A really big decision to make for treatment

I am at a point that I have to make a decision real soon (several days) on what direction to go with my treatment.  It is critical and I must weigh this really carefully.

The two choices are quite different.  The first is to go to Clearwater for 8 straight weeks fro M-F to take very innovative, rigid, special Alternative Methods of curing that are available almost no where in the USA.

The problem is it has so much nutritional techniques and I have a food pump that may well make much of that impossible now.  Also, it seems like the company also deals with a psychologist who spends a lot of time with each of us trying to work on how we got cancer and even what they feel in our minds that allowed cancer to enter our bodies.  Personally, I am much more interested in getting RID of the cancer than finding out what caused it now.  So much of this 8 weeks could be not as meaningful to me.  And it could well wear me out going this strongly and back & forth to Orlando. And, of course, like traditional, both choices offer no assurances that we can lose this cancer.

The second choice would be what my oncologist has wanted for several months…. 5 days of tough radiation directed exactly on the tumor to kill much of it.  Then perhaps some different chemo later.  Traditional also does not offer great statistics for my cancer.

Please say a prayer for me to make the decision that is right.  I have spent days weighing this decision and it must be made real soon.

I send hugs to all.

Let us all start to appreciate our own life more!

I have been thinking about writing today’s blog for several days now. I have been home from the hospital for 5 days now and have a food tube inserted into my stomach to helpfully gain weight and have more stomach comfort as I fight this cancer.

It sure is no way to eat or enjoy food in my life, after a lifetime of enjoying food always.  But today I really don’t want to talk about just me anymore.  Instead I want to add some thoughts from my heart from a person whose life was turned upside down 9 months ago and how we can ALL value our good heath and the many blessings we all have that we too often don’t shine a light on because we live too busy.  Don’t wait for really bad news to appreciate how good your life is now.

So forgive me for stepping on a soap box for a few minutes here now.  And I hope that I say something in the next paragraphs that may mean something to each of you, may help you to remember to  consider your BLESSINGS.

On June 25th of last year, I came back from a trip to be told I have a major cancer that could well take my life.  Shocked … NO.  Angry …. NO.  My immediate reaction was NUMB.  It was like I was in a room looking down from the ceiling on two doctors talking to someone out of my own body.

Please realize, until that horrible June day, in my mind I was Superman.  For over 35 years, I have never missed a beat.  I traveled the world to over 200 countries, taking 10-12  trips each year to exotic parts of the world that took several weeks each usually.  I ate at the best restaurants in the world… a big part of traveling to me.  And now I am in my house getting nutrition from a bag hanging above me.  Wow, talk about changes!

Now I am hoping that I never felt entitled of that I deserved this big life that I was living for so long.  I will have to have those that have known me for so many years to judge me on that.  I sincerely feel that I always felt tremendously BLESSED and joyful that this teenage boy from Pittsburgh was so lucky that my childhood hobby of photography turned into a career that he loved and appreciated.  I felt so blessed that and thankful that I had great clients that believed in me and trusted me to roam the world and come back with colorful pictures for their magazines, for their ad campaigns, for their television campaigns.  I was thankful to the wonderful client Kodak for sending me all over the world on my Kodak World Tour for 2 years and 72 countries.  I felt blessed that I had so many cruise lines, airlines, travel companies, tourism boards, magazines, exotic resorts,  Fortune 500 companies, etc had faith in my ability to produce often in so many corners of the world. I was in charge of so many photo crews as we traversed our Earth, and I created friendships with them that have existed for decades now.  And I joyfully led my BTO Group Photo Tours, again exploring our wonderful globe with dear, dear friends.

But when you get hit BANG by news that could be indeed fatal, you again reevaluate how you lived your life and how you have appreciated the life each of us is given.  Let me hold a mirror up,to each of you for a moment that I have had to hold up to me.  Any one of you could so easily get the worse news you could ever get that could change your life in AN INSTANT.  Any one of you could have an accident, cancer, a stroke, someone in your family have horrible news, etc that could change your life completely.  I hope this does not ever happen to you, but I want the thoughts to make you more aware of living fully now.

What I want for each of you …. and why I am writing this longer blog to each of you today, is to APPRECIATE  your life and health now and live with that joy.  You don’t have to travel the world each day, but live your life with joy NOW.

I can tell you that anyone that has cancer does now get upset my traffic jams anymore!  And we need to all stop sweating the small stuff and having so much conflict in your life now.  Stop rushing so much each day as weeks fly by and we find ourselves missing out on so many of the gentle moments of life. While you have good health and life is good, be a better listener, be a better friend, or spouse, or family member.  If you have not called a loved one for some small conflict, call them now and sweep that slate clean.  Live life with joy, noticing the small wonders of life.  Eat more ice cream and less bran!  Take your shoes off  earlier in the Spring and keep them off longer into Fall.  In other words, please — and I tell you this from someone who has tried to live my life that way always — strive to make you life better NOW!

I trust & hope that I have always tried to live my life helping others, even perhaps inspiring others.  I spent so many of my years lecturing around the world or on tv/radio shows (hopefully) inspiring many people to travel our beautiful planet and yes, shoot beautiful pictures.  Now I feel that maybe God now wants me to inspire others to just make sure that they live their lives with joy & happiness.

I hope this is not too long of a blog and I hope it touches some small part of you.  I each year for the last 30 years have sent out a Christmas card and newsletter that had this phrase on the very last sentence in the letter.

It read:  “Care Deeply … Think Kindly … Act Gently … Pray Daily … and be at Peace with the Earth!”  That phrase means even more to me now.   Thank you for reading this and I send you joy now.

I now have a food tube for awhile

Had — hopefully — successful surgery yesterday in putting a food tube into my stomach that should make eating & putting on much needed weight back onto my body.  I have had too many weeks of no appetite at all, so I am ready to change that and get much stronger.

Don’t know anything for absolute sure yet as the pain in my side from the surgery is still strong.  But it is a different type of pain now …. this is just the the surgery pains now.  And it is already better than yesterday, so I am very hopeful.  I can still eat the regular way also if I don’t have pain.

This fight since last June 25th has so many ups & downs from day to day.  But this feels different — like it is  correcting the pain I have had for far too many weeks.  I am anxious to report in future days that I feel more like “normal”… I kind of have forgotten what normal feels like!  I want to start fighting the cancer again with Alternative Methods and stop spending so much of my energy on my GI Tract.

So, please keep your prayers and warm thoughts coming my way.  I can sure use them!  They really do lift my spirits to know so many people sincerely care and send warm thoughts my way. I may well soon go to Clearwater to a clinic for several weeks with really heavy duty Alternative procedures to fight only the cancer now!  Definitely time to spend all my concerns now towards fighting cancer and now worrying about strength.

So, my positive spirit is ready to take over now and look for improvement each day!  And I send positive vibes to each of you as I now look toward to each medical decision aim at only the cancer now.  Cheers….

Having surgery for feeding tube relief today

 

India

Today in about two hours I will go to surgery to have a feeding tube added to my small colon to make it easier to eat and not be upset in my GI Tract.  This has been many weeks of problems and I HOPE THIS HELPS!  I must eat to gain weight and strength, but it has been a struggle indeed.

This should not be permanent, but it should give me much needed strength. Please say a prayer that this solves this problem.

I attach one of my favorite covers ever in my career.  I shot this very gentle image traveling in India with my BTO Group and many of them saw how hard I had to talk this sweet lady into posing in the sunlit Amber Fort.  She was very shy and I really had to convince her to model for me.  Taught my group perseverance for sure!

Club Magazine that year (2013) entered this cover into a magazine contest and it won best Travel Cover Photo of the Year in all of North America…. beating all the National Geographic Magazines, Islands, Conte Nast, etc, etc.  Was a special prize also as they sent me on a 95- ft Windjammer Sailboat week trip all along the beautiful Maine Coast.  I had a ball sailing that week and eating lobsters.

Hope I can report good news soon as far as my GI Tract results.  I am ready to leave the hospital for sure.  I send positive vibes to all of you.

Still in hospital for 11 days now

bali

Found an old picture of myself shooting a beautiful woman dressed as a bride at a lake temple in green, green Bali.  I thought I knew the color green and then I went to Bali! What a great trip as this was part of my Kodak World Tour of 72 countries.  Fun to discover this photo today in my computer.

Feels nice to look at it today as I really feel “land locked” while still in the hospital for 11 days now.  I am still hoping to solve these stomach problems and be able to go home and eat food without repercussions.   It has been frustrating indeed.  I hope to go home in a day or so …. maybe even with a feeding tube for a while.  We will see.

I am staying positive, but it is tough sometimes.  I would just like to get off of IVs and eat regular food and feel well.  I need your thoughts and prayers.  They help so much in my outlook.

I continue to get messages from so many people around the world who my blogs seems to have helped.  For that I am grateful indeed. I have always tried to inspire people, so I hope this continues.  I know I am a fighter and I will fight this cancer with everything I have.

I send hugs and positive vibes to all of you.

Had a nerve block for stomach pain today

Still in hospital and feeling somewhat better.  Still hoping for answers tho and not sure I am going to get those yet.  Am eating some food in addition to all the IVs with nutrition, electrolytes, etc.

Today I took am ambulance from Winter Park Memorial Hospital to the big Florida Hospital on Princeton Ave for a nerve block procedure.  They do not do those here at the smaller hospital, so had to visit the bigger canvas.  Had the procedure And hope I do not need any pain pills in my GI Tract now for a long time.  That would make it easier on my stomach.  I will know in a day or two.

So I am hopeful indeed.  I send hugs to all of you

CAT SCAN RESULTS BACK

apos

Still in hospital and just got results from CAT SCAN.  No growth in tumor and that is good news.  But we still have no answers WHY my stomach hurts 24/7 so we will do more testing.  I am staying in the hospital until we get answers.  There has to be some reason I can’t eat and have no energy at all with stomach pains constantly.

This saying at the top is something I have tried to live — in my photography and in my life.  Each of us can start the day positive or negative — only we can determine that.  I have always chosen for the positive.  It has been a little tougher lately, but I still refuse to get down even with bad medical news.

Will spend my birthday weekend in the hospital.  Bummer.  But I would much rather get this solved than be home.  This has been so grueling indeed.

We will be doing tests and having meetings with specialists.  Boy, I sure know how to have fun!  Cheers, everyone.

Back to the Hospital for some answers!

This has been such a tough almost 8 weeks since January 14th.  On the 13th, I felt absolutely terrific…. I was strong, gaining some of the weight back that I lost with the cancer, and looking forward to traveling more again after my December Hawaii trip.  It seemed that I was turning the corner.

But cancer has a way of kicking us in the butt sometimes.  I ate two pieces of sushi on the 14th, and from that day on I have felt worse more that better.  I threw up for several day then, wrenching and could not keep anything down.  We all thought it was food poisoning, but after almost 8 weeks of losing weight & strength, we now feel it was unrelated to the sushi.

Anyway, I am weak indeed and have lost over 25 additional  pounds that I cannot afford to lose!  I am now below my playing weight in college basketball by 20 pounds and I am so thin.  I came into the hospital three times in January for 2 days, 4 days and 3 days….. released and back home with the same horrible GI Tract pain each day all the time.

I am NOT going to leave this Florida Hospital until I have answers that can help me live days in less pain.  I may even need a feeding tube for some time if it helps me to get to good health daily.  So. please cast some prayers my way for positive answers

I will somehow remain positive, as is my nature.  It is a little difficult right at this time as there are so many fears & questions.  I just has a new CAT SCAN an hour ago and, hopefully, it wii provide some solid information.  I will keep my chin up as much as I possibly can.

I will keep you all posted as I know facts.  For now, I just want to eat food without pain & weakness.