Monday, December 19, 2011

A Mother's Love

It's amazing how far the journey over the last 2 1/2 years has taken us.  I remember, on May 19th, 2009 feeling so overwhelmed and cheated out of the chance to be Anna Sophia's mommy.  At that time, I couldn't imagine taking the risk of having another child and felt that it would be years into my future before I was ready for that step again.

Well, we think we make plans, but God laughs. ;)  Thanks to the amazing support system I have through family, faith, and friends, I was able to begin to heal and move forward.  Less than a year later, we felt ready to continue our journey as a family and figured it would take a while to get pregnant didn't.

Exactly 19 months after losing my daughter, I was amazingly blessed with a beautiful son.  I remember the moment I had him and he started crying I literally said, "That's my baby.  That's my baby's cry."  I already knew him in this crazy, intricate way.  

Isn't it funny how we plan?  How we think that we can map out our lives and they will go a certain way?  

Anyway, today, I celebrate the life that God so graciously blessed Freddie and I to bring into this world.  The love I have for him is beyond imaginable and beyond explanation.  Words on this page would never do it justice.  And it still amazes me how that tiny little bundle brought Freddie and me all the more closer.  

I play music almost daily while I'm cooking/doing dishes/cleaning/etc...This is when Will and I have some special time, ironically.  We almost always dance. 

I was playing Rascal Flatts, one of my favorite bands.  This song came on and it so perfectly expressed what I wish for my son.  

William Thomas, we pray every day that your life would be blessed.  That you would grow into a strong man who knows his God, knows himself, and knows how to love others.  That you would find grace and mercy in all that you do.  And that you will always know the love your father and I have for you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Will Does "Gene Simmons"

I teach this sweet boy all kinds of sign language, where his nose, ears, etc. are, but what does he learn?  Obviously, his father has way more influence over him than I do. ;)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Update

Our insurance denied Freddie's medicine because it is not FDA approved for thymic cancer.  It has been approved for other cancers, but since it isn't approved for his, the insurance looks at the bottom line and will not approve it.  We are currently in the appeal process with our insurance company and also going through an application process with the drug company to see if they can assist us in getting the drug.

Freddie visited his two oncologists yesterday in Dallas.  The first one he saw was new.  She is a thymic specialist and would like for Freddie to visit the country's leading thymic specialist in Indiana.  When Freddie met with his other oncologist yesterday afternoon, he agreed that this was a good idea and knows the doctor also.  He also put in a call to the doctor and we will be visiting Indiana in December.

I know this is short and sweet, but this is all we know for now.  I have no idea what we will find out in Indiana. I'm beginning to feel like doctor after doctor doesn't know what to do so we are being passed around to specialist after specialist.  It is such a situation of uncertainty and disbelief.  "I can't believe this is happening," "How could he have such a rare cancer," "What is going to happen and what is life going to be like for the next few months/years."

Please pray for us.  And please look at life and be grateful for the blessings and health you have been given.  We can't take anything in this world for granted and we don't know how long we are given.  Hug and love on the ones you love, cease every moment, and live like there is no tomorrow.  None of us are guaranteed to be here.

Blessings and love for now,

The Carams

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I realize I haven't been the best at blogging lately.  We have had so much going on and, honestly, it's been difficult to sit down and process all of my thoughts and feelings, fears and worries about everything that has happened.

We spent two weeks in Houston at MD Anderson.  Thankfully, we were able to find a small apartment very close by.  We are so appreciative to the friends that help us arrange it.

A few days before Freddie's surgery, he had several tests and procedures including a C/T Scan and MRI.  That evening, we both received calls from his surgeon.  When Freddie was able to reach him, he shared the news that they had found a new tumor on his left shoulder blade.  The cancer had spread and surgery was cancelled.  He wanted to do a biopsy of the new tumor and Freddie pushed to have a new biopsy of his right lung.  There had been many signs along our journey pointing us to the fact that he may have been misdiagnosed.

They were able to squeeze Freddie in for his biopsy several days later.  It was a long, stressful day managing my husband and son, but we got through it and had to wait a week to find out the results.

In the meantime, we tried to enjoy ourselves as much as possible.  Day trips to the beach in Galveston, visits from various family members and close friends, walks in the park, rides on the kiddie train, and a day at the zoo.  It was nice to be together and cherish our time in Houston in some small way.

When we met with the doctor he informed us that Freddie had been misdiagnosed.  He was diagnosed with Thymoma in May, but he actually has Thymic cancer.  This is a much more aggressive disease and there is very little known about it.  Thankfully, we caught it before an unnecessary surgery was completed.

On our last day in Houston, Freddie had a PET scan.  We found out the following week that there are two more spots.  One on his lombar and one on his pelvis.

His doctors at MD Anderson have allowed us to continue treatment here at home.  Freddie's doctors are now in Dallas.  His oncologist has decided to put him on an inhibitor that has been successful with other cancers.  This is a drug that, if successful, could be taken for years.  It does not have the side effects of chemo, which can only be taken for a limited time.  Unfortunately, we are having a lot of trouble getting our insurance to approve it since the FDA hasn't approved it for this specific type of cancer.  If that is the case, I don't know what the next step is.  I guess more chemo and fights with the insurance company until they can see the value in my husband's life.

Words on this page can't express our fears, anxieties, stress, anger, and frustration.  However, we are trying to remain optimistic and upbeat, if nothing else, for our son.  We try to remain positive and keep things as normal as possible for him.

Someday, I hope we look back together and remember this stressful time and see the value in the way it helped us grow in our faith and love for each other.  I believe he can be healed.  We lay it in God's hands and hope that this works out the best way it can.

Please continue to pray for our family.  For healing, peace, and wisdom in making the right decisions; for grace and strength as we face the unknown; and for blessings for all of those who have taken time, prayers, money, etc. to help support our family.

Right now, this is all we know.  Most people want to know the prognosis of this cancer and it is not good.  Doctors are very wary of giving you any definite answers.  They don't want to limit their abilities and make you fearful.  It is also best to stay positive because that is the number one way to become a survivor.

I know you may have questions.  Please address them with caution.  Being asked the same things over and over becomes difficult.  It makes you doubt every decision you make and becomes frustrating when you don't have answers.  I really have shared everything we know right now.

For now, we are in Fort Worth.  We plan on celebrating this week with thanksgiving for all the blessings we have been given.  Then, we have a precious almost-one-year-old to celebrate, followed by Christmas.  

If cancer has taught me one thing, it is "carpe diem".  Take each day for everything it is worth and live.  Enjoy your time with the ones you love and do your best to eliminate negative energy and people.  When given opportunities, take them and live life to its fullest.  I thought this was a lesson I had already learned, but obviously, God is continuing to teach it to me.

Thank you for thinking of us and may God give you much to be thankful for this holiday.

Blessings to you from the Carams.

Friday, October 28, 2011

10 Months!

I know I probably say this every month, but I just can't believe how the time is flying!  My little boy is already 10 months old.

He is crawling, standing, and working on walking.  We are still learning sign language and I am hoping he is catching on...I know he is.  When I make the sign for "milk", he always gets excited!  Babble, babble, babble...boy can he be noisy!  But, of course I love it...especially when I hear, "mamamamama". :)

Will is in to everything!  Sometimes I wonder why I buy toys...he is so much more interested in anything BUT his toys. ;)

Freddie and I are so thankful for a baby that can travel well, especially with as much traveling as we have had to do lately.  Between my brother's wedding, visiting family, and trips to Houston, this baby knows all about sitting in the car.

Will continues to be a good eater.  He is eating more and more "big people" food.  He likes feeding himself and doesn't seem to be too picky.  I'm still trying to feed him as much organic, fruits, veggies, and whole grains as possible.  We eat very little meat and it amazes me how well he eats beans and other high protein, non-meat foods.

I don't know if you can tell, but I am so in love with this little boy.  He has completed our family and both Freddie and I can't imagine living life without him.

Now, I know what you've been waiting for:

Look at that big smile! {And did I mention he has 6 teeth?}

I think he's finally learning to keep his hat on...sort of.

My little cowboy. :)

Squinty smile.


As you can imagine, it is very hard to get pictures of a very active 10 month old.  Please excuse the cameos of Freddie's legs/arms. Ha!

I hope this post finds you well and being blessed.

The Carams

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Pics

Click here to see even more beautiful images by Arden Prucha.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo Session

In an effort to capture my sweet boys and have memories, I booked a photo session with Arden Prucha Jenkins.  You can click here to see a sneak peek of our evening on her blog.

How cute are my boys?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fairways for Freddie

Some of our wonderful friends have put together a fundraiser to help support us as we pay for treatment/living costs while our family is in Houston.  It is a golf tournament, but not limited to men {Hint, hint to my girlfriends!}.  I would love as many of our friends to come that can.  It will be a great way to see everyone before we leave for Houston.  Click here to register for the tourney.  Please click here for more information on a donation.  {You can make a donation on the link if you are unable to attend.}

Thank you, in advance, for all of your prayers and support!  We are blessed with great friends and family and I pray God blesses you beyond measure in return.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Freddie Update

I know many of our friends and family have been waiting for an update after our visit to MD Anderson last week.  We are faced with an overwhelming journey ahead of us and it has taken some time to wrap our minds around all that lies ahead.

The surgeon is confident that surgery can be performed.  Freddie will have his entire right lung removed followed by a chemo wash during the surgery.  He will have to spend at least 7-10 days in the hospital recovering and at least another week in Houston before he can come home.  I'm estimating we will be in Houston about a month for the prep, surgery, hospital stay, and recovery.  We will come home for about a month or so and then need to return to Houston a week before he starts radiation.  He will do at least 5 weeks of radiation every day and need to stay another week.  That adds up to almost 2 months that we will be in Houston for his radiation treatments.

The most common question I am asked is if a person can live on one lung, and obviously, it is possible if the surgeon is going to perform the surgery.  Apparently, is is fairly common for patients with mesothelioma to have this surgery done.  Obviously, Freddie will have some physical limitations, but will hopefully be able to live a fairly normal life.  As of right now, his diagnosis is still Thymoma, although every doctor has told us the way it has manifested in his body looks like mesothelioma.

Needless to say, we will be getting some kind of furnished apartment {hopefully}.  There are many decisions to make, things to organize and changes coming in the next few months.  It is a lot to take in.  I think Freddie is mostly stressed about providing for his family, staying healthy and having a successful surgery and treatment.  I'm stressed about having the energy to take care of him and our son.  To be all that I need to be for both of my boys.  We don't really know anyone in Houston and this is a scary time when we need all the support we can get.  Please pray for our strength, courage, and grace as we face this difficult time.

We have also been faced with some needless stressful situations lately.  Our plates are overflowing and we are trying to focus on what Freddie needs and wants to do before we go.  Please pray for peace for our family.  Please also pray that God will guide the surgeon's and all doctors and healthcare professionals hands, decisions, and minds.  We speak wisdom, safety, and complete healing into this situation.

Your prayers, thoughts of encouragement, sweet notes, calls, and texts, and support of our little family mean so much to us and especially to Freddie.  Thank you for being there and thinking of us.  It is humbling to imagine all the prayers and thoughts that turn our way.

As soon as we know more, we will let you know.  I do not want to post any dates in a public location.  This is all we know right now.

I like to post bible verses because they help me focus on what I need to.  I have never thought, nor will I ever think that I am a perfect person.  I am simply a woman in need of a savior who loves me, gives me grace and forgiveness and peace.  

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

9 Months

It's a week late, but better late than never, right?  Can you believe how C-U-T-E, cute this little boy is!  We are so blessed to have him and he is truly what brings us joy during this uncertain time in our lives.

He is 31 inches long (literally off the growth chart) and between 20-21 lbs.  He loves to crawl and stand and has now started walking behind his walker.  He's a very busy boy and it is a full time job keeping up with him.

We've started learning some sign language.  I'm hoping it will be a way for him to communicate with me while he learns to talk.

Will is a healthy eater.  He loves steal cut oatmeal, beans, veggies, fruit, Cheerios and Goldfish.  He wants to feed himself and gets frustrated if you try to help him or feed him.

Will has so much of his father in him, it's pretty unbelievable.  I'm so in love with both of my boys and feel very blessed.

I love you, William Thomas!

Will almost always smiles when you point a camera at him. 
{Can you see his top front teeth coming in?}

What are you doing?  Let me see that thing!

Have you not gotten enough pics mom?

Happy, healthy, and cute!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do You Know?

Do you know pain?  Do you know what it is to really feel heartache? To lose your child, only to watch your husband hold your only son and to watch him wonder if he'll be there for him?

Do you know love?  Do you know what it is to love beyond measure?  To love someone so deeply?  To watch them hurt, suffer, and wonder what is to come?

Do you know sickness?  How it can eat away all of the good you it can take everything?  How it can bring so much unknown?

Do you know who you are?  When times are good...and when they are bad...I mean ugly?  When you have no control...everything is out of your hands.

Do you know what you are capable of?  How much much much grace?

I looked at a picture of Freddie and me the other day.  It's hanging on a wall in our home.  It's from our honeymoon.  We are at the Marina in Cabo San happy, so in love, carefree.  I look at that woman and wonder.  I wonder what she would have thought to know the hills and valleys that lay ahead.  I wonder what she would have thought she was capable of enduring.  I wonder if she knew how capable she was...

It's amazing how many things can happen in such a short time.  How much a heart is capable much a soul can seek its savior.

I have everything I ever wanted.  My husband, my child, my home...yet I am facing a situation where I don't know how much of that is permanent.  God is continuing to show me that my trust lies in Him.  That the things of this world aren't permanent.  That some of the things I think matter, don't matter in His kingdom.

I'm rambling again...but very overwhelmed and full of thoughts and prayers...and needing a place to jot them down.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

~Romans 15:13

Friday, September 2, 2011


We finally got in to MD Anderson on Wednesday.  It was a very loooong day for all three of us.  Will was a trooper, but I don't think I'll put him through that again.

We were up at 4:00 with Will and decided to just go ahead and pack up and head down to Houston.  It didn't help that we had not had more than a few hours sleep.  It was a physically and emotionally exhausting day.

After waiting almost 4 hours, we finally got to meet with the doctor.  He wasn't convinced that Freddie has been diagnosed correctly.  He wants to review the pathology.  He is going to let us meet with a surgeon, despite thinking that surgery is not a possibility.  He said there are too many tumors and they are too extensive to remove them.  Chemo is not a cure; it only reduces tumors and stops their growth.  So far, the chemo has not had enough of an effect on Freddie.  In short, Freddie faces a long journey {possibility of chemo the rest of his life}.  I'm sure if you put yourself in his shoes, you can only imagine the emotional and physical toll.

We have a God that answers prayer, so I ask all my prayer warriors to please continue praying.  My heart is breaking to see my husband go through this.

Our saving grace right now is our sweet son.  His smiles, giggles, and little dances are our distraction.  He makes our lives worth living and lifts us up when we are struggling to stay positive.  I can't imagine life without either of my boys...and I don't want to.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Right now, we are seeking peace and healing.  I'm typing this to avoid a million questions.  This is really all we know right now.  Please respect that and only call with support.  It is hard to continue answering and discussing things when this is all we know.

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."
Psalm 5:11

Monday, August 8, 2011


You may or may not be aware of the fact that in two days I will hit the big three-oh.  I can't begin to describe how I'm feeling this week looking back on the last thirty years of my life.

I have been through so much...especially over the course of the last 2-3 years.  I would have never envisioned my life going this way at this age...never thought I'd be talking about chemotherapy, have planned a funeral for my own child, or be so content with my life despite all that has occurred in such a short time.

I assume we all know we will face hardships...times of trials and struggles.  I admit, I sometimes look at other peoples' lives and think, "It's not fair. Why do they have it so easy?"  Am I alone?  {I doubt that I am.}

Please don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my life.  I have the most incredible, supportive, beautiful, amazing husband and son.  I have a God that loves me and lifts me up when I call on His name.  I have a home that I love, family and friends that amaze me, and a life that I could not have ever imagined for myself.

I wouldn't trade any of it. Nothing.  Of course, I wish my daughter was here, of course I wish my husband was healthy, of course I wish all these projects and updates were finished on my home.

There is so much on my plate right now.  I am trying to support, nurture, and love so many people.  I can't do it all, be it all.  I'm learning that I can only continue healthy, supportive relationships with people who support me 110% of the time...not throw knives in my back when they think I'm not listening or may not find out {trust me, I do}.  Or mock and criticize what I say, how I said it, or what I did and how I did it, etc.

Through all of this, I am learning who I am and what I am made of.  I'm learning that each morning is a new day full of mercy and grace and it is my choice to choose to live in it.  Every day I get to wake up to the sound of a precious little boy cooing and playing in his crib.  I get to share life with my two favorite people and take care of them.  I get to kiss my husband good night.  I get to have precious one-on-one time with my husband while he sits in a recliner and has poison pumped through his body.  I get to live in a home with a husband that I love and a child that I adore, even though it may not be perfectly decorated or cleaned.  I get to choose who I surround myself and my family with.  I get to cuddle and play with the cutest little boy...

My days may not be spent at the latest bars, the coolest clubs, in the company of popular people, or shopping at the greatest stores.  But, my days are spent well.  They are spent doing what I love and they are full of meaning.

I may not have the latest car, the most sought after house, or fashionable wardrobe.  I have so much more.

I have so many hopes, dreams, concerns, and ideas.  Please hang in there with me.  Please understand that I am one woman trying to live one life the best way I know how.  I make mistakes, but I will be the first to admit them and say I am sorry when I am wrong.

I may be rambling, but I guess what I think at the end of the day is that I am proud of the woman I am becoming.  All of these experiences have brought me to where I am today.  And if I could choose to do it over, I would.  Not because it was always easy or fun, but because I know where it has brought me and where it is taking me.

So, bring on the next 30.  I can't wait to see what is in store!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Those who know your name trust in you, 
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

~Psalm 9:10

I am learning to trust.  I am learning that I can trust in even the smallest of things.

Yesterday, Freddie started his second round of chemo.  I got up to workout early and came home to make breakfast for my boys and shower and get ready.  Needless to say, it was a busy start to our day.

We had asked a good friend to watch Will while we were at the oncologist.  It takes several hours and it isn't an environment for a busy 6 month old.

Literally minutes before we were about to leave, our friend got a hold of me to let me know her son was sick.  She didn't want to risk sharing the illness with our family {I'm sure you know that sickness and chemo do not can make for a very bad situation when you have a low immune system.}.  I appreciated her letting us know and started calling a few people to see if they could take care of Will.  I remember walking into my kitchen and standing at the sink and thinking, "Lord, you know the situation.  Please help us figure this out and find someone available to take care of Will."

Isn't it funny how we often forget how much our Father loves us?  He wants to meet our needs - even the smallest of them.  When I had started calling friends, it was early enough in the morning that I couldn't reach anyone.  Finally, Freddie called his sister who mentioned calling his cousin.  

I called her and she was so happy to take him.  It was convenient, she lives very close by, and I trust her.  {As you know, I am picky about who I leave my son with.  I refuse to leave him with just anyone.}  

She and her three children had a wonderful time with one of their youngest cousins.  He behaved very well and she insisted that she be moved to the top of the "sitter list".

As I write this, I'm remembering that if I can trust God to heal my husband, I can also trust Him to meet our needs.  He is in charge and I need to place my worries, stress, and trust in Him.

Thank you, Lord for your faithfulness!

Monday, June 27, 2011


My parents' church showed this video before their Easter service this year.  It truly touched my question to you is...Who will you follow?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our God

This song came on while I was running the other day...totally helped me sprint the end of my run.


What is courage?  Let me tell you how I am currently learning what courage is.

A week ago Friday, my husband went to get a chest x-ray at CareNow.  You see, he and I had both been sick all week and the nurse practitioner Freddie had seen was persistent in the fact that Freddie has having bronchial spasms and needed a chest exam.  Freddie went in to CareNow thinking he might get a breathing treatment and be sent home.  We had big plans the following Saturday...we had a sitter...we were going to the Byron Nelson tournament to have some much coveted adult time with our friends.

Meanwhile, I was at the mall trying to find a new dress/outfit for our date the following day.  I was trying on dresses and Freddie kept calling me.  My cell phone has horrible service at our local mall and I had a hard time connecting with him until after I paid for my dress and left the store I was in.  His news: they were sending him to the ER because his x-ray lead them to believe that he had pneumonia.

We were both surprised, but still I figured that they would drain the fluid, he may spend the night, but we would be okay and he'd come home very soon.  Boy was I wrong...

I called my in-laws to come take care of Will.  I packed some sandwiches and snacks for us to eat {you never know how long your going to be in an ER and when/if you'll be fed} and once my father-in-law arrived we tag teamed and I headed to meet Freddie in the ER.

He was already in a room...they had taken him back immediately after he arrived {and he informed me that they were admitting him for at least a few days.  At this point, I asked my parents to head on up.}.  Not long after I got there, they wheeled him down the hall for a CT Scan.

I knew it was something more than pneumonia when they began asking Freddie if he smoked, had been around asbestos, or strong chemicals.  Several different doctors came in and tried to explain what they had found.  A mass...just A mass.  I finally asked the doctor to show me the scan and he preceded to show me the NUMEROUS masses floating around his lung.  They informed us that they needed to do a biopsy and didn't know when that would happen due to the Memorial Day weekend.

I went home, relieved my sister-in-law {who had relieved my father-in-law}, packed a bag and took a shower while I waited for my parents to arrive from San Antonio.  I finally got back to the hospital at almost 1:00 am.

Thankfully, they were able to do the bronchial and get a biopsy.  I spoke with the doctor after his procedure and finally asked him what the likeliness of Cancer was.  He led me to believe that it was most likely Cancer.

We began to pray...probably more than I have prayed in a very long time, sadly.  That afternoon, I remembered a dream I had had earlier in the week that was warning me that something bad was coming.  At this point, I realized that I had a Savior who wouldn't forget me and who would carry us through this no matter the outcome.

On Sunday, Freddie asked to go home.  We wouldn't recieve results from the biopsy until later in the week.

Fast forward...we finally met with the doctor on Thursday.  He informed us that Freddie had a very rare condition called thymoma.  He doesn't have Cancer, but it is malignant and we would need to begin chemo asap.

On Friday, we met with an oncologist.  He again informed us of the rarity of this disorder.  Freddie is going to have to go through some aggressive chemo, surgery, chemo again, and possibly radiation {it appears that one of the tumors has attached itself to one of his ribs}.

Now, back to my question...what is courage?  I'm learning what it is...I'm learning that when I said my vows on March 10, 2007, I meant them.  I'm learning that sickness can try to take everything away from you.  But I know my God is greater, my God is stronger, my God is higher than any other; My God is HEALER, awesome in power!

We are in for a journey.  One that will require lots of prayer, lots of courage, lots of grace and mercy.  Please pray for us when your thoughts turn our way and I pray that God blesses you in return.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”