My Soundtrack For Brain Cancer
Mark and I met in Maui this past November while I was doing some work for Athletes For Cancer. I had been told by Molly (What Rhymes With Breast Cancer) that we would likely both hit it off as Mark is big into music. She was not wrong. I fell in love with Mark in no time. While we were supposed to be setting up for Camp we found ourselves geeking out over our latest favourite discoveries in the world of music which suddenly led us into the story of his Cancer journey, a wild ride of love, heartbreak, beauty, terror and wonder. I feel so grateful to have met this human and have had the opportunity to escape the busy and hectic life of social media and technology, hunker down in a hut on the beaches of Maui and have an hour and a half of real talk.
Mark is a prolific music critic and blogger. Below is an excerpt from his latest essay written for FOLKS Magazine. If you're looking to expand your music library with some undiscovered gems be sure to check out his blog YVYNL.
How Do You Talk To Your Kids When You Have Cancer?
by - MARK SCHONEVELD
My diagnosis is teaching me about fatherhood, and how to prepare my kids for the day when I’m not around anymore.
Weeks before my son was born, I had my first seizure.
It exploded in epic grand mal fashion, turning the evening sky into the brightest rainbow I had ever seen. For a minute or two, the corner of Austin’s 3rd and Congress turned into a dance of brilliant color.
When I opened my eyes, less than a second later, I was strapped to a gurney, covered with blood.
This traumatic turn of events was what led to me being diagnosed with oligoastrocytoma, a type of terminal brain cancer. But before I could even think about what this meant for me, I needed to think about what it meant for my pregnant wife–then in her third trimester– and the child that was soon to come.
I didn’t have long to think about it, though. Six weeks later, and only hours after my second brain surgery, my son Soren was born. The surgeons had only just finished closing the hole in my head with 140 staples, having just extracted the last visible traces of my tumor.
Ever since that moment, almost four years ago, I’ve been two things: a cancer survivor, and a father. I’m technically living on borrowed time, but my wife, Erin, and I do our best to keep moving forward. After Soren, we added a brand new set of twins to our already cacophonous lives, and I joined the ranks of stay-at-home dad to give myself more time to heal.