Friday, May 8, 2009

5/08/09 Not by the hair on my Chiny, Chin, Chin !

There are lots of casualties from radiation and chemotherapy. Some folks loose their hair and some have no problems at all with hair loss and nausea. Everybody is different and our bodies all react in different ways. My casualty is my beard. The IMRT radiation machine was so close to my face that it took most of my beard with it! After 25 years of living as a fuzzy face, I shaved the remnants of my beard {or what was left of it} this week. I still do have a nice thick mustache so that is a fun thing! Peggy had never seen my chin and she seems happy to know that I actually have one!! In fact many of you may have never seen my chin either so I have put up the jpg so you can see for yourself. I am sad to loose the beard but in a lot of ways it kind of signals a new beginning.

This week we have been in kind of a holding pattern from last week. I am doing my best to hold my weight with the peg tube and swallowing has not improved so eating and drinking are still not possible, and I still have enough mucus to float a boat! On the positive side the clinic has cut my hydration days down to two times a week down from three times a week last week, and they have also cut the amount of hydration I get in half. Peggy tells me she can see improvement everyday, I still don’t feel a lot better but I am hopeful that in the next few weeks things will begin to pickup quite a bit. Baby steps. We have had several friends come to visit this week and that is always wonderful. And now that spring is officially here, I am really pleased to let you know that I actually mowed the lawn with my tractor this week. I know it’s only sitting on a tractor but it is a wonderful thing. Anything that I can do that gives me a sense of normality is a big step forward, even mowing the lawn with the tractor.

Peggy and I have been so humbled by your generosity, thoughts, insights and concerns. As a person not used to being on this end,I can honestly tell you that words can’t do justice to express our thanks. You really lift us up when we need it and give us wonderful perspective that sometimes either of us may be able to see. From the bottom of hearts we send you our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of you, this amazing extended family. Keep those thoughts coming our way and I’ll look forward to seeing all of you at 7:00 PM.


  1. You are a handsome creature - love the handlebar mustache. You sound better but I can understand that, with the huge milestone of the end of chemo/radaiation behind you, you want to leap ahead of your body's healing schedule. I had trouble imagining that friends would show up to clean out my refrigerator after my 3 weeks in rehab but they did and I had to sit in a chair and watch. You're riding that mower and your hand is steady enough to risk shaving off that beard. Small victories, but victories. Keep up the great work of healing. We're all cheering you and Peggy on!

  2. Dan -I saw your chin in high school at Bishop Ludden ! Joe Farmer sent me the link to your blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thinking of you at 7 pm nightly! -Mary Tartaglia-Bishop Ludden Class of 1974

  3. Hey there! Nice chin! :-) Looks like you are into trimming things this week, your beard, your lawn, watch out Peggy!!! Sounds like things are moving in the right direction! That is great news! Step by step, day by day!

    Hugs and Love,
    Donna and John

  4. Hi Dan,
    the lack of beard makes your eyes larger and I love the mustache!

    Our son went through rectal cancer for two years and his success was slow and the small steps large.

    I so look forward to seeing and hearing you back at FUUSS.
    Blessed be.
    Pam Anderegg

  5. Peggy, I hope you are able to take some time for yourself. If someone else can do the house and yard while you take a long bath or shop, do let them do it. It will give them a great sense of joy to be able to help. And imagine returning to a trimmed yard and shiny house.
    It's a joy, I can tell you.
    Love to you both,
    Pam Anderegg

  6. Good afternoon Dan and Peggy. Great the hear that things are improving. Please let me know if you need help servicing the mower or helping in anyway.

    In Harmony
    John W.

  7. Hey--what about that chin?! You are looking good, and I know that feeling better will follow day by day. Everyone you know is proud that you've been so successful managing the side effects of this difficult treatment Keep it up :~> Nancy

  8. Dan:

    If it will help you to feel more normal, my lawn needs some attention, too! Good for you--you handsome devil!

    Terry Manion

  9. Hi Dan, I like the mustache look, and yours is a fine one! You're looking great, and I'm glad to hear you're getting some energy back. What good timing to be healing in the spring, when the warm sunny days beckon you to be outside. Let the fresh air and sunshine help to heal your body and your spirit too. You've come an amazingly long way, and are an inspiration to us all! I hope that celebration meal with Peggy is just around the corner.

    Elaine and Mike

  10. Hi Dan - that IS quite a mustache!

    I'm sorry that improvements are coming so slowly, but they will definitely come. It's great to have a witness, because sometimes they see improvements that we cannot see for ourselves. Without Mary's observations and encouragement, it would have been difficult to appreciate the changes I went through during the early weeks of my recovery.

    I hope the side effects of treatment start easing up soon.

    Love, Maria

  11. Looking good! It sucks that we have to struggle in order to learn things like patience and appreciation of the samll things. But thank God we can learn! Our thoughts and prayers are with you each day.

    Lisa and Klaus

  12. Hi Dan,

    How nice to see a photo of your cheerful face - chin and all! It is great that you are cutting grass on the tractor and being out in the fresh air. Yesterday I was shopping with my daughter for her 20th birthday, (yikes, I'm getting older), and I saw this quote on a greeting card:

    We have keys to all doors!
    The world is all gates,
    all opportunities,
    all strings of tension
    waiting to be struck!

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I'm sure that I can't even understand the full meaning of all of that. But I like what I think it means. And when I got to the part about the strings of tension waiting to be struck, I immediately thought of the hammered dulcimer. And then I thought of the beautiful music you make and wanted to share this quote with you.

    Have a good week as the earth unfolds its spingtime glory and your body continues to heal itself!

    Cindy M.

  13. Dan,
    Since Bishop Ludden did not allow beards, I am one of the few that was familiar with the Dan Duggan chin. My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend. The best is yet to come.

    Joe Farmer

  14. deborah forest hartMay 11, 2009 at 6:35 PM

    Spring! Mowing! Chinny,chin,chin! Tulips! Two lips! Smack!

    And Hugs from Deborah & Andy

  15. Hey There Dan,

    Cute chin!!!That spark is in your eyes; a very good sign all is well. There is no better time than spring for healing.Peepers rising from their muddy beds sing out, birds returning to nest call out, "my tree, my tree!!!" May healing ring through you in one harmonious song! My love to you and Peggy.

  16. You look wonderful Dan! I think you're doing a wonderful job of learning patience. My Mom used to tell me patience is something you gain with age and I always told her I'd never live long enough to find out, but I actually think I am! I remember my friend Ruth having that terrible mucus problem and it does seem to be a problem for a long time, but it DOES go away!

    Each day is a present from God and a blessing. Don't forget to keep looking for all those blessings... there are still many! I hope and pray to see you out there with those Jamcrackers in the near future.

    My love and best wishes to both you and Peggy. You're in my prayers every day.

    Elaine Cowles from Voorheesville

  17. Hey, good chin.
    When Ron first began playing period music with the Liaisons Plaisantes, he shaved his beard because beards were not part of the 18th century "face." I had not seen him without a beard since we were kids in high school. He first grew his when we were doing long distance traveling and dating between colleges.

    I braced myself and had to confess he did not look at all like the Ron I knew. The difference is - he had almost no chin. You do - cute one too. Now, the strange thing is - Ron looks great with no beard when he is high summer, dressing in period clothing and playing music. Then he changes into normal clothing and I still like seeing the beard grow back - just old habits I guess.

    You are always in my prayers - and I have a dream for you. Imagine yourself every moment full of health and vibrancy playing your dulcimer and being surrounded with all of your spiritual guides and helpers who will keep you safe and healthy all the rest of your days on this earth.

    Our love,
    Wanda and Ron

  18. Dan,

    God Bless you for your positive attitude and for how far you've come in your recovery. You have brought so much joy to myself and my family through your music -- I believe that all that joy you've sent out to others through your music and wonderful personality will surely come back to you and keep you strong and upright as you gain back your health. Keep up the good work, and thank you for being such an inspiration to so many.

    You and your wife are in my prayers,

    Theresa Costello


  20. Dan,
    You do indeed look fab.
    Hopefully soon some of your favorite cream pie will be able to slide gently down your throat.
    I have been eating your portion in your absence and it shows.
    So I do wish you'd take over again soon.
    Best wishes and continued prayer as you complete this last leg.
    Susan Casler

  21. Dear Dan,
    I just learned today of your challenges and have read your story on your blog. Seems I have been out of the loop and have missed many 7 o'clocks. So I am starting today, but I am 3 hours late. Typical... Today I'll be the tail end of that vibe wishing you full health. Sending you love and hugs -- from Seth too! (who is 16 and driving!)

  22. Oh Dan!! I like the handle bar mustache - it has great spunk and energy!! Now you should break out the rag time tune you wrote for us "Buckeye Rag"..... the handle bar would fit right in!
    I never saw Bob's face until 7 years after we married..... it was a fun and wonderful change for him, me, us. (-: (-: And now, if you grow it back, every single hair will be a success!!! (-:
    I'm happy you're outside mowing your lawn. Is that huge huge maple tree still standing in your yard?? If so, go stand under it and get life times of energy from that great and wise old creation that has survived generations of stormy weather!

    Our love and prayers -

    Karen and Bob McCurdy

  23. From Holly at FUUS
    Hi Dan,
    Wow, you could pass for a 19th century Lawmman on Gunsmoke. I do love the mustache, it' classy! You know my thoughts and prayers are with you and Peggy, always.

  24. Oh man, the moustache is so cool - Very wild west! All the best for you and peg - Michael

  25. Hi Dan & Peggy,

    Just catching up on your blog. Love your mustache. Last time I saw one that good was on Jim Croce.

    My prayers are with you,
    Phyllis Woodard