Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fair Days & Faithful Ways

Don't think for a moment (those of you who live locally) that all this recent sunshine was meant for you... No, it's a God-send meant to lift my spirits and remind me of God's faithfulness, awesome creativity, and penchant for the beautiful. I am blessed to live in a house on the Chesapeake Bay, and in over 11 years here, I have honestly never spent so much time gazing out at this panorama than in the days since my cancer diagnosis: the ever-changing hues and texture of the water, the soaring seagulls, the playful pelicans gliding in formation just inches above the shimmering surf, the shifting sands, the kaleidescope of colors at sunrise and sunset...* But then I realize, it is meant for ALL of us, to remind us ALL of His true nature. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made..." (Rom 1:20)

As I have received literally hundreds of e-mails, cards, comments and well-wishes from so many people with words of encouragement and a committment to pray for me, I have begun to see how God's faithfulness is also manifest in that beautiful creation called YOU. I do not have the energy to respond to each of you, but please know that because many of you have shared a bit of your story with me in the past, I have also been praying for you, specifically in most cases for those difficulties and challenges that could zap you of spiritual, emotional and physical energy. By so doing, I have been strengthened and renewed. "...pray for one another so that you may be healed..." (James 5:16) I guess this is how it is supposed to work!

Well, we crossed the final hurdle today to prepare for an all-out attack on the metastatic melanoma. This morning, I underwent a core needle biopsy of the original tumors in my left parotid (salivary) gland. Those who have followed our story know these were thought to represent parotid tumors (either benign or malignant) and had prompted plans for parotid surgery in January. But the surgery was cancelled when it was discovered that I had some (more agressive) type cancer already spread throughout my body, ultimately determined to be malignant melanoma. This left the nagging question of what these original tumors might be. If melanoma, masquerading as parotid gland tumors, then one course of treatment would suffice; if a separate form of cancer or benign tumors, then possibly a different approach. I tolerated the procedure well and we now await the biopsy results.

I also completed a cardiac stress test (normal) and pulmonary function studies (showing mild restrictive lung capacity, likely due to the multiple metastases in my lungs). All of these have been forwarded to Dr Grosh at UVA and we will meet with him this Thursday, 2/21/08, to review and establish a firm treatment plan. At this point, he is still recommending the high-dose interleukin-2 therapy.

In all of this, we are grateful to you for caring and by so doing, reflecting His faithful ways.


*PS -- Did I mention the night-time beauty of the bay? Like the scene last night: The bright string of pearls formed by the lights of the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel adorning the horizon, the shimmering river of moonlight emanating from a break in the pearls (the Thimble Shoals Channel), streaming straight to our shore, and above a large pale yellow orb veiled seductively by lacey clouds that gracefully and silently slip by to reveal a stunningly star-studded sky. Linda and I are standing on the deck and hold each other a little tighter to brace against a chill in the air. Gazing up, our visible breath rises as a single offering: "Father, thank you." (Sorry, I couldn't capture any of this with a camera)


  1. Dr. Crabtree,
    Please know our whole family is praying that your Dr. can help you find a treatment option that will return you to health .
    We greatly appreciate all your care for our family members Patsy & Donald Fuller. We feel you went well beyond what was required as a physician and it is deeply appreciated.
    We wish the very best for you and your family
    Patrick & Theresa Fuller

  2. Dr. Crabtree and Linda
    Nat and I wish the very best for you, since we feel that you gave us the very best in care. If there is anything that Nat and I can do JUST CALL, we'll be there.
    with love and respect
    Jackie and Nat Harlow

  3. Dr. C, have been checking the blog several times a day since Feb. 14th (and your beautiful poem)waiting for news. Also, I have prayed daily thanking God for the warm temperatures, and beautiful skys, and the fact that you live in a wonderful place to enjoy it. Remember, I use to look at the picture in your office and say I wanted to be there:) I am happy you have that pleasure. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers often throughout the days. Your words have encourage me and increased my faith. Donna

  4. Dr. Dan,
    Please know that Frank and I and our girls are praying for you and Linda daily. We love you and pray you will receive the same wonderfully thorough care from your physicians that you have given to all of your patients! Also know that your blog entries are such a witness to so many people. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.
    We love you guys!
    Frank and Melanie Raiford

  5. Dr. Crabtree,
    You will be in our hearts and prayers. I truly hope that you have been as blessed to find as caring and dedicated a physician as the kids and I found in you. We all check to see how you are doing daily and enjoy the true blessings and love you share with everyone. You have brought not only physical healing but also care, dedication and now spiritual healing to so many.
    You are truly a blessed man and I am honored to know you.
    GOD's grace be yours always
    Stacy, Joe & kids

  6. Dan and Linda,

    Those who question the reality of God have not stopped a moment to breathe in the undeniable evidence of God's creative beauty and power. God has given us many gifts but my favorites are all that is around us that man has had no influence in creating.

    Chuck and I continue to pray often for you, Linda and the entire family. We love you very much.


  7. Our church is praying for you all -- and Stuart's cousin, Edith Anne, who teaches Special Ed at Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, is leading a "Bible Club" at that school that meets on Tuesdays before school. She has you all on their prayer list -- and she related this story to me last night.
    A 6th. grade girl named Ashton, a beautiful little blonde probably much like one of your daughters, stood up during their prayer time and prayed as follows:
    "I don't know Dr. Dan, but I pray for him and his family, for grace and strength and courage -- and I want them to know they are loved. I am praying that he is accepted into the Interleukin-2 program and that God will cure him."
    I don't think you can beat that prayer. Please know that it is echoed often and with great fervor by those who know and love you as well.
    May God continue to keep you close, grant you grace, and touch you with His hand of healing.
    Barbara and Stuart

  8. Dan and Linda,
    Praying for you daily and especially your trip to see Dr. Grosh tomorrow.
    May your witness bring others to Christ.

  9. Dr. Crabtree
    I truly appreciate knowing you as my Doctor and someone I could trust. You went the extra mile for me and I believe in you. Thank you very much.
    Micah Kaplan

  10. Dan and Linda ,

    was thankful to hear you tolerated your needle biopsy with success, but now as you await the results to see if it is, in fact, melanoma or a different kind of cancer...I continue to pray and trust that GOD will make that clear to the Dr's for further, immediate RX and that in either case, it is what it is and GOD is sovereign and our best HOPE is in HIM and HIS perfect way of healing....
    I am encouraged that you remain focused on GOD's infinite love for you in the middle of suffering and that you are taking time "to stop and smell the roses".....breathing in GOD's beautiful and awesome creation, that is oft times, more than not....taken for granted.

    I"m also praying for your uneasy, yet much anticipated visit with Dr. Grosh tomorrow, as knowing vs. not knowing the results, helps to know what you are dealing with and helps you to pray accordingly and move on in faith......

    what a ray of light you are to be so positive in light of affliction. How many of us can learn of that kind of peace, that hope and that attitude by watching you.....Never doubt how GOD is using you....it's a very evident legacy you are showing and will leave someday....To GOD BE THE GLORY and I trust HIS power manifests itself mightily in your life through CONTINUED progress, GOOD news and prayfully COMPLETE healing....

    love you and Linda so much,
    I have certaily been blessed to know you both.
    Audrey Lewis

  11. Dan, greeting from the past. Carol and I were visiting mutual friends ( the Huffs) when they related your recent illness. Needless to say we were shocked. Our prayers to you and your family for a remission or better. Bala had called me several months back to say Hi!. My PCP is Ken Palting. I see Howard every now and then. We had some good times with the SHP. I am working for Anthem presently and enjoy the work with good staff and colleagues. Our last son is graduating UVA this spring. I will enclose my email if you have time. David
    email dgundlach@cox.net

  12. Keeping you in thoughts and prayers. May God graciously bless you.