The last several days have been a bit of a whirlwind and we wanted to share a quick update and say A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has called, emailed, and checked in on Elijah following his surgery on Friday.
After our flight was unexpectedly canceled last Thursday morning, we scurried to rent a car and make the long drive to Baltimore, arriving in time for him to have his pre-op appointment and x-ray early Friday morning and surgery afterward.
Months earlier Elijah had a new and cutting edge surgery that our specialist believed would be Elijah’s best shot at the road to recovery. This surgery was a response to the disappointing and disheartening finding that Elijah’s hip had recollapsed after a year of fighting Perthes. Elijah was in the very, very small % of kids who experience recollapse. Needless to say, the last 16 months have been excruciatingly painful physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Elijah went into pre-op Friday remaining as confident and joyful as ever. Smiles, jokes, and a little talk about football and he was ready. The only fear came NOT from the steel rods and drills, but rather from getting an IV. (Really, son?) After the 3 hour surgery, Dr. Standard came out to walk us through what he had found. He felt that the new bone they had built months earlier had solidified, the shape was good, and that Elijah’s range of motion seemed excellent. The hip was still not fully grown back, but the seed of the bone had ossified, which was a major plus. With cautious optimism Doc told us he felt like we were on the right path. I fought back some tears and asked the obvious question any dad would ask, “Best case scenario, when can he play football?” Tiff rolled her eyes. He gave us strict orders that Elijah can bear NO weight on his Perthes leg for 4 weeks. He will then be x-rayed and if the hip still looks good in weeks 4-8 Elijah can use 50% of his weight with the help of a walker and crutches. Then, if all goes well, the weeks 8-12 he will have no weight bearing restrictions, but cannot run or jump. Then, we head back to Baltimore to see what is next. Elijah will be on a strict physical therapy schedule as he strives to gain strength and motion as well as 2 sessions of stretching everyday at home. After our conference with Doc they took us back to see our boy. He was resting peacefully and there it was….his leg with NO FIXATOR. Glorious. His stomach was quite upset and they had him on some major meds, but he was happy that he was 1 step closer…..
After spending time for Elijah’s recovery in Baltimore we finally got the green light from Doc to take Elijah to Perthes Camp for a few days. Perthes Camp is a camp founded by Earl Cole, who was the winner of the 2007 Survivor: Fiji, the NBC reality competition series, and a man who had battled and survived Perthes. At camp Elijah will have the awesome chance to meet other Perthes kids from all over the world (one young girl came from Egypt) who are facing this rare disease as well. Many of these Perthes parents we have spoken to, shared with, encouraged, and them the same for us over the last year and a half. Elijah will have the opportunity to be with others, who like him, are trying to regain their active lives. He will also continue to rehab with the incredible team on staff.
Obviously, Elijah still has a very long way to go. People repeatedly ask us when this will be over and when Elijah will be better. We wish we had a clear and confident answer, but unfortunately there is a saying in the Perthes world, which is, “Perthes will do what Perthes wants to do.” Elijah is certainly not out of the woods, but we rest assured that God’s grace and power are bigger than his struggles. Thank you so much for your prayers, friendship, and support. We say it often and mean it wholeheartedly that without each of you we would never be able to make it so steadfastly through this grueling process. We are indebted to you for holding up our arms and caring for our hearts. Please continue to encourage and pray for our QB as he daily #tacklesperthes! Shayne & Tiff
*Wanted to share with those of you who may not have seen Elijah’s video last week – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWrZt78Nd_8&feature=youtu.be