Immediate response to the death sentence

Martial Artist get sick, have accidents, become disabled. This forum will focus on how these individuals cope with their condition while staying active in the martial arts and while living life to the fullest. Administered by Sensei Bill Bauknecht. He's been there and doing great! (You don't need to register in order to post here!)

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Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby Bill B. » Sun Oct 01, 2000 3:28 am

When you are told that you have a terminal disease, it hits you like a ton of bricks. The stomach does those funny upside down things, your heart suddenly races to every nerve in your body. That was what happened to me when they told me I had cancer. Of course the immediate question that comes to mind, "How long?" Ask that question? No. I figured at that time, 4 days, maybe up to 2 weeks but that was probably all I had. My mind went to loose ends. Everything was a loose end. Hundreds of loose ends. The basement is a mess, I have to clean it, can't leave it like that. That first week was without a doubt, the hardest time of my life. All my thoughts went to my family. I pulled the insurance policies out, called for the death benefits, wrote down policy numbers and all other vital information. Made sure the will and living trust was up to date. All this while going through test after test, every day, and only knowing I had a cancer that was not curable and one that none of us had ever heard of. My wife and I had our cries and had a family meeting and broke the news to the kids. We all did our crying and then everyone just came together, gathered strength and took the offensive. One of my daughters got on the internet and got a load of info on this devil we never heard of. From that point on they have been with me, I knew I was not alone. It drove me crazy, still does, to think what I have put them through, what will be coming. Thanks to my family and friends, and my martial arts training, my mind has remained strong. Though my body has weakened, I will not give in easily. When they were finally able to give a "how long", it was 3 to 15 months. But then I went into treatment, some experimental, most was what I believe was the most intense cancer treatment out there. From intense radiation to chemo being pumped into my body 24 hrs a day for days at a time. Then to a bone marrow transplant with full body radiation and more potent chemo that drove me to the edge of death and damaged my heart. That diagnosis came 55 months ago. You take this to bed every night, you wake up with it every morning. I could hit the wall tomorrow or next week or? The road is getting shorter, I feel the body as it deteriorates. I pass this story on because this is what happened to me. Surely, each person would react differently. This is how I, so far, have faced the demon. I decided a long time ago that no way was I going to just roll over and die. I continue to go on with my life. Maybe a bit slower, well quite a bit slower, (g). I invite you to tell your story. If you don't have one, yet, maybe it will get you thinking, "How would you handle hearing those dreaded words?" Are you ready to hear them? NO!! And you never will be.
Bill B.
Bill B.

Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby Bill B. » Mon Oct 02, 2000 12:17 am

After everything sinks in, you are going to die, but not in the next hour or two, it's time to put the gloves on and fight it any way you can. There are two types of denial,one is bad and one is better. Many will be in denial, won't accept the truth, will not talk about it, will avoid necessary treatment, will curl up and die. The other denial is to accept, do whatever is necessary to survive as long as possible, open up and talk about it, let your family and friends gather around you. Try to go on with your life, continue to do as many of the things you did before, do not have this demon on your mind 24 hrs a day. Before throwing in the towell, enjoy whatever there is left for you. I've said it before, you go to bed with it, you wake up with it, but in between there are better things to think about. Now you stop and smell the roses. It takes awhile to train yourself but the panic eventually lessens. Everytime there is a problem, a relapse, boom! Reality sets in again. I understand now why some say they have had enough. They just do not want to go through any more of this miserable treatment. I hate to get those feelings and shake it off, but I understand it now. Since everyone is different, this is how I have so far handled my situation. I hope it will be a long time before any of you have the same problem.
Bill B.

Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby gmattson » Tue Oct 03, 2000 5:22 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Bill. Like myself, I'm sure most people really don't want to think about it, never mind actually talk about the subject.

Your positive attitude must have lots to do with your being able to hang-in there, while so many people hear the doctor say "6 months" and sure enough, in 6 months, die.

Meanwhile, how about golf tomorrow or Thursday?

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Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby Bill B. » Mon Oct 09, 2000 12:09 am

George I was like everybody else. Active, healthy, enjoying life. Even though I suffered with this thing for close to a year before they finally found it, I was still fine mentally. I sure understand how tough it is for someone like Lori. She has an injury that keeps her from doing so many things. She has had to change her ways for now but hopefully her handicap is temporary.
Here is a brave lady. Allen survived a terrible accident that left him with permanent disabilities. I know how devestating this has been for Allen. His whole life changed, in an instant. There is no "full recovery" for Allen. He struggles to this day, not just physically, but mentally. You talk about a true warrior, a truly brave man, here he is. The three of us and I'm sure, a lot of people, have one thing in common, we have had to change our way of life. Major temporary or permanent changes are tough to accept. I think this has been just as hard to accept as the death sentence. Maybe that's a good thing, takes some pressure off, by not thinking about the "death sentence" all the time.
Bill B.

Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby Allen M. » Mon Oct 09, 2000 12:47 am

Hello Bill,

I hope you are feeling ok. BTW, congratulations on your promotion well deserved.

I do not consider myself a warrior, Bill, but I will accept those words from you. It has been almost 19 years since I was knocked out of wind that fateful morning. And yes, it did change my life. I was married to Chong for less than two years and Chris was only seven months old at the time. That was a hellova way to start and raise a family. One of the key to survivals was that I could never accept my state of affairs and continue to fight the odds except for during brief interludes.

I was full of piss and vinegar in those days and wanted to set the world afire with new ideas but ended up delegating most of my time to survival, as I still do today.

One of the things that has helped make life a treasure for me, Bill, is meeting and becoming friends with the many fine individuals who practice Uechi-ryu, especially you, Bill. Sensei Mattson and other seniors like Sensei Van Canna have made the Uechi-ryu network a family of Uechikas. Younger generations of instructors, such as Gary Khoury, Tracy Rose, and others, have extended this family atmosphere by reaching out to build brotherhood in the Uechi-ryu family. All one need do is extend his hand in friendship and others are their to welcome him aboard.

You, especially, have been there when I have asked your moral support over the past several years, Bill, especially at the time we worked out at the Grange on the Cape and summer camp last August. For those times, which were and are important to me, I cannot thank you enough, my good friend.

For it is you who is the true warrior.
Allen M.

Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby gjkhoury » Wed Oct 11, 2000 3:44 am

God Bless you, Bill.

One day you will be gone. But for us, never forgotten.

The strength you have exhibited on these pages and in face-to-face meetings with me and many others is the legacy of determination and courage and character by which you will be remembered.

Many of us will live our entire lives and accomplish nothing. In the months you have miraculously overcome this disease you have done so much.

God is not done with you yet! You have more to write, more to share and more to give to your friends and family. We wait patiently for your next message as an opportunity to listen and learn.

With deepest respect and admiration,

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Immediate response to the death sentence

Postby Bill B. » Mon Oct 30, 2000 2:25 am

I think it is time to close this string. I thank you for your comments here but really most is undeserved. No one knows how they would react if put in my position. As J.D. said, there are some who just waste away. I would be willing to bet that most all here would carry on the same as I have. It's simply called "survival". And it's true, anyone of us could get run over by a truck tomorrow. At least in my case, I can prepare, do what I can in whatever time there is left. Enjoy my family and friends like there really is no tomorrow. Life really is too short. If there is any advice I can give, it would be: Put yourself in my shoes for one day. If you can do that, you may suddenly appreciate life even more. You may want to right your wrongs and tie up loose ends. Live one day like there is no tomorrow. Try it, try to get your mind working that way and see what happens. Then enjoy life people, it could be shorter than you think.
Bill B.

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