Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3/17/09 Happy St. Pats Day

We’re in treatment mode right now and today I finished my seventh day, one fifth of the way thru! The first week of chemo was difficult but not impossible. I have had a lot of nausea and in turn lost about 8 lbs for the week. The oncologist gave me another anti- nausea drug and a new antacid to try out so we’re hoping that will help to take the edge off. We are also trying all sorts of other options too. My energy level has been really low but if all goes well it should pick up a bit before the next treatment on March 30th. Yesterday was a long day. First thing in the morning I had surgery to have the peg tube installed, they gave me fentanyl as an anaesthesia and for some reason it did not put me out at all so I was awake for the whole procedure! Then afterwards we went to radiation, then to the lab to have blood work, the back to the lab and finally a meeting with the chemo oncologist in the afternoon. When we got home I collapsed on the couch. Its going to take a while to get used to having the peg tube, and right now its still quite sore from surgery, but before long I won’t know what we did with out it!! The radiation is slowly dulling my taste buds and drying my mouth but for the moment I can still eat and as long as food taste OK we’ll do the best we can. I am reminded everyday to take one day at a time. Today we had some fun at the clinic because it was St Patrick’s day, and as soon as I get a little more energy {hopefully next week} I’m going to bring in my dulcimer and play some music for both the radiation and chemotherapy clinics.

Today was a beautiful day, sunny and high in the fifties, the snow is nearly gone, the birds are singing and the first sign of flowers are starting to poke up in the ground. We all know what this means, MARCH MADNESS. Yes the tournament starts on Thursday and I’m looking forward to watching lots of games and keeping abreast of all the madness. Last week all the leagues had their tourneys and it was great to watch my team, {The SU Orangemen}, go to the final game of the Big East tournament. But the best part was the historic six overtime win over U Conn. on Thursday night. Stay tuned, fill out your brackets and let the madness begin !! Go Orange.

Once again I am so thankful to all of you for your thoughtful notes and heartfelt concerns. Yesterday was really tough, and when I came home I found over 10 cards in the mail. It really helped to pick up my spirits a lot. This family of concerned friends is growing every day and has touched and humbled me more than you will ever know. On this day as we celebrate St Patrick, I find myself walking the cliffs of Moher by the sea, tipping a pint and playing some tunes at Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin, and Peg and I hiking along the coast of the Dingle peninsula celebrating our success with these cancer treatments! I think Peggy captured it best :

“Talk to me of Ireland,
will we walk there by the sea
I need to think of someplace greener
Will you share that dream with me”

It’s another day for hope and another day to dream.
Thank you all so much again for everything, I look forward to seeing you at 7:00!


  1. Glad to hear you had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day and looking forward to the many positive events over the next month. (Did they cram some corned beef and cabbage in the peg tube?)

    Spring is coming and it's a time when many of Nature's creatures are reborn -- you, too!

    Thinking of you. We'll be in tough soon.

    - Eric

  2. Good Morning Doug,

    Its your 'friend', Lee Rebalko from Fl. Regarding your nausea concerns, Zofran is the gold standard. Expensive ($50 a pill) so most insurance carriers fight Zofran prescriptions, but if your doctor is persistent (nothing else works) you will get approval for it.

    Into next week your peg tube will probably become more needed. Regardless, of how the nutrition goes in, it still needs to stay in without it coming up. Keeping as much weight on as you can is a primary health goal.

    The radiation therapy was the most difficult part of my treatment course, the effects of which linger on for a period post treatment. But in the end, this is the price to pay for effective treatment and cure.

    During this very difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with you, brother.


  3. Hi There Dan,

    You and Peggy are in my heart and thoughts. Happy belated St. Patrick's Day! The velvet green hills of Ireland are a healing place for memories to wander... O'Connors too! I look forward to seeing you at the labyrinth on the 28th. You are a light Dan. All will be well.

  4. Hey there
    It's raining today. For me, and others with ties to the celtic tradition, this is wonderful weather. Still a ton of snow, but it never wins when rain pours its heart out. So I'm sending you a sky full of love, to rain down on you and your dry mouth and sore belly...we will win, my friend. And it's your time for rest and sleep and dreams of Ireland.

  5. Hi Dan and Peg,

    One side of our street (south) is green and one side is all snowy (north). I am happy to report that we're on the green side! And this AM the weather facts guy said 12 hours and 3 minutes of daylight! So, we and the earth and you are all on the light side of things:) I'll be following the March madness (and with Jim visiting, our attention will be more complete!) rooting for Syracuse to return refreshed after that amazing win last Friday. It seemed appropriate that they just kept going until they won!
    Good example for all of us. Take Care! Hugs all around, Nancy

  6. Hi Dan,
    May the soreness in your stomach be replaced by a wonderful friendship with the tube that has the same name as your beautiful wife. What could be more delicious than life with two Pegs?

    Thinking of you always with love and great hope. Congratulations on finishing your first twenty percent. We will be with you to celebrate every one of the remaining milestones.


  7. Dan and Peggy,

    I'm so tired of hearing those God awful Celtic Women on PBS (hope none of them are following this blog or these comments). Thank you for reminding me of Peggy's first rate wonderful song, one of my favorites! You two are the best.

    Just think of how much fun you'll have gaining that 8lbs back when you get through with all of this. How about whoopie pies? Shoo-fly pie?

  8. one week done and just a few more to go- i know you'll make it through and be stronger in the end - sending lots of positive thoughts your way - all my love Heather

  9. On St. Paddy's Day I experienced my first adventure as being a WMHT donation taker - usually I'm hitting "mute" when those people come on. The theme was "Visions of Ireland" - and I, too, thought of you and Peggy [and both of your "pegs"] and, in a different time, Ron and I, strolling along the Cliffs of Moher. Ah, to be in Ireland and walking "by the sea."

    If you are not dreamin' of good imagery for yourself yet, take that journey to Ireland with Peggy by your side and stroll your favorite places during chemo. I had a dream image during my chemo in which I saw the chemo bag filled with glowing energy and light. I began to envision the chemicals and poisons being exactly that - energy and light flowing through my veins, through my body, boosting my spirit and raising my energy rather than sapping it. It worked. See what comes to you if you think of that image for a moment and try to carry it with you through the treatments.

    I'll bet when you feel the energy to bring your music physically into the treatment area -that you will experience healing for both yourself and the others in a quite dramatic fashion. Music was my lifeblood during my chemo treatments. I would lay on the floor when Ron would practice the organ late in the evening in the darkness of the church and allow the music to flow into my body. When he played the piano at home, I would wrap myself in a quilt and allow the music to wrap itself around me in the same healing manner. It was an easy leap to then allow beautiful images to flow with the music into my mind and body. And I know Peggy sings to you - there is nothing more beautiful than her voice for allowing the magic of the voice you love to become part of your personal magic.

  10. Hey Dan, I know you are going through a lot. Chris and I continue to send energy your way and pray for your rapid recovery. Get that rest on the couch, and eating more is something I wish my Dr would authorize. These days are warming up. I remember talking with you about the trilliums up your way, it wont be long till you'll be climbing to see them. I know they always find a unique place to appear. Mine are red and white and are in the shadows on a bank above the creek at the end of my property. There always seems to be some snow hangin in the shadows then also. I am looking forward to finally hearing you at Cranberry Gathering this summer. Oh and by the way, tonight (Thurs) Binghamton Bear Cats enter the tourney. Maybe they'll meet the Orangemen soon! That would be some regional match up. Curt and Chris O

  11. Hi Dan & Peg
    your two favorite S.L. s-sister's (not the queen< the other one...!) want you to know that we love you and are looking forward!
    spring is here!

    cmdbg &l_folklady & her hottie husband

  12. Just stopping by to say hi! Hang in there!

    Donna and John

  13. Dan, Oh, I didn't have internet access for a week! But I did think of you during my tour of the Hoover Dam and as I was watching the thronging mobs on the Las Vegas strip. That place is so bizarre, like a circus every day. I'm sorry you lost so much weight during your first week. Chemo is tough, I know, but you are tougher. Hang in there! I hope you and Peg are making plans for future trips to Ireland after you are healed from treatment. I don't know about you, but I always want to go back!

  14. Hi Dan and Peg

    I guess you're wondering why I haven't been in touch--the reason is that I wasn't told about your illness until just recently, when Kitty signed up on my Facebook page. At first all she said was "You heard about Dan,right?" and then nothing else for a whole day. I went that whole day thinking you were dead in a wreck or something.

    I could have called Jude or someone, but I was afraid of what I would hear.
    Anyway, the next day when Kitty posted with details about your cancer, I was strangely (stupidly?) relieved to find that, serious as it is, you are still alive and kicking, and have a fighting chance.

    I've read your blog, and I am amazed at your positive attitude. If anyone can get through something like this, it's you. I'm sending you something that may hopefully reinforce that attitude. (No, it's not pot!) So expect a
    largeish package soon.

    Get well, man! That's an order.

    Writing from the blighted desert,