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.

Happy 4th

Home last night was so much better than it ever has been.  I had three procedures where I had to go “under” in two days back in hospital.  Not fun, but needed.

So I came home last night and slept from 10:30 pm until 10:30 am — 12 hours!   And I just took another 3 hour nap.  I was worn out I do believe.

I am changing my entire eating pattern of life.  I had a divorce this afternoon with “Little Debbie” — cleaned out my refrig of those delicious little devils, Klondikes in the freezer, yogurt with fruit on bottom (I thought they were healthy!), cereals with any sugar, etc etc.  Waste can looked funny!  Sugar feeds the “Fire” of cancer, so no more for me.  And no more sugar substitutes — they may be worse.  I am trying to do this right!

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I attach a photo of my living room (taken in winter as there is no fireplace going now).  I love being here with my world photos on the wall, my music, Connie & Byron here to help me.   So much better than a hospital room.

Please continue to not call and just get info from this blog.  I am resting more than I’m not.  Resting for the Chemo fight ahead.  And I am planning to win…..   If you know me, my middle initials are P.A. for Positive Attitude!

I send hugs to all of you for a great July 4th.  The USA is scared right now for any large crowds, so that may well put dampers on many activities in our near futures.  I plan on going over to Denise Smith’s house and watch fireworks from her yard.   I hope I have the energy for that!

Happy Fourth to all of you.  Again, share this blog with anyone that is going thru any illness where they need a positive attitude.  My goal in life has always to inspire people to do their best, to stay positive, etc.

Hugs,

Bill

My Home Team Arrives & Back for Some Testing for Details

Haven’t written for three days, as it has turned so very busy here.  Unbelievable how much to do and decide.

First, I would love to thank so very, very many of my dear friends and family for both there loving emails and for respecting my wishes about not calling.  There are not enough hours in the day to do all that I have to do, so I just can’t talk on the phone with people going over & over details.  Please make this blog your (hopefully) loving & positive place to find the latest news.

The last two days have been a blur of calls for appointments, procedures, preps, discussions of plans, etc etc.  No time to really relax and I need to do that soon!  I need to have the strength for what is ahead and I plan on going at this dreaded disease in traditional & alternative nutrition methods.  Getting the best of both organized!  I have already changed my eating by more than 180 degrees — I do not even recognize my new diet & food choices!  I thank my old friend doctor Paul Beals, and my dearest friend Terre Arrigoni (who just went thru cancer), for their guidance and determination to change this traveling guy whose only decision each night was “Where will I eat” whether at home or somewhere on the planet.  Man I had it easy!

Beware of the new Bill — yes, I may even be cooking some healthy food myself!  OK, my close friends, take the time to pick yourself off the floor!

All day yesterday, my best friend (really like my sister) Connie and her husband Bryon came into town to stay at my home for a long time.  We spent so much of the day going over food to have, choices, No-Nos, etc.  Oh no, never another “Little Debbie” sweet.  🙁

And a wonderful, wonderful thing happened.  Jordan, my youngest stepson, flew down from Atlanta for the day to spend with me.  So sweet and so needed!  He filled my heart with joy!   Golly, that felt terrific!

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 8.59.41 PM
Jordan made my heart sing with his gentle love yesterday. I am 6’5” and both boys are bigger & taller than me. Can you feel my pride?

As a team we set a lot of goals and procedures together.  Terre taught us so much about what we eat and put into our bodies. It was a rushed, but so productive day

Last night I checked back into the hospital to redo a few tests this morning.  They went well, I think, and I’ll stay until tomorrow to put in port for Chemo and to do a colonoscopy.  Oh, the fun things we do now!

I still send warm positive vibes to all of those that read this and care for me.  I can not say how much it means to me knowing your caring & prayers are sent my way.  I can not have too many positive thoughts and prayers helping me!  Keep them coming my dear people! I think many of you have always seen my outer strengths and assumed I can do anything.  Well, humbly, I am learning much more I need to work on now with inner strength and will power.  I always took that for granted, and it is an experience that I am learning how to apply internal strength to my body & life.

Peace!

Restless Sleep

A restless sleep all night. So much on my mind, so many paths, procedures etc ahead. Not only do I want to beat this cancer, but I want to have my life back where it is helping & inspiring others. In the last 15 years of my life, I have managed to slide away from making money on assignments and I have spent more time writing books, preparing slide show lectures and guiding my small but wonderful Bachmann Tour Overdrive travel group witness with me the wonders and joys of our beautiful planet. I want that back!

The nurse took this while I was resting before I left the hospital.
The nurse took this while I was resting before I left the hospital.

Still in the hospital as I write this. The system seems to have slowed as I wait for doctors and test results. I guess the weekend has slowed results, but I sure am anxious to hear the results to see if the cancer is anywhere else and to give it a name. You need to know your enemy to fight it!

Finally at 9 pm, I write this from home. They let me go home to really rest (who gets rest in a hospital?) even though I have no answers to the tests. I will get a port for the chemo in three days, I believe.

On the way driving home, thru all the construction zones of the interstate 4. Cars are whipping around me driving in the center lane, passing on right & left, cutting in front and going 20 + miles past the speed zone. Very unsafe — to get to their home or to a restaurant 1 ½ minutes faster. After you start to face cancer or another major life problem, you want to tell them to stop their rush that could kill someone and it is just not that important in the scheme of things.

Blur of Doctors

Today is a blur of doctors, discussions on plans, X-rays to see if the cancer has spread to my chest, etc. Do not have results back yet, but one doctor said that the X-ray looked good. I am still waiting to hear the results of the biopsy to identify the type of cancer.

I had told several of my friends about the hospital stay and they showed up with card, balloons, etc. And we laughed for several hours. But I honestly also can say, I was exhausted by the hours we talked. I have very little energy now and I have so much reading, resting & relaxing to do. I also must save my energy for healing! A lady from the hospital said to me: “You have to protect your energy”. And I realize that is true. I can’t have tons of company and hundreds of calling messages.

Sherry Brewer & Terre Arrigoni tried to cheer the ol' guy up in the only way they knew! PS They were totally dressed :-)
Sherry Brewer & Terre Arrigoni tried to cheer the ol’ guy up in the only way they knew! PS They were totally dressed 🙂

I love my friends and I know they all want to call and comfort me, but I must turn my phone off or I will be giving “replays” all day and wearing myself out. So, seriously, please use this blog as your update. You can email your thoughts to my email (at top of blog) and I will read all of them when I can. There will be times I will reach out to many of you for companionship, getting together and hugging, but let me get into this program and see what I am capable of doing. The chemo will wear me out I am sure, so I will need to recoup from that.

My best friend in the world, Connie Beals, and her husband Bryon, are coming down on Wednesday to stay at my house for several months. Connie’s ex-husband, Dr Paul Beals, also is an alternative doctor so we will be going at this cancer from two levels — traditional and alternative. Bryon will be looking for a job here in Florida (they have wanted to move to Florida for years) so he will be job hunting.

Connie will be with me everyday, taking me to hospital visits, holding my hand when the chemo gets you down, and helping with all the alternative therapy that I want to start. One other dear friend, Terre Arrigoni, who just had cancer and is beating it with all the nutrition that I will need. (she was in the bed with me today on this fun photo!). I thank God for all four of these people to be my support system — God bless you Connie, Paul, Bryon & Terre.

So I sleep very restlessly tonight thinking of all that is ahead .

What do I need the most?? All of your sincere prayers! I want to be out there guiding trips, shooting travel, writing books and doing what small things I can do in my life to inspire others. Please understand I need your prayers so much and your love. And please understand that I can not write or call others now and talk all day. But I will feel your love & support and it will make my shoulders wider and my smile more radiant.

Remember the Joy

There is one phrase that can bring the strongest man to his knees. One phrase that can make everyone on the planet feel so afraid immediately when it is directed to him in conversation. One phrase that absolutely rocks your world and makes everything else immediately less important.

“You have cancer.” Three simple words. I heard them today at 11:00 am from a team of doctors when I went in for tests thinking something was simply out of whack with my intestines. And I will never again be the same. My goals, dreams, challenges, lifestyle and faith will never be the same again.

All of us really have no idea how WE would react to hearing that discussion. I have often wondered if I would be strong, if I would just start crying, if I would be in denial, if I would be ready to fight. But when I heard the words today, I would have to simply describe myself as totally numb, no feeling, almost in total shock. It was as if I was above the discussion on the ceiling watching doctors talk about a person below around a table.

I had been traveled around the Southern USA for several weeks with no energy, diarrhea that was almost white, urine that was Home Depot Orange.  And I was losing a lot of weight in a short time. I knew it was something blocking my liver functions…. I figured it was a Gall Stone wedged in the bile duct or something. So I cut the trip a week short and rushed home to get to doctors. They took blood tests and it confirmed extremely high emzyme numbers in my liver.   AST, ALT, Bilirubin etc. all of a sudden became important elevated numbers to me.

So, I came into the hospital last night to stay and would have a CAT SCAN in the morning today that would identify what was blocking the bile. Simple enough, I thought: probably a gall stone that they can pluck away (even with surgery) and I can be off to Italy next week on a planned for so long BTO Photo Adventure I was leading with 20 terrific people. All the beautiful parts of Northern Italy to show them with cameras…. how exciting for all of us.

Everything was true indeed exactly as I stated — the only difference was WHAT was blocking this bile track would affect the rest of my life. Instead of just a little gall stone (or some stone), I have a mass of cancer on my pancreas. Welcome to Pancreatic Cancer, Mr Bill. And it will be something I will fight beginning today.

The reasons I am writing this blog are threefold. First, I want to have a way of communicating with my global friends, people that love me, family that loves me and let everyone know daily progress and insights. Secondly, I have to allow myself time to rest, make decisions, fight this disease and not be on the phone talking and telling details over & over. And, thirdly, I hope that perhaps this blog can be of help & perhaps encouragement to even people who do not know me so they can be inspired to fight this horrible disease. So feel free to share this blog with anyone that you know that may be helped in any way.

I promise there will be days with only a paragraph or two written…. Something like “I threw up today”, or hopefully, even more days of, “I saw a beautiful flower today in the garden that I never noticed before.” That is how we should all live anyway (as I have tried to do in my life as a photographer).   We ALL, with cancer or totally healthy, need to notice the beauty, peace and joy of our world and not race by everything in our lives. We hear it always “Stop and smell the flowers”….. but far too many of us think we have UNLIMITED time on Earth to do that, and we are promised nothing, my dear friends! Believe me, staring cancer eyeball-to-eyeball now, I will search for the beauty & love in every day, in every way I can, in each small beautiful thing or gesture.

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.