Wednesday, September 28, 2022

200 Nights / Cycle 8

Last night, Caroline spent her 200th night at Vanderbilt since she was initially diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in November 2017. It’s exhausting to think about how much time we’ve spent here….and in turn, split our family in half. It goes without saying that we are beyond grateful she is alive and still able to battle, but we also are very broken watching her endure this awful treatment, especially at such a young age and for so many years.

She started cycle 8 of treatment for her relapse Monday, and the first 2 days where very rough with side effects. Nausea lead to 2 really bad episodes of vomiting where she lost her NG tube. It had to be replaced both times, which is never a fun process for her to go through (or us to watch). However, her spirits were much better today…she even spent some time with her favorite hospital staff visitors and gave them all a few laughs with her sassy personality!

We hope that the rest of the week is more like today rather than earlier in the week, and that she can get out on schedule (Saturday).

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

PS: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month ends Sept 30th, so there’s just a few days left to order the candles from In Love There's Light! Click here to support childhood cancer research!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Cycle 7 Update

Caroline was discharged yesterday after being inpatient all week for Cycle 7.  Although she experienced all of the typical side effects, the cycle overall was "uneventful."  We're always grateful for the thoughts and prayers!


Home in time for Ravens' Kick-off!




Friday, September 2, 2022

Scan Updates

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and there's no better way to kick it off than by sharing some good news about Caroline beating cancer...again!

After a very long day of testing that included blood work, CT scan, PET scan, Bone Marrow Biopsy and a follow-up appointment with the orthopedic team for her broken finger, we finally have all the results:
  • Broken Finger: Healing well
  • Blood Work: Mostly in normal range
  • CT Scan: No Evidence of Disease
  • PET Scan: No Evidence of Disease 
  • Bone Marrow: No Evidence of Disease 
So, as of now, there are no visible signs of Neuroblastoma cells present in Caroline’s body!  We will celebrate for a few days, but get back to continuing the fight on Tuesday, for Cycle 7 of her inpatient treatment.

Caroline's Oncology team recommends up to 11 additional cycles of treatment (17 cycle total) to reduce the chance of reoccurrence and/or missed microscopic disease identified on the scans.  It's not fun, it’s hard to manage, and it's beyond hard to watch.  The treatment wreaks havoc on her body, and the risk of secondary cancers increases with each chemotherapy treatment, but the odds of relapse are generally much higher than these other concerns, so we are all in agreement to continue to keep it rolling.

We were honored to partner with the following organizations/people in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Please help us continue to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research this month by supporting any/all of the following: 

Caroline created a signature scent

Focusing on much-needed sibling support for pediatric cancer families...and if you're local, please support their annual Pumpkin Patch next month!

Saving children's lives daily

There is still a national blood shortage - please donate if you're able!

If you're local, here are two other ways to support: 

**local pick-up @ NSC Team Store only** 
Caroline created a scarf for NSC's 2022 "Kick Childhood...if you want to see the video of her creating the scarf and being interviewed, click here.

Mini-sessions with our favorite local photographer (we will donate the proceeds to the Beat Childhood Cancer Foundation)

We have so much appreciation for all those in the battle with us: her huge Vanderbilt team, the Beat Childhood Cancer team, our friends, family, neighbors, Caroline’s school, the Nashville Predators, the Nashville Sounds, the Nashville Soccer Club, co-workers of past and present, and so many others we don't even know.  Thank you for your steadfast support and generosity throughout the (almost) five year journey!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Home from Cycle 6

Caroline was discharged to come home from Cycle 6 today. The side effects of the medicine hit her very hard this week - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain. It is beyond words to describe the awful feeling of watching endure this treatment...and in a post COVID-19 world, only parents/guardians are permitted in patient rooms. Not being able to have visitors makes for a very lonely week...and being separated from Andrew is another kind of awful. We're so grateful that her body is responding positively to treatment, and we know it could always be worse, but it's daunting to think we aren't even halfway through this relapse treatment.  One day at a time...

Much appreciation for the amazing staff at Vanderbilt...they are so kind and caring to our daughter, and entire family!

Thank you all for your continued generosity, prayers and support; it means more than you know.

Sending love,

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Wiped and resting at home after a really hard week.

Caroline was one of the patients selected to interview Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman this week, during their visit to the hospital's "Seacrest Studio."


Monday, August 15, 2022

Cycle 6 Underway

Caroline was admitted today for Cycle 6 of treatment to fight her relapsed Neuroblastoma; some side effects have already hit hard. Long, rough first day for all…

Thank you for your prayers and support - much appreciated!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cycle 6 Delayed

Caroline didn’t meet the minimum bloodwork requirements when we went to clinic this morning to get admitted for her next round of chemo/antibody...her body is just pretty beat up from the past 5 rounds of treatment.  We will try again next Monday.

Thanks for the continued prayers and support!

The Lantz Family 
#carolinestrong
#ftgf





Monday, July 25, 2022

Home from Cycle 5 / 1st Day of 3rd Grade!

Caroline was discharged from Vanderbilt yesterday morning. Other than her broken finger, she had a relatively uneventful week of treatment. She has a follow-up appointment with her orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt on Tuesday, as well as her usual Friday appoint at the oncology clinic for labs and a check-up. 

She rested up at home on Sunday to get her energy back for Monday so she could finally join her classmates, who started last week (she is in a year-round school, and is now officially in 3rd grade!).

We appreciate all the UberEats gift cards, tasty homemade treats, meals, gifts and all around generous support from our friends and family 💛.  Although we are BEYOND grateful for her most recent scan results, this is a very mentally and physically draining experience.  Our whole family is exhausted, and there is still such a long road ahead...but the kindness, love, prayers and support from Caroline’s army is sustaining us.

As always, we are so grateful for her care team at Vanderbilt; they are unwavering in their attentiveness and love towards Caroline, and make this very difficult time as pleasant as can be.

Just a reminder that there is still a national blood shortage - please donate if you can (click here to register in your area)...we're thankful to all our friends and family that have recently shared pictures of themselves giving in Caroline’s honor!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Ways to help:
Meal Train
Purchase #carolinestrong T-Shirts
Contribute to Medical Expenses via GoFundMe
Family Meals via UberEats (email to margaretlantz@gmail.com)

Homeward bound!

Recovering at home...

Ready for 3rd Grade just 24 hours after getting home!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Scan/Biopsy Results...Cycle 5

All the results are now in from Caroline's scans and biopsy last week:

  1. CT Scan: No evidence of lesions previously seen
  2. PET Scan - No evidence of lesions previously seen
  3. Bone Marrow Biopsy - No evidence of Neuroblastoma cells 
  4. Blood Work - All in normal range as of 7/19/22
This is all good news, and so far the treatment seems to be working. There is always the possibility for microscopic disease that doesn't show up on these scans, so Caroline will continue the repetitive treatment cycles/scans as long as her body continues to tolerate it, and we continue to get positive results (in theory, 17 cycles total).

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes...we still have long road still ahead, but are encouraged by todays news!

Caroline was able to start her Cycle 5 chemotherapy/antibody this morning, and we are hoping to be finished early Sunday morning. 

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Monday, July 18, 2022

Tough, unexpected Start to Cycle 5

Caroline was scheduled to begin her 5th treatment cycle for relapsed Neuroblastoma this morning, but was unfortunately sidelined for the day due to an unexpected injury in the parking lot at Vanderbilt. As we were unpacking the car for our week-long stay, Caroline somehow closed her pinky finger in the car door.  We were able to get the bleeding stopped while in clinic, but her care team ordered x-rays once we were admitted, which revealed a small fracture in her bone.  She ended up needing "bedside surgery" with local anesthetic to completely remove, repair and replace her cracked finger nail.  She'll be in a splint for a bit, and will also be treated with antibiotics this week to prevent any infection.

Her chemotherapy is now scheduled to start tomorrow (7/18), so hopefully she will be able to come home by Sunday afternoon.

Caroline is uncomfortable, in a bit of pain and bummed about her splint restrictions, so please pray for quick healing and a relatively uneventful rest of this week.

Additionally, we are still waiting on some final reports from her scans/biopsy last week, so once we have all that information we will post everything related to her scans on this blog.

In the meantime, thank you for all the continued support!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf



All stitched and wrapped...rough day!

X-Ray when she was admitted.

Prepping for "bedside surgery"

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Cycle 4 Update

Cycle 4 is complete and Caroline is settling in at home. Although she receives the same chemotherapies and antibody each time, all four cycles have been a little different with regard to side effects. During this cycle, Caroline really, really struggled with nausea. We’re so grateful to have an amazing medical team to care for her and adjust things as-needed. Thank you to everyone for continuing to pray for us!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July! 

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Adios Cycle 4!

Getting a new NG tube inserted (often comes out when C throws up)

Weighing in on Rounds with her team

Thanks, Michelle - the patriotic decorations were a hit!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Cycle 4 Underway

Caroline was admitted today for Cycle 4 of her treatment plan for relapsed Neuroblastoma. She will receive 2 different chemotherapies (Temodar and Irinotecan), and 1 Antibody Immunotherapy (Dinutuximab), as well as a laundry list of medications to combat the intense side effects.

When Caroline is inpatient, the week typically gets progressively harder for her (and us), due to compounding side effects of the treatment. Our hope is for an uneventful cycle so we can stay on track to be discharged this Saturday.

We are very grateful to all our prayer warriors and helpers that have assisted with meals, purchased t-shirts, gift cards, etc. We feel very blessed and fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors, friends and family all around the country.

Lastly, we wanted to say a very special “thank you” and “we miss you already” to one of our faves: Dr. Saara! Dr. Saara moved to Chicago last week to start a new chapter in her pediatric oncology and immunology career with the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital. Words cannot adequately express how much she’s meant to our family and Caroline’s journey over the past 5 years. We will miss you SK!

Thanks for everything!
The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Ready for a week in the hospital!

We love you, Saara!

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Cycle 3 Inpatient Stay - Complete

Today, Caroline completed the inpatient portion for Cycle 3 of her treatment plan for relapsed high-risk Neuroblastoma. She had a very rough week emotionally - lots of processing the diagnosis, its long treatment plan, and overall scariness of it all...otherwise, the side effects during her stay were the usual fevers, nausea, diarrhea, and pain.

Like the previous two cycles, Caroline will get Leukine shots each day (for a week) to boost her immune system while she recovers at home.  Her next clinic/labs appointment will be on Friday (6/17),  and her next scheduled inpatient admission for Cycle 4 will begin June 27th, assuming all goes as planned.

BIG shout out to our amazing Thales Academy family for the end of year celebration / fundraiser for Caroline yesterday. Nisha, Rachel, Mill Creek Brewing, and all that made it happen and attended - many thanks!

Please keep the prayers coming!

~The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Ways to help:


Cycle 3 Inpatient Stay = COMPLETE!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Starting Cycle 3


Caroline made her ANC count requirement this morning and was admitted inpatient at Vanderbilt for Cycle 3 of her treatment for relapsed High-Risk Neuroblastoma. Today she will receive 2 chemotherapies along with various other drugs for side affects.

Tuesday through Saturday, she will receive both chemos + an antibody immunotherapy drug which will be accompanied by a 24-7 Dilaudid drip for pain management.  We are hoping that she gets through this week with minimal side affects and hopefully can get home late Saturday. 

Thank you for all the prayers and support!

The Lantz Family

#carolinestrong
#ftgf


#mood upon arrival

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Progress Scans - Results

Caroline just concluded 2 long days of testing at Vanderbilt: labs/blood tests, audiology testing, a PET scan, a CT scan, and a bone marrow biopsy.

We are relieved to report that the results are all positive. She had 4 main areas of concern on the original scans in early April.  After 2 cycles of treatment, 3 of the spots are now essentially gone, and the 4th tumor shrunk by about 60%.  Additionally, her bone marrow biopsy detected no active Neuroblastoma cells.  Caroline will continue the same protocol for up to 15 more cycles: 2 types of chemo and antibody while inpatient for a week, followed by 2 weeks at home to recover/clinic check-in appointments...2 down, 15 to go!  It's still a very long road ahead, but we are celebrating the small wins and will continue to fight alongside her. 

Assuming Caroline's "counts" (ANC #) meets the minimum requirement to receive treatment, she will be admitted on Monday (6/6) for her 3rd round of treatment; if her counts aren't high enough, she will wait a week and be admitted on the following Monday/when counts recover.  We will post an update on the blog.

We are thankful for all the meals, prayers and support from friends, family and friends of friends...and a HUGE shoutout to the medical team at Vanderbilt for helping us work through this once again.

The Lantz Family 
#ftgf
#carolinestrong


In the sedation room ready for her bone marrow biopsy.

Audiology testing.

CT Scan in progress.

Reaction after finding out the cycles are working!

Super special visit from Uncle Paulie!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Home from Cycle 2

Caroline completed Cycle 2 of her chemo-antibody therapy, and was discharged on Saturday. She’s home resting and recovering from the harsh side effects of treatment. Unless she needs to sooner, her next clinic appointment is on Friday (5/27). She has progress scans and a bone marrow biopsy on 6/1 and 6/2. We will update the blog after we get the results from her scans. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.

The Lantz Family
#ftgf
#carolinestrong

How she spent most of the time inpatient.

Heading home...too weak to walk.

Rashes from the antibody leaving her system.

One shot per day for 7 days post-inpatient treatment.

Recovering on the couch with her BFF, Hank.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Cycle 2 Treatment Underway!

Caroline started Cycle 2 today - two chemotherapies (Irinotecan and Temozolimade) each day for five days. The antibody therapy (Dinutuximab) will be added tomorrow - it runs for 20 hours per day through Saturday. The antibody causes extreme pain, so starting tomorrow until we leave, she will be on a constant dilaudid drip 24/7.

Assuming all goes well, Caroline should be discharged this weekend. The other main side effects from this treatment are: rash, nausea, diarrhea and fever.

Please pray for an uneventful week, and that this treatment is working to kill off all of the Neuroblastoma cells in her body. She will get her progress scans on June 3rd.

All the Best,
The Lantz Family
#ftgf 
#carolinestrong

Caroline was able to snag the "movie theater" set-up today...projector movies and theater snacks all night!



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

It's been a busy 2.5 weeks at home for Caroline!  The first few days of side effects from the treatment were ROUGH and hit Caroline really hard.  She ended up getting an NG tube to assist with taking medication.  She also started to lose a lot of hair over the past few days, and asked us to shave her head.  So many changes!

Caroline has been able to go to school most of last week, and all this week.  After school, she has been going fishing with her brother and really loves it.  Cycle 2 is scheduled to begin Monday (5/16)...we will post an update from the hospital.

Thank you for the constant outpouring of love, support and prayers; we are so grateful you all are helping us walk through this again.

Fighting the good fight,
The Lantz Family

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Cycle One Inpatient Complete - Home

Caroline finished her inpatient stay for Cycle 1 of treatment for relapsed Neuroblastoma today! She's at home resting and recovering from a brutal 6-night stay at Vanderbilt. The side effects have been nausea, diarrhea, occasional rash, fever, loss of appetite, overall pain, and discomfort.

In the past week, she's had her port placed, a bone marrow biopsy, 2 chemos each day for five days, and the antibody treatment infused over 20 hours per day for four days.  Beginning today, for the next 7 days, Caroline will receive Leukine shots to help her immune system recover. She is also on more than a half dozen other medications to help with the treatment side effects and infection prevention.  Cycle 2 will start in about two weeks (mid-May), with weekly outpatient clinic visits to check her counts in between.

She will spend the next few days recovering at home, and we are hoping she feels well enough to get back to school soon, although she'll have to limit her physical activity due to the port (located in the upper right side of her chest), and she also had to stop playing spring rec soccer.  

Please continue to pray / send good vibes / hope for the best possible outcome for Caroline. In addition to needing the treatment to kill off these aggressive cancer cells spread throughout her little body again, she is really just so sad.  This time around she is more aware of what she's "missing," and she has a lot more "big" feelings about what's going on.  Although we have faith and will go to the ends of the earth to fight this, we all know too much and are scared.

We are so grateful for her amazing care team at Vanderbilt…as always, they have been gracious, patient, and compassionate during this entire process.

As we mentioned before, we have received some packages in the mail without sender information…please know we appreciate every one of you, and the outpouring of love and generosity! We know we can’t do this alone, and there is much comfort for us in numbers.  We definitely can feel all the love and support, and know Caroline has an army from all over behind her!  

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf



Recovering at home

Beside EKG after some chest pains on night 5

Bedside X-Ray after chest pains on night 5

How she spent most of her time inpatient...

Caroline got a VERY special visit from Squid, the hospial's emotonal support dog.  He spent almost an hour laying in bed with her on one of the hardest days of the cycle.  As soon as she saw Squid coming into the room, her face lit up - and words cannot describe how much seeing her smile meant!  Thank you Mars Petcare and the Better Cities for Pets Program for sponsoring Squid at VUMC!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

More Tough News

Caroline's bone marrow biopsy came back showing evidence of disease. We are deflated, but not defeated. It's such a helpless feeling to watch your “visually” healthy and happy child have such an aggressive cancer taking over their body. Again.

Today is Day 2 of Cycle 1: 2 chemos and an antibody therapy. The chemo side effects hit her hard yesterday, but luckily, she was able to get medication to counteract it...although it made her feel out of sorts and yucky all day. Day 2 of Chemo started this morning at 6:30am, and it’s mind-blowing to think that she’s already received eleven medications in less than 4 hours…with lots more to come. The antibody therapy is extremely painful - it runs over 20 hours and is combined with a constant drip of Dilaudid, a few “pre-meds" (Tylenol, Benedryl, Zofran, Pepcid, Gabapentin and an antibiotic) to prep her body for the drug, as well as various other medications over the 20 hours to address side effects. She’ll basically be connected to IV medications from now until we leave.

Shout out to Caroline’s new friend, Zack, who she met at the Preds game 2 weeks ago. She taught him about hockey, and in return he offered to help design and launch a t-shirt campaign through his merchandise company. We really appreciate all the love and support from his team. If you would like to get a #carolinestrong t-shirt, they are now available by clicking here.

We’ve also listed other ways you can support below; we’re beyond grateful.

Praying for a miracle,
The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

Family Meals via UberEats (email to margaretlantz@gmail.com)
Misc Treatment Needs via Amazon Gift Card (email to margaretlantz@gmail.com)

Day 2 - Cylce 1

Zack and friends with the Lantz Crew...GO PREDS!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Port / Biopsy / Cycle One

 A video message from Caroline:


Tomorrow is a big day...Caroline will go under anesthesia to have her central line (port) placed, get a bone marrow biopsy from her lower back, and then she will be admitted to the Oncology floor at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to begin her first cycle of chemotherapy.

A recap of the cycles: 2 chemo drugs + 1 antibody drug while inpatient over 5 nights/6 days, home to recover for two weeks – including daily shots to recover her immune system, then repeat again.

Please pray that her body responds to this therapy, and that it immediately starts to kill off the cancer cells in her body!

Many thanks for all the prayers, outreach, love, and support...it's go time!

The Lantz Family
#carolinestrong
#ftgf

***T-Shirts are almost ready…we will post the link as soon as we have it. If you’d like to help in the meantime, here are a couple links:

American Red Cross Blood Donation
Caroline's Hospital Wishlist
Medical Expenses via GoFundMe
Family Meals via UberEats Gift Cards (sent to margaretlantz@gmail.com)

A huge “thank you” to those that have sent Caroline gifts…many arrived without the sender's name, but we are so grateful!

Photo Credit: SK!


Friday, April 15, 2022

Update: Next Steps

After an overwhelming week full of appointments, consultative phone calls and exhaustive research amongst multiple hospitals, we feel confident that Caroline’s medical team has put together the best way to attack her relapse. Her Thursday PET scan detected additional spots of new disease, so we’ve all decided that the best course of action is to immediately start Caroline on two cycles of treatment for relapsed Neuroblastoma and then go from there.  

Here is what we know the coming weeks will look like:

April 19th: Echocardiogram, lab work and an appointment with Caroline’s oncology team

April 21st: Central line (port) placed in her chest for chemotherapy, antibody treatment, labs, etc., as well as a bone marrow biopsy to see if the disease has progressed to her marrow.

April (date TBD):  Admission for inpatient stay at Vanderbilt to start her first round of treatment, which will consist of 2 different chemotherapies that she did not receive during the standard treatment protocol, plus an antibody therapy that she's received before.

Cycle 1 will be about 1 week in the hospital, followed by 2 weeks at home to recover. While at home, Caroline will get daily shots to help boost her immune system and recover from the treatment; we hope she will be able to go to school some of the time between cycles.  
Cycle 2 should start at the end of her 2 weeks at home.  After 2 full cycles (about 6 weeks from start), Vanderbilt will re-image Caroline to determine if there is any improvement at the disease sites.  If the treatment is working, additional chemotherapy cycles will continue...if not, her team will re-assess.

HUGE shoutout to our healthcare friends and family, near and far, who went WAY above and beyond for us in so many ways this past week - y’all know who you are and we truly could not be more grateful to you! 

We will continue to post all updates on this blog, and appreciate the love and support as we walk through this extremely difficult and scary time. Again.      

Thank you for the prayers,
The Lantz Family

PS: For those that have asked, once we get this treatment underway, we should have some news about #carolinestrong t-shirts. If you’d like to help in the meantime, here are a couple links:

American Red Cross Blood Donation

Family Meals via UberEats Gift Cards (sent to margaretlantz@gmail.com)



Caroline putting in her own PET scan contrast!

Friday, April 8, 2022

New Tumor in 3-Year Scan

This is a tough thing to post: Caroline's MIBG scan from Thursday showed a tumor near a lymph node in her neck that indicates her Neuroblastoma has relapsed. We don’t know much more than this, and are working with Caroline’s oncology team to coordinate next steps, using ALL known resources and treatments available anywhere to get the best possible outcome for Caroline. We will fight, again.

We have multiple appointments scheduled for next week to get more clarity on the situation and won't have any updates until the end of next week.  In the meantime, we are both home with the kids and plan on having a "normal," fun weekend with our usual activities.  We are completely shocked, devastated and overwhelmed with our own questions for the medical team.  Once we have more information, we will post on this blog ASAP.  Until we know more, please keep our amazingly strong daughter in your prayers and please spread the word...the more prayers the better.

Thank you in advance to the entire care team at Vanderbilt and Beat Childhood Cancer for how much we are about to lean on them for answers/options.

Friends/Family/Co-workers/Community: Thanks in advance for your patience with replies to any texts or emails...we have a lot to process in the coming days. We greatly appreciate all your compassion, help, love and support…we are going to need it!

Mark and Margaret

#ftgf

#carolinestrong


PS - we've already had quite a few requests on how people can help in the meantime:


Donate via GoFundMe

UberEats Gift Cards (sent to margaretlantz@gmail.com)