Caroline Blogs (+ a giveaway)

Hi everyone!  It has been about 5 months since my last blog post, when I sewed costumes for Jet’s 7th birthday party.  That was right about the time when symptoms of Wes’ cancer began.   As most of our readers know, in February, my youngest child (at age 15 months) was diagnosed with stage IV, high-risk, neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system.   Our lives changed forever.  I have a new blog now- the kind you never wanted to have-  that chronicles our family’s fight for Wes’ cure.   You are welcome to join us on http://www.caringbridge.org.  Just log in and search for Wes Chang.

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I don’t want to get into the horror, the hardship, the grief, the joy, the crazy emotional rollercoaster that comes with having a child go through cancer.   Its something I would not wish on my worst enemy.  But somehow, many blesssings have home out of it, and I have a renewed sense of purpose, and new perspective on life’s importances.

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To tell you the truth, I have been avoiding this space.  Writing my posts on caringbridge (along with living our new normal) takes a lot out of me.   Its just so emotional that it exhausts me.  Actually, even here in the past, blogging did not come easily for me.  I am extremely self-critical and perfectionistic.  I sew slowly, and I write slowly.   And now, I simply do not have time for any of it.  I still crave sewing.  I miss it.  I yearn for it.  But my priorties have shifted, and the sense of satisfaction I get from crafting a wearable garment, is replaced by taking the best care of Wes that I possibly can.  Add NURSE to my resume, because I’m pretty sure I’ve earned my degree!

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To catch you up to date quickly, Wes has undergone 5 rounds of intense chemotherepy since his diagnosis.  He had tumors (or “lesions”) in several places in his head, also in his lungs, and, signature of neuroblastoma, a primary tumor on his right adrenal gland (which sits above the kidney).  His bone marrow was also infected by the disease.  After just two rounds of chemo, the visible tumors on his head and face were diminishing, and bone marrow biopsy was clean.  Wes just underwent scans after round 5, and the only remaining visible disease  is the primary tumor (1/3 of its original size)!  It will be surgically removed on Wednesday.

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His progress has been amazing!  His expert oncologist actually used those words.   Wes has stayed extremely healthy through this process, and we have been living at home as normal most of this time.  I can assure you that this is not the norm for kids with neuroblastoma and other devestating cancers.   He is making this look easy.  But it is not.  The stress, the worry, the time it takes, and the toll it takes on the family dynamic, is extraordinary.  Please understand, that if this could happen to our family, it can happen to yours.  Please support the research, support the families, the events, the races, the blood drives.  I never thought we’d be the recipients of so much kindness and generosity.  I never thought we would need to be.  We are humbled indeed.

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I’d like to thank my sister, and co-blogger, Erin, for all that she has done to help our family.  Thank God we live in the same town!  She has had to swoop in a ton to help with Jet and Avery, but has also managed all the wonderful friends who have wanted to help.  She (and the rest of our extended family) has also dealt with a lot of emotions when learning the devastating news about Wes.  Our mom was still in treatment for her own recurred cancer.  But, Erin had to be my liaison to the people.  All of the calls and emails went through her.  I simply could not talk to people.   She organized a donation website that just exploded with funds to help us financially.  It’s been a long  road, and we are only at about the half-way point with Wes’ treatment, but we are in a much better place now with Wes doing so well!.  Lucky doesn’t even cover it!

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So, this summer has been a nice change of pace.  Not having to get up early to send the big kids off to school has been a sweet relief.  I found ourselves having a slow week recently, and was able to dust of my sewing machine.  An email came from Dana of Made,  asking us to test her First Day Dress pattern.  How exciting to have an assignment from an industry big-wig that we have worshiped since the beginning of time!  Erin and I both jumped at the opportunity!

I chose to sew the simple A-line option for Avery.

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Excuse the ‘tude.

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And the pool hair.

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I chose the 5T size for my solid 4.5 year old, Avery.  The fit is perfect!

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 I took Dana’s suggestion and used a home-dec fabric.  How cute are these chickens??  The fabric, called Barnyard Dance Speckel,by P Kaufmann, was at our local U-fab store, which also sells online.  It is a lovely weight for this project. Plus, you get 10 extra inches on these bolts.  I have plenty for another project!  Even with the cotton sheeting I used as a lining, it is super soft and drape-y.   Another bonus is that this fabric is stain resistant.  It will totally hold up in the fall when we throw on a cardi and some leggings.

Hopefully you saw Erin’s version last week!  She made a peplum convert out of me!  There are so many adorable options to choose from in Dana’s pattern.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like a chance to win a copy of this PDF pattern!  Giveaway will close Thursday July 17 at 8:00 pm.

Even if you are not interested in the giveaway, we invite your comments!   I know this post is major heavy.  Erin and I want to extend our gratitude to our devoted readers, and blogger friends, who always “like” us on instagram and continue to show your support for #hungiegungie and #teamwes.  We love you!  I hope to not be a stranger for too long!

Lots of love,

Caroline

 

 

40 thoughts on “Caroline Blogs (+ a giveaway)

  1. And I am so blessed to be your sister! You are the best kind of mother. I love you all, and that Wes has really stolen my heart in these past few months- his kisses are gold! This post made me teary, but for joy- I am SO happy that this little boy is doing better than we all could’ve imagined! Love the dress- love the ‘tude. XO Erin

    1. Thank you Erin. I hate that I have to be so self-absorbed (or Wes-absorbed) these days. I look forward to next year, when he is just one of the hairy kids!

  2. I love everything about this post. All the pictures of y’all’s gorgeous kiddies, your honest, well-spoken words, and the news of Wes’s rock-star progress. I of course love the dress too. Glad you got some sewing in… I hope it felt great! XOXO

    1. Thank you Mary Ellen. I’m sorry I missed all the fun last week! They kids had a blast, and today Avery asked me if she could skype with her “second cousins”. Love it!

  3. Caroline, what a strong and good mommy you are! I am praising the Lord with you for Wes’ healing that has already taken place! I don’t really have the right words to say but wanted to leave you with a few scriptures that have helped me in hard times. Philippians 4:6-8 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” 2Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Psalm 107:6 “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”- 3 times they cried out to the Lord and EVERY time He delivered them, He is so faithful! I want you to know I am praying Wes be healed. You are an amazing mother- and I only get to see from afar 😉 Much Love to you all! Ps. cute fabric choice for the dress!

    1. Thank you lisacrafty. Even though I don’t really have a religious background, these scriptures are ones that resonate. During this journey, I have found a way to let go of worry and anxiety and to surrender to that which I cannot control, but to also have faith in the fact that it will all be okay. We believe Wes is going to beat this in a big way! Thank you for your prayers, they are ever so welcome!

  4. Wow. Go Wes! What a strong little guy and an incredible family you have. So happy to hear you’ve gotten in a little sewing time in. The dress is adorable. I love the chickens!

  5. Lots of love to you too, Caroline, and your wonderful family! Seeing Wes smiling makes me happy and I am so glad to hear he is doing so well. How great you found a little time for sewing, the dress is so quirky and cute! May this summer bring you lazy, happy days and may Wes´ amazing progress continue!

    1. Thank you so much Ute! We are feeling great these days! I might have to go back to knitting for a while, since the next phase of treatment takes us out of state.

  6. You and Wes continue to be such an inspiration. The Doctors words and the positivity that you exude on your caring bridge site are incredible. Prayer for all of you – always – and especially tomorrow during the surgery.
    I’m glad to see that you squeezed in time for something that you love. Great fabric choice and awesome new Etsy store (E)! Please put my name in the running for the pattern giveaway 🙂
    Love you – #teamwes #teamcaro

  7. I’m so happy to read about how amazing Wes is doing. You guys are one of the strongest families I’m happy to be part of. True fighters that stick together through all times. You are truly an inspiration! Xoxoxo

    1. Thank you Crystal! You got that right! Sure wish it didn’t have to be Wes, but since it is, we will all do this together and beat the s*** out of cancer!

  8. Sending lots of prayers for a full recovery for your precious little boy and lots of prayers to you and your family. You have a beautiful family 🙂

  9. I’m so glad your little guy is doing better! I know you have had a rough journey. I pray that the rest of his treatment goes smoothly.

  10. Best wishes for Wes, I hope he kicks cancer’s butt. My dear friend’s daughter fought the same fight for 6 yrs. Heartbreakingly she lost the fight last month. If I won the pattern I would make dresses for her two little sisters.

    1. Thank you for your support. I’m so sorry that another little one was lost, one that you cared for. I just don’t have words. Actually, I have curse words. They are bursting from my lips about how much I hate cancer. Those sweet little sisters. Love to you and your friend.

  11. welcome back, caroline! what a wonderful post to read. send lots of love and positive thoughts to all of you. oh and your chicken dress is awesome!! 🙂 xo

  12. oh caroline, i’ve missed you and have been wondering how wes was doing. i read your post with one eye closed in case of bad news, but i’m soooooo glad treatment is working and he’s doing well! tears sprung to my eyes when i read that news. his smile continues to be amazing, and i hope his prognosis keeps getting better and better. huge hugs to your whole family. hey and it’s great you got some sewing time too, the dress is hilarious and fantastic!!

    1. Thank you Kristin. Your words are so kind. We are thrilled to celebrate Wes’ incredible road toward being cancer free! We are so glad to have your support. I’ve been quiet about it, but still checking in on your amazing sewing. Seriously, how do you do it? Love the stuff you have been doing for YOU! Welcome to “3 deep” by the way. It ain’t easy! xoxo

  13. So happy things went well, yesterday! And so nice to see a post from you and hear you had time to sew something 🙂 Good stuff, mama! You continue to amaze. We are so happy you are already so far along in Wes’s treatment. It is inspiring. And I love the chicken dress. 🙂

    1. Thank you Allie! And thank you for being with us from day 1! I hope we can play one of these days! You were looking so great the last time I saw you. Hope its smooth sailing the rest of the way. Can’t wait to welcome you into the land of 3!

  14. Thank you for the very open and honest post. I hope Wes continues to do well and you are doing a fantastic job!

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