All posts by Bill Bachmann

Waiting until I can have a new CT Scan

 

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Here is a peaceful sunset image from wonderful & warm Greece.  No, it is not the Parthenon in Athens.  It is the Temple of Poseidon perched beautifully on a cliff in Cape Sounion.  I feel this temple just relaxes in the Mediterranean compared to the hustle of the Parthenon in the big city of Athens.

I am somewhat patiently (??) waiting until all the shock to my insides subsides so we can get a new CT Scan to see the progress.  I had those 25 days of chemo & radiation combined, and the doctors say I must wait for a long time until I can get a true reading to see how much the tumor has (hopefully) reduced.  Patience is not my best trait (I see the smiles on that comment), but I am doing my best.  I still can not eat food, as it does not move thru my system…. so still on the feeding tube.  Not the best way to enjoy life, but life is precious so you do the best you can each day.

I hope the people who read the blog and need encouragement in their own lives still find some positive energy from these writings.  I have always wanted to help motivate, and I still try to do that each day of my life.  Cheers to all of you.

Had a wonderful day yesterday with my BTO Reunion

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A drone photo of our Reunion.

Yesterday was so special.  And when you are fighting cancer, there are not many “special” days indeed.  I started my travel group Bachmann Tour Overdrive years ago and I have directed 25 exotic trips all over our planet to all 7 continents.  But, more importantly, I have gathered the greatest family of travelers that I could ever have wished for.  Some of these great people have gone on 8, 10, 11, 12 of the 25 trips…. and others have gone on several and then also traveled in smaller groups together on their own.  We really have become lifelong friends.

Yesterday, 55 people came from all over the country to get together like we do almost every year.  But this year, with me fighting cancer, I think it was more special.  The one shot above, taken at my dear friend Dennis Salvagio’s house, was taken at the end and about 30 of the people were still there.  Reg Garner set up his drone camera over Dennis’s house and we all waved.

As far as the cancer, I am at a “wait & see” stage.  A scary stage, by the way, but I must wait until my insides relax and cure from the just finished 25 radiation/chemo combination treatments.  We can not get a real and accurate CT SCAN for at least another month to see if all those tough those treatments did any good.  I am hoping & praying for the best, but will have to just wait a while now.

Friday I went with Connie & Byron (my sister & her husband) to visit a cancer team that does a brand new treatment and we went to see if it could be a possibility for my case.  It is called NanoKnife and is done at only one place here in Orlando.  Instead of traditional surgical or radiation procedures, NanoKnife uses electrical currents  to open the calls to be unbalanced, triggering a cell “suicide” while the veins & nerves are largely unaffected.  Sounds promising.

Heard a lot of facts Friday, but we again must wait for the CT SCAN results to see where we are in the process.  I will continue to try everything to live thru this horrible disease.  As I have told so many people, cancer can hurt my body, but I will NOT let it affect my spirit…. the spirit that has driven me for so many years to live fully.

So I close today this blog with hopes for good results coming, and also with a real Thanksgiving for the wonderful friends who traveled to the Reunion — it meant so much to me. I also thank all those friends all over our planet who send me their prayers and warm thoughts.  I can tell you that anyone who is fighting cancer is lifted by the people that love and care for him or her.  I am especially thankful for Connie & Byron who are here with me, daily fighting the fight with me.

I send cheers to all.

Some not so good news, but not sure!

I have been waiting all week to decide how to address the news I got last Memorial Day weekend. it could be bad news, but there is also a possibility it could be a false read.  I did not want to overly alarm people, but I am ready to address it now with what I know.

My stomach and intestines have not felt “right” since mid January, so I have been dealing with that as much as the cancer.  I went to the Emergency Room and then hospital last Memorial day after not “moving” for 7 days.  Something just feels wrong.

They did a CAT SCAN and the results sounded scary indeed.  They said the pancreas head seems to have grown some and is interfering with my stomach & small intestines.  That could mean the cancer is moving…. in other words, metastasizing.  And they also thought they saw 2 nodules on my lungs which could be nothing or something. And all this is indeed not good news.  They got me moving again  from overnight in the hospital, and then I got home to rest.

On Tuesday, I went to my regular Oncologist and he said these could be a misread of CAT SCAN.  He says that when we are blasting the tumor with radiation with 22 (so far) treatments each weekday, it often throws off CT Scans as so much is happening in there.  They never suggest you get a Scan until at least a month after we quit the radiation.  Then we would get a much truer reading, as things have calmed down inside.

Obviously, I am alarmed by this reading, but I am holding onto hope that it is a misread from all the activity inside.  I did not know how to address this on my blog, as I don’t want to scare everyone.  But I have tried to be as open and honest with the blog as I possibly can be, so I had to address it somehow here.

So that is what I know now.  I will finish the remaining 6 sessions of radiation and we are also going to look into a brand new procedure called NanoKnife.  I have an appointment this week to meet and learn more about this electrical method of destroying cancer cells.  It is here in Orlando also.  Brand new and has some success, but I need to learn a lot more.

I will keep my positive attitude, I can assure you.  This cancer can beat up on my body, but I will not let it defeat my spirit!  This is just how I am made.

I am having a big Reunion of my Bachmann Tour Overdrive travel group on Saturday the 10th and I can’t tell you how I look forward to that.  I started this group and we have become a loving family and I look forward to seeing so many of them.  I will not have a lot of energy, but I will sit and glow with all the friendships and love in the room as we show slides from our many trips (we have had 25 BTO trips now).  This is indeed the one thing I have done in my career that I am most [roud of accomplishing.  I have had big, big assignments and some famous things, but this little travel group has my heart more than any of those things.

Please keep your warm thoughts and prayers coming my way — I can really use them!  I send hugs to all of you.

A Three Day Reprieve

 

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Here comes Memorial Day and a 3-day holiday for everyone.  Let us not forget that we need to remember our fallen soldiers in wars that have kept our nation free.  That is the meaning of the Memorial Day Holiday.

Most of you it will be off work, relaxing and B-B-Q.  For me, it means that for three days I don’t have to face that ugly radiation machine above, or carry a chemo pump attached to my chest for those three days.  So, wherever we are in life, we all have different ways to celebrate.

The machine above is where I lay down 5 days a week in that light green body form of mine  under the sheet.  All that is to make sure the radiation is “right on” exactly in the same place so it doesn’t damage any other internal parts.  I am now 19 done, 9 more to go.  67% finished.  It has taken its toll on my energy and general well being.  But I shall continue after this three day break and see it thru.

I can feel so many of you battling behind me and that truly helps to make these days more pleasant.  I thank all of you for your warm thoughts and your prayers.  It is impossible to reply to them all, but know I feel them in my heart.  Cancer can play havoc  on my body, but I will not let it break my spirit!

Cheers to all….. have a good long weekend.

Starting the grind again this week

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First, a peaceful isolated village church in the spectacular Dolomites in Northern Italy.  Brings me gentle memories of my times there.

Started again a new week of chemo/radiation sessions each day.  Really a full day of medical meetings.  And I could do none of this without the help & love of Connie & Byron.  As most of you know, my best friend in the world (and we call each other brother & sister) Connie moved down here to Florida to help me survive this horrible disease.  Connie, and her husband Byron, moved from their 5-bedroom home in Maryland to live in my two bedroom guest house and help me in so many ways.  My love goes out to them each day as they keep me going to all the meetings, doing all the things to help at home, keeping my spirits going high and I just can’t say enough loving things about the sacrifice they have made.  I love you both and thank you again here.

Today C & B drove me to my radiation treatment, then we waited so long for my chemo tube to be installed for this week.  Then went to banks and finally to my G.I. specialist to discuss ways I can get to eating real food sometime soon instead of just the food tube.  So we got home exhausted after this long long day.

Today was treatment number 15 of 28, so still have quite a few to go.  I will  keep plugging thru this, somehow keeping my energy level high enough.

Wish you all a great week.

Starting my third week of the procedure

On Friday, they cancelled my radiation because the machine was out.  So, today I started again doing my 10th of 28 sessions of tough chemo & radiation at the same time.  At the end of the week I should be half way thru.

Saw the oncologist doctor after the session and he says I look better than he thought I would look.  He said in the next week or two I really should ‘hit the wall’ with energy & strength and feel worse.  How’s that for positive thoughts for a positive thinking guy?!

I asked him when I would be able to test to see how this all has done to the tumor and my stomach, etc.  He said we may not know until a month or more AFTER the 28 sessions.  That is not what I wanted to hear, but it is what it is.  He said I may still lose some more weight because this is tough stuff.  This is not for the meek for sure.

So I keep my head up, keep going in for these sessions and resting whenever I can.  Keep this prayers coming as I need them.  I send hugs to all you.

One Quarter Done with the procedures

China oxen

I will explain this photo below.

Today I finished my 7th Chemo/Radiation combined treatment.  That gets me 7/28 done, or 25% finished.  That is how I get thru these on a positive note — one at a time!

The side effects seem to be just more energy going away …. I seem more tired.  But I have not thrown up or really had nausea.  I hope that continues.  It is a battle indeed for anyone that has had cancer.  I am keeping my head up and my mind as positive as I can be.  I am just hoping that my stomach improves as these progress and I can eat again!

The photo above… let me explain about it now.  Most of my career people have always asked if I have shot for National Geographic.  The truth be told, NG has purchased many of my images over the years as stock for the magazines, and I have been asked numerous times to shoot on  assignment for them.  I do have the upmost respect for the NG brand and look at it often, but I have always turned down the shooting assignments.  For two main reasons:  first, they pay about 1/10th of what advertising travel campaigns pay me to shoot ($300 a day compared to $3000 often), and even more importantly, is the issue of ownership & usage.  If I shot for NG direct, they would own the copyright and that was far too important for me to give up with all my stock agents selling my images around the world that I own that copyright, simply because I did not give it up to any client.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t often shoot for advertising clients (tourism boards, airlines, cruises, travel companies, etc) in a style that would be very similar to NG.  I strive always to be close & intimate with my travel images and make the viewer feel he/she is right there experiencing it also.  This Chinese farmer and oxen is a good example.  I shot from really low  – with probably an 11mm lens – so that you feel you can touch, perhaps even smell this field and oxen.  If so, I have been successful.

Thought I would share this image I love with you on my 1/4 done day!  Cheers…

Five Sessions of Chemo & Radiation over

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Well, I have 5 sessions over with this new combined radiation & chemo procedure.  It is in the books.  Only 23 more sessions to go.

Is it easy…. NO!  I usually come right home and sleep for several hours.  And they say it will get tougher.  I am trying to be ready for all that it offers for sure.

Photo is “BIG RAD” …. the high powered radiation machine that I meet each day from M-F.  Not a pretty thing and she makes a lot of strange sounds.  I can only hope she is doing her thing well inside my pancreas.

I have the weekend off from both!  Woppee!  Now if only I could have a sandwich or a drink!  But I will keep on trucking!  Have a great weekend everyone.  Cheers….

Longer day than I thought it would be

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First, let me share some joy with all of you.  As I drove out of my driveway towards the street on my way to the hospital. I spotted this home-made sign that some dear friend(s) made for me today as I start this radiation/chemo fight.  It was so wonderful and touched my heart…. I know I have people that are caring, but this was special!  I wish I knew who did it… called several and they said “no”.  It is so special to me as I progress this next journey.

Went to hospital for first radiation and it took 2 hours (rather than the 20 minutes each day they told me).  Then up to get fitted for a “chemo bag” that will slowly let chemo in each hour for 5 days at a time, then they remove each Friday afternoon,  Will have to get used to sleeping with that.

Bad news tho … instead of 15 chemo/sessions for three weeks, they have changed it to 28 sessions over 5 1/2 weeks (off Sat & Sun).  So it will be longer than I thought, but they are going milder than they were going to for a longer time.

I’ll do it and work my hardest to think positive each day.  The positive mind is the best one.  And thank you again, whoever hung that sign.  I sure hope I find out who did it!  Cheers….

Bring it on!

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As I get ready for 15 straight days of tough chemo & radiation starting tomorrow, what better picture to visualize than a field of sunflowers in North Dakota. How can anyone look at sunflowers and not smile??

I am ready for the tough time ahead…. hope it won’t be as bad as it can be. I need your thoughts & prayers. Bring it on doctors!