Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb 17/09 Esperance! Hope!

This morning I awoke to the lovely sounds of the cardinals singing their spring song. The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and there is the slightest hint of spring in the air!! In 1988, when I originally moved here to Red Creek and purchased the farm where we live today, I was taken by the name painted on the barn door: “The Esperance Fruit Farm.” Esperance is the French word for hope and since I have lived here it has become the name of my business, recording label, and publishing co. The word Esperance has been my guiding inspiration for many years and this morning I am feeling hopeful!!

After 12 days of pureed food, jello and lots of pudding, yesterday I was able to eat a normal meal (still soft food), and boy did it feel good!! Sleep is coming easier and I am hopeful that I will be able to gain back the weight I lost from the tonsillectomy and neck dissection, and maybe put a few pounds on before we start the treatments. I spoke with the nurse practitioner yesterday and she told me that next week we will be focusing on getting things ready to start treatment, hopefully the beginning of March. Most likely I will have a feeding tube put in before starting radiation, just in case it is needed. It is much easier to put in before the treatments start and we can just tape it to my stomach if it is not needed (that is certainly our goal!)They will make a cast of my face and neck to make a mask for radiation as to direct the beams and protect the tissue that is not to be radiated. On Friday I will get to meet with the radiation oncologist Dr. Albrecht and the chemotherapy oncologist Dr. Yirnic and we will forge ahead with a plan of action and begin preparing for the radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

But today we focus on esperance, hope, hope that spring cannot be far off after the long cold winter, hope that healing comes after surgery and hope in the cardinal's song telling us that the days are finally getting longer. I thank all of you for your wonderful loving notes and thoughts. They help Peggy and I more than you will ever know!! Listen for the cardinal’s song and I look forward to the 7:00 pm vibe.


  1. Esperance! So glad to hear of your wonderful morning! Spring in the air certainly sends hope to us all!

    Hold on to Faith,
    Hold on to Hope,
    Hold on to Love!
    Hold on!

    Much love and good vibes to you and your lovely wife!

    Donna and John

  2. Sending love and prayers. Hope is so very, very important to hold tight when health problems overwhelm. Thank God for the people who invented pain meds - they are a godsend, aren't they. Since I had my tonsils out as an adult I know how painful it can be, and wouldn,t recommend it to anyone. I'm going to send a song for our hymnal you my not know that I have found quite helpful - pg. 346. The chorus is most important "I'll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find....We will all try to bring you hope when it is hard to find!! Love, Aud

  3. The music of life is all around, springing from a cardinal's song, flowing down a mountain stream, and created by the vibrations of strings. As I was playing my dulcimer just now, it came to me in these words:

    Ready to play my instrument,
    I hold my hammers
    Firmly, yet gently:
    Contact makes the strings resonate
    with sweet tones.

    My hands know what to do,
    And I watch them in amazement, as if from afar
    As they find all the right notes.

    The hammers bounce joyfully over
    Bass and treble bridges,
    Making the walls echo
    And respond in rhythm and in harmony.

    We are one, my instrument and I,
    Playing the vibrant waltzes,
    The soft and gentle airs,
    The brilliant blues.

    Your music flows through me
    And through my hammers
    And fills me with love and hope and awe,
    Feelings so deep they make me smile and laugh
    And cry all at the same time.

    You are with me always.
    Here's to you, Dan,
    And Espérance.


  4. Cardinals and food - sounds like a good day. See you at 7:00.
    with great hope and much love.

  5. Dan,
    Hope,Faith and a Cardinal. We must believe this is a good sign. Focus on the music in your head and heart.
    Peggy, stay healthy also. Waiting can change sleep and eating habits.
    See you at 7:oo vibes

    love both of you

  6. Top of the morning, Dan...

    Dorian sent me their FL photos and I found your blog info there. This is the first we've heard of you dilemma. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. HANG IN THERE!!!! KEEP THE FAITH!!!! GET WELL!!!! THAT'S AN ORDER!!!!

    Love and good wishes...

    Laird and Eileen

  7. Dan,

    I use Google to catch anything posted on the net with the words 'Head and Neck cancer', it has proved a valuable informational resource.

    I am curious about your decision to pursue a surgical option first, followed by a potential chemo/chemo radiation course.

    I am also wondering if your (I presume squamous cell cancer) is viral based (HPV), alchohol or smoking causative or a matter of a corrupted gene expression. These causation features can determine your best choice of chemo drug.

    I am also wondering whether you are pursing treatment at a recognized NCI faciality.

    I was diagnosed with metastisized squamous cell (tonsil to cervical lymph node) cancer in Sept 07. Avoided surgery (now over a year post treatment and clean) in lieu of infussion chemo and radiation.

    Definately, get your peg tube in and I highly recommend you seriously pursue proton radiation rather than standard interval modulated gamma radiation. The former was not available for head and neck last year but is now. The two techonologies are quite different, as the proton radiation therapy is far less destructive to healthy tissue; the major drawback to conventional radiation. Standard radiation treatment will permantly effect your salava production, alter your ability to taste,cause hyper mucus production and render you unable to swallow for some time. Lymphdema usually follows a radiation course.

    There are about a half dozen proton radiation facilites in the U.S.

    Let me know if you need any further info: 954.234.5415

    Lee Rebalko

  8. Hey Peg and Dan! The sunshine has felt great. I hope you both caught some rays the past few days. This winter weather has been great and all,but, it's time for a change. So glad the latest mission is eating. Pureed PYE is in your future!
    Everyone here is fine,doing their doggy things.They send their hairy greetings. So glad your healing is off to such a tremendous start. You can beat this.

    Ever at seven (and various other times of the day), Love, Debby,Watson,Mardie and Kade

  9. With the song of the cardinal and every blessing winging your way, now's the time to enjoy all the delights Ben & Jerry's has to offer... Chocolate chip cookie dough, good old vanilla ... with a healthy piece of your favorite pie underneath. Yum. With fruits and berries high in antioxidants, the pie will bring more than just the joy of enjoying.

    You are such an inpiration. The gifts going to you from the community of hearts filled with hope are returning with bells on thorough your words. Good luck, enjoy the simple gifts of each day and best to you both!

  10. Your energy illuminates from your post, Dan. All of us are cheering you on and sending our love your way (and Peggy's way too).

    In the spirit of hope, a few weeks ago on the eve of Obama's inauguration on my photography travels, I ventured to Hope, NY, where I spotted five adult bald eagles and about a dozen immature eagles.

    For me, there was no stronger sign of hope than the symbol of our country along the Sacandaga River in the tiny town of Hope in troubling times.

    Dan, I hope you see many cardinals (and eagles too).

    On the wings of hope,

    Carol Smalley

    P.S. I spotted another bald eagle a few days ago in Arietta, in the Sacandaga wetlands. I think there's a message in these sightings.

  11. Dan, I was among those at the Cabin Fever concert, waving to you good wishes for healing. From the days of the Susquehanna Strings back in Bainbridge until now I have followed you and your music, and now you and Peggy's music. Now I follow your blog ...

    It is so good to "hear" you talk of hope. It may be a bit audacious, indeed, to hope, but then our God is audacious, too, and abundant in mercy and grace.

    May God hold you and Peggy in warm embrace. We need your music!

  12. This blog entry moved me to tears ... it is the focus on hope that keeps us sane and gets us through the days of waiting, treatment, and recovery.

    I also wanted to say that I think you have been doing a great job of learning about your particular cancer and treatment options, and I trust in your faith in your doctors and their recommended treatments.

    When I was recovering from my mastectomy and waiting for chemo, I got this fortune in my fortune cookie: "have faith in the trust of the collective"

    I keep this fortune posted in the bathroom mirror, and it carried me through many a rough day during treatment. For me, the collective was the people leaving me notes on my cancer blog, my fellow AAers, my family and friends. On the days that I struggled for hope, their faith in my triumph carried me through.

    I hope that we can do that for you when you need it.

    Nine minutes to the 7pm vibe. Feel the love!!!

  13. Hi Dan and Peggy,

    I've been following your journey and saying a prayer every day. i want to share something a friend sent me 20+ years ago when my 25yr. old daughter had breast cancer. (She is fine today!)
    Cancer is so limited
    It cannot cripple love
    It cannot shatter hope
    It cannot corrode faith
    It cannot eat away peace
    It cannot destroy confidence
    It cannot kill friendship
    It cannot shut out memories
    It cannot silence courage
    It cannot invade the soul
    It cannot reduce eternal life
    It cannot quench the spirit
    It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection
    Our greatest enemy is not disease, but despair.
    Lea Boylan

  14. Dan, Peggy, and friends,

    Here is some food for thought.

    I attended a program a few weeks ago that shed new light on cancer and our role in our own wellness.

    At the program, they shared this clip.

    The speaker is only a teenager, but has ideas well beyond her years.

    I don't know if what she proposes will be found to be true or not, but it does make one (healthy or not) take second thought to what our body is trying to tell us.


    Shared in hope and wellness,


  15. Hey Dan!! It's Sean, just heard about your health issues, and Man I am truly sorry to hear about them.. But knowing you, You are gonna be just fine.... I have had My share of health issues lately too, so I kinda know what Yer going through.. No, not Cancer, but I had abdominal surgery, twice last year, and almost have My appetite back.. You are in My thoughts and prayers, I truly look forward to hearing you singing, and playing the hammered dulcimer again and soon.. Keep thinking positive, and all will be just fine...*Smiles*

  16. Hope is one of the most important things there is in the world and together we can get through anything - I firmly believe that and know that you are a fighter and that those around you love you very very much. I shall keep you in my prayers as I have since mom first gave me the news - I know deep in my heart that You'll come out of this all with flying colors and a much stronger person for it - and yes thank god for pain meds and people that love us - love Heather

  17. Dan and Peggy, we're popping in your CDs after getting home from the hospital with Annea Rose - thanks for them! We were amazed that even though you are in the midst of a moment where you really need care and attention, you took the time to think of us.

    Some people might only know you for your countless talents on many an instrument, Dan. And Peggy, your voice can carry a song whether it requires power or tenderness. The many comments on this blog are testament to the kind of people you are - generous, full of all that is good in life, hopeful, spiritual, empathetic, strong, and caring. We are rooting for you and thinking of you every day.

    Jim, Jenny, and Annea Rose