And although it’s been a year now, Dan is still not finished with surgery. I think his OR record is up in the thirties now - just a few more to go and then he will be kissing that place goodbye! And I will be saying farewell to the waiting room couch and all my favorite vending machine snacks. Last week he had operation #1 in a series of steps to fix the internal damage he suffered from the blast. His surgeon was very pleased with the results, so we are hopeful that when all is said and done around November, the Inner Dan will be as good as new. Fingers crossed everybody - the next few months might get a little rough.
But enough of that.....
Feast your eyes on this!
Now if that isn’t the coolest thing you’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is. It started with a really fast walk, and progressed to a run-walk tied to a harness, then to a lap around the gym without the harness, then to 400 meters around a high school track, and now this weekend he is running the Navy Five Miler in Washington D.C. This is the product of months of blood, sweat, tears, intense physical therapy, self-discipline and determination, and thousands upon thousands of calories burned and consumed a day (yep folks, one year later, still eating everything in sight). Meticulous skin and wound care is a huge part of his daily routine now. It is a constant battle to protect his legs from getting beaten to shreds inside their prosthetic sockets, but he loves running so much that it’s a battle he’s willing to fight.
And as for me, I stay behind the scenes these days. I am still living in Bethesda in our apartment with Dan, and I continue to help him out with little day-to-day things as a sister/roommate, but he is basically as independent as ever before. Although I’m already a Registered Nurse, I have recently gone back to school to become certified as a Wound/Ostomy RN. If I can use what I have seen with my brother to help the other Dan’s of the World with their colostomies and various wounds from combat, then I can’t imagine any better line of work.
One last thing about the other Dan’s of the World….there are a lot of them out there. The numbers of injured men and women at Walter Reed and other military hospitals are astonishing right now. We need to turn every single story into the same kind of success story that we have seen with Dan. And sadly not everybody has the resources and support that we have been so fortunate to have. If anybody is still looking for an additional way to give back to these men and women, there are organizations out there that are fighting every day to give them what they deserve. Please visit www.phoenixpatriotfoundation.org , a project born this year out of a desire to make things right.
And although this is the last post on his website, this won’t be the last time you’ll see him. It doesn’t even have to be said how bright his future is, and how much we are going to continue to be inspired by his story. Dan has no solid plans for the future quite yet – he is just going one day at a time – but I know that wherever he ends up taking himself and the rest of his life will make these triumphs of the past year seem like just a small fraction of what he’s capable of.
On behalf of my family – thank you.