Nashville Dads: Caring for a terminally ill child

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When your kids get sick, life slows down, we do whatever we can to help them recover. But many parents care for a child who will not get better. It’s a heart-breaking experience.

Adrian and Lanetta Lavender start each day with a familiar song and 15-year-old Carnysha.

Carnysha has cerebral palsy and requires constant care. Her time left is in question. She’s been at home in hospice care for three weeks.

“There have been times since we’ve been home where I feel like tomorrow might be her last day,” says her mother Lanetta.

Most of the machines crowded into her bedroom help Carnysha breathe. They give her oxygen or shake out fluid from her lungs.

“I know you don’t like it. I don’t like it either,” said Lanetta as she suctioned fluid from her daughter’s mouth.

This life is what Carnysha and her parents know. It’s far from typical, yet mom and dad say they wouldn’t trade being by her side for anything.

Still, they struggle with helplessness.

“How can I stop, make it better?” asks Adrian, Carnysha’s dad. “It’s just like me telling a lie to myself and to her.”

Not long ago, the Lavenders were treated with a break from their routine. Carnysha came back to school at Harris Hillman for an afternoon.

Make-A-Wish presented her family with a trip to Disney World. Much of this day, her smile stretched from ear to ear.

Back in her bedroom, the day of our visit, it was one of Carnysha’s harder days andthe smiles not as easy to come by.

For Adrian and Lanetta, they know there may be more days like these from here on out, days their daughter needs her BiPAP machine, non-stop, just to breathe.

“I look at her and I’m like, ‘Who am I to complain?’ If this little girl can go through all this stuff, from two weeks old until now, she’s 15, why should I complain?” questions Lanetta.

So they’ll try not to, while deciding against a procedure that could prolong her life. But Carnysha’s body likely can’t handle it. The choice is a massive burden.

“The love for your child, you don’t want to let your child go, but you have to decide what’s best, what’s best for her,” said Lanetta.

“Just knowing there are better days ahead, that’s all we can hope for,” Adrian said.

This is a family of faith. They want this story told to inspire.

“Deep down, you have what it takes to take care of your child,” says Lanetta. “All kids like her need is love.”

Despite disease or any struggle, what the child needs is this unconditional kind of love.

The Lavenders returned from their trip to Disney World last week. On Monday, Carnysha was taken to the emergency room. News2 will update her condition as soon as more information is available.

If you’d like to contribute to the family’s medical expenses, a GoFundMe account titled the Carnysha Blacksmith Support Fund has been established.