Carley was a healthy, happy, soccer playing, music loving, honor roll, 7 year old when she was diagnosed with an ependymoma tumor lodged in and on her brainstem in early November 2005. As she collapsed from respiratory failure in our living room that November 5th evening and we raced to get her to MCG, Carley almost died. We knew then things were going to be different…very different for Carley. During her three year long battle to beat her tumor, Carley endured many obstacles… Those obstacles included:
• Surviving life saving brain surgery to relieve fluid pressure on the brain
• Enduring an extended extubation process over the course of 10 hours for the 2nd attempt at getting her off the ventilator. The first attempt failed after 8 hours.
• 3 complete regimens of radiation to the brain…(1 experimental) and another to the spine
• Surgery on her spine to remove tumors
• Serious life threatening bacterial infection caused by spinal surgery
• A total of 10 teeth pulled at one time due to the effects of chemotherapy
• 6 complete regimens of chemotherapy/ heavy and low maintenance chemo
• 5 separate strokes to her body that forced her to learn almost all bodily abilities (movements we take for granted) over again, each time
• Learning to walk, talk and eat all over again
• Losing complete muscle control in the last month, though still completely cognizant
• Numerous rounds of heavy steroids
• 10 blood transfusions
• 14 platelet transfusions
• Loss of her hair….twice
• Three years of physical, occupational and speech therapy
• Complimentary/Alternative medicine usage
• And Countless visits to the oncologist, neurosurgeon, pediatrician, specialized eye doctor, specialized dentist, and numerous therapists.
On December 14, 2008 Carley passed away at home surrounded by her family. It was a beautiful farewell as those that were most dear to her were there. In the last few weeks of Carley’s life she would share with us amazing stories about visits from angels and Jesus. She made sure that we knew she was going to be just fine in her new “room” that was prepared especially for her by Jesus. She made us each promise to look after each other and she assured us that she was going to be ok and that we would be as well. For an 11 year old child, Carley was far wiser and had been through more than most adults have or will ever endure. Her 1st grade teacher always said, “She possessed an old soul in a child’s body”.
With God as her pilot and her strength, our beautiful Carley girl never gave up, she never quit working hard to get better; she kept fighting until the end. Always remember, there is hope… and with your support, we keep that hope alive.