Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eli's cabbage plant homework from his first
day back at school in March.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital treats 180 kids a day, according to its website. Eli is identified as a patient with a “medical record number”. It literally marks him as that number kid treated at St. Jude. His number is in the 30,000 range. The hospital was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, and I’m assuming the counting began when when the doors opened with kid number 00001. I gave a little sigh when we were in Memphis last month, waiting in line to check in, and I heard a little girl recite her number and it was in the 40,000 range. Too many kids missed their last day of school because they were having chemotherapy, including Eli.

Eli had his regular chemo appointment on Friday in Huntsville. His ANC just missed the cut-off and he did not get a full dose. His ears are much better, but not clear and he has not had any reaction from the antibiotic change. His weight is down, and if I can’t get him to bump up the calories this week, we may put him on an appetite stimulant. I HATE, HATE to put him on more medicine. But, he just has no wiggle room… or he has too much wiggle room in his waist line, so we need to stop the loss now. He was borderline maintaining his weight even on a good day, so then with having to fight these ear infections with an antibiotic on his belly made it tough for him to want to eat much.
Eli and his teacher when he started back to
school and was given the cabbage plant.
He seems to feel pretty good over all, now that his ears are getting better. His next MRI will be at the end of June, and we finally had a little stroke of luck with scheduling. Our school is hosting a charity 5k and fun run on June 20, which was when Eli was scheduled to be in Memphis for the MRI (or coming home from it). Boring details, blah, blah, blah, - so the result is that it got moved to the 23rd of June. It means we will have to wait a couple extra days to know how he is doing, but we will be here for the race. So, as long as Eli feels well after a day of chemotherapy, he and I should be at the race. It’s gong to be a fun race, plenty of walkers, so make plans to see Eli on June 20th for the Light Up the Night 5K in Athens. I’m so excited that it should work out for us to be there.

School wrapped up last week. We didn’t finish third grade with the same outlook as we started, so it was probably better that Eli miss the last day anyway. We are so proud of his cabbage plant that was given to him when he started back to school in March, after the relapse news. We didn't kill it! Actually, we put it in a pot outside and forgot about it while we were on our trips, and moving, etc. So, we planted and God did the rest. It, evidently, has been a feast for a little rabbit, because the back of the plant is bald. We have put it up on the play fort, so hopefully, it will recover. Caleb
Eli on the playground on the last day of school.
 graduated preschool Thursday night, and Hg was exempt from her final tests, so Eli and I had the two with us for most of chemo on Friday. It’s not a big deal, and Vic came and got them after lunch. Abbey wouldn’t dare willingly miss a day of school, much less miss a party day, so she was not with us on Friday.

I know you all have been eagerly (and probably anxiously) awaiting our next “Give Back when I Go Back” campaign for June’s MRI. Rest easy because it’s easy, but don’t underestimate the impact. Something that Eli liked to do during his treatment in Memphis, and something that he still does when we go back now - because ya’ll spoil him so much - is check his mail. One time when we lived at Target House during his first treatment, I had to actually go to the distribution room, and while I stood there they asked me who he was, just to be nice and making small talk with him - trying to make small talk
Caleb's graduation program. He was so pleased to be part of it.
 with him. When I introduced him, the workers got so excited. They had seen his name so often, they had all wondered who he was. But, most children go to check their mail and have none - day after
 day, none. Such a simple thing that brings such great joy to these little guys when there is a letter there for them. St. Jude has a “program,” I guess I will call it, where you can send mail to a patient and it is given out when a kid does’t have mail. So, technically, we won’t be “taking” anything “back” to Memphis (yes, my OCD might flare a little), because we would like for anyone that can to send mail to St. Jude during the month of June. If you have a Sunday school class, or office group, or if you just individually can do this, please prepare to mail a letter or card addressed to “A Special St. Jude Patient, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.” If you do not want to use your own address as the return address, please use “Friends of Eli The Eliminator, 107 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611”. Patients range in age from 0 to 21, so keep the cards generic in age and theme (everybody likes puppies or sunshine, but not everybody
Caleb and his teacher, Ms. Stacey.
 likes Princess Sophia) since we don’t know who it will go to. Just write that you wanted to say Hi, and hope they have a great day, include a Bible verse if you’d like. If you don’t mind, it would be great if you could write Eli’s blog at the bottom inside of the card (, and add that you are a friend of Eli the Eliminator. Please, do not send money. If you would like to include stickers or something like that in the card, that is fine, but remember we don’t know the age of the patient. These do need to be mailed. If I take them in bulk, they would just put them all on the front desk for anyone to grab, so if it is mailed, it will go through the mail room. I can help with postage or cards if anyone needs that help, just message me privately. If you want to mail more than one, let’s mix it up some - let’s send to Target House, too. Use “A Special St. Jude Patient, 1811 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104” as the address. I am excited to be working with the hispanic congregation that meets at our church building, and other local congregations, to send cards to
We bring the party on chemo days.
 spanish-speaking patients. There is a large hispanic patient population at the hospital, so these congregations are going to write cards or letters in spanish. If you speak/write spanish fluently, please feel free to do that as well, but on the outside in the bottom left of the envelope, write in both English and Spanish “Spanish Speaking Patient Only” and address it in Spanish where applicable. Please, send the cards/letters whenever it is convenient for you during the month of June. Thank you so much for your support of the kids at St. Jude.

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