Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jogging on the beautiful nature trail across from our temporary apartment this morning, I happened to think of two words our wonderful friend Wally Graves, resiliency program manager with Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, has said a lot in our time together recently: “engage” and “resiliency.”

Wally says, “I’m going to engage with…” when he means he’s going to talk to someone and get something done, which he does zillions of times each day for us and other families he supports.
He is also passionate about resiliency…that’s what he does now after being a medic with the Navy SEALs for more than 15 years, recently retired. He finds ways to help people be resilient, rest, recuperate and return to optimal mental/physical/spiritual/emotional health after injury, illness or tough deployments. Family members are key to the process. In our case, he and his partner Susan Letterman, and counterpart “Mack” with the USSOCOM Care Coalition, as well as Kathy Maguire, Care Coalition volunteer liaison (and always cheerful provider of home-baked goodies)…all touch base with us constantly, providing encouragement, all kinds of support and hope. Words cannot express how grateful we are for this kind of extended family! Kathy’s husband VADM Joe Maguire also has visited several times, taking time from his busy schedule to chat and offer his support. These dear people engage with us constantly and are helping us be resilient as Daniel continues to go through surgeries twice a week, starts his liquid diet regimen and PT from his hospital bed and slowly begins the amazing process of mending and healing. This takes huge amounts of energy, as you can imagine.

We discovered a gap in our communication recently and want to apologize for not getting the word out sufficiently that visitors need to be limited right now to family and close friends. The doctors tell us Dan has had way too many visitors, and for his healing to continue on course, we need to advise everyone to please go through Leslie, or e-mail, or call Casualty Affairs, NNMC, 301.319.6805, to inquire about visiting. We know everyone will understand the need to keep Dan’s health first and foremost, and while everyone wants to see him to say hi and cheer him on, Leslie and I will get word to him that you’ve called or e-mailed your well wishes, and when he’s further down the road to health, he will welcome more visits!

Just another word about the tremendous medical care he’s receiving…magnificent team of topnotch physicians – so many, it would be impossible to start naming them. We gave credit earlier to Lt. Kelly Bowman, Dan’s lead ICU nurse and dear friend, but so many other nurses and corpsmen in the ICU also stood out in their care of him while he was in their busy unit…we appreciate all of you so much. Now the nurses and corpsmen on 5-E are dedicating long hours to bringing him back to health…in addition to wonderful PTs, OTs, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, chaplains and Br. Dave and other support staff. We are so fortunate to be here!

After today’s surgery, just about all internal wounds are stitched up and healed – how amazing is that! Such quick progress! The nose-to-gastric tube was removed today and Daniel is cleared to have liquids in small volumes…whew. Thigh open wound is healing and skin grafts may be begun next week. Front of pelvis ligaments will gradually heal and rehab/PT can progress even further. We anxiously await the day we can wheel Dan up to the NNMC rooftop for a breath of fresh air for the first time since Sept. 11! He looked so good today my mother’s concerns about “gauntness” and “skeletal thinness” are allayed. He is on the road to recovery!

We so appreciate everyone’s cards, gifts, phone calls – sorry we can’t personally respond to each and every one right now. Just know, in so many ways, through your prayers and thoughts for Dan and his family, you are engaging us and adding to our resiliency immeasurably!!

Jeanine Heinisch at Westar Energy has kept us informed of the recent fundraisers on Daniel’s behalf – thank you, all, for your overwhelming generosity. What awesome co-workers I am fortunate to be blessed with! I look forward to returning to Westar early November.
Also, I would like to thank Soldiers Angels for their many cards, quilts, blankets and warm well wishes for Daniel – you are our heroes – also Hero Miles for enabling the Cnossen families to visit Daniel when he first reached consciousness and was able to greet his family. Thank you!
Kimberly Dozier, thanks for your uplifting visit today, and Mary Jo/Jon/Lauren…we enjoyed your visit very much. Thanks for the neat display from NASA co-workers, also!

One last word of thanks to my terrific daughter, Leslie, who continues to bowl me over with her stamina, maturity beyond her years and talent in today’s information age. She keeps up with it all, communicating steadfastly with hundreds of people daily, never tiring, staying late into the wee hours of the night just talking quietly with her brother. Jeff, my husband, continues to inspire me daily with his care and concern (and keeping the home fires burning). Close friends from across the country as well as here: Brian and Biggi, Donny and Tina, Rob and Cara, Mark L., Anthony D., Nick S., Marty T., Craig R., Robin A., Darren B., Kristen D., niece Rachel from Baltimore, Nick H., Beverly/Dan/Ben Z., Justin D., Maryann, and Command Master Chief James, Laif, Brian S. and John G. due soon from overseas – thanks for all you do! Cmdr. Keith Davids, you have been incredible to keep thinking of our well-being, and I’m looking forward to meeting Yvette today at NNMC!

Also thanks, Chief Jon Cummings, for all your constant offers to help/provide anything we need! Daniel had fun yesterday afternoon looking through the big sack of gum you left for him to chew.

Love and peace to you all. Also, if you can add to your prayers a big thank you to all the medical teams so tirelessly serving our injured troops, we’d appreciate that, too. Thank you!



  1. Alice, Leslie & family,
    Thank you so much for the oomments on Dan's progress. It makes us feel that through your comments that our prayers are being answered. What a great way to communicate with a lot of people. Dan our prayers are with you eveyday.
    Carolyn & LLoyd

  2. Alice and Les and Dan ,we are praying for you daily and hope at some point we will all get to visit again,our love and thoughts go out to you you are a wonderful family Dan is making such great progess . we think of you daily GOD BLESS YOU .Anita and Phil Dunbar

  3. Dan

    You make me very proud to be an American. Your incredible service and sacrifice for your constitution is inspiring to me. I know without a doubt you will continue this long road to recovery with the same vigor you have shown your entire life. Just know that my prayers are for you and all who have served and sacrificed for our nation. May God bless you and keep you. Chris McGraw (Stronghurst, IL.)