UPDATE: Last fall at age 5, Caroline was diagnosed with an extremely rare tumor for kids in her right parotid gland. She had 2 surgeries at Upstate to remove the tumor and didn’t require any further treatment (we are extremely thankful for that). Now 6 years old, she has survived cancer twice and is a healthy and thriving kindergartner. She is one tough little girl.
When we welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby girl into this world in January of 2011, we never expected that nine months later she would be diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). After several weeks of ear infections, low grade fever, and sleepless nights her blood work showed that something was really wrong. On Caroline’s first Halloween we were sent to the Pediatric Oncology and Hematology floor of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. The next day we heard the words that no parent wants to hear. Our baby girl had cancer. She immediately started treatment and our lives were turned upside down.
We spent 65 consecutive days and many more in the hospital, including Caroline’s first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthday. Words cannot be used to describe how difficult it is to watch your baby endure painful procedures and receive chemotherapy. It is even more difficult when you have another child to care for as well. Our family was torn between home and the hospital. With the support of so many, we got through this hard time. Eventually, Caroline came home and spent the reminder of her chemotherapy as an outpatient. It was a very long two years.
Caroline is now done with treatment. On Halloween of 2013, she received her last dose of chemotherapy!! We celebrated on her Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in November. The trip was magical in many ways. As parents we were so thrilled to see our baby girl healthy again. She was finally enjoying the things that little girls should be enjoying. Nothing means more to us than seeing Caroline and her older sister having fun and enjoying life together. Caroline makes a beautiful princess, and her strength and courage make her even more magical in her own way!!
Watching your child suffer because of cancer is something no parent should have to go through. We are grateful for the care that Caroline received at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. Having such an amazing staff of Oncology doctors and nurses right here in Syracuse made a very painful experience a little less difficult. Their support and care has been invaluable to us. Looking at Caroline today, it is hard to imagine what she has gone through. She is going to be our little hero forever!