Monday, February 28, 2011

The station (A Dan post)

I'm not a big fan of Facebook. Maybe it's because the past several months . . . years, have been very stressful and I'm not usually in a good frame of mind to share personal information online. I realize posting daily commentary is often very therapeutic and that true friends are sincerely interested in ones plight, but I don't want to fall into a habit of constantly sharing my inner thoughts and feelings especially since the update from our world is unusually bleak. Honestly, it's like needing to turn off the news five minutes into the report. In our case, you probably just need to look away most of the time. If you see me and ask how we are doing I will say something like, "Oh, we are surviving." No details. Anything else is probably too much information.

My wife had another laparoscopy a week ago and is still struggling with the recovery. A laparoscopy is like a trip to the dentist for her as she's already had many of them over the twelve years we've been together, but this one threw us a curveball with a blocked kidney causing extreme pain. We spent Saturday back at the ER, and they sent her home with a catheter. They are unsure why her bladder will not empty on it's own. She is such a strong woman. I catch her crying once in awhile, but she quickly wipes the tears away. She quotes a verse. She reminds us we can't turn back now. We can't give up. Tomorrow we head back to the Clinic for more tests and we are without our girls for another few days. Put the broken record on the Victrola.

The real answer to how things are going over here is a four letter word a lot of the time. My wife is the center of our home, and she keeps us all moving through our routines. With her in bed it's like we are paralyzed. Danica needs her and doesn't want me for the simple day to day stuff. This frustrates me. Delaney reverts to those months she had to be without Monica when she was hospitalized and pregnant with Danica. She has very real anxiety about her mom being sick. Our independent girl becomes needier. I shut down emotionally. My wife is my other half in every sense. I promise I won't do this, but I can't help it. When she is sick I am perilously stuck on a ledge. I can't communicate this or move to be different. It's like I'm hiding here until she can emerge from the bedroom and put us all back together.

I'm not holding up too well despite outward appearances. I'm way stressed and am gaining weight. The one thing that gives me some relief, working out, has been pushed to the back burner while I am full time caregiver. I snap easily and am quick to frustration. It is a challenge to care for a bed-ridden wife and mother, a three year old in a brace and a precocious eight year old all at the same time while maintaining a clean, orderly home. I focus on the outward things and forget the emotional needs of all three of my girls should be a priority. My girls definitely deserve better parenting from me. I hope they forgive me for failing them so often. I have missed a lot of work. I am so grateful for the FMLA and the donation of paid time off from my coworkers, but it still is upsetting to feel like you are letting everyone down, including your work team.

The support we receive continues to be overwhelming. The well wishes, thoughts, prayers, dinners, and gift cards are all extremely generous. I feel ashamed that I am not displaying more sense of gratitude during these trying times, but it is often difficult to just face the day ahead. Please know your love has changed me. I cannot fully communicate the ways I am a different man because of God's providing through you. We would not have made it through this journey without our "social network." We talk all the time about how we hope to be able to turn all this love and support into something bigger and "pay it forward" in the future. For now, please know it is safely planted and growing.

There is a tiny light at the end of the tunnel but our train keeps jumping the track. Danica is physically doing well despite her shrinking Minerva brace. We are struggling to limit her walking with assistance for fear of falling, but it is quite evident that she is ready to remove her brace and move to the Aspen collar. She has two large friction sores on her neck but that does not slow her down at all. I am unable to create a dream of her running around freely in the warm summer air, barefoot in the grass, as it seems forever since she has had that brace on, just sitting here in our little home. A week from tomorrow will be six months. A half a year we have been here suffering and waiting and hoping. It's hard to remember what it could be like if we really get to move past this. I try to emulate an "Inception" like dreamworld as often as possible allowing myself to drift off into a "better" life for some relief. I don't read my wife's facebook posts or blog all the time because, to be honest, the content scares me. I don't want to recognize her words as the reality of my own life . . . our life.

We have our eyes fixed on next Monday and Tuesday, March 7th and 8th, in Cincinnati. Danica will have her brain MRI and her bone x-ray. We fully know our journey on these tracks may enter another dark tunnel in the near future, but our train must stop at the next station as we desperately need an opportunity to strengthen our family and enjoy life. "However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us." (Roberts Hastings)

The only REAL station is when ALL this will fade away. We will wake up from this dream into eternal reality and will have arrived. Until then, please continue to pray for us that we will ENDURE and God would allow a period of rest and some days of happiness for us soon.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed . . . Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." II Corinthians 4:8-, 16-18


  1. I do not know you personally but have followed your blog when I can through postings on FB by Angie Davis. My heart breaks for your family and all that you are going through. I am awed by your faith, and found this open, honest blog of your struggles deeply moving. None of that helps you. I just wanted you to know you are heard, by those who know you well and those who don't, and you are in my prayers for relief from the unbearable burdens you have been given. You sound like an amazing man.

  2. Hi Dan,
    Just want you to know you and your family have been on my heart and in my prayers. You all have been through so much... Don't beat yourself up so much over your imperfections. Just loving and respecting your wife,and respecting her, and holding her in such high esteem that is so awesome. You are a man who obviously loves his family. But you are also a man. And we all struggle, and fall, and stumble, and have to deal with a sin nature. Be gentle with yourself, just as Jesus would. Love to all your family, Carol

  3. You are on my heart, Dan and family. I'll be sending up prayers for you as you come to mind over the next days and weeks.