All posts by Bill Bachmann

I need your help for this to go viral

www.Ijustwantafairfight.com

This will be a different type of blog today.  I have received so many emails from people that I do not know saying “I do not know you, but my  (fill in blank) sent your blog to me, and it has given me a ray of hope in my cancer/disease fight.  Thank you for your positive spirit”.

This has really warmed my heart.  Totally … from people I will never meet! Many of you that do know me have probably heard me lecture somewhere on this planet, or traveled with me, maybe read one of my books, seen me on TV shows, or somehow know that I have so enjoyed trying (and you never know if you do) to inspire people in my life.  I usually talk inspiration about either traveling our wonderful world, taking beautiful photos or to just LIVE your life fully, not always waiting to do what you want until someday — and that someday sometimes never comes. (Where is Wayne Dyer when we need him?)

This cancer may well have made me take a MAJOR right-turn on inspiration!  Judging from the emails I have received, my life goal now may be to inspire people to stay positive all over the world, even if they get the scary news that I have received!  That may well be my calling …. and I accept that mission.

In this fight, I am not taking my eyes off of my MAIN goal now.  I want to stand in front of an audience to speak again and say these  powerful & positive words:

I AM A CANCER SUVIVOR!

But I need your help!  I need each of you (or many of you) to simply share my blog here on Facebook.  That can make this go viral — reaching unknown people that just need a ray of inspiration.  If you share with your FB friends, hopefully many of them will share to their friends, etc etc. We may never know if it touched them, but if it does, isn’t it worth one share on your FB page to help people that will see this as it develops a following exponentially?  I hope that you will help me with this project, as I sit in my house and want to help others see the light at the end of so many dark tunnels.  You — and I — will never know how many people it has helped, but it won’t help anyone unless we get it out there.  I am asking — and hoping — for your help.

This exponential viral message I did about a year ago.  You remember Cecil The Lion who was killed by a “macho hunter” ( and I use both words loosely) in Africa as he proudly took a photo of his “trophy”.  I started a new campaign called “Shoot Africa With Cameras, Not Guns”.  I did the same thing with this campaign then and it went viral wonderfully.  Because of my photography background, I got the support of photo organizations like ASMP and PPA, along with many many photo clubs and even some hunting organizations.  At last count we had almost a million “hits” last year.  More importantly, it made these so-called macho guys realize they were not very cool to shoot & kill beautiful lions from driving a jeep towards resting lions who are not even running and then take pictures of the kill and bring back their “trophies”.  They were ostracized  from society somewhat and it stopped many of the hunts.

This mission is even more important to us than that.  This can bring hope to some people who really need it at a very dark time (believe me, I feel it sometimes!) and I pray it can do some good things on this planet as this goes as viral as it possibly can.

I don’t ask much of many people in my life — but I am asking each of you for simply one click to share this with the masses.  I hope that you understand and you can feel the good it will do to people we would never reach otherwise.

Thank you for allowing me that time to talk directly to each of you.

Now, Cancer news from me.  I had my #2 Chemo yesterday (they would not allow me to shoot a photo in the room) at the giant Florida Hospital complex and it went well.  So far today, I feel better than I felt last Tuesday.  Wednesday was

The city of Florida Hospital has become my home away from home.

the worst day last week, but I am hoping that I can keep my appetite, my taste buds, my regularity, and not have the nausea I had last week.  I think my hair is starting to thin, so I anticipate losing it soon.  Oh welI, it’s only hair and it will grow back. I  will keep my positive spirit to help with these concerns as I progress this week.

I do have one problem that is not rare with Chemo.  Remember I opted for the most powerful drugs & largest amount in my protocol,  so my white blood count is already low.  So tomorrow, Thursday & Friday I will go downtown to get regular shots of Neupogen to increase my white blood count so that I can have the third Chemo treatment.  Then I have a week off of Chemo and I am already thinking of that as a vacation!  Yeah!!

I send warm and positive vibes to all of you as I close here.  Live your lives fully and enjoy all that our world offers positive.  Avoid all the terror, the hatred, even the horrible two-party political fighting and just enjoy the little things that make you happy.  Do MORE of those!

 

Thinking of wonderful travels today.

Not much news at as I await the second Chemo treatment coming on Monday.  Still lack much of my energy and appetite, but I am adjusting (as well as you can).  I do sleep a lot, but I think that is what my body needs.

Firstwife
But rather than talk today about cancer or sleep, etc, I want to think of wonderful moments in my travels all over the world. This is an energetic “First Wife” in the Bena Tribe in the Lower Omo Valley of Ethiopia.
 
I spent over an hour talking to this charming lady, and her spirit lifted mine that day also. In all my travels, I am most happy that I have always been willing to take the time to meet and enjoy so many local people in such diverse corners of our planet. They truly made my life more fulfilled and I also hope I left some small amount of joy with them as we talked. It is what made my travels always soar as I realized how much in common all people on Earth have even though our customs may differ widely.
 
Today as I battle my disease, she again lifts my spirit with her radiant smile and zest for life in such a tough environment to live.   And I thank her again!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It is Thursday now and not much has happened to report since my Chemo on Monday.  I have lacked energy for sure, and done lots of sleeping.  If you know me, you probably find it hard to think of Bill with low energy, huh?  Hey, me too.

The only real bad day was believe it or not, yesterday.  I was somewhat nauseous most of the day, although I did not throw up.  But I had NO energy.  My appetite is not really there, although I still can taste food.  I am thankful for that.  The biggest problem seems to be getting “regular” and they say that will happen a lot of the days of these tough chemo treatments.  Funny, how something like that can be your “goal” all day!?  But it is where I am, so I will continue to do the best I can.

I thank all of you again daily for your caring, thoughts & prayers.  I am gathering them up in my heart & mind as I continue to surge forward.  My best advise to all of you is the same advise I gave so many of you long before I discovered this Big C word:  Live your life fully each day and appreciate all the small joys of living.  It seems tougher to do today with all the tragic events we see almost every other day somewhere on our planet, but you can still love life and flourish if you set your mind to looking at the GOOD in life!  That would be my prayer for all of you.  Cheers….

Chemo Treatment #1 in the books

Yesterday was my first chemo treatment.  As I said before, I opted for the strongest amount of chemicals along with the toughest protocol of  three weeks in a row treatments.  Probably will be tougher on my body, but let’s hope & pray it is also tougher on the cancer tumor.  What we want is shrinkage ….. OK, I can see all the Jerry Seinfeld fans chuckling!

This photo is of my new neighborhood on Monday afternoons for three months.  It actually was much larger than I thought it would be, with about 25 places for patients to sit, recline and have IVs delivered.  The best part is getting to talk to others around me and get pointers as they are much more knowledgeable than I am regarding hints to make this disruptive process easier.  Doctors don’t go into simple little

Chemo2

things that they share, and that I will share to others as I learn the “ropes” about what to expect etc.  I know it is hard for many of you to believe that I am comfortable talking to strangers!  I’ve done that for a living for 35 years in over 190 countries now, so I hardly ever meet a stranger in my life.

After the chemo, I wasn’t sure how I would feel, but I felt strong enough to take Connie to Panera Bread where I had a salad.  AND, I had a treat — a chocolate chip cookie!!!  One of my favorite things always in the world.  I am no longer eating ANY sugar (cancer loves sugar!)  so I said — one cookie I can have.  It has been over three weeks since I have had any sugar, so I enjoyed it so much.  Please, please, please don’t anyone send cookies — I can NOT eat them,  This was just one treat to celebrate my first chemo attack on cancer.

Got home and rested all evening and then last night slept — ready for this— 12 hours!  And I may take a nap this afternoon.  The chemo did take a lot of energy away, but I have had no nausea and no fever.  That is good indeed.  I soon will lose my hair probably, but I will miss more if I lose my taste buds.  That will be tough to force myself to eat to keep weight on (yes, I am now trying to keep weight after losing a lot in the last month) when I can’t really taste the food.

Funny, food has been one of the joys of my life as I have traveled to so very many great places, great cities, great restaurants.  I know people that travel to China and then order a New York Strip steak…. seems like they miss a lot of the experience of traveling and trying new things.  A lot of my friends have commented for years I should have had a travel TV show like “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”.  While my personality may have been fairly good for it (who knows), I think personally I would have wanted to shoot pictures & video rather than talk on camera in these exotic places!  National Geographic once contacted me to do an hour long travel once a month tv show, but I wasn’t interested because I know you are NEVEr done with that.  I know that once you finish one, you start on the next and the pressure is always there to do the next one.  I wanted — and still do — the freedom that comes from being more free in travels and less deadlines.

Getting back to my treatments, I am one done and unknown number ahead.  I am glad that some of you are traveling this unfamiliar  road with me.  Again, I so value the prayers and warm thoughts and emails.  I can’t see people yet, as I really need the rest.  But I can tell you, I read the emails & FB comments and it does my heart good indeed.  I send a warm big hug from a tall photographer that cares for each of you also.

Time for a haircut I guess

It is early Monday morning and I am finishing up for the day to get ready for the big day today (Monday).  Never have I ever looked forward to something happening that will not be pleasant at all!  But if it makes me better, I am as ready as I will be.

I will start chemo at 1:30 pm and let’s hope I made the right decision.  I have decided to go for the “full blast” of chemo on weeks 1,2,3 and then one off for probably three months.  I decided from the last blog that even though I know I will “suffer” more from the larger doses of the these very strong chemo drugs and the rugged schedule (rather than every other week), it could well help to reduce the tumor more. So I realize I will be feeling fairly lame for three weeks a month, let’s do it, while hoping & praying for the best results.

Today I decided to get a short haircut, probably the last one for a while.  I will more than likely lose my hair, so this will help it not to fall out in clumps.  Again, I am new at this, so I really have no idea how these powerful drugs will affect me.

My last haircut for some time. I can see my ears now!

I hope I have the energy to write here every few days and keep all of you posted on progress.  I will probably have my immune system screwed up, so I will have to be careful if I am out & about at times.  I may have to wear a mask.  Where is the Lone ranger when you need him?

I close this stating that I am ready to go with this decision and am praying for the best.  I have tried in my entire life to somehow inspire & inform people thru my photography, my 15 books and my many lectures.  I hope that I can also inspire you to LIVE each day — do not put things off for someday.  You are NOT promised any time in the future.  As most of you know, I always lived that way fully (perhaps sometime too much, I imagine),  but even now I am looking at the future eye-to-eye and I still want to live FULLY and do it all some more.  My entire adult life has found me with camera in hand, exploring every crevice on this Earth, to share with audiences the beauty and the many stories of our world.  Even my website always had short written stories next to each of the images shown.

Now, I need the thoughts & prayers of so many of you.  I have never needed this concern before — I know I really have been blessed.  But I can’t tell you how good it feels to know I have a small army behind me to lift me up on this fight.  Your prayers and emails make me joyful and I must tell you that here.  I read them all and smile — and smiling is what I need for sure!  Thanks everyone.

Planes, drips and decisions

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.

plane

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!

drip2

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.

Lots of activity in next few days

In the next few days, I will be really busy working on this cancer.  Tomorrow we drive to Jacksonville to MD Anderson to get a important second opinion.  Don’t know if it will be different or not.  Then on Wednesday, I fly with Byron, who is going home for awhile, to Maryland and will spend two days with my great doctor friend who has been sending me so many Alternative Medicine procedures — and so many supplements.  I will probably get two interveinal drips while there.  These two things will determine if I start chemo on Monday the 18th or not.  I am anxious to know.

I sure hope I have enough energy for the flight and travel.  Me, the world traveler, now worries about energy for one small flight?  Wow, how things have changed!

So in a few days, I should know more ideas and procedures.  I am learning as fast as I can, but thank God for Connie & Byron who know medicine inside out and advise me

The gay nightclub that had the horrible murders on June 12th.
The gay nightclub that had the horrible murders on June 12th.

Today, I wanted to go to see the horrible Pulse Nightclub murder scene here in Orlando, so my studio manager Michele drove me there to take pictures & video.  It was HOT, but actually felt good to shoot — this is what my career always has been.  I share  a cell photo here of the club and all the memorial signage, flowers etc.

Up and Down days

It has been three days of up and down emotions and information. I think this will happen occasionally as I continue to aim at the chemo and tough struggle ahead.

Two days ago I got mostly good news from our meetings. My doctor said they have no evidence that the cancer has metastasized, which is really good news. They are sure now that it is pancreatic cancer and the most common type called adenocarcinoma. It is a tough one to beat, but I hope to be ready for this fight.

He also said it was Stage 2-3. The reason for 2-3 and not just 2 is that it is a large mass (5-6 cm – little more than 2 inches) and where it is blocking several important arteries. So we must reduce the mass size first to be able to operate and remove it. So if you want to pray to help, please pray that my doctors can find the right mix to reduce this tumor. I am also doing an alternative method nutritional program to strengthen my body & immune system. I’m trying to fight it on two fronts.

It is a lot to overcome and organize for me here now. I am mostly positive, as all of you who know me can relate. But, honestly, yesterday was the first somewhat “down” day for me. I had several times during the day where I hit a “Woe is me” moment. I had some fears that I would be strong enough for this fight. That was a first for me since I heard the horrible news. Fortunately, I am somewhat back to my positive thoughts today.

I assume that from time to time I will hit lows, so I hope my positive nature can help to keep these to a minimum. I have a feeling that I will hit all the emotions possible in the weeks and months ahead. I ask for your prayers for my continued strength.

If you are reading this, know that I really feel glad that so many of you are behind me. I have always thought I was Superman. Now I am really human enough to realize and say thank you so much for your mental and emotional support.

 

Pills, pills, pills

In the last few days my life has been doctor phone calls, taking pills, internet learning and taking naps.  Not terribly exciting, but we are trying to detox my body so that I can really be strong for the chemo and for all the alternative procedures & pills I will be doing.

Some of the pills and how many times a day in their little baskets.  I used these same baskets for many years with  slides going to different stock agencies.  Recycling!
Some of the pills and how many times a day in their little baskets. I used these same baskets for many years with slides going to different stock agencies. Recycling!

I am trying to get my digestive system corrected (all that anesthesia being asleep in three probes has disrupted my system).  It seems I am full with just the smallest amount of food — feels like I am taking dietary pills!  I have lost enough weight before being hospitalized, so I do not want to lose more now.

I continue to feel so many peoples’ love and concern for my recovery.  That makes this isolation and struggle so much easier on my outlook.  Thank you all so much for following on the blog.  I know that many of you want to visit or call…. I am just not up to that yet.  There will come a time when I will ask for a visit or call.

Two doctor’s appointments tomorrow, one fro my digestion and one to hear more about my cancer.  Don’t know how much I will know yet.

I am thankful for my spirit.  Every once in a while I get a flashing “Woe is me” moment or two, but I pull right out of it.  My spirit has always been one of Henry Ford’s quote:  “People say they can, people say the can’t — and they are always right!”  So true.  You all know me and I always try to think positive in every situation.  Have not always successful in everything I do, but I will sure give it my best.

That is why I hope that you share this blog with other people who may be having health issues.  Maybe some positive thing I say can also help them.  That has forever been my life’s goal — to motivate.