He left me.

“Let’s go for a run.”

Oh, those words sounded horrible. Why would I want to go for a run? It’s a Saturday morning, I’ve got my coffee in hand, and my cozy pajama pants still on.

“Come on. When else will we have a chance to go together?”

He was right. Papo was here to stay home with the kids. We wouldn’t have another opportunity like this again for a while.

“But I don’t run as fast as you,” I said. Lately Ian’s been running ten and a half minute miles. I don’t even think I can get my tennis shoes tied that fast.

“That’s okay. I’ll run with you so we can stay together.”

I had no other excuses. What else can you say to the double amputee asking you to go for a run with him? How is it possible that he is the one motivated and you (with both legs and all your fingers aren’t?)

“Okay,” I said.

And off we went. Ian, looking cool in his curvy fake legs, and me, wobbling along trying to keep up. We jogged really slowly, yet Ian never complained about my pace. My lungs struggled for air, but I acted like I could go on forever (until I couldn’t, of course.)

After a mile and a half I realized I wasn’t going to make it to three like I’d originally thought. I stopped.

“Why don’t you go ahead on your own and jog faster? I bet you can do two laps by the time I’m done walking one. We can meet up and finish together.”

So he left me. I watched him as he jogged away, farther and farther each minute. I, relieved that I didn’t have to keep up anymore, slowed my pace and my breathing and started to enjoy just being outside. It was windy and cool, but somehow I also felt the sun’s warmth. I looked around at all the beauty around me… the leaves in different shades, the clear sky, and the crisp, beautiful weather. I was grateful. Just two days after Thanksgiving I’m still pondering all that I have to be grateful for.

Today, during my “run” with Ian, I realized how grateful I am for him. For his never-ending great attitude. For his willingness to encourage me. And for his determination to thrive.

When I finished walking my lap I sat on the curb and waited for Ian. A few minutes later I could see him jogging to me. He looked strong and confident. I pulled out my phone to take his picture.

“Come on! Let’s go!” he said to me. “You can do this!”

Yes, the double amputee was encouraging ME. He wanted me to get up and join him. I was tired, but I did as he asked. We ran the last quarter of a mile together.

“See? That was fun!” he said when we got to our mailbox. “Thanks for going with me.”

Thank YOU for pushing ME, Ian. Thank you for your spirit. Thank you that you never quit. THAT, dear friends, is something I’m thankful for every day. 🙂

8. What happened to Ian anyway? Pt 2




Read part 1 of this post here.

Ian had a long road ahead of him after waking up. He stayed in the hospital an additional two weeks. Then, he went to a rehab inpatient hospital for four weeks. The kids and I tried to visit as much as possible. Ian was a warrior. He never once complained. He worked hard to get strong and come home to us.

We prayed for the black fingers and feet. We prayed for God to make them pink again. We had others praying, too. After the month of rehab, Ian came home, with the black fingers and feet. They were just there. Around our kids at home. In public when we took Emma to her soccer games. When we went to church on Sundays. In my bed when I rolled over in the middle of the night. There was no way to get rid of them. We believed God would heal them. We believed God COULD heal them.

After the four weeks in rehab Ian did six weeks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Five days a week, for two hours each day, he laid in a glass chamber hoping to restore the dead tissue and black skin we saw each day. For months, we lived with the black fingers and feet. Our loving hand surgeon told us one day, “Watch out. Those black fingers can just snap off, you know.” Needless to say, we were careful. Part of my job was to help Ian take care of the blacks. Each day, twice a day, the blacks had to be cleaned. And rewrapped in gauze. AND wrapped in plastic trash bags for his shower. We were so so so careful.

God taught us patience. He taught us we weren’t in control. He taught us to trust Him. He would take care of us.. no matter what.

Six months after he first got sick, Ian had his fingers and feet amputated. Not because God couldn’t heal them, but because it wasn’t God’s will to heal them. It was Ian who said to me one day, “Maybe God will heal me through the amputations.” And God did heal him.

The months that followed were full of pain medication, shrinkers, a wheelchair, transfer boards, potty seats, and lots of healing. For all five of us. Our new normal was finally beginning. After living in limbo not knowing what would happen, God graciously guided us to his new normal for us. Ian learned to do things without fingers. He learned to walk with prosthetic legs. He drove again. He traveled alone again, a test he had set for himself, and succeeded.

Today, two and a half years later, life is TOTALLY BACK TO NORMAL. We don’t even notice Ian’s disability. It is so normal to us. There is NOTHING Ian can’t do. Nothing. Everything he could do before he got sick, he can still do. (Maybe he does it a little differently, but so what?) We’ve been to the beach, skiing, and he’s even been up to the attic to get stuff down for me. He is even running on special legs called blades. The man is truly amazing. I’m in awe of him.





So, that’s it. In a nutshell, that is how our lives went from Ian having two legs and ten fingers to having two fake legs and no fingers. And life is still good. One night, early on, I said to Ian, “You know, it’s never gonna be like before.”

He replied, “I know. It’s gonna be BETTER than before.” And it is. 🙂

God is good, friends! I believe God wants me to encourage others in light of our experiences. I’d LOVE to hear from you! Please don’t hesitate to write. AND if you have a question, ask away! We love to answer questions and are not shy at all about what we’ve been through. 🙂 Oh, and subscribe to my blog on the right hand column so I can share more with you!

love, denisse


This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

Ian running

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I realized that I never shared this video on my blog (only on Fb.) Oops! This was a couple of months ago. I’m so proud of Ian! Isn’t he amazing?