This is a guest submission by Amber Williams
They were married May 6, 2004. It was an unseasonably cold day. All of the guests were forced to stand outside in the wind and cold to take pictures with this young couple about to start their journey into what would hopefully be wedded bliss. Little did this couple know what they would have to face together as they started their journey.
About a week into their new lives together Dan started to feel weak and sick. He noticed that he was bleeding every time he went to the bathroom. His brand new wife Danika (they both believe it wasn’t a coincidence their names were similiar) unsure and worried about what was going on took Dan to the doctor. After many tests it was decided that Dan had ulcerative colitis which is severe inflammation in the colon. The doctor warned that if they weren’t careful ulcerative colitis could turn into colon cancer within 10 years. This news broke Danika’s heart because she had lost her father to colon cancer when she was 15 years old.
The next couple of weeks were spent trying to find a way to get Dan feeling better. Medication the doctors prescribed seemed to be doing more harm then good so they went searching for alternatives. They tried water treatment, colon massages, herbal medications, and many many different diets. Nothing seemed to be working and Dan seemed to be getting weaker. He would wake in the night with severe headaches and he would get out of bed and there would be a pool of blood underneath him. Danika was scared and unsure of what to do. They were both attending a wonderful university and were looking forward to graduation. Dan had to miss many days of school and Danika had to work to support them and finish up her schooling. As soon as she was finished for the day she would race home to their small apartment to make sure Dan was okay. There were many days she was unsure of what she would come home to.
One day after a brief period of Dan feeling well enough to get out of bed they decided to hang out with friends. They were having a great time until Dan looked at Danika and he couldn’t speak. His words were slurring and he looked as if he were having a stroke. Danika rushed him to the emergency room with tears in her eyes, praying that everything would be alright. In the ER they learned that Dan wasn’t absorbing any of the nutrients he was eating and toxins had built up so much in his body that it had caused stroke like symptoms.
Later that night Danika brought Dan home from the hospital thankful he was alright. Her husband had lost so much weight and he could hardly keep anything down. Danika’s schooling was suffering and her meager $5.15 an hour she was making at her job on the college campus was hardly enough to pay for rent let alone all of their medical bills and medications. Here she was 20 years old with a very sick husband, mountains of homework and bills that needed to be paid. She had no idea what she would do and she got discouraged and wondered if she had married to quickly and if she had made the wrong decision. Her life seemed to be falling apart.
That night she tiptoed into her room where her husband was sleeping. She looked at her home that was in complete disarray, her homework and the bills. She was thinking to herself this is crazy when a picture on the wall caught her eye.
It was a picture of their wedding. She looked at the picture long and hard and then looked at her sleeping husband and she realized she had made covenants with this wonderful man and he loved her. Despite everything she had gone through she knew she loved him and that together they could face this challenge. Life has not always been easy in the few short years since Dan and Danika have been married but they have faced their challenges together and held on to one another. When times get tough for Danika she remembers that dark night when she vowed to herself she would never give up on her husband or their marriage.