You know when the game shifts from not in your favor to highly in your favor? Well, that’s how these last 32 hours have felt, and although there is a lengthy road ahead with this disease and lots of hurdles, I’m going to choose to pause and celebrate these gains!
First down & Victory #1 – Pool therapy – Elijah got to engage in pool therapy for the first time. It could not have come at a better time because the day prior was HARD….knock you down to your knees and make you cry like a baby hard. I knew Elijah would like getting in the pool, but I didn’t know how much he would love it and how emotional it would be. We first had to face the challenge of getting him in a swimsuit since skinny dipping is frowned upon here. 🙂 So, we cut the liner out of Shayne’s suit, tied that drawstring the best we could, wrapped the excess material in a hair tie (my most useful possession), and prayed the external fixator would keep the rest up! Bam! We did it. Secondly, we had to get him into the chair that would hoist him into the water. Took us some time, but he and dad did it! Then came time to raise him up and then lower him into the water. They got him in carefully and it was instant relief for him. Up until this point he has had minimal movement in his leg/hip/knee from surgery and even as he heals he will still only be able to put 50% weight on it for the next 4 months. The water allowed him the freedom to move and to be him! His PT therapist immediately got him exercising by doing intervals of different stretches. Our favorite was when he had him WALKING on the pool floor. Of course, we had the aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and siblings watching via Face Time as he was putting one foot in front of the other. It was relieving, motivating, inspiring, and unifying. It’s like we were all in the greatest game of our lives…fighting for him….and cheering him on as our comeback kid. It was so……pure, so powerful. I didn’t want him to stop. I just loved seeing him move. (Video below) There were 3 other kids in the pool for therapy as well and Elijah’s therapist gave them the last 15 minutes to play. There were 2 girls (ages 11 & 13) and another older teenage boy. They became instant pool friends as they squirted each other in the face, played water ball, and just giggled. It was really beautiful to watch. Pool time came to an end, and after 1 hour of land therapy followed by 1 hour of pool therapy Elijah was beat.
2nd down & Victory #2 – Packages Arrive – When an unexpected diagnosis enters your family you never quite know how it will affect each person involved. We’ve always known that we have incredible support, but the love and generosity that have been extended to us and Elijah have been humbling. Elijah received some of the most personal packages and cards that without a doubt lifted his spirits and reminded him that there is an entire community of friends, family, teammates, classmates, neighbors, and more rallying behind him. It’s like every package/card whispered, “Elijah, you’ve GOT THIS. YOU CAN DO IT.” I saw his heart, his mind, his determination swell with confidence. THANK YOU for taking the time and intentionally going out of your way to let him know you hadn’t forgotten about him. When Shayne and I decided to bring Elijah to Baltimore we knew that meant we were sacrificing him being away from those he loved for a few weeks and beginning recovery alone as opposed to having guests visit every day. That was a tough call for us as we know how much Elijah loves his friends. THANK YOU for sending yourselves and home to him. (A few pics below)
3rd down & Victory #3 – Conquering The Car – This is one of those tasks that I was most nervous about because it meant getting Elijah into a very confined space without injuring and bothering his knee/hip and not getting the external fixator caught up on the seats. There’s not like protocol telling you what you should do, so we were left to guess our way through it. Rather than pretending we knew what we were doing we let Elijah take the lead by listening to his body. He did way better than expected! Although we have to get much better at it, as well as figure out how to make him legal, it was not as horrible as I had anticipated. We went for a short drive and found out quickly he’s not a fan of bumps since they make his leg/hip hurt and throb. This might prove to be quite problematic, because if you’ve ever had Shayne drive you before…..you get the idea. So, we’re gonna keep practicing and it will hopefully get easier, quicker, and more legal. 🙂 (Pic below)
4th down & Victory #4 – Power of Prayer – Each evening we’ve prayed over Elijah believing for God to take this disease and use this situation to build character, strength, perseverance, patience, trust, and FAITH…..in Elijah, in us, in our family. It’s one thing to trust the Lord with our lives, but it’s a whole other level of faith to trust His plan with our children. We are doing our best to do this daily, hourly, when the dark cloud comes close. We know beyond any reasonable doubt that prayer and faith are our greatest lines of offense and strategy against this dumb disease. We know that the enemy would take great pleasure in seeing us fail, blame, question, fight, compare, and worry. However, the enemy has messed with the wrong family. We know that there are huge physical challenges, astronomical financial costs, and major time commitments that await us, but we are also fully aware that you all are raising our hands with us, believing with us, and expecting VICTORY. Jesus is the game changer. Above all else, I want my son to know that MOST in this process.
Bonus Down – Potty Time – Alrighty, well Elijah had not gone you know what on the potty, so we were all eagerly awaiting its arrival and very nervous about it. I mean, how are we gonna get him on the toilet, is it gonna hurt, is he gonna scream/cry, who is gonna help wipe?!?! Well, it sure did come and we felt the best way to approach what could be perceived as scary for the first time since surgery 1 week ago, was how we approach so much of life……with humor. Once we finally got him set, we let him do his thing, and laughed hysterically the whole time. Honestly, it felt great to just let loose and laugh. I love to laugh, and I especially love to laugh with my boys. Any guesses who did the wiping? 🙂
So, we know we’re just in the 1st quarter of this game, but we couldn’t be playing for a better Coach than Jesus, or on a tougher team than the Tigers, or with a stronger kid than Elijah. Take that……Perthes.