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February
10
2021

Let’s follow in Carol’s path of compassion, resilience, love and devotion

Feb 8 - Today, is very sad for all of us who loved Carol, she has been in our hearts and minds for so long.  Recently she definitely was feeling better and it gave us more hope.  However, Sunday night she had a bad stroke in her brain which put her on life-support; this news was a shock.  Cathy, Zander and Julia were able to fly to Arizona and join Richard in the hospital.

She will always be remembered for her love and devotion to our family and to others that she helped in her practice and everyday life. She was so strong in her faith and a model for us to follow. She and Richard were great parents together for Grace and now Richard will care for her in his loving fatherly way.  They are in our prayers. 

Let’s utilize this space to celebrate Carol’s life, share cherished memories and funny moments.

Carol was a force. A light. A beautiful person. 

In her words after the Inauguration “A new day is dawning today and the light will battle the darkness”. 

Carol's life and legacy will be celebrated in a private ceremony at a later
date.

We BELIEVE she is with us forever. 

Donations honoring Carol may be made to the:

Carol Shaw Woodard Fund at Homan Square
906 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL 60623

https://www.homansquare.org/the-carol-shaw-woodard-fund/

White Mountain Education Association, P.O. Box 11975,
Prescott. AZ 86303

Save the Children, P.O. Box 97132,
Washington, DC 20090-7132

Show your love and support for Carol.

Make a donation to CaringBridge to keep Carol’s site up and running.

December
17
2020

Happy Holidays! - A message from Carol

2020 has been quite a year hasn’t it? It’s been two years since my health crisis began. Hard to believe! I’m so grateful for everyone’s prayers, love and support that I know has been instrumental in helping me make it this far. I’m no longer in crisis mode but I am still fighting this cancer. Though I’m not out of the woods yet, I’ve been having a good quality of life which I am so grateful for. I’ve also gotten to see my kids reach new milestones in these past 2 years. I’ve watched my older kids succeed in their first professional jobs after graduate school and my youngest daughter with special needs graduate from high school and start a day treatment program which she enjoys. This all makes a mom happy! I hope to be around for many more years and see more milestones like grandchildren and my youngest getting her first job. Thanks for your help in making that more of a possibility.

Medical update: I did 6 months of chemotherapy and initially it helped my cancer markers to go down, but then they started going up again. My PET scan showed no real change in the cancer which was disappointing as we hoped to see improvement. My doctor and I decided to stop chemo and go back on my old targeted medication suspecting that the new cancer was the BRAF type again. He was right because after one week my cancer markers went down from 113 to 43. Yay! So, for now I’ll stay the course with this medication. I decided to be more aggressive with alternative methods as the conventional have not helped to completely stop the cancer.  I’m meeting with a naturopath from Scottsdale, AZ that has an oncology certificate and many years’ experience. I think he’s a good addition to my team.  As I‘m still in active treatment and the outcome is uncertain I’m planning to update this page every 3 – 6 months.

Being high risk for COVID-19 I’ve been continuing to shelter at home except for medical appointments. I also continue to take forest walks with a couple of friends, which saves me. This Thanksgiving my older two kids, Zander and Julia came to visit and stayed in an AirB&B. We wore masks and stayed outdoors for meals and hiking together. It was wonderful being together. My son works for a Houston health department, so he made sure we were careful with COVID-19 guidelines. As cases have spiked so much, we decided to cancel our Xmas plans together and will celebrate via zoom. Grace has been home with us and stopped participating in her day treatment program last March due to the risk. A silver lining has been that she’s doing a virtual one-on-one transition to employment program. She is participating well and learning a lot as well as having fun with dancing to songs and playing games. She is more focused with one-on-one learning and we’re looking forward to her participating in in their program one day. Didn’t know that was possible before.

So, my future is in the hands of our Higher Power but I sure appreciate all the prayers and positive thoughts that are helping Her /Him. I hope everyone is finding the silver linings of this crisis. I hope as a humanity we can learn to love each other more and take care of one another. To me, that ‘s the real message of this pandemic. I’m so ready to turn the page in the US and bring more unity, dignity, cooperation and compassion in our country founded on such beautiful ideals. Hopefully we can live up to them once again.

Love you all.

August
27
2020

Great news...the Chemo is working!

Carol’s PET scan from this week showed that the chemo is working! All of her Cancer activity is lowering and everything is shrinking! Carol’s Doctor is happy with the results and so is Carol...we all are! 

 As mom/Bev said, “Carol, your faith and strength have paved the way to the good news!”

The next step is for Carol to do four more rounds of chemo (total 12 weeks) and then another PET scan.  The chemo cycles are two weeks on and one week off. On the weeks off Carol feels good and is able to hike some and resume normal activity. Even when she’s doing chemo, the fatigue and mild nausea only last about 3 days so life is good all around, “I would say I’m still thriving with cancer and happy to be alive...grateful for every day!” How about that PMA?  Here’s to the power of having a Positive Mental Attitude! She is also grateful for all of the support, prayers and love that people continue to show. Talk about healing with positivity, prayer and hope! 

Carol does have to be careful with Covid-19 and has been sheltering at home since March. Richard has been the grocery shopper and errand guy. Grace has also been home so the three of them have been enjoying a little bit of homeschooling, recreation at home and family hikes. 

Nature continues to be therapeutic and a lifesaver for Carol! She nature bathes everyday, enjoys going on hikes and sitting on her back deck looking at all of the pine trees and pretty Zinnias they planted.

The other thing that really sustains Carol is her participation in her spiritual group. She attends Sunday service and Wednesday night classes via the Internet and can do service projects from home. This gives her life purpose and meaning.

Julia was able to visit by staying at a friend’s house who was gone for vacation. They did safe social distancing outside on Carol’s deck for some meals, arts and crafts and great bonding. It was awesome for them to be together in person and Carol is extremely happy for how great Julia is doing!

Carol is also very proud of Zander. He is working in Houston at their health department as the data guy and has been working overtime since Covid-19 hit to help keep the community informed with health statistics and projections. 

Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement...they are an integral part of Carol’s healing journey...keep them coming! 

We BELIEVE! 

Love to all!

May
13
2020

Chemo is Carol’s next step

Carol has been safe and sheltering at home since mid March before the “stay at home” order was even in place. She’s been feeling great (no longer has to take naps) and is able to hike while social distancing.

On Monday, Carol received results from last week’s PET scan and unfortunately it revealed more cancer activity. The cancer has increased in her gall bladder and the entrance to her liver and also a new spot in her right lung was found. Though this was a bit of a shock and very disappointing news, Carol is focusing on how good she feels and taking it one step at a time.

Carol has decided to be proactive and start chemo now because she is feeling healthy and wants to “nip it in the bud” versus waiting until later. She continues to take the targeted drug therapy though the increased cancer activity means there is a resistance in some areas.

The chemotherapy that she will be undergoing is typically well tolerated and good for both liver/gall bladder and lungs. It will be a total of 9 weeks, 3 week segments for 3 rounds. She’ll start with having chemo 1x/week for 2 weeks then have a week off and repeat until the 3 rounds are complete finishing with a PET scan to evaluate the progress.

Carol will have her treatment at her oncologist’s office in Prescott Valley where she feels comfortable and although she will be more immunosuppressed it’s reassuring to know that there hasn’t been any cases of COVID -19 in the office. 

She’ll continue to shelter in place at home and enjoy her newly planted flowers on her deck and her time with Richard and Gracie.

We are all with her in spirit since we can’t be with her in person yet. Though the future is unknown, Carol is feeling optimistic.

Keep the prayers coming and PMA! We BELIEVE!

 

December
14
2019

Holiday Update from Carol

Wow! What a year it has been! I am so grateful for all of you who have supported me this year with your love, your cards, your messages, food, even juicing for me. People have come out of the woodwork and it has all meant so much to me. And I know it has made a huge difference in my recovery.

This is what I have really learned through this experience: Life is precious and there are angels everywhere, especially in people’s hearts. I am closer to my amazing family (both nuclear and extended) for dropping everything to help me. I know more about what’s really important in life. For me, right now, it’s about opening my heart and fulfilling my purpose.

My status is excellent. The last CAT scan said my status was stable and my cancer markers are way down to 15 (initially they were 5,000). My doc’s say I’m not in remission and I will need to take these drugs for the rest of my life. I am not “back to normal” and am accepting my “new normal.” My feet and legs seem to be compromised from the blood clots and drug therapy but I am managing fine and still able to hike. I’m fatigued in the afternoons and take naps, but I hear this isn’t so different from many people in their 60’s 😊 And I get flu symptoms from my drugs every few months or so. It’s all manageable and I am living life. The new phrase I’ve adopted is “I’m thriving despite cancer.” In my available time I’m focusing on participating in projects for my spiritual group which gives me great joy and a sense of purpose.

As I strive to heal on all levels physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually I am feeling more joy and appreciation for life and people than I ever have. What a great gift I’ve received from this health crisis.

I wish the very best for you all and sincerely hope you experience the joy this holiday season.

Here is our family picture from this past Thanksgiving.

Much love and gratitude,

Carol

October
18
2019

Fall Update

Since our last update there have been some ups and downs for Carol. She is a trooper and always takes the steps to overcome whatever obstacle develops while continuing to fight the cancer.

In August she watched the YouTube movie “Heal” which is about the power of positivity, healing and changing your destiny. Being positive isn’t anything new for Carol, throughout all of this she continues to exemplify how her positive mental attitude truly helps the hardest of situations. However, for her to hear scientists and spiritual teachers discuss how thoughts, beliefs, and emotions impact human health and the ability to heal affirmed what she has been studying for years on her spiritual path and re-inspired her to keep working on healing herself physically, emotionally and mentally – striving to keep positive on all levels.

Medical issues surfaced over Labor Day weekend, when her son, Zander and daughter, Julia were visiting from out of town. Zander seems to be her good luck charm, as the last time he visited over Easter she also had to go to the hospital. This time it was stomach pain and turned out to be blood clots in the bile duct and bleeding in the gall bladder, as well as some stones. As usual for Carol this is a very unusual occurrence and she was sent to Banner Hospital in Phoenix. They performed an endoscopy procedure and put stints in her bile duct and pancreas, which accidentlay got cut during the procedure. Thankfully Zander and Julia were able to care for Gracie as Richard visited Carol. 2 weeks later the stints were taken out and all looked well. Carol was off her cancer meds during this time (one month) and when she went back on them, she had the side effects of flu symptoms for 10 days. Recently she had an infected cyst on her neck drained. And after each hurdle she lets us know when she is feeling better and keeps on believing, pushing through one step at a time.

Carol’s most recent CAT scan showed that everything is stable. Though she was disappointed that the tumor hadn’t shrunk more, it’s good that it didn’t grow either considering she had been off her meds.

Good news for Gracie...she and Carol attended volunteer orientation at the library and they started volunteering weekly at the youth services keeping the children’s “rock garden” clean and organized. Grace enjoyed wearing her volunteer name tag and hearing the parents appreciation that the area was getting cleaned.

As we welcome the Fall season's weather and beauty, let's continue to send Carol positive thoughts and support through prayer and well wishes.

One step at a time...we BELIEVE!

 

July
26
2019

Going in the right direction!

Carol had great results from her PET scan! The tumor is shrinking and the cancer is showing no activity. Her oncologist said this is great news. And she feels good!!!! 

Carol flew to Chicago to celebrate Warren’s (our wonderful step dad) 90th b-day. It made her feel like a normal person and not just a person focused on medical recovery. She’s gradually reclaiming her life and resuming normal activities. She is still fatigued in the afternoon and needing a nap but it is totally manageable. 

Carol continues to show how persistence, mental strength and deep faith can help hurdle battles, even in the hardest fight.  We are all very happy that she is feeling good and that things are going in the right direction! 

Carol is very grateful for everyone’s prayers and support. As she says “Life is precious”! She loves her family and friends and really believes in the power of prayer.

We BELIEVE! 

 

 

June
28
2019

Hope, Faith and Strength

In the last few weeks, Carol has felt more normal...she has taken walks in the woods and has gone on some errands. Her legs are a lot less swollen and her left thigh has some numbness though it doesn’t affect her walking. She is happy to have more energy and it's great to be able to do regular activities like cooking and cleaning. 

For those of you who signed up on the Meal Train over the last month...thank you! Everything helps and Carol really appreciated the support! They are good for now and are making their own meals etc...if things change we’ll reach out.  

Carol is doing everything she can to help her body fight the cancer and hopefully prevent her from becoming resistant to the drugs. She is taking a daily nap, eating foods to fight from within, embarking on some alternative therapies- acupuncture for her foot pain and numbness in her left thigh as well as supplements from an alternative, integrative cancer doctor. 

At her last visit she did learn that once the cancer is at stage 4, she’ll always be stage 4 which was sobering for her to learn.  She appreciates each day and cherishes being alive. 

July 12th is her next PET scan. Let’s all pray for continued positive results. 

Carol is a fighter, hopeful and needs your continued support...it really means so much! Please keep your prayers and well wishes coming...they are uplifting during this really tough battle. 

We BELIEVE she can beat and overcome the odds! Look how far she has come and the hurdles she has crossed already!

PMA for Carol all the way!