Monday, October 8, 2012

Eli watching the activity in the backyard as
the foundation for the playset is going in.
  At the close of Acts 20, Paul is telling the Ephesian elders goodbye, but before he goes he reminds them of the example he set while he was there. He did not “shrink” in his proclamation of the gospel and he worked hard at his job in order to help the needy. Verse 35 says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Sadly, because “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” I Peter 5:8, there are many needful recipients. But, in this post, as an eye witness to unimaginable cruelties inflicted by the Evil One, I want to highlight childhood cancer. As with all predators, Satan pursues the “weak” (Acts 20: 35) as prey and this is nowhere more evident than within the gates of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The hospital was founded in 1962 to cure, not just treat, but to find cures for catastrophic childhood diseases free of charge. St. Jude consistently ranks in the top 10 of the best hospitals in the country for treating cancer year after year. Its research and protocols are used in other hospitals, and it is able to offer the latest in medical technological advances in treating patients.
This is Eli walking out of St. Jude for the last time on our
way home for his Welcome Home Wave-In. 
Families aren’t at St. Jude just because it is free, but because it is a leader in pediatric cancer treatment. The hospital is also unique in that it treats the “whole child” by addressing more than the disease. An accredited school is available for Kindergarten through 12th grade children; a dentist and optometrist is on campus; furnished housing for the patient and family is provided so that the family unit is maintained and a gift card provides groceries each week. Transportation is provided from housing to the hospital for appointments, plus St. Jude even pays gas or plane ticket to Memphis and back home when treatment is over. That is not an exhaustive or detailed list, but it is a remarkable place of which we have had the humbling honor of experiencing. I wish I could have gained that knowledge through a brief tour of the campus, but our lot was and is to live it. So, speaking as a recipient of this great work, it is one to which we owe our son’s life, therefore, I consider it one of the worthiest of causes.

Eli's sister in the middle and Melissa's girls working on cards.
To donate to St. Jude, click the link at the top of the left column that says “Donate to St. Jude.” This will take you to the fund raising page of Eli’s team for running in the St. Jude races in December. All the money raised goes directly to St. Jude. This past Saturday we were able to raise what is going to be close to about $700 for St. Jude through a card-making booth at the Athens Bible School Eli Invitational Volleyball Tournament and we will be mailing 100 cards to children who are currently fighting cancer. It was one of those win-win-win days. We got to encourage kids with cancer through the mail -literally. We raised money for - as I have stated in my opinion - one of the worthiest of causes. We watched great volleyball being played in a positive, competitive environment between ABS, Elkmont High School, Shoals Christian School, and St. Bernard Prep School. The young women of these teams fought hard on the court as their fans cheered them on with respectful enthusiasm. The visiting teams and their fans were good to participate in our efforts of raising money for St. Jude and were all so gracious in their interest in Eli and his story.
Eli holding his sign made by a visiting team St. Bernard.
Also, I was thrilled to be among “my peeps” again and soak up their good vibes in person because I have so badly missed being with my own friends whom I already knew I loved, but now know that I need. I am a social gal, a team player, and thrive on the energy of my friends like Superman and the sun. I’ve had so much fun going to birthday parties, my kids’ games, church activities, school activities, and really, just the simple few minutes of running over to my mom’s house. Eli has not started back to school, but I get a few minutes to myself while he is at the tutor’s house for an hour - who, incidentally, is also a friend that I’m so glad I get to see regularly again - so I have been able to exercise with one of my besties, Melissa, some on those mornings. Admittedly, the exercise is minimal, but my soul benefits so much from that cleansing exhale with her before the day starts. We’ve also been trying to work in a lot of family time as we inch closer and closer to Eli’s three-month scan the first of December, so it has been fun to have a real excuse to avoid housework instead of just avoiding it out of laziness (yet a real excuse is still an excuse, right? So, maybe a fake excuse is better because then it is not an excuse. Hmmm?). We are so blessed to have a new perspective and understanding. A gift I wish for no one.

We were able to visit the local Children's
Science Museum. This is in the tornado exhibit.
So, I am not able to write as often as I have topic, and I’m unable to maintain a consistency in the timing of my posts like the lofty Friday night plan. My OCD is in a fetal position finding its happy place of plans and cardboard boxes (which I enjoy hoarding, if you missed that post) these days. For example, Eli received an exciting care package last week from the Ford Motor Company that I am eager to share but I want good pictures, so I keep putting it off. Balance can only be found and maintained if one can sustain the weight in the first place. In Eli news, he is still not eating well and here we are about a week from getting his line pulled and with it will go all his dependable nutrients through his TPN. This is a big week for him to turn it around. We had our appointment with the naturopathic doctor, Larry Rawdon, last week hoping to sketch out a plan (yes, another plan) for his nutrition that will support healing. It was intriguing. Vic went with me (some of you might have seen the picture of him and the boys in the car asleep), thank goodness because I would have never been able to recall the information to satisfy his questions. Dr. Rawdon is a pharmacist, but has decided to pursue and prescribe “God’s Way” of healing the body. He is up-front in his proclamation as to the origin and power of his regiment.

As a side note, several times I have seen where the frustrated mother of a cancer child has mocked the research and study of pediatric cancer because, in her general words, scientists have sent men to the moon and cars to mars, but have failed to identify a small group of cells that cause cancer. The answer to this is simple. Any success in exploring space, though it may be brilliant, is of man. But, the human body is God’s creation. Its endless complexity is beyond our complete understanding, and sending a rover to mars is preschool patty-cake comparably. So, it is not surprising that we as humans have failed to find the key. Cancer may be our Tower of Babel which keeps us humble and serves to remind us that we need God and can’t be successful without him. It’s just a thought.
Eli operates.
So, Dr. Rawdon believes in the body’s ability to heal itself by tapping into and understanding God’s Way of built-in healing. He shared graphs and charts with us in his explanation and description of how the human body works. And, it makes sense, that’s for sure, besides none of it was detrimental in and of itself. He, of course, has prescribed, among other things, what is called “juicing.” That’s taking raw (like shake the dirt off the roots raw) veggies and fruits and squash them up real good to squeeze out the nectar. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served. He gave us samples of juices that had just been prepared in the kitchen. The first one was a thick, dark green liquid. To call it juice is a stretch. After I finally swallowed my timid sip, he said, “Well, what do you think, what flavor is that?” My cheeks sucked in and I curled my lips under and said, “hmm... I’d call it ‘Mowing the Grass’.” Thankfully he laughed. It’s hard for you kind people to believe, I know, but not everyone thinks I’m funny. So, he wants ninety percent of Eli’s diet to be raw, which I’m really afraid that Chick-fil-A is going to balk when I order raw chicken nuggets. There are some other things he gave us to do, like for Eli to bounce 10 minutes each day to stimulate his lymph fluid; and I’m suppose to massage him with coconut oil, and he has to take some other oral oils. He’s supposed to get plenty of sunshine and avoid stress. That last one is a challenge in this household.

Eli's first lost tooth!
How much more normal can you get than that?!
I wanted to give a couple of updates on other kids. Please, say special prayers for Jayden. He has been put back in PICU in Ann Arbor where he continues to suffer from seizures that they can’t seem to control. He is fighting a relapse PNET tumor battle. Also, sweet smiling Jonathan in New York is beginning his third and final chemo for a rare liver cancer. He is a little guy, but in every picture that he is not sleeping he is smiling. Rock Star Ayden was unable to have a surgery that he needed because his immune system was too low. Jack had a port placed in order to begin chemo soon. Thanks to you generous people and a kind family on Saturday we have met my personal goal of $1,000 for Ryan’s final arrangements. I am constantly amazed and enticed by such acts. It just gets me excited and makes me feel challenged. And, I love a challenge. I am eager to get this pancake breakfast for him going now so that I can hopefully double that original goal. If we can do that, combined with what they have at this point, that will be half of what they need. There are dangers of living such blessed lives, but there are perks, too, and one of them is being able to help others just as described in Acts 20. Sincere thanks and love to you all.


  1. St Jude is such an amazing place. I am actually running the St Jude Marathon in December as a Hero (so far I have raised nearly $2,600)

    I found your story through my Mom. She lives in Harvest and forwarded me Eli's story. With your permission, would like to run a mile in honor of Eli.

    1. Wow, Jenn, great fund-raising. And kudos for the marathon. I saw a friend that is training for it and he was so excited to have had done 17 miles, but that is still 9 miles short! Amazing. I would love for you to include Eli in your journey.

  2. Awesome, I will add Eli to my list! :) I just completed 16 miles last week - it is still so far away from the 26.2 but for some reason it was a huge hurtle! I figure if I can do 16, I can do 26, right? :)

    I appreciate you keeping this blog. When I am questioning my training I come and read your blog and it reminds me why I am runing! :)


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