Clem Clan

Clem Clan

Friday, January 7, 2011

Everyone's doing it

I have been thinking about doing a blog for almost a year.  I am finally taking the time to start it.  I cannot promise I will update often as I am finishing my maternity leave in two weeks. 
Here is the history of the Clem Clan...

Sean and I met in 2006 on cinco de mayo at the Frog.  Its a local establishment in the town I grew up in.  I actually was the one who made the move :)  We were just friends for a couple months and then decided to start dating.  We got engaged quick, November 2006 and then we got married April 14, 2007.  We both knew we wanted to start a family right away.  However, when Sean's family farm came up for sale we decided to get it. This is where we like to say our faith building journey began.  It was a nightmare buying the farm, but we desperately wanted to keep it in the Clem family as it had been in the family for 110 years!  So many stories and memories for Sean's family.  It was a 9 acre lot with two houses (one a rental), 3 barns and a shed.  It was very exciting but a big stretch for us financially.  However, lots of prayers and so many "signs" were given that we were sure that's where we should be.  Ill never forget when Sean's cousin randomly showed up to pray with us, a cousin he hadn't seen in 5+ years because he felt God was telling him we  needed prayers. 

We closed on the house and the same day Sean was laid off from his job.  However, he had another job in the same field lined up.  He had been working in RV manufacturing as with the rest of Elkhart County.  Our county was one of the hardest hit areas in the country.  Our unemployment was nearly 15%, President Obama made a couple trips out here and even mentioned our county in several speeches.  Shortly after he started his new RV job, he was laid off from that!  However he was very lucky to get another immediate job offer with an electric company.  We felt so blessed that he was able to find a job with such a high unemployment rate.  About this time I found out I was pregnant with my first.  We were so excited.  We had been trying for about 9 months and we were about to give up.  We thought for sure that an electric job was stable and we had nothing to worry about.  That Decemeber, Sean was laid off again... three times in one year.  Not to mention, our tenant renting our rental house was also laid off.  We orginally budgeted to not count on his rent each month, however with seans lay off from RVs he recieved at 30K pay decrease, so we had no choice.  Now, I was the only one working.  We held on for a few months, family pitched in and we always had just enough money for the bills and for food.  It was such a blessing.  However, one month before Ethan was born we made the hard choice to sell.  And we were lucky enough to sell this huge property in a hard hit community the same week Ethan was born.  God was really there and watching out for us.

What we learned later is why everything was just falling into place.  Two weeks after Ethan was born we were told at his well baby check that he most likely had Cystic Fibrosis.  I will never forget that day.  I sat with sean at the doctors office just balling my eyes out.  Sean had never heard of CF, I had... My best friend from college, LeeAnne, had lost her childhood friend to the disease when she was very young.  I instantly thought that Ethan wouldnt make it till 20, that he would never play sports like we hoped and that he would be sick all the time.  We went right to get a sweat test when he was 3 weeks old.  Ethan could not sweat enough to get a result and we were told we had to wait 4 more weeks until he was older.  During those two weeks Ethan was dedicated and we promised to raise him to know the Lord and grow up in a house that would do that.  We had him on probaly 8 different prayer chains at different churches.  However, the biggest thing to come from all of this is that Sean and I started praying together every night for our son.  This was huge for me, I never was confident enough to pray out loud, but when my son's health was at stack I got over it.

We went back for his sweat test when he was almost 7 weeks old.  He had enough sweat and we were confident he didnt have it.  He had already almost doubled his birth wait, he didnt taste salty (I seriously kissed his forehead at least once a day), his stools seemed normal.. We got the results back that night and it was negative! He wasnt even borderline!  We celebrated like you wouldnt believe!!  We felt so lucky to barely escape that.  Well the next day I got a call from the clinic.  Even though he had a negative sweat test he still had two genes, which in turn meant he had CF.  We were absolutely devastated.  Sean and I took Ethan right to the clinic in South Bend.  There were "sick" kids in the waiting room and we were so scared.  Watching the older ones there scared us so bad.  When we got back to talk to the doctor he told us he wasnt sure E had CF.  All he had gotten was a hand written note from the state, no official results.  What a rollar coaster!!  We left hopeful that there was a mistake.  In the meantime we found out that our health insurance didnt cover the South Bend clinic and that we would have to go to Fort Wayne.  We got in 2 weeks later. 

At first we were so upset we had to make the hour and half drive instead of 20 minutes.  This change happened to be the best thing ever.  At South Bend the doctor didn't even look at Ethan.  When Ethan had severe adema (swelling from not absorbing anything) and was so pale because he had almost no iron in his body.  Dr James at Fort Wayne confirmed he had CF and started on a list of meds.  We found out later that week when I called with a question that Dr James was really kicking herself for not admitting Ethan until he was stablized with everything.  His liver enzymes were way off, he had severe  swelling, his iron was way off.  He was just a mess. So this clinic was the best.  We went back two weeks later and he was back to normal and thats where our CF journey began. 

I learned everything I possibly could about CF.  I made as many friends online as I could, read every book I could find about it, and attended a conference.  I know feel very confident about Ethan's health.  I know we will have good days and bad days, maybe even good months and bad months,  but our faith is strong and our support team is incridible.  I still have bad days with the CF diagnosis but on those days I have friends to snap me out of it.  I really help to help new cf parents. 

Sean and I have started running a Great Strides walk along with the foundation.  Last year we had 50+ people there on our team to support us and Ethan.  We also raised nearly $11,000 for a cure.  On that day I left with tears in my eyes.  We felt so loved, supported and blessed.  We are so thankful for all of the people in our lives.  We are looking forward to this years walk.

In Nov this year we added a second member to the Clem Clan.  Liam Elliot was born on Nov 29th.  He is just a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis.  I had an amino done when I was 14 weeks pregnant.  He is an amazing little guy and Ethan LOVES being a big brother. 

Well there is a brief history, future blogs will not be this long.  :)

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