Thursday, October 4, 2012

what goes up...

My family means the world to me. I'm sure that has been apparent with all the crazy posts about my cousin and how we've supported him over the last few months.

Derek and Dana before going to see Derek's twin sisters graduate from high school.
 Derek is doing fabulously. He has been a rock throughout his whole cancer treatment. He has done exactly what the doctors have said with very few questions. As he is working through his recovery, taking one step and one day at a time, he has had the support of his girlfriend Dana. I'm not sure if I've posted anything about Dana's story on the blog, but she has quite the story and, especially today, could use your prayers.

My cousin had his first cancer scare back in April. He was hit in the groin by a branch while working for a tree removal company after a storm. After initial tests, they thought that it was nothing, just a cyst. Dana couldn't handle the scare. I don't blame her. They had only been dating for a year or so and she's only 21. After some serious thought, she told Derek that she couldn't handle being the girlfriend of a cancer patient. By no means did she cut him out of her life, they stayed best friends and still did everything together. About a week later, Dana was in a head on collision. She was on her way home from work and someone who was under the influence swerved into her lane and hit her.

Soon after Dana's accident at Dylan and Gigi's baby shower

Since the accident, she had nearly total memory loss. She didn't know her family or friends, she had no memory of her life. She thought her parents were the doctors when she woke up. After a little bit of time at home, she found a scrapbook that she had made for herself of her relationship with Derek. She had "met" Derek since the accident and knew there was something there, but wasn't quite sure what until she found the scrapbook and spent a little more time with him. Derek immersed himself in helping her. Every possible moment was spent sharing stories, explaining relationships and showing Dana pictures of the life she had before the relationship. He re-introduced her to our huge family and filled us in on the story. We embraced her and tried to help her figure out what is going on in her life.

As Derek got his terrible news, Dana stood by him every step of the way. She was there through surgery and then through all of his chemo and again during his most recent surgery. Their lives have been turned upside down. In early August Dana went through brain surgery. She had two blood spots on her brain that she had removed up in Boston. Derek had chemo that week and couldn't be there for her as she went under the knife. She bounced right back, with strict doctors orders for no head banging! But she was right back at his side watching him get chemo 2 weeks later.

At Easter
The update on Dana is that at her follow up scan showed that there was something pressing on her nerves in her brain and eventually she would need another surgery. She had some headaches which made the doctor push up the surgery to 3 days after Christmas. She wasn't happy about this. The surgery is going to be very intense. She will have to relearn to walk and hold a fork. Her life will be hell for about two months. She was hoping to get through this holiday season and be able to celebrate with Derek. She has had pretty intense headaches for the last few days which has her back at the doctor again today. They're talking about moving the surgery up even more. She'll lose out on the holidays. We all know that fixing it sooner rather than later is the right answer. Maybe this way she'll be able to walk before New Years and 2013 will be a new and much better year for them.

The weekend before Derek's first surgery. They spent the whole time in the city
living it up with Derek's uncles.
Please pray for her. Dana is fabulous. She is the most dedicated girlfriend I have ever seen. I love this girl so much.


Kristina said...

Oh my goodness. I am on the verge of tears. I am so very sorry for both Dana and Derek. Life is so precious! I will be thinking of her and sending lots of positive vibes their way!

Stephanie said...

I didn't know that about Dana! I love her more now, she's amazing. Sending lots of love her way before her surgery.