Friday, March 26, 2010

How is Daniel Dunson healthy?

My father's health decline has affected me in ways that I was not prepared to deal with.  I looked to him to be my strength, and support for my entire life. I was not ready to see the roles change so quickly.

This week I spent a lot of time with my parents in nearby Indiana. My father was released from the hospital earlier this week, and I wanted to be there for him. At 64 years old my father still cuts a handsome image, but he is more than half the weight we was two years ago, and his hair is just about completely gray now. My father has suffered from diabetes for over fifteen years, had a major stroke in 2000, and now is severely suffering from kidney failure. Though my father had health complications he still carried on through life as if nothing was wrong with him. He was the pastor of a church for twenty years, never taking a vacation, never exercising to manage stress, and never changing his diet. Though his stroke sat him down for a couple of months, since he didn't suffer permanent damage, he was up to his unhealthy habits as soon as he was able to.

Last year he was diagnosed with kidney failure and was forced to retire. Since his diagnosis he has been in and out of the hospital seven times in the last 18 months. He has lost over 100 lbs (which is a good thing),  but sometimes he is too weak to stand on his own. He is on dialysis three times a week, and a host of medications that need to be administered several times throughout the day. His voice that was once melodious and charming is now hoarse, and at times just a whisper. Despite all of this he is on the road to recovery.  He has physical therapy weekly and will soon have a kidney transplant.

My father's health decline has affected me in ways that I was not prepared to deal with.  I looked to him to be my strength, and support for my entire life. I was not ready to see the roles change so quickly. My parents have been married for over 40 years and have been an excellent example of how people should love one another, work hard, educate themselves, rear children, seek out spirituality, create families and a strong community - but never did they address their physical health.

So I have decided to take a stand for things that can be changed. I have been more health conscious in the last year than ever. I have changed my diet, dropped a few pounds, and I make it a point to exercise. I spend more time with friends now, and definitely more time with my family. I don't let work control the quality of my life, and I keep spirituality at the forefront  of my being. Most importantly I have taken time to devote to myself. I had forgotten the importance of investing in me. When we take the time to invest fully in ourselves, we become more valuable to other people.

As I walked with my father around his large home in order to get him to exercise, he looked at me, smiled and grabbed my arm and began to move with more confidence because I was there. He now looks like I did when I was 5 years old depending on his strength to get me through whatever difficult challenge life had demanded. And though my father and I have had or differences, and he found it hard to understand my choices in life, and just who I was naturally, I saw the light of happiness in his eyes as I helped him walk, and nothing else seemed to matter anymore.

-- Daniel Dunson

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  1. WOW! This was beautiful and it truly blessed me and what I love MOST is that it is not a 'sad' story by NO means! It's inspiring, and you are blessed to see in your father what you are supposed to do and he SEE you making such changes. My prayers are with you all...yet the standing ovation my dear friend...goes to you, alone!
    Love, Jennifer Briscoe

  2. What a wonderful story.

  3. I love your story. I think it is one of inspiration and honesty. The love you and your father share is unconditional. Glad to here he is doing well...that God keeps him in his care...and that He also placed you in the right spirit to find your understanding. Thank you for sharing your story. Love you...and God Bless!

  4. This is the kind of story that really makes me feel for the people who grow up fatherless. Every child should have the experience of having a father in their life. Undoubtedly, daddies are not reared to be soft and easy to their childern, but they really do provide the balance that one needs to have. I applaud you for learning from his mistakes, This is usually why parents are so on their children about their decisions. We all have to learn, but how grateful of GOD to give us someone who may have made those impending mistakes before to steer us in the right direction. To me this is the epitome of continued good health. Conversations and continued rapport with the people who basically shape your life. I am so proud that you put this out there for masses. To have that type of relationship, where you can care for your father and would be honored to do so. Really needs to be heard. And it makes me appreciate the healthy relationship that my father and I share.


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