Monday, June 29, 2009

6/29/09 A time for giving thanks .

It was wonderful to get away last week, even for just a few days. We got to see Peggy’s daughter Winter in New Paltz and then went on to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The weather at the coast has been cold and rainy for the last two months, but the two days we were at Oak Bluffs the sun was out for most of the day. It was wonderful. Eating on the road is a real adventure but it seems that I can find some soft food almost anywhere we go, in fact the seafood pastas { scallops, shrimp etc. } were really nice and I even had a hint of the taste of the seafood. Now that is something to be thankful for! Even though we did not get the news we had hoped for with the petscan last week, we are thankful that things are slowly moving on and in a few more months when we do another scan hopefully my throat will be in better shape so the scan can be more conclusive! For now I am not letting it cross my mind and am just enjoying being able to get out and enjoy all that summer has to offer !!! We saw a wonderful t shirt that we both really loved but unfortunately the store was closed and we were taking the first ferry off the island when we saw it. It said “Skinny men are sexy !!!”, so I hope to make that my motto as I am trying to put some weight back on !

I am really excited about the week ahead. Tomorrow we go to Potsdam where I will be playing with the Susquehanna String band. On Tuesday night we play for the CYM music camp and on Wednesday and Thursday night its concerts with the Symphony of Northern NY, Wednesday in Potsdam and Thursday at the Clayton opera house. I am absolutely thrilled that I am able to do these dates, even though I will need to conserve my energy. In March during treatments I had no idea if I would even be able to consider these concert dates and now that it looks like a reality I could not be more thankful. I know how much work it will be in my current shape, but I am more than up for the challenge. The power of making wonderful music has always been my heart beat and as I start to come around from all of this I can appreciate it even more than ever. I hope we do get to see some of you in our travels this summer. Once again we are so thankful for all your support and encouragement. Have a wonderful week and a great July 4th holiday. And if you think about it take some time to be thankful for all that you have been blessed with, we are all truly blessed ! I’ll look for you at 7:00.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

6/23/09 An Imperfect Science !

If there is one thing I have learned from this experience with Cancer it is that whenever you are looking for a definitive answer, especially from tests, you very rarely get one. This was the case with the PET scan on Monday. PET scans can tell you where there is unusually active cell growth and because cancer cells replicate so quickly they can be very useful in finding cancer cells. They also can find other cells that are doing the same thing. The scan on Monday was a bit “murky” as our oncologist put it. There is a slight uptake in cell activity in the region where the original cancer site was located months ago, but this could only be telling us that because of all the swelling and soreness in that area of my throat from surgery and radiation. With that exception the rest of the scan was clear. The Radiation oncologist was not alarmed and said when the throat finally levels out we’ll do another scan and have a better idea. He said that it happens a lot and the business of reading these scans can be an imperfect science! Not the “cancer free” results we had hoped for but not really bad news either, just more questions! I don’t need to meet the radiation people for another three months and that is great. I will meet the ENT every month for at least this year. In the meantime I’ll continue to do my best to heal up, eat what I can and get ready for our summer schedule of concerts and workshops. Peggy and I are taking a few days off and going away for a little R&R which is a wonderful thing right now! Thanks again for the vibes and wonderful thoughts sent our way, it really means a lot! I’ll look for you at 7:00.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

6/21/09 Happy Solstice Day !

It has been a really busy week for us. On Monday, I met with the Chemotherapy oncologist and they think that in general things are going really well. The swallowing issues and pain in the throat will be around for a while, but my energy level seems to be getting better. The labs looked good and I won’t need to see the chemo people for another three months!! Tuesday afternoon Peggy and I did two school assembly programs at Morrisville Eaton Central School. The programs went quite well; I still cannot sing very much but that will be coming along soon!! On Thursday we went to Indian Lake to do the Heritage program with our good friend and music colleague, Dan Berggren. It was really fun and after working with the kids during the day we did an evening concert with them at the Indian Lake Theater. The program went great and it was so wonderful to see so many friends who have been pulling for us the last few months. In fact the good folks in Indian Lake came up with the 7:00 Vibe, and you know the rest of the story!

Tomorrow is a really big day. At around 9:30, I’ll have a PET scan to see if there are still any cancer cells left in my body. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but we are hoping for the best. I would ask a big favor of all of you. If we can have an extra vibe time around 9:30 am on Monday morning that would be wonderful, just put those great positive thoughts out there and I know that things will work out. I will put up a post on Monday night or Tuesday as soon I know the results. If all goes well Peggy and I are going to try get away for a few well deserved days of R & R later this week!! To all of you who have been so supportive with your cards, thoughts, and generosity we send you our sincere thanks and gratitude. You all will never know how much this community has lifted our spirits and empowered us when we needed it the most. I am a firm believer of the power of positive thinking (thanks Pops!), and even more the power of the collective positive thoughts that all of you have been taking part in. Happy Solstice and Happy Fathers Day to all of you, I’ll look for you tomorrow at 9:30 and 7:00.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

6/14/09 Buds on the tree !!

Many of you may remember that I ended radiation treatments on April 24th which turned out to be arbor day. I know that many of you planted a tree and Peg and I planted an Oak at the top of the hill on our property. Well for the last seven weeks that Oak tree has looked like it was not going to do anything, no buds just a stick ! We were both disappointed but with everything else with patience things can happen. Well this week the little oak tree started to bud and now there are leaves coming out on it. It looks like it is mirroring my journey, slow and steady but nonetheless the little memorial oak tree is alive and well and that is a very wonderful thing !

It has been a slow steady week, eating is still a job and the right side of my throat still is quite painful but we are plotting on !! Soft foods, lots of eggs, oats, soft muffins, pasta etc. with lots of butter for calories and help to slid down the throat. So with what I’m eating and the Peg tube feeding, I hope to start putting on a few more pounds as the days go by. This week I meet with my dentist. The radiation can be really difficult on your teeth and gums so I was a little nervous. But alas all the brushing, flossing and rinsing has paid off and my teeth and gums are going to be OK. That was great news to hear! This week we will have labs and have a visit with the Chemo oncologist. And next week, June 22nd I’ll have a petscan to see if all the cancer is gone. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and I’ll ask all of you to put out especially powerful vibes that day!

Well yesterday was another first, I played for a wedding at the Aurora inn in Aurora NY. It went really well, both the ceremony and brunch and I felt really good about it. I packed up sound, visited with good friend Tom Hodgson and came home and had a two hour nap !! But overall things are beginning to happen. Peg and I have a few gigs coming up this week and I am looking forward to playing together. One side effect of the chemotherapy has been a tingling or numbing of my thumb and first two fingers on my right hand. I can play just fine with that but would be really happy if eventually it would go back to normal, that is what I am visualizing. It would be great if all you could visualize the numbing going away and my hand returning to normal. I know the power of numbers and positive thinking and have seen it throughout this long process !! Thank you so much for everything, your kind words, notes, and generosity really means more to Peggy and I than you will ever know. Have a great week and I’ll look for you at 7:00!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

6/07/09 A Garden of Thoughts !

Well it has been a relatively good week. I am slowly trying to increase what I am able to eat. This weekend I was able to eat some French toast, { Sorry no freedom fries ! } some pancakes, and a soft muffin {lathered in butter and warmed up in the microwave ! }. So things are slowly beginning to improve. The throat is still really struggling but I am giving it my best. The tube feedings are also happening after every meal, but to date I don’t believe that I’ve been able to put on any pounds, but I hope that won’t be too far off. About half way thru the week I realized that this week was going to be a little bit different from many of the previous weeks. This past week we did not have to see any doctors, first time since the end of January, and boy was it nice !! Ah let the healing continue.

This weekend we ended up canceling the master class at our farm, but decided to invite a few of the students to come and have a visit and stay over on Friday night. It was a wonderful visit and we all got to play some music and sit around our new fire pit { Thanks to Peggy ! }, and had a wonderful fire. On Saturday Cathy Marczak presented us with this beautiful garden of cardboard flowers but the best part was that the flowers each have a comment from the blog. It really is a wonderful thing and reminds me of how insightful so many of you have been !! Thanks so much Cathy and Ron. On Sat. we got to play some great music and also took a visit the heron rookery at Sterling Nature Center about 15 minutes from our home. Over twenty pair of nesting great blue herons, what an inspiration. Today Peg and I were able to go our Unitarian service in Syracuse. It was the first time I had been able to go to church since late Jan. and it was wonderful. It was so great to see our friends at the church, really emotional and uplifting. So slowly but surely things are starting to have a sense of order again, far from normality but we are definitely getting there !!

Once again as we navigate these new waters, I am ever so thankful for all of your continued support for Peggy and I. I am brought to tears many times throughout the week just reflecting on how lucky we are to have such a great supportive group of friends!! Thanks so much again for everything, I’ll look for you at 7:00 !