Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Strengthening the will

I find myself really wanting to live and live in the utmost of quality. I examine that statement to its end and find some interesting statements and discover some expressions so others might gleen.

I realize that the biology of cancer will dictate the course of events regardless of ones attitude and fighting spirit. However those people with positive attitudes are better able to cope with disease-related difficulties and perhaps respond, in a biologic sense, to therapy. The health care shift that has occurred over the last twenty years directs us understand that the psychological and the physical elements are not separate, isolated and unrelated but linked to the total system. Thus, there is a balance of many inputs that lead to the desire of a long and quality life span.

Bone pointing which is a phenomenon resulting in a paralytic fear, after learning the diagnosis of cancer. The person often withdraws from the world and await the inevitable end. In todays medicine, the person may often believe the diagnosis is a death sentence. However, the phenomenon of self-willed death is only as effective if the person believes in the power of the curse.

In the treatment of cancer many times people fail the first, second and third lines of therapy, then- with more advanced disease a fourth line of therapy provides a giant leap in response. In all things. one has to take risks if you want to win. to get a remission or recover with the best quality of life. Just the willingness to take a risk seems to generate hope and a positive atmosphere in which the components of the will to live are embraced.

The threat of death renews the appreciation of the importance of life, love friendship and all there is to enjoy. Often new possibilities are opened and risks are taken that there was no courage to take prior. Facing the uncertainties of living with an illness makes life more meaningful. The smallest of pleasures are intensified and much of the hypocrisy in life is eliminated.

A friend with cancer stated: "I love living, I love nature. Being outdoors, feeling the sun on my skin or the wind blowing against my body, hearing birds sing, breathing in the spray of the ocean. I never lose hope that I may somehow stumble upon or be graced with a victory against this disease."

 The great pyramid
 My two best buds, brother in law and sister in law. The very best!
 Egypt once again
Back home in Lexington. At the farms.

Friday, June 13, 2014

No News is Good News

Monday of this week, June 9 2014, labs were obtained and the CEA was crazy elevated. This led to a CT scan from head to lower abdomen. The results were surprising to say the least. The cancer in the liver has gotten bigger and several additional lesions were observed. The lung seemed to have several additional lesions as well. This changes the outcomes, at least the way I have hoped them to be. I suddenly remembered the statistics for survival with stage 4 colon cancer which happens to be 7-9% for 24-29 months. I must say that the word quality has a profound affect on my life at this moment.

Diet has helped change the way that I feel on a daily basis. This also has affected my quality of daily life. Juice plus supplements and shakes have proved adequate nutrients and the results have been more stamina and quicker recovery after chemo days. The chemo regime wastes a persons magnesium, calcium as well as potassium and often iv replenishment is required. Thus far the labs have been normal an no muscle, bone or renal damage observed.

My attitude toward this wrenching news, is one of not giving up the struggle to survive. I have a lot of energy and a God given will to live to the fullest. Defining living to the fullest is asking daily that the Lord will expand my understanding of Him so that His wisdom will enshrine in my heart. Living to the fullest brings to me a peaceful heart and a wonderful feeling of a healthy mind and body. 

I continue to be active with photography and am now pursuing aerial photography with a drone quadcopter. Presently learning to fly safely, I will post some unique photos next time.

 SI liked this one
 Greta with her future husband, July 26, 2014
 Sophia stretching out her wings
 A wonderful year of horse racing
 The UK Wildcats locker room. Great athletes

Inside the Winstar farms barn. An amazing place!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Era of Drug Therapy

      January 2014, Judy and I went to Vanderbilt for consultation. During that time tissue was given for genome investigation. Recommendations have been given to my oncologist, Dr. Hicks, for me to receive an Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor (EGRF). This is targeted treatment. In the previous rounds I have received a anti-angiogenic factor inhibitor, Avastin, also a targeted therapy drug. This seemed to work for three months. I believe the literature points to that fact as well. Avastin was given not knowing the genome associated with the cancer. The literature points to the fact that Avastin might even promote the growth of the cancer if the genome is not targeted. At this point we are not sure if it helped or hurt.

      Presently, I feel assured that an EGRF inhibitor is the right direction to travel. Not without consequences however. Erbitux was given 2 weeks ago. I felt fine after treatment but on the way home I began to vomit and did not stop for 6 hours. Nevertheless, I was placed in the hospital for the night. I received Vectibix, a brother of Erbitux yesterday. This decision came not because of the side effect I experienced but because of the weekly regimen. I preferred ever other week so Judy and I could have somewhat a life. Fortunatly there has been no N/V, only an expected facial rash, in which, 90% of patients get when taking an EGRFI.

      Family and friends and church friends continually pray and believe that God will show mercy and heal me of this cancer. Christ is our passover lamb sacrificed for us! Through Him, we too are strengthened and can receive total healing, spirit, soul and body! I Cornth 5:7

      I still take pictures for sanity. Recently, I went to Winstar farms in Lexington, along with their photographer, Tammy Brown.

      This shot is of Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner. Just a few of 600 taken that day. More to come!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Regression- Depression- Recovery-Next- Rounds of Scans, Labs and more news

       July 2013 began a different and unexpected road to travel. Wandering about the years gone by and appreciating the people and events encountered, I found myself tearful even at the simplest of thoughts. Attempting to convince myself that being diagnosed five months earlier, and withstanding this horrible nausea, vomiting and severe weakness, has produced a more gentle side of my life. Needless to say I did not want to participate in any activity. I could not think of positive reminiscence, nor think of any future events. That is when I quit writing the blog.

       Reading about depression was about all I could do. I certainly could not talk about it. My family knew something was not right and friends could not see past the smile and forced joviality. I could not be around people very long. What was happening? This was a new chapter in my life and I thought I was prepared for anything. After all, I felt I had been molded through the years of study and practice of Medicine, producing the tools to handle all turmoil.

       Chemotherapy agents are poisons aimed at killing what makes the tumor grow and invade. Well how-di-doody, it affects the good cellular structures also. I took a six week hiatus from therapy and my mind and body recovered. I noticed a clarity of thinking and an old familiar friend- me. It was good to climb out of the shell, speak freely and just be myself. Thank goodness those around me understood.

       The road to recovery from depression, as I discovered, was seemingly backward from most. Since the most effective treatment is antidepressants I refused to take them because of the potential damage to the liver. Many times these agents will trick the oncologist because of the increase of Liver transaminases. Unnecessary testing will occur, as well as, extended worry. The traditional chemical imbalance responsible for depression, and in my case, was chemotherapy agents stealing my energy and causing many hours alone and in bed. One can imagine the amount of unfinished and often confused hopeless thought patterns one develops.

       A trip to Vanderbilt University, to discover genome targeted therapy, was a trip indeed. The first observation was that the health information systems communicated with all departments and patients traveling through the system were recognized and all the data gathered was conveyed via a private patient portal. This was so refreshing to not give your general information again and again to each department. After several tests and giving blood samples for tissue/genome analysis the trip back to Kentucky was welcomed.

       Several CT scans later have shown a few lung lesions that are suspicious for metastasis. a VATS procedure was performed and metastasis it is. This changed the whole ballgame. Liver resection was completely out of the equation, which would have essentially placed me into remission, thus chemotherapy was stepped up. I was very familiar with the lifestyle that these agents placed me into.
News from Vanderbilt came at a good time and recommended changing the regimen to a single agent known as Erbitux (EGFR) an epidermal growth factor receptor blocker. Imagine the side effects and you will be correct. Even though targeted therapy has forwarded the science of cancer therapy enhancing the longevity of colon cancer patients is on the horizon but not at the present.

       All along the six or seven months that I have not written in the blog I have managed to accomplish several things. I finished a Masters degree in Hospital Administration. I found myself glued to my cameras for the Kentucky wildcats. Shooting a full season of football and basketball, on the sidelines, was remarkable. Over 60,000 pictures taken and many great memories of coaches, fans great athletes. Not to mention the overwhelmingly talented and gifted photographers who get the immense opportunity to shoots these great events year after year.

       I plan to regularly place a blog on the events of my continued journey. This is a privilege to bring to everyone news about a journey filled with turns and events. My faith in God is first and foremost and He is in total control.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Are You Covered?

Are you Covered? Paying for Cancer care?

  You may not realize that financial assistance for cancer treatment and other services is available to people at various income levels and in many situations. Unfortunately, many service providers do not have the means to promote their services, and many cancer patients and families are unaware of the available resources.

Finding and keeping affordable health insurance is critical if you have cancer, have had cancer, or have a family member with the disease (see Insurance Guidance in box at right). Even with the best insurance coverage, you will likely be responsible for deductibles, co-payments, hospital bed rentals, some at-home nursing care, certain medications, and some services.

If you don't have insurance or adequate insurance, you probably need help tracking down government and private sources of assistance. Get started by contacting the social work department at the hospital where you are receiving care. 
  • Financial Help From Social Security Disability Programs

  • What You Need to Know about Medicare Part D

  • Clinical Trials: What is the Financial Impact

  • Prescription Assistance Programs     

    How to pay for Cancer treatment with no insurance?

    First off, realize you're not alone; 45 million Americans have no health insurance. While it makes getting treatment more difficult, lack of insurance doesn't mean you can't get treated. 
    Financial help when a parent leaves a nursing home to live with family?
     See all 1960 questions about Cancer

    You'll need to be proactive about getting healthcare, since you won't have the safety net of an insurance company and primary care doctor overseeing your treatment. Keep this mantra in mind: Your job is to get better, and to do that you need to obtain the best healthcare you can get, using the resources you have.

    The first thing you need to do is find out what hospitals and medical centers provide treatment to the uninsured in your area. Every region has hospitals operated by state and local government (public hospitals) as well as some nonprofit hospitals that provide a safety net for anyone who needs care, regardless of ability to pay.

    Start by contacting your local health department (in the government pages of your phone book or on the Internet) to ask what public health services are offered in your community. But don't stop there; call your local hospital and ask to speak with a social worker. Ask for information about any "charity care" or "indigent care" programs. Hospital social workers are usually the most knowledgeable about sources of support in your community.

    It's also important to research hospitals that are required to provide treatment under the Hill-Burton Hospital Program. Hospitals that receive construction funds from the federal government must provide some services to cancer patients who can't afford to pay for their care. Approximately 300 hospitals take part in this program. Call (800) 638-0742 to find the closest participating hospital.

    In addition, the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service can direct you to local programs as well. For more information, go to or call (800)-422-6237.

    If you have breast or cervical cancer, there are additional resources mandated under the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act of 2000. This legislation extended Medicaid coverage for women who have been screened and diagnosed through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in states that have agreed to provide this service. For more information, go to or call (888) 842-6355.

    After I have personally been put through the ringers for disability insurance, for stage 4 colon cancer, paying for insurance, acute or long term, seems to not work in your favor, no matter who you are. The icing on the cake came when I have had the pleasure to meet wonderful people with  terrible cancers and have no means of paying and they express that they are not getting the same care that I am. This promoted me to address this issues in the blog.

    I pray for Gods intervention with the U.S. health care system and hopefully Jan 1, 2014 will make a difference with the uninsured, underinsured and preexisting conditions that will present to the health delivery system.

    As always, In Gods, Presence, Strength, and Courage
    Bo Morris

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Learning to Share

            The Ease of Sharing

            Having the ability to seek immediate information online has become part of human behavior. Access to an unlimited supply of information has its merits and its detriments but it is something that is omnipresent and available.

            We often ask friends and family for recommendations on restaurants, movies, maybe even a vacation spot because we hope their knowledge and experience will prove fruitful. We even turn to the Internet for similar recommendations because there’s value in others’ opinions, it could save us time, money and even introduce us to something we might not have thought about.

            Looking for health information isn’t that much different especially when it comes to cancer. In fact, some would argue it’s probably more important since cancer isn’t one disease but hundreds and we can’t expect that our doctors will be able to provide everything we need. It’s the information we share that can help facilitate important discussions between patients, doctors and family that are crucial to our survival, whether we’re just starting our battle or are dealing with the aftereffects.

            In an age where information is abundant and just about everything is shared, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, health information has real meaning and purpose and should be shared. The more we do so, the more empowered and less anxious we become about making decisions and getting the support we need with and without our doctors. I believe that there is power in numbers and the more we share with one another, the closer we'll get to finding solutions that have a real impact on our lives.

             The Difficulty with Sharing

            The conversations nobody wants to have shape lives. Delicate and highly personal, they are as different as we are. They decide questions as weighty as One more round of chemo that might give me some more time, or live out the rest of my life without the problems it will surely bring?
At their best, discussions about a cancer diagnosis, prognosis and the end of treatment are gentle, honest and respectful. At their worst, they are abrupt and do not honor the needs of the individual.

            Oncologists and other doctors say that navigating the conversations takes a good ear more than anything. In almost all cases, they say, patients should decide what they want to hear and when.
You have to be good at listening. Some people aren’t good at listening; they’re good at talking.

           I have to say that I am working at sharing my deepest feelings to those who dare to read this blog. It is fruitful, but nevertheless, painful and sometimes very difficult. My physicians pray with myself and wife frequently and provide an atmosphere of encouragement and hope. The picture is not tainted with artificial cheer but shades of struggle and the often times fear of dying in pain and loss of body appearance. God is my strength and is always ahead of this struggle.
           Sharing is asked of us by our brother in Christ: James 5:16. Prior to this verse 5:15 the prayer of faith with heal the sick and if there is sin found it will be wiped clean, through Christ. I am better at sharing with others my internal fears and struggles, thanks God, my Pastor, Oncologist, Surgeon and friends.

Always, Peace, Strength and Courage Through God the Father
Bo Morris


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Emphasis of Screening

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Early diagnosis, though, can often lead to a complete cure.
Almost all colon cancers start in glands in the lining of the colon and rectum. When doctors talk about colorectal cancer, this is usually what they are talking about.
There is no single cause of colon cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer.
You have a high risk of colon cancer if you:
  • Are older than 60
  • Are African American of eastern European descent
  • Eat a a lot of red or processed meats
  • Have colorectal polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Have a family history of colon cancer
  • Have a personal history of breast cancer
Certain inherited diseases also increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Two of the most common are:
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome
What you eat may play a role in your risk of colon cancer. Colon cancer may be linked to a high-fat, low-fiber diet and to a high intake of red meat. Some studies, though, have found that the risk does not drop if you switch to a high-fiber diet, so this link is not yet clear.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are other risk factors for colorectal cancer.
I have young friends, who for what ever reason, seem to avoid the Fecal occult blood test-every 1-2 years or the sigmoidoscopy and even further the colonoscopy. The standard recommendations are 3-5 years for low to moderate risk and for a higher risk group this can be individualized by the practitioner.

Always thank you all for the overwhelming support!
In Gods Peace, Strength, and Courage
Bo Morris