Friday, July 4, 2008

Tongue Cancer Operation

Thursday, July 3rd was my hemiglossectomy (excision of part of the tongue). The operation went very well under the skilled hands of the Surgeon, Dr. Jackson and his team at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA. The procedure went so well in fact, I was back home resting on the 4th by 5pm. Nothing like being home to recover from surgery in your own environment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the cancer on my tongue was very aggressive and sneaked past the chemotherapy and radiation therapy to surface again just one month past those treatments. Like in December, 2007, the symptom was a really painful, caused side effects and appeared as an alien-looking white ulcer on my tongue. See more about oral cancer.

Initially, after 3 weeks post radiation, I was genuinely feeling strong, putting on weight, going out out to a local coffee shop with my mates and eating eggs and drinking a wee bit of coffee. All felt well and I was really in recovery mode. Then by the 4th week post radiation therapy, I was starting to get fatigued again, my lymph nodes were swollen, my tongue was swollen and the alien invader on my tongue showed up. It was really, really large (at least to me) and stopped me from eating immediately. Had the nerve to be all white and shiny. Big honkin' white Frankenulcer that peered back at me in the mirror and freakin' hurt like hell. Fortunately, my PEG tube was still in place and I was able to get nutrition through nightly tube feedings that kept my strength up and weight from plummeting.

With that, the symptoms were causing me so much distress, I immediately made an appointment to see the Radiology Oncologist, the Chemotherapy oncologist and the ENT Surgeon. The biopsy taken on Tuesday, July 1st was sent to the med labs and on Wednesday, July 2nd, I was doing all the intake for the surgery for Thursday the 3rd. It was all so fast, but with cancer, you have to move fast. I would be happy to answer any questions about the procedure for anyone who needs the info. You can e-mail me direct at and I will get back with you ASAP.

Wanted to pass along the spiritual, physical and mental preparation I experienced so this may be of use to anyone going through complexity like this. I want to give you a no b.s. response. Life is too short and too precious to b.s. people or oneself. We as a people are all really wanting to be told the truth and be fed with the truth. Anything else is a cruel diversion. Although I promise not to belabor you good people with any religious schlock, I will pass along what works for me. I just do not believe in prescribing to a 'religion' as a practice for the life or death matters that we face. Alright, here is what I connected with since going into the doctors for my cancer on July 2nd. You don't have to do as I do, but at least you can peer into the process and clock it.

Core belief for me is that yes, Virginia we do have a spirit which I call my consciousness. This consciousness, for me, is the real “i”, some call it our soul. Cool. In other words, I do not sincerely believe I am my birth certificate, my name, my title , my cancer or the roles I play as a graphic designer and electronic musician. They are an external identification. The “i” that is my consciousness is connected to life everlasting and cannot not be so. It is the eternal being part of my human + being. My human part is a mechanical function which eats, farts and has an automatic system for digesting food and circulating my blood. I didn't have a whole lot to do with the spirit getting here, and thus I believe that since I am here in this container I have a purpose. This purpose is tied to the rest of the energy here in the form of other human beings and all the wonderfulness and shittiness that is on this planet. I have no particular powers, nor do I totally know some of even the smallest of reasons why this is so. It is just my human experience. I do respect all beliefs and wisdom. I am open to all wisdom and truth that lay on my “i” consciousness without wrinkling or staining it.

That said, I prepared for the cancer operation knowing that my human body will follow the destiny of all living things and will perish at some point. Not a whole lot of cause for concern as that is what happens to life forms on the planet. I also was extremely comforted by the fact that my energy would return to where it came and I do not have to worry about that in the least. Next, I made sure that I was not angry, vengeful or had any hate left in me for anyone, anything or any purpose. Those things rely on mental images and a movie playing to show your thought process you were wronged. The past, if doesn't contain love or a purpose for now is not useful, so I got clear on that. Next, I made sure that I had no resistance to the now, the present moment I operate in and the operations affects on my family, loved ones and “i”. Got clear on that. Next, I realized that what will be got to be. To me, only learning to give love and receive love presents the lessons needed to live. All the good stuff in life begins with love and continues with love. The more giving and the less getting, the more chance to find true purpose. If my purpose here is needed, here I am, if not, my energy returns to the main energy source. I placed my trust in my connectedness to the greater almighty and let it ride.

I tried to be like water, non-resistant and flow around things I didn't understand or maybe would have a hard time controlling. I let go a lot of emotional baggage and became locked in the present moment to observe my thoughts and emotions about the cancer operation that removed part of my tongue. What gave me peace is that through suffering, we often come upon our true life purpose. If I approach that with love and consciousness, I can be of some use to others, If I choose to be a victim, become pitiful and petty or even a 'cancer patient', I cannot serve my purpose. Again, just me talking, you gotta figure this out sooner or later in your situation. All I know is that the more negative crap we attach to our external human, the title, the roles, the ego who has a name on a birth certificate or drivers license, the more life just plain hurts. Through this series of events, I have come to accept that the only time we have is now, the present. The past s gone and the future is going to be a present moment. I can serve by being aligned with my present moment, the purpose and the service I can freely give to others. In this, I have great joy and great peace. I hope to provide love to folks on their way to and coming back from their own pilgrimage. I also hope to learn from their experiences and wisdom.

Of course there will be rough days ahead, of course there will be measures of disappointment and all the other things that befall us here on planet earth. I will continue to be a student and learn, pass on what I find and love as much as I can.
You are welcome to comment- everything accepted and acknowledged!


  1. As an atheist, I am also non-spiritualist, but a lot of my thought about the greater scope of our lives has been shaped by the realism of Zen Buddhism. What you describe is almost word for word what Buddhists call the Four Noble Truths (as I'm sure you know). Even I find a great deal of wisdom and comfort in these basic principles.

    Continue being connected with the present, and the suffering will become just another attachment to leave behind.

  2. I really appreciate you briank. You always have such a clear and beautiful insight. i am grateful for your support and comments. You rock!



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