family (all who live out of town), friends, neighbors, strangers and co-workers - we appreciate every one of you.  We have a long way to go, and this upcoming stretch over the summer is going to be the hardest to date.  We will need a lot more help, so a BIG Thank You in advance for your continued support. #FTGF

From Margaret:
In one day, my life literally, completely changed.  Not only did I find out that our daughter - my walking heartbeat - had cancer with a statistically terrible prognosis, but I also instantly knew that the care she needed would mean I had to step away from my career -- something that has defined me and has been a source of fulfillment my entire adult life.  I lost my "life plan," my job, and my children's innocence, all in one fell swoop.  Over the last 5 months, I have had all the typical emotions people would expect with this sort of news, but most consistently I feel three things: sad, grateful and humbled.  I cry almost every morning at the gym, so that I can stay positive the rest of the day for the kids, and then let it back out again at night when they're in bed.  This morning I heard a song with a line in it that I can't stop thinking about: "better than I used to be."  As crazy as it sounds, I feel "better than I used to be," before she was diagnosed.  I feel lucky that I get to take care of Caroline...I feel lucky that Mark was supportive of me instantly walking away from my job, taking on the burden of providing for our family alone, while he's coping with the diagnosis as well.  He has been a rock for our family, and we are in a good place.  I've had lots of time to reflect, and I truly feel like God has been preparing me for this diagnosis since she was born (and probably even before).  Caroline and I have always had a special connection, but this has taken us beyond.  Her spirit inspires me every minute of every day...she's my light.  Every morning I wake up and remember she has cancer...it's like a nightmare groundhog day situation...but then she wakes up with a smile on her face, and I have a reason to fight through the sadness.  I feel more gratitude in my heart than ever before.  I cherish family time and friendships more than ever before.  I also feel so humbled by everyone that has shown up for us: family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, co-workers, complete strangers!  My eyes are open, and my heart is forever changed.  I have had a lot of anxiety recently, probably because I am trying to mentally prepare myself for what is ahead.  I've already spent so many nights holding my daughter in the middle of the night in the hospital bed, as poison is pumping into her little body, aching and wishing I could take her place...I'm not looking forward to more nights of that, and we haven't even gotten to the hard part yet.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for holding us up and walking us through this devastating time...I can't say that enough.  Thank you. 

From Andrew:
To quote him directly..."I'm good."  You don't get too much out of this 10 year-old boy, but we think he is doing as well as we can expect.  His routine has stayed relatively normal with school and sports.  He plays with his friends every chance he gets, and does all of the usual "stuff" kids do at his age.  He's very protective and loving to Caroline, but they still annoy each other like typical siblings!


From Caroline:
(We asked her if she had anything to say to everyone who is praying for her)



Caroline's surgery is scheduled for 8am on Friday (4/27).  The surgery is expected to last about 6 hours.  The tumor will be removed, and she will also have a Hickman line placed (in addition to the port-a-cath she already has).  We are going to lay low for the rest of the week and just spend time together as a family.  Mark will post an immediate update on Facebook when she is out of surgery, and a blog post will follow later that day.  Thank you in advance for all of the prayers and thoughts that will be lifted in her name on Friday.  We have faith in God, confidence in her surgery team, and comfort in all of your thoughts and prayers.

***If you have any #carolinestrong gear, please wear it on Friday and think of her.  If you don't have any, please wear yellow/gold, which is the awareness color for childhood cancer.

Words will never be able to adequately express our gratitude,
The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

40 comments:

  1. I love that sweet Caroline and her spirit. Better than I used to be ❤️
    I will come visit you all at some point while you are at Vandy. We are praying at the Hall household!

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  2. Prayers for you all as you go through this together! Prayers do work and I will be thinking about your family. She’s got this!

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  3. Continued prayers for you and for the doctors, nurses and all medical staff for Caroline's medical procedures Friday.Each of Caroline's pictures reflects her inner strength. God bless you all.

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  4. Praying for you all and will be wearing my t shirt for Caroline.

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  5. Hang in there we are all praying for all of you!

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  6. God bless Praying for Caroline and your family

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  7. You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly!! I'll have my shirt on on Friday. Love to you all!!

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  8. Thank you for inviting us into your deepest thiughts and feelings of the hardest journey of your lives. Humbled and thankful to witness the power and love of community and prayer. Love you all. Praying you through.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your private thoughts and feelings. We think of Caroline and your family everyday. We're glad when we see you guys every now and then in the neighborhood. Miracles happen and we are praying for your sweet girl everyday.

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  10. Thank you for your honesty. Prayers for Friday.

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  11. Glad I finally got to meet the family we have been praying for at the Rally on the Runway event. Even more glad that you have support. I was really serious about breakfast/coffee/whatever you need while you are inpatient. That is one thing I was able to do for Gwyne/Chris/Cristin. PLEASE get my number from Cristin. Continued prayers for this next phase of treatment.

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  12. Hi Caroline you are so strong, you can do it, :)!!
    From Easton :D

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  13. We went through this. Stage 4 Neuroblastoma with our 3 year old daughter, Shaelyn. I was in tears reading your blog, reliving it all... 6 rounds of chemo, multiple surgeries, bone marrow transplant, radiation and immunotherapy. A year and a half of intense treatment. She’s now 9!!! And she hasn’t missed a beat. We made it through, and you guys will too!! Hang in there. One day at a time... really, is my honest to God best advise I can give. If you worry about what’s to come, it’ll be too much to handle. Have faith. God is good! We will be praying for your daughter like the fierce prayer warriors we have grown to become. Wearing yellow tomorrow, we will be thinking of Caroline!!! XOXO, The Moyer Family

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  14. Hi! I just wanted you to know I seen this story off of The Rocks page! Caroline is a strong little girl! Very fierce and I am praying for your whole family! My name is Jessica Ortiz, I’m 24. My husband is currently in recovery for a bone marrow transplant after his second diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma. My father fought cancer twice before God called him home and my mom fought cancer when I was a little girl. Though I’ve never had it myself, I have witnessed what cancer can do to my loved ones. If you ever need someone to talk to please reach out! FB I’m under Jessica Ortiz (Barnett) or IG is jessbby1. Me and my husband are prayer for your family ❤️

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  15. Prayers for Friday and Prayers for the hard times you have to go through. You guys will rock it!
    Stay strong sweet caroline! ❤❤❤

    Greetings from Germany.

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  16. We have so much prayers and love for you from my family to yours girl I am crying my eyes out for how happy you looks and have so much love and you Believe in yourself that you can do this AND YOU CAN !!!!! I will ware all the gear I have for you ! Your going to move mountains baby girl you got this !!!!!

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  17. Ibrahim Siré Mahamadou CisséApril 26, 2018 at 1:06 PM

    Que le tout puissant Allah t’accorde La guĂ©rison Caroline. tu es merveilleuse, j’ai adorĂ© ta photo mashallah, tu es forte ( si tu fais un bras de fer avec The Rock je suis sĂ»r que tu gagnerais sans problème �� ) . Qu’Allah t’accorde sa misĂ©ricorde pour que tu guĂ©risse et que tu puisse rendre fière ta famille et le monde entier. Qu’il te donne la force nĂ©cessaire pour que tu puisse donner une bonne correction Ă  ton Cancer. Vas-y Caroline t’es la plus forte ���� ����. De la part d’un Musulman de paix. Que la paix et la grâce D’ALLAH soit sur toi et sur toute ta famille ����❤️.

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  19. Saw this post from The rocks page, just letting you all know your in my thoughts a prayers for little Caroline, the second I saw his post I stopped what I was doing immediately and said a prayer from here in MN! Mercy & strength to you all in this difficult time! Kick Cancers butt Caroline! <3 God Bless! - Angela

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  21. You can do this, Caroline! You’re in my prayers!

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  22. What I thought when I saw the video....Some would see a soggy mess, but she saw an opportunity! ....And did she even get wet. You're in our thoughts and prayers

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  23. I am an American soldier, I fight for you! I will never stop fighting for you! I need you to keep fighting! Your stronger than I am, my wife would tell you that I’m a big baby when I don’t feel good.

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  24. Saw this on Luke Bryan's page. Praying for Caroline's surgery, each of you, her doctors and her recovery. May God be with each of you!

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  25. ❤️❤️❤️ Caroline’s mama- your words left me in tears, they are perfect and beautiful. My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago and my feelings mirror yours so much. I am praying my heart out for Caroline and your family- for a smooth surgery tomorrow and that you can endure the months and treatments that follow. Is there an address we can send something to sweet Caroline?

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  27. Saw this on Luke Bryan's Instagram and wanted to reach out and let you know from San Diego CA you are all in our thoughts and prayers. You got this!!

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  28. Sweet caroline ����
    You are in my prayers

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  29. May you have rest and peace in your heart.
    May angels surround your bed through the night.
    May each day bring healing with the dawn,
    Restore your energy, and heal your wounds.
    May hope remain within your heart,
    As you find new strength and make a new start.
    I pray you'll soon be well,
    To love and live and enjoy life again.

    Amen.

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  30. As Caroline's surgery time nears, just know that there is a multitude of people praying for her and your family! May God guide the medical team throughout today's surgery & in the coming days & months following! May Caroline remain strong in her rally to fight and beat this disease! May your family continue to be supported by your local community to ensure your needs are being met to keep disruptions as minimal as possible for those who remain at home carrying on their daily activities! Philippians 4 : 13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am now ten years cancer free! Someday, this will be your family's memory! God Bless!

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  31. My niece, Bella, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma in August of 2016. Her tumor was underneath her liver. She had surgery to remove it about a year ago. She will be 12 years old this July, is on DFMO, is back in school fil time and finally went swimming for the 1st time in 2 years last Saturday.

    God can move mountains. We're praying for you, sweet Caroline & family. Peace be with you!

    _Marilee & TeamPrincessWarriorBella, CA

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  32. Matthew and Stephanie CampbellApril 27, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    We are praying.

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  33. Your trust in God's work will pull you through this tough time. I just learned of your story thanks to The Rock letting Rock Nation know through his social media. I have posted awareness of your situation on my personal social media pages and even though I have never personally met you I can tell from your posting you have the spirit and the will to beat this situation. Take care CAROLINE and know MICHIGANS GOT YOUR BACK!

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  34. Hello team #carolinestrong,
    This is Sam of team #teamdobo. I too battled cancer and empathize completely what you’re going through.
    I was announced in remission this last December and soon you will be able to say the same for Caroline.
    Visualize her beaming with light, radiant long hair flowing in the wind as she runs in a sunny meadow. Your game of tag is hard because she is so strong and fast. That’s the image I’ll hold on my morning meditation for you.
    As a survivor and a connected holistic nutritionist in Vancouver, I have a community that can help if called upon. I’ll leave you my contact information, please reach out if you’re interested in some more opinions.
    Sending you loads of love and all the angels.
    With care,
    Sam Dobo

    dobosamantha@gmail.com

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  35. Crying on my commute home reading these words. Thought and still thinking of your beautiful little fighter all through the afternoon. The sun is shining here in Switzerland and I pictured Caroline looking healthy and strong with her hair grown back running across a sunny meadow. Here's to a bright future for all of you.

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