Well, we are 8 days…8 days away from returning to Baltimore for round 2 of Elijah’s battle as he #tacklesperthes! In some ways the past 4 months have flown by and in other ways it has crawled by. Most recently it has been a struggle because 1 of the 6 pins in Elijah’s hip and leg has become loose causing him excruciating pain at times. He has also recently encountered a pin site infection, which brings about horrible discomfort. However, like always, he has fought back with resilience and perseverance. Immensely proud of the character he has demonstrated through this whole process.
What does a typical day look like for Elijah?
Wakes up at 6:00 am for school and crutches to the bus stop w/the help of big sis.
Gets picked up from the bus at school by the lovely Mrs.Tucker and she wheelchairs him to class.
Enjoys classes at school and spends some of his recesses and gym time helping in the special needs room, which he loves.
Gets to learn under the direction of Ms. Papa & Coldiron. Did I mention that Ms. Papa’s son has Perthes!? He was younger than Elijah when diagnosed, but is doing so well in college after all his treatments! Seriously, how awesome that God would place our boy in a teacher’s/mother’s care whose son faced similar circumstances?! Love when God reminds us He’s not forgotten us.
Mrs. Tucker loads him back on bus and he crutches home from bus stop. When he arrives home he has to put his hip extension bar in for an hour or two. This extends his hip. This is a hurtful part of this process. The stretch can be quite rough. He takes it turn by turn and dials it out slowly….not a fan of this. He takes pain meds, grabs a snack, and refuels for the night.
We head to physical therapy where they push him to stretch, extend, loosen. He’s the youngest patient and they are so fond of him and his “can do” attitude. The feelings are mutual. He works hard for them trying to impress them. I’ve realized that this has taken the spot of football during this season. This gives him the platform to compete, and although it looks different than a football field and he doesn’t have a defender glaring at him face to face, it has given him a chance to compete against himself. Each week he pushes himself harder and works to be faster and stronger than the time before.
His nights mostly consist of football practice with our favorites, the Loveland 5th grade Tigers, Mosaic family, friends, and homework.
The nights bring about Perthes stretches and the hip extension bar gets put in his fixator all night.
What have been the highlights of this whole challenging disease?
The unexpected and unprecedented outpouring of love and support from our family, friends, and community. The way people have rallied behind Elijah has been overwhelming. From Alaine Oleasko single handedly leading a Tiger sock fundraiser, LYF sporting #1 on their helmets and sponsoring Elijah during cheer week, the varsity football team highlighting Elijah during a recent game, the community purchasing and wearing #tackleperthes shirts, meals made for our family, Eli’s teammates and their families lavishing him with kindness, LIS selecting to help with medical bills from their annual carnival, and even the most recent surprise plate of goodies left for Elijah at our front doorstep by some precious girls. Speechless….just speechless.
It has been beautiful to see Elijah’s teammates and classmates eagerly seeking to help him day in and day out. Whether it’s sitting on the sidelines with him, coming over to hang out with him, wheeling him on and off the field, or just calling/texting him to see how he’s doing. One instance in particular stands out to me about E’s friend Brady. I was asking Elijah what he did that day for recess and he told me he hit a homerun in baseball. In his condition that would obviously be challenging, so I inquired further. He went on to share with me that he smacked the ball and then Brady ran him around the bases in his wheelchair. My eyes swelled with tears immediately. There was something about envisioning my son needing help and having a friend there to do what even I couldn’t at that particular time. Each time I see Elijah’s peers take a moment to check on him or even pause to put his needs above their own just overwhelms my heart with gratefulness, joy, and hope.
God deepening our faith and reliance on Him.This whole situation has reminded me that as much as I love Elijah, God loves him even more. God loves him so much that He sent His only son to demonstrate it. God knows how it feels to see His son hurting. He identifies with how I’m feeling. This has forced me to put my faith and trust in Him, in a way I’ve never even had to before.
Seeing Elijah grow in his faith and character. I would NEVER have chosen this for my beautiful boy, but the way in which he has and is handling all of this is exemplary. I look at that little leg with a massive piece of machinery connected to it and can’t believe it’s actually real, that we’ve actually been walking through this, but it has also allowed me to further discover the strength and character of Elijah. I have watched him wince, cry, sob in pain, just to then say, “Mom, it’s ok. I’m gonna be fine.” Who is the parent around here? His commitment to getting better and pushing through the pain has been remarkable. Seeing the way he is depending on the Lord and just trusting Him has been immensely encouraging. He is a warrior. I’ve believed that for 10 years. This year he got to prove it. Today this was reinforced as he was chosen as 5th grade student of the quarter. Hearing his teachers say that he is a natural leader, a friend to everyone, and the words “I can’t” don’t ever grace his leaps, was a precious testament to him.
Watching others faith grow. We have had 3 different instances in which people, whom we dearly love and adore, have shared dreams and visions they’ve had of Elijah’s healing and future. We cling to these, especially in the days of doubt and despair. To think there are people moving, praying, and receiving on Elijah’s behalf is incredible and humbling.
What’s up next for our QB?
Friday, October 23rd Elijah will have surgery and have his fixator removed at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He will be in Baltimore for extensive physical therapy and will also be getting a brace to wear for a time. They will also be checking the bone, blood flow, and range of motion. These all play a vital role in prescribing what is next.
Of course, we believe that God has been scripting his story all along and will continue to do so. It is our great hope that he will recover, but we are daily doing our best to submit and surrender our hopes and plans for him to the Lord.
How can you help?
Pray. Pray. Pray some more. Above all else, we covet your prayers. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that prayer moves the heart of God. Please lift Elijah up with us.
Encourage and support him. As we go to Baltimore, please continue to send him texts, pics, calls reminding him he is not alone. We just found out his class goes on a field trip the day of his surgery, which was a disappointment for him. However, he’s got this. Whether in Cincinnati, Baltimore, or across the globe….our boy can face this. Why? Because with GOD all things are possible.
Thanks to all those who have partnered with us. You have lifted our hands and hearts when they were too much for us to carry ourselves. Although the future is uncertain, we choose to believe that all will be……well.