A Grim New Reality
April 19, 2017
For the moment at least, life as we know it is over.
I was drained of energy, leaden and listless. Without going into the gory details, after many tests a tumour was discovered in my stomach. No easy way to say it, I have cancer. The doctors were not optimistic and told me I may have less than a year. The effect on us all has been profound – hopes and plans all evaporated in one great gust. Tears, many many tears.
My career as a wedding photographer has come to a crashing halt, Amanda has stopped all her garden design projects, and plans that the girls had for the year ahead are now all on hold. I find myself abruptly retired.
So – how does one cope with all that? Barely. The support from our friends and families has been immense, and also from friends of friends, and old friends and acquaintances we’d lost touch with. Letters, emails and messages arrive every day, many from folks who have either been through this or know someone close who has – it’s staggeringly common. Our close friends are concerned about my weight loss – I have more cake in the kitchen than a bakers!
And I’m angry. I’m a reasonable fit guy, I walk and cycle all the time and always have. My weight has been 64 kilos all my adult life. I have a glass of red wine most evenings. I’ve never smoked, never taken drugs and have always eaten good food with fresh, often organic, ingredients. Cancer is indiscriminate for sure.
I have started my chemotherapy course, six cycles of three weeks each, with two weeks of taking the tablets and one week off everything before the next cycle starts again. Yes, side effects are making themselves known in odd ways – instant pins and needles when I touch something cold, Factor 30 for any outing in sunshine, and the need to rest a great deal. My hair hasn’t fallen out yet, that’s to come. Or go.
We have settled into an acceptance of sorts. We try and stay cheery, and enjoy the days as they come, living in the moment. As I get stronger again after each chemo session, we are having days out and visits to friends around the country. I’m going to try and keep this personal blog going for as long as I can – hopefully not all doom and gloom. And I’d like to get a self-published book of my personal images together. Thoughts turn to posterity…
Here are some images from a short walk in London with my good old friend Chris – this north London area is his old stamping ground.