Saturday, August 30, 2014

Eli at the Huntsville clinic.
We are ready for some AUBURN FOOTBALL!!! and Tennessee, too, (and I like to follow whatever little surprise team of college football emerges of the season as it moves along). I am excited for the distraction of college football. I enjoy loosely following the main headlines and look forward to seeing how the play-off system takes shape.

Eli had a regular clinic lab check yesterday. He had a rough start to the week following the top of the cycle last weekend, but he is doing some better. He was dehydrated yesterday, so we had to stay for fluids. Really struggling with eating and drinking, and we just don’t know how to do more than we already do for that. I was literally sitting here typing, and watching the clock to call to him every 10 minutes to “take a drink.” Sure, I could sit right beside him and put it in his mouth,
He was the first to get to sign the poster.
 which I do sometimes, but that is not realistic. So, I just try to remember to remind him. I often get distracted and realize that I have not reminded him and two hours have passed, or he conveniently forgets to bring his drink when we go places, so I have to remember to check (I do good to remember my shoes). Just for reference, with me reminding him as often as I can, he might drink 12 ounces a day, including what he drinks with his meals. And, it doesn’t matter if it is water - which he likes - or juice or whatever. Just like it doesn’t matter if it is pizza or asparagus when he doesn’t want to eat. So far he has maintained his weight after dropping some during the “Eternal Ear Infections”, but I’d prefer that he get his hydration as his body is designed than to get it via his port. Otherwise, he is doing pretty well. He has had a loose tooth that has been bleeding some, and causing some mild pain, bothering him. The dentist in Memphis was going to pull it when we go for the appointment to fill his cavities, but his numbers came back decent on Friday, so when he complained about the tooth tonight, I decided to go for it since he should be on the up slope for recovery. I slipped him into a gentle headlock and twisted it out. Caleb had a loose tooth, too, and was nervously excited for it to come out. I was on a roll so, I took him "under my wing" and twisted his out. It was cathartic. Now, if the tooth fairy will remember to come. Our tooth fairy is a little bit of a derelict, and does not near pay what other tooth fairies pay for other kids' teeth. So, if she could at least come on time, it would help. The homeschooling still doesn’t seem to be what it should be. Eli
Getting Ready for Superhero Fun Day.
was given a super collection of art supplies and a DVD art class to follow along with, so I think that will be really fun for him, and such a nice gift for both of us.

For my internship, when I was at Auburn, I worked as a sports reporter for the local newspaper and covered high school football and got to do some Auburn football sidelines stuff. It wasn’t my thing, but it was an interesting experience - high school press boxes are very interesting. I went along with the main reporter a few times and mostly what I remember about him is how he stuffed all the pockets of his jacket with cookies from the hospitality table. And, he wasn’t trying to hide it. He shared with me what schools had the best tables, and what his favorite choice was for pocket cuisine. His girlfriend also worked at the paper in the circulation department, and she was very protective of “Fwank.” His name was Frank, but she spoke with a heavy speech impediment. She was a bit bigger than me, and she had a lazy eye, so it was difficult to have a conversation with her just because of those distractions. I quickly became aware that she was jealous of my Friday night games with Fwank. I became aware because she flat out told me she had a
Getting ready for Auburn football!
 problem with it, so I stayed out of her way as much as possible. I can remember sensing her coming up behind me as I nervously typed on the computer anything, even just to fake type busily. And, no joke, on Friday afternoons, she would sit with a half cheek on my desk and ask me what game I was covering and, if I was going to ride with Fwank, or if I was driving my own car. You are going to think I’m making this up, because it is too perfect, but Fwank drove a nasty Yugo. I know?! So I always preferred to drive myself. But, Fwank usually wanted us to ride together if we covered the same game. And, all I could think was “Felicia ain’t gonna be happy.” One day, after grilling me about driving arrangements, she stopped me in the file room later and said, “I’m sowwy that I’m so cwazy about the Fwank ting, but he’s the best ting dat evva happened to me. Ain’t nobody evva
Watching the game, but really playing with cars (of course they
had to be dumped out to find the ONE.
 tweated me wike Fwank, so I don’t want to woose him.” Ok, wow, who can’t respect honesty straight in the eye, or off a little. I reassured her that, though he was a quite a trophy, I had no desire to be the other woman to her main womaness. So, it got some better, but I think she was just the jealous type, and I could tell that she just was not convinced that Fwank could be so easily resisted. For my first post-college job I worked in Fort Payne, in the northeast corner of Alabama, and part of my job was to help the sports guy cover high school football. I hated it, and did find myself missing Fwank. I was always assigned to the little way-out-there-nobdy-wants-to-drive-to-it schools. The fields at these tiny schools did not have press boxes, so I had to walk the sidelines to keep up with what was going on. I always just sort of stayed beside the boxman on the chain crew so that I could hear the officials, and just keep up
This is Eli just a day or so after his first brain surgery in
January 2012. He received this from then National
Championship Auburn  Coach Gene Chizick.
 with the statistics, count the yards, etc. It helped me pay attention. The coaches of these little schools rarely cared to speak with me, to give me quotes or anything. So, not fun. I don’t remember anything memorable about any of the games because if I was sent to it, it was not a memorable game.

I caught on to football pretty easily for some reason, which is pretty weird. And, I’m no expert or anything, and only know enough to enjoy the game, but I’m a football newby, really. Where I went to school (k-12), we didn’t have a football team, and my dad didn’t really watch sports, but he read about all of it in the news (he was a newspaper junkie) so that he could keep up and be abel to have a conversation about it if he needed to. So, I was just never really exposed to being a spectator. It wasn’t until I was at Auburn, my junior year even, that I was first exposed to football at all. Vic went to Tennessee and while he was there did not even know they had a football team. Seriously. He said
This summer he received this from Auburn Coach Malzahn.
 he would be in the library on Saturdays studying and always wondered what all the noise was about. So, it wasn’t until the end of his time at Tennessee that I think he went to his first game. We both enjoy following it now, and we use to go to games before we had kids (we use to do a lot of stuff before we had kids). Eli is not that much of a fan, it just kind of depends on his mood. He follows Auburn and Tennessee just because we do, and he likes to take turns claiming one.

We are gearing up for September, which is Childhood Cancer month, and getting ready for Superhero Fun Day on the 13th. I would like to encourage everyone to wear Superhero garb to work or school on the 12th and get ready to share pictures for us to see. And, take the reigns and do something special on that day at your work or
Some precious Auburn students were able
to get this football signed by the players.
 school to help us raise awareness, take pics and share it. I do not say “raise awareness” tritely. That is a catch phrase, but the more people know about it, the more likely they are to take action when presented with the opportunity, or better yet, the more likely they are to create opportunity. Knowing about it, helps to support it, and supporting it helps to further research, and research will lead to a cure. You will be touched by childhood cancer in some way one day. I’m so proud of my community and how it has responded to our effort to shape this event.

It’s tough to be working so hard for something like the Superhero Fun Day, feeling like you are being proactive, like you are doing something that matters, then hear about yet another family in our community that lost their little boy, and another family somewhere who received news of medulloblastoma relapse. I am heart-heavy for these families, and all who are toe to toe with Darkness today. Please, pray the family of Will, that they find comfort in the escape provided by our Creator, and for Karis’s family as they begin a difficult journey.
Eli enjoys looking at the pictures of Mustangs posted on his
FB page. This is a picture of him looking at a picture
sent to him of the first 2015 coming
off the line at Flat Rock.

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