You Can Call Me NED

One year ago today at around 6pm I was in the orchard staking a young tree in an attempt to get it to grow straight when the phone rang. I let it go to voicemail deeming my arboreal correction of greater importance. The phone rang again.  This time I went inside and looked at the caller ID which indicated New Milford Hospital. Given that it was after hours and they were calling twice and that I had had a CT scan on Friday I thought I had better answer it.

The doctor, my primary care physician, said that the scan results were in and he would like to see me first thing in the morning. I asked if he could give me a rough idea of what they had seen and he said it was better discussed in person. “Can’t you just give me the top line report?” I asked. The next sentence I heard seemed to only contain the words “large abdominal mass,” “cancer,” “metastasized,” and “lungs.”

I sat down on a bench while the world literally seemed to stop moving and then spin and pulse at the same time. I don’t remember ending the conversation with the doc but I recall putting the phone down, getting up in a state of shock, finishing staking the tree, putting my tools away and then sitting down slowly on the couch to weep in abject fear until KR came home.

About an hour ago I got a call from my lung surgeon, Dr. Bains. He asked how I felt and I said, “Some pain but pretty good.”

“Well, you are about to feel better,” he said.

“The pathology is all negative?!” I blurted.

“Yes!” he confirmed, bringing me to my current status of NED (No Evidence of Disease) which is as close as an oncologist will get to declaring victory.  I will have blood tests every month and CT scans every three months for now but treatment is over and I am in “surveillance.”

One year to the day. A year so filled with uncertainty, sleepless nights, tears, soul-sucking chemo, searing physical pain, blood, scars, complications, bowel disobedience, tests, scans, darkness, yoga, reiki, qi gong, acupuncture, kale, massage, meditation, patience, smiles, hand-holding, grace, ginger hugging, hearty hugging, poetry, inspiration, light, joy and healing.

I feel strong and so much better than after the last lung surgery. I am not splitting wood just yet but walking a lot, doing dishes and I went to a (yin) yoga class this morning. I know I still have a lot of healing left to do from all of my treatment but I am filled with joy, optimism and gratitude.

I am sitting now on that same couch where KR and I held each other after she came home that day and we both wept and trembled. We held each other then, we held each other this past year and were held by you all and we hold each other now. Thirteen thank yous.



you were there when I lay
in the cool summer grass

my eyes were closed

I lay in my stillness and
felt an ant traverse my wrist

I heard a crow call
and move across the sky

this before they
opened me again

this before they took
my breath


only to give it back

I thought perhaps if
I never moved and
autumn never came
we would be safe

we could lie in the cool grass and
the crows would pass us by


  1. Dave & Sue Gould says:

    Wow – such amazing, wonderful news. We couldn’t be happier for you! Sending all our love!

  2. Darby Ringer says:

    I am so happy for you, Jay. Sending my love to you and Katie Rose.

  3. Yeahhhhh!!!

  4. melodee Monicken says:

    You’ve been on my mind/in my heart since KR sent notice of your wedding. I am so happy for both of you, Jay and Katie Rose.

  5. Sara & Nat says:

    You have no idea what joy this gives us. We love you.

  6. Kirstie Benedict says:

    HeY NED! So i just texted mom in excitement asking her if she had read your blog yet. She replied yes! Then i asked her or told her i never know what to say or how to comment because i want it to be unique and meaningful. And i told her i will just comment on how i was concerned about what to comment on. Get it? This is not about ME honey this is about YOU NED and your victory! Holy crap. Going to forward this to my best friend. She had a less serious thyroid cancer but nevertheless still cancer.

  7. Emily Carville says:

    It was also a year of MAKING BABIES and MEMORIALIZING YOUR PARTNERSHIP with KR. You are a blessed man and a wonderful one at that. We all love you very much. I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait to meet KR some day, and your babe! xoxo

  8. Woohooo!

  9. Gabrielle says:


  10. Joe Ringer says:

    Great news, Jay. All our best to you and KR!

  11. Kim Knutson says:

    Hoorah! Tears of joy, relief and great anticipation for all the good things that lay ahead of you too.
    Sending heaps of love and warm wishes. Come visit soon. xoxo

  12. Esther forrest says:

    Time is on your side. As your body heals and the scars fade so will the scary feelings. You will be able to put all this behind you and live a new and wonderful life with your family. I wish you all the best.

  13. Dancing with NED! Jay, I’m balling like a baby. Happiest tears ever.

  14. Amie and Bob says:

    NED… What FANTASTIC NEWS!!!!!! We are so grateful and happy for you and Katie Rose!!!

  15. So happy to read this wonderful news!!!!! Love wins. :)

  16. charlotte says:

    Wow!!! Congratulations to you and KR. That is the best news ever!! xoxoxo

  17. amazing amazing love, support, strength. Incredible, so happy beyond words. Love you both

  18. john mccarthy says:

    Beautiful message! Our best wishes to you both. John & Marija

  19. Nick Kearns says:

    Great news!

  20. Jay,

    We’d be honored to walk with you over the next weeks, as you prefer.


    Robin & Helen

  21. Tremendous news! YIPPPPEEEEEE!!!!!!
    Kathy and Al xoxo!

  22. That’s just wonderful news, Jay & Katie Rose. Just wonderful!

  23. Tisha Howe says:

    So many joyous tears for you and Katie Rose. Much love, Nat and Tisha

  24. There is no better post than this.
    Amazing news!

  25. Tears of joy. Love y’all. decades of love, land and live! Aho!!!

  26. NED! Such incredibly awesome news….you rock Jay.

  27. Theresa Ryan says:

    You continue to amaze me. Thank you for sharing every moment. xot

  28. I LOVE YOU!

  29. :’) so happy to hear.

  30. That is wonderful news!

    Warmest congratulations from us all.

    – Cope

    Sent from my iPad


  31. Keith Porteous says:

    So happy! Thank you for sharing this triumphant, inspiring chronicle with us all. Wow. All the best to you and Katie Rose. Congratulations!

  32. Jane Ringer says:

    NED—-best news and know that we will all be celebrating back here in MN!!!!! So happy for all of you and now both of you rest up for your next chapter in November. :) xoxoxox

  33. Carolyn Handler says:

    Profound relief and gratitude! Thank you for sharing this news with such grace and eloquence. xoCarolyn

  34. What a triumph, Jay. I knew you and Katie Rose could do it.

  35. I am filled with joy for you and Katie Rose.

  36. Sebastian says:

    The best news ever!!! I’m so happy to hear this and can’t wait to see you both soon!! Love, Sebastian

  37. Tears of joy for you and KR! So happy for you. XOXO

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