Thursday, April 18, 2013

Taking a break from practicing for the one-mile fun run.
I had a tough time keeping an eye on Eli as we walked the quarter-mile track inside the high school football stadium. He quickly grew antsy of lagging behind the majority of the group that was walking in support of Autism, but Caleb set our pace. Eli kept himself in front of us in a kind of quick-slow stride trying not to leave us. I finally gave him permission to go ahead but if he felt lost to run to the middle of the empty football field and I would come to him. So, he took off in the inside lane, but began to utilize all lanes as he worked himself around people and groups in order to pass them. Caleb and I kept little more than a stroll’s pace, but I could see Eli swinging his arms and marching along. I even saw him jog several times. He lapped us once then caught us again as we both decided to stop. I was in awe of him and of the power he represented.
Walking at the Autism event
 To watch his quick, but still awkward gate pushing and weaving through the crowd was almost surreal. As Caleb trotted beside me, I watched across the field and thought about the many times I would gently force Eli to stand up out of his hospital bed and hold onto the IV pole. I would lie and say that is all he would have to do is just stand beside the bed. Lord, forgive me, but I lied often. Fatigued, he would sob in pain, many times soiling his pull-up as he stood there. So, I would change him and tell him just to walk to the door and we would be done. But, I would open the door before he got to it and tell him just to go touch the wall in the hall so that we could say that we left the room that day. He would cry and scream at me sometimes that that was not what I had promised. “Yes, but I didn’t know how good you were going to do, so let’s just do this and we will come back to the bed,” again knowing that I would push him still more. He would cry and shake telling me that he was cold and that his legs hurt, which was due to one of the chemo drugs attacking his joints. So, I would tell him that a nurse could bring a warm blanket to wrap up in, but that I didn’t see her so we would need to find her. We would amble along toward the nurses’ station at the end of the hallway. On the worst days, I was satisfied with that and would walk him back to the room to call a nurse if we hadn’t found one. On days that I
Caleb and Eli with cousins Duke and little Seth getting ready
for the Autism walk.
 knew he didn’t feel good, but could do well, I pushed him to do laps. There were times after surgery or treatments that I would take advantage of the wheelchairs offered on St. Jude campus, but he pushed instead of rode. I again would promise that he could sit in it when we got to a waiting room, but that I needed my bag to ride because my hands were too full. Many nights I physically raised him off the couch in our room at Target House and then said “Since you are up, let’s get your shoes on.” If you’ve followed for very long you’ve seen pictures of him walking the neatly kept campus of Target House. It was Jack’s mother who told me I was doing the right thing when she saw me verbally pushing Eli to walk outside. Jack came bouncing out ahead of her and she stopped to speak briefly so as not to let her energy-filled boy get away. She nodded her head toward Eli, “Make him walk a step, make him eat a bite and he will be just fine. You are doing the right thing.” That was the most
Catch me if you can!
 practical advice I had the entire 10 months at St. Jude because those were two things that I thought I could actually control. So, I pushed him; I tricked him; I lied to him. But despite his lack of balance, despite his floppy gate, despite his weakness, he took at least a step every day. On Saturday, he walked one mile and a quarter on his own, mostly with me nowhere near him. And, I have to be careful about the picture I’m painting of Saturday. He still didn’t like walking. He complained that it was hard, that it was hot, and that he was tired. But, still he did it. He will tell you how much he hated it and that he will not do it again, but he was eager to tell his daddy what he did. I could hardly take my eyes off of him working his way around the track sometimes breaking into a short jog. It was a beautiful sight that made my heart scream with joy. Is it a miracle or answered prayers? I was misquoted a few months ago in an article that Eli’s success was a
Just two kids on a Saturday was like a vacation.
 miracle. I never said that. A miracle, according to examples in the Bible, defies natural laws, has an immediate result and was used mostly to prove that Jesus was who he said he was or that the disciples’ teachings were inspired. We have the Bible now to prove Jesus lives and are commanded to exercise faith. I’m no doctor, but if you ask St. Jude or the neurosurgeon, Dr. Paul Klimo, I feel certain that they would tell you that Eli’s progress is impressive but is also exactly what they would expect. There is nothing about his healing that cannot be explained medically, nor is there anything about it that fits any of the requirements I listed previously to make it a miracle. Does that mean that I do not believe God had a hand in it? Absolutely not. Eli’s healing is clearly the result of answered prayers, but no miracle. It is providential, the direct result of God’s guidance via natural laws that he set in motion at creation. Vic and I set rules of our

The boys helping with registration. Eli's fav car joined us.
household from the beginning of our marriage, and we operate and direct our family according to those rules to reach a desired outcome. God’s hand was guiding us before we even knew what to ask for as it says in Matthew 6. We didn’t know to ask to be sent to St. Jude, which is a world leader in treatment for pediatric cancer. We didn’t know to ask for Dr. Klimo to perform Eli’s brain surgery. I’ve been told the reason Eli’s motor deficiencies are minor or non-existent is due to the skill of the neurosurgeon. Looking back, God’s fingerprints are all over our path, which gives us confidence and hope as we continue on because the Evil One lies in wait.
I apologize for taking so long to write a post, and I can’t seem to get very many volunteers to be a guest blogger. We have been so busy with normal things, and have been able to participate normally as well. I followed Eli up the stairs a couple of days ago getting ready to go somewhere and thought how many lifetimes ago it seemed that he and I were in Memphis and I was so terribly
Eli soaking up some much needed vitamin D
 missing the kids. I am enjoying Abbey trying to play softball, while I am keeping the team scorebook. She is making somewhat of any effort. She wouldn’t let me go on a field trip with her this week. She told me that she could take care of herself and didn’t need me to be there. I hated to miss, but she is an independent little girl, and I wasn’t going because I thought she couldn’t do it. I was going to hang with my friends, the other moms, and to make sure she behaved. Hg is still going to volleyball lessons and I think she could be decent enough to play it if she had more self-confidence and wasn’t so lazy. She is only about an inch shorter than me in height, but her reach is beyond mine easily. The girls went with Vic to Makin’ Music, a musical variety show at Freed-Hardeman University, which is why they were not at the autism walk with the boys and me. I had said that with just the two kids all day Saturday, I felt like I was on vacation. Eli
Eli's class on a field trip to the year 1819 at
Constitution Hall Village. This is the blacksmith
 and Cal get along some but sometimes Eli will not play with Caleb. He likes to be on his own a lot more, and Caleb loves to play, play, play with someone. Caleb is such a doll, and is even nice. I fear his siblings will corrupt him soon. He seems smart, too, but still so immature and little compared to others his school age. We have decided to redshirt him for kindergarten. He will be five on the 28th. I, personally, am just amazed every day to be back doing some of the things that I love, though it is with a new appreciation for the ability and time to do those things. I am getting my britches beat in this little tennis league that I joined. But, I am learning a lot… mostly that I stink at tennis, but other stuff, too. I am back to working out regularly at the gym, which I love to go to. I even got to go back to the mountain to hike, and am planning to pull out the Wal-mart special that I call a bike and test its one brake and one gear on the trails Friday. Most of my time, however, is spent coordinating with two
At the woodwork shop.
 other friends a 5k for our school. It is a full-time undertaking, but I am so glad to do it and pray that it will be successful. Our school family is special to us, and I am thankful to have this opportunity to help. I would never be able to thank them by just writing a big check donation which they so badly need, but I have energy and effort, so that’s about the best I will ever be able to do. Hopefully, it will pay off. I have not made much progress on the book I’m supposed to be writing. I’m working on chapter two. It’s a slow go. Another reason why I am not writing so much is because I am going to bed! Like when normal people do at 11 or so (or so tonight because I have been working on this post for days and I want it gone). About a month ago I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance. It is kind of a pre-pre diabetes thing. Genetically, I am predisposed to it, but my horrible eating habits and gestational diabetes with the pregnancies have
I loved getting back on to Monte Sano for a hike.
 triggered it, or turned it on. My pancreas is wearing out over-producing insulin because my body won’t use it. So, my pancreas thinks my body is always low in insulin. Soon, it will stop working, and I will be diabetic. To give my pancreas a break, I am on the traditional diabetic pill metformin, and I am on a prescription strength vitamin D because I was “dangerously low.” I’ve added a plateful of supplements from my own research, and am cutting my carbs pretty low.  Exercise is a huge part of how your body handles insulin, so I’m trying to get that in often.  I feel so much better. I can sleep all night! I’m really, hoping, hoping that I can continue to lose weight to get this under control so I can come off the metformin. But, now that the trigger has been pulled it is always going to be a struggle. I am at -14 today in about a month. I am a stress eater, and a lazy eater, a picky eater, and a horrid, uninterested cook. Not a great combo of personality traits, but I've got to make it work. Once the race is behind me on May 4 (please come join us! It is in combination with Homespun, a craft show. It’s going to be fun all weekend), I will be able to focus on Eli’s next MRI. Yes! It is time again, scheduled for June 5. Please, begin to pass around that date for added prayers and get him on your congregation’s prayer list. If you are on facebook, join our prayer event. Please, say a special prayer for two mamas tonight. Jack’s mom has posted a couple of times on facebook recently. Nothing big, just a video of Jack, and a picture or two, but she rarely gets on there. It just makes me think about how much she must be hurting. Also, remember Ryan’s mom, Jasmine. His headstone was placed today, so she is struggling. Thank you for your generous effort with prayers for all of these precious victims and their families.

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