Sunday, September 5, 2010


I am sitting here in bed. A million emotions are bombarding me. I feel pain from many places, but I am fixated on my tongue. For some crazy reason my tongue has been swollen since my surgery on Tuesday. It's gotten worse, not better. I can't find any message board online to assure me it's okay. I am getting more and more freaked out because no matter what I drink or eat or try to do all I can feel or think about is my stupid tongue.

Dan and the girls are gone. I had Dan take Delaney to urgent care for a horrible cough that began awhile ago, and I thought was just allergies, but it truly sounded worse through the night. It sounds like it's not a tickle anymore but settled in her chest. I still cannot drive, so I asked him to take her. Dan doesn't do doctors appointments. He has gone with me to Danica's stuff when I ask, but it's not part of the "role" he plays. He is a horrible medical advocate, and I am regretting sending him even as I write this.

Dan sent me this email a week ago. Maybe it helps explain why our family cannot stay afloat unless I am at the helm and relatively healthy. Dan doesn't do sick. He can function around the situation. He runs the vacuum and does laundry and gets the kids to bed, but he absolutely cannot be emotionally available to the person who is ill. This is not an excuse he uses. There is a real and painful reason he hits a wall when faced with a hospital room or a ventilator or a bedpan. Here's what he wrote:

"In late December, 1983, my mom died of cancer. I think it was breast cancer that spread to her lungs. That fall there was the hayride at my uncle’s house where we had to remind her to “watch her hair” less her wig get caught on the branches on the trail. We met at Jerry’s Sub Shop to discuss hospice. She lived in our dining room and vomited in a pink bucket. Later, I sat with her in the hospital room watching one side of her chest rise up and down until it stopped rising altogether. For Christmas I got new clothes and a Walkman cassette player. These are my memories of 1983.

You threw up into our kitchen sink the other day. The only thing I said to you was to ask you why you chose not to puke in the garbage disposal side of the sink. I didn’t ask how you felt or if you needed anything. Just curious why not the disposal side.

Recently someone emailed words of encouragement for our two upcoming surgery dates. His first effort was the old adage, “What doesn't destroy you only makes you stronger,” or similar. I have heard this sentiment thousands of times, and I think it is quite overused and misdirected. If you follow our life story you get an idea of what our family has endured over the past few years, and I can tell you I am not getting stronger. One may be confusing strength with resiliency, defined as the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. I am very resilient, but it is not from strength, it is from weakness. I am getting weaker and have turned to directing my thoughts elsewhere, becoming numb in the process. I dream great dreams every night and try to escape and make an escape for you and the girls too. I thrive in the weight room where my mind goes blank for ninety minutes. I love the struggle of moving heavy iron until my body gives up. At work I am grateful that every day brings new challenges where it is easy to stay focused and keep busy. If my life events were making me stronger, I would not care which side of the sink is preferred for throwing up.

My father wrote me the following in an email hoping to bring comfort and understanding. “The optimism I got from your mom has helped me through these valleys - with the exception of Justin's death. (Dan's sister lost her son shortly after his birth.) That laid me low, but I realized that I had to get up and play my role.” My dad was born in the thirties and has survived numerous personal losses, gunshot wounds and a heart attack. He is my hero in life and every day we awake, God willing, we have to get up and play a role in the lives of others we love. It’s quite possible that I started to learn these coping methods as a result of my mom’s illness and death. So be it. I’m not going to overanalyze every daily event, emotion or thought. I’m going to live the life provided, and I will be there for my family, for you. I'm sorry I made a big deal about the sink.

I have been so mad at Dan since last night. I have been laying up here alone in my bed in pain. I have been crying my eyes out. I have been fixated on my stupid tongue and what Dan is NOT doing for me. I feel so ashamed this morning as I try to pray and get my heart before God. This is how Dan knows how to love me. This is how he cares for me. He cannot face the depression and pain in my eyes. He cannot bear to watch me suffer, so he does another load of laundry and vacuums again. He does what he knows how to do.

Bottom line, this past week has sucked. I've got to heal. I've got to move past this and quickly, so we can move on to Danica's surgery. Thank you for reminding us of your love through feeding us and calling us and praying for us. Please pray specifically for the decisions I need to make about work. I am supposed to return on Tuesday--yes, the day after tomorrow. This is a complete impossibility. My PTO is gone. I need the kind of faith that moves mountains to say out loud what I know is the only possibility right now. I have to quit working and trust God will provide through the end of the year--through my healing and Danica's healing. Please pray about this. Please pray for my Dan. Please pray for my girls. Pray I will keep my eyes and heart fixated on Jesus and my tongue will heal! Our hope remains.


  1. Monica
    You are in my prayers. I know this road is hard. Sometimes it is hard to trust and have the faith we need. I will pray you get it. I too have been struggling lately. It is so hard to explain what you feel. I even struggled the other day writing for my blog. It came out as complaining and not understanding my daughter. But I think that may be the point. It is hard to understand all of this! I know this is where faith comes in. I will pray that your faith and Dan's stay strong. Part of being a parent is doing the dirty work. The stuff we hate doing. My Tim also struggles with the doctor visits and the hospital stays. But for our baby we maintain. We move forward. Love and prayers to you all!

  2. I have tears in my eyes. Praying for you!

    P.S. You need to write a book. I'm serious!

  3. I hope the best for little Danica, somehow I stumbled on your site throughout Etsy and was interested because my name is Danica too! I will keep your family in my prayers and know that you will get through this! <3

  4. I don't know how to post a song but please check this song. It's called Healing Is In Your Hands. I don't pretend to even for a second understand your pain. I pray this song brings your some comfort.