Back in the High Life Again

When I was in college and thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist, I started reading psychology journals to see what I was in for. The foray into a psychiatric career didn’t last long, but I did read an article then that has stuck with me all these years. 

The subjects of a study were asked to write down each song that would come into their consciousness throughout each day, and then record how they were feeling at the time. There was quite a correlation. I have often found that a song that lingers in my mind is a strikingly accurate indicator of how I am actually feeling.

Today, Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life Again” has been in my mind. I am not surprised. Yesterday I received word that I have healed and will not require jaw replacement surgery. When my oral oncologist delivered the news, I started fist-pumping like Kirk Gibson gimping around the bases on a bum leg after his famous home run in the 1988 World Series. We high-fived, and she and her assistant were beaming almost as much as I. 

A year ago, the news was not so rosy. An oral surgeon had rendered the verdict that my two lower wisdom teeth had to come out and, thanks to radiation three years earlier, their removal would almost certainly lead to necrosis (death!) of my jaw requiring jaw replacement – a truly hideous procedure. This news led me to a pretty dark place. Fortunately, after a few months in a deep funk I was referred to Dr. Heidi Hansen. The outstanding care provided by her and her team at Providence Oral Oncology not only gave me hope, but ultimately brought about this great result. (It did not hurt that I spent what seemed like 2 or 3 hours a day on oral care, as she had directed.)

The euphoria of this moment will, of course, pass and other challenges will arise. But for right now, for this moment, I am back in the high life…again.

Steve Winwood, Back in the High Life:

31 thoughts on “Back in the High Life Again

  1. Hey Cancer Buddy! This is awesome news! I’m also thinking of “I Can See Clearly Now” – your (and mine) theme song!!


  2. Ken, thank you for such profoundly positive news—and inspiring observations.
    Give thanks and Press on!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Douglas B. Jensen

    5260 North Palm Ave., Suite 201
    Fresno, CA 93704
    Tel: (559) 432-5400 ext. 202
    Fax: (559) 432-5620


    This e-mail may contain confidential, privileged information, protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, intended only for the use of the addressee. Do not read, copy or disseminate this e-mail unless you are the addressee. If you have received this e-mail in error, please call us (collect) immediately at (559) 432-5400 and ask to speak to the message sender. Please e-mail the message back to the sender by using the reply feature of your e-mail system. After replying to the sender, please immediately delete this e-mail from your Inbox and empty your Trash folder. Thank you.


  3. What a wonderful way to head into the weekend, Ken. So very happy for you! “I can see clearly now, the rain has stopped.”


  4. Well, this is very very wonderful news. Especially meaningful that it put you in the highlife. I am so very pleased for you. This note is a lot shorter than the path. It has been to get here. I recognize that and I applaud you for your commitment. Congratulations!


  5. That is wonderful news Ken ! It has been a long road. Now what? Am looking forward to hear more from you,


  6. I could not be happier for you,Ken. Sweet relief. The many prayers have also helped you get to this point, along with your outstanding medical care and your diligence in oral care. SO thankful you can live the high life again. ” The other Shirl”


  7. Ken,

    Thank you so much for sharing this good news. You are an inspiration. We should try to connect sooner than later.


    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Ken, this is such great news! I’m so happy for you. I know it probably wasn’t easy, but you seemed to keep a positive attitude (at least on the outside). Enjoy the high life again!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s