Monday, October 29, 2018

Test Results / Inpatient Admission for Immunotherapy

Today we received the test results from Caroline's recent bone marrow biopsy and scans.  The results showed essentially no change in the Neuroblastoma, which was last tested in May.  We are disappointed, as we were hoping for a "no evidence of disease" report today.

Since that test in May, Caroline has endured 2 month-long stays for high-dose chemo, 2 stem cell transplants, and 20 Proton Radiation treatments.  It appears that all the treatment hasn't helped reduce the cancer in her little body.  The positive that we're trying to hang onto: her cancer didn't get worse, and there aren't any new areas of concern.

Caroline's oncology team is confident that we should remain "on the course," so she was admitted for Round 1 (of 6 total) of Immunotherapy late this afternoon.  We're expecting this round to keep us inpatient through Saturday.  The next 6 months will be the final phase of the standard Neuroblastoma treatment protocol, and we are hopeful that these rounds will kill off the remaining cancer cells in her body.

Immunotherapy is a type of medicine that helps a patient's immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells.   There are many different types of Immunotherapy...Caroline will be receiving infusions that are tailored to High-Risk Neuroblastoma.  We've been told (and have witnessed from the sidelines) that this phase of treatment is often the hardest part of the entire treatment protocol, for both the patient and family.  We will (again) be in and out of the hospital over the next 6 months - separated as a family and witnessing Caroline's body battle this monster.  The potential side effects are immediate and severe; they include: high fever, rash, excruciating nerve pain, potential organ complications, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, swelling, breathing complications, allergic reactions, diarrhea, infection and vomiting.  It's going to be a really tough experience, but her medical team at Vanderbilt are preparing to do their best to stay in front of the pain and other side effects.  Caroline already started taking nerve pain medication a few days ago, in preparation of the Immunotherapy infusion, and will also be on a PCA Dilaudid pump while she is inpatient (among other things).

Many have asked about meals (thank you!), but we will not be doing a meal train delivery for this round...we plan to spend as much time as possible together as a family at the hospital.  For those that wish to help with meals, please click here for the Grub Hub gift card link (they can be emailed to

We can't express enough how thankful we are to have such a supportive group of people around us.  Thank you for following along on our journey; many times your prayers are what's holding us up and pushing us through.

Holding onto hope,
The Lantz Family
Nurse Kate's last sad to see her go, but we're excited for her new adventure!

So excited to have Aunt Joanna and Aunt Lauren here for 24 hours!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Week of Tests - Awaiting Results

Caroline has now completed her week of extensive testing at Vanderbilt Children's:
  • MIBG Scan
  • CT Scan
  • Bone Marrow Biopsy
  • Spinal X-Ray
  • Hearing Test (good results - no hearing loss so far!)
  • Clinic Appointments/labs/blood work
We are awaiting the results on all tests (except hearing), and anticipate getting the results early next week; we will update the blog as soon as we can.  Needless to say, we are very nervous/anxious for the results (her last round of scans was in April), but we are also optimistic and hopeful.  

Thank you ALL for the continued prayers and support!

The Lantz Family
CT Scan


Hearing Evaluation

Radioactive injection for MIBG scan

As usual...walking herself back to the OR for her MIBG scan and Biopsy!

Recovering from MIBG Scan and Biopsy sedation.

Chasing animals earlier in the week at Brett's Barn...we are so thankful for their kindness and the foundation's great work!  You can read more about it by clicking here.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A "REAL" Fall Break / Progress Scans and Tests Up Next...

Our October 2017 Fall Break was our best family vacation...until we were able to go back for an even better October 2018 vacation! Since her diagnosis 11 months ago (Nov 2017), Caroline has spent at least 130 overnights at Vanderbilt/Cincinnati, so this return to Seagrove Beach, FL was very much needed and appreciated by all.  It was the first time we all got to take a break together in a year!

We are very grateful to our cousin, Victoria, for allowing us to use her beautiful vacation home on 30A! Caroline’s only limitation at the beach was to not get her central Hickman line wet or sandy, which we successfully accomplished!  Aside from swimming, she was able to do all the other fun things that she would usually do at the beach.

Caroline has a busy and important upcoming week of outpatient appointments at Vanderbilt:
- two clinic visits for bloodwork labs and overall health
- X-rays to check the stability of her spinal compression fractures
- Audiology test to check impact of chemo on her hearing
- CT Scan
- Bone Marrow Biopsy
- MIBG Scan (requires radioactive injection 24 hours prior to the scan)

The scans and biopsy are all progress updates that will help her oncology team determine if there is any remaining evidence of Neuroblastoma.  Her last progress scans were prior to her surgery in April, so needless to say, this will be a very anxious week for mom and dad.   We really appreciate your prayers and good thoughts for positive test results. 

Feeling refreshed!
The Lantz Family
CarolineSTRONG at the beach!

Central line wrapped up tight in an aquaguard and cling wrap...she said she felt like a mummy - LOL!

Sunrise on the beach!

Playing football in Seaside!

The first thing we did when we arrived was walk down to the beach and snap a family picture...we were so, so thankful to be able to take this break!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Update: Fun week at Home!

Caroline spent some much-needed time at home in Franklin this week, and got to do MANY of the fun things she missed while away in Cincinnati.  She had a playdate and baking session with Miss Stacey and Shelby the dog; a cookout and sleepover at her favorite TN mountaintop; a Preds game (and win!) with the family; homebound kindergarten classes with Miss Elise; watched her brother play an EWA Cubs game; visits with friends Mr. Scott and Mr. Chris; and last but certainly not least...learned to ride her bike with no training wheels after only 4 attempts!!!  She is rocking and rolling right now - feeling well with plenty of energy.

Her counts at clinic this week were just "ok," so Caroline will need Neupogen shots for the next 3 days, and we will head back to clinic on Monday to check again and continue monitoring them closely.  Unfortunately, with cold and flu season almost here, it will (again) soon be time to start limiting Caroline's exposure to enclosed spaces and large groups of people, so we plan on continuing the outdoor fun this weekend.  Tonight we're heading to have firepit s'mores with friends that live on our alley, another EWA Cubs game Saturday afternoon, a fun neighborhood party tomorrow night, and then a Ravens vs. Titans game to cap it off on Sunday.  We are trying to LIVE and enjoy every day right now!

One of our amazingly talented friends, Anneliese, designed a "superhero" logo for Caroline (featured on the blog), and she put them on new t-shirts to support Caroline.  They are the first batch to feature that theme, they come in multiple color and style options, and include a front and back logo design.  You can check them out by clicking here.

Thank you for all the love and support!  We hope you're able to enjoy and live your days to the fullest this weekend!
Lantz Family

 Go Caroline!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Cooper Trooper Foundation

Today, we had the honor speaking to a large group of volunteers at the 9th Annual Cooper Trooper Foundation Pumpkin Patch. Although we've purchased our pumpkins at their pumpkin patch in years past, and were familiar with the foundation, it was surreal to tell our story about how The Cooper Trooper Foundation has directly impacted our family.  We strongly believe in the foundation's mission of funding pediatric cancer research with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, as well as supporting siblings of children diagnosed with cancer, to help remind them that they are not forgotten.  As we've mentioned before, pediatric cancer funding and research are extremely lacking...and a cancer diagnosis affects the entire The Cooper Trooper Foundation is doing amazing things!  We love being able to create more awareness, as well as give back and thank those who have helped support Andrew along this journey.

If you're local, please consider purchasing a pumpkin from their patch this year, or volunteering your time!  The pumpkin patch is run entirely by volunteers, and is their largest fundraiser.  100% (!!!) of the profits go straight back into the foundation to support their mission.  To date, the foundation has been able to give over $250,000 to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, thanks to the generous support of the community buying pumpkins at their patch in the month of October.

If you would like to learn more about The Cooper Trooper Foundation, click here.

The Lantz Family

Thank you, Cook Family!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Proton Radiation Complete / Home

We are home from Cincinnati and all together!

 Running through the celebration "tunnel" after her last treatment!

Ringing the chimes to let everyone know she just completed her last treatment!
The Proton Team!

Reunited at last!

Thank you for the continued prayers and support.  This month apart was long...and the road ahead is long, but for today, we celebrated!!!

Team Lantz