Home » Children » Thomas – “Cuttlefish”

Composers MIDI rendition, no live recording available.

Cuttlefish (18 of 29) “When I was undergoing my chemotherapy, it was the music that kept me going.” Thomas

From Thomas’ mom: Thomas returned home on a sunny, December day after sledding with friends complaining about a sore side. He had taken a spill flying down the sledding hill and his side ached. A normal afternoon with the normal bumps and bruises after having too much fun, we all thought. But as the days went by and the pain didn’t go away we started considering actually seeing a doctor. Maybe he had torn a muscle or bruised an organ? Christmas came and went and with no improvement in his pain, the doctor visit was scheduled. After a CT scan and a consult with the radiologist our doctor told us he did have something wrong: a hematoma on his kidney. The docs all agreed the sledding fall had nicked his kidney and now he had a huge sack of blood hovering over his kidney. We all breathed a sigh of relief. A few more months and he would be back to his active, thirteen year-old self, enjoying all of his favorite activities. But, that was not the road before him. In a few short weeks Thomas’ life would never be the same.

After an increase in pain and pain medications, we returned to the doctor. This time the ultrasound techs saw what had been there all the time, a massive tumor encapsulating his kidney and growing daily. We still didn’t know his diagnosis but as we rushed to Children’s Hospital, we sensed life as we knew it was rapidly disappearing. Thomas had major kidney surgery two days later to remove the tumor and the kidney. We, his family and friends, sat outside the operating room praying and singing through the nearly eight hour surgery. He then began a long, difficult journey to recover from the surgery. Before surgery he weighed 109 pounds. Two weeks later his weight had slipped to just 86 pounds. He was 5’9”.

We learned he had Wilm’s Tumor kidney cancer that had spread to his lungs and we cried tears of joy. Imagine crying with relief at a cancer diagnosis! But all other forms of kidney cancer were almost a complete death sentence. Thomas had the most treatable form of kidney cancer even though this cancer occurs mainly in children under five years old. We thanked God for hope and Thomas began his treatment. Weekly and sometimes daily trips to Denver became our new routine and Children’s Hospital became our new home.

Nine months later, with vomiting and sickness in the past, Thomas completed his treatment and his final scans revealed no cancer. He had experienced a rough treatment, uncontrolled nausea and vomiting, but our families and friends never left him without support. Singing became a lifeline for our family and his small attempts at viola playing thrilled all of us. The suffering was real but the joy found in the love of others was just as powerful. Thomas lost nine months of normal life to a vicious disease but he gained the knowledge of compassion, sympathy, and hope in time of deep suffering.


Composer: Tom Hagerman

Cuttlefish (3 of 29)

Tom Hagerman composed “Cuttlefish” for Thomas.  Cuttlefish, because that is a creature that Thomas is particularly interested in.  Tom is a member of the popular Denver progressive band “Devotchka“, who often play with the Denver Symphony at venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater.  He is classically trained and plays violin, piano, melodica and accordion.


Performers: Centarus HS Orchestra

Cuttlefish (22 of 29)

The Centaurus High School Orchestra, of Lafayette, Colorado performed Cuttlefish with Thomas and his little sister and Tom Hagerman (composer) joining as guest performers at their spring 2014 concert.  The Orchestra was directed by Leslie Ziegler.  Ms. Ziegler also plays with the RailSplitters.

Venue: Centaurus HS auditorium, Lafayette, CO

Cuttlefish (17 of 29)

Cuttlefish was performed on May 20th, 2014, at the Centaurus High School Auditorium, part of the Boulder Valley School District, for a crowd of approximately 500.

No program available.

Contact us for information about the score. [contact-form]

Pictures of the performance.