Help Take the "ILL" out of GIL
Hi. My name is Bonnie and if you know me, you know that Gil is the love of my life. Our favorite expression is "forever and a day" and we say it as often as possible.
A couple days before Halloween (2015), Gil was diagnosed with Stage-IV Renal Cancer (also in his lungs and lymph). We were told that his version of 'forever' was drastically reduced to 2-3 years... with a slim possibility of making it to 5 years.
Gil has a huge heart and is a tremendously generous soul. He easily lights up any room with his twinkling eyes and sharp sense of humor. My Gildie (as I call him) is also a rebel and a bit of a gambler. He really wanted to use alternative treatments to totally remove the cancer from his body without ever having surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
However, as soon as he chose the alternative protocol he thought was best, Gil started to have breathing problems. I took him to the Emergency Room where new scans revealed that in less than 10 weeks, his lung tumors had increased 60-70% and the large tumor in his kidney had not only grown, but had also developed a blood clot.
Seventy-two hours later, a surgeon removed Gil's right kidney. That brings us right up to the present where Gil is now home from the hospital and recuperating.
I am not going to mince words here - Gil is very, very weak. He has lost over 90 pounds and most of his muscular build, his voice no longer commands a room, and he can barely walk down the hallway without getting winded. It's no wonder he is also depressed.
Seeing him like this makes me sad beyond words and I can barely see the monitor screen through the tears that have been flowing ever since I started writing his story. Our story, really, The one that was supposed to last for forever and a day,
We are now awaiting the kidney tumor pathology report (a week) which will be followed by a visit to the oncologist where Gil will be prescribed a course of immunotherapy drugs. Hopefully with these strong pharmaceuticals and the mother-tumor gone, there will be enough time left to stop the fast-growing lung tumors.
With cancer, waiting is the hardest part. So every morning when I go to work - even though Gil begs me daily to quit so we can spend whatever time he has left together - I leave him a litany of exercises to build his strength and improve his breathing and a list of tasks to get him moving a bit.
Today, even amid the torturous wait, Gil truly smiled when I walked in the door from work. And this evening I noticed that his humor is starting to creep back in. I am profoundly grateful for each of these baby steps.
While on immunotherapy Gil would also like to follow a program called the Cellect-Budwig Protocol. It involves a huge commitment in terms of daily intake of supplements and enzymes; a regimented, mostly-raw diet; detoxifying enemas (maybe that's TMI, but if I have to live with it, the least you can do is try to avoid imagining it); a large intake of a fairly expensive nutritional powder called Cellect; the purchase of a high-frequency generator that works to revert cancer cells back to being regular cells; and many other supporting and supportive materials. If you want to read more, I have found this site to be the most accessible: http://www.cancertutor.com/cellect_budwig/. Please share it with anyone you think might also benefit.
It's very hard for me to ask for financial support when I have spent much of my adult life focused more on creative endeavors than on a big-income career. But I do know that through my writing workshops and books I have helped tens of thousands of people express themselves. I am doing my best to see this Go Fund Me request as a pay-it-forward kind of arrangement.
I have put my creative work aside and have been working a gazillion hours to pay for as many of Gil's needs as possible - as well as our regular bills. And, short of my board game collection, we lead a very frugal existence. But no matter how many hours I put in, the bank account required to cover our mounting expenses falls way short. We have been told that Gil will not be able to work during the treatments because he will be too weak.
So, with tears in my eyes, and a feeling of shame that I am trying to overcome, I am now asking each of you if you could help take the ILL out of GIL and give us hope that 'forever and a day' is a possibility.
With a huge group hug and a thank you for loving us,
Earlier in the week we met with a new Oncologist who was absolutely stellar. Gil has already switched to his practice. I particularly liked the jigsaw puzzle they had in the waiting area but tried not to use that to o much to influence Gil's decision.
The new doc patiently answered all our questions, examined Gil, reviewed every step of what has happened since Gil was diagnosed, discussed all the supplements Gil takes from the alternative protocol, and reminded Gil that at his cancer stage, and with cancer anorexia plaguing him, protein is his friend.
He also advised Gil to immediately start the full dose of what I had been calling chemotherapy. It's really an enzyme therapy drug. The doc will also see Gil every 2 weeks to check on him and do lab work to make sure the drug isn't compromising his liver or heart. The original Oncologist just said to slowly build up to the full dose and come back in 6 weeks. We feel much more confident knowing Gil will be carefully monitored.
More good news is that Gil will not need to have more CT Scans; the doc can use chest x-rays every 6-8 weeks to check on the sizes of the tumors. And this doc actually encouraged us numerous times during the visit to call the office with any concerns. When we called the other place we felt like we were being punished for asking questions.
So, Gil took his first full dose of the enzyme therapy drug on Tuesday before bed. He has been taking this dose for 4 nights in a row... and not one side effect!! Fingers crossed that as the drug builds up in his system he remains strong enough to tolerate it.
In addition to all this physiological news, Gil is doing well emotionally. He is upbeat, engaged in the world, and even sharing his humor again. He is excited about and looking forward to the concert this evening.
Speak of the concert... music and friendship truly do heal and make people happy. Check out this story that happened exactly a week ago:
It was our anniversary. Gil sat in the recliner, binge-watched TV shows, declined food, coughed, and barely interacted with me. All the while I was feeling sad as one of the days we use to mark the times of our lives painfully ticked by. I tried not to think about how it might be our last - and a sucky one at that.
When I could no longer stand the isolation, I invited Gil to go for our traditional kiss in front of the bookstore. He reluctantly agreed. It took him over an hour to just put on a pair of sneakers and tear his eyes from the TV. I knew he was doing it for me and I could have just let him stay put. But I felt like some time outside would be helpful for him and some time together would be good both of us, especially for me.
In the car Gil was silent. I was on the verge of tears and was doubting my decision to go for this yearly kiss. And then it hit me.....
I pulled out my phone (at a stop light) and cued up the YouTube video of the song that the wonderful musicians who are putting together tonight's concert recorded to encourage people to pre-register for the event.
Gil had not yet seen the video. It's a charming and quite infectious version of the Beatles' All Together Now. I plugged the phone into the car speakers and handed it to Gil to watch while I continued to drive us to the bookstore.
About 10 seconds into the song, in my peripheral vision, I saw something I hadn't seen in a really, really long time - a smile on Gil's face. He turned up the volume and continued to smile through the entire video.
The tears that rolled down my cheek were certainly some of the sadness that had been welling up, but mostly they were of joy. Seeing my Gildie look happy was the most amazing anniversary gift ever.
At the bookstore I suggested we just have our kiss in the car. But Gil insisted we get out and stand in our usual spot. I rolled down all the windows and blasted the volume so we could hear the music across the parking lot. We had a most delicious anniversary kiss while out friends sang All Together Now.
There are no words that can say thank you enough to these wonderful musicians. I hope you will join us for the concert tonight and share some of their lyrical love.
Until next time,
As of today Gil is officially on oxygen. It was prescribed by a very helpful and straight-shooting Pulmonologist. He told Gil that even though he is weak, the only chance he has to get any real breathing relief is to try to shrink the tumors in his lungs by starting the chemo drugs ASAP.
The doctor was also very frank about Gil's life-expectancy being much shorter than we had originally thought. It's something Gil and I have suspected, but hearing it spoken out loud was a wake-up call.
Gil took his first chemo dose today at noon. Thank you for praying with me that Gil is strong enough to tolerate the drugs and that there is enough time left for them to work.
On a side note: We hope to see you and give and get lots of hugs at the concert on the 9th. The bands have requested you buy advance tickets so they know how to set up for the event. Thanks.
Hopefully all the scans and doctor appointments we are lining up will bring Gil some relief in time for the big benefit ROCK CONCERT BASH in his honor.
Here are all the details. Hope to see you there!!
GilPower Concert - Help Take The Ill Out Of Gil
Saturday Evening, April 9th, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Mater Dei Hall (Knights of Columbus)
327 N. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073
Advance Sales: $30 (Under 21 = $20)
At the Door $35 (Under 21 = $25)
To purchase Advance Tickets, go to www.PayPal.com. Use the “Send money to friends or family” option for email address firstname.lastname@example.org. You can buy as many tickets as you like and you will get a confirmation email. Pickup will be at the door, the night of the event.
I hope you can join us as we Rock the Night Away with these super-talented musicians: The Nodd, Chelsea Sue Allen, Curtis Jr,, and Vilebred.
(Suspenders are optional!)
The Concert for Gil is now on April 9th, 6 pm, Mater Dei Hall in Newtown Square.
Full details on Facebook:
Hope you can join us!
You can purchase your bracelets for $30 each through PayPal! Use the "Send money to friends and family" selection and pay to email@example.com! You will be sent confirmation via email from DouglasGillin.
Don't forget the power of prayer and asking for God's help. St. Peregrine is a powerful patron saint of cancer patients and I will add Gil to my (sadly) growing list of folks that I pray for. Stay strong.
Hi Bonnie, I'm rarely on FB but saw your post today. How is Gil doing? I checked out the link and I'm hoping our donation covers another week of his supplements! Thoughts and prayers for healing from San Diego!