Wednesday, March 21, 2012

By the Grace of God I am an optimist (A Dan post)

When did I become such a big optimist?  I'm the glass half empty, it's partly cloudy and almost never sunny guy.  I have enough built up aggression by midday that it fuels my lunchtime workouts for an hour.  So, why did I tell my father recently that after Monica's next surgery this family will be back to "normal".  Where did that inspiration come from?  My wife looked at me in complete shock after hearing that doozy of a forecast.  She just happened to be within earshot of my phone conversation suffering from what we now know as a mast cell reaction to either a kind of food or something in the air.  Her lower back was in agony while I tried to sugarcoat our current situation to my dad.  Sunday night Monica had to fashion a cloth napkin into a gas mask to escape a well perfumed patron at our favorite dinner spot.  Airborne odors are one of her greatest enemies inside and outside the home and they can strike quickly and without warning.  The reaction is similar to suffocating.  So why did I bend the truth heavily with my dad who lives hundreds of miles away?  

When I talk about Danica I always err on the side of caution.  Our little girl is doing absolutely fantastic, but there's always a big part of me that will always try to protect her and limit her activities.  When most parents wish that their babies would never grow up, I can't wait until Danica gets bigger and stronger with hope that my fears for her health and safety will lessen.  

Monica has always been the strongest fighter in our family.  Ever since we met she has displayed a deep sense of confidence in herself and her goals in life.  One of the biggest reasons I married her is because I thought she would carry our family on her back when called upon.  She had drive and a desire to be successful.  She was physically strong as well even though slight of body.  I remember we bought roller blades while dating and she took a really bad spill that first day out.  Her knee and elbow were beat up but she never flinched throughout the whole ordeal.  Little did I know that trip to the ER would be the first of many many more.  The fact that she's eight years younger than I was also appealing.  If I'm being honest with myself, I have to admit that I take advantage of her by thinking she will always be around to help.  For example, there is no way I could ever have made it through all the Danica events without her there taking control.  When she was recently recuperating at the lake house, I often found myself alone and freaked out when one of the kids would sniffle or cough.  I would panic!  Monica wasn't around to take control in an emergency.  It was an extremely long two months without her.  We are, after all we've been through, best buddies and there is no one I'd rather hang out with than her.  Yes, our kids are healthy now but Monica has jut begun her journey with EDS and mast cells and POTS.  

Why am I such an optimist now?  Monica's struggles are now my struggles.  She is going to need my help and encouragement not just with the coming surgery but through all the experiments we'll be testing in the near future that may alleviate her symptoms.  When I think about the past four years and what amazing challenges this family has overcome so far, two things have remained constant; my commitment to my wife and the faithfulness of God through the love of those familiar with our story.  When I asked Monica for her hand in marriage far away on a Hawaiian island, I knew it was the single most important promise I would ever make in life.  If I am nothing else I will be a faithful and loving husband to her as long as I shall live.   I have slowly been changed by the support of family, friends and very often, the support of strangers and those that choose to remain anonymous. This next surgery for Monica weighed heavily on our minds as the cost for travel, hotel and medical expenses dug deep into our thread bare pockets.  By the grace of God our decision to proceed as planned was practically made for us through Monica's friend, Kristin, and her friend, Mellany,  who with incredible thoughtfulness and action accomplished raising much of the funds needed to move forward.  It is amazing how God always seems to wait until days before to fill the gap.  Though we have another long week away from our beautiful daughters, we know this must be the next step in the search for healing.  Just knowing we have such caring and loving people following our story and praying for us gives me the confidence to face each day with a bright outlook.  Knowing that my commitment to my wife will never cease brings me the strength and courage she needs me to have now and in the days ahead.  

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."  I Corinthians 15:10

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