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Our Story: From a Dead End to a Detour

I struggle to even know where to begin this post. Tears are already filling my eyes. It requires me to go to a place in my heart that is still aching, still healing. But it’s a story that’s critical to sharing our own personal detour. So here goes nothing.

The News That Changed Everything

I’ll never forget sitting in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity. Feeling so many emotions but ultimately wanting the doctor to come out with good news.  I kept wishing I was holding Dan’s hand but was thankful to be holding both of my sister’s hands.  And then it happened. I knew the prognosis the moment the doctor walked into the room from the look of defeat in his eyes. He stumbled a bit as he began to tell me. “Dan is doing great” (phew, this was obviously my greatest concern), and in a lot more words that I don’t even remember now, he informed me that they “unfortunately found nothing”. That “nothing” being sperm or any cells that could potentially be harvested into sperm.  A few days later, Dan was given the diagnosis of Sertoli-Only Syndrome, which is a fancy way of saying, he is infertile and medically speaking, our chances of conceiving a child together are yep, you guessed it, 0%.

Dan before his procedure
Dan right before his biopsy 🙁

This came as a huge shock to us, as Dan has never had any health issues or symptoms that would have ever given us any suspicion. This also crushed us and completely turned our world upside down. My doctor described it well when she compared it to a death. Dan and I’s dream of creating a child together had died. So we grieved, and grief was something that was recently familiar to me (which I’ll save for another post) so I was fully buried in it. And to be clear, this wasn’t just any dream of ours. It was my greatest dream and the greatest desire of my heart. In those moments, I felt like my life moving forward was going to be completely worthless.

The Detour That Changed Me

I slowly began to pick myself up and remind myself how lucky we were to still have options. Even though our dream was dead, we realized we had the opportunity to give birth to a new dream. A dream of saving a child’s life through adoption, or a dream of committing our life to missions work around the world. In a way, a whole new world of dreams had opened up to us. We began to understand that this wasn’t at all a dead end. That is when our love story with the term “detour” began.

After we got the news, we immediately booked a trip to Portugal because we knew that it would make us feel better.

We found so much peace in knowing that even though the plans we had created for our life had fallen apart, this detour was still going to lead us to a beautiful place. We know that God has placed us on this detour because he has an incredible destination for us that we would have never dreamed of ourselves. We know that when we arrive at this destination, everything will make perfect sense and if we had to do it all over again, we would choose the detour. I really had to remind myself that sometimes the plans we make for ourselves aren’t the best plans for us. Maybe this unexpected detour was God’s way of protecting us from something even worse happening. It forced me to remember that I am not in control of what happens to me, but I am 100% in control of how I choose to respond to the things that happen to me.

You can call it faith, you can call it whatever you want. But our detour is our own and we are doing everything in our power to enjoy every bit of it. For many of you, it’s time you should do the same instead of being stuck in a dead end. Perhaps you’re going in circles, a roundabout, if you will. Or perhaps you took a U-Turn because you were too scared and are trying to go back down a dead end road, only to end up in the same place. We hope you’ll change your perspective too and begin looking for the new opportunities that can come from following your detour, despite what unexpected roadblocks you’re facing.

Don’t get me wrong. We tried to fight this detour and immediately started looking for a solution to our roadblock of infertility. We began exploring any and every option of still starting a family. We even found a donor and tried 3 rounds of insemination with no luck. We wanted the closest possible alternative to our dream, but this is not what detours are made of.

We don’t know where this detour will lead us, and some days we still feel lost. But we’ve been on this detour for a year and a half now and as I sit here writing this, looking back, I realize how much I love following this detour. It has completely changed me in the most amazing way. Throughout this detour, we have stopped trying so hard to figure everything out. We’ve decided to just live and love life and let things unravel in their own timing. We are taking risks, and doing things we’ve always dreamed of doing, like moving to a new city, getting out of debt, exploring more of this beautiful world, and ultimately taking care of ourselves and each other.

I am so proud of the growth I have made on this detour. I have more confidence in myself. I care less about what other people think of me. I’ve stopped comparing myself and my life to others. I’ve completely stepped out of my comfort zone in many ways and it’s leading me to exciting things. And that, my friends, is the beauty of a detour! Sure, I still sometimes get anxious about the unknown but I can honestly say, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am content in the uncertainty, and I am enjoying each new chapter of this adventure.

Perhaps as you are reading this, you’re in the middle of your own unexpected detour or are needing the courage to take an intentional detour. If that’s you, start here

We’d love to hear about your own detours, and/or if you found this post inspirational so don’t forget to leave us a comment!

Lindsay with her detour rainbow
Always try to find the rainbow in every storm.

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Lindsay McKenzie

Lindsay is a proud Colorado native who loves Jesus, her family (especially her 3 nieces and 5 nephews), and of course, adventures with her husband Dan and their 2 dogs. She's a simple kind of girl. All it takes to make her happy is a cold beer, some country music, a sunset, and maybe a fishing pole!

All posts by Lindsay McKenzie

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1 year ago

Wonderful story, 40 some years ago, we were thrown the same curve. We ended up adopting 2 wonderful children. I won the Kid lottery, ha, not that we didn’t have some rough times . My daughter says she won parent lottery. It has and continues to be a journey created by God. We decided 3 years ago that we wanted to live an adventure. What a life changing decision that was. We sold our house, moved into a motorhome and have never looked back. I am still trying to be a better planner, which is why I reached out to… Read more »

Katie Lassiter
Katie Lassiter
2 years ago

You are precious! I randomly found your blog and I so enjoyed reading how your journey unfolded and how God has blessed you. It’s amazing how His plans are so much bigger than the ones we plan for ourselves… even if they do include pain and hardships along the way. I love your outlook of the detour. Many blessings to you and Dan!

Daniel McKenzie
2 years ago
Reply to  Katie Lassiter

Hi Katie, thank you so much for the sweet comment, we really appreciate it! Blessings to you and your family.

Liz Wilcox from The Virtual Campground

I had no idea, but I love how you say it opened up a ton of new “dreams.” That is so true. I know there are big things in store for you and Dan, BIG THINGS! Sending love yall’s way. xoxo

Jenn Barry
3 years ago

What a story! It is so encouraging to read how you two chose joy, rather than defeat. After following you on Instagram for awhile, I decided to travel on over to your website and learn a bit more about your story. I am so glad that I did. Not only do I love exploring the country on this epic adventure…but I love the stories of the people we meet and those that I simply find in this online space. Perhaps our detours will cross at some point.

Dan Golden
Dan Golden
4 years ago

Yours is proof positive……problems are not put here to break ya…..they are put here to make ya!! Keep on keeping on success in life is not reaching any destination…’s enjoying the journey….detours and all!!

DE Bolton
4 years ago

Divine interuptions to our plans remind us there is an upper story going on while we’re focused on the lower story. Regardless, His story is so much better than the one we can even imagine. I like the way you told it better. Prayers through the new path of your journey. Great post.

Nancy Golden
Nancy Golden
4 years ago

I am so proud of you two for following your dreams and realizing there is fear in change but change is what makes us grow. We have had lots of times that we have gone through a huge change and had lots of road blocks and say what are we doing?? Then say ” here we are so lets make it happen.” we Love you both❤

Amy Barnett
Amy Barnett
4 years ago

I’ve had a detour or two of my own, and have found the beauty you’ve described – I would never have met Will without my most heartbreaking detour, and would’ve never met YOU without the detour Will and I took together! But I haven’t quite gotten to where I “stopped trying so hard to figure everything out. We’ve decided to just live and love life and let things unravel in their own timing. ” I think we still try too hard to figure things out, and become anxious as we try to “plan” our detours, rather than allowing them to… Read more »

Ashley Hernandez
Ashley Hernandez
4 years ago

This is great Dan and Lindsay. Its a great way to view the curveballs that life throws your way. Glad to hear you are doing well and hope that in sharing your journey that it helps to heal the wounds of the past and create a great future. You both have alot to offer the world.

Lindsay Mader
Lindsay Mader
4 years ago

Wasn’t able to make it through without tears. Y’all are inspiring as hell. Such a good way to live a life.