Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DAY 2041 - Day 1808 in Recovery Paradise

Well, here we finally are - big DAY tomorrow.

9:45 am - meet with Doctor Mathew, my ENT Cancer doctor that made the onerous diagnosis five very long (and yet, sometimes very short) years ago - "You have Tonsil Cancer".

This appointment is supposed to be my last one, EVER.  It is said that if you make it five years you are classified as a 'Survivor' and you get a new life - a 'do-over' if you will.

There will be no more x-rays, CT-scans, invasive throat diagnostics, emergency room visits, dry-heaves with razors in your throat, lost hair (ha - like that matters now), sleeping the only way you can  - sitting up-, feeding tubes, blah, blah - related to this Tonsil Cancer diagnosis.

Something else may be lurking around the corner, but tomorrow I will officially be done with this one.

Took a break from my bass guitar for the past few months, as we are prepping our home for sale, but as things settle down in the day to day - am looking forward to picking it up is the last song I learned - will be good to pick it up where I left off....ROCK ON.

Billy Squire - Everybody Wants You


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DAY 1578 - Day 1345 in Recovery Paradise

Well, here we are just about 4 years to the date I was diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer.  I often mentor others coming down that hellacious treatment path and remark how good life is (period) on the other side.

I wouldn't be sitting here doing this had I not chosen to take the radiation/chemo treatments.  It helped that I didn't know what the Hell I was getting myself into...but definitely am grateful for the results.

Last week I gave a 90 day notice to my job, that I am going to retire and also go to 3 working days a week until then.  Four day weekends - to try out the retirement sister says the water is just fine...JUMP!

Wow... what an interesting ride the last 1578 days have been with 1345 new sunrises and sunsets as a bonus...


Day 1 - Another Day in Paradise

Thursday May 29, 2008

Saw a Head and Neck Specialist in Roseville. Got to hear the "C" word for the first time. Said that it was on my left tonsil and had apparently spread to my left lymph node. Wanted to do biopsy to be sure. Found out the hard way I was allergic to ephinefrin (sudafed) mixed with thelidocaine and blacked out and off to the emergency room to get blood pressure and heart rate normal. Bad headache followed - and did not get the biopsy done - told them they should have done it while I was out...Ha. Have to come back tomorrow and do it again with a different specialist nearer to me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DAY 1499 - Day 1266 in Recovery Paradise

New to some - a duplicate to others - I posted this sentiment on another one of my blogs today, but felt it was perfect for this one too.

Let every day be yet another small marker on the joy of being on earth.   Last year I blogged every day (365) about the importance of TIME.  Lots of views, but really it was for me; to remind myself and reflect on my good fortune, EVERY day.             SUNRISE & TIME

This year I am blogging every day about GRATITUDE and thankfulness. GRATITUDE- a little goes a long way   Although my life is back to "normal", we all know it will never be the same again - we CAN choose to make it even better. The most disrespectful thing I can do with life is to take my recovery for granted. Some don't get the chance.

As with any relationship, (God, spouse, friend, or more importantly - ourselves) to be truly successful, we need to work on it everyday.  I end everyday (before I fall asleep - dark - everyone sleeping - just alone with myself) reviewing all the great experiences I  had that day and what I am thankful for and conversely, start everyday, upon awakening (dark - no eyes open yet) reinforcing my continuing victory over Cancer and how lucky and thankful I am to have one more day and what one special thing I am going to do with that time today.

Sounds odd, but I truly believe my experience with Tonsil Cancer, is the most positive, life changing experience I have ever had.  Often, God's most important lessons come with a baseball bat, for those of us that that just don't get it any other easier way.  It seems that Tonsil Cancer is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and is is also the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I choose not to be the victim.  I choose to be the winner.  It is the Yin Yang of life.  If Cancer is the Dragon - I choose to be the Tiger.


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

DAY 1433 - Day 1191 in Paradise

Well, here we are in a new year (2012) with new resolutions and resolve to move our lives in a more productive direction.  The advantage of being diagnosed with Cancer, is that, if one is lucky that should be the wake-up call to embrace your resolution list, as if there is no next year.  I heard that news one thousand, four hundred and thirty-three days ago.  I successfully (so far, so good) competed hellish nightmare of radiation and chemo treatment to gain more time.  To be exact, I have gained one thousand, one hundred and ninety-one more 24 hour days.  How often would I have thought about that under "normal" conditions?

It is truly amazing how much one can accomplish when almost all the sand is gone in the hourglass.  Time becomes more precious and hopefully on becomes a better judge of how that time should be spent.

Although I still have a couple of years left to reach official retirement, my mind says "now is a good time to start practicing".  I moved to part-time status at my work and embraced the 4-day work week.  I am picking up speed on accomplishing more  things on my "B" I have successfully beaten the clock and accomplished everything on my shorter "A" list.

I resolved to create a blog about the value of time and post it daily for a year.  I started it on Christmas day 2010 and logged my final post on Christmas Eve 2011.  Whereas, some people have read it off the net and I have force-fed members of my family, (I did get 3443 views over the year) the greatest value was what I personally received by creating it.  I thought long and hard about time, what mine means to me and what would be the best use of the unknown quantity I have left.

Isn't it sad that people put more thought, desire for success, energy, conviction, creativity and resolve into planning their seven day vacation than they do for their life as a whole?  Seems a bit odd, don't you think?  When you know you are going to only get one vacation this year...think of all the planning we put into it to make it the best ever...but not our life.

We would be abhorred at the thought of flying to Paris, Rio or Cancun and sitting in our hotel room, watching TV, until the return flight was taxiing down the runway.  Wouldn't we want to cram all the excitement and joy into those days as we could? Why not our life?

It is because we think we have plenty of time and it won't run out.  We get just the one turn, unless you get a wake-up call, as I did, re: one's own mortality and take a peak at your life clock clicking away whether you like it or not and whether you do anything with your minutes or not. 

Every day, people pass away unexpectedly (meaning we all probably expect to die, but not just yet).  Who wouldn't choose being diagnosed with Cancer vs. being hit with a bus?  One has a lot more time and opportunity to get it right, to be the person you should be, and build your legacy for family and friends.

I an luck and I am grateful.  I started a new blog on Christmas Day    (as a present to myself and to my family) to succeed the blog about the value of time and replace it with another daily blog about Gratitude and what I am thankful for.  Very powerful to FOCUS on that EVERY day.  It is like winning the lottery everyday...we are all very rich in the important things which, of course, are not things at all, are they?


SPIRIT IN THE SKY   -  Another Day in Paradise band

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 “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” - Unknown

Monday, October 17, 2011

DAY 1351 - Day 1109 in Recovery Paradise

'Another Day in Paradise' band
So, I've been thinking lately...until I was confronted with the diagnosis of Tonsil Cancer, I, like most people, subconsciously thought I had all the time in the world to get around to a multitude of projects, places to go and things to do, that we all have jumbled up in that personal bag we all carry around.

When I was facing the inverted hourglass of my life and I noticed there was more sand in the bottom than in the top and was reminded of a favorite quote of mine:

"As you get older, don't slow down.  Speed up, as there is less time left."

Then, I was diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer.  Emerging from chemo/radiation/feeding tube six months of Hell later, I finally had that long put-off conversation with myself about what I was going to do with my extra gift of TIME.  Well, I did the whitewater rafting trip (awesome).  Then I went skydiving (albeit, indoors in a wind tunnel...but I was off the ground about 15' with no strings attached)...... so I started thinking that perhaps even at 63 I am not really too old to learn how to actually play that 30 year old Fender Bass (previous mid-life crisis toy - 30 years ago) gathering dust in the closet on top of my 'get around to it someday box-of-great-ideas".  I didn't even have a hook-up cord or an amp...basic components of an electric guitar.

I filled in the blanks necessary to have a plucked string actually have sound come out of a plugged-in box.  I started lessons with a former rock-n-roll band guy, now turned teacher in a music school.

Fast forward one year.  I have learned about ten old rock-n-roll songs and experienced the humiliating depths of despair playing live in  a duo for (thank God) a small audience and screwing up four songs in a row, getting progressively worse with each new song.  The show must go on.  You can't stop and start over.  You just keep playing along, trying to find your way back to the notes you are 'supposed' to be playing, wishing God or 'Calgon' would take you away...right after you sold that damn guitar on eBay for a dollar.  That was my experience two weeks ago.  When you 'die' on stage, that is a fairly descriptive term.

But, as in other parts of your life, often the depths of despair are replaced with the heights of joy, only found in the suburbs of Heaven.

I was graced with that experience Saturday night...grander than the best of my wildest dream.  My little pick-up band played three songs.  We did well.  That is the cake of the story.  The icing is that my daughter, Sarah, sang on all three songs and my wife, Lise, played keyboards on one (House of the Rising Sun).  It was perhaps, the grandest moment of my life.

I have a good life.
My wife plays violin in a symphony orchestra.
My daughter plays cello in her school orchestra.
Bach, Beethoven, Mozart.
I schlep the equipment and applaud wildly from the front row and take pictures.
That was the content of my musicality contribution to the family.
Then I get Cancer.
I recover sufficiently to do more than just glance at my life-watch and reconsider  what I should do with my remaining precious time.
I learn how to play an electric-bass guitar (excluding the debacle of a recent performance played at Satin's request).
I actually entice my classical music trained family to get down with some rock-n-roll in public.
They had a blast.
I had a taste of heaven
They want to do more, as do I.
I am now actually putting together a real band (just call me Pinocchio).
'Another Day in Paradise Band' appropriate.
Never too late to start a new career.

Had I not gotten Cancer and confronted the time meter on my life, would I have been here today with the same results?  I am thinking, no.

How totally cool it was to experience 'Family von Welton' on stage.  Has to be a top highlight of my life and all post-Cancer bucket list experiences to boot...playing in 'overtime'.

'Time waits for no man...and the band played on'....just saying'.

I don't think that 30 views necessarily makes one internet famous, but none-the-less, we are now on YouTube for the world to see.

Another Day in Paradise Band 10-15-11