Monday, September 28, 2009

9/28/09 Cancer Free !!

Well today is a day that has been a long time coming. After 10 months, 3 surgeries, 35 radiation treatments, several chemo-therapy treatments, six and a half months with a peg tube,and many long difficult days and nights, for the moment I can actually tell you that I am cancer free. Today’s pet scan was completely clear and left no doubt about it. And although there are no promises about tomorrow, Peggy and I are absolutely thrilled to be able to pass on the good news. I will need to see the radiation oncologist every six months for a year or two, and also have scans twice a year but with all of your help and support we have come a long way!! To date this has been quite a journey and I have been so humbled and touched by the love and support shown by this community of friends. Realistically there are still a lot of issues to overcome from the treatments and this scan today is far from a cure, but with each landmark that passes we will inch closer and closer to that goal. I am eating better and even though it is still soft food, it is a great thing to be able to support myself without the help of the peg tube. Also there are still issues with nerve damage to my right hand but over time I hope that will get better. But today is a day to celebrate, lift up a glass and here’s to all of you for believing that we could actually see this day, here’s to the miracle of each and every day and living it to the fullest, and most importantly here’s to good friends that have helped to see us thru to this point in our recovery. And let’s not forget here’s to the healing power of music and the wonderful role it plays in all of our life’s. And here's to my wonderful wife Peggy who continues to be my rock through all of this. I also need to thank the wonderful doctors and staff at Clifton Springs hospital and cancer clinic who have been amazing and have treated Peggy and I as if we were family.

I can’t thank all of you enough for your never ending support during this time. It really has and continues to mean the world to Peggy and myself. I will continue to update the blog every week or so and keep everyone posted as my recovery continues. In the meantime I look forward to seeing many of you at performances this fall and as always, I’ll look for you at 7:00.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

09/17/09 Tubeless in Red Creek !!

It has been a really good week!! On Monday we had a visit with the chemotherapy oncologist and lab work done at the hospital. Both went really well, all the blood counts were normal and there was nothing out of the ordinary. I had a goal to weigh 145 lbs for this particular visit and when they weighed me in I was 145 on the nose! That was great. But the best part of the day was having the peg tube removed. I realized that I had the peg tube for over six and a half months and it really was a life safer during and right after treatment. I really think that things would have been much more difficult without it. But as grateful as I am for the role it played during radiation and chemo therapy I am so thankful and happy to have it no longer be around. After a few days my stomach is feeling good and I hope that once I get back a little more weight I can put on the old running shoes and get back at it! Even though what I can eat is still quite limited, I am thrilled that now it is all coming from eating, and that is a major step in this recovery. I am scheduled for a pet scan on Monday morning Sept.28th and that will hopefully tell us a lot more about what is happening with my mouth and neck. I am hopeful for the best and I would gratefully ask for some good vibes on the 28th.

Tomorrow night is the Susquehanna String Band concert here at our farm with a weekend Hammered Dulcimer master class to follow Saturday and Sunday. Next week we are up in Potsdam at Hosmer auditorium on Monday night and doing outreach programs to north country schools the rest of the week. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be able to be out performing and traveling again. It really seems miraculous and now things are starting to feel a little more like they used to. I still get quite tired out but with each passing day the energy seems to be a little better. It really gives me such an appreciation for every day that we have. To all of you and your never ending support I am so very thankful and grateful ! Without you this journey would be much more difficult, that’s for sure. Enjoy all that fall has to offer and I’ll look for you at 7:00 !! By the way this post is number 50,which is really quite a milestone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

09/09/09 A Sense of Accomplishment !

It’s hard to believe that fall is here, the school bus is running past our house first thing in the morning, the days are getting shorter and the nights are a bit cooler. The summer seems like a distant memory as our sights turn to autumn. But as I think back on this summer I can feel a great sense of accomplishment in all the performances and workshops that I was able to do. The concerts at the beginning of July were a bit of a stretch, but as the summer progressed I became more and more comfortable with performing and what I could and could not accomplish. Although at times things were really difficult and uncomfortable, I am so pleased that at least I have been able to get out and perform the bulk of my summer schedule. For that I am extremely thankful. And although there are still physical issues to work out, numbness in my hand and difficuty swallowing, I can honestly see some wonderful improvements. Now I can start to turn my sights on our September concerts, The ADK museum this weekend and the Dulcimer master class and concert with the Susquehanna String Band next weekend {Sept. 18-20} at our farm in Red Creek. It won’t be long now and we’ll be talking about the first frost!

I hope that next week will be a good one. On Monday I go to Clifton Springs for lab work and a visit with my chemotherapy oncologist. It has been two months since I have been to the hospital and I look forward to sharing my progress with them. After a long conversation with the radiation oncologist’s office last week, it is my hope that I will be able to have the peg tube removed on Monday. I have been able to gain a little weight and hold it with out having to use the peg tube for about the last two weeks. The radiation oncologist has approved having it taken out but I need to get clearance from the stomach doctor when I see them. I realized that I have had the peg tube for over six months and when I needed it the most this spring it really was a life safer. I can’t imagine how I could have gotten through the treatments without it. If I can have it removed it will be another major step in this recovery and a huge emotional boost as well. I am also scheduled for another petscan on Sept. 28th. The insurance company has approved it and I hope it will give us a little more direction than the scan did back in June.

As always I am so very moved by the wonderful response of everyone in this great community. All of your thoughts and prayers continue to help Peggy and I get through some of these long days during my recovery period. It has been so wonderful to see so many of you at performances this summer and I do look forward to seeing many of you this fall. Keep those vibes coming and if you think about it send a little extra vibe late Monday morning with the hopes of having the peg removed!! Have a wonderful week, take a few minutes to savor your accomplishments and as always I’ll look for you at 7:00.