It is becoming more and more difficult for Eli to stand for long periods of time. He doesn’t complain, but I can tell when he starts to get uncomfortable on his feet.
We were happy to be attending our home church on Sunday. It’s always nice to be home! PCC’s Sunday service kicks off with a high-energy, beautiful time of worship. Eli remained seated at first, but I know, it really wasn’t his preference. I was standing next to him, focused on the words that I was singing. I was wrapped up in my thoughts, my own feelings of love for our awesome Lord. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Eli jump out of his seat, raise his hands, and sing his heart out! As a few tears escaped from my eyes, I sensed God telling me what He has told me over and over again; “Stop your worrying! I’ve got him.”
God is so faithful. And yet we doubt Him sometimes. I’m learning why it is so important to write down these moments, when God proves that He is faithful. We so easily forget. I was particularly worried on Sunday morning and had even lost sleep because of it Saturday night. That day, John and I had noticed that something looked different about Eli’s left hip. I was afraid that it was getting closer to dislocation.
About a year ago, we learned that there was an issue with Eli’s left hip. The bone was starting to come out of its socket. At that time, it wasn’t an urgent problem, but one that needed to be monitored and addressed by an orthopedic surgeon.
Fast forward to this summer, and the bone has moved further away from where it should be, and surgery is recommended. The doctor explains that he will cut a wedge out of the bone that is currently angled instead of straight. Then he will angle the top part of the bone back towards the hip socket, using cadaver bone to hold it all together. Of course, this will shorten his left leg some, which is already shorter than his right due to this problem with his structure. And then, the kicker… he will need to be in a body cast for 6 weeks, and, well, he may not ever be able to walk again. Please, no….
So, I’m thinking, “This is the best that you have for him?! “ The doctor understood our tears and frustration. He made the comment that we were at a crossroads with lions on one side and bears on the other.
We then knew it was time to return to the Family Hope Center in Pennsylvania. We discovered this team of professionals in 2005 when we were looking for more answers and more hope to treating Eli’s brain injury. They have been able to teach us how to administer treatment at home. Many of these treatments we had never heard about. No one else had ever told us that there was something else. As a result, Eli made improvements in his recovery far beyond what any of his previous doctors thought he would. The “program”, as it is called, was very demanding and required much of our time. When we launched Tiller Family Ministries, we did less and less of the program, but feel certain that it was God’s will. Our focus needed to change for a season. But now, we needed answers again. We just knew there had to be a better way to fix Eli’s hip.
And there is hope. Matthew Newell, director of the Family Hope Center, explained the situation to us. The problem begins in Eli’s feet.
He’s worn various orthotics and braces over the years, which may have slowed down the progression of this problem, but it wasn’t enough. Now, because his feet are mis-aligned, this leads to a chain-reaction up to his hip, which is now mis-aligned. By fixing his feet, we can potentially fix his hip. The good news is that there is a relatively new, completely reversible surgery that can begin the process. It’s explained at hyprocure.com, but essentially, a titanium stent (it looks like a small screw) will be inserted through a small incision made below the outer ankle bone of both of his feet.
Surgery is scheduled for Sat., September 14 with Dr. Joe Picciotti in New Jersey. We’ll then spend a few days at The Family Hope Center doing some therapy before following up with Dr. Joe and then coming home. Eli will need to be completely off of his feet for three weeks after surgery. After that, we’ll begin to get him in the pool and do some partial weight-bearing activities.
You Can Help Encourage Eli
We have a favor to ask. Eli’s birthday is on September 10. Would you please leave a comment below for Eli? Whatever you’d like to say to him to wish him a happy birthday or offer some encouragement for the surgery.
I’m going to print all of those comments and create a great big birthday card to read to Eli during his surgery. One of the cool things about Dr. Joe, is that he is able to do the surgery at his office, with the help of some hospital staff. This allows us, the parents, to be in the room with Eli. Dr. Joe has found that having a parent with the child makes for a much better experience for all involved!
I’ll be posting regular updates throughout this process. I hope that it will benefit other families who may consider this surgery. We realize that there is no guarantee that this will fix Eli’s hip, or that it will fix it in time. But it just makes so much sense.
Also, please pray with us. I know God’s got him. Eli sings about it often:
There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail. There’s an anchor for my soul. I can say, it is well.”
- from “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin