When I began writing this blog it was in part an effort to refocus my mind on my life as a potter. Running an art center and trying to be a potter at the same time often leaves me feeling discombobulated. It was never my intention to get too personal here, but rather to share some of my passion for clay and connect to more of my fellow travelers.

So, now I’m breaking my own rules here…It’s not easy to share this with you all, but this Friday I’m to be operated on for colon cancer…while it is a serious surgery the outlook is very positive and my expectation is to be back in the studio by the new year. If you know anything about cancer, mine has been identified as T1-0. That indicates that I have the lowest level (T1) and that no lymph nodes are involved. This is all good. I have a great surgeon on my side and he intends to try to do this laproscopically, which means a much less invasive procedure. I also have an extraordinary community of friends who are rallying to watch out for me and help me get through this.
I may be off line here for a bit, but rest assured I will find something to go on about before long.
One bit of preaching…if you are approaching a certain age (I’m 54) call your physician and make an appointment for a colonoscopy. That’s the only reason I found out and I count myself lucky to have learned this early on.
As an amusement I’ve included a photo from 1969…8th grade graduation. I’ve been a geek for a l-o-n-g time!

37 Responses to “Reality…Intrudes…”

  1. Sharon

    Thanks for sharing with us about your surgery. So sorry you must have this disruption in your life, but if you must have cancer, this is the kind to have. It’s great that you’ve caught it early and I just feel that the dr will be able to make you good as new, however good that is! Sending good thoughts your way. You have many “friends” from blogville who will be lifting you up in prayer.

  2. Michael Kline

    Thanks for sharing this with us, your friends and readers. I was just making an appointment with my doctor for my yearly checkup. I have had too many friends battle with cancer in the last couple of years. I wish you all the best and our prayers are for your speedy recovery. We’ll be in touch. Much love to you.

  3. John

    I want to add some pithy comment about glazes not really shining until after they have been through the fire, but will leave the silly analogies to the poets and simply wish you balance, which was what helped me during my ‘firing’ in 2002.

  4. Denny Howard

    Dan, wishing you the best! I’ve been in a similar place – prostate cancer – caught early and surgery was successful. It definately changes your out look on life. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

  5. Mike Huff

    Wishing you well from Tokyo, Dan. I’ve got one of your bowls in the center of the table in front of me, now filled with fresh walnuts from Aomori, sometimes filled with apples from the north of Japan. Everyday I see that bowl, and I might think of you for a moment. Now, I’ll be thinking of you more often, hoping for your speedy recovery, every morning when I grab a walnut or piece of fruit from that bowl. Get well soon.

  6. Aaron Sober

    Best of luck in the coming weeks. People everywhere are wishing you the best of luck and strength as you move forward. Keep us updated and don’t be shy. Lot’s of love.

  7. Hollis Engley

    No worries, Daniel. You’ve got people around the planet pulling for you. And you’ve got that great community in F-burg. You’ll be fine come January and in the meantime, enjoy being taken care of. We’re with you.
    Hollis and Dee

  8. ariel freeman

    “About suffering, they were never wrong, The Old Masters: how well they understood, It’s human position; how it takes place, While someone else is eating or opening a window, or just walking dully along.” WH Auden.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I also struggle with (and often loose) detailing personal insights. It is difficult to separate art from life. I have taken care of many of Dr E’s patients after surgery and you are in extremely good hands. Dream of clay and pots and planning your next kiln firing; it will help distract from the discomfort and “institution” of the hospital. See you soon and warmest regards.

  9. Larry Watson

    I’ve had a cancer journey, so I can relate my own experience. My sister told me over and over, when I would get frustrated or tired, “Your only job is to get well.”

    One thing I learned is that the “ironic gifts” show up in surprising and subtle ways. My advice is to keep your eyes open for all the little miracles. . .

  10. Daryl

    When we pour coffee for each other at our house, it’s preceded by a question: “A Finnegan?” We don’t really need to ask. Of course, a Finnegan.
    You’re in our thoughts, Dan. Be well.
    Julie and Daryl

  11. Yvonne Cooper

    Cancer is not a death sentence anymore. There are many of us, survivors out here. You’ve just joined a new family. Just like making pots is a process; so is healing. Huge healing hugs from a 6+ year survivor of leiomyosarcoma and fellow ceramic artist. Yvonne

  12. forgelady

    The Sullivan clan from King George
    holds you close during the next few months. You’ll be up before you know it and throwing pots for your next show.
    You are in our prayers for a speedy recovery.
    Melissa and Ross

  13. edan

    Hi Dan,
    I’m sorry to hear about the cancer. I hope you recover quickly and well!

    I’m a little bit closer to Fredericksburg now (Cincinnati) — I’d love to come visit you sometime!


  14. Debbie Williamson

    Fireworks in my head and stomach, Not knowing what I’ll find or do next. Hopefully, I will get used to it, Let it become a new part Of my exciting, everyday life. First Day by Mattie Stepanek. You had your ‘First Day’ with cancer … we look forward to your ‘First Day’ without. Much love – muddy hug.

  15. Incognito

    Hollis is so right about the Fredericksburg community holding you in our collective hands during this time. We love you and care about you deeply.

    I will be with you tomorrow in spirit (don’t worry, I won’t look!). Peace, Dan, and let me know when I can bring some veggie loaf over. ~ Ruth

  16. Hannah

    Hi Dan, Sorry to hear this news, the good thing is you seem like a tough bugger, you can fight it if anybody can. Thinking of you. xxx

  17. John

    Dan Finnegan update (#2= Saturday afternoon): Dan is in good spirits and is up and walking (he has done a lap of the ward twice now), doing his breathing exercises and keeping the back of his gown closed (Thankfully!) He is in excellent humor and was quoting the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats: “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”

  18. Russ Hopkins

    Hi Dan, Russ Hopkins here. I just got the news through Toff so I found your blog & entered the new world. I hope everything goes well with the upcoming surgery, I’m sure you’re in the best hands. The family are doing fine & Ollie knows his uncle Dan as ‘the man with the big beard & funny voice who knows how to draw’. Wishing you all the best of luck & I’m sure the spirit of Eddie will be with you.


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