Friday, December 14, 2012

Dead children


My son is in the second grade. I am heartbroken that I have to talk to my son about dead children again. What can we say? No words can convey what I'm feeling. Disgust. Anger.Terror. Why?

Every parent wants the best for the children. We want them to be safe. I cannot imagine what those parents are going through.

My son is almost 8.  I cannot believe that Ethan is in second grade. It seem like yesterday that he was a toddler full of wonder.

Now, there realities of life are intruding in our life. Dying kids. Shooters. Evil people. Pedophiles.Child abuse. It is inconceivable that the world is such a hellacious place.  I know that evil is everywhere, and, at 51, I know that evil is not a new concept. But, it seems that there are more evils now. 

Maybe because I am a parent now.

Ethan.  I am so lucky! Ethan is a great kid. Funny, joyous, active, creative, irreverent, and caring.

Tonight, when we are getting Ethan ready for bed, we will hold him even closer than normal.  Those parents who will wake up tomorrow knowing that their child is gone is horrible for me to consider.

The shooter should have a special place in hell. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.


"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!" Mark Twain

On March 17, 2012, there was a benefit for me, and I heard over 500 people attended. I was there, and I was astonished that so many people cared about me. Very humbling.

My stroke was 11 months ago, and now I am beginning to work again. I will be taking it slow! The doctors have been dumbfounded that I am doing so well, but I should not push it. I can drive again. I am writing. I am reading. I sought reelection for the College of Western Idaho Board, and I won! My family is doing great! So, I'm happy.

At my benefit on March 17th, one of my friends said "most people do not enjoy their own funeral!" I am taking the advice to heart, and I am living proof that second chances are real.

I just cannot imagine that my "press" is real. I am a just "me." I am very irreverent and I laugh a lot! 

One of the first things I wanted to do, was to return to my legislative activity. I am very grateful that I will be joining a firm that I have so much respect for.  

This was the announcement about me:

"Risch Pisca is pleased to announce that Mark Dunham is joining the firm as a legislative consultant. Mr. Dunham has had a very long and distinguished career in Idaho Policy and Politics with a very heavy emphasis on tax policy, construction, real estate and education. Mr. Dunham is the former CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Idaho, former CEO of the Idaho Association of REALTORS, former vice-president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, and former governmental affairs liaison for Boise State University. Mr. Dunham currently is a trustee elected to the Board of Trustees for the College of Western Idaho."

I did not think that the media would care!

The Spokesman Review

Eye on Boise


Dunham joins Risch Pisca

The Boise law and lobbying firm Risch Pisca has announced that Mark Dunham, former CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Idaho, is joining the firm as a legislative consultant. “Mr. Dunham has had a very long and distinguished career in Idaho Policy and Politics with a very heavy emphasis on tax policy, construction, real estate and education,” partner Jeremy Pisca said in the firm's announcement. Dunham is an elected trustee of the College of Western Idaho; and served for 18 years as the CEO of the Idaho Association of Realtors. He left his position with the contractors in June to focus on his recovery after he suffered a stroke in January.


The Idaho Business  Review

Dunham joins Risch Pisca

by Brad Iverson-Long
Published: December 11,2012 

Mark Dunham, the former executive director of the Associated General Contractors of Idaho, is joining Risch Pisca, a Boise law and lobbying firm, as a legislative consultant. Dunham left his post with the AGC after suffering a stroke in January.

Jeremy Pisca, a partner at the firm, said Dunham will assist him on education and transportation policy issues, including his proposed Transportation and Economic Development Zone plan.
“Mark’s got quite a background in transportation issues, so it seems logical that he’ll be helping me with that,” Pisca said.

Dunham also serves on the College of Western Idaho’s board of trustees. He is the former vice-president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and also served as governmental affairs liaison for Boise State University. Before that, he served as the CEO of the Idaho Association of Realtors for 19 years.

Dunham resigned from the AGC in June. He’s been replaced by Wayne Hammon, the former budget director for Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. On a blog he continues to update, Dunham wrote that he suffered a tear in his carotid artery on Jan. 10 before suffering a massive stroke three days later while in the intensive care unit.

Read more: http://idahobusinessreview.com/2012/12/11/dunham-joins-risch-pisca/#ixzz2EsbCeJdf



The Idaho Statesman

Dunham takes job as Idaho legislative consultant

By Bill Roberts 

Mark Dunham, former CEO of the Associated General Contractors who suffered a stroke in January, has become a legislative consultant at Risch Pisca, a Boise law and policy firm. Dunham is a member of the College of Western Idaho Board of Trustees and has had a long career in Idaho policy and politics, with an emphasis on tax policy, construction, real estate and education.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fibromuscular dysplasia


I really never knew my grandmother. I kinda knew her from a distance  I saw here maybe about 5 or six times. My mother did not know her until she was 22 years old. But, my point about all of this is MY medical history. 

The stroke was much unexpected. There was no family history, but last night I remembered that my grandmother died on her 66th birthday and the cause was a cerebral hemorrhage.  Mom said that she told her other daughters that she would die that day--  and she did!  

So, is there a hereditary condition? Who knows.

I often wonder about adoptions.  How would you know about your medical history? For my brothers and me, I do know about our family history I guess.

My Dad’s family history is the usual stuff. Grandpa Selmer had cancer and died at 77. Grandma Agnes had the “Robertson Disease” (her maiden name) but the common name is Alzheimer’s.  My dad has liver disease and died at 63 like his brother who died at 63 succumbing because of liver disease.  His cousins also died of liver disease even though some did not drink at all.

For my mother, Grandpa Bailey had heart attacks.  Mom’s siblings were another story.  Her mother had four kids, and Mom was the second. Three fathers for four kids. I do not know about Mom’s siblings from that side of the family.

For my Mom’s dad, she has two sisters living. They were her "sisters."

So, always wonder about me! Was there precursor? Was there a warning? Was this the luck if the draw. Why me?

At the hospital when the first stroke happened, the doctors said “this is what caused my torn carotid artery."

“Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is the abnormal development or growth of cells in the walls of arteries that can cause the vessels to narrow or bulge. The carotid arteries, which pass through the neck and supply blood to the brain, are commonly affected. Arteries within the brain and kidneys can also be affected.”

Of course, three days later, the “big one” hit, and my journey is continuing to unfold.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Apraxia

One of the most interesting things about my stroke is relearning everything. Tying my shoes. Using a belt. Using hairspray – assuming I have hair! Using tooth paste. Using a knife properly was a cautionary dilemma for me! 

These very commonplace tasks are a struggle for me.
So the gift that keeps giving is that I have to concentrate for even the most mundane tasks!

Here is the clinical definition:    

Apraxia is a disorder of the brain and nervous system in which a person is unable to perform tasks or movements when asked, even though:
·         The request or command is understood
·         They are willing to perform the task
·         The muscles needed to perform the task work properly
·         The task may have already been learned
Other forms of apraxia include:
·         Ideational apraxia: Cannot carry out learned complex tasks in the proper order, such as putting on socks before putting on shoes.

I am grateful that this is getting better. But one of the last grooming issues I have had is tying my shoes. Really.

I had no problems with the left leg.  I could put on my left sock and shoe with no problems. But, the right sock gave me fits!  I tried and tried. I logically defined the task. I thought about it. But to no avail.

For months and months I practiced.

My son Ethan was the key even though he had no idea. I was trying in vain to put on my right sock. Then Ethan was putting on his socks. And, I had an epiphany! I got it!

No problems now. Of course, I have to think about it just like I have to do with everything I  do.  It was much simpler then!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wakeup


I had a wakeup call yesterday. I great friend said something like “buck up! 

Yes, you had a devastating thing happen but I am still living capable of doing great things with your life. And, this wasn't my tragedy. It was everyone's tragedy because we all love you.”

My stroke happened almost 10 months ago, and I do have a lot to be thankful for. Most of my doctors told me that I would get better, but they said I probably would be disabled for life. That was devastating news, but it gave me incentive to tell them “F.U.”
I have good and bad days like anyone, but life is good. I have my family and friends. I have options for my future, and many stroke “victims” do not.

Granted, people really do not know about what I am going through. It is lonely sometimes. Frustrating? Certainly!
But, life dealt a big blow to me. I think that I am handling it well considering what happened to me, but I also know that I have a great support system. Most people don’t have that kind of support.

When I started blogging again, I was focused on my experience. After all, this is MY story and my blog. I am hoping to write a book about my stroke and the aftermath.  But “aftermath” is not only bad. It is a tapestry of my life.
The tapestry is frayed a bit, but I am trying to repair it!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Damn "functor" words!


Language is key for me. I love to write and read.  It is fundamental for my soul. I cannot imagine my life without communication, words, reading the great books and thoughts. But one of the most devastating things about my stroke is the loss of my inner voice that is my “thought.”
I used to read so fast. I used write to fast.
It is ironic that my “voice” is stilled because of my stroke. I was great in math, art, etc. School was really easy for me.  I cannot do a lot of things like I used, but, really, who cares about math!
I do care about reading and writing. It is the essence of my being.
And, I thought it would kill me even if I recovered from my stroke.
It is getting better. The fact that I am blogging again is the testament that I am recovering. I must be patient. I want to read and write right NOW! But, my body is a mystery to me, and I must wait and let nature take its course.
Last night, I noticed my cupboard door in my bathroom. I actually forgot that I practiced different words. What words you might ask?

"Definition:

A word, such as a preposition, a conjunction, or an article, that has little semantic content of its own and chiefly indicates a grammatical relationship. Also called form word, functor. Here are some examples of functors in English:

Demonstratives such as this and that  or

Conjunctions such as and, or, and but or

Conjunctions such as and, or, and but."

On way to say these are prepositions or “connector words.”  It is common that stroke patients have big trouble saying these words. Actually, I make a lot mistakes because of these word, and assume my blog posts are riddled with these functor words. I cannot help myself it seems!
My wife did so much to help my recovery. Throughout our house, she put lists of my trouble words everywhere. We started with “time” words.  I had no clue about things like “tomorrow, today, yesterday, and the weekend.” It wasn’t just the words, I could not comprehend their meaning. I suppose that given that I wasn’t thinking about time, space, matter, and even my future.
So, when I discovered last night, I reminded myself that I have come a long way. I am proud of myself – and Heather!
It is also ironic that the other part of the door says something “We love you Daddy.” The name “Daddy” is something I focused on over and over as I have been recovering.  Ethan says “I love you Daddy.” I love you too Ethan Stanford Dunham. I am getting stronger every day because I want to be daddy for Ethan.
But, I still have some functor words that give me grief. I could use a profane word similar to “functor” to describe my stroke but I digress.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"How are YOU doin'!"


When people ask "how are you doing," the polite thing to say is "I am doing great!"

For my step grandmother, we learned never to ask because she would tell EVERYTHING that was wrong with her health not for just her but everyone.

When I had a stroke, the platitudes were more pronounced! Everyone was so concerned. It was gratifying. I have so many friends, and the generosity was so humbling to me.

10 months later, everyone is moving forward with their lives like me. But, just as everyone moves forward with their own lives, I do not think that a lot of people know about my reality. I don't know what their lives entail anymore. When I was working and very active, I knew a lot about their lives, kids, work, etc.

Now that I am "home," I don't get around anymore!

That is understandable. My mother-in-law told me that, when her husband died, there was so much activity. Then, days, and then months, and years slipped away. Do people know really what she thinks, dreams, and fears?

My uncle died last week. My uncle and aunt were married for at least 56 years, and, like my mother-in-law, my aunt now has a sad reality check. Granted, we love loved ones, but they go on with their lives, what is left for them?

I think about this often. Not just because of my relatives, because of me. Do my friends really know about my life? One of my friends helped me with my homework soon after I released from the hospital. One friend. That's it.

My wife and my brothers have been so great asking and participating. I am so grateful for them.

But, the others? No one knows anything about my therapy other than "I have some." No one knows about how hard it is. No one knows what I do every day. No one knows about my fears and dreams and hopes. Some friends call often. Some do not...even close friends.

On the off chance I see people, they often slap me on the back, and say "you are doing GREAT." But they don't know. I have had great success. I have a lot of honors. But, in the dark when I should be sleeping, I wonder what my future holds. Go back to what I did before even though I cannot do some work like before? Will I venture to a new adventures and work?  Will my friends be the same?  I don't know.

My wife is a great reality check for me. When I feel so sorry for myself, she says "have you thought about this or that." That helps a lot.

But, just like a widow, I am isolated in my grief about what I was before.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dying parents

My parents died last month. My mom and step dad were married for 42 years. My dad died almost 20 years ago. It seem unreal that they are gone. On Facebook, I posted news about my parents dying, and even now, it is surreal to me.  The outpouring of postings about my parents was a key part of my grieving even though I suppose I will be grieving for years. I did my mothers eulogy  which was very tough to do even if I had not had a stroke.

Here is what I posted:

September 23: Our mother died yesterday, a victim of ovarian cancer. She left us 13 days after our step father passed away. This was a quick exit after 80 years. Her considerable life force has ended. She was many things: Hardworking, beautiful (inside and out), driven, compassionate, feisty, loyal, and loving. But, Mom was simply a great mom and grandmother. That was all she ever wanted to be. She had so many great friends and people who loved her. I will miss her laugh. I will miss her endless phone calls. I will miss the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I will miss my dear friend.


September 10: Another one of "The Greatest Generation" died today. My step dad, Karl Brown, was my hero. I met him when I was 8 years old, and for 42 years, my step dad was the epitome of love, caring, mentoring, inspiration and great jokes! He was the Best Man at our wedding. Thank you, Karl, for all that you have given me. I hope I can always make you proud of me. He was a great dad to me, and I will miss him.

Strokes and slowing down...maybe!


My stroke was 10 months ago, and I am eager to get better. "Getting better" is relative because I have a long way to go. I have had 160 therapy session so far (speech, vision and occupational) plus massage therapy and acupuncture. I was partially paralyzed  in my right arm.

When I got out of the hospital -- 18 days! -- I was so scared. I was in a fog. I was in a daze.

But, I slowly got some focus. "Focus" in the sense, that I was tired in every way. My words lacked focus. My vision lacked focus...literally! I was unsteady because I thought I would fall.

I had to learn everything again. Oven? What was an oven? Light switches. Electrical outlets. Shaving. Showering. Tying my shoes. Driving -- not that I am driving even now!

My standard answer when I am asked, "I am getting better." And, I am.

But, I realize that I need a lot of time to recover. For example, in April, one of my therapists said I must return my blog. The problem was, I could not read or write! That was a problem....

I had to write four sentences a day every day. Initially, my sentences consisted of three of four words.

I was resigned about my fate. A writer that could not write. A speaker that could not speak. An educator that could not teach. On and on.

So, I was scared not just because of my health, but because most people don't know how to deal with stroke "victims."

Some people think that I will get immediately get better. "A few weeks of therapy and go back to work."

Some people think that I am a "cripple."

Some friends were supportive. Some "dropped" me -- and my family.

The reaction runs that gambit.

The intent is to be "normal." I have always be a busy guy, so, I am striving to be busy and normal. I am a very driven person so today I am trying to  replace one set of priorities for another. I do not have "job," my new "profession" is trying what to do next.

I am not sure what I will do, but I am doing everything that I can to be "normal." So, I have been going to a LOT of meetings.  I went to Sun Valley for the AGC convention. I went to the Governor’s Cup.

This month, I went to the Idaho Association of Realtors convention in Coeur d'Alene followed two days later with a trip to Boston for the College of Western Idaho. Then, I did a series of conference calls plus some very intense political discussions.

What learned recently, I AM kinda tired!






Saturday, October 20, 2012

Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

This is from one of my favorite books. I have not read it for a long time. Given my stroke, this really hits home. Think about it.
 
Quotations From The Messiah's Handbook
"Reminders for the Advanced Soul"
in
"Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah"
by Richard Bach - 197
7


Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that.

Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.

You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.
You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.

Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.

Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah.

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.

The simplest questions are the most profound.
    Where were you born?
    Where is your home?
    Where are you going?
    What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.

Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.






There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.


Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.

    Then be sure of one thing:
    The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
    The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't.




A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.

You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.

The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums.
It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.

Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."

The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be.

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind.
Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy.






Everything above may be wrong!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple products

 I have never really liked Apple products. I guess I think they are so arrogant.  I think Steve Jobs was mean man. I think his personality is so caustic.Their corporate culture is so "know it all." But, because of my stroke, I have found that there are so many affordable tools for me. I can "read" the news through a program calls ""Speak It." I helps me use e-mails, reading, etc. I have a program called "Predictable" that literally predicts my words. I just got my new iPhone 5, and it seamlessly uses my phone and my iPad. So, I really like their products. But, still....yuck!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

“Regarding Henry”


I watched a movie called “Regarding Henry” starring Harrison Ford the other night. I kind of remembered the movie, but like so many movies, it was a distant memory. I don’t know who told me that I should watch again, but it was sobering to me.
The back story was irrelevant for me. But, the focus was so similar to what I have been going through. Brain injury. Therapy. Scared.  The protagonist had a child. Very driven. Working too hard.

Not really realizing what is important.
And, it is gone in an instant.

Instant.
That the end of the movie, the family is better than the were before.  I hope so. A movie is about two hours. For me, this is my life. I don’t know when I will get “better,” just like I don’t know when I will recover.  And, that is “recovery” anyway.

This tragedy  actually made my family better is so many ways.

A movie is about 2 hours. For me, the story has no “The End.”
For now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My mother died....


My mother died on September 23, 2012. I never thought about it too much because my Mom was so vibrant. She was 80, but her health issues were very recent. She succumbed only about 5 months before she became ill. As I said, her life force was so palpable that we thought she would out live all of us. But, as she said, “it was her time to go.” So times, I catch me calling her. Just last Sunday,  I picked up my cell phone and just realized she is gone. Dead. My mom is dead. I sometimes I say that over and over just so I can convince myself that she is gone.  On Facebook, my tribute about my mother resonated. So many people commented, and that helped with my grieving process. When my Dad died almost 20 years ago, I do remember grieving, but I think this different for some reason. Maybe it’s because I was so close with her. How knows? I have been thinking a lot about life and death recently because of my stroke. But, life goes on. Seems kinda trite, but it is life -- and death.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Realtor Friends!

I went to the Idaho Realtors’ Convention last week. It was great fun, and I saw so many friends. I was the director of the organization for about 20 years, and after all this time, many faces were the same, some of the issues were the same, and some of the personalities were same. I left the Realtors on Dec. 31, 2003. But, I have some many friends throughout the nation, and it was great to see many of them again. I am grateful that I was invited, and I am happy that they are using me as part of the new search committee for the next director. It is an important job, and I can help, I will.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Returning to my blog...


Well, I have been meaning to return to my blog. It has been a tough year. My strike and my parents passing has been so starling to me. I do need to blog again. Doctor’s orders! So, this is my attempt to blog more consistently. It will make me accountable and I can view my progress.

I used to write so much. When I wrote, it just flowed. It was a great outlet for me to express ideas, dreams, and hopes. I wondered if I would ever write again. As I write this blog, I am writing, but I am not editing like I used to. Rather, I am just writing, and I will correct my mistakes later.

I don’t know if anyone will read my stuff, but I am setting a goal for me to write at least every week.

This blog post was created in about 10 minutes including editing. Months ago, I almost cried because I could not string words together at all. I tried to do 4 sentences a day, and the sentence structure was weak. I started with simple sentences. Granted, some of my contacts suggest that I was “too wordy,” so, maybe this is blessing.

However, I don’t think a stroke is the way to do it!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Parents....

Another one of "The Greatest Generation" died September 10, 2012. My step dad, Karl Brown, was my hero. I met him when I was 8 years old, and for 42 years, my step dad was the epitome of love, caring, mentoring, inspiration and great jokes! He was the Best Man at our wedding. Thank you, Karl, for all that you have given me. I hope I can always make you proud of me. He was a great dad to me, and I will miss him.

Also,our mother died September 23, 2012, a victim of ovarian cancer. She left us 13 days after our step father passed away. This was a quick exit after 80 years. Her considerable life force has ended. She was many things: Hardworking, beautiful (inside ..and out), driven, compassionate, feisty, loyal, and loving. But, Mom was simply a great mom and grandmother. That was all she ever wanted to be. She had so many great friends and people who loved her. I will miss her laugh. I will miss her endless phone calls. I will miss the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I will miss my dear friend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MY NIGHTMARE! My stroke story….




MY NIGHTMARE! My stroke story….

Last fall, I was plagued with a series of massive headaches. Around Christmas, I had 7 of them. I had an MRI on January 6, 2012 but they couldn’t find anything wrong I collapsed on the morning of January 10, 2012. I had a tear in my carotid artery. I was getting better after three days in ICU, and then I had a massive stroke. 

I was conscious the whole time, but I could not get to my call button. I laid there alone in the dark for an hour. That was the worst time I ever knew.

Imagine being alone and terrified because I was trapped by my body. I could not communicate. I lost my ability talk.

My whole family came to see me in the hospital. I was devastated because I thought my family was going to tell me that I was going to die. It was a horror I cannot ever forget.

Fast-forward, I was in the hospital 18 days including 7 days in ICU. For 7 days, I could not even say “Ethan or Heather.” My name was a mystery to me. I couldn’t name anything. I had to learn everything again.

Two months ago, Heather drove me to Lucky Peak because I wanted to take a picture about how it felt to be so alone and desperate. Here is the photo.

Now, my life is an array the doctors, therapy, and appointments. I have 6 therapies a week. A have a lot of homework. What is “math!”

It seems like it was so long ago since my stroke, but it was only 4 months ago. Wow! I have a long road ahead, but it is getting better. I have some paralysis with my right arm, and I have some lost sight in my right eye.

I am so blessed because I could have died. In the early days, I thought, that would be the best option for me and my family. My wife, brothers, family, and friends would not allow me to give up. And my 7 year old son Ethan has given me a lot the courage. We have a lot of living to do. I have a second chance. How many people have such an opportunity!

Thank you to all my friends who set up a trust at “Gofundme.com/MarkDunham.” The money is helping with for my therapy.

Thank you for all your donations, thoughts, and prayers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

My benefit was a huge success!

Hi Everyone, This took me forever to type this........

My benefit was a huge success to help raise money for my therapy after my stroke in January.
It was a fun night with the Blues Brothers Band, silent auction, dancing and GREAT family and friends.

I'd like to thank everyone, especially friends and volunteers! My friends and family are the heroes in this situation.

I'm really humbled and grateful for what they've done for my family. I'm also grateful for the care l've received from my therapists.

I want to thank Heather and Ethan for their patience. For a 7 year old child, Ethan is very courageous. Heather is everything to me!

Your prayers and continued support have meant everything during my recovery.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cub Scouts

Cub Scouts is fun! Ethan and his dad go to den meetings together.
2/18/12

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I had a stroke. Actually two.

MY WIFE DID THIS POST BECAUSE I COULD NOT WRITE:

I had two strokes in January, 2012.
The second stroke had a long term impact on my speech and language abilities.

In all other respects I'm myself.
My therapists have been great!
I am blessed to have Heather & Ethan. 
My family and friends have been amazing throughout all of this!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Can you imagine being married to HER!

During the holiday season, Ethan's Catholic school held a Christmas program in which the First Graders presented the Birth of Jesus to the congregation of Sacred Heart in Boise. Our son is not really very shy, and when he had the opportunity to select his "character," he immediately said "Joseph!" Obviously, Joseph is a big role in any Nativity play.
The girl who played Mary has an interesting relationship with our son. Earlier during the first semester of the year, she actually bullied Ethan on the playground to the extent there was a "talking to" about her behavior. However, it seems, in reality, that she and Ethan may actually like each other meaning their roles in the Nativity play were either typecasting or prophetic.
However, when Ethan was explaining to me about who was playing Mary, he exclaimed, "Dad! Can you imagine being married to HER!" This comment was close on the heels of his comment to his mother about playing Joseph when he said, "Great. 6 years old with a kid."
The play was a major success as those things go, and he was happy to have his buddy Joshua in the play along with the rest of the first graders.

Independence....

Ethan turns 7 years old in a couple of weeks and his sense of independence (and desire for it) is expanding as quickly as his vocabulary. He now routinely asks to do routine tasks by himself such as turning the security system on and off in the house. It's actually a pretty sophisticated process, and he takes it very seriously.
Part of his insistence on setting the alarm is, I suspect, to allay his continuing concerns about the burglary we had over a year ago. He continues to show apprehension even in the house with the doors locked. So, setting the alarm is important not only for his security but also for his growing sense of independence.
This sense of independence takes on other forms as well. He now wants to use the rest room by himself in public places. Just last night, we attended the Borah-Capital High School varsity BB game, and he insisted on going to the bathroom by himself as well as standing in the concession line to buy his own snacks. I was pleased to see that he routinely turned around to make sure we were watching him. And we were! Independence only goes so far on both the kid and parent side!