We’ve crossed another milestone!
Today, the Arnold’s cross another milestone in life. Chris Jr. is celebrating his 18th Birthday. While we’re celebrating, we can’t say it hasn’t come without some challenges.
Yes, for some of you who know our story, one of Chris’ biggest challenges has come with a condition called Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS) http://ednf.org. EDS is a non-curable genetic connective tissue disorder which in Chris’ case allows for hyper mobility in his joints. He’s had multiple shoulder dislocations, 3 shoulder surgeries, and significant joint pain. All this has resulted in his inability to play contact sports which he loved as well as other strenuous activities.
While not exacting the same, some sports fans may know the recent story of Isaiah Austin who has a similar condition. Austin, a former Baylor basketball star center was recently diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a career-ending medical condition, just four days before the NBA draft. Marfan syndrome affects the connective tissues that help hold together the body’s cells, organs and tissues. As we understand it, one of the symptoms Austin has is an enlarged aorta and runs the risk of rupturing his aorta and potentially dying. Testing to date hasn’t exhibited any of these risk for Chris Jr.
So why bring this up on his birthday. Well, primarily due to he events transpiring on the eve of his 18th birthday. Having spent 7+ years on a lake, Chris is a huge fan of water sports. About the same time Chris was diagnosed with EDS was the time we also sold our lake house. Periodically, Chris still gets the opportunity to visit other friends lake houses and have fun; yesterday, was one of those days. Yes, a day planned for fun and excitement bringing back fond memories. Or, was it?
Well, if you’ve seen the picture associated with this post, you’ve noticed it’s Chris in a hospital bed. Unfortunately, that picture was taken just last night on the eve of his birthday. Yep, 2-minutes into a tube ride, Chris’ left shoulder was dislocated again. Yes, we know water sports is one of those “strenuous activities”; however, who could resist.
The highlight of this occurrence was that he was able to experience his very first ambulance ride. In all prior cases, Chris was around people experienced with putting a shoulder back in place after dislocation. This time, no one was around resulting in a very, very painful experience. Thanks to great friends, and wonderful EMS and hospital staff, Chris was given his “happy pills” and put back together once again. Upon visiting our orthopedic surgeon today, we’ve agreed to hold off on surgery this time as it’s proving to be non-beneficial with EDS.
So, today on his 18th birthday, I want my son to know how proud I am of him as a father. Really, think about it, what would it be like for you to be Isaiah Austin or Chris Arnold Jr. and have the doctors tell you that you were no longer able to do what you were so passionate about? While Chris wasn’t on the verge of a NBA draft, in his world it’s one and the same. Yet, having gone through all this pain and suffering, Chris has always kept his head up and had a great attitude. While I know he’s been mad at God in the past, he has stayed in the fight and grown. I’ve often commented to him that I’m not sure I would have handled it nearly as well as him.
I don’t know what The Lord has planned for my son. However, if the amount of suffering we must pass through correlates to the size of the call, something big is in his future. Regardless, we’ll love him all the same and be there supporting in the wings.
So, “hey little buddy”, you’re love beyond imagination, let’s make this a great day even in the present circumstances, and Happy 18th Birthday!