Frank Wallace, classical guitarist/composer, was diagnosed at 64 in September 2017 with ocular melanoma, a rare and virulent form of cancer. After proton beam radiation and four eye surgeries, he learned in April 2019 it had metastasized to his liver. Untreated, they said he had 3-6 months to live. They abandoned immunotherapy because it inflamed his liver. This summer his oncology team at Massachusetts General Hospital is targeting the tumors with mini radioactive beads inserted in the liver in two operations (called SIRT). Meanwhile, as he can, he continues to write and play and record gorgeous music. The discipline of a lifetime of musical practice and performance is serving him well as he dances, stretches, and plays his way back to health.
“Nancy and I have stopped performing and teaching to pursue a full-time effort to rid my body of cancer. We have dipped deep into our retirement savings to get through the past two years since my diagnosis. Medicare is now covering most of our direct medical expenses, but not touching the very significant amount we are spending on alternative therapies and supplements, which are what give us hope, whereas the doctors have few options for this cancer... they expect their efforts will give temporary relief and modest life extension (no promises, of course).
And so we estimate a need of $20,000 through the end of the year. Your help will allow me to go full-out on therapies such as massage, acupuncture, nutritional consultation and supplements, counseling, chiropractic, and do a week-long healing retreat. It will also help me to continue to write and record music, blog about my cancer journey, and generally stay creative, all of which keep the proverbial carrot in front of my nose—the all-essential will to live.”
For those of you new to Frank’s work as a guitarist/composer, here is a quote from his most recent review (of his latest CD of all-Wallace compositions, Elemental):
“There’s lyricism, meditative reflection, sharp assertivenenss, gorgeous billows of harmony, bursts of sparkling, ringing harmonics; there’s boldness and even brashness, juxtaposed with the most tender warmth and delicacy. Wallace leads us along, never leaving us wondering where we are or what’s going on.” —David Vernier, Classics Today
from son Adam, June 26, 2019 :
“I walked out early this morning on a beautiful sunny day with a big smile on my face and a little tear in my eye. A smile for the ray of sunshine that Dad's beautiful fight has given us this week. A smile for his graciousness, his ease amongst chaos, his groundedness and his grit. For finding a path that can only be his own and fearlessly blazing ahead, fighting to defy the odds. A tear for the complexity of it all, the unknown, the beauty of the world and the challenges of the world. For the amazing control we have over the destiny in our lives and the absurd lack of control we have."
With a smile and a tear we hope you will help keep
Frank dancing with us.
the work of this extraordinary man:
Follow his cancer journey at:
- Zeke Smukler
- Dave McLellan
- maggie sauvain
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