When I got diagnosed with prostrate cancer in early November, it was already "stage 4".
IOW. it had already entered the bone.
Radiation therapy helped some relieve cancer-caused sciatica.
Hormone blocking therapy however, did not work very well.
Lately, though the pain in the lower back has been increasing.
I had just gotten discharged from the hospital Saturday. Sunday night my lower legs went numb and I realized I was an extreme fall risk. I called for an ambulance (no sirens) and got gurneyed back in for the first time.
Now, I am in long term care, with an emphasis on palliative care..... in a facility where I used to sing hymns and spirituals for around 10 years or so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (benefits to that turned out to be HUGE)
edit for story of huge benefit:
When I got the the news I was going to be discharged from the main hospital, I got the bad news from the hospital discharge office that my insurance was so weak ("county medical" through a good company though) that only one obscure hospital in a neighboring county town 45 minute away would take my insurance AND had an open bed. My wife said "I'll never see you again!". I told her to call the activity director at the hospital where I had performed the longest and where my wife had done her rehab for a broken hip. My wife also has a couple of prayer warrior friends, and she got them going, and before I knew it (and I wasn't actually thinking of it, the activity director had wangled a bed for me at that hospital in spite of the bean counters' normal tendencies.... not just because I was a performer, but because I consistently went over my paid hour to make sure that the residents got what they needed, including occasional late-birds. I did revamp my insurance coverage with Social Security so I will get better coverage and they won't lose money on me, but I could be sitting right now where friends and wife could NOT visit, and no one knew me.... as it is, half the staff knows or recognizes me either as the performer or the guy that visited his wife here last winter.
What goes around comes around in positive ways too!
Most of the time, my morale is very good. I have had a couple of bad nights though;
If you pray, pray especially for me doing well at night.
I have my baritone uke with me and can play it in bed.
Tbe former bluegrass jam leader has given me her old CD player and supplies some great BG CDs.
I could also play clawhammer banjo or electric guitar.
Fiddle, alas is hard to play horizontally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Overall, the foundation of faith mentioned in "Fiddlepogo's Sometime Strange Life Story" is the biggest part....
As a Bill Gaither song says:
"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
"Because He lives, all fear is gone.
"Because I know-ow-ow He holds the future,
And life is worh he living, just because he lives!"
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @11:05:15 AM
So sorry to hear! I'll be praying for you! If there's anything else I can do from a few hundred miles away, let me know.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @12:11:46 PM
I share Aaron's feelings.. I'll pray HARD...Miss having you around.... Lee
Humbled by this instrument Says:
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @1:20:54 PM
What did Hemingway write, something about nights being the toughest. Do you read books (other than your Good Book)? If you give me your preference, I'll try and recommend some. As a life-long hyperactive who is often up at night, I've read over 2,432,236.5467 books, so I might know a few.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @2:58:38 PM
Pogo...I'm very sorry to hear of what you've been going through. I was hoping your absence meant you were busy playing the fiddle! I'm glad you have a uke and CDs so you can have some music in your life. I will pray for you...hoping things will improve. I agree with Humbled, that some good reading might be a help. I will mention when my daughter was struggling with Grave's Disease last year she had a terrible tine getting through nights, and ended up getting some of those grownup coloring books and colored pencils...it helped her get through the nights and focus in on something to get away from her pain. Maybe not the thing for you, but I mentioned it just in case. There is always the net...funny youtubes, etc. During her illness is also when she discovered funny YouTube shows-- her favorite became, and still is, Good Mythical Morning...but anything funny--- laughter is very healing. I wish you all the best. I've been fiddling a whole lot lately, and my bowing is starting to develop more, I believe...and I think of you often during my fiddling sessions! I will be praying for you and hoping things improve and that you can find comfort in the meantime. Best wishes to you!
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @3:10:51 PM
My prayers are with you Michael!
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @4:34:36 PM
We never met, and yet I think I know you. If I saw you at a jam, maybe we wouldn't be "instsy-friends", but I know I could talk to you and that you would consider each of my weird ideas and give them validity (at least out loud). And I know you're not one of those egomaniacs. That having been said, it's true that part of the human condition is that every one of us has there challenges or crosses to bear (if you will). I had a big one 21 years ago when most of our house burnt down. I'm still in good physical health--mostly-- but there's no guarantees, and I'm waiting for the next axe to drop. The human body is as amazing as it is dangerous. Meaning you not only have the capacity to get sick, but also the capacity to heal. I'm not a praying man, but I wish you the latter.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @4:39:18 PM
I'm sorry about that, Michael. My Mom's partner is struggling with stage 4 lung cancer right now, so I have an inkling of what you are dealing with. Theres not much better than music to help with tough places, I'm glad to hear you have that.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @4:53:52 PM
Sorry to hear what you are going through physically and mentally. I'm mostly quiet here, but I have found your posts to be incredibly helpful to me as a growing old time fiddler! I'm also a registered nurse and have taken care of many patients with cancer in my years in oncology and have held a lot of hands through long and uncomfortable nights. So I can understand how the nighttime can be and so I'll be praying for you, especially for peaceful, pain free nights. I'm glad you've got your uke! Playing music is the best therapy there is IMHO. :) I pray also that you have some excellent nursing care!!
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @5:23:11 PM
You are in my thoughts...Make music whenever you can.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @5:26:46 PM
My heart breaks for you, brother Michael. I am praying for you. You are, and have always been, an encouragement to many.
Sunday, April 3, 2016 @9:14:46 PM
Hi Michael - So sorry to hear this news! Four years ago I went through my life-threatening bout with cancer. It was music, especially that of Beethoven, and the writings of Emerson and Thoreau that kept me going and gave me comfort. However, it was friends, both real and virtual (FHO), who sustained me! Even though we have not met, I do consider many on FHO, including you, to be among my treasured friends. Know that you are in my thoughts. --- Kirk
Monday, April 4, 2016 @2:07:14 AM
It's good to hear from you Michael. I wonder about you every day. I miss hearing from you on the hangout.
You know, it's been good for me in getting to know you. I'm glad my path has came across yours. I always enjoy your comments and have learned so much from them. I love the way you play the old tunes and I hope to get that same sound someday.
I'm glad you can still play the uke, maybe you should put a little rosin on the pick.
You are so right that he lives. If we use what he did for us, that's what makes us keepers. The proof is in the fact that he does live. Trust it. I'm praying for your health and comfort.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @10:10:38 AM
Sorry to hear Micahel. I was curious have you tried any of the mini baroque fiddles? I've been eyeing them for camping, but I wonder if they would be any easier to use in bed than a full size. Also there's one called the Cricket, that is a small mini travel fiddle ... Anyway ... so sorry to hear, my thoughts are with you.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @10:22:59 AM
You've been missed here on the Hangout. I often have thoughts of you when I'm fiddling. Hang in there and get back to fiddling.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @10:27:38 AM
Thinking of you Michael! So sorry to hear what you've been dealing with.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @11:13:55 AM
Every man dies, not every man really lives-William Wallace. I think you qualify for the later.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @3:28:01 PM
Hang in there pal, it sounds like your faith is strong. I like to think that the Lord isn't through with you yet.
Monday, April 4, 2016 @5:15:33 PM
Pogo...I'm so glad you got into the right hospital.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 @10:01:33 AM
I'm glad you are in a good place and getting good care and enjoying your music. Prayers sent from Georgia!
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 @9:04:45 AM
Hang in there, Michael! You should still have lots left on your 100 million note warranty!
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 @2:59:02 PM
Very sorry to hear the news. You are well liked. My prayers to you.
Saturday, April 9, 2016 @12:11:17 PM
Micheal, Hang in there. Don't give up the ship! I wish I were there...
Saturday, April 9, 2016 @5:29:57 PM
Michael I will be crying out to the throne room on your behalf, rest assured
Thursday, April 14, 2016 @5:32:17 AM
Having friends can seem to be little enough until we find how little our wealth can really buy.
I lost a friend to this last Fall. It was not his first go 'round with prostate cancer. I met him as a survivor and we played together for the last 7 years. Occasionally he suffered, as conventional treatments were no longer effective, but most of the time he was a spark plug. He never made a fuss and he never backed down. Ever. I think of him regularly and the magic we made with fiddle and banjo.
Sunday, April 17, 2016 @6:30:30 AM
What a testimony of what prayer can (providing you a room where needed) Also a reminder to me when I grumble at the husband about playing at the nursing homes. Although we receive no monetary pay the blessings from the residents smiling faces is in it's self rewarding. Bowing my head in humble prayer asking for peace and comfort for both you and your wife.
Monday, April 18, 2016 @10:43:25 PM
Just read the edit in big bold type. I'm thrilled you were able to find a spot in the place you played so many years. I've thought of you every day since I first read your post. Hope your spirits are staying U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U !
Friday, May 6, 2016 @6:56:42 AM
Sadly, Michael passed away on April 24. Here is info about the celebration of life, memorial, wake that will be held. FROM HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY: MICHAEL'S MEMORIAL:
Michael's memorial will be held at 1pm on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the apartment complex where he and his wife Joy lived at 1200 Park Avenue in Chico. It will take place in the large reception area on the first floor of the main building. There will be room for many people to come, as it is a big space with lots of windows, tables and chairs, a full kitchen, and access to a lovely landscaped central courtyard. His sisters Janet and Judy are asking that people not spend money on flowers, but to bring food to share (potluck) instead. Because of the full kitchen, it can be hot food, cold food, casseroles, salads, desserts, etc. There will be a minister to give a small service, but mostly what they wish is that this will be like a wake, where everyone can celebrate Michael's life, with stories, music, food, and love. The only other request they have is that no one bring alcoholic beverages, but there will be lots of other kinds of beverages.
(The parking may be a little difficult, as there is no real visitor parking lot. But, there should be lots of street parking on the residential streets behind and parallel to the apartment complex.) If there is anyone who cannot attend but wishes to share a memory of Michael Springer, send a message to me and I will be happy to read any message and pass along to his family. (Laurel Paulson-Pierce, e-mail: email@example.com)
Friday, May 6, 2016 @7:01:30 AM
This is a brief summary and timeline of Michael's illness and passing. Many people have asked for this, and we hope it will give a sense of peace to those who were unable to be with him at the end.
Michael apparently learned of his illness just last October/November after seeing his doctor and getting some diagnostic tests. He was told that he had probably had prostate cancer for a long time (and he had never been treated for it). But now, there were tumors on his spine and this new cancer was serious. The doctors soon started radiation treatments, then decided to wait on chemo until he had recovered from the radiation. He may have disclosed this to a few people, but really did not tell any of his friends.
By early February his radiation was finished, but he was not feeling very well. However, he was still hopeful that he could get better. A few friends did learn of his condition, reached out to him, and were alarmed to find out how difficult his situation had become. They immediately jumped in to offer any help or assistance that they could. Michael felt that he and Joy were okay with the assistance they were already getting from various agencies and their church, but he needed friends to let him talk about anything or everything that was on his mind, bring him a few items he needed, run errands for him, and most importantly, play music for him.
By the last week of February, however, his friends were becoming afraid for him. Michael was continuing to lose weight and was in and out of Enloe every few days. He then finally agreed to disclose the seriousness of his condition to a few others. Very soon after that, Michael began losing feeling in his lower legs and could not walk. The doctors had told Michael earlier, but now we all knew that it was bone cancer. He would not be leaving the hospital again.
In mid March, the doctors suggested hospice, and after some bureaucratic wrangling, a good friend who worked at Twin Oaks was able to cut through all of the red tape, and got him into Twin Oaks. He was moved from Enloe to Twin Oaks on April 1.
Michael was failing fast. The paralysis was up to his waist; he could not get out of bed. His weight was dropping rapidly, and he had great difficulty speaking, but his continued request was for friends to bring him the music he so loved. And as much as possible, those who were able to visit him brought instruments, played, and sang for him (sometimes even with the staff and other patients there to join in or listen). His sisters Janet and Judy took turns driving up from Grass Valley every day to be with him, and even Karen, his sister from Denver, was able to come and spend 3 days with him. Everyone wanted him to know how much he was loved.
The end came on April 24. A friend, a staff member, and one of his sisters were all with him that evening. They played and sang for a long time, then decided to give him a little break to let him rest. When they came back from their short walk, Michael had quietly passed.
Sunday, May 8, 2016 @6:52:58 AM
Thanks for sharing these details with us
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 @12:01:51 PM
Hang in there buddy and remember, with God all things are possible! praying for you and your family.
Rev T. ( FP2 )
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 @6:11:47 AM
deeply saddened by this, when I 1st joined this site pogo was one of the 1st people to respond to my many questions. I always appreciated his intelligence and wit. Been on a social media break for a while, came back today to see he had passed. We are poorer for his passing.
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