Derek had another surgery today. He had a washout, exploratory to see the extent of his injuries, as well as to repair a lot of the damage. His injuries are extensive. He was in surgery for about six or seven hours, but thankfully he did not lose any more of the left hip.
Yesterday I met the family of the other soldier who was with Derek. Thankfully he does not seem to be as injured as Derek.
Today, I learned more of what happend that fateful day, and I am even more proud that ever of my boy. I cannot even begin to describe what happened, so I will let LT Michael Sidman do it. Here is an excerpt from the message he sent me:
I am extremely grateful that he is alive. It is without a doubt in my mind a miracle. Doc Stowers (our medic) along with SGT Marcus Love and SGT Carl Wiger saved his life by applying essential medical aid immediately and retaining his attention the entire time. I was on the radio calling in the MEDEVAC helicopter and it was truly amazing how fast the bird got there and how accurate they were in the landing zone. God wanted Derek to live for sure and we are all lucky...
I know nothing will ever change what happened but, I want you to know that he is one of my best soldiers.Truly an inspiration to have served in our platoon. Derek was incredibly brave that day...I was so impressed by his lack of fear and his willingness to do his job to the utmost in the face of the danger. The story of the entire patrol goes much deeper than "Derek stepped on an IED". I am submitting him to be awarded the Bronze Star (with Valor Device) for his actions and unwavering courage that day. I attached the narrative that I submitted to this message, I thought that you would appreciate it and be able to share it with him when the time comes.
Other than that, please tell him that I said hello and that the whole platoon loves and misses him very much. Remind him that we know he has the "Heart of a Lion" and he will pull through this. The whole platoon has gotten together on several occasions to pray for him. Also, I want you to know that my entire family, all of my friends, and all three churches that I am affiliated with are praying for him, for you, and for the rest of the family. Please keep in touch and keep me as updated as possible throughout the next couple of months. I plan on coming to pay him a visit when I come home on leave. I am not sure if it will be late fall or early winter. Once again, prayers and love are coming your way every day...
I am truly thankful to all of the men in Derek's platoon. He served with a wonderful group of guys. I know he misses them all and when he wakes up, I will tell him how many of them contacted me and sent their best wishes.
Today was a difficult day with a lot of tears, especially after reading LT Sidman's beautiful tribute.
We do not always choose our path in life, and we are not always happy about the path our lives take, but I have no choice in this. When I made the decision to be a mother, I knew I would be a mother for the rest of my life, for better or worse, forever. I just hope God made me strong enough to help him.