These are not morbid photos. I built this mausoleum 5 years ago and had planned the plots etc for over 20 years. Long before I knew I would get cancer last year.
The reason is quite simple. My Dad, my Mom and my big brother Ed all died suddenly with no funeral plans and gave their bodies to science. So there was no place for me to go and leave flowers and talk at the gravesite. And then I went on assignment to Buenos Aires years ago and saw Eva Peron’s mausoleum (Don’t cry for me Argentina) and decided I wanted a much smaller one that could also make people think about life from what was written on the stone. Still inspiring somewhat from the grave.
So it has been up for 5 years now on Rinehart Rd in Lake Mary/Sanford. With this cancer, my sister Connie has said “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”. So I don’t know how long it will be until I need this grave, but it is all done– as is the service, the music, and even a great slide show to make people smile. I will continue to fight this cancer, but I do like knowing if anything happens, the decisions are all made & paid for — my family & friends need not worry. I want a Celebration of Life, not a sad, sad funeral. The slide show, hopefully, will make everyone laugh at my funeral someday. Value each day everyone and stay positive!
Saw my oncologist yesterday to discuss the remaining options. Because I can’t get anything thru my stomach, that eliminates many of the Alternative methods, as I can’t swallow & absorb any pills. Any pills we do take need to be crushed well and put slowly thru my J- tube into my colon. Many can’t be crushed. And each day it takes 15 hours to have the liquid nutrition pass thru the tube. Not really too much fun., but I do it.
We will continue to look for studies and other options, but I do feel a little like we are running out of bullets. I have done so many chemo treatments — then so many radiation treatments — that they don’t have many traditional options left. I have also done so many Alternative methods when I could digest food.
Anyway, I will remain positive. There are still miracles out there, so please keep praying. I feel my army of prayers every day. My spirit is still strong and I feel I am in God’s hands. My wish would be too have more years to, hopefully, inspire others in many ways. But I am also realistic that this pancreatic cancer is a really tough cancer to beat, especially since my tumor is too close to my main arteries to have the Whipple Surgery to remove it. So I will keep positive and keep doing my best to make each day valuable.
The photo at the top is one of the activities in my career that has blessed me so much. I have done well over 60 safari day trips in various trips to Africa, and each one was exciting & new. My assignments and my directed trips have taken me so often to multiple safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa to see the Big Five in the wild. We were always so close we could smell them and even hear their breathe. Not sure what year or trip this safari was, but I am clean shaven for some reason. I am sending my mind & thoughts to Africa today. Cheers.
After the bad news of several weeks ago, I am thinking calm & serene thoughts. This gentle evening shot of the romantic city of Venice is perfect. I have been to Venice many times and I always find some special place there, usually when I am completely lost! Getting lost in Venice should be a goal!
I am waiting until August 29th to see my oncologist about several options. First we are going to look into special trial studies that I may qualify for in treatment. And we will discuss a combination of three REALLY strong chemos together which may buy me more time or — at worse — have horrible side effects and could kill me sooner.
Not really good choices indeed, but I am still thinking positive and will not let this disease claim my spirits and my positive outlook. Keep the prayers coming because a miracle is always possible!
Been resting a lot. Had a great game of bridge (one of my many passions) last night with three good friends…. that was such fun. Have not lost any more weight — good — but sure would like to gain some. The opposite of almost everyone …. I would not recommend this diet!
I send positive vibes to all the people that read this that have any crisis that they are going thru or with family & loved ones. Support and appreciation of each day we awaken should be something you aim at each morning thru evening! Don’t take the future for granted. Wake up each morning positive and the day will always be better.
First, I want to send my positive vibes to this Greek Island of Mykonos. I have loved the Greek Islands more than anywhere else on Earth, so even though I have bad news, I will let my mind wander there after I write this. So beautiful.
I received this heartbreaking news on Monday from my oncologist and I have needed several days to just let it absorb in my own mind & soul. Then I needed time to figure out how to write about it. I am still not sure I am totally on top of this, if that is even possible.
I knew going in that pancreatic cancer is a TOUGH cancer to beat, especially when the tumor is too close to the main arteries to not be candidate for the Whipple surgery. But I have had 20 long & hard sessions of strong chemo way back in September thru November, then I did many many alternative method treatments (drips, pills, etc etc).
Recently I did 25 consecutive weekdays of targeted radiation combined with chemo. We then had to wait at least 6 weeks for everything to settle down to get a true CTScan of my whole insides. It was tough waiting.
Then the doctor told me last week that the tumor had not grown at all….. and I was pleased with that. But the second set came in from my lungs and that is not good.
Basically, the bad news is that my cancer has now spread to many lesions on my lungs, which means it has metastasized in my body, making it Stage 4 Cancer now. That was and is a shock.
I asked him to tell my honestly my chances, and he says probably I will live less than 6 months. GULP!
So I now live with this reality. And I plan on keeping my spirit as high as I can. Cancer has beat my body up for sure, but it will not kill my spirit. The Bill that you all know is still here, just a lot weaker & skinnier.
Now, I say this to all of you. We are all going to die someday…. no one leaves this Earth without dying. And, sure, I do feel somewhat “cheated” for probably losing a few “senior years” I would sure like to live. But in all honesty, I have really lived a FULL and exciting life….. far bigger than I ever imagined in my boyhood. Thru all the joys I had in my sports career, then multiply that by 10 in having an exciting hobby of photography that blossomed into a wildly successful career I have had the last 40 years…. I can only feel blessed. I have traveled to over 200 countries and felt honored on all the assignments I have had. I have felt thrilled leading so many large crews of models, celebrities, makeup, assistants, etc all around our planet while we did so many major advertising campaigns. And then the “cream on top” was creating my BACHMANN TOUR OVERDRIVE group of friends that we explored all 7 continents as friends laughing all the way! That is my biggest joy in my career for sure.
I have been thrilled with the life I chose and have lived life fully. I truly have tried to start each day of my life with positive feelings that carry a person into a happy life. In my sports days, and then in my growing photography business, and then in lectures, books, TV shows, etc etc I have always attempted to inspire people to live life fully, enjoy each day, start always with a positive attitude and life will be better. Perhaps I have even inspired some small group with this cancer blog and photos I have shared. I will not stop that now, even though I may try some additional chemo to add time to my life. (It has some negative reactions, etc so I have not made up my mind this week whether I will try this new chemo).
I know so many of you will want to call or come and visit, and I really do beg you not to. I am so weak now, that if I talk to 5 people in a day on the phone with all the tears & news, it wears me out even more., and I must rest a lot of the day. Perhaps soon I shall call some of you or perhaps even have you visit, but please wait until I contact you because I will then know my energy level. I promise I will read every one of your emails to me, or FB comments, but I can do that when I am up to it. So I ask you to honor those wishes for now.
I do hope that I have been a positive influence to my two boys, Brandon & Jordan, whom I love dearly. I also hope I have been a positive influence in some small way to all those friends & loved ones who I have shared this adventure called life. I am also thankful to all of you for your friendship and the many smiles you have brought to my life. When you think of me in the future, please think of the smiles, not any sadness. I am also deeply thankful to Connie & Byron who have moved to Florida and lived in my guest house to keep me battling this horrible disease.
I am still somewhat in shock, but I will find peace and positive in this even. All my life I have tried to inspire people to live more positively and more fully. Perhaps my last project here will be to show people how to die with dignity & grace.
A peaceful “grab” shot from my favorite place in the entire world —- Santorini, Greece. I photographed this to look pastel and peaceful. My mind loves traveling to the Greek Islands that I love so much.
I am thanking all of you today for all your prayers and support. I also am thanking God for what seems like mostly good news from my oncologist today. I just got the email from him and I sure prayed before I read the news! Thank God for the news.
It seems the CAT Scan was basically stable. No appearances of any cancer metastasizing anywhere else….. and that IS really good news.
I will learn much more from the oncology visit this Monday. While “basically stable” sounds good, I have several major questions to address with him:
—We did 25 consecutive chemo/radiation day treatments aimed directly at the tumor…. it seems that would have REDUCED the tumor somehow rather than just stable? I will need to look at scans carefully with him.
—How can we get this so that I can eat ANYTHING? I have not swallowed one bit of food since March and that is the main reason I have lost so much weight. I get nutrition from a J tube with fluid bypassing my stomach direct into my colon, and that takes 15 hours hooked to a bag in the evening & overnight. I am hoping we can somehow find a way to eat something and have my stomach move it along. That would make my life so much better!
But I am happy with the news… and thankful. Still a long way to go to be cured, but so many people are praying for a miracle that I feel I have a small army behind me. And that feels so powerful and good.
Again, I hope that this blog continues to inspire others as people have problems & troubles in their life. I hope my positive nature can continue to help others — that would make me happy.
Tomorrow I go for my first CT Scan in about 2 months since I had 25 weekdays in a row of chemo & radiation. I had to wait this long to have my insides “settle” to assure the Scan would not be a false reading. It has not been an easy wait.
It will take several days to get the results, so I will let you all know when I know something. This could be good news or bad news…… I am prepared for either at the best peace my mind can muster. My will to live is still so strong and I will not let this cancer destroy any of my spirit.
I can still use all your prayers as I so much want to gain weight and strength. But I am surprisingly at peace.
I looked for my most peaceful image today and found a panoramic of my first visit years ago to Machu Picchu, Peru. Perched in a valley of fabulous peaks, I brought my heavy 6 X 17 panoramic camera up the mountain and I love what it captured. A perfect peaceful vista.
I send hugs and warmth to all of you as I enter this pivotal week in my battle with this horrible cancer. I need your prayers, but I also can say that I hope I have been some small type of inspiration to all those fighting any fears, problems or setbacks. My entire life I have attempted to inspire others….. hope I can still do that.
Still on edge waiting to have a full CT Scan on July 24th. That will either give good news or not so good news. I am praying for good.
Since I’m on edge, I found the cover photo of my 15th book “Remember The Joy”. My client shot this image of me and I was not supposed to be that far out on the cliff. But that is how I lived much of my life. Look how close my one tripod leg is to slipping off! Fun! Keep the prayers coming please….
Only for one week every other year, Brussels, Belgium comes alive with this beautiful live Flower Carpet. I was lucky enough to be there at the right time several years ago in the Grand-Place square in the city center. It is just plain wonderful! I can still smell these flowers! I like seeing these here today.
I am still very weak from weight loss and still just waiting for the CT Scan on the 24th. That should tell me a lot. Scary, but reality.
Please keep those prayers coming! I can use them.
I send cheer to everyone out there that needs a lift.
June 25, 2016. One year ago I came rushing back from a trip to sit in a doctor’s office. There two doctors told me the horrible news that I had pancreatic cancer. I remember that I did not shout, did not cry, in fact I hardly reacted. I was just numb — it was if I was above on the ceiling watching this scene happen below me.
How that changed my life, and this year! I had to cancel trips & assignments set up to Italy, Ireland, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland, college Homecoming in New York, trip to Banff & Jasper, Hawaii, Germany shoot of Christmas River cruises, Antarctica-South Georgia-The Falklands, and the Cuba trip this spring. What a year I had planned….. but my traveling just stopped cold. I was “Superman” before I heard this news, and it can happen to any of us , anytime! Life is so precious — live it fully, as you are not guaranteed tomorrow.
It has been a vacillating year of ups & downs. It is a tough cancer to beat for sure, but I have kept my spirits up….. I will not let this disease take away my spirit. That is definitely helped by so many of you and your prayers & warm wishes. I can feel them and they do boost my morale so much, so I thank all of you for those thoughts & prayers.
I am in a waiting mode now until my insides settle and I can have a clear CT Scan to see how much good the 25 chemo & radiation treatments have done. Kind of scary just to wait, but that is where I am. I still only get nutrition from 7 cans of Levity 1.5 into a J-tube, directly into my small colon and bypassing my stomach. Not the way you think of “eating”, but that is all I have now. Hopefully, that can change with the new CT Scan.
So I thank all of you for your kind thoughts and for caring. I still want to inspire people in this world somehow…. I just have to do it in a more gentle way than traveling & directing trips. I know I have been blessed so much in my life, so that helps indeed if I ever do start to feel low.
I include this photo of the Taj Mahal in the early morning light. I have been to India on three trips and shot the Taj at least three times each time. It changes color with the light of day and is often very crowded. I post this one today because the light is so soft & pastel and it portrays the gentle feelings I have today. It is the most beautiful building in the world and created for love for a ruler’s favorite wife. Enjoy the visual today. And I send love and smiles to all of you.
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.