As a follow-up on the last post here, we should take a moment at this season of gratitude to be thankful for heroic Cami’s life! Here is a beautiful follow-up story done by Channel 2 after Cami’s donor’s blood arrived.
After 23 days of slogging through the horrendous experience of waiting for Cami’s body to engraft with the new bone marrow that dripped into her body to save her life, Cami engrafted! Her blood levels finally rose to the required number (500) that ensured that the donor’s marrow had indeed taken over as Cami’s new identity.
We will spare you the heart-wrenching pictures that showed her grueling 23 days with a crisis a minute. In addition to the canker-like sores throughout her digestive system she was throwing up, unable to eat (hooked up to an IV) plagued with constant diarrhea and having almost unstoppable bloody noses (not a good thing when her platelets are dangerously low anyway), blood actually coming from her eyes. All that plus constant aches and pains that led to some pretty sad bouts of crying, which we think she so richly deserved! How we all ached for this little girl.
It must have been a concentration camp-like experience except for one big difference: everyone was doing everything in their power to try to make Cami feel better. Prayers were pouring out on her behalf and the caregivers were positively stellar! Our wonderful daughter-in-law Julie is working in the children’s cancer unit at a Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and we now see the great good she does as she cares for these little ones who suffer so much.
At some point, Cami’s adorable friend Mia came for a tea party. Mia even had her head shaved in support of Cami. What a friend! But of course the herculean effort, hour after hour, day after day came from Cami’s parents. Pat and Chelsea Carver are at the top of our list of heroes in this life! Cami cried when Pat had to leave for work and Chelsea, to add to the complications, developed a strange cough. Exhausted and sleep deprived while catching a few winks night after night on a tiny hospital bed beside Cami, those parents still put on a smile and carried on. Somehow they kept dealing with each crisis with amazing grace and maturity far beyond their years.
Little brother Caden didn’t have it easy either. He was shuffled from one loving home to another set of welcoming arms every day. It was 21 days before this sweet little family were able to be together again. How great that the grand reunion below doesn’t show the unimaginable experiences they’ve each had, but only JOY! Cami’s and her family are not “out of the woods” and have 100 days ahead of them trying to keep Cami in a germ-free world. How grateful we are for the army of friends, extended family and grandmothers who are, even as we write, cleaning their house from top to bottom with a “fine-toothed comb” and literally toothbrushes to be sure that Cami comes home to a sterile environment to boost her recovery.
At this season of Thanks and Love, we are so grateful that prayers have been answered and this incredible family is coming through this life-changing experience, stronger and better. Miracles still happen!