Benched - Disoriented, Ordained and Authenticity
If you only visit the website, you are about to hear that Dylan has had surgery and will be on the bench for some time. He was diagnosed with advanced, moderately severe ulnar neuropathy. This left him with no feeling in two fretting fingers, and lots of pain along the nerve that stretches from elbow through to the palm. Details are at the bottom of this blog.
I'm sure if you saw him kill it on his guitar Labor Day weekend, like me you are wondering "how is this possible"? It has been grueling for him physically while also carrying the toll of anxiety; wondering if you will make it through the gig, will this end, compensating, hoping your fingers cooperate. We both love to make music and give our best so the last few gigs have ended in relief, euphoria, sadness --- emotional exhaustion. Surgery was scheduled on short notice ONCE we found a good Dr and knew there was only one path forward, and for that we are grateful. This has been an ongoing issue and a gut wrenching experience leading up to now.
The last thing we wanted to do before we had answers was share our uncertainty or create worry. We also didn't want to be reminded by others about the uncertainty we were both experiencing or be faced with questions we did not have answers to. We needed good moments and positive energy to lean on, which many of you provided. Because music and making music seeps into the nooks and crannies of our lives, our relationships, and has been our livelihood, (together no less) this has been an overwhelming white knuckle summer and a white knuckle year.
As of today, Dylan has had 3 of 36 physical therapy sessions for 2023 to get him on track. .Now I'm going to talk about me and my feelings, and I'll let Dylan share his.
So many dominoes have fallen in our lives recently, good and bad simultaneously, bouncing us around like a ping pong ball. I'm sure most of you can relate. It is not a lie when I say practicing gratitude and learning to acknowledge the good things and people in your life frequently (including your own damn self) can bring deep joy and sometimes a positive outlook that is defiant of circumstances. I seem to have this in spades at times at a level to some that may seem naive. But I'm so glad I have it because it is truth.
This is where authenticity comes in. I would be a liar, a hypocrite and be doing a disservice to myself and friends if I didn't share the breadth of my own emotions. We are all human and none of us get out of here without experiencing a full range of them. Some of us lie to ourselves, ignore them, insist we don't feel them because we are embarrassed or ashamed; we don't deserve them. We should be tougher or more tenacious; look at everyone else! We cover them, deny them or label them invalid. Its a matter of character or testicular fortitude. Stuff them down so they can reintroduce themselves as depression and self-loathing behavior.
I say, feelings are something that happens and as natural as taking a poo. But if you refuse to poo, you're going to have more serious problems to worry about. Unless you are my aunt Doris neither is at the top of the list as dinner conversation. But I'm sharing my feelings for myself, and for others that have the impression they are some kind of miserable anomaly while most of the world lives in a state of perpetual ease (or is it sedation). I share with intent, because my own former church life left me feeling like I was morally deficient for having real problems, emotions I could not process and confusing feelings. In other words, I didn't bear the fruit of an abundant, obedient Christian life replete with luxury items and a permasmile (in fairness, they did send me to counsel with a pastor that ran away with his teenage daughter's best friend).
I have broken down in tears privately, publicly, out of nowhere or sometimes out of the most minor act of kindness in recent days. I've struggled to hide them from Dylan but broke down as he was headed for surgery and felt like I failed him. I've also had panic episodes that come and go arbitrarily, no matter how I seem to be feeling. The last few months felt like living in a trash compactor, all the work we've been feverishly about has been lit ablaze and we have been armed with a waterpik.
At this point things are getting better in the headspace. Surgery is done and all we can do is take it one day at a time. It is truly awesome to have a partner to trade off being the clean up crew for meltdowns. No judgement for emotionally messy diaper days, this too shall pass. Initially, we both felt disappearing was the preferable option because who cares about a couple musicians playing their own music, traveling in a van with complete ignorance to the woe's of the world. Thank god we didn't disappear. I love him so much, love us, and love the friends that have been a source of courage. As i said the other day, you guys are my abundance. I have an abundance of abundance!
Tomorrow Dylan will share - some of you all may know he's also been writing fiction and you also have enjoyed hearing about his sobriety journey. I'm truly excited for the days ahead with him and being inspired, and hearing his amazing, sweet, soulful guitar sounds again, too <3
OH Yeah - the bit about ordained. We will get to that another time but suffice it to say I'm at least as qualified as the pastor that ran away with that teenager. I'll be leading a memorial service this Sunday in Ann Arbor and I feel it is an honor to be entrusted with the going home ceremony for 3 people.
Lucky Monkey Tattoo proprietors and musicians Dana Forrester and James Trunko along with some others have planned a fundraiser at the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit to help with medical expenses and bills while Dylan recovers. Please spread the word, whether you are near or far - share, RSVP on the Facebook event to help us with visibility. Any kind of encouragement we are grateful for!
The event will include a Tin Can auction with instruments, artwork, music lessons, studio time, a skydiving package, fine dining, and cool items from businesses in the Detroit area and around the country. And music! Thank you so much for your kindness! Tickets will be available soon or you can contribute via
Paypal @ dylandunbar373 (paypal.me/dylandunbar373)
Please send your address via an email etc so we can send you a thank you!
Details about Dylan's Surgery (as of 9/8) <---- FB link
- Dylan was dignosed with advanced moderately severe ulnar neuropathy. He had what became constant numbness in his forefinger and pinky on his fretting hand and shooting pain along his arm into his palm. The Ulnar nerve is your funny bone nerve that sends the tingling feeling down to your palm and forefingers. Surgery to release and repair the nerve and relocate it to his forearm was scheduled for yesterday.
- The best news we didn’t expect to hear from the surgeon is is they didn’t relocate his nerve which felt most daunting.
-￼ His arm was cut open from along the elbow area to cut away any tissue, bone whatever was there causing pressure along the nerve and is damaging it.
-They found Dylan has a muscle that most of us don’t have that was applying extra pressure on his nerve which they “got rid of”. I personally feel this is really great news under the circumstances.
I know some people that love him want to know when Dylan will be back to normal including when he can play guitar. This is what we know:
- The dr says full recovery is 1 millimeter a day/full recoveryfull feeling about 1 year. This doesn’t mean Dylan wont be doing normal things before then. And, I’m optimistic that will be split in half.
- bending his elbow too much is the devil. He also has to protect his elbow as he heals.
- in one week he has a follow up with a plan to begin physical therapy in 2 weeks.
- The worst thing is to push it and risk prolonged recovery, inflammation and nerve damage. We both appreciate support and encouragement here.
- I can say we both feel more optimistic than we have in months. Dylan is a champion and I don’t believe anyone could have managed the pressure of the last year any better. I can only imagine the other side is going to be spectacular.
- We cancelled or pushed to 2024, tour plans for the remainder of the year. It is not a reasonable expectation for Dylan to be playing 2 hour shows before the end of the year. The planning of up to over a year - we don’t take it lightly. It’s outside the scope of reality.
- We still plan to have an album release this fall but this is secondary to Dylan’s overall health and happiness.
These have been stressful times but we have to do what we do - adapt and learn what life has to show us. We appreciate your friendship, and want as much normality as we can get.