Monday, December 26, 2011

Video #6: Caregiver Perspective

This video was shot days after we received some great news from our medical team.

The PET scan showed absolutely no lesions. This means that all malignancies are less than one centimeter and the chemo is WORKING!! Hopefully after our final chemo treatment we look forward to going at least six months before they reappear.

Thanks for all your kind words, it means the world to us and we read every single one!


  1. David, that's fantastic news on the results of the PET scan! Looking forward to your next update.


  2. David and family.

    God bless you all for the courage to confront your diagnosis and treatments while helping others understand what you are going through. We lost my Mom in July 07 to melanoma. She, like you was a long-time employee of the UM system.

    Best of luck to you and continued good health.

    Jason Thornhill

  3. Hi David and family; i'm Sara, from Argentina and i watched all your videos. Both of my parents had cancer, unfortenely mi father past away but my mother had just finished all her quimios and things are great! She feels fanastic. I write this because i want you to know that what you are doing it's wonderful, it's shows the other side of being sick; you can face it with your heart and hope. I will think of you and send all my love.
    (sorry for my english... )

  4. Hi David. I am in awe of people who can embrace their fate and do it with positivity and peace. One of my high school classmates is also dealing with a terminal inoperable illness and she and her family are documenting her "journey" to death on Facebook. She was diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 glioma (brain tumor) before Christmas. There is no dwelling on her condition, just living life fully and planning for the inevitable with peace. I wish you the same peace in your journey. Thank you for allowing us to follow you. Linda Jo Tracton

  5. David,
    Your journey is remarkable. Thank you for taking the time to chronicle each step along the cancer patient process. In addition, I was so touched to hear the attention you give to the caregiver. I too have a website, which focuses on the caregiver/soul sitter. I would be honored to feature your videos regarding care giving, but don't know how to reach out to you formally. If you are open to this opportunity, please email me at
    Blessings, inspiration and thanks,
    Stacey Canfield

  6. David, I just joined your blog. Please, I invite you to mine. and/or

    My blog is very similar to yours. I believe we both created them for the same reasons. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. I am 45 years old. It has now spread to my liver. 2 days ago I came home from hospital after having 4 tumors removed. I was in the hospital 18 days.
    I found so much information regarding all the clinical, sterile medical, Latin mumbo jumbo that my poor chemo brain can not recall.
    This was not the type of infomration I was seeking. It was helpful, yes, but it wasn't personal. There was nothing or no one telling me "OMG, that's going to hurt!", or to let me know that a CAT Scan feels like a microwave. I wanted to know how my friends and family are going to feel. What do I say to them? How can I help them? As the patient, for me....this is a hurdle I am constantly dealing with. My family and friends are wonderful and a great support system. I ache for them. I do not want to leave them, and I will fight, kick and scream the entire way. Seeing the pain and the tears..the heartache I am causing them, for me is the most difficult part of this vicious disease.

    I am sorry to ramble, I would be delighted to have you follow my blog. I believe we are both trying to send the same message, I want to see your ideas and am reblogging some onto my sight.

    Good luck to you. My thoughts and prayers are sent to you

    Renee Robinson
    Nea's Nest

  7. I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in Oct. and we progressed very quickly to chemo as the tennis ball-sized tumor in my neck was occluding my jugular and carotid artery. I just completed chemo in 21 day cycles, like yours. It was successful with the PET showing "normal." Still, we'll follow-up with radiation, to begin this week.

    I, like you, have remained very positive, literally not allowing one negative thought since the diagnosis. My wife was and is, like yours, a great and omnipotent caregiver. I deferred to her suggestions and her determined will, though at times reluctantly. Chemo brain is real, and like you say, downplayed by the docs.

    I watched all of your videos and generally found them to be right on. Though my cycles were similar, how I felt and side effects for each cycle varied. My wife kept copious day-by-day notes and we recently compiled a list of 40 ongoing side effects. I rated each from 1 to 10 by cycle (10 being the worst). Few were above 3 for any given cycle, though I gave constipation a 7 in the third cycle.

    I didn’t drive until after the first week. It just wasn’t worth the risk with so many first-week medicines causing dizziness. I ride a bicycle and motorcycle, the former a lot, but I parked them both during chemo. I’m back to riding the bicycle.

    I figure I lost 60-80% of my body hair, but I have had a short haircut for years so my friends will admit that I’m losing some hair, but they also say they can hardly tell the difference.

    My docs, all long time friends, tell me that I’ll be 80% recovered from chemo in 3 months, 90% in 6 months, and fully recovered in about a year.

    Thank you for posting your story and the best of luck with your cancer and with the Tigers, too, except when they play OU and Arkansas.

    Boomer Sooner and Go Hogs,


  8. David,

    I admire your courageousness to share your story, and instantly became attracted when I saw it on ABC online this morning. You're positivity is awesome to see, and while I can't walk in your shoes, I do sympathize. I was honored to share it with friends this morning, and in particular, a friend of only age 30 struggling with her personal battle. Like you, she has shared her story, educating the many of us who have no idea of the struggles folks like you are dealing with, and for that, I'm extremely blessed to know of you all.

    I wish you nothing but the best, and will pray for your comfort.

    Nick Carberry

  9. David,

    Our best wishes for your recovery/treatment plan.

    You and your wife are brave to expose yourselves to the world. I'm sure thousands will benefit from your efforts.

    My wife and I have written a book called "It's OK to Die." I would like to mail a copy to you. It deals with end-of-life care planning. My wife is an ER doc and the stories and information are designed to assist those who have lived full lives prepare for the end.....long before that occurs.

    If you could post or email a mailing address, I will get one to you.

    You can also go to our website We have downloadable eBooks as well.

    Good Luck!!! Kristian Murphy

  10. David, I just finished viewing your five videos. I admire, respect and love you for facing up to the problem. It is the best thing you are doing, sharing your experiences step by step with everyone. (I became a born-again Christian last 2001 and my focus is to serve the Lord by helping people anyway I can).
    This are the info I want to share with you for whatever its worth:
    1) Robert O. Young, PhD., in his book "The pH Miracle" 2002, tells this story: What happens to the fishes in an aquarium if we do not change the water regularly. The fishes becomes sluggish, weak and dies. Why is that. Its because the water becomes acidic due to the fishes own waste and the decomposed food we throw in for the fishes' food). We are generally acidic because of the food we eat. So, we need to drink alkaline water, at least pH8.0 water to detoxify or neutralize the acidic fluids in our body.
    Robert Young goes on to write that if our body fluids is acidic, the healthy cells evolves into nasty bacteria, fungi, yeast and eventually cancer.
    He further writes that when we gradually change our fluids to an alkaline condition, by drinking water of at least pH8.0, the cancer cells de-evolves back to its original healthy condition. People describes this as - their cancer is in remission.

    2) Dr. Theodore A. Baroody, in his book "Alkalize or Die", 1991, states, - acid is the seed of disease.

    3) Please get a copy of the book "The Enzyme Factor" (2010) by Dr. Hiromi Shinya, MD, Japanese-American, who works in New York City half of the year and the other half in Tokyo. He is now past 70 and he writes that the last time he got sick with a flu was when he was 19.

    Manny Bermas, You may call me any time, 832 671 6490.
    p.s. I had prostate cancer last 2001. If the fluids in my body were alkaline at that time, the cells in my prostate would have been swimming in alkaline fluids and the cells may not have evolved into cancer cells. Now I know. I invested in two machines, all made in Japan, one in 2009 and the recent one was 4 months ago to keep my fluids in an alkaline state. Call me and I will explain further. After all is said and done, I still stay that God is still in total control of everything. But just maybe, He put the info and the ionizing machine in front of me so I can drink of its water and write about it.

  11. David, with reference to my above comment, please
    have a quick view of my background, on

  12. I am going to receive my last chemo treatment (total six) for non hodgkins lymphoma, grade 3 (agressive cancer cells) in three days.
    I was happy to see how many good days you have during your 4 days of steroid treatment. I have 5 days of prednisone, 100mg each day. I must have 3mg of ativan, daily or I feel like screaming, crying, and wanting to crawl out of my skin. Treatment #5 had me in bed for 10 days with an inflammed liver and horrible cramping in the lower right quad. I almost called an ambulance!!!
    I had to laugh because you admitted to not having a shower or brushing your teeth for days....that had me laughing and shaking my head "yes". I love your sense of humor and your honesty because this is not easy.
    I have worked in hospice as an aide for 12 yrs and graduating as an RN. I was working as a hospcie RN for 3 months when I received the news(over the phone) I had cancer.
    Thank you for blogging because it does help all of us get through this and those who have no idea of what we go through.
    I have been journaling on to keep my family and friends updated and found it very helpful with my sanity.
    I will follow your blog and pray for your recovery and strength.

    1. Hi Linda,
      My prayers for your quick recovery. I was born again 11 years ago and so my focus is still to serve the Lord by helping people with whatever I can.
      If you read my comments of Feb. 6th, above you will see where I am coming from.
      I had prostate cancer last 2001, and probably, if the cells in my prostate where swimming in alkaline fluid because I was drinking alkaline water, the cells in my prostate may not have evolved into cancer cells. At that time, I did not know about alkaline water. (People perish because of lack of knowledge).
      If you read my above comments of Feb. 6th, you will understand why I am trying my best to spread the word about alkaline water. I know people roll up their eyes, thinking its another of those snake oil stories.
      But consider this, Japan is #1 in health and longevity and the US is #38. Why is that?
      I am glad to note you are an RN and understand that we are generally acidic and need to detoxify.
      Good healthy food and exercise is incomplete if we are still acidic.
      I will appreciate your comments. My email is and my phone is 832 671 6490. I am in South Carolina.

  13. Thank you for sharing your personal battle with cancer. I hope the best for you and your family!

  14. David and Debbie you are absolutely remarkable. May the good news and your happiness continue for many years to come. It is a privilege to follow you.
    Simon, Surrey, England

  15. Hello Professor Oliver,

    I enjoyed your interview on CBS on Monday morning, and I have a question for you. You firmly stated that you are not afraid to die, a pretty strong statement! In general, people do not really want to die, so I am asking, "What is your secret?" By nature, we are all people of hope, so there must be a qualifier to that bold statement you made to Erica Hill. What do you really believe that allowed you to come out with such a revelation?

  16. Dr. Oliver,
    Just watched your CBS interview--blessings to you and Mrs. Oliver as you continue to teach and touch the lives of many, many people. I'm always proud of Mizzou and the accomplishments of its people, but this one might take the cake!

  17. I feel admiration for the attitude that you have opposite to the adversity. When any person would be desolated and sad, you are seen happily. Really I admire it. Perhaps it would be good to stop being afraid of the death since it is a part of our life. I wish a lot of happiness you and its family. Excuse my English it is bad but I am from Argentina and I am using an on-line translator

  18. David, I must say I was so surprised when I saw KOMU's interview with you this past week. I was not, however, surprised to see your bright smile and cheery disposition. You've always been a person I have admired so much for seeking the good in every situation including this one. It's not to say you can't feel anger as you deal with your cancer but it seems you're choosing to look for the good and help others through your blog. I don't think I ever had the privilege of meeting Debbie but I know she must be a very special person as well. Know that I will be praying for you and your family as you go through your journey. Pls don't hesitate to let me know if I can do anything at all to help. You are much loved in our university family. Sincerely, Bonita

  19. Hello David,
    A friend brought to me a copy of an article published in Omaha World-Herald last Sunday Feb 05.

    I am into my first respite from 6 rounds of treats for Large B cell Lymphoma.
    I was diagnosed( after noticing the swollen lymph node in my neck) in late September and began treatment (once every 3 weeks)early in October.
    I have a similar attitude towards this reprieve as you.
    Isn't it good to look forward to Spring?

    I so appreciate your mature and gracious attitude to sharing your experience.
    Thank you so much.
    You are being added to my daily prayer list.
    Best wishes to you, Prof. Oliver.

    Mary Bridget in Omaha

  20. Dr. Oliver, I was a student of yours at School of the Ozarks some 40 years ago and remember that yours were some of my favorite classes. Particularly I remember our trip to Chicago in Urban sociology, a great experience, and how you then also made a strong effort to connect your teaching to the real world, so I can tell this is a lifelong effort. It takes a loft of strength for you and your wife to do this, but I know also it is typical of you. I know you will keep fighting your cancer, and at the same time making yourself continue to be a great teacher. Your in my prayers. Best of luck.

  21. Dr. Oliver,

    Best of luck. I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was in your class. I found this really inspirational video and thought you might be interested. Anyone that has been touched by cancer will probably find it inspirational.

  22. Hi David,
    A friend of mine sent me to your site and I am so grateful. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in June, just a year after retiring to new adventures that I thought were going to include travel and a new home, not Chemo and frequent Dr. visits. Your site gave both my partner and me some great insights, that information from one who has been there. He particularly was impressed by your wife and your honesty. We are both teachers,you and I, and that is also my hope for my blog...would love for you to take a look. If we can teach others that this diagnosis also can give us profound gifts, we will succeed. My email is

  23. David, I continue to think about and pray for you and Debbie and family often. With spring just around the corner, I hope you'll be back on your bike soon. I'm in university email- pls let me know if there's anything at all I can do for you or family. Bonita

  24. family caregivingCaregiver Space. The work we do at The Caregiver Space stems from our commitment to ensuring caregivers feel seen, heard and most of all supported.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.