Saturday, April 11, 2009

4/11/09 Five weeks down, two to go !!

Well it seems like we can finally see a glimpse of the light at the end of tunnel. Every week becomes a little more difficult and the side effects of both the chemotherapy and the radiation are more defined. To date I have lost around 25 lbs and all nourishment is now taken in through the peg tube. Peggy makes some great juices, carrot with apple to put in the tube, it really helps a lot. The canned nutrition is bland and hard to hold down with the nausea from the chemo. I do my best to keep things down but it is pretty difficult. I am getting extra fluids intravenously about every other day at the clinic. Due to the weight loss we had to make a new mask and fine tune the radiation plan. The new plan was started on Friday.

After several conversations with oncologists and other doctors, we have made the decision to forgo the last series of chemotherapy that was scheduled for the last week of treatment. The chemotherapy is to help the radiation along, but is not the main course of treatment. In fact, many clinics throughout the country including Sloan Kettering have started to drop the last chemo treatment for several reasons, the main is the benefit versus the side effects and the problems with recovery time. Peg and I both realize if I do the last chemo session that most likely I will end up in the hospital for at least a week due to more weight loss. Our radiation oncologist agrees with our decision, and in fact let us know that about 65% of his head and neck cancer patients forgo the last chemo treatment and the cure rates are about the same! He also feels that the first two chemo sessions are the most important. So we are hoping the next two weeks will go quickly and we can get through whatever comes our way. Once treatment is done the radiation will continue to work on its own for about two weeks, and then the slow healing process can begin.

Well if all goes well treatments will end on April 24th which quite amazingly is also Arbor Day!! Peggy and I are going to plant an oak tree in our yard and hope to see it grow tall and strong with every passing cancer free year! Here is another favor I would ask all of you to try if you are able. On arbor day plant a tree, if you can, if you would like to dedicate it to my recovery that would be great but that is really not the point. Plant a tree for any one in your life that has been affected by cancer. I can’t think of a better tribute!!

Once again I have been so humbled and honored by all of your notes and thoughts. And a special thank you to all of you who have been taking part in the “Change is Coming” program set up by Cathy Marczyk. Peggy and I have been floored by all of your generosity. It will certainly go to good use. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Pray for a quick two weeks and I will look for all of you at 7:00 pm.


  1. Happy Easter! Wish I could send you 25 lbs. that I can certainly spare. My cousin,in treatment for Hodgkin's, also opted to forego the last chemo treatment. He's doing well. My friend,treated last summer for the same cancer you have,found that a humidifier helped the throat dryness. She still uses it when sleeping. So, expect to get one for your bedroom in the mail this week. It looks like a big Easter egg. Hang in there. Praying the nausea eases. See you both at seven. Much love, Debby, Watson, Mardie and Kade

  2. Dan & Peggy:

    Happy Easter and best wishes.

    Terry Manion

  3. A tree, sir, will be planted.
    For just a bit of humor, my chemo treatments were the full dose to the bitter end, and the cumulative effects hit really hard in Montreal, the location of a conference that both Ron and I attended just one week after my final treatment. The weather was bitter, windy, and cold. I was so hot I was wearing summer clothing and was even then dripping wet from my body heat. Then I followed Ron - who was of course taking photos - through Old Town; and I began to hallucinate. I lost Ron [who was only feet away] and began to cross that invisible boundary between current reality and the past. I saw people from other centuries in the streets and moved out of the way of someone from the 18th century who was exiting an old store as I was entering. When I tried to speak my words drifted from my mouth to the air and I was stop speaking because I was so fascinated [and stoned from the drugs] watching them in the sky. Ron was oblivious and finally came back the feet feet to fetch me and take me down another street. It was years later before I shared with him how really odd that day was.

    And now I would like to share an old Celtic Blessing on this day of New Beginnings:

    Thank you, Oh Creator, that we have risen
    this day to the rising of this life.
    May it be a day of blessing.
    Oh Creator of all gifts,
    A day of new beginnings be given.
    As the mist scatters from the crest of the hills,may each ill haze clear from our souls and may a mantle of protection cloak our spirit,soul and body.

  4. Happy Easter, and know that our prayers are with you as always, and Reiki energy continues of course. It is the season of resurrection and renewal, and all the good vibes coming your way will certainly help you along your healing path ahead to renewed health and wellness. Much Love from Nancy, Holly & Caiti

  5. Happy Easter!
    I will be taking a group of students camping the week of Arbor day...we will plant a field of trees and be thinking of you and everyone in need of healing.

    Positives vibes are coming your way everyday.
    Luv ya both!

  6. We are so sad to hear that you are feeling badly, but comforted by the fact that you are in the home stretch. We hope these next two weeks pass way more quickly than the last five, so you can get on with the business of getting better. And two more things:

    You say you are humbled and honored by what you are receiving, but in reality you are just getting back what you and Peggy have given to so many people for so long. Sit back and take it all in. Let our hearts fill yours with warmth, light, comfort, and healing energy.

    One of the gazillion things we love about you is your duplicity (and we mean that in the best way!). When you play us tunes, it is often as a two-pack, and when you write, your trademark has become your double exclamation points. This Arbor Day we will immortalize those exclamation points in oak, when we plant two trees side by side in our yard. As they grow tall and strong with you, they will be a constant reminder to us of you and Peggy, and all of the things you have added to our lives.

    Be well, my friend.

  7. Dan and Peggy,

    I missed you in church today. I knew you wouldn't be there, that it would be too difficult for you, but I was thinking about you.

    I'm sorry things are so difficult and that you have lost so much weight. Your decision to forego the last chemo treatment sounds well-considered and smart. Noone wants you to end up in the hospital, or to lose so much weight you are at risk.

    We continue to think of you every day. The countdown to recovery has begun! While I have been keeping track of your progress here on your blog, I have been thinking alot about where I was this time last year (which is when I was going through chemo myself). It seems like just yesterday but also a million years ago. And while I am still working on my recovery, I can also see how far I have come.

    I look forward to hearing how you feel about all of this next April.

    I will see you at 7.

    Love, Maria

  8. There's an old ancient saying in the wind,
    We must slowly take that first step to begin.....(you have taken that step).
    We're on our way now we've done the hardest part (very soon you can say that)
    Take your journey with a generous heart! (Amen to that! Your sharing the journey with us is incredibly generous)

    And if you see me falling down
    Won't you stop to lend a hand (this community that surrounds you is always willing to lend a hand)
    What goes around comes 'round
    And comes 'round and back again! (So much contained in these 11 words)

    Step by Step!

    Love and Hugs,
    Donna and John

  9. A "Dan&Peggy" tree it will be!
    A symbol of a strength that has been called forth in weakness. May it grow magnificently in the soil of your life.

  10. Dan and Peggy,

    Hope you are having some good moments in these tough weeks. Hang in there, we are thinking of you and looking for a tree to plant on the 24th!
    Claudia and Steve

  11. Dan,

    I want you to know how thrilled I am that I can play minor chords and arpegios on my HD! Thanks to you and your fall, farm, fun workshop, I finally got it. I just needed your teaching and the repition and practice in your workshop for it to finally click. Minor chords don't seem like Greek anymore, and I can actually use them!

    I hope your healing and renewal continue each and every day. I think of you often.

    Best wishes,
    Cindy M.

  12. Dan,

    I've been thinking about you this week, and I hope you're doing alright.

    Scott McGovern

  13. Dan and Peggy,
    I am still spending the winter in Florida and just learned of your terrible troubles thru Dan Berggren's recent newsletter. I am so sorry for you both.

    I have a friend who went thru throat cancer 10 years ago and she is now 93 years old and doing fine. In fact, she lives 3 doors from the Old Songs venue in Voorheesville.

    You are now in my daily prayers. I ache for your pain and pray it will soon be something you can remember in your past. Thank God you both have each other. I love you both.

    Elaine Cowles

  14. You finally made me cry.