Saturday, April 25, 2009

4/25/09 Time to let the healing begin.

Well after four months, three surgeries, 35 radiation treatments, 2 infusion chemotherapy sessions, and nearly 30 pounds lighter I have officially ended the treatment part of this process. It was a wonderful mental milestone to reach yesterday. Unfortunately my body has been pretty well battered but my spirit seems to be able to see past all of this. Right now I cannot swallow at all so all fluids, pills and feeding have to come through the peg tube. The radiation oncologist explained that the radiation will still continue to work in my mouth for at least two weeks, so as soon as the pain and swelling start to subside I should be able to start drinking some fluids and trying softer foods. Due to the nature of treatments my taste buds are pretty fried, so for the first little while eating will become quite a chore! It is impossible to try to tie down a timetable but as soon as I can hold my weight by just eating on my own they will remove the peg tube, maybe 1.5 to 2 months. There are also side effects that will hang around for a while. The salivary glands will hopefully work a little better in several months and I’ll look forward to a let up with the constant mucus. I will be going to Clifton Springs three days next week and possible the following week for intravenous hydration. But today is a day to celebrate! We’ve made it through the seven week treatment in decent condition. I’ll hold on to these triumphs as we go through the weeks and months ahead!

A very special thank you goes out to Mary Durocher and her family and Kitty Dates and her family for all the work they put in to make the spaghetti supper such a success. They served hundreds of meals and raised a great deal of money for Peggy and I. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate the effort and how humbled we are by the support of our local community. Thanks so much again to all who attended and made the event such a wonderful success!

I am well aware of how slowly the healing phase of this process can be and I know that I will need to have a lot of patience as we proceed with the healing and begin to understand how all the changes will effect my life. I am doing my best to let go of expectations and I will do my best to celebrate each little milestone. Right now I really miss being able to eat and drink by mouth and I look forward to sharing a meal with my lovely wife sometime as we move on! But today is for celebrating, reaching a milestone that seemed so distant two month ago!! Keep the good vibes coming; this wonderful community of friends helps Peggy and I more than you will ever know. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, yesterday was Arbor Day and I have included a jpg of the Oak tree that we planted yesterday afternoon. I look forward to many cancer free years being marked by the growth of this mighty Oak!! See you all at 7:00!


  1. Wow what a journey ... wishing you all the best.

  2. WOOHOO! congrats on meeting and exceeding this part of the journey! lots of healing energy your way!

  3. Hi Dan-

    Thanks so much for posting the picture of you and the oak sapling you and Peg planted yesterday'd so good to be able to "see"'re as slender as that sapling, but you've got your beard and all your hair,and you'll heal strong as it grows strong.

    All my love and best wishes to you and Peg as you begin this next leg on your long journey of healing.


  4. Woohoo! Treatment is over! Amen to that!

    You look thinner, but great, and I am glad to hear that your optimistic spirit is still strong.

    You are right about the need for patience, but I know that you can ride it out. I'm famous for my lack of patience, and even I survived the months immediately following treatment :-)

    We think about you and Peggy all the time, especially at 7pm. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. I look forward to the day when we get to see you at church again.


  5. Sheila & Ian WardenApril 25, 2009 at 2:00 PM

    Congratulations on completing this part of your treatment!!! Way to go. Best wishes for your recovery. Sheila & Ian Warden

  6. Dan and Peggy, We are so happy for both of you to have reached this milestone. Its such a beautiful day out here on the bay, the only thing that would make it better is if you were here playing Somewhere over the Rainbow for us. We look forward to seeing you when you feel better.
    H and Bonnie and all the crew at the Pleasant Beach Hotel

  7. So glad you're celebrating this tremendous milestone. I planted a rhododendron the good folks at Agway swear will grow in this climate. It is evergreen and reminds me of the bursting out of spring in the mountains. Full of buds right now it leads me with hope for your healing into the future.

  8. Congratulations on completing your treatments!

    Oh what a fine attitude you have. We do hope that your body catches up to your healthy spirit in as short a time as possible.

    I do wish to attend the Bluseed benefit, but alas I may have to remain behind in Syracuse because of professional obligations (Commencement the next day). Still hoping to figure out a way to get to the North Country. In any case, I'll be in touch.

    Love from Susan

  9. Heyoo!

    Congratulations - Wow - We are so happy this part is over!!

    We are driving out Fredonia way on May 8th and back home on the 10th, hope to see you either coming or going if your up for it.

    It's a Spring for Esperance!

    Much Love,

  10. Hey dear Dan,

    It's your devoted friend Harriet, following your journey from MN and eager to see you soon in the wild and wooly Adirondacks. David and I send taste memories to you (your own will come back, at least in part, but the power of memory and imagination re: tastes is dang good).
    We'll all sit under the oak trees and brag about getting old and ornery together - and of course we will sing! With my love and smooches xxx

  11. Dan and Peggy,
    We recently found out about your blog and marvel at the spirit and courage you both have. Altho we missed Arbor Day, we will be planting 2 trees in our daughter Julie’s backyard soon. We’ll try to plant them where Charlie and Jean will be able to see them too. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Hugs, Jim and Cathy Skvorak

  12. Dan & Peggy:

    Congratulations and best wishes.

    Terry Manion

  13. So glad the treatments are over and that you are healing. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers.
    See you soon!
    All our love

  14. YAYYY for you, Dan, and thank you for sharing so much of what is going on with your body, mind and heart. Peggy, I'm thinking of you lots, too, and sending strength and energy your way.
    This song is in my head: "Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won"

  15. The snow-birds will be leaving Florida on Friday. We'll be listening to your music as we drive back to New York, and are looking forward to attending the Blueseed benefit. We continue to send good vibes your way.
    Bethyl and Bob Mayer

  16. Hello Dan,

    It must be such a relief to have this part behind you. I just wanted you to know that I think of you often. If you would like company or if there is anything else I can do to help please let me know.

    With Love, Jim Hoepfinger

  17. You look like your 'down a few pies,' but otherwise like you made it through that last month and a half pretty well. Heck, you make that oak look skinny! Congrats on beginning this new phase of hope and recovery.

  18. You are looking mighty good there guy. Awesome to have finally reached the end of treatment! Saw Peggy on a public tv re-run of an Adirondack singers/songwriters program. Feels good to have now "seen" both of you. My integrated medicine doctor (trained by Andrew Weil) suggests licorice paste to help heal the the mouth sores.
    You are in our thoughts - at 7:00 and many other times during the day.
    Deborah (and Delaney)

  19. Congratulations to you both on this milestone and enjoy each day of the Oak. I passed along the idea to the Day Program I consult at - lots of cancer survivors among staff and particpants and they also planted a tree! Hope you can feel all our prayers and love. Each moment you only need to take "Just One Step"
    Give Zeus a hug from Klaus.

    Love Lisa and Klaus

    By Karen McCurdy

    No one knows our path of life, what dangers lie ahead.
    And no one knows just what to do when faced with times of dread.
    But just when things seem at the worst, a spirit deep within
    Awakens strength and hope and light to guide us to the end.

    It’s the power of your spirit that will walk you through the trials.
    With your spirit shining brightly you’ll endure these endless miles.
    The energy of thoughts and prayers will keep your spirit fast
    And side by side we’ll reach the end….. ‘til the pain is gone at last.

    We’re with you in our heart and soul each step along the way.
    God’s hand upon your shoulder is the grace He sends each day.
    So Dan and Peggy…… please let your spirits soar to heights the heavens only know,
    Stay strong in hope and energy to help your body grow.
    Because, each bright new day that lies ahead will wrap your healing soul
    With a spirit of amazing power to meet it’s healing goal.

    With love and prayers,

    Karen and Bob McCurdy

  21. does a lil happy snoopy dance - I knew you'd make it and now the recovery can begin and your taste buds return - sending tons of love and support - take it one moment at a time and savor each and every one - much love Heather

  22. You think you're exhausted ... think about us !!! All the tension has me grasping a chair !!

    Got PIES waiting for you ... must rebuild that 30 pounds. Unless you would be willing to take mine.

  23. Just read it all, I'm really sorry to be so out of touch. Wishing you only the best, I'll be there at 7:00. You're such a silly man. I love you!! Smiles, Mimi