FEBRUARY 8, 2016It is with great sadness that I must share with you that my “occupational partner,” Dave Anderson, passed away on February 7, 2016 at 9:17pm. His battle with pancreatic cancer was an open book for many who listened to our Mark & Dave Show on AM 860 KPAM (and 1190 KEX before that) and who watched Dave on AM NORTHWEST on Channel 2. He filled his daily battle with the disease with humor and purpose and never succumbed to the seductive lure of self-pity -- truly an inspiration to all. His incredible family was with him by his side, caring for him and carrying the weight of everyone around them, as he slipped peacefully from his earthly bonds. Now a short, personal note. I lost my best friend last night. But I left nothing on the table between me and Dave. There was absolutely nothing that I needed to say to him during his final struggle that I didn’t say to him when he was alive, and I think he would say the same for me. We talked, texted, or emailed every day without fail. You don’t live in a small studio with a guy for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and play golf with him on weekends unless you really like the guy, and I loved him. I am at peace knowing he knew that. The only thing I will regret is now not seeing or talking to my best friend every day. That’s personal. I’ll deal with it by leaning on 14 years of an absolutely incredible friendship.Thanks for the kind thoughts, knowing you are also extending them to his wonderful family. (His signature will stay because we were a team.)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2016If you have made it this far, you are certainly one who knows where to unearth inside info on the show.I am no longer at KPAM (”What? Really? You kidding me?”)My last show was Thursday, October 20, 2016, and what a great time we had over the last three-plus years. Thank you so much. No reason to panic or blame anyone or anything -- it came down to contract negotiations during which I was offered another opportunity and I accepted. I am VERY excited about my future plans. I apologize in advance that you will have to turn the radio dial one more time, but I hope you’ll follow me. It wouldn’t be fun without you. Keep an eye here and on:Facebook: www.facebook.com/themarkanddaveshowTwitter: www.twitter.com/markmasonpdxEmail me: firstname.lastname@example.orgI’ll explain more in the coming days, but I wish to be considerate to all my friends at KPAM from top to bottom, they are terrific people to work with and they will forever be held in high regard. I wish I could have finished what I started, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen the way you want it. I’ll see you at Moda Center this season, of course. Please, when you get a chance, say hi. Until then, I’ll be missing you...
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016...So there’s this guy that used to be on the radio here in Portland and one of his favorite catch phrases was: “It’s Oooovverrr.” Well, it is for me....aha, but not for long!No sense dwelling on why it came about, I am probably over-analyzing it and until I truly understand it I just better not say anything -- but, then again, it is an amazing radio story I’d love to share. Just not now. Someone on the show Facebook page wrote: “Radio must be such an unstable place to work. One day on the air and then, poof, it's like you never existed.” I know that every radio person in town who read those words probably laughed out loud saying, “Bingo!” It’s even a surprise to radio people, really, as most of us would like to say goodbye but never get the chance. Most of us would be very thoughtful and reflective in our final “thanks for listening” and give closure to what they hoped was a show that made a difference for somebody. But history is filled with infamous sign-offs where personalties riff about how they were wronged by management and storm out of the studio. So if you owned a radio station would youtake a chance that a radio personality, on his or her last day, might not be complimentary to management and go out scorched-earth-style like Donald Trump? It’s a blow to the brand. It conjures up the scene in Goodfellas: “Why take a chance?” It’s easier to shut it down and turn the page. A little personal background to help you understand how this sausage was made: I officially found out on Wednesday that the following day would be my last (the final day of my contract), and I was asked not to say anything about it on air. Now, if there was one guy you could trust with a goodbye, it’s me. But I love my colleagues at KPAM and I agreed not to say a word. Okay, there was ONE CRYPTIC HINT that I kept throwing out that day - did you hear it? I said, “After today, I won’t mention Donald Trump ever again on this show.” And I haven’t, right? That was a more creative, Mark Mason way to couch things. Besides, what would I gain in saying goodbye to you -- because it’s not goodbye. I’ll be back on the air here in Portland soon. I cannot say which station YET, but it won’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Based on my excitement level these last few days I know I made the right choice. My wish is to be there for a long, long time. But as my wise and faithful Facebook reader reminds me: ”One day on the air and then, poof, it's like you never existed.”I haven’t poofed yet (there’s today’s Phrase of the Day!) because I’ll be back with you soon. Still99 44/100% hate-free. More to come, stay tuned.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016 (Hey, Veterans, hope you’re having a good day!)Let’s answer some questions posed by Facebook readers and emailers…Sandra: "How much longer are you required to keep us in suspense as to where on the dial your new show will be?"Mark: Really, it’s best if I don’t say just yet, as there are some moving parts and I respect those involved so much I don't want to cause problems. I am hoping after Thanksgiving I can say more. Julia: "I understand contracts, but it is weird to still hear your voice on commercials..."Mark: I agree. But these were sponsors/supporters of my show and I am happy to help them any way I can. I owe them a debt of gratitude. I think of them all the time. Becky: "Your wife is awesome! Love her message."Mark: Try living with her. Jenny: "I proudly wrote you in, Mark!"Mark: Darn, it was such a good bit! I was hoping to carry it all the way to the election. You don't know how many people stopped me at the Moda Center to tell me, "I wrote your name on the ballot!" That's just amazing. This was the cycle for hate-free! Dixie: "You're not there. YOU are who I wanted to hear. It keeps us connected to Dave"Mark: What a nice thing to say. I think of him every day. Want a creepy story? I have a small amount of his ashes the family let me keep on my desk. I had him here all throughout my surgeries and recovery (which is ongoing) (see the Facebook post). I have told many people that I "consulted" my friend many times about the decision I needed to make. I know he would have said, "Do it." I practically heard his words. My imaginary conversations with him were a great help. He will always be part of my life.Kim: Why are you off the air? "I was afraid something had happened with your leg and you were out of commission again."Mark: The right leg is my life right now. It is so sad what happened, and I am doing my best to come to terms with it. It impacts me just about every second of every day, every move I make, every task I undertake. More than one doctor has told me "No one can have any idea what you went through." They're right. Now I'm trying hard to incorporate this into my everyday life, learning how to do things anew with this handicap. It's peculiar that I feel pain but nothing else, everything below the ankle save for a few odd spots is still numb, like it's asleep. At Blazers games my leg is tucked under the scoreboard and is immobile for lengthy periods (ouch) and I try to exercise it while calling the game. If it wasn't so bizarre it would be funny. If people only knew. These are just reminders that it's "not normal" and that I have a long way to go before I find some equilibrium. I attached a video (Facebook only) of me trying to move my toes. After almost eight months I still can't do it. I hope I'm making progress, but as you can see the muscles tighten but that's about it. It feels like I'm lifting 150-pounds. I had a dream the other night that I could move my foot and toes. Then I woke up. What a disappointment. It's just going to take a lot more work. Here's the reality: Back to the Blazers game the other night -- we paid tribute to a soldier who had both his legs blown off in Iraq. As I introduced him I was thinking 'what the ___ am I complaining for?' I know what the injured go through to come back and it's a lot more than I put up with. He was an inspiration. A footnote: (pardon the pun) Yesterday my physical therapist was touching the top of my foot. I swore I felt a faint touch. Could be wishful thinking. I haven't tried again for fear that it was just a ghost feeling. Not sure I could handle it right now. Julie: "What does it say on the yellow pad on your blog, is it a clue? So hard to read and I’m hoping it is a clue as to where you are going to land (again)."Mark: There is no clue there, it's just my yellow pad and I wrote: "Goodbye Dear Friends...For Now." Someone in the Facebook posts deciphered it somehow. Others, by the way, correctly identified where I'm headed. So look for the clues.D. Ann: "What made your show such a joy to listen to was it made me feel like I was visiting with a dear friend, sometimes serious, most always current &/or fun topics & always interesting & 99 44/100% hate free."Mark: Exactly what we set out to do every day. It feels like I'm visiting with friends every day as well. And over the past year it's been great therapy, believe me!Tom: "Hopefully, the choice to leave was yours. But knowing back stabbing radio, it wasn't."Mark: Tom, you know our business too well - you an insider? Actually, while it can be part of show-biz, I think over the last many years it is less that than ever. The people in the "club" understand what a fragile existence it can be and, for the most part, I think we pull for and support each other. I consider myself very fortunate to be part of this industry and that people like you seek out the show for maybe the same reasons as D. Ann above. Jim: “You’ve had a brutal year with Dave and your medical emergency. How do you do it.”How do I do it? I lean on Dave’s example. Dave and I would always be amazed at how challenging our personal lives could be at times, but the show was theraputic for us, that’s how much we loved it and it showed. In the last year, there were times Dave was literally laying on the floor during commercial breaks to relieve pain or gather strength. Then the next segment he'd pop up and hit his marks without fail. My leg, upon my return, was in such pain I wondered if I could make it to the next segment. But the performance adrenaline kicks in and you just do it. That's how much we wanted to be there. Crazy as it sounds, the show is our therapy, too. It's very hard work, you're always in show-prep mode and vulnerable to a listener's subjectivity - but when the "on-air" light goes on, your troubles are left outside the studio doors. Dan: "What are your doing while you are in between stations?"Mark: Everyone is surprised when I answer that I'm busier than ever. In the four months I was virtually immobile, my house and daily life went to ____. There are things you have to prioritize when your family is spending all their time taking care of you, and housework, etc. is the first to go. Caregivers know what I’m talking about. So I've been spending these first few weeks trying by cleaning the house and catching up on neglected maintenance, things like that. I think it's an excellent way for me to exercise my leg and explore what limitations I have (there are many, but I try not to let that slow me down). For instance, climbing a ladder: No way. BUT, I do it anyway, but just the first two steps. Getting on my hands and knees to clean: Yes, but it’s the hardest thing to do to get up. Almost four months in bed pretty much wrecks your body, so I do things in pieces. I'm also in PT and started acupuncture a week ago. It somehow works on me. It helps relieve body pain and gives me more confidence doing the physical work I need to do. And, of course, there are the Blazers games. It's a win-win for me there, as I enjoy what I do so much AND, with each game, I feel I am making progress in demanding more from my leg at my work station. For example, during Fan Fest on October 2, I could barely sit 10 minutes without the nerves acting up. Now I can go longer, sometimes into the second quarter, before I have to start fidgeting with the leg to create some exercise.Katy: "So many of us feel like we have been on this journey with you and it's great to hear (or read) how you keep progressing."I appreciate every word of encouragement. I've heard from so many with their own life's challenges. Mine are puny in comparison. Where I've been, you all know by now: For three months I dealt with an open wound on both the inside and outside of my leg and was subjected to many surgeries to remove more and more muscle as it decayed seemingly uncontrollably. Then a skin graft of such large proportion I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I know the doctor(s) felt bad about it, but in desperate times these things need to be done. I won't even go into the pain, it makes my eyes well up, but the leg was left with little in the way of plumbing to reduce swelling, so I've spent these last three months on a crash course to repair and strengthen what muscle remains and hope the nerves somehow find a path to grow back to my foot. I have been told this would take a year, maybe longer. So this journey, I am sorry to say, will be ongoing. I've mentioned before how jealous I am of you that you can walk perfectly normal, and how we all take that for granted. Mobility is life. Get out and use your legs. Walk, run, park your car as far from the business as you can and cherish that you can use your own two feet to walk there because one day that ability may be challenged. Take care of your body. Never take it for granted. Lauren: "Look how far you've come."Mark: I know, I know. My fist steps last July were so painful I remember it all. And every morning I had to start from the beginning, it was like the movie Groundhog's Day. But since then I clearly *have* improved to some degree. And that's what keeps me motivated. My progress is so slow, uncomfortable, and frustrating -- but when I look back I'm better than I was a month ago. And I was better then than the month before that. It is so incremental I do not notice it day-to-day. But from 30,000 feet I can see there is progress. I just don't have it in me to quit, anyway. So I'll be a grouchy, frustrated , difficult patient for a long time. But as I said earlier, someday I will have to come to terms with what's left and learn to deal with it. Just not quite now.Kent: " Please let me know when/where you’ll be back on the air. That will be the new #1 button in my car."Mark: Thanks, Kent. I will let everyone know as soon as I can. It will be after the holidays before I get to say my first words, that much I can tell you. So have a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. It's nice weather outside, so I'm going to put up my Christmas lights now while it's still safe and dry. Don't worry, I won't become THAT GUY. I'll turn them on in December.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2016So you want to know what my therapy is like? Take a look. I figure you’ve been with me on this journey thus far, might as well give you a real taste of my life. I showed this to my daughter last night and she couldn’t stomach it. She turned away. I apologize, I hope it’s not too graphic for you, the angle does not give you full detail of both sides of the right leg – the scars details are intentionally obscured by shadow. Seeing this picture still gives *me* angst. I’ve told you before that I do not look at the scar on the right side of the leg, there’s just too much emotion attached to it. My therapists see it more than I do. They are fascinated with it. Four compartment fasciotomies are rare. My wife (the nurse) still has pictures of my open wounds on her phone which, and when doctors and other health care professionals learn of their existence, they beg to see. I’m a curiosity at parties. But at the end of the evening, I’m the one who has to go home with that monstrosity on my leg.So what you are seeing is my Hail Mary towards stimulating nerve growth in my leg (if it’s even possible): Acupuncture. I was a skeptic until Dave visited an acupuncturist to treat his pain and spoke glowingly of the results. Then another friend recommended Dr. Laura McGraw to treat IliotibialBandSyndrome,alargetendoninjuryIhadbeenstrugglingwithforalmostayear.Iwas desperate -- so desperate I was willing to try Traditional Chinese Medicine when all else hadfailed.Andguesswhat?Hertreatmentresulted in complete recovery in just a matter of visits. I was blown away with the results and the overall culture of acupuncture. I became a believer. So now, a year later, I knew that when my skin graft stabilized I would need to see her again to focus her expertise on helping to heal my leg. There’s so much wrong with my leg it’s hard to explain. The nerve damage was so severe I have very little sensation remaining in the foot, but it’s that “very little” that gives me hope. I figure if there’s *some* connection left, maybe that can grow and expand. Doctors tell me nerves grow about an inch a month. There was about 12-inches of muscle and nerve loss in my leg. Do the math: Doctors calculate it’ll be a year before I get any nerve function back, *if* I get that function back at all. I know I will never be able to “lift” my foot, but it would be nice to feel around it (right now it feels as if it is in a perpetual cast). That’s where the acupuncture comes in. The good Dr. in the picture is doing her best to stimulate that nerve growth. Will it work? I just don’t know. The foundation for nerve recovery might not even be there, but I have to try. What does acuopuncture feel like? Let’s be honest, the prospect of a bunch of needles stuck in you is probably not appealing, is it? I wasn’t convinced, either. But the needles (pins, really) are so thin I feel no pain – many times I feel a “buzz” or the muscle twitches on insertion. I tell friends that when the doc treated me last year, she stuck one pin in my left IT Band and it was like she plugged it into a wall socket. A warm trickle of what felt like electric current moved from my hip all the way to my toes. It stayed that way for about 10 minutes before it slowly faded. I knew it was something good. She’s explained how it works many times, but I don’t understand it. I just know it worked for me then, and I am hoping it will work for me now.I wouldn’t mind reading your experience with this alternative medicine. Heck, it may be all we have left after Health Care Reform!! Go back to Facebook here.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2016Update Pending???
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2016Today I was back inside medical labs being worked up for more tests to check the progress INSIDE my leg. I am hopeful that, if anything, I am working my way to better health than the last tests. That’s about all I can hope for! I have been walking as much as I possible can, and, in fact, am now able to occasionally tick off a couple of miles in one walk. A week ago I walked 3.5 miles in one session. Wasn’t comfortable, it hurt a lot, but I did it. I’ll get results back next week and hopefully set myself up for a better year than last, right? If I could share one thought with someone who faces a challenge like mine, it’s to not give up. It’s okay to whine and have the intermittent pity-party. But that doesn’t move the ball down the field. Remember to save part of EVERY DAY to work towards improving yourself. It frustrates me because my improvement is so incremental, I worry there is none. But when I look back to five months ago, I’m surely more ambulatory - and I hope to be even more ambulatory five months from now. I can admit to you the snowstorm really threw a scare into me. Nothing like walking on ice, even for an able-bodied soul, huh? I was one fall away from another tragedy but I got through it just like you did. And what is it with everyone wanting to drive in the snow? The traffic home on that day was epic. So many people told me, “I wished you were on the air to get me home!” Well, I will be soon enough. And, yes, when we have those days I’ll do whatever I can to keep you informed and entertained on the drive. Now don’t feel bad for me, I missed the FIRST snow storm because Louise and I were in Hawaii on the make-up trip from last May which was cancelled because of my leg thing. I mentioned before the flight was the biggest worry, but I got up a few times and walked the isles to keep the leg blood flowing. Surely people thought I’m going to use the lavatory...“Man, that guy has to go a LOT, doesn’t he?” Sidebar: I don’t use airplane lavatory’s a lot...trying to git my 6’9” frame into that small box is like a houdini act. It just isn’t comfortable for tall people. You have to be a contortionist. The gist of the story is that I handled both long flights well. Bring on Australia, or Japan!While we were in Hawaii it rained a LOT! 2” an hour at times. We weren’t distressed, it didn’t last all day. And it afforded us one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve ever seen. I thought that God was giving me a make-up sunset for missing it all last year. Sure made me feel good to be there to see it. While Hawaiian sunsets are good, they are not always THIS good. I thought I’d share it with you if you are in need of some holiday stress relief. May your holiday be filled with happiness and your new year be the best ever.
COURSE THOUGHTS ON A DISASTEROUS YEAR…2016? Fuggedaboutit. At least that’s the sentiment you hear on the streets. It’s been a bad year for A LOT of people, maybe yourself. For me, my first reaction was that I couldn’t agree more. I pulled up the John Oliver year-end homage to 2016 (“F__k 2016”)(you can do your own web search for it. I won’t link it here. NSFW!) and laughed all the way through saying “Right on!” Ya, that’s right!” “Exactly!!” I’ve shared it with family and friends and we all nod in agreement. 2016 was a year to forget. The loss of Dave? F__k 2016! My medical event? F__k 2016! The pain and suffering? F__k 2016! The toll it took on my wife and family? F__k 2016Dealing with the permanency of loss? F__k 2016!…my list could go on. The creep who broke into my car? F__k 2016! You see? Not a great year. And now 2016 is drawing to a close. Thankfully. But...Yesterday I was being interviewed and the host asked me how I am doing in my life. My first impulse was to burst out “ F__k 2016!” but I didn’t. Instead all I could think about were the people who have been at my side through all of this: My wife, my family, my broadcast friends all across Portland, my Blazers family, some Blazer players, coaches, Portland people who took the time to reach out to me. I thought about where I was last April, at the brink of death, and how far I’ve come since then. It hasn’t been without cost, both emotional and financial, but I can’t give up, either. I responded to the host, “It’s a journey,” which was the best way I could describe it. It is a journey that will NEVER be over for me as long as I live. But I will not travel this journey alone. All the aforementioned people will continue to accompany me on this journey. Some will come and some will go, but the journey will continue. And there’s you. Without you my journey would not be possible. SO many people, total strangers, stop me to ask how am I doing in life. At Blazers games, through the websites, at stores, even at Beavers games. Then I realize we are not strangers, we’ve been friends together (even if we may have disagreed sometimes) all these years on the radio. And I am so appreciative I have that – that I have you -- in my life and on this journey. Would that others be so lucky. I am doing my best to pay it forward. I’ll get bettter at it, too, on this journey.As an exercise I sat down to make a list of events in my life I am grateful for, and the list is long. So long, in fact, it trumps (sorry to use that word) the “F___k 2016” list. I know there will be ups and downs on my journey, but no matter how bad 2016 might have been, I have a lot to appreciate in 2016. I mean, a lot.For starters…just being alive.Have a safe and happy new year and a GREAT 2017!PS If I were on the air today my show would be about all that’s been good for you in 2016. New family member? Kids get a job? There have to be some “good” stories out there. Post them for me on Facebook.