Game Day

packingHey Team! So tomorrow is the big day – RPLND + orchiectomy and I’ve got all my stuff for a week in the joint laid out. We’ll arrive at the hospital at 5:45am, the slice and dice should begin around 8am and it should last ~5 hours. If you have a minute during that window sling some good vibes over to 68th and York.

I feel ready and calm. I have been meditating a lot this week, doing my yoga and getting some massage/Reiki/accupuncture with a focus on relaxing my abs and soothing my mind and fear. I feel trusting of the surgeon and his team and feel ready to practice helplessness.

There does remain a part of me, perhaps my animal body/self, that refuses to get on board. I can almost hear it yelling out “I don’t think so, homeboy. Nobody cuts us!! We don’t like to bleed.” I can do my best to sooth this part of me but it has been helpful to acknowledge, with my teacher Sat Hon’s help, that this wild animal cannot be tamed and it would be foolish to try. This fear, this energy, can be used, transmuted and channeled to awareness, to vigilance, to making sure I ask the right questions and follow the right procedures and into pure vitality itself. It is a part of ourselves that has kept us alive over eons – why not harness it.

A lot of the guided meditations I have been listening to for before and during surgery conjure the image of being surrounded by helpful beings of light. I am lucky enough that I don’t have to imagine this scene – I can feel it. All of the encouraging messages I have received today, the helpful conversations with my RPLND mentors Tom B and Kevin H, the team at Sloan and all of you. You help me feel supported and strong as tomorrow morning approaches and I am so very grateful.

I asked a few friends to record some audio for me to listen to as part of my surgery playlists (before, during, after). A lot of studies have shown that even when you are under a part of your mind is listening and that using this audio channel for relaxation and mind-body healing can be powerful. Anyway, I wanted to share this bit that really resonated with me from “The Egyptian Book of the Dead” that my friend James chose and recorded:

See you on the other side!

(If you are in NYC and want to come by and see me I should be OK for visitors starting Saturday or Sunday. Just email me and KR.)

Today’s poem:

1/23

I wonder what they will find

when they open me up.

the usual crowd:
intestines, kidneys, muscles,
liver, blood, bladder, et al.

cancer (dead)

a fragment of that amazing almond
croissant from last Sunday

the Firebird matchbox car
I could never find
replete with yellow flames
on the red hood

all of the good intentions
that i have forgotten

snapshots of bleary-eyed teenagers
watching an unexpected dawn

a fierce love so overwhelming
it is unspeakable

a McDonald’s cheeseburger

a half-written play concerning
tree planters in Florida

a dream of holding my child
on a sunny winter morning

one AAA battery

two fully arranged songs

three leather pouches filled with
gratitude, light, and grief

a memory of her

and a map

let us hope that when
the excavation is over,
the discerning surgeon
has left me what i need and
taken all the rest

Comments

  1. Our blessings to you, Jay

    We’ll be certain to send you our best thoughts

    – Cope

    >

  2. Emily Carville says:

    I am not far, down on 38th & 6th today on biz, and I have been thinking you, absolutely sending good and healing vibes and knowing you are in such a good place now. I have stolen your HCG, on a bright note, and I expect you will emerge in a few short hours on the other side of this step in the journey well, calm, and stronger than ever. You are always a brave soul, and KR and you will be on your way home soon now.

    All my love. Looking forward to seeing you and meeting KR upcoming some day on my next travels south, or yours north.

    xo

  3. Heather Stearns ( Kristin's friend) says:

    Thinking of you so much today and sending love.

  4. march61@gmail.com says:

    Thinking of you today and definitely standing near the window sending positive vibes. Xo Margaret, Kip, and Blythe

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  5. Theresa Ryan says:

    May all of the forces be with you. xot

  6. Xoxoxo to you and Katie Rose

  7. Fellow Warrior;
    It has been said that we are only judged as worthy as the skill of our opponent.
    You have slain one serious Goliath.
    I do not know you but I am a fellow patient at MSK. I have read your blog and I am amazed at your candor, humor and honesty.
    I only wished I had had the time and focus to write my blog but too late. I am two years out NED and here to tell you that you too will adapt and overcome. It’s what we do. We somehow’ with the help from our great team make margaritas out of the lemons and salt we were handed. Look how far you have come? You’ve got this!

    (Side note: Did your surgeon’s research assistant ask you if you would donate your part? Mine asked me after the fact and i just looked at her smiled and said “Absolutely! Clearly, i’m not using it any longer enjoy!)

    I’ll raise a glass for you tomorrow evening fellow warrior. .
    A few words from the front lines for tomorrow. It is 5:45 am and the place is abuzz. The prep is a bit overwhelming. Lots of paper and questions and your DOB 10X, you know the drill.
    When they come in to meet you before surgery make tight friends with the anesthesiologists by name. THEY are magical. 2x I had Vittoria & she is beautiful.
    Your surgeons Fellow will come in to chat. I drew on my belly and wrote a request for a tummy tuck and new boobs ( I had a super low LAR and temp Ileostomy)
    If the little lady who kinda looks like Don Knotts offers to pray with you regardless of your beliefs, do it. Even if for a few minutes. Even if you feel silly because you are thinking Don Knotts was sent to pray with me? Don Knotts is here from heaven? Really God, you sent me Don Knotts? Obviously you are telling me LOUD AND CLEAR you are not ready for me because I was expecting, Oscar Wilde, Cool Hand Luke and Stevie Ray Vaughn (fill in yours here). That little lady is cool.
    Hug and kiss your people, hold hands and tell bad jokes. When they come in for you and they offer it, opt to walk into your surgery, it is empowering. I was singing Florence + the machine songs. You see all the people you just met, get on the skinny table and they give you warm blankets. Nighty night.
    After:
    Wake up when they talk to you and remove the vent. Say your name, breathe but go back to SLEEP! Get the anti nausea meds as soon as possible.
    Don’t be a hero – use the pain pump, do your breathing exercises and for Gods sake try not to sneeze for a few days.
    If the music therapist lady comes in, enjoy her and sing along to
    “I Can See Clearly Now”. Ask as you will she does not know Smells Like A Teen Spirit or I’m Bringing Sexy Back… Did I say use the pain pump?
    Walk when they tell you to. Listen to the therapists. It is worth it and will get you home faster. BTW: 14 and 1/2 times around “the loop” is a mile.
    Go to the 15th fl and do some silly art in the rec room.
    Marino ices are like manna from heaven.
    Try the Yukon Gold soup.
    The spacey music and changing season relaxation channel is enhanced by …. you guessed it … The pain pump!
    Remember everyone is there for you. Even people you don’t know.
    Keep your eye on the prize. Its going to suck for a while but look past it to the prize.

    To steal a quote from Hedwig and the Angry Inch may seem an odd choice at this time but I find it fitting… “To be truly free, one must give up a part of oneself”. Again… YOU GOT THIS .
    Godspeed, my prayers to you and your boys. :)
    Much peace,
    Shez.

  8. Larry Hayes says:

    Godspeed my man! You’re gonna be fine-Leonard said so:

  9. Thinking of you, sending good vibes and frelks your way!

    Evan

  10. Jay, you said it all. I will be thinking of you tomorrow. (Truth be told, I’ve been thinking of you all week.) Good luck, my friend.

  11. Sending tons of white light and love!!! I will be carrying more “buckets” than you can imagine tomorrow :) haha ..and with each one I will think of you. Talk to you soon :) xoxoxoxo Sarah

  12. Sebastian says:

    Good luck buddy! I will be sending you all sorts of good vibes from Doha! Love, Sebastian

  13. Free fall Jay, open your heart as they open your self.
    —————————-
    * “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

    * “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”

    * “There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

    There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
    they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

    There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
    them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”
    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    My daughter, Ainsley and I prayed tonight for you and will be sending “energy vibes(1)” through to you bright and early…..

    (1)This transformation arises from a Hamiltonian quadratic in photon annihilation and creation operators (photons removed and inserted in pairs in the subharmonic mode) and is equivalent to a description in terms of canonically conjugate quadrature-phase operators for which the phase space is stretched along one dimension and contracted along an orthogonal dimension.

  14. Randy Fairbanks says:

    Jay, we’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. Sending lots of love and good vibes to you and KR,

  15. Jay – I will be thinking of you tomorrow, sending tons of positive energy your way. It has been a pleasure getting to know you again through this blog. What a wonderful human being you are. I love that you have been visualizing positive beings around you. From what I can see from the comments on your blog, you are truly surrounded by light and love.

  16. The Ringer Gang will be with you and KR tomorrow as we have these past months. Sending Love!!!!

  17. this post, above all, has touched me most. we are all with you tomorrow. float on our sea of wishes and love, into the healing center, and out the other side, where we’ll be waiting.

  18. Charlotte Kendrick says:

    Good luck Jay! You are going to do great and we are sending you lots of love and vibes of good health and quick recovery. Thank you for your blog and for letti g all your friends witness your journey. We are so lucky to know and love you.

    Xoxox char

    Sent from my iPhone

  19. alan st. vincent says:

    My wonderful, creative nephew, good luck, we are are praying for you in the St.Vincent camp
    Your Uncle Al

  20. bart louwagie says:

    can’t find words

    of thanks
    well wishes
    beauty

  21. We feel you, and as you and KR have carried us all, so we will carry you tomorrow.

  22. Go get ’em Jay! Sending you love, and looking forward to the return of the animal on the other side.

  23. rock that casbah

  24. Tisha Howe says:

    Jay, we love you. We’ll be with you in our hearts tomorrow.

  25. Jay, my heart with your heart. I’m with you all the way. Love Nadiya~

  26. Hey Jay, I know I haven’t seen or spoken to you in just about 13 years but I have been following your journey through your blog. I have been and will definitely continue sending white light and sending positive vibes all the way from Los Angeles. Lots of love to you, KR and your family. xxxo

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