“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”― Kahlil Gibran

Thank you Sam, Bela, Jerry, et al for lifting my spirits whenever I hear this song…it’s 12 minutes of bliss.

The journey continues. Perhaps Michael Corleone said it best:

What sobriquet shall I find to assign to the latest evolution of that which grows within? Only ones with nasty epithets come to mind. That which shall not be named. Acronyms work well. SFC. Stupid f*%#ing cancer. I must amuse myself with what one fellow cancer comrade refers to as his “personal hyperplasia.” Alas Cancer is indeed us. Isn’t battling cancer really a twisted war against one’s self?

Those “bad” cells, haven’t they been there all along like some deep-sea luminescent angler fish floating in disguise beneath coral waiting to spring out and swallow victims whole? My cancer, as far as we can discern, like most cancers, did not come from “the outside.” A genetic mutation either inherited, or created at the very beginning of my cellular formation.

I do know that these mutants lack the normal mechanism, or “switch” which triggers apoptosis, natural cell death and that angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, can create a problem if there is too much of it, as cancer cells crave new blood sources to grow as much as they crave sugar. What is in my databank arsenal? Bad: stress, fatigue, sugar, processed foods including meats, simple carbs. Good: curcemin, broccoli, green tea, leafy greens, exercise, the usual course of action for healthy living multiplied.

So the good doctors now believe, given the latest MRI’s, that the tumor has returned. It is possible that what is appearing is necrosis of cell tissue from radiation but things are looking like tumor. They are also of the belief that I may very well have what is known as a grade III mixed glioma, a diabolical blend of two types of rare brain cancers: ependymoma as originally believed, and astrocytoma. This makes things a bit more…complicated and depending upon the outcome of my next surgery, intended to be a biopsy on March 15th, will determine the next course of action. I have already received the maximum radiation treatment possible. Chemotherapeutics might include Avastin or Temodar.

My experience at Dartmouth was exceptional, what with two successful surgeries, fine patient care, a supportive community and one of the most sensitive, caring physicians I have ever known, Dr. Camilo Fadul. Once again I hope to ride this summer in The Prouty for the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

But as my condition becomes more complex and given my new understanding and ties to the brain cancer universe thanks to my work with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, I am now under the care of some of the most experienced physicians in their field at Massachusetts General Hospital.

So like a boxer in the ring, I may have been knocked down again, but rise again I must and rise again I have. After a week of skiing, ice climbing and horseback riding in Colorado with my younger daughter Libby, and another weekend skiing coming up with the entire family, I am renewed and ready for the next chapter. I feel strong and empowered.

It’s perplexing to my therapist who has asked me on several occasions why I don’t talk about my cancer very often. I tell him “what is there to discuss? I have brain cancer.” If it was only so simple.

I am in therapy, more so I believe, to dig deeper into some of the mysteries about my life lived thus far and how I can improve myself with whatever time I have left. It is a good time to get my house in order for Barb, my family and friends and work to right the wrongs I have done to those closest to me and heal.

And when I am most down, when I crumble, is when I think of the love and support of Barb, my family and friends which at the same time lifts me up.

It is within the space of the quiet times where I experience the most grief and fear intertwined with a rising sense of hope and love. Listening to music or skiing the quiet untracked hidden trails of northern New England help cleanse and renew. And spring is en route.

“Before you love, Learn to run through the snow, Leaving no footprint. “-Turkish Proverb

John Hartford: one of my faves

The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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8 Responses to “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”― Kahlil Gibran

  1. Mark Drexelius says:

    Mark – my thoughts are with you today and everyday. Looking forward to reading more of your posts – Drex

  2. humanekt says:

    Mark, you DO have an army of friends surrounding you with love and light. I’m definitely one of them. xoxo KT

  3. Stacey Lindell says:

    Mark, you have been present in our thoughts. We will keep you close in the coming days. Hoping in your typically wonderful, lucky as hell spirit, you tumble through this next round of medical trials with your humor and beautiful smile intact. Lots of Love, Stacey et al

  4. Phoebe says:

    Mark, you are in our thoughts and we wish you all the best. Take care, we love you.
    –Phoebe, Melissa, and Jamie

  5. Alli Lubin says:

    Music is such amazing medicine. My thoughts and prayers are with you always Mark.

  6. Daria says:

    Whatever we can do for you, Barb, the family, including the dogs, while you are fighting this next battle, we are here for all of you. As always sending good and hopeful thoughts your way.

  7. Robby says:

    Mark….we are all here with you!!!! You have an army of friends cheering for you and your family. I hope we can ski together soon and enjoy all that our beautiful Vermont offers to us….Robby

  8. Ellen says:

    While I don’t want to get ahead of things, I am sorry to hear that your doctors believe that the tumor may have returned… and potentially morphed. I know that’s not the news that you, Barb, your girls, or the rest of your family want to hear.

    Here’s hoping that the doctors are wrong and jumping to conclusions… or if not, that you weather the next course of treatment smoothly. Cherish those nearest and dearest to your heart and know that you are in the hearts and thoughts of those friends further away.

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