Since I last wrote on the blog, a lot has happened. I will try to keep it as short as I can and explain all the things that have gone on this week. First, we drove up Tuesday to Jacksonville at the MD Anderson Hospital (part of the famous MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston) for a second opinion. It was a fruitful meeting with everyone in the room adding much. My ex-wife Cathy, her husband Phil (a doctor also), along with Connie, Byron & myself and all the doctors & nurses.
MD Anderson concurred with the original cancer diagnosis and also on the two chemo chemicals entirely. That was reassuring. The only difference is the protocol — they recommend a lessor amount of the drugs and also administered bi-weekly. Their philosophy is to have a a balance by spreading out treatments to make the patient not feel the severity of the treatments; thereby perhaps eliminating some of the side effects. More on that later here on this blog.
Then on Wednesday morning I flew Southwest Airlines direct to Baltimore and was picked up and taken to Annapolis for two days of Alternative Therapy of nutrition and detox IVs with my dear doctor friend Dr Paul Beals (Connie’s ex husband and my friend over 30 some years). I had lots of tests, lots more pills and then IVs. He will still be sending me things to use here in Florida as I continue with chemo and traditional medicine. I am trying my best with both sides to aggressively beat this horrible disease!
I flew back on Thursday night — I picked Southwest rather than my regular Gold Privileges on United because of the direct flights. But I miss the benefits of United and not the herd feeling of rushing to claim a seat! But, ya know, in the scheme of things in my life now, I am not sweating the small stuff!
Friday afternoon I took a private class with a Florida Hospital nurse to tell Connie and me “what to expect” with chemo and all the changes in my life caused by it. Very educational — I am learning so much, so quickly. Trying to make important decisions on this serious, serious fight.
So today I have rested almost the entire day…. I needed that. And tomorrow I will write checks, rest a lot and get ready for the first chemo and the effects it will have on my body on Monday. You go around & around with so much material to read, what decisions to make, what to do, what to not do, etc etc. It is often overpowering!
I am trying to be confident, but certainly not cocky. In my life & in my career, I have never had something so large looming in front of me as I prepare for the unknown. I can feel so many people’s prayers and love sent my way — please keep them coming. I need each and every one, my dear friends and family. You have all known a man who faced travels and photo assignments with confidence and strong convictions. I see a man now that has to carry that confidence into a fight that will be tough, against an enemy I can not really see. My entire life has been seeing & capturing the beauty of our planet and meeting the common people in many a country. Now I face an assignment where I will need more strength against an enemy that I can not see and I need to muster every strength I have internally to do it. I plan to do it, but I sure need lots of help & prayers from many people that know & care for me.
I will have days ahead not feeling very well — I am trying to prepare for that and make my home ready for those days. I can not take phone calls all day to talk or see anyone, but I will sure read and appreciate any emails of support that I get from people that I love & admire.
As far as the Monday decision, I vacillate on the two choices still. Florida Hospital wants considerably more of that same chemo drugs each time and supplied three weeks in a row, then one week off, then there in a row, etc. rather than every other week. Part of me thinks I should spread them out to every other week so I can have more strength and less symptoms. Yet another part of me says “Let’s give it the full shot head on” and I will just suffer more now, but HOPEFULLY it will kick this tumor harder. I am praying for the right decision, but I lean now towards the tougher road. Pray for me to make the right decision.
I end today sincerely THANKFUL for each of you that take the time to care and read this. You don’t know how that makes my heart happy to know of a support system out there that is also “pulling for me”. Never having “needed” a lot of sympathy etc from people in my life, this was hard for me to do. But I can tell you first-hand now that it makes my heart sing to know you all are out there.