Saturday, November 6 – A Win We’ll Remember

So, Saturday morning this happened:

Those of you who know Wilson know it’s a big day when you’re walking in somewhere and he says, “Dad, I’m really excited about this.”  Shoutout to the saints at Chapel Hill Peds, the Durham office, for a smooth process.  It is a gift to get the final human member of our household his first COVID-19 vaccine.  I suspect I’m preaching to the choir here, but please, please, please get vaccinated.  For yourself and for your neighbors and for people you don’t know but who are beloved children of God just like you are.  Please.

It has been a pretty good week.

I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan (I’m fully aware of the conversation around the name and the chop, and I think its probaby time the name be changed and the chop discontinued).  I remember going to a game with the youth from First Presbyterian in Savannah, where my parents served from 1979-1987, in the old Fulton County Stadium.  I’m by no means a die hard fan, and confess to paying  attention a little less in the lean years.  Constant coverage on TBS growing up meant I had seen some of those years, though, as well as the amazing run in the 1990s, culminating in a World Series Championship the year I graduated from high school and started college.  One of the many things I loved about the woman I met at Columbia Seminary as we began dating was that she was always game to come by my apartment in Decatur and we’d buzz down I-20, pull into parking at the back of one of the cheap lots at Turner Stadium.  Carrie and I would get a $5 ticket and a $7 beer and sit for three hours up high over right field.  Once we moved to Greensboro we’d spend many an evening watching Braves games, though for some reason the cable coverage shifted once we moved to Durham.  Memories of those games carried me through our early family life together, which made it all the more special to have watched the playoffs – sometimes in the hospital and sometimes at home, with my boys.  Sometimes in the recliner in Heath’s room, sometimes at Duke.  Reliable sports on tv on long evenings, made more special watching a team you actually root for.

Heath was admitted back with our friends on 5200 on Tuesday morning.  Carrie was with him through a day of prep and organizing, moving up to the floor, getting the play set.  We switched off around dinnertime, right as the pre-meds began for the first infusion.  One of the pre-meds is Benadryl, which means a serious NAP.  I was sure to check and see when in the game he wanted me to wake him up if he was still asleep.  The end of the second inning was the answer.  I ate dinner, got some work done, and turned on the game.  He was sleeping so soundly, and had been so tired, that I let him sleep a little longer, but I woke him up yelling when Jorge Soler hit that MASSIVE home run.  We sat there together through the rest of the game, with the wonderful nurses coming in every 30 minutes to check vitals and increase the rate.  The infusion ended around 11, then another short chemo infusion, then some IV magnesium, meant that we had plenty of energy and were still awake when Dansby Swanson fielded the ground ball, glanced at second, and threw to first for the final out, our arms shooting straight in the air just like Freddie Freeman.  It was such a special moment to share, and to share together.  I know, sports aren’t real life.  But my goodness they sure give us a place to put our hopes and our dreams.  I wiped a tear and I gave him a high five and then leaned over to kiss his bald head.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday brought its own series of infusions and pills, emptying the ostomy bag and consulting with the team.  The chemo process went pretty smoothly.  Much of the week was spent trying to figure out how to regulate his magnesium level.  We realized recently his pills hadn’t been fully digesting, which meant trying each day a different combo of IV and liquid to see what worked and wondering if we actually needed to come home with his port accessed and give him infusions at home.  But he ate and drank and gained some weight, took walks and did some school work and played Xbox.  It was a lot, but especially in comparison to previous weeks, we’ll take it.

I spent the first two nights at Duke, and Carrie spent the last two – and did most of the days as well.  I got some work done and had some great help from my mother who was here to help us Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  She was here just long enough to be able to see us bring Heath home today (Saturday).  After that, I was able to rake some leaves and EB went to an amazing UNC game with Carrie’s dear friend from high school, Wendy, who was in town to watch one of her former students who plays for UNC.  What a game!  Carrie was able to catch up with Wendy a little afterwards, too.  Wilson was Wilson, and Rosie got a playdate with neighbor dogs and is now passed out in the hall.  I cracked a beer and am sitting by the fire typing this and watching a little football.  Mostly, though, I’m filled with gratitude for a night with all of us under the same roof, as well as for all of you who have supported us and cared for us and fed us and prayed for us thus far.  We’ll go back to the clinic tomorrow to check that same dreaded mag level, hopefully be at home Monday, then back again for a few hours for a procedure and another infusion Tuesday.  There is always more to do.  But, thanks be to God we don’t have to do this all by ourselves.  And, for the gift of being able to enjoy your team actually win sometimes. 

32 replies
  1. Mary Kathleen Duncan says:

    Beautiful post. Tell Heath he isn’t alone. Low mag levels can make you feel pretty cruddy. I struggled with my levels throughout chemo, too.

  2. Terry Hammersley says:

    We are ALL on Team Tuttle rooting for Heath to hit his own home run! Happy to hear you’re having some joy from ANY and all sources: gratitude; rest; sports; being together at home; feeing the love from your “fans;” There are more innings to come and I know Team Tuttle will cheer each other on no matter what! Praying for a good week for you, Terry

  3. Barbara Ligo says:

    All fabulous news.. and we also had our final covid vaccine in our human family..our Leo!
    love and continued hugs and prayers!

  4. Kitty Kelly says:

    Grateful r l and Heath could share that wonderful homerun and final out. We, too, have loved the Braves from 1990 onward. Agreed it’s time for a name change and the end of the Chop and at the same time so happy for that team and happy you and Heath could witness it together. Baseball isn’t real life and yet it gives us those special moments of joy in between the trials of life. All the Kellys send their love, their prayers and their hugs. Great gratitude for vaccinating the youngest in your life.

  5. Don Brown says:

    Wow! Your words fill me with so much I have trouble using words to describe. Thanks for sharing with us so that our prayers become stronger and more abundant. May God bless Heath and all of you Chris.

  6. Linda Hibson says:

    Prayers are being lifted daily. Tears of joy for victories and tears of sadness for setbacks flow freely for you all. This was one of the Joy weeks! God’s mercies are everlasting and never cease. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  7. Karen Vandersea says:

    So glad this was a relatively smooth week and that y’all had multiple highs to celebrate — medically and in sports and with family! Sending continued prayers your way. ❤️❤️❤️

  8. Barbara Gaw says:

    May you always feel your team pulling for you…
    Bet you can’t imagine how many cheerleaders you have…
    Feeling the Spirit with you….🤗

  9. Sharon Fender says:

    We were all cheering for Atlanta! My Son-in-law went to Georgia Tech and daughter to Agnes Scott. My grandson was beside himself with excitement! I’m so glad to hear things are going better for Heath and that Wilson has his first shot. You all are in my daily prayers and thoughts.

  10. reba Huckabee says:

    Thanks for the updates. Prayers continue for sure. How inspirational your updates are as we as readers recognize the bravery of Heath, the love of family and friends walking this detour with each of you, and the spiritual strength God is pouring out. Xo 🙏🙏🙏

  11. Bob Holcomb says:

    Thank you, as always, for these beautifully and heartfully written updates. I’m mostly glad the Braves won for the happiness brought to your family. You so deserve All good things to come your way. I can not forget, so I can readily imagine Heath’s broad smile. ❤✌⚾️

  12. Diane Hill says:

    Thanks for using some of your precious time and energy to reflect on the week and day, allowing us to continue this journey with you all.


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