I’m really not sure why I’m writing this, but I figure there are thousands of people experiencing the same welling of emotions and utter despair associated with Cancer. Two-years ago my Dad was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – an aggressive terminal Cancer caused by Asbestos.  Dormant for some 40-years post exposure, it’s likely his Asbestos Cancer was triggered while we were riding through the Himalayas, where we both succumbed heavily to the debilitating effects of high altitude. Not 6-months after returning from India, one of Dad’s lungs was overcome by fluid and the doctors confirmed Mesothelioma had kicked in. The doctor then proceeded to tell him he had 18-months to live … it was as cold and clinical as that.

Dad1

I think Dad was more offended by what the doctor said, than anything else…  ” Who does he think he is – no doctor is going to sit there and tell me I’ve got 18-months to live ”  Those were Dad’s exact words when I first spoke to him on the phone after his diagnosis. I felt as hopeful and as sure as he was that this incurable disease was not going to take him down. I felt the same power and certainty in his voice as I had on many confrontations – both alongside him and against him. I believed it myself because I am just as stubborn as he is.

Dad3

Adam’s Dad Bernie – a motorcycling novice – enduring the onset of altitude sickness at 5500m during their 4500km Himalayan adventure.

It’s now been over two-years since Dad’s diagnosis… and he’s still here. He’s survived two bouts of Pneumonia on top of the Cancer and is fighting this bloody thing tooth and nail. He will not lay down or be beaten on any terms but his own. He is defying statistical belief and getting on with the life he has left. As a family, it’s brought us together, pulled us apart and brought us back together again. But for every sign of hope there is an opposing blow of clinical results. Another futile dose of chemotherapy.

Dad7

Dad phoned today to tell me the results of his latest visit to the hospital.  The doctors have basically told him to go home and accept the inevitable … ” there is nothing more we can do ”  They are also dumbfounded by the fact he is functioning as well as he is for the amount of Cancer in his body, which has now spread to his stomach and groin. I know Dad’s fire is not out – he sounds the same on the phone as he always has – but the reality of the situation is pressing down hard. What do you say to someone at a time like this … more to the point, what do you say to your Father?  I told him I’d jump on a plane to Perth – for the simple fact I’m leaving for Asia in exactly 10-days from now to start the production of Motonomad II.

“No Adam, stay focused on what’s ahead and don’t give this situation another thought – I’ll be here til at least October ”

Everything about Cancer is fucked, there’s no other way to describe something that has prompted such a confronting, confusing, unfair and unbelievable conversation with my Dad. Is solace appropriate right now, or is it an admission of defeat. I really don’t know how to act or what to say …  I guess I’ll just jump on the next plane out of Sydney.

See the full length feature of Himalayan Hero

Dad4

34 replies
  1. Douglas Herring
    Douglas Herring says:

    Hey Adam, my condolences I’ve been there. Just want to say that you are such a stellar example and mentor on how to live and love life to the rev limiter. Your riding style, talent, plus the great tips put you in a league of your own. The Camera work is unreal
    djh

    Reply
  2. jeff milner
    jeff milner says:

    hey Adam. .. my 4 year old son and i are totally in to your movies.. awesome visuals great music and the best riding.
    My brother in law was diagnosed with melanoma and we witnessed in 4 years his battle which he succombed to , leaving my sister with 2 awesome kids..
    since i was a kid ive been searching for knowledge and wisdom and answers to life and death.. Growing up in sydney the mantra was football meat pies kangaroos and holden cars.. i needed more than this. i eventually came across the ancient Vedic knowledge from India and this has finally answered all my questions about life ,death the universe … the true meaning of our time here.. i had no idea my life would go down this path.. the fact is our time here is only temporary, we are transients here.. these material bodies are just temporary vehicles we live in for a short time. There really is no death.. just the person leaving the body… only the body dies..
    Some people can make sense of this, others think its a crock.. but after studying this philosophy and seeing how every problem, anxiety, every question can be answered so simply with this knowledge , its my duty to pass it on to others who need it.
    My brother in law left his cancer ridden. body surrounded by family and freinds hearing and chanting ancient spiritual mantras which will brought him great peace in his final days and hours..
    He left his body courageously and without fear ..
    It was heavy watching those days but it 100% reinforced my understanding…
    All the best for you and your father..
    Namaste mate..!
    Jeff
    ( Jaya Krishna das )

    Reply
  3. Dixie
    Dixie says:

    It’s so hard to watch someone you love go through something like this.

    But all we can do is let the people around us know how much they mean to us. Show them every chance we get. Celebrate all the small things.

    Sounds like you’re doing that with your dad every day.

    My heart is with you.

    Reply
  4. Michael
    Michael says:

    Know the feeling, my father was diagnosed with Leukemia about 15-16 years ago. At the time when he was diagnosed he was told that he would only live a matter of months; but being the strong individual that he is, he is still here until this day.

    Reply
  5. MARK BROWN
    MARK BROWN says:

    Hi Adam, there is only a few words to be said after hearing this and you nailed it. thats fucked.
    iv known you for about 10 years and we have shared some good experiences and memories that i will never forget.
    Do your journey mate and spend the time with him and tell n show him all about your new adventures when you return. he will be so proud to see you do what you have set out to do.
    Being a father myself i know i just want my boys to experience and enjoy life. your dad will be thinking the same.
    you are a top bloke Adam and your father has taught you well mate.
    thinking of you Brownie Browns Grafix

    Reply
  6. Tim Smith
    Tim Smith says:

    Only people that have or are dealing with it understand the utter frustration that is experienced both by the patient and the family, and only the ones living it understand that little can be said at times like these other than “good on your dad” for fighting the bastard. Its a pissy hand they’ve been dealt, but you can never lie down and give life to it, you must make the SOB take it from you. I agree, FUCK Cancer.

    Reply
  7. Angus
    Angus says:

    Mate, everybody dies but not everybody lives. Your dad has lived! Your dad has had some awesome times with you. His son! And he has plenty too come. He has lived!! He has done things most fathers won’t have done with their sons. He has gone across continents as a family team and conquered! Be proud of that! Good luck mate!!!

    Reply
  8. geoff sullivan
    geoff sullivan says:

    i really dint know what to say Adam. i lost my mum 20years ago to the shit. i have LIVED as strong as she was everyday . and with passion to . look forward one step at a time . you have a gift . you are strong . take care

    Reply
  9. Matt O'Donnell
    Matt O'Donnell says:

    Hey Adam
    Thanks for sharing mate!
    He is a great man. You are from an awesome family!
    Stay tight…
    Respect
    Mattyo

    Reply
  10. Pat Loo
    Pat Loo says:

    Yeah man, that SUCKS.Been there too.
    Make Motonomad 2 the best movie yet. That will make your dad happier than you hanging around I’m guessing.
    Good luck Dude.
    Pat

    Reply
  11. Janene Martin
    Janene Martin says:

    What a lovely trip down memory lane with the Riemann’s again. We always thought that your dad just wouldn’t come home one day from one of his EXTREME adventures. Your father leads by example, and his mental strength is exceptional, Its so wonderful to see you put your emotions into words Adam.
    This is an incredible journey we are all on, and we are still enjoying life with your family with many laughs along the way, usually at your dads expense…..
    See you in Perth
    xoJ

    Reply
  12. Mark Penningh
    Mark Penningh says:

    Hi Adam, Thanks for sharing, wish I could share some words of inspiration and wisdom to bring comfort, but I can’t. Except for, Celebrate the LIFE and the people we have in our lives, now.

    May GOD keep you safe

    Keep Motology’in

    Reply
  13. riki
    riki says:

    Hi Adam,I’m reading about this only now,thank for sharing..and I’m really sorry for your big and strong father,unfortunately my English isn’t really good for giving you a little support..and for another time your father is proud of you.
    Have a nice ride!

    Reply
  14. Colin Sheehan
    Colin Sheehan says:

    Adam, I have been researching cancer and natural cures for quite a while now. There is a LOT you can do. Start with thetruthaboutcancer.com where there is an immense amount of information and videos. Also cancertutor.com many folk have recovered from death’s door especially with a mindset like your Dads. Best wishes to both of you.

    Reply
  15. mark fisher
    mark fisher says:

    Hi Adam,

    Just came across your site, really well impressed with what l have watched so far, l spotted the link to this a took a look out of curiosity not expecting to read what l did, my dad too died of this horrible disease, he was also called Bernie, an ex para with a real stubborn streak. Just wanted to say that l know exactly how it feels, life is shit sometimes, thank fuck for motorbikes.

    Reply
  16. Derek
    Derek says:

    Thanks Adam for the post. I’m only in to dirt bikes because I lost my parents. My Mom 4yrs ago to leukemia. Then that hit my dad so hard he just stopped taking care of hisself and had a stroke. I needed father-son time with my son so I bought both of us bikes. Now I can’t get enough of the sport and we go every chance we get. Great family times

    Reply
    • Mickey
      Mickey says:

      That’s inspiring Derek! Good idea!!

      I don’t have kids but I can picture the bond that riding together may create…

      Big hug to all of you

      Reply
  17. Scotty
    Scotty says:

    Hey there Adam
    Just read through these posts and taken in what all these people have been through like yourself. Again like those that have previously posted we have all lost those that are gorgeous and sacred to us and some with no logical reason why they have contracted this insidious disease. There is only one mantra that one can take from this to make sense and justify why this is happening and that is to love and cherish every fucking moment you get with those that touch your heart and inspire you. Take that inspiration and persue “exactly “what “you” do, and pay it forward and inspire others and most of all your own.
    There is a reason your dad told you to get on that plane and do what you do best.
    I am sure you know it too.

    Reply
  18. FredGreissing
    FredGreissing says:

    Adam, you Dad rode through the Himalayas with you, his son.
    That for a father is priceless.
    When he passes he will pass having lived a life worth living.

    I wish your Dad the best, lung conditions are tough.

    I am a Tuberculosis survivor (got it in Africa)….. been trucking along… coughing and spluttering since I was 5 year’s old.
    I have ridden dirt bikes for many of those years, I’m 57 now and still coughing and spluttering.
    Just finished putting together a forced air filtered helmet so I can keep on riding and go into areas that would be too dusty for me.

    Your films are brilliant, fun and inspiring.

    I’m going to watch Himalayan Hero tonight. Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Javan Dell
    Javan Dell says:

    Adam – Have been following your videos for years since you started the many adventures on your KTM, the tricks, tips and amazing riding talent. The music, filming angles and the angel that once traverse the Himalayan route with you, your dad will always be there for you and us to remember. Not many people get to spend the unforgettable time you spent with your father. We will all leave this place one day, thanks for the memories, Adam.

    Reply

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