Friday, February 13, 2009

2/13/09 Friday the 13th - "Patience"

Well this journey is certainly teaching me lessons that I must need to learn, for they come up over and over again. The main lesson right now is that of patience. We had to make two trips to the ENT surgeons this week and yesterday we were supposed to get biopsy results from the surgery, but the surgeon did not have them when we were there. Although he did take time to admire his stitching on my neck !! When Peggy came home last night she had a message on her answer machine from the ENT with a partial result of the biopsies. The tonsils were fine but the base of my tongue is positive for Squamous cell carcinoma. The ENT will be in Florida for the next two weeks so we’ll have to sort all of this out with the oncologists next week. I really think some one could make a fortune starting sensitivity classes for surgeons, they could use it!

Looking at these initial results we can find some good and some bad. The good thing is that they feel they have found the main cancer source and it will help to specialize the radiation treatment. The bad is the side effects for having to heavily radiate the base of the tongue. This can be a tricky thing and speech and swallowing can be affected dramatically. Dr Coniglio in Rochester told me that the base of the tongue is the second most common main source for cancer in the head and neck {Tonsils are the first.} I will find out a lot more when we meet with both the radiological and chemo therapy oncologists next Friday. I do hope to speak with one of them sometime later today. The thought of not being able to sing is a little scary but there has been a lot of progress made both in treatment and rehabilitation after treatment so we’ll take things one step at a time !

Well today is day nine without my tonsils and it has been a long week of pureed soft food, ibuprofen around the clock and lorcet at night to help with sleeping. There has not been much improvement with the tonsil pain and swallowing {I think we’re coming close to the point where that should get better!} but I have been able to sleep on my side the last few nights and that has helped a lot. The neck is healing nicely and I think before long that will be as good as new!! There is a lot to be said for healing in your own home, lots of DVD’s and time logged on the couch. Once again so many thanks to all of you for your continued support and wonderful notes both on the blog and through cards and emails that I have received. Your loving thoughts help Peggy and I more than I can ever tell you. And so many thanks for Peggy’s boundless patience and loving support, without her this would all be near impossible for me!! Have a wonderful Valentines day, hold those you love closely and appreciate this moment !! I look forward to the 7:00 pm vibe !


  1. Hi - Your patience has been amazing! Hope the next few days give you better news and relieved pain - will be thinking of you at 7 . . .
    Much Love to Peg and You,

  2. Good morning - Last night, another Thursday night at Gilchrist Park, every tune I played was quietly dedicated to you as though to convey more positive energy for you. Stay strong and patient. See you at 7.
    Our love to you both,

  3. Hi Dan and Peggy, the sun is shining here, the sky is blue, and the snow is melting - at least for today. Hope beauty, warmth, and love surround you.

    Now you know where to focus, Dan, take a page from Wanda's book and see if you can dream healing into it. Doctors, chemo, radiation, pharmaceuticals all can help but you're the one who actually does the healing. Practice deep breathing to help you to be sensitive to what your body needs. Trust your gut. I know that can be hard when you must feel on some level you body's betrayed you - or at least I did after the stroke.

    See you both at 7:00.

  4. Hi Dan and Peggy,
    We are thinking the best thoughts and wishing the best wishes possible for both of you, every moment of every day. May you be filled with the patience and strength you need to go along with the boundless love you will always have from all of us who are watching and waiting for everything to get better.

    We will be there tonight at 7.
    Cathy and Ron

  5. I remember a poem taught to me by a teacher in high school. Patience is a virtue, posess it if you can, seldom in a woman, never in a man! And believe it or not it was a male teacher! Step by Step! You will triumph!

    Happy Valentines Day to you and Peggy! Lots of love to you both!

    Donna and John

  6. One step at a time is the only way to do it! I'm glad you are able to sleep on your side again - I can't sleep on my back either, and for months after my surgery I wouldn't have been able to sleep at all if it hadn't been for the vicadin. It was a great day when I could sleep on my side again, so I'm glad you can do that.

    We continue to hold you and Peggy in our thoughts.


  7. happy Valentine's Day...we're all pulling for you, every single day, but this one is extra full of love and positive is news, eh? And you'll get more of it, and we'll all be sending you power at 7, to relish the good times and share the not-so-good any case, we're all in this with you together...
    Be well, and remember that spring is coming, even when we're not looking...
    music will fill the sky...

  8. dan, your patience is an inspiration to me. its not like we ever choose to want to have patience, its usually forced upon us when we're in a crappy situation and 'have to' wait. i suppose there's some nice space there though for letting go too, and realizing that all you can do is wait, and bask in the vibes that are coming your way. well, maybe not 'bask', considering the pureed food, lol, but at least feel held by all of us. as a fellow mover, shaker, not-able-to-sit-stiller, i can imagine that sitting, waiting, and patience are even harder for you than most people. me and val are glad to hear that you're doing well and that things sound like they're getting a little more pinpointed. im sure in the letting go and waiting for other people's expertise to tell you what the next step is, there is fear at times as well. you always sound so brave, and it seems like everyone's good wishes/thoughts/prayers are creating a good space for all this crap. or at least that's what we all hope. we love you, ~stef and val. and we love peggy too!

  9. Dan,
    Patience is something that we humans are not accustomed to until later in life. As we grow older we learn that slowing things down a bit and allowing time for things in life to happen makes for a more peaceful and healing time, no matter the circumstances.
    Patience my friend. Rest be well.
    Andy and Linda

  10. Dan:

    Thanks for sharing the news. We're all rooting for you through all the ups and downs. I hope sharing things is as helpful for you as it is for us.

    As far as patience goes, it's greatly over-rated. Think of something you've always wanted to do that you will now have time for and go for it. Read or study a topic, work on a music project, organize something -- there's got to be something. It will give you a great sense of purpose and fill your days with more energy as you work to accomplish it. Years ago, when I was forced to stay out of work for 4 weeks with a bad bout of hepatitus and jaundice, I read an article on building a hammered dulcimer in Mother Earth News. Although pretty weak and limited to what I could do, I built that dulcimer over the next few weeks out of scrap wood I could find.....and the rest is history :-). Hope you find something equally rewarding to keep your mind and body challenged in the weeks ahead.

    All the best,


    (Seneca, 4BC-65 AD Roman Dramatist, Philosopher and Statesman)

  12. Hello Dan and Peggy:
    We were really distressed to hear about your illness. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help. We are both available during the week if you need rides to any treatments or anything else.
    Thinking of you.
    Charlie Itzin/Cheryl House

  13. Sheila & Ian WardenFebruary 15, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Dan, So glad you are getting better. We are sorry to hear of the cancer but knowing you, we know you will beat it. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Sheila & Ian Warden

  14. Dan and Peggy,

    We are thinking of you and sending lots of healing energy your way. Love, Brooksie and Richard

  15. Dudes:
    We've never known anyone who oozes more positive energy and a "damn the torpedoes" attitude. Plus laughter is a crucial part of health, so it's amazing you've ever been sick a day in your life!

    If anyone can come out of this with flying colors, it's you guys, and we're confident of the best possible outcome for you. You are in our hearts and thoughts. Hope to see you soon, hammering away.

    And don't forget we all need you well ASAP! The musicians need something to set their drinks on! (J/K!)

  16. Hey Peggy and Dan -

    I got my email about the new website for Creative Healing Connections, Inc., and am thinking about which retreat I should go to, and it reminded me yet again of all that the two of you have done for other people who have been through what you are going through now... I hope you can feel all of us holding you up. I remember this time between having my diagnosis and having my treatment plan - it is a time for patience and resting and "girding your loins" for what is to come.

  17. To Dan & Peggy,
    Don't know if you remember me, I first met you at the Folk Weekend at the Fredonia College Lodge, while I was still in college. (Oh so many years ago.) I'm the little (now getting old) fiddle player. Or as Randy says, "The Queen of the Leprechaun Fiddlers." I have just started reading your site as Randy has been going through massive chemo for T-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and it has been too painful to read about someone else going through this too. He has been at Roswell Park in Buffalo for almost 3 months now. He, unfortunately, lost his ability to walk before it was discovered in his spine and brain, at stage IV. Lymphoma is the one kind of Cancer that they can treat even at stage IV.

    Your positive state is truly amazing. Unlike Randy, I don't know if you have any chance for disability insurance. I have only gotten 1/2 through February (in my reading) but I'm glad you opted for somewhat less invasive surgery.

    They Positive vibes Randy has been receiving from the Folk, Bluegrass, and Irish communities has been overpowering at times. It is truly a wonder. I've been humbled many times over as of late. I hope you are progressing well, with no set-backs, although they do happen. Just keep plodding forward. Everyday forward is a day closer to healing.

    Just a little aside, Randy had to get the feeding tube eventually. He was 165 before he got sick, and at one point dropped to about 90 lbs. He's now about 115 lbs. and looking MUCH better. It's uncomfortable at first, but it gets better. Although you may want to avoid jumping around as you play for awhile.