Lately, I have been helping a teacher in our local school with her 5th grade students. If it weren’t for having to roll myself out of bed and get ready before the rest of the “wee” Hott kids, being a substitute teacher would be a piece of cake! The students are amazing and I find blessings daily. The only trouble is… my laptop misses me!
Since Valentine’s Day, I have been dying to tell everyone about the “hott” date Dan and I went on! You see, this romantic celebration would mark our 17th Valentine’s Day. Yes… 17!!! Each year, we have managed to find a unique venue to slip away to and share time together. Sometimes it will be just the two of us, and other times we have “company”.
It was Valentine’s Day in 2003 when Dan, Caity, Violet, and I were nestled in a sleepy little Italian restaurant somewhere along Key Bisqayne, Florida. I will never forget it. For the first time ever, I had lobster with spaghetti! Imagine that?! It was this occasion, much to our astonishment about a month later, that we discovered that we also brought home a little extra package from this celebration. His name is Isaac and he is now seven years old.
You know, I cherish each and every celebration with my dear Dan. And this year, we managed to slip away to another little Italian restaurant. This time, it was only about an hour from home, much less exotic than the Florida Keys. And this time, we had another little “visitor” with us… a cane in the corner.
Luckily, it was only a cane and not something more like a walker or wheelchair. You see, earlier in January 2011, Dan found himself struggling with simple tasks. At times, in order to move, Dan had to use assistance from either me, a walker, wheelchair, or cane. My hott-honey Dan has Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s, or “PD”, is a progressive neurological disorder. Although many suffer from early onset PD like Dan, symptoms normally don’t become debilitating until much later. In fact, patients we see at Johns Hopkins are really, really old before they are unable to walk.
Not Dan. For nearly 6-8 weeks, he suffered from severe distonia. In fact, I blogged a story called “Standing Tall” about his struggles and posted a plea for prayers. I was so distraught watching him and wondering if/when he would be better to not just enjoy day to day activities, but also his quality of life with our young children. I seriously wondered if he would be able to dance at Caity’s upcoming wedding (still 4+years away) or ride bikes with the boys.
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19
So I prayed hard! I posted pleas for prayers on any site I could find. But you know what? I continued to ask God what I should do. How can I help? What should I be doing? How can I make Dan walk!?!
And you know what… I couldn’t make Dan walk any more than I could remove his Parkinson’s Disease. And until I stopped trying to do God’s job and step back and allow Him to work did I see that all along, God was with us… not only during the hardest times but through the roughest moments as well. My cousin, Jeanette, wrote me and reminded me that when Dan is struggling the most with Parkinson’s and I find him shorter than I, it is God who is “standing tall”… carrying us through this awful disease.
How could I not see that? And wow… was I ever comforted with this image.
Eventually, Dan managed to painfully maneuver with the help of a cane. For the first time, we had an extra guest along on our romantic “date” this Valentine’s Day. It was Dan’s cane, sitting quietly propped up in the corner with us at the restaurant while we enjoy some quiet time together. Now this cane is a reminder to me that my heavenly God is always there to prop me up too, even when I don’t see Him!
Lately, with the help of a new neurologist, friends that know deep tissue therapy, and LOTS of prayers, guess what?… Dan is able to leave, at home, “the cane in the corner”!
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