July 30, 2018…

July 30 2019 The Day Our World Changed Forever and Build A Better Boat

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.

Tom is Cancer Free!!!

Tom & Huxley and Build A Better Boat

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. 🙏 ⛵️

Happy Birthday to my Dear Husband!

Build a Better Boat Tom and Diane Leone in Paris

Hi everyone. I had not recorded an update a a few weeks so I thought today was a good day to do it. It’s Tom’s birthday! You can imagine what we are happy for today. Last year on Tom’s birthday, thanks to a friend treating us, we were in Paris! We are so glad for those memories and for the great new friends we met.

This is a short video update. Hope everyone has a great week!

https://youtu.be/OsOXo6XIlmw

The Day the World Stopped Turning…

Tom’s birthday in Paris, February 2018

July 31, 2018 – We get the news…Tom has Bladder Cancer.

The Dr. who had a dull bedside manner at best, called while we were making dinner. I could see it on Tom’s face, I knew it was cancer. Bladder Cancer stage T1 high level. It had spread from the bladder lining to the thin tissue between the lining and the muscle-the exact place the cancer spreads to first is the muscle. The Dr. started on the phone talking about BCG treatment, chemo, radiation, and possibly removing the bladder. Unbelievable thing to do to someone whom you just told they have cancer.

We cried so hard and held each other so tight. This couldn’t be happening, it didn’t feel real. But it was real and we were not fighting for Tom’s life.

I made a note in my journal, “Have to share info with Tom to get him to understand other treatment options…but not everything like, how bad the survival rate could be with this cancer. I hate the word cancer.

We head to the Dr.’s office to have the catheter removed but the Dr. isn’t there so we have to wait. There was a flood of emotions from fear, anger, sadness, and just being overwhelmed while we waited for the next appointment and we researched like crazy the treatment options.

As I read my journal entries, there are moments of fear, sadness, being overwhelmed, and hope. Days of crying and days of doing a ton of research to find what we needed. After 5 Urologists, none of whom liked us very much, we are not deterred from our quest to push cancer back with the treatment protocol Tom has decided to use.

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.

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.