Women Who Inspire - Jessica Carnine #TeamLexie #FlexforLex

Jessica Carnine and her Daughter Lexie

Hi, my name is Jessica Carnine, and I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. I am engaged to my wonderful fiancé, Andres, and we have a total of five daughters together. 

Lexie is my daughter from a previous relationship and she is 17 years old. Andres has three daughters from a previous relationship. Elliah-20, Bella-9, and Aubrey-8. Together, we have our 3 year old Boss Baby, Addilyn and two dogs, Cinnamon and Coco completing our family. 

Growing up, I always wanted to be a mom, but especially to baby girls. I was so excited each time I was pregnant with my girls and being in a blended family has been such a blessing. I love Andres’ daughters as my own and I’m so happy to be a mom to all of my girls. 

Lexie is a Junior in high school and is currently home schooled.  She has a God-given gift of dance, and had danced since she was 4 years old. She began dancing competitively at 7 years old until she was 14, and has placed in the top 10 at several competitions. She is a very hard worker, and has trained long hours, but always kept up with her school work. Even garnering honor roll recognition! She decided to stop dancing, but found her new love of volleyball. She played in high school at Independence High School and she has so much potential. She is very gifted in many ways, but has always been so hard on herself. 


In February of 2017 Lexie repeatedly had respiratory infections with very high fevers, she was very fatigued, and sleepy all the time. The doctors administered antibiotic, after antibiotic, but it didn’t seem to work. I assumed her fatigue was because of her freshman year of high school, playing volleyball and dancing. Upon our next visit to an urgent care facility, they decided to perform blood work on her and told me she needed to take iron pills daily. Two weeks later, she was sick again and on her next visit to the urgent care facility, they checked her blood again and there was no improvement from the iron pills she was taking. She was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion.

The doctor was very concerned due to her extremely low White Blood Cell count and Absolute Neutrophil Count. The doctor advised me to get in touch with Valley Children’s Hematology ASAP.

I called Valley Children’s and was informed there was a month long waiting list for new patients, but if I could fax over her labs, (thank God I had her labs) they would take a look at them. Within 40 minutes the nurse called and said, “The doctor wants to see you today. Can you come up right now?” I immediately called Lexie and picked her up from school. We were on the road for what was the longest two hour drive of my life. Terrified of the unknown, and not sure what to think, they ran blood tests on her and within 30 minutes the doctor came into the room. Calm and not as happy as she was before, she said, “You have Leukemia blasts in your blood. We are not 100% that you have cancer until we do a bone marrow test, but we are 99% sure you do. We need to start the bone marrow biopsy ASAP and chemotherapy. You will need to be in the hospital for more than eight days.”

Who wants to hear cancer??!!

Lexie had so many questions…

“Am I going to DIE?, will I lose my hair?”

She was DEVASTATED.

She asked, “Why me?! I’ve been so healthy my entire life and in great shape.”

I told her God has a blessing out of this, and you will have a wonderful testimony.

Three months into chemotherapy, there was a problem with the treatment. With a lumber puncture procedure, chemo treatment was administered in her spine to treat her brain and protect her from getting cancer in that area, but this caused terrible migraine-like headaches. They decided to put her on a IV drip of pain meds, but even that didn’t help. So, they tried to control her pain the best as they could, but one night at the hospital Lexie came out of the shower screaming and crying saying her face felt numb and she wasn’t able to talk. She came into the room and her face was drooping as if she were having a stroke. She couldn’t speak and just kept crying. She was so scared and confused. This caused her to have a panic attack. She couldn’t breath and approximately 5 nurses ran to her room not sure what was going on. Then her left side went numb and she was in pain. She needed help with standing, walking and going to bathroom. It was awful now seeing her effected by major issues. I was so worried and I couldn’t help her and I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be permanent. This side effect lasted three long days and she had to endure rehabilitation for a month to learn how to walk and talk again. 

I was so worried and I couldn’t help her! I finally had a breakdown. I went to the chapel, sobbing and pleading to God, “Hasn’t my sweet baby girl had enough??!!” I told God, I’m so sorry families have to deal with this on a daily basis. This is awful and so horrible to endure. I thank God everyday that Lexie doesn’t remember any of that.

They finally were able to put her to sleep. She wasn’t able to because she couldn’t calm down. They did a MRI that showed she had swelling around her head and that she had gotten methotrexate toxicity from her chemo. This is very rare but they have seen it happen. There was no warning about this, nor have I ever read about this and I have done a lot of research on her diagnoses and her treatments. They said it could be permanent or a few weeks…it all depends on her body. Fortunately, it lasted 3 long days which felt like an eternity. After this incident she had to go to rehabilitation to learn to walk again and her speech was slow for about a month after as well. However, it all lasted about a month and then slowly she became herself again…THANK GOD. That was the worst part of her treatment for her and for our family. It was absolutely heartbreaking for us to see her in a vegetable state and in so much pain.

I am so thankful for my fiancé being so supportive throughout all of this. He has supported Lexie, even when she was losing her hair, he decided to shave his hair off as well. He has been my rock during all this. There is no way I could have gone through this with out GOD. He made me strong when I was weak and he has remained so faithful to us. We’ve always had faith - even when we couldn’t see the light.

God is good and we are so thankful Lexie is in remission as of June 2017! She is doing so well and as of today, she will be done with maintenance chemotherapy August 28,2019. She recently attended her high school formal, and was a speaker at Second Start to the Right’s Gala. She did breakdown and start to cry while telling her story, but the crowd cheered her on. It was such a beautiful moment and it such and example of her incredible strength. Lexie has lost so much time being a normal teen, but wants to help other children like her dealing with cancer and other sicknesses. Just remember, God will not give you anything you can’t handle! 

 
 
Stacey Hinzo