This song has been Tom’s anthem, his song, for this journey.
This song touches my soul. You see, my husband Tom was diagnosed with bladder cancer in July of this year. As often is the case, a song from Kenny Chesney really moves us. This song, Better Boat, is Tom’s “anthem”.
He gets emotional when he hears it because it reflects this journey we are on. Diagnosed in July, tumors removed, Tom has chosen an integrated but mostly holistic/natural treatment protocol.
So, it often feels like we are on our own and alone doing this. Cancer causes you to fear, anger, and with this treatment, it is really building his bodies immune system to fight this disease. The cost of surgery, doctors, tests and strong nutrients, specific food-all organic, oxygen hyperbaric chamber treatments, Far-Infrared Sauna treatments, and Cryo-Nitrogen treatments are very expensive.
The week Tom was diagnosed, I lost my monthly client so it’s been tough.
So far, tests show we have pushed cancer back but it’s still at the cellular level so we continue this treatment protocol for at least another year. It takes so much money to do that.
This song reflects how Tom feels and we both have faith in what he is doing. I do the research, make the appointments, handle the insurance and paperwork, find the food, store & prepare it and keep nutrients stocked.
I worry because we can’t pay for this for a year. It’s about $2500 a month on average if we don’t run into obstacles and need other things. And that doesn’t include whatever tests he may need throughout the year.
My friend started a gofundme page and friends, family, and associates were kind enough to donate but we really need help.
Because a holistic treatment for cancer seems so controversial, and this song has touched our hearts in such a big way, I’ve created this blog page www.buildabetterboat.life to blog and vlog about the journey.
We understand that many believe in complete western treatments but we know others support us and believe in natural as well. So far, we’ve tried to blend it but Doctors are not willing to work with us. I cry when I hear this song because it reminds me of Tom’s journey just like Summertime reminds me of my last summer with my mom, who we lost to cancer.
I pray that people will find this blog and know we sincerely need help. If I could find 250 people that would give $100 on the gofundme page, I could breathe that we can get through this year.
All of Kenny’s music is amazing, this song is very special to us and we love the No Shoes Nation Community. Sorry to say we won’t be able to see Kenny in concert even though it’s the first time in several years he has played in Jacksonville, FL (close to us) but we can’t spend any money on anything extra. So, we hope when we get through this we can see Kenny again.
Thanks, Kenny for this song. Thanks to those reading this. #CancerFreeTom – if you wish to read our story and maybe make a donation, here is the gofundme link: https://www.gofundme.com/help-tom-leone-beat-cancer&rcid=r01-154618935924-c9690a61635446e0&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w if You just wish to follow our journey, my updates please subscribe here to get notices or simply come back to this page.
We love juicing! Nutrition to boost the immune system helps Tom’s body heal itself of cancer and helps both of us keep disease away.
We love juicing so much that we wore out our first juicer and this is our new one. It will be obvious that this video has not been staged, it was during the morning when I was juicing for us for the day. I thought I would share one of the many “rituals” we go through daily. All of them contributing to healing Tom of cancer.
We’ve done it all holistically and naturally and are so grateful. If you want to follow us on this journey, sign up and I’ll be starting a newsletter soon so you will know when there is a new post.
Follow on social media: Facebook.com/DianePLeone and Instagram.com/DianePLeone
Click on the image below to watch the juicing video!
What an awful and emotional time. Tom recovering from surgery, me trying to find alternative treatment options, and at the same time, trying to figure out how to replace the income I lost the week Tom was diagnosed. My larget client at the time canceled his retainer account due to financial issues.
My immediate plan:
- Have Tom see Laurence at Healing Waters
- Call Treatment Center in Oregon to schedule a call to discuss a treatment plan
- Call about the Hoxsey treatment I had found in my research
- Look at holistic cancer treatment clinics in Mexico and Germany
- Figure out how to handle the emotions (for both of us) of setting up a Go Fund Me page
- Ask my dad for money, my family
- Cut every expense I can cut immediately
- I had to beg one company to let me out of an advertising contract-I wasn’t too proud to do it, I had to cut every bit I could
I talked to a treatment center in Florida-approximately $36,000. The center in Oregon? Initial phone/skype consultation would be $650.00.
There would be many times throughout this journey where I would feel overwhelmed and ask myself if I was giving Tom accurate and good advice, were we making good decisions? I didn’t have anyone to guide me. We couldn’t afford to spend $36,000 and up plus travel expenses for the clinics I found.
The decision to go with the treatment center in Oregon was made. $650 for the initial consult and then the Dr. would send a treatment protocol. The supplements cost around $650 a month and the alkaline-based 100% organic diet would average $300 a week, at times more. There were the tests that were not covered, the bills that needed to be paid and I now had lost a major source of income. Every month we were bleeding into debt.
A dear friend set up the Go Fund Me Campaign and planned an event for people I knew to get together with me and donate. As thankful as I was for this kindness, it was tough to basically ask people for help. I am so grateful to the ladies that attended the event. They genuinely cared about us, wanted to help us, and did help us. I can never share with them my appreciation. A lesson in being humble and letting people help you.
A local charity that helps families pay their bills and other needed things as a loved one goes through cancer called me one day. They offered to help and they are amazing. We are so grateful to them. You see, I pretty much stopped working and focused on doing research, taking care of Tom, sourcing the food and supplements, scheduling treatments, tracking all the medical records, and running things. We felt the love and prayers from so many people. There were a few people who didn’t agree with Tom’s treatment choices and some judged us on creating a Go Fund Me page.
The lesson I learned was not to judge because you never know what someone’s situation is and I had to do whatever it took to help my husband get rid of this life-threatening disease.
This was just the beginning of the treatment and healing process. Tom began drinking Essiac Tea every night. Then the supplements arrived and initially, he took over 30 capsules a day plus more. I made lists of what he took and when. I doled out capsules-those that would go in the morning smoothie, and in two tiny bowls, I would place the morning and afternoon capsules that Tom would “graze” on, and finally, the evening capsules.
Tom’s body went through a detox and he didn’t feel well for a few days. Then he began to lose weight rapidly. Just the beginning…
Eating an Alkaline Diet
Your body can be either acidic or alkaline. Our goal is to get our ph as close to 7 as possible which is neutral. At this point in time, Tom’s ph is hovering around 6.5 which is rare for most Americans that eat the standard western diet. Since he does not, his ph level is good. The last time I tested mine, it was at 6.7.
Acidic foods can cause low-grade inflammation in your body and sustained inflammation can contribute to diseases including cancer.
Eat the colors of the rainbow. The best foods include berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries and you want to eat a variety of the rainbow so carrots, lots of greens, and have you ever had a purple sweet potato? It’s delicious!
There is much evidence-based information on eating an alkaline diet and how it works on keeping inflammation and disease away. From NBI Health, see the top alkaline foods to eat and the top acidic foods to avoid: Top Alkaline Foods to Eat & Acid Foods to Avoid
The first thing Tom’s Dr. did was create an alkaline food protocol for him while adding high-grade supplements that either directly targeted an inflamed bladder or focused on reducing inflammation in general in the body.
We still eat this this way and have added juicing. It’s not a diet-they don’t work-it’s a lifestyle change. One with amazing health benefits and one that we’ve witnessed first-hand with Tom and watched a relative incorporate to manage his Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol to the point he has reduced his meds by at least half.
We believe in this way of eating and it’s whole foods, nothing processed, no processed sugar, low carbs, good fats, vegetables. We also eat organic.
It’s been a couple of months since I posted last. I don’t write in my journal every day anymore. It sometimes feels like the days are even harder now but how can that be? Tom is cancer-free. It’s been six months and late December he will do more tests to make sure but his last bloodwork looked great.
He feels great and is doing well. The thing is, we both are dealing with this process of life after cancer. We were so happy and so grateful when he got the all-clear. Then, we both started having days (sometimes the same days, other times different days) where we miss our old life, wonder what life will be like now, and wonder how we will keep up this new regimen.
When you go the western path of treatment, there are follow up appointments and tests but the treatments stop and you (try) to go back to life as it was. We can’t do that. We’ve cut Tom’s supplements in half but he is not ready to let go of any more of them yet. We are both fearful of letting go of them too quickly. So each month we spend a significant amount of money on supplements as well as organic food.
We have finally started letting ourselves go out to eat at 3 different restaurants rarely, but still, it feels so great, helps us feel “normal” and at the same time, we worry and feel that we are cheating.
We decided to take a break and spend a weekend at a place we loved. We used to go there a lot in our old life before cancer. The picture on the post is us the first night we arrived at dinner. It was beautiful outside and the water was in front of us. Both of us were wiped out and exhausted from the 5-hour drive to get there and after 2 days, on the drive home, we discussed how it wasn’t the same, we didn’t really enjoy it anymore. It’s from our old life.
We didn’t expect this at all but we were so focused on healing Tom, we never thought about after and what “after” would look and feel like. So we realize we need to make changes and start thinking about what our new lives will look like.
My routine of taking care of health treatments is pretty much the same; every morning I make Tom’s smoothie and every other morning I juice enough for both of use for 2 days. I have breakfast, check email and then go to the office. I schedule treatment and Dr. appointments for Tom and go with him to the Dr. appointments. I keep notebooks (I am up to 3 now) of all of his test results, bills, and anything else related to his health in these notebooks. I still research when we need answers. I shop on Fridays at 5 different stores for all of the organic food we need for the week. Now that we juice, I buy a lot more greens.
About every 3 weeks I make a new batch of Essiac Tea. Tom has started making it and drinking it at night on his own. I have other things to do like re-starting my business, managing our debt, and now the end of year processes have hit: manage to get his new health insurance plan, my new health insurance plan, and soon, I’ll need to start preparing for tax filing.
My body has finally let me know it’s exhausted so I’m getting treatments I need for adrenal fatigue and TMJ (which has flared up from stress and has caused me to have Tinnitus-it drives me crazy). At the end of the day, I am completely wiped out and exhausted. I knew it was time to take care of my body. I think the only reason I was able to go as long as I have is that I am eating what Tom eats and that has helped support my immune system.
About once a month I get a massage from a therapist that works on my TMJ, my back-because I hurt it and it’s been like that for months. Every other week I get an IV Vitamin C treatment that also includes B-12, Magnesium, and glutathione.
What is Glutathione and What Does it Do?
Glutathione is a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids − cysteine, glycine, and glutamine − and is produced naturally in the body. It is called the master antioxidant because it can regenerate itself in the liver after each “fill-up” of free radicals and go back to work. Free radicals are often the byproduct of normal cellular metabolic oxidation and toxic overload. They can lead to autoimmune diseases, several types of cancer, and even heart attacks.
Keeping yourself healthy, boosting your performance, preventing disease, and aging well all depends on keeping glutathione levels high. It is critical for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is the master detoxifier and the body’s main antioxidant, protecting our cells and making our energy metabolism run well.-truth about cancer
We both want to dig out of the debt and figure out how to get the most out of every moment of life yet we are stuck in the cycle of treatment and repetitive work. We both want to have so many life experiences together and enjoy living. We have come to terms with leaving our old lives behind, now we have to figure out how to move forward.
We appreciate everyone who follows us and thank everyone for the support and prayers-it’s what has helped us get through this.
The Day Our World Changed Forever
My first post in the journal my friend Judy gave me was Monday, July 30, 2018-the day of Tom’s surgery.
It was the first time Tom had ever been in a hospital and the first time he had ever had surgery. He was on no medications for anything. Yet here we were, in the holding room, waiting for them to perform surgery-for Bladder Cancer.
My Blog That Day…
The morning is dragging. Tom can’t eat or drink – just wait. We leave before 10 am to arrive at 11:15 am at the hospital for surgery scheduled for 1:15 pm. The surgery didn’t start until 2:00 pm.
The Doctor won’t confirm what he already knows – it’s cancer. Not thrilled about them putting Mitomycin-C in his bladder after the surgery. It’s Chemo.
The Dr. met with me after the surgery and was very bland stating, “it’s cancer.” Without missing a breath he went on to say they would start BCB (chemo in the bladder) treatments and if that didn’t work, regular chemo, radiation, and removal of his bladder. My head was reeling.
I remember being in the Dr.’s office when he, again, rather blandly told Tom it was “probably cancer.” I remember that awful feeling inside and looking at Tom’s face trying to decide what was going on in his mind. He was emotionless and just said “okay” to everything the Dr. said. Neither of us had any questions, we were both in shock.
As we left the office, I stopped in the restroom-I felt sick.
During the surgery, they scraped several tumors and clusters of tumors from the lining of his bladder. We were told they would call with the Biopsy results.
Tom’s first statement: “I don’t want to lose my hair.” He was scared of the chemo drug that was sitting in his bladder.
Before we left the hospital, the nurse showed me how to deal with the catheter and told me to use latex gloves because the Mitomycin-C is toxic. I drained it the first couple of days and then Tom insisted on doing it until the next Dr.’s appointment.
Our world changed forever on that day. I brought Tom home with the catheter.
I was grateful for my sister. She’s an RN and a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. She had begun researching natural treatments.
I knew I had to share with Tom the information my sister had started researching and was afraid he wouldn’t consider alternative treatments. I didn’t want to share the stats on survival if going with Western Medicine.
I hate the word cancer. The word by itself creates fear in everyone. I know it did in me and I know it did in Tom.
We all know this. It sounds so logical and simple yet, how do you do that when every ounce of energy you have is being put into helping your husband treat his cancer?
Dear friends, family members, and people that I didn’t really know but cared, all told me I needed to take care of myself too, put my oxygen mask on first because if I got sick, I couldn’t help Tom at all.
I knew this was a truth yet I simply couldn’t. There were no minutes left in a day and no money for anything other than what we needed, what Tom needed to get rid of this horrid disease.
I believe that the cornerstone of Tom’s treatment protocol really helped me do what I needed to do this past year and kept me healthy-an all-organic diet.
Now, over a year later and two months of “all clear” on his tests, we are trying to settle into a “new normal” and get some things back on track.
My body has told me in no uncertain terms that I need to take care of it. My adrenals are exhausted and depleted from the long and intense stress.
“According to the theory from WebMD, if you have long-term stress (like the death of a family member or a serious illness), your adrenal glands burn out from prolonged production of cortisol. So adrenal fatigue sets in.”
It can keep you from losing weight and overall just make you feel exhausted and bad all of the time. There are other symptoms that have told me it is time to focus a bit on healing myself.
So, I started with a massage with Cranio-sacral treatment and my first IV Vitamin C therapy. I’ve started on some nutritional supplements to help my adrenals recover and I took a precious walk on the beach today.
The ocean calms my soul, it’s like meditation when I walk on the beach. It also is something called “grounding”. I walk barefoot on the beach and it’s healthy to walk barefoot in nature to connect and ground yourself with it.
So, thank you to all of you who told me and worried about me and to those who are in similar situations, I hope you are able to put your oxygen mask on first to take care of yourself and the one you are caring for.
The image on the post is from my favorite airline safety video-Virgin airlines. https://youtu.be/z1A5BtqsaPM
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It was a bit of a surprise to us what we would go through emotionally after getting the news that Tom is cancer-free. Yes, after the shock and it sank in that it was real, we were so happy, relieved.
Living a real, authentic life together is important and we hope all of our family and friends understand and if the don’t, it’s okay.
What we didn’t expect? How do we decide when/how we can modify what we are doing? When we tell people Tom is cancer-free, they don’t say it but we think they are thinking, “that’s great but it can (or will) come back.” We discussed it and our response is that if Tom becomes symptomatic again, we know what to do and we are confident in that.
We are also continuing to eat whole, organic foods and we decided we won’t stop that. Regarding treatments and nutrient/supplements, we are taking time to evaluate them and after more testing over several months, we’ll decide, with the help of Tom’s Doctor, what to cut back on.
We both actually have felt a grieving process of losing our life before cancer. The truth is, life has changed forever after the cancer diagnosis. Then we spent a year completely focused on survival mode and getting Tom well. Now, what is our normal life? It feels a bit robotic and exhausting.
We want more peace in our life. We want to enjoy life again and appreciate it so much more. We eventually want to be able to travel a little bit.
Physical things are not important to us. Something interesting, however, is we have lived in our home 22 years and we tend to pick nice, quality furnishings and we’ve owned most of our things for many years. It feels like a memory of life before so we hope in the future to replace some pieces, and re-paint.
I am focusing on re-starting my business and determining when and how I will transition or add on helping people with holistic wellness. It’s become my passion.
Tom’s MRI, the last CT scan, and all blood tests show “All Clear”. Can you believe it? It took us a few days to process it but a feeling of relief and gratefulness was immediate when we received the MRI results.
It’s been a long year, with lots of changes and a lot of learning in a short amount of time. Basically, life has changed forever.
We will be closing the Go Fund Me page.
Not sure we could have gotten through most of this without the love, thoughts, prayers, and help from our friends and family and we want to thank you all so much for it. It wasn’t easy and it was definitely humbling to ask for the help we needed and we want to say “thank you” for all that all of you have done.
I think the last week has been a slow, thoughtful time of going over the past year and concluding that “all is clear”. We are choosing to live in the present as best we can. Not looking back, and trying not to worry about the future as we are not there, we are here now, in the present.
We will continue to eat 100% organic and determine with Tom’s Doctor what supplements he needs to continue taking and we will always live as healthy as possible.
We will continue to post blogs and updates on Tom’s page:www.BuildABetterBoat.life and we welcome you to follow it if you are interested in our journey.
We want to share our experience and what we have learned in the hope that everyone who knows us will feel they have options in their healthcare and we hope you all choose to live the healthiest life possible.
We are still here, rebuilding and moving forward and we appreciate you all more than words can show. We hope you’ll follow our blog and this Facebook page and Tom just wanted to say “THANK YOU” and….
He is ALL CLEAR, healthy, happy, forever grateful, and will continue “building a better boat” always. 🙏 ⛵️
We walked into the Crazy Horse Saloon and ordered a drink. The dance floor was full, mostly with couple two-stepping to the country music the DJ was playing however, some people were dancing freestyle in the middle of the floor.
I said, “let’s dance,” and Tom would not dance. He said he couldn’t country dance. I laughed so hard. “We can just freestyle dance, you can do that right?” Yet he would not dance that night with me. He had never been to a country bar and wasn’t about to venture on to the dance floor.
This was during the time we dated. Tom had grown up and worked in New York and moved to Florida after visiting his parents who lived here. It was November and he went to the beach. It was then he decided he was done with the cold and the snow and was moving to Florida. This was several years before we met.
We went on to spend many Friday and Saturday nights dancing the two-step, the waltz, the swing, and of course many slow songs for many years. Together we found we loved so many types of music. One singer’s music has been profound in our life-Kenny Chesney.
His island, boating, laid-back country music style stuck with us. It was a standing tradition for us to go every year and hear him in concert with my sister and her now-husband when he would play in Jacksonville. A huge part of our lives.
Twelve years ago, we spent our last summer with my mom at the beach here and in the Keys with Kenny Chesney’s new CD at the time, Summertime. It brings me back to that special summer every time I hear the songs. So glad to have had that summer but it was the last summer before we lost her to cancer.
We’ve had some tough times since then and last year when Tom got the cancer diagnosis, Kenny’s CD Song for the Saints had been released. As we listened to the CD one evening sitting on the front porch, the song “Better Boat” began to play. I had fallen in love with the song for many reasons. Tom become misty-eyed and said, “this song really resonates with me, it’s my anthem. Its how I feel. I’m building a better body, a better boat.”
And that’s what we’ve been doing for almost a year. With Kenny’s music and in particular this song, we’ve spent the last year researching, studying, and implementing holistic, natural treatments to heal Tom’s body of Bladder Cancer.
We listen to so many different types of music but the music we listen to the most, that seems to reflect our life, is from Kenny Chesney.
(NaturalNews) More and more people are learning of the benefits of juicing as a way to manage weight and ensure getting enough of the right nutrients to keep the body running like a well-oiled machine.
But a lot of us have not been properly educated in the best ways to approach juicing. If you’re doing it incorrectly, you may not only be missing out on the full health benefits, but may also end up suffering from stomach discomfort – or even causing harm to your body.
One of the popular juicing trends is known as “green juicing,” which simply means using green vegetables and sometimes other ingredients to make healthy, super-nutritious juice concoctions.
If you know how to prepare and consume green juice correctly, the benefits can be amazing – but there are a few important factors to keep in mind.
Avoiding common juicing mistakes
Vani Hari, better known as “The Food Babe,” has provided some great advice on her website – FoodBabe.com – concerning the common mistakes you should learn to avoid when making and consuming your own health-promoting green juice recipes.
Here are a few of the Food Babe’s Top Common Juicing Mistakes:
Drinking green juice after eating other foods: Green juice should always be consumed on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you may end up with a case of heartburn and miss out on the full benefits due to the fact that an empty stomach allows the nutrients to be fully absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach lining. Hari recommends waiting at least two hours after eating meals before consuming green juice. You should also wait at least 20 minutes after drinking green juice before eating anything else.
Waiting too long before drinking green juice: When you make your green juice concoction, you should drink it immediately. The beneficial live enzymes contained in green juice begin to degrade as soon as they are exposed to the air, and the nutritional content drops the longer it sits before consumption. If you have a “slow” or twin gear juicer, this is less of an issue and the juice can be stored; however, the juice should be stored in an airtight container filled to the top, and refrigerated to preserve the nutrients and to keep any bacteria from having a chance to grow. If you’re using a standard juicer, be sure to drink the juice within 15 minutes of preparation.
Making green juice with too many fruits and sweet vegetables: There’s nothing wrong with adding some fruit or sweet vegetables such as apples or carrots to your green juice, but too much natural sugar can boost your insulin to unhealthy levels and may also cause weight gain. Hari recommends only one sweet fruit or vegetable per serving. Lemons and limes are an exception.
Replacing meals with green juice: Unless you’re on a juice fast, green juice should be treated as a supplement to your diet, not a replacement for meals. Green juicing is a great way to help you get the daily recommended portion of vegetables in your diet, but it’s best to consume it along with other healthy solid foods.
Not chewing while consuming: Okay, it may sound funny to actually attempt “chewing” your green juice, but the idea is to swish the juice around in your mouth before swallowing so that the digestive enzymes contained in your saliva can help to release the nutrients into your body.
Not cleaning your juicer: If you leave your juicer dirty, it will be a lot harder to clean later. If you’re in a hurry after making your green juice, soak the parts in water to make cleanup easier when you get around to it.
Using specific greens too often: Be sure to rotate your greens, such as kale, spinach, arugula and turnip greens, for example, to keep from building up unhealthy levels of oxalic acid which can affect your thyroid gland, as well as to keep a healthy balance of nutrients.
Switching to smoothies: There is a common belief that smoothies are better than juice because of fiber content, but Hari recommends consuming both. Fiber is good, but juicing makes for better absorption of nutrients.