Friday, May 23, 2014

Sarcoma Recovery Addendum – The Hawks!

So lets talk about the seen and unseen reality for just a moment.  We know that our visual eyes take in a very narrow spectrum of light and we know this Earth and planet got here somehow not of our own doing so obviously there are unseen forces at work in this world.  And I’m here to testify that with a little intuition and a mind open to such possibilities the magic will be recognized by ourselves as the observers with the magic manifesting into the seen world with greater and greater frequency until its a daily occurrence and your consciousness is raised and your journey through life that much more fulfilling.  In other words there is no such thing as a coincidence.  In light of that unseen world manifesting itself into the seen reality the infinite and finite commingle on this plane we call Earth.  How could it not be the Earth is here and so are we and we are not responsible consciously for either event.

Oddly enough in keeping with these manifestations I was escorted through my entire stay in the hospital by these magnificent creatures and symbols of Native American spirituality.  The attached photos are of the actual hawks that perched outside my window for my entire stay.  The photos don’t do them justice they were within six feet of our window perched atop a huge pine tree. Two at a time in some instance it was like being in an aviary.  Their flights and landings were frequent swoops by my window at first amazing and then common place.  They sometimes sat two on that branch and bobbed up and down in the wind and under their own weight.  I told my wife I was being watched like a hawk.  One nurse said she had been working at Duke twelve years and never saw anything like it and another said he had never seen wildlife like that at all.  Others shrieked as they would swoop into the window talons first only to thud loudly and fly off.  Each morning they arrived and circled, stayed for a very long time and moved off briefly and then returning again flying off and then returning in the afternoon for more flight and curiosity.  My wife sat in a recliner in front of the window reading her magazine keeping me the patient company and a hawk would be perched over head as if sitting on top of her.  And then on discharge day they were gone.

No matter what you are going through have faith there is more to life than meets the eye but then again if you are open to it – it is all right there to see – rejoice!

When we went back several weeks later to have the stitches removed there was a hawk (one of these guys) sitting right outside our hotel window……flapped its wings over my wife’s head to get her attention as she stood right underneath its tree.  Phenomenal!



Friday, April 18, 2014

Sarcoma Help – A Primer for Patients, Friends and Family

Chances are if you are here you have received the news that you have Sarcoma.  Right off the bat you need to know what it is and below are several links that are very informative.  I’m posting them right up front because most people here looking at this post are scared to death and need the info right away.  After you have checked out the links come back because what follows is an open, honest journey of one mans experience with liposarcoma.

Cancer is a scary word but it is just a word.  There are over fifty varieties of sarcoma some are down right nasty others like liposarcoma have a low rate of recurrence if properly removed by a sarcoma specialist.  Your local general surgeon does not have the experience in treating the disease.  Getting to a sarcoma center is imperative in lowering your risk for recurrence.

You should know Sarcoma doesn’t act like a typical carcinoma and if you are looking for a little good news chemotherapy is useless in treating Sarcoma.  Sarcoma is treated with surgery to cut the bad cells out.  Cancer/Sarcoma are just cells that have been infected by viruses or chemical exposure to the point where their basic normal function is damaged and they do not know how to shut themselves off.  We have millions of cells dying off and recreating in our body every day from hair growth to bone regeneration our cells are constantly dying off and regenerating.  When they can’t go through their normal life-cycle and die off its up to modern medicine to intervene and surgically remove them and or kill them off with radiation or dose them with chemotherapy.  These are all harsh treatments but undying cells creating massive tumors interfering with your bodies normal functioning organs by their invasion or malignancy is worse.

That’s is all a tumor is that’s why if you catch the disease early enough you can scoop the offending cells out before they spread and do serious damage to your lungs, liver, pancreas, kidney or brain.

Here are the links – get up to speed – if you want to fell better read them – they’ll answer a lot of questions for you – knowledge is power.  And then come back and read my daily journal it will help in knowing what you or a loved one is about to confront.  The journal will be posted sequentially on the front page and under the heading Sarcoma.  Good luck!  With the proper care cancer is not what it used to be ( a death sentence) most cancers these days are highly curative.  There are a lot of people doing a lot of good work in this field.  There is even a dye in clinical trials that will illuminate the cancerous cells for the doctors to see.  Its only in phase one of it’s clinical trials but it would be a game changer if proven affective.


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry One

Before we get to the journals a little background.  I noticed something in my scrotum last year around this time and went to a urologist.  He determined I had a hernia.  However the urologist did not perform an ultrasound or MRI and sent me on my way to a hernia specialist.  Do not make the same mistake.  Get the MRI and Ultrasound if you notice lumps no matter what they tell you.  Insist on it you have to be your own patient advocate.  And get ready for paper work from the insurance companies and healthcare providers.  Get your bills all on a low monthly payment plan so your household and regular life aren’t up-heaved by $60,000 dollar radiation bills.  If you have good insurance you’ll have a cap on what you pay a year so do not get blown away by the hospital bills.  You are responsible only for your yearly cap in some cases as little as three grand.  And if you don’t have insurance get some today!

The first order of business was to get my imediate family educated I went to Florida to get a no mesh hernia repair.  The doctor down there during the procedure discovered a nasty tumor and excised it out of my scrotum and sent all the tissue off to Miami to a specialist who determined I had a well differentiated lipo sarcoma with DE-differnetiated satellites in the hernia sac.  Scary stuff, scary words until you consult Dr. Google and find out well differentiated is a low grade tumor almost benign and that the DE-differentiated is the maturation into a higher grade tumor.  Its important to know what you are up against.

Here’s  my first email missive off to my immediate family:

Brothers and Sister,
There’s a link below with a lot of background information. Keep in mind the tumor is out I just need to get imaged, and clean out any residual disease the hernia specialist may have left behind. I’m confident I’m pretty clean because Dr. Tomas (the hernia surgeon) also works with lumpectomies and other cancer related diseases. So it’s not like he had an untrained eye on me.

I’ve also attached my pathology report if you want to look up terms. Please keep that private and confidential in the vault that’s not for anybody else’s eyes but you three. I’m taking a huge leap of faith here in sending it to you three so please don’t share that path report with any other doctors, friends or god forbid facebook. I’m just trying to get the big three (that’s you guys) up to date. And I don’t think it would be wise to share it with Mimi or Poppie either. All those unfamiliar terms are shocking and grim. For instance the stage number refers to size not the malignancy potential as in other cancers so being unfamiliar with the terms can lead to jumps of conclusions.

Essentially the area of concern is from just below my “deep” ring in the inguinal canal and my right scrotum (link below). It was a low grade tumor not attached to anything but it spun off some nastier nodules in the hernia sac three to be exact but they are out as well. No hemorrhage and necrosis is a good thing if you read the report.

The Mayo clinic link below is also a quick concise primer that you should read (ten minutes). I’m trying to keep mom and dad updated daily, and remember the best way you can help is to just listen. If you want a daily update call them or each other. The phones been ringing off the hook with both families calling and while everyone is well meaning it’s still grim reaperish like the guy in the first poltergeist movie at the screen door (your all gonna die in there). He was awesome wasn’t he?!!?


If you don’t like something I’ve said just let me vent, and don’t conveniently run for the exit like you have been so offended. I mean if you call and get me talking about this shit the least you can do is hear me out and if you don’t like it tough.

Now I’m going to be fine and have a great positive attitude and the power of the mind and the power of words should never be underestimated. So guard your thoughts, and guard your words or you might manifest just exactly what you don’t want to happen not only with me but in your own lives. If you don’t believe that tough shit I do so you need to respect that.

Stop projecting on me like I’m some idiot who doesn’t know the score. Do I call you up and rag on you about what you are supposed to be doing or not doing no I don’t – and we all have areas we can improve in or do better want me to list them…you don’t need me too right because you know yourself and you are adults capable of making your own decisions and well informed (me too).

Anyway that’s a vent respect it and let it go. Okay, so that’s that lets all just act normal and not wig out. I’ll try to send out emails from time to time to keep you posted.

The latest: My chance for re-occurrence is lower if a high volume facility does the work.  I went to a specialist with my hernia and you bet I’m going to see the specialist for the sarcoma. As far as how I got this I may never know but the first thing the doctor asked me is where do you carry your phone. Any possible agent I’m moving including computer towers I have been sitting next to for the past twenty years and herbicides on my lawn the neighbors. All the toxins are out of the house and Kris can handle the chlorides for the pool. That’s it for now.

Alright I’m out – here are the links – get up to speed – if you want to make me happy or fell better read them – they’ll answer a lot of questions for you – knowledge is power.


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Two

There were other emails of a much more personal nature that I’ve decided to skip but the crux of the situation is that for Sarcoma the clinical results and metrics show your chances of recurrence diminish greatly if you have radiation therapy first before having the surgery to cut out the tumor or suspicious mass.  What was causing my doctors down at the Duke Sarcoma Center concern was the scar tissue from the hernia surgery.  They couldn’t determine without cutting me open whether it was just a hematoma (black and blue mark) scar tissue or a tumor the hernia surgeon left behind.  I assured them the Hernia surgeon wouldn’t leave one tumor behind while taking another.  And in an example of patient advocacy insisted that the specialist at Duke talk to the Hernia surgeon in Florida (they did) because he was boots on the ground.  Once they talked to each other the Duke specialist dialed down their alarm and basically said we don’t know what it is but we are cutting it out of you and I now have the scar to prove it!

Journal Entry Two:
Hello all,
Just a quick email update we are approaching the end of radiation treatment. I am not going to miss getting zapped every day as I am now slightly sun burned in a very sensitive area….yowie zowie! The final treatment is scheduled for Tuesday the 11th. One of the weird peculiar to me side affects is I come out of radiation just ready for chow. I had to have a couple of cops and a homeless guy push me out of a snow bank as I barreled into my local Wawa for a classic turkey hoagie extra provolone oil and mayo and bring on the Fritos and chocolate milk. Think Animal House and Flounders car crashing into the front yard. Actually I could use a hoagie right now and yes its 10:45 am. That’s how a true Philadelphian combats calamity – take two hoagies and call me in the morning.

We are now waiting to hear from Duke about logistics. There is another round of CT Scans and MRI and then surgery. We are looking forward to getting this behind us and having a great summer! Amy thank you for the gifts in the mail we used that money on a night out and of course the scenic calendar is beautiful. Jay it was great talking to you as usual and I’m expecting those old Kingston Road garage photos or at least one of them in the mail – so start digging brother and I hope they are in the original frames as well. That will help keep the home fires burning.

As you all know I’m not the only one dealing with this screwed up industrial assault on our bodies there are others in our own families and extended families so keep everyone in your heart. And just so you know some of us don’t like playing the victim or treated like victims so keep a stiff upper lip and go into the corners hard elbows up.

One final word that cancer ad during the super bowl was targeted at those without cancer because those of us dealing with it don’t want that weak, wimpy victim attitude directed at us. I was horrified at that add. One big middle finger to cancer is the attitude you need to beat it – at least that’s the approach I’m taking. Feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to get it done (with anything). So don’t bother worrying or feeling sorry or milking the drama its counter productive and just flat out annoying to deal with – treat those in your life with cancer the same as before. I’ve heard this from all types of people with disabilities and disease. So when you think of me laugh hard know I’m still enjoying life from dawn to dusk and back again in all its subtle wonder both seen and unseen as I always have and get tough and have a hoagie!

Chow hard and keep the faith!


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Three

It’s going to be a busy week as I wrap up the radiation. I am in the middle of the 5th week but I don’t want to sugar coat it I am definitely feeling side affects. The pelvic region has some very sensitive areas and folds. This is not diaper rash boys and girls more like Hiroshima for the groin the surface of Mercury it only hurts when I walk, sit down, or move.

My total radiation dosage over the 5 weeks is 50 gray. Here’s an article from Wikipedia that describes radiation therapy

Wednesday morning I’m hopefully having another round of CT Scans (just the chest this time) without contrast and an MRI of the Pelvis without and with contrast. I don’t have to drink any nasty vanilla flavored barium. I did originally. It’s nothing you voluntarily would ever want to do and it pissed me off having to do it. The contrast for the MRI is delivered intravenously its big time fun when you can feel your kidney tweak as the dye goes through your body. Then on Wednesday afternoon around 3pm or sooner if possible – we are headed back down to Duke. Hopefully we’ll get on the roads before they become icy or that storm that is forecasted takes a turn or never materializes. Our appointment at Duke is for 11:15 am on Thursday. At that point we should know when surgery is how long it will be, and how long I will be in the hospital. Hopefully I’ll show clear images from the Scan and MRI and the surgery won’t be too invasive.

That’s it for now,


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Four

Well the trip down to Duke was eventful. First off the place looked like the mall on Black Friday. The parking attendant warned us that the lot was full and we would never find a space. I found one right away. It was for valet parking only. Hey I know these guys a couple dollars here are my keys and I’m on my way. Nothing doing the moron’s handling the valet parking in the garage must have been on their cigarette break. So right off the bat I told them they were a bunch of hicks for not working with me and reversed up through a one way alley. Here’s a little Philly for ya fellahs. I found another spot immediately. Kris used to get upset with me now she tells me to go faster and run the barricades

Imagine a crowded airport terminal with a multitude of cancelled flights and that’s what this scene looked like in the parking garage and the medical center. And let me tell you Duke Medical is as big as an airport and that’s what it looked like. Kris heard one woman say they had been waiting four (4) hours. These are cancer patients being herded like cattle. Fortunately Kris and I got there early and were called for our appointment right on time. We did a bit of sitting around. But what I told Kris and firmly believe is that the Doctors should not rush with any patient under any circumstance so we did not get impatient. These other people are sick as well and some horribly so. It was a sad wild scene.

We finally got home around 8pm. We stopped at Bull City Burger and Brewery for a late lunch and headed out of town by 4:30pm.

It was a long long day and Kris picked up the driving duties once we got into Virginia. I was determined to leave North Carolina on my own terms! But I did suffer and threw myself into the tub (my new best friend) as soon as we got home.

You’re never in a good mood when you are walking like Walter Brennan, the doctor tells you how long the incision will be, your backside is on fire and you have to use the rest stops.

But right now I have six weeks to decompress and process the next procedure. I go in for a pre-op on March 19th and surgery March 28th. I’ll be in the hospital for at least two nights possibly three. They reserved a private room for me for five nights. They reassured me that five nights was just precautionary. They didn’t want to have to scramble to find a room if I had to stay longer. The recovery at home could be up to six weeks but that’s worst case scenario and the Duke surgeon stopped referring to the unknown image on the MRI as a tumor and referred to it as scar tissue or a hematoma (fancy name for a bruise)

Four words you never want to hear your physician say, “Your scrotum is pealing”.

But I feel great and my humor is intact. Once you accept this is going to happen and that there is no exit door or escape hatch (I keep looking for one while soaking in the tub) and start adding up all the positives it becomes easier to deal with. Although I have been thinking about blowing it all off, cashing out, selling the house, and going on a twenty year binge around the world. I’m afraid to mention it to Kris because she might say yes!

Here’s what I’m really talking about: We purposely opened back up the door to our doctor’s office you know how they close it after the nurse leaves and you wait seconds going by like minutes in an empty room well I pulled the door back open for two reasons. One so we wouldn’t be forgotten in all the mayhem and two to learn by watching and listening. So what was the big reveal? When you are so caught up in what’s happening in the moment you loose perspective. I gained some back when we witnessed a doctor in the hall run up to several nurses telling them “yes we admitted her right away.”

You follow?

One patient they saw that day was so lousy with cancer that they hustled her into the hospital right then and there. Imagine going in for a consult being told you have cancer and by the way we are rushing you into the hospital. So think if yours truly was so bad I wouldn’t be typing this email been allowed to leave let alone have another six weeks to heal (party).

There have been a lot of positives with this journey momentary incidents that run across the board from inspirational to desperate. And one that has occurred to me but not emphasized by anyone is that in another six weeks this remaining hematoma/scar tissue may shrink even farther and perhaps even disappear. That would mean the surgery will be less invasive than advertised by the worst case scenario. Physicians have to plan for the worst case and spend a lot of time talking and focusing on that so they and you are not surprised. But as an individual you have to be fortified not to be drawn into obsessing about the worst case scenario. You have to drill down and find out about it so as to be aware but realize its only one possibility in a range of possibilities that also include the best probable outcome as well – otherwise that escape hatch your looking for in the tub is down the drain.


Sarcoma Treatment Jounal Entry Five

What a relief it is to be able to just walk around in a normal stride. Although not completely healed I’m feeling much better every day. The radiation still has some very visible affects and some stubborn areas that are still pealing but I’m through the dark side so to speak. Although I re-learned yesterday that radiation has some unseen affects as I crashed hard in the afternoon and was tired late after feeling great in the morning. I feel great again this morning and hope to be back on the treadmill soon. Little Martha has finally come together. I can not believe I can sit down and play this song. It has about a billion moving parts in it and is just so satisfying to be able to play.

So finally a much needed reprieve as I don’t have surgery until the 28th of March. There will be two doctor appointments prior to that and I’ll update you after the fact. But in the meantime you all need to help me take advantage of this down time by quite literally dropping the whole subject.

What a lost opportunity it would be to recharge my batteries if we go through the next 30 days without taking a breath. These days every time the phone rings I cringe. Those of you who have put me on their calendar for a regular Sunday call I am already dreading next Sunday. So please stop that right now and wait for the emails they come out on Monday morning. Please do not ignore the emails a lot of effort goes into them. In fact those of you who take the time to respond by email are the ones I prefer. Because I’m sitting down ready to read email instead of being caught by surprise with a call.

All weekend plans are tentative: Kris and I are playing it by ear and may run off to the outer banks some random Friday afternoon if the weather is nice. We are liable to up and go any weekend and might not know until that Thursday night. I know for you planners that’s hard and we apologize for that but that’s kind of how we roll anyway. If you take it personally you have to stay behind after class and write on the blackboard I’m a dummy a hundred times.

Others who have mentioned visiting me in the hospital good lord please don’t. This is not a party or a reason to get the family together. I am going to be zonked out of my mind one night and doing physical rehab the next day and hopefully headed home the third day. I’m not interested in dealing with any additional germs brought in from who knows where and will have a huge incision that I do not want contaminated with staph or any other kind of bug or virus. Please clue yourself into this situation its major surgery and the only person I want to see when I wake up is my wife with a milkshake. Anybody else other than Kris needs to wait until I’m back on my feet. That’s not a request that’s an order. Those of you planning on coming down to see me at home after surgery – please don’t. Again I don’t need any germs introduced from out of town or down the street so wait until I am back on my feet. Then I’ll be ready for visitors, beers, laughs and story time. So everyone sit tight, relax and put the worrying, and planning aside for the month of March.

Now that everyone’s offended I’ll say I know you are all well meaning but the thing with this disease is that there is a huge constant mental component. Constant so while you are going on about your day and life pre-occupied by what’s confronting you at this very moment the cancer patient in your life is praying for that distraction. If you really want to do your cancer friends, congregation members, neighbors and family a break don’t talk about cancer to them….ever….they want the normal boring stuff. They know they have cancer and are trying to have as many normal moments as possible. Talk to them about the weather, your team or make them laugh. It’s the best medicine.

March presents itself as a whole month of normality for me (hernia scars are fading, my junk is looking more or less normal again, I don’t have radiation targets drawn all over me, the daily radiation trauma is over, the smell of burnt skin and petroleum is gone and the peeling and burn is going away) you bet I’m going to take advantage of that as best I can even celebrate it – so you all need to play along…you feel me…enough said?!?!

I know it seems counter intuitive but when you approach someone with cancer and talk about it you are expressing your fears and concerns projecting your worries onto them making them relive it and sapping them of their strength as they digress upon it once more (obsessing about it yet again). Visiting them at the hospital or even at home is a lot like rubberneckers on the highway or visiting gorillas at the zoo and just about as dignified.

Wait until I’m in my natural habitat to come visit me!



Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Six

Hey Friends and Family,
March madness well not really things are quit calm – the calm before the storm perhaps but I am noticing my hernia surgery swelling is resolving itself further. After five weeks of radiation I am now just finally repairing myself naturally and the swelling from the original surgery back in November is getting another chance to go down. I hope this bodes well for the next surgery scheduled at the end of the month. We received some wonderful artifacts from big brother Jay in the mail recently a little something from the old days and I think all of you elbow benders might get a kick out of Highball Tommy! Plus we have an additional artifact to the Flyers shrine building under the television. Only Jay would have a cassette of Kate Smith singing God Bless America.

I feel great and was back up on the treadmill taking full advantage of our snow days and even got a little run in as well during my work out. I have to be careful with rubbing my legs back and forth as I run with all that new skin still recovering from radiation. But I thought I would add Vaseline like the marathoners do the next day to keep a rash from forming but decided to lay on the sofa instead.  Also on the recovery front the guitar is back out and in full swing. I’m headed off tonight to play out in public. You all know it’s about the music with me it gets my mind focused elsewhere is incredibly satisfying and I strongly believe it has curative effects.

Just listen to Pharell’s “Happy” over and over again and try not to feel euphoric.
(Can someone say Smokey Robinson check the little one at 12:28pm at this link

I’m actually hoping for a small crowd at tinis tonight so I can catch up with the staff. The owners have been very supportive and are fans. Those of you local come out if you can there won’t be anyone there frozen yogurt season is not yet upon us but I’m itching to play trying to give back and taking advantage of this down time in my treatment schedule.

2861 Lynnhaven Drive and North Great Neck

It was great to see Mike and toast the Sunset Sunday afternoon. Hopefully we will be circulating Saturday as we need to catch up with Jeff and Lori as well.

That’s all for now and well see the family at the beach in July god willing and the creek don’t rise.
Kari and Mark get your butts down here some Saturday night soon we know you have busy weekends so it’s tough but we’ll catch up – keep us posted.

And last but certainly not least a huge shout out to Denice and Janette who made a miserable situation tolerable. They laughed at all my vain attempts to put a positive spin on the situation. Thanks for playing ladies and they were there with a comforting word when I felt down. They are champions more than any sports team, politician or entrepreneur could ever be. Whether they know it or not or whether they like it or not and I really don’t think I can overstate it they are friends for life like Androcles and the Lion and that’s how I feel about that. Hope to see you two soon under different circumstances. I’m due in at 9am for a follow up with Scott on the 11th hope to say hi then as well.



Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Seven

Beautiful day family and friends and I had a very good doctors visit this morning. In short the suspicious mass that may or may not be a tumor has shrunk even further. My radiation oncologist was delighted – it’s a short message today but a sweet one…smaller is better it quickens recovery and hopefully reduces the surgical field. It was great to see Denise and Janette and even with a lobby full of patients they made time for me. They are two very special people and one of several good things that has come out of this experience. Remember there is darkness in light but there is also light in darkness and these two shine especially bright.


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Eight

Kris and I drove down to Duke Tuesday night for pre-op appointments Wednesday. As if you didn’t know getting sick is a full time job. The freakin’ paper work and if I have my blood pressure checked one more time I’m gonna scream. At least the book I’m reading while I’m waiting to subject myself to all of this is finally starting to get good. Nothing like being at a cancer center for eight hours of soul crushing anguish as the children go by in wheel chairs, the patients with strange growths on their faces and incisions in their heads walk by or sit idly awaiting their fate, but hey at least the carpets are nice. And oh the soul affirming poetry they frame and post on the wall miss the mark by a wide margin and reek of morbidity but then again that’s just me slapping my forehead….uplifting is in the eyes of the maudlin. Take my blood, take my money, take my signature, give me the worst case scenario you know because of litigation and get me the hell out of here. All I could think of going through pre-op and admission was my cat when I took her to the vet. Looking for a way out Sylvia jumped into a window and tried to make a break for it – smart cat – she pressed up against the screen just as hard as her little body would let her. Beyond that screen was fresh air and an open field on a beautiful sunlit day. Who could blame her I know how she feels.

That’s my girl giving it her all – happy cat indeed!

So four hours of surgery, two surgeons, several scars, pig skin or some strangers cadaver skin, three nights in the hospital followed by 6 weeks of recovery which might include self-injections – you know just for fun, and oh yeah there’s a 50/50 chance your wound won’t heal and you’ll need a third surgery. Apparently the irradiated tissues on the inside of my body may not bind back together. There it all is down and dirty folks in case you ever have to go through it and some of you have.

Sorry no happy rah, rah talk about how everything is going to be all right – its surgery time and I’m not so happy rah, rah about having to go under and we might knock your teeth out or give you brain damage – you know the legal folks make us say that – but god forbid you’re the .0001% that this happens to and you wonder why people worry – because it is a big deal.

I’m actually in a better frame of mind than all of the above but that’s what you go through folks and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. You all better keep in touch with Kristine because she won’t have anybody at the hospital with her and if you don’t appreciate what she will be going through then dig around a little deeper in the back of your closet to find your heart.

The Rolling Hills of the Piedmont are simply beautiful – if you find out I didn’t make it to Duke I’ve jumped out of the car and will be running through them.


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Nine

Well its been a whirlwind trip but Kris and I are back home now. Most of you we have talked to one on one and I’m a little out of gas right now so its going to just be a short hello. There was a range of options from worst case scenario to best case scenario and in the surgeons own words – we got the best case scenario. Pathology taken during surgery showed negative margins. We are awaiting more in depth pathology results from the lab to come in next week. Negative margins are good. You do not want positive margins that means they found cancer cells. I was in surgery for two and a half hours and then the plastic guys closed me up in a half hour – three hours total! One surgeon said point blank we did not find any cancer….so I said “keep on truckin” and he smiled and said keep on trukin – it was a moment at 6am with just me and him in the room. Thanks Patrick I’ve got the scar to prove you looked.

We are fine, in our happy home. Kris is taking great care of me and that can not be overstated. The sun is shinning the birds are singing and as soon as I can get behind the wheel of a car I’m headed for the boardwalk. I’ve already ditched the walker they sent me home with and I am using a cane quite dapper in my pajama pants and black cane with gold trim. I also got one of those tall commodes – you know “toilet on a stand” and ditched that thing. I loved it the first few days in the hospital – its a long way down with a scar in your abdomen but they are really confining, They slap your legs together and leave no room for Mr. Happy definitely not what I’m used too and shortly thereafter that thing was hauled out of the powder room in an act of defiance and everything cut loose after that.

Speaking of cutting loose the hardest part for me is taking it easy – it was major surgery so I have to force myself to hit the sofa and lay down – fortunately there is Oxycodone for that……space the final frontier. Twilightzone dreams and the space time continuum has been shattered, Next week we go back to Duke to have stitches and the blood bag removed. I’m carrying a drainage pouch around with me. Its fun dragging your bodily fluids around – especially when all the chords get tangled up as your hospital gown gets caught in something. I do not miss my catheter. Great, great care from the Duke team but there were a few fumbles a long the way – you have to be your own patient advocate people – hospitals are health care factories. But great people doing great work gets overrun by the crush of business and lack of time. Nurses need more pay!!!

Thank you one and all for thinking, praying and meditating on us….


Sarcoma Treatment Journal Entry Ten

I hope by now some of you will see that with humor, defiance, fight, education and taking it one step at a time you too can get through this process.  Dealing with concerned families let alone the paper work is a full time job so don’t be afraid to push back even on the well meaning if they are draining you emotionally or physically or just saying the wrong damn thing.  Call them out educate them and the process will go better.  Be proactive and not passive and by all means get to a sarcoma specialist someone who has performed hundreds of these type of operations.  Through plain old trial and error they know how far to cut to get negative margins.

I faced one thing at a time whether it was the first MRI’s or CT Scan’s or the 5 weeks of radiation I ticked each event off one day at a time and worried about the next step, day when I got to it.  I handled it in small chunks right down to the self injections when I got home after surgery to combat blood clots.  There were plenty of tears going into surgery but the staff at Duke were great and there were tears after it was all over.  I also was watched by hawks literally as they perched outside my hospital window.  The entire staff on the floor came into see this phenomenon and to take pictures they had never seen it before and stated that they had worked there a long time.  And on check out day the hawks were gone.  I kid you not!  My animal spirit, god whatever you want to call it was sending me a message.  I received it and felt reassured. My life and soul  (just like yours) is being watched like a hawk by angels who have gone on before and the creative spirit of all that is mother nature herself.

It’s okay to feel the whole range of emotions from victim, to fighter, to the why me and also to gain perspective from those around you.  Trust your instinct.  Talk to the other patients in the waiting room you’ll learn something and at least be conversing with someone standing in your own shoes.  I can’t tell you how important that is.

To this day I’m convinced I sprayed myself with weed killer- wind drift took it right up my shorts on a hot summer day, sweating, working in the yard for hours at a time and commando style my skin and groin were unprotected.  The mayo clinic link lists herbicide as one of the causes of sarcoma so please learn from my mistake.  Where underwear and long pants when applying that stuff or go and stay organic.  It was a rainy summer and I got lazy and bought roundup for the first time in five years.  Trust me I’m back to using vinegar for weed killing it works but you do have to apply it more frequently.

The risks in being lazy are too great and I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m one of the lucky ones and usually they don’t post on line.  Why would they – relieved they are going on with their business.  Most of the posting on line is from people who are just slammed, worst case scenario remember sarcoma comes in at least fifty known varieties.  Its an attack on the extremities and in the old days led to amputation of legs and arms.  We’ve come a long way and we will travel even farther.  Be your own patient advocate.  I insisted that only the most experienced doctors work on me even for stitch removal.  You have rights as a patient so push back don’t let residents and students put in the epidurals.  You want the attending physician to do it and don’t focus on worst case scenario the surgeons are just giving you all the scenarios so when you wake up you are not horrified or litigious.  Get the consent forms signed ahead of time.  Nothing is more gruesome rolling into surgery while still going over a consent form that lays out all the possibilities that could go wrong.  We know we might die in surgery right before going in is a helluva time to be reminded.

In the end if you want to write back or leave a comment please do and I’ll answer it as soon as it comes up in my inbox.  Remember its not all worst case scenario.  I was given a 50/50 chance that I would have complications with even my wound healing….didn’t happen.

And remember the stats they give you are based on everyone not the subset that is uniquely you.  If you see a lump anywhere on your body get it looked at and demand an ultra sound and MRI and get several opinions.  Be willing to see other doctors if yours pushes back on you or won’t perform the procedures.  Good luck, be strong, and you can get through this ordeal.  Cancer is slowly evolving into a manageable disease.  Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking too long term take it one step, one day at a time.  For the rest of my life I’ll have CT Scans and MRI’s and believe it or not I’m looking forward to it.  If those little nasties make a come back I want to know as soon as possible and take care of the situation promptly and properly.
Here’s the original links that proved helpful and informative for me:

And here is my final journal entry.  I hope somehow sharing my journey will help with yours.
Good morning :)
As some of you know we just heard last night that the final pathology report has come back negative. It’s counter intuitive but negative is good in medical language speak. I have clean non-diseased wide margins in the tissue they removed from my body. They did find left over low grade tumor tissue in what they cut out of me called well differentiated but the doctor referred to that as almost being benign – no contamination in the lymph nodes and they did not find the higher grade tumor tissue called De-differentiated that they were worried about and had turned up in a prior pathology report from my hernia surgery in November.
I have suspected all along that those little nasties came out with and in the hernia sac. They found some irradiated tissue as well in what they removed which makes sense after 5 weeks of radiation but on the whole just a little debris mixed in with mostly healthy tissue. The tumor bed is now all cleaned out with wide clear margins on the inside of me – so for that we are all very grateful. There is to be no more radiation or surgery just regular screenings with MRI and CT Scans! So I’ve made it to the observation stage and pray I never have to go through this again – statistically for all patients with this disease there’s a 90% chance it won’t reoccur if you go to a Sarcoma Center.

Later today we head down to Duke to have stitches and the blood bag removed. We’ll go over the path report in greater detail as well. The stitches coming out is a big deal – like pulling up railroad track. I’m hoping for sedation and lots of it! I have a lot of swelling and it will probably be the end of the month before I even think about driving to the office. A shower would be nice.

Whatever transpires my perspective has only been amplified by this experience – quality of life is what matters most and I will preserve and enhance my quality of life each and every day come hell of high water.
Many, many heartfelt thanks and love for all the prayers, worry and positive thoughts…..keep the faith and love each other.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Steve Forbert - The Next Big Thing Again!

Hey America and the World wake up we still have Steve Forbert.  In Hollywood's lust for the next big thing as Disney churns out more teen sensations that obliterate themselves once they hit twenty one, with cheap reality shows spitting out across the globe wannabes, and has beens trying for that last little glimmer of fame or first fast food commercial there is integrity, talent, fun and genius going on about its business waiting for nothing but you to notice and if you don't so what.

I'm talking about Steve Forbert of Romeo's Tune fame which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980.  Your parents heard it on the radio...a lot.  A musician who took on the record companies when they refused to release an album of his and put his career on hold because of the way the contract was written and the fight that ensued.  Its an old story that never sees the light of day and of course the artist isn't to blame.....just his management and then well growing up takes place, perspectives change and square one is revisited and lo and behold we have Steve Forbert back. 

Thank god we have Steve Forbert back.  In this day and age we need all the hope we can wrap our arms around. There's hope in his personal story let alone his music and talent that spins fresh and turns with so much essence of what is that it will refresh your very own roots of experience and realization with a touch of the sanguine and truth affirmed.

I first saw Steve in 1986 he opened for Arlo Guthrie and while I respected his obvious song writing skill I hadn't been hooked yet and then I saw his show.  I was hooked.  So I started my Steve Orbit journey that found me revisiting his music and digging and digging.  I knew there was something there if I just kept digging and now my cd collection and speakers are brimming with treasure I over looked, music that I thought would never be again an artist rediscovered who perhaps has rediscovered himself and we all go through this together and its sweet to have those deeper strings plucked.  

Here's what I've found out for my self.  I love his American in Me disc its where I would send anyone to start if they did not know Steve's work....keep listening his voice will grow on you if not instantly.  Then go get his reissues of Jack Rabbit Slim and Little Stevie Orbit.  There is a ton of material on those albums and the songs range all over the musical spectrum but still hang together the bonus material takes up a whole additional disc and is never filler - you get live takes and its all thoughtfully put together.  Familiarize yourself with his music and then go see him live.  Take your girlfriend, boyfriend or go alone you'll be glad you did.

With all the ridiculous bullshit we fill our lives up with (Kardashians, political stooges, war and putting the down trodden further down) Steve's music will remind you and reinforce whats good, whats essential and lift you up even after singing about being put down. 

Stronger lyric writing you don't come across often if ever.  A strong sense of melody and what just sounds good with excellent transitions, bridges, hooks, chorus and verse whether singing alone or with backing vocals and a band Steve's music is the unpretentious real deal and always has been the real deal.

So the question remains are you?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Allman Brothers Band Virginia Beach 9/4/2013

Saw the ABB in V. Beach last night 5th row center - stood for two hours straight - massive air bass playing, head bopping and butane burning- I think I scared Oteil........the sound down front was beautiful but could have brought Greggs key board up a bit more in the mix.  Fun crowd not too drunk lots of hand shaking, smiles and interaction with everyone around us. 

They went old school to start the show which is what I was craving - That's what love will make you do was a surprise  - I thought oh no as it started and then was singing, dancing and sweating before it was over - sounded great.  They were very faithful to the original licks on Blue Sky, Jessica and Southbound but of course blazed their own in the moment imprint when stretching it out.  Lots and lots of energy.  The array of drums practically in our lap was huge and I was way into the drum break which is unusual for me!  Into the Mystic was extremely heartfelt and on point a beautiful rendition that had me mesmerized - Warren brought out a sweet new guitar for that number - the tone was excellent the mood was achieved.  And Grace Potter - well hells bells the chick sounded just like Bonnie Bramblet - I thought - no wonder these guys like her - she shimmied in front of Gregg at one point and well that was the biggest smile I've ever seen from him - I was happy to catch that moment.  Great rendition of The Weight reminded me exactly of Duane's version with Aretha Franklin thanks to Derek and the time signature of the band really special they nailed it.  Grace has some pipes on her.  That was so fun! 

Here's a set list I found looks mostly right to me might be missing a song around Statesboro blues.  They also teased out a little Mountain Jam during Jessica.  Lots of veterans and service boys in the crowd as well who were pumped to see their Allman Brother Band - a very good show, lots of energy - the sound was excellent did not use ear plugs - no ringing - awesome weather beautiful night surrounded by loved ones - what more could you ask for!

Don't Want You No More >
It's Not My Cross to Bear
Statesboro Blues
Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
That's What Love Will Make You Do
Midnight Rider >
Les Brers in A Minor
Blue Sky
Who to Believe
The Weight (w/ Grace Potter)
Done Somebody Wrong
One Way Out (w/ drums)

Into the Mystic*

Friday, August 09, 2013

Jerry Week Epilogue - Eternity The Music Never Stopped 8/9/2013

Eternity - The Music Never Stopped. Maybe my CD player is haunted or rather through music consciousness beyond the mundane gets to flourish.

Jerry Week Epilogue: With antennas up and positively being open to it a dusting off of the imagination and a laugh, why step beyond. Can the message be any clearer? Within Eternity the music never stops, the music of life, the music of love, the music of fulfillment, the music of self the song of the same that feeling you have when you are firing on all cylinders. Could it possibly be can I say for sure well for sure to me is a distinct possibility how could it not be?

Eternity...the music never stopped. If you held a séance and you heard a voice would you be so surprised to hear those words, “Eternity…the music never stopped,” with a shrug? Wouldn't it be all you needed to know? Eternity the music never stopped whether here or there. We know it hasn't here and the allegedly "random" occurrence or the digital shuffle of divinity or just an old friend exercising his power having a chuckle, making a point and with the same old ease? Synchronicity? Coincidence? Debate it doubt it sneer at it I see beneath your protestations the ramifications on you of possible truth and the life you live on Terra Firma. Did you want a signed letter? An active imagination? You’ve learned the hard way not to ignore it and to nurture strength if you are going to crack the door for a daring peak. We shouldn’t know that’s why we don’t but here it is and there it is as well?

Hey easy rider you'll get this because you were not looking for it you found it because you were not listening for it you heard it because you are open to it you got it, noticed it later, and then put it together easy rider the not subtle plainly occurring manifestation of truth. Ahhhh but now the doubt the skepticism how could it be but why couldn’t it be who’s to say its not supposed to happen or did happen or could happen or didn’t happen but there it is happening and what to make of it.....nothing if you like but not me.

Put a crooked smile on my face and be reminded the ordinary is extraordinary in the strangest of places on a treadmill, in a room, preoccupied with breathing, surrounded by music and light feeling and listening. Quiet mind, stretching body and so my grateful friends no mystical trappings, no men in robes collecting money a message perhaps maybe yes maybe no but received nonetheless eternity here and now here or there on your way to and fro moving there or moving here the music never stopped. Was he as surprised as I am or just reporting back the now known and I didn't think anything was going to happen this week ....shucks, crooked smile, amused, brows raised unnecessarily comforted but the honor of awareness just the same (~):D.

Jerry Week - The Music Never Stopped 8/6/2013

Last night the CD changer set to random for six compact discs - 3 ABB- 3 Grateful Dead while I hit the treadmill for my hour run - kept circling back to different versions of "The Music Never Stopped" I swear I heard it three times. That coupled with Eternity being the first song to kick off my Jerry week has lead me to believe my cd player is haunted..... (~):D

Jerry Week Update - 8/7/2013

Old men sing about their dreams, women laugh and children scream from last night representing Cowboy Jerry. Notable: Played "Comes A Time" off the Reflections Album. Typically I avoid the more obscure songs but all the Jerry tunes were well received. They loved Peter Rowans "Midnight Moonlight". Trust me "Ripple" is an obscure song to this crowd. Although I got a shout out over "Dark Hollow" so go figure. It was a good night lots of applause lots of good vibes, old friends stopping by.  I was particularly fond of the senior who sat and read quietly and then told me how much she enjoyed it and that she'll be back next week. Someone else told me they had been reading "Journey Home" yeah I had a good night thanks Jer' (~):D!

Ramblings from Jerry Week - Eternity 8/2/2013

 Finally got the music rolling at the house Friday and selected Englishtown 1977 it has an outstanding version of Eye's of the World that I featured on my show. I had a bootleg album from "Rick's Cafe" back in the day. I held the cover together with electrical tape because it wore out (~):D. 

 Also grabbed what I consider the best - best of collection the Rhino disc from 2003 and I have a So Many Roads sampler.  I threw them in my Pioneer CD six pack changer with the new Brothers and Sister release the ABB from Winterland and the remastered Brothers and Sister studio and hit the random button. 

"Eternity" was the first song that came up - fairly fitting I thought - and had a grateful weekend!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Alvin Lee and The Road To Freedom

"There are many forks on the road to freedom and the road to nowhere is one of them" - Graham Alvin Barnes

Alvin's post Ten Years After career moves must have been a jolt to his fans from the Woodstock days.  He shredded all over two continents and worked his tail off but pulled up in 1972.  "I was in danger of joining the dead before 30 club" he said in his last albums liner notes.  Those liner notes from Still On The Road To Freedom are a wonderful final thought to his tried and true fans that hung his posters and played his music not only for themselves but to others as often as they could.  He wanted freedom from long tour schedules playing every night in huge arenas where "the sound echoed like a freight shed" and "security was armed police with cotton in their ears".  He wanted a life outside of all that and I'm happy for him and his family that he orchestrated that for himself. 

As a player you want your audience as quiet as possible so they can hear the nuances of your singing, playing and tone.  You're putting your heart and soul into it you don't want someone blabbing about how drunk they got last week down front.  Then there are the managers who view you as a commodity.  Alvin wanted freedom from "satisfying other peoples greed" as well as the freedom to make his own music.  He didn't want his music to be "commercially premeditated" and he has in the vault twenty more tunes from the past four years in some various form of finality.  The thirteen on his last album he said he liked the best.

Alvin wanted the music to speak for itself and I can totally get behind his attitude of playing what he wanted whether it was his mad love affair with 1950's rockabilly or even a little fiddle music.  Far from the flat out shredding which I personally loved and he obviously enjoyed his post TYA career is a musical menagerie as if listening to a satellite or college radio station mixing one format after another.  His post TYA carrer is perfectly bookend by his first album On the Road to Freedom and Still on the Road to Freedom.  Drop these two discs into any player and you will have a cornucopia of solid sounds, peaceful tunes, back porch picking, wonderful lyrics and as always some serious shredding flying from all manner of fret boards. 

For new fans or old fans to get a grip on an output that went unnoticed by most but included at least forty one albums (at last count) I'm going to offer up a short suggested Alvin Lee Catalog. 

Shhh - Ten Years After
Undead - Ten Years After (2002- Decca Records)
Cricklewood Green - Ten Years After
Essential Ten Years After - (Chrysalis E2 21857) (the one with the flaming guitar)
On The Road To Freedom
Pure Blues
The Best of Alvin Lee (Rep 5257) (the one where he looks like a 1950's greaser)
Still On The Road To Freedom

Shhh is right up there with Cricklewood Green - I love this album its gritty, it floats, there's a tremendous version of Good Morning Little School Girl, there's a John Lee Hookeresque tune called The Stomp that will make you sit up and take notice.  I Don't Know, That You Don't Know is that soft quiet acoustic number that always fits so well juxtaposed to his high energy singing and playing.  Two Time Momma sounds like something Canned Heat would have done (Goin Up The Country).  Its a great album recorded in 1969 a year before Cricklewood Green.

Undead is a live album that they rushed out because of fame and fortune and well I'm glad they did.  It is a snap shot in time of Ten Years After recorded live in front of a small audience.  It swings, it shreds, its the raw blues, it jams, its the young voice, its the excellent drumming and bass work, its the essence of rock n' roll with all its rolled up sleeves, attitude and energy.  Get the reissue because it includes four additional tracks from the show.  How Alvin just rolls through those live licks is astounding.  It includes the tunes Spoonful, Summertime, Woodchopper's Ball, and Crossroads.  The lads are just in their mid-twenty's, and great liner notes from drummer Ric Lee.

Cricklewood Green is such a great album I've devoted another article to it on a previous post.  The two collections Essential and Best of neatly wrap up the Ten Years After catalog and his post TYA career respectively.  If you need help working out or cleaning the house put Essential in and power through it immaculately.  Essential is a tour de force of high energy Ten Years After spanning their catalog and blistering your speakers.  Alternatively Best of is an outstanding double disc with a breadth of playing styles that will not disappoint.  His cover of I Want You (She So Heavy-Beatles) is phenomenal, crunchy and just plain impressive.  It will grab you right away.  Of course The Bluest Blues is here a song with his neighbor George Harrison to which Alvin was especially proud.

Pure Blues pulls together tracks from his entire career opening with an all acoustic number including both TYA tunes and Alvin Lee solo project tunes.  Thirteen choice cuts across various labels that's a must have and a complete no brainer when it comes to appreciating Alvin's talents and completing your catalog.

And then there is 2012's:
Still on the Road to Freedom what a wonderful farewell to his friends, family and fans.  There's multitude of riffs and formats represented here but it all hangs together wonderfully.  Shades of Mark Knopfler come to the top in the opening cuts and then a blues riff that Little Walter would have been proud of dove tails into a 1950's bop Elvis and Carl Perkins would have fought over.  Walk on Walk Tall is another slight gear shift acoustic finger style number followed by a blues finger style number and then quiet horns introduce Song of the Red Rock Mountain.  Song of the Red Rock mountain is just a beautiful number no lyrics, but stylish playing, that evokes a little spanish/western feel to me with shades of Leo Kottke.  He could have put out a whole album like this and the acoustic, new age folk fans and labels would have had an epiphany.  Still on the Road to Freedom closes out with Love Like a Man Pt. 2 and Alvin unmercifully, unleashes his trade mark power guitar to our delight.  But wait as if to say goodbye there's a surprise and a beautiful quiet hidden track takes a bow at the end.

I'll miss Alvin Lee but I'll never stop listening to his music.  His Crickelwood Green Poster has followed me from home to home, studio to studio and will always have a presence where I create and where I live and remind me what to bring on my road to freedom.

Walk On
Walk Tall
Be Strong
Don't Fall
Walk On
To the End
Be my Friend

(It's a deal Alvin)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Alvin Lee - Cricklwood Green

I was just a kid riding around in the back seat of a fast back mustang when my older brother popped into his eight track player Cricklewood Green.  Up popped Sugar the Road with its stabbing opening riffs, in your face lyrics, "what about the people that scream and shout just give em fifty years and they might work it out" and by the end of that four minute song with its blistering leads I was hooked.

The next song Working on the Road chugs in and at the one minute and fifty mark unleashes a torrent of Alvin Lee licks surrounded by a melodic chorus.  Well then who started rap was it the jazz scat singers who cares Alvin is spitting out lyrics and licks as fast as humanly possible that defy the chugging rhythm section and I'm rockin hard my fifteen year old head.

I'm having a good time headed somewhere in the aftermath of the sixties all in on the peace and love.  I mean hell the President and then his brother, the Vietnam War, dead bodies coming home all over the news along with actual war footage and Nixon being impeached, acid, pot, the summer of love, Woodstock, Selma Alabama and righteousness seems like a helluva lot better way to go than bullshit violence to me 50,000 miles Beneath My Brain.

Screaming at the Stars the intro weaves its way in slowly and the build up is immense and intense with a ferocious bass riff launching into a fuzzed up and out of this world riff that just keeps driving and driving, the bass launching an attack, the guitar answering back all in the tonal fuzz of the time...."yeah, yeah, yeah" never sounded so good.

Can you love me with a thousand eyes?
Can you see right through my bones?
Can you kiss me with a thousand lips?
Can you melt a solid stone?
Can you hear me from a thousand miles
When you're screaming at the stars?
Can you pull me up to jupiter
When I'm all hung up on mars?

And then the rollicking, rolling riff that ties up the end.  Holly shit this music has my attention and "Why the hell have you been hiding this from me"!  My brother tells the story to this day.

A false fade out with another taste of the furious 50,000 mile ending then a sonic intro to a classic Nashville 50's rockabilly back beat, with classic 60's lyrics and blistering Chet Atkins riffs just flying off the fret board.  What the what?  Just relentless playing back in the mix fast and clean shwee. 

Me and My Baby Never Get The Blues....Me and My Baby Never Get Uptight... Me and My Baby Never Do a Damn Thing Right.  I mean how perfect is that sentiment for righteous, rebel love.  Me and My Baby Always Feeling Good Love Each Other Sure No Reason Why We Should the righteous ha in your face lyrics couched in a bouncy up beat swing session and two upbeat songs in a row have you feeling pretty snappy and then in drops the bomb!

Love Like a Man:  Another quintessential riff rumbles along and around the two minute mark builds with organ and slashing full chords and Alvin just takes off flying with shearing rock riffs dashing off the fret board sent through a wonderful distortion and delay and how it builds in a cataclysmic orgy of sound busting through any preconceived notions knitting Hendrix and the Doors together in an aha moment of hey this is what all music should sound like. Forget Clapton is God Alvin Lee has tapped into the consciousness of the cosmos.

Circles comes floating down next through the ethereal with an acoustic guitar.  This is a hall of fame closing song for any concept album a thoughtful introspection with Zepplin like acoustic embellishments and its a beautiful moment, a beautiful outro to a blistering album framed in an atmospheric tonal sense and universe worthy of Arvo Part.

I have got what I once dreamed of As a child, so long ago  
But my life just goes in circles ’Cause one answer I don’t know
Does it matter what I do  

Who will hear me if I cry?  
Does it matter what I do 
Does it matter if I die?

Wow rinsed and complete, cool fresh air filling your lungs after an other worldly immense workout.  But wait Cricklewood Green isn't over it deftly brings back the meaningful heaviness.  As The Sun Still Burns Away slowly comes to the fore an ode to our unconsciousness attitude "as few say thank you for the day".  Alvin is letting us know we aren't living in the right frame as affects of the industrial world stomp through his classic rock n' roll wail blowing apart the soft landing of Circles.  

The beauty of eight tracks is that they wind right around to the beginning again and in moments we're having a good time baby having a ball.  

"Keep Working for your pension until your sixty five don't dig it at all, no, no don't dig it at all"  and has much changed?  

Back in the day when albums were works of art from beginning to end Cricklwood Green sits up on the top shelf.  Alvin Lee has left behind some phenomenal music and we will always have it with us if we are smart enough to look behind the glare of the current media and pop rock commercial fame machine which he stepped away from.  I'm so glad he enjoyed his freedom.  I highly recommend revisiting his catalog his music stands the test of time and Cricklwood Green is his most fully realized album.