First they got to have the fairy tale. It all began with two young people becoming international Pen-pals. She from the United States, he from Malaysia.
While many had their doubts about the growing love and relationship of this long distance romance, the optimism of young love would prevail and after 4 years of exchanging their hopes and dreams in blogging online, the families would meet the couple at their wedding in beautiful Malaysia as well as one in the States for a celebration of hope and love.
So many traditions were observed at the weddings, and happiness spilled over like the liquid poured into the glasses. Never had two people’s love been so obvious to others, yet the cultural challenges were ahead of them as they settled in the United States in Iowa as Mr. Mrs. Lawrence Tao Chin Lim.
Brooke and Lawrence began to notice there were changes occurring with Brooke physically, including her balance. Brooke was working from home doing typing online through a company that provided her transcription clients to assist. Enter me into the equation as I met Brooke online through a mutual friend, and soon enlisted her to edit a novel I had written. It went fast and smooth until……………..it didn’t.
Brooke was complaining of symptoms that at first seemed vague and could fit many situations and diagnosis. She was being given diagnosis like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and many more, but nothing covered all the symptoms she was developing. People began to flood her with opinions and then with criticisms and doubts that she “wasn’t facing her problems head on”. They accused her of not “listening to the doctors” when they gave their opinions and when she still sought further opinions”. Many even had the audacity to embrace the “Suck it up, Buttercup” mentality in how they interacted with her.
When I began to see discrepancies and errors in her work for me and knowing her “due diligence” in all things, I began to talk with her in-depth about her health. As a nurse of many years, I knew what it was to “fly blind” trying to pin-point a diagnosis that fit. . I encouraged her along with others close to her, to persevere despite the mis-givings of others. To her credit, Brooke was no quitter and her own best advocate and researcher.
Meanwhile, the beautiful Dee Dee was turning out to be a natural caretaker. She began formal training to learn to assist in stripping the bed, emptying laundry from the dryer, turning on/off lights and opening doors. All a great help to Brooke and fun for DeeDee. After two years of training she became a full service dog. Dee Dee is trained as a mobility assistance dog.
Dee Dee was one of the dogs featured in the National Geographic book, Devoted. 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life With Dogs. (Amazon.com) authored by Rebecca Ascher Walsh. * Photo credit* for the cover photo of “Emma” goes to David DuChemin. Dee Dee’s article was entitled, “Unusual path to service.”
While the diagnosis of the rare disease was devastating, it was a starting place to get the palliative care that was all that was available; NO CURE.
Her symptoms escalated, and her pain and suffering overwhelmed her. She would reach the point where sensory overload would force her to shave her head as even the stimulation of hair was too painful to bear. She would also have to wear sunglasses to tolerate light, even a computer monitor, and her muscles and balance had failed her.
Turning 30 would find Brooke in Hospice care at home, and Lawrence having to leave work to be the caretaker they could not afford. Dee Dee would continue to do her part to care for the one she loved.
From Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs : This is written by me in a post to Lawrence January 2016. I am wondering if people actually know the amazing man you are?? If anyone has an idea of the rigorous schedule you maintain on your own due to the ongoing need for more help? Help, I know as a nurse, is not affordable or available except in small time allotments, and as others volunteer. I do not know why you and Brooke were given this role in life, but I do know that God knew you would be great stewards of His love, faith, and through you others would see the true meaning of love. The true meaning of “for better and for worse” and that truly, something lies ahead that will make this all come full circle in a way that only God can see and know at this time. In my life (now almost 73) I have not known or seen a love story play out like this and still be “beautiful”. . I feel privileged to know the 3 of you; Brooke, Dee Dee, and you my dearest Lawrence Tao Chin Lim.