Thursday, March 5, 2009

3/05/09 Visualize !!

This has been a busy week of prepping for the radiation and chemotherapy that will start on Monday. This past Monday 3/02 I met with the speech therapist in regards to swallowing issues and any speech issues that might happen due to the radiation. She is really nice and was quite hopeful and informative. I will meet with her in the middle of treatments and at the end to help determine what rehabilitation will be needed when we are done. On Tuesday I met with an acupuncturist who was wonderful, and I will be having treatments with her every other week during the radiation treatments. Yesterday I met with the Dr. who will put in the peg tube the first or second week of treatments. Peggy and I will have an information session with them on Friday as to how the feeding tube will function and what we need to know to have success with it. At that point we’ll set up the actual procedure to have it put in, most likely on Monday 3/16. Tomorrow we will also have an actual simulation with the radiation machine to make sure that all the computer settings are functioning properly.

As we get closer to starting treatments I have been doing some visualization techniques to help with a positive outcome. There are a lot of ways to visualize good things and it really is a personal process. During quiet times I have been visualizing a lot things; the cancer at the base of my tongue gone, eating and tasting my favorite foods, Peg and I being happy, healthy and cancer free playing and performing our music as we so love to do. I also have been visualizing some of our favorite places and people and many great times that will happen in the future. This is where I would like to ask a favor of all of you. Many of you may already be doing some visualization about all of this and if you are not I would ask if you could try it out. It really is simple and in quiet moments just put out those positive thoughts. I have been so touched and moved by the out pouring of love and thoughts from this wonderful circle I just know that collectively positive visualization can really be a powerful tool for all of us. I thank you in advance for trying this !!

I am now about a month out from the surgery and enjoying eating immensely! My neck still gets really sore and I imagine it will for sometime to come, but I can see improvements every day. This Saturday night Peggy and I are getting together with some of our local friends to share a meal and have a wonderful visit before the treatments start. I know as we go through the process eating will become more difficult and I want to take advantage of all that the taste buds can offer right now! I can’t thank you enough for all of your wonderful loving support and thoughts. The response from all of you have been overwhelming and humbling to me to say the least. This journey has certainly taught me the power and strength of friendship and I feel it everyday. Peggy and I so appreciate everything that you are all doing for us. Thank you so much again. I look forward to the 7:00 pm vibe and remember to visualize !! As Pops would say ; ABP.


  1. Ok - Dan dancing the dulcimer while Peg cranks the concertina at Sagamore while we all sing about that lovestruck armadillo and laugh. Of course we'll all have enjoyed one of those great camp dinners with stories and good vibes all around.
    And personally I enjoy the thought of you turning not so good memories to humor in "Nuns in Disguise." May this experience someday be the subject of song and eventually humor too - blessings in disguise.

  2. Hi Dan and Peggy,

    Sounds like you've got things all set for this next challenge--including some great doctor and therapists.
    Dan, eat everything in sight, and ENJOY it!!!:)
    When I'm 'vibing', I concentrate on visualizing you both standing together on the lawn in front of your beautiful house... Now, I'll add in a group of hammered dulcimers,(complete with players, of course), and you, Dan, gleefully demonstrating some impossible(but not for you) run at Peggy comes out of the house to announce that dinner's ready..
    with both of you in spirit-

  3. Hi Dan,

    Yes we can.
    Yes, we will.
    Our hearts are with you. We see you happy and well, better than ever.
    Have a great weekend. Eat hearty!


  4. Hi Dan & Peggy,
    We're here visualizing along with you. I espcially see you & Peg together,happy, healthy,and performing with all of us in the audience. You two are in our thoughts throughout every day. And don't forget - EAT ICE CREAM.
    LoveWoody & Elise

  5. Hi my lovely's
    every minute of everyday..

  6. Hi Dan and Peggy,

    We visualize light hearted, fun rehearsals in lots of nice places--Olmstedville "little house", 41 & 43 & 77 Newton St., Fredonia, St. Williams on Long-Point, Sagamore, North River, Holland Patent, Red Creek, Bluseed, San Marcos, and Ballston Spa! These great times should be recalled with joy and gratitude and enjoyment during the coming weeks:-)

    Love, Dan and Nancy

  7. Hey Dan -

    I love my memories of you playing with the String Band. Watching you dance as you play the dulcimer. Or sitting in front of the bookstore on the Ithaca Commons during you summer evening concerts. That is how I will be visualizing you.

    MaryGail and I put energy into planning trips that we would take when I was done with treatment; things to look forward to during the low moments. And definitely thinking about growing old together, very old.

    Belleruth Naparstek has some guided meditations for chemotherapy that I used, which I found really helpful. And Bernie Siegel has some guided meditations on strengthening your immune system which also helped me. I would listen to the chemo ones during infusions, as they help you think of the medication as healing rather than how it feels, which is pretty toxic. Often, I would listen to one of them at night on my ipod as I went to sleep; you know, let em sink in through my subconscious mind. I would be happy to burn them to a CD for you, if you or Peg are planning to be in church on Sunday. I know people would be happy to see you there.

    I don't know how chemo is going to affect you. I found that the first few nights after an infusion, when I was on steroids and all the nausea meds (take whatever they give you by the way - you will probably need it), I had serious insomnia at night and as a result was exhausted during the day, and then I would crash when they stopped the steroids on day 4. So you might want to have a plan for what you will do during the insomnia if you have it. The worst thing is to lay in bed and toss and turn; it made me crazy, and then I felt bad for keeping MG awake. So I had a stock of movies that I find comforting, and I would go downstairs and watch one or two until daylight or until I fell asleep, whichever came first. Some nights I did needlepoint or crochet. Anything quiet and soothing helps.

    See you at 7!

  8. Dan,

    I'm visualizing many inspirational musical moments, helping me to reconnect with the music of my youth (and reconnect, and reconnect etc. after may distractions). Also talking politics over a good meal in Nyack a week before the 2004 election.

    You may not realize it, but you remind us all to follow your bliss.

    Thank you.

    Greg, Amy and Liam

  9. Years ago I was nervously presenting my story of survival to an Albany audience for the first time and a woman walked in late - not knowing who I was or what I was talking about and she stood just below the podium, stretching out her arms, and proclaimed loudly, "It's all about the Sun!" Yes, it is, I said. And music...and water...and place...and special landscapes.

    It's about all that is around you that gives you strength and joy. Trees are important to me and were an important "place" for my visualizing my own healing journey. I offer one of my journeys that sustained me through so much during the year of my chemotherapy and healing.

    In a spontaneous dream experience in my healing journey in 1990 I found myself walking along a landscape strewn with rotted and rotting nuts. The path led me to a tree, which stood tall and healthy, filled with healthy fruit. I found myself, inside the dream, exploring the tree, high into its branches, under its bark and then deep into the ground among its roots.

    I found the dream journey among the roots effortless and fascinating. Back above ground and looking at the tree from the vantage point of standing beneath it, the fruit in the branches turned into words of encouragement and hope, much like a Shaker spirit drawing; and, below among the roots, the words stretched along the spiny skin, flowing like sentences that I could read and recall when I awoke. I drew pictures of that tree, and the image became one of many that I called up for healing.

    Another image that sustained me then - and still sustains me - is a tree from my waking reality that stands in my front lawn. It is a transplant, like me, not a native plant; but it has found its "roots" and its place in my physical and mental landscape, just as I have found my roots in a place far from where I was born. It is called a Yellow-wood. It doesn't particularly care for the harsh winters but survives them; and, in years when nature brings just the right conditions at the right time, it blooms, the results worth the wait.

    My tree bloomed the year of my cancer diagnosis and, as I lay on the sofa just within sight of its long white lacy blossoms that filled the tree in wedding-cake fashion, I drifted in and out of sleep, waking each time to the delicious scent of lemon that filled the yard and the house. People were so stunned by the beauty of the tree in bloom that they were finding places to stop on the busy highway outside my house just to take a photo or just to stare for awhile at the tree.

    The blossoms, measuring two to three feet in length, attract bees that produce a vibrating hum that is dizzying. Bees of every size and shape come by the thousands from every direction and hover in its blossoms until they fall like rain on the ground.

    When my tree is damaged, it is undaunted - the missing limb regenerates and grows back. A violent storm took my favorite limb, one that created a giant arch over the walkway to my back door. Within weeks a small sprig of green appeared in the healing wound left by the missing limb; and the new limb began to grow, now almost long enough to begin arching once again over the walkway.

    Several years ago I began to nurture and take care of the small seedlings that had planted themselves from the long bean-like seedpods in garden areas. I now have a new Yellow-wood tree behind my barn, quite tall and handsome and protected from the more harsh elements by small outbuildings and a berm. Another one is beginning to grow in a field below. Neighbors are on a waiting list for more small trees and several friends have young trees that are now 6 and 8 feet tall.

    I am sharing my tree as an image and visualization and know that you too have a tree - or a place of many trees - that sustains you and feels you with healing energy and joy just as my tree shared its fragrance, its beauty, and its ability to heal itself.

  10. I picture you and Peg up at the lake this summer. On Jon's pontoon boat with you waving at everyone and asking "How dey bitin'?" Or having a beer in front of the fire at night. Or paddling. Or having blueberry pancakes for breakfast. (Take your pick!) But no dog holes.