I started a CaringBridge site for updates about Dan's health because we've finally embraced the fact that we are going to be moving forward with a bone marrow transplant (either a research trial (3rd party) or allopathic - from a donor - his sister). There will be lots of specific prayer requests that I will throw out at you, our fantastic support system. And, I hope you know that I don't say that as lip service; truly, every time you pray for us, we can feel it.
As I worked on just writing out our journey the last two years, I am honestly overwhelmed - overcome with emotions ranging from gratitude to shock that we haven't simply survived. In the midst of some crazy chaos, we have thrived; and, I think - well, I don't think - I know, it's because we know the Calm of the storm: it's Jesus.
When I think about just the past year and all that we have endured... I have no words. Shock and awe.
It took meeting with our bone marrow doctor ten days ago for us to finally realize that we have been living in a cycle of sickness for A LONG TIME...and that the transplant, while very scary, is our best option for breaking that cycle. For a while, I think we both thought that we could do it - we have done it for years...but, at what cost?
Many of you have commented over the year about my strength - and I thank you for that. I find strength from lots of you, and from Dan, and I have a model of great strength. My grandma Ellen cared for my grandpa Joe for 3 years while he was in kidney failure, and I don't know how she did it. Now that I have lived this journey, I have such profound respect for her. These are not easy tasks, but we do them because we can't imagine any other way. We don't know how to not do it, to not give, to not love, to not wear ourselves out in the caring for the person we love most.
While we certainly don't do it perfectly, and each day is its own battle with a cross to bear... we continue to press on because that is the way forward to life. We may cry, but that is where we find release. I find such healing from my tears. I am not ashamed to cry or to feel so deeply.
But creating this site was a really big deal for me, you guys. I'm admitting that this...this...is so much bigger, so much more serious than I live my life thinking. I kind of have this thought that these sites are only for the serious, life-threatening things...and to admit that this is where we are - damn, you guys! "I can't even" put it into words.
Also, I'm really quite disappointed that I can't customize the site more. The "cover page" (in facebook language) options are so super lame. What I WANT that part of the page to say is this because it's my mantra right now:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
For as Christ's sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.
This is what it's all about for me. In the last year, God has become so much closer, so much more tangible to me through this affliction and suffering. To think how far off from him I was then, and how much more there is of His heart for me to know...I am only on the far edge. I am closer than I was, but still so far from really grasping how wide, and high, and deep is the love of Christ Jesus for us.
I gather strength and encouragement from those who have walked the road of suffering and affliction before me; who have endured the pain of seeing their spouse suffer...they have given me strength to do this...and that will overflow into the hearts of those who walk with us. We are the body of Christ - and we must journey together if we are to find healing and wholeness.