A quick note on myself; sharing my personal thoughts and opinions isn’t something I am usually comfortable doing. I hate the limelight, but as I head down the magical cancer road, I believe this is something I should do.
This blog is for anyone to read, but more importantly it acts as a place for me to store my thoughts and perspectives and maybe look back someday and say “what an adventure that was”.
I’ve been reluctant to share any of my thoughts about this cancer shit until now. I’ve come to the realization that I have started a captivating journey, even if it is a shitty situation.
People are curious about what I am doing and how I’m responding. I get it.
As a photojournalist by trade, it only makes sense to create a story from this experience. Photography and writing is what I am most passionate about and I cannot put that on hold due to an illness.
So, I’ve charged the camera batteries, started taking notes and documenting as much as possible. Some days are harder than others and it’s not always easy turning the camera on myself. Bare with me as I don’t normally document from my personal perspective. Nontheless, I figure this will be another challenge for me to tackle while fending off cancer .
So, that’s that.
SHARE THE JOURNEY
Those were the first words (other than “FUCK!”) that came into my head on Friday, March 2nd - the day I found out I had cancer.
What kind of cancer?
Primary mediastinal high-grade aggressive large b-cell non-hodgkins Lymphoma - to be exact. Try saying that five times fast.
What in the actual world is that and why do I have it? I’ll cover this at a later date.
SCHEDULE FROM HELL
Anyways, back to why you are really here, the fucking cancer thing. What a bitch it’s been. Not exactly what I had scheduled at 25 years old, but shit happens.
In order to get everyone up to speed - here is the extremely condensed version of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing since this curveball has been thrown into my life:
Feb. 20th - Doctors visit for shortness of breath, bloody cough, swollen face. A grapefruit sized tumor was discovered in a chest x-ray. Say WHAT???
Feb. 21st - CT scans, blood work. LOTS of blood.
Feb. 23rd - Meeting with a pulmonologist to discuss the tumor. First mention of cancer possibilities and other potential diagnosis.
Feb. 26th - Tumor/lung biopsy. Bad day. Enough said.
Feb. 28th - Second pulmonologist meeting revealed that the first biopsy was inconclusive. Disappointed.
March 1st - Tumor/lung biopsy number two. Bad day. Enough said.
March 2nd - CONGRATS! You won the cancer lottery! Officially diagnosed, but it’s with a “good” cancer so I shouldn’t be worried. What a bunch of bullshit.
March 5th - First oncology appointment. Learn that I am headed down the R-CHOP chemotherapy avenue in less than one and a half weeks. Is this really happening?
March 12th - “Chemo Class” on what to do and what not to do. First PET scan.
March 13th - MRI, echocardiogram, bone marrow biopsy, port installation. Long, bad day.
March 14th - Sperm bank. Sad day.
March 15th - Sperm bank visit number two. Sad day, again.
March 16th - Round one of chemo. Learn I am stage four and the cancer has spread, HERE WE GO!
Present - Managing symptoms, lots of pills, more blood work, waiting for round two.
Recently, My wife Rebecca and I have had a plethora of visitors come see us which is where my most recent set of images have spawned from. It’s been awesome and has lifted our spirits tremendously. Siblings, grandparents, parents and many more scheduled visitors are coming in the future. Having a strong support system is amazing.
Family really is the greatest treasure we have in life. Hug someone and tell them you love them at least once a day. JUST DO IT.
Stay in touch, visit again (or not) and witness cancer through my lens and keyboard.
Oh, and learn to deal with my profanity - because this is the experience from my eyes.
Until next time…