“Fate rarely calls upon us at a time of our choosing.” Optimus Prime
No, it really doesn’t.
I have just finished the second part of my cancer through photos project, The Dark. I struggled a bit with the timing of this entry and when to release it. Posting it around the holidays feels a little wrong to be honest. Despite the darkness of this topic, I still love the holidays. Maybe the holidays are not always perfect, but I made it to another holiday. I lived another year. I choose the word ‘lived’ because I did so much more than just ‘survive’ another year.
Less than a month ago I found out that I have two more brain tumors. Less than a week ago I had another gamma knife surgery to treat these fast growing newborns. The ‘weight’ of brain tumors #4 and #5 has thrown me quite a bit in the last few weeks. There are a lot of days recently that I have felt incredibly sad. In ten months I have had five new brain tumors.
It is our hope that this gamma knife procedure, like last time, will shrink the tumors. Gamma rays do not remove tumors but damage the DNA of tumor cells so that they lose the ability to reproduce. Approximately 200 beams of gamma rays are aimed at these lesions. For 2-3 days after treatment my doctors use medication to partially sedate me due to the resulting risk of seizures.
There is darkness in my life at times. I have always been honest about it. This blog is representative of those times and so are these photos. Liesl Clark, of Liesl Clark Photography is the photographer and a dear personal friend. I have envisioned this part of the project with her since my original breast cancer diagnosis almost three years ago. I’ve decided not to talk much about these photos as they tell this part of my story better than I could ever put into words. This time I’m going to let the photos tell my story, tell of my dark, tell of the secrets that exist in this world of cancer.
I believe we don’t see this side of cancer enough. This is the side of cancer that comes up from nowhere and levels me at certain moments. These photos reveal my fear, my anger, my isolation, my defeat and my pain. In some of the photos you may notice a paper chain wrapped around my body or draped around my neck. If you look closely these are all of my hospital bracelets, from every appointment, every surgery, every chemotherapy infusion, every radiation treatment. The robe is my original hospital gown from radiation. This is my ‘weight’.
For now, I will leave you with less of my words and these photos, taken by Liesl Clark.
December has been an intense month. A week ago today I had another gamma knife surgery. Today, I sit posting this from Kauai. I need and want to continue my adventure. I need and want to continue to live.
To all my family and friends, I send you much love this holiday season and wish you an incredible 2017. All my love,
“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” Paul Strand