Thursday, February 28, 2008

White Water Ahead

One of the greatest adventures our family has experienced together was to shoot the rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado during one of our many trips to that awe-inspiring part of the country. I well remember the terror and exhilaration we all felt as our guide navigated our inflatable raft through “The Toilet”, that part of the river that swirled and churned as if indeed we were all destined to be gulped into some unseen giant septic tank below.

Our recent days on this journey have seen both still and troubled waters:
· Sunday, 2/24/08 – Since I was too weak to attend church, our CARE group (a gathering of dear and faithful friends who have grown to love the Lord and each other as we have met regularly for Bible study and prayer) set aside time to pay a visit. It was a sweet time of encouragement, intimate worship, fellowship, and powerful prayer.
· Tuesday – The worsening pain and nausea finally got the best of me and I lost my breakfast. Hoping that would then provide some period of reprieve, we headed out the door for a scheduled MRI of the entire spine at the imaging center. En route, however, the abdominal pain worsened, nausea returned and I felt as if I would pass out. We diverted to the emergency room where, after IV fluids and more drugs, the symptoms abated. A repeat CT of the abdomen showed no change from the previous studies, no infection, and no obstruction (praise God!). An adjustment in the pain management regimen has since helped.
· Wednesday – The rescheduled MRI of the spine was performed. As both a physician and patient, I now have a greater appreciation of the trials I sometimes caused my own patients when ordering this test: two full hours of lying perfectly still, flat on one’s back inside a very noisy tube and very little cushioning can be grueling. The MRI shows that no part of my spine is spared from tumor involvement. Good news: there is no structural compromise or evident impingement of either spinal cord or nerves. It’s a miracle I am not a puddle of protoplasm!

We are now anticipating a week-long admission to UVA Health Center to undergo the high-dose Interleukin-2 therapy, which will begin Monday morning, March 3. The treatment is extremely toxic... white water ahead.

As in that little rubber boat being tossed by forces both powerful and exhilarating, I choose to enter this part of the journey as another adventure, with the reassuring knowledge that there are others whom I love and who love me right there with me – leaning in just the right direction, pulling their oar with mine, and all the time piloted by a strong and all-knowing Guide.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us,


  1. Dear friend!
    We will row with you with all our spiritual might!!
    David and Beth Sutton

  2. Count our oars in. We care about you and your family and pray every day.

    The Monroes

  3. We love you and pray for your strength and comfort several times a day. love Suse and George

  4. We are all pulling hard with our love and in our prayers. Adding another piece of exhileration to your journey... you have reunited brother Jim with Dad. We love you so much - Den & Joyce

  5. Dan

    With your upcoming treatment - I hope you will be able to post a picture of you flying a hobie cat hull next!

    All the best to you and Linda.


  6. I continue to surround you and yours with Light and Love to protect you as you traverse the white water rapids of this oh so unfair journey you must take.

    Light and love..........

  7. Daddy,

    You know I hate boats (what a failure as your daughter!) and am even more terrified of white water rafting. Even with a beloved and trusted father piloting the boat, I never feel safe on the water. Yet during this tumultuous time, I have a strange and sweet peace knowing that my heavenly daddy is in control.

    I am so proud of you and how you are modeling for me (as with everything) how to undergo trials and suffering with grace. I love you and will be there with you through prayer as you undergo these treatments.

    Your Chrissy

  8. Dan,
    Just a brief note to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. It was quite a shock to hear of your illness. God's ways are so mysterious. Yet we know how much He loves us. We who deserve only His wrath. How astounding!
    Dan, your faith is inspiring! I pray that God will comfort and strengthen you and your family throughout this ordeal.
    In Christian love,
    Frank Tarver

  9. Dear Dan and Linda,
    Just to let you know we are praying for you and lifting you before the throne concerning your upcoming treatments. Your courage is an inspiration to us.
    Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses' hands, many are at your side holding your hands steady.
    Marc and Marsha Ryninger

  10. Our sentiments are the same as so many others, but you cannot have too many prayer warriors lifting you and Linda (and you daughters) up in prayer. We will be with you continually in thought, spirit and prayer (as we have been) but especially the upcoming week. Wanted to let you know that. We will be awaiting for the next update.

    Don and Donna

  11. Special Dan & Linda:

    Neighbors Bob and Marilyn signing in. We have followed your blog since Ed Kruer told me a week ago of your challenges. Your beautifully flowing
    dialog is an inspiration. We so much are praying that treatment will remove the insidious effects of this disease and then there will yet be more memorable positive experiences.
    We certainly have never forgotten your visit and prayer offered to us last year as we embarked on our fight with the then newly discovered bone, brain and lung cancer diagnosed in Marilyn. Two days ago we were informed that we have lost the effectiveness of the major chemo medication used for the past year and the cancer is growing again. There are several IV meds that have yet to be administered and one will be introduced next week for the first time. We have declined to hear the doctor's estimate of the time we have left but he made it clear that his prognosis is that we are losing the battle.
    We pray for you both every day.

    Bob & Marilyn

    If there is a civic league in Heaven, I am sure Marilyn will volunteer.

  12. Dear Dan,
    We so appreciate all you have done for us and now we count it as a privilege to do something for you. God has given us a much clearer understanding of the meaning of “pray without ceasing”. We are “rowing” with you every stroke of the way. May God provide you with the same compassion and capable care as you have provided for us as you go through these troubled waters.
    Kathy, Bert, Samuel and Jonathan

  13. Dear Dan,

    Though white waters are you.....and Christianne, I hang on to the hope (the anchor for our souls) and the peace (that passes all of our understanding, esp. in times like these ) that assures us,( and most especially you right now) ....that GOD is the one steering the boat....He holds the course of it's direction...He holds the destination and the journey to get there....Nothing is hidden or unseen by HIM during this ride....In fact, when the waters get at their roughest, I can envision that HE will be holding you tightest at that time and lifting you above the bumps.....kind of like the footprints in the sand poem...When moments seem their worst, their toughest, and you think you cant endure any more.....He will be there to rescue you and give you relief...
    Not a day passes that you and Linda are not in my prayers and I"m holding on tight to those oars with you and believing in a loving GOD that knows all that is going on and we have no choice but to trust HIM for the purpose and the outcome.....You are a continuing inspiration to all that have been reading your updates and I eagerly wait for the next one.....

    Praying, hoping, and believing that you will get through this somehow with HIS strength.
    You and Linda are so loved. Too many prayers are hitting the throne room for you....for it not to make a difference. This kind of ride is the kind that takes a " praying without ceasing " "spiritual fasting" kind of prayer, and "constant warfare" and that's what we can all do for you.....
    Rowing with you all the way,
    Audrey Lewis

  14. Our Dear Doctor Dan,
    Marilyn and I had been going to you as our physician for a year and a half. We both agree you have been the BEST and most caring of all the doctors we have seen. The time you spent with us in going over our numbers ..during the visits ..was truly amazing and deeply appreciated. I remember meeting your wife in the reception room during the holidays and she was so nice to me. I know you have such loving care from her during this time. Your office staff has been kind in keeping us up to date on everything.
    G-d loves you and is with you this week in Charlottesville.
    Love, Marilyn & Stan Garfin

  15. Dear Dr. Crabtree,

    We are continuing to pray for you and for your family. We're asking Him for a miracle for His faithful servant! Stay strong...

    In constant hope,
    Sam, Jenny, Samuel, Kathleen, and William

  16. Dear Dr. Crabtree -

    We continue to bring your name before the throne on a daily basis - at anytime throughout the day or night - when you are brought to our memory. God's hands are full of miracles - I know - I look upon the face of my husband who endured riding this challenge two times - as see His faithfulness everytime.

    Continue to be strong in the Lord and the power of HIS might.

    Charles & Marsha Staples