the orchestra world

the road not taken

It’s been a while. My last post was on August 26. Four days later I learned that I had colon cancer. On September 27 I underwent surgery to remove the sigmoid portion of my colon. After 10 anxious days, I got word that the margins were clear, I was in early Stage 2, and the nearly 40 lymph nodes taken were all negative for cancer. Chemotherapy was not required, but the difference in recurrence probability was significant enough that I decided to do a 20-week course. I’m seven weeks in this week.

Photo: under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.

It’s been a journey, to say the least. My mother-in-law passed away two weeks before my surgery, and so my wife took care of me in the midst of her grief, doing a wonderful job and always with a smile. We were also in the midst of a garage conversion and addition for our home. When it rains, it pours.

There was another road, and that would have been one in which I ignored symptoms and just pretended that I’d be fine. That is a road that I didn’t care to travel. The destination is not one that I’m ready to arrive at, not for a good many years.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood …

From The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

This whole process has made me think about my relationship with music in profound ways. My sense of what matters in life, and especially in my performing life, has changed drastically. I’ve had time to read a lot about music, watch videos and listen to recordings of some fantastic music that I hadn’t really had time to explore previously. I’ve begun to rekindle that sense of wonder with my art that was seriously waning. I’ve also been reminded of the beautiful community of friends that I am so fortunate to be a part of. My orchestral family has been so supportive and understanding. My energy is low at rehearsals, and sometimes I literally leave everything on stage at the conclusion of performances. I’ve become a napper.

I’m doing well. My prognosis is excellent. I’ve got a lot of life left to live, and so much music to make with so many fantastic musicians and people. That’s the road I choose to travel.

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