Friday, February 27, 2009

2/27/09 Snowdrops !

Peggy and I spent yesterday in snow country, South Lewis right in the middle of the Tug Hill Plateau. The snow banks along the side of road are pretty impressive,8 to 10 feet high in many places and it felt like we were driving thru a tunnel in some spots. We had a few assembly programs at the school and it was wonderful to be able to do some music work again. This was the first music job I’ve been able to do since right before the surgery. My energy is slowly coming back, the voice is about 70% and food is easier to eat,so we are seeing definite progress every day!!

On Wednesday I went to the radiation center to do a mock up and a CT to make the three dimensional plot of my neck and head. They make a mask of your head from a soft mesh that when wet conforms to the shape of your face. The material dries hard and creates the mask that is then bolted to the board that you lay on to keep your head in place during the radiation treatments.There are also marks put on your chest and shoulders to line everything up with the radiation machine each time you come in for treatments. The folks who run the machines are really pleasant and do their best to accommodate any concerns that may come up. The treatments will be about 30 minutes each day for five days a week for the seven week period. The effects of the radiation are cumulative and will most likely not be too bad for the first two weeks, after that a lot of the side effects can begin to kick in. I will have about five hours with the Chemo people the first day of treatments to give the first Cisplatin injection and then over to the radiation folks for that treatment. We’re on track to start the treatments on March 9th. Next week I will meet with the speech pathologist on Monday. {I will meet with her a few times during the treatments to help with swallowing issues and any speech issues that might come up}. On Wednesday I’ll meet with the doctors that will be putting in the peg tube {feeding tube}the first week of treatments, and Friday we will have an actual simulation with the radiation machine to make sure that everything is lined up right and working properly. Let the games begin !!!

It is such a wonderful thing to be able to eat well again. Over the next 10 days I am going to do my best to enjoy food and put on a few pounds before we start radiation and chemo. I am well aware that eating will change dramatically for several months after finishing up treatments so right now I am savoring each bite. Peggy and I are also walking a mile to two miles every day and yesterday when we returned from our walk I spotted snow drops poking their heads out of the snow. Another sign that spring won’t be too far behind! Thanks you all so much for the wonderful posts, thoughts and notes coming our way each day, they are a constant source of strength and inspiration to Peggy and I during this journey. I look forward to the 7:00 pm vibe.


  1. Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. ~Maori Proverb

    Dan...the sun always shines brightly on you. Together we'll all help keep the sun high in the sky!
    You and Peggy are constantly in my thoughts, prayers & 7:00 vibes.

    May the energy be with you! :)

    Joyce (You've got a friend in Pennsylvania! :)

  2. Just had dinner with Ron and Wanda so appreciate how good food with friends can be. Savor every bite, every program, every moment with Peggy, every snowdrop so that when things get tough you have concrete memories to pull you through to better moments.

    The medical team you've drawn around you seem professionally competent and personally compassionate. Good hands to be in.

    lots of love and blessing,

  3. Snowdrops! What a gift. As for all of us, it seems like a long road ahead, but not one you will be traveling alone. Many gifts there. We are all a part of something Great; we know that. Not the least of which is being with you in spirit. Peace. And call when you can/need/want...all of that. Lots of love, B and F

  4. dan, sign me up to make you a pie and bring it over! we're thinking of you! love, stef & val and our crew.

  5. You and Peggy were in one of my dreams last night. The dream felt good - we were in rooms that were side by side in a beautiful Adirondack-style lodge. Yours were in the front with double windows overlooking an incredible landscape [second floor]. I came in to pat the big black dog on your bed and noticed a long table at the end of the bed. There was a gorgeous vase of flowers, all colors, with small dishes of soaps and incense on either side. Rag rugs were on the polished wooden floor and there was a nubby white bedspread on the bed. You and Peggy were packing up instruments for a day of playing but would be returning in the evening. I went back next door and continued to make up our bed. A third couple arrived to take a third bedroom - with them were two young children and another black dog.

    The dream was filled with sunlight and joy and felt promising of good outcomes and a good future. Although I know there are black dogs in your life, the black dog is a powerful metaphor for healing and for a good healing journey.

    I wish for you the blessings of this dream.
    Wanda and Ron Burch

  6. keep thinking positive as we all are rooting for you and are part of the winning team - together anything is possible - sends tons of hugs to you and to Peggy - enjoy all that wonderful food that you love - love Heather

  7. You're getting closer by the minute - the sooner you start, the sooner you finish, but I hope the next ten days pass nice and slowly, so that you can savor everything about them. You and Peggy are in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. We're with you both at 7, & always. All those who have kept us in their hearts over the years have made our journey a sweeter one, & it's essential to pay it forward...
    Eat lotsa PIE!
    Kathy & Hannah Petersen
    & Theo too

  9. Your words say everything - you are really on top of all this. I don't have much to add, except to remind you now and then that I'm still with you and Peggy and still part of the massive 7 pm vibe

  10. Dan,

    I hope you don't mind if I share news from your blog with people at church... a lot of people there are thinking about you and hoping you are doing well.

  11. Hi Dan and Peggy--Eileen and I are thinking about you both--patient and co-patient. My dad had squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue so I am feeling the struggle. We're waiting for another snowstorm here. I'm hoping I'll be able to use my new cross-country skiis and have a snow-day off of school. Life's little pleasures--not so little, actually. I loved the story about traveling through the snow tunnel. I miss all that living in eastern NY. I used to love to get up close to the deep snow and wait for a little sunshine to light up all the collective snowflakes. Sort of reminds me of how it felt to be at the inauguration! Anyway, lots of loving thoughts from our love to yours. Chrys and Eileen

  12. It is so good to hear that you and Peggy have been out making music. Tap into the healing power of that music; it will take you to wonderful places. Not a day goes by here without your tunes playing through my ipod, on my computer, or from my dulcimer.

    Next Monday I will light a hope candle for you, and I will keep it burning until you are finished with your treatment and back on your feet.

    May the black dog be your constant companion.

  13. Hey Dan & Peg,
    Great news about the snowdrops & snowbanks. Hope you enjoy these wonders, and everything you see on your walks..and the performances. That's great news as well. About the weight gain. Eat ice cream - the 120% stuff - no frozen yogurt, sherbert, or ice cream "light". Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby is a good place to start. Then move on to Espresso Therapy.
    Love ya.

    Woody & Elise

  14. Just stoppin' by to say hi! Hope you are eating lots of pie-a-la- mode! Tap into Wanda's wonderful dream! Me and my black dog will be thinkin' 'bout cha!

    Donna. John and Tasha dog too

  15. Hi Dan,
    Go Orangemen! I'm happy that it's March Madness time. Myself, Mike & Nick (Nancy's cousin Theresa's son) have each filled out brackets. So far we're about even. Nick is a true Duke fan - as I am too but, I have Pitt winning the tournament. I'm a little apprehensive about Pitt right now but, time will tell. We read your blog daily. One day at a time Dan, we all get through the tough times one day at a time. We're thinking about you all the time - keep up the good work!
    Hank & Nancy