Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Eli in the Winner's Circle at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Eli had his routine MRI on Friday in Augusta, and has progression. We had hoped that a gamma-knife type radiation would be an option, but the progression is too much for him to be hit that much again. So, our only option is to change the chemo and continue with the experimental drug (changing from Temozolomide to Etoposide and Cyclophasphamide), and hope that it gets it under control enough that radiation comes back to the table (radiation is really the only thing that affects cancer without question). I have not found any new trials that are a good fit for him, so unless radiation comes back to the table, our journey will end with this. We can do this chemo at home, it’s oral, so it will only require blood work each week at our local St. Jude clinic, and a trip to Augusta once a month (the same as we are doing now). No hospital stays unless he gets really sick. The chemo is more harsh, as I’ve mentioned, and it will affect his immune system. It's not likely that his body can take this for very long, maybe a couple of months.
Vic and Caleb went with Eli and me on Thursday for his appointments on Friday. Eli is always wanting us to take turns, but we try to save Vic’s vacation days from work as much as we can for when we need them, and for when we want them (like for an actual vacation). But, we knew the news would not be good this time, so it made sense for him to go with us. Plus, the girls were gone for the entire weekend on a youth group retreat, so it would just be Caleb, Sadie (the dog), and Vic at home. So, we sent Sadie to her “grandmother’s” for the weekend, and all the boys and I stayed Saturday in Atlanta for some fun before coming home late yesterday. I had already set up tours at a couple of places for Saturday, but we accidentally found the first Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, Georgia, and we were on the set of the last Captain America movie CIVIL WAR.
In anticipation of staying in Atlanta without the girls, I arranged for a tour of the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and of the Porsche North American headquarters. We were able to see a suite at the Speedway, and peek in at the one next door to it, which was that of the track owner Bruton Smith. It looked like a lavish hotel lobby. It was raining, so we didn’t get to get out much, but we saw the infield garages, and support buildings, and equipment. And, Terri, our tour guide drove the tour van around the track a couple of times. Oh, my word! When it hit the 24-degree bank, I do not know how it didn’t roll over. She said if it was at Talladega with a 33-degree bank, it would. It was a fun little stop for our trip.
Our tour guide Terri at AMS.
Headed to lunch, we passed the Dwarf House, which is the first Chick-fil-a location. A sculpture of founder Truett Cathy is outside, which Caleb had fun with. The little cottage house is just a facade left over from the “Dwarf Grill”, which was owned and operated by Cathey when he discovered a special kind of pressure-fryer that would cook chicken fillets as fast as hamburgers. The little house caught my eye as we passed, and triggered a memory of reading about Cathy in one of my late night “rabbit-hole” reading chases, probably last year, or maybe longer… one of these times when CFA was in the news for doing something Christian, so not sure when. But, it was a neat accident, because we love CFA, and we love our local CFA.
In front of the first Chick-fil-a.
But… we didn’t eat there, ha! We passed the location headed to Mellow Mushroom, so we already had our palate set (and Caleb doesn’t like CFA, says it makes his belly hurt). After lunch, we had plans for a tour of the North American headquarters for Porsche. We were given a personal tour with Operations Manger Geoff Lowdermilk, a former driving instructor, and racecar driver. It was a really neat experience, and we learned that, because of the architecture of the facility, much of the filming of Civil War was done there. Eli is a big Iron Man fan, so bonus. We saw a lot of rare cars, including the very first concept car that was debuted in 1963 at Frankfurt; and a carbon-fiber racecar that it would have been nice to know that the door alone cost 10,000 dollars before Caleb was leaning on it; and a Porsche GT Carrera, which
is in his video games. There was also one of 15 in existence Porsche 924 Carrera GT from the 80’s. Eli and Caleb also got to drive the Porsche simulators, which was like the real deal for them. Then Geoff took Eli in a Porsche GT3 RS on the track for some real-life “drifting.” It was a really fun experience for all of us.
We wrapped up the day with a trip to Summit Performance Racing parts store just to look around, and then spent the night on the other side of Atlanta toward home. Sunday, we took our time getting home, and visited a flea market at Gardendale where Caleb and I bought some Hot Wheels, and Eli bought a Johnny Lighting Dodge Charger. The girls are home today, and we are expecting to get Sadie in a bit, so everything will be back
With Geoff Lowdermilk.
to normal. We will do baseline blood work to start the new chemo, and probably get started with that by Friday.
Thank you for your prayers for Eli, and for us. Keep scrolling for more pictures of his visit to 

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