Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gifts from God

God has given me so many surprising gifts lately: a surprise visit by my big brother, Dennis, from Colorado, summer-like days in early February, pain-free days with strength to fully enjoy my daughters and grandchildren (pictured here in our "front yard" facing the beautiful Chesapeake Bay), and an unbelievable out-pouring of love and prayers from family and friends.

Since our last entry, much has happened. Let me summarize briefly:

  • An MRI of the brain shows 3 tiny tumors there

  • A Bone Scan shows multiple tumors involving spine, ribs and long bones

  • I met with my oncologist, Dr Burton Alexander, who provided a thorough and realistic appraisal of my condition. He explained there is no "cure" for this advanced form of melanoma. Without treatment (or miraculous intervention), I could expect to survive six months.

  • I met with Dr William Grosh of the Melanoma Center at UVA on 2/07/08. Dr Grosh offered a small chance of remission with a very toxic treatment protocol, but I would first need to treat the brain metastases and pass other tests to ensure I qualified.

  • I underwent additional Xrays, lab studies, and consulted with a dermatologist at UVA who found no primary source for the melanoma.

  • On 2/08/08 we went back to UVA to consult with Dr Jason Sheehan, a neurosurgeon, had additional tests, then hurriedly returned home to meet with Dr Alan Wagner, retinal specialist, who graciously worked me into his schedule. He found no ocular source for the melanoma. Apparently I fall in the ten per cent of metastatic melanoma patients who never demonstrate a primary site.

  • After all the travel, I experienced a flare of "pleurisy-like" chest pains and spent some time last night in the emergency room. Further studies showed no evidence of a blood clot to the lungs and the pain is now improved.

  • We will now return Monday to UVA to undergo a "search and destroy" procedure on my brain called Gamma Knife surgery by Dr Sheehan. This no-incision operation uses highly focused gamma rays to destroy the 3 lesions in my brain. We are not certain if we will be staying in the hospital overnight, or for the week to enter the treatment protocol outlined by Dr Grosh.
I have been buoyed up by the prayers and support of so many people, and by the loving care provided by my wife and children. I told Linda that at times I am actively engaged in this battle and at other times feel like an observer while others wage war on my behalf. I am grateful to God for all these gifts.
Celebrating each day,


  1. wow! what a great picture. your photographer is VERY talented. ;-)


  2. I see the Hands of God all over this. You all look so beautiful. May you continue to feel His presence and be lifted up. Hugs,

  3. Dan and Linda,

    Your testimony this morning was amazing. Richard and I were moved and reminded of the hope that we all have for eternity. Know that we love you both and pray for your peace during this testing time.
    Your love for the Lord and each other is uplifting.
    Lisa Colvin

  4. Many have been touched by your service to your Christian family and through your service to Christ! We will continue to pray for you.

    If you are up for visitors in Charlottesville, my sister said that she'd be more than happy to stop by and assist in any way that she can!


  5. Dan--thank you for the gift of you. One thing that you did for me that I'll never forget was the Wild at Heart talks during BILD in Rich's office. I was able to heal and conquer a lot of fears from childhood, and my wife and friends immediately noticed the difference. Those nights were quite meaningful and long lasting. I consider you to be like the moon--the glow that lights up the Tab landscape comes not from you, but from Him. Oh, that we all can say this of ourselves!

  6. I keep coming back to your blog look at your beautiful photos- Family: what a gift!- and to read your encouraging, honest words.

  7. Dr Crabtree and family,
    We know that all things are possible through prayer and God's help.
    I am praying for you and your family each and every night, wishing that God would lay his hand upon you and heal you with his goodness.
    John W. Hodges, Sr.