Archive for May, 2009

The Valley Grows Darker

I forced myself to look at my agenda to see how long it has been since Dr. Jahan told us, “Dan has weeks, not months.”  Next Tuesday will be 3 weeks since he told us, “Weeks, not months.”  I want to know, “how many weeks will I have my Dan?”  But God is the only One who knows.  At dinner, Dan had such shortness of breath that he had to talk very slowly.  When the meal was over, I realized that Dan had eaten very little. Edd taught me to “look for the positive in every situation.”  The only Positive that I can see is that Dan will get to go Home very soon where cancer and death are defeated!  

People are asking, “Where will Dan’s funeral be?”  We have dear friends in so many places.  Dan has requested that we hold 3 memorial services – one here in Pacifica at the loving fellowship where our son and family attend, later one at RHCC in North Richland Hills, TX, where we were before we moved to Romania, and one in Hobart, Oklahoma, an area where many of Dan’s family live.  Dan’s father was the minister there, survived the building of the new church building before passing on to his reward at age 43.  

Burial will be at the little country cemetery near where Dan was born not far from Altus, Oklahoma.  His grandparents, parents and older brother are buried there.   They are in Heaven waiting for him.  All of Dan’s life he was a pilgrim like Abraham – going where God called him to serve.  Neither Dan nor I have an “old home place” to visit.  Our parents lived many places.  We never had opportunity to put down roots as children, or as adults.    That makes Heaven all the more desirable! 

“The Lord is my Shepherd…though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me….”  — Anne and Dan

Mark and Debbie slept on the couch to be near Dan as long as possible.
Mark and Debbie slept on the couch to be near Dan as long as possible.

 

We Miss Our Volgograd Family

We Miss Our Volgograd Family

Who will help Miss Anne take care of us now?
Who will help Miss Anne take care of us now?
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May 31, 2009 at 5:22 am Leave a comment

Sonshine in our Souls Today

We want to give thanks and praise to Dr. Floyd and Pauline Dunn of Abilene, Texas, for saving my life 55 years ago…and teaching us how to be Jesus with skin on. We’d only been married a little over a year when I had my first miscarriage. My specialist was not taking good care of me.  The Dunns asked permission for their doctor to examine me.  After 10 days in the hospital, the Dunn’s doctor told my hot shot obstetrician that he’d better perform surgery on me immediately.  

The Dunns invited us to stay with them since I had no one to take care of me in our little hutment on the ACC campus.  When we were able to go to our “house,” we tried to pay the Dunns for the groceries they had fed us.  Smiling, Floyd said, “You don’t owe us anything.  But what we do want you to do is the next time you know of someone who needs help, you help them.  That will repay us.” Floyd and Pauline set the direction of our sail, and God has helped us to love, encourage, help many people around the world from that time on.

Knowing that Dan is dying, how can we be so filled with joy in the midst of our sorrow?  One of the top joys we had today was the phone call from our Texas grandson. It’s good to be connected again.We have been totally immersed in the love of God by Intentional Followers of Jesus who have travelled thousands of miles to be with us.  They have filled our hearts with Sonshine.  

We are daily wrapped in love by messages like this one   – “Dear Anne and Dan! My heart is falling apart when I read the news on the blog….thanks to you both, since I met you, I came closer to God, and definitely I became a better person. I learned from you to believe that God knows what’s best for us, and He loves us very much, and gives us help, when we need it.
Please tell Dan, evry day, that we love him so much, and he will be in our hearts for as long as we live!
We hug you, 
Csilla, Jutka, Tibor, Csengi, Blanka, Kati”

HOW IS DAN?  The Dr. increased the diuretic in an effort to decrease fluid filling his body. He’s taking Keflex antibiotic to fight a bladder infection.  .25 milliliters of morphine every 2 hours makes it possible for Dan’s breathing to be a little smoother. Silver Shield is working  to control the Cellulitis.  Dan still gets up and shuffles to the table for meals, enjoys lying in the recliner in the living room talking with all of us.

  And now, I am going to crawl into bed…and see if Dan does his regular thing – wake up, rip his face mask off, get out of bed…and one or two hours later, we get to go to bed…until the next time he can’t sleep and gets up again.  This i an intresting life.  Life is hard, but God is good.  — Anne and Dan

Irina, Rya, Mama Luba, our Sisters in Volgograd
Irina, Rya, Mama Luba, our Sisters in Volgograd

 

Our North Carolina "kids" came
Our North Carolina “kids” came

 

 

 

Dear Friends, Supporters - Don and Joann Hall with Dan and Anne.
Dear Friends, Supporters – Don and Joann Hall with Dan and Anne.Mark & Debbie rearranged their schedule to fly in for 24 sweet hours with us!

May 30, 2009 at 9:07 am 1 comment

Hearts Full to Overflowing

At the time of this writing, Dan is still with us.  The story is much the same as the night before.  We bought a few new clothes last week for Dan because he is swelling os much around the middle…today, we bought size Extra Large trousers, and shirts. The swelling continues.

How can we be so blessed?  People who have chosen to be Our Family are coming here to tell Dan, “Goodbye.”  Many others who have also chosen to be a part of Our Family have phoned or written saying how they wish they could see Dan one more time to hug him, to thank him face to face for how he let God use him to help them grow into better people.  

Our beloved brother, Samuel, left Wednesday to go back to Dallas before returning to Ghana, in Africa.  Today Mark and Debbie flew in for an almost 24 hour visit.  They are sleeping on the couches just outside our bedroom door…they want to be near Dan, be with Dan as much as possible. Tim and Claudia, Natasha and Amber are still with us.  

The question is…will Dan be with us?  God is good o I know that He will provide all we need, when we need it.  Sleep is what I need now after a wonderful day with Intentional Followers of Christ.

We wish we could put a photo of everyone who has ever helped up in any way. But tonight, I will settle for sowing you our dear, dear friends in Holland who have been loyal friends for almost 50 years.  Dick taught me the Proverb that says that it is better to have a loyal friend close by than to have a brother far away.  They are far away, but they keep close with weekly phone calls. God is always good.  Look for and be open to his goodness for He loves you very much.  — Anne and Dan

 

Dick and Hanny van Geet - friends for life!

Dick and Hanny van Geet - friends for life!

 

Hanny is a true friend...phone calls every week.

Hanny is a true friend...phone calls every week.

 

David and Victoria Parsley (do they look young enough to be our "kids?"

David and Victoria Parsley (do they look young enough to be our "kids?"

May 29, 2009 at 7:17 am 3 comments

When I Begin to Fall

The days and nights are rough for Dan.  He probably has 30 pounds of lymph fluid gathered from his knees up to the middle of his ribs.  And the fluid continues to gather.  He is so uncomfortable.  His days and nights are turned around.  At times he is disoriented. He is so weak, so weak.   His loved ones gather round, and weep in each other’s arms to see Dan so ill.  We are already missing him. And, yet, in brief moments of strength, he talks to us about Jesus and how much He loves us. Lord Jesus, when will you take your servant Home so he can have peace?

After too many nights of too little sleep, I found myself slipping into  darkness and anger last night.  Our son helped me prepare Dan for bed… use a special “pivot move” one arm around his shoulders and one arm under his knees to get him in the bed, get his body straight in bed, slide him up towards the head of the bed, apply special Silver Shield gel on the cellulitis on his legs, massage feet and legs, take night pills, cough syrup, pain medication, put water into CPAP water tank, put on CPAP mask, remove oxygen tube from face and attach oxygen tube to CPAP machine, cover him to keep him warm and kiss him good night.  

After washing my face, I crawled into bed…and heard him taking off his mask!  We’re up again.  At 1:40 a.m., he said, “Go to bed! I will take care of myself.”  I had to talk myself out of being angry.  Dizzy with fatigue, I crawled into bed and prayed for God to keep Dan safe, and to take away my anger and fear.  God is always faithful…He answered my prayer, gave me sleep and kept Dan safe.  Three hours later, I am awakened by heavy snoring.  He’d actually put himself back in bed, but could not get the CPAP mask back on. That was our night. 

That is the life of a major caregiver. Today, I had help – someone to care for Dan while I rested an hour. If you know someone who is caring for a terminally ill loved one at home, pray that God will provide the help that is needed, then go be Jesus with skin on – offer to sit with the patient so the caregiver can get out of the house for awhile, read the Bible or devotional material to the patient, do a load of wash, vacuum a floor, bring a dish of food that the patient can eat.  These are the things loving people are doing for us.  We are going to make to the end of this rocky road because Jesus is with us…sending people to be His hands, His feet, carrying us because we can’t walk anymore. — Anne and Dan

May 28, 2009 at 8:38 am 3 comments

Blessings

(I published this last night, but it did not work right. So I am publishing it again.)  Monday was a rough day in many ways.  Dan is dying.  That is clear.  When will God let him go Home?  That is known only to God.  But what a blessing that Dan has been with us these extra months, and now a heavenly home prepared by God awaits him. But our load is made lighter because people very dear to us have come to be with us, sent letters, e-mails, talked to us on Skype and phoned.  Here are some who have helped us bear this load –

Dan & Tim - our Dutch "Grandson" is with us.  

Dan & Tim – our Dutch “Grandson” is with us now.

 

Claudia, our Brazilian Dutch "Granddaughter" & Anne  

Claudia, our Brazilian Dutch “Granddaughter” & Anne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan is soooo happy Samuel is with him.  

Dan is soooo happy Samuel is with him.

 

 

 

 

 

Vicki W. wrote today –

This verse has blessed me so much and I wanted to pass it on to you today. My heart is heavy for you and your family but at the same time full of joy for what comfort we share as followers of our Saviour Jesus. Thank you for opening your heart and life and this special time to share it with us. I join you in giving thanks to the Father for the faith He has given you and the glory that is all His!

“For because of your faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be. And we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us–they help us learn to be patient.”

“And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that heppens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:2-5 LB — Anne and Dan

May 27, 2009 at 4:49 am 3 comments

The Sweet Side of Life

Today was truly a sweet International Day here.  Dr. Samuel Obeng, Kumasi, Ghana, Tim and Claudia (Dutch/Brazilian) living in Spain, Texans and Californians gathered around the table to break bread together. We are so happy that our children here are having the opportunity to get to know some of our extended family in the Lord.  Dan spent every waking moment with them talking about the love of the Lord, His will for their lives, encouraging them in their Christian walk.  Dan even led a beautiful communion service at our dining table.

Having taken 2 muscle relaxants last night, Dan slept well…which meant I could sleep too.  We have had long talks about our futures when we come to the fork in the road and have to part.   We share brief moments expressing how much we love each other. thanking each other for choosing to walk together with the Lord (only by the grace of God).  These are moments I will always treasure.  We’ve had plenty of challenging times in our relationship, with our families, in our work, in some of the congregations we’ve worked with, you name it!  But God always helps us grow as a result.  Some things didn’t work out like we had prayed for, but sometimes God’s answer is, “No.”  And, remember, God always gives each person the freedom to choose what they do.  Sometimes their answer is, “No.”  

How much longer can Dan’s heart manage the pressure of the ever increasing fluid in his torso, legs and feet?  We bought him some clothes to fit his expanding torso, but they are almost too tight now.  The Cellulitis is still a concern, but is not spreading.  The rash caused by Ativan is still there.  Robitussin is helping his cough loosen up.  My bed is right beside his bed so I can hear every breath, feel the bed shake if his breathing gets rough, or if his coughing gets out of control.  Even that time is sweet because when I open my eyes, I see his handsome face.  One day soon, when he opens his eyes, he will see the Face he has been living to see.  —  Anne and Dan

Dr. Jim and Dr. Lyn came the day after university semester ended.

Dr. Jim and Dr. Lyn came the day after university semester ended.

 

Nurse Amber and Natasha gently scratch his ever itching back.

Nurse Amber and Natasha gently scratch his ever itching back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel came all the way from Ghana to see Dan one more time.

Samuel came all the way from Ghana to see Dan one more time.

May 25, 2009 at 6:30 am 5 comments

Waiting…

Friday night Dan was up at 12:30, 3:30, 5:30 a.m.  If I was simply an observer, not emotionally involved, I’d find this very interesting…his torso and legs filling with excess lymph fluid that can’t exit his body; every few days a new medication allergy develops; the spreading of ointments in an attempt to stop the rash and itching; the massaging of his swollen legs in an effort to reduce pain and keep more cellulitis from developing; the application of Silver Shield to the cellulite areas of his legs that look like they were severely sunburned; the new CPAP mask that we ordered that does not fit, but the 4″ elastic band to wrap around his head almost makes the old CPAP mask give him the ability to breathe when he is asleep; the body wracking cough that is now responding to Tussin; the attempts to get him to drink water that he does not want; and on and on and on.

Dan does not complain, even though he sees himself declining.  Weak as a kitten, he walks bent over holding onto his walker for support. But walk he does!  He cannot lift his legs to get in or out of bed.  We’re grateful he had No fever today. But when Amber trimmed his finger nails, he said to round the edges because that was necessary to work on the proof machine.  (He put himself through Pepperdine and ACC by operating a proof machine at banks.)

Tim and Claudia (our Dutch/Brazilian “grandchildren”) arrived today for one week to help take care of Dan…and to say, “goodbye.” Natasha and Amber will be here one more week.  Dan requires around the clock care now.  He is coughing incessantly at the moment.  He is anxious when I am not with him.

The process of prolonged illness that leads to death is an unlovely, exhausting, challenging experience.  The only way to survive this is to cling to God.  Let Him guide you, protect you from harm, comfort you, carry you.  Sin brought Death into the world, but Jesus brought the opportunity for everyone to choose Eternal Life.  This is a lonely, rocky path to walk, but with Jesus, we can do all things…whatever comes our way, He will help us deal with it.  

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that iall things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8   We are waiting; God is faithful. — Anne and Dan

May 24, 2009 at 7:38 am 3 comments

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