Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/24/10 A Big Anniversary

Today is a quite a special day. It is the one year anniversary of finishing treatments at Clifton Spring Cancer center. And although the effects of the radiation and chemo has lingered, the actual day of finishing treatments was a significant milestone. Thru many of the conversations I have had in the last few months with other head and neck cancer patients, my mind has wandered a lot to thoughts of last years struggles to finish up treatments. I find myself so thankful this Spring to be enjoying walking in the back field, mowing the lawn and all the other activities that Spring brings. But most of all I am so thankful to all of you who have been so supportive of Peggy and I during this ongoing journey. Without your love and support I can’t imagine how I could have gotten thru all of the radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Today I still have some eating issues, throat pain and some nerve issues but I hold my head high and yes we have gotten thru this year together! Later in the day I will plant this beautiful saucer magnolia to mark this one year anniversary. Each year about this time it will flower and remind me of the hope that this anniversary brings. The Oak tree we planted this day last year is strong and will be leafing out soon. My recovery is continuing well and the ENT feels hopeful that things will continue to improve. I have a PT scan scheduled for May 10th and that will help to tell us a little more. This afternoon I leave for a concert tonight at Tannery Pond community center in North Creek with Dan Berggren and Peggy and then a week with the Susquehanna string band. Every day I count my blessings and find myself to be as lucky as a man can be. Thank you again for all the thoughts and support that have come our way, it means more than I can ever tell you. I will continue to report in as my recovery continues. And yes today we celebrate yet another milestone, and find we have so much to be thankful for !

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4/13/10 Good Dog Zeus

March was a wonderful month, with music trips to the Adirondacks, Maryland, North Carolina and the Hudson Valley. It has also been a month of looking back and putting perspective on how well my recovery from cancer treatments has come along. I had the six month checkup with my radiation oncologist and that went well. He feels that things are improving as well as we can expect.For some reason there are new guide lines on receiving PT scans and after much dialogue it was decided that I will have a PT scan in May. It really is the only gauge that can tell if cancer has returned to my throat and neck. I am thankful that the folks at Clifton Springs are willing to help facilitate all of that. It was wonderful to return to the radiation center and get to see everyone who was so helpful last spring when I was doing treatments everyday. I really can’t say enough about all the wonderful people at Clifton Springs and the fantastic personable, professional care I received there. After all it is the people in the long run that make the difference !!

I have been continuing to see progress every day with eating and the residual nerve damage left from chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The eating changes are slow and subtle but are there none the less. I have been seeing a wonderful acupuncture therapist in Oswego and she has been incredibly generous to me. I can see real changes in the nerve issues in my hands and legs and although the changes are small and time consuming, they are happening and that is wonderful. As the weather is warming up I am slowly getting back to running and it feels great. That too is a slow process but I can see and feel steady improvements each time I am out !!

On a sad note, we had to put our border collie/lab mix dog “Zeus” down last week. He was a loyal friend and a sweet, loving and joyful presence for Peggy and I for almost nine years. We got Zeus when he was just about six years old and he lived to be over fourteen, which for his breed is really good. He had struggled with spine and hip issues for the last six month and had a seizure while at the kennel when we were in North Carolina. He did survive that ordeal but two weeks later had another seizure and this time was pretty well paralyzed. He let us know when it was time and we will miss him terribly. Peggy and I are having a conversation with a wonderful border collie rescue farm in Morris NY. and if the right dog comes along we might be tempted. I can’t say enough about what a wonderful presence Zeus was in our life, especially a grounding sense of normalcy when I was going thru cancer treatments and this recovery. He will always hold a special place in our heart.

Later this month I look forward to travels to Bennington VT. and the southern tier of NY state with the Susquehanna String Band. April is here and the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing every morning and the days are truly getting longer. To all of you who have been so supportive during this last year I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This recovery continues and I can fell my strength slowly coming back, but I could not do it with out your help and support. Please keep several folks who have found this blog and are just starting their journey with head and neck cancer in your thoughts and prayers. I will continue to keep you up to date on how things are going and I look forward to seeing you later this spring and summer. Keep the wonderful promise of spring in your heart !