Tuesday, November 25, 2008

4 weeks ago....

Wow. It's hard to believe it was 4 weeks ago today that the attack happened. The days have just blended into eachother. Steps forward. Steps back. Fear, excitement, anxiety, happiness, tears. So many emotions. On this rollercoaster ride of recovery and emotions is easy to lose sight of the fact that it's ONLY BEEN 4 WEEKS. Today Rob had Occupational Therapy. They said he was pretty tired today. They want to work more on consistancy of eye commands and getting him to shrug his shoulders, squeeze fingers, and track fingers. They said they might try to start planning it so that I am in the room when they do the therapy since I am able to get him to do more things. Also this will help so I know what I can do to help him too. Then this afternoon I got to go to the airport and pick up OUR GIRLS!!!!!! I was SO HAPPY to see them. As soon as Julia saw me, she ran to me and gave me a big hug and kiss. And Eva remembered that I was her momma! It is so great having them here. Julia saw also got to see Rob tonight. At first she was a little scared when we first walked into the ICU. But I talked to her and explained things and she went and stood outside his room. Rob heard her and looked out into the hall so he could see her. At first she didn't say much but it didn't take long and she was gowning up and went into the room. She looked at all the pictures and letters in his room and before long she was talking to Rob. One of the first things she said was "Wow. He has hair! When he left he was bald!!" She's already talking about how she can't wait to see him tomorrow. I think tomorrow will be better for Rob too. I think he felt bad that Julia was scared of him at first. So, hopefully, when he sees how she is tomorrow, it will make a big difference for him. She didn't stay long because it makes the nurses nervous having children there because they worry they will get sick. Then I came back and saw him tonight after I got the girls in bed. They had taken off the cooling blanket because they want his body to start fighting the infection on its own without the aid of the blanket. I could tell he felt absolutely miserable. He was running a 101 fever. They put ice packs between his arms and groin and gave him Tylenol. Poor guy. My heart justs breaks for him. Tomorrow he has another washout surgery. Hopefully this will help get some of those bugs out of there. Please continue to pray. He's not out of the woods yet. Everyday is such a balancing act and it's easy to think he's doing so great but he's still really sick. Yes, he has come so far, but like we've said before: this is a marathon, not a sprint.


Household6 said...

I''m so glad you are with your girls. Soak up all this time with them!


Hanson's Family Journey said...

How wonderful that your girls are able to be there. That will help with the healing for sure. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday I just want to THANK Rob for his service to our country. We do indeed have so much to be thanksful for this November, as I'm sure you know first hand. Our prayers will continue! Remain strong...
Marisa & Mark Hanson

Angieabc123 said...

Thank you for all of your updates. Enjoy your girls! I am sure that they missed you. You all will continue to be in my prayers.

Angie (Porter) Kuzel

Anonymous said...

We were glad to hear that the girls arrived! Wishing you and your family a Blessed Thanksgiving!
Don & Bonnie

Anonymous said...

Dear Dena, So glad that the girls made it safely. Just take it slow and steady wins the race. Tears of joy are messing with my eyes , my thoughts and prayers are with you, Rob, Julia and Eva. You have a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for the update. You are a ROCK!!! Take care of yourself Dena. Fran

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the reunion of your family Dena and Rob! There is healing in having everybody back together again, even if just for a little while. Tonight our little one included all of you in her prayers. I know what it does for my spirit to hear my little girl's voice. Please know that Rob's spirit was lifted today by his little girls. You may also want to pass along to Rob that the Huskers may be going to FL for a bowl game. That may help his spirits as well. Thanks Dena for that you are doing. You mean alot to Rob and the rest of the whole darn country right now. Jeremy

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to hear the girls have arrived and your family is
complete! Julia is so cute to say
what she noticed most about daddy...
he grew out his hair. Hold everyone
tight this Thanksgiving and know you
are still constantly in our prayers.
There is so much to be thankful for and still so much to hope for.
God bless Rob and you all.

Steve & Kendra said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog! My mom works with your brother at LPD and she passed this blog address along to me. I want you to know that the entire MOPS group from North Platte, NE is praying for you guys!
We spent a couple of touch and go months in the hospital with our little boy right after he was born, and this verse was so comforting to me during that time:
Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you' says the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a HOPE AND A FUTURE." We are praying for you! Thank your husband for me, for his service to our country!

Love from MN said...

Glad to hear the girls arrived safely and can spend time w/ mom and family. Rob has the spirit of a warrior and will continue to work hard so he can return to his family. I am amazed at the progress he has made and continue to pray his body can keep moving in the right direction.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

Love Aunt Julie(Schott)Davidson

Michelle Nelson said...

Dear Dena,

I am so happy that you get to spend Thanksgiving with your girls. Amidst the sadness you are experiencing there is truly so much to be grateful for!

I am sure getting to see and hear Julia's voice the next few days will do wonders for Rob. (You too for that matter!) There is something about a little girl's voice that can warm a Daddy's heart! Please let Julia know that Emma prays for "Julia's daddy" every night, as do so many others!

Love and prayers,

Julie Noonan said...

Dena, So glad to here that the girls made it to you safely. Hold them tight, have a great thanksgiving.



Mitch and Vicki Coffin said...

Rob and Dena,
God's peace and blessings to all of you, especially as we approach Thanksgiving! We believe the arrival of your little girls will help Rob in his healing. Rob's cousin Nate wrote 11/24 how Rob is helping to strengthen our faith - how true that is. To the woman who wrote that her husband was deploying for the fourth time, and her son for the first time, to Iraq, our prayers are with your family. You represent the many families who make sacrifices so all of us can enjoy freedom. We pray for their safe return - soon.
Hello to Barb, Otto, Bev and Alan. Everyone needs at least 10 hugs a day - Can bet there is plenty of hugging going on where you are! Good thing!!!!
Hugs and prayers!
Mitch and Vicki :-)

Maggie45 said...

Still sending prayers up... May God wrap you in His loving arms.

Maggie Goff
Bisbee, Az

Andrea e Isa said...

Dena im so happy you already have your little child´s with you.. I cant imagine myself without mine... I hope tomorrow girls can see dady.. take your time with them ... they need you!! and try to rest the most, because having the little childs will make you happy but tired.... Thanks for the update... !!

Stacy said...

Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. So glad that your girls made it safely.

Long-time RN said...

Wonderful to read the girls have arrived! Prayers lifted for Rob's healing and continued progress. Good to read therapy has begun working with him. Our family thanks Rob and your entire family for their service this Thanksgiving holiday and every single day. Keep strong.

Anonymous said...

To all - have a very blessed Thanksgiving. It sounds like Julia will be good medicine for Rob!


Chris said...


I'm so glad that Rob is doing better. Even though I've never been in the situation Rob and your family are in, since I'm disabled myself I've been in hospitals a lot. One thing that always helped me, in addition to prayer, is seeing my family. I really hope seeing you and your daughters helps Rob in the same way. I also can attest that getting his NG tube out is a huge step and makes you feel so much better when it comes out.

I hope you don't mind a stupid question, but have the doctors said if and when Rob will be able to communicate verbally?

I will continue to pray for Rob and your family.

Liz said...

So glad those kiddos are with you :) We are praying, always, and are ever so thankful for Rob and the progress you have made together.

Anonymous said...

So happy to hear your whole family will be together to celebrate Thanksgiving and what a lot of Thanksgiving to be celebrated...Brian woke up this morning and told me he had a dream that Yllescas was at work and that he was hanging out with the guys and just sitting there with them all...so of course I rushed to the computer to see Rob's progress.Brian leaves on Friday to go back to Afghanastan to fight the fight....Please let Rob know that his guys always have him in there thoughts and prayers....hang in there dena....Brian Cindy and taylor McGroarty

Anonymous said...

During this season of Thanksgiving, we all make our lists of what we're thankful for...Dena, your family tops my list!

The great sacrafice Rob, you, and your girls make is so selfless! The strength you demonstrate through this endeavor is so powerful and uplifting to so many following your amazing love story!

Thank you for sharing your testimony, your Faith, and your dedication to your man and our country!

May God deeply bless every moment you spend with your girls this holiday season, and may each day you spend beside Rob, loving him, be rewarded with many years to celebrate your love after he's fully recovered!

JoAnne Bartek said...

We are so glad everyone arrived safely. We know you will cherish every minute with Julia and Eva. At this time of Thanksgiving we are thankful that you can be together as a family.

Aunt Jo, Uncle Steve, Brooke & Ashley

Anonymous said...

you're making great strides man! Your body is getting stronger and stronger everyday and this is so important for your recovery. We pray for you and your family. Keep fighting and getting better.

Anonymous said...

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. May everyone be truely grateful for the wonderful people in their lives.

Dena, thank you for sharing Rob's recovery with us. Special Thanksgiving wishes and prayers for you and your family.

cary said...

Four weeks - and he has come so far! We are so proud of his progress - and happy that the girls were able to come in and visit you.

The presence of his daughter will make a difference for Rob - you know there is a different bond between daddy and daughter than anything else.

Continued prayers for this continuing marathon!

Joyce Winfield said...

Rob and Dena,

How wonderful to have Julia and Eva with you at this time of Thanksgiving and counting of blessings. Julia and Eva are truly a blessing. Keep focused on the time when you will all be together -- permanently -- as a family again. I tried to picture Aunt Nancy's description of your Dad at the Omaha airport. Two suitcases, two bags, two car seats, a diaper bag and two girls. It brought a smile to my face, also, Nancy. Sounds like he did great. Way to go big brother! We also know it was great for you, Alan, to be with Bev again.

We continue to marvel at the fantastic progress Rob has made in just one month. Rob certainly is breaking sprint records during his marathon. What a great support system you have. Dena, be sure to lean on others. There are lots of strong shoulders out here!

We will lift Rob in prayer regarding his therapy, eye command consistency and the washout surgery today. And, I'm still going strong on the blood fungal infection.

Much love,
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Doug

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news, wonderful blessings.

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

Psalm 5:3

I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:7-8

Bartels3 said...

Hello --
I am glad the girls are there with ya'll and I do hope that their presence will bring joy to Rob and you! I am so amazed at God's goodness. He is faithful and will never forsake His Children! Chappy, Maygan and I continue to pray and keep up with your updates. We are Thankful that Chappy is home for this Thanksgiving.
Blessings and Prayers,
Chappy, Teresa, and Maygan

Anonymous said...


I'm so glad that your girls are there with you now. My prayers continue for Rob, that the infections will leave his body and his temperature will return to normal. He is so tough. It has to be exhausting for him fighting pain and infection. Please let him know how grateful I am to him and how proud I am of him. This Thanksgiving, my family has yours in our thoughts and prayers. We are thankful for your service to our country, and thankful that Rob made it back to you. He has come a long way in 4 weeks. Hang in there.

Carol Dzurenko

pam h. said...

Dena, So glad to hear that the girls made it there safely. I can't imagine how it must feel to finally have them there. I'm glad that both your mom and dad are there together now too. Uncle Alan will finally get some of those good cinnamon rolls. Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!! Love, Pam, Ryan, Nolan, Mason, Logan and Keyan

Paul said...

So happy for your reununion with your girls and Rob's progress. Thanksgiving gives us the time to stop and think of what we have and be thankful. My family is ever mindful of the those families of our troops that sacrifice so much and we our so grateful. Rob and your family will continue to have our thoughts and prayers for his recovery.

Anonymous said...

Dena -

Reading about your journey has reminded me that prayer is THE most important medicine. What wonderful spiritual support you are receiving from family, friends and people you have never met. We, too, are praying for Rob's recovery and continued strength for you and your family.

Jennie (Frazier) Korth

Jaime Pachta said...

I am so glad that Julia and Eva and Uncle Alan made it there safely. We wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. At a time like Thanksgiving we are reminded to be thankful for all that we are given in life. With all that has gone on lately, it has really reminded me that we need to be thankful 24/7, 365 days a year, not just when Thanksgiving rolls around. Your girls are the best medicine for Rob right now. May your time together as a family be filled with lots of hugs and "juicy" kisses! Those are the best ever! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Love, Dan, Jaime, Ashley, Nicolas, & Mitchell

P.S. Layne, Angie, Aaron, and Shelli...if you are reading this, I just wanted to let you know that I am so thankful Dena has such awesome brothers and sisters-in-law to help her and her little girls during this time. You are all amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

i'm sure having his girls by him will help ROB recover and react more to commands. prayers are continuing. thanks to Rob for his service and sacrifice. God bless all of you and may He continue to give you, Dena, the strength to deal with this ordeal and to Rob, to continue to fight to heal. all the best from the astaiza family.

fpatlan said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Having your girls there with you is probably the best medicine for you and for Rob right now. You are an amazing family. God Bless you! We are so thankful for Rob's service...

Amy (Eric W. sister) said...

So happy that the girls made it, it must be very emotionally cleansing.
And tell Julia she's a brave little girl to visit with her daddy when he's been so hurt.
Dena, does Rob listen to any particular music? Do you think it would help to have his favorites playing in his room? Give us the word and we'll send some your way!
Just a thought as I was praying for him today.
Amy (Eric W. sister)

Anonymous said...

As we approach this very special time of year, Thanksgiving, we can't help but reflect on how blessed we are, and what a privilege it is to be an American. There are many things to be thankful for, not the least of which includes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are concepts that the original Pilgrims set out to establish, the founding fathers enshrined in our Constitution, and what thousands of American men and women are doing overseas while fighting for freedom and democracy. The sacrifices of these people cannot be understated.

Thank you Rob, God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.

JihadGene said...

While I never ran a marathon we will pray one for all of you!
God bless you all! Our US Armed Forces, you, Rob,the girls, your families, your friends, and the entire medical staff will be included in our family's prayers over Thanksgiving dinner as well.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that things are going well, and that your girls are with you. So wonderful that Julia noticed Rob's hair first. Isn't it something, what is most important to a child? She just wants her daddy, and now she has him.

As Thanksgiving appoaches, let us all be grateful for Rob's service, and your support of him, Dena. A military family is a very special thing, and we owe you a great deal. It is because of you, and other military families that our country is great.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/26/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

The Morrow Family said...

Dena, I have not left a message in several days but I did want to wish you and your family - extended also a very Happy Thanksgiving. It is wonderful that your girls have been able to come and spend the holiday with you and Rob. Although he is still not out of the woods I know that God is holding all of you close and protecting each of you. I hope that in the coming days that Rob is able to do more and more. God bless all of you!

The Morrow Family said...

Dena, I have not left a message in several days but I did want to wish you and your family - extended also a very Happy Thanksgiving. It is wonderful that your girls have been able to come and spend the holiday with you and Rob. Although he is still not out of the woods I know that God is holding all of you close and protecting each of you. I hope that in the coming days that Rob is able to do more and more. God bless all of you!

Jenny Lux Brown said...

Great too hear that your girls are there with you!
Still praying for you and you're never far from our thoughts...
Happy Thanksgiving and hopes that Rob continues to improve!
Jenny Lux Brown

joni said...

Dena and Family,
You don't know me, but one of my family members (Cpt Shelley Thomas) is serving in Afghanistan and forwarded your blog to me. Isn't it amazing how you can feel so connected to someone you don't even know in such a short time? I look forward to your updates each day to see how Rob is progressing. With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I just want to let you know how thankful I am for your husband's service to our country and for his courage and strength in all he has faced and will continue to face. I pray for you, your family, and all the troops who sacrifice so much for us. Have a blessed day.

Joni Smoker

Anonymous said...

I hate the thought that anyone would be abusing this site, and yet I am not surprised. They seem to have no limits. I am so happy Rob continues to do well. You both have overcome so much already. Our continued prayres are with you!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so glad your girls are with you. Continue to take care of yourself, Dena. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Omaha, NE

Alayna Sullivan said...

Hi Dena, I am so ecstatic Uncle Alan and the girls are there for Thanksgiving.I can't wait to hear about Julia's visit with her daddy today and if he was responsive with her. I wish you all a great thanksgiving. Tell Aunt Bev I said hello. I love you and we are all praying everyday. Alayna, Ryan, and Gavin.

Marcy said...


I'm so happy for you guys that you get to spend Thanksgiving together and that Julia got to see Rob. What a blessing for all of you, especially Rob. We continue to pray for all of you and think of you often. Cherish this time with your family and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. There's much to be thankful for!

God Bless,

Wendell said...

Dena, we are so happy you all have been reunited for this special Thanksgiving! We continue to pray for all of you and think of you all of the time! Give everyone hugs for us, we miss you!!
-Uncle Wendell

Anonymous said...

To the families at Bethesda spending Thanksgiving with Rob and Dena- We wish you a peaceful, optimistic and blessed holiday.
What a wonderful girl to assist 2 men and a baby through airports and planes to join Mom, Dad and your 2 sets of grandparents for a Happy Thanksgiving together.
I hope Otto is enjoying meeting Eva, named after his Mother. What a special treat.
Grandpa and Grandma Schott

Anonymous said...

Dena and Rob, We are so pleased to hear your little family will be together for Thanksgiving! Also that the Grandpas and Grandmas are there also. Enjoy this special Thanksgiving as we keep you in our prayers. Larry and Karen Wieseman

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Enjoy the girls while they visit. Please remind Rob that we can never repay him for all that he has given in service to our country. Our neighbor's son is returning from Iraq tomorrow. We've got our flags out to welcome him back. Keeping each of you in our thoughts and prayers in Atlanta. The Yeagers

Anonymous said...

So glad that you will all be able to spend the holliday together as a family. It will be great if you can help him with his theropy. You will not only be able to see his recovery but also feel like you are part of his recovery. There have been lots of baby steps in the last 4 weeks and there will be many many more before this is all over. So Happy Thanksgiving to the entire family.

Philip Davis

Jami said...

We are in our thoughts and prayers. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

From the Lindsley's
Wendell, Judy, Jami, and Kamryn

Anonymous said...

Dena, am hoping every minute of this Thanksgiving will be extra special in every way. Our prayers are with you all. Don't completely understand blogging but didn't realize my name wouldn't show up before. So, just so you know where some of these e-mails are coming from. Signing off as Betty from Keya Paha County (yes, that is in Nebraska). ;>)

Heidi said...

Rob and Dena and the whole family,
we are joyful that you can be together, especially that you can embrace your precious girls once again. Don't worry...they will always know their momma and the love you give them. And someday they will know how you helped daddy to get better. Many thoughts and prayers...
With love,

Anonymous said...

I come here almost daily to read your blogs, I have to admit I can't help but cry everytime. You are the strongest women I have ever met, Dena. I'm glad Rob is making progress. I'm glad the girls got to come see daddy. I know how hard it must be for Julia, I think about her every day. Rob, you and the girls are in my prayers. He'll be out on that boat in no time.

About The Caddo Tribe said...

We are praying hard for Rob and your family. Know that we are thinking about you all the time.

Shani and Mike Ginani