Thursday, March 19, 2009

First Week Back

It has been a week since I last updated our blog and much has happened since then. Carson and I had a fun visit from his sisters, Jade and Jordan. They were on Spring Break this week and gave up their time to come see their favorite brother and sister-in-law :)
Monday we were back to the grid so to speak...I ventured back to work and Carson went back to school. We were both greeted with warm smiles and encouraging words. Although I was very worried about Carson's return to school so soon, I knew he had to go back eventually and he would need to be sure and not over-do anything. Of course, he did and was in pretty significant pain during the evenings most of the week. Cleaning the tube and chest wound has become second nature to us both and it's "almost" as normal as brushing your teeth or washing your face...almost. The good news is that we will drive back to Houston tomorrow to have the last drainage tube removed and hopefully he will officially be on the road to full recovery. We still have no word on the tumor...I promise as soon as we do, I will post it on the site. We continue to pray for benign.

I may have said it before, but this entire experience has brought the two of us closer as a couple. Most 2nd year marriages do not endure such things and as turbulent as it has been, we have been able to acknowledge the blessings too. For example, our faith has been tested and strengthen, our communication has improved and our ability to let old grudges and issued fade away has been easy.
Carson and I were children of God before we met 11 years ago. Our relationship was always Christian based and we even kept/ keep God as the center of our marriage. However, just when we think we are on top of our game, God throws curve balls to test your decisions. The easy thing would be to get mad, become bitter, turn on each other or be angry with God Neither one of us wanted to endure this alone or without Him. We turned to Him and continue to turn to Him with our worries, sadness and pain. It is easier to say than to actually do, but I promise, our lives were changed. I will never forget clinching onto my necklace which holds three things: A prayer box, a ring engraved with "FAITH-HOPE-LOVE" and a charm which simply says,"HOPE." I still wear this necklace everyday and I held it right before Dr. Swisher came into the waiting room after the first part of Carson's surgery.
Secondly, Carson and I had a chance to spend LOTS of time together as he recovered at home last week. I think we have watched just about every movie possible, the good, bad and the ugly. Mostly comedies, but I have sneaked in a few love stories too! One in particular called Fireproof was extremely moving. Other than good old fashioned couple time, we are talking about everything and then sometimes nothing at all. We laugh...even though Carson still cannot laugh without hurting himself; it is pretty funny to watch someone try not to laugh and the only sound that comes our is a little, "tee hee!" He even went shopping with me on Tuesday when Mom, Kacey, Beau and Will came to town. We ventured to Sirona, a girl boutique and encourage me to buy there fabulous bags marked for clearance. I have seen a significant change in him, a good change, and a change in myself. I think this is why we have let our old problems die down.
The biggest change we have seen is the out-pouring love from family and friends. Most of all, from people we thought we would never talk to again. That is how you know God is working in your lives. He can bring people together that have not spoken in years or an estranged family member make a simple phone call. This was something that struck us deep. With the ever changing technology, it makes it easier to reach out when others are in need, but I really feel like God wanted us to be at peace with past situations and old friends. Bottom line. This is, in a weird and twisted way, a good thing.
Eventually, I will talk Carson into writing an update on our blog. He is a far better writer than me and it would be nice for you to hear his thoughts throughout this ordeal. All in good time.

Safe Travel to Houston and back tomorrow
Chase Mitchell-Back at MD Anderson awaiting results on T-Cell injection
Brittany Horton- Continue to heal and recover
Wendy Teague-A fellow co-worker of mine whose apartment caught fire
Lyndsey Ralston- Blessings for being a great friend
TSmat-A thousand thank yous!
My students- the best 9th grade classes at UHS
BLS- Thank you for your support

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back from Houston again!

It's 10:36 pm and we are finally back from our day trip to Houston. This did not involve lots of waiting or an overnight hospital stay. Carson met with the doctor to have the 2nd drainage tube removed-one more left! So far, doc says he looks good. We are still waiting on the news of the tumor.
After his afternoon appointment, we stopped by the infamous gun shop where Carson walked for two hours drooling over antique guns. I stayed strong for a while, but the three hour drive in the rain made me exhausted, so I retreated back to the truck to cat-nap.
We finished our trip with a quick stop at a local antique shop, then had dinner with some friends from Tech. These guys have no idea how awesome they are to stop their lives to have dinner with us. It meant a lot to me and Carson...thank you and we hope you all can make it up to Wacky Waco sometime soon!
Baker-Dillon-Jacob-J.J.-Lashford-Wade-and Kevin thank you guys so much. We love you all! Oh and good luck with Cha-Cha ;)
Good Night!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bouncing Back

Today was TERRIFIC! It was not only post op day 4 but also, the day after our nephew William's 2nd Birthday!!!!
Carson and I had a great visit from Becky, Dave, Little Landry, Stuart and Shannon last night for our first of many "movie nights!" It was great having a little friend time to share during our time away from school and work, although we both do not feel as if we have had a break.
Carson's parents, left yesterday around 6:00 pm and are probably still tired from ALL the work they did around our house. I am forever thankful to them for the many hours and sweat poured into getting our home and yard back in order. They let Carson and me sleep while they worked their tails off all day! Corinthia also made a yummy roast with her famous banana nut muffins and banana pudding...can we say "FOODIES?!"
Last night, we watched movies with our friends and actually enjoyed a nice relaxing evening in. Shannon and I crashed quickly, while the boys finished strong! Regardless of our stamina, we had a GREAT time with our friends and of course time with our adopted niece Landry! She has grown WAY TOO FAST but was sweet enough to give both Aunt Kelsey and Uncle Carson a BIG kiss goodnight!
We tried to put Carson in our bed, but that quickly failed...Carson cannot sleep lying flat until released by the doctors, so he has been stuck in the living room recliner... most men would not complain about this. :) Today was filled with mindless errands and small household chores. We had a very pleasant surprise from our Tech friend, and Beta Red Raider, Wade Vinall. Wade was moving to Houston and stopped by to visit after WAY TOO LONG! We had a wonderful visit with him and look forward to seeing him again very soon.
Carson made an appearance to Target with me to get out and about for a while, but quickly wanted to retreat back home to rest. We were on the hunt today to find adhesive dissolve rs to help me change his bandages without removing his skin. We finally found some at the local medical supply has made a significant difference.
Tonight we had another visit from Shannon and Stuart to watch Changeline, a pretty good movie! We have another long day planned to get some more small household chores completed; chores we have put off because of life and law school. We are traveling back to Houston on Thursday to hopefully have one of the drainage tubes released by the plastic surgeon. Let's keep our fingers crossed. We also plan on having dinner with some friends in the area as long as things go as planned. Thank you for reading our continued posts. We look forward to April 7th, the "date" of when we will hear back about the tumor.
God Bless to all.

Happy Birthday William Jacob Thompson!!! Auntie & Uncle Carson love you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet Home Waco, Texas

Never thought in a MILLION YEARS I would be saying that statement aloud! Nevertheless, we are home and happy for it. Carson was released today around 10:00 am. We were thrown with the time change, but seem to be adjusting well. We both agree there is nothing quite like home. After a good shower at the hospital and a thumbs up from the doctor, we left MD Anderson praying to never return. Although we were genuinely taken care of by the nurses and staff, we hope in about a month we'll receive a call with good news.
Many blessings have come from this ordeal. Old friendships renewed, family ties have been strengthened and our marriage has been stronger than ever. We honestly both look at life very differently. The little things that annoy us truly do not matter, but the little precious moments are what life is all about.
Carson and I both have had time for much self-reflection and more than ever do we want to change some small things for the better. For the first time ever, we really feel God's love through his people. It's as if we have been embraced by God's arms, through the unconditional love of our childhood, high school, college and current friends, not to mention our "rock" we call our family. It has honestly been overwhelming, but also eye opening. All we can say is...Thank You. Thank you to EVERYONE near and far for you complete support. We are forever in debt to you.

I know God has a purpose for his plan. Although it does not coincide with our own, I am willing to see where this obstacle or should I say "adventure" leads us to. Our hearts are overflowing with love and joy. We are blessed and one day soon, we look forward to returning the favor so willingly poured out.

Luke 11:5-8
This is a verse that spoke to me. Thank you and let's continue prayers for all in need. If you would like to post a prayer request, please email me or post in comments.

I would like to add our friends Becky & Dave Mead to the list. Dave's grandfather is very ill and not doing well at all. Doctors have given him limited time. Please keep the Mead's in your prayers during this hard, lingering time.

Love & Blessings,
Kelsey and Carson

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Post-op Day 2

Last night was rough. Carson woke up around 1:30 a.m. in extreme pain in his chest, back and left side. The nurses returned quickly with extra pain medication and learned that his i.v. line was blocked and needed to be flushed...therefore Carson was without ANY pain meds for a few hours. He was not a happy guy. Throughout most of the morning they kept him comfortable and then a nurse from pain management pulled on his left arm abruptly to see how far he could move it...this was not good. Let's just say he let her know how bad it felt. Finally around 5:30 a.m. we got to sleep only to wake again for 6:30 breakfast and more poking, prodding,breathing exercises, breathing treatments, drainage checks and the list goes on...
Doctors removed the chest tube, epidural and catheter! Yay! He has been walking the halls and now off any i.v. meds.
When his parents arrived, I decided to go back to our hotel for a few hours of sleep and a shower. Not sure how much I have slept in the past week, but I know it is not our normal 8 hours a night.
Good news is that we should be on our way home to Waco tomorrow. The few complications we saw yesterday have begun to clear up as well as some reactions to the narcotics.
Carson is in great spirits! He showed a little more of himself today and more than anything is ready to be home. I have to brag on him too-he was a very good patient this entire time and although I know it will be tough getting him back to normal, I have no doubt in my mind that he will bounce back soon. There has been was little damper on our evening...the power to the hospital went out around 7:15 pm and has left us with no lights or TV. Carson was pretty bummed, but it is a good excuse to sleep a few extra hours, especially since we SPRING forward an hour tomorrow.
Thank you again for you support. I will keep adding updates as new things come up. John & Corinthia are coming back to Waco with us tomorrow to help with settling in, so please keep us in your prayers for safe travel with our precious cargo.
Thank you again.

God Bless,
Kelsey & Carson

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day One-Post Op

First off,
Thank you to everyone for your sweet messages and supportive prayers. As you can imagine, we are all pretty exhausted but cannot seem to get any rest. I will take you from the time we first saw Carson to right now as he finally drifts off to sleepy-land.
Last night around 8:00 p.m. Corinthia (Carson's Momma) and I went to see Carson in recovery and he looked GREAT! As I said in the first post, the doctors were very pleased with the surgery and thankful only the pectoral muscle was needed to help repair the 3-inch hole in his chest. His 5th rib was removed along with the chest wall. Dr. Swisher, the thoracic surgeon placed a piece of mesh over the hole and covered it with concrete-like matter. The plastic surgeon said most of the time they do not go through this much trouble, but since Carson is 24, they wanted him to have a symmetrical chest. The plastic surgeon then took the pectoral muscle and the top of the oblique to seal the hole as added protection. He as three drainage tubes; one for lungs and the other two for the muscle. Hopefully, the lung tube will come out tomorrow and the other two will come home to Waco until next Thursday. This is to ensure the peck muscle is attaching itself correctly to the skin and very little fluid is forming.
In true Carson form, he was charming the UT Longhorn nurses and giving them a hard time. His first words were, " I'm a tough-Red Raider and I want a steak!" Would you expect anything else???
His recovery nurses just loved and doted on him and even allowed us to bring back multiple visitors...especially 4 surprise guests all the way from Dallas, Fraser & Sydney Holmes and Andrew Quijano and his girlfriend Laura! What a wonderful and perfect timing surprise. Carson was so happy they made it and he could not believe they made the long trip. We both are so thankful for our supportive and loving friends.
We were finally in a room and settled around 10:30 pm last night, too bad we were both too wired to the nurses and staff came in every 20 minutes doing this, poking that, asking questions....and they wonder why people hate hospitals. But in complete fairness, everyone here has been amazing and easy to work with. They even let him have water early and at 2:30 this morning he was walking around the hallway...veeerrrryyyy slloooowwwllly. We cat-napped until around 6 and John and Corinthia came in to visit. The plan was for me to go back to our room, which is attached to the hospital, and shower and sleep, but I could not peel myself away from him. We went to X-ray his lungs to make sure they were not collapsing and then returned to continue his breathing/coughing exercises to fight off pneumonia and infection. He is to do these every hour on the hour.
The rest of the day consisted of nurse and family visits and finally the beginning of his "clear liquid diet." Poor thing- his choices were chicken, beef or veggie broth, jello and drinks. So throughout the day he ordered three different plates. He REALLY did want a steak.
So far, the only complications we are seeing is slight nerve damage in his left arm and eye, maybe from the epidural. We are watching certain areas, to make sure it is nothing serious.
As for testing the mass, we spoke with Dr. Swisher and the plastic surgeon today and we will not know what this mass is for almost a month!!!! Since it was mostly bone, they have to allow it to calcify and breakdown. He did say, he feels like it is highly likely to be benign, based generally on seeing it and how it has not attached to the chest wall, lungs or soft tissue...this is good so far. We must still keep praying.
The day closed with my parents leaving for Waco to pick-up our sweet angel, dog-child Belle, whom will be going back to Grand Prairie with them for a while or at least until Carson is a little more stable.

We had some more surprise guests today too! Julie Longoria is doing her pediatric dentistry residency just one block from M.D. Anderson, so she stopped by in her cute scrubs with magazines for us both and then some of Carson's Beta Fraternity brothers made it over to see him and cheer him up! We also received 3 gift bags of goodies--thank you to Taylor and Hayley Shelton, Alice Meek and the UHS Coaching Staff and Alice's sweet mother and the great Beta men: Justin Tucker, Chris Baker, Patrick Lashford, Clayton Ellis, and Adam Lawlis. All of you mean the world and we appreciate your love and support.
Shortly after everyone left, Carson's first meal was a gigantic cheese burger with fries...although he did not dominate this massive meal, I have no doubt in my mind that he will conquer the next. Nevertheless, the pain has begun to really set in and it just doesn't seem like there is enough pain medicine. He is handling it all really well and has been a good patient. Overall, today was good, but now it is time for rest. I finally can hear him slightly snoring off to is actually music to my ears. We hope to be out of here Sunday and back home to Waco for recuperation. Regardless, we'll return Thursday to remove the second tube and check on the remaining tube.

I would like to finally praise God for getting us through this. We all feel as if an elephant has been lifted off our shoulders, but this is just step one to Carson's road to recovery. Although the journey will be trying, we will keep our faith and put Carson's pain into the Lord's hands. I know in my heart this will all go well and has a purpose. Thank you for everyone. We love you all.


Please keep the following people in your prayers as you pray for Carson's healing. Coming to M.D. Anderson has been an eye opening experience and I stop to pray for every single sick person I see on a daily basis.

Chase Mitchell-Fighting melanoma at M.D. Anderson
"Jack"- We met his wife in the surgery waiting area and they were unable to get to his tumors. Please pray for patience and strength
Carson's Papa Jim-Made the trip all the way down to Houston today, while he is also fighting prostate cancer, which has spread to the bones
Carson's Uncle Mike- Fighting colon cancer
Stephen and Nikki Chambers-( Carson's cousins) And their new baby girl
Carson's Papa Jerry- heart problems and currently hospitalized in DFW Brittany Horton-
Andrew Littel-Our Patriot- fighting bravely in Iraq

Thursday, March 5, 2009



We just got word from the doctor at 5:00 pm and he is already finished with his part of surgery and now the plastic surgeon is completing the reconstruction! He said they removed the 3-inch in diameter tumor and it looks like it can easily be repaired by replacing the pectoral muscle over the hole. Thus, it is not looking as invasive as we thought.

We will know if it is benign in 7-10 days, but so far we know they froze the area around the outside of the original tumor and it shows no new tumors- he also said it has not moved into the muscle or the rest of the chest wall-which is such a relief!!!! It is either endosarcoma or endochrondoma- we have to wait for it to calcify for final results---PLEASE KEEP PRAYING FOR BENIGN!!
I truly believe in the power of prayer and it is because of our prayer warriors and God that we have great news!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


We are so lucky to have part of our wonderful family here. I know a lot of you could not come, but we know you are here with us. Thank you friends and loved ones for your constant support today. You have no idea how encouraging your words have been!

The Big Day

We got to Houston yesterday afternoon to meet with all the pre-op doctors and to follow-up with check-in procedures. Of course, in true Carson form, we found a gun shop. :)
His parents, Granny and my parents arrived in time to check-in our hotels and get him a yummy dinner. He wanted Pappadeux so we fought the crowds to get him the ultimate seafood platter and a coke.
None of us could sleep. I had not slept in days or eaten very much. Although my clothes are fitting loose, I do not recommend THIS diet. We feel actually pretty peaceful and relieved it is all finally here.
This morning we woke up and arrived in time to sit and wait. From 9:30 to 1:45 we sat and waited....and waited. FINALLY, they called him in!
He looked great, especially after the slight sedative. He was a big loopy but smiling.

Please keep praying! We have already felt the love of our friends and family. Carson and I were talking last night about how inspiring it is to know we are loved so much by people from all over and from different phases in our life. Thank you to everyone for reaching out to us and for your support. If you have emailed, facebooked, texted, called, or mailed something, I promise we will respond to every single one. We love you all.

It has been one hour since he was taken back. Keep looking for updates on this site. I will update you as I hear.

May God Bless Carson!


We came to Houston on February 16th-18th to meet with the head of thoracic surgery and can I just say that MD Anderson is an amazing facility. Although we saw many people with very serious illnesses, we were and still are inspired by the positive smiles and hopeful stories seen EVERYWHERE!
This is when we got the news that Carson was having the tumor, along with 2-4 ribs removed then they are reconstructing his rib cage with mesh, plaster-concrete and grafting muscles from the Peck, lat and abs to protect his organs. The surgery will be 8-10 hours long and he will be here for 3-5 days.
Luckily, we have spring break next week, so we will have a few days to rest and get him on the road to recovery. His plan is to return to school ASAP. Although, I think he should rest, I know Carson and I know he will bounce back beautifully. We will know if it is sarcoma (bone cancer) or endochrondoma ( benign!) in a few days.

So...what is it?

After a LONG period of waiting we finally got a call from a Waco Thoracic surgeon saying Carson had been referred to him by his orthopedic surgeon and that this spot was in fact a tumor embedded in his ribs. This was on January 29, 2009. I was in Grand Prairie for the evening for the Men of South Pageant and Carson called me. I still remember feeling like someone kicked me in the face.
We met with the thoracic surgeon, he said yes, it needed to come out, but he would feel better if someone with experience performed the surgery. He referred us to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, which is where we are today.

The spot

Here we are after 6 months of wondering what this little ball in Carson's chest could be and still we wait.
6 Months ago, Carson and I were playing volleyball with the law school intramural team and he started having chest pains. Of course we worried, but we decided to wait. About a week later, he found this little "bump" in his chest (where you put your hand over your heart to say the pledge) and there was slight pain and tenderness to the touch. We were in bed, so I felt it and right away I knew this wasn't good. We called and set up an appointment with our family doctor and he thought it was inflamed cartilage of the ribs. He was given anti-inflammatory medication and sent home. A month later, we were still not satisfied, so we went back to the same doctor and instead he ordered a mammogram, which quickly came back clear. He then decided to refer us to an orthopedic surgeon in Waco. At this time, it was November and law finals had just passed. After a few consults, our insurance finally Ok'd the CT scan and they scanned his chest. In JANUARY ( yes Nov. to Jan) we received a call saying everything was okay...this was not acceptable. We knew there was more to this growing ball inside Carson's chest.