Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone! I’ve decided to take the opportunity of the New Year to share a little of my less photographic adventures, because since March 2017 I have been in a bit of a battle with cancer.
I had just got back from a trip cross country skiing in Poland, where the above image was taken, when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer that had spread to my liver. At least that explained my exhaustion in Poland!I went from the high of hearing i would be included in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in 2017 to quite a stark shock of this diagnosis.
Since then I have been through 18 rounds of chemo (nine months worth), ten days of radiotherapy, and two operations, one lasting 9hrs. I was given the all clear in April 2018 but had a reoccurrence in October when two spots were found in my liver. I am just coming to the end of the chemo cycle that I hope will see it gone, for good!
I have been reticent to be open about it for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. I think partly because so much of my work and fun has relied on me being relatively fit and active, so I have struggled slightly to get my head around being chemically and surgically battered and somewhat incapacitated. But I hope that me sharing this here will perhaps lift the lid on cancer a bit, so that people facing a similar diagnosis can perhaps have a better understanding of it. Here is a link to an article that Men’s Health online did about me a couple fo months ago.
When I was diagnosed I considered myself fit, healthy and by all accounts too young to be effected by cancer. But bowel cancer does seem to be on the rise, particularly in young men, for reasons that we do not fully understand yet. I have a feeling some of it might be due to nitrates found in food, and there does seem to be a move to ban nitrates in the UK, which I hope does happen.
So, a few last rounds of chemo, possibly a small op in Feb, and then I’m looking forward to getting back to full health and planning some expeditions (fingers crossed)! I’d like to do something to raise money for Cancer Research and the brilliant Royal Marsden Hospital, where I am being treated. I have a few ideas for an expedition and am on the look out for venues to do an exhibition in aid of Cancer Research. I will keep you posted! And thanks for reading.