i’m fixing a hole…

“I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong”

– Lennon and McCartney


Mark's moon...8.1.11


2.28.12...the space within


Yesterday was a landmark occasion. MRI, blood tests and a visit with the remarkable Dr. Fadul. The MRI came out looking good in that no visible tumor growth was noted. The Dr. was very pleased.

Amazingly the hole in my brain will remain, which is the cause of some physical imbalance, left-side deficit… but no big deal. This, along with two “full-thickness tears” of my rotator cuffs is of no consequence at this point as long as I can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. The whiteness around the margins of hole, now filled with CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) where the tumor was removed, is leftover irritation from surgery and radiation. While the diagnosis of “incurable and recurrent” remains, that the radiation itself sometimes results in other harmful effects including radiation-induced cancer not showing up until 5-10+ years later, and the Dr. confirming once again that this was a rare cancer especially for an adult (explaining my childlike tendencies) … at least now I can breathe a little more deeply. Relax a little more. Let the anxiety and fear melt away as best I can. My next MRI will occur in May. I have a “headache clinic” coming up to deal with that element.

Libby, Hannah and Barb were with me all along yesterday, as they have been from the start, with the anxiety accumulating like so much snow…the moment of truth was upon us and one of the more moving moments, in addition to hearing the scan results, was the time in between the MRI and the visit with Dr. Fadul. We wandered to the hospital chapel, a small, quiet non-denominational space with a beautiful twenty-foot stained glass window of a New England night-time sky designed by beloved Vermont artist Sabra Field intended to symbolize faith and hope.

We sat there in silence, the gray-blue light of the winter sky pushing through the glass, holding hands, each of us with tears welling in our eyes. What news would this bring? What did the immediate future hold in store for us and how would we manage?

I realized then and there how rare it was for us to simply sit together, silently, with the ones you love. Words needed not be spoken to understand what we were all feeling: love, fear, sadness. But most of all, we had faith and hope. The Milky Way led us there…the Milky Way led us there…

Milky Way by Sabra Field


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11 Responses to i’m fixing a hole…

  1. Bill Carr says:

    Mark Richard- My oh, my but this is bittersweet news for me. Since we are only in touch on occasion, I just read this post and simultaneously learned the bad news (the fact that you had a brain tumor in the first place) and the good news all at once. Glad you are in good spirits and that the disease hasn’t taken any of you away from the world– Identifying those words and that skull as yours was easy. Take Care, Wilbur D Carr

  2. carolyn sirkin says:

    Oh Mark, your good news and beautiful way of expressing yourself moved me to tears. I am so happy for you!

  3. Jenny says:

    Phew….once again, thank you for sharing this news with your extended community Mark. We have been walking beside you from far and wide and our love extends, like the Milky Way. Congratulations….may the healing continue!

  4. Ken says:

    Good news indeed. Your grace, wisdom, humor and spirit are an inspiration to all of us who have holes to fix — and who doesn’t? Cheers.

  5. Rachel Damon says:

    Wonderful Mark and Wonderful Mark! I am thrilled for you, Barb and daughters. Sending love and best wishes for all continued great things to come your way!!! Rachel

  6. Mike says:

    This is excellent news Mark – what a sigh of relief for your girls and Barbara and you. I’m glad you’re going to be sticking around for another 40 years or so.

  7. Steve Fortier says:

    Thanks for sharing the good news, Mark, in such a beautiful way. Rock on!

  8. robby says:

    I am so happy for you!! Looking forward to many more years of skiing with you….maybe we should go on another trip out West……take care Robby

  9. Phoebe says:

    Congratulations, Mark! Thinking of you and wishing you the best. Your writing is beautiful! love, phoebe

  10. Faith Schuster says:

    Well, at least some of our prayers are being answered! Take deep breaths and enjoy a little relief of anxiety and, as we’ve said before, NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!

  11. Dani says:

    Oh Mark!!! Congratulations! I can exactly imagine Barb and your girls’ relief – as we experienced the exact same thing on our MRI in January. Our next one is in April. I’m so happy for you. Hang in there, buddy. One of the rare gifts of a brain tumor is the ability to see life in a completely new context. Enjoy that, for it is a gift. I know that we are enjoying “time” so much differently than we ever did before. And that’s a gift that I get to enjoy along with Ken.
    Hey, I’ll add some more good news. The “Elmo cures cancer” article that I wrote, just won first place in the humorous column for class 2 weekly newspapers at the Colorado Press Association. You jotted a comment on it and so I thought you’d enjoy hearing how it did.
    Hang in there,

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