Hello 2019, Goodbye 2018

Diane Leone

Happy New Year! I can’t tell you how emotional the holidays were for us, especially me, I think. I was so ready to say goodbye to 2018, the year our world stopped turning, the year we found out Tom had bladder cancer.

I knew about holistic medicine, well, I thought I did. A family member is an RN and a holistic nutritionist. We thought we ate pretty healthy, no processed foods, no fast food, mostly raw veggies and lean meat. Tom was completely healthy other than back pain from an old but pretty bad back injury that had gotten worse.

Last June I came back from a video shoot in South Florida and Tom had an awful cold. Tom NEVER gets colds, the flu, even a headache. I was concerned. Then, he saw blood in his urine, it wasn’t the first time last year and he was scared. He begged me to get an antibiotic for him because a Dr. (his primary) had told him “it could be just an infection.” So against my better judgement, I got it for him. He had just started feeling and sounding better after 8 days when he had his annual Dr.’s appointment.

So, with Tom, he had never, ever been in the system. No hospital ever, no meds, nothing. Hardly any interaction with Doctors. So, he goes to the Dr., with a cold, tells him he is taking an antibiotic and when he returns home, he is upset. The Dr. sent a nurse in to give him a pneumonia shot!

He had never had any vaccine. I was so upset that I went and complained. The office staff didn’t know what to say. What do you say to the fact that a Dr. gave a patient with a cold, taking antibiotics, with possible cancer-so a compromised immune system, a vaccine?

Sure enough, he relapsed and got sick again. Then, we headed to the referral for a Urologist. Didn’t know this guy at all. His bedside manner was blunt and dull. First visit, after a Cystoscopy- A hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder, he announces that it’s more than likely cancer.

That is the moment our world stopped turning. That’s why I’m glad 2018 is behind us and looking forward to 2019 being the year we heal Tom.

Good News!!!

Tom’s Journey of Pushing Back Cancer

I always get nervous when waiting for test results. After a Skype consult with the Dr. she sent a script for bloodwork: CBC panel, inflammation markers and a test I asked about on Chris Wark website a CEA. It tests for s protein that can be higher if cancer is lurking around. We’ve been waiting for the good news…

We received the results and all tests came out excellent!! So grateful. So I finished washing and storing veggies and we stay on exact course we are in. Sometimes I am in shock that things have gone this well and we are both staying focused on the treatment protocol-not slacking on it at all.

Lyrics to Build a Better Boat by Kenny Chesney

Diane Leone
Build A Better Boat

I thought you might be interested in the lyrics that means so much to Tom and to me during this time. Build A Better Boat by Kenny Chesney:

I ain’t lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone
More than I’d like to, but I’m okay with stayin’ home
My how the last few months have changed
I’m smilin’ more despite the pain


I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t workin’, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussin’ out
Now and then I let it go, I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learnin’ how to build a better boat


I hate waitin’, ain’t no patience in these hands
I’m not complainin’, sometimes it’s hard to change a man
I think I’m stronger than I was
I let God do what he does


I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t workin’, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussin’ out
Now and then I let it go, I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learnin’ how to build a better boat

I ain’t lonely, but I spend a lot of time alone
More than I’d like to, but I’m okay with staying home
My how the last few months have changed
I smile of mourn despite the pain

I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t working, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussing out
Now and then I let it go
I ride the waves I can’t control
I’m learning how to build a better boat

I hate waiting, ain’t no patience in these hands
I’m not complaining, sometimes it’s hard to change a man
I think I’m stronger than I was, I let God do what he does
I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t working, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussing out
Now and then I let it go
Around the waves I can’t control
I’m learning how to build a better boat

I breathe in, I breathe out
Got friends to call who let me talk about
What ain’t working, what’s still hurtin’
All the things I feel like cussing out
Now and then I let it go
Around the waves I can’t control
If it’s working I don’t know
When I get done the thing may not flow
But I’m learning how to build a better boat

Why “Build A Better Boat?”

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.

Diane Leone
Building A Better Boat

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.