Sunday, August 5, 2012

Second Time Through

So it's been almost six weeks since I completed my chemotherapy treatment and was told the cancer is gone. It was June 25th that I was given this great news and on that day I was incredibly happy. But then the days that followed were very different. I found myself feeling down & depressed.

Lately, when people stop me and ask how I'm doing, and I say "I'm ok," some folks are surprised, which is certainly understandable. The most accurate way I've found to describe how is feel is to imagine what it might have been like to have been rescued from the Titanic as it was sinking, delivered safely to shore and told to "Take care" & "Good luck." "Now it's back to business." So I stare at the people in the world as they go through their daily routines, wondering where I begin. Like if someone you love has passed away and you watch people who casually stroll down the street and enjoy their day, and you wonder, "How can they be so happy when I'm in so much pain?" It's not logical, but it's not uncommon either.

So, this second time through I'm not so quick to jump for joy. And in the moments I do feel somewhat confident about my health, I look at what's happened in my life in the last couple of years and I hear, "We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming." That program being the other pains in my life which I couldn't give a whole lot of attention to, because I was too busy trying to escape death for a second time.

It's not like other people don't have it worse than me. There's always someone who has it worse. I see people now and again and think to myself, I'll take what I've got because I sure as hell don't want what they've got. And yet, each person's hardest thing, is our hardest thing.

Music was one of the key pieces that lifted my spirits throughout my treatment and before that, it lifted me through the pain of my wife's sudden departure. But lately, I feel like I'm on a short hiatus from the performance part of music. I think we'll do a show in September up in the Prison City. Perhaps by then I'll feel somewhat myself. And in the mean time I still write what ever songs show up for me. Not exactly the happiest songs in the world. But I did recently write an upbeat song. And it's just about done. It just happens to be a sad upbeat song. Ha-ha! One step at a time I guess. And in the interim, I'm going to wander aimlessly for a while. Everything still seems a bit strange to me.


  1. I know you know your feelings are normal and okay and understandable. So you probably don't need me, a somewhat random person in your life to reassure you of all that. I will just thank you for sharing this with us/me. I will also tell you that you are in my thoughts and heart, probably more often than you realize.

    1. Thanks Dania. You never seemed random. When I met you, you immediately felt like a friend. I genuinely appreciate you speaking your mind. thank you

  2. Thanks for writing this. I get it. Summer night walks are not cures, but strolling quietly with a friend who cares can make things easier.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Bert. I get it. Have a summer night walk with me now and then and I promise the conversation and quiet will make things a little easier.

  4. One foot in front of the other, step by step and always moving forward...moving forward. There is nothing more to say but you must move on as best you can.

  5. Hi Bert - this survival thing is definitely a one day at a time journey, and being declared cancer free is just the beginning of it. Plus, I don't discount the long-term process of ridding our bodies of all of those chemicals. I think that takes a lot of physical and psychic energy, maybe as much as the emotional hangover of going through treatment. That's what it felt like to me, an emotional hangover. All of these things take time.

    I'm glad to hear you are writing songs; that will probably help. And I know you will come back to performing music again when you are ready. For now, I think it's enough that you take the time to honor your process and your feelings, and to love your son and family. Those are really the gifts that treatment gives us, more time with the people we love and who love us.

    Much love,

  6. Ahhh. You looked a little down the last few times I've seen you --- Grassroots and Sunday. I guess it's like a soldier that comes home from war -- a survivor who has been through hell -- and now, somehow, has to make peace with it and live on -- all while surrounded by people that haven't seen the war, and can only imagine it. You've been to hell and back twice. Take all the time you need. We're just happy you're here with us.

  7. Hey now friend, get out there and write the next verse. Thinking of you often......come down for a vacation when you can.