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On March 1st, 2013, Nolan's left leg had to be amputated, just below the knee as a result of the devastating effects of type 2 diabetes. Once he completes his stay in the hospital and goes through a bit of rehab, he will be coming home. As he will now be using a wheelchair, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to the house in order for it to be more accommodating, accessible and safe. While we have big plans in our heads, these changes cannot be carried out without financial support. Our hope is that we can, in some small way, make this journey a little easier for him through your help and donations.
Anyone who has ever met Nolan, our Dad, knows just how wonderful of a man he is. He is an example to all of us of how a husband, father and friend should be. He selflessly gives of his time and energy, almost daily, in the service of others. He loves unconditionally and cares genuinely about the welfare of those around him. He looks for the good in everyone and treats others with respect and kindness. He does this, all while fighting a grueling, daily battle with type 2 diabetes.
Nolan has been battling type 2 diabetes for nearly 30 years. First diagnosed at the age of 51, the effects were manageable, and at times, unnoticeable. As the years passed, this terrible condition began to take its toll on his body. The most affected areas were his legs and feet, where he began to lose circulation and feeling in them. Balancing on both legs became a little more difficult and what first started as a tingling in his feet, slowly progressed into the need for extra support so he could stand on his legs. Crutches quickly became his legs, and he has used them for nearly 10 years. The crutches worked and Dad was able to stay on his feet, but the continuing effects of poor circulation became increasingly more prevalent.
Dad began developing sores on his feet, which had an extremely hard time healing because of the circulation. This led to more doctor visits, more medications and countless hours in the hyperbaric (oxygen) chamber to encourage healing. These things helped, but could not prevent or stop the sores from getting worse. As the sores worsened in his feet and infection began to spread, doctors performed a surgery to increase blood flow to his feet, and later advised that a couple of Dad's toes be amputated. Dad took their advice and lost a couple of his toes; something that would have been difficult for anyone to deal with and accept. You never would have guessed it though. Dad continued to spend every day out and about, working on projects around the house, serving in his church and constantly striving to make the lives of those around him better.
This past year, 2012, became even more difficult for Dad as the diabetes wouldn't let up. A minor crack in his left heel turned into another sore that was deep, infected and painful. Only one can imagine the amount of pain that Dad has been in with his feet. Dad described the pain as an anguishing and relentless pull from his feet up his leg. Day after day the pain went on, only allowing Dad to sleep when his body would be so exhausted that it would have to shut down for a while. It is hard to imagine how someone could stay in good spirits through the severe pain, but Dad has.
Towards the end of February, 2013, after the doctors did what they could to try and heal and save his left foot, amputation of the leg was discussed. This was the next best option, so as to prevent the spread of infection throughout his body and cause complications that would be much worse. As the doctors discussed the date when the operation was to be performed, Dad's true character shined through again. They wanted to take the leg as soon as possible, but Dad asked that the date be pushed out a few days so that he could complete his duties and responsibilities in his church. He first wanted make sure that the people in the church were taken care of before proceeding with the operation. He made his phone calls, organized the church functions and then was ready to continue. What a true, exemplar man he is! Keep in mind that all of this was happening just a week before celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with his sweetheart.
The date was set and on March 1st, 2013, Dad's left leg was amputated just below the knee. After his hospital stay ends and the rehab is complete, Dad will be coming home to the house that him and Mom have lived in for five decades. To accommodate a wheelchair in the home, and for the home to be safer, many things will need to be modified in order for that to be possible. A make-shift ramp has been added, but needs additional work. The flooring in the home needs attention and the bathroom could use a serious makeover to make it safer and more accessible.
We hope to accomplish some of these changes through the financial contributions of people that know Dad and maybe even those that have never met him. Nobody knows what goes through a person's mind when you lose a part of your body that has been with you your entire life, not unless you've gone through it. One can only imagine the thoughts racing through Dad's head at this time as he prepares for these changes. Albeit a difficult time in his life, one thing is for sure - Dad will meet this new challenge in the same way that he always does: with a positive attitude, an enduring love for those around him and a few jokes to help lighten the mood! As his family, we love him, we support him and want to do all that we can to help him be happy.
Thank you so much for your love, support and friendship during this time. We welcome and questions, help and charity that you might be able to offer, whether you want to share your name or donate anonymously.