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D-MoZone is the place to find out what’s new with pianist/composer/educator Diane Moser. Keep an eye on this blog for updates on music, health, gigs, fundraisers, random thoughts and all things D-Mo. And please keep sending your thoughts, good wishes and comments this way—they’re always needed and always appreciated.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diane on the Times' Web site

The April 27 Science section of the Times had a piece about "Picture Your Life After Cancer," an online feature it started recently to tell the stories of people who have survived cancer treatment. In just a couple of weeks, more than 350 people from around the world have posted their photos and a description of how cancer has changed their lives. Diane was among those who posted a photo and comment.

Plasma Testing

Well-the immediacy of the internet just reminded me about plasma testing-and that will be my next step.
I follow a blog of another Gister and he said he had joined up with Gist Alliance and they are working with Novartis plasma research for Gist-meaning-they check the levels of Gleevec in the blood. They are looking to see if there is a correlation between levels of Gleevec and recurring tumors/cancer. If you're interested you can read about it here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mary Lou Williams

I absolutely love the music of Mary Lou Williams and her playing completely inspires me.
I always feel from her playing that she was a "free spirit"-inventing her own way across the piano keyboard. She'll grab some ideas out of this bag and that and then completely turn everything upside down inside out-it's like being on the roller coaster of jazz!
For the past couple of weeks I've been intently listening to Mary Lou's sacred music-and transcribing a few tunes for our upcoming Jazz Vespers at the Allwood Community Church on May 23rd.The recordings I've been listening to and transcribing from are Mary Lou's Mass, Zoning, and Solo Recital Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1978. I particularly like "Gloria"-which is on all three recordings, and "Offertory/Meditation" which is only on the Montreux recording. Medi I & II is another tune I transcribed-those are on Mary Lou's Mass and Zoning.
I have a few more tunes to transcribe-the difficulty is which ones to I pick-they're all good!
"O.W." named for the tenor saxophonist Orlando Wright- is a very interesting tune from Mary Lou's Mass-it's starts out like a sort of boogaloo/reggae tune-then it goes into swing-then back again then into another groove. The liner notes say it was also used in Mary Lou's Pittsburgh Mass, and I have it on another recording from 1954-when she was in Paris-but it's a completely different tune. That's one of the things that I love about Mary Lou-she'll take her tunes and put them into any situation-it's all sacred to her.

My fellow musicians for the Jazz Vespers event have requested the tune "Act of Contrition" a very beautiful tune-almost like a jazz art song-short and to the point. It's a ballad that starts off with only a bass line between the piano and bass-which is repeated over and over-then vocalist Honi Gordon comes in-then Mary Lou comes in with the harmony. The vocal line is a lot like the bass line-just a few more ornamentations-almost like she's ghosting the bass line. It's one of those tunes that you say-whoa-what was that-then you have to listen to it a couple of more times.

If we had a vocalist there are many more tunes I would do-including the intriguing "It's Always Spring"-another tune from the Mary Lou's Mass recording. The lead vocalist on that is Leon Thomas-man-that is another era gone by-I sure do miss him too.
So now I'm deciding between "Willis", "Old Time Spiritual" and "Credo"-although I might do all 3.

Meanwhile-if you want to catch up on all things Mary Lou-go to the Mary Lou Foundation website-there are a few concerts coming up, there's video of an interview and of her playing.
The photo of Mary Lou is from their website.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My gene mutation number is.....

11-which is the most common of the gene mutations-which is good.
My doctor always says-may you have unremarkable test results and common results.
I just got the email from Dr. Chris Corless of Oregon State Hospital University-he did the gene mutation test for me-and is known for his brilliant work with GIST.
He volunteers a lot of his services-and I cannot tell you how much that means to me-it is a very special gift.
Tania Stutman of the Gist Cancer Research Fund introduced me to Dr. Corless-and asked him if he would do the test. I am so grateful to Tania for making those introductions.
I don't have the full lab results, but from what I have read-Exon 11 is the most common of the gene mutations, and has the longer progression free survival rate. This disease is fairly new-so far I think we have people who have lived 11 or 12 years-and those are the first patients to be diagnosed with GIST.
Also, from what I have read-it looks like I am fine with the 400mg dose-no need to go higher-that's a big relief.
For how long is the question and what are my chances of secondary mutations?
I will have more answers in a few weeks.
But-tonight-I am going to celebrate-because this is very good news!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Novartis lays off 400 employees

I just got a phone call from a friend of mine with the news that Novartis (East Hanover,NJ) has laid off 400 of their employees, transferring those jobs to India.
I don't know the entire new Health Care Bill, but I have been told that there is a provision in there that penalizes companies who outsource labor.
This decision was made now before those provisions are in place.
Although part of me is happy for the people in India, knowing that there is extreme poverty there, the other part of me is very upset with Novartis.
Gleevec was their biggest profit making drug last year-3.9 billion I believe is what I have read.
I am extremely grateful to Novartis for making Gleevec-which so far has kept me cancer free.
I am extremely grateful to my friend who worked there during it's development and to everyone else for that matter.
But when I take my dosage today, I am going to be thinking about all of those employees who have been laid off, in this very tumultuous economy, hoping that they were given a decent severance package and that they will find new employment very soon.
There just has to be a better way for us to have health care and new innovative therapies, without it costing others so much.