Had to make a decision from my brain & not my heart!

 

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I have not posted here on the blog in 14 days.  I just did not know how this GI issue was going to go, and I also had to make a real decision on a trip to Antarctica — to go or not to go?! The story on these two photos of King Penguins in South Georgia is below.

Up until January 14th, I was doing so well.  I was starting to gain some of the major weight I had lost from the cancer and was feeling really strong.  Then something happened.  I thought it was bad sushi and food poisoning.  But it lasted for almost three weeks…. I was just not able to keep any food down at all.  I was admitted & released from the hospital three times in that span, and the doctors and I could not figure what it was.  Perhaps food poisoning and throwing up so much just affected my pancreas and caused it to really act up.  We still are not sure.

Anyway, I lost ANOTHER 25 pounds in that three week period…. weight I could not afford.  I am down now below my college basketball playing weight.  I have not weighed this little since high school.  And I lose so much energy from the weight loss.

In the last week, I have actually begun to feel better and even have put on 5 pounds.  So I hope that is the start of getting back to fighting this cancer and not worrying about the G.I. tract.

But I had to make a real decision on a trip I have planned for over a year with my Bachmann Tour Overdrive group. I have been to Antarctica before (in 1999), and loved it.  I walked with Adelie and Gentoo penguins and they are so cute.  But they are only about 1 foot tall….. this trip was going to fulfill a dream for me to go to South Georgia and Falkland Islands where I would see thousands of the 3 1/2 feet tall King Penguins.  See the photos above to see some of the things I would see. South Georgia is called the “Serengeti of the Antarctica” because of the abundance of King Penguins and wildlife.  We were going to Buenos Aires, then Ushuaia, then to Antarctica also on this journey, finally returning to Montevideo, Uruguay before returning home.  What a trip!!

I have 18 people going on this trip and they are my friends!  It is wonderful to have my BTO group and travel the world with great people you love.  Without that 4 -week setback of the GI problems, I think I would have been plenty strong to do the climbing, walking, rough seas, etc needed on  this wonderful journey.

But I am still weak now.  And, even worse, having been in the hospital there times, none of my doctors or family felt I should go on a remote cruise in Antarctica with NO CHANCE of being near a hospital or even possible to Air Evac me to a hospital for three whole weeks on that ship.  I wanted to go so badly in my heart, but on Thursday I just had to give up on that dream and face the fact that I need to be near doctors, get a lot stronger, and fight this cancer.   It was one of the toughest phone calls ever to tell the Antarctica company that I can not go.  So my head won over my heart for once — and mostly in my life I have let my heart rule!  I have been a poster boy for living the dream in your heart, with all caution thrown to the wind!  Not this time finally.

So my group will do this wonderful journey without me, their leader, but I will be with them in spirit.  They will be fine without me and use the guides from the ship to take them to see & do everything.  I can’t wait to see pictures and hear stories in emails.

Me.  I will stay here in Orlando and prepare to get better.  I am back on all the Alternative medicine now (I had to stop for weeks because I could not hold pills down). I am leading a BTO trip to Cuba in mid April, and I will go on that one!  It is one hour from Miami and also they have hospitals if I ever need anything.

I also will lead a trip to Ireland for two weeks in July — again, I am available to hospitals along that trip in emergency.

So I send positive vibes to all of you.  I am here fighting hard to beat this disease, and I can still use your thoughts & prayers.  I will miss every minute of the Antarctica trip, but I hope in these three weeks I see even more weight gain and strength returning.  Cheers to all of you.

Today I hope to give you a small inspirational lift.

My health today is a little wobbly.  For the past three weeks I have had my GI Tract unsettled.  And that is putting it mildly.  I have not been able to keep food down much of the time.  I have been in and out of the hospital three times and each time I get released, I still have the same problem going home.  Have lost an additional 20 pounds since I really haven’t eaten much…. weight that I did not need to lose.  I am now under my “playing weight” in college sports.  But I have felt a little better in last two days so I hope I can come out of this and gain weight again.  Then I can return to the full time battle of fighting this cancer and not worrying about my stomach!

But I did’t want to talk about just my health today.  Instead I wanted to motivate you into REALLY realizing how FRAGILE and PRECIOUS each of our lives are!  We so often forget that thought in our rush to just live in this busy world.

I can tell you firsthand that I “floated” thru my life, feeling like Superman indeed.  For the last 30 plus years, I traversed the planet to every corner — unbelievably shooting in over 200 countries, eating at the best restaurants, meeting locals everywhere and totally enjoying each day… thinking I was invincible for sure.  I explored this wonderful Earth to every location, marveling at God’s beauty and man’s wonderful scenics & accomplishments. Many of my trips & assignments were only a month apart, as I returned from one trip to work on my images & videos, only to pack my bags soon and be off to some other exotic locations.  It seemed easy indeed and I never really paused much between the trips to even consider that this could all stop cold one day.  Perhaps that sounds like how you think now — not thinking that something could stop the world you know so well.

I have spent most of my adult life attempting to motivate so many people with my books, lectures, TV & radio shows, writings, directing travel groups and people I met along the way to try to inspire them to travel, enjoy life, do it now while you still can.  On June 25th, 2016 my life went POW!  I sat down with doctors for the surprise notice that I had pancreatic cancer.  My “perfect” life did not slow down…. it screeched to a sudden HALT.

Now it seems my motivation to all the people that read this — and those that know me — is to help you to realize that life can literally change in the blink of an eye!  Someone you know, or you yourself, could face health concerns, an accident, something that would change your life instantly.  And the time to think of that, and make small changes in your life that you may need, would be now rather than too late.

What am I saying?  Well, mainly enjoy life and don’t sweat the small stuff!  Don’t let small things like traffic, or rescheduling, or even being impatient when listening to friends & loved ones talking.  Life is short and precious.  I can guarantee you that anyone with cancer or serious health problems is not going to worry and get upset about a traffic delay!

You may have friends or family that you had a disagreement with and you  don’t talk to now — being too stubborn to call them.  Listen to me carefully …. pick up the phone and call them and make it right now!  If you are rushing thru your life & your work, slow down often and start enjoying all the small things.  Each day I am alive now I try still (even with cancer) to treasure the small things & blessings that life gives you.  You don’t just have to travel the world to enjoy life — enjoy all the small rewards of living daily.

I know I am fighting a very bad disease, but I truly also want to shine a light on it for all of you that you live your lives NOW so much more fully, so much more happily.  Hug those you love each day… they are most important.  Be a better friend, be a better husband or wife.  Tell people how much you care.  Don’t sweat all the small troubles & inconveniences that life throws at you.  Instead, only dwell on the good and the happy.  Do things NOW while you can rather than always pushing them off into “someday”.  Live a better life each day and that does not need more money or prestige.  All it needs is a better outlook!

I close this today and I do hope that maybe my words now will have some small inspiration and reminder of what is really important.  I am thrilled that maybe I can make a difference in your outlook in some small way even as I am fighting this dreadful disease.  That would make my time writing this worthwhile.  Cheers to you all.