Thursday, June 30, 2011


Justin had his first appointment today at noon with the pulmonology/scleroderma specialist. We liked him a lot. He had received all Justin's information...but he asked us to tell his story in our own words. As we were telling him...he stopped us so he could go to his office and get a picture of his family. He too has 3 little boys...under the age of of them has downs. He said..."wow, God definitely brought us together!"

So he ordered a ton of tests and said he would talk to us after we went to the next appointments.
We went to the next appointment (same building just different floor) and two doctors met us there. One Rhematologist and one Scleroderma/Polymyositis/Overlap Syndrome Specialist.
After a few moments of questions...all 3 doctors stood over Justin spouting off medical stuff...for what seemed like forever. They pretty much spoke completely in acronym.
They are concerned with his nailfold capillaries and the way his skin looked.
His muscle weakness is very alarming.
They were all very happy with Dr. F in San Antonio. They were pleased with how aggressive he had been with his treatment. They were very concerned that these treatments had not helped.
They decided he needed to be admitted. They said nothing with his diagnosis was straightforward. They said he was "very complicated". They said they wanted this daddy to get better...but they needed more answers.
We spent a few hours doing tests. He got a CAT scan and Echo and more blood work.
So now we are here...admitted into the Cleveland Clinic Hospital. He has to share a room and bathroom. There is only a small space for me to a classroom chair. I do not think guests are encouraged to stay long :(
I can say that I am for sure the saddest I have ever been in my life. Is saddest a word?
Either way...I am. And I have dealt with some pretty sad stuff.
Today's Jesus Calling was pretty legit. I very much recommend that you get this book...and read it EVERY day. Go back to the day of June 18th...that is when miracles started happening at our house. Lots of miracles are happening all around us each moment....just the fact the we are here and able to be in the very best care. The most wonderful family that got us here and that is continuing to pray for us. Our kids are taken care of (although I already miss them so so much)...our friends are busy praying and planning...our God is so big. So crazy mighty.
It is great that Justin will have around the clock is great that they are being very proactive in getting to the bottom of this...but I will not lie and say that this is what we hoped for.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We are HERE!

We made it! We had a great flight. It went by extremely fast...we felt everyones prayers for sure. We so appreciated everyones texts as we were taking off!! We watched a few episodes of Modern Family on the way. Hilarious!

Justin was very stiff and sore after the Houston to Cleveland flight and needed to use the wheelchair when we arrived. He took it like a champ and was without a doubt the cutest guy in the airport. He is having some stiffness in his skin on his hands. He took some pictures of that today to show the dr in case they are not flared tomorrow. He continues to have terrible muscle and joint pain and although the pain patch is helping...there is still too much pain. Random swelling continues. He is still taking over 25 different pills a day....please pray that there are some answers tomorrow that will eliminate some of this!!
We were greeted by our driver at baggage and he was super friendly! We felt a little fancy :)
He told us that just a few blocks from our hotel was an area called Little Italy. So...after we got settled in to the hotel (aka after justin rested and ate chocolate donuts and i unpacked us lol) we went over to check it out. We have not been out to eat in awhile... Justin gets little spurts of energy...but he cannot do much. We really took it slow and had such a sweet time together. Little Italy was so neat! Lots of yummy places to eat and funny Italian music and cobblestone streets. The area we are in is very college-y so it was super fun to sit and people watch. Everything is so green...apparently they are not in a drought.
We are all cozy in our hotel now and are excited to get some good rest tonight before the big day tomorrow.
Today while we were just sitting outside in the SEVENTY-TWO degree weather...we just took a moment and kind of laughed as we realized where we really were. We thought God had called us on a mission to Mexico...but we were wrong. His plan was for us to be HERE. We are exactly where He wanted us to be. Our mission has changed....but His plan has not.
We prayed for each person that was fasting for JMac today. We are so we know there were many of you.
The boys were so thrilled to go to the river house this morning with my sweet aunts! Bryce is going to get some really good Papa time! So....he won't be missing us quite yet.
We ask that you all continue to pray tomorrow...around 11am Texas time is when we will be in his first appointment.
We love you all!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today is my beautiful mommy's birthday. I wish she was here to celebrate. I wish she was here so we could take her to Joe's Crab Shack and so we could get her some cheesecake and so my kids could hug her neck! I also just wish she was here. Period. I kinda need her right now :(

She was so pretty and full of life. She was really funny and extremely outspoken. She thought Bryce hung the moon and every single star in the sky. I miss her today and everyday. Birthdays may have just been her favorite thing in the whole wide world. And a summer birthday? Can't get much better than that! It is comforting to know that one day...we can celebrate everything together....everyday.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

McElhannon Family

I am so beyond pleased with our photo session from last week. Chantel was able to capture the most wonderful photos of my precious family. I love each person in these pictures so much I could just squeeze their guts out!!! THIS is what helps us smile on a yucky day. This is the FAMILY that God blessed us with. He specifically chose me for Justin and these three delightful boys for US. How blessed are we?! Now through this storm we have these precious pictures to remind us that HE is wrapped tightly around us right NOW.
Please enjoy :)

and this one...well because...its hilarious!!
I could have posted 100's...but these are just my faves :)
love you all and keep on prayin'!!

Friday, June 24, 2011


today was a good/not awesome day. the good parts included taking bryce and addie to see cars 2 and having lunch with a friend while justin napped...watching the babies read to justin...finally getting a work out in...getting my fixed car back...sending bryce to swim with his tball friends...getting the MOST AMAZING pictures EVER (i canNOT wait to share them with ya'll)...taking care of my number one man...getting our travel itinerary sent from the most generous family in Boerne...and getting some one on one time with Justin in the afternoon while Katelyn was here.

The not awesome part of they day included his doctors appointment. The muscle biopsy (remember the thing that i almost had a heart attack while they were doing?? he had to be under during that procedure and it broke my heart)...came back showing that there is both muscle inflammation and muscle shrinkage or muscle atrophy ( not google this). Long story short...bad news. They may have to do another muscle biopsy where they would need to take a larger chunk of muscle. I am not sure I could handle that again...and my precious husband? I just cant stand it!!!
The scleroderma is showing up and rearing its ugly head around. Please pray it away. Pray that scleroderma right out of Justin's body. NOW!
His CK levels have not gone up...but they sure have not gone down. Stupid.
His doctor doesn't want to change anything until he gets to Cleveland. He has corresponded with the Cleveland team several times and they are all anxious for Justin to be seen.
Our flight leaves on Wednesday at 11:20am and we will arrive in Cleveland around 5pm. We are so sad about the circumstances...but are looking forward to an adventure together. We truly are best friends and can surely find some way to make this trip fun!!
Please pray for Justin's pain, inflammation, medication side effects and his precious heart during this time. This is the time that he needs to feel more loved than lucky am I that I get to fill that number one spot?! I am so thankful for our 3 silly as a willy baby boys that make us a complete family. With all the love that is being poured over us right now...I just cant imagine needing anything else in the world!!
thank you for your prayers...and if you are wondering what devotion we do over here right now...we read jesus calling by sarah young. its amazing and continues to speak to our hearts each day. you should get it...then you would always know you are reading the same thing we are :)
(thanks marci!!))

the macs

Thursday, June 23, 2011


notice the new fabulous header? thank you chantal bellamy!! i am going to leave that up there for a little while...each person that is visiting this blog is praying for us and thinking of us and loving on us in one way or for now...i want you to be thanked each time you come.

love you all!!

Fasting for JMac

Before a critical time of Esters life she prayed and fasted. At this time, she called for others to fast with her. I am not Esther...and I am not going to see a king...BUT I am a daughter to The King and I humbly stand before you all...weary and desperate...and ask you to join in prayer for healing for my precious husband.

There are many different ways to fast...and how you choose to fast is up to you. You need to pray about it and He will provide that answer to you.
I will be fasting for 3 days...Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Each time I think about food or eating or it is meal time...I will excuse myself to pray and spend time with the Lord...claiming healing for Justin...praying for our trip and his doctors.
Many of you have asked how you can help. I have an idea...but I of course want you to pray about it first. I would like to ask you all to fast on Wednesday. Fasting can mean something different to each of you. You can choose to only eat fruit, you can choose just liquids, you can eliminate meat or maybe this fast will not be about food for you...Maybe you could give up texting for the day or facebook or tv. For ONE DAY...I am asking you to give up something that you typically do several times a day and enjoy. During those times...will you please stop and devote your prayer to Justin?
Fasting is a Godly exercise that brings us closer to Him. Would you be willing to give up some of your favorite things for ONE day...just to intercede for Justin?
Some you may know exactly what you want to pray for that day. You may have scripture ready to look at and a plan of attack already in mind...for those of you who do is a list of specific things to pray for:
1. Justin
2. Misty
3. Bryce
4. Brody
5. Braxton
6. Dr. Chattergee - Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma Specialist)
7. Dr. Parambil - Pulmonologist
8. Dr. Calabrese - Rheumatology
9. Dr. Feinstein - Justins SA Rheumatologist
10. The things he has been diagnosed with: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma), Polymyositis and Fibrosis
11. travel - uneventful flights etc.
12. clarity and understanding for us while at the appointments
13. that we do not get lost in a new city
14. my aunt debbie and aunt kay who will have the boys
15. Gods ultimate presence in the room and drs. wisdom
16. quick return home with answers and a plan
17. Justins pain
18. Justins inflammation
19. another answer other than chemo
20. our health insurance
(i may add more to this next week!)

Fasting can be done individually, like we have read that Jesus, Moses and Daniel did; a whole church can be called to fast (Acts 14:23), or a city (Jeremiah 36:9; Jonah 3:5). In times of strife, an army (Judges 20:26) or a whole nation can be called on to fast (2nd Chronicles 20:3). However, unless we are called to collectively fast for a specific purpose, we should fast and pray in secret and tell no one except the Lord Himself. ‘And whenever you are fasting do not look gloomy like the hypocrites do, for they put on a dismal countenance so that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already. But when you fast, perfume your head and wash your face. So that your fasting may not be noticed by men but by your Father, Who sees you in secret; and your Father Who sees you in secret, will reward you in the open’ (Matthew 6:16 to 18).

Fasting can be used to ask God’s help. ‘So we fasted and besought our God for this, and He heard our entreaty’ (Ezra 8:23).

Fasting is serious business to God and we must not take it lightly. ‘Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders ... and cry to the Lord’. ‘Set apart a fast and call a solemn assembly’ (Joel 1:14; 2:15).

Fasting can be used to increase the power of God in our life, so we can serve the Lord more effectively just as Jesus did. He was led out, or driven out by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12) and came out of the desert full of the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14). Jesus did not perform one miracle until after He was baptised in water and had fasted for forty days.

Here are some quick facts about fasting:
  • Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, "when you fast," not if you fast.
  • Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the "first love" for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
  • Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, "I humble myself through fasting."
  • Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
  • The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
  • Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
  • Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.
  • Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of II Chronicles 7:14:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


my brain is continuously thinking of all the people i am thankful for right now.
i am thankful for the people that are feeding us! YUMMY! the steroids make justin STARVING and yummy dinner just keeps on showing up! thank you so much for those coordinating that. also, an extra shout out to Justin Hobbs for also passing on his blessing of meals to us.
Thank you to my sweet precious friend that made me the most perfect and snuggly blanket to take to Cleveland!
Thank you to an amazing photographer. A special family that is financially funding this journey. The other amazing families who are contributing to us financially during this crazy time....the two awesome women who set up The McElhannon Fund at Wells Fargo. The friends who stop by with goodies or just to give the boys a high five. The friends who are coordinating things for us and the ones who are texting us really funny hilarious things. There are people praying for us that we do not know. There are people who want to help us along this journey that we dont know. The offers to watch our kids are OVERFLOWING. Either I have some REALLY cute kids...or these people are just AWESOME. I bet its a little of both. God is so present in this situation.
My mom always told me that it was appropriate to write a thank you note for EVERYTHING. And so...I have always done that. I have just really been broken hearted that I have not been able to do that. I have been told by a few people that if I attempted to write a thank you note that they would break my fingers. That would be a total bummer. It is so hard to let go of that...because I want to thank each person. Justin wants to thank each person. I do not think there is enough thank you notes in the world.

This is tough for me...I am a giver. Its weird to be on the other side of things.
Romans 12:13 says:
When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
I feel that I have always tried to live out that verse. I see God returning that blessing to us tenfold. I often feel undeserving.
God calls us to fill in the gap and spread the word of the gospel. We are to always honor Him and His timing. I pray that someone will see our story and see how God has so wonderfully carried us through this time and seek Him. I pray that we can fill that gap and bring people closer to Him. We have had many experiences over the past 7 years as a couple that have given us the opportunity to lean on Him. (Justin has come such a long way!!) We have done that each time...and He has never let us down. Once again we rely fully on our Savior...and what do you know...he continues to provide hope and peace and hundreds of people to be THANKFUL for.
We serve a mighty God. Like...big time.


Ok everyone...We have a date for Cleveland. It is not really when I wanted to to be. is what it is.
We will leave NEXT Wednesday the 29th. He has 3 appointments set with 3 different specialists on the 30th. It was a pretty HUGE ordeal to coordinate with 3 top specialists offices to find ONE day for them to see him. At first they told us end of July. NOPE. Then they told us that we could go ahead and come if we thought it was an emergency...but we couldn't be guaranteed to see these specific doctors. These 3 specific drs are the top in their specialties. One for scleroderma, one for polymyositis and a pulmonologist for the fibrosis they found. I am disappointed that we are not going sooner...but can see that God's perfect timing made these unavailable appointments happen.
In the meantime we need to continue praying that the pain patch will work. He said today that he feels like it has taken some of the soreness away. Each day he dreads waking up and feeling what will hurt. His elbows, legs, arms, face and backside always hurt. Something new is swollen each day too. Today he woke up and the bottom of his feet are so extremely tender. Can you imagine? I just cannot. I just want it to all go away. An amazing friend from our Sunday School class offered to take our family portraits today. That sounded HORRIBLE to Justin...but he knows that it is important and something that we needed to do. He was such a good sport. I could tell he felt awful...but she made it super quick and kept him off his feet as much as possible. And did I mention...she drove four hours to do this for us? We are so blessed and thankful. The owner of Toyota of Boerne so kindly offered up his gorgeous home for us to do the shoot. It was VERY last minute (like we may have just figured this all out yesterday), but it was perfect and cool and comfortable to Justin (and um...lots prettier than our house).
My precious aunts and dad are on standby and ready to come watch this wild pack of boys we have. I know they will be in great hands and I know there are lots of others that will be waiting in the wings...ready to help when needed!!
For now, the doctors office seemed under the impression that Justin would not be there long. He would come in as an outpatient...see the specialists and get a new plan. We have all his medical records, most recent bloodwork, biopsy results and on and on...and will take all of that with us on a disk.
Pray that the chemo and ivig will continue to attack the yucky cells in his body and leave the good ones alone.
Justin is going to get better in Cleveland. I am pretty excited about telling that story when it happens :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

being patient

We heard from Cleveland Clinic today!! We will not have a firm appointment date/time until tomorrow morning...but we KNOW we are going! It was a hectic day as we made and received calls and talked with insurance and waited and watched our phones. We heard from them twice today AND our insurance company is already working with them!
Clearly, God has a specific plan for us to go to we are just going to trust His timing.
As Justins CK levels are continuously going up and his pain never decreases...we are hopeful to travel ASAP! We want to get going before he begins to feel worse. The most amazing family has our travel arrangements completely handled. Two other families have offered to help as well and will help us get the kids up there if we need to be there longer than just a few days. I am just once again...blown away. Justin and I prayed today that one day we would be able to help a family in such a tremendous way.
I picked up Justin's pain patch today...please pray that it will work!! It was VERY expensive...but God provided the money for that too.
Leaving the hospital yesterday was a nightmare. It took four hours to get discharged. He was so so ready to get home and be with his babies. Dr. F came in and said "I have thrown the kitchen sink at you and now its time to go home and wait for Cleveland to get you in"....The hospitalist, Dr. Anumula, asked that we please email him with updates on Justin's case. He said that he had no more options on how to treat Justin and would love to learn from his case.
He is a medical mystery. I am so sad that his body has to feel this pain and have this disease in it. I hate that my handsome husband had to have chemo running through his veins. I hate that he hurts. It breaks my heart every day. I dont understand why none of the treatments have worked.
There are going to be answers in Cleveland. I can't wait.
On a side note...I went to Target today to get Justin a new pillow and when the baby and I went to get back in the wouldnt start. Toyota of Boerne totally came through and handled it and got me home...but I dont have my car and that just stinks. I am ready for a day where nothing happens. A boring day would be good.
Please pray for the kids during this crazy time. We are doing our best to keep them in their regular routine. They sure were happy to go to all be together yesterday and today...their little faces never stopped smiling!!
Thanks for keeping up with us and thanks for your prayers.
Hopefully I can update you tomorrow with our travel plans!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

rainbows all around

the chemo was awful. it made him feel flu like and weird. thankfully, it is over now. he got his morphine...and guess what? he is hungry. :) this has been one crazy week. it comes to an end tomorrow. justin will be discharged in the morning. happy fathers day to him!!
he is going to get a pain patch (hopefully tonight) that he will wear full time. pray that it works! the dr is very confident that it will. its expensive...but we dont care.
we have been here a week. 38 different people came to see justin. 10 different people have watched our kids. 5 different people have cooked for us. 2 have gone grocery shopping. thousands have prayed. countless people have loved on us during this time. my email box, facebook messages and text inbox have exploded. many have not been formally thanked...but i know that is OK...because they are doing God's work.
pray that our next journey starts quickly. God is getting EVERY bit of the GLORY on this. EVERY. SINGLE.BIT. His timing will be perfect.
Did I ever mention that while Justin is lying in this bed in agonizing pain..he has done 2 weeks worth of homework...wrote a 4 page paper...took a 40 question mid term and a 2 other quizzes.
Who is this man?
I love him.

Watch out we come!!

(the chemo)
Here are a few other random pics from the week...
Braxton's broken head...8 staples....he took it like a man!!
The first two days I didnt see my little babies at all. When I came home...they followed me everywhere...even to the bathroom. TMI? Oh well. Its cute.
Sweet precious time with my guys when I got home one night.
Toder got to see Daddy!! (and eat his snacks lol)
Brody is pretty excited about the dinner that people are bringing us. He goes and gets a plate when people knock on the door around 5pm.
Best preschool teachers in the WORLD made this for Justin's room.
Blue feet are Bryce's, Green feet are Brody's and Red feet are Braxton's.

Ezekiel 1:28

The Message (MSG)

25-28 And then, as they stood with folded wings, there was a voice from above the dome over their heads. Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne, sky-blue like a sapphire, with a humanlike figure towering above the throne. From what I could see, from the waist up he looked like burnished bronze and from the waist down like a blazing fire. Brightness everywhere! The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day—that's what it was like. It turned out to be the Glory of God!

miracle on mcelhannon street

miracles are real.
ready to hear why?
friday was loooong. actually sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday and thursday were long too.
but friday was like WAY long. it felt that we were just dragging through the trenches. lost a little. still being led by an incredible doctor...but reaching his max.
last night i left the hospital feeling sad and anxious. i knew that we still had options ahead...but they just didnt FEEL right.
i really didnt feel like talking to anyone.
i just wanted to come home and snuggle with my babies and go to bed.
i got a call from a friend of friend. let me just tell you that everybodys friend of a friend has something they want to tell i wasnt super pumped about answering the phone. i almost didnt.
this sweet girl called to tell me how she had been healed at cleveland clinic...she told me her story of her specific disease and how they had tried everything here and finally she found the right treatment and answers within 3 days at cleveland clinic. she told me her family would help us get there and that God had made it VERY evident to me that she HAD to tell me about cleveland clinic.
i immediately felt overwhelmed. there was no way i could convince justin to go to cleveland clinic when his dr (that he trusts so much) had mentioned Houston.
i mentioned the call to justin...we prayed and went to sleep.
first thing this morning...dr f came in. they called me on speaker and...get ready...
dr. f had been on the phone ALL day trying to find the perfect place to send justin. he worked with the on staff rheumatologist at UTSA to research and make calls. they immediately ruled out anywhere in texas.
guess what he said...
"i have found the father of all doctors that wants to treat you...he is an expert in these diseases....he is at the CLEVELAND CLINIC"
that just happened.
we are not sure quite when...but it will be very soon. we are working on this through a we may not have answers until monday or tuesday. however...this is GODS PLAN FOR SURE. so we are more confident than ever that HE will make it perfectly clear when it is time for us to go.
wow. can i get an amen on this one?
if you have never seen a miracle...well you have now.
we have never given up that the Lord would provide. He did.

one smaller miracle for the day is: it was really hard for me to think of a fathers day present for a person that is in the hospital. what do you get the best daddy in the world that love to exercise and play golf and do outdoor things...but he cant do any of those things right now?
i thought hard about what his most favorite thing is....and i realized that it is getting a haircut. he has VERY special treatment at Salon Infusion in Boerne. they love him. a LOT. so what happened you say?! they came all the way to his hospital with all his favorite products and gave him the haircut of his life!! i wanted to bless my sweet precious husband...and I did!!! i have never seen him smile like that. so THANK YOU to salon infusion. if you dont go there...maybe you should.

yesterday was rough for other reasons. his levels kept going up...they did today again too. he had to go under for his muscle biopsy yesterday. i have never felt so scared in all my life. we should hear about that this week.
i felt like i was out of body yesterday. just sad and scared.
we wil still start rituxan today. pray that he will have ZERO side affects and only the good effects. pray that this will make him feel better until we get to cleveland. please stop and pray over this trip now. God knows the details...we will let you know when they get sorted out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

is it already friday??

today when we spoke with the doctor we got lots of news.
ck levels back up. over 2,000 again.
he is concerned that none of the treatments have worked.
we are doing a muscle biopsy this afternoon. he wants to check out some other things.
dr. f said its time to bring on the big dogs. this is serious business.
he is contacting a dr in houston today.
(side note...justin cannot eat before the biopsy...those of you close to this situation know exactly how important food is to him right now....stop and pray that they do it SOON)
he will start a treatment called rituxan today.
this medication is $5,000 a treatment. He will take 2 treatments a month every 6 months.
STOP NOW. Pray that insurance will cover this. Pray that I am able to negotiate with them.
Pray that the portion they cover will be sufficient. I am confident that God's got that.
He will take that by IV...probably starting today.
the side effects are extreme. but...the dr said at this point...the risk is worth it.
the ivig is in his system and will hopefully start to kick in more over the next 12 days.
he will not get biopsy results for up to 10 days.
stop and pray that the results will be favorable.
pray that the dr in houston will be able to get him in quickly or will have some answers or...something.
i dont even know.

continue to pray for bryce, brody and braxton.
they have been extremely loved on and i have been able to spend some good time with them....but i miss them terribly. i wish they could have their normal life back. mommy taking care of them and daddy coming home to wrestle them and tickle them after work everyday.

justin is desperate for normalcy. he wants to go home. he REALLY wants to go to work.

when will this all end? when will have good news? when can we rest at home in peace with our precious babies?

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Father we cry out to you!! We glorify your plan for our life each day. We come before you God and pray for grace and understanding. Lord we beg for wisdom, discernment and peace. We pray for healing God...complete healing. Never leave our side Lord...we are leaning on you during this time. All the way. Help reassure us of your presence in our times of weakness. We have seen you at work God and we are amazed. Simply amazed. We command satan OUT of times of weariness. Lord we praise your name each day for the blessings....we thank you for the place we are right now...but Father we just dont understand. It is in your holy name that we pray.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


yesterday was more pain. lots more pain.
something yucky started happening with his wrist before the ivig yesterday. it became red and swollen and tender.
this morning that same thing started happening to his thighs.
they finally came in and did an just showed more muscle inflammation. that was extremely discouraging.
the reason that is so discouraging is because the medications he has been taking intravenously for 5 days are specifically for inflammation and they are not working one bit.
plan A, B, C and D have not worked...we are surely hoping for a good plan E tomorrow.
emotions are at an all time high right now. justin is not interested in people feeling sorry for him. encouragement and prayer and friendship are what is keeping him going...sympathy is frustrating him.
we are beyond exhausted and even more frustrated.
please pray for a good plan tomorrow.
we really are ready for some good news. like...REALLY ready.
he is still in horrible pain.

my sweet friends made a big basket of goodies for the nurses...hopefully this will bribe them to atleast do their jobs.
some other sweet friends had the boys make an awesome banner with little feet prints and a verse. i wish i had the energy to post pictures. we have had 30 different visitors...some crazy good food...and some serious prayers.
even with the yucky news....we are still able to see some amazing things happening. crazy amazing. god is at work.

fear not, for i have summoned you by name; you are MINE. when you pass through the waters. i will be with you. when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. the flames will not set you ablaze. for i am the lord your god...the holy spirit of israel.
isaiah 42:2-3

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This morning Dr F told us what we already knew... Justin is not getting any better.
So... We started the blood antibody transfusion (ivig). It's pretty gross... But the Dr is confident this will help.
His pain has not minimized at all. His legs and arms are the worst. He is on tons of pain medication... Morphine, norco, something for nerve pain... Nothing helps :(
Can you imagine? It's extremely frustrating for him. The IV solumedrol was supposed to reduce the inflammation... But it didn't.
He still has a positive attitude and he still sees that God is at work... Although he is definitely having more and more moments of weakness.
He has been just as in awe as I have at the way our friends have rallied together to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We have had so many wonderful visitors from far and farther (I would say near and far... But NOTHING is near to us).
Our babies are good! Justin is thrilled that some great friends brought Brody up here to see him! He has now got to see all his boys... Which is such good medicine for him.
Braxton is pretending like nothing ever happened to his head... Doesn't bother him a bit!!
Thankfully, we have our precious sitter Katelyn at the house now... So all is good in the world!!
The IVIG will take 3 or 4 days... So we will be here.
We are tired. Exhausted. Burnt out on this place.
Current prayer request:
Justins pain to stop
He now has something terrible happening to his wrist. It's swollen and black and hurting badly.

Thank you all for loving us and sharing in this journey with us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

maybe our worst day??

today started with dr. f coming in at 6:45 am. he gave us a game plan...1000 mg of steroids today, tomorrow and wednesday. wednesday afternoon they will decide if they are going to do an IVIG....which is basically a blood antibody transfusion.

so far his pain has not decreased.
dr. f ordered a ct scan on his lungs and an mri on his legs.
we have not received mri results yet...but we did get ct scan results back.
they were not good.
they found debri called fibrosis.
not good.
this is what we have NOT wanted to hear since day one of diagnosis.
dr. f will come in the morning and talk to us about that. hopefully then we will go over the mri results.
also today while that was happening...our sweet baby braxton fell down and had to get 8 staples on his head. my friends who had him immediately took him to our doctor/family friend who got him taken care of. i am not sure who was more upset about all that...but i am pretty sure it was my precious friends who were watching him. i have 3 i guess things like this are just going to be a part of our lives! was...maybe our worst day?
it was pretty awful and thats a fact.
one thing is for sure...braxton is FINE. i went straight to see him and he was running and laughing an playing and now has a fancy scar like his big brother brody.
please pray for justins lungs. please pray for the steroids to work...they are not yet.
i am extremely overwhelmed and sad and tired and scared.
i dont know much else...but i do know that Gods presence is SO obvious. i dont have a clue what He has in store for us...but we know He's got this. this is not our burden to carry.
we are loved on...our kids are loved on. our fridge is being loved on. our laundry is done. once again...God is good. like...crazy good.

oh and Bryce is here. he is not scared one bit. he got to go to target and pick his daddy out a prize to bring...he chose connect4. (thanks katie for the idea!) he is excited about all the jink food that is in this room. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

not our worst day

today was not our best day...but its not our worst. we have some very yucky stuff going on...but we are so surrounded with God's love and amazing people that it just cannot be our worst day.

justin was admitted into the hospital today. his pain was out of control...again.
his dr wants to get the polymyositis under control immediately...its wreaking havoc on his body right now.

we have been so covered in love since 7am this morning its just literally unbelievable.
if you have one of our kids, or have brought us tea or coffee or snacks or lunch...or prayed for us or over us...or have brought us things or called or texted or emailed...or signed up for a meal...or just chatted with us....then we are over the moon thankful.

you are all the hands and feet of jesus. you all are wonderful.

today the dr just has justin comfortable on pain meds. he has him on stronger steroids...and when he gets here in the morning we will get a plan of action going.

current prayer requests:
answers and clarification when the dr arrives in the morning.
wisdom for when we talk to bryce about this tomorrow.
peace and comfort at all the homes our kids are at.
less pain.
this polymyositis to stop dead in its we can then focus on the systemic sclerosis.
rest. (ok ok that may be too much to ask!)

I am staying at the hospital with justin tonight. We should be here awhile...I will keep you posted.

Thanks for everything friends.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

i'm gonna let it shine!

People are praying. People are praying BIG TIME.

How do I know??
Today was Justin's appointment. Unfortunately, there was no AWESOME news...but there was NO BAD NEWS!!!
His liver is the same...still concerning....but not worse.
His CK levels are still extremely high...but not higher.
His pain has not improved...but has not worsened.
Swelling has improved by 50%!
He has NOT lost any more weight.
He is at a stand still...which means the doctor did not hospitalize today.
Not worse is good enough for us...for now.

There is still a LOT to pray for.
We learned today that while his CK levels remain this high (3,000 over normal) his muscles are basically eating away at themselves. This means that he has to be even MORE careful. He got in HUGE trouble for mowing the yard. Basically, he is to have NO activity that could make him break a sweat.
Dad - close your eyes.
Justin can still remain sexually active for those of you who were concerned about that. Are you laughing? Well...this is one of the MOST popular questions I have received. It's actually the question that some people ask first. Seriously. I love it.
Open your eyes Dad.
The plan for now is to stay on the methotrexate and 120mg of prednisone + a big handful of other stuff. The side effects are taking a toll on his body for sure.

I so wish I could thank each of you for your prayers and love that has been pouring steadily over us. We are so humbled each day by all of God's beautiful blessings...and did I mention my friends can COOK! Yum!!

The whole way home I was smiling...the last two appointments I left crying my face off. The news was not good...but I was able to feel hopeful.
I started to hum this little light of mine...
That's just kinda how I feel right now :)
Thank you for walking alongside us during this journey.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

- Hebrews 11:6

Sunday, June 5, 2011

we are normal

so with all the crazy/awful things going on with justins health right now...we decided whole-heartedly to make this weekend the BEST/most normal weekend we could possibly manage. it took a huge effort for justin (because he feel horrendous) to go with the flow...but he was such a trooper. it would have been much easier to sit around and be sad all weekend...but that is not how the mcelhannons roll.

we are feeling a little discouraged today as we realize the treatment options for polymyositis are somewhere in the realm of non existent. the horrible meds that he started tonight are mostly used to treat the RA...which sadly is the least of our worries. praying again for more answers at wednesdays appointment. the doctor has requested to see justin weekly until further notice :(
SO ANYWAY...back to NON sad news.
we had stephens wedding in houston this weekend. my SUPER awesome aunt helped us so so so much with the boys so we could have some VERY much needed special time together...
justin is WAY exhausted...but he says it was worth it. tonight begins the long road of trying to find a treatment. please continue to pray for healing!

we took the boys to the park!
rehearsal dinner
i got to see some fabulous friends!
swam in my aunts pool!
i love being mrs. jmac
wedding night!
super fun glasses they gave to the wedding party. bryce was thrilled about them.
justin dancing with a strangers daughter.
justin and stephen!!
and then we topped off this fantastic weekend lounging in the pool with friends! thanks mandy and logan for the fun day!

this is his "cheese" face
brax and caleb
sweet brothers tubing down the lazy river
shark boy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

not our best day

here is the update

justin was in the hospital yesterday to receive iv steroids and pain medication. it was a long day but it was not a day without a glimpse of how much the Lord loves us. Our Pastor came to sit and visit and some really great friends came to love on us too.
Dr. F (his rheumatologist) called in more blood tests...he set him an appointment for today and we just received the results.
Saying that we are devastated by them would be an understatement.
In addition to Justin's 3 other diseases (RA, Lupus, and systemic sclerosis) he now has polymyositis.

Polymyositis is an uncommon connective tissue disease. It's a type of inflammatory myopathy, which is characterized by muscle inflammation and weakness. The most noticeable characteristic of polymyositis is weakness of the skeletal muscles, which control movement. Periods of remission in polymyositis, during which symptoms improve spontaneously, rarely occur. However, treatment can improve your muscle strength and function.

Dr. F said Justin's muscle enzymes are leaking into his blood.

He had blood in his urine test.
His CK levels (creatine kinase) are 3,000....normal people are 0 to 300.
His liver has not improved much...but it has a LITTLE!
He has major blood count abnormalities.
Having two or more autoimmune diseases is call "overlap syndrome" just a little fyi for your day.
He will now be on 120mg prednisone each day until further notice.
He will now begin methotrixate (used to treat leukemia). He will take this forever.
No more Paleo diet....(not like he was doing ANY good on that lol...he couldnt refrain from the pop tarts!)...he needs milk. He has lost lots of weight. 15 pounds in 2 weeks to be exact.
Plus there is now concern for the possibility of osteoporosis.
He will be on 4 other prescription medications now too. Plus all the supplements I have him on.
Major lifestyle changes include: no more exercise (which is so so sad for him), no more alcohol, no strenuous activity at all...and here is the BIG mission trip to mexico. we are heartbroken. Justin truly felt called by the Lord for this trip. Dr. F said maybe one day.
just simply heartbroken.
many people donated to this trip...right now we are not sure if we will get the money back. if we can help someone else go we will do that...if we do get it back then we will use that for future medical burdens. Lots coming up...
One being the fact that the doctor will most likely hospitalize him next week. Needs these medications in him ASAP.
Visiting UCLA is probably in our future.
Did I mention we are heartbroken?
We have had a HUGE outpouring of love from our friends. Visitors, cards, letters, flowers, phone calls, texts, emails and MOST importantly PRAYER. Wow the prayer warriors are ON THEIR GAME! Like for real. We feel it BIG TIME. It feels so good to be wrapped up in God's arms right now. So so so good.
I wish I could thank each person personally....but because God is so good....there are just too many of you for that.
Treatment starts Monday. We go back for more blood tests Tuesday and will see the rheumatologist for more results Wednesday.
If you pray for us at all....pray for good news at that appointment. We havent got any yet....but we are flat out hopeful!!!!!
Love to you all.
Prayers for broken hearts.

oh! and many of you have asked....justins job is being great. as always...they are ready to help in any way....they are praying...they are supportive....they are family. they have been on this LONG journey of our lives the past few years. Praising God for his perfect timing in this job for Justin.