The next morning, our last day in Disney, I woke up to my kids talking to each other. I sat up in bed and just looked at them. There voices sounded normal. I couldn’t believe it. Matter of fact, I didn’t believe it. I put on the radio, it sounded normal. I was so excited and happy but I still didn’t say anything to my wife because I was afraid I was mistaken. “What if it was still messed up? Let’s not get overly excited, Steve”, I thought to myself.
About 15 minutes later I told my wife. I then shared with her the whole story about the prayer I had prayed the night before. She didn’t seem surprised. I was shocked and in awe that God had actually performed a miracle for me and answered my prayer. She just smiled and said “Of course, he does that all the time”. I just looked at her amazed at her faith. “Not like this!” I said. We went home to New Hampshire later that day and I was one happy camper.
For the last five years things have gone pretty smoothly. Normal life stuff. Nothing to write a blog about. I’m happy about that! I don’t know the why behind all the things in this story and I doubt I ever will but part of me thinks this last story was so very important to me and my journey.
You see, as you could probably tell as you read the story, I was growing increasingly more and more negative. Many times I doubted if God existed. Other times, I thought “Well if he does exist, he’s kind of a jerk!”. Other times, I thought “Well, if he does exist, he could care less about me!”. I know many of you who are reading this might be thinking it was just a coincidence and God had nothing to do with it. I just happened to pray that prayer the night before my hearing was to return to normal. Believe me, many times I have even thought that myself. But I keep coming back to that prayer that I said. I laid it all out like I never had before. I told him that if I were to see him work immediately then there would be no question in my mind. He did exist and he does care about me. He is involved in my life and working and moving. The next morning, I woke up and was cured. You might think it was a coincidence but I like to believe it was something else.
Since that time in 2005, life has been good. My girls are getting bigger everyday. I’ve had many fun and happy times with them. More than I can count. I’ve had great times with my wife who is my best friend. We bought a house that we all love and feel lucky to live in. I feel very grateful and fortunate.
I had someone ask me once if I had any regrets? Would I go back and change something from my past if I had the power to do so? Without even thinking about it I said “No”. I wouldn’t change a thing. Brain tumor, cancer, bacterial meningitis, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, headaches, shunt and even depression. Those things have all worked to make me who I am today. They have all brought me to this place. It feels good to be here. I don’t want to leave this place. I’m afraid that if I were to change one thing in the past then that would change where I am today and who I am right now. I like this place. No thanks. I’ll stay right here.
I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m not sure if I’m out of the woods yet. I pray daily that none of my girls take after me with health issues. That’s my biggest fear. Every time one of them says they have a headache I get scared. I’m hopeful though. It’s out of my hands. There is nothing I can do. About me and my future or about them and their futures. All we can do is the best that we can and at a certain point we all come to a point where we are too weak to handle things ourselves. Some people never get to that point until they are lying on their deathbed. Some people have too many of those moments through out their lives. I do believe that if we can look at those moments with the right perspective we can learn a lot about ourselves and the people around us. There were many times during this story that I thought I was cursed. Now as I write this story out, I have a different view, maybe I am blessed and not cursed, maybe I am one of the luckiest people on earth. I think it’s a matter of perspective.
Like I wrote earlier in the story, I’m writing this to those of you out there that will read it and get something out of it. I’m not even sure what you will get out of it and I have already received many emails from people who were touched, moved or inspired in ways that I had not anticipated. I do pray for those of you out there that are in a dark place such as I was in. I’ve been there and know how sad and lonely it can be. I pray and hope that you can and will come out the other side and end up in a place that is good to be in. A place that you yourselves don’t want to leave. Thanks for taking the time to read about my journey! Take care and stay healthy! Steve
Steve & Brenda with Sarah,Melissa, Jillian and dog Tucker
Susan Forbes says
Thanks for this.
I can’t even say anything else. Just Wow.
Robert & Lezanne Brunsdon says
We have been avidly reading your blogs and feel you are a truly inspirational person to have gone through all your trials and to have come out the other side without being bitter. We know a little about the awful trauma of life threatening illness as our 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia two years ago. We spent 8 months in hospital with her whilst she underwent chemotherapy. She is still in remission and doing well but that experience has affected and still affects our lives. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and we wish you and your family continued good health.
Sean Kelly says
Thanks for sharing your story Steve. You are an incredibly strong individual! You have my respect for having the attitude you do after having gone through what you did. Inspirational!
Michele Perella says
Steve, Thank you for the poignant reflection of your journey so far. Your mother was kind enough to allow me (and I’m sure others) the privilege of learning from your trials. I do know the depths of depression and you so eloquently expressed them. I also am beginning to understand the power of God through the Holy Spirit. Again, my thanks.
Keith Troutt says
I stumbled upon your site a few years ago and purchased some of your books but I never read any of your blog post until today. I’m really glad I did. Thanks for the courage to share your story. It was an inspiration to me.
I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know you were blogging about your personal history with cancer and depression.
I feel very blessed to have an awesome brother-in-law such as yourself! It’s been so much fun working with you on this website! You have made it a fantastic resource for many people.
Talk to you soon,
PS> Who took that awesome picture of your family??? :?)
Thanks Mike. http://www.laurakleinphotography.com as if you didn’t know…………..
Martin T. mc Donnell says
Your life has been an incredible journey! So many people live the horrors of life and can never share the experience. Thank you for sharing and teaching us the value of God, family, love and perseverance. Your strength, your family’s strength is a wonder to behold! To ultimately realize a happy ending is your final blessing!
Well, I just got around to reading the last few installments and was totally blessed to see how God healed you and that you aren’t afraid or ashamed to give Him the glory. Your website and contributions to SOTW are always informative and interesting, although you really haven’t been much help in me losing my mouthpiece G.A.S.!! LOL
God bless you.
Thanks Honeyboy. I appreciate the thoughts and well wishes. Steve
Mike Abraham says
I just stumbled upon these posts after downloading my monthly lessons. It’s a stunning and humbling story that makes me feel utterly unworthy of my good fortune. Never again will I complain about my petty travails and trivial inconveniences.
Good luck to you in the years ahead. No one deserves it more.
Hi Steve, I have just read ‘As funny as a brain tumor!’ in two sittings this afternoon, (I’m over here in London), I couldn’t put it down, so to speak. Wow, I can’t believe one person went through all that. Your story made me laugh and cry and it really would make a good film, espeacially as you have come out of it so strong. I am sure you have a long, healthy and happy life ahead of you now. All the best to you from the UK Steve. Justin.
Thanks Justin. I appreciate the well wishes. The doctors are actually talking to me about back surgery now…………..It never ends.
Cristiano von Simson says
I had already noticed that you are a “nice guy” on the SaxOnTheWeb forum. Your comments were always constructive and you tried to help everyone there with their challenges.
After reading this story I understand that you are really a great soul. Being able to share your experiences, even the darkest moments, so that people can learn from it is a great gesture. And not an easy one.
I am happy that things worked well for you in the end, and that you have such a great family.
Thank you for sharing this and for sharing your knowlege in the musical area too.
Thanks Cristiano. That means a lot to me. Thanks for hangin in there and reading the whole thing. I hope you are doing well with any challenges you might face now and in the future. Steve
George Pekarovic says
I have been visiting your web and enjoying your clips for about a year and it is only now that I bumped into your other topic. Fascinating reading. I can make a qualified guess at what an ordeal it must have been. I got my share too. In 1991 I spent 5 months in an intensive care unit on artificial ventilation, completely paralysed. In spite of all odds I got through that and I am blessed with three sons and a loving wife.
Congratulations. Your attitude is admirable. By the way, my father was a surgeon and my mother was a neurologist. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, God Bless you and your family.
George (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Great to hear from you. It sounds like we have had similar experiences and have come out on the other side………You have 3 sons, I have 3 daughters. It’s good to know there are people in the world in the same boat as ourselves. Keep in touch. Steve
David Mendoza says
Hi Steve. Hope you are ok now, after the back surgery. Really an inspiration! I always thought of you as a Great Sax Player and now a Great Human Being. God Bless you and you family.
Thank you for sharing your story, and reinforcing to me that God brings good out of the awful things that happen to us sometimes. I’ve had a rough few months – Lost my job, got hit by a car while cycling (nasty injuries, won’t go into details), and then my bro-in-law rolls and destroys our only car. But I’m restarting my music teaching career, have discovered that I have some amazing, caring friends, and my husband is supportive, loving and funny. We also found ourselves one night searching though my old Bible for answers, and found the passage that you mentioned earlier on about not being tested beyond what you could bear. We felt at our limit too. But we left things with Him and slowly we are getting back on track too – and finding things to smile about each day. Thank you for sharing your story. You reminded me of the things I already knew, but we forget so easily.
Far North Queensland, Australia
It’s so great to hear from you. I’m sorry that you are going through this tough time. I do believe that those times will make the better times later even better for you. Sometimes I think back to those rough times and it reminds me to be grateful for what I have now and how lucky I am. Finding things to smile about each day is huge. I pray that things will get better and you can look back on these days and just shake your head in wonder someday. Keep smiling. Steve
I definitely find your story to be very inspirational and I feel like that’s a huge understatement in my opinion but I can’t think of words to describe how I feel better than that there are no words. I haven’t been through all the physical ailments as you but I definitely relate to how you talked to God with sincerity and he seems to answer when you mean what you say with all your heart and being. I know that no matter what God allows me to experience I will be happy til the end and this is confirmation of it for me. I also know God knows how much I can handle. That does worry me a little because I think I have an idea of what I can and can’t handle. But your story is absolute confirmation for me that God is very real and he does love us. I just pray that I don’t have to go through all that you have. I hung on every word of your writing and it felt like I was right there with you. Staying positive regardless of the outcome is very important. Even if the outcome isn’t good news. There is always good news and it is that there is a God and He does love us. Thank you for reminding me like this.
Brandon (Bellingham, Washington)
Thanks so much for the feedback and comments Brandon. It’s great to hear that my story has impacted or encouraged someone else out there. Keep the faith, Steve
Marty Forsling says
You’ve helped me re-new my faith. I’ve felt ‘cursed’ for 20 years since my wife died of a malignant pituitary tumor. I also work in oncology and cellular biology and see these horrible things day in and day out.
I’m still a professional musician and appreciate the gift, but don’t think I’ve ever been honest enough with myself to think I’m ‘cursed”. The story was bad, but things are OK. You’ve got a lot of courage and, by the way, God’s got your back!
I think I’ll have a long and open talk myself. You’re an inspiration and I admire your humility. Take care and keep on playing!
Thanks Marty. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I know it’s hard to face things and really get in touch with what your feeling. It’s scary. I wish you all the best and thanks for the well wishes and encouragement. I really appreciate it. Steve
Thank you for sharing your story with me. Reading your story was like listening to Blues tunes; blowin’ my blues away, in a good way.
It was also inspirational and a bonding moment for me with my teacher, yourself. You are not just a guy in a lesson video anymore!
I just finished reading all this at 5am! I live in Panama city, Panama (central america) and i have read many of your reviews about mouthpieces, saxophones and music culture and wisdom in general. I´m more than impressed. I have to thank you for taking the time and courage of sharing this with all of us that follow you as musician. The wisdom, joy and faith that are builded after going through this kind of experiences are priceless and I believed that God is giving you back all the time, energy and happiness you thought you had lost throughout that entire situation. Im very touched by this indeed. Thank you so much! God bless you.
Hi Steve. I just read your amazing story in one sitting. Wow. You wrote it in a refreshingly honest and straightforward manner. Most of us have never gone through the type of life experiences that you have, but I think if we’re honest, a lot of the feelings and frustrations you shared are so human and common to us all. I believe God is big enough to handle and love us through our hardest questions, doubts, and disappointments. I’m so glad he restored your hearing to normal. I am also glad that you share your talents and gifts with our church family. Praise God for you and your family.
Peter Yu says
I was your student for few months last year , as a sax improvisation beginner, from your youtube samples . I notice your kindness , enthusiasm in teaching each lessons .
Apparently only today I find your amazing story and read all through the end. Your story will be a best seller at Amazon !
I am so lucky and so proud to have you as my teacher and hero .
Thanks so much Peter. I feel blessed to be able to teach students like yourself that are all over the world. Thanks so much for writing me and being such an encouragement. I really appreciate it. Steve
Aubrey Caldwell says
I am a teacher and a performer and I recently decided to buy a saxophone. I played extensively throughout elementary, middle, high school and a bit in college. I really do miss it and I felt that, lately, it might add a whole new dynamic to my band, especially being the lead singer.
I was doing research on what was new out there and came upon your review of the Berkeley brand. From there, I found your website and from there spent most of my afternoon reading you story, only to be stopped because I had play rehearsal, and now I am back and have finished!
I am a person with a chronic illness (Crohn’s Disease). I am a teacher. I am a musician. I am a Christian. And I am completely moved by your story. I found myself, at times throughout, speaking out loud, “YES!”, especially at your hospital moments…(not sleeping, the time you had too much fluid and it went south! I am a female and that exact same thing happened to me! I freaked! BWA-HA-HA!). My point is, I share so much of your life and your passion for music and teaching and I want to say thank you for writing that. What courage you have inspired within me! A renewal! An affirmation and such a lovely gift today.
Thank you, Steve. God bless you and your beautiful family. May you have all the success that your heart desires.
I will be buying one of your books to get back into the swing of things on the saxophone. I think I have decided upon a Berkeley Tenor…we shall see. And I will be checking in from time to time to see how you are doing. Thanks so much.
With Respect and Adoration,
It’s great to meet you. I love to hear from people that can relate to my story! I feel bad that you and I have to go through stuff like this but I feel blessed to meet others who through faith and courage have lived through a variety of illnesses. I wrote my story to perhaps encourage others but in truth I have been encouraged by all the feedback and prayers I have received from writing it. Thanks for writing to me and being so encouraging. Stay in Touch, Steve
I finally got the surgery I needed in the emergency room as the docs determined I had cauda equina syndrome and would have been paralyzed from the waist down. I’m doing much better now and your story was a good inspiration to me. I had no insurance but must have been at the right place at the right time. I commented on your blog before I had surgery so its nice to see a little hope and prayer go a long ways. Thank God for walking on two legs. Its one heck of a privelege.
Brandon Keith of Washington State
John Wheeler says
I’ve been working with your fantastic books for months now and am enjoying seeing the improvement in my playing as a result. I just discovered your blog and read it in one sitting (it’s so compelling, I don’t know how anyone could stop reading). Thanks for sharing your story with such honesty and openness. I’m very touched by it. I really hope your hospital days are behind you now. Best wishes to you and your family.
Thanks John. I appreciate that you took the time to read it. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they started at 11:30 at night and the next thing they knew it was 1 AM. I hope my hospital days are over also. I had some weirdness in December with dizziness and other symptoms. Had a whole bunch of tests done but they never figured out what it was. It just went away on it’s own………..Anyways, thanks for sending me the “good” vibes and wishes. I appreciate it. Steve
Well…. Yours were some ofthe earliest posts I read when I started with the sax a few years back. I remember thionking who/what is Nefertiti…. Eventually the real name caame through, the mouthpiece reviews…. Incredibly helpful as I started my personal sax journey.
Just discovered this. Wonderful that you’ve come through. Wonderful that you kept your faith and have been able to witness it so well. Wonderful that you’re blessed with such a fabulous family. My faith has lapsed a bit – I still believe but haven’t worsshipped for quite a while. Time to get back in I think. Your experience of the faith/prayers mirros my own, evne though it wasn’t such difficult circumstances.
Thanks for sharing!
Go well, God Bless! Kev
Thanks Kev. I appreciate the encouragement and thoughts. I’m still going through health issues to this day and struggling to keep my faith through it all. I could probably add some more chapters to the story but it’s hard to do that when you don’t know the ending or diagnosis. I have a feeling by my symptoms that I still might have a few crazy medical stories to add before this life is over………..Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to write to me. I really appreciate that. Good Luck finding a community that you can worship with and have tight relationships with. I believe that is very important to our journey. Steve
Steve, sorry to hear you’re having more problems. Share, it helps!
Thanks……It’s too long to go into. I’ll wait until I have a resolution and if it’s a good story maybe add a Part 16 to the story……….Thanks, Steve
What can I say. I HATE reading but I finished this(all parts) in one sitting. Truly inspiring. I can not claim to have seem a quater of what you experience but I’m glad you were able to come back to the realization that God is a good God! I have also learned that HE gives every good and every perfect gifts. HE does not tempt us with evil. James 1:13-18. It will be wrong for HIM to place the chastisement of our peace on Jesus and then put this evil on us again
It is the thief that comes to still, kill and destroy but For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:8. Its amazing that towards the end of you story you learnt to resist the devil and he fled James 4:7. You are right that we can not avoid the enemy coming at us, but we can surely resist him. A mentor once told me that you cannot avoid a bird flying over your head but you can avaid the bird making a nest on your head.
I am truely inspired by your story. Continue to enjoy a vital heath. By his striped you WERE healed Isaiah 53:5, 1Peter2:24
Jo, Thanks for the encouragement and great scripture references. I appreciate you taking the time to right. Take Care, Steve
Steve, I read your story after reading your post today. What an amazing and powerful story. I pray that you are doing well following your most recent surgery, and have a speedy recovery.
Sanjaya Ajaye says
Your my online musical hero,
take good care of yourself.
Chris Lang says
Hi Steve, just wanted to thank you for the time and effort you poured into telling your story. You could have just kept it close to the vest, but you chose to share- and countless people have been and will be blessed by it. Your selfless attitude in sharing your vast sax knowledge has carried over into this broader and grander subject. I am lucky to be able to hear your tone in stereo, and trust me, you sound GREAT. More importantly, you reflect the heart of Christ in and throughout your life. You are looking and sounding great to Him, no doubt. I am blessed and inspired.
Peace, Chris Lang
Jacob Peff says
Wow Mr. Neff. this is all news to me! I hope you are feeling better… and you are the best sax teacher EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! You’ve been the amazing. I look forward to taking some skype lessons with you in the future.
Tim Stobart Austrsalia says
I have just read your story,it brought me to tears.
If mike tyson was only half as tough as you he would still be world champ
Thanks Tim. I’m not sure how tough I am……..(my wife says I’m a wimp) I’m just trying to handle and deal with what happens to me. Thanks for the encouragement. Steve
Walter Ruckdeschel says
I am deeply impressed by Your story and it helps me to put some problems of mine in the right perspective. Stay up and take care!
Thanks Walter. I appreciate the encouragement. Steve
TIM AUS says
I was looking at your mpc site and saw that you made a baffle for a metal
otto link.Could you tell me what material you use and if it is possible to
file to shape after it has gone hard
I hope your last operation went well
Best wishes TIM AUS
I’ve used two different materials for baffles. One is called Apoxie Sculpt and that stuff is awesome. It’s two putty like materials that you mix together and then you have some time to sculpt it before it dries. You can sand it later but I had lot of difficulty with that. Maybe I just don’t have the tools but I made a mess of a Florida link I had when I tried to sand the stuff down. I wasn’t patient enough and tried to use a dremel on it. Man, that was a disaster! I slipped and nicked the tip rail. Then I slipped again and nicked the other tip rail. In the end I gave up and sent it to Erik G to fix and sand the baffle for me. I just don’t have patience with that sanding stuff. To be continued…………..
The other stuff I did have more success with was this clear epoxy you buy at Home Depot. It sort of goes on like nail polish. That was easy to use. I took a link that stunk but had a good facing……..it was dead and tubby sounding. I put a nice coat of the stuff from next to the tip rail down to the chamber area. It dried and then I played it……..still stunk but a little better. I put another coat on, let it dry and played it again. A little better. I did this over and over until it was perfect. I loved it BUT after a day of playing it, decided it was too bright. Instead of sanding the baffle down, I chipped the bottom of the baffle off to create a bigger chamber. That did it. The piece was amazing after that. It gave it a fatness that balanced well with the brightness of it. You can see a picture and hear it here. http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2009/08/brian-powell-refaced-ny-link-7/ . You can’t really see the bottom of the baffle in the picture. It doesn’t look great but I think it plays great. I’m not sure how the multiple layers of epoxy will hold up over time. When you press on the baffle hard you can hear a cracking sound………but it’s been about 4 years and the baffle hasn’t fallen out yet……. Anyways, I hope this helps. Good luck, Let me know how you make out.
Howard Brown says
Amazing story, Steve. I could relate because I had my own health crisis for 15 years. Not as serious as yours, but incapacitating. I never got a clear diagnosis, but the concensus was that I was mercury poisoned from my dental fillings. I remember playing gigs so sick I thought I would die on stage. Very hard to blow tenor when you’re ill. Anyway, I truly hope your health issues are behind you. I enjoy your site. I’m about to release a sax instructional video myself called “Outside-IN, Modern Techniques for Jazz Improvisation”. Take care and all the best.
Michael Bard says
Your story is amazing. It is full of what life really is about…The tragedy of your medical circumstances and how you were able to overcome them, the love of your family and your children, the emotional turmoil you experienced and, finally, the peace that you have finally found.
I am a surgeon and, as such, I have seen some bad things. Also, I and my family have had serious medical issues. So, i have seen it from both sides. There are a lot of stories out there but, something about your story and the way you have told it that has really resounded in me. Thank you for having the courage to share this with the world. I for one will be a better person having read this.
Thanks Michael. I appreciate you taking the time to write. It’s an ongoing story as you probably know yourself. I could probably write a few more chapters from the past few years…………. Take Care, Steve
I came to your website looking for soprano mouthpiece reviews. Only after several visits, did I find the link to your story. Just finished the whole thing. Really amazing story. I trust you are doing well today.
Your site is very helpful and has more useful info about saxes and mouthpieces and playing than any other I’ve found. It’s a grace for those who find it. Thanks for all the effort.
Hi Brett, Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate it. I am doing much better although I have had issues over the last 8 years and could probably add to the story……..I have to go in for an MRI next week so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I always get worried what they will find when I have those scans……….
Heinrich von kalnein says
just browsing through your wonderful site in search of one of your more recent mouthpiece tests (as I frequently like to do.. ) I stumbled over your story keeping me absolutely speechless! But what I really liked was that next to your honesty all through your medical horror trip you seemed to always keep a very dry and entertaining sense of humor!
Well, anyway – your story touched me. Please continue doing what you do and all the best to you and your family!
Thanks Heinrich! I appreciate you taking the time to write. I have to go in for a MRI soon. Hopefully it will be uneventful. If not I guess I can add more to the story…………..Steve
Hi Steve – wow, just got through your story and it is incredible. I admire your strength in getting through it all and coming out the other side even stronger. You are making a wonderful contribution to the community with your site – the transcriptions, the reviews, the lessons. I’m glad you made it through. I feel you are providing testimony to God’s goodness and His plan that all things work together in the end for good, even when it is hard to understand in the midst of hard times.
Thanks so much Trent. Your post was very encouraging. I have to admit that one of my daughter’s went through a terrible health scare this summer and that was so much harder for me to handle than what I went through in the brain tumor story. Seeing my own young daughter going through something that bad is just gut wrenching for a father. I spent so much time in prayer and many times I was really mad and ticked off. Thankfully, I worked through all those feelings and my daughter is doing much better. I have no idea why we have to go through some of the stuff we do but I still believe in God and believe there is a purpose behind all of it. Thanks again for your encouragement. Steve
Richard C. Torres, OD says
Thank you for that tremendous piece of literature. You should receive an award for it. Not too many people have the talent for writing as you have.
Takes up sax in 7th grade
Brain stem, no less
Follow-up brain surgery
Diplopia due to IV cranial nerve affected
Crazy thoughts with steering wheel and oncoming traffic
Etc etc etc (I could mention other things)
Like David Letterman might say: Wait… that was me in Dec 1994 – Dec 1995.
Kept me away from my practice for one year.
I’m an optometrist still practicing in New Mexico. Every day is a special day. I thank God for letting me appreciate the clouds, the sky, nature’s colors and just so many things that so many of us fail to marvel at.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.
Enjoy your family,
Richard C. Torres
Thanks for taking the time to write Richard. I know we all have our own stories to share. My events started in 1995 also so it looks like we were going through things at the same time………. Be well, Steve
Dude…..I had no idea. Your life story is a great read. I hope none of the next few chapters include another visit to the hospital. Love your website, books and your mpc reviews. They have saved me a lot of time. You are a resource to the saxophone community. Thanks,
I’ve had a few mishaps medically since that story ended but haven’t felt the energy to post more chapters to it. Maybe in the future…… Thanks for postings and taking the time to say thanks. It means a lot to me. Steve
Doug Casady says
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I went through so many emotions as I read about your challenges. I feel so fortunate to have found this site as a result of wanting to learn more about saxophone mouthpieces. I just bought my first saxophone (an alto) on E-bay and it arrived 2 days ago, and I have no idea what I am doing, I just want to learn how to play a saxophone.
I have been through many surgeries that were to repair damage from work injuries over the years. I was a bricklayer and stone mason for 38 years, and my injuries have taken me away from the trade that I love. I’m so happy for you that you have been able to continue with your passion for playing the saxophone, it sure looks like your blog is providing a wonderful source of encouragement to many people! I’m glad to be able to consider myself one of the many.
I’m going to use learning the saxophone as a way to keep my hands and my mind active, which I need as a replacement for the pleasure I had for many years of spreading mortar and laying those bricks. I miss that sense of accomplishment that comes from building things. I don’t know how to read music yet, but I’m going to learn in spite of being an old dog in a lot of ways.
Thanks for the book referral “Feeling Good ” by David Burns I just ordered it and I’m looking forward to studying it also, it might keep me from wanting to become an overnight sensation as a sax player! I too have that need to over do things!
Happy Easter to you and your family!
Blessings to you,
Hi Doug, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story. I am grateful to still be playing but to be honest these last few years have gotten tougher and tougher. I think all these surgeries have taken a toll on me. I was talking to someone the other day who said they were turning 40 and felt like 50. I told them I’m 46 and feel like I’m a 70 year old. Aches, pains,etc…….I’m sure you know what I’m talking about with your history also……. I wish you well with the saxophone and if you have any questions feel free to ask. Take Care, Steve
Jeff Carter says
Hi Steve ,
I clicked on your story thinking it was an odd title cause I thought there was nothing funny about a tumor , then I started reading it and I tell you I don’t like reading much as my attention span is low , but your story just took me by surprise I had to read the whole thing , what you have been through and come out the other side ,
I wish all the best to you and your lovely family
Hi Jeff, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story. If you start laughing uncontrollably in the future you know what might be causing it now………..Take Care, Steve
Heiner Musiol says
after “meeting” you many times in threads at SOTW, after listening to a lot of your great mouthpiece reviews I read the story of your via dolorosa for the first time.
All the time while reading, I saw your lessons on the right, reading “Mastering the…..”
I can’t help but saying I’m deeply impressed and humbled after reading which obstacles were put in your way and how you MASTERED those. You have my full respect and sympathy.
All the best to you and your family, and I feel humbled again how open, personal and honest your report is.
Thanks so much Heiner! I appreciate the feedback and the time you took to read the story. I’ve been thinking about adding a epilogue to the story as I have had continual health problems since the end of that story. The problem with these recent health issues is that they are chronic and no where as fascinating as a brain tumor, cancer, toxic epidermal necrosis, VT shunt, etc……… but they are still a reality for so many of us that have to live with them everyday…………..”Mastering” something in light of these chronic challenges is much more challenging I have found………..still trying though…………..Steve
Wow Iam so touched by this story and your courage besides the fact you are a great musician and teacher . Good health for you and God Bless you and your family
Thanks Doug! I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Thanks for the blessings also. Take Care, Steve
All I can say is “Wow!”. I’ve visited your site for years, bought several of your books, many lessons – but I never read “Funny as a Brain Tumor” – it was riveting!! I must admit, reading the first few chapters I found myself laughing also, as you described situations with your girlfriend, job reviews, using the restroom, gigging, talking to Doctors, etc. (Not trying to be insensitive – I’m sure it wasn’t funny to you at the time – it was just so… funny to read).
But, I also appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in sharing this story with all of us – including being honest about the anger you felt towards God at times throughout this ordeal – and yet, maintaining your faith. This truly is an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!
(PS. Have you thought of writing a book? 🙂
Thanks Pete. I appreciate you taking the time to read it. I know it is long………. I have thought of writing a book as many people have suggested it. Maybe someday………… Take Care, Steve
Steve I took the time ( it was easy) to read your entire story. All I can say is that you should probably publish it because it is truly inspirational. God bless you and your family. Your story proves that belief in God and persistence is a great combination to overcome any of life’s obstacles…
I’m not sure how I even ended up on this site, but clicked on it because my best friend had an MRI yesterday, and has a brain tumor in her frontal lobe. As I sit here now, in my office, I am waiting for her to call me and let me know how her 2:45pm medical appt. went. I am a nervous wreck, and just want to text her so badly, but feel quite selfish, as she certainly has a million and one reasons to not immediately contact me after her appt. is over.
Your journey has been crazy and incredible and miraculous and unbelievable! What a survivor you are! Someday, I will share it with my best friend, when it is more appropriate (if you will).
I feel helpless right now, but have been praying more than ever over the past 20 hours.
Anyway, I hope you are doing well, and that your family is healthy and thriving!
Thanks for sharing your story.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story Christianne. I will be praying for your friend. I hope there will be positive things that come out of this hard to deal with diagnosis. Steve
Steve, I’m from Argentina, so english is not my mother tongue. But anyway, I spend my time until 4 am reading your touching story.
I came today to your blog by an “accident”, I am a sax player and I was traying to find some material about the michael Brecker style. After that I found your website and and I caught my attention the subjet “funny as a brain tumor” on the menu.
I started to read And I couldn’t stop! Such a story (and in a “slow time” because my basic english)
I just want to say, that you have a beautiful family, you are a great sax player, your blog is so much interesting. And It is good for me (just a person in the bottom of the world), just to know that somebody can fight trought this kind of challenges.
Life is not easy…
Faith sometimes is not enought
Stories like yours, make you keep on trying
Sorry for my bad english
Kind regards from Argentina!
Thank you Alejandro! I appreciate you taking the time to read my story and write back to me. What you said is so true in that life can be so hard and at times our faith can feel like it’s not enough. I love that saying of Jesus in Matthew 17 where he says “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move a mountain…….” It’s interesting because the disciples can’t help a boy with a demon and they ask Jesus why. He says “because you have such little faith……” Then he responds with “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…….” A mustard seed is on of the smallest seeds so I take what Jesus to be saying is it is not so much a matter of how much faith we have but rather who we have faith in perhaps……….Our faith might not feel like enough at times but certainly whatever we are dealing with is not to big for God to handle and work through. That’s how I see it anyways. Take care, Steve
Hana Dolgin says
Thanks for sharing your amazing story! I kept reading, though it was long. You have been through so much, more than most people. I am a saxophonist, too. I can imagine how you felt being told you wouldn’t be able to play anymore, and I am so glad you could continue to play.
I have one thing to offer you, that may help you, as it helps most people. I don’t know to what degree. There is a very healthy kind of water made by a medical device from Japan that is now available worldwide. It makes water that is alkaline, antioxidant and more hydrating than other waters. There is research on it that show it has many health benefits.
It is called Kangen water. Our body is about 70% water and our brain is over 80% water. Many people have experienced tremendous improvements in their health from drinking this water. I would be glad to share more information with you, if you are interested. You can visit my website http://www.drinkfreshKangen.com. I have more detailed information I would be glad to share with you.
All the best and may every day be healthy and bright for you and your family!