Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One year on

One year on, it looks a lot different. And a lot better.

A year ago today, I was admitted to United Hospital with a diagnosis of a pituitary tumor. I spent the better part of two weeks in the hospital, eventually having surgery to remove the tumor in the first week of April. I wrote about my experience here and periodically throughout the following months here. Looking back on what I wrote then, the words appear a lot more calm, a lot more stoic, than I was actually feeling. I didn't put down the fear that I felt. Although I had every reason to be confident about the stellar team of doctors and nurses that worked on my case, I was scared as hell. The previous year had been filled with horrific, debilitating headaches, culminating in the big one that prompted the trip to the doctor that led me to United. As my vision blurred, as my words slurred, I feared the worst. As my children got on the bus for school that morning, I worried that I might not see them again. Even as my brain felt like it was exploding, it was impossible to turn it off.

One year on, it looks a lot different. The surgery was successful and while the rehabilitation period took longer than I would have liked, things are much better now. The debilitating headaches are pretty much a thing of the past. I've long since adjusted to the regimen of medication that is now part of my life. At the time of the surgery, I was unemployed and our financial situation was getting dicey. Since then I've been able to switch gears and have had steady freelance writing income for much of the past year. I've been able to coach, teach Faith Formation classes and increase the quantity and quality of my blogging. In the most visible manifestations, one year on my life is better in every way.

One year on, two things are clear. I am fortunate to have a wonderful family, especially a fantastic wife. When Mrs. D signed on for better or worse, she likely couldn't have envisioned the potential dimensions of "worse." There have been times in the past year where it would have been easy, and understandable, if she wanted to walk away from the challenges that were part of our life together. She never flinched. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am that she has been willing to share her life with me.

The other thing that has become clear is the importance of faith. I have it on good authority that God received many prayers on my behalf in the past year and all of these prayers have been answered. One year ago, it would have been easy to lapse into despair, but it didn't happen because the people who cared about me shared their prayers, their support and their witness. One year on, I have a better (though imperfect) understanding of what faith can do and what it really means. Of the many gifts I have received in the past year, that is the most important of all.


Uncle Ben said...

Has it been a year already?!!! I'm very pleased to hear your report on what has transpired. It is your story to tell to the world about the goodness of God. And the goodness of your wife too, but you never would have landed her without his help! ;)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and the Mrs. on the one year anniversary and on getting through this. I can only imagine what could go through your mind, particularly as to your family. Until I had children, I never gave great thought to my mortality, but the first thing that would spring to my mind if someone told me I needed brain surgery would be that I might not see them grow up and be able to support them. Prayers for continued good health for you and yours.

A. Truck Driver

Right Hook said...

I think that Mr. Truck Driver put it very well.

Life can get very complicated but when it comes right down to it if you have a strong faith and a supportive family you're well on the way toward successfully dealing with whatever comes up.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you and your family, Mark. Glad to hear things are much better and that the headaches are a thing of the past. Godspeed in all you do. -- Mark Miller

Gino said...

didnt know you then,mark.
but i'm glad things are going well and giving me the chance to know you today.

here's praying the well streak continues for another 100 yrs.

Dan S. said...


I also didn't know you a year ago. Since I began visiting your site, though (thanks to Ben for the reference), I've seen you write some about your health and recovery, but I didn't realize the extent of what you've been through.

It is truly a great story that you have regained your health and quality of life, and I'm sure the prayers that helped you through it were numerous. It is because you are such a good and caring person that you have such good and caring friends.

Stay well, good sir.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a happy anniversary -and I'm glad to hear things are going so well.

Mark said...

Thank you to everyone. This blog has been a crucial part of my recovery and I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful new people and to reconnect with others. I cannot begin to express my appreciation for your support, your prayers and your friendship. You don't get through tough times without good people who have your back.