Scanning for Life

June 20, 2017

I am sitting in the waiting area for my CT scan. Even though I won’t see the results today, I am nervous.

There are 11 people in the room with me, all at varying stages of their cancer treatment. Some are drinking the white goop that will help to identify parts of the body in their scans. I had that last time. Today I have 900ml of water to drink over precisely one hour.

I take deep breaths. Manda puts her hand over mine. This is the start of the process that will reveal how well I’m doing on the chemo regime. I will meet with the oncologist in a few days to hear his thoughts. Good day or bad day? Time will tell.

The Fear emerges from my subconscious and nods it’s unwelcome presence at me.

I drink my water and my name is called. In a lonely cubical I change into my dressing gown and wait to be taken into the scanning room.

The scanner is like a giant Polo mint with a bed that slides head-first into the hole in the centre. I lay down and a chatty nurse inserts a cannula into my arm. She casually tells me that I have scar tissue in my veins. I put my arms up over my head and the bed slides smoothly into the scanner. Lit panels of blue and purple glow around me. Another nurse behind me attaches the cannula to the injector and warm liquid is pumped around my body. It makes my groin feel hot and I want to pee. The bed moves and stops again and I hear a humming start, like a jet engine spooling up as you fasten your seat belts. I mentally fasten mine as everybody else leaves the room.

The humming steadies, and above me I can see some mechanism rotating fast. I feel like I’m in a portal to another dimension, time travelling, or beaming up. A metallic voice tells me to breathe in and hold my breath. I’m already holding my breath. The machine moves mysteriously around me. Then it’s done. Two or three minutes, tops – feels like an age. Another nurse appears and I’m unplugged, told to drink plenty of water and to stay in the hospital for at least another 20 minutes, just in case… of what I don’t know.

Manda drives me quietly back, we stop for coffee and a bun – anything normal and comforting is so welcome. The process isn’t too scary or too painful (‘Just a small scratch, dear’) but it really challenges my equanimity.




Meanwhile in a parallel universe, here are a few images from a recent stroll around London. I’m shooting to a theme here as I hope you’ll see, and trying to be braver photographing people in the street. I’ve been invited to have a joint exhibition in a year’s time, so I certainly have my work cut out for me. Always good to have something to work towards 🙂


21:57 June 22, 2017

Thanks for the posts. X

Keith Hammond/Appleby
19:53 June 22, 2017

Steve, I've just read all your posts in one go and am totally bowled over by the quality, humour and direct honesty of your writing. It's a truly insightful look into the world into which you've been thrust since your cancer diagnosis and gives those of us (as far as we know) without the disease an idea of what it really means to deal with many of the things you have to cope with, both mentally and physically. Brilliant stuff.

14:05 June 21, 2017

Great photos, as usual, Steve. A friend of mind works as a personal developer and coach. She works with Archetypes and says we have 4 core archetypes and one of them is our Saboteur whose role is to keep us safe. She thinks that when we find ourselves in truly negative situations it is natural to feel fear. It is our Saboteur looking out for us. When I've had negatives events - absolutely nothing compared to what you are going through - I now (you know I'm mad anyway) say to her - mines female - thank you for looking out for me you can go now. If this seems ridiculous to you please ignore. Den and I are keeping positive thoughts in our mind and in our hearts for you. Brenda aka The Mad Northerner.

    17:47 June 21, 2017

    I can completely relate to that idea Brenda, doesn't sound mad to me :) Hopefully I'll be able to dismiss my Saboteur shortly. Thank you both for your positive thoughts!

Tina Cleary
08:01 June 21, 2017

Great street pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed and sending positive vibes for your results xxx I like the combination of all the images together.

Rob Walters
03:22 June 21, 2017

I filmed a short series on the machines you describe, with my producer and old friend Jim Stevenson. Within a few weeks he was inside one as part of his treatment. I love the juxtaposition between the rather claustrophobic feeling of your words, then bursting back out into the world in your pictures!

22:58 June 20, 2017

I feel like I'm there you are so good at describing everything. Love the photos getting the colour connections and lots of other things from them. Fantastic

20:31 June 20, 2017

Great words and pictures! Again! My fingers are crossed and looking forward to some street snapping with you ?????????? and coffee of course. Quote from your stalker "who needs spot colour when Steve's around? he spots all the colours!" Love from us both x

Will Dennehy
16:42 June 20, 2017

Definitely just Googled equanimity

Andy Kimpton
16:40 June 20, 2017

HiSteve I hope your scan results when you get them show that you are winning All the best. Andy x

Neale James
16:12 June 20, 2017

The last picture, with the browns on the edge and the reds in the middle is BRILLIANT. Yellow tights and yellow top, equally inspiring. My fingers are the most crossed they can be for good news in a couple of days time. Neale x

    16:15 June 20, 2017

    Thank you Neale, mine are too!


Previous post Next post