DustyMark's Journey 4 Comments

December 17th (unedited version…running out the door!)

Its quiet and dark and no one is up. I don’t often get time to just sit and type like Mark does. I’m often just coming in on 3 wheels (bald and low on air) to do a quick “report” to keep you guys updated and feel slightly out of my head. I know this moment will only last for a few more minutes so I better get typing!

Good Morning> so much to say really. First, I’m so honored and blessed to have the friends that I have. I’m honored and blessed to be married to a man who have such loving friends! Yesterday one of Mark’s (oh I hear the alarm!) friends was truly looking out for us and taking care of us. Neither of our houses had power (thank goodness we weren’t on the machine or even had to do dialysis at home) so when I went up to get one last big project done, I could not. But there was our generator fairy working on our old generator to make sure we had something ready for next time. As it turned out it wasn’t worth fixing and now we have a new one but we would have never had time for that right now even though we talked about it at least 3x. As he was doing that concrete was being poured (yes in december!) in our drive to give us a reveal (?) in front of the doors and a sidewalk to the house. The was a wish list item for spring but somehow strings were pulled and people were arranged. I had left for wifi and coffee to order a new shower door (yeah me for remembering) and I came back and it was a total work zone! They were FAST! Also, my dear friend and soon to be neighbor (7 mins away) stayed at my house to wait for mark’s medical chair that never came and with some instruction from me, started sealing/polyurathaning my steps! I tell you this because I just felt really loved and taken care of and I haven’t taken much time to stop and really f e e l all that is going on. I realized this week I was at the hosue 12-14 hours each day with a quick stop home or an errand to break it up (and I still dont’ have my closet ready but I”m doing that first thing). I didn’t really know what my love language was…I thought it was words of affirmation. But I think it might be works. As much of a control freak I am on projects…there are some I hate and I loved it when people did them for me. Looking back…..I loved that Mark filled the wood boiler…that he took care of the pool closing and all those hard yucky jobs. Yes, I can do it, but I don’t like to. I also can now look back and appreciate more all the things Mark does or did (and will do again hopefully). All the hard work he put into our home and family and taking care of us. The man always works. He has never been jobless even when he thought he would be jobless. He would create his own job till he got a job. He worked hard to get us into the position that we are in now…… improved old farmhouse to sell and a much improved little house to move into. He just wishes he could have played a bigger part of the finishing.

Today we move a majority of our stuff out of this house. I will come back later over the next few days and wrangle up the loose pieces and clean but this was our last night sleeping here. Really weird. I think I will be more sad later. I’m too tired now. But we LOVED this house. I wanted it years ago! I was pregnant with Hatcher when it was for sale by owner and we came and looked at it and I daydreamed about living her and raising my 6 kids here but we could not buy it without selling ours first and ours wasn’t moving. I actually cried when this house sold. For 7 years we checked up on it and drove by it and fnally it looked slightly abandoned and we wondered if it was going to go up for sale. One day we drove by and there was a for sale sign. We had asked our realtor to ping it in case this happened so we were really upset that we didn’t know and of course…it was pending. Forclosure. Bank owned. But God did want us to live here and that fell through for the first buyer and we were able to get it. The house needed alot and the pool looked like a swamp. But we worked hard for 2 months adding a dining room and getting things cleaned up and remodeled enough to get in here and of course that went on for many months or years after. I thought I would never ever leave here. I thought I would grow old with Mark here and see our grandkids play here. But I when we started working on the Newaygo house (and was doing some remodeling at my parents for disability purposes) we realized we need to “retire” to a place that is more old people friendly because like it or not, we will grow old and I don’t want to be in crisis mode having to remodel or move because our space won’t work for us. Littel did WE know that that time was sooner than later. We also realized this is way too much house. I don’t want to clean a big house long after my kids are gone. I know its all hallmarky to come home to the same house you grew up in (I still can do that) but I also think doing it different isn’t wrong and we can make memories and make home anywhere. When Mark got sick, it seemed the right thing to do. One place. More effecient and simple. Smaller but simple. We could not have done this at all without the help of so many people and I dont’ know how I can ever show all my gratefulness to all of them.

Mark has been getting rides from his many friends this week. They pick him up and take him to dialysis and then get lunch after. He comes home and naps and then tries to help the kids navigate projects or/and comes to the house to see progress. He only came up twice though this week and he has just felt major exhausted and just over all…sick. I guess this is cancer and treatment. I guess this is just how you feel. We were blessed and spoiled to be so healthy for so long. Neither of us have the patience to be sick. Mark has more words on that in his own writing I’ll be sharing with you.

They started using his fistula and its been interesting. I’m not actually there and feel like I’m missing out but I can’t be everywhere. Plus 5 of his friends just got a crash course in dialysis! Some days the fistula worked fine, some days not at all. His arm was pretty swollen yesterday but I guess it worked fine however, the Dr wants him to get some more little veins tied off for better flow and for it to “grow” bigger and better. So another surgery. (sigh) The great news is…..his weight is up, his protein looks good, his iron is still good…in fact almost all his numbers look good. The stand in nephrologist said his hemoglobin looked good but we looked at it last night and its at 8.4 which is “good” for a dialysis patient but we know that Dr Banga will request a transfusion if it drops below 8. Yeesh, not somethign we want to do over Christmas. Maybe we won’t have to. His catheter was pulled and he is urinating on his own, alot, so that is good and over. He slept really good last night and I”m so thankful for that. His back hurts but not in the same way. It might hurt like he laid block all day but can come home and lay down and its comforable but something in his lower back/sacrum area is not stabilized. He can’t bend over very far and sometimes wonder if his legs will give out. Hopefully with more weight gain and muscle gain and maybe some therapy…oh and come spinal work later…that will get better. All in all..given the situation…he is doing good and feels covered in love as well. This week we have hardly seen each other but next week should be more low key and fun. Relaxed (well as relaxed as you can be finding your way in a new house). I get overly tired, Mark gets frustrated with the situation and its easy to knitpick and argue. Pray that we have patience with each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt and not assume anything from tone etc but just know that we love each other and we are both trying to do what we can do in this weird time.

So my mircrowave and fridge didnt work out …but Decker and Sons has been fabulous searching for replacements and they are coming this morning so this weekend I can move cold food over. You guys! I love so many things about my new house. The coffee bar….the stairs…the tile on my bathroom house. The vaulted ceiling. The sealed basement floor. Its not finished finished but its the most finished house I have ever lived in in my entire life!! Its the most newest house too (except for maybe an apartment once in college but that wasn’t mine). For those of you who are young and just starting our or just married. You work your way there. You make smart finacial choices and start small and work your way there. (in houses, cars etc) Its so much more enjoyable to reap the benefits of the hard work than to jump into something you could never afford and then have to dig yourself out later. I know you want “better for you kids” or what you had when you left your parents…but that was your parents…who worked hard to get there. Its your turn now. Your kids will be fine if they aren’t in the best neighborhood or the biggest house or if they have to help fix up a house or live among dust. Builds character. I have a feeling my kids will look at houses and say…”I can fix that up”. I think because they watched us remodel so many, they know it can be done. Although,I was driving yesterday and suddenly felt guitly…or wondered if we were being wasteful. Maybe we should have plunked a double wide down on a pad on the 5 acres I can aquire, and remodeled this to sell. If you knew all the things that went through my brain. I just wondered if we weren’t being good stewarts ..stewards…of our time, money and resources…if we were wanting to much of this world by having this house. I guess that is between Mark and me and the Lord and we will figure it out :). I’m excited to live there though 🙂

Okay I have to scootch out and fix my closet shelf and put in one more bar before we move our clothes into it (we downsized and still own too much). The medical chair is coming and the appliances are coming…then I can come home…and assist in the packing of the trailers. More from Mark below:


Mark Linsley6:58 AM (40 minutes ago)
to me


Chaos and Pain

My life is Chaos right now—and I hate chaos.  Piles of boxes and mess surrounding me, a lack of planning or organization in my eyes.  No way to help of influence the situation and feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired with no definitive end in sight.

I read a devotional entitled “Thoughts from the diary of a desperate man.”  My Grandpa was reading it years ago and purchased a bunch of copies and gave me one.  The title of the book kind of gives it away—its not exactly a “Daily Bread” type of read.  The author typical takes a darker look at things—if “darker” is the right word.  I’ve enjoyed reading it and re-reading it for over 20 years.  Today’s lesson dealt with the Tower of Babel and how God had to create chaos to force men to seek Him.  I always thought that it was an odd verse where it stated in Genesis 11:6 â€śThe Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to  do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”  What’s wrong with nothing being impossible? Why is that more wrong or foundational wrong than other things?  God purposely created chaos and pain.  

Someone asked me this week how I am personally handling or keeping myself spiritually encouraged.  It was a difficult question and I answered that the Church and friends reaching out to us to encourage us and go above and beyond to take care of my family’s needs has been overwhelming and I when I receive these gifts, letters, time helping with the house etc.  I feel God’s love despite the circumstances.  But that question has forced me to think deeper.

My wife and I have grown closer to each other and to God these past few months.  We’re not saints, we still argue and struggle through things—but prior to this our live were growing more independent, I was enjoying my work and Dusty her’s but we weren’t dependent on each other. People have written me letters telling me how my health situation has motivated them to grow in dependence or a desire to seek His will in their life.  This is bizarre to me—multiple people contacting me with how this has changed their life in real personal ways—this is hard for me to understand.  

The more I think about the question of keeping myself spiritually encouraged.. I’ve come up with the following theory.

Let me be honest with you—I am sick and tired of being SICK AND TIRED!  I hate it.  I question God about it daily.  He doesn’t speak to me but I feel His love in other ways previously mentioned. I know He loves me, but I want to know one way or the other—do I have 6 months or 6 years?  Is this going to be up and down with a series of false medical hope that ends with my treatments no longer working and my cancer running wild over a few weeks?  Will I see Karson get married, will I see Cora or Aly?  Will I even make it to Felicity’s baby’s birth; Hatcher’s graduation?  Will I have a job in a year? Will I fly again?  These are the questions  that I don’t know and there are too many variables for me to figure out and its exhausting to try to figure it out.

It dawned on me later talking about Daniel—he was virtually kidnapped and forced into exile as a slave to a barbaric King—he prayed daily for the restoration of his nation—He wondered daily if this barbaric nation was going to execute him, he wondered regularly what the next King was going to be like and he desired desperately to return to his native land a free man.  None of it happened—he was forced to remain dependent on God daily his entire life.  Did God continually show him His love and protection? Yes.  Did He answer his prayers?  Nope.

Question:  What did God mean by “nothing they plan will be impossible for them”?  Why wouldn’t God want unity of purpose and desire?  Its all we pursue today.  God purposely created chaos and disunity! Here are some quotes I journaled  from my devotional this morning that hit home.

“Christianity is a religion of rescue for the desperate.”

“The path from God is independence.”

“The path to God is dependence.”

“God uses chaos to teach people their need for him.”

“Never cease to thank God for Chaos.”

Answer: I think he meant they will cease to look to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no Daniel, But I pray daily for my life—I don’t want to die, and I get no answers or confidence from the evidence.


Chaos and pain have become my teachers.

Maybe God in his grace wants to keep me desperate, broken and dependent on him.  I had become to much of a master of my world—maybe He just wanted to stop me from building a tower that would be the end of me.

I think I understand why some of you who wrote to me how this whole thing has changed your life.  I became a tower of Babel story for you.  Meaningless chaos forces our dependence.  

I think I will read the book of Daniel next, I remember it describing how he prayed prayers of gratitude 3 times per day.

In the mean time Im trying to learn how to thank God for the Chaos and Pain in my life.

For all of us—let us never forget to thank God for the Chaos and Pain in our lives.

Comments 4

  1. Mark and Dusty, you both are good at expressing your inner struggles in an honest way. Thank you. None of us are perfect, but like you, we struggle with thinking we could be handling things in a better, more spiritual way. As you said, the pain and chaos are meant to draw us closer to Him. To trust Him more; especially when there’s absolutely not a thing we can do about it. We’re praying you in/through this.

  2. I have struggled with so much of what you write about. The not knowing, the why, the chaos and pain. I’m five years out from diagnosis and I feel like getting my footing back has just been a more recent thing. I have learned that physically I can not do what I use to do. I’m still able to do what I love to do, pottery, but at a much slower pace! It’s a good thing that “small batch pottery” is popular right now.
    I also know to plan my week with just a few things and a lot of rest in between them.
    It’s definitely frustrating at times, but it’s where I am right now.
    It’s funny, when Covid hit and the world came to a screeching halt for a year and so abruptly, it was like, everyone else was in my Cancer world! Watching the world, so shocked that this was happening to them, everyone missing out on events, having to make major adjustments in their lives, yep!
    Dusty, I understand about those feelings about having a brand new space! During Covid, Rusty & I built me my very own, first ever pottery studio!! I felt guilty and alot of “what if’s” went through my mind. But we finished it and it’s pretty fantastic. It brings me alot of comfort & joy everyday and the space makes me feel so peaceful!
    Sending much love đź’•

    1. Post

      Thank you for replying…He really struggles with the unknown…no plans and no energy. I’m so thankful for that quarantine. Mark and I spent a ton of time together doing things we loved. We spend alot of time together now but its different. I”m so glad you are on “the other side of it” and I hope you stay there! Thank you for supporting us

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