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October 26th 2021
The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind and I know much has been slipping thru the cracks of life and some friends I love have received an earlier email, and others were accidentally omitted but it is just life...2 weeks ago, out of the blue, from what seemed to be a routine test with good resultys, i was diagnosed with esophogial cancer and my life took off in a new direction.Time stopped with one phone call and suddenly my life shifted form worrying about frost and planting, fixing our roof...to being inundated with catscans, petscans, procedures and labs had never heard of before, and then immediately landing at first into Advent Healths cancer institutes capable hands. A great team but sobering as I had misunderstood what the doctor who had done the ultrasound endoscopy had said(lesson: be careful when taking notes upon awakening from anesthesia!) and suddenly was facing realities that I had only known about thru friends and loved ones-some in the midst of their own journeys right now. So it has been a wild ride and have shifted gears to a new cancer center and the prognosis is good and am just now beginning treatment.
I walked out this evening to grab our special giant tuberous begonias and put in back barn as we save the tubers form the 4th frost so far and they are so gorgeous and extravagant every year out back and in the mountain of colored leaves on the ground is a business card so I pick it up and Lo and behold, it is one of Marvelous Marvin’s originals when we moved here and it has a quote with name/contact info underneath that says:
The Winds of Grace Blow ALL the time, all we need do is Set our sails-Rumi
Underneath the Rumi quote(one of our favorite poets) Marvin wrote in “I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES”
That’s so Marvin and we are indeed soulmates and yes we know to some we might indeed be WooWoo but we are unapologetic as we both believe in miracles, angels, signs, totems and magic and I thought as I picked up that old business card, what a perfect message for me right now as this day has been a miracle all day…have been on the phone with so many doctors, nurses and administrator’s from 2 cancer Tx facilities and my head was spinning most the day but God’s grace and our marvelous wild and wooly universe were all in perfect alignment and everything has worked out beyond expectations.
I now have the most wonderful and highly qualified Oncologist whom I met with yesterday for a 2nd opinion, despite the reality of already being in treatment elsewhere; he had the 1st cancellation in a year and I realized with crystal clarity that I want to work with this man and his team and I want to be treated at Messina as it is the one for me and also importantly for Marvin too as they are a class act and truly care for partners as well as patients…So as of yesterday, have switched over all treatment to his wonderful care-wow-seemed like such a long shot as initially he said it would take two weeks to shift gears and transfer from Advent health to him, but he gave me SOOO much valuable information, knew all the players where I was about to begin chemo and radiation; Dr. Palmeri is one of the best for esophageal cancer TX and in 8 hrs. was able to switch everything over to their clinic which feels like a perfect match mostly for me but also for full support of Marvin. Its great as Dr.Palmeri knows the thoracic surgeon at Duke very well and says he as good as one can ask for anywhere I the world. By 530pm, the administrators were able to move mountains and reduce the shift/projected preapproval ocean of paperwork for a new clinic from 2 weeks to 4 days so green lights all the way. And my new oncologist is not only superbly qualified medically/clinically, he is blunt with heart and I like and want that, but he also has a marvelous bedside manner, great humor, kindness and is an Italian teddy bear of a man.How fortunate I am to have landed here!
So, here’s the schedule and I am relieved to have it mapped out.
Thursday October 28th
I began radiation today , 5 days a week for 5 weeks concurrent with weekly Chemotherapy at Messina's cancer institute, here in Asheville, this part ending around November 29th. The first day was a surprise as I guess naively, I thought would be just fine with no side effects…and in reality I am-fine but around noon crashed so deeply I slept for over 5 hrs. and couldn’t get up-still tired but mostly glad and relieved to have begun the process.
In addition to envisioning and feeling myself in Gods luminous loving hands during the short star wars procedure, I named the tumor “ChaCha" and during the illumination on the high-tech table, I thank it and announce that it’s time for the uninvited guest ChaCha to go back to the eithers and dissolve into the Sunlight of the Spirit as it’s no longer needed here on earth to wake me up. And I do feel awake-WIDE AWAKE in so many new ways and this I welcome. Tomorrow is round 2 at 7am…so glad to be living in this sanctuary of healing and beauty but it is the Love of friends that is opening my heart so very wide. Tears come easy these days-another gift as that hasn’t been the case for a lot of my life!
Then in December I will meet with the thoracic surgeon at Duke and in mid-January will go up there for an “ esophagectomy” where they will remove the lower esophagus and part of the stomach, reconnect everything…In my earlier email, I mistakenly thought I could avoid this surgery but it’s essential. I will be in the hospital for 14 days and was told "it will take one year to recover but I will recover and the prognosis is excellent." So that’s good news!
Apparently, I have “an aggressive form of cancer stage 2-relatively early for this kind but it requires immediate aggressive treatment and surgery and there is a higher risk Mutation present that complicates it all” but as he said yesterday, “rarely with this form of cancer do we get a head start but we have one and will run with it”-so YAY team!
I now know so much more, fully what is and what isn’t true and OMG-the last week has been a swirling whirlwind of information overload, mixed information, every day changes streaming in…no sooner do I and Marvin process and adapt to what is when new info/curveballs appear, changing the plan…A terrific nurse said it all succinctly yesterday-she told me: “as soon as you get on the cancer train, it’s a fast speed runaway train that blasts off and never seems to leave the station in your time and there are frequent stops and derailments but its reliable and good.
That’s Life in the 21st century these days for us all it seems! At times it is all so overwhelming and exhausting, information overload…and often feels like a wild rollercoaster but thank God for my faith, for ALL of you, as friendships are GOLD and I am grateful for patience, persistence and a willingness to reach out for help, say YES, and LISTEN to inner guidance and follow it despite what seemed like at times impossible possibilities, bad odds, fears anxieties... and EVERYTHING is working out for the very best.
So, I am faithful, hopeful, very grateful and ready! I could not be where I am without all your support, love and prayers. My faith is strong but it is so much deeper and wider as a result of all this and as many of you know, I had a profound visionary dream in 1984 in Palenque Mexico that changed the nature of my life as in that vision/dream, I fell off a 5 story pyramid, heading fast to what appeared to be imminent death only to have these 2 huge luminous Hands of God catch me immediately in midair and flood my body and whole being with the most profound healing light and warmth I had ever known and that vision has never left me and every day that’s been my prayer-surrender, to feel that Love, that warmth, that precious Gift and trust God’s hands and so it is!
Thank you ALL for your Light, your Warmth, your Kindness-for lifting me out and up when I felt at times afraid and overwhelmed, fearful and out of whack…and for all the genuine offers to help me and Marvin, to cook, give rides, do garden work…Your love and support, is humbling and so nurturing to me and Marvin.. I have had several great “cancer coaches/friends, my soul sisters and brothers available 24/7…-what a lucky man I am.
A dear friend urged me to set up and sign up for an organization called CARING BRIDGE. I was familiar with this from my use of it many years ago with 2 of my closest friends-it is nonprofit, like Hospice, they are dedicated to service, they do NOT solicit but provide a great easy to use platform online where friends can sign up for no charge, and all messages/info is centralized along with updates, messaging, calendars to assist Marvin and I with help for meals, rides…reducing pressure on us to respond, make calls re-tell stories/info…so can focus on healing and the solutions…so I will be sending the links out to you if that is of interest will need to create a password and register with Caring Bridge on their website. If not appealing that’s fine too-it was marvelous for me with my friends in the past and just made life easier and simpler for everyone… One of my dearest friends and soul sisters, Susan Hayden will be setting this site up for me and managing it.
My cell phone is 828-702-1797/landline=828-338-0292
Marvin’s is 828-476-0123(no texts for Marvin please he will be learning on his new phone soon but he does answer!)