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Hope, Struggle, and Dog Toy Baskets

Dear reader,

15 years ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV, highly aggressive, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My diagnosis came out of the blue and shocked the hell out of all of us. What followed was a blur of needles, beeping machines, tubes, and profound paralyzing fear. My doctors told me, no matter what they did, my cancer could not be cured. It would come back.

With that prognosis, I had to ask myself: what’s the point of fighting?

I was searching for the answer when my uncle offered me some advice that I still carry with me today. He told me to readjust my goal. Instead of aiming for a cure, I should instead do whatever I needed to do to buy time. Do the best treatment option available and get into remission because chances were, there would be a new and even potentially curative treatment available for the next go-round.

The other day, my son, Tommy, lost Bear, his favorite stuffed animal. He was despondent – no amount of talking him off the I-will-never-be-able-to-sleep-ever-again ledge was going to comfort his hurting heart. Tommy was looking towards the future and picturing endless sorrow-filled days without Bear. As a mom, all I wanted to do was take away his pain, but I honestly had no clue where his bear might be.

As I sat next to my son and absorbed his tears into my button-down shirt, I tried to reassure him by telling him that Bear could show up. Maybe he left Bear at a friend’s house or was Bear possibly in the back of Dad’s car? I was trying to buy time until the search party I was about to deploy could find my little boy’s stuffed animal.

Tommy’s uncertain future lasted precisely two days. Turned out that Gus, our mischievous yellow lab, had buried Bear in the bottom of his dog-toy basket.



Sometimes things go our way, and we are given a solution to our problems. Other times, we are forced to rely on blind faith. But the one sure thing is this: life is hard as hell, and we will all face challenges. We each have something- just fill in the blank. Whether it’s an incurable illness, marital strife, financial issues, or a lost stuffed animal, we each live in some sort of struggle. None of us know if or how our difficulties will be resolved. As my wise uncle told me all those years ago, do the best you can do in the present moment and buy time.

My name is Caroline Rose, and I am a three-time Stage IV survivor of a highly aggressive, incurable, and very determined non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My incurable disease has now been in remission for nine years.

Faith saved me, medical research treated me, and hope sustained me.

I have absolutely no clue what will happen with my health in the future or what day will be my last. But do any of us really know what tomorrow will bring?

My wish is to create a space where we can come together and surround each other with supportive love and hope. I will offer up my story in the hope that every reader will find a relatable thread and will be able to apply the connection to his or her own unique struggle. The message of my stories, my experiences, and my difficulties will always end in hope.

Because if we don’t have hope, what the hell is the point?

And if anyone is feeling like despair is outweighing optimism, we will promise to remind each other to readjust our focus back to hope and look for it in even the most unlikely of places- you never know what you could find at the bottom of our dog’s toy basket.

I can’t wait to do this with y’all.

In love and hope,



  1. Christina on August 26, 2019 at 12:08 pm


  2. Lindsey Roberson on August 26, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    I love this Caroline! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. 💗

  3. Landon on August 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Love this – and YOU – so much!!! Thank you for spreading hope… the one thing we all need most in our lives. My heart is lighter and happier after reading this! 💞

  4. Breann Joanou on August 26, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Hope always. Love you C! xx

  5. Lynn Neely on August 26, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Caroline – We all have to have HOPE! I hear your message loud and clear.
    I love your website and cannot be more proud of my rock-star niece! You are amazing!

  6. Anna-Christine Rising on August 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Bravo Caroline !!! Yet Again !! This was lovely to read ….so wonderful for you to share ❤️ Love you loads . 😘😘❤️

  7. Anna-Christine Rising on August 26, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Bravo yet again Caroline !!! Was so lovely reading this !! So great for you to share ❤️Love you loads !! 😘😘❤️❤️

  8. Annie on August 28, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Caroline – you are amazing and a true inspiration! I am so thankful our paths crossed a few years ago, and thankful for a special place called Mystic that brought us and our daughters together. Everyday is a new day – one we greet with open arms and a smile! Lots of hugs and love!!

  9. Laura Murphy on August 28, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Love your words. xo

  10. Jennifer Moore on September 4, 2019 at 1:16 am


  11. Catherine Bishop on September 19, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    I love this and love you! Thank you for taking the time to inspire us all!

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