I don’t recall the exact instance this clarity of understanding occurred. I do, however, remember vividly the petite, glasses wearing elementary student. A permed brunette, lover of all things purple and unicorns-- and even better yet, purple unicorns, who at the age of 8 already exuded a fashion forward confidence and magnanimous personality. People have always been drawn to Carol and I was no exception.
I am able to mentally scan through the archives of my mind, sifting through the utilitarian filing cabinets, plastic-covered bins and crowded sock drawers overflowing with the moments she and I have spent with each other, the memories we created and I am grateful.
Grateful for so much laughter, buoyed up by the stolen moments wherein we opened our souls to each other under heart-covered comforters in our parent’s living rooms. Morose over the shenanigans we survived and overwhelmed by the purely, unadulterated love that I feel for her.
Photographs from over the many years of our friendship capture many of our moments in still. Looking through these photographs I am unsurprisingly struck by the continuing recurrence of Carol and I posing next to each other, most often holding onto each other, regardless of who else might be in the photograph. This is not surprising because it is how I always wanted to be and to find that this sentiment had been caught in print for me was genuinely pleasing. These captured images still hold some of my happiest memories to date.
You see, I have always been in awe of Carol, admired her in so many ways, looked up to her and desired to emulate her. The compassion and love she exudes, the fun, fly by the seat of your pants attitude she proudly dons. The tutelary friend she has always been, the devoted mother, the ardent wife. This is the type of person I would like to be. This is the person who's friendship I sincerely treasure.
As I have had the opportunity to sit at Carol’s hospital bed, resting my hand on her shoulder, soundlessly praying for her comfort, her character of strength and solicitude has never waned.
We have cried together, we have chatted like the high school girls we once were and we have sat in silence, comforted merely by the others' presence.
Carol has been asked to face challenges that would have fell Goliath sans pebble and she continues to do so with grace and determination.
We are now both in our 30’s, mothers of small children, busy with life and there have been times where the circle of perpetual schedules has come between our contact with each other and that is something I deeply regret.
Regardless of the frequency or lack there of or the distance in miles between us, I am eternally grateful and abundantly thankful that our lives paths crossed so many years ago. To me Carol has always been and will always be one of my dearest friends, someone who holds a very special place in my heart.
In the eye of this tragedy I have never been more aware than as I am now that I am not alone in my sentiments. There are so many who care deeply for Carol, for her family, for her well-being. What a wonderful testament to the outstanding person she is to witness the outpouring of love and support that has come from so many in these past few months.
I say “Thank you” to each of you because you have reaffirmed my belief in the compassion of strangers and loved ones alike.
“Thank you” because, selfishly, I needed to do something in this situation and this Auction became that and
“Thank you” because I know Carol would want nothing more than to say it to each of you herself.
To VIEW this news story click on this LINK
~"Want to feel even more internet hugs and kisses? Help out another family in need — imagine going into an emergency c-section, developing an infection which requires having both legs and one arm amputated. Then. Losing your sight. That's what's happening to Carol Decker right this minute." Gabrielle, Design Mom
~"swEEt peAs is auctioning this dress and underskirt for Carol and Scott. They have experienced a devastation this summer and we want to help. So, for every Tye Back dress we sell, swEEt peAs will donate 50% of the sale to help out this young couple. Go to this blog site to find out morewww.auctionforcarol.blogspot.com" Rozzi's Sweet Peas Etsy shop
~ "Hi,sorry it took me a while to answer you, but I have a 2 weeks old newborn baby and my oldest boy, 4 years old, is just starting to school, so it's a bit mad at home. I check the blog and I was in tears for Carol's tragedy..I am very sorry for what happened to her, but it seems she is a very strong woman, and it seems there is a lot of angels flying around her and taking care her the whole young family. ALL THE BEST and I am sure Carol is very glad and proud in having such a wonderful friend as you are.Best of luck, Cristina"
~"Hi! I checked out the blog. Could one of the (donated items) be Sleeping Beauty? For some reason, even though I don't know Carol, it seems like her. I will will keep positive thoughts for Carol. (That's my daughter's name) and I will keep you, her and her family in my prayers." Delores
~ "I would love to help. Carol's story is so heartbreaking! I was so fortunate with my first 3 deliveries, but had an awful pre-eclampsia scare with my fourth. I was very lucky. I cannot even imagine being in Carol's place. The baby is simply beautiful." Christi
~"We are happy to donate and hope it helps in your fund raising efforts for Carol (and her family). They are surely amazing, strong people and I will remember them in my prayers!" Robyn and Kevin
~ "I just read the blog and I don't understand what happened! She was just going in to have the baby and ended up with a c-section and all these terrible things happened? I cannot believe this. Of course I would love to donate something for this cause. Just let me know what you'd like me to do next to get this going. I will also forward this to some of my friend's who also sell on etsy if you don't mind. Thank you and have a good day:)! Portia♥
~"I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I am sending wishes for a swift healing. Warmly Renee"
~"Hi! I just can't believe this happened. I feel for her husband, kids, and friends. This is the least I can do..." Susan
~"I am just so shocked about Carol's situation, and want to do SOMETHING to help. So, thanks for letting me donate something to the auction." Kim
~ "Mom in Need" My cousin is working on a silent auction for her friend, Carol Decker. Her story moved me to tears. And my thoughts and prayers go out to her family. The auction will start tonight, and there are some beautiful items from Etsy available. So please bid or donate directly if you can." Debbie of Mamanista.com
~ "I feel so bad for your fiend! That is horrible to have to go through, I hope all the money that needs to be raised gets raised. Safiya is such a cutie!" Allison
~"I just looked at your silent auction site. Please choose 3 pairs (instead of just one) to be auctioned off. Again... I hope they can raise money for Carol and her family. I am so sorry for their hardship. Thanks!!!" Jessica
~"I wish you much success with your auction!"Debra
~"Hello-I am so very sorry for your friend's tragedy! I too am a mother- and I can not imagine having to deal with such an awful health situation. I hope for the best for Carol and her family. It would be my pleasure to donate something. just give me the appropriate address information and the date that you need something by, and I will let you know when something is on the way. I hope the auction is a wonderful success for Carol. Thank you-Jessica"
~"What a tragic story! I wish her and her family all the best!" Rosalynn
~"Hi. I am so sorry to hear of your friends tragedy. I don't know all the details as I have only briefly read about it from the link you sent. If I'm correct she has endured this tragedy due to her emergency c-section/high blood pressure?? I had three c-sections and they were all terrifying to go through (mine were normal have you). I can not imagine what your dear friend has had to face. We would certainly be willing to donate an item to you to auction off." Robyn
~"I really think it's a great thing you're doing for your friend. I read the links you sent me and it must be devestating for Carol and her family. I wish them all the best!" Hayley
~"Another needs us! With the story NieNie everywhere in the blog world and now in the New York Times I found another who needs are help! I just read about Carol Decker on someone's blog. Carol gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on June 10th via an emergency C-section. After the surgery she developed life-threatening infection. The medicine given to her was supposed to help fight the infection but it, instead, blocked the blood flow to her eyes, legs and left arm. Carol has had to undergo amputation of both legs below the knee, her left arm arm is amputated and she's blind. There's an ongoing silent auction going on to help with medical costs. I'm bidding on a few things!" Pink Trees Blog
~September 07, 2008 ~"I would be honored to have one of my jewelry pieces in your auction."Debra
~"I would be happy to support your friend and her journey towards recovery!" Sharon
~"Oh, I can't imagine the pain everyone involved is going through. I'm very interested in helping." Cindy
~"Through the magic of the Internet, I've become involved with an auction to benefit an amazing woman named Carol. Carol's is a courageous woman with a story that will touch your heart. The flyer above will provide you a bit of her story..."~posted on artistalleync.blogspot.com by Jean
~"My heart is aching for this family." Valerie
~"Dear Carol and Scott,This is Becky, Erica's little sister. Scott, I don't remember when I first met Carol--I was 10 maybe 8? I can't picture her without a smile. Always ready to laugh, encourage and uplift. Some people are born 'cool' with an calm soul that others are drawn to. I grew up in awe of Carol always grateful for her kindness, friendship and good to the core spirit. I love her tons still today. I know those same gifts she's always shared with others will sustain all of you, including herself. As soon as we heard we started praying for you all. Thank you for the updates, you're courage, strength and example are awe-inspiring. Please send her my love and prayers of healing. Best to all of you, Becky"
~ "If you feel inclined, do head on over to their blog and the silent auction site. It is just difficult to imagine the swing of emotions from a high on receiving a newborn to almost losing the mum." Ruth of sparklethots.com
~This week I am participating in the silent auction for carol decker. There are lots of lovely items there - many from other etsy artists. It is always nice to have a chance to make a difference in the lives of others. Thanks Erica for the opportunity.If you are interested go to auctionforcarol.blogspot.com ....I know they would appreciate your help. Daisy D Designs Shop Announcement.
~ "Carol Vance (now Decker) is one of my older sister Erica's best friends since childhood. I love Carol. She's full of goodness, kindness, fun and seriously one of the coolest women I've ever known. In June Carol delivered her second baby girl via c-section and soon afterward her temperature spiked with a terrible infection. She was placed on life support and medication which resulted in little to no blood flow to her extremities which has meant she had her two legs amputated below her knees, her left arm, right ring finger and is now blind. She's had skin grafts on nearly all of her body apart from her torso. I keep up with her situation via her husband's blog and my sister has started a silent auction here to help raise funds for her continued medical costs and physical therapy. Tragic situation for this incredible woman." Rebekah
~ "As always thanks for your prayers and goodness. . .. . . speaking of which, there is another mother in need right now, Carol Decker. My heart is so heavy after reading her story. You can read about her situation here. Or watch a newscast here. I wish for them the same tremendous support that we've felt this past month."C Jane
~"I've been wanting to post about a friend of mine that needs any help she can get. I think most of you who read my blog are mothers so this story will probably touch you as much as it has me. Carol and I lived down the street from each other growing up. For some reason I always thought she was so cool and we seemed to get along good. As we both grew up we lost contact until one of our mutual friends told me about her tragic story a few months back. Carol contracted a very serious infection while pregnant with her second daughter. She has since lost both legs from the knee down, her left hand, and her sight." Holli
~"It is amazing and heartwarming to me to see the generosity of so many people who reach out and help when someone is in need. As a friend of Carols I can tell you that many times in her life Carol has been one to reach out and offer help when it is needed. I know this because I have been a recipient of such kindness and compassion from her. That is just the kind of person she is. So please go on over and check this auction out and let others know about it also. I know her family is so grateful for the generosity that has been shown to them." Kim
~ "Just lovingly wrapped each of the auction items in preparation for shipping. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this support of Carol and her family's well being.Be well!" Catherine
~ "My heart will never be the same because to of the Deckers. Anything I can do for them is all my pleasure." -Courtney
~"Since I learned about the Deckers, I think of them daily. Carol has been through something I can not even begin to imagine; physically, psychologically or emotionally. It is deeply inspiring to see her determination and strength to heal, be there for her children and to learn how to live her life in a new way." -Abby
|~" I recently heard of Carol's story via a blog I frequently read. I have been deeply touched by this tragedy. At the same time I am in awe of Carol's strength to carry on and to make the most of her situation. Looking at the pictures of her with her beautiful girls warms my heart and gives me strength as a mother, seeing her courage. Sarah|
-- Baby Safiya is 3 months old, but her mother has no idea what she looks like. In fact, Carol Decker hasn't been able to see Safiya since her daughter's birth. That's when Carol was rushed into surgery for an emergency Cesarean section. Her husband, Scott, wasn't sure she would be able to endure it. Fortunately Carol did survive, but immediately after the surgery she developed life-threatening hypotension from a septic pneumonia infection. Doctors administered medication, but it only made things worse. Carol's body reacted by blocking the blood flow to her legs, left arm and eyes. Doctors had no choice but to amputate both of her legs below the knee and her left arm. Carol was also left blind. In just three months, the family's life had been turned upside down. What was supposed to be the happy homecoming of their baby girl has unleashed so many challenges that the family can barely keep up. "Where did this come from? How did this happen?" said Scott's mother, Joanne Decker. Scott and Carol have been trying to adjust to Carol's new life as an amputee while keeping the rest of the family going. "You know, we've got two really young kids and it's not always easy," Scott said. "There are definitely tears and hard days. These have been the hardest days of my life, definitely."Their financial problems, meanwhile, have run away from them. Medical bills have already surpassed $2 million in just three months, and there's no telling what the future will bring. "What we don't have is she (Carol) is going to have inpatient rehab that our insurance doesn't cover," Scott said. "Her family has done some fundraisers raising a decent chunk of it.""Every step has been another hurdle for her to cross," said Heath Gier, Carol's brother. "We didn't expect her to lose her sight. That was a real tough one.""Carol has shed tears and done the kissy-face bit. To me, it would be just horrible not to be able to see my babies," said Joanne. ---Information on how to donate to the Decker family:http://sccsdecker.blogspot.com/2008/06/update-to-account-information.html
Carol Jean Vance, who's married name is now Decker, was like any other young mother and excited about having her second child.
Carol, her husband Scott, and 2-year-old daughter Chloe now live in Enumclaw. In June, Carol came down with what doctors thought was a mild case of the flu, but with early contractions and a moderate fever inspired her husband to take her back to the hospital.
What they discovered was far worse than. Carol had contracted Streptococcal Pneumonia Infection with all possible complications. All her major organs had been affected including her skin. Carol then fell into a syndrome called Disseminated Intra vascular Coagulation, or DIC, a life threatening condition that prevents a person's blood from clotting normally.
Jim Vance, Carol's father, is passionate about seeking medical help early on, if a person becomes ill. "Make an appointment with their doctor. . .insist on one more exam, one more procedure in order to never, never ever come down with this affliction"
Carol's illness resulted in her giving birth to daughter Safiya six weeks early. Because of the disease, both of Carol's legs had to be amputated from the knees down. Also her left hand had to be removed as well as her right hand ring finger. While she has lost her eyesight, doctors are optimistic that she will regain her sight eventually.
Carol's step mom Judy says when Carol returns home she'll have months of rehabilitation and lots of time to spend healing and getting used to her new prosthetics. "She is amazing so she will accomplish all that! Every day she shows us how strong she is and what she can accomplish from everything she's been through."
A Fundraising Golf Tournament is planned for Saturday September 13th at Columbia Point Golf Course beginning at 1:30pm.
Contact Columbia Point Golf Course at 509-946-0710 for further information. Carol and Scott Decker also have a blog at http://sccsdecker.blogspot.com