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Dear Evan's Army,

Evan and I have had a busy 24 hours here in Memphis.  The highlight definitely would be dinner at Chili's with Terrance #1.  Some queso was consumed by Evan with a corn dog on the side.  Terrance and Evan had some high tech discussion about Evan's games on the iTouch which was a little beyond me.

I haven't been back to St. Jude since I was pregnant with Isabella.  Alex has made the trek many times over the past 2 years so this one is my turn.  It is pretty difficult for me to be here this time.  Even arriving last night at the airport brought back so many emotions/memories of our first arrival that cold December night in 2008.  The St. Jude shuttle brought us to the Memphis Grizzlies House where patients and their families reside for short term stays.  Of course everyone was as welcoming as always.  The Memphis Grizzlies built it and Evan had his photo in the paper dunking a ball with a little assistance from Marc Gazol a couple of years ago.  There are all of these awesome photos on the walls of the basketball players and St. Jude patients.  Our sweet friend Grace is pictured in several so I was overwhelmed with sadness for awhile - thinking of Grace who passed away while we were here.  

We rode the elevator to our floor and a grandmother immediately started talking to us.  She was extremely upset as she had just arrived with her granddaughter who "had it real bad.  It doesn't look good.  I think she is going to die".  While my heart went out to her, I was not super happy she was saying this in front of Evan. Parents have told me in front of their own children that their kids were going to die... Well, that's not how the Pertiles roll!  We are all about life and conquering cancer.  Before I could say anything to the lady to try to make her feel better, Evan spoke up.

"You have to have hope and faith.  St. Jude is a great place.  They cured me of my cancer and you have to believe they can cure your granddaughter."  

Wow, Evan.  I was blown away.  Words of wisdom from my wise 9 year old. 

Today we saw audiology, had a neuro-oncology clinic visit, anesthesia pre-MRI clearance, psychology visit, and labs drawn.  I have some lab results back with some abnormalities related to his probably failing hypothalamus caused by his radiation treatment.  We meet with endocrine tomorrow and will have all the labs back by then.  Looks like we have another hurdle to overcome but Evan will face it head-on.  

We were a little disappointed that he has only grown 0.2 inches in 6 months but he has gained 6 needed pounds.  No wonder none of his pants fit anymore!  

Tomorrow morning he will have his MRI performed and we will have the results before we fly out tomorrow night.  I feel sure it will be be clear.

Love,
Rachel