Friday, May 1, 2015

Eli showing his holding his own
Hot Wheels 2015 Mustang.
We quickly caught a glimpse of Mount Rush Hour Wednesday coming back from Mac Haik Ford where Eli was able to check out several very cool Mustangs, and got to ride in one with the stick in my hand. Mount Rush Hour is the unofficial name for the collection of four 24-foot concrete busts of American and Texan historical
figures: Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. It is the work of local artist David Adickes and is located in the smallest and least visited park in Houston. The busts are really for the viewing pleasure of motorists who are likely stuck in traffic at the bottleneck of Interstate 10 and 45, so there are no signs leading to the park, no benches to sit on or nice sidewalks to stroll. Eli gave them a look as we passed, than curled his lip and said, “I’d rather see the real one,” meaning the real Mount Rushmore. I also think I saw Adickes’s workshop from one of the high-rise, rollercoaster interstate ramps. I can’t imagine there are a lot of warehouses that have 20 24-foot busts sitting outside and a 40-foot statue of Charlie Chaplin.

Eli had a rough day yesterday. He had had chemo on Tuesday and that went very well. It was given to him during a sedated lumbar puncture, but it was very fast. He was in a good mood and energetic for
the rest of the day. He has in his mind that he always deserves a little shop therapy after he has chemo or has been sedated, so he badly wanted to go to Target. I needed some other things anyway, just in case he did go down hill and I couldn’t leave, so we went briefly. Then we spent the evening in because I just knew he was going to start to show some signs of having chemo.

But, Wednesday, he woke up, was in a good mood, always wants to go somewhere. He wanted to go to the zoo, but I still felt like that was a lot to bite off for him because, even though I was not familiar with this chemo, my experience tells me that you can’t put poison in him and
nothing happen. It can be mild, but still, something. So, with the help of our new friends following Eli, we made some more new friends Wednesday! We should be able to say that every day, shouldn’t we? We arranged for us to just visit a local Ford dealership to look at some Mustangs and to go for a ride yesterday afternoon. He had missed the car show at home, so I thought that would be kind of neat, and I had looked at what all the dealerships had here locally, at least on their websites. Mac Haik Ford was showing a 2014 Boss 302s racing model, so I thought that would be fun to see, and they had some other high-performance anniversary models (we decided that we needed a blue 50th
anniversary premium performance package for our next car show). I talked to Kenny Wright, a salesman with the Fleet side of the dealership, and he pulled a 2015 GT Premium 50th Anniversary edition out for us - and when I say “us,” I mean “me” - to drive. And, I’ve said many times here how much I love to drive. And, I do so love to drive.

Years ago, before I was married or even knew Vic, the newspaper that I worked for was shut down. The company gave us a nice buy-out. I talked to my dad about just blowing it all on some kind of
The aluminum from which trucks
are built. And, we like the motto,
"Built Tough."
stunt-driving school. He did not talk me out of it, but did not encourage it either. He enjoyed listening to my outlandish ideas, and I shared with him places like a school in Arizona that I had found. But, I ended up being sensible (big surprise because I was not in my sensible years at the time…. ok, I don’t know that I have had sensible years, but still I didn’t blow it), paid off my plain little 4 cyl. car, and paid for classes at a local community college for a degree in Graphics Design to compliment my journalism degree. This would hopefully open up job choices for me outside of a newspaper, and it did. It would have been a pretty big waste to go to stunt-driving school, but still it was fun to think about.

I am going to have to put a high-end performance Mustang on my wish list for one day when I have no more passengers too short to get hit with an airbag (and for when I have $70k laying around). We
took some pictures, and talked to a couple of the managers that were very nice. They gave Eli some cool stuff, the coolest of which was this piece of aluminum. It is the actual metal from which they are making the F-150s now. I think the use of the lighter metal originated with an executive hired away from Boeing - so I guess his work with jets has translated from the sky to the ground. We visited the Rouge plant, which is where the trucks are made, near Dearborn, Michigan, during our trip to the Flat Rock Plant. Eli is as big of an F-series fan as he is Mustang fan, and he and I keep telling Vic that when we replace Big Sam we want a six passenger 150. If they get better gas mileage with this new metal, maybe he will consider.

But, we had a fun, easy afternoon, just driving the Mustang, looking at cars and engines that we had no idea what we were looking at. We ate popcorn from the showroom and chatted. Kenny told Eli
At Pappasito's
 about Pappasito’s that has really good chicken fingers, and I like mild Mexican, so Eli asked if we could go eat there. He rarely wants to actually eat inside a restaurant, preferring to take carry-out back to relax and eat in front of the TV with a movie. So, I took advantage of him being open to eating out. He ate pretty well, was still in a good mood, so we went to mid-week worship (although I grossly underestimated traffic time, and we were late). I received a really nice “care bag” from a group of moms at Memorial Church of Christ, where we have worshipped. It was chocked full of great stuff, and most importantly, chocolate. We watched some TV, then he went to bed.

Thursday morning, he woke up and was a different kid. He slept later than usual and was so incredibly cranky from the time he opened his eyes. He was complaining of being cold, and of pain in his legs (he wanted me to walk with him to the bathroom because he felt wobbly), he wouldn’t get
Eli and I working at the table. Just him and me,
very quiet in this little room. I'm reminded so much of our time
at Target House when we were in Memphis. But, I do miss the
nightly walks on the nicely landscaped and peaceful grounds
around the Target House compound.
 out of the chair, he wouldn’t eat or drink without me putting it in his mouth, so I took his temp and he had a low fever. Yep, here we go. The day got no better with him, but really no worse except a slight increase in his temp (the pain in his legs likely from the med going straight to his spine). We got through the day, just hanging here, trying not to set him off, popping in movie after movie to distract him, and then this morning he woke up like it never happened.

We had planned to leave today, but after yesterday with a fever, I was afraid the hospital would want to do some cultures, and it did. So, we spent the better part of the day at the hospital having blood drawn, and waiting, but he was in a good mood, not one complaint. It takes two days for the cultures to grow, and everything else looked fine, so we plan to leave on Sunday now (just to make sure nothing shows up in the cultures). One encouraging, very small encouraging, news, that just really doesn’t mean that much, is that the CSF drawn Tuesday with the lumber puncture was negative for cancer cells. So, how can you be positive one week, and negative the next without treatment? Well, the CSF is constantly moving up and down the spine and around the brain - it’s fluid. When they puncture the spine and pull out a sample, it is just whatever fluid happens to be in front of the needle. So, they may or may not grab fluid with disease cells in it. But, that at least means that he is not just saturated with disease. So, not anything to hang our hat on, but still interesting.

I really want to get home in time for Monday because that is field day at school. It will be Abbey’s last field day, and Caleb’s first, so I hope to make it…. make something for once. I’ve moved a lot of appointments for the kids and me to next week, cramming a bunch of stuff in while I’m there, because it is our fervent prayer that we are coming back to Houston to begin treatment on May 13.

Eli has enjoyed all the mail! Thank you all for taking time to send him something. We enjoy reading the cards and letters, and Eli got some fun stuff from Tindol Roush Performance in North Carolina. It’s fun to get stuff from kids, too. They just have a way to simplify things that seem complicated. He got a letter this week from a little girl at church whose mother, I think, has been fighting cancer for a while (If I recognized the name right). She’s only ever known cancer, so despite her very young age, she wrote from experience.

I also want to share a sincere thank you to this group for always being so positive and supportive in your comments, which is really reflective of our community, and of our friends and family, and of their friends and family that follow Eli now that we don’t even know. We, obviously do not know four thousand people, so to have such a big group, and never ever read anything derogatory, is, from what I have seen on other pages, amazing and rare. In over three years, I have only ever had one complaint (verbalized to me, at least, via Eli’s site), and it was coming from a good heart, just a sad heart, and to me was more from hypersensitivity due to her own situation. She was offended at something I had written in a description of what I saw (believe me, people, I hold back on detail and opinion…. really, I do!) And, after losing that prayer warrior, whom I did not know, I sort of toned it down some because I did not want anything but positive vibes coming from Eli’s pages and I certainly didn’t want to lose any prayers! (This was a good, righteous woman, and she promised to always pray for Eli, and I felt like she would, but she had lost respect for me and was not interested in reading anything I wrote. Ok, as long as I didn’t cost Eli any prayers.) Recently, I read updates of two separate cancer kids, from the moms, and they were apologizing for offending anyone for the way they used money raised for them in fundraisers (and the apologies, a little sarcastic with one, so that was kind of funny. She was obviously offended that anyone would be offended). Someone, or “someones”, had obviously complained that they felt like they were using the money toward entertainment and vacations instead of medical expenses. Could be, but healing and treatment happens more than at the hospital, especially for children. Treating the kids, and siblings, mentally and emotionally on their level will only help the healing of their physical bodies. And, that’s what people are giving for, right? To aid in the healing. And, we cancer families don’t want to miss out on memories, that are not at hospitals, any more than anyone else. The days, months and years are passing us by just as it is with anyone else. We are still going to do those things as often as we can despite cancer, and yes, we’ve gotten to do some things that we would not normally get to do. But, I would trade it all and more for eli to be healed and home. So, thank you for always having generous hearts with all of us, not just Eli, but with each of us, and not just with money, but with time, effort and energy. I do read some unhelpful comments on other pages that I follow, so thank you for always being so supportive, positive and uplifting in your comments. We do our best to balance all of our blessings.

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