Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wed. Feb. 26 - HOME SWEET HOME

This update will be short and extra sweet!  We were discharged from the hospital today and are now HOME.  We're a little shocked ourselves...but Derek told the doctors this morning he wanted to go home, and here we are. THANK YOU LORD!

Our plan is to lock ourselves in our house with our kids for the next few days so you won't be hearing or seeing from us anytime soon.  We also just want to put it out there that we're not ready for calls or visits quite yet.  We need time to decompress a bit.

We're so looking forward to this... :)

Love to all!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Feb. 24 - 30 days and counting

I wanted to give you all a quick update since it's been a few days. Derek had another procedure to drain some fluid from his lung today. He's pretty sore tonight and will probably be for the next few days. As far as we know, they do not plan to send us home quite yet. But Derek is getting there, praise God :) It could be days or a week, we do not know. I'd love for someone to walk in tomorrow and send us packing, but my guess is that won't be the case. Each day is different here as I've said before, now with little things popping up that need to be looked into (we're glad to have moved on to the little, not big things at this point!). Needless to say, the doctors are really being careful with him since the initial cause of his health issues is still unknown.

Today was our 30th day of Derek being in the hospital. I remember calling our family doctor at 5am the morning I took him to the hospital and asking if he thought the people in ER would laugh at us and send us home (in my mind, I was taking him in for a fever and a headache). Thankfully our doctor encouraged us to go...otherwise who knows what would have happened in the next day or so.

I'm also SO thankful for the doctors and nurses at the St. Anthony's Hospital in Michigan City. The nurses that took care of us on our patient floor when we first got there were so on top of his needs...and that was before the wheels fell off the bus and he needed critical care. I think we had them running in every hour because of the crazy problems he was having. That was actually a very hard week for Derek, he was very sick that he doesn't even remember being there at all. The last thing he remembers is patting Rigby on the head that morning we left and telling him not to cry. We also had quite a few really great doctors running tests and working on Derek while we were there in the ICU, and they were the ones who kept him ALIVE during his rapid decline. We've had doctors at both hospitals tell us what a rare case a Derek is...mainly because he was a completely healthy and strong man who got very sick, very quick with no idea what started it all. So anyway, I just wanted to put that out there. There are two hospitals that we owe Derek's life to...and we're grateful to both.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sat. Feb. 22 - Still HERE :)

Well, we're still HERE. I have to admit we're getting a little sick of these same 4 walls. Sometimes I still find myself shaking my head that we're even here at all. But as always, our eyes turn back to our God, knowing He has a plan.  Derek's condition is the same, nothing new. We feel close to going home, but have a few more days here...with these same 4 walls...sigh.

It's hard to imagine what the days ahead will be like, especially when we get home. That almost seems like a whole other journey in itself. It's going to take Derek a long time (like months) to recover from this. We're not sure what the future holds for his health, his job, our new home, this baby arriving in 5ish weeks; there are a lot of unknowns for us right now. I guess there always are those unknowns out there though...we sure never saw this coming. We talk a lot about 2 days before he got sick, and one day before or even just the month before when we closed on our new house. It's just strange to look back and think we had all these plans...and this whole storm was just waiting for us. I'm not sure why or who or where this storm came from...nor do we even care. The truth is that we have a Savior who loves us and carries us and is "...our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..." Psalm 46:1-3. We have hope, a real and living hope, who loves us more than we even love ourselves. CRAZY, right?

Actually, I'm sure to many of you, we do sound crazy...a little over the top about all of this God stuff. But that's ok, this is who we are and what we believe in. Many of you reading this know Derek and I from way back, back in the days before God was even part of our Clearly a lot has changed since those days...but in our eyes, we're still the same kids from Boone Grove and Bremen. Our entire personalities didn't change the moment we gave our lives to God, and we haven't forgotten who we are or where we came from. All of that is a part of who we are and what God has used to make us unique new creations in Him. I heard a Pastor say once that our pasts may "explain" us, but they do not DEFINE us. We are defined by our savior, Jesus Christ...and His perfect life...and that's a relief (especially if you know anything about me or Derek)!

We're just people that felt the tug of God on our hearts, and by His grace, we're giving it ALL to Him. I can still remember reading those verses in Romans that God used to make me His own...I remember reading these verses and crying out to God to show himself to me, to change me. And HE DID. And that is how, in this situation, I know nothing can separate me from his love, nothing and no one can stand against us and win. The battle is already won in My Jesus, no matter what circumstances life brings our way.

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ... Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--who is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

Financial gifts

Many of you have asked how and where you could make a financial gift to help Derek and Dannette.  Our church, Calvary Church, has set up an account within the church specifically for them.  The attached link at the bottom of the page will take you to the website for online donations.  Select "other fund" on the category drop down menu, make sure you designate it to go to them in the "note".  Also, you could mail a check directly to the church, make sure to specify that it's for them in the memo line.

Thank you,

Calvary Church
1325 Evans Avenue
Valparaiso, IN  46383 

Online giving: 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thankful for your prayers

Thinking today on how much I wanted to let everyone know how much I (we) are so thankful for all the prayers on behalf of Derek. I am so touched by all of your uplifting words, your encouraging words, your words of love and concern for Derek and also for Dannette. As Dannette has already's hard... but it is so comforting to read Scrpture verses that you post; reminders that God is near and will never leave us or forsake us. We know He holds Derek in His hands and has already done an amazing work in him....and for that we give praise, glory and honor to our Lord..... "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25 ....But as for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." Psalm 73:28.  THANK YOU all again, more than you can know. ~Maureen

Friday Feb. 21 - Still waiting this out

I see a lot of improvements in Derek. He's able to move around without a walker now and is actually eating a little. Most days we're even dressing him in regular clothes (comfy ones of course)...just to help him feel like a human being, not the specimen of a medical project. We were hoping for the doctors to stroll in and tell us they'd be sending us home soon during their rounds today, but that didn't happen. I guess there's a chance another infection is brewing; so here we sit, just waiting this out.

We'll continue to keep you posted. Please keep praying! God hears you and is answering. We've been told quite a few times that Derek shouldn't have made it thru...and it's completely a miracle and answer to your prayers that we've come this far. This situation makes Paul's words in Philippians 1:19 real to us ..."for I know that thru your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." We BELIEVE that! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wed. Feb. 19 - Waiting

The last couple days have been a little encouraging...nothing else seems to have popped up on the negative side. Derek is still pain however, and we're waiting to see if it subsides. I'm a little frustrated that another fever seems to be brewing tonight; I was hoping we had moved passed that by now. He's still very weak and not able (or willing) to speak much, but those things will come in time. His body has been thru a major trauma and it takes a lot of energy for him to engage in conversations or activities like normal. Just to give you an example, having the tv on is something new...and if it is, most of the time the sound isn't even audible. He's not reading magazines or doing things to keep his mind busy like people who are typically on the mend in the hospital. His body still has some big-time healing to do. My guess is that it's because this illness has been all's a lot of pieces to put back together.

I did something CRAZY today. I got in a vehicle (chauffeured of course...thank you dad) and actually left this sick house. I made it back to lovely Valpo to run a few errands and to see my kids for a few minutes. It was hard for me to leave Derek's side, but I think it was healthy for me to get out and take a few small steps toward normalcy.

I was was listening to some music today on my drive and part of the song reminded me of a bible I planned to look it up when I got back to Derek's room. It's funny because I've noticed that God is always speaking directly to my situation or where I am at this moment and allowing me to share it with all of you. I was just wondering how often this was happening to me before I was in this tragic set of circumstances and actually 'looking for' and 'listening to' His God is/was always speaking but I was too consumed with myself or my life to even notice. Maybe that's true for all of us?

Anyway, here it is...talking about strength for the weary and faint...refer to paragraph 1

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

One more thing...I just read this verse to Derek and he said he's been looking for it. It's one of his favorites (verse31). God is so good.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Feb. 17 - Feeling hopeful

Things with Derek continue to improve. He had a procedure today to drain more fluid that's built up, and we're hopeful this will help move the healing process along. We are in the ICU again, but could be back in a regular room within a day or two if all goes well. 

It's actually a nice change of scenery to be here in the ICU (clearly we're looking at the bright In all seriousness though, it feels like one step closer to HOME. That's a word I've been careful to say out loud. Derek has said a few times now..."I just want to go home"...and it practically breaks my heart every time. The poor guy is so sick of being poked and prodded and starved for these procedures. But he's taking it like a man...and the parts he can't, he's giving straight to God to carry for him.

I was was thinking about Psalm 43 again today and those verses that say "when you pass thru the waters...when you pass thru the rivers...when you walk thru the fire". It reminds me of what one of my mentors said to me years ago. He said the verse doesn't say IF you pass thru those times, but rather WHEN you pass thru those times. I guess I'm just pondering the fact that this life can be hard, hard like THIS, and God wants us to know he's with us..."everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." That's and Derek! And we just so happen to be very private people...that's why we don't really share a lot of the medical details or really want much shown on Facebook about Derek's personal health....not thats it's wrong, it's just not us. So I just wanted to say that sharing and writing about what God is teaching us is not at all comfortable. But we want to give God the glory for walking thru this with us. Our hearts haven't been perfect or pretty thru it all either. So please don't think we're saints. This is just our "when you walk" and we want to be those witnesses in this psalm that give him the glory for what He has done and is doing in our lives. So glory be to God, not us. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sat. Feb. 15 - The best day yet

I'm so thankful for today. It's been quiet here for the most part; Derek has had only one major issue so far today. And a day with only one negative is huge for him! A lot of his blood work is inching its way toward the better as well we're told. I'm hopeful this is a turn in the right direction and that nothing else in his body freaks. He's still in that intense pain and something is going on in there, but we're moving away from complete organ failure. Thank you for praying!

My heart is quiet today...taking a well needed rest. Since Derek hasn't needed much attention, I've actually spent most of my time napping (which I'm sure my mom will be happy to hear). At one point today he was sitting in the chair and I was in the hospital I guess it's my turn to crash.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Feb. 14 - a few tough days, but moving forward

The last few days have been hard on Derek. He was looking good one day and then stumbled into another new complication. He's been in some pretty constant and terrible pain. He's been undergoing some specific testing, but as usual, things remain a mystery. Every test on this man shows nothing! We're trying to take it as good news that he doesn't have "this" or "that", but it's hard leaving so much unexplained. 

I think we're coming to the realization that we'll never get the answers we're looking for. God is leading us thru this, and though it seems like we're blindly wandering about, He knows right where we are headed and why. It feels like we're waiting on the next test and the next after that for these answers, but maybe we should be looking at it differently. Maybe He wants to use this situation and these desperate moments to do something else...something other than give us positive test There's a good chance we might be here awhile longer; my hope is that we can stay focused on our God and not get so caught up in the madness of answers. God knows every fiber of Derek's being, from even before he was born. I can trust him with the timing and every aspect of Derek's healing. He doesn't need the results of a scan to see Derek thru...he's GOD. Our ultimate hope is in Him, not this hospital. I'm not poo-pooing medicine or these fabulous genius doctors either...I'm talking about our faith and our focus. Psalm 139:13-16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." I might need to read psalm 139 daily just to remind myself of how much God knows about Derek, myself and this situation. He's aware of EVERY detail...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday. Feb. 13 - I will lift my eyes

The song we're singing this morning. Or actually, the one I am. Derek's a little quiet ... My prayer is that he can rest in these words.
I will lift my Bebo Norman
God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God be near, calm my fear
And take my doubt...
I will lift my eyes to the Maker
Of the mountains I can't climb
I will lift my eyes to the calmer
Of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
Of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes
To You

God my God, let mercy sing
A melody over me
And God right here, all I bring
Is all of me

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wed. Feb 12 - Another day of highs and lows

We want you all to know how thankful we are for your prayers and words of encouragement. Seriously...your words hold us up. I read most of your comments and the scriptures you share to Derek in the mornings while we read and pray, and it's part of what gets us thru the day.

After a few days of him feeling and looking very ill, today he has some good color and a bit of strength...which I'm hoping are signs of better days ahead. He had a procedure last night that will hopefully relieve some of the pain he's experiences when he breathes. But for today, he's very sore and in more pain than before. Derek has also not been able to sleep since the ventilator was removed...which was days ago. So please be praying that he could actually get some rest. It's frustrating for him and not helpful as far as healing goes.

Its funny how fast things change here...really it's by the half hour. I started writing this post this morning, and we had some good news and felt relief...! And then a few hours later something else arose and here we are switching gears again...back to the HARD. We're trying to just roll with the punches, resting in God's grace when we can and trying not to look too far ahead. But these moments weigh heavy. It's hard on the heart going from one emotional extreme to the other.

Earlier today God sent two amazing, godly men to see of our pastors and our worship leader came up to love on us and offer encouragement. Derek even got to experience a little of the Sunday morning worship he's been missing...Kurt brought his guitar and we lit this room up :) It's only the 2nd time I've seen true joy on Derek's face since this whole thing started (the other was yesterday when he saw our kids for the first time).

With that said, we still need big prayers tonight. There's the possibility of a procedure tmrw that Derek does not want to do. We've been told that under normal circumstances it's a quick and easy one...but some of Derek's health issues complicate things.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Feb. 10th: This journey is HARD

My Mom is pestering me for an update (love you mom) ... she must be getting lots of texts! I guess I've been putting this off in hopes I would have some really good news to share. We've come so far, and I'm so grateful to God that Derek is off that ventilator, out of the ICU, and that I can hear his voice again. That's a huge step forward...HUGE. In fact, the first day or two off the ventilator it really seemed like we were making the end of all this was in our sights.

But this is week 3 and my Derek is still very sick, the fevers will not stop, and we're all still looking for answers. (Sounds like a repeat, I know.) When one organ seems to be on the mend, another one starts having issues. And now Derek's awake and struggling thru this physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This journey is HARD. It's hard not seeing our's hard knowing they don't have us tucking them in every night. It's hard watching Derek suffer. It's hard watching him get lost in all this. I don't mean to be over dramatic...but this is reality for us at this moment.

We were having a desperate moment tonight in this hospital room...Derek, his mom, and I. So we started speaking truth out loud and praying...that He that is in us, is bigger than this...that the everlasting arms are wrapped around Derek...he need not fear...begging for healing and relief for Derek.

It's strange because a few days ago I was thinking we'd be at a different spot on this journey...or that Derek hurting wouldn't be so much a part of it.

So here we sit, listening to our iPod, grabbing onto our faith and surviving on the words of songs that point to our God. Please be praying for us, it's hard to wait. But God is asking us to.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Feb. 7 - Thankful

We have much to be thankful for today! Derek is breathing without the ventilator and is getting more alert and coherent with each passing hour. He still has a lot of healing to do, but we are praising God to have Derek awake for the fight!

I have to admit that I feel very guarded in allowing myself to take that big sigh of relief that so many feel right now. We are still in the ICU, and there are many unknowns at this point. But God IS smiling on us many blessings and special moments that I wasn't so sure we would ever get to have together again. Thank you all for praying for us and calling out to God on our behalf...Derek is overwhelmed by the love and support.

I've been thinking a lot about the reality that my healthy, strong husband (who never gets sick or weak or beaten by anything) has been on life support for the last 11 days. I'm just trying to wrap my brain around how we got here. God keeps bringing to mind that He is our sustainer...Isaiah 46:3-4 "Listen to whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." What hope we have in Him. Life is hard, sometimes very hard, but God has been there carrying us from the beginning...he doesn't just show up when things get tough. I may not see those tubes coming from Derek's mouth to a ventilator anymore...but that doesn't mean he's not on life support. There is a sustaining, carrying, Rescuer upholding us daily that we don't even see!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feb 6th - God hears our cries!

Good morning everyone, this is Jen Martakis. Dannette asked me to share another update with you...Derek's blood pressure is doing well and the doctors have taken him off the ventilator. He is breathing on his own and is awake and aware. We are praising God and so thankful for this step in healing! Derek is still battling internal issues and is very sick. Please continue to pray for Derek, his doctors and the family through this process. Pray BIG and praise Him! He is listening! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Birthday wishes to our son

34 years ago the Lord gave us the desire of our heart, a son, and what a blessing he has been. He has filled our life with such joy, with his kind heart and loving spirit. I love how he LOVES the Lord and with that love Derek has touched many lives. Praise to our Lord for the gift of Derek. ~Maureen

Happy birthday to a bad dude

I keep encouraging Derek by telling him he's a bad dude (because he is!), he can do this, his God is bigger than grab hold of his faith and cling to His God. He's responding to me today, struggling I keep pointing him to safest place I can think of, the shelter of the Most High.

I'm reading Isaiah 43 this morning...providentially fitting because today is Derek's birthday and we are walking thru that the same fire and desperation I'm reading about. "This is what The Lord says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass thru the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass thru the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk thru the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze..." It also says, "because you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life."

That's Derek - honored, loved and protected by his God...thru this very fire. I keep looking at Derek and thinking how much I adore this him...seriously, he's such a great husband, father, person...he's a gift. But this God of ours loves him MORE than I do. More than any of us. He made Derek for himself, the Psalm says so. That gives me such comfort.

I'm praying today that God will make a way for he does in verse 16 of this same psalm...He made a way for his people before by parting the sea when there was no He's got us covered.

Be praying for Derek today and tomorrow especially. We're trying to pull him out of this heavy sedation so things can move forward, and it's hard for him to keep calm as he realizes what's going on around him. His blood pressure is also a concern...please pray BIG. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday February 4 - Progress

Derek's making progress... So thank you for praying. It's more two steps forward, one step back, but we're headed in the right direction. His breathing is getting stronger every day, but there are many other issues the doctors are working to resolve. 

Please be praying he can overcome this high and relentless fever. It's good to know his body is fighting, but the fever has been with us from day we believe there is still something we're missing. I realize we're not sharing many details on his condition, but to be honest, those details change by the hour. It's a roller coaster really...and the ride is exhausting. So don't worry about the details, we can barely keep up ourselves.

Every day I'm singing some of Derek's favorite worship songs to him...with the help of an iPod ...because I clearly didn't get that "gift" It really seems to calm his soul when he's having a rough moment. I'm hoping he's grabbing onto those words and finding that same strength and comfort they brought to him before all this. Derek loves worship...loves raising his arms unashamed to his God...and I believe God is using music to carry us both thru this. Every morning I'm blaring praise music as I get ready...finding strength for whatever this day holds...and praising god for another day of LIFE and BREATH. It's such a gift.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Feb 2nd Update

Just a quick update tonight...Derek's vitals are good and he is stable. However, last night was a bit rough for him.  Please pray that tonight is better and that he is able to rest well. Thank you all for your continued and fervent prayers!

*posted on behalf of Dannette by Jen Martakis

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Feb. 1st update

Everything is about the same as it was yesterday. There will probably be many days like this as Derek begins to heal. He is on the path to recovery and has small battles to fight as well as larger ones. Please continue to lift Derek up in your prayers. God is listening! Please keep Dannette and the family in your prayers as well.

*posted on behalf of Dannette by Jen Martakis