Saturday, May 30, 2009

5/30/09 Slow and steady wins the race !!

Lately this has become my motto; “Slow and steady wins the race.” Everyday there is a little progress and yet there is a lot of progress to be made on many fronts. Eating is still quite difficult due to the soreness of my throat, but every day I am managing to eat some soft and liquid food. Also the peg tube is taking up the slack and helping to try to equalize everything out! Gaining weight does not to seem to be happening yet, but once the throat levels out, I think all of that will come easier. I do at moments feel a bit like my old self, and when that happens it is a wonderful thing for as long as it lasts. Anything that gives you a sense of normalcy is a great thing.

It was wonderful to be at Sagamore over the Memorial Day weekend. We had a wonderful concert for the volunteers, and many of them were old friends so it was almost like a homecoming. When I get to play music the sensations are overwhelming; it feels like a miracle that after all we’ve been through the music can still flow quite freely. My voice is sill not ready for primetime singing but I am hoping that this summer it will be fine. I do get a bit tired and overwhelmed at times but overall I can begin to see some positive changes. I am jut looking forward to my throat and the mucus leveling out. This week Peggy and I also got to do some work in the studio recording a song that Peg wrote for Winter’s wedding and a march that I wrote for the wedding. Both came out great and it is wonderful to be able to work at the console again. I look forward to many long hours recording and mixing in the future. Peg's daughter Winter is visiting and last night we made my first trip out to a restaurant since most of this started. Our friends Bonnie and H own the Pleasant Beach in Fair Haven and it was so nice to see them and their whole staff. Eating out is a real challenge and it’s hard to find food that will actually go down smoothly but they managed to help me out. It was a wonderful step and I look forward to many more “firsts” as the healing continues. Slow and steady wins the race!

We had an appointment with the ENT surgeon this week. It was the first time I had seen him since having surgery in Feb. He seems to feel that I am doing relatively well and just repeated what all of the doctors have told us. This is a slow process and learn to live in the moment and appreciate any little bit of change that can happen. I will need to see him once a month for a year to keep track of my throat and tongue area and make sure things stay healed. When we asked about what might be safe to eat at this point he said we use the stick test. If you can throw it against the wall and it sticks it should be OK for me to try to eat it. Seems a bit broad to me but if it will work we’ll try it !!

Once again, as we slowly go through this healing phase we are so thankful for all of your wonderful thoughts, concerns and generosity. This entire thing has been so humbling to me and I am forever grateful. As you ponder all you have to do in your busy world, don’t forget to take some time and try to live in the moment, it really is all we have right now! Thanks so much again and I’ll look for everyone around 7:00 pm.


  1. There is a wonderful site that you might enjoy. It is Try searching for creativity. It's inspiring and certainly will help you find that moment of living in the moment. I am so glad that what's ahead is now healing, slow as it may be. I was thinking about you at 7 PM!
    Take care my friend.

  2. Dan, you're doing such a great job noticing the positive progress you are making. It is hard to go through something like this without sometimes feeling tired and overwhelmed, and it is a long and slow process. But living in the moment is really the answer - believe me, I still have to practice that and here I am a year out from the end of chemo!

    But your ability to remain optimistic and patient, even during the difficult moments, is truly a gift. I'm sure having such great support from Peggy helps. She sure does love you, it's clearly on her face when she talks about you.

    I still think of you every day and look forward to seeing you some day soon.

  3. I'm remembering one of my own responses to living in the moment when I was recovering from the effects of the chemo treatments.

    You know our house but you never saw the kitchen in its "before" state. The asbestos tile on the floor was cracked and mostly missing. I had partially taken the moldy old plaster walls down and away from the stone walls to allow them to breathe. There was one large double sink, a 1940s stove that looked like the front end of an old chevy, and the furnace sat in the room, taking up most of the remaining space. The stove also had a cracked oven but was the best oven in the world - go figure! For those who don't know - my house is an 1878 house constructed like a townhouse with the kitchen partially below grade.

    We had lived with this kitchen while we worked on other parts of the house and a couple of decades had passed. We didn't "see" the horror of it any longer and in fact would cook, put food on a tray and take it upstairs. So just weeks beyond the final chemo treatment. I walked into the kitchen and really "saw" it for the first time in years. It was hideous and depressing. I walked upstairs and told Ron I was getting a loan because it didn't matter if I had one day or 100 more years to live, that my "one" day at a time was not going to be colored by walking into that kitchen.

    We went to the bank the next day!

    I also had to chuckle at your food reference. I suddenly imagined you at Sagamore, throwing food against the wall in the dining room, testing the chef's creations for those that you could swallow.

  4. Stick test? What exactly can that mean? Wanda's vision is pretty imaginative...and quite messy:) This means of selecting food will keep me laughing as I begin to look at recipes and shopping from a whole new perspective. Hope you're able to laugh about it and get some of it down into your tum tum tummy! Take care and enjoy everyday of this beautiful spring--Nancy

  5. Ah Dan, I'm glad you have the vision to notice and rejoice in "the normal." And so happy you and Peggy are making music together. Have you noticed any difference in your post-therapy compositions? Like Wanda, I hope your post-treatment vision of what needs to change and how to do it is clear and makes you happy as I know changing the kitchen environment made her. Symbols matter.

  6. Dan's out of the house today and I am home. I can't remember the last time that happened. Eating in a restaurant together sure was great. And working in the studio was fun. We even got Winter to sing a track! Now there's a gift most brides don't give their guests. Thanks for checking in everyone. Peggy

  7. Really just catching up on you as we were late in learning. I have always known you are an amazing person. Your blog only reinforces that. Know that we are praying for you and sending you all the positive vibes we can. Music is such a healing thing. I read this in the Chautauquan Daily today and thought of you. "Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside of us... therapist for the human soul. Musicians are people who work with our insides to see if they can get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy, happy and well" Karl Paulnack, director of music Boston Conservatory. You have been healing all of us for a long time with your music, may it give back to you. Love and wishes for health, Sue (Swank) and Dave Brown

  8. Hi Dan,
    Just thinking about you, and doing some praying, the old fashioned Catholic way (I'm sure you remember!).
    Best wishes,
    Stan & family

  9. Dan,

    You are in our daily prayers. Keep up the positive attitude that will help heal you too. Jack Osborne has kept us posted on your progress. We look forward to seeing/hearing you and Peg in Punta Gorda, FL next winter.

    Bick and Ginny Bicknell, Henderson Harbor, NY

  10. Take down a musical instrument
    Let the beauty we love be what we do
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

  11. Dan,

    The walls in your kitchen are going to be a mess with this stick test. I've always heard that's how you know when pasta is done - throw it against the wall. So glad to hear of the step-by-step improvements. Getting out and playing are great, I'm sure. You and Peg are invited to the lake anytime. Just let us know . . . We're always thinking of you.

  12. I smiled when I read this post, Dan and Peggy.

    I can envision the two of you selling not only CDs at your concerts but also sticky art pieces. Instead of the elephant at the zoo with a paint brush in its trunk, it will be Dan's food-tossing art against canvas. Chocolate pudding, spaghetti sauce, some mashed potatoes for highlights.

    I tell my writing students to use the spaghetti test with their stories. Throw it out there and see what sticks. It's a great way to overcome writer's block.

    Continue to heal well. We're cheering you on.

    Carol Smalley